Ponty Pans: Halloween Kills (2021)

Halloween might be over—noooooooo!—but the Halloween film franchise will never die—or End, as the latest installment claims.  If you’re like Ponty and myself, you try to watch at least the 1978 John Carpenter classic at least once a year, preferably on Halloween.

Unlike Ponty, I haven’t seen the plethora of sequels, besides—of course—Halloween II (1981) and the unusual Halloween III: Season of the Witch.  I’ve also seen the “soft reboots” since 2018, thought I haven’t seen Halloween Ends (2022) yet.

As Ponty points, I, like many others, will.  I’ll also see Halloween Ends Again or whatever comes out next.  Heck, I’ll probably see Halloween Ends Again III: Season of the Witch: The Musical, with an original score by Andrew Lloyd Webber, including that annoying Silver Shamrock jingle.  These franchises know how to hook in suckers like yours portly, who will never hesitate to drop a $1.25 RedBox coupon to sample some tasty trash.

But I digress.  Ponty asked to take a stab—no pun intended—at reviewing 2021’s Halloween Kills, a film I reviewed last November.  Ponty assiduously avoided my review, so it’s interesting (though not entirely surprising) that we walked away with some similar reflections on the film.  “Evil dies tonight!”—ugh.  How could anyone miss that braying mantra?

Regardless, Ponty’s review goes far deeper than my own, delivered with his own brand of acerbic and longsuffering wit.

On a lighter note, he also includes some pictures from his and Tina’s Halloween festivities.  Well done on the decorations, Tina!

With that, here is Ponty’s review of 2021’s Halloween Kills:

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Monday Morning Movie Review: Ponty’s Top Ten Best Films: #6: Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)

Ponty’s list of flicks has been full of pleasant surprises, and his #6 pick is no exception.  I wasn’t expecting a dark comedy from 1944—a “farce,” as Ponty calls it.

Like his review—surprisingly succinct coming from our loquacious Ponty—I don’t have much to add.  Let’s just say I’ve always wanted to see this film, and thanks to Ponty, I can finally do that—he includes a link to the full flick on YouTube.  You can, too, and I encourage you to do so.

It also gets bonus points in my book because Boris Karloff was in the stage version, and would have been in the film if the producers hadn’t been worried about stripping the stage production of its entire leading cast.  Sorry, Boris—you deserved better!

With that, here is Ponty’s review of 1944’s Arsenic and Old Lace:

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Monday Morning Movie Review: Portly’s Top Ten Best Films: #6: Goodfellas (1990)

After taking last week off from movie reviews to celebrate Halloween, I’m back with my #6 pick for the best movies of all time.

Unfortunately, I’m struggling with some manner of fever-cum-sinus infection (probably not The Virus, but who even knows anymore), and after an unusual week, I fell behind on my rigorous pre-scheduling of posts.  As such, this review of a truly fantastic film may be a tad shorter than usual.  I doubt it will reach Pontian lengths, to say the least.

That said, I’m excited to write about this flick, even as I’m over here hacking up a lung.  It’s a movie that combines two of my favorite topics—mid-twentieth-century social history and gangsters—into one thrilling package.

I’m referring, of course, to Martin Scorsese’s 1990 masterpiece Goodfellas.

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Monday Morning Movie Review: Ponty’s Top Ten Best Films: #7: La La Land (2016)

If readers thought my placement of 1983’s sci-fi/fantasy/swashbuckler Krull at #7 was shocking, this week’s #7 pick from Ponty will truly blow your staggered minds.  From the man who just wrote about Halloween (1978), I’d never expect a splashy musical.

I remember seeing this flick back in 2016 on a date, and remember enjoying it (not just due to the excellent execution and story, but probably thanks to Emma Stone—shew!).  Suddenly, my students wanted to play “City of Stars” all the time, and jazz piano enjoyed an all-too-brief resurgence.

Ponty gives it a very thorough review, as you’ll see, that really brings out some of the sparkling details of the film without spoiling anything.  It probably also holds the distinction of being the only review of a film musical to reference Grand Theft Auto 5, so that should be worth something.

With that, here is Ponty’s review of 2016’s La La Land:

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Lazy Sunday CLXVII: More Movies, Part XXXI: Midweek Myers Movie Reviews, Part II

When putting together this weekend’s edition of Lazy Sunday, I thought that surely my longtime reader, contributor, and Internet friend (eFriend, perhaps?) Audre Myers had submitted more than these remaining two Midweek Myers Movie Reviews.  I’m sure she has submitted film reviews prior to the institution of this semi-regular, roughly-twice-monthly feature, but I’m too lazy to go scouring my vast archives for them (it is Lazy Sunday, after all).

