In Queue Review – “Hotel Transylvania 4: Transformania”

“It’s like Freaky Friday, but on a Tuesday though.”

Genre: Kid Friendly Sequels That Could Have Been Better
Release Date: 2022
Where I Watched: Amazon

Gist: Drac is looking to retire, and is planning to leave the hotel to Mavis and Johnny. But Johnny is having a big FONBAM (Fear Of Not Being A Monster) moment. So Johnny and Van Helsing come up with a plan; turn Johnny into a monster, with the help of a handy dandy human-to-monster ray! It’s got a reverse setting too, and thanks to a blunder from Drac, most of the Drac Pack are human-ified. But when the ray breaks, they have to come up with a way to get everyone back to normal, before things get permanent. Or worse…

Talky talk: Nobody wanted to completely and totally love this movie more than I did. I’ve been a fan of the series from Day One. Heck, I even have Bat Mavis as my personal avatar. But much like 3, 4 didn’t vibe with me. Don’t get me wrong, I love the characters, and the voice actors are fantastic (special shout out to Brian Hull for doing excellent voice work taking over the role of Drac. Damn he’s good at mimicking Sandler’s version.) However, this entry into the series feels frenetic with no purpose for being so.

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In Queue Review – Woodland Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror

“Folk horror ultimately asks, what if the old ways were right?

Genre: Horror Documentaries
Release Date: 2022
Where I Watched: Shudder

Gist: A very deep (3+ hours) dive into the subgenre of Folk Horror, in all its permutations. From silent films to modern-day foreign films, if you’re interested in this genre? It’s in here.

Talky talk: At almost three hours and 15 minutes, I figured Bewitched would be a great documentary to just put on and listen to while I was crocheting, cleaning up or doing something else with my time. But I was completely sucked in, thanks to the myriad of clips from various folk horror films, the beautiful folk music score, and interesting chats from folks the creators had interviewed. So yeah, definitely carve out a space where you can completely sink into this doc. You’re gonna want to.

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#GoldenGlobes 2022 – a few knee jerk first reactions to the winners

Image Group LA

And say “a few”, because I haven’t watched everything. The stuff I haven’t seen and don’t comment on below? I’ll get to you, my pretties.

CONGRATULATIONS to all the winners!!!

Best Motion Picture, Drama – The Power of the Dog: Blew. Me. Away. Stiff competition in this category, and I’d have been happy to have seen any of the nominated films take the bag. But last year, Dog detonated my brain cells like no other.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama – Will Smith (“King Richard”) : I’d said this was an Oscar bait performance, and I did not lie. Though Washington and Cumberbatch were big front runners as well, Smith’s performance is the kind of stellar, everyman type that the Globes was bound to recognize.

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Freaky Fridays – “Fatal Exam”

Horror, Cult Movies, Exploitation Cinema, 70s Schlock, and more! Let’s look at something cool!

“This is bo-ring.” (true fact, my dude.)

Genre: Low Budget Horror Too Boring To Enjoy
Year Released: 1990
Pedigree: For most of the people involved, this was their only movie. And boy howdy, it shows.
Where I Watched: Shudder

Synopsis: A group of college students are supposed to stay in a “haunted house” over the weekend for their final exam in their parapsychology class. But nobody has to go, so only a few students go. And then…nothing happens for a while. Then more nothing happens. Will something happen before the film ends? Yawn.

Fabulous or Frustrating?: I knew this was gonna be a slog right from the jump. Exam started so abruptly that I thought I’d watched the beginning of the film before, and when I hit play it resumed from where I’d left off. But nope, the way this film starts was definitely A Choice. This 1990 film is pure 80s low budget schlock. Not even fun schlock. Exam is sad, boring schlock that’s an hour and forty five minutes I’ll never get back. This isn’t a review, it’s a warning.

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VIRTUAL Screening Pass-palooza – “Hotel Transylvania: Transformania!

Oh my God, I unironically love this series. Who doesn’t love a good monster mash? And Winnie the werewolf is #LifeGoals. So how about a fourth serving? Synopsis!

Drac and the Pack are back, like you’ve never seen them before in Hotel Transylvania: Transformania. Reunite with your favorite monsters for an all-new adventure that presents Drac (Brian Hull) with his most terrifying task yet. When Van Helsing’s (Jim Gaffigan) mysterious invention, the ‘Monsterification Ray,’ goes haywire, Drac and his monster pals are all transformed into humans, and Johnny (Andy Samberg) becomes a monster! In their new mismatched bodies, Drac, stripped of his powers, and an exuberant Johnny, loving life as a monster, must team up and race across the globe to find a cure before it’s too late, and before they drive each other crazy. With help from Mavis (Selena Gomez) and the hilariously human Drac Pack, the heat is on to find a way to switch themselves back before their transformations become permanent.

Ready? Let’s go!

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Fandango Pass Giveaway – “The 355”!

Before hitting the multiplex, please consider the health risks involved with participating in group gatherings at this time. Take very good care of yourselves – I wanna see you on the other side.

Ready to catch your first film of 2022? Because I’ve got vouchers for The 355! Synopsis!

When a top-secret weapon falls into mercenary hands, wild card CIA agent Mason “Mace” Brown (Oscar®-nominated actress Jessica Chastain) will need to join forces with rival badass German agent Marie (Diane Kruger, In the Fade), former MI6 ally and cutting-edge computer specialist Khadijah (Oscar® winner Lupita Nyong’o), and skilled Colombian psychologist Graciela (Oscar® winner Penélope Cruz) on a lethal, breakneck mission to retrieve it, while also staying one-step ahead of a mysterious woman, Lin Mi Sheng (Bingbing Fan, X-Men: Days of Future Past), who is tracking their every move. As the action rockets around the globe from the cafes of Paris to the markets of Morocco to the opulent auction houses of Shanghai, the quartet of women will forge a tenuous loyalty that could protect the world—or get them killed. 

