12 Films of Christmas 2019 (Part 4)

Howdy. 12 Films of Christmas, contrivance edition. The fourth part. Y’all ready?

So today’s pick is an interesting one. Today we’re chatting about “Deadwood: The Movie”, a 2019 made-for-tv film based on the hit tv show that ran from 2004 to 2006. Set ten years after the season 3 finale, we return to the South Dakota camp, now a small town. And we follow Bullock (Timothy Olyphant), Swearengen (Ian McShane), and all the other cocksuckers of Deadwood as old wounds get opened up in the midst of Dakota becoming a state. I got to the show far after everyone else, only really starting it in late April/early May of this year, and was done at the end of May, right around the time the movie was released. So I didn’t have the same distance of time/nostalgia that a lot of other people did. But I still watched it. So how is “Deadwood: The Movie” a christmas film? Well tag along with me.

Imagine: The year is 2006. You’ve been watching this show, “Deadwood”. You’ve endured the drama, you’ve fallen in love with the characters, you are so excited about a fourth season… but then the show gets cancelled. You’re distraught. Plot threads dangling loosely, no real resolution, your tenure with these characters gets abruptly cut off. Then, 13 years later, you get to see them again, thanks to this movie. It’s a christmas fucking miracle, a god damn gift! And you know who delivers gifts? Santa Claus.

If you are a fan of “Deadwood” and haven’t checked out the movie yet, I highly recommend doing so. It’s a wonderfully acted and written sendoff for these characters we love. I may have been late to the “Deadwood” party, but that didn’t stop it from having a big impact on me. The show is fantastic, and the movie is one of my favorites of the year.

Have a good one.

12 Films of Christmas 2019 (Part 3)

Good evening, ladies and gents. Christmas is almost upon us, and we are counting down towards that. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to read today’s post and hopefully tolerate the contrivance I give for choosing to talk about this movie today. This message would self destruct in five seconds, but we couldn’t figure out how to burn out your device, so when you’re done, just exit the post really abruptly like it’s destroying itself.

“Mission Impossible: Fallout”. The sixth entry in the film franchise based on the old tv show, was written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie, and once again starring stunt-performing madman Tom Cruise as he and his team has to stop some nuclear devices from being unleashed upon the world. It was released in the summer of 2018, to critical and commercial acclaim. You all probably think that I’m using the same excuse as with “Sunshine” yesterday, where it’s all about “If the world isn’t saved, then there’ll be no more christmas”. And you’d be partially right… but I’m not just rehashing old explanations/contrivances. I got something new too.

In this movie, Tom Cruise has to go across the world to stop this nuclear threat from an evil shadow organization. So it’s a globetrotting adventure. And at a point in the movie, we also see good ol’ Tommy boy run across some rooftops. So he sprints across rooftops, while traveling the world. You know who else does that? Santa Claus. Or should I say… SANTA CRUISE!?

So there, Tom Cruise, much like Santa Claus, hops around rooftops all over the world. And even if we discount this clear holiday implication, “Mission Impossible: Fallout” is still an absolutely fantastic action movie that, in my opinion, gets better with every watch. Great chases, great fights, some great shooty-bang-bang, some great acting… it’s just great.

Have a good one.

12 Films of Christmas 2019 (Part 2)

Well hey there, everyone. Welcome back to the second part in this series that I really should’ve called “12 Contrivances of Christmas”. Ah, fuck it, too late now. So let’s get into it.

So if you’re a bit of a sci-fi buff, or you just watch a ton of movies, you probably figured out from the top image that we’re talking about “Sunshine” today. Released in 2007, the movie was directed by Danny Boyle, written by Alex Garland, and starring a whole bunch of recognizable people. And it’s about the crew of a spaceship set to deliver a big bomb to space in an attempt to try to reignite our dying sun. So you’re probably wondering how I’m gonna contrive my reasoning for this one. Well, buckle up, because I am ready to deliver my reasoning.

