Batman: The Killing Joke Review 

     Here’s the Batman story that I never thought I would see as a film, much less an animated one. The Killing Joke has been cited as one of the most influential comics ever written. All it takes is one bad day…

     Barbara Gordon aka Batgirl (Tara Strong) has been fighting crime for over three years and has come into her own during that time. One night while her father Jim Gordon (Ray Wise) over, the Joker (Mark Hamil) shoots Barbara in the stomach, and other things. He is out to prove to Batman (Kevin Conroy) that all it takes is one bad day, just one, to make a person go insane. 

     Look, there’s a lot of really dark shit in this movie, owning up to the spirit of the comic. Yes, you even get the Joker’s origin story (well, one of them), the unspeakable mental torture of Jim Gordon, and that disputed resolution. It’s all here. 

     I just noticed that I haven’t said if I liked the film. Weird. Short answer is yes I do. The plot of the film is just really unsavory, as it fucking should be. Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamil are fucking pros at this by now. This oddly enough adds to the dynamic of these two men pushing each other to limits. I grew up with these two men as Batman and the Joker respectfully, and it doesn’t get old seeing these two spar. 

     After watching the movie, and before writing this, I thought about Batman v. Superman and this movie with regards to how both present dark themes into their stories, but The Killing Joke actually has the guts to actually explore those themes in just half the running time. It can be brutal to sit through, but it does make you look into fragile state of the human mind.

     Also, the movie starts with a prologue about Batgirl that I felt was unnecessary, but I understood why it was placed there. I think there’s enough people in the world who know who Batgirl is, and you’re a real piece of shit if you show this to little kids (flick is R rated for a god damn reason). I did like the mid credit scene. That was a nice touch. 

     Once again, D.C. Animated just easily succeeds where the live action counterparts fail. I like this character driven superhero stuff. There should be more of it, don’t you think?

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Stranger Things Season One Review 

     There is no greater joy for a film and television lover when you discover something that is exactly what you’ve been looking for; like finally being able to scratch that itch that’s been fucking with you for months. Netflix’s new series, Stranger Things is that scratcher that renewed my faith in just compelling storytelling. 

     Will Byers (Noah Schnapps) has gone missing. The last people to see him were his friends Mike (Finn Woodhard), Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin), and Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) while his mother Joyce (Winona Rider) frantically starts to look for him with the help of the local sheriff  (David Harbour). But with the sudden appearance of a mysterious girl (Millie Bobby Brown), there seem to be stranger things happening. 

     The whole show is like a clusterfuck of nostalgia for someone who grew up watching 80s movies and tv shows. As soon as the first episode started I immediately thought E.T., but when the opening credits started I could have fucking swore that this show was created in the 80s. The care and thought that was put into recreating that retro feel is nothing short of astonishing. 

     But all that means jackshit if the show fucking sucked, but it doesn’t. The mystery of the show is too good of a set up, and the entire cast just fucking excel at bringing a real feeling of depth to their characters. All of the characters, especially the sheriff, have a lot of shit that they’re trying to come to terms with. And like any good story should be able to do, pays off in devastating ways. 

     We live in an age where Hollywood studios are trying their best to monetize our need for nostalgic fare with big budget reboots of old films and tv shows, here is a series that manages to get the feel of an 80s story with, hold on for this shit, with an original fucking story. Shit, Stranger Things is better than any movie playing in theaters now. Didn’t even have to leave the damn house. 

      

Hush (2016) Review 

     I fucking love a good cat and mouse movie. Where someone is being stalked and tormented by some crazy mother fucker. It’s why I love the Halloween flicks so damn much. I do have to own up to the fact that most of these types of flicks suck because they’re just plain lazy. 

     Hush is by far one of the best films of its ilk, but also of the year. 

     Maddy (Kate Siegel) is a writer who has retreated to the woods to write her next opus, with many of her friends and family members checking up on her because she’s deaf. Soon enough some guy (John Gallagher Jr.) starts to terrorize her because reasons. Then the games begin. 
     Holy shit, this movie is so good. Like so damn good. The director Mike Flanagan is a fucking master of his craft. The guy knows how to build tension, craft suspense, and even get great performances out of his cast. The level of expertise here is on par with the original Halloween. And like Flanagan’s previous film, Oculus, I was actually vocal when some sad shit went down. 

     A horror movie that made me care if people lived or died? The fuck out of here with that (but its true).

