Triple Scoop Review: BLOODY HEARTS – Dead Body, Overlord, and The Void

Valentine’s Day has come and gone, so you know what that means: HORROR MOVIES.

Dead Body

First Watch or Rewatch: First Watch
Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, or Other: Other: Shudder
Spoilers: Yes, but only in the last two paragraphs.
Grade: Chocolate

To my surprise and delight, this low-budget indie is a pretty decent little slasher film. (And directed by a woman! Yay, more women in horror!) The premise, of course, is absolutely my jam: a bunch of high school graduates (and one older boyfriend) play Dead Body, where one person is secretly assigned the role of the murderer and “kills” someone, and everyone else has to figure out who did it–only then people actually start dying. This is a Golden Age of Detective fiction staple and absolutely the kind of morbid shit I would definitely play, so of course, Mek and I had to try this movie out. Where it shines best is dialogue, characterization, and surprisingly intentional humor: Dominic’s mostly relatable bitchiness about his uninvited guests (“I need to go set up the loft I wasn’t planning on using”) or Dwayne immediately going for hacksaws, hooks, and nail guns after finding the dead bodies. I also genuinely like how protective Marcus is of his weird brother. (Or friend? I was never actually clear on this.) And there are one or two big surprises here: one didn’t do much for me, but the other I LOVED.

The thing that wasn’t a surprise, unfortunately, is the identity of the killer. Which, hey, correctly solving a whodunnit can provide a glorious sense of satisfaction, or even vindication. Here, however, Mek and I were pretty sure about the killer maybe 25 minutes into the film and were all but proven right about 25 minutes later–which is still a solid 15 before the Big Reveal. Some of the setup is actually pretty clever, but there are a few missteps, which I’ll discuss in the next two paragraphs. Other disappointments: the opening scene doesn’t do much for me–we should probably cut the last 30 seconds at least–and the two foreign exchange students are barely even in this movie, which is especially annoying because they’re the only POC in the whole cast.

SPOILER territory: I initially assumed Marcus was the killer because he’s the Nice Guy Love Interest and I figured he’d brought Rumor along as an obvious patsy. However, suspicions were quickly transferred to Dominic, partially because finding him so suddenly dead was shocking enough to be suspicious, partially because of the Harvard motive (which I thought was nicely handled), and partially because I’ve seen enough movies/read enough Agatha Christie to know you can’t trust dead bodies. Even if I hadn’t, Kenji playing dead is pretty obvious foreshadow. I think that bit could probably be cut, along with the whole it was YOU line from the opening scene, and that moment when the camera lingers a beat too long on the hammer. (Because that’s how Mek and I went from, like, 90% sure that Dominic was the killer to 190%: he kills Rumor with the hammer obviously left behind.) If we really want Dominic to be a shock, we probably need another viable suspect and/or a costume change; alternatively, it might work to do the Big Reveal with Rumor’s death, so the audience finds out well before our surviving heroes. That way, we’d get to watch Dominic’s surprise/delight when his intended victims start killing each other out of paranoia. I’m kinda warming up to that idea, actually.

Finally, the two big surprises are the last-minute resurrections of Sarah and Marcus. Sarah is really interesting: for one, her survival is pretty shocking because she seems like such a Dead Meat character. (Shocking survival, as it turns out, became quite the theme of the evening.) For another, Sarah pulls a nail out of her own face to kill the bad guy. I thought the scene where Ilsa pulls nails out of Sarah’s face was pretty great, but this is just badass. Unfortunately, Marcus’s miraculous resurrection kinda feels like it’s just taking away from Sarah’s. I felt bad for the dude when he died, but once dead? Yeah, stay dead, my dude.

Overlord

First Watch or Rewatch: First Watch
Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, or Other: Amazon
Spoilers: Yeah, sorry
Grade: Vanilla

I’m always excited by the idea of genre-blending, especially when mystery or horror come into the mix, but Overlord feels uneven to me. It’s strongest, I think, in the first act, when the movie is pure action/war drama. (Did anyone watch this movie without seeing the trailer full of spoilers? Cause damn, no one’s getting Nazi Zombie Shit from the first 20 minutes of this movie.) The plane scene is dramatic AF and the ominous clues in the woods that “something is amiss” are decent. I like most of the cast. Jovan Adepo gives an especially strong performance as our kind-hearted protagonist Boyce. I know Adepo primarily from a two-episode stint in Watchmen, and I definitely want to see more of him.

But we start hitting problems in Act II when our heroes make it to the French village. Part of that’s pacing: it takes way too long to for anyone to find all the horrific experiments. This movie is only 1 hour and 48 minutes, but boy, I’d have bet money it was a lot longer. And then, part of it’s content: I’m not sure Wafner (Pilou Asbæk, AKA, Euron Greyjoy) is doing much for me as a Big Bad, and I definitely found the coerced sexual assault shit completely unnecessary. (Boyce interrupts Wafner before he rapes Chloe, but this is still a yuck subplot and incredibly lazy writing.) The aunt, too, is much more foreshadow than actual character: she barely has screen time, much less dialogue.

Still, the worst problems, I think, begin after Boyce discovers all the Nazi Zombie Shit. The discovery scene itself is great: it’s weird, creepy, maybe a bit silly (I’m specifically thinking of the decapitated head pleading in French), but overall, just a lot of fun. And Boyce has spectacular reactions to the body horror/general impossibility; his freakout is super relatable, TBH. This is the moment the whole film has been building toward–which is why I’m just baffled by the decision to completely cut the tension by stopping for a 15-minute time-out, like, Overlord goes right back to straight-up war movie again, all unethical interrogations and “is it right to beat up a Nazi” and “do we even recognize ourselves anymore?” These are all perfectly fine themes that should not be dwelled on here, five minutes after this shit. And while we do kinda get back on track with the death/zombie resurrection of Chase (Iain De Caestecker), the film never fully recovers; instead, the whole third act loses its creepy body horror vibe and just becomes a really bad Resident Evil movie. It’s so bland and cartoonishly over-the-top that there’s just no tension at all. I was honestly bored, and that’s about the last reaction you want from your audience here.

Finally, some additional notes:

A. Secret histories, admittedly, are not always my bag, but I’m not sure that tying this story  to D-Day really does much for me.

B. I can’t decide if De Caestecker’s American accent is bad or if I’m just very aware it’s not his natural, lovely Scottish. I am fond of the actor, though. When Chase gets shot (inevitably, I mean, maybe don’t send the kid with the camera to secure the Big Bad Nazi Dude, FFS), I was all, “A-ha! This is why you cast De Caestecker, for the emotional death scene!”

