August Blind Spot Review: This Is Spinal Tap (1984)

7

“We’re very lucky in the band in that we have two visionaries, David and Nigel, they’re like poets, like Shelley and Byron. They’re two distinct types of visionaries, it’s like fire and ice, basically. I feel my role in the band is to be somewhere in the middle of that, kind of like lukewarm water.”
– Derek Smalls

SYNOPSIS: Spinal Tap, one of England’s loudest bands, is chronicled by film director Marty DiBergi on what proves to be a fateful tour. – via IMDB

Yes, I know I am so far behind on this Blind Spot challenge and that is just awful. I know, but time has run off away from me lately and I owe all my fair bloggers an apology for a) not being consistent and b) not dropping by. I blame a large part of that on this godforsaken laptop. It gives me the heebie jeebies just to take it out and beg it to work. Ugh. I am going to do my best to rectify that sticky situation of being so inconsistent. Now that we have that out of the way, let’s get back to the review, even though it is extremely late to the party.

We all know that I adored What We Do In The Shadows, so I was interested to hear that this was a mockumentary. This Is Spinal Tap is iconic and has been quoted everywhere, but I had no real concept of what it was, and when I started watching it, I knew that it was going to be entertaining. I love old school metal/rock. I mean we have The Rolling Stones, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Motörhead, AC/DC (and this is just if you are naming the really popular ones) that dominated the era, and this mockumentary rolls with it, and does so well. Form the outfits to the performances, This Is Spinal Tap taps into it all (har har har).

The music is truly fantastic and truly captures the times, though the lyrical content surely leaves a lot to be desired. The movie is fun and hilarious, because so many of the stupid things that happen to the band are not that completely out there. At all. Then then there are the characters peppered throughout the film. Some you will like (such as Derek Smalls), and some will just irritate you for numerous reasons (I’m looking at you, Jeanine, even though I know you were deliberately written like that). There is also a ton of quotable content here, which has been demonstrated throughout the decades.

This Is Spinal Tap is filled with plenty awkward moments and some ridiculous but entertaining dialogue, and it is plain down fun. It is very aware of what it is, and plays up to all the crazy that it can. The movie has a ton of fans and I get it. I had a few good laughs, and think it came together really well. And as a mockumentary, Reiner did fantastic work. If you aren’t totally aware that it is a piece of fiction, you can understand why a lot of people were taken in thinking they were watching a real documentary. Well worth a watch.

Review: The Strangers: Prey at Night (2018)

7

“Why are you doing this?”
– Kinsey

SYNOPSIS: A family of four staying at a secluded mobile home park for the night are stalked and then hunted by three masked psychopaths. – via IMDB

So after sitting through that disaster that was The Strangers, I completely forgot that there was a sequel to it. I disliked the first enough that I wrote off the second and forgot about it, but dear Eric the Chop asked me whether I had watched the second, and offered that it wasn’t too bad. So, that is all I needed to sell it to me, the recommendation from the Chop, and I hit it up and let me tell you, I did not expect to enjoy it o.O But I did!

There are still some heavy issues with this movie, but it fixed some of the major flaws of the first movie, namely the totally hateful characters and the worst logic of all time. The characters this time around actually fought, and the three masked strangers certainly took them for a ride, terrorizing and hunting, but it was just better to watch than its predecessor. Also, it didn’t feel like it was a million years long. Also, I was a big fan of the soundtrack.

So while the characters are still not the best and the dialogue is silly and naturally questionable horror movie logic prevails constantly, the movie is not bad. In fact, I went into this expecting to hate it, and then eventually I ended up enjoying it. It isn’t great, but it was a fun horror movie watch for a movie night. It’s a quick watch, and doesn’t grate on you like its predecessor. Not bad!

