The Wrong Missy

the wrong missy

Miss-taken Identity

I had low expectations going into The Wrong Missy.  On the surface, it seemed like another Netflix production designed primarily to give the Happy Madison crew a paid vacation in an exotic location, á la the aggressively mediocre Murder Mystery and The Do-Over.  And while The Wrong Missy doesn’t do much to refute that accusation, there are just enough signs of life to set it apart. Continue reading

No Escape (1994)

no escape

Lord of the Sighs

No Escape begins with a text crawl which informs us that in the then-distant future of 2022, all prisons are controlled by corporations.  It’s a promising enough – though hardly original – basis for a movie, but it turns out to have little bearing on No Escape’s actual narrative, which turns out to be more Mad Max-light than the futuristic prison break movie it initially promises. Continue reading

Extraction

extraction

The Bodhi-guard

The first thing one notices about Extraction is the bizarre name of Chris Hemsworth’s character.  Tyler Rake is clearly meant to be a punchy action-hero moniker, but there’s something off about it; it’s both too silly and not silly enough.  The script attempts to get ahead of the criticism by making a knowing joke about it, but it remains a distractingly misguided touch.  In short, the name doesn’t work, but at least the movie (mostly) does. Continue reading

The Descent (2005)

The-Descent

What Dies Beneath

Though it enjoys a positive reputation as such, The Descent can only be called a monster movie with a major caveat.  Like The Blair Witch before it, it wrings at least half – if not more – of its horror from its ominous setting.  In this case, it’s the labyrinthine caves of North Carolina, an alien, impossibly dark environment that’s one of the movie’s most indelible characters. Continue reading

Onward

onward

Day of the Dad

As others have observed, the overall trend of Pixar’s releases has been a gradual decline in creativity, with the freshness of Toy Story giving way to the banal likes of Cars and Inside Out.  The conceit of Onward is on the trite end of the spectrum; its serviceable and shallow fantasy-creatures-meet-modern-technology setup feels like it could have come from any one of Hollywood’s anonymous computer animation factories. Continue reading

Disturbia (2007)

disturbia

Stalkin’ the Suburbs

It’s tempting to call Disturbia a modern-day remake of Rear Window, but that doesn’t quite feel right.  The movie straddles the line between remake and homage, sharing most of the general story beats with its inspiration but changing the time period, setting, and protagonist to such an extent that it avoids feeling like a rip-off.  On the whole, Disturbia gets to have its cake and eat it too, taking advantage of the path forged by its masterful predecessor while still retaining its own identity. Continue reading

The Platform

the platform

Hole Foods

One of Netflix’s latest film releases, Spanish sci-fi/horror movie The Platform is enjoying a minor splash on the streaming giant, which is the most one can hope for in the reign of Tiger King.  Though never stated outright, the movie is presumably set in the future, where the shadowy “Administration” runs a sadistic institution that’s half prison, half social experiment. Continue reading

Bloodshot

bloodshot

Flop Goes the Diesel

Bloodshot has the dubious honor of being the last movie I saw in theaters before the Coronavirus shutdown.  I knew that theaters in my area were due to close the next day, and I was so desperate for one last classic moviegoing experience that even the blandest piece of trash would do. Continue reading

The Hunt

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Postal Elites

The Hunt is most notable for its cancellation and postponement, brought on by either mass shootings or the president’s tweets, depending on who you ask (in either case, it’s a decision the studio undoubtedly is regretting now).  But now that it’s finally being released, does Craig Zobel’s violent satire live up to the controversy?  Well, yes and no. Continue reading

The Host (2006)

the host 3

Heart and Seoul

I will admit to taking some petty pleasure in being able to say that I knew about Oscar sensation Bong Joon-Ho all the way back in 2007, when I went to go see The Host at the age of 15Though not an obscure indie by any means – its budget was over ten million dollars, and it broke South Korean box office records – it received a limited release here in the states, and certainly wasn’t a household name among foreign movies of the time.  With Parasite getting unprecedented media attention, I thought I’d look back at Bong’s unconventional monster movie. Continue reading