The Last of Netflix Streaming Releases for July

The usual assortment but I have been looking forward to watching the thriller The Guest from director Adam Wingard (You’re Next).

Hercules

Action & Adventure: Sword of Vengeance, Hercules

Comedy: Jim Norton: Contextually Inadequate, Teacher of the Year, Staten Island Summer

Documentary: The Road to Fallujah, Je Suis Femen, The Wrecking Crew, Hurricane of Fun: The Making of Wet Hot

Set Fire to the Stars

Drama: Set Fire to the Stars, Dial a Prayer, Comet, 52 Tuesdays, Still, Of Girls and Horses

Foreign: 24 Days, The Avenging Eagle, Come Drink With Me, Martial Arts of Shaolin, Out of the Dark (1995), Shaolin Martial Arts, Zero Motivation

Horror: Almost Mercy

Television: Victoria, Relaciones Peligrosas, Donde Esta Elisa, first episode of Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp and new episodes of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and Marvel’s Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H.

The Guest

Thriller: The Guest

The Guest of Creep Creepy McCreeperson

Creep and The Guest are currently available on instant Netflix

Creep

 

Creep (2014) – Rated R

When a videographer answers a Craigslist ad for a one-day job in a remote mountain town, he finds his client is not at all what he initially seems.”

“I got a really weird sense of humor, man. I’m really sorry about that.”

Creep is quite creepy. There is not much action and the film is basically about just the two main characters. If you like a slow burn thriller then this will fit the bill. Acting is quite good as it needs to be with (essentially) only two characters. Not only are Patrick Brice and Mark Duplass the only actors but they are the writers as well and Patrick Brice directed. Ofttimes it seems as though the two are just having a lot of fun but they do get the creep factor right and the movie is only an hour and seventeen minutes.

The Guest

The Guest (2014) – Rated R

A soldier introduces himself to the Peterson family, claiming to be a friend of their son who died in action. After the young man is welcomed into their home, a series of accidental deaths seem to be connected to his presence.”

I really enjoyed the home invasion horror romp You’re Next. It was directed by Adam Wingard and written by Simon Barrett. It had plenty of suspense, gore, and humor so I was really looking forward to what these two would do next.

They did portions of the first two V/H/S movies. While I lauded the idea behind them, I thought the films were ridiculously uneven and, ultimately, forgettable. The next full film that the pair did was The Guest.

Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett now have a wonderful formula. It is not unlike M. Night Shyamalan in that you are waiting for the shoe to drop, i.e. the twist. The difference is that instead of being at the end of the film, Barrett’s twists are at the end of the first act.

The Guest and You’re Next are both horror/thriller movie setups that we have seen before. You’re Next is home invasion a la The Strangers while The Guest is the mysterious stranger type of film. The twist is that in each case, someone is not at all who they appear to be.┬áThe Guest is every bit as fresh, in spite of the setup, and delightful as You’re Next. There is a high level of violence in both films as is appropriate for their plots.

Acting is quite good. The female lead is Anna Peterson, played by new scream queen Maika Monroe (It Follows). Here, while quite good, she doesn’t have to carry the movie but also doesn’t have as much opportunity to shine as in It Follows. Perennial nice guy Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey’s Matthew Crawley) does a fabulous job as the creepy titular guest, David.

The rest of the cast is just fine. Leland Orser (Taken) and Sheila Kelley (L.A. Law) play Anna’s parents and Brendan Meyer, her brother. Tabatha Shaun is notable as her best friend. Lance Reddick lends some heft in the final act, even if his character makes a series of questionable calls.

The Guest is VERY highly recommended and I am very much looking forward to what this talented duo attempts next.

 

 

Epic Cinema Tables at Epic Theatres of course!

On my last movie day, I spent the whole day at my local Epic Theatre. I got a nice jumbo hard plastic Ant-Man cup to add to my already overburgeoning collection and my waistline thanks them for having unsweet tea. I don’t care for water and hate diet cola.

Pirates Table

 

Normally they, like most theaters, have too much lobby space. Normally I like to peruse the neat displays for upcoming movies (my favorite was Regal’s whack-a-mole featuring the Minions for Despicable Me 2), but this time I was really impressed with the new tables they got.