     Kate Siegel is one of my favorite actresses now. It can be so easy to take a character such as Maddy and use her deafness as a cheap ploy to evoke sympathy, but lord no. She is a smart, resourceful, strong woman who will stop at nothing to survive. Even though the set up to her character is brief, but so effective that I rooted the entire time for her. I actually became invested. 

     I can’t recommend this movie enough, which can be found on Netflix in America, and Halloween is three short months away, so you have a good movie to watch. But see it now. Don’t be an asshole and just see it. It’ll be good for the soul. 

An Interpretation of Lost Highway 

     When it comes to David Lynch, most folks discuss Twin Peaks or Mulholland Drive (assholes discuss Dune), but I always had an affectation for Lost Highway, mostly because it was pretty much the first Lynch film I saw. And goddam, was it a hell of a flick to pick out. 

     A David Lynch film doesn’t give a shit if it makes sense or not, it’s mostly meant to evoke some sort of emotional response. 

Mine was confusion. And frustration. 

     The plot of the story is that Fred (Bill Pullman) suspects his wife, Reneè (Patricia Arquette) is cheating on him, while someone keeps recording them and sending the tapes. Well, in a midst of confusion, Fred finds himself in bed with Reneè who has been brutally murdered. Fred is convicted of the crime, but in his cell he becomes Pete (Balthazar Getty) who is set free, and becomes embroiled in a love triangle with Mr. Eddy (Robert Loggia) and his girl, Alice (Patricia Arquette). Yeah, this shit turns into a different fucking movie. Oh yeah, and there’s this Mystery Man (Robert Blake) just going around being nightmare fuel. 

     Where the fuck do I start with this? How can anyone make sense of this? The key is in logic. 

Fuck logic. 

     The movie makes no sense logically and that was what had me at a stalemate. But Lynch said during some interview what had subconsciously influenced the movie: The OJ Simpson trial. 

     That it all clicked. 

     Throwing logic out the window (I cannot emphasize that enough), the movie is about a man who murdered his wife and his justification for doing so. 

     Reneè was cheating on Fred with Dick Laurent (Robert Loggia), he kills Dick first, Fred’s subconscious tells him he’s dead, then he kills Reneè. The transformation into Pete represents the need to take back control. Now he’s cheating, but its out of love. He has to rescue Alice/Reneè from Mr Eddy/Dick Laurent so they can be happy. 

     Then reality sets in (somewhat) and she rejects Pete/Fred, which causes Fred to kill her. The final chase on the lost highway has Fred turning into something. I’ve read that it’s supposed to be him dying in the electric chair, which if one accepts, then the whole movie is about a man who denies the heinous act he’s committed, but when he does, he is met with his karmic retribution. 

     Lost Highway is my favorite of David Lynch’s work because it’s so batshit crazy. It took me years to make some sort of sense out of this whole thing, and I still feel I haven’t. What’s so wonderful about the movie is that there is no right or wrong way to view it. It leaves you to make your own conclusions about what the fuck you just saw. Trust me, you’ll see some horrific shit. 

     Whether you like the movie or not, you’ll never go through a cinematic experience like this, and this fucking movie will haunt you for the rest of your life. 

     

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Review 

     One of the few things I like about the summer movie season is the counter programming. While everyone else is going off to see whatever the fuck action movie that’s out, we get smaller fare like Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates. And with all the studio stuff out now, its a well deserved break. 

     Mike and Dave  (Zac Efron, Adam Devine) are the life of the party until they destroy it. Literally. Because their little sister is getting married, the guys need to bring good girls that will keep them inline. What they actually get is Tatiana and Alice (Aubrey Plaza, Anna Kendrick) who may just cause enough mischief to give Mike and Dave a run for their money. 

     I’ve mentioned countless times jow difficult it is to review a comedy since a decent person doesn’t want to spoil the best gags. Thankfully the trailers don’t do that shit either, so you’re good on that front. When it comes to comedies, the important thing is the chemistry between the actors, and here it works. 

     Zac Efron is the biggest surprise for me in how he’s constantly improving as a comedic actor; he’s more relax, more confident in that he doesn’t need to steal the spotlight. Speaking of stealing the spotlight, Adam Devine and Aubrey Plaza seems to be having a pissing contest on who outdoes the other, and that shit is hilarious. Sometimes you wonder how filthy these two can get. Basically, Efron and Anna Kendrick are the straight laced characters, and they are more than satisfactory in their parts. 

     What I noticed the most about Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates is how as a comedy, it manages to mix two distinct style fairly well, the slapstick and dialogue  based humor. I like to think of the film as an all inclusive comedy. If you’re a fan of the style of humor, or better yet, the actors than you’ll have a good time seeing this.