Author Topic: Movie Catch-up: BLACK PHONE, HALLOWEEN, and more current - very minor stories  (Read 582 times)

Offline perc2100

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Between Thanksgiving break & Black Friday streaming deals I was able to catch up on a whole slew of current & older movies that made me excited to share!

THE BLACK PHONE - this is on Peacock currently, released this past summer in theaters.  This horror film from Scott Derrickson & C Robert Cargill (DOCTOR STRANGE, SINISTER, etc) is an adaptation of a horror short story from Joe Hill.  It stars Ethan Hawke as one of the creepiest bad guy serial killers in awhile, called The Grabber my locals & police, in this late 1970's period horror film.  The Grabber has been kidnapping and murdering HS-aged kids, most recently Finney whom is being locked in a soundproof basement.  Finney keeps getting calls from a black phone from other teens that were murdered by The Grabber, giving him tips on how to stay alive and try to escape.  Meanwhile Finney's sister has dreams that are seemingly premonitions or visions of The Grabber and his house/crimes and she strives to solve the mystery of where Finney is being held before it's too late.  It's kind of a simple "Stranger Danger" story with good acting and an incredibly tense situation thanks to Hawke's really creepy vibe.  Watching Finney turn from bully-victim to survivor is cliched but works really well thanks to the writing, directing, and acting.  I'm not familiar with the short story, but the decision of Derrickson & Cargill to portray the HS victims' conversations with Finney is a really good choice.

HALLOWEEN ENDS The Halloween movie franchise is a wildly interesting one.  HALLOWEEN ENDS, exclusively on Peacock, marks the end of the recent trilogy (HALLOWEEN, a direct sequel to the 1979 original HALLOWEEN that ignores all other sequels; HALLOWEEN KILLS, the direct sequel to the 2018 HALLOWEEN that kicked off immediately after and took a direction of 'how screwed up is the town that's been impacted by Michael Myers' murder spree' and finally HALLOWEEN ENDS), the 'part 4' of a story line albeit part 13 of the franchise.  ENDS took a WILDLY different turn from the other movies, and while it will work for some and miss for others, I have to give credit to director David Gordon Green and his writing team for being (REALLY) different from other films of the franchise.  ENDS sees us a few years after KILLS, focusing on a previously unknown character, Corey, who accidentally kills a kid while babysitting, is found not guilty of the crime (since it was ruled accidentally), but has become the town pariah: bullied by peers, chastised by adults, etc.  Lori Strode has gotten some therapy and is living with her granddaughter, Allyson (not that both of her parents have been murdered by Myers, she's a nurse who's found somewhat of a kindred, albeit broke, spirit in Corey and the two are dating), and writing a book about her experience with Michael Myers.  Myers, on the other hand, has been missing since he disappeared at the end of KILLS.  The film centers on Corey, posing the question if 'evil' is a trait one is born with, or can a seemingly good-natured kid be grinded down to a murderous evil person due to circumstance, as Corey goes from picked-on victim to psychopath.  After Corey gets jumped by some bullies, he finds himself in a sewer tunnel where Myers is hanging out with bums these days.  Corey seemingly takes inspiration from the Haddonfield Boogieman and goes on a Halloween night murder spree, getting his revenge on all who seemingly wronged him.  His murder spree coincides with Myers' return to Haddonfield, and the film ends exactly the way Halloween fans hope it does.
This was definitely a very different Halloween film, and I liked it, warts and all.  It doesn't exactly work like gangbusters, but I liked it well enough to feel like it's a satisfying conclusion to the 3-film trilogy (one where it felt like the films had diminishing returns as they went).

THE FABLEMANS Spielberg's latest theatrical film is almost certainly his most personal one: a story that's semi-autobiographical about him growing up and finding his love of filmmaking.  As a movie nerd, I adore this film, though I honestly can't tell ya if this is a 'mainstream wide-audience' kind of movie.  The film centers on Sammy Fableman, the Spielberg avatar, growing up with some sisters and wildly opposite parents: a stogy computer engineer dad, and footloose & fancy free pro pianist/artist mom.  The film starts with his parents taking Sammy to the movies for the first time, and Sammy immediately becomes entranced with the entire concept of motion picture story telling.  He uses his dad's camera to make his own original films, coming up with his own 'special effect' techniques and editing tricks to make the movies as realistic as possible: just as Spielberg did as a kid.  There's marriage problems, and as Sammy gets to HS and his family movies from AZ to Northern CA, there are typical social issues Sammy traverses while still maintaining his inner-need to make movies.  It's a very charming film, a character study, that has a good 'cameo' by Judd Hirsh and a scene-stealing final sequence that features legendary director David Lynch as...well...legendary director John Ford in what I've read is an incredibly accurate recreation of when Spielberg met Ford on a movie studio lot & received some advice on framing.
I really like this film, though again I'm not sure the average person would.

