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  • Sock Monkey
    replied
    HOST (2020):

    Six friends who are self-isolating during the COVID-19 pandemic decide to invite a medium to their weekly Zoom call to help them perform a seance. When one of the friends decide to make up a story about a schoolmate that hung himself, they inadvertently summon a demonic presence.

    While this film was on my radar, I kept putting it off for a couple of reasons. First, I don't know if I need movies starting to drop COVID-19 in as plot points. We've all been dealing with the pandemic to some extent or another, but I don't necessarily want it to infiltrate my escapism, as well. The second was that the plot sounded awfully similar to Unfriended, the haunted Facebook movie from a few years ago. I quite liked Unfriended. It wasn't amazing but it was very watchable and had a good time with it. I just didn't know if I needed a second movie treading such similar ground. Obviously I pulled the trigger or I wouldn't be writing this review, but the two things that pushed it over the edge was that it actually has gotten pretty good reviews and it's runtime makes for a very minimal commitment by the viewer. And it's the runtime that helps the movie out the most.

    Clocking in at a scant 56 minutes, the movie easily clears the hurdle of most "found footage" films that this film's format emulates: how do the filmmakers pad out the first half of the film to hit that 90-minute running time and have it make sense that people would still be filming what is going on. The solution is usually a rather uneventful first 70 minutes followed by an intense final act. Since the film is less than an hour long, the movie slides through the introduction of the characters and the set-up rather easily, letting us get to know the characters a bit before the creepy goings-on begin. Unfortunately, due to the runtime there isn't a whole lot of character development beyond "this is the one that takes it seriously", "this is the character that is easily frightened", and "the one that thinks it's all a joke", but beyond only a few moments of attitude between the mostly female cast, the characters are all rather likable. Unlike Unfriended, you don't really want to see any of these people get hurt. And since the runtime is so short there's no subplots to muddy the waters. This is all about set-up building to payoff. Short and simple. But also unlike most found footage movies, this one doesn't hold back on the carnage.

    The demonic force that has been accidentally summoned has no qualms about unleashing its wrath. Some of the scare gags will give flashbacks to other found footage movies, mostly the first Paranormal Activity, but the scares are executed so well, that it was hard not to get sucked in, even though I knew exactly what the film was doing. I didn't love all of the jump scares as a couple were a little too obvious--it doubles up on one in short span that really sticks out like a sore thumb--but there are a couple of moments that really left me surprised.

    If found footage isn't your jam, this movie probably won't change your mind, but if you do like them, this is a little gem and a pretty nice way to spend an hour.

    Grade: B


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  • Sock Monkey
    replied
    Originally posted by mhatchett View Post
    Just saw the trailer for the New Dune Movie, I think it's set to be released this December, looks pretty Damn Good!
    I saw it as well and I'm quite interested in how this is going to turn out. Denis Villeneuve has definitely earned my trust. I haven't yet to see a film by him I haven't liked.

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  • mhatchett
    replied
    Just saw the trailer for the New Dune Movie, I think it's set to be released this December, looks pretty Damn Good!
    Last edited by mhatchett; 09-09-2020, 07:27 PM.

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  • Brian861
    replied
    Originally posted by Sock Monkey View Post
    The Leftovers does get a little esoteric and surreal at moments and my wife was a firm “nope”. She has to get lulled into genre elements a little more, especially sci-fi and dream logic stuff. What she liked about The Leftovers was mostly season one stuff and a good part of Season Two. The ending is Season Two and most of Season Three goes a little out there for her tastes. I liked it because it really swung for the fences each season in what it was trying to do and be.
    I thought that as well. As far as swinging for the fences.

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  • Sock Monkey
    replied
    The Leftovers does get a little esoteric and surreal at moments and my wife was a firm “nope”. She has to get lulled into genre elements a little more, especially sci-fi and dream logic stuff. What she liked about The Leftovers was mostly season one stuff and a good part of Season Two. The ending is Season Two and most of Season Three goes a little out there for her tastes. I liked it because it really swung for the fences each season in what it was trying to do and be.

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  • Brian861
    replied
    Originally posted by Sock Monkey View Post

    Terry O’Quinn is hugely underrated. I had no idea he was in Millennium. The only episode I remember is the one where the demons share stories about Frank Black. That show and The X-Files are both on my rewatch list.

    Glad to hear there’s another Leftovers fan out there. It’s gained some love over the years, but is still pretty divisive. That first season is drowning in grief and despair. My wife tapped out after the first episode of season three, but I thought that show wrapped up masterfully.

