At the Cinema Friday – It Comes at Night

Ever since we did our podcast episode on Summer’s Most Anticipated Films, I’ve been eager to see this film. Well, I finally saw it in the cinema and it wasn’t worth being eager about, not even in the slightest.

Among many hilarious tweets, these are two notable ones I was able to recall, look up, and embed for your joy:

Now, my review which appeared first on my Riley on Film site.

If a film is a thriller, posing as a horror, and being undeniably a mystery, how would I rate it? I think I’d find the most dominant genre and start there. This film works as a thriller but fails completely as a mystery. It has 3 jump scares but to me that doesn’t a horror movie make. It was hard for me to understand what the director tried to do here. This is no feel good night out film, to be sure.

Trey Edward Shults directed this along with Krisha (2015). Krisha is also a heavily depressing and unsatisfying film. Perhaps this could be a trademark in the making. In his other film, we have a woman going to a family reunion with people she hasn’t seen for years because she has been an addict and locked up in rehab. It’s awkward comment after awkward comment and it appears to be filmed on an iphone at a family thanksgiving. We can see from both these film this director foster discomfort on screen. The big question then becomes: “Why?” If you have an answer, please leave it in the comments.

Joel Edgerton is the patriarch male in the house in the woods. He plays the role well but I can’t imagine the purpose of the things he does, gun and/or axe in hand. I enjoyed him in The Gift, where he played a high school friend returning to torture a childhood bully. That was the biggest film I recall seeing him in.

This a story about a family of 3 in the woods who wear gas masks and fear their own infection by unknown outsiders. They join with another couple, forcefully and hash out tense relationships in the house, never going out at night.

We’ve seen the psychopath who demonizes innocent people in Frailty and so many other films of this theme. We’ve seen the “compound” doomsday prepper who is out to protect himself and/or his loved ones like 10 Cloverfield Lane. We’ve also seen much of what we see in this film as far as the woods and creepiness therein in the Walking Dead only this film has no zombies. This film adds nothing to the common theme. Moreover, the mystery in the film is never explained.

Final Thoughts
With so many dark issues facing us as a culture that sees films, why make such a negative, violent film? I’m confused as to the message of the director. I think it might be that if you kill one person, you’ll never be able to stop, but who knows. When the credits rolled, a watcher said, “What the fucking fuck?” I agree completely. As far as the ending of this marginal film goes. It lost points for posing as horror but most of all it lost for not concluding its own mystery. It does ok as a thriller. I don’t recommend this film.

4/10

Netflix Title Tuesday – Somewhere in the Middle

Hey there romance/drama fans: I’ve got a new Netflix title to recommend.

This film is streaming now on Netflix. Why do lovers do what they do? What if you knew what happened ten minutes before a breakup, what would you do differently? The viewer gets that opportunity in several situations in this film and that makes it a compelling, alluring comedy, romance, drama. By splicing in what happened before and a little after scenes, we see the situations twice and we have more insight into the relationships on-screen.

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Somewhere in the Middle
“Four lovers find themselves caught in a tangle of intersecting relationships in this engaging, New York-set…” -IMDB

Cast
David Craig Diaz Worker #1
Johanna Finn Worker #2
Cassandra Freeman Billie
Dennis Rubin Green Nelson

Directed by
Lanre Olabisi

Written by
Lanre Olabisi

Other Info
Comedy, Drama, Romance

2015
90min
IMDB Rating: 8.4

The director, Lanre Olabisi, is not clearly known by name but he does a great job in this independent drama. It’s a delight to find relationship films that really work like this that are in the independent realm. I hope to see more from him.

Charles Miller is the strongest actor in the film. There are also some honorable mentions in the talents of Cassandra Freeman and Marisol Miranda.

In the story, Sofia is a relationship addict and is seeing a therapist in his home office. On her first visit she meets someone in the home who she is not clear the identity of. The brother of the therapist is having troubles with his marriage and appears to be the stalker sort. As more is revealed, initial scenes reveal a truth “somewhere in the middle” about these characters. It’s true to life because sometimes when we know more of the whole story, we realize first impressions are not always the truth.

I liked the characters and the story was well written. Some of the sex scenes are a little brazen and therefore unbelievable but for the most parts, I felt the characters could be real people. I identified with some of the significant parts because they were true to life.

FINAL THOUGHTS
This film is streaming now on Netflix. It’s a gem in the romantic drama genre. If you’re looking for a film to talk about with your wife/husband/spouse, this is a good one for that. It is an independent small budget film with no movie stars but the performances are solid along with the writing (also written by the director). For fans of the genre(s), though there isn’t much comedy here, I recommend this film.

