Amanda’s life as an adult is about as far away from her childhood as it could get–and that’s exactly the way she likes it. After escaping her abusive upbringing in Korea at the hands of her mother, she’s built a life for herself on a very rural bee farm in America, where she raises her daughter, tends to her bees and chickens, and has studiously cut herself off from electricity, which she claims she is allergic to, and her Korean heritage.
On the surface, things are pretty idyllic for Amanda, except for the nightmares she regularly endures. But the sudden appearance of her long-lost uncle, with news that her mother has died and her ashes in tow, brings to the forefront a whole slew of issues. Not the least of which is the fact she’s pretty sure her mother’s ghost is now haunting her. . . .
I was curious about this movie because I saw it described as the horror version of Minari. I think that is a pretty apt comparison, though I did find Umma more uneven. That being said, I did enjoy Umma, and if you want to watch something horror-related for Halloween that isn’t particularly scary but is thought-provoking and chilling, this movie would be the perfect fit.
Continue reading “Movie Review: Umma (2022)”
Stan (Bradley Cooper) is a drifter with his own share of secrets when he hooks up with a Depression-era carnival. But he quickly learns the tricks of the cold reading trade and becomes the barker to the show’s “clairvoyant” act. Despite being warned about how dangerous it is to toy with people in this way, Stan has much grander ambitions for his talents. That is, until he finds himself in over his head. . . .
Kelli recommended this noir horror movie to me (an adaptation of a 1940s noir classic), and I’m glad she did–I really enjoyed it!
It’s like The Mentalist meets Freaks meets James M. Cain, which is a combination that really works for me.
Continue reading “Movie Review: Nightmare Alley (2021)”
Viago has similar struggles to all of us. He misses the love of his life and has had a difficult time moving on. He wishes his roommates would do their dishes and other agreed-upon household chores. He sometimes has a hard time getting a bite to eat. He’s just trying to find his way in the world, one night at a time.
Oh yes and he and his roommates are centuries-old vampires.
Thanks to Kelli for recommending this delightful movie to me! It was a lot of fun, and I really enjoyed watching it. It’s perfect viewing as Halloween approaches.
Continue reading “Movie Review: What We Do in the Shadows (2014)”
In the late 1800s in New England, Ephraim Winslow (Robert Pattinson, The Lost City of Z) arrives at a remote island for a month-long stint working with a crotchety but far more experienced lighthouse keeper Thomas Wake (Willem Dafoe, Platoon). The two have . . . personality conflicts, to put it mildly, but once a massive storm traps them on the island, Winslow and Wake go a little stir-crazy. Complications ensue.
Continue reading “Movie Review: The Lighthouse (2019)”
Godzilla needs no introduction, right?
I mean, even if you’re not a fan of Godzilla movies, you know who he is. And you probably know about the current American reboot of the series, which started in 2014, included this year’s Godzilla: King of the Monsters, and will wrap up next year with Godzilla vs King Kong.
However, you may not be aware that a couple of years ago, Japanese filmmakers made their own original Godzilla movie, the first in over a decade.
I went into this movie not having the slightest clue what the plot was. Really, all I knew is that it was a Japanese Godzilla movie made in 2016. And I really liked it! Thanks to Julie for ordering this for me and adding it to the collection!
Continue reading “Movie Review: Shin Godzilla (2016)”
Usually, I try to focus on newer movies and TV shows for my reviews, but while I was researching potential things to write about, I came across last year’s The Predator, a remake of the classic 1980s action/sci fi film Predator.
Now, if I were a fair-minded person, which I often claim to be, I would have given The Predator a chance.
However, I’m not really that fair-minded. Ever since I heard they were working on this remake, I just couldn’t get over the fact that there was no reason to remake the movie. I’d have been much happier if they’d just re-released the original in theater.
Because if you’re looking for a veneer of outrageous, over-the-top 80s action overlaying a far more complex science fiction tale, then you can’t do better than Predator.
So, for that reason, this week I’m reviewing the original (and best) Predator.
Continue reading “Predator (1987)”
So, here’s a confession that will surprise nobody who knows me: I rarely like the hero in a story.
Ever since I was a child, I vastly preferred villains in books, movies, and television. And I don’t mean anti-heroes who you’re supposed to like or squishy villains who feel bad about themselves. No, the badder, the better.
Compared to the hero, good villains–by which I mean really bad villains–almost always have more memorable lines and better clothes. They always seem to be enjoying themselves way more than the hero ever does and usually have a great sense of humor (okay, a dark sense of humor but still a sense of humor) and usually are smarter or at least seem to display more ambition and basic organizational skills than the hero.
This love for villains started early. When I was 5 or 6, my favorite television show was Skeleton Warriors. I watched it faithfully every Saturday morning to see the adventures of Skeletor and, well, his skeleton warriors. I was so disheartened to never find anyone who knew what I was talking about anytime I talked to someone my age about cartoons.
It was only years later when I was in my mid-20s that I realized I had been watching He-Man and had somehow convinced myself that the show was actually about the bad guy. I still think rather fondly about Skeletor and his pet Panthor, but for the life of me, I cannot remember a single thing about He-Man himself. I don’t think I noticed him as a child, either. He wasn’t on my radar because he had nothing on Skeletor!
I have changed little as an adult in that regard. And since it is Halloween, I thought I’d pay tribute to some of my favorite vampiric villains in cinema.
Continue reading “Movie Double Feature: Dracula (1931)/Near Dark (1987)”
Call me crazy but family secrets, tell-all tales, and circus freaks do go together . . . at least in this movie and book combination!
Last year, one of our library patrons, Vernon, watched 1930s cult classic circus film Freaks and told me, while he was returning it, that it was one of the strangest movies he’d ever seen. He encouraged me to watch it. I imagine because he wanted someone else to confirm that, yes, it’s an odd movie.
So, I did watch Freaks, and about the same time, our library director Julie told me that she had just read a book (Truevine) that mentioned several of the circus performers featured in Freaks. I was not doing “From Page to Screen” features at the time, but I already was thinking about doing something like it and filed this away as a potential combination to write about it in the future. (Thanks to both Vernon and Julie for the suggestions!)
Usually I write about the book and then the movie, but I am reversing that order for this blog. My blog, my rules!
Continue reading “From Page to Screen: Freaks (1932) and Truevine (2016)”