We’re back at it again! What’d we pick this week? Check below to find out! And don’t forget to suggest to us some awesome topics for perhaps a themed week. Leave some comments about your thoughts on this weeks picks. Perhaps, if you haven’t seen one we’ve just given you some weekend viewing. Let us know below and don’t forget to share this around the interweb!
Sun Choke is about Janie, who, after having a psychotic breakdown, copes with mental illness and trauma under the treatment of her meticulous and controlling caretaker (Crampton). When in town, Janie becomes dangerously infatuated with a kind, beautiful woman: Savannah (Lane).
To say the least, this movie is the enigmatic lovechild of The Yellow Wallpaper and Dogtooth with Shane-Carruth-esque direction. I was surprised to see this pretty unknown flick on Netflix after finding it on my own around a year ago. Upon rewatching, it still holds up entirely. It’s a dark, quiet little movie that sneaks up on you, exploring the consequences of order and suppression versus the brutality and unpredictability of nature (or rather, the nature within an individual). Time and again has it exceeded my expectations and leaves me realizing how involved I was the whole time I was watching. It’s a daunting package that ends up being strange and bizarre and intense. Like the protagonist, it harbors an unspoken lust for ultraviolence(one of my new favorite words). It’s a wonderfully, well-written piece about suppressing agents of chaos and id, deliciously reincorporating certain motifs throughout its duration. The tone is cold yet organically menacing, the visual is style pleasing and at times restless, and the score is masterfully moody and lurking. The story, as brutal as it turns out to be, feels surreally unstable, existing in a place that may or may not be the reality, and in that, lends its meaning and interpretation to the audience. There’s so much here to say and unpack and love about this film. The cast is incredible: Sarah Hagan lends us an in-depth and unnerving performance as an untamable, intimidating, and almost apparitional force of nature. Sun Choke, in layman’s terms, is simply a really cool psychological horror. You get what you pay for and more.
“Are you really mourning your loss of humanity? I don’t understand. Who in the hell would want to be human? God Almighty… In all of my travels, I’ve only ever known a human to be an ocean of shit.”
This is one of those, if I had to see it, you have to see it films. This is one of those good, bad films that I adore so much. A podcaster is unable to hold his own as he comes face-to-face with an interviewee who has a deranged obsession with walruses and turning people into them. The late Michael Parks gives a truly disturbing performance of a loner who has spent too much time in his head. This film is grotesque, cringe-y, and downright disturbing. And while it may be only August, you can never get into the spirit of Halloween too early. If this isn’t already on your thriller/horror flick list, be sure to add it and watch it with the lights turned on.
Title: The Babadook
Directed By: Jennifer Kent
Starring: Essie Davis, Noah Wiseman, Daniel Henshall
Runtime: 1 hr 33 mins
“You can bring me the boy. You can bring me the boy. You can bring me the boy.”
Do you want a horror movie that will scare and disturb you? Do you want to jump at every creak you hear in your house? Do you want to cower anytime you glance at a children’s book? Then this is the movie for you. I’m not a huge horror movie fan, usually because of how cliché they can be, but The Babadook transcends the label of just a horror film. It’s storyline runs deep with its themes of mental health and how dangerous it is to keep illnesses untreated. It is equal parts disturbing and creepy, as well as having an actual storyline that makes sense. The best thing about this horror film is that the protagonist makes rational decisions about how to handle the situation, making it even more terrifying. I have seen this movie 2 times, and both times have caused sleep deprivation. This is a must-see for horror fans, just don’t watch it at night!
Title: Cars 3
MPAA Rating: G
Directed By: Brian Fee
Starring: Owen Wilson, Cristela Alonzo, Chris Cooper
Runtime: 1 hr 42 mins
“I used to watch you TV, flying through the air. You seemed so fearless. I wish I knew what that felt like.”
Cars 3 is one of my favorite guilty pleasure movies. In Pixar’s Cars trilogy, the third film is the perfect cherry on top of a great first movie and a second movie that true fans pretend not to exist. Besides a good storyline, all our favorite characters coming back, and new lovable characters being introduced to the Disney/Pixar universe, we get some fantastic and beautiful animation. Some scenes look so realistic that it is easy to forget for a split second you are watching a Cars movie. On top of this, this film has a great soundtrack. Instead of “Life is a Highway” by Rascal Flatts we get “Ride” by ZZ Ward, which is just as good or even better than the first song. Also, even if you are not a fan of the Cars series– Cars 3 is worth the watch.
