FlixChatter Review – Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019)

Like so many 80’s and 90’s kids, my sister and I grew up loving the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark trilogy. While the short stories written by Alvin Schwartz are mostly variations of standard urban legends and folk tales, the original illustrations by Stephen Gammell are what really haunted us; the black and white nightmare imagery is enough to spook anyone at any age. So when it was announced that Guillermo del Toro would be producing a movie based on the series, I was ecstatic; who better to adapt these iconic books to film than the modern-day master of monster movies? But when I heard it would be a PG-13 teen horror, I deflated a bit. Would the tamer rating diminish the unsettling tone of the books and dull Del Toro’s beautifully-dark style?

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark begins on Halloween night in 1968 in a small Pennsylvania town, when a group of teens (Stella, played by Zoe Margaret Colletti; Ramón, played by Michael Garza; Auggie, played by Gabriel Rush; and Chuck, played by Austin Zajur) sneak into an abandoned house rumored to be haunted and find a mysterious old book belonging to the even more mysterious previous tenant, Sarah Bellows (Kathleen Pollard). Soon after taking the book, the group is horrified to discover stories about them being written in it by an unseen hand in a suspiciously blood-like ink, and as the stories appear on the pages, they come to life in the real world.

Right away, I have to say the writing is messy. Using the overarching story of the kids finding this haunted book and having to solve Sarah Bellows’s mystery in order to incorporate the stories from the books into the movie leads to convoluted plot points, unrealistic character decisions that are too stupid to even suspend disbelief, and some truly cringe-worthy dialogue (“You don’t read the book-the book reads you” made my sister and me audibly groan). I really wish they had made it into an anthology-style movie so they could have fit in a few more stories from the books; there could have still been some connective tissue tying them together, a la 2007’s Trick ‘r Treat. It would have been a more succinct style of storytelling and felt less like a Goosebumps plot.

Despite the problems I have with the script, I was very pleased with the actual “scary story” bits. They were all excruciatingly and exquisitely suspenseful (“The Big Toe” scene had me clutching my sister’s sleeve and whispering “Oh no oh no oh no”), the creatures were terrifyingly designed in true Del Toro fashion while still retaining the look of Gammell’s illustrations, and they managed to make some stories I thought were pretty silly in the books (specifically “Me Tie Doughty Walker”) genuinely scary.

Acting-wise, the cast did well. Despite the lame jokes they were given, Gabriel Rush and Austin Zajur’s line delivery made me laugh out loud a few times, and Zoe Margaret Colletti and Michael Garza had some nice chemistry as Stella and Ramón. I also really enjoyed the score; the eerie melody to The Hearse Song is used effectively throughout the movie, and it sticks with you after you leave the theater.

Despite the story being underwhelming, I’d still recommend checking out Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark if you were a fan of the books, just for nostalgia’s sake. It’s a fun enough Halloween movie with some solid jump scares, and it’s probably a good intro to the genre for young, budding horror fans. [SPOILER ALERT – highlight to read] Is it good enough to warrant the sequel-baiting sting at the end? I don’t think so. But if you see it, let me know what you think!

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Have you seen Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark? Well, what did you think? 

FlixChatter Review: Pacific Rim Uprising (2018)

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Review by: Vitali Gueron

Pacific Rim Uprising is the sequel to the 2013 science-fiction monster movie Pacific Rim, directed by Guillermo del Toro (Academy Award winner for Best Director and Best Picture). Uprising is directed by Steven S. DeKnight (in his feature-film directorial debut) and stars British actor John Boyega (Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Attack the Block) as Jake Pentecost, and American actor Scott Eastwood (The Fate of the Furious, Suicide Squad, The Longest Ride) as Nate Lambert. Boyega’s character Jake Pentecost—son of Kaiju War hero Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba‘s character in the first film) is brought back to the Pan-Pacific Defense Corps (PPDC) after being arrested for stealing and selling old jaeger (robot) parts on the black market. He then is made an instructor and starts training jaeger program recruits with his estranged former co-pilot, Lambert (Eastwood).

