Tuesday, August 8, 2017

2017 so far - April

April also turned out to be one of my favorite months for movies. There wasn't as many blockbusters, but a decent amount of lesser known things. A few of these we covered on Werewolves, and I'll note which below.

Officer Downe 

Oh boy this movie. I recommend it a lot, but I always give people fair warning, it's batshit crazy. Imagine if somebody gave Lloyd Kaufman a few million dollars and asked him to do a live action movie based on the Saturday morning cartoons of the 80's..you're starting to get the idea about Officer Downe. Another way to think about it is to imagine somebody asked Paul Verhoeven to do a movie about a knock-off Judge Dredd. If any of that is at all appealing to you, I urge you to track this movie down. Kim Coates (Tig!) plays officer Terence Downe, a police officer who is only called in for suicide missions. Unlike the Suicide Squad however, he actually never survives, and usually ends up a mangled corpse in the process. His remains are then collected, and taken back to the precinct where he is resurrected, and sent back out in the field. When he brings down Headcase Harry, and blows up his drug lab in the process, the heads of the crime syndicate call upon the services of Grand Master Flash to put a stop to Downe permanently. The movie is based on a one-shot from Image comics written by Joe Kelley, with art by Chris Burnham, a fact I had absolutely zero knowledge of going in, and is directed by Clown from Slipknot. It certainly won't be for everybody, but I haven't had a better time watching a movie this year. You can hear more about it on Werewolves.

The Void

This is another one that's pretty far out there, but sits comfortably in my top 5 on the year, maybe even top 3. I don't know exactly what people expected from the guys that did the absolutely fantastic Father's Day, but The Void people seem to either fall on the "love it or hate it" side of the argument, with exceptions of course. To try and do a synopsis of this movie would indicate that I had a firm grasp of the plot and all of the many twists and turns there-in, which I don't, so I'm just going to do my best here, and write down what I think was going on. A police officer comes up on a bleeding man in the middle of the road, and rushes him to a nearby hospital which is minimally staffed since it's the middle of the night. Soon after, cloaked figures appear outside, the bad guys responsible for the bleeding guy's gunshot wound show up, the people inside the hospital start going insane for some unknown reason, and as the few people remaining who aren't quite crazy yet flee deeper into the hospital they come across an ancient evil. Now, that may not be exactly it, but it's as close to an understanding as I have. The one thing I do know is that The Void is a glorious throwback to the days of 80's horror, with practical effects aplenty. Weird monsters, blood, gore, slime, goo, you name it. If you've ever wondered what it would be like to watch John Carpente's The Thing on acid, but don't do drugs, this is your movie. We also covered this one on Werewolves.

The Belko Experiment

I'm assuming at this point that everyone knows what The Belko Experiment is. If not, it's basically about a group of people working in a high rise in Columbia, who one day enter work, the building closes off and from outside they hear a voice telling them they have a few hours to kill each other until only one is left standing. Sort of a corporate version of Battle Royale meets The Purge. The reason it's on this list isn't for it's originality, in fact once I saw a trailer or two I almost dismissed it completely. It didn't look like it was going to be something I particularly liked, and I felt like I got what I needed from it from the trailers. I eventually watched it just because I had nothing else to watch, and because it had John C. McGinley in it, and I love me some Dr. Cox. I ended up being very happy I did. Yes, it's a movie about officer workers killing each other in some twisted social experiment put on by the company they work for, but it's also brutally violent, bloody, at times tense and suspenseful, and a hilariously dark comedy. Seriously, I had no idea it would be as good as it was. That said, it has it's problems as well, particularly the ending. This has sort of a Cabin in the Woods thing going on at the end, and just when you think you're going to get some answers, it ends. Still it's definitely worth a watch.


Nacho Vigalondo's kaiju of a different color has honestly surprised me in the amount of notoriety it's gotten. From Anne Hathaway showing up on The Tonight Show to promote it, to internet ads and trailers everywhere you look, it's nice to see one of Nacho's films get the exposure it deserves. Hathaway plays Gloria, who is forced to move from her big city life back home due to her alcohol problem. She takes a job as a waitress at a bar owned by a childhood friend, Oscar (Jason Sudeikis). In the mean time, a giant creature attacks Seoul, South Korea. Eventually, Gloria learns she has a strange connection to the creature, in the meantime her alcoholism continues to be a problem, and Oscar's behavior begins to change from almost overly helpful to hostile. That's as much as I'm saying about Colossal, as I don't want to spoil it.  If you don't care about spoilers, you can listen to more on this episode of Werewolves. I will say, this movie primarily focuses on Gail and her coming to terms with her problems, and less on the creature, so don't go in thinking you're watching a Godzilla flick. The kaiju is there, but it isn't the films main focus. If you end up enjoying Colossal, I highly recommend checking out Nacho Vigalondo's other work, especially Time Crimes.

That wraps up the best of April. Don't really have any honorable mentions, other than I will say I finally watched the copy of Hell or High Water that I'd owned for months and just never watched, and my God was that movie fantastic. The rest of the year going forward is a bit sparse, so I'm thinking about doing May/June as one collective post, but we'll see what happens.

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