Movies I Tagged #Weird on my Site Pt. I

I love weird films, I hope you do too! Here are 4 really good films that I tagged #Weird on my site. This is an audio feature crossposted from my podcast The DRP. Hey there!

This is part of a series where I talk about films I found weird. Did I mention that is a bonus with me? I love weird. This episode is me talking about: Escape from Tomorrow Antibirth, The Double & Creep (my written reviews are linked)

Please note the woman holding that head is Meg Tilly! That alone should make you want to see Antibirth.

Follow all my shenanigans including discussions of weird films on Twitter at @rileyonfilm

Ozark (2017)

Which came first, Breaking Bad or the drug kingpin who threatens people to do stuff? In this case, the chicken is Breaking Bad and the egg, well they’re legion but this is one.

Ozark
TV-MA | 1h | Crime, Drama, Thriller | TV Series (2017– )

A Chicago-based financial advisor secretly relocates his family to the Missouri Ozarks when his dealings with a drug cartel go awry.
Creators: Bill Dubuque, Mark Williams
Stars: Jason Bateman, Laura Linney, Sofia Hublitz

This is a show that is obviously trying to make a cash cow like Breaking Bad. As long as you’re ok with that, and I am, you can have a good time watching this film. It has the drug kingpin, the disenfranchised investment broker, the disinterested wife, and the expensive taste kids who mean no harm but are always extra weight in tow.

It has the underbelly exposed of a vacation town where the broker is forced to clean money in order to save his life as well as his family’s. Jason Bateman is pretty good in this. I can’t say it has help my interest up until the end of season one. I have two more episodes to go. I heave read it is renewed for a second season in 2018. Will you be tuning in? I’ll probably be looking for older tv and film that qualifies for my “weird” tag. There isn’t anything weird about Ozark, it’s been done before. Still, it’s not bad for a bige watch background show if you’re working on your laptop.

6/10

Escape from Tomorrow (2013)

Escape from Tomorrow (2013)
Not Rated | 1h 30min | Drama, Fantasy, Horror | 19 July 2014 (Japan)

In a world of fake castles and anthropomorphic rodents, an epic battle begins when an unemployed father’s sanity is challenged by a chance encounter with two underage girls on holiday.
Director: Randy Moore
Writer: Randy Moore
Stars: Roy Abramsohn, Elena Schuber, Katelynn Rodriguez

I watched this weird film last night. I must admit I didn’t stay up late enough to finish it. Maybe I felt like I’d seen enough by 10:30p. It’s shot in black and white and the director is very new. He hasn’t done a whole lot other than this. Most the scenes seem forced, the acting is not too convincing. I really really liked the concept though and would recommend that horror and sci fans watch it.

It’s about a family staying at Florida’s Disney World, visiting the park, riding the rides. All the while, the father keeps being drawn to watching a couple of adolescent French girls who are constantly hugging and giddily riding rides like Dumbo and Space Mountain. Among all this, the father “sees” things differently. For example, a sign with Mickey smiling will suddenly melt into a frown. I really was curious about why but seriously, the movie is SLOW and I gave up. It does get the weird tag from me so that’s a plus. If I wasn’t so tired, I might have finished it.

I read a few reviews on IMDB which were very entertaining and I also read the ending on Wikipedia. If you aren’t going to see this movie but are slightly curious I recommend doing the same, I’ve linked those pages below. Like I said, it’s a cool horror/sci fi concept. The problem is the apparent lack of skill in delivery. HAVING SAID THAT, it is kind of cool as an independent film if you can leave your critical expectations at the door.

6/10

Wikipedia summary of this film.

IMBD user reviews of this film.

Ouija: Origin of Evil (2016)

A whole different concept than the first film and it worked on many levels to be what I feel is one of the strongest horror films of 2016.

ouija2_poster

Ouija: Origin of Evil
Cast

Elizabeth Reaser, Lulu Wilson, Annalise Basso, Henry Thomas

Directed by

Mike Flanagan

Written by

Mike Flanagan, Jeff Howard

Other Info

Horror, Thriller
PG-13
Fri 21 Oct 2016 UTC
99min
IMDB Rating: 6.1

Like most horror movie fans, I was not impressed with the first Ouija film. It was flat and lacking in almost every aspect. For that reason, I didn’t plan to spend my hard-earned money on a prequel (this film takes place before the original). The surprise part of my story is that my daughters dragged me to see it and I really liked it. It was a whole different concept than the first film and it worked on many levels to be what I feel is one of the strongest horror films of 2016.

