The Wailing

A small village is the setting for this terrifying horror movie from South Korea.

Kill Bill Vol. 1 and 2 are borderline spoof films based on the Karate, Kung Fu, and Samurai films of the 50’s, 60’s. and 70’s. If you’ve seen these two films, you ay enjoy listening along as I give my reactions. If you haven’t seen them, I don’t reveal too man spoilers but I encourage my listeners to see the films I cover and then tune in after to compare notes with me.

In my next episode (68), I am watching and commenting on the film “American Splendor” with Paul Giamatti. I hope you can watch this along with me before the next show and tune in to compare notes. It has an 81/100 score on Metacritic. Enjoy your day.

At well over two hours, it plays with its viewers and weaves clues to a mystery revealed brilliantly in the final scenes.

Not Rated | 2h 36min | Fantasy, Horror, Mystery | 3 June 2016 (USA)
A stranger arrives in a little village and soon after a mysterious sickness starts spreading. A policeman is drawn into the incident and is forced to solve the mystery in order to save his daughter.
Director: Hong-jin Na
Writer: Hong-jin Na
Stars: Jun Kunimura, Jung-min Hwang, Do-won Kwak

Another Korean film from the same year, Train to Busan, offered us a father/daughter relationship that touched our hearts. Both are slightly different in their journeys and plot but it is a powerful force of fatherly love that bonds these men together with their little sweethearts. The evil force that threatens the policeman’s daughter here is shifty and hard to understand. It takes the father on a quest of love that promises to harm his physical body and perhaps his soul. Will his daughter be saved? That’s the question that keeps coming up.

The policeman is the star of this film. There are a few scenes with his that are definitely Oscar worthy. In a horror film you sometimes need a voice of reason to identify with. But what about when that voice you’re following starts losing touch with reality? That can be a scary thing.

Then, there is this evil force. Who is it? A ghost as the shaman says? This film is not just horror but also a mystery to be guessed at which, if you like mysteries as I do, makes it a lot of fun. This mysterious, sleepy horror mystery tale should not be spoiled. If you have not seen it and these themes interest you, I encourage you to watch it. If you have seen it, I think you’ll agree it is one of the more powerful horrors of its year (2016). I hope to connect further through a podcast outlining my thoughts on this film. Stay tuned.

10/10

Lady Bird (2017)

You may know that Lady Bird is being touted as the “best reviewed movie of the year.” You may also know it’s a coming of age tale that takes place in California …

… and that Lady Bird is a girl graduating High School. BUT did you know that the actress playing her mother is the one who played Roseanne’s sister on TV, Jackie? Well it is and she does a hell of a job. This is a limited release and the film partly lives up to the hype. It starts out belabored and long and the acting really sucks up until about the first boyfriend time.

After that the acting drastically improves and there are some truly touching moments. I’m writing a non-spoiler review here so I’ll leave out the wheres and whens but trust me, they are there. My eyes needed a good washing and they got it!

There’s a ton of good here but honestly, looking back at all the hype I read about this film, I have to wonder if everyone involved in publicity for the film paid a friend or family member to write a scintillating review. It’s a great film but it isn’t scintillating.

It’s not as quirky as Napoleon Dynamite but it feels like it would be in the same category. Having said that, the relationships are like real and sometimes they are so real, you choke back some tears. It is NOT for everyone as the ads would suggest. This film will mostly appeal to millennial girls and their grandparents. Since I’m about the age of the latter, I guess that’s why it spoke to me.

8/10

Mindhorn

This is a film about retro tv and the way we attach to characters. We do this often to our own detriment. It’s now streaming on Netflix.

I have a hard time with some British comedy. For lack of a better explanation, I just don’t get some of it. I am sure they feel the same way about some of ours. Inside jokes that resonate with a given audience are risky when you release a film.

It’s a story of a tv action hero named “Mindhorn.” Early on in the film, a terrorist kidnapper will agree to police terms only if he speaks to the faded tv hero personally. So, we have a delusional criminal who inadvertently gets the police to resurrect this out of work actor who once played the role.

The story goes on a long time along those lines and there is a sort of twist at the end. It is certainly not original. For me, Mindhorn stated with an unfunny premise and really never became funny throughout. I can recommend it but only as background noise for blogging or other sideline activity. All else, I would avoid this one. Nothing to see here.

