Movies

Malevolent

Sometimes I like to watch ghost stories because I enjoy that bit of supernatural fun, and for the possibility of being healthily scared – preferably without a jump scare. There’s only two or so in the movie which was nice; however, halfway through, the movie decided to shit the bed and stop being a ghost story. It turned into torture porn.

Is it so hard to make a pure ghost story with inventive twists and turns without devolving into some sort of Satanist bullshit?

Based upon a novel called Hush by Eva Konstantopoulos, who shares screenwriting credit, it’s a story about two siblings, a brother and sister, who run a medium investigation service in which they con grieving relatives in regards to their dead who supposedly haunt the living. They do a script, play some sound effects, and get the people to believe it worked. Angela, the sister of the duo, is the one that plays the role of the medium because their mother apparently was one before committing suicide. They get hired by some old lady to help her stop the children’s screaming at the orphanage where she lives. Cue murderous backstory revealing the gruesome demise of the children. Cue Edgar Allen Poe and the guilt of a murderer. And you can figure it out yourself.

There is no twist ending here, simply human beings being murderous monsters. I don’t know why you had to use a ghost story for that. Should have just gone with the murder murder path. There’s too many plot points trying to vie for time, it would have gone over much better if it stuck with just one. For example, her brother needs the money because of gangsters? I wasn’t quite sure. The whole ghost story angle, and how even the brother might be sensitive to it. And then the story of the orphanage, and the old lady could have been an entire story on its own.

I watched this because I was curious to see Florence Pugh, and how she could act because I only knew her from Black Widow. It is obvious she’s yet another star brought in by who she knows, her family, and not the strength of her own bootstraps. She was atrocious here, her emotions stilted, subdued. I would say it is the fault of the writing, but look at Henry Cavill, in the trash released the other day, he was the carrying force. Yet, it didn’t save the show at all there either.

Overall, it’s yet another trash horror release by Netflix, no doubt another in the latest long line of supposedly possibly without any proof, or hearsay, money laundering schemes. Or not, I pulled it out of my ass like Lauren S. Hissrich does with her writing.

TV Shows

An Open Letter to Lauren S. Hissrich

When you adapt a work, or a story, to a different medium, such as television, you need to maintain the theme, aesthetics or message of the original source. You cannot drastically change the characters, with which fans have become endeared to, to your own fan fiction. You have to create an overarching narrative based upon the original source, using their characters as established, to further their arcs and growth. This doesn’t mean you do a 1:1 ratio, and perfectly replicate the plot on screen. This wouldn’t work. What it does mean, is to read the original source, and understand these character’s motivations, fears, emotions, and arcs and replicate them with your actors and actresses. Once you truly understand these characters, and what drives them, then you can focus on making a narrative. You failed step one.

There are spoilers to season 2 of the Witcher here on out. I cannot abide, sitting by idly, while this showrunner ruins a beloved franchise, and runs it into the ground.

“It starts in the writers room. 20 weeks of book-reading, story-spinning, imagination-bending, head-bashing, vodka-slurping and cake-eating.” From her Twitter.

20 weeks? Are you sure? If that was true, then how come you completely butchered/ruined the characters of Eskel, Yennefer, and Vesemir? Eskel is a kindhearted man (who didn’t have a lot of book time), with a heavily scarred face but he proved that looks aren’t everything as he’s a brother like figure to Geralt, and cares deeply for others. What we got? An asshole womanizing douchebag, who doesn’t like anyone, is constantly mad, and brings a bunch of street whores (in summer clothes) to his hidden castle, located high up in the wintery mountains. Apparently, he’s infected by a leshen despite witchers having a natural immunity to almost all disease and poisons. And then, Geralt has to kill him. But don’t worry, we explain his drastic change in behavior due to this infection, and we have a scene showing Geralt fondly remembering who he used to be.

Next, in what world did you read that Yennefer would even remotely think to sacrifice Ciri for personal gain? The answer is 0. It would never happen, she grows to be like a mother to her and not once does she consider to use Ciri for her own gain. Secondly, you can’t have a mage lose magical power casting a spell, especially one of Fire magic when you go and introduce a bounty hunting mage that solely uses fire magic. I tolerated these changes because maybe, the ending could be good, with proper set-up for more events. Nope, you decide to have Vesemir consider killing Ciri to stop her. The older, grandpa, protective of everyone, and has a soft spot for all witchers under him, and deeply trusts Geralt, is going to stab Ciri? That this man who would never consider subjecting another child to the trial of grasses because he knows the suffering, that he would do it to Ciri? How much vodka did you slurp?

