Steaming Coal – Day of the Dead: Bloodline (7/5/2018)

I refuse to call this Streaming Gems…. From now on if the movie is unsatisfactory it’ll be put under Steaming Coal (because no-one wants these flicks… they are utter $#!^.. Thanks Obama.

Day of the Dead: Bloodline

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Day of the Dead: Bloodline (2018) –  Is this a good movie? No. Is this better than it’s original from 1985 by George Romero? HELL NO.  This is a better flick than the 2008 “Day of the Dead” which had nothing to do with the original… but I digress..

This movie attempts to follow a similar story arc of its George Romero predecessor that focuses on the scientific response to a zombie outbreak; is there a cure? Is it ethical to test on zombies? Can zombies evolve (edit — no they shouldn’t.. This single-handedly ruined the dead/Romero series) Will our race for scientific advancement be our undoing?

Day Of The Dead Jonathan Schaech

The acting is bad (like SyFy channel direct-to-tv bad), yet it is not bad enough to feel like laughable camp horror.  The effects are par for the course for a low budget horror flick; blood and guts abound but nothing revolutionary that they weren’t doing 20-30 years ago.  

I think the worst part about this movie though is the laziness in the writing. The antagonist, Max (played by Johnathon Schaech) is a partially zombified man who seems to be the only zombie in the world with any sort of resistance to the disease, and it just so conveniently happens to be that he was a stalker and would-be-rapist of our protagonist, Zoe (Sophie Skelton), the med-student in distress who thinks she has enough schooling to create a cure.  Schaech did what he could with the poorly developed roll and cliches of his character, his facial acting was the only saving grace of this unfortunate role.

I really only recommend this movie if you are a BIG zombie/undead fan or are REALLY bored.

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It managed to hold my attention for the 90-minute runtime, but any longer and I don’t know if I would have made it..

Currently available on Netflix (as of  7/5/2018)

Day of the Dead: Bloodline – 3/10

Streaming Gems – Cargo

Cargo

Martin Freeman in Cargo (2017)

Cargo (2017) is based on the short film of the same name, which blew me away when I first viewed it upon its release.  The second I saw a feature-length film was being developed off of the short I was excited and nervous at the same time.  So little backstory is known from our characters in the short that I was worried about where the film would go. When I discovered the directors of the short would be reprising their roles as well, I was elated to see how they would elaborate.

This film takes its time to build tension and introduce different characters and their various ways of surviving the zombie outbreak.  The contrast between the lengths humans go through to survive is both telling and frightful in itself. This film hits on the old cliche that “the monsters within us are nothing compared to the walking dead”, but it doesn’t feel overly forced.

This is a fresh addition to the zombie genre and filled with brains. The writing is sharp and the acting on point. This is not a run-n-gun zombie flick, but a cerebral slow-burn of possibilities and film-making execution.

Currently available on Netflix (as of 7/3/2018)

Cargo – 7/10

Flashback Flicks – Guess Who

Flashback Flicks is when we feature a movie made a decade or more ago.  We try to focus on movies that are available through a streaming service or somewhere easily online, that way you can join in on the fun! Have you seen the movie before? Sound off and let us know what you think.

Guess Who

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Guess Who (2005) starring Ashton Kutcher (That 70’s Show, Butterfly Effect), an early-career Zoe Saldana (Guardians of the Galaxy, Avatar), and the late Bernie Mac (The Bernie Mac Show, Oceans Eleven).  Is a fun rom-com about a loveable Kutcher trying to win over the over-bearing father-in-law, played by Mac.   The movie has some shining and endearing moments that make you frustrated to love the characters of this movie.

I feel that the homophobia displayed by Mac’s character and the interracial prejudice in the NY/NJ setting may not hold up as well in 2018 and can make the viewer suspend disbelief (side note – these observations are coming from a point of privilege for this writer.. and maybe I exist in a fish-bowl, but it’s hard to picture many people like this).  Dated views aside, the laughs are light enough and ubiquitous throughout to prevent it from hurting the film too much.

The plot is nothing revolutionary, but this is a fun movie.   It’s not receiving a higher score because it follows the rom-com formula too predictably and has some content that doesn’t feel to hold up as well over time.  However, that doesn’t stop it from achieving its goal of making the audience laugh.  Check it out, and let us know if you agree or not!

Currently available to stream on Netflix (as of 6/11/2018)

Guess Who – 6/10

Streaming Gems (6/8/2018)

Here’s a quick list of some gems on streaming services you may not have seen yet. We are not listing some of the obvious culprits that everyone already knows. These are all available as of this writing on 6/8/2018.

(In no particular order)

Netflix

Netflix

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The Gift (2015 – full-fledged review coming soon!) – A taut, suspenseful thriller that peels back the storyline one layer at a time.  While not revolutionary, it plays the cat-and-mouse game eerily well and makes you question if any of us are ever “mice” in the first place.

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Martian Child (2007) – A heartfelt tearjerker about how we define acceptance and family.  John Cusack does a great job in this flick about a widowed sci-fi writer who takes in an eclectic 6-year-old who believes he is from Mars.

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Creep (2014) / Creep 2 (2017) – These are two of my favorite movies in recent years and I can’t say enough about them.  Patrick Brice and Mark Duplass wrote and co-star in the first, with Brice taking the directorial spot (he also did the weird and capturing The Overnight.)  Brice seems to have perfect the eeriness, making the viewer truly feel creeped without relying on gore, nudity or mindless violence.  Everything they do is on point to create a tense, uneasy killer series that keeps you wanting more, lets hope we get what we want and see Creep 3.

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The Overnight (2015) – We couldn’t mention this in the description of Creep and not throw it on our list.  This movie came to us with little fanfare or expectations, and wow were we surprised.   A comedy, with the suspense and unease of a thriller, The Overnight will have you squirming and laughing throughout.