As with many horror films, it does take a while to really get going. In fact, despite some good scares and creepy atmosphere in the middle, the best scares are in the last 1/3. A story must be told so I get why they have to tell it calmly in the beginning. There are two daughters: an 18 and 9-year-old. They live with their mother and their father has died. The mother runs a psychic medium business out of a parlor in her house. She gets customers in touch with their dead ones and she knows what she does is a scam. She has no guilt because, as she tells her daughters, she is helping these grieving people. Her daughters know it’s all BS. I must mention this was directed by Mike Flannigan (Oculus, Hush) who I have tremendous respect for. He really made a good horror film here and I look forward to seeing more of his work in the future. Spoilers ahead.

There is a rather intricate plot here which reminds me of recent horror films like The Conjuring 2 and Lights Out. In a way, it was too busy for me but I appreciated the story, it sort of came together and worked in the end. Again, it was very complicated. Does anyone miss movies like Halloween where horror is simple?

After one daughter gets seemingly possessed by a demon spirit and helps her mother do readings, the older one meets a boy and reports strange letters her sister wrote in Polish to the headmaster priest at their school. And, that priest is “sort of” dating their mother but not really because he made a vow he won’t break. See what I mean by complicated? It gets more complicated. Suffice it to say Nazi German history weaves in and … well, the ending is sad beyond what you normally would see in a horror movie. Bring your kleenex.

All in all, despite the convoluted, overlong plot, I really liked the scares and creepy atmosphere in this film. I would recommend it as a 7/10 for horror fans.

Antibirth (2016)

Directors of weird and gory films are important to a society that can only send hidden and human messages that way. I think that’s ours. Now that I’ve said that, this is an awesome movie!

Antibirth (2016)
Not Rated | 1h 34min | Horror | 2 September 2016 (USA)

In a desolate community full of drug-addled Marines and rumors of kidnapping, a wild-eyed stoner named Lou wakes up after a wild night of partying with symptoms of a strange illness and … See full summary »
Director: Danny Perez
Writer: Danny Perez
Stars: Natasha Lyonne, Chloë Sevigny, Meg Tilly

Director Danny Perez has only done this one film. He’s dabbled in a couple other small scale releases. It gives me the impression he is into horror that gets out there into the weird tag. I think directors like this are important! Some social and personal messages are better delivered through “the weird” and this film definitely fits in that category.

It starts with a woman who will take any drug she can find. She’s a pretty young thing, who is also a “tweaker.” Lovely thought right? Natasha Lyonne does a great job with the role, blending the macabre and profane with the plight of your average partier. The gory stuff is there too as she begins to see she is pregnant. She doesn’t know who the father is but it isn’t human, we certainly can surmise later. From there, the story falls to the wayside and it becomes a birthing blood, flesh, and gore fest. Is that anything like birth? Maybe. After all, it’s the entry of new life like Frankenstein right? The visuals are gloriously disgusting. She gives birth to many things including the head in the photo that gets pulled away from the cord connecting it to a full grown body.

This one is one of the more odd ones I’ve seen. I do want to watch it again for any deep meaning I missed. I have a feeling it’s there. My main complaint is that it took too long for the gore to come.

8/10

The Double (2013)

A classic Dostoevsky novel interpreted into a modern cinematic story. It takes you into the realm of the super-ego and the importance of bringing him under submission. This film gets tagged weird, that’s probably why I like it so much.

The Double (2013)
R | 1h 33min | Comedy, Drama, Thriller | 4 April 2014 (UK)

A clerk in a government agency finds his unenviable life takes a turn for the horrific with the arrival of a new co-worker who is both his exact physical double and his opposite – confident, charismatic and seductive with women.
Director: Richard Ayoade
Writers: Fyodor Dostoevsky (novel), Richard Ayoade | 2 more credits »
Stars: Jesse Eisenberg, Mia Wasikowska, Wallace Shawn

The director Richard Ayoade shook Hollywood with the British film “Submarine.” That was a thoughtful tale set to celluloid quite effectively. I was entertained. But for my money, this one is much much better. I hope to see more from this guy. I have a lot of respect for his choice to interpret a classic novel in this unorthodox yet shimmering way.