But these are two pretty good ones, and while I usually like to feature posts in triplets for LS, I figured—as my beloved Meat Loaf, my God Rest His Soul, once sang—two out of three ain’t bad:

  • Midweek Myers Movie Review: Finding Neverland (2004)” – According to Audre, “Finding Neverland is the story of how J. M. Barrie came to write his best known play, Peter Pan.”  High Britishness, indeed, albeit with Johnny Depp in the main role.
  • Midweek Myers Movie Review: Hidden Figures (2016)” – Audre offers up a review of a movie that, while not necessarily historically accurate (NASA was fairly progressive on race even in the 1950s), at least sounds entertaining.  You’ll also learn that a “computer” is not just a beige machine to which we chain ourselves for eight hours a day.

Thanks again to sweet Audre for all of her contributions.  Here’s to more movie reviews to come!

Happy Sunday!

—TPP

Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

Midweek Myers Movie Review: Hidden Figures (2016)

We’re back with another movie review from Audre Myers, who is tossing in reviews of her favorite flicks whenever the mood strikes (or whenever I e-mail her asking her to contribute something).

She offers up her review of the 2016 film Hidden Figures, about three black women “computers” working for NASA.  It was a darling of the critics for its frank depiction of segregation.

Unfortunately, some its iconic scenes—like the lady having to walk half-a-mile to use a segregated bathroom—are Hollywood hogwash.  The segregated facilities were abolished in 1958—three years before the films setting—and while there were segregated restrooms in one part of NASA’s facilities prior to that year, they were unlabeled.  Katherine Johnson, one of the titular “hidden figures,” unwittingly used the whites only bathroom for years, and ignored the one complaint that was ever issued without any further escalation.

These inaccuracies—perhaps dramatic artistic license?—don’t mean segregation wasn’t real—it certainly was—but it seems that NASA was not exactly the hotbed of segregationist sentiment that the film depicts.  That makes sense—an organization reaching for the stars probably isn’t all that concerned about such earthbound issues as skin pigmentation.  Besides, there are plenty of alien species we can discriminate against in the distant future.

With that, here is Audre Myers’s review of 2016’s Hidden Figures:

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Monday Morning Movie Review: Portly’s Top Ten Best Films: #8: Heavy Metal (1981)

There won’t be many animated films on my list—I don’t think!—but this week’s selection is the major exception.  If you like sword and sorcery, low fantasy carnage, outrageous science fiction, and classic hard rock, you’ll love 1981’s animated anthology Heavy Metal.

Heavy Metal is one of those flicks that won’t appeal to everyone, but it’s one that I find myself returning to routinely for repeat viewings.  I’ve always been a sucker for anthologies, and while some of the stories are a bit uneven, the effect of the whole is a colorful, musical ride through a fantastical, dark, humorous worlds.

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Monday Morning Movie Review: Ponty’s Top Ten Best Films: #9: Shaun of the Dead (2004)

Ponty has been plugging away at this Top Ten Best Films, and as I predicted, he’s suffering from an embarrassment of riches.  Doing the bad films was difficult in some ways, but if you call a “bad” film wrong, it’s no big deal—no one would watch it, anyway.

Good films, while rarer, are still abundant enough to make the selection process difficult.  Just when you think you have a sense for your list, you’re reminded of some classic that you managed to forget in the depths of your memory hole.

That was my experience when reading Ponty’s #9 pick.  I love this film (which came out when I was in college), but somehow it had slipped my mind for consideration in my own list.  What a fool I was!  As Dr. Samuel Johnson wrote (to paraphrase, since I don’t feel like looking up the exact quotation): “We don’t need to be taught so much as we need to be reminded.”  So true!

Well, Ponty did an excellent job reminding me in this impressive review.

With that, here is Ponty’s review of 2004’s Shaun of the Dead:

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Lazy Sunday CLXIV: More Movies, Part XXVIII: Portly’s Worst Films, Part III

The long retrospective of the worst films ever is nearly over, which means after over six months of self-torture, we’ll finally be through rehashing these wretched films.

My #4, #3, and #2 picks are particularly accursed, and definitely deserve their spots so close to #1:

Wow, a depressing mix of bad films this week.  Maybe the worst films of all time—mine and Ponty’s respective #1 picks—next Sunday will ease the pain.  Or just double down on it.

Well, sometimes to escape the crevasse, we must descend deeper into it.  D’oh!

Happy Sunday!

—TPP

Other Lazy Sunday Installments: