Tag Archives: movie reviews

The Disquieting Guest: On “As Above, As Below” (2014) and Theatrical Horror in 2014

30 Dec as above so below international poster

I didn’t get the chance to read as many books or watch as many films as I would like this year, and so any ruminations on my part about what might or might not constitute the best of the year should be taken with a Dead Sea’s worth of salt.

My impression is that by and large, this has not been a stellar year for horror movies in the theatres. The box office returns tend to confirm that perception, which leads to Scott Mendelson’s gloomy appraisal of the situation here. But what needs to be factored in, regarding horror’s relatively poor showing in terms of numbers, is how few of this year’s films are actually any good. Compounding the problem is the fact that the two recent movies receiving the most glowing acclaim — Ana Lily Amirpour’s A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night and Jennifer Kent’s The Babadook — have received criminally minimal distribution. Last I heard, The Babadook, which by all accounts is absolutely terrifying and would be leading my Best-Of list had I been able to see it, has only played in a single theatre in all of Canada. I hope to catch both of these films in 2015, but as I have yet to see them, I can’t say anything else about them in the context of this column other than express my anticipation. And here, have a trailer. Continue reading

#28. Interstellar (2014) — A Shoot the WISB Subcast

22 Nov

Black holes, space love, and robot buddies, oh my! Shaun, Rachael, Mike, and Paul join forces to tackle the much-discussed Christopher Nolan space epic, Interstellar (2014).  From the plot to the science to the timey wimey ending, we cover it all!

We hope you enjoy the episode!

Spoiler Alert:  the following podcast contains spoilers for the film being reviewed; if you wish to see the film without having it ruined for you, download this podcast and save it for later.

Interstellar (2014)

Download the episode here.

Show notes (info about our contributors can be found on the about page):

Comment away!

Movie Review: David Cronenberg’s eXistenZ (1999) — #monthofjoy

20 Nov eXistenZ

The movie opens with the Ninth Doctor (Christopher Eccleston) writing a title on a chalkboard: “eXistenZ. Written like this. One word. Small e. capital X, capital Z.”  A virtual reality game, led by the designer itself, goes violent and wrong. As she and her companion flee assassins and death, their exploration within the game itself soon blurs the lines between game and reality. Continue reading

Diversity in SF Film: The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)

15 Oct The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)

I thought I’d seen this film before, but apparently not. For a film made in the early ’50s — the era when post WW2 women were told to return to their “feminine roles” — it’s pretty inclusive. From the beginning, we see PoCs as part of the world’s population — even as part of the American population. They may not always have lines, and they may not be a big part of the action, but they exist in the background. Watch an American film today and you’ll see exactly what I mean. Not only do non-model-worthy people not exist, but neither do PoCs. Mind you, the British newscasters say things like “Throughout the Empire and the rest of the world,” and we see shots of these colonials in their colonial-ness — but hey, they EXIST. Wooo. Continue reading

217. The Happening (2008) — A Torture Cinema “Adventure”

20 Aug

Trees, wind, and Marky Mark, oh my!  You picked it, and here we are talking about one of the worst horror films ever made — assuming, of course, we can classify it as horror.  Hell, it’s probably a better idea to call it a science comedy.  Or anti-science comedy.  Or just a crappy film.  You decide.

We hope you enjoy the episode!

Note:  If you have iTunes and like this show, please give us a review on our iTunes page, or feel free to email us with your thoughts about the show!

Here’s the episode (show notes are below):

Episode 217 — Download (MP3)

The Happening (2008)

Show Notes:

Our new intro music is “Time Flux” by Revolution Void (CC BY 3.0).  Additional music from “Cool Vibes” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0.

That’s all, folks!  Thanks for listening.  See you next week.

Welcome to Planet Freyja

17 Aug Lucy (2014)

Soooo…. I’m moving all my film and television posts to this site. Because… well… this column has long needed a theme and has suffered for it. I have a difficult enough time thinking of random interesting things to say about stuff for my own blog. I do best when I’ve a central theme to work with. So… Feminism, Science Fiction, and Fantasy Media it is. I don’t feel comfortable discussing fiction because I’m an author, and that brings up conflict of interest issues at once. Films and television? I can talk about those and feel relatively comfortable. So, that’s what I’ll do. I want to go all the way back to some classic films that maybe y’all haven’t seen or thought about in a while. I also want to talk about recent films as well. Hopefully, it’ll be interesting. The ‘title’ is a riff off of a Bloom County cartoon. I like that Freyja is a goddess of love and war which warps the original sexist concept into a nice knot. That said, here goes…

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First, I’ve a post about Starz’s Outlander series here. Starz has made the first episode available for free for a short time. So far, they’ve done a great job of adapting the novel. I recommend seeing it. One thing I will say about it that I did not on my blog (at least not on that post) is that I very much like that Claire is of the 1940s. She’s not a woman of the 2000s stuffed in a 1940s world. I also very much like that Jamie isn’t a man of the 2000s stuffed in the 1700s. Gabaldon did her research from what I can tell, and she doesn’t pull punches in Outlander. I hate it when authors decide to rewrite history in order to make it more palatable. At the same exact time I hate it when history is used to say that previous to 1960, all men were sexist barbarian assholes (thank you HBO’s A Game of Thrones). Although some would argue the point with me, I always felt like Diana Gabaldon did a good job of walking that line. I give the first episode five out of five stars. Continue reading

211. Yor, the Hunter from the Future (1983) — A Torture Cinema “Adventure”

2 Aug

Dinosaur wrestling, wife-swapping, and lasers, oh my!  Through an extraordinary feat of bribery, Shaun, Julia, Paul, and David tackle the 1983 Academy Award-snubbed classic, Yor, the Hunter from the Future.  This one is for John Stevens, who has nothing better to do than to make us watch ridiculous movies released the same year Shaun was born.

We hope you enjoy the episode!

Note:  If you have iTunes and like this show, please give us a review on our iTunes page, or feel free to email us with your thoughts about the show!

Here’s the episode (show notes are below):

Episode 211 — Download (MP3)

Yor, the Hunter from the Future (1983)

Show Notes:

You can also support this podcast by signing up for a one month free trial at Audible.  Doing so helps us, gives you a change to try out Audible’s service, and brings joy to everyone.

Our new intro music is “Time Flux” by Revolution Void (CC BY 3.0).  Additional music Kevin MacLeod’s (incompetech.com) “The Builder” licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 and from “Yor’s World” by Guido and Maurizio De Angeles under fair use rules.

That’s all, folks!  Thanks for listening.  See you next week.

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