This film has two actors who I also respect greatly: Jesse Eisenberg and Mia Wasikowska. Both actors are “in their element” and it’s a pleasure when they grace the screen. There are a host of other actors who make this story vibrant but they definitely make it shine its message with their excellent acting.

Punching a time clock every day, a clerk seems to not be recognized at the beginning of the film. He spends the spanse of the film trying to figure out why. He feels as if he has been erased somehow. What a fitting sentiment for us in 2017. There is another though. I saw it as the alter-ego. He gets all the chicks and promotions but something is wrong. He isn’t real. Who he is makes an amazing group discussion if anyone wants to start on here. I would jump in head first.

The lighting and props are so odd in this film. It’s a delight to be transported back to an undefined time as a cog in a machine The music is excellent. There are times in high suspense when a piano is driving bass notes. That worked so well. Watch it for an odd but stimulating cinema experience, and if you want to find out the right way to jump off a building and live.

8/10

Creep (2014)

This is one creep you will never forget. He may even change the way you place ads and followup on meeting strangers!

Creep (2015)
Cast
Patrick Brice

as Aaron

Mark Duplass

as Joseph

Directed by
Patrick Brice
Written by
Patrick Brice, Mark Duplass
Other Info

Drama, Horror
Rated R
1h 17min

NOTE: At time of my repurposing this post, “Creep 2” is in the works. But as far as Creep goes: the “found footage” genre strikes again. This time we have a psychotic in our face most the movie. The movie scares because it is plausible.

While we may not be able to divine his intentions, the “creep” does everything in a way that is believable, possible. When blood is shed, we don’t question the possibility.This movie could really happen. The plot is a twenty something dude answers an ad for a job filming another dude. The work is one day and it pays $1,000 cash. I imagine a lot of people could use the money and would therefore show up for an interview. Aaron, played by Patrick Brice, does just that. When he gets to the address, he finds a vacation cabin of sorts, not fully secluded. He soon finds out the motives of the employer and much more than just to film him.

Creep becomes a character study in boundaries in a similar way to “The Cable Guy” where Jim Carrey was the Creep. The difference is, this film is horror. Aaron, played by the actual director of the film, misses several opportunities to escape. It’s almost as if he doesn’t want to hurt the Creep’s feeling. Would you rather hurt someone’s feelings or be killed? I think the answer is pretty obvious. At the same time, we humans hate confrontation and so Aaron, as a human, avoids confrontation and plays along.

I’ve seen Mark Duplass in several movies, my favorite being “The One I Love.” He’s a great actor and his ability to shoot lines like a firehose is shown in this film. He is clearly disturbed but the main character Aaron wants to find out just how much. Ultimately, as Aaron tries to get away, the plot becomes a hunt. I enjoyed the thriller aspect of this film but I wondered a lot why it was tagged horror. There were no dismemberments or zombies. It was just Aaron and Joseph talking through mountains of dialog (most Joseph’s)

I’m really not to keen on the found footage genre. Still, this movie used it well. Everything made sense, that it could have happened and been edited together. It lost a point for not being innovative. How many times have we seen the stalker befriend and kidnap someone? It lost another point for calling itself horror. There is a scene or two you could describe as such, but I think it’s better archived as a draa. Fr those reasons I gave it a 3/5. I recommend it if you can’t find anything else to watch. Trust me, there are plenty of movies I wouldn’t recommend as such, this is a good movie.

Spectral (2016)

The worst kind of enemy in war is not one who surprise attacks, but rather the one you cannot see.

Spectral (2016)
PG-13 | 1h 47min | Action, Mystery, Sci-Fi | 9 December 2016 (USA)

A sci-fi/thriller story centered on a special-ops team that is dispatched to fight supernatural beings.
Director: Nic Mathieu
Writers: Ian Fried (story), Nic Mathieu (story) | 1 more credit »
Stars: James Badge Dale, Emily Mortimer, Bruce Greenwood

This is a Netflix movie meant to compete with the sci-fi action military genre of Edge of Tomorrow and Good Kill. I’m pleased to report that the effects, the acting, and even the concept makes the grade.