7/10

Film Club – Out of the Furnace (2013) – Kira’s Pick

Hosting this week: Kira from Film and TV Reviews 101
Panel: Damien and Darren

Out of the Furnace (2013)
R | 1h 56min | Crime, Drama, Thriller | 6 December 2013 (USA)
Available from $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

furn

When Rodney Baze mysteriously disappears and law enforcement doesn’t follow through fast enough, his older brother, Russell, takes matters into his own hands to find justice.
Director: Scott Cooper
Writers: Brad Ingelsby, Scott Cooper
Stars: Christian Bale, Casey Affleck, Zoe Saldana

Show outline:

INTRO –
Who’s here etc

First impressions –
Film in a sentence

Main part (full spoilers) –
Performances: Christian Bale, Casey Affleck, Woody Harrelson (any others?)
Story

Final thoughts/recommendations? To include twitter things

Game – Woody Harrelson film
Round 1 – Storyline
Round 2 – Cast & characters
Round 3 – Why not to see the others?

What we’ve been watching.

Over and out.

A-Z Thriller Challenge – Con Air

A freshly paroled former US Ranger finds himself trapped on-board a prison airplane that gets hijacked by the criminals it is carrying.

After a drunken brawl leaves a man dead, ex-US Ranger Cameron Poe (Nicolas Cage) is charged with manslaughter and is sent to jail three months before his daughter is born. Years later, he is eligible for parole and it finally looks like he’ll get to meet his little girl in person. His ride home is a prison plane that transfers convicts between prisons in different states, and unfortunately for Cameron, he boards the plane that happens to get hijacked by the criminally insane but highly intelligent Cyrus ‘The Virus’ Grissom (John Malkovich) and a few other cons who contributed to the plan. With the authorities remaining one step behind the convicts for quite some time, it is up to Cameron to make sure that his reunion with his family doesn’t have to wait any longer than it already has, while doing everything he can to help those who also hadn’t planned on their trip panning out this way either.

I first watched Con Air a couple of years ago, and I have to say I enjoyed it just as much now as I did then, although it has to be said that it is little more than Die Hard on a plane – Nicolas Cage even has the matching vest! While it may not be the most earth-shattering film ever to be made, nor the best film of either of the three main actor’s careers, it certainly has it’s plus points that make it a fun watch.

This film contains perhaps one of the best, and definitely the most quoted Nicolas Cage line of all time. I can’t imagine anyone else saying ‘Put the bunny back in the box,’ quite like he did. This is one of my favourite roles of his and I think quite a few people feel the same way. Cage channelled his inner John McClane as Cameron, and no matter how many times I found his dialect borderline ridiculous, I couldn’t help but find myself rooting for him to ground that plane and get himself home.

John Malkovich is the main reason I rewatched this film recently. He certainly is an actor who has shown us how wide his range of abilities truly is. As Cyrus ‘The Virus’, he took on the role of the ultimate menace to society, and I have to say that he was a very good villain. If you don’t know by now, I am someone who really enjoys seeing an intelligent person doing bad things on-screen (and I don’t mean good actors starring in bad films when I say that). Criminal masterminds are up there with some of my favourite movie villains, and I thought Malkovich and Cage both complimented each other quite well with their approaches to their characters, which is maybe why Con Air works as well as it should for me.

As I’ve said, the plot for this film could be mistaken for being the instalment of the Die Hard franchise that took place on a plane that they couldn’t get Bruce Willis to sign on for. However, I wouldn’t say I’m a film snob and so I love a run-of-the-mill action flick as much as anyone else. It’s quite easy-going and doesn’t require too much brainpower, so while it may be quite conventional as far as action thrillers go, it provides a couple of hours’ worth of fun explosions and decent characters that make it worth your time.

On the whole, I would say that Con Air certainly isn’t ground-breaking, but is worth seeing if you’re a fan of anyone in it, or if you just have nothing else to do. There’s plenty of action, some big explosions, a few laughs (not entirely sure if all are intentional) and a little bit of the lovey-dovey stuff for the hopeless romantic in all of us. It’s a solid film that I would say everyone should check out at some point.

This review was first posted on Film And TV 101

An American Werewolf in London – Tuesday’s Netflix Title

This is where I give you a quick recommendation of a movie I liked that is now streaming on Netflix. Director John Landis weaves straight-up horror and some jump scares in with dark comedy. Two men go on a walking tour of England and wind up being attached by a werewolf. The turning scene is one of the most talked-about in horror criticism. For a laugh and a scare (like the ingenious Tusk dare I say) I recommend this one as a MUST see for horror, monster movie, and/or comedy fans, and it’s streaming now on Netflix. All the relevant info is listed below.

An American Werewolf in London

An American Werewolf in London

“Two American college students on a walking tour of Britain are attacked by a werewolf that none of the locals will admit exists.” -IMDB

Cast

David Naughton David Kessler
Jenny Agutter Nurse Alex Price
Joe Belcher Truck Driver
Griffin Dunne Jack Goodman

Directed by

John Landis

Written by

John Landis

Other Info

Comedy, Horror
R
Fri 21 Aug 1981 UTC
97min
IMDB Rating: 7.6

Ep 55 ‘The Thing’ / ‘The Void’

In this episode Darren and Damien discuss two sci fi horror films: The Thing and The Void. They have similarities and differences. Both have a horror element. Which one is a better film? If you have an opinion we entreat you to leave a comment. Those are the lifeblood of what we do 🙂 We would love to start a dialog with you on these films.