C. Overlord’s “Holy Shit, This Guy Actually Lived!” is Jacob (Dominic Applewhite) and, to a lesser extent, Tibet (John Magaro). Tibet is the semi-redemptive asshole, whereas Jacob is Boyce’s buddy from the plane, the one who Boyce repeatedly promises, “I’ll be right behind you!” Obviously, I marked Jacob as First to Die. It is lovely to be wrong sometimes.

D. Alas, Private Dawson (Jacob Anderson) does not fare so well. Mekaela and I had just enough time to say, “Wait, is that Grey Worm?” before he blew the hell up. Sorry, buddy.

The Void

First Watch or Rewatch: First Watch
Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, or Other: Other: Shudder
Spoilers: Yeah, sorry again
Grade: Strawberry

This one starts out so strong, but kind of spirals into an incoherent mess. Mileage is definitely gonna vary on that, depending on your A) tolerance for how much a story refuses to explain, and B) nostalgia for 80’s cosmic horror. I tend to be skeptical of the former and like the latter more in theory than execution. For example, The Void reminded Mekaela of Hellraiser, a movie I enjoyed for its aesthetics and not much else. (I’m tagging this whole review a blasphemy just for that sentence.) Meanwhile, The Void reminded me of Prince of Darkness, which I reviewed in great detail last year and, ultimately, didn’t love. Which is all to say I may not have been the target audience here.

Except . . . damn it, I still feel like I really could’ve enjoyed this movie. For starters, there’s an awful lot I do like about The Void. The initial setup and “WTF is going on here” mystery is a lot of fun. The look of the film is pretty great. I enjoy the whole cast. The reveal that our kindly old doctor isn’t just Dead Meat Walking but the actual Big Bad is awesome, especially since it comes after he does predictably “die.” Likewise, the reversal that our blatantly evil murderers from the beginning are actually good guys (well . . . good-sh) is pretty cool, too, although I do feel like their backstory gets a little lost in the chaos. The ending with the Sheriff and Allison is interesting, if sorta huh, and I’m fucked shocked that our ultimate survivors are the unnamed mute guy and Ellen Wong–people. I have finally found a Western horror film where an Asian woman lives. Holy shit.

Unfortunately, one of the main reasons Prince of Darkness came to mind wasn’t the portal sacrifice similarities or the supernatural pregnancy BS–more on that in a bit–it was the ominous cultists converging on the hospital. We know absolutely nothing about this cult, like, who the hell these dudes are, why they don’t bother coming inside, where they peaced out to at the end, etc. (Seriously, did the ascend or something? The fuck?) Apparently, this is one of the many things intentionally left open for the viewer to decide, but this viewer has decided: we learn nothing about these guys because the creators don’t care about these guys; they just needed something to trap the heroes in the hospital, and that’s it. In Prince of Darkness, the cultists are actually possessed homeless people, but they serve the exact same plot function, and IMO, that’s lazy as shit writing.

And therein lies my main problem with The Void; rarely does the script feel purposefully ambiguous and thought-provoking; mostly, it feels lazy, chaotic, and confused. The hallucinations in the not-exactly-there basement feel muddled. Most of what happens in the whole third act feels pretty muddled. And I’m especially disappointed by Allison, who starts out as a potentially interesting character and ends up just becoming a vessel, a body, a plot device rather than an actual person. Allison exists to A) draw our heroes into the Basement of Doom, B) add to our MC’s ongoing man pain, and C) give us some old-fashioned pregnancy horror, I guess? (She lost a baby prior to the story, so Big Bad impregnates her with monster juice, and she gets to die of symbolism. And getting chopped up by her tearful hubby, of course. Cool.) This is all especially tedious because we already have Maggie for the pregnancy horror, but I guess one eldritch nightmare birth where the mom/vessel violently dies wasn’t enough? Basically, this whole bit sucks.

Finally, additional notes:

A. I did actually enjoy the twist that Maggie was also a bad guy. I probably should’ve caught that, but I just assumed she’d have a gross demon baby, which, hey, that part was dead on. Poor Sarah got mighty ugly in her second life, didn’t she?

B. Much like with Grey Worm in Overlord, I had just enough time to be excited about Iris Rouse (Stephanie Belding) from Shadowhunters popping up before she got killed off. (Then transformed into an eldritch horror and then killed off again.) Sorry, buddy.

C. As always, doing clerical/errand work in a hospital hardly makes me a medical expert. And this story is admittedly set in some rural town in the . . . 80’s? 90’s? Still, I had a ball laughing at the medical inaccuracies in this movie. The aborted C-section wasn’t actually as bad as I thought (when you’re primarily familiar with a low transverse incision, a classical cut looks weird AF, like, Jesus, why are you all the way up there), although I highly suspect that whatever pain relief Kim used wouldn’t cut it for fucking surgery. But I straight up cackled when Allison walked to the med room, which appears to just be a basic supply closet where they keep narcotics unlocked on the shelf. Also, seriously, there’s only one patient here. Why the fuck are we keeping the supplies this far away? For that matter, why hasn’t the one and only patient in this hospital been transferred literally anywhere else? Like, I get the idea that this place is still supposed to be open for emergency services or something, but uh, dude’s clearly just an inpatient now. Ship that motherfucker out. And how in Christ’s name is anyone still working out of this hospital? Again, I get the idea–emergency services for locals while everyone else has moved off to hospitals that weren’t recently half burned down–but also, bullshit. The nearest hospital is only 20 minutes away, which of course is shitty, but shocking? In a rural county? HA. Hell, that’s the distance between the high school I went to and its closest hospital. Besides, the state of this place? No one should be working here. This especially kills me dead because the hospital I work at now has been temporarily shut down twice in the past few years just for smoke damage, much less a fire that actually destroyed part of the fucking building. These people have not heard of JCAHO, that’s all I’m saying.

D. Finally, more fun casting: our Big Bad is played by Kenneth Welsh, who I know from one episode of The Expanse but also from Twin Peaks, where he played Windom Earle. I had no idea that was the same guy! Meanwhile, Art Hindle, who was in both the original Black Christmas and the 70’s remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, has a small role here, too. Horror cameo casting is just the best.

Best of 2019: BOOKS

Normally, I enjoy celebrating the books I’ve read with some silly and–inevitably–lengthy superlative lists, including awards like Favorite Villain, Best Booyah Moment, and Super Ability I’d Most Like To Steal. This year, however, that just sounds kind of daunting? And not terribly fun, which is obviously antithetical to the whole point. So instead, I present you with my only sorta-lengthy Best Of list, i.e., a list of my favorite books in various genres and sub-genres. (From any year. I read all of these in 2019, but one of them was written in 1937, so, yeah. I wouldn’t exactly characterize these recommendations as super current. If you’d like the full list of everything I read, go ahead and click on the link.)

No spoilers were produced in the making of this post.

