They Look Like People

Will he or won’t he use all those axes and the nail gun? Are his friends really monsters? Is Wyatt schizophrenic?

They Look Like People (2015)
Unrated | 1h 20min | Drama, Horror, Mystery | 26 February 2016 (USA)

Suspecting that people around him are turning into evil creatures, a troubled man questions whether to protect his only friend from an impending war, or from himself.
Director: Perry Blackshear
Writer: Perry Blackshear
Stars: MacLeod Andrews, Evan Dumouchel, Margaret Ying Drake

It’s a film I tell you! Much more than a film school project, which it resembles most the way through. I’ve read this film referred to as “DIY horror.” I’m not sure what it is exactly but it definitely has something to say about psychology and the human mind.

Watch this if you enjoy thinking about what is real sometimes and what is not. Go see if you’ve ever realized you were being paranoid only to find out later some of that paranoia was real. It’s some really heavy shot I tell you. Now be forewarned, I couldn’t find a budget for this thing online but I would wager to say it was made for only hundreds of dollars. For that reason, some may find it hard to sit through. Ok, I’ll say: it it was boring at slow a lot of times. Still, it was streaming on Amazon Prime Video so I didn’t have to fork out extra cash for it and I sat through it just fine. The who movie payoff is the ending, the last 15 minutes hit you like 13 foot wave.

Simple story, ok acting. Christian wasn’t really believable for me the way he was always laughing. Wyatt makes a good psycho, or is he a psycho at all? You tell me. For what it is it works. Not for everyone by a long shot. It has to lose some from me because I like when directors attempt a bit broader appeal. And finally, to director Perry Blackshear I say: well done, we shall look for more psychotic minimalism from you.






Blade Runner 2049 (2017)

Bioengineered humans never looked so good in 35 years. 6/10

R | 2h 43min | Sci-Fi, Thriller | 6 October 2017 (USA)
A young blade runner’s discovery of a long-buried secret leads him to track down former blade runner Rick Deckard, who’s been missing for thirty years.
Director: Denis Villeneuve
Writers: Hampton Fancher (screenplay by), Michael Green (screenplay by) | 2 more credits »
Stars: Harrison Ford, Ryan Gosling, Ana de Armas | See full cast & crew

The director of Arrival made this film and I can’t help but ask myself why he was selected. For me, that pseudo space film was really just a memory and tme travel rehash mix if several other films. He definitely did a satisfactory job with the “Blade Runner” sequel but his convoluted plot became a bit of an uninteresting guessing game. The original film was much more simple and straight ahead action. Maybe I’m just nostalgic.

This has a gang of actors that grace the screen. I think the casting was pretty good. When you consider Rutger Hauer’s powerful performance in the original, you know they had big shoes to fill. Harrison Ford is here. He’s not all that remarkabke and it take him near forever to show up in the plot. Ryan Gosling is “K” a cop/replicant who retires older models. Gosling is by far the best performance. There is one scene with LUV and Lieutenant Joshi (Robin Wright) where a glass is squeezed and shattered that I found especally good on both their parts.

I could describe the plot in detail, I do on my podcast the DRP. Still, I find it veering hither and to. It’s way too complicated I think. I sort of wish they would have got a more straight ahead storyteller for a director and kept the story simpler. It involves a baby made through the relations of Sean Young’s character Rachel and Harrison Ford’s Deckard character. They call it a miracle. Factions want the baby so they fight to get to it her him. See waht I mean? A little out there.

My favorite scenes were the naked women statues in the Las Vegas Ruins. It was like Rome trying to look like Rome and falling like Rome. After the shootings last week, it’s almost chilling to think about. How fragile we are.

It was alright. I won’t be recommending it. Still, I know the fan base (like myself) will go so I don’t feel bad. I’ll be on Talking Stars next week discussing the fim on a panel. Not sure how much I may warm up to the film, though it has happened before. This is a long movie that only the very curious will be able to tolerate. Fortunately for the “franchise” (2 movies 35 years apart) Andriods do dream of electric sheep.


Lady Macbeth

In this gothic, barbaric tale, there are themes of female victimization, male attempts to suppress women, and unrepressed rebellion.