Hunger Games Table

 

The tables and chairs seemed very sturdy and the table easy to clean off. The table was a little lower than I would like but now I think I need one in my movie room.

Toy Story 3

 

They had four styles but I imagine these would be quickly customizable to any movie poster. Now should I get Alien or The Thing or something from classic Hollywood?

Spider-Man

Alien – Titans Vinyl Nostromo Collection

My wife made me send her a list of my sixteen favorite horror movies in order the other month. I quickly jotted down about a hundred and then had trouble crossing the losers off the list. My top two slots went to Alien and Aliens.

Alien figures

 

I got a lot of these figures for my birthday. They are Titans vinyl figures and are way too expensive to collect. They are $10 a pop which isn’t awful but they are in blind boxes so you have no idea what you’re getting. Facehugger Kane and Spacesuit Ripley are commons but the bleeding-white-robotic-fluid Ash is a rare. Strangely, I haven’t gotten the Ash common.

Alien figures

 

I just love how much the Titans look like their movie counterparts while still being stylized. I find them to be much better than the similarly priced ReAction figures (although with ReAction, you see exactly what you are getting).

Alien figures

 

I have all of the characters from the movies, even though I am missing four of the figures: Common Ash, Regular Ripley, Rare Ripley (underwear?), and Rare Egg. I won’t need to buy any more unless I find them on clearance.

Alien figures

 

Embarrassing admission: The open mouth alien is the rare Alien BUT I somehow missed the extendable jaws in the box and now they are gone forever. So check your boxes carefully. I only found out when I googled to see a picture of the rare egg.

Embarrassing admission two: I forgot to take a picture of Captain Dallas.

I hope these did well enough that Titans wants to do Aliens…or Predator…or Terminator…or…well enough of reliving my childhood.

Alien 5, Prometheus 2, Yes Please!

Terminator Genisys was a disappointment but not hugely so. The first two entries in the franchise are classics but the third one was a step down and the fourth a slapdash hodgepodge so that Genisys would not live up to the first two is not a surprise and at least it was better than Salvation (which is remembered more for Christian Bale’s offscreen antics than his onscreen performance).

Alien 5

So why should I be excited that my absolute favorite franchise is getting an eighth movie (ninth if it comes out after Prometheus 2)? Neill Blomkamp made an exciting feature debut with District 9. District 9 was an excellent science fiction movie that proved that Blomkamp could handle unique extraterrestrials and weave in social commentary without it being overbearing or pedantic.

Alien 5

Then Blomkamp made Elysium which was interesting science fiction but unfortunately was overbearing and pedantic and just okay. I haven’t yet braved Chappie because it looked just awful – Short Circuit should never be a model for a movie. However Blomkamp has always avowed his love for the Alien franchise and his concept art for Alien 5 makes it clear that he wants to correct Alien 3.

Alien 5

Alien 3 certainly had an intriguing concept (Ripley crashlands on a prison planet with no weapons) but somewhere along the line, someone decided to give the finger to fans of Aliens and killed off two of the four survivors in the opening credits and still wasn’t through. It is not that nihilism in a franchise is bad and certainly right from the start, we knew that Weyland-Yutani considered crew expendable. It is just that the unceremonious dumping of half the cast is really poor storytelling.

Honestly, Dark Horse comics came out with a ridiculously large series of Alien comics miniseries. The first three would have made excellent movies and began where Aliens left off. After Alien 3 was released, all further rereleases of the comics had to be scrubbed and the characters of Ripley, Hicks, and Newt were all renamed.

Clearly the Blomkamp concept art showing a burned Hicks along with Ripley indicates a desire to revisit Alien 3’s plotline. With the two actors being thirty years older now, I’m not sure where Blomkamp intends to go but I’ll certainly buy a ticket. Of course I’ll buy a ticket for Ridley Scott’s Prometheus 2 as well.

A Plague of Rapes and Zombies

Plague is currently available on streaming Netflix.