I only touched on three characters here. I could probably write several pages on how badly you fucked up Ciri; using portals and casting spells under extremely stressful situations with no proper training and succeeding. Did you watch Star Wars, look at the character of Rey, and think, “Yea, let’s make Ciri like that.” In case you forgot during that 20 week binge, Ciri spends months training with Yennefer before she can even do anything.

If I had to wager a guess, you did read it and then actively decided to ruin it. You took 90% of the content, threw it in the trash, and made your own weird fan fiction, and you have the audacity to call it an adaption of the Witcher. No, you were heavily inspired by it. Adapt it? No, you did not do that. This isn’t the first time you’ve done this. You did it to the Defenders by Marvel. Calling it an adaption is nice legal speak/contract speak, and man, paying off the author a fat sum to call it good? That’s classy.

The best parts of the Witcher have nothing to do with you. Henry Cavill is the reason Geralt is so well received. His physicality and what he brings to the role is so much more than the atrocious writing that plagues his character. A) He’d never use Ciri as bait. Period. B) He’d never say “I will kill Yennefer.” If he did, that’s because the Yennefer you created is some sort of monstrosity and has nothing to do with the actual character.

Elves are not innocent beings, they are just as monstrous and murderous as humans. There should be only 4 witchers at Kaer Morhen, not the 15 or so random dudes that then get randomly killed off during the final episode. “Lambert, Lambert, what a prick!” You switched up the identities of Eskel and Lambert, and as aforementioned, killed off Eskel.

It’s like you decided to pervert as many characters as you could, to change them drastically to whatever messed up vision you thought you had in mind. Vilgefortz, Cahir, Tissaia, Calanthe, Rience, Nenneke, Phillipa Eilhart, and even Nivellen, all of these were made into subversions of what they are. Oh, Geralt and Ciri don’t care that Nivellen let a vampire massacre an entire village of people but draw the line that he raped a priestess 13 years ago. Yes, that one act for which he repented as best as he could is far, far worse than letting entire families get massacred. Yes, I understand Lauren.

“When I talk about The Witcher, I always talk about how these three characters coming together — Geralt, Ciri, and Yennefer — they come together as a family. It’s the most important part of the series for me,” Hissrich said.

Right, so in what world do they come together as a family? Yennefer betrayed both Ciri and Geralt in your fan world, Geralt thought and considered killing Yen. In what world, would Ciri ever trust Yen again? How would Geralt? Well, you see, in my finale, through the power of love and family, we get Ciri to return to Geralt and Yen and break free of the mind possession by a demon. Yen heroically sacrifices herself by slitting her wrists allowing the demon to possess her instead. Together, my newfound family sends the demon back where it came from while establishing that the Wild Hunt is searching for Ciri. FAMILY! All that’s missing is Vin Diesel appearing on screen saying “we are family.”

Hold up! Why is there a demon running around amok? The first witchers would have killed it, or exorcized it, not trapped it in a tomb that anyone could find. Oh well, this isn’t the Witcher. This is Netflix’s low fantasy drama that happens to share a similar name.

So to end, I don’t care that you didn’t follow the book’s events or plot, or narrative. Shit happens. I do care that you keep calling it the Witcher when it’s only that in name only. Everything else has been stripped of its original identity, and watered down to a shell of what it is. A better title for the show would have been The Hexer.

And to Henry Cavill, or MyAnna Buring, you guys were phenomenal and tried your best, and I want you to know, in the words of the great movie, Good Will Hunting, “It’s not your fault.”

The blame is solely on Lauren’s shoulders who is entitled to her artistic impression.

TV Shows

Hellbound

I can understand the critical love for this show, it is masterfully helmed and well crafted. The characters are strong, rounded, and believable. Humanity reacts in a predictable manner when masterfully manipulated by psychology under the guise of religion and the unexplainable. Being marked by so called angels for death, and then being brutally beaten to a pulp before burned away out of existence, is an interesting concept. Six episodes was far too short to explore such an idea, and I hope season 2 delivers. The cliffhanger was the only time it got truly interesting for me.