R | 1h 29min | Drama | 14 July 2017 (USA)

In 19th-century rural England, a young bride who has been sold into marriage discovers an unstoppable desire within herself as she enters into an affair with a worker on her estate.
Director: William Oldroyd
Writers: Nikolai Leskov (based on Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk), Alice Birch
Stars: Florence Pugh, Cosmo Jarvis, Paul Hilton

The woman is the thing in this one. I loved her audaciousness and almost animal survival techniques in a stodgy English arranged marriage. I couldn’t help but think about just how bad women had it back then. In this case, she was sold into marriage with a man who didn’t love her. Florence Pugh is the actresses name and I was amazed watching her performance in this. It was electrifying.

The director is William Oldroyd. I don’t recognize any of his titles. This may be why this film is so banal and raw, and all the while, successfully so. Perhaps he hasn’t succumbed to the trappings or ordinary Hollywood treatments. He has made a unique period piece here.

The actors are all new names. I have to repeat that Lady Macbeth was completely shocking and alluring. You’ve never seen a 19-century rural wife behave this way and it’s glorious.

I recommend this to fans of the genre. It isn’t a “feel good” film like Pride and Prejudice but romance fans will be happy with it on one level. It is a very dark film but I found the ending wholly satisfying. I can’t think of any way to improve this film, it’s a perfect and complete message to its viewers, storytelling at its highest.


The Bad Batch

I liked the way this one got right to the violence. It adds to the story and makes the film a powerful piece.

R | 1h 58min | Drama, Horror, Romance | 23 June 2017 (USA)
A love story set in a community of cannibals in a future dystopia. In a desert wasteland in Texas, a muscled cannibal breaks one important rule: don’t play with your food.
Director: Ana Lily Amirpour
Writer: Ana Lily Amirpour
Stars: Suki Waterhouse, Jason Momoa, Jayda Fink

The avant garde director here is Ana Lily Amirpour. You may have seen A Girl Walks Home at Night which was also her. She takes risks and causes the viewer to go on a journey. This is always a great thing for a director to do. This film is not made according to norms. It’s a film that breaks just about every rule for a movie of its subject and type. Amirpour has achieved much with this film. It’s worth seeing and I recommend it wholeheartedly to you. Last I looked it was streaming on Netflix, if you have that.

The acting caliber shocked me. This film looked in the ads to be a small scale, risky, violent film but I was wrong. It has the talent on board to do some mainstream damage. I’m speaking of Suki Waterhouse, Jason Momoa, Jayda Fink, and Jim Carrey (yes I said Jim Carrey).

Empowerment films like this are so much fun to watch. I won’t spoil the plot but rather encourage you to see it and then leave me a comment. I’d love to start a dialog on this film there. Some scenes were a little long and felt unnecessary but all of it worked to the over goal of making a brutal place into a love story.

The desert wasteland/apocalypse alone is worth going to see but the story is awesome too.


A Walk in the Woods

The comedy was refreshing, quick, and in respect to the book. One reviewer said it was like Grumpy old Men.

R | 1h 44min | Adventure, Biography, Comedy | 2 September 2015 (USA)
After spending two decades in England, Bill Bryson returns to the U.S., where he decides the best way to connect with his homeland is to hike the Appalachian Trail with one of his oldest friends.
Director: Ken Kwapis
Writers: Michael Arndt (screenplay) (as Rick Kerb), Bill Holderman (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Stars: Robert Redford, Nick Nolte, Emma Thompson

I’m glad I waited a day to review this. When I saw it, my sides hurt from laughing and I loved it. Now, I loved it even more. The comedy was refreshing, quick, and in respect to the book. One reviewer said it was like Grumpy old Men. And that’s a bad thing? It worked on so many levels. After reading some bad reviews, I decided I still wanted to see it because I greatly admire Robert Redford as well as the novels author Bill Bryson. It didn’t matter to me that Bryson was 40 in the novel and Redford was 78. The humor and angst against society is the same.