Review: The Strangers (2008)

8

“Well they want something. People don’t just stand out there, staring at us like that. They want something.”
– James Hoyt

SYNOPSIS: A young couple staying in an isolated vacation home are terrorized by three unknown assailants. – via IMDB

After always hearing how good a horror The Strangers is, I decided to finally give it a shot with my husband. While he hated it to the core, I can’t say that I liked it an awful lot more. Where do I even begin?

I know! The logic of the characters! These two are just hands down the stupidest two I have seen together in a horror in a really long time. For one, he returns and finds her hysterical and he’s like “it’s nothing”. Then he’s all macho and leaves her alone and realises there are a bunch of crazy people out there stalking, and he’s just like “oh whatever”. Together these two progress to make some of the most idiotic decisions I have seen in horror/thriller in a while, and let’s face it, this is not really a genre of smart moves.

The two characters we are following are also not really nice people, so you aren’t really invested in their survival, either. The movie starts with promise, it really did, but it went downhill so fast my head is still spinning if I think about it. You just say The Strangers around my husband now and he will start a bitchfest about this movie.

The Strangers is overly vague, which would have been fine, had it just been a better watch. With better writing, the potential would not have been lost, and there was quite a bit. A nonsensical home invasion, masks, psychologically torturing people, initially a great atmosphere, the whole lot. But instead it is bogged down by flawed logic, unlikable characters, a score I didn’t like (too loud for action/music ,speech nonexistent), faulty pacing, therefore letting itself down before it even got started. The tension that was built in the beginning, the scares it put forth, dwindle in the face of the infuriating decisions made by the characters. Overall, it is nothing but a bland and frustrating experience.

July Blind Spot Review: Before Sunrise (1995)

8

“Isn’t everything we do in life a way to be loved a little more?”
– Celine

SYNOPSIS: A young man and woman meet on a train in Europe, and wind up spending one evening together in Vienna. Unfortunately, both know that this will probably be their only night together. – via IMDB

I know I am in the extreme minority with this one (apparently), but I found it really hard to get excited about this one while watching it, and after. In fact, I have no real excitement to write this review, either. I watched this weeks ago and haven’t even been able to muster the oomph to write about it. I really don’t want to write a half-assed review, so let’s see how it goes.

I totally don’t mind a dialogue based movie at all. I really don’t, if I feel that the dialogue is worth following. For me, that wasn’t the case here. It came off as pretentious and meh, like it was trying too hard. Truly. For two, I do like Ethan Hawke, a lot, I think he gets a lot of flak and he really isn’t the terrible actor that people say he is. I just thought that there was like no chemistry between him and Delpy. The runtime, too, felt like the movie was forever and two days long and it was actually (technically) a really short movie.

Okay, you know what, I am just going to leave it there. I didn’t like this, and I really wanted to. There was this romantic angle that could have been more than it was. Not because I wanted some Disney-style something, but because I really thought that this could have been more genuine. For some it probably is, for me it fell flat. I know there are two more movies in this trilogy that is so well loved, but I don’t know if I will be taking the time to check them out.

Review: Jeepers Creepers 3 (2017)

8

“Alright, you son of a bitch!”
– Sheriff Dan Tashtego

SYNOPSIS: Sheriff Dan Tashtego and a team of creeper hunters enlist the help of officer Davis Tubbs to help stop the monster’s eating spree. – via IMDB

Holy shit, another one of these?! I don’t even know what to do with that! When I saw this on Netflix I was sure that there was some kind of a mistake, but no, there (unfortunately) is not. Naturally this meant that I had to check it out and see how it goes because really, the last one was pretty terrible. In comparison, it was a damn masterpiece.

This movie features more slow-mo scenes than you can shake a stick and and should legally be allowed. I am telling you, it dragged that movie out into that intolerable zone, too. This movie was entirely too long, and entirely too lame. They are still trying to link up these three movies as being part of the same 23 days and all that, but hell, it’s getting a bit long in the tooth now, and it is really starting to jumble the already dodgy timeline. Like what, he drops to his knees, screams and yells and performs and birds of carrion rain down from the sky and they “know what he is” and all that and then he just moves along all hunky dory to hunt some kids on a school bus? What?