GLASS ONION I'm an unabashed writer/director Rian Johnson fan; I haven't seen a movie of his yet that I haven't really liked, if not loved.  His first film post-SW was KNIVES OUT, and incredibly fun 'murder mystery' with an incredible cast anchored by star Daniel Craig as the Foghorn Leghorn-accented private detective, that seemingly resonated with a lot of people.  For me, KNIVES OUT is a wildly entertaining mystery/character showcase that's an absolute blast, and set the bar HIGH for a follow-up.  Well, GLASS ONION at worst met my expectations, and maybe exceeds it, with an equally entertaining cast & story.  I won't go into too many details, as part of the fun of these mysteries is the twists and turns, but needless to say billionaire tech bro Edward Norton and his 'disruptor' buddies feel like characters written in August based on Elon Musk yet somehow Johnson presciently crafted a film that 100% speaks to _now_ in a wildly funny way.  The setting this time is a private Greek island with a cast of suspects that all had a motive.  Throw in some funny cameos (Angela Lansbury's final film performance, I think, is one) and you have a really entertaining couple of hours.  The film is in theaters only until tonight before hitting Netflix the Friday before Christmas in a head-scratching move (this film could EASILY clear $100m + in a week or two of wide-release, yet is being yanked against theater owner wishes after a mere week in theaters).

Offline perc2100

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FWIW NOPE is also now on Peacock, though I've already talked about that good one

Offline NCDS

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THE FABLEMANS
I really like this film, though again I'm not sure the average person would.


The average person over here, loved it! I took my mom and aunt who also loved it. They won't be joining me this weekend though as my pick is Violent Night!

I was sad, Glass Onion never even made it to my theater.  I was 100% planning to see it in theaters
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Offline perc2100

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The average person over here, loved it! I took my mom and aunt who also loved it. They won't be joining me this weekend though as my pick is Violent Night!

I was sad, Glass Onion never even made it to my theater.  I was 100% planning to see it in theaters
Yeah Netflix's strategy is a bit confounding with this one.  They paid a little under half a billion dollars to secure the rights for two sequels, then another $40-60m budget for the film, only to put it in a small amount of theaters for 7 days.  It's like they're trying to LOSE money as a business!  While I get that sort of release strategy for stuff like THE IRISHMAN (which never opened in San Diego), or PARASITE, or other kind of niche films, KNIVES OUT made a bit over $300m off of a >$50m budget, and this one could've EASILY made a couple hundred million I think just playing 2 or 3 weeks between Thanksgiving and mid-December.
I guess at least fans only have to wait three weeks for it to drop on Netflix, but for fans who are impatient (*my hand's raised), that wait is not fun!

Glad you liked FABLEMANS!  I think a lot of people would generally like it if they see it, but I think getting people to see it is the trick.
Then again, I think a whole essay can be written about the radical shifting of movie release/watching trends that were crawling their way to change pre-COVID and have rapidly accelerated...

Offline NCDS

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Glad you liked FABLEMANS!  I think a lot of people would generally like it if they see it, but I think getting people to see it is the trick.

This is the Key, the trailer did not make me want to watch it.  I only picked it because it won TIFF and there wasn't a movie I wanted to see more that day. 

I guess it's lucky Glass Onion didn't come to my theater. 
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Offline NCDS

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You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login  Have you seen The Menu yet?  I am thinking about it this weekend.
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Offline NCDS

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My daughter saw it. I was like, “So you saw Soylent Green?”  ;D

She didn’t really say what she thought of it.

I am a bit worried you just spoiled a part of the movie I didn't know about. 
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Offline Wkdbriss

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I am a bit worried you just spoiled a part of the movie I didn't know about.


