The Obsessive Viewer Podcast – Ep 312 – cOVid-19 Film Festival Day 6 (Mike’s Picks) – The Head Hunter, Little Monsters, Horror Noire, and Freaks

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OV312 – cOVid-19 Film Festival Day 6 (Mike’s Picks) – The Head Hunter, Little Monsters, Horror Noire, and Freaks

In the midst of a global pandemic and stay at home orders all over the country, I am coping by watching movies and podcasting about them as if they were part of a Film Festival. Here is my coverage of cOVid-19 Film Festival day 6: Programmed by Mike White. For the spotlight review, Mike calls in to talk about Freaks with me in a mostly non-spoiler review.

This week’s stinger comes from our Patreon-exclusive Vlog: COVID-19: Vlog 2 – TV Shows in Quarantine & I Can’t Grow a Beard – March 30, 2020

Runtime: 1:13:57 Continue reading

Movie Review: Bride of Frankenstein (1935) – Universal Classic Monsters 5

Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

Premise: Mary Shelley reveals the main characters of her novel survived: Dr. Frankenstein, goaded by an even madder scientist, builds his monster a mate.

The first direct sequel in the Universal Classic Monsters chronology is also the final one to be helmed by James Whale (after Frankenstein and The Invisible Man). Bride of Frankenstein is replete with themes of creation and destruction amidst subtext involving identity politics, nature vs nurture, and a healthy of dose of homosexual undercurrents thrown in for good measure. The film builds upon what was previously established in Frankenstein by introducing a more menacing mad scientist character and further humanizing Boris Karloff’s monster. It also pays homage to the woman who created the monster and brings some light religious commentary to the forefront as well.
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Movie Review: The Invisible Man (1933) – Universal Classic Monsters 4

The Invisible Man (1933)

Premise: A scientist finds a way of becoming invisible, but in doing so, he becomes murderously insane.

A man enters an inn, demands privacy, and works tirelessly at mysterious experiments. He’s isolated, agitated, and slowly growing more and more insane. Also, he’s invisible. The Invisible Man is the mind-blowing journey of a man overcome with the conflicting feelings of the power he has gained and the longing to come back to the one he loves. It’s a mad scientist motif that drives a narrative more and more toward an ending that may not be as redemptive or emotionally satisfying as one might expect. With a powerful lead performance by Claude Rains and spectacular visual effects, The Invisible Man leans into its mad scientist’s descent as it leads to a thrilling conclusion.
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Movie Review: The Mummy (1932) – Universal Classic Monsters 3

The Mummy (1932)

Premise: A resurrected Egyptian mummy stalks a beautiful woman he believes to be the reincarnation of his lover and bride.

A year after making his mark as the monster in Frankenstein, Boris Karloff cemented his icon status with his portrayal of Imhotep in 1932’s The Mummy. Despite having a plot that is heavily borrowed from Dracula, The Mummy showcases Karloff’s strength and range as an actor behind it. The film also features an exotic Egyptian locale and set design that is noticeably different from the Gothic horror of Dracula or the villages of Frankenstein. More importantly, The Mummy has tense atmosphere and a sense of grandeur to its monster that keeps it from simply being a rip-off of Dracula.
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The Obsessive Viewer Podcast – Ep 311 – cOVid-19 Film Festival Days 4 & 5 (Amazon Prime Weekend) – Jay and Silent Bob Reboot, Never Surrender, Thunder Road, and HBO’s Watchmen

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OV311 – cOVid-19 Film Festival Days 4 & 5 (Amazon Prime Weekend) – Jay and Silent Bob Reboot, Never Surrender, Thunder Road, and HBO’s Watchmen

COVID-19 is sweeping the nation. So, naturally, I am coping by watching movies and podcasting about them as if they were part of a Film Festival. Here is my coverage of day 4 & 5: Amazon Prime Weekend. For the spotlight review, Tiny calls in to talk about HBO’s Watchmen with me in a non-spoiler and spoiler section.