The Thing

The Thing

“A research facility in Antarctica comes across an alien force that can become anything it touches with 100% accuracy. The members must now find out who’s human and who’s not before it’s too late.” -IMDB

Cast

Kurt Russell R.J. MacReady
Wilford Brimley (as A. Wilford Brimley) Dr. Blair
Keith David Childs
Richard Masur Clark

Directed by

John Carpenter

Written by

Bill Lancaster, John W. Campbell Jr.

Other Info

Horror, Mystery, Sci-Fi
R
Fri 25 Jun 1982 UTC
109min
IMDB Rating: 8.2
The Void

The Void

“Shortly after delivering a patient to an understaffed hospital, a police officer experiences strange and violent occurrences seemingly linked to a group of mysterious hooded figures.” -IMDB

Cast

Aaron Poole Daniel Carter
Kenneth Welsh Dr. Richard Powell
Daniel Fathers The Father
Kathleen Munroe Allison Fraser

Directed by

Jeremy Gillespie, Steven Kostanski

Written by

Steven Kostanski, Jeremy Gillespie

Other Info

Horror, Mystery, Sci-Fi
Not Rated
Fri 07 Apr 2017 UTC
90min
IMDB Rating: 5.8

A-Z Thriller Challenge ‘B’ Bringing Out The Dead

This post appeared first on Riley on Film.

You’ve heard of revenge pieces, this film works quite well as a regret piece. As a teacher, I have plenty of these. The kids I hear about who slipped through the cracks, got into crack or other drugs and somehow never made it in life. Nick Cage’s character wonders what more he could have done. The truth is, in any human endeavor or job you lose some.

Director Martin Scorcese has done more for film than most living directors of our time. Who can forget his Taxi Driver or more recently, Hugo. His work spans the human spectrum and always brings us men who have a vision of themselves they try to live up to, with mixed results.
Nicholas Cage and Ving Rhames are in this film. They make a great duo in the parts they do together. Rhames is the tough free-spirit who tries to get Cage’s character to cope and adapt. They never go away, the ones you lose.

This film is like a dream. It consists of a simple premise: a medic is haunted by the patients he couldn’t save. You might argue it was the first protagonist who could say, “I see dead people.” In the end, we are left with more questions than answers. I like that sort of film, it makes you work. Finally the conclusions are yours and the film helped you get there on your own.

This is not a feel god film but it weaves a web of somber moods that present a point of view. The mystery of death is approached but never addressed. It’s more about those left behind and how we can get stuck in depression and regret when people die, robbing us of our own happiness.

FINAL THOUGHTS
This film is one that makes you think. Due to the nature of its premise there are sections that drag on a little. There are also things that are not explained which can be frustrating. I recommend it for its content but also simply because it is a Scorcese piece.

8/10

A-Z Horror Challenge Idea

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I went to the County Fair here in Victorville last week. There was a cool funhouse there, a house of horrors. Darren and I talked yesterday about starting a new series where we talk horror! I’m super excited about the plan!

We’re testing this exciting (we think) idea for a series on the show. Would you like to hear more like this? Are you a horror fan? Would you be interested in us recording such a challenge? Thanks for your comments in advance.

Throwback Thursday – ep 27 The “Saw” Franchise

For James Wan, director, in the beginning was Saw. This first grisly, mind-bending thriller/horror film didn’t gross all that much but it spawned many many sequels making the franchise one of the most successful in the horror genre. In this podcast, we discuss the entire Saw franchise in detail, brain crunching traps included. Don’t miss this episode. Below are the stats on the film that started it all.

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One of the features of Saw that truly sets it apart is the challenges and traps that are part of the game. It’s no fun, make no mistake, to somehow avoid a bear trap crushing your skull and that’s just one of the grisly inventions in the film. But there is a battle of intellect going on here. Saw says those who do not appreciate life don’t deserve life. Interesting. I wonder how we would fare?

Ready? Do you want to play a game?

We hope you enjoy the podcast.

Damien’s Netflix Pick – Tropic Thunder (2008)

You don’t have to be a fan of war movies to get the humor here, but it helps! You’ve need seen one quite like this. It features a star studded cast including Jack Black and Robert Downey Jr. It’s actors pretending to be in a movie pretending to be about Vietnam. The jokes are funny because they’re taboo. Don’t miss this one. It’s streaming now on Netflix.

Tropic Thunder

Please leave me a comment with your impressions or just to let me know if you want to see it! I’d love to start a dialog in this film with you.

“Through a series of freak occurrences, a group of actors shooting a big-budget war movie are forced to become the soldiers they are portraying.” -IMDB

Cast

Ben Stiller Tugg Speedman – Hot LZ
Jack Black Jeff Portnoy – Hot LZ
Robert Downey Jr. Kirk Lazarus
Jeff Kahn Snooty Waiter – Fatties Trailer

Directed by

Ben Stiller

Written by

Justin Theroux, Ben Stiller

Other Info

Action, Comedy
R
Wed 13 Aug 2008 UTC
121min
IMDB Rating: 7.0