Plague

 

Plague (2014) – Not rated

A small group of survivors in post-apocalyptic Australia seek shelter from an infection that has spread like a plague among the human populace. Evie (Tegan Crowley) and her fellow survivors become separated from her husband John (Scott Marcus). Evie refuses to leave John behind against the wishes of the group. The survivors revolt and abandon Evie to an uncertain fate. With the unexpected arrival of Charlie (Steven Kennedy) what appears to be an opportunity at a new beginning quickly turns to horror as menacing as the infected that pursue them.”

“I like you, Evie. I like you a lot.

I love zombie movies. While zombies are cool, the best parts of zombie movies are not the zombies themselves. Instead they are the commentary and critique on human society and the relationships between survivors. Plague has a backstory of zombies but doesn’t really involve them.

I understand that, in the breakdown of society, things, especially people, will get quite ugly. Unfortunately, both of The Zombie Diaries movies were unable to manage the fine line of social commentary while being entertaining. Here’s a hint: given that current estimates posit that the majority of women have been sexually assaulted, perhaps one should be a bit delicate about reminding them.

Mad Max Fury Road actually handled this in a perfect fashion. The women had clearly been used as sex slaves/chattel/broodmares and the story gets that across just fine. Yet there isn’t so much as a single scene of sexual assault in the whole movie.

A friend of mine did not understand my decision to abandon Game of Thrones based on the rape scenes. He said that way worse stuff happens on Game of Thrones. The thing is that, statistically, he is highly unlikely to personally know anyone who was murdered. Statistically, he absolutely knows plenty of people who have been sexually assaulted.

As you might guess from my rather long digression, Plague involves someone using the breakdown of society to get what they want sexually. For what it is, it is relatively well-handled. The rape isn’t shown but we do see the before, we know what is happening, there are sounds, and we do deal with the aftermath.

Even if rape scenes don’t bother you, anyone expecting a zombie movie will be sorely disappointed. This is actually one of those movies where the couple invites a sexual predator into their home. The zombies are just window dressing.

Plague is well-acted and the characters believable. Tegan Crowley is especially good as our protagonist, Evie. For a debut feature from writer/director Kosta Ouzas and co-director Nick Kozakis, Plague is fairly impressive on a small scale.

If you watch the movie, the real lesson of Plague is NEVER give someone else a gun – NEVER! Seriously, the movie is quite funny when you think about the guns. Maybe it’s not really a zombie movie but an ad for gun control.

Anyway enough of my soapbox.

Regal, Regal, Regal, and FREE Movie Tickets

Regal Cinemas

Normally, I’m not fond of big chains but this summer Regal has really won my business. Neither my local Epic nor my beloved Carolina opted to do summer kids movies. Let me tell you the Regal Biltmore Grande is absolutely packed on Tuesday and Wednesday morning for their $1 movie. They have obviously reached out to various groups as children arrive by the busload for the Regal Summer Movie Express.

Regal Summer Movie

 

Regal also gives points for concession purchases on their card (though only a ridiculous few) which is something my Epic does not. The big chain does have other advantages. My wife is able to exchange credit card points for Regal gift cards and Blue Cross Blue Shield also had a program that allowed me to redeem a Regal card through them.

Regal Crown Club

 

Combining Regal gift cards, the Regal Crown Club, and the numerous FREE movie ticket promotions has allowed me to spend very little on movies this summer.

There are currently FREE movie ticket offers at Wal-Mart, Best Buy, and Target on various DVDs and Blu-Rays for current movies Terminator Genisys, Max, Magic Mike XXL, Minions, and upcoming movies Fantastic Four, Mission Impossible Rogue Nation, Hitman: Agent 47, Man from U.N.C.L.E., and Pixels. Most of the stores have one or more endcaps devoted to those offers.

Hormel Pepperoni, Totino’s Pizza Rolls, and Orange Crush all have FREE movie ticket offers as well.

