“Spirits, What Have You to Say?”: I watch “Ouija: Origin of Evil”

If you're interested in present-day portrayals of Vatican II-era Catholicism, it's pretty fascinating. If you're interested in haunted Ouija boards, not so much: I watched Ouija: Origin of Evil last night, and it was a pretty good flick. But I’m still a little confused about the Ouija board’s motivation.I watched the movie because of this article about Blumhouse, a horror-centered production company making “nuanced dramas about families, class, and morality — but instead of divorce or dysfun … [Read more...]

The Long Halloween: Some quick movie reviews

The House at the End of Time: Twisty Venezuelan family/haunted-house horror about an older woman coming out of prison and sorting through what happened on the fateful night when her husband died and her son disappeared. A compassionate priest assigned to visit her (she's sort of in house arrest in the haunted house) helps her unravel the mystery--and the final twist about the priest's own history is genuinely moving. This is an emotionally-sincere, spooky film, and its climax is an extended … [Read more...]

“Escape from Detroit”: I watch “Don’t Breathe”

for AmCon, and end up ranting about the sacred Victim, obviously: Don’t Breathe, the new horror flick from director Fede Alvarez, opens with the flapping of wings and far-off sirens. Dawn is breaking on a deserted street, which we slowly approach from the sky. A man is dragging a blonde body through a city where everyone else seems to have vanished. more (also apparently I badly misremembered Wait Until Dark so apologies for that...) … [Read more...]

A Long Summer: Movie notes

In the order I saw them. Saving the best for last.Hush: Home-invasion horror centering on a deaf woman. This is very suspenseful--really effective--and I loved that three of the four characters were noticeably, extremely quick-witted and resourceful. Absolutely worth watching if this is the sort of thing you like. Quite bloody. The ending has some degree of ambiguity; I'm choosing the grimmer interpretation because I think the movie has already given you plenty of reasons to consider even … [Read more...]

The Only Song in the World: Short movie notes

In order of when I saw them, so this will get whiplashy.Me Without You: Brutally disappointing. The bait: Two girls forge a best friendship (YES) in the late '70s/early '80s (YES) complete with druggie punk adventures (YES!) and talking about finding their "soulmate" while using their feet to share a cigarette (YES!!!!). One of them is even Jewish!!The switch: Joke's on you, gen-X lesbian, their friendship is holding them back and it falls apart in the face of the obvious imperatives of … [Read more...]

The Cathedral-Builders: Movie notes

In chronological order of when I saw them. The cathedrals are toward the end.Vic and Flo Saw a Bear: Formally-daring suspense flick about a lesbian returning home from prison; and yet somehow this didn't grab me. Victor Morton loved it and argues that it is, in a subtle way, about patriarchy. I can see that, and the subtlety of that is really powerful: The "main villain" is not a man, but men lurk on the edges of the narrative, wielding power. To me the film often lacked tension and I didn't … [Read more...]

Laughing for No Reason: Some short movie notes

Under the Shadow: Iranian horror set during the Iran-Iraq War. The movie opens with Shideh (Narges Rashidi) being told, by a man sitting under a portrait of the Ayatollah Khomeini, that she won't be able to continue her medical studies because of her political activities. She goes home to an apartment building where the windows are crisscrossed with masking tape in case bombing raids shatter the glass. She fights with her husband about whether she's unsupportive, taking the disappointment too … [Read more...]