There’s going to be a new M. Night Shyamalan movie called Split. The film will star Scottish actor James McAvoy as a man with multiple personality disorder who kidnaps three girls.
This movie looks nuts. This role is an interesting choice for McAvoy who will need to frequently shift from character to character. At first the trailer seems absolutely terrifying but I have to admit, it does lose something when McAvoy’s gimmick is revealed. I’d rather be kidnapped by someone with multiple personalities than a straight-up psycho.
This film is a reunion between Shyamalan and low-budget production specialist Jason Blum who previously teamed up on The Visit last year. My early bet is that this will be another low-budget success for Blum’s production company.
Shyamalan is one of the more interesting filmmakers working today. Although he is hit-or-miss when it comes to his movies, I am definitely excited to see his latest film. It also looks like Split will take seriously the psychological disorder that it prominently features.
Hey so there’s a new trailer today for a movie called Level Up, an action thriller about a loser gamer who suddenly becomes a badass to save his girlfriend.
Oldboy and Taken are the two movies that come to mind watching this trailer. The premise is completely ridiculous but who cares? This should be a fun movie to watch. I fully expect Level Up to provide very little plot and a ton of violence.
At least this movie knows itself. That’s probably an indicator that the movie will be at least halfway decent for what it is. It’s weird that movies and video games are beginning to overlap. As video games become more popular, I expect to see movies attempt to utilize their tropes more and more.
The Mystery Science Theater 3000 reboot will be coming to Netflix in the “not-too-distant-future”. It was revealed yesterday at San Diego Comic Con that MST3K will stream its new episodes in America, Canada, Australia, Ireland and New Zealand. The host of the show will be comedian Jonah Ray and there are all sorts of other people involved.
The only question is what Netflix means by the “not-too-distant-future”. Regardless this is exciting news for fans of the original show.
When Paul Thomas Anderson’s film There Will be Blood came out in 2007, I saw it in a theatre with some family. I was sixteen at the time and I definitely begged my parents to take me to the rated R film. I sought out films such as There Will be Blood because I hoped to become a writer of serious fiction and There Will be Blood felt like the type of thing I wanted to make.
Watching There Will be Blood is an experience unlike any other. The way that the film is shot, the performances of the actors, and the subject matter all contribute to its uniqueness. Daniel Day-Lewis is unsurprisingly phenomenal as Daniel Plainview, a ruthless oilman bent on gaining wealth by any means possible. Paul Dano surprisingly holds his own as Eli Sunday, a clergyman whose own trajectory parallels Plainview’s. We watch as Plainview’s business expands while his body and mind become weaker. Seeing There Will be Blood is worth the price of admission solely for Day-Lewis’s insane performance. Plainview is willing to say whatever to enact his will and control those around him. All he cares about is expanding his empire and isolating himself from all other people. Its a frightening character.
Eli Sunday is also a very complex character. He pretends to be caring and soft-spoken but he relishes torturing Plainview when given the chance. While he claims to be focused on religion, he is equally motivated by money. Sunday approaches Plainview several times asking for his money and at the end of the film, he has been reduced to this sole purpose. Sunday is the perfect counterpoint to Plainview. The men are so different yet so similar. Both possess the same goal but their methods of achieving it are different.
This is not the kind of movie that makes you laugh. This is a movie that demands and rewards attention and reflection. So much of this movie depends upon visual interpretation. This is a movie that doesn’t care for its audience. From the beginning its clear that this movie has something on its mind in a way that few movies do. Watching this movie is like being in a room with a caged gorilla. You’re never sure what its going to do and its easy to project your own thoughts onto it but the gorilla is controlled by its own force.
I watched this movie on Netflix but I recommend watching it on as large a screen as possible. The film is beautifully shot. Say what you will about Paul Thomas Anderson but the man knows how to make a film look amazing. It’s a dark movie and there is a essentially zero moments of levity. If you can stand to watch it, this film is absolutely worth your time. I look forward to growing old with this movie and watching it at some point in the future. It’s not the kind of movie that you can watch very often but each time I revisit it, I find myself coming away with a different feeling. This is one of those movies that grows stronger with age. It features a rare glimpse of some amazing actors and an amazing filmmaker working together before we really knew who any of them were. As such it will become more worthy of analysis as the people involved in it become more famous over time.
