“Monday Morning Movie Review: You’re Next (2013)” – 2013’s You’re Next is a refreshingly taut suspense and horror film that I actually had seen some years earlier, before inadvertently—but fortuitously—watching it again. It follows a wealthy family as they’re picked off, one by one, by a group of masked assassins. It will keep you on the edge of your seat—and away from your windows.
That’s it for this cinematic Sunday. Enjoy viewing these films!
The plot of the film involves a mysterious illness or curse that enters a remote Korean mountain village when a Japanese tourist arrives to town. The malady causes victims to develop glowing red eyes and dark skin, as well as odd contortions of their bodies. Ultimately, sufferers kill their entire families.
It is near the beginning of this curse that Officer Gong-joo witnesses a naked, wild-eyed woman banging on the doors of his police substation during a thunderstorm. Gong-joo and his partner hide behind their desks, debating about who will check on the naked woman, but the woman has fled by the time they muster the courage to investigate. At a crime scene a short time later, they find the woman, along with her family, dead or raving violently at their burned out home.
It is established early on that Officer Gong-joo is a pitiful loser, but he loves his daughter, Hyo-jin, a predictably adorable little Korean girl. Gong-joo cheats on his wife, shirks work responsibility, and is the laughingstock of his police precinct. He is a coward and an utter failure, but he is—in spite of it all—a good father.
When his beloved daughter comes down with the strange curse, he has the opportunity to prove his courage.
We’re getting into that hot time of year, which for most people means going outside, doing yard work, and having fun. For those of us that are of a lazier, doughier disposition, it’s a time to avoid the unpleasantness of Southern humidity with some good flicks and frosty A/C.
In that spirit, I decided to return to a retrospective of past Monday Morning Movie Reviews this Lazy Sunday, featuring a selection of three flicks spanning decades:
“Monday Morning Movie Review: Digging Up the Marrow (2014)” – This flick was one I’d seen on Hulu for years, but had always passed over. I finally watched it, and really enjoyed its twist on the “found-footage” phenomenon. The premise is that the “movie-within-a-movie” seeks to prove that monsters are real, with only an obsessed old man as their guide.
“Monday Morning Movie Review: Witness (1985)” – A modern classic starring Harrison Ford as a cop on the run in Amish Country, Witness is a powerful story of a man whose principles, while out of place in the modern world, help him fit into the world in which he takes refuge.
This past weekend I went to Athens, Georgia, with my girlfriend to see the sights. We spent a good bit of time in downtown Athens, near the University of Georgia campus, which was overrun with graduates and their families in town for a weekend of graduation ceremonies. Amid our sightseeing, we stumbled upon Bizarro-Wuxtrey, a comic book and record store that truly lives up to its name.
The first floor of the shop is Wuxtrey Records, a record shop that, due to Virus-related capacity restrictions, we were not able to browse. The second floor is—like Bizarro Superman—the comic book section. It was the classic comic book store, complete with an overweight, older gentleman with long hair and a beard manning the shabby little counter. The store features several rooms of comics and old magazines, including back issues of old niche magazines dedicated to sci-fi flicks and movie monsters.
Amid the stacks of new arrivals I found the subject of this post: the black-and-white reissue of the 1990s graphic novel Dracula: Vlad the Impaler.
Apologies to readers for the slightly delayed post today. I returned late Sunday evening from a weekend trip, so I’m playing catch-up a bit this morning.
Robots: do we fear their ultimate takeover of humanity, or are they amusing, neurotic pals, like C-3PO? I remember receiving a LEGO R2-D2 with a programmable drivetrain early in high school, and in my doughy innocence, I imagined myself walking around with a three-foot droid serving drinks and quipping in 8-bit beeps and blips. Instead, it was a twelve-inch-high kit that could turn in circles and emit a few beeps on a pre-programmed path (there was a way to program him to do more, but I lacked the intelligence and/or technological capability to do so).
That’s all to say that I find the idea of robot buddies fascinating. One of my spoiled complaints about the modern world is that, while technology has certainly grown more useful—WiFi, for example, and thermostats that can be set remotely—it hasn’t gotten much cooler. The optimistic sci-fi worlds of the 1950s and early 1960s, with helpful droids and interplanetary exploration, have been replaced with the dystopian sci-fi worlds of the 1970s. The modern world feels less like Star Trek or Star Wars and more like Logan’s Run.
Needless to say, I was immediately drawn to the premise of Robot & Frank, a 2012 film that takes place in “the near future,” when friendly robot helpers are expensive but available, and smartphones have just become brighter and more transparent. It’s a comedy-drama, but heavier on the comedy side, albeit understated.
Indeed, I’m hoping to write some original short stories this summer (and hopefully some new songs, too). I’m not sure if it’s feasible, but I’d like to have a collection of new original stories out by the time school resumes. We shall see.
The story is a short parable riffing on the saying “the grass is always greener on the other side.” Visitors to the protagonist’s land keep telling him how terrible and crummy the place is, and instead brag about the greatness of their home.
The glowing talk of the visitors’ homeland churns away in the mind of the protagonist, until he finally decides to pay a visit. What he finds depresses and angers him: nuclear war, corruption, violence, declining birth rates, normalization of pedophilia, famine, depravity, etc.
Feeling cheated, the protagonist returns to his own home, and realizes how much he took it and its charms for granted—but there’s a twist (I recommend reading the story, which takes about three minutes, for the full impact; twist revealed below).
Thanks to Audre Myers at Nebraska Energy Observer and the documentary Missing 411, I’ve become interested in Bigfoot, Sasquatch, the Yeti, etc., etc.—cryptid humanoid megafauna of various stripes. I’m not sure if they exist, but I’m open to the possibility. Indeed, I want to believe they are out there, wandering in the deepest forests of North America, living their secretive, hairy lives.
So I was quite interested to watch the Hulu series Sasquatch, a three-part true-crime documentary about an alleged Bigfoot attack in Northern California in 1993. The attack left three Mexican migrants dead on a pot farm, with their murders unsolved to this day. Indeed, it seems (from the documentary) that the murders were never actually reported to the authorities.
Let me say up front: while the documentary was quite good, it was incredibly disappointing: an egregious example of bait-and-switch.