This week’s stinger is an outtake from our recording.

Runtime: 2:02:15 Continue reading

Movie Review: Frankenstein (1931) – Universal Classic Monsters 2

Frankenstein (1931)

Premise: An obsessed scientist assembles a living being from parts of exhumed corpses.

James Whale’s 1931 adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein was released in the same calendar year as Dracula. Together, the two films kicked off the Universal Monsters’ reign in cinemas. While both are similar in their Gothic horror aesthetics, Frankenstein infuses its monster with a science fiction hue to great effect. The scientific and moral concepts at the heart of Frankenstein help enhance the wonderful characterization and tragedy-laden arc of the film’s titular character and his complicated monster.
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The Obsessive Viewer Podcast – Ep 310 – cOVid-19 Film Festival Opening Night and Day 1 – Crawl, The Year of Spectacular Men, Outbreak, The Edge of Seventeen, and Contagion

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OV310 – cOVid-19 Film Festival Opening Night and Day 1 – Crawl, The Year of Spectacular Men, Outbreak, The Edge of Seventeen, and Contagion

COVID-19 is sweeping the nation. So, naturally, I am coping by watching movies and podcasting about them as if they were part of a Film Festival Here is day 1.

This week’s stinger comes from our Patreon-exclusive Vlog: COVID-19 Vlog 1 – Crawl (2019) & Theaters Close – March 17, 2020

Runtime: 1:16:05 Continue reading

Movie Review: Dracula (1931) – Universal Classic Monsters 1

Dracula (1931)

Premise: The ancient vampire Count Dracula arrives in England and begins to prey upon the virtuous young Mina.

1931’s Dracula, the beginning of the Universal Classic Monster films, is a work of stunning beauty and dread from the outset. The detail in the backdrops of the opening scenes is awe-inspiring and lends to an impressive scale and cinematography that has aged extremely well. Within the first few moments, we’re introduced to Count Dracula and his castle. Giant interior scenes are filled with broken staircases and cobwebs. The set design goes a long way in establishing tone and a sense of danger for every character who crosses Dracula’s path. Continue reading

Ben’s Column: Onward (2020) Movie Review

Onward (2020)

Premise: Set in a suburban fantasy world, two teenage elf brothers embark on a quest to discover if there is still magic out there.

At what point should we start worrying about the original storytelling capabilities of Pixar? While the studio remains at the forefront of modern animation and earns plenty of major awards at the end of almost every year, the studio has loaded its docket lately with sequels to its most beloved franchises, some less successful than others. Look through their recent filmography and the last non-sequel put out was all the way back in 2017 with Coco. Go back even further and you won’t find any until 2015, with The Good Dinosaur and Inside Out – a mixed bag, as the former is one of Pixar’s worst, and the latter one of its best. Granted, most of their sequels have been mostly solid (Toy Story 4 was one of my favorite films last year and won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature), but the studio’s reliance on existing property could be taken as a troubling sign. Continue reading

The Obsessive Viewer Podcast – Ep 309 – Extended Potpourri – Coronavirus/COVID-19, Devs, Dave, Kan Kan Cinema, The Warrant, The Way Back, The Outsider, Mythic Quest, McMillions (Guest: Ben Sears)

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OV309 – Extended Potpourri – Coronavirus/COVID-19, Devs, Dave, Kan Kan Cinema, The Warrant, The Way Back, The Outsider, Mythic Quest, McMillions (Guest: Ben Sears)

This week, frequent guest and OV contributor Ben Sears joins Tiny and me to discuss several topics in an Extended Potpourri episode. Topics include: Devs, Dave, The Outsider, McMillions, The Way Back, Mythic Quest, The Warrant, Fail Safe, and more.