Green Room is the third feature film of Jeremy Saulnier, known for also directing 2013’s Blue Ruin. The big name actors in Green Room are Anton Yelchin and Patrick Stewart. Sadly Yelchin stands out in this film for having recently died in a freak accident at a young age. Stewart is incredible as the leader of a group of neo-nazis in rural Oregon.
Green Room is essentially the story of a punk band’s misfortune on tour. Early on we see Yelchin’s character and another band member siphoning gasoline from cars in a nearby parking lot. But what can you expect? This is a hardcore punk band comprised of three young men and one woman so its not surprising to see them steal. The film establishes its characters early on so we can understand the consequences of what happens later. Through a series of bad events, the band accepts a gig playing at rural bar that they discover is filled with neo-nazis. After their set, the band stumbles upon a dead girl in the green room which sets of a series of events with grisly implications. The band becomes trapped in the green room while nazis plan to kill them to cover up the murder.
That’s really the gist of this film. There’s no obvious deeper meaning. This is a very primal and human movie. I found it incredibly refreshing. I feel like every movie I see these days pretends to have something deep on its mind. Every once in a while, it’s nice to see a movie with no pretensions whatsoever. It’s very clear who is bad and who is good and its beautiful to watch. That’s the other great thing about this movie. It’s absolutely stunning as a technical and visual achievement. Saulnier and his team have proven themselves adept at making movies. It’s only a matter of time before Saulnier rises to greater heights because his level of talent can only stay hidden for so long.
Green Room is an incredibly violent movie but each act of violence is felt deeply by its characters. Sometimes movies like Green Room can become sort of cartoonish in their overuse of violence. I find this off-putting. I don’t watch movies to laugh my ass of like a little kid when someone’s head get chopped off. Some of the special effects are a bit phony looking for my taste but I appreciate what Green Room is trying to do. Saulnier and company are trying to make a fun genre movie for people like me. It’s a movie that would appeal to the band members in the movie. It’s brutal and doesn’t give a fuck. The writing in this movie is also phenomenal. Dialogue creates a sense of history and purpose for the characters without getting too deep.
Watching Green Room is like taking a class in how to create a low-budget horror thriller hybrid. I will definitely be watching this film again so I can soak up how it achieved its effectiveness. I love that Green Room is the movie Saulnier decided to make after Blue Ruin, because while I enjoyed Blue Ruin, it didn’t have that much of an effect on me. Green Room on the other hand is the kind of movie that I find perfect in every way.
They Live is a science fiction action horror film written and directed by John Carpenter in 1988. It stars Roddy Piper, Keith David and Meg Foster. Roddy Piper plays a drifter, called John Nada in the credits, who discovers a secret ruling class of aliens by wearing sunglasses. They Live is famous for having a great fight scene and great cheesy lines. Carpenter has called They Live a documentary because the world it depicts is so similar to the world of today.
I watched They Live because it was featured on an episode of The Canon podcast. This podcast is a great resource for film nerds. I could tell from Devin Faraci and Amy Nicholson’s thoughts on the film that it needed to be seen sooner rather than later. I don’t usually see every film that they talk about so this one was different. When this film came out, I had yet to be born so how would I have any knowledge of its existence?
One of my favorite things about this film is hard to describe. There’s a certain vibe or feel to some 80s movies that adds to the experience. I wasn’t alive in the 80s but I can feel what it was like to live there from movies. John Carpenter’s films feel particularly grounded in their historical time and place. I find myself wishing that I had lived during the 80s to experience the decade’s great films firsthand.
The premise and ideas of They Live are more relevant today than they were in 1988. The world of They Live is the world of today, except for the aliens. The United States is ruled by money and those with money do everything they can to maintain their power at the expense of those beneath them. The lower classes are kept in check by their need to obey and consume. The truth is painful in They Live. Wearing the sunglasses gives John Nada a headache because reality is physically painful to experience. It is so much easier to succumb to the wishes of those in power. But there is so much to gain from attacking the system. The part of They Live where John Nada and Frank Armitage infiltrate the aliens’ base, shooting them left and right, is such satisfying cinema. It’s the ultimate power fantasy for anyone who has ever suffered from being abused or exploited.
TV is the enemy in They Live. It is the most useful alien tool in keeping the lower classes at bay. Somehow destroying a broadcasting signal reveals all the aliens in their true form. The final scene of this film depicts a woman looking down as the man she is having sex with has been revealed as a ghoul.
I recommend seeing They Live as soon as possible.
If you have any recommendations for great films from the 80s, let me know.