Imagine. The sun is about to die. No sun, no warmth. No warmth, no life. No life, no christmas. So really, this non-christmas movie is all about saving christmas! Easy peasy, lemon contrivanceasy! But yeah, that’s my reasoning. Also, there’s a bit in the movie where you see a photo of the ship’s crew, wearing santa hats, clearly celebrating christmas. Double reason, double christmas contrivance! HAHA.
All joking aside, I love “Sunshine”, it’s one of my favorite sci-fi movies. It’s tense, emotional, exciting, visually stunning, and a feast for the ears.

Have a good one.

12 Films of Christmas 2019 (Part 1)

Season’s greetings, ladies and gents. Alright, enough of that holly jolly shit, let’s get down to business. For a few years now, I’ve had this series on my blog where I do twelve shorter pieces starting on December 13th, leading up to December 24th (AKA the date where us in Sweden primarily celebrate christmas). First two years, I did christmas songs. The next two, I did films. Now, for this year, I’m doing films again. However, I’m throwing a monkey in the wrench this year… I won’t use actual christmas movies. Instead I’m just using 12 movies, and I have to contrive a reason as to why I’m mentioning them in a christmas series. Gotta find some way to switch up the monotony, you know. So without further ado… here we go.

As you probably guessed from the image at the top, I am starting this series off with a classic of sci-fi/fantasy cinema. “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back”, released in 1980, sequel to the 1977 super surprise hit “Star Wars”. It once again follows Luke, Leia, and Han (Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford) as they battle against the sinister galactic empire. Most of you probably assume that my contrivance for this is the first act of the movie, which is set on the snow-covered planet of Hoth. And while that adds to it, it’s not my main motivation (twist, motherfuckers). But for my contrivance to work, there will be spoilers. So if you haven’t seen “Empire Strikes Back”, then you’re either lying or you’ve lived under a rock for the past 39 years. So if you don’t want spoilers, go watch it, then come back. Don’t worry, I’ll wait…

Dramatic exaggeration of my long wait.

Welcome back. Now, spoilery contrivance time. If you’ve seen this movie, you should know that it’s all about bringing friends and family together, which is also what the holidays are about. First things first: We see Han get reunited with his old buddy Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams). It seems slightly tense at first, but then there’s a hug and laughter and offers of refreshments.

And then there’s the family reunion. Later in the movie, we have Luke meeting the spooky looking Darth Vader (David Prowse/James Earl Jones). They scuffle a bit, Luke gets disarmed (HA!), and that’s when the classic line happens. No… I am your father! Got chills when I rewatched it yesterday, it’s still great. And isn’t it nice to see a boy and his father get reunited? Sure, it’s a bit awkward at first, but somewhere down the cockles of your heart, there’s still a bit of holiday heart warmth to it.

“Empire Strikes Back” is not only a fantastic movie, but also a nice, heartwarming movie about awkward reunions with friends and family. Perfect holiday analogy!

Have a good one.

 

Great Music #33

Well howdy, ladies and gents. You all doing okay? Anyway, time for me to ramble on once again about music I like. Which I last did in… September. I’m getting better at keeping semi-regular intervals with this series, it seems. Oh well, let’s chat about a tune.

The year is 1967. A group of people come together to form a band. This band was called Soft White Underbelly. This name wouldn’t last too long however, as in 1971 they would change their name into what we know them as today… Blue Öyster Cult. Best known for their legendary super hit “Don’t Fear the Reaper”, from the band’s 1976 album “Agents of Fortune”, the band went on to become fucking huge in the rock/metal scene. But today we’re not talking about that one song that needed more cowbell. We’re talking about an earlier track of theirs. It’s the final track from their 1974 album, “Secret Treaties”. This is “Astronomy”.
The song opens with a little piano piece that makes the listener go “Hmm, what’s this?”. It’s slightly mysterious. Then it gets more mysterious. Then Eric Bloom opens his mouth and starts telling a tale… and by the end, it has given us one of the band’s best songs. Though that maybe doesn’t say a lot considering how many great songs they have. But if it wasn’t for “Don’t Fear the Reaper”, then “Astronomy” would be my favorite song by Blue Öyster Cult. From Bloom’s engaging vocals, to the eclectic instrumentation, to the absolutely perfect structure and pacing. The song is a beautiful crescendo, starting with that simple and mystic opening, to a somewhat bombastic, yet dramatic-sounding finale to cap off the album. Again, this is my favorite song from the band… if you discount the cowbell song.