The film also brings back Dr. Newt Geiszler (Charlie Day), who helped save the world in the first movie, and is now working for the Shao Corporation, a company whose mission is to mass produce remote controlled jaegers developed by Dr. Geiszler and Liwen Shao (Jing Tian — a Chinese actress best known for The Great Wall & Kong: Skull Island). Dr. Geiszler is developing a program that combines jeager technology with cloned Kaiju (a Japanese word for giant monsters) cells.

The rogue jaeger Obsidian Fury attacks a PPDC conference and Pentecost and Lambert must use their own jaeger to fight back (the gigantic robot is controlled by at least two pilots, whose minds are joined by a mental link). Upon destroying the reactor of a defunct jaeger production facility in Russia which Obsidian Fury is using as a base of operations, Pentecost and Lambert are shocked to learn that Obsidian Fury was controlled by a Kaiju’s secondary brain.

While Obsidian Fury is eventually defeated by Pentecost and Lambert, Dr. Geiszler releases an army of Shao Corporation’s drones who incapacitate almost all of the PPDC’s jaegers and inflicting heavy casualties on the PPDC’s human staff, including most of the jaeger pilots. The drones begin to open new breaches all over the world and are successful in bringing over three powerful Kaiju. Pentecost and Lambert have no choice but to assemble a team of the jaeger program recruits. These young recruits had only simulated battles and not yet fully grasped the task of the mental link joining in order to pilot the jaeger. The team uses the PPDC confronts the Kaiju with their four remaining jaegers in Tokyo and eventually up the side of Mount Fuji. The team is eventually able to defeat the giant Kaiju and arrest Dr. Geiszler so he can no longer pose a threat.

I believe this movie is set up to initiate third-and-final movie, where humans will be the ones attacking the Precursors (the alien race who created the Kaiju) in their own world. Unfortunately, this film does little to nothing to generate new ideas that haven’t been seen before, whether in the first Pacific Rim or in other films with similar premises, such as Transformers.

While it’s easy to say that this is just another Transformers remake, the biggest thing Pacific Rim Uprising has it going for it is John Boyega as the lead. Boyega is even credited as a producer on the film and he continues to establish himself as a force to be reckoned with, whether on the Star Wars movies—using his pretty convincing American accent, or in this movie—where he uses his natural British accent. Boyega also sports a fantastic mustache which makes him cool, yet believable “bad-ass” Kaiju slayer. Aside from Boyega’s charisma, there aren’t very many other moments here that make the movie anything to get excited about. If you previously loved seeing robots battling gigantic monsters and wreaking havoc upon the world, then you won’t be disappointed this time around.

For the majority of its audiences, Pacific Rim Uprising will seem like another bad idea by a giant Hollywood studio to reuse a story line that has become all too familiar. If their writers and casting departments can somehow add more interesting humans (such as Boyega) and subtract the meaningless robot/monster battles, then there might be hope for the third-and-final movie. Otherwise, it will just be an endless comparison between Pacific Rim and Transformers – a battle of which franchise is worst.


Have you seen ‘Pacific Rim: Uprising’? Well, what did you think? 

Quick thoughts on Oscars 2018 & the winners

It’s almost 10 o’clock when I started writing this post so this is not gonna be a comprehensive post. I have a busy day ahead tomorrow as my department at work is having a musical chair moment moving a bunch of us to new cubicles. Plus there’s also a snowstorm coming tomorrow (gah I sure hope I can still go to that Wrinkle In Time screening!).

Around this time last year, as I was watching the Oscar ceremony, I was still making changes to my short film Hearts Want for the zillionth time. So as a first time filmmaker, this year I got quite emotional as I heard the speech of Best live action short winner (The Silent Child), and she did the sign language as her film is about a deaf child.

