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The Visit: Is M.Night Shyalaman Back?!

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visit1A nearly unforgivable prank was played on me over the weekend when I was asked by my lovely lady if I wanted to go to the movies after work. It was a particularly tough workweek and I couldn’t think of a better way to unwind that didn’t involve copious amounts of alcohol and/or guns. The two rarely mix well so I said ‘sure’, without thinking to ask what it was we were going to see.

Knowing that we were going to the Alamo Drafthouse, I may have been too distracted to ask for any details about the movie. You know, important little details like ‘what’s it about?’ or ‘who’s in it?’ or, as I learned that night, ‘who wrote and directed this film?’ The fact that The Alamo serves my favorite beer (Yonkers IPA) and has unlimited refills on popcorn, was enough of a reason to sit through just about anything for 2 hours.

The fact that The Alamo serves my favorite beer (Yonkers IPA) and has unlimited refills on popcorn, was enough of a reason to sit through just about anything for 2 hours.

We arrive 10 minutes early. Unfortunately that’s way too late to get tickets that aren’t in the front row. It’s a Friday night after all so I guess that’s to be expected. Normally, having to sit in the front row would be reason enough to wait until the next show or just find another theatre. But, we were already there so for whatever reason (Yonkers IPA), we decided to stay.

We order our drinks and popcorn just as the last of the previews are finishing up. I’m only slightly more informed about the movie because I walked past the poster as we were entering the theatre… “The Visit.” Never heard of it. In my head I hoped this wasn’t a documentary about menstrual cycles. I’m just basing that on the title…meh, it didn’t matter if it was. Yonkers IPA. I see our server with our drinks. Cue the libations. The lights dim to a dull glow. Cue the opening credits. What appeared next on the screen let me know that I should be afraid for the next 2 hours. I should be very afraid. “Written and Directed by M.Night Shyamalan” Cue the WTF?! HOW DID I LET THIS SHIT HAPPEN?!

Never, in the history of movie going, has such an audible “AW SHIT!!!” been let out by audience member that the people 3 screens over could hear it. Was that out loud? Sorry, it was supposed to be in my head. It wasn’t the kind of “Awwww SHIT!!” you bellow out when your favorite song comes on in ‘da club’. No. This was the other kind. The kind of “AW SHIT!” you yell out when you step in a big pile of ACTUAL shit. In this case, it was a big pile of what I thought was going to be eye shit. That’s right. Shit. Just for your eyes.

If I gave you a million guesses as to what the last watchable M.Night movie was, you’d probably guess it on the first try. Go ahead. I’ll wait. That’s right, it was The Sixth Sense. Since then it has been a downhill slide of shit. That’s right a slide made of shit. Built specifically for M.Night movies to ride on before they hit movie screens and shit in your eyes. With that being said, you would be surprised to know that this film was surprisingly enjoyable.

In my head I hoped this wasn’t a documentary about menstrual cycles.

I wanted to write a full review for The Visit but it would be hard to without giving away the simple plot. After seeing it, I actually read one review that gave away the whole story in 25 sentences. So much for spoiler alerts. Basically two teens (Olivia DeJonge as Becca and Ed Oxenbould as Tyler) go to visit their grandparents, whom they’ve never met. They’re old. They do creepy shit…kinda like real grandparents. Strange stuff starts to happen. The end. Seriously, if I told you more than that, you wouldn’t have to go see it.

visit2If you know anything about M.Night films, there are two things you can count on. 1. It’s not going to be scary but there will be a few cheap scares in there. 2. There will be some kind of plot twist. He doesn’t disappoint with either though, the plot twist was pretty weak and predictable. What I was surprised about was how entertaining the two teen actors were and how many laughs there were throughout the movie.  Ed Oxenbould steals the show hands down as aspiring white rapper Tyler and Olivia DeJonge is not far behind with a exceptional performance considering who wrote the script.

This is easily, for me at least, M.Night Shyamalan’s second best movie. Was it a great movie? No. I don’t even know if I’d call it a good movie, but it was certainly worth the price of admission. Go see it.

Thought provoking, inspiring, witty, charming, charismatic and handsome. None of these terms have ever been used to describe Richard Sean Airy. Instead, he is a fat, cat owning, water head having, Krispy Kreme eating son of a B!#$% whose ego is as wide as it is tall. If you like biting sarcasm, cringe worthy puns and a whole lot of cynicism on the side then this Dick will be right up your alley. @dickseanairy on Twitter

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Netflix Hidden Gem : One of Us

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Filmmakers Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady give the Jesus Camp treatment to the Hasidic community in the excellent Netflix documentary One of Us. The film chronicles the lives of three ex-Hasidic Jews from Brooklyn who bravely stray from the flock to tell their stories of control, abuse and mis-education.

