In The Company of Men

1997 | Dir: Neil LaBute | 1h 37m

This movie is a tough sell on its own; the basic setup is this: two misogynistic friends decide to get revenge on the female gender by attempting to ruin an innocent woman's life. How could this possibly turn into a film you would watch? I'm pretty sure this came from a list of "most disturbing" films - and it is, although not in the classic way that comes to mind when you say "disturbing." The film throws itself in the deep end of political incorrectness, offensive language and behaviour, but somehow comes out to be an interesting film. There's a second layer at work here, one that you can feel throughout the runtime and comes to a satisfying payoff in the end.

Score: 4 / 5
IMDB Letterboxd

Good Morning, Vietnam

1987 | Dir: Barry Levinson | 2h 1 m

What can I say save for the fact that Robin Williams is on fire in this role and I should be shamed for not seeing this much earlier (like, decades earlier). This made it onto my watchlist because of my project to watch the top 180 most popular films on Letterboxd of the 80's - a project I started at the beginning of 2018 and have been dragging my feet on for a while. If more films were like this the task would be easier. That being said, some of the subplots feel a tiny bit forced and throwaway, although it does come together nicely.

Score : 3.5 / 5
IMDB Letterboxd

The Curse of La Llorona

2019 | Dir: Michael Chaves | 1h 33m

As a fan of the (so far) two Conjuring movies, I want so badly to enjoy the rest of the universe, but these releases make it really tough. La Llorona is about as generic as it comes, and might actually be worse than The Nun, except that I would lean toward the setting of La Llorona moreso than the boring dusty church and stone tunnels of The Nun. This film is filled with way too many jump scares and cheap attempts to frighten audiences; tension is never properly setup and there is no rewarding payoff. 

Score: 1 / 5
IMDB Letterboxd

iBoy

2017 | Dir: Adam Randall | 1h 30m

What would you do if your brain was directly wired into the internet? I was reminded of Scarlett Johansson's action/sci-fi Lucy, wherein she unlocks 100% of her brain. It's a silly concept but so is having pieces of a cell phone embedded in your brain that effectively gives you similar abilities. It's not entirely clear what's off limits to our victim-turned-hero, as he manipulates electronics but also car engines and electricity. It's not clear to him what he should do either, save for his motivation for revenge as he goes after the bullies who assaulted his crush. Nothing particularly stands out here, save for the concept itself, which leads me away from the movie and into my own fantasies. 

Score: 2 / 5
IMDB Letterboxd

Weird Science

1985 | Dir: John Hughes | 1h 34m

As geekdom becomes ever more dominant in popular culture and socially acceptable, it's fascinating to go back and see how the old stereotypes are represented, and it seems that most my "research" are in John Hughes' filmography that I somehow missed out on (nearly) entirely growing up. This is also a film that would probably benefit from nostalgia goggles, but I digress: it seems to mean well but was a little too wacky for me to get behind - well, at least the first part of the film. Echoing Frankenstein, the two boys throw together a series of computer settings and scanned images to create their girlfriend, in what I first misunderstood and writing off as completely ridiculous. Then I remembered I was watching a comedy (maybe I was just a bit grumpy that evening) and I allowed myself to go with the flow and enjoy the ride. Some of the followup scenes were hit or miss for me, but overall the movie was enjoyable and I was glad that The Perfect Woman did not play into the "born sexy yesterday" trope that befalls many films. I'm certain this would get better with subsequent views and enjoyable with the company of friends.

Score: 3 / 5

IMDB Letterboxd

Peeping Tom

1960 | Dir: Michael Powell | 1h 41m

This was discussed in some detail on a podcast I just started recently (The Evolution of Horror) where they tackle the path of various horror genres, starting with slashers. In this case, the topic was Psycho and Peeping Tom, both of which came out within months of one another and both being influential, although Peeping Tom ended up being banned and ruining the career of the director, Michael Powell, and Psycho was heralded as one of the greats and Hitchcock was celebrated. So I was expecting a bit of a sleazy, almost trashy film, but Peeping Tom was anything but. Our villain is more sympathetic than Bates, and has more room to develop as an actual character as the film takes place from his perspective.

Score: 4 / 5 | IMDB Letterboxd

Spring

2014 | Dir: Justin Benson, Aaron Moorhead | 1h 49m

I had recently watched - and enjoyed - The Endless, so I was intrigued to take in more films from the creative team of its directors: Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson. An american tourist visits a small town in Italy on vacation, and falls in love with a woman who only appears at night. You can see where this is going, and you would be mistaken: the film veers more heavily into a romance than I had hoped, and wastes time with scenes that ultimately feel unnecessary. While I wasn't disappointed per se, the bad CGI and ambiguous ending left a sour note in my mind.

Score: 2 / 5 IMDB Letterboxd

The Toybox

2018 | Dir: Tom Nagel | 1h 35m

Denise Richards and Mischa Barton star in this atrocious D-movie about a sentient RV with a penchant for killing people. I wasn't expecting the film to go in that direction explicitly, but it really does lean into it and provides an ultimately unsatisfying - although somewhat comedic - film that just made me more sad than anything else. The acting is bad, the lines are bad and the deaths are merely okay. This is a hard pass, sorry. 

Score: 1 / 5 | IMDB Letterboxd

Dark Age

1987 | Dir: Arch Nicholson | 1h 31m

Although it falls pretty short of being Australia's equivalent to Jaws, Dark Age does not disappoint. Tagged in the horror and adventure genre, I wasn't entirely sure what to expect, but the film ended up being quite fun. There are some shocking moments, fun characters and no shortage of villains as our heroes race to take care of the killer crocodile before the entire croc population is savagely eradicated.

Score: 3.5 / 5 | IMDB Letterboxd