Here’s the trailer for that short if you haven’t seen it already:


No comment on the red carpet as I tuned in rather late and I generally don’t care for red carpet stuff anyway. But there are some great frocks out there, these are some of my faves…

Well, the ceremony was ok overall, I enjoyed the retro-styled BW intro. ‘Armie Hammer was born when a witch puts a curse on a Ken doll’ ha!

I quite enjoyed seeing clips of classic films being used throughout the ceremony too!

It’s the 90th year of the Academy Awards, I love the segment celebrating 90 years of timeless movies!

I gotta admit I teared up a bit watching that… and it certainly made me want to go to the movies!!

 

As for the winners…

They’re all VERY predictable. I posted my predictions on Friday. I got ALL of the acting winners right so there was zero suspense in that department. The film I was rooting for this year, The Shape of Water, ended up getting FOUR Oscars out of the 13 it was nominated for, including Best Director AND Best Picture!

– Glad to see Sam Rockwell won, even though I have yet to see Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. To have THREE actors nominated from a single film is quite something and two of them won!

Dunkirk won for Best Sound Mixing and Sound Editing, as well as Best Editing. Well deserved on all three!! Dunkirk was a moviegoing experience like no other and largely because of the sound AND the way it was edited.

– Yaassss on The Shape of Water winning Best Production Design… the amazing, meticulously-designed set pieces truly transports me to 1960s Cold War era.

Allison Janney pretty much won every award there is for Best Supporting Actress…

– The one category I was rooting for Phantom Thread to win DID win!

– The venerable James Ivory (who made all those Merchant-Ivory films!!) won Best Adapted Screenplay for Call Me By Your Name. Now, I’m even more surprised that this is his first win! Wait, what??

– And the one nominee practically everyone was rooting for… I bet even first time female DP nominee Rachel Morrison herself was probably ok w/ Mr. Deakins winning!

This tweet sums it all…

The Shape Of Water swept me off my feet in so many ways, including its beautiful, melancholic, romantic theme… so yeah, no problem whatsoever with it winning Best Score! Congrats Alexandre Desplat!

– I have been Team Shape of Water all the way, which happens to be the last film I saw in 2017! It’s films that I connect with emotionally that I love and remember the most, and this film did that and more. It was pure movie magic filled with amazing creativity and imagination… and heart. I LOVE his speech too, about dreaming big and believing in his own vision.

– This is the year for Character Actors!! Gary Oldman is a consistently-fantastic performer, an actor’s actor, who I’m always stunned to learn he’d never won an Oscar! Well, he FINALLY won one!

– Now, for the FINAL award of the night, I gotta say it was a bit suspenseful … but also humorous seeing Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty back on the podium presenting the same category they messed up so spectacularly last year!

But hey, they didn’t bungle it this year and I’m thrilled to hear the name of the film I’ve been rooting for…

I truly think The Shape of Water deserved the Best Picture win!

You can see full winners list here.


Fave Moments

Every year the host always does something fun that was rather unexpected, such as Ellen handing out pizza, Kimmel bringing tourists to the ceremony. Well this year Kimmel kind of did something similar where gathered a team of Oscar presenters/nominees to hand out snacks to unsuspecting moviegoers watching Wrinkle In Time. That was fun!

I haven’t really caught on who Tiffany Haddish was until recently. I can see why she’s so beloved, she is a hoot! I’d be down to have them present the Oscars next year!

This has got to be my favorite Oscar musical performance in a long time… not only was it a powerful performance by Mary J. Blige but the lyrics was like an anthem for the representation/inclusion/equality movement we’re having now. What a mighty performance!

 

I love this trio from The Last Jedi! I hope this role isn’t just a one off for Kelly Marie Tran, she’s just a delightful woman and surely a good actress too if given a chance!

Well, speaking of which, I know someone who’d agree with me on that…

And THAT speech! I love Frances McDormand‘s defiant, feisty attitude and her powerful, inspiring speech of representation and inclusion.