What are your thoughts on “Astronomy”? And what’s your favorite Blue Öyster Cult song that isn’t “Don’t Fear the Reaper”? Leave any and all thoughts in the comments.
Have a good one and enjoy.

Month of Spooks 2019 Roundup

Hiya. It’s November. Take down the fucking christmas decorations, ya dingus. Also, the Month of Spooks ended not too long ago. So let’s talk about the stuff that was posted during it by me and my little spookers.

Let’s start with my stuff since that’s the least interesting.
Shelley Review
Candyman Review
Mulberry Street Review
It Review
The Invitation Review
Evil Dead 2 Review
The Strain Season 1 Review
From Dusk Till Dawn Review
Mimic Review
Dawn of the Dead Review
Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust Review
Constantine: City of Demons Review
Cabin in the Woods Review
Case 39 Review
Fortitude Season 2 Review

And now it’s time for the post of my spookers.

The Craggus

First up on the list is The Craggus. This is the fourth year in a row he’s taken part in the Month of Spooks, which makes him the most frequent collaborator of mine. He is also responsible for any and all Month of Spooks graphics you’ve seen used here (like the three at the top of this post). And he has written a few different posts under the Month of Spooks banner this year. From a review on the recently released Countdownto 80s slasher Sleepaway Camp, to Robert Kurtzman’s Wishmaster. The Cragmeister has given us a whole load of posts, and I’d recommend clicking over to his site to check them out.

Gavin

Next up is Gavin, from filmnstuff. This is his third year doing Month of Spooks. And he’s been able to talk about… films and stuff. And he placed this under his 31 Days of Horror tag, where you can read all his wonderful posts from this year.

Maddy

The third and final spooker I collaborated with this year was the wonderful Maddy, who runs the blog fivethreeninety. And she made two posts that I could class under the Month of Spooks banner. One is a review of the recently released Zombieland: Double TapAnd the other is of romantic spook movie Ghost.

And that’s the Month of Spooks 2019. Huge thanks to the three people who decided to take part in this silly little thing of mine. And huge thanks to anyone who’s read and/or interacted with any posts. The support people show is what keeps me going, and what makes this so much fun. Thank you.
Have a good one.

Great Music #32

Hi there. Time for another edition of “Great Music”, where I talk about music I like. Yeah, not much else to say there. Onward!

So unlike the last two parts in this series, today’s song is not from a video game. Instead it’s a regular song-song, something I listen to outside of other mediums. I mean, I found out about this band through a movie once, but this song I heard on my own, without that little help. Ladies and gents, it’s “End of the Line” by The Traveling Wilburys.

For those who don’t know, The Traveling Wilburys is a supergroup consisting of one of the coolest lineups in music. We got George Harrison (R.I.P), Roy Orbison (R.I.P), Bob Dylan, Jeff Lynne, and Tom Petty (R.I.P)… yeah, this group is (was) the real deal. The group started in 1988 and stopped circa 1991. What I love about their music is there’s no real ego on show here. It just feels like a group of friends getting together and having fun, playing some tunes… which is essentially what they were. Now, Wilburys has a great discography, meaning I could pick any song from them. But I wanted to specifically go with “End of the Line” because of the simple message it has (that I can interpret at least). No matter what happens, be it if you have great wealth or not, driving a fancy car or an absolute shitbox, everything will be okay. Yeah, one could interpret it as “Yeah, we’ll all be dead in the end”, but I’d like to be a bit more optimistic about it. A nice song that warms my heart, telling everyone that it’s all right.

What do you think of this song? And just for fun, in terms of career outside of Wilburys, who’s your favorite of them?
Have a good one and enjoy.

Announcing The Month of Spooks 2019

Hello there, ghouls and bones, and welcome to a very special post. For years I have run this thing called The Month of Spooks, which is just a fancy way of saying “Let’s talk about horror movies throughout October, AKA the month where Halloween happens”.