Ready? Let’s go!

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In Queue Review – “In the Same Breath”

“I realized I had fully bought into the idea that America was too advanced to suffer an outbreak like China’s. But every time I turned on the news, I heard echoes of China’s outbreak all across America.”

Genre: Must-watch Current Events Documentaries
Release Date: 2021
Where I Watched: HBO

Gist: A Chinese-born American filmmaker with family in Wuhan looks at the pandemic, and the similar reactions from the Chinese and American governments.

Talky talk: There are so many documentaries that have come out this year. But this one should be at the top of your holiday break binge list. Why? Because even though it’s extremely depressing, heartbreaking, and will remind you that we are indeed living in an out-of-control dumpster fire, Breath is a time capsule of the COVID-19 pandemic from start to…well, now. (Anyone else feeling like this will go on forever?) It’s the kind of film all anti-vaxxers, conspiracy theorists, and anti-masker “people” should watch, to get a good hard look at exactly what’s been going on while they’ve been popping off.

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“Spider-Man: No Way Home”

“You know what’s cooler than magic? MATH!” [No. Sorry. – your math-stupid eds.]

Story: Spider-Man is having a really bad time of things right now. First, he’s blamed for the “murder” of full-on nutter/con artist supreme Mysterio/Quentin Beck, who then outs Spidey as Peter Parker. So Peter, his Aunt May, girlfriend MJ, and BFF Ned are put through the wringer big-time. Wouldn’t it be great if that name-drop never happened? Wouldn’t it be great if there was, say, a Sorcerer who knew how time could be manipulated? No, and oh gods no. Just…NO. Oops, too late. Hey, what’s that rumbling noise?

Genre I’d put it in: Sequels That Better Their Origin Stories
Remake, Sequel, Based-On, or Original: The third film in the Tom Holland-helmed Spider-Man films. Part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Gotta say: As an immunosuppressed gal who had no access to an early screener for Home, I could barely wait ’til the first week’s moviegoing onslaught died down. But now that I’ve seen this film? I want to see it again. Immediately. Hey Marvel, why not just release the Blu-Ray right now? I need it. And you will too. Home is the very best an MCU film can be, and though there have been a few missteps in Phase 4 – I’m still mad that Black Widow’s movie got dumped in this phase – here’s hoping this is the film that sets the bar for the rest of the films this round.

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In Queue Review: “The Power of the Dog”

“For what kind of man would I be if I did not help my mother? If I did not save her?”

Genre: Westerns With A Complex Underbelly
Release Date: 2021
Where I Watched: Netflix

Gist: Brothers Phil and George Burbank have been riding the range together for years. They’ve got everything; a wealthy family, a ranch that pulls in even more dough, and plenty of ranch hands to help them succeed in just about anything they set their minds to. Phil is the consummate cowboy with an Ivy League education…and a misogynistic, grandiose air that’s thisclose to sadism. George is everything Phil isn’t; quiet, sweet, and kinda educated, with a penchant for things Phil doesn’t seem to enjoy, like kindness and bathing. When George decides to wed local widow Rose, bringing her and her son Peter to the Burbank ranch, Phil is less than pleased. In fact, Phil makes it his top priority to make Rose’s life a living hell. Happy ever after? Not even.

Talky talk: This is a film I should have pounced on the second it hit Netflix. But I hemmed and hawed. “Meh, I’m not feeling a Western right now.” “I should probably take a look at a holiday movie instead, ’tis the season.” “Ooh – Wheel of Time just dropped a new episode!” I had a million reasons to lodge this firmly in my Laters Babe Queue. I was an idiot. Because Dog is incredible. The story takes its sweet time to get from plot point to plot point, but as with Bone Tomahawk and Unforgiven, if you give this film your time, you will be rewarded with a wicked yet satisfying tale.

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In Queue Review – “Don’t Look Up”

“This is nuts! This is so crazy!”

Genre: Dark Satire That’s A Bit Too Close To Home
Release Date: 2021
Where I Watched: Netflix

Gist: Kate Dibiasky is just your average, run of the mill astronomy grad student, kicking back at the Subaru Telescope and singing along with Wu-Tang. When she notices a new comet, her professor Randall Mindy does the math and realizes that comet – soon to be known as Comet Dibiasky – is on a collision course with earth, and will cause an extinction level event. Before anyone can say Armageddon, the world pulls together to stop imminent disaster. JK; the population of the US is torn into fractious sides who’ll do anything but take this threat seriously. Parallels, I see you.

Talky talk: Up is a choppy, overly busy, fourth-wall-breaking storyline along the lines of The Big Short, which works well within this absurdist comedy. A star studded cast that seems to be enjoying the hell out of goofing on the myriad of ways human beings can be short-sighted and self-interested makes this an enjoyable watch. But there’s a whole lot of filler here, with characters pulled into directions that may mimic our real live divides, but looks way too crazy on screen. Those jokes about how the tenure of a certain former guy would feel like bullshit if it were fictionalized? Yeah. Put Idiocracy, Armageddon, and Wag the Dog in a blender, hit frappé, and then sift out everything but the histrionics. Boom, you’ve got this film.

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