New Netflix Streaming Titles for the Week of 7/21/15

Another week and some more documentaries

Action & Adventure: Java Heat

Tig

Documentary: Tig, The Human Experiment, The Business of Being Born

Changeling

Drama: Changeling, Cantinflas

Foreign: Peace After Marriage

Plague

Horror: Plague

Television: Invizimals and new episodes of Bojack Horseman and Glee

Thriller: Perfect Stranger

Picking on Terminator Genisys

Okay I’ve picked on Terminator Genisys quite a bit, mostly because I love the franchise and was very disappointed in the movie while appreciating some really good choices they made – almost as if it had been made by a committee.

Today’s rant will be filled with the spoilers I normally never discuss so DO NOT READ this until you have seen the film unless you just don’t care about spoilers.

Terminator Genisys hurts my brain so much, I have to publish these questions. It is okay to have a few things unanswered but you can’t build a movie out of a question mark. As my modern brethren would say, WTF?

SUPER SPOILER ALERT

* Who sent a T-1000 Terminator back in time to kill Sarah Connor as a little girl?

* Who sent an Arnold Terminator back in time to save Sarah Connor as a little girl? This is deliberately obfuscated in the movie.

* How did an Arnold Terminator manage to defeat a T-1000 by himself?

* How did either know to intercept the little girl at a summer home?

* Why does Arnold fight Arnold risking injury when they can just take him out with a sniper shot?

* Who sent the T-1000 to intercept Kyle Reese and how did they know the precise spot and time to do so? Why didn’t the T-1000 just kill him on the spot?

* Why do people float when going back through time while Terminators have to squat?

* If the embodiment of SkyNet can infect John Connor AND kill absolutely every soldier with him with ease, why did it not do so before the destruction of SkyNet? Clearly it had no problems with infiltration.

* Why did SkyNet only activate the one Arnold Terminator to go back in time while John Connor is attacking? Clearly there are dozens that could have been activated to defend the time machine or destroy it after the first went through.

* If they can construct a time machine in 1984 using essentially stone knives and bearskins then why can’t John manage it in 2017?

* If you know that you give birth to the literal savior of humanity in 1984/85, why would you turn your back on that and jump forward in time to try and stop judgment day? It seems to me that you would at least want to birth the messiah at the right time prior to jumping.

* If you know that Genisys/Skynet is going online on a particular day, why would you jump to less than two days prior instead of say a year before to plan things out? John showed up three years before.

* If Arnold was on the work crew for the Genisys location and built in a safe room keyed to Sarah’s biometrics, why didn’t he simply sabotage Genisys then?

* Why wouldn’t John or Genisys know that the safe room was keyed to Sarah Connor and change the locks?

* If Genisys can arbitrarily speed up its development from hours to just fifteen minutes, why not just make itself ready then?

* Doesn’t the post-credits sequence negate the entire ending of the movie? Doesn’t it mean that Genisys is just fine?

* If Genisys is just fine, doesn’t that mean that the moment it connects with the internet, judgement day takes place?

I have plenty of other unanswerable questions but I believe that it is time to let this go

/rantmodeoff

New Netflix Streaming Releases for Mid-July

Here’s a fair assortment for a mid-month dump. I look forward to Human Planet as all the other BBC Earth series I have seen have been exemplary.

Action & Adventure: The Physician

Comedy: Todd Barry: The Crowd Work Tour, Goodbye to All That

Lost Soul

Documentary: 10 Questions for the Dalai Lama, Joanna, A Year in Champagne, Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley’s Island of Dr. Moreau

Drama: An Act of War, The Comedian, Karla, An Amish Murder, Carnal Innocence

Faith: Pastor Brown

Foreign: Vandal

Creep

Horror: Creep, From the Dark, The Unwanted

Human Planet

Television: Carita de Angel, El Chavo Animado, El Internado, Rebelde, XH Derbez, Bad Ink, The Bible Rules, Bible Secrets Revealed, God Guns & Automobiles, Human Planet, Human Planet: Behind the Lens, MonsterQuest, WWII from Space, and new episodes of H20: Mermaid Adventures, The Killer Speaks, Preachers’ Daughters, Storage Wars: Texas, and America’s Book of Secrets

Thriller: Da Sweet Blood of Jesus, Christie’s Revenge, Imaginary Friend