    As for WATCHMEN, it is the HBO series I’m talking about. It doesn’t quite hold up to the comic, but is masterfully executed nonetheless. I also didn’t hate the Snyder film, but it was more of a transcription of the comic versus a standalone movie. It was trying to be so faithful that it lost the heart of the piece.
    O'Quinn has a huge role in Millennium. Although the show was only 4 seasons, it's probably actually better than the X-Files. The Lone Gunman spin-off. Oof!

    My wife I and both watch the Leftovers all the way through. She did have to explain a bit of it to the slow kid .

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  • Sock Monkey
    replied
    Originally posted by Brian861 View Post
    I've tried to watch Lost several times and can't seem to stick with it. Maybe I should give it a more serious go. I'm a huge fan of Terry O'Quinn and loved his performance in Millennium. Dude's made a least a 1,000 appearances in TV, movies, etc. I'm currently rewatching the X-Files and find it still holds up pretty well. I missed a large portion of the show due to military service.

    I really enjoyed The Leftovers as well. Are you referring to the Watchman HBO series or the movie? I have yet to checkout the series.
    Terry O’Quinn is hugely underrated. I had no idea he was in Millennium. The only episode I remember is the one where the demons share stories about Frank Black. That show and The X-Files are both on my rewatch list.

    Glad to hear there’s another Leftovers fan out there. It’s gained some love over the years, but is still pretty divisive. That first season is drowning in grief and despair. My wife tapped out after the first episode of season three, but I thought that show wrapped up masterfully.

    As for WATCHMEN, it is the HBO series I’m talking about. It doesn’t quite hold up to the comic, but is masterfully executed nonetheless. I also didn’t hate the Snyder film, but it was more of a transcription of the comic versus a standalone movie. It was trying to be so faithful that it lost the heart of the piece.

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  • Brian861
    replied
    I've tried to watch Lost several times and can't seem to stick with it. Maybe I should give it a more serious go. I'm a huge fan of Terry O'Quinn and loved his performance in Millennium. Dude's made a least a 1,000 appearances in TV, movies, etc. I'm currently rewatching the X-Files and find it still holds up pretty well. I missed a large portion of the show due to military service.

    I really enjoyed The Leftovers as well. Are you referring to the Watchman HBO series or the movie? I have yet to checkout the series.

    Leave a comment:


  • Sock Monkey
    replied
    Not a movie, but since we don't have a General TV Show thread, I'd figured I'd throw it in here:

    Just finished a full series rewatch of LOST. This was one of my favorite shows during its original broadcast and while I've seen the first couple of seasons a few times, I've never gotten around to watching the whole thing again. Overall, I still loved the show, warts and all. I could go on and on about this show but I'll try to keep it short (and spoiler free).

    1. The show is definitely the strongest when focusing on the characters and allowing the mythology to be a background element that gives texture to the character arcs versus the characters being pushed by plot points.
    2. There is a clear division in the show. Seasons 1 through 3 represent the character-driven focus of the show while Seasons 4-6 are mainly plot driven. Even though the Season 3 finale is simply fantastic, there is a shift in narrative structure that tends to derail the show a bit.
    3. The biggest issue is the focus of the final season. I really wish that the mythology had stayed in the background a bit more instead of what we got. Also, I didn't need an attempt to clear up every mystery. Some things are better when they remain vague. The season wasn't as disappointing as I remembered, but still not my favorite.
    4. While there is a lot of wasted space in the final season due to the structure, I still really like the series finale. There is definitely some catharsis there for the viewer and while people poo-poo on it, I've made my piece with it. Still WAY better than the DEXTER series finale. That's gotta be the worst one in television history.
    5. "The Moth" is one of the best constructed episodes of a television show I've seen. Not only does it drive the main plot forward, but the main plot weaves through all the subplots in a realistic manner allowing the audience to check in on other characters AND move the overarching plots forward. Just a fantastic example of why the show worked as well as it did.

    So, still loved the show, just wished it stuck the landing a little better. The good news is that Damon Lindelof learned a lot from this show and gave us some fantastic television in THE LEFTOVERS (so, so good and every season so, so different) and WATCHMEN.

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  • Sock Monkey
    replied
    The Girl on the Third Floor:

    When I first saw the trailer for The Girl on the Third Floor I was intrigued, but skeptical. I love me some ghosts and haunted houses and curses from times past destroying the present, so this seemed in my wheelhouse, but I'm also wary of movies starring non-actors like singers or rappers or wrestlers/martial artists. This one starred CM Punk. So I was torn. Well, I decided to plop down and watch this bad boy yesterday and found it to be a mixed bag.

