Deep Blue Sea (1999)

deep blue sea

Shark-Witted

Jaws is the best shark movie; this is not up for debate.  What is up for debate is the still-prestigious mantle of the second-best shark movie.  While the oft-cited Open Water and The Shallows are formidable contenders, my pick for the true heir to the post-Jaws throne is 1999’s Deep Blue Sea. Continue reading

Sputnik

sputnik

Red Scares

Despite its name, Sputnik is not a space-set horror movie.  Most of it takes place on Earth, within the confines of a claustrophobic military laboratory.  We open aboard a Russian satellite, with two Soviet cosmonauts preparing for their descent back to Earth.  After technical trouble and a run-in with an unseen creature, the spacecraft crash lands on Earth, with Konstantin (Pyotr Fyodorov) the sole survivor. 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

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

Captain Marvel

captain marvel

Captain Obvious

The best thing about the release of Captain Marvel is that it brings us one step closer to the end of the nonsensical internet drama surrounding it.  I won’t be going into that here, chiefly out of self-preservation, but a quick Google search should inform the more masochistic among you.  I’ll offer just one thought on the matter: things as trivial as superhero movies have no business being cultural battlegrounds.  Consequently, this review will only cover my thoughts on the movie itself – not its “impact,” nor “what it means,” nor “why it matters.” Continue reading

The Wandering Earth

wandering earth

The Best-Laid Planets

Of all the cinematic trash I have a soft spot for, few genres are closer to my heart than the save-the-world disaster movie.  Give me your Armageddons, your Day After Tomorrows, your Cores; I cherish them all.  I suspect that’s because the genre is one that so readily lends itself to corniness; how can one be expected to tackle a premise as melodramatic as saving the world without, well, melodrama? Continue reading

Ready Player One

Ready Player One

Back in my college days, I read Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One – believe it or not – for a class.  It was a light, fast-paced read; the kind of book that’s hard to put down and easy to plow through.  But despite its fleeting pleasures, the moment I finished I could feel my inner critic starting to wake up.  The more thought I gave Ready Player One, the more cynical my attitude towards it became.  Could this collection of pop-culture references tacked onto a generic treasure-hunt plot even be called a novel?  These doubts grew so quickly that they completely tarnished my previous enjoyment of the book, and soon I felt duped for having bought into it in the first place. Continue reading

Annihilation

annihilation

Annihilation is a hard movie to categorize; not because defies genre categories, but because it samples so many of them.  Like the strange creatures that inhabit its world, it’s a hybrid; blending together science-fiction, drama, and horror to potent effect.  The structure of its first-act setup is pure adventure, beginning with the return of Lena’s (Natalie Portman) husband Kane (Oscar Isaac) long after he went missing on a classified government mission.  It’s immediately clear that something is very wrong with him, both physically and mentally.  When Lena tries to get her husband to the hospital, the government swoops in and abducts them both to a secret location, where they isolate her and reveal what’s responsible for his condition.  Continue reading

Netflix Review: The Cloverfield Paradox

Cloverfield paradox

If nothing else, The Cloverfield Paradox is an interesting – if dubiously effective – experiment in advertising.  Informing the masses of its existence via a short Super Bowl ad, it attracted a fair 750,000 viewers later that night.  The series itself remains something of a novelty in the age of producers endlessly mining the same vein to diminishing returns: a loose series of movies that share the same name and universe, but are hugely unalike in terms of tone, scale, and genre.  Cloverfield was a found-footage kaiju movie, 10 Cloverfield Lane was a claustrophobic thriller, and now we have The Cloverfield Paradox, a…space movie? Continue reading