The first year was some half-assed thing I came up with in the middle of the month. Then during the following three years it got more organized, gaining more collaborators, giving some more perspectives on the various corners of the world of spooks. And now it is time for the fifth iteration of this silly little thing of mine. God damn, fifth, time flies. So once again I am looking for a collaborator or two or more. Easiest way of reaching me is by contacting me on twitter, and we’ll work some stuff out. But you can also comment on this post, and I’ll fetch the email attached to it and try to then reach out to you. Officially speaking, The Month of Spooks starts on October 1st, so I thought I’d throw out this announcement today so people can get good time to consider whether they wanna participate, and maybe also give them time to figure out what they want to write about.
There’s no need to even write every day of October. Hell, I’d probably discourage you from doing it, as there’s a good chance it could burn you out, and I don’t want you to do that. I just think it could be fun to see who we could get involved.

So if you’re interested in participating, just write to me either on twitter or in the comments. And also, extra special thanks to my buddy The Craggus for those really cool graphics at the top of the post, I love them.
Have a good one.

Great Music #31

Well hello there, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome back to Great Music, the series where I just talk about music I like. Last time we did this was back in April. I’m not good at keeping up a consistent release pace for these posts. Oh well. Here we go.

So what’s on the menu this time? Bit of old school rock? Something from a famous movie? Nah, neither. This is a bit more… revolutionary (you’ll know why in a bit). Let’s first get something god damn straight: I don’t like nazis, they’re the fucking worst, get them the hell out. But since those sons of bitches don’t seem to go away any time soon, at least I can imagine it and get some catharsis from it… thanks to “Wolfenstein”. First released in 1981, “Castle Wolfenstein” was a stealth game with some shooting elements. Then in 1992 it saw a reboot of sorts with “Wolfenstein 3D”, a revolutionary (no, that’s not the part I meant earlier) game that really brought the first person shooter to the mainstream. Cut to 22 years and god knows how many games later, and we get “Wolfenstein: The New Order”, another reboot of sorts that shared some stylistic and thematic elements with “The Man in the High Castle” and “Inglourious Basterds”. That game was a huge hit among fans and critics (yours truly included). Then three years later, in 2017 we get the sequel, “Wolfenstein: The New Colossus”, a not quite as good, but still fairly enjoyable action game with some standout moments and characters. Now, the music of “The New Order” was good, but you can still tell that it played it a little bit safe, with composer Mick Gordon testing the waters a bit. After then making the acclaimed music for the 2016 reboot of “Doom”, you could tell that he had found his style and wouldn’t shy away from exploiting it like a motherfucker. Cut to “New Colossus”, where he (along with co-composer Martin Stig Andersen) brought his fucking A-game and gave us some of the best video game music of all time. I could’ve talked about any track from the OST and been just as happy, but I felt like I needed to pick one of the more unique tracks from it to truly justify this post. And that’s why I chose “Horton Hears a Revolution” (THERE IT IS!).

In the game, you play as American resistance fighter William Joseph “B.J.” Blazkowicz (voiced by Brian Bloom) as he tries to fight back against the nazi regime which had taken over the world in 1946, and still rules with an iron cross 14 years later. But he can’t do this alone, he has to gather allies. And at a point in the game he travels to New Orleans to try to recruit a resistance group led by southern preacher Horton Boone (voiced by Christopher Heyerdahl). And as he comes to their base, they start discussing the situation they’re in, which is accompanied by a bit of nice clarinet jazz… and Mick Gordon’s heavier-than-metal guitars and drums. You see, Mick likes to approach his compositions a bit differently compared to your John Williams or Michael Giacchinos of the world. Instead of the typical orchestrations of brass and woodwind, this crazy son of a bitch uses instruments typically found in heavy metal bands (and the occasional synth for good measure). It creates a heavy sound that fits the often satirical but still brutal style of the story and writing. And the way it is used to coincide with the jazzy clarinet is absolutely frickin’ wonderful, creating a mesmerizing chaos that honestly just takes my breath away every time I hear it, while also making me want to start a revolution against some nazi assholes.

Have a good one and enjoy.

Quentin Rankantino

Howdy, motherfuckers. Today we’re doing something a little bit differently. Instead of reviewing something, we’re ranking stuff. And by we, I mean me. With the impending release of “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”, I have been rewatching all of Quentin Tarantino’s movies. So now that I got that task done, I have decided to rank them, from least favorite, to my top pick. So get your buckets of blood and Samuel L. Jacksons ready as we rank the movies of Quentin Tarantino, in a special post we call… Quentin Rankantino!

