Room film review.

Posted: February 2, 2016 in Movies
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Room is the story about a woman named Joy and her son Jack. When Joy was 17, she was abducted by a man only known as Old Nick. He imprisoned her in a small shed in his backyard, with the outside world only visible by skylight. Joy has been imprisoned in this shed for seven years, and her son Jack is the result of Old Nick raping her.

Room is told mostly from Jack’s point of view. The story opens with his 5th birthday. He explains in voice overs his belief, as he was told by his mother, that “room,” as the shed is referred to in the story, is all that exists. He understands the world outside the skylight to be outer space, and everything he sees on the TV isn’t real. When Old Nick comes at night to rape Joy, Jack sleeps in the closet (apparently Old Nick never layed eyes on Jack). Jack’s understanding is that Old Nick uses magic to bring food and other supplies to the outside world.

Circumstances reach a point where Joy concludes they must escape soon. She struggles to reveal to her son the truth of the situation, as he doesn’t fully understand it, is confused, and doesn’t believe his mother at first.

I suppose if you wanted to you could nitpick at how they were able to escape, but for the sake of the narration they had to escape somehow, and the overall situation is so tense I feel you can look over it.

While Room has a consistent overwhelming tension in the first act, that tension is not absent from the rest of the movie. Joy sets forth a plan for Jack to escape and get help, but he has trouble communicating the situation to the first adults he meets. Thankfully the police are able to deduce what happened and his mother is shortly freed. Old Nick’s final fate is revealed in a passing line of dialogue on television, allowing the remainder of the movie to focus on Joy and Jack’s adjustment to the outside.

Jack has a few more voice overs explaining the wonders of the world he is in. He is very observant about things like time, musing how the world is so big there is only so much time for everything, which is why people are always in a hurry. While most of the world is wondrous to him, he still misses the only home he knew in his life. Occasionally he asks when he’ll go back to “room”.

Joy has her own issues fitting back into the world, wondering if she’d been a good enough mother for Jack, and issues with her parents. While she’d been abducted her parents separated and her mother re-married. From Joy’s point of view, her mother seemed to be having a good life without her. There’s also a great line about how women are socialized. During an argument with her mother Joy wonders aloud that maybe if she hadn’t been raised to be so nice she wouldn’t have helped some stranger with his sick dog. Presumably this is how Old Nick was able to trick/abduct her.

Room is the hardest movie I ever had to watch, but is without question the best movie that came out last year.

The Forest stars Natalie Dormer playing a pair of American twin sisters. One sister, Jess, teaches English in Japan. The other sister Sara, the main character of the story, receives news that Jess is missing and presumed dead. This story follows the conceit that twins can sense each others troubles, so Sara, presuming Jess is still alive, goes to Japan to look for her.

Most of the story take place in the real life Aokigahara Forest near Mount Fuji. Jess was seen wandering off into that forest, which is widely known in Japan as a place people go to commit suicide. Given that, there’s a few false scares as various bodies are seen hanging from trees or floating in rivers that were apparent deaths by suicide.

Along the way we get a few flashbacks of the sisters’ relationship. There’s a common pattern in their past of Sara getting Jess out of trouble. A family secret is dredged up that bring an angle of how Jess looks directly into the darkness in life, and Sara usually turns away from it.

Meanwhile a tour guide to the forest warns Sara that she will see things in the woods that aren’t really there. This leads to events the audience will wonder if they are supernatural in nature or only in Sarah’s mind. This races us to a conclusion that is not quite expected.

The Forest offers plenty of false scares and decently tense moments. Along the way it brings some glimpses of Japanese culture as well as life as in English teacher in Asia. The Forest is a different kind of horror story that I would recommend.

The Revenant

Posted: January 17, 2016 in Movies
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The Revenant is the story of Hugh Glass, real life frontiersman who in 1823 survived a bear attack, and traveled across the wilderness of Montana and South Dakota.

The story opens with Glass and his men fleeing an Indian attack while out collecting furs and pelts. While on the run, Glass, played by Leonardo Dicaprio, is attacked by a bear and almost killed. That scene is harrowing and looks great. Probably the best bear attack ever on film (I can assume it’s CGI lol).

After this three men agree to stay by Glass’s side while the rest of the party continue to a US military fort. Basically the men left with glass decide to abandon him, and Glass is forced to travel the wilderness alone and half dead.

I was never sure exactly where the characters were location wise and exactly how far he had to travel, but basically Glass had to travel really really far to get to the fort, as it was the only place he could get help.

Along the way he gets occasional help from friendly Indians, and Glass speaks one of the Native American languages fluently. At some point he was with a Native woman and had a son. There’s also a loose plot about one of the Indians looking for his kidnapped daughter.

The selling point of this movie is the scenery and cinematography, as the entire film features scenery of the American plain states. Shot in natural light, none of the scenes look processed or artificial.

It’s also brutal, as Glass beats impossible odds to stay alive. He has to eat whatever he can in the woods, and at one point sleeps inside the carcass of a dead horse to keep warm.

Along the way is a theme about the nature of revenge, and the idea that is best left in God’s hands. This leads to an ending not exactly standard for revenge films.  Having said that, the end fight scene was brutal and gritty. In this age of highly choreographed overly stylized fight scenes, it was a breath of fresh air to see a down and dirty fight on screen.