If you’re like me and had no idea what she meant by ‘Inclusion Rider’ in her speech, well, she kindly explained backstage…

Bravo Frances!! And congrats!! I hope to see Three Billboards next weekend, hopefully!

Ok, THIS is just hilarious!! Thanks whoever captured this moment of del Toro double checking that he indeed won!!

 


Biggest surprises of the night…

… not exactly a welcome one it seems.

I didn’t know about Kobe’s sexual misconduct allegations, but still I find it odd that he’s now an Oscar winner. I mean, it took how long for people like Roger Deakins to finally got his?? And SO many talented filmmakers still has ZERO Oscars!

I think this category could very well be the biggest surprise of the night. I haven’t seen Get Out yet as I’m not a big fan of horror films, but now I’m really curious to see it! Definitely another historical moment for Jordan Peele, what a year for him for getting a trifecta nominations at the Oscars with Best Picture, Best Directing and Best Original Screenplay.

I’m quite surprised that Lady Bird won zilch! I thought it’d win at least the screenplay category for Greta Gerwig. Having just seen it this weekend, I thought it was excellent and well-written. I’m glad it lived up to the hype!


Anyway, here’s the tally:


So that’s it folks, I gotta go to bed at some point.

What are YOUR thoughts on Oscars this year?


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FlixChatter Review: The Shape of Water (2017)

Once in a blue moon I fell in love for a film just from the trailer. It happened with The Shape of Water sometime last Fall, but it took a few months before I finally saw it. Forbidden love stories are my thing, but this isn’t just a typical star-crossed lovers. Guillermo del Toro created a romance unlike any other… and like Elisa with the Amphibian Man, I was smitten by this film.

I LOVE the fact that I saw Sally Hawkins in two movies in the span of a month. As fellow Jane Austen fans know, she was Anne Elliot in BBC’s Persuasion, a story that’s dear to my heart. I’ve been a fan of hers since and she’s perfectly cast here. It’s a bold role and rather fearless performance I must say, quite a departure from the roles she’s done in the past. The mute Elisa is the beating heart of the film…

When he looks at me, he doesn’t see me as incomplete.
He sees me as I am.”

… well isn’t that how we all want to be seen?

It’s the stuff fairy tales are made of. Elisa was living a mundane, lonely life as a janitor at a research facility… until one day she meets someone that changes her life forever. The sea creature was more than just an ‘asset’ the way the top secret government facility sees it… he was her everything. Del Toro captured this heart-wrenching love story so beautifully… it’s emotional, thrilling, funny, suspenseful… everything one would want in a period romance, and then some. Yes it has some disturbing and violent moments that warrants its R rating. I remember how some scenes in Pan’s Labyrinth was so shocking. This one isn’t quite so brutal but it does have its dark, scary moments, yet its beauty is spectacularly breathtaking. There’s such a dreamy quality to the whole production, and there’s something so organic and lush, it’s as if you could touch and smell the universe it’s set in.

Just like any good fairy tale, there’s also a freakish monster of a villain. No, not the sea creature, the monster in this film is the one who wants to tear Elisa away from the love of her life. Michael Shannon has played a lot of menacing characters, and he’s never more revolting here as Strictland. He’s the government official tasked to deliver the ‘asset’ to a high ranking general, as the creature is deemed advantageous to the US during the 60s Space Race. He’s so devilishly vile and creepy he makes your skin crawl.

The film’s visual effects are enthralling, but so are the supporting characters. I always LOVE seeing Octavia Spencer on screen, she elevates every scene she’s in and she’s delightful as Elisa’s sympathetic friend. Richard Jenkins and Michael Stuhlbarg are two terrific character actors and they both provide memorable performances here as Elisa’s neighbor and lab scientist. I have to give props to Doug Jones who played the Amphibian Man for bringing the character to life.