FAVORITE FAIRY TALE STORY

The Seventh Bride – T. Kingfisher

Bluebeard is one of my favorite fairy tales, specifically Mr. Fox–like, I’m the weirdo who actually adds Post-Its with be bold, be bold . . . but not too bold to bedroom doors and the like. So, when I realized that Ursula Vernon (a.k.a. T. Kingfisher), one of my very favorite writers, had published her own Mr. Fox retelling*, well, obviously, I was ecstatic. Like nearly every T. Kingfisher book I’ve ever read, The Seventh Bride features a compelling heroine, a cool animal sidekick, and a lot of humor, weirdness, and heart. Also, some truly creepy shit. Also, a fantastic supporting cast: Maria is my absolute favorite. I really enjoyed the hell out of this–it also wins for FAVORITE NOT-SO-CONTEMPORARY FANTASY–and I’m looking forward to reading T. Kingfisher’s other fairy tale retellings, namely Byrony and Roses and The Raven and the Reindeer.

*In nearly every review I’ve seen, this book is described as a Bluebeard retelling, but personally, it strikes me more as a Mr. Fox/Rumpelstiltskin mashup. I know it doesn’t have some of the bigger earmarks of the latter–no naming game, no “I’m gonna steal your baby” stuff–but Rhea is literally a miller’s daughter, and her parents play an arguably significant role in why she’s in this mess in the first place. Plus, “do this impossible thing, or I’ll do something horrible to you” is a plot structure from Rumpelstiltskin, not Bluebeard/Mr. Fox. Also, let’s be real here: the King in Rumpelstiltskin is totally a villain. Like, make me gold or I’ll kill you; make me more gold and I’ll marry you?” Fuck this guy.

Honorable Mentions for Favorite Not-So-Contemporary Fantasy: The Black God’s Drums; Clockwork Boys; The Killing Moon; The House of Shattered Wings

FAVORITE CONTEMPORARY FANTASY

Undead Girl Gang – Lily Anderson

Oh, this was a delightful book. I loved so much about it: the voice, the dialogue, all the humor and Feels. Undead Girl Gang is laugh out loud funny, but it also handles grief in a very real way, and I enjoyed that. The characters are all great; Mila, in particular, is a wonderful protagonist, and I related so hard to how she finds hope and laughter and a certain measure of control in Wicca. (Oh, you don’t even know the middle school flashbacks I was having while reading this one.) The fat positivity in this book was also really refreshing, especially in a year where I managed to stumble across even more fat shaming than normal.

This was easily my FAVORITE YA BOOK I read all year, something I’d happily give my teenage kids if I, you know, had any. As is, I’m just gonna have to keep enjoying Lily Anderson’s writing for myself.

Honorable Mentions for Favorite Contemporary Fantasy: A Key, An Egg, An Unfortunate Remark; Magic for Liars

FAVORITE HORROR

The Cabin at the End of the World – Paul Tremblay

What’s interesting about this, to me, is that I don’t generally consider myself a big fan of psychological horror, but I absolutely love this novel. It’s occurring to me, finally, that it’s not the entire sub-genre I dislike, just stories where the narrative tension is largely drawn from the majority of characters (plus the reader) questioning the MC’s sanity. That’s just not really my thing; thankfully, it’s also not quite what’s happening here.

And this book, man. It’s a wildly clever and entertaining page-turner (which is why it also wins for FASTEST READ) with a solid conclusion and some absolutely brutal moments. This is my first Paul Tremblay book, and I can absolutely guarantee it will not be my last.

Honorable Mention for Favorite Horror: The Sundial; The Migration; The Twisted Ones

Honorable Mentions for Fastest Read: Undead Girl Gang; Magic for Liars; A Man Lay Dead; The Twisted Ones; From Here to Eternity: Traveling The World To Find The Good Death; The Seventh Bride

FAVORITE SCIENCE FICTION

TIE!

The Calculating Stars – Mary Robinette Kowall
Artificial Condition – Martha Wells

I enjoyed the hell out of The Calculating Stars: it’s an equally fun and fascinating alternate history, and I really like our MC, Elma. I especially appreciated how this novel explored her anxiety, like, that was just phenomenal. I also enjoy Elma’s friendships with other women in the novel, particularly Nicole and Helen. Elma and Nate, too, were a joy to read: it was lovely to find such a healthy, supportive romantic relationship in this story. I’m very eager to continue with the Lady Astronaut series in 2020.

But no way could I choose between The Calculating Stars and Artificial Condition, which was an amazing follow-up to All Systems Red. (In fact, I actually liked it even more than All Systems Red, which is incredibly impressive.) It is the rare novella that feels like it’s exactly the right length–one of many reasons it’s also winning FAVORITE NOVELLA–and I just absolutely adore MurderBot’s somewhat antagonistic friendship with ART. People. I was invested. This series is so damn good.

Honorable Mentions for Favorite SF: Alice Payne Arrives; Rogue Protocol; Record of a Spaceborn Few; To Be Taught, If Fortunate; An Unkindness of Ghosts

Honorable Mentions for Favorite Novella: The Black God’s Drums; In an Absent Dream; Alice Payne Arrives; Rogue Protocol; To Be Taught, If Fortunate

FAVORITE GRAPHIC NOVEL

Die, Vol. 1: Fantasy Heartbreaker – Kieron Gillen + Stephanie Hans

I mean, just the whole concept of this: teenagers being sucked into a fantasy RPG, experiencing massive amounts of emotional (and in some cases, physical) trauma, and then having to return to the game years later as adults? It’s like It meets D&D. Or, as Kieron Gillen apparently describes it: “goth Jumanji.” People. You don’t know how long I’ve been waiting to read goth Jumanji.

This one is such a creative and exciting comic, full of fun plot turns and great characters and just awesome magical abilities. Highly recommended.

Honorable Mentions: Young Avengers: Style > Substance, Vol. 1 – Kieron Gillen + Jamie McKelvie; Teen Titans: Raven – Kami Garcia & Gabriel Picolo

FAVORITE NON-FICTION

From Here to Eternity: Traveling The World to Find The Good Death – Caitlin Doughty

This is both an incredibly informative and fascinating look at how different cultures around the world handle death and death rituals, and while it is occasionally hard to read because of, well, death anxiety, it’s also just vastly neat. There were so many things I didn’t know. Learning more about Indonesian death customs or the ñatitas in Bolivia or the fertilization experiments in North Carolina . . . it’s all just so immensely interesting. I might actually have been most surprised by the open pyre ceremonies in Colorado; I honestly didn’t think that was a thing you could do in America.