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Train to Busan (2016) – Are zombie films having a small comeback? The last 4 years has seen some stellar foreign and low budget zombie flicks (one is mentioned later on in this article even…) Train to Busan is one of the harder-hitting and more action-packed of the brain-munching offerings.

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Goon (2011) – Whether Stiffler (American Pie) or Chester Greenberg (Dude Where’s My Car?), Sean William Scott plays a great loveable idiot.  In Goon, he takes this role on with a hockey edge, which comes with everything you’d expect.  Fast shots, brawls, and quick one-liners.  This is a fun comedy that spawned a sequel (we can’t vouch for that yet.. maybe we’ll watch it soon) and not a ton of people have given it a chance.

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Skin Wars (TV) (2014) – We are ALL about a bad reality show contest filled with out of this world characters. Season 1 of Skin Wars delivers just that (the seasons go a little downhill with each subsequent year).  RuPaul is one of the many judges on this body art competition filled with beautiful work and laughable dialogue.  This is one of those shows we love to hate and hate that we love.

hulu

Hulu

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Misfits (TV) –  Okay, maybe its just the first season or two that are actually good, but they are so good.  A British show about a juvenile corrections community service group that has an accident and gains superpowers.  This is not a family-friendly show, and the antics the characters get into are a blast and they certainly earn the series title.

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Great Foodtruck Race (TV) –  Another entry for the low-hanging fruit that is reality tv, but who doesn’t love food? More-so, who doesn’t love food trucks?  The biggest issue with this series is that later seasons are really short and its hard to grow any sense of favorites or participant connection.

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Behind the Mask (TV) – A heartwarming documentary series about mascots at different levels and points in their careers.  In no relation to the Netflix series, mascots.

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28 Weeks Later – One of my favorite zombie (yes zombie, don’t start with that “they’re infected with a rage virus, not zombies b.s.) movies.  A much bigger budget than the first (28 Days Later), this one packs the punches and really keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout. You don’t HAVE to see the first to follow this one either, so dive right in!

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Amazon Video 

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The Girl With All The Gifts – This pulled me in just from the imagery of the muzzle alone. I immediately thought of Fido and hoped for another good film with a unique approach to the undead.  I got what I was hoping for, and then some.  This is not a zombie flick filled with action or even that much gore, but the character development, the post-apocalyptic world, and characters are all worth checking out.

Deadpool 2 – Not Quite Getting There

I really enjoyed the first Deadpool flick and gave it an 8/10 after two viewings of it.  The action was great and the tongue in cheek humor really helped to make it stand out. I have always been fascinated with metafiction and its application in comics and had been writing one myself so when Deadpool came out I was hooked on that style of humor.  Alan Moore also toyed with the meta in a lot of his work (Watchmen, Promethea, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen). The style just fit.

What I’m about to say is really contradictory… but Deadpool 2 relies too much on the style of the first and it’s strengths to hook me in enough to care.  Cool visuals, great action/gore and hilarious yet cheap metafictional pops aside, this sequel is far from perfect in many ways.

Spoilers from here on out — if you haven’t seen it jump to the end of this review to see the final score.

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Ryan Reynolds snark is on point when it needs to be, but any attempt at seriousness (the death of Vanessa – DP’s girlfriend) falls flat.  The X-force (Deadpools team of discount-store mutants) felt rushed together and the characters like Cable and Domino (no relation to the kick-ass Keira Knightly flick from 2005) had little to no backstory presented.   It felt pretty obvious that a Cable or X-force movie may be in the works, and that’s the biggest takeaway of importance I left the theatre with. While an X-Force movie has been cited as “in the works”, the cast is still up the air as half of the team didn’t make it out of Deadpool 2 alive.

Cable never felt like a threat due to his short and lackluster introduction and backstory, I’m not sure if Yukio ever showcased her abilities (turns out she did, and it was so fast I missed it in my first viewing), and the casting of Terry Crews and cameo of Ben Affleck (as well as the short-lived feature of Shatterstar) felt like such a waste.  I grew to appreciate Domino’s “luck” ability by the end and appreciated the cinematography used in the scenes where we saw her power at work. Russell “Firefist” was also one of the shining parts of the film, as Julian Denison (Hunt For the Wilderpeople) did a great job portraying the hurt and angst his character endured at the hands of those who tortured him.

While the two new characters of Domino and Firefist hit their strides, the rest of the supporting characters fell flat with a lack of direction. The action was great, but the writing was not there to get me to actually care about the characters or what may happen in the next film.  I’m hoping Deadpool 3 or X-Force can put some actual emotional connection and appeal into Wade Wilson again, as the Merc with a mouth has great cinematic potential still to be tapped and there is still time to right the ship. This can be so much more than a cheap-superhero cash in…

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TLDR: Action, fun, and laughs are here. Substance, a story with consequences, characters you actually care about? Not so much. Maybe I was expecting more because my last superhero experience was the impeccable Black Panther, but Deadpool 2 didn’t quite get the job done for me.

Deadpool 2 – 6.5/10

 

Do you agree? Are we big idiots? What should we review next? Let us know in the comments or share this on social media with your friends!

Till next time!

Talkies and Jabberwocky

Talkies and Jabberwocky

Welcome to Talkies and Jabberwocky.

T&J is here to help you make the most informed and best decisions about how you spend your valuable screen-time.  From new movies to the flashback-film feature series, T&J will help you find what you were looking for, as well as something you never even knew you wanted.  Reviews are based on merit and technique but the writers are also fine with taking off their Oscar Judge’s robes and enjoying a few crude jokes or gratuitous action.   This is a passion-project, no bribes accepted.

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Love, your neighborhood movie nerd

Talkies and Jabberwocky (T&J)