I recall listening to an NPR interview of Del Toro who said he spent three years and his own money to design the creature. ‘I wasn’t designing a monster, I was designing a leading man.’ That really hit me and that’s perhaps what made this story worked. The filmmaker created a character we could relate with despite where he came from and what he looked like. It’s a message of tolerance tailored for the time we live in with the whole migrant, refugee crisis, but at the same it wasn’t on the nose or preachy. The terrific script makes the 2-hour plus running time feels like a breeze, kudos for Del Toro and his co-writer Vanessa Taylor.

Now, it’s not a perfect film. Strictland felt a bit like a caricature as there’s a lack of background about his character and Shanon’s evil-ness is borderline over-the-top at times. I also wonder some things about the creature that doesn’t seem to add up (spoiler alert – highlight to read: he’s a powerful being (even considered a god where he came from) and could heal himself & humans from even being fatally shot, yet why is he powerless when he was chained in the lab?). But none of those bothered me much, nor did it take away from the plenty of stuff that did work. I love the humorous (the one with the cat is hysterical!) and playful moments in Del Toro’s homage to classic movies. The scene of Elisa and her neighbor watched a musical and they began tapping their feet together is one of those sweet movie moments I’d watch over and over. There’s also a gorgeous musical segment that’s unabashedly sweet and romantic.

In the end, it’s films that I connect with emotionally that I love and remember the most. As a fan of classical music, I also adore Alexandre Desplat‘s ethereal score that adds so much to the film. It’s a masterpiece bear revisiting time and time again. I’m glad I saw this on the big screen before year’s end. It’s the last film I saw in 2017… what a way to end the year!

P.S. Just hours before this review’s posted, the Oscar nominations are announced, which you can check out on my friend Paul’s blog here. Keith also posted his Oscar commentary here. Thrilled to see Del Toro, Taylor, Hawkins, Jenkins and Spencer all got nominated.


Have you seen The Shape of Water? Well, I’d love to hear what YOU think!

Everybody’s Chattin + Best casting news in ages: John Boyega in Pacific Rim 2!

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Heh, why is it only Wednesday :\ It’s a pretty busy week at work and June is looking to be a hectic one, which is unusual for Summer. In any case, I’m also gonna be blogging a bit less as I’m REALLY trying to get my script done but the race the the finish is usually the toughest and I’m finding that w/ mine, especially the dialog of the final scene.

But hey, there’s always time for community links… so here we go!

I’ve missed a few of Dan Stephens‘ awesome top 10 lists… LOVE this one on Vengeful Vigilantes.

Nostra reviewed Midnight Special which I can’t wait to see once the blu-ray is out in a couple of weeks!

On the other hand, I think I’m gonna skip The Brothers Grimsby even though Dan O. didn’t hate it.

Brittani reviewed the French film Mustang. Given how much I LOVE the female-led Girlhood that’s also directed by a woman, I can’t wait to see this one!

Steven reviewed The Martian which made me want to see it again pronto!

Now, given her baby is due soon, we may not get to see many more of Film Fridays from Abbi, so check out her latest post that include reviews of Sing Street & Florence Foster Jenkins.

Now, we’ve got a cinematography and scene spotlight on two of my favorites. Keith posted great images from Inception, and Zoë posted the awesome club shootout scene from John Wick. Can’t wait for the sequel!


Now, speaking of a sequel I can’t wait to see…

It’s been a while since I’m actually excited for any sequel, but I’m a huge fan of Pacific Rim and I was so bummed that it’s been stuck in development hell for some time. For a while it seems it might not even get made at all for one reason or another. But looks like it will happen after all, wahoo!!! And what could be better than an awesome casting bit to go with it…

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John Boyega, one of today’s rising stars out of Star Wars: Force Awakens has been cast as the son of Idris Elba’s Stacker Pentecost! What an absolutely brilliant casting!! I was literally in glee when I heard it and it just couldn’t be more perfect. Boyega and Elba are born & bred in London and they’re both super charismatic! I’d love to see him use his natural accent in Pacific Rim 2, as he used an American accent as Fin in the Force Awakens.