I also didn’t know that family had the option of viewing cremations (the more standard kind), though I confess reluctance at the possibility of viewing any myself. Doughty brings up excellent points in its favor, especially as she discusses the idea of giving grieving family members meaningful tasks–but when I imagine going back and witnessing my own father’s cremation, my whole brain just balks in horror. I don’t know. It’s an obviously difficult subject. Regardless, this was a pretty great book, and I’d recommend it to anyone interested in cultural anthropology, or books that frankly discuss death without looking down on readers for their own death anxiety. That’s big for me.

Honorable Mentions: The Lady From the Black Lagoon: Hollywood Monsters and the Lost Legacy of Milicent Patrick – Mallory O’Meara

FAVORITE NOVEL

Busman’s Honeymoon – Dorothy Sayers

I’ve been slowly making my way through the Lord Peter Wimsey novels for years, but to my very great surprise, it’s this final book in the series that’s been my absolute favorite–and not just of the series but also of the whole year. (Also, it wins for FAVORITE MYSTERY, in case that wasn’t already glaringly obvious.) Busman’s Honeymoon is regularly characterized as either a “detective story with love interruptions” or a “love story with detective interruptions,” and to my very great joy, I found the balance of murder mystery and established romance utterly delightful. (Many mysteries from this time period include a hasty and thoroughly underwhelming romance, but Busman’s Honeymoon has been building the Peter/Harriet ship for several books and literal years, and I am so thoroughly obsessed with them.)

The mix of witty banter, murder, and newlywed shenanigans are really the best, and I was both extremely surprised to see the novel actually come back to Peter’s PTSD in a surprisingly emotional way. So many Feels with this one. An instant comfort read.

Honorable Mentions for Favorite Mystery: The Nine Tailors; Magic for Liars; The Song Is You; A Rising Man; Gaudy Night

Finally, here is the rest of my Top Ten of 2019, not in any particular order. (With links for the books that I didn’t already link above.)

2. The Cabin at the End of the World – Paul Tremblay
3. An Unkindness of Ghosts – Rivers Solomon
4. The Seventh Bride – T.K. Kingfisher
5. Record of a Spaceborn Few – Becky Chambers
6. Artificial Condition – Martha Wells
7. The Calculating Stars – Mary Robinette Kowall
8. To Be Taught, If Fortunate – Becky Chambers
9. The Twisted Ones – T.K. Kingfisher
10. Undead Girl Gang – Lily Anderson

Happy New Year, everyone! I’d love to hear your favorite books of 2019 in the comments!

TV SUPERLATIVES: June, July, and August – 2019

Summer is almost over–not that you’d know it in sunny ass California–so it’s about that time for my Occasional TV Superlatives. If you weren’t around for the last time I did this, it’s pretty straight-forward: I just gush and/or rant about whatever TV shows I’ve recently been watching (whether they’re currently airing or not) with awards like Favorite Ship, Favorite Fight Scene, Most Disgusting Moment, and Most Comically Tragic Character. As always, any awards with spoilers will be very clearly marked.

As a reference point, here are the shows I’ve been watching for the past few months:

Agents of SHIELD, Season 6
Into the Badlands, Seasons 2 and 3 (currently still watching)
Good Omens
Dark, Season 2
Stranger Things, Season 3
Kingdom, Season 1
Yuri on Ice
Infinity Train
, Season 1
13 Reasons Why, Season 3
Los Espookys, Season 1
Hotel del Luna (currently still watching)
Young Justice, Season 3B

With that in mind, let’s get started, shall we?

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“Say Goodbye To Classical Reality.”

I have something of a hit-and-miss relationship with John Carpenter’s work. I adore The Thing. I like Big Trouble in Little China. Escape from New York is enjoyable enough, but ultimately, I liked Snake Plissken more than the actual movie itself. Halloween is a classic that I don’t love nearly as much as I’m supposed to, and The Fog, unfortunately, really didn’t much for me. All I remember about Vampires is that it was goddamn dreadful.

Today–as my first reward essay for the Clarion West Write-a-Thon–we’ll be discussing John Carpenter’s Prince of Darkness, which, I can tell you right now, is not destined to be one of my favorites. But there are aspects of this movie that I find really intriguing.

Let’s talk about them, shall we?

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TV SUPERLATIVES: April and May, 2019

TV Superlatives are a pain in the ass. I love coming up with them–I kind of love superlatives in general–but it’s hard to keep up when there are, at any given time, 87 different TV shows to watch, and they can start any month and be any episode length, and available all at once or only week-to-week. I tried for a couple of years and eventually gave up.

Now, I’m going to try something new, and we’ll see if it works or not, but here it is: Quarterly TV Superlatives! Or, who knows, maybe Occasional TV Superlatives! Look, it’s a work in progress. But the idea is to discuss whatever TV I’ve been watching recently (whether it’s currently airing or not) and come up with fun awards like Best Musical Number, Worst Death, or Best Reaction to a Supposedly Dead Parent Coming Back to Life.

For today’s post, we’ll be focusing on the television I’ve been watching during, say, the past two months or so. Any spoilers, as always, will be clearly marked in the very hard-to-miss Spoiler Section.

With that all said, let’s get started, shall we?

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The 4th (Probably 4th) TV Quotes Challenge – ANSWERS

Let’s get right to it, shall we?

(Also, this is mostly spoiler-free, but it does assume you’re up to date on The Flash and iZombie. If not, you should probably skip those sections.)

1. Santa Clarita Diet

“Nice try blending in, you handsome, thick-haired son of a bitch.”

“Eric doesn’t own a football, or anything else that might make him come outside.”
“That’s exactly what he said, only with less implied criticism.”

“Check this out. She said she started a new spin class, but really she’s having an affair with a guy named Bob”
“No way.”
“Yeah. She accidentally linked her cell phone to my computer so I can see all of her texts. Today Bob copied and pasted all of the lyrics to Stevie Wonder’s “Part Time Lover.” Which seems lazy and on the nose.”

My favorite thing about this is that, for the first time ever, I got to use the BOB pseudonym for a character named Bob.

I binge-watched this series in, like, a couple of days, and while it sometimes relies a little too heavily on its “we’re not equipped to handle zombie life/we’re realtors,” hook, for the most part I really enjoyed the show. The dialogue is snappy, Timothy Olyphant is hilarious, and I love the family dynamic between Sheila, Joel, and Abby: it really anchors the whole show. I’m particularly eager to see how the second season resolves that last cliffhanger. Curse you, cliffhangers!

2. The Flash

“Okay, let’s just try it again. This time up the creep factor, like, a lot more, and make it a little more sincere, like you really love me but you’re going to have to kill me anyway.”

“Do you think your guns can stop God?”
“Why in the hell would God need to rob banks?”

“I’m so glad you’re back cause we’re about to die.”