I understand the allure of telling emotional stories, playing with the viewers’ heartstrings to get audience immersion, and nobody does it like the Koreans do, but man! This felt like one of those Hollywood movies crafted solely for an Oscar… Except for the sheer brutal violence. It is over the top, and gory, and just feels like it’s there for the sake of being there. It wasn’t done tastefully, it was too much. I looked away every time. Perhaps that was the intent, to showcase how some would look on in glee, while others away. Perhaps, like all media, there’s social programming plugging away at you. Desensitizing you to the brutality of it all. I would have liked this show if they did away with the horrific acts committed by entities to humans, and just shown the after effect of the burned bodies. I don’t need to see a man or woman brutalized against the ground, pavement, or other.

I would have enjoyed the story way more if it focused on the supernatural element as the forefront plot point. Yes, yes, humans will create their own religion and groups to make meanings of events they don’t understand. I wanna see an exploration into these demonic entities, research some ancient libraries, make a special government team for it. But, that wouldn’t draw people in as strongly as small interknit stories between specific individuals that shape the world, and the small people affected by such decisions.

Overall, yes, it’s a good show, not denying that. I, myself, didn’t like it.

Movies

The Guilty

I went into this blind with no knowledge of the movie’s origin until the end credits rolled where upon I learned it’s a remake of a Danish film by the same name. As a result my review is unbiased like so many others that compare it to the original it’s adapted from. Jake Gyllenhaal stars as police dispatcher Joe Baylor as he goes about his night fielding calls until one comes in from an apparent abduction. He takes it upon himself to ensure the woman’s return to her daughter and along the way uncovered truths about the abduction and we learn more about his character. He is a flawed man, angry, emotional and an asshole. You can tell his coworkers have a clear opinion about him, and his relationship with his separated wife is on the brink of no contact. He can’t see his daughter, and he has some court hearing to attend to in the morning.

The movie is directed by Antoine Fuqua, of Training Day fame alongside many others, and he expertly helms the direction, showing us how our own perceptions of a situation may be flawed and this in turn influences what we believe to be the correct course of action. The writing was excellent, and I’ve read that it’s a near word for word adaptation of the original film. The movie is very tense and moves along at a good pace. More and more voices are brought on until there’s just a few main ones which Joe interacts with. This movie is basically a character piece focused on Joe and therefore it is up to the strength of Jake Gyllenhaal to keep us entranced. To which he does with great success.

Overall, I enjoyed it and would recommend it for a watch. I have no knowledge of the original and as such, if you’ve seen that movie, I don’t know if you’d like this one since you would already know what would happen.

Movies

The Ice Road

Apparently Netflix paid 18 million for this absolute travesty of a movie. 18 million. Seeing as they like just throwing away their money, can I have some it? Can you all just toss out money randomly to people? It’d be the same as buying the rights to trash like this. Written and directed by a man who should stop writing movies as all he knows how to write is garbage – one Johnathan Hensleigh. Responsible for such atrocities as Armageddon, 2004’s Punisher, and Die Hard with a Vengeance. The Ice Road is the latest in a scheme of possible money laundering while also being yet another adaptation of the excellent Wages of Fear. Seems writers are hesitant to create an original idea because that would demonstrate having a brain to the rest of the world, something this writer lacks.

The Ice Road is Liam Neeson’s latest paycheck, and I don’t know if he’s starving for money or something, but he definitely needs a new agent. Same with Laurence Fishburne, and anyone of large standings. All the newcomers, I understand being in the movie. Gotta get your name out there, somehow. The plot, which should be simple, decides to add in a bit of revenge and conspiracy thriller into the mix. Three large rigs carrying 30 ton wellheads must be delivered to the Katka diamond mine to save 26 trapped miners. But wait, there’s more! The company in charge cut corners and doesn’t wanna spend the money to save the miners so they put their inside man with the drivers to cause them to fail. Things get personal.

Such brilliant highlights include: putting gasoline in a diesel engine and still driving mostly 20 hours before the engine fails (it would within 2 minutes of starting), being impaled by a tree branch nearly a foot long and pulling it out without bleeding to death in minutes, being submerged in -30 degree water for 5 minutes before being rescued and surviving, being rammed on the driver’s side of a truck by a large rig and tumbling down the side of a mountain and coming out without a scratch. But wait, there’s more! Which you’ll have to discover on your own because I can’t be bothered to spend another minute thinking about this trash heap.

Do not watch this filth. This idiocracy from the mind behind Armageddon should never have received any money to begin with. Its budget should have been 0 because it never should have been made. Whoever at Netflix thought to waste money on it should be removed from that position and never be given such choice again. But I’m serious Netflix, since you’re in the habit of wasting money, how about you toss it my way?