The bestselling book is written as a diary of Bill Bryson hiking the Appalachian Trail with his friend from his younger days, Katz who is played by Nick Nolte. Katz is an alcoholic who seems like he took too many doses of LSD in the 60’s. He’s also hilarious as he tells profane stories of how he used to “chase pussy.” His character is a riot in the book as well as the movie and the critics who say otherwise need to chase more … Well, you hear my point. I won’t get into the plot because truly, there is none. Only daily diary snippets set to some amazing nature cinematography. You really do experience the trail. What you learn is that sometimes you have to go away to really come home. It makes me want to get on the phone and do something with my lifelong friend Eric. It has the message of contacting friends and doing what you can even when the whole thing isn’t comfortable. Putting friends first will lead you home. Thanks Mr. Redford and Bryson for an excellent book and film. 9/10 stars from me. The critics are wrong about this gem.


The 3 lead actors track a killer in this true crime drama.

Zodiac (2007)
R | 2h 37min | Crime, Drama, History | 2 March 2007 (USA)
In the late 1960s/early 1970s, a San Francisco cartoonist becomes an amateur detective obsessed with tracking down the Zodiac Killer, an unidentified individual who terrorizes Northern California with a killing spree.
Director: David Fincher
Writers: James Vanderbilt (screenplay), Robert Graysmith (book)
Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal, Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo

Director David Fincher has directed some truly great thriller stuff in his time. He did Se7en with Brad Pitt and organ Freeman as well as Panic Room and Fight Club. In between those you have other great films. How does he do it?

The actors in this film really make it special. You have Jake Gyllenhaal, Robert Downey Jr., & Mark Ruffalo. Regardless of plot, and this one is good, you should see the film for these three.

I love films about killers. It’s like a mystery genre. You put the pieces together and get the guy arrested. Sometimes it takes months and years but you hope for that resolution. There lies the problem for me. This killer was never caught. For that reason, I find the movies a little unsatisfying. It’s still worth seeing for historical reasons. The guy is a real evil asshole whoever he really was. As an aside, I hope the Snowman killer coming to theaters soon gets caught. Fingers crossed.


The Lady in the Van (2015)

This film is based on a true story. Once again, a movie presents vans in culture. Specifically, a van in British culture about 15 years ago and a lady that lived in it.


The Lady in the Van

Maggie Smith, Alex Jennings, Jim Broadbent

Directed by

Nicholas Hytner

Written by

Alan Bennett

Other Info

Biography, Comedy, Drama
Rated PG-13
1h 44min

The dilapidated van was owned by Mary Shepherd, a scraggly old homeless woman who lived in it for 15 years on Alan Bennett: playwriter’s, driveway. Bennett wrote about the experience in a play and it won numerous stage awards. In fact, Maggie Smith, known for being in the Harry Potter films and a billion others, played the role of Shepherd which earned her a Best Actress nomination at the 2000 Olivier Awards; and in the 2009 BBC Radio 4 adaptation. What’s more, Jennings wrote the book & the film. It’s the content of this heartwarming film, along with Maggie Smith’s acting, that makes a pleasant watch. It gets you thinking about all sorts of things worth talking about.

What if you had no one and you were entirely alone in the world? How would you view families playing together and people going to work talking negotiations etc. Alan Bennett write plays about lonely people but he meets the ultimate muse when he meets Mary Shepherd. Through a course of events at the beginning of the story, he begrudgingly allows her to park her van, which is her home, on his driveway. This causes him troubles he hadn’t accounted for but he lets her stay for 15 years. In a very unwittingly way, they are both kept company and they both see the other, thereby not making them as lonely as some.


Mary has an interesting story of how she came to be homeless. I won’t spoil it but suffice it to say, she feel as if she can never re-enter society. In the time she spends on Jennings’ driveway, he hears many of her stories and finds her a better choice than his own mundane, non-adventurous life for writing content. That’s why he lets her stay. They have experiences and the characters are developed more than adequately.


In the end we learn that Shepherd had been a nun and a decorated pianist in previous years. It’s amazing that Jenning’s never knew that until the end. To conclude, Maggie Smith is well grounded in this character and she is entrancing to watch. She’s plays the character as if it were herself. I also liked Jennings’ performance. I didn’t like the way that had his inner dialog with himself, a “clone” who comes in and out of scenes. I would have rather seen something like him writing and having his words speak. At any rate, the film did very well so don’t let my criticism take away. I highly recommend this for British viewers who know the play as well as for American fans of Maggie Smith and British culture.