Oh, The Flash. You can be so vexing sometimes! Still, I hold out hope for Season Four. I am entirely delighted that our Big Bad isn’t going to be a Speedster for once. (Seriously. You can’t just keep making faster and faster villains without losing serious credibility. What would the next one even have been? A literal speed demon?) I’m excited that Caitlin isn’t completely back on the Side of Good; hopefully, that will allow her more time for character development. At this point, I’ve basically given up on the idea of Iris having character development, but I’d loved to be proven wrong about that. And when Barry inevitably escapes or gets released from Speed Prison, I think we really need a full season free of time travel.

Musicals, yes. Crossovers, absolutely. But definitely let’s take a huge pause button on the time travel, please and thank you.

3. iZombie

“Well, I hope you like jagerbombs and homoerotic subtext.”

“Really? You’re gonna go with the Boy Named Sue defense, huh?”

“Well, I appreciate the pep talk, big fella, I really do, but I don’t think there’s an emoji that rightfully expresses my feelings about losing $50k a month, you know?”

One of the few shows that nobody got, which only proves to me how tragically underrated it really is. iZombie’s third season was probably my least favorite, unfortunately, but there were some great standout moments, and I love how witty and ambitious the whole series is. This is a procedural that isn’t afraid to change the status quo from season to season, and that’s exciting to watch. I’m definitely interested to see where things go in Season Four, now that the whole world knows about zombies. I’m also really happy that Bozzio’s back, because I always really liked her and Clive.

If we can just avoid any unnecessary love triangles in the future, though, that would be great. Also, funny as the show often is, sometimes Liv’s case-of-the-week personalities are frustratingly one-note. Like, okay, maybe I don’t know any dominatrixes personally, but I feel reasonably confident that they’re not in Dominatrix Mode during every aspect of their lives. Same goes for the D&D Master. Personality traits aren’t quite the same thing as hobbies or professions. (That being said, the group playing D&D was definitely one of the standout moments of the season. Clive, man. Clive is the best.)

4. Orphan Black

“I tried to say ‘eff it’ today, and I blew up my whole life. I just wanted to say ‘eff this’, ‘eff you’, and I effed it, I effed it all up.”

“Felix. Gay friend.”
“Acting coach.”
“Oh, that’s . . . perfectly fine here.”
“Which one?”

“What’s wrong with your voice?”
“I have a cold.”
“Yeah, it’s one of those really bad ones that messes with your . . . syntax.”

Orphan Black is one of those shows that I absolutely adore for the characters (and for marveling over the amazing talent of Tatiana Maslany) but not always for how it integrates those characters into the main plot. I’m actually several episodes behind in the current season. (They kinda pissed me off in the second episode, and then I got really into Avatar: The Last Airbender, so we haven’t quite gotten back to it yet.) Regardless, the show’s given me a lot of joy over the years: the various crazy Allison/Donnie scenes, the Helena and Sarah road trip, any of Siobhan’s many badass moments, the clone dance party, Felix’s truth voice, etc.

This is also the only show on this list that I’ve cosplayed a character from. (So far. Liv from iZombie could be fun to dress up as, and I’ve actively considered cosplaying a character from Show No. 9.)

5. Gilmore Girls

“I already wrote his name in my revenge notebook.”

“You do or say anything to upset Jess and make it harder for me to keep him on the right path, I’m gonna put your head through a wall, any wall, you can PICK the wall, but it’s gonna be a wall, okay?”

“What’s she like?”
“She jogs.”
“Enough said.”

As much as I didn’t like the Gilmore Girls revival–and with a few small exceptions, I really didn’t like it–I still enjoy watching scenes from the original show, especially the earlier seasons. The dialogue is spectacular, and I love so many of the characters: Paris and Emily and Lorelei and Lane and Luke and Mrs. Kim and even Rory, once upon a time. Though I think it’s fair to say that my least favorite part of the show was always Rory’s love life. I was probably the only person in the world happy to hear she didn’t end up with Dean, Jess, OR Logan, and I would have given a whole lot to see a season where she didn’t have a love interest at all. Alas.

6. The Librarians

“So, your explanation for having impossible grades is that you ‘O Captain, My Captain’-ed them?”

“I’m home. But before someone asks me to throw another shrimp on the barbie, just know I will punch you in the throat.”

“Cassandra, please do not fangirl over the arch-villain.”

I had delayed watching Season 3 because I assumed it would come to Hulu eventually. When it completely failed to do so, I just gave up and bought it on Amazon–and then ended up re-watching the whole series because I’d forgotten how much I liked my super silly fantasy-adventure show. In these dark times, sometimes what you really need is team dynamics, terrible CGI, and group sing-a-longs that can defeat mind control.

I still think first season might be the strongest overall (this is definitely a show that does better with its case of the week than its overarching season shit), but I’ve loved plenty of episodes from years 2 and 3 too. In fact, “And The Point of Salvation” still remains my favorite Librarians episode to date. (Side note: when I started the show, Ezekiel was easily my least favorite character, which was odd considering how much I should have liked him: I mean, a Korean-Australian thief? OMG, YES. After three seasons, however, he’s somehow become my favorite–or at least tied with my other favorite: Jenkins.)

(Actually, come to think of it, Ezekiel was never really my least favorite. Flynn has been, and forever will be, my absolute least favorite. Sorry, Flynn.)

7. Lost

“Everything’s going to change. Have a cluckity-cluck-cluck day, Hugo.”

“So, you wake up in the middle of the night, you grab your Jesus Stick, and you race off into the jungle. You don’t call? You don’t write?”

“What is that? Some kind of code?”
“No, John, unfortunately we don’t have a code for ‘there is a man in my closet with a gun to my daughter’s head,’ although we obviously should.”

I honestly haven’t thought about Lost in a while. It, well. It obviously had its problems. But it is one of the rare shows I actually stubbornly stuck with from beginning to end, despite a couple of times I came awfully close to jumping ship. I didn’t hate the series finale quite as much as everyone else did, but that’s mostly because by the time we got there, I had pretty much given up on getting the answers to almost anything: after all, they had so many unsolved mysteries going into that finale that the only way they could’ve solved them all in time would’ve been to chuck any semblance of a script in favor of a Q&A with all the characters lined up on the beach. (In retrospect, that might have been absurdly meta and delightful.)

The show might have been frustrating at multiple points, but it did have some highlights: the pilot, for instance, is probably one of the most solid pilots in TV history. And if nothing else, I have to be grateful to it for introducing me to a number of talents, most especially Michael Emerson.

8. The 100 

“You’re the most beautiful broom in a broom closet of brooms.”

“Without the treatments, we die. What are we supposed to do?”
“Die.”

“Who we are and who we need to be to survive are two very different things.”