The spectral enemy is fascinatingly made. They really do look like ghosts as the title suggests. Spectral comes from “spectre.” The director Nic Mathieu has done a stellar job here. I’m not sure I’d give it as much praise if it were a wide-spread theater release but as a Netflix military action sci-fi, it is a rocking fun time! Some may find it over simplistic and it could have used more ghosts and kills I thought. No film is perfect.

It has a pretty good cast (see above) but my favorite actor is Bruce Greenwood. He always takes a movie to a higher place. He was great with Ashley Judd in Double Jeopardy and I thought he should have won an Oscar for his role in the indie film Wildlike. You can read my review of that film here. At any rate, I recommend this film mow streaming on Netflix.

7/10

spec·ter
ˈspektər/Submit
noun
noun: spectre
a ghost.
synonyms: ghost, phantom, apparition, spirit, wraith, shadow, presence; More
something widely feared as a possible unpleasant or dangerous occurrence.
“the specter of nuclear holocaust”
synonyms: threat, menace, shadow, cloud; More

Dope (2015)

A coming of age comedy/drama with a city hip hop vibe.

Genre: Comedy, Hip Hop Culture, Black Culture

Release Year: 2015

One Sentence Summary: A humorous and cynical presentation of how a black high school senior learns some hard truths about the world.

Director: Rick Famuyiwa, known for “The Wood.”

Cast: Shameik Moore as Malcolm, this is his first acting role. Tony Revolori, Malcolm’s close friend and bandmate Jib, known for “The Perfect Game” and “The Grand Budapest Hotel.” There are many others in this large cast.

Malcolm is a geek, carefully surviving life in The Bottoms, a tough neighborhood in Inglewood, CA filled with gangsters and drugs dealers, while juggling his senior year of college applications, interviews and the SAT. His dream is to attend Harvard. A chance invitation to a big underground party leads Malcolm and his friends into a, only in Los Angeles, gritty adventure filed with offbeat characters and bad choices. If Malcolm can persevere, he’ll go from being a geek, to being dope, to ultimately being himself.” imdb

My Thoughts: A very funny “Senior in High School who’s graduating” movie. It is narrated by Forrest Whittaker which connotes a black culture theme. Producers include other famous black people like Sean Combs. This movie shines a light on how tough it can be for a young black man to live in Los Angeles and make it to college. There are many significant particulars, like the monologue to the camera at the end that reveal a sense of injustice and racism that still exists in the world. I thought many parts of it gross so it lost points there. Still, I feel the protagonist triumphs in the end which is the conclusion I hoped to see. Some will argue he fails by succeeding, that is left up to the individual. Besides all that, it has a ton of hilarious moments to enjoy.

Resolution (2012)

More mystery than horror as advertised, this indie film gains points with a gritty story.

Resolution (2012)
Not Rated | 1h 33min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller | 23 January 2013 (USA)

A man imprisons his estranged junkie friend in an isolated cabin in the boonies San Diego to force him through a week of sobriety, but the events of that week are being mysteriously manipulated.
Directors: Justin Benson, Aaron Moorhead (as Aaron Scott Moorhead)
Writer: Justin Benson
Stars: Peter Cilella, Vinny Curran, Emily Montague

Indie films obviously don’t have Spielberg level budgets so they are forced to create suspense and scares on an often limited dime. Resolution does that well. Using simple camera tricks and angles, a supernatural theme is woven throughout the story. While it is very scary on its own, unfortunately it never achieves what I would consider the level called “horror.” I was actually searching IMDB for horror films and ran across this one. It lost points with me because about 4/5 of the film’s plot is devoid of any horror. Still, I was treated to a surprisingly high suspense story that had me on the edge of my seat. The ending will be up for interpretation based on the individual.

The story is about a meth addict and his best friend who chains him in an abandoned mountain house hoping to get him to rehab. As the story progresses, a series of supernatural events occurs, sometimes in the form of real life characters like drug dealers or addicts living in a nearby cave. Other times, the unseen force is sardonic and life threatening. There is also an element of time travel here. To avoid spoilers, I’ll leave it there. All in all, Resolution earned points with me for having a great story and for using low budget camera tricks in a very deft fashion. It lost points by me in advertising itself as a horror film and for not quite explaining things as it closed in an exciting yet puzzling twist. I felt a little cheated things weren’t better explained. Still, I highly recommend it as good fun.

3/5

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