Jeepers Creepers 3 is bogged down by a ton of dodgy CGI, so it was certainly not going to be winning any love for me. I HAVE AN ANSWER FOR THE VANITY PLATE! This truck is so smart it probably waltzed into the DMV and ordered a plate. Also kept itself clean and running and reading for Jeepers for when he returns every 23 years. Because really, WTF? It can think for itself? Protect itself? Drive itself? What is this? Never once has it been even remotely alluded to, and then this movie this stupid thing is zipping around and responding only to the Creeper. What on Earth is even going on anymore?!

While we are on a tangent on what’s wrong with this movie, let’s not forget the characters or the acting. It was some next level terrible stuff, and horribly awkward to sit through because they all took themselves and this project way too seriously.

Anyway, apparently the third time is not the charm in the case of Jeepers Creepers 3. The movie feels like it is a century long, has awful effects, no answers, lame action, and a shitty story. Skip this stupid thing. Definitely the worst of the thee, and hopefully they will really just leave this alone now, it’s getting really old.

Review: Jeepers Creepers 2 (2003)

7

“Two classes of people? What, the “will be eaten” and the “won’t be eaten”?”
– Buck

SYNOPSIS:  Set a few days after the original, a championship basketball team’s bus is attacked by The Creeper, the winged, flesh-eating terror, on the last day of his 23-day feeding frenzy. – via IMDB

Alrighty peeps, so I am back with the next instalment of this series. Well, where Jeepers Creepers gave us a flawed but entertaining horror, its successor just… misses the mark, and widely. There is just so much more wrong with this than the first, and unlike the first, we don’t even really get that entertainment factor, either.

This movie is also where they started messing with the monster, good ol’ Jeepers. I mean, we all had questions in the first one – the most glaring for me being the fact that this dude hibernates for 23 years and then gets 23 days to feed. In those 23 days every 23 years, he has somehow managed to:

  • Learn to drive
  • Procure a car he can stash for 23 years (and it still runs just fine and remains undiscovered until he returns)
  • Somewhere cough up a vanity plate for said car
  • Manufacture weapons
  • Preserve the bodies and build a creepy Sistine Chapel type deal (that is also never found)

Like, I have a lot of issues, but those pop up super quickly and without much thought. The Creeper is also less… scary in this one? Like the first it was all about the hunt, about the terror. Like crazy hunting. This one he toys with his victims? Winking and smiling and what the hell? He also suddenly has a barrage of weapons at his disposal? We never saw those! There are also a lot of dodgy looking scenes in this one, and the characters are just freaking awful. The least offensive characters are the avenging dad and his dutiful son, and the outcast kid that people fear for potentially being gay. But then you get the high school students. They all freaking sucked, especially that douche nugget Scott. I was actually kinda thrilled when his racist, abusive ass got hauled off by the Creeper.

It was nice to see Justin Long in a few scenes though, and I can appreciate the movies trying to keep up some form of continuity, having this happen a few days after the first, although I can’t recall whether the first let us know how far into his 23 day spree he was.

Anyway, Jeepers Creepers 2 is not a great movie. It is not the worst, but the flaws are glaring and obvious in this one, and it lacks the campy charm of the first. Still not a bad movie for a cheap flick movie night, so I guess it scores some points there.

Review: The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

6

“Remember Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”
– Andy Dufresne

SYNOPSIS: Two imprisoned men bond over a number of years, finding solace and eventual redemption through acts of common decency. – via IMDB

Seriously. Truly. Wow. I definitely know there are more eloquent reviews on this movie, and it has been discussed endlessly, and it is that great and all, but I am going to try and share my two cents about this movie. I decided to rewatch The Shawshank Redemption recently after watching Gone With The Wind. Not because they are remotely the same or anything like that, but because I was in the mood for serious(ly) fantastic movies.

Well, this certainly ticked those boxes.

