Clinical (2017)

This review was originally posted on Swampflix.com on November 28, 2017. The rating was 4.5/5 Stars. Image courtesy of Swampflix Editor Brandon Ledet.

EPSON MFP imageVinessa Shaw, the love interest from 1990s Halloween classic Hocus Pocus, is all grown up now and starring in her own features, as evidenced by this year’s Netflix release Clinical. Shaw stars as Dr. Jane Mathis, a psychiatrist who specialized in post-trauma therapy until two years ago, when teenage patient Nora (India Eisley) broke into her office around Christmastime and slashed Jane several times with the same piece of glass that she was using to slit her wrists, before attempting to slash her own throat.

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Justice League (2017)

This review was originally posted on Swampflix.com on November 23, 2017. The rating was 3.5/5 Stars, with a Camp Stamp. Image courtesy of Swampflix Editor Brandon Ledet.

EPSON MFP imageLook! Up on the screen! It’s big! It’s dumb! It’s loud! It’s Justice League!

And it mostly works. Mostly.

The very first scene of Justice League does some good work walking back the problems—and they are problems, not merely criticisms—of the first few non-Wonder Woman films in this universe. We see Superman as children see him, which is also the way that this franchise keeps trying to retroactively force its audience into reconceptualizing him: as a true-blue (literally, given the lightening of his costume) hero and symbol of hope. He’s kind, sympathetic, and, you know, Superman, as he’s supposed to be. And then, just as his life was, the video is cut short. This leads into a beautiful opening credits montage, a strength of Zack Snyder’s as a director (even those who hate his Watchmen adaptation, which I surprisingly don’t, are all but universally pleased with its Dylan-composed credits sequence).

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Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

This review was originally posted on Swampflix.com on November 18, 2017. The rating was 4/5 Stars. Image courtesy of Swampflix Editor Brandon Ledet.

EPSON MFP imageThor: Ragnarok marks the third Marvel release of the year that focused on fun and adventure, and all for the best. After last year’s kinda-dreary Civil War and the visually arresting but narratively empty Doctor Strange, the film branch of the House of Ideas was in top form this year, churning out an equal sequel with Guardians of the Galaxy 2 and the delightful Spider-Man: Homecoming. Although Guardians 2 may have leaned a little hard on the beats with its humor (kind of like your friend who tells great jokes but is also a little desperate and always ends up laughing too hard at himself) and Homecoming was an out-and-out comedy with intermittent superheroing, Marvel brought it home with a good balance of strong character moments, spaceships flying around and pewpewing at each other, new and returning cast members with great chemistry, and a hearty helping of the magic that is Jeff Goldblum.

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The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017)

This review was originally posted on Swampflix.com on November 8, 2017. The rating was 3.5/5 Stars. Image courtesy of Swampflix Editor Brandon Ledet.

EPSON MFP imageDoes a bad ending, or even merely an unsatisfying conclusion, ruin a movie? I go back and forth on this a lot, sometimes within works with the same creators and producers. I considered last year’s 10 Cloverfield Lane to be one of the best movies of the year, and I really love 98% of Super 8, both of which suffer the same issue of a tonally inappropriate ending for a movie that was thematically about something other than, you know, stupid Cloverfield monsters (in the case of the former, at least it was justified by the retitle). Both of them are movies that I recommend to others with the caveats that they are nearly perfect but fail in a major way that, depending upon your consideration of the subject, may ruin your overall filmic experience.

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Swampflix Movie of the Month: Hearts of Fire (1987)

The post from which this was excerpted was originally published on Swampflix.com as part of that site’s “Movie of the Month” feature, in which one contributor makes the rest of the crew watch a movie they’ve never seen before, and the staff discusses it afterwards. For November 2017, Britnee made me, Alli, and Brandon watch Hearts of Fire.

EPSON MFP imageI thought Fiona was quite charming, actually. For the first 45 minutes of the film I found the scenes that focused solely on her to be the best part: her deprecating interactions with her shitty boss, her short but sweet scene with her roommate, even her objections to joining her bandmates in their new gig (despite her objections that she doesn’t play lounge music being bratty in a Reality Bites way). But every time Dylan was on screen, all of my good will just got sucked right out of me. It wasn’t just his performance (which was, make no mistake, terrible), but also his overall look and demeanor. Young Dylan was a cutie pie, and the elder Dylan now is like a noble statesman in his appearance, but a shudder ran down my spine when Molly asked him to go skinny dipping with her; she’s young and effusive and adorable and he looks like someone took 60s Dylan’s face and turned it into a tanned and cracked handbag. All I could think about was this exchange between Bart and Marge in “A Fish Called Selma”: “Why did they make that one Muppet out of leather?” “That’s not a leather Muppet, that’s [Bob Dylan]!”

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My Favorite Horror Movies of Each of the Last 50 Years (Part Two: 1993-2017)

This list was originally posted on Swampflix.com on October 28, 2017. Images courtesy of Swampflix Editor Brandon Ledet.

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This feature is Part Two (of Two) in an extensive list of highlights and heartfelt recommendations from the last 50 years of horror cinema . . .

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My Favorite Horror Movies of Each of the Last 50 Years (Part One: 1968-1992)

This list was originally posted on Swampflix.com on October 27, 2017. Images courtesy of Swampflix Editor Brandon Ledet.

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This feature is Part One (of Two) in an extensive list of highlights and heartfelt recommendations from the last 50 years of horror cinema . . .

Continue reading “My Favorite Horror Movies of Each of the Last 50 Years (Part One: 1968-1992)”