Number 9: Death Proof.

Coming in at the bottom is Tarantino’s grindhouse homage, “Death Proof” (fittingly used within the “Grindhouse” double feature). It’s not awful per se, but it’s Tarantula’s weakest movie by a mile. The pacing is wonky, and I don’t exactly find any of the characters particularly interesting. What gives it some points are the action scenes, which are a hard-hitting bit of fun. Also, Kurt fucking Russell… I don’t have much to say there, I just like Kurt Russell.

Number 8: Jackie Brown.

For our number 8 slot we make a huge god damn leap from “not that good” to “that’s really good”. In Toronto’s third movie, based on “Rum Punch” by Elmore Leonard, a stewardess (Pam Grier) gets drawn into a complex crime plot by the ATF. It can feel a bit cluttered at times, affecting the pacing a bit, which is why it finds itself so low on the list. But with that said, thanks to the stellar cast and one hell of a funky soundtrack it still stands out as a damn solid movie in this director’s filmography.

Number 7: Kill Bill Volume 1

Now, I know that Turntable considers “Kill Bill” one movie, but they were released as two, so I rank them as two. Now, I find the story and characterization a bit weak in this one… but it’s still a damn good movie, filled with stylish, batshit insane action and some fun performances.

Number 6: Kill Bill Volume 2

While I’d put both “Assassinate William” movies on the same level in terms of various technicalities, I still do prefer the second one, due to its slower, more character-driven journey. Yes, we do still get some crazy, well handled action, but it’s not quite as much as in the first movie… and that’s okay.

Number 5: The Hateful Eight

Tabernacle’s second western is quite the interesting tale of assholes trying to not kill each other… which is technically how one could describe all his movies to some extent. Hmm. Either way, this 2015 western-drama-thriller may be very slow, but it’s quite the electrifying experience, thanks in large part to the absolutely mesmerizing performances from its core cast. Plus, having a score from maestro Ennio Morricone certainly doesn’t hurt.

Number 4: Pulp Fiction

Oh how many watches am I gonna get shoved up my ass for this placement? That’s right, the fourth place winner is Tacheometer’s sophomore outing, “Pulp Fiction”. Often considered one of the greatest movies ever made (and I can see why), it tells the tale of many assholes and their overlapping stories. And it’s that story that brings it down a bit for me (*”Ironside” siren blares*). It’s fun to watch, but the jumping back and forth, especially between so many stories can make it feel a little, well, jumpy at times, which can every so lightly fuck with the pacing a times. But with the help from an amazing cast, great music, and the ever so fiery dialogue, it manages to still hold up quite well.

Number 3: Django Unchained

A mostly straightforward revenge tale, Tartarology’s “Django Unchained” still manages to entertain across its nearly three hour runtime thanks to a colorful cast, an amazing soundtrack, and some of the most blood-soaked shootouts I have ever fucking seen. It’s a bit of slavery drama mixed with a popcorn bloodbath. What’s not to love?

Number 2: Reservoir Dogs

At the number two slot is where we find Tatterdemalion’s cinematic debut, “Reservoir Dogs”, a heist movie that isn’t really a heist movie. Showing the before and after of a botched diamond robbery, the movie jumps back and forth as we get to know the various characters as they deal with this entire situation. It’s fun, it’s suspenseful, and it’s one of the most impressive debuts I have ever seen.

NUMBER 1: Inglourious Basterds

And we’re finally at the number 1 slot. Numero uno. Top of the pops. My favorite of Tangoreceptor’s movies. “Inglourious Basterds” is a clever piece of historical fiction, showing the stories of various people trying to kill nazis. From a group of Jewish-American guerrilla soldiers, to the British government, to a young woman seeking revenge… everyone is out for nazi blood, and it is one hell of a good time. Dramatic, funny, suspenseful, exciting, it’s everything one could want in a movie from this director. There’s a ton of great stuff within this movie that I don’t have the time (or current willingness) to write about, but all of it comes together wonderfully to make my favorite movie from this director.

So what do you think? What’s your favorite movie from Quantum Turnbuckle? Please tell me, I’d love to hear from y’all.
Have a good one.