The Shawshank Redemption has a great story to tell, sure, but it is the characters and the performances from the actors that played them that are really the stars here. Everyone lives their role, gets right into it, and because of that you are swept up into the narrative as delivered by Red. Red tells you Andy’s story, we see Andy’s story, and it is told with such spirit that you can laugh like crazy in some places and just love all that is going on, and then be driven to sadness and heavy contemplative silence within five minutes of one another. It’s an amazing thing when a film can so successfully balance the opposites like that.

Andy suffered some extreme situations while in Shawshank, but there were also some amazing things that he achieved, even while imprisoned. Naturally there are the men who went on to become Andy’s friends, headed up by Red. The band of men have great camaraderie between one another, and they really all respect each other and get along. They are quite tight-knit, and it is sweet. The Shawshank Redemption is a story told from within a prison, but there are large sections of time where you forget this fact when watching the men together, and then the point is run home when you realise that they have to barter to have a few beers while working, or that they have to report to someone the whole time.

The movie doesn’t really dwell on the crimes these men committed to land them in Shawshank. It focuses a lot more on Andy’s story, sure, but also how these men have adjusted to life, and how they have worked through the acts that landed them there. Some for the better, some not so much. It’s also something to say about the storytelling that the free, law-abiding men are all twisted and crooked, and the men on the inside, the convicted criminals, are often portrayed as the more trusty, honest lot. Interesting times.

The score for this is absolutely fantastic, and truly lends itself to the experience. The performances are all great, and the pacing for the story drags you in and makes you forget all about the clock, and I love it when a movie is able to do that. You feel genuine hope, happiness, anger and sadness when watching The Shawshank Redemption, and it is great when a movie can make you feel all these emotions, not just some of them. I would highly recommend The Shawshank Redemption, and if you have seen it, I think it is high time for a rewatch.

Review: Jeepers Creepers (2001)

2

“You know the part in scary movies when somebody does something really stupid, and everybody hates them for it? This is it.”
– Trish

SYNOPSIS: A brother and sister driving home through isolated countryside for spring break encounter a flesh-eating creature which is in the midst of its ritualistic eating spree. – via IMDB

I remember this movie being a pretty big deal when it came out and I was a rugrat. I remember I watched the crap out of it, too. I remember watching it a few years back and thinking that there were a hell of a lot of issues with it, and there are a lot of silly logic issues with it. I didn’t enjoy it very much. Then I felt like watching this the other day and I enjoyed it… if you can find it in you to not look at those things a touch too closely, you might be in for a relatively decent horror.

That could also just be because I get nostalgic when watching this, I don’t know. There are flaws to be found here, sure, but that is most movies, and a problem that especially plagues horror movies. There is also a lot of fun to be had with this, too, if you let yourself have it. Justin Long is quite entertaining here, and manages to hold his own in a lead role. The characters make a lot of super stupid decisions, but are also quite aware of their shortcomings, too. I just need to reiterate how stupid these characters are, and the things that they do defy logic, but I suppose it would be a totally bland story if they saw him dumping bodies, called the cops, went home, and heard no more. That doesn’t sell movie tickets.

The monster, too, is icky. He’s a weird one, and is kak creepy in his truck and his duster, but the effect is somewhat ruined when you get to see too much of him. At least the movie doesn’t insist on this. But seriously, initially out in the country and being chased by a crazy trucks, one you later see the occupant of dumping bodies and then hunting you down? It works so well. Gets a little deliberate after that, but it’s okay. It’s a crazy ride. There are a lot of things that remained unanswered when watching this, and things that aren’t really addressed. The characters are not overly complex, neither is the story, it just wants to give us some screaming college kids running (unsuccessfully) for their lives, and it works for some light popcorn entertainment.

Overall, Jeepers Creepers might be flawed, but it is also a fun horror to watch. It’s a quick one, too, and doesn’t overstay its run time, and has a very high school horror night feel going for it, which is great. Sometimes that is all you want. If you aren’t looking for horror movie classics, this should be entertaining enough for you. If you can overlook how ridiculously stupid it can be. I guess that’s what makes for the love/hate relationship one can have with this movie.

