Thursday, November 16, 2017

What I Watched In October

BLADE RUNNER 2049 is one of my favorite movies of the year. Of course, I'm pretty clearly the target audience for it as I've loved the original for more than thirty years and have watched various versions of that 1982 film more than 50 times. Strangely, I must admit, I might like this sequel better than the first film. I'm not sure if that is because, having been so familiar with the earlier movie, it's much easier to let this film wash over me and tell it's story without skewed expectations for what it will be. For me, BR2049 feels like a perfect tonal and thematic continuation of the original, shifting the larger question asked from 'What is Human' to 'Do memories make us Human'. It even asks the question of what it means to know our past is a lie but to have nothing else to hold on to give us a sense of self. And it does all this within the context of a mystery tied to both the past and an uncertain future.

When I learned this new film was two and half hours long I feared it would feel protracted or thin. While the film played I was even trying to decide which segments might be removed to cut the running time down with out messing up the story. But, by the end, each piece I thought might be choppable proved itself to be necessary to the film and it's absence would detract from the whole in some important way. This is not a film that will please most people just as the 1982 film was rejected at the time and is still merely a cult item. Both Blade Runner movies ask its audience to consider big questions about the nature of humanity, artificial human intelligence and the possibility of a soul. These are not the kinds of things a mass audience was ever going to embrace. Much like the first film I'm just so happy this new one exists as it reaffirms my faith the Hollywood can occasionally produce intelligent, cerebral science fiction that can cause a deeper conversation than rating it's degree of 'coolness'.

I've come to the realization that if Matthew Vaughn makes a film I'm going to probably love it. Because KINGSMEN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE is a sequel I fully expected it to be the least of his six films as director but it was just as unexpectedly brilliant and outrageous as the first film. It's only crimes were a lack of freshness that is somewhat unavoidable in a follow up and the pretty silly resurrection of a key character offed in the original. Both crimes are forgiven! I had a goofy smile plastered on my face for the duration of this funny, dirty, hyperkinetic spy adventure. These movies are exactly the kind of film Bond fans dreamed up in their kinkiest, most over the top imaginings. If you liked the first film you'll get a lot of joy out of this one too. 

What do you get when you cross the comedy GROUNDHOG DAY (1993) with the film noir D.O.A. (1949)? HAPPY DEATH DAY! In this comedic horror film we meet a college student suffering through a birthday so bad that it ends in her being brutally murdered. The twist is that she keeps reliving this crappy day over and over with each new variation ending in her demise no matter what she does to prevent it. She goes from puzzled to disbelieving to angry to disheartened to defiant as she attempts to discover who the masked person is that hates her enough to hunt her down repeatedly. This isn't a great movie but it is very well done, quite funny and very well played by Jessica Rothe in the lead role. She is onscreen for 95% of the running time and has to make us believe that this spoiled, unlikable sorority girl can become a better person as she travels through her painful adventure. She does an admirable job and I liked the eventual answer to the mystery as well. This is a fun horror film! 

The List 

THE WITCH'S CURSE (1962) - 6 (Maciste in Scotland and Hell) 
ONE DARK NIGHT (1982)- 6 (rewatch of a better print) 
SWEET HOME (2015) - 6 (Spanish horror film) 
KISS OF THE TARANTULA (1976)- 5 (not bad low budget shocker) 
THE HOWLING (1981) - 9 (rewatch) 
ONE MYSTERIOUS NIGHT (1944) - 5 (OK Boston Blackie film) 
THE MUTILATOR (1984) - 3 (low budget slasher) 
SCREAM OF THE BANSHEE (2011) - 3 (lame supernatural horror) 
HOUSE OF DRACULA (1945)- 6 (rewatch) 
BLADE RUNNER 2049 (2017) - 9 
MILL OF THE STONE WOMEN (1960) - 8 (rewatch) 
SON OF DRACULA (1943) - 6 (rewatch) 
BODY BAGS (1993) - 7 (rewatch) 
THE WITCH (2016)- 8 (rewatch) 
THE COMPANY OF WOLVES (1984) - 8 (rewatch) 
THE MARK OF THE WEREWOLF (1968) - 6 (rewatch of the Spanish version) 
THE MAN WHO CHANGED HIS MIND (1936)- 6 (rewatch)
THE CURSE (1987)- 3 
CURSE OF THE DEVIL (1973)- 6 (rewatch) 
HACK-O-LANTERN (1988) - 3 (terrible slasher/satanist tale) 
HAPPY DEATH DAY (2017) - 7 
RED CLOVER (2012) - 4 (Leprechaun monster horror tale) 
MARK OF THE DEVIL (1970)- 6 (rewatch)
HALLOWEEN (1978)- 10 (rewatch) 
DRACULA'S DAUGHTER (1936) - 7 (rewatch)
MIDNIGHT OFFERINGS (1981) - 6 (TV movie about high school witches) 
HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH (1982) - 8 (rewatch) 

1 comment:

Nick Rentz said...

Personally, I prefer Son of Dracula to Dracula's Daughter. The last time I watched House of Dracula I really enjoyed, more so than in the past.