The title says it all; quick encapsulated reviews of stuff to help you guide your way through the murky world of ALL THE MEDIA. They are presented in no particular order, and while I’ve frequently linked to Amazon, you can find them on other streaming services as well. (Check out JustWatch.com for finding them elsewhere!)
Also, I tend to be a bit…harsh in my numerical judging. Roughly, 1 is “avoid wasting your time”. 2 is “in the background, and definitely don’t extra for it.” 3 is “it’s okay, but ain’t great.” 4 and up, I definitely recommend.
Time Trap (2 out of 5): This movie has a neat conceit: there’s a bit of a cave where time passes differently. That said, this conceit isn’t quite enough to hold throughout the entire runtime. I think this would have made a great Twilight Zone episode. Also, the character of Furby (not the toy) was just over-the-top annoying, which weakened the whole thing for me.
Small Foot (3.5 out of 5): A family friendly film that looks like it’s going to be overly simplistic but instead manages to be surprisingly deep and have a lot more depth than you’d think from the first few minutes. Entertaining for both kids and adults, I think.
Yesterday (4 out of 5): Another movie that threaded the needle quite nicely; you think you know where this movie is going, but you probably don’t. Respectfully treated, and I think something that any Beatles fan (or music fan in general) would enjoy.
The House With A Clock in its Walls (3 out of 5): Like Harry Potter? You’ll probably like this movie. It’s better done than I expected, and Cate Blanchett is a freaking delight. No real new ground trod in this movie, but it’s enjoyable.
Hail Satan? (4 out of 5): I typically am not much of a documentary type person, but this intrigued me. An unflinching (and unexpectedly fun) look at The Satanic Temple. Definitely worth watching, especially if you’re an American.
Give Me Sex Jesus: (4 out of 5) So of course, two documentaries in a row. I really enjoyed this documentary of the “purity” movement, because the documentarians really stayed out of it. There’s no overarching narrative, just the words of those who started, are in, or left the purity movement. Very thought provoking and very compassionate to all parties. (Vimeo link above, not Amazon; there isn’t a trailer, but the whole documentary is on YouTube, embedded below.)
Hellboy (2019): (3 out of 5) I actually enjoyed this movie, and think it would have done a lot better if people weren’t comparing it to the earlier films. And moreso than Pearlman’s stint, this Hellboy is a lot closer to the source material in terms of attitude and feel. An imperfect film, but so were the earlier ones… just in different ways.
The Predator: (2 out of 5) Not a bad sci-fi action flick, really. My biggest complaint (and it’s a doozy): Being on the autism spectrum does NOT mean that you’re a freaking savant. Relying on that error to make the story work really stuck in my craw.
The Happytime Murders: (3 out of 5) Look, if you’re walking into this expecting Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, you WILL be disappointed. If you walk into it expecting an alternate reality murder mystery with some humorous bits here and there, the movie actually works pretty well.
Book of Monsters: (2 out of 5) I guess the filmmakers were going for a kind of Evil Dead vibe or something, but it doesn’t quite gel. While not a bad film, it certainly isn’t a good one either. But if you’re looking for B-movie hijinks, this film does offer them up in droves.
See You Yesterday: (4 out of 5) There have been a bunch of time travel movies I’ve seen lately; much like zombie films, it’s difficult to find ones that excel. While this – like so many others (including Time Trap above) leave the ending somewhat vague, I really enjoyed this film. The stakes are completely personal for the characters, and that gives a sense of urgency and meaning that’s hard to find.
Assassination Nation: (5 out of 5) This film is absolutely AMAZING. It’s easy – from the trailers – to call this “The Purge for people who don’t like The Purge“, but that’s selling it short. The cinematography is gorgeous. The characters are well-rounded. And the scenario is all too believable.
Train to Busan: (5 out of 5) This film is what World War Z should have been. While not (particularly) gory, and without a single bloody jump scare, it had me and my sweetie totally into it. Unlike the next movie, this film doesn’t put a twist or do anything completely original with zombie movies, but it does zombie movies absolutely perfectly.
The Girl With All The Gifts: (5 out of 5) I can’t believe I haven’t written about how much I love this movie. It is – as I hinted above – a zombie movie, but a zombie movie that takes it in new and unexpected directions. Also not particularly gory, but definitely something to mess with your head. And the soundtrack is amazing.
Henchmen: (2 out of 5) Just bleh. Not horrible, not great. Put on for the kids when you’re doing something else. Seriously, it could have done a lot more with the material, but feels like a corporate committee came and rewrote the script to fit with what some suit thought it should be. Meh. Apparently everyone else thinks so too, because I can’t find it streaming anywhere.
Batman vs. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: (2.75 out of 5) Okay, this sounds like it’s going to be a shitshow. It’s actually… not. While it’s a bit goofy, it isn’t bad at all. (Not like Batman Unlimited: Mechs vs. Mutants or Batman vs. Dracula, both of which are awfully bad.) This film’s iteration of the Turtles is a lot more like the comic books than the animated TV show or recent live-action films, and as a result manages to be… well, not bad. (Does this mean that Batman and Daredevil are now canonically in the same universe, though?)
So there you have it! What do you think about these films?