Another CW show that nobody got. The 100’s first few episodes were kind of excruciating, but it did quickly manage to jump from Exceptionally Generic SF YA to Gritty Badass Apocalyptic YA. And while third season was certainly marred by some poor storytelling decisions, I still find an awful lot to like about this show, especially the female characters. Who would have thought that I’d grow to like Octavia as much as I have? God, I hated her in the beginning. And from Octavia to Clarke to Abby to Emori to Echo to Raven (ALL HAIL RAVEN), these are some badass women who are constantly faced with ruthless decisions and hard choices that is their responsibility to make.

I’m just saying. Unlike some other CW shows I could name, this is NOT a show where the women are around only to define the men.

9. Voltron: Legendary Defender

“As everyone knows, vomit is NOT an approved lubricant for engine systems.”

“She’s not my girlfriend! She’s just a rock I met and admire very much.”

“How’s your wound?”
“My wound’s great. It’s getting bigger all the time.”

I feel like I’ve talked a lot about Voltron lately, so I’ll keep this relatively brief: I tried this out on a pretty random recommendation, and while the first episode was basically just a bunch of setup, by the end of Season 1, I was pretty into it. By the end of Season 2? I was hooked. Season 3 comes out next month, I believe, and I’m super pumped. Must. Resolve. Cliffhanger.

(Also, in case it wasn’t obvious, Pidge is the character I’ve considered cosplaying from this show. Cause Pidge is the best. Although I’ve also found this Anti Mind Control Jellyfish Hat, and I’m trying to tell myself I don’t need it considering all the other things I want to buy . . . but it may be a losing battle.)

10. Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries

“So, if the compartment was locked, how did you get in?”
“I hit the lock with me shoe.”
“Your shoe seems to have the ballistic capabilities of a .38 revolver.”

“No. I mean, yes! Yes, but no, I’m supposed to ask you.”
“Well, we could all die waiting for that to happen.”

“Oh, Miss Fisher’s gone on holiday again, sir.”
“Huh. Anyone dead yet?”
“Only one so far, sir.”

Finally, I was so-so on Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries during the first season, but I enjoyed it a lot more during the second. Not sure why, exactly: it just became a nice comfort watch for me. Phryne’s 87 million talents are sometimes a bit ridiculous, but she’s still a fun heroine to watch, and I absolutely ship her with Jack, who remains my absolute favorite. (What can I say? I’m a sucker for the dry wit.) And while I just can’t bring myself to care about Hugh one way or the other, I do quite like Dot and how her character has grown and changed over the past three seasons.

Well, that’s it for today, folks. Thanks, everyone, for playing!

“You’re Clearly An Expert On Leaving Useless People Behind.”

Maybe a couple of months ago, Mekaela told me about a Korean zombie movie she wanted to check out sometime: Train to Busan. I was interested (I mean, zombies on a train? Of course I was interested!), but between life and all the television we wanted to watch, we didn’t quite get around to it. It wasn’t until we were roughly halfway through watching kdrama Goblin that I realized Gong Yoo starred in the film. So after we finished the show, we knew what we had to do.

All in all, it’s a pretty decent zombie film.

Continue reading

My Own Dream Show – A Cast of Characters

Last week, I asked for everyone else’s dream casts. Today I provide my own.

Instead of a team-oriented space opera, as I’d originally intended, I came up with the idea for a Twin Peaks-esque show, only with less icky rape and molestation stuff and more werewolves and random musical numbers. There will be a murder investigation. There will be iconic costumes. Lots of food. ALL the offbeat, deadpan humor. I’m not gonna lie, people: I think I’ve got a winner here. This is absolutely a cult classic that gets cancelled in its first season in the making.

A few disclaimers first:

The clips I’ve chosen do not always match the show I pulled the actor from. I didn’t pick a Chris Pratt clip from Parks & Rec, for instance, because I haven’t watched Parks & Rec. Other times I just liked a different clip better for that actor. I’m fickle.

Also, some clips may include SPOILERS. You’ve been warned.

Now! Introducing your Cast of Characters:

The FBI Agent. Also, The Unlucky Magnet For All Things Weird.

Allison Janney (The West Wing)

(The problem with embedding clips is that you never quite find the one you’re looking for. I was hoping for a specific scene with turkeys, but hey, I like this one too.)

The FBI agent fled this strange little town long ago, hoping for a life of normalcy and law enforcement and chain restaurant options; however, the strange and supernatural follow wherever she goes. If handed a simple home-invasion-gone-wrong homicide, you can bet that psychic clowns are somehow involved. Has long since accepted this, and basically everything else that happens. Weary and cynical. Will always make time for breakfast.

Quote: Yup. That’s a werewolf, all right. Look, I believe I was promised donuts?

The Small Town Cop. Charming, But Slightly Tortured. Also, Psychic.

Theo Rossi (Luke Cage)

(Ugh, forget about the turkeys. It is stupidly hard to find Luke Cage scenes with Shades in them on Youtube. This is probably not the representative example I would have given, but I didn’t have much to work with. You can find the “lawyer” scene here at the 7:05 mark, though, and that one always makes me laugh.)

The FBI agent’s liaison/local partner during this investigation. Does the majority of his casework by reading the cards, looking for omens, having creepy dreams, and speaking to ghosts, who unfortunately aren’t always as helpful as you’d expect them to be. Has far more hobbies than any one person could realistically have. Begins a romance with the ghost of the current murder victim.

Quote: The mime in my dream told us we’d find a clue at the old sawmill. Then the Dark Mime God came and punished the mime by erasing his mouth from existence . . . but that part wasn’t real, probably.

The Hot Mechanic Werewolf Ghost, AKA, The Murder Victim

Chris Pratt (Parks & Rec)

Doesn’t know who murdered him. Doesn’t know why anyone would, and is, all in all, pretty outraged by the whole thing. Otherwise affable. Appears in two forms: his Hot Mechanic form (jeans, dirty white tank, the perfect amount of sweat) and his Awesome Werewolf form (an actual wolf). Falls hard for the small town cop. Misses food.

Quote: I’m supposed to be eating tacos today. Everyone should be clear on that.

The Hotel Owner. Also, The Badass Pack Leader Seeking Vengeance.

Shohreh Aghdashloo (The Expanse)

Owns the only hotel in town. Courteous, elegant, and seeks rampant, bloody vengeance for the murder of one of her wolves. Frequently annoys her guest, The FBI Agent, by keeping tabs on the investigation. Never impressed by its progress. Dresses fabulously.

Quote: So, you see, I cannot stand about forever for your clumsy investigation to conclude. There is a throat out there, waiting to be torn out. My teeth will only wait so long.

The Eccentric Heiress. Possibly A Vampire.