This week’s stinger comes from our Patreon-exclusive recording: 060 – OV B-Roll – “How to Wash Your Hands” – Second Run Theaters, The Simpsons, Replacing Actors, and Upcoming Movies – March 11, 2020

Runtime: 1:29:15 Continue reading

Movie Review: The Invisible Man (2020)

The Invisible Man (2020)

Premise: When Cecilia’s abusive ex takes his own life and leaves her his fortune, she suspects his death was a hoax. As a series of coincidences turn lethal, Cecilia works to prove that she is being hunted by someone nobody can see.

Leigh Whannell’s reimagining of one of Universal’s iconic monsters for the #MeToo era has its highs and lows. The Invisible Man takes the classic monster and makes him into a predatory, controlling, and abusive narcissistic sociopath. It’s a far cry from the mad scientist searching for a cure to his invisibility in the 1933 James Whale film. That’s not a bad thing, however, as Whannell creates a menacing and intrusive villain within the framework of a highly effective thriller. Unfortunately, the film ultimately falters in its depiction of the aftermath of abuse to the point where it becomes a bit reckless in its handling of the material.

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Movie Review: Onward (2020)

Onward (2020)

Premise: Set in a suburban fantasy world, two teenage elf brothers embark on a quest to discover if there is still magic out there. 

In telling the story of two disparate brothers on a time-sensitive quest to temporarily bring their father back to life, Pixar’s Onward recaptures some of the heart and soul of some of the studio’s earliest hits. Onward takes the classic “what if” template that makes Pixar films so magical and creates a charming epic suburban fantasy world plagued by modern technology and consumerism. Though the world building itself is just slightly lacking in the long run, there’s a hefty emotional weight to the story of Ian and Barley Lightfoot that harkens back to some of the studio’s most heartfelt films.

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The Obsessive Viewer Podcast – Ep 308 – Post-Oscars 2020 & Extended Potpourri – The Witcher, Gretel and Hansel, Terminator: Dark Fate, Downhill, Fantasy Island, Mike Birbiglia’s The New One, and Zombieland Double Tap

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OV308 – Post-Oscars 2020 & Extended Potpourri – The Witcher, Gretel and Hansel, Terminator: Dark Fate, Downhill, Fantasy Island, Mike Birbiglia’s The New One, and Zombieland Double Tap

This week, Tiny and I reflect on this year’s Oscar ceremony, which we were both pleased with. We then discuss several topics in an Extended Potpourri segment. Topics include: The Witcher, Gretel and Hansel, Terminator: Dark Fate, Downhill, Fantasy Island, and Mike Birbiglia’s The New One, and Zombieland: Double Tap.

This week’s stinger comes from our Patreon-exclusive recording: 059 – OV B-Roll – “Look at this Graph” – Website Plans, Universal Monsters, Fantasy TV or Movie Adaptations, Dune and the Burden of Reading – February 18, 2020

Runtime: 1:26:10 Continue reading

Movie Review: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018)

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018)

Premise: A teenage girl’s secret love letters are exposed and wreak havoc on her love life.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is Netflix’s charming teen romance film based on the first of Jenny Han’s trilogy of novels. In adapting the story to film, screenwriter Sofia Alvarez and director Susan Johnson pack the ethos of classic John Hughes films into a modern teen world. They do so in an earnest and unironic way that feels refreshing in an age of cynicism and satire. Guided by a pair of very charismatic young stars, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is a romantic teen drama you won’t soon forget.

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Movie Review: Troop Zero (2020)

Troop Zero (2020)

Premise: In rural 1977 Georgia, a misfit girl dreams of life in outer space. When a competition offers her a chance to be recorded on NASA’s Golden Record, she recruits a makeshift troop of Birdie Scouts, forging friendships that last a lifetime.

Troop Zero is a well-meaning and sugary sweet story of accepting and celebrating who you are and finding that special community of people who will embrace your quirks and support you. Its focus is on Christmas Flint (McKenna Grace), who has recently lost her mother and finds comfort in looking to the stars. Her leadership in forming a troop so she can get her voice on NASA’s Golden Record is the film’s strongest asset. However, the rest of the troop members’ journeys don’t quite connect to hers, much to the detriment of the overall story.

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