Title: Tucker and Dale vs Evil
Directed By: Eli Craig
Starring: Tyler Labine, Alan Tudyk
Runtime: 1 hr 29 mins
“You want a killer hillbilly? I’ll show you a killer hillbilly.”
Two hillbillies. Horny college students. The deep, dark woods.
A clever subversion of a played out premise, Tucker and Dale vs. Evil avoids being a one-joke movie by actually being… funny. And gross. (Really, really gross.) The film follows two well-meaning weirdos who get mistaken for being crazy psycho-killers by college students who’ve seen way too many Friday the 13th movies. The movie tries its best to make you squeal, laugh, and sometimes feel actual sympathy for our hapless heroes. It’s also a movie that’s very hard to categorize since it takes twists and turns that are nowhere near conventional. Whether or not it succeeds in doing these things is all up to you. I chose this as my Netflix pick of the week mainly for two reasons: I believe it’s a bafflingly underrated movie (I mean, it has its niche but it downright deserves cult status by this point) and it also features my favorite wood chipper scene next to Fargo. Underneath, there’s a discussion about stereotypes and bigotry, being kind and accepting; that’s underneath all of the guts, viscera, and gloriously vivid gore.
Title: Mary and the Witch’s Flower
Director: Hiromasa Yonebayashi, Giles New
Starring: Hana Sugisaki, Ryûnosuke Kamiki, Yûki Amami
Running time: 1 hr 43 mins
Inspired by the 1971 Mary Stewart novel The Little Broomstick, Studio Ponoc debuts their first feature film Mary and the Witch’s Flower, the lighthearted yet sagacious tale of a young girl who gains magical powers with the aid of a miraculous plant. Founded by former Studio Ghibli lead film producer Yoshiaki Nishimura, Studio Ponoc launches their new company with a magical story of a red-headed but cool tempered Mary Smith. In search of something fun to do in her new home, Mary comes across a flower which only blooms every seven years, and has been known to grant magical abilities for one night. Mary soon realizes the power of such a flower, and after a wicked encounter with a rather wicked witch, the young naive Mary must realize the difference between magical powers and magical responsibilities. Blessing us once again with the beautiful Ghibli aesthetic and detail, Studio Ponoc does not fail to produce an enchanting film for both old and new fans of the iconic Ghibli company and its similar works. For those enamored with all things Studio Ghibli, this movie is a must-see.
Title: Life After Beth
MPAA Rating: R
Directed By: Jeff Baena
Starring: Dane DeHaan, Aubrey Plaza, John C. Reilly
Runtime: 1 hr 29 mins
“I know, but you’re not the same Beth Ok? You’re just like… You’re violent and you’re angry and you’re destructive, and I’m like… I’m scared of you ok?”
While not the best or most original of ideas I think that DeHaan’s performance is funny enough and Plaza brings a charm to her undead girlfriend that this is one to check out. It’s shot well enough and I don’t think it performed nearly where the studio thought it would, but now, being on Netflix it’ll have an audience. While thematically it is similar to Burying the Ex the similarities begin and end. Whereas the latter’s protagonist wants to break it off here DeHaan’s character wishes his beau wasn’t taken from him. While in my initial review I stated he was overly whiny that’s still somewhat true but on revisit made a bit more sense. Likewise, I mentioned Plaza becoming a star and while I wouldn’t say she’s a megastar turns in Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, FX’s Marvel show Legion and the starring turn in Ingrid Goes West has shown that Parks and Recreation’s April Ludgate is as equally talented as her sitcom hubby. DeHaan has faded even when he was pegged the next DiCaprio we’ll see where he goes from here. An interesting tidbit the aforementioned Mike and Dave is NOT the first nor last time Plaza and Anna Kendrick worked together. In total, they’re done three films Mike and Dave, Scott Pilgrim vs the World and of course here. Check out this one as well as all of these other picks this week.