The Revenant was a bit long for my tastes, but is worth seeing for its visuals, grittiness, and realism.

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Image  —  Posted: January 16, 2016 in Hard Coal Studios, Righteous Hands, Uncategorized, Webcomics
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This is my new webcomic Righteous Hands. Art by James Emmett.

 

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I’ve decided to take the wordpress blogging 101 course to jumpstart my blogging. I’ve been at this for a while but I feel like I haven’t been making much headway as of late. This will be a hello world blog.

I’ve always written as a hobby, and have enjoyed comics and movies all my life. On this blog I do a lot of movie reviews, along with the odd essay on movies and or entertainment. I’ve kept a timeline of the Marvel Cinematic Universe on here but have to update that. One thing I’ve always liked is crossovers, things like Batman meets Predator, things like that. I’ve done some blogging about comic book crossovers that I’ve read. I also have some of my creative writing on here. I have the short story Frankenstein: The Last Man on here, along with excerpts from other things I’ve self published.

Well that’s me for now. Enjoy.

 

Now that Creed, the Rocky spinoff, has hit $100 million at the box office, I’m sure it will get a sequel or two. I’d be happy to see more Creed movies, and it got me thinking about what else they could spin off out of the Rocky franchise. Here are some of my ideas.

1. Ivan Drago.

My favorite idea for a Rocky spinoff is a feature film about Ivan Drago. I’ve always wondered what happened to him after Rocky beat him. The Soviet government propped him up as their hero, so what did they do after the fight? Did Drago get sent off to prison in Siberia as punishment for losing? Did his wife leave him? What happened to him after the Soviet Union collapsed? Did he ever have any health effects from the Soviets juicing him up? Does he ever box again? There’s a real intriguing story to be told here, and with the international box office growing more important to Hollywood, I think a Drago film could work. Years ago there was a Rocky Legends video game where you could actually play a Drago story mode that told some of his story before the events of Rocky IV, and I heard there’s some Rocky book that says he kept boxing after Rocky IV. These secondary sources usually don’t count once new movies come out (See the Star Wars expanded universe). I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. A Drago movie with flashbacks of his younger days and showing his life after Rocky would be very intriguing.

2. Clubber Lang

Rocky III and Rocky IV are almost the same movie if you think about it. I don’t think a Clubber Lang movie would be as interesting as a Drago movie, but they could both be like stories of redemption. The thing is in my mind I don’t imagine Clubber boxing anymore after Rocky III. So I don’t think a movie would work. Maybe a TV movie, where he falls on hard times, maybe goes to jail, (The same Rocky video game I mentioned before has a Lang story mode that opens with him in jail). Maybe we could have some boxing/fighting scenes in jail, then he finds god and seeks redemption. In Rocky III he harasses Adrian. Maybe this story ends with him apologizing to Rocky and Adrian, and with him praying with Adrian at her bedside as she’s dying of cancer (With possibly Mr. T himself playing an older Lang). That’s a TV movie I’d watch.

3. Tommy Gunn

Rocky V is everyone’s least favorite Rocky movie, this is true even for Stallone himself. The subsequent two Rocky films do just about nothing to acknowledge it even existed. Hence I don’t imagine Tommy “The Machine” Gunn will ever be on film again. However a comic book or even a novel could tell the Tyson-esque story of him and his corrupt promoter in the 1990s world of boxing (Maybe he fights Drago, or hell even Lang).

4. Mickey

For years I’ve said I always wanted to see a movie about a young Mickey, Rocky’s manager. The thing is this story absolutely has to be tragic and horrible. Mickey wasn’t famous or well known to the general public before he managed Rocky. He was a bitter broken down old man. He must have had a little success I guess if he ran a gym, but still. Given the nature of movies I don’t imagine them going this route, but given how beautifully violent and dark Netflix’s Daredevil and Jessica Jones shows were, I think a Mickey Netflix show is the way to go.

The Netflix show could be set in the 1930’s during the depression, in all it’s sad and brutal glory. We could see that fight where his opponent put a nail in the thumb of his boxing glove and Mickey gets holes poked in his cheeks. He could have some girl but she dies tragically (Evidently he never had children). You can’t have anything work out for this guy. If the show was successful  it could eventually bring him up to how he opened his gym. Maybe he manages some other guy but the guy doesn’t listen to him and he never succeeds, or maybe he ditches Mickey and has success. I’m a little leary  of this last part, but we could even see why he never bothers with a young Rocky Balboa when he first comes to his gym in the early 70s.

This leads me to my least favorite pick for a Rocky spinoff, but the one I think would be the most likely to happen.

5. A young Rocky Balboa TV show.

Rocky’s story begins with his Cinderella shot to fight Apollo Creed. There’s little to nothing of his story to tell before that. If they really wanted to they could tell the story of how he first met Pauli and Adrian. They could also show how Mickey dismissed him, but I think that story would better be told in a Mickey Netflix show. In my opinion this is too close to the events of the first film to have any real meaning, but given it’s the lead character of the franchise I can see them trying this someday.

Well, here’s to a Drago movie and a Mickey Netflix show.

What do you think? What would you like to see?