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Madhouse, 1981

Julia (Patricia Mickey) is a teacher at a school for deaf children. At the urging of an old family friend, she goes to visit her mentally and physically ill twin sister, Mary (Allison Biggers) in the hospital. But the visit is disastrous as Mary taunts Julia about the abuse she used to inflict on her and swears to torment Julia again on their upcoming birthday.

Normally I post stills with my reviews, but the poster is legit 85% the reason I watched this film.

Unfortunately, the poster is maybe the best thing about it.

Okay, maybe that's not entirely fair. There are two different, creatively nasty sequences that stand out in a good way from a horror point of view. One in particular manages to be surprising and emotionally involving.

But for the most part, this film is kind of a flop for me. It is easy to sympathize with Julia, who has long repressed her childhood trauma and doesn't totally understand her own complex emotions regarding her twin. But for the most part it just doesn't go anywhere. The film should build and build and build to the final confrontation between Julia and Mary, but in the last third it veers into confusing directions, spending too much time with characters who are not compelling.

There are also some horror movie decisions that are beyond the pale, such as when Julia gets a friend to sleep over . . . but then that friend stays in a different room and also Julia shows no signs of worry when she mysteriously disappears (?!?!?!).

This movie is, especially for a horror fan, fine. A few good moments here and there, albeit with a deflated ending that feels like it was trying to swing big but strains under the weight of some really dumb gimmicks.

That poster is dope, though.




Victim of The Night
Only Lovers Left Alive (2013)



One of my favorites of the last decade.



Heavenly Creatures -



A disturbing yet beautiful and fantastical true crime tale about Pauline and Juliet, two New Zealanders who are high schoolers, outsiders, soul mates and murderers.* While their hometown of Christchurch is picturesque and a nice place to raise a family, it's also oppressively patriarchal and old-fashioned, which makes it easy to understand why the girls developed a fantasy world for themselves.* With its medieval castles, gardens, costumes and life-size clay figures resembling those Pauline and Juliet mold in art class, Peter Jackson makes their world captivating and odd, not to mention slightly Gilliamesque.* It's also easy to see why the best friends would turn to crime to remain in their world, a certainty that becomes less certain thanks to a marital affair, Juliet's medical condition and cold, harsh reality.* Melanie Lynskey and Kate Winslet are as good as you'd expect as the best friends, especially for the unique and subtle ways they express their disgust with a world that seemingly everyone else goes along with despite its ridiculousness and oppresiveness.* I also very much like the swooping, slightly manic and Sam Raimi-adjacent camerawork, and going back to the fantasy world, it has practical and digital effects including early morphing technology that still hold up.* All in all, the movie succeeds at capturing how it feels to be an outsider in your adolescence, to be with that one person who understands you and the comfort of fantasy during that difficult period without discounting the harshness of the girls' crime.* I love Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings movies as much as the next Tolkien devotee, but this may be the director's masterpiece.



Love that film. I try to recommend it whenever I get a chance.
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Yeah, I thought this movie was fantastic. Unlike many, I liked Argo, but I would have chosen this film over that one for BP 100/100 times and I thought it was serious bull**** that Bigelow wasn't nominated for Best Director for this. Serious bull****. Like, I wondered if there wasn't some kind of Hollywood-backlash at her for making a better film than Avatar (not hard) back in '08 and taking the statue from that film and from Cameron, or even if maybe there was a little misogyny of, if Bigelow wins BD twice in four years, do we have to admit that the best director in Hollywood might actually be a woman?!
Geez, she wasn't even nominated for Best Director for it? I mean, I imagine that had more to do with genre snobbery on the part of the Academy than any gender-based backlash, but still...
I think detachment is actually part of her style in these films, particularly ZDT. I think it's one of the things that makes that film so good is that it doesn't play on any of the genre tropes really, including how the action is handled. Like she intentionally sidesteps on them to focus on the real.
Yeah; I mean, I don't exactly know if that's what Thief was talking about when he mentioned "detachment", but the way the compound raid in ZDT alternates sudden bursts of "action" with long, uneasy stretches of quiet calm for half an hour really dialed up the tension (it didn't feel entirely different from No Country in that regard, actually...), and the way a lot of it is filmed is like night & day when you compare it to the way Michael Bay directed similar scenes in his Benghazi movie:





The Last King of Scotland What a wild ride. Just rewatched this movie about Idi Amin's Ugandan regime. It is about a young doctor (James McAvoy) doing what we would call philanthropic tourism (emphasis on the tourism) who gets in over his head when Idi Amin (Forrest Whittaker) befriends him. Whittaker and McAvoy have a great chemistry together. Whittaker is fabulous as Idi Amin, He uses his physicaity to great effect. I love the cinematography. You are in a lush tropical place and the cinematography shows it through it use of color in both interior and exterior shots. Love how the film moves from light to dark in with the progress of Amin's deteriorating regime and the increasing fear of the young doctor. The editing is great. It shows the roller coaster ride McAvoy and the viewer are on. I also love the soundtrack. I am especially fond of African music of the Seventies and Eighties.
4/5



Sonic (2020)


I don't know how anyone can give this higher than a 3/5, possibly dependent on your feelings about Jim Carrey. A few scenes/punchlines were laughably funny, many jokes were very culturally temporal and fell flat...I never plan to rewatch, but it's strong enough to recommend ONE watch.



The Last King of Scotland What a wild ride. Just rewatched this movie about Idi Amin's Ugandan regime. It is about a young doctor (James McAvoy) doing what we would call philanthropic tourism (emphasis on the tourism) who gets in over his head when Idi Amin (Forrest Whittaker) befriends him. Whittaker and McAvoy have a great chemistry together. Whittaker is fabulous as Idi Amin, He uses his physicaity to great effect. I love the cinematography. You are in a lush tropical place and the cinematography shows it through it use of color in both interior and exterior shots. Love how the film moves from light to dark in with the progress of Amin's deteriorating regime and the increasing fear of the young doctor. The editing is great. It shows the roller coaster ride McAvoy and the viewer are on. I also love the soundtrack. I am especially fond of African music of the Seventies and Eighties.
4/5
Terrific movie.
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Victim of The Night
I keep hearing this is really good. One of these days...



Victim of The Night
Geez, she wasn't even nominated for Best Director for it? I mean, I imagine that had more to do with genre snobbery on the part of the Academy than any gender-based backlash, but still...Yeah; I mean, I don't exactly know if that's what Thief was talking about when he mentioned "detachment", but the way the compound raid in ZDT alternates sudden bursts of "action" with long, uneasy stretches of quiet calm for half an hour really dialed up the tension (it didn't feel entirely different from No Country in that regard, actually...), and the way a lot of it is filmed is like night & day when you compare it to the way Michael Bay directed similar scenes in his Benghazi movie:


Yeah, you're right about the raid comparisons for sure.
And I don't necessarily think it was gender backlash but it did raise the question to me. Especially since the BP winner was also a political thriller so the genre-snobbery seems less of an argument.