Gina Torres (Firefly)

The richest woman in town. Easily owns half the land, and is fond of popping up at night to remind people of that. Her clothing is always expensive, no matter what she’s doing, and highly unpredictable: she might show up in a black dress and matching feather boa one day, a plush white bathrobe the next. Longstanding enmity between her and The Hotel Owner. Never leaves her mansion during daytime hours.

Quote: You absolutely must come to my party. I’ll just have your head if you don’t.

The Postman/The Guy Who Can Get It For You

Michael Emerson (Lost)

Only seen in his USPS uniform. Delivers letters and packages from the normal mail, plus whatever anyone else needs on the down low. Friendly, almost always willing to engage in small talk, but takes his job very seriously. Will become quietly, abruptly, horrifyingly violent if someone maliciously tries to interfere with his legal or illegal deliveries. Eventually revealed to be the right hand man of The Eccentric Heiress.

Quote: Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night will stop me, sir. It was foolish of you to try.

The Local Witch Who Owns The Diner

Kate Mulgrew (Orange Is The New Black)

Plainspoken. Profane. Calls everyone hon or honey or sweetie. Has cast a spell on her restaurant that causes the patrons to talk about all their secrets and/or confidential business in public. Most customers aren’t aware of this, and the few who are put up with it because it’s the only diner in town. Wears an old fashioned waitress uniform with sensible shoes, and frequently decides for people what they want to eat.

Quote: Hon, I’ve worked here 30 years. I’ve seen some weird shit. I know when my customers need blueberry pancakes, and you don’t deserve them yet.

The Baker/ The Guy Who Automatically Makes Every Scene A Musical

Jesse L. Martin (The Flash)

Intelligent, funny, generally delightful. Frequently shows up to distribute baked goods in places that a baker really has no business being in: crime scenes, for instance. Also, funerals. Whenever he arrives, everyone spontaneously bursts into song. No one will ever acknowledge this during the course of the show.

Quote: There are vanilla cupcakes here/and mocha cupcakes there/it’s hard to deliver when there’s blood everywhere. 

(Look, don’t judge. If this was an actual thing, I’d hire someone to write better lyrics for me. It’s not exactly my forte, okay?)

The Investigative Reporter Seemingly Stuck In the 1940’s

Michael Kenneth Williams (The Wire)

Favors trenchcoats, fedoras, suspenders, white tank tops, and cigars. Pants, too. Frequently speaks in hardboiled noir slang. Writes for the local paper and takes every article equally seriously, whether it’s the murder of a mechanic werewolf or how the next-door-neighbor’s cat came to be stuck in that tree. Enjoys appearing out of nowhere whenever possible. Also writes the newspaper’s horoscopes.

Quote: Scorpio, you weasel. You’re behind the eight-ball this week, all right. Better lay dormy somewhere until it blows over; otherwise, you’re liable to face some serious chin music. Avoid cinnamon.

The Town Librarian. Also, The Town Secret Assassin

Lena Headey (Game of Thrones)

Glasses. Dresses almost entirely in black. Ace/Aro. Leads a reading group of young girls from ages 4-17, exposing them to different types of literature, as well as the many different ways to kill someone. When in assassin mode, may vary wildly from Victorian elegant poisoner to exuberant punk overkill, depending on what the client wants and her general mood at the time.

Quote: Excellent progress, girls. Now, who can tell which poison Merricat Blackwood used in We Have Always Lived In The Castle, and the pros/cons of that particular poison?

The Bartender/Coroner. Eventually Undead.

Sarah Shahi (Person of Interest)

Owns and runs a bar called Autopsy Room Four. Does autopsies in one of the back rooms when the town requires one. Friendly, personable. Enjoys geeking out over things, especially baseball, virology, and Stephen King. Murdered during the first season, but mysteriously comes back to life in her grave and crawls her way out. May or may not experience cravings for human flesh.

Quote: Last round, everyone! Hey, I’m disappointed, too, but this bag of meat isn’t going to autopsy itself.

The Wandering Armchair Psychologist

Sandra Oh (Grey’s Anatomy)

Chatty. Enthusiastic. Entirely too blunt. Has appointed herself the town’s therapist, and relies heavily on pop culture, particularly TV Tropes, for her evaluations. Whenever it becomes clear that an episode is going to primarily feature a main character’s emotional arc and/or backstory, the Wandering Armchair Psychologist will appear for a series of sit-downs with that character, whether he/she/they want it or not. Usually, not.

Quote: So, your father was horrifically dismembered and eaten by a flock of wereturkeys. Let’s talk about that.

The Stranger. Also, The Voice of the Audience

Steven Yeun (The Walking Dead)

No one knows who he is or anything about him. Pops up sporadically to either tell people that they’re doing something stupid and/or dangerous, or to help them come to a ridiculously obvious realization. Usually very dry, but every now and then becomes so aggravated with everyone’s stupidity that he has a full meltdown about it . . . before once again disappearing into the night.

Quote: Going there without calling backup, huh? Yeah, that won’t get you killed immediately.

I’m telling you, people: I want this show. I want it now. I already have possible theme songs in mind: “Jugband Blues” by Pink Floyd or maybe “Strange Days” by The Doors. Oh, the many unrealized dreams of the human heart.

And if you haven’t already done so, I’d still like to hear your dream casts. (Especially YOU, Mekaela! I let it slide last week because it was your birthday, but NO LONGER.) Feel free to comment here, or at the original post where I laid out the rules.

Coming Soon-Ish, The Netflix Edition: Zombies, iPhone Brains, and Voltron

Santa Clarita Diet

OMG YES THIS.

I adore Timothy Olyphant, and it’s been a while since Drew Barrymore has done anything I’ve been interested in, and I’m so, SO down for real estate zombie shenanigans. Please, PLEASE, show. Be as good as I want you to be.

The Discovery

This tells you . . . not a whole lot, but it’s certainly intriguing, especially as it suddenly seems to change genre (with some helpful musical cues) from “independent romantic dramedy” to “surreal SF horror.”

IMDb, slightly more helpful, tells me that the story is set “one year after the existence of the afterlife is scientifically verified,” which apparently leads to a whole bunch of suicides? And there’s a cult of some kind, and mad science, and Robert Redford may or may not be evil? I’m not sold, exactly, but I’m intrigued.

iBoy

Meh. I don’t mind the totally silly concept, but I’d be a lot more interested in this if Maisie Williams was the one who woke up with the smart phone brain. Lucy the vigilante? I’m up for that. Lucy, the damsel in distress? Less so. (To be fair, it looks like she does get to hold a gun at some point, and I like getting to hear her swear. Still, my interest remains low.)

Deidra & Laney Rob A Train

This looks pretty cute but also potentially grounded with some real emotional weight. There are a lot of great comedic beats here–“Oh, you mean the robbery we’ve been planning all week? Yeah, I’m sure about it.”— and I’m pretty excited about a sibling story where the sisters are working together instead of, you know, Opposites Who Hate Each Other. I’m not familiar with either of the young actresses here, but they both seem fantastic. I could definitely give this a try.