5/10

 

The Collector (2009)

A thriller with multiple levels of bad guys

The writer of “Saw IV” and V directed this one and it is similarly a work of greatness. It doesn’t have a the budget or acting power of a Saw sequel but it evens out to be an amazing home invasion thriller/horror. I highly enjoyed it.

You get to see the morality of a person tested, in a way like “Saw.” Any artist who works on such a powerful franchise as “Saw” is bound to carry over some stuff. Don’t go into it expecting that because it’s very different but the quality of film-making is on par with that and the horror conventions the collector has assembled in this home invasion film beg a comparison.

I recommend this film most for the thriller aspect, though the horror is right there all the way through. I enjoy watching good vs. evil on screen, especially when the writer/director teases the audience with who is the most moral and does it ever change in the movie. With better acting and more of a high tech look, I’d have given this thriller a 10/10. It is still an awesome film that I recommend.

7/10

Mean Creek (2004)

A look at human nature in young adults and the often volatile nature of innocence. Oh, and Josh Peck stars in it.

Some movies remind me of the dark place that exists in us. Either that or the dangerous claws of innocence that rip our precious loves to ribbons. This one’s like that.

Billy Joel said a woman will “carelessly cut you and laugh while you’re bleeding” but it’s not just a woman, men and women alike kill, cover it up, even live with it all their lives sometimes. When we see it in film, we cringe but the prisons and homes of America are probably full of killers we never find out about. Ultimately it’s the choices we make to act or react to anger in vengeance and so forth. Characters who react well, sometimes end up well. Sometimes those who don’t, end up well also. It’s messed up right? Well that’s life and you’re in it. This movie reminds you of that.

A bully, his friend, a young girl, his accomplices. They all have choices to make. I like this film because it deals with perception and perspective. When seen through the bullies eyes, we see him a victim. When seen through the young girl’s eyes, the victims are chosen based on convention and maybe, just plain old good raising? I can’t say here and now. What do you think of this film? This is one you have to take a stand on. Bullying is exploding across our world. How you teach your kids to respond to it is crucial. This film may help open that conversation. It’s an excellent film but I would have liked to have seen a little more character development of all the kids. Maybe that’s just because I like to get inside characters in films with heavy concepts like bullying. I still recommend it highly as is.

This is a very dark film and I think real life is dark so it’s realistic. If you’ve seen it, what do you think of it? The question lays before you, inescapably. If you haven’t seen it, take some time and watch this small town simple film that just might blow your mind about innocence, bullying, and where the two shall meet.

8/10

Rogue (2007)

This independent horror thriller crocodile film scared audience in theaters about a decade ago. It was your basic “gigantic animal terrorizes a small eccentric group” film, like Jaws. It’s great entertainment but does it compete with other successful movies like it?

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The protagonist is a travel writer who has never done more than a review in print. He’s on a wildlife boat tour with less than 20 others and they end up marooned being forced off their boat and out of the water by a huge crocodile.

The story consists of these people trying strategies to escape the crocodile with some having deadly results. This croc is big and he’s fast. For an independent film, the cgi is pretty effective. His body slithers and strikes deftly. He does “the death spin” when he gets a person on his jaws and that is terrifying.

This is a fun thriller. It has a list of well-known characters and the script if pretty good. It builds suspense with the help of a dramatic score and appears to have been filmed on location in Australia. As in most horror, the victims all have flaws and come from different levels of society. The monster, in this case a croc, is the great equalizer that cuts everyone down to size regardless of income or station. For fans of the horror/thriller genre, I definitely recommend this, it’s a lot of fun.

Fargo (TV Series) The Crocodile’s Dilemma (2014)

A good indicator of what promises to be an awesome show!


The pilot sometimes determines how good the show will be long term. If that’s the case here, I’m a lucky bastard. This show is now in its 3rd season and I’m a binge-watcher by passion. Fargo the film charmed audiences with small town, snowy themes juxtaposed with black deeds like murder and crime. The goofy police with their fluffy hats are out to get their man, and we love seeing if they can.

The characters and story are eerily reminiscent of those in the film. They are just different enough to keep me interested. Skeptics of the series would give it a try. The pilot has made me a believer.

There is a cast of thousands in this series. Every corner turned shows familiar face. They grind down the criminals with the same innocent charm but so far, it’s a slow burn. That;s not a bad thing though. I know they can expand a lot on the stories in the manner of a series. My understanding is each season has a new story line and a new set of characters/actors.

I can honestly say I recommend this show, especially to the folks who are fans of the film. I am looking forward to an awesome rest of season one!

9/10