I have to say I’m even more excited to see Pacific Rim: Maelstrom than the Star Wars sequel. I have to say I’m still going to miss Idris in THIS getup [yowza!]…

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… but I’m hoping he’d have a small part maybe in Flashback scenes? Man it’d be cool to see him & Boyega on screen together. But for sure I’m excited to see Boyega as a Jaeger pilot and keep on cancelin’ the apocalypse!

Guillermo del Toro isn’t directing this one though he’d still serve as producer. Steven S. DeKnight (who directed an episode of Netflix’s Daredevil as well as executive-produced the series) is helming this one. Per EW, del Toro said this:

“I am very proud and happy to welcome John into a fantastic sandbox. The Pacific Rim universe will be reinforced with him as a leading man as it continues to be a multicultural, multi-layered world.”

I love how diverse the cast of the first movie and so if Rinko Kikuchi is back again with Charlie Hunnam, I’ll be a happy camper!


What do you think of this casting news? Are you excited for Pacific Rim 2? 

FlixChatter Review: CRIMSON PEAK (2015)

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It’s been almost a decade since Guillermo del Toro made a fantasy/ horror picture; Pan’s Labyrinth put his name on the map as a big time filmmaker. After two big budgeted sci-fi action films, he’s back with a smaller fantasy/horror thriller that made him famous.

Set in turn-of-the-century New York, a young ambitous woman named Edith (Mia Wasikowska) is trying to become a serious writer in the field dominated my men. She’s written novels about love and ghosts, you see Edith believes in ghosts because she saw her dead mother visited her when she’s very young. Ever since then, she can see ghosts everywhere.  CrimsonPeak3

Her written work would get turned down by publishers and some even mocked her writing. One day she met an Englishman named Thomas (Tom Hiddleston) who’s in town to try and raise money for his clay mining business from Edith’s father Carter (Jim Beaver) and other business men. Thomas has a sister named Lucille (Jessica Chastain) who doesn’t seem to care much for everyone in town, especially Edith. After Edith’s father rejected his business pitch, Thomas decided to romance Edith in order to get money from the family.

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Local doctor Alan (Charlie Hunnam) also tried to woo Edith but she’s clearly smitten by the new Englishman in town. After a tragic incident, Edith married Thomas and they moved back to England to stay at his old mansion. Here’s when things got worse for Edith as she’s being haunted by spirits in the mansion.

CrimsonPeak1For the first half of this movie, it felt like a period romance drama so for those looking for a spooky ghost story, you’ll be sorely disappointed. Del Toro took his time with the story and didn’t show the horror stuff until later in the movie.

Being that Del Toro is technical expert, this was one of the most beautiful movies I’ve seen in a long time. Kudos also go to the set and costume designers, they did such an amazing job that I felt I was in that period of time while watching the movie. Performance wise, all the actors did a fine job, no complain for me here.

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Unfortunately the script by Matthew Robbins and Del Toro was quite generic and predictable. This was the kind of story that’s been told too many times in other horror/thriller. There were no surprises or twists that you won’t see coming. Another thing I thought didn’t work were the CGI ghosts, they looked fake and not scary at all. Speaking of scary, this was supposed to be a spooky horror movie and I was not once felt scared or spooked while watching this movie.

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Despite the great cinematography, performances and set design, this movie couldn’t overcome its lack of scares and originality.

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So have you seen Crimson Peak? Well, what did you think?

 

Thursday Movie Picks #56: Alien Invasion of Earth

ThursdayMoviePicksHappy Thursday everyone! This is another entry to the weekly Thursday Movie Picks that’s spearheaded by Wandering Through the Shelves Blog. Here’s the gist:

The rules are simple simple: Each week there is a topic for you to create a list of three movies. Your picks can either be favourites/best, worst, hidden gems, or if you’re up to it one of each. This Thursday’s theme is… 

Alien Invasion of Earth

This month’s theme turns out to be pretty easy as there are actually not that many to pick from for me. A lot of the scifis I like are more about humans & robots, not aliens.