Finally . . . .Voltron: Legendary Defender – Season Two

I didn’t watch Voltron when I was young; I was a Power Rangers kid. I don’t think I even heard of Voltron until I was in my 20’s, so I’m wildly outside this show’s demographic: far too old for the kids it’s intended for and a tiny bit too young for the nostalgic adults. But I recently decided to check out the first season anyway, mostly because someone online recommended it, and then I saw that Steven Yeun and Bex Taylor-Klaus voiced main characters. I would probably watch many, many terrible things so long as Steven Yeun and Bex Taylor-Klaus were attached to it.

The first episode didn’t do a whole lot for me, but once we got past all the set-up stuff? I had a lot of fun with it. I didn’t expect the season to end on a cliffhanger, though, so I was extremely happy to see that this trailer for Season 2 went up the same day I finished the last episode. That was some lucky goddamn timing right there.

As far as the trailer itself goes, it looks cute and enjoyable and I’m looking forward to finding out how the Paladins all find each other again. Also, how Zarkon keeps tracking them down (I assume it’s an actual plot point), and also what’s up with that shiny alien magic goo or whatever Keith got all over himself last season? Like, they’re going back to that, right? They have to be going back to that.

Season 2 comes out soon; in less than 24 hours, in point of fact. It’s probably the only good thing that will actually happen tomorrow.

Coming Soon-Ish: Zombie Dragons, Guardians of the Galaxy, Old Wolverine, and Horror in Suburbia

Get Out

So, this looks pretty fantastic.

I don’t have a whole lot to say about Get Out specifically, just that it looks original and creepy as hell, and I’m pretty excited about it. I will forever love my horror movies, but the genre repeats itself a lot, often telling the same kind of morality tale with the same kind of killers and the same kind of victims. This, on the other hand, looks like something totally new, and with Jordan Peele behind the wheel and Bradley Whitford as a bad guy? Yeah. Count me the hell in.

Guardians of the Galaxy

This is just a teaser, so I’m not going to get all pumped just yet. But it’s funny (the Drax-Peter exchange)and cute (Baby Groot!) and Zoe Saldana, as always, looks immensely badass. I’m just hoping Gamora gets a little more to do in this movie because–as much as I like Guardians of the Galaxy–she never really felt like more of a collection of tropes to me, the Strong Female Character who’s really not much more than the Hero’s Love Interest. Zoe Saldana is capable of so much more, provided the story will give her better characterization here than the last movie did.

Logan

So, I’m sure people are into this, but . . . this just kind of looks depressing to me? Like, sure, the action is cool (dude, claws through the HEAD) and who doesn’t like Johnny Cash, but I’m not so sure I’m interested in seeing a movie about Old Logan and Super Old Xavier in some post-mutant, super tragic future where everyone else we care about is dead. I do enjoy some darker superhero stories, but at the moment, I’m not particularly feeling this one.

A Cure for Wellness

First, any treatment that looks like that? Probably not a reputable treatment.

This is interesting so far. Not a lot of plot-specific details, but some of the creepy imagery is fantastic, and yeah, I’m amused by slowing down and creepifying “I Wanna Be Sedated.” Also, I see that Jason Isaacs, Dane DeHaan, and Carl Lumbly are all in this? That’s not a bad cast. I’m not quite at the “give it to me, give it to me NOW” stage yet, but I have some interest in this one, and I definitely wouldn’t mind seeing another trailer that tells you a little more about the story itself.

Last Girl Standing

This could be interesting. I’ve always been fascinated by stories that take place after the big event, especially slashers; in fact, I had a horror movie idea a little like this years ago that I never did anything with because I’m a failure of a flip-flopper and moved onto another project. But! I think this could be worth checking out if the whole thing doesn’t turn out to be the Final Girl Has Gone Crazy and Is The One Actually Killing Everyone. I hate that shit.

If I watch this and that’s what happens, prepare yourselves, people, for you will have to listen to me (well, read me) rant about if for THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS OF WORDS because I will not be pleased.

John Wick Chapter 2

John Wick was stylish and fun, though I didn’t love it quite as much as everyone else seemed to, probably because I didn’t buy certain moments and conveniences in the story. Still, I certainly liked it enough to check out the trailer for the sequel, and it looks . . . you know, okay. Fun action scenes, a good cast (newbies include Common, Ruby Rose, and Laurence Fishburne), and of course THE DOG. (The dog can’t die in this one. I’m okay with the dog dying last time–even though it was kind of devastating because it was SO CUTE–but you needed it for the actual plot. Here, it would just be shitty.)

I think my biggest actual concern is that the sequel will go too big. John Wick worked as well as it did, I think, because it was a very simple story, Awesome Hotel of Assassins aside. I’m hoping this one doesn’t have big global conspiracies or fate of the world consequences or anything else like that. Keep it small: John Wick does a job. John Wick gets revenge. John Wick keeps his goddamn dog alive. End of story.

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter

Um. Is that a . . . zombie dragon?

I wouldn’t have bothered watching this trailer, since this series is largely not-great and the last one was actively terrible, like, it was a little embarrassing, just how bad that movie was. But this is being billed as the final movie in the franchise, and while I know better than to believe in any supposed final movies (Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter, Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday, etc.) I’m sure Mekaela will take this as an excuse to force me to watch it. The rotten fiend.

Assassin’s Creed

Okay, I haven’t played the games, so I knew nothing about the whole modern storyline (based off the video game trailers, I had just assumed the whole thing was set in the past), but . . . anyone else think this is gonna flop hard? Maybe it’ll be a lot of dumb fun, but right now, that’s not the impression I’m getting, although I suppose that’s kind of an easy bet: video game movies, after all, are notoriously crap. (Mortal Kombat being the obvious exception. I heart you and your ridiculousness forever, Mortal Kombat!)

On the plus side, this movie does have a hell of a cast. Michael Fassbender, Jeremy Irons, Marion Cotillard, Michael Kenneth Williams, Brendan Gleeson . . . I mean, that’s a damn amazing lineup. I just doubt that this movie is going to be worthy of them. But I wouldn’t mind being proven wrong; I’d like a video game movie to actually succeed, for once.

And finally . . . The Autopsy of Jane Doe

Redband, so beware: this is NSFW, which in this case means boobies. But it also means better scares because, for some reason, the normal teaser trailer is actually pretty boring.

This one is much better, so I’m glad I watched it. I’m enjoying some of the creepy visuals, and the fact that our protagonists are apparently a father-son coroner team is kind of awesome. Though, as always, I immediately couldn’t help but think but couldn’t we gender bend it? That would have been so COOL.