    The film centers around a husband and soon-to-be father deciding to renovate an old Victorian-style house in the suburbs in an attempt to mend his marriage which is on the rocks since he just narrowly avoided jail time for embezzlement. Once in the house, things soon begin to slide into familiar haunted house territory with marbles rolling across the floor from nowhere and weird fluids begin dripping out of the walls and electrical sockets. Then the mysterious Sarah shows up to seduce our lead and it's off to the races.

    First off, CM Punk isn't that bad. He has some natural charisma that helps, but it's obvious he isn't an actor and that does hurt the film in parts. What also hurts the film is a complete lack of nuance and natural build-up. Our lead is supposed to be battling to overcome his demons and become a good husband and father, but thirty seconds inside the house he's already started drinking when he's promised he'll stop. It also only takes a quick tour around the house and some flirting when he decides to jump in the sack with the lady who just showed up at his house. It's hard to sympathize with a guy whose shown no good redeeming qualities at all. The hero, even if fundamentally flawed, must at least make an effort to be good for his relapses into bad behavior to land with any emotion.

    Also, in the land of the unsubtle is the haunting aspect which tends to be of the goopy, oozing variety. The first task our lead has is to get rid of some rot in the wall, but as he digs deeper it goopy black slime. Like I'm no carpenter, but I wouldn't brush that off. Neither would I just wipe away the clear ooze leaking out of an electrical socket and just plug in my electric drill. It's these things that make the viewer question not the character, but the script.

    After 45 minutes of what feels like a supernatural Fatal Attraction story, the movie swerves and gives us something a little more interesting in the final half. Unfortunately, the script fails to decide on what is actually going on in the house. Is it demonic temptation or haunted ghosts that need to be laid to rest? I'm unsure. And I'm also unsure as to the ending as it doesn't make a whole lot of sense where these characters end up.

    There is some interesting choices here that could have amounted to something, if not original, a little more substantial.

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  • Sock Monkey
    replied
    Originally posted by dannyboy121070 View Post
    I started in on Sock Monkey's Shudder recommendations last night, and watched TERRIFIED. I'm not quite sure that I understood exactly what was going on, but there sure was enough creepy imagery to make it worth watching. Really well-done stuff. We also watched KNIVES OUT the other night, and while I did really enjoy it, I was expecting more of a whodunnit. In the end, it almost didn't matter who did it,
    Spoiler!
    Great cast and great acting saved this one.
    Glad you found something to enjoy in TERRIFIED. I agree that the narrative thread in the movie isn’t as strong as I’d like, but the set pieces are so solid that I can overlook it a little. A second viewing helped clarify a couple of plot points and it was easier to connect characters.

    i was on the same train with KNIVES OUT. I was expecting a classic whodunit. It was quite a bit of fun, though. Ana de Armas did a great job. I really liked her in BLADE RUNNER 2049 as well.

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  • dannyboy121070
    replied
    I started in on Sock Monkey's Shudder recommendations last night, and watched TERRIFIED. I'm not quite sure that I understood exactly what was going on, but there sure was enough creepy imagery to make it worth watching. Really well-done stuff. We also watched KNIVES OUT the other night, and while I did really enjoy it, I was expecting more of a whodunnit. In the end, it almost didn't matter who did it,
    Spoiler!
    Great cast and great acting saved this one.

    Leave a comment:


  • Dan Hocker
    replied
    Originally posted by Sock Monkey View Post

    I agree that neither are bad, but neither knocked my socks off. Now I know it’s fashionable to poo-poo on the first SIN CITY, but I still think that movie is great, especially as a translation of Frank Miller’a comic. The first RED is so much fun, plain and simple.

    I might need to revisit RED 2. It’s been a while.
    It wasn't bad. Just not as good as the first one.

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  • Sock Monkey
    replied
    Originally posted by Dan Hocker View Post
    Looper was definitely good. These are both sequels, but Red 2 wasn't bad and neither was Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. Those came out in 2013 and 2014.
    I agree that neither are bad, but neither knocked my socks off. Now I know it’s fashionable to poo-poo on the first SIN CITY, but I still think that movie is great, especially as a translation of Frank Miller’a comic. The first RED is so much fun, plain and simple.

    I might need to revisit RED 2. It’s been a while.
    Last edited by Sock Monkey; 06-23-2020, 02:37 AM.

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  • Dan Hocker
    replied
    Looper was definitely good. These are both sequels, but Red 2 wasn't bad and neither was Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. Those came out in 2013 and 2014.

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