So without further ado, here are my picks:

Independence Day (1996)

The aliens are coming and their goal is to invade and destroy Earth. Fighting superior technology, mankind’s best weapon is the will to survive.

When someone says ‘alien invasion movies,’ the first thing that came to mind is this. In fact, I asked my hubby and that’s the first thing that came to his mind as well. It’d also my pick for apocalyptic blockbuster as it’s just so much fun! I remember when I saw it on the big screen for the first time, there’s a sense of awe and intrigue when those big spaceships first appeared hovering above the sky.

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I mean, all the action set pieces like the White House blowing up, Will Smith punching the ugly, slimy alien in the face, and that bombastic aerial battle at the end are still memorably epic to this day! It’s an awesome ensemble cast too, Jeff Goldblum has the snark and swagger to make any role memorable. And of course there’s that rousing, albeit corny, presidential speech from Bill Pullman… “We won’t go quietly into the night!” There’s nothing quiet about this flick and I love it all the better for it!

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SIGNS (2002)

A family living on a farm finds mysterious crop circles in their fields which suggests something more frightening to come.

Let me preface this pick with the fact that despite the atrocity of The Happening, I actually still have hope for M. Night’s career. He’s made two excellent films you could consider a classic (The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable) and the other two in his resume, The Village and Signs, left a lasting impression that I thought about them for days after seeing them. I know his films have their share of ardent fans and equally passionate detractors.

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I’m not saying SIGNS is a perfect film, there are some preposterous, even laughable moments. But I like that it’s really not so much about alien invasion, but he took some of the classic elements of that genre and turn it on its head. In the same way that Sixth Sense isn’t your typical ghost story and Unbreakable offers a compelling twist in the crowded superhero genre, Signs deals with a broader theme. It’s an intimate film about a close-knit family, led by a former pastor dealing with a crisis of faith. The mystery and suspense surrounding the aliens themselves was pretty fun to watch the first time around, but it isn’t the heart of the film and it’s not what stuck with me afterwards. I like the emotional and spiritual aspect, and how a dire predicament actually helps restore a man’s soul and brings his family together. It’s been ages since I saw this but I definitely want to see this again. Excellent acting all around too by Mel Gibson and Joaquin Phoenix.

Pacific Rim (2013)

As a war between humankind and monstrous sea creatures wages on, a former pilot and a trainee are paired up to drive a seemingly obsolete special weapon in a desperate effort to save the world from the apocalypse.

I love LOVE this movie! I never thought I’d love a big monster movie THIS much but what can I say, it’s awesome. Or as one character in the movie said, “That’s two-thousand five-hundred tons of awesome!’😀 I don’t think it’d be a major spoiler to say that it’s as much an alien invasion movie as it’s a big monster flick. The Kaijus are obviously not from this world, they’re mammoth biological weapons sent by an alien colony through a portal for a specific mission: wipeout humankind. Guillermo del Toro did an amazing job making these creatures look organic like a dinosaur, but with thick, gunky blue blood that actually looks cool the bloodier the darn thing is.

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All the fight scenes between the Kaijus and the massive human-powered robots called Jaegers are wonderfully staged. But I love that we constantly see the humans powering these machines and some of the scenes are actually quite emotional. I like the father-daughter dynamic between Idris Elba‘s and Rinku Kikuchi‘s, and a flirty banter between Rinku and hunky Charlie Hunnam, as well as a slew of fun supporting characters that enrich the movie. Just like ID4, this movie doesn’t take itself seriously, there’s something so giddily-amusing about the fight scenes, like when a Jaeger named Gypsy Danger swung a huge, Titanic-sized ship and hurl it at the Kaiju. You just want to get up and cheer when those moments came on!

I saw this movie twice on the big screen and loved every minute of it. I’ve since bought the Bluray and it’s gotten a lot of play in my house.

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What do you think of my alien-invasion movie picks this week? Have you seen any of these films?