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#NowWatching “Shin Godzilla ” (2016)

In surround sound. A visual feast on reptile. Pure fun and dare I say, scary! The subtitles make it a little hard to follow but that’s because I like to multitask. 8/10.shin-godzilla-1200-1200-675-675-crop-000000-5140161-6698256-6656713

When a massive, gilled monster emerges from the deep and tears through the city, the government scrambles to save its citizens. A rag-tag team of volunteers cuts through a web of red tape to uncover…

Source: Shin Godzilla (2016)

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Choke (2020)

Synopsis: An attractive young women enters the world of a serial killer by having sex with him and being strangled. She lives and her story intertwines with many other lonely characters in this self-professed horror film that revolves around sexual choking and homicide.

Review: Watching a horror movie that looks homemade is fine but the impact has to be there. It may be possible to understand why people asphyxiate themselves during sex: because it awakens endorphin glands before you pass out. I’m no expert but watching “Choke” (2020) I caught a glimpse of perhaps why, and I myself up to that point had never realized it before. As we follow truly lonely souls: a cop, a serial killer and a few other minor chokers. Imagine if you went on a date with a choker killer. When would you expect them to take their hands off your neck? Just like practicing partners of this deviancy, would it be when you passed out? Death and bliss are a fine line we find. This review appeared first at my real writing job 😉 horrornews.net

Choke may be interesting to fans of this sexual choking fetish. I found myself on the other side and hoping to understand the appeal. That never happened. Jeanie (Sarah Brine) meets up with an older man on a train and has sex with him. This is quite fast but I welcomed the excitement in the plot since it took quite a while to do anything stimulating for a horror fan. Even when we see the choking, it looks canned and over coached. Obviously camera angles help but I began to wonder if I was watching an indoctrination film to choking during sex. Fortunately for me, I wasn’t aroused in the slightest. I honestly wonder who would like this movie. I didn’t see it as horror and it was a little too in-your-face to be a thriller/drama.

But Jeanie gets sucked in all the way. She becomes accustomed (addicted?) to this sex move. Perhaps she might tell us that once you’ve tried it, you can never go back. I know this is in a subculture out there but people please, be real, who wants to be choked during a pleasurable encounter? There is something like a lolita storyline here but above that is the practice, the hedonistic practice of choking during sex.

Hatanaka is a good director here. Unfortunately the subject matter is so difficult to draw near to or to push away. It isn’t clear what he wants to tell us so in my mind, he missed the whole point of a horror movie. For example, instead of causing my skin to crawl when the serial killer kills, he visited unbridled annoyance on me by having the choking partners fake evil laugh for 10 minutes. This isn’t why I watch horror movies. There were times it seemed the director was absent, maybe he choked on a cigarette on his break? Just wondering.

You will not find blood and gore here. Instead you’ll see a director’s case study of trial and error of portraying this deviancy onscreen. I am not a huge fan of pure blood and gore but I do enjoy creepy themes and atmosphere. This did not successfully develop either. Someone had told me the beginning looked like a high school level film term project. It does but they failed to mention it never really changes.

In conclusion, I’d say that due to an overemphasis of staged choking, this film fails for me. Anytime you name a film after something so chilling as choking, you must tastefully introduce it and then add it to the storyline in a way that yes repulses but keeps the viewer interested and more informed about it as the movie proceeds to its conclusion. I didn’t feel that here. It was a handful of unhappy people addicted to asphyxiation during sex. Sound dumb? It could have been good. I think this problem in our society of choking people during sex could have been addressed in a better fashion. I think the director banked on people being interested in choking and being choked during sex. The waifish lead girl is pleasant to look at but she can’t fix the mess of choking that keeps assaulting viewers from the scene. I can imagine a dozen ways to have done this film differently as a horror but I’m just a reviewer, I haven’t made a movie on it … yet. My verdict? You can miss this one. 4/10

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A Couple Jackson Brown Tunes I Richly Enjoyed in my 20’s and Ever Since

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Look

My dad told me people at his work listen up when he says that. Sucks for them if he was yelling at them. Those are not the type of moments you want to repeat! I’m beating my head against a wall on how to get more traffic. After nearly 10 years, my podcast ranks very low in listens and visits. Should I give up?

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Transference (2020)

I know many of you horror fans out there like superhero films. Maybe this film was aimed at you because I don’t particularly like them and this was all but a lost mess on me. Listen to this episode in your podcast player of choice. The written version appeared first at HorrorNews.net

Tropes of superhero films appear a safe bet in this movie market. “Xmen” franchises always make hundreds of millions of dollars but films like it are beset with production costs that literally no one ever imagine. In that way, “Transference” is a bit refreshing in that it is a low budget film trying to achieve in the ranks of Amazon’s “The Boys.” Are you being assaulted hourly with ads like I am when I tune to Amazon Prime? But “Transference” is currently streaming on tubi not Amazon and the comparison of networks is a metaphor if not almost an allegory.Joshua (Jeremy Ninaber) is the tacit caretaker for his sister Emma (Melissa Joy Boerger) since their father died in a car accident. She has enormous metal psychic powers. At one point, her mind shows itself powerful enough to cause a horde of people to slit their wrists all at the same time. This sounds amazing I know but the way the parts like this are connected and misapplied, the film ends up being all over the place and extremely hard to follow. A friend of mine told me it was like doing brain surgery trying to understand the plot. Another said it had no plot. It does feel like 3-4 scripts were joined together hodgepodge. For that reason, I was turned off by this film.

You might compare Joshua to Wolverine in that he’s highly violent and powerful. What’s more, the knuckle fights don’t affect him physically at all. Picture Captain America in his street clothes attempting to take no prisoners in a street fight. Now imagine no humor to go along with that. Since I’m not much into street fighting either, it came up fairly empty for me. This film would have been better served by being a spoof. That wouldn’t require much of the cgi in superhero movies either.

The knuckle fights at night, while highly improbable and hard to accept as real, keep his sister in the hospital. By that I mean, brother earns the hospital fees through street fighting. You can see elements like this making a superhero film a bit hard to access. This isn’t horror. If the continual barrage of images and plot line made me uncomfortable, I would praise it as horror. Unfortunately, it makes the error of traveling down the road of superhero movies. It could have chosen to be a spoof, which would be better. I should also mention that the street fights are very poorly choreographed which can’t usually be blamed on a 200,000 dollar budget.

Can we look at one feature of this film I did/do like and am happy to share? As is conventional for my reviews, I have to give props to the multi-tasking director/writer/actor of this film: Matthew Ninaber. This was an ambitious task and I always want to recognize the directors who “do it all” to achieve their vision. The budget and plot issues aside, I can see how fans of the sub-genre will enjoy this film. If you agree or disagree with me about aspects of the film, I invite you to kindly start a discussion with me and others in the comments. I welcome all points of view and sometimes comments make me a better reviewer/podcaster.

A comic book masquerading in genre to be a horror is hard enough to pull off in the marketing. Even the film itself lacks the stuff of greatness. I will obviously reserve judgement for you comic book peripheral horror fans but as a straight up horror, you could miss this one.

As a parting thought, let me give you some recommendations of films that “get it right” in the “low budget superhero” subgenre:

Wonder Boy, The Transfiguration, Kick Ass, Super. 

Do you know of another low budget superhero film? Include it in a comment: Let’s get a discussion going!

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Good God, Guns, and Trump’s Green Screen

They’re gonna eat Trump for breakfast whether he wins or loses. He’s up shit creek w/out a paddle. Son, you reap what you sow.

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Trump Sucks Thumb While  in Russia