June Blind Spot Review: Vertigo (1958)

4

“Here I was born, and there I died. It was only a moment for you; you took no notice.”
– Madeleine

SYNOPSIS: A San Francisco detective suffering from acrophobia investigates the strange activities of an old friend’s wife, all the while becoming dangerously obsessed with her. – via IMDB

Ha, finally another Hitchcock off my list, and this was another one of the good ones. I enjoyed this one quite a bit, and will admit initially it was like just a little mystery, like what is going on, and then the last thirty minutes devolved into a nice, creepy type, so that definitely works.

I really likes James Stewart, and think he is a great actor. He definitely fits here and brings a lot to the table, and works really well with Kim Novak, who is truly beautiful and suits this strange role rather well, though her eyebrows are absolutely insane. There, I said it. I found them to be super distracting.

The story is not rushed, and is well paced. The movie doesn’t feel as long as it is, and gets things going from explaining John’s vertigo, and then moving on to his task of watching over a friend’s wife, and where an unhealthy obsession begins. I didn’t feel like the movie dragged anywhere, so that is cool. Vertigo features a pretty cool trippy scene, which is so old school, but it works so well with this. The music, too, works and succeeds at building tension.

I liked the friendship between John and Midge, though it was sad to know that she was so in love with him and his feelings certainly weren’t mutual, but they were close. I feel that the romance was rushed in the beginning (typical of these films, maybe people just feel in love different back in the day), but it grew into something else later, and watching John’s obsession and controlling behaviour later was certainly creepy.

Maybe not my all time favourite Hitchcock (and I still have many to see), but overall I thought it to be engaging and done really well. Stewart and Novak truly fill out this movie, and push that tense darkness through the whole time, never missing a beat. It is shot well and keeps you interested throughout, so all in all, well worth the watch.

Review: The Hitman’s Bodyguard (2017)

2

“The Bible says to never take revenge, to leave it to the Lord. But I wasn’t prepared to wait that long.” 
– Darius Kincaid

SYNOPSIS: The world’s top bodyguard gets a new client, a hit man who must testify at the International Criminal Court. They must put their differences aside and work together to make it to the trial on time. – via IMDB

Dear Lord, I didn’t expect a great movie or anything like that, but I am truly shocked at just how terrible this movie turned out to be. It was godawful and a bag of chips. The trailer had me thinking it would be alright, and it literally featured anything worth seeing in this movie.

My husband and I watched this looking for something a little silly, nothing serious, as we were exhausted from packing up the house (again) and thought something light would tick the boxes. Well, uhm, yeah, then there was this. We expected a bit of cheese, instead we got this hunk of junk. It was not even good cheesy, it just sucked. And it was so long. The two hour run time was so excessive – the movie felt even longer than that, while we are at it. A total punishment to watch.

The jokes were so lame in this, and not one brought forth even so much as a smile from me or my husband. It was deadpan all the way and checking the time more often than not. I know, stupid, we are completists and just sat through it and had regrets. I watch terrible movies because it is fun to write about after the fact, and you all know I have seen some really bad ones over the years.

Anyway, not even Ryan Reynolds could save this, and even a healthy dose of Samuel L. Jackson did nothing to cushion the blows from this. Lame, embarrassing, littered with crappy action sequences and horrendous dialogue, the plot is also just stupid and has no kick to make it worthwhile. It is predictable and messy, that’s all there is to it. Reynolds and Jackson work together, but it just isn’t enough for this wreck.

Yes, I disliked The Hitman’s Bodyguard immensely. That it had a decent cast attached to it and still managed to fail is not shocking, but I honestly didn’t think it would be quite so bad. But it is. It’s long, bloated, badly written and comes together poorly, I would say give this movie a wide berth, you won’t be missing anything at all.