Oh Noooooooooo! She didn’t say that wasn’t known. I’m so sorry and embarrassed.

Offline perc2100

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Oh Noooooooooo! She didn’t say that wasn’t known. I’m so sorry and embarrassed.
Hahahaha (lol'ing at your original post you deleted - I too thought that was a known 'thing' about this film, or at least known in my circle of movie nerds)

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You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login  Have you seen The Menu yet?  I am thinking about it this weekend.
I haven't seen it yet, but with no World Cup games Sunday am I may go see it then if things work out schedule-wise w/the fam (this is a CRAZY time of year for me: post-Thanksgiving - Christmas holidays)

Offline NCDS

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I had no clue, I have only seen the one trailer.  My guess is that is the big plot twist, but it's what I get for not seeing it the first weekend and bringing up a discussion on it  ;)

I will admit though, now that I know the mystery I may just wait until it's streaming. 

Seriously though, don't feel bad I am pretty sure it's past the two-week mark.  After that, if you haven't seen it and it gets spoiled you have no one to blame but yourself. 
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Offline Wkdbriss

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I had no clue, I have only seen the one trailer.  My guess is that is the big plot twist, but it's what I get for not seeing it the first weekend and bringing up a discussion on it  ;)

I will admit though, now that I know the mystery I may just wait until it's streaming. 

Seriously though, don't feel bad I am pretty sure it's past the two-week mark.  After that, if you haven't seen it and it gets spoiled you have no one to blame but yourself.

I still feel bad. I absolutely hate to be THAT person. 🙊

Offline NCDS

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I still feel bad. I absolutely hate to be THAT person. 🙊

I mean, really, this is your daughter's fault  :P  (Kidding of course. )

If only it was Friday, I blame everything on Davey from AFI on Fridays. 
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Offline Wkdbriss

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I mean, really, this is your daughter's fault  :P  (Kidding of course. )

If only it was Friday, I blame everything on Davey from AFI on Fridays.

I straight told her it was her fault. She's not remorseful at all. Ungrateful child. I'm taking her Christmas presents back.

Offline perc2100

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I had no clue, I have only seen the one trailer.  My guess is that is the big plot twist, but it's what I get for not seeing it the first weekend and bringing up a discussion on it  ;)

I will admit though, now that I know the mystery I may just wait until it's streaming. 

Seriously though, don't feel bad I am pretty sure it's past the two-week mark.  After that, if you haven't seen it and it gets spoiled you have no one to blame but yourself.

Maybe because I overthink most things (especially art), when I read this description of THE MENU
Quote
The film, penned by Will Tracy and Seth Reiss, "focuses on a young couple who visits an exclusive destination restaurant on a remote island where the acclaimed chef has prepared a lavish tasting menu, along with some shocking surprise." Deadline notes, "Fiennes plays the world-class chef who sets it all up and adds some unexpected ingredients to the menu planned. The action follows one particular A-list couple that takes part. I've heard Stone will play half of that couple."
it feels pretty obvious there are only a few possibilities of what 'unexpected ingredients' could mean, and to be blunt all of those possibilities are just variations of one.

I oddly haven't seen any trailers for this one.  I'm at a point in my movie nerdom where I kind of avoid trailers and analytic reviews of movies I know I want to see.  Some critic friends of mine saw THE MENU at TIFF (Toronto Film Festival) festival and told me "it's totally your jam!" so after I read the description I figured what the twist may be, and that the twist is maybe not the actual premise, but more about how a snobby posh restaurant is _really_ feeding its uppity cliental.

Offline NCDS

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Maybe because I overthink most things (especially art), when I read this description of THE MENUit feels pretty obvious there are only a few possibilities of what 'unexpected ingredients' could mean, and to be blunt all of those possibilities are just variations of one.


I clearly put zero thought into it, because when you put it that way, does seem clear. 

Though there could have been creatures in the forest and they were feeding them.  The menu could be how they plan to kill each one, then proper disposal.  The last words of previous victims determine the course for the next ones they plan to kill, and properly dispose of.  Maybe they are aliens, we all remember V. 

I really was shocked when I saw the movie had good reviews, from the trailer I figured in the theater maybe two weeks.
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