Too Many Sequel-itis: Hellraiser

An auspicious start to a new feature, but one I’ve nonetheless been thinking about since starting this blog. I love the idea of movie series that go on for too long, whose later installments seem compelled to introduce bizarreties and strangeness despite that their shrinking budgets can't contain them. Problem is, I’ve never seen one of these long series in their entirety. Off the top of my head, they’re all horror, like Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween, and Home Alone. This is the space where I want to talk about Jaws: The Revenge or when the slasher goes to space and Rocky wins the Cold War.

Splice (2010) Review

Splice is an odd duck. Contemporary reviews compared it to the works of David Cronenberg, and sensibly so; this is a Canadian film coming in during a genre lull for the master of body horror. A day for students of body horror. Watching Splice for the first time in 2022, however, my mental comparisons were influenced by prestige television, specifically anthologies. I had the same feeling with the relatively recent Upgrade, which felt like a long (and bad) episode of Black Mirror. It’s almost like Splice was ahead of its time, before movies like Ex Machina and Arrival proved that mainstream audiences still cared about ‘70’s-style thoughtful science-fiction in film. For reference, 2010 was around the time of Halo-adjacent allegory District 9 and the also sort of Halo-adjacent allegory Avatar. Splice features no space marines or shootouts and, thankfully, no allegory.

Man in Monster Suit: AVP vs. AVPR

AVP: Alien vs. Predator was, for me, a really big deal. It was gonna come out one day after my 11th birthday, and even though I had no experience with either Alien or Predator, after reading Aliens vs. Predator: Prey by Steve and S.D. Perry, I was all in. It was my first fandom. There was Godzilla before, but I didn’t know how to access Godzilla movies. With Aliens vs. Predator, there was a surprising amount of material, with games and comics and the books, which were my favorite. I fell in love with Machiko Noguchi, the human Predator. She is simply stunning, and the whole thing was so awesome – and then there are these two movies, and they’re really, really bad. But crucially, they are not equal.

Prey (2022) Review

I’m tempted to split this review into halves like “fan” and “moviegoer,” or at least acknowledge that I watched Prey with two sets of eyes. Praise for a film being made with “love” or “respect” for a franchise may suggest limitation, that whichever new installment only placated fanboys by doing exactly what we expected. I guarantee you The Rise of Skywalker was made with a lot of respect toward Star Wars, for example. Prey is the mathematically perfect punchline to the joke I was inadvertently making in writing my Prey Preview. Every movie I was asking for – the sequel to 10 Cloverfield Lane, an extended version of “A Red Girl’s Reasoning,” a realized version of Mohawk, a truly great Predator – that’s what Prey is. It blew me away. However, I’m aware it satisfied personal desires – and I can’t wait to tell you how – but does that mean it’ll work for everyone? I mean, aside from featuring one of the best good boys in film?

Prey Preview

The new Predator movie releases this Friday, August 5th, and it’s called Prey. As far as I’m concerned, it’s the most logical next step in our increasingly illogical series of titles. Perhaps 20th Century Fox, or whatever it may be, imagines that nobody thinks about any Predator movie except the last one – well, not this guy, Jack. I’d readily describe myself as a Predator fan, but it’s also true I haven’t seen the original two in almost 20 years. Since, I’ve felt that there is no truly great Predator film, with Predator 2 coming the closest because when you don’t have something traditionally “good,” you settle with “balls-out crazy.” Given a retrospective, have things changed? And what else can we look at to help us prepare for Amber Midthunder’s date with the yautja?

The Problem with Alien 3 was Always the Script

For some time, Alien 3 was a movie I liked and disliked in a cycle, but now I believe that cycle is broken. Generally speaking, the critical approach is complicated, starting with the recognition that it’s ambitious but flawed, that the production was a nightmare – especially for the young director David Fincher. After its initial mixed reception, with the easy soundbyte of “it’s not as good as the two classics,” the reappraisal came with the release of Alien Resurrection and when Fincher became one of America’s great directors. Alien 3 can even be considered the groundwork for his later hits. The lens is characteristically precise and impersonal, and in every frame there’s this pervasive sense of a deeper preoccupation, in spite of the genre trappings. The imagery is spectacular, the cast is impeccable, and there are plenty of memorable moments. The problem, and it breaks my heart, is the script.

Ghost in the Shell | 5 Essential Elements

Call me a romantic if you must, but I’m one of those people who believes in the one. If you find yourself at a loss out in the dating circle, take heart: there is a perfect match for everyone. I know that because I found Ghost in the Shell, and I hope you can be even half as happy as we are. For me, Ghost in the Shell is electric to the touch. The premise of the world, and the perspectives through which we engage in that world make for the most stimulating meditations on human nature, on existence itself, building toward spectacular releases in mind-bending action.

Iden Versio and My Burgeoning Star Wars Fandom

This has been about two years in the making, with Star Wars under new and specific direction (Kathleen Kennedy), where finally the promise of Rey and Jyn has turned up something so outstanding it entirely occupied my thoughts for two days straight, ruining a weekend: the revelation of Iden Versio in the 'upcoming' Star Wars: Battlefront II.