 

 

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Top Five Avengers: Endgame Spoilers!

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Marvel did an amazing job of keeping the best moments from Avengers: Endgame out of the trailer. Let us ruin that for you.

I was reading Avengers comics before you could chew solid food and I never dreamed they’d be able to bring a realistic Iron Man and Hulk to the silver screen. But by golly, they did. Avengers: Infinity War may be the best silver screen adaptation of comic lore ever put to film. So my hopes were high that Endgame would be more of the same, which it’s not – but that’s ok. It still has kick-ass moments and is better than anything DC can bring to life. Blame it on the tropes of time travel, or maybe all involved could have used a break between films. Regardless, there are some wonderful moments on screen and somehow the trailers told you next to nothing.

Smartypants Hulk


I admit I knew about this going in. Yes, I searched for Hulk clips on YouTube prior to seeing the film, especially because there were no shots of Hulk in the trailers. Yes, Hulk has his shit together in this one. He wears glasses, he’s not rampaging, and he talks just like Mark Ruffalo. I miss seeing Hulk really let loose, but I have to say the CGI on Hulk (and Thanos) were once again state of the art. Just a reminder to Marvel – people love Hulk because Hulk smashes.

Captain Thor

Remember when Captain America makes Thor’s hammer move in Age of Ultron? Well, that was no fluke. Cap commands the hammer like he’s been swinging it his whole life. I guess he is worthy after all. Bonus spoiler: Old Steve Rogers at the end of the film is probably the best old man make-up you’ve ever seen.

Lebowski Thor


Which leads us to one of the films missteps. Five years after The Snappening, Thor has gained fifty pounds, a drinking problem, and a bad fake beard. It’s kinda funny, until you realize this guy is a God who has already seen some shit – including the death of just about every Asgardian. Funny? Sure, but a little silly for a movie that already set a tone of sadness.

Death of Black Widow


This was a surprise – especially since I thought they were doing a TV series. I guess that will be a prequel series? The scene between Black Widow and Hawkeye trying to sacrifice themselves before the other can is good stuff – and probably a lot cheaper to film than most of the rest movie. Now let’s put Red Skull to better use, shall we?

Death of Iron Man


Some say there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. Except mine because (spoiler alert) Robert Downey Jr. is just an actor pretending to be a comic book character that dies. You can’t fool me, movie! But in a world where it seems almost anyone can come back from the dead, who knows what the future holds for Tony Stark. Wouldn’t surprise me if he returned as some sort of hologram like Frank Zappa. No one gets that reference.

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Daniel Ortiz Rants On: Us

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A family’s serenity turns to chaos when a group of doppelgängers begins to terrorize them.20190324_073731

Rarely do I prepare myself to see a film, but Jordan Peele’Us is one of those rare movies I didn’t need to see more than one trailer for, nor did I need the hype of other critics. I also wanted to judge this film off its own merit rather than comparing it to his freshman standout, Get Out (which made my #1 film of 2017). Comparisons will be made, but I’ll try to keep them as minimal as possible.

The stand out feature is that this film is beautifully shot. The cinematography of this movie adapts to its environment seamlessly whether it’s a vibrant beach scene or a dark setting where just enough of the characters faces needs to be made out.

Also, I thought Lupita Nyong’o as Adelaide’s doppelganger, Red was a terrifying character. Everything from her awkward pantomimes to her unhinged voice was the thing of nightmares.

Now, there were a few (lots of) issues I did have with the film. I left the theater with more frustrating questions than fulfilling answers. It felt like too many ideas where in the plot and too much symbolism was forcefully wedged in to satisfy the expectations of the Get Out fans, but it came out as a jumbled mess of psychology that I didn’t want to spend my viewing time deciphering.

A lot of the horror that was built up for this film was also very deflating as the Wilson family was spared instant death and provided a background story by their doppleganger’s while others were swiftly killed before they knew what hit them. Halfway through the film, you pretty much knew they were safe from any death or violence which takes away all tension as a viewer.

The connection between the characters and their dopplegangers wasn’t fleshed out enough. Some things came off as inconsistent and driven for plot convenience, rather than a solution. I didn’t get many of the motivations and the decisions that drove the actions of our protagonists. I didn’t understand why the dopplegangers wore red jumpsuits and just one fingerless driving glove. The one symbolism I understood was the scissors, which if you look at the handle on the poster, looks like mirrored heads. This was the weapon used to cut the connection between themselves and their other half. Otherwise, I may need to see some other folks interpretations of the film.

Also, the editing was not good. There were scenes that were waaaay too long and could’ve used a few chops. The opening credit scene reminded me of an old horror movie from the 70’s (think the Amityville Horror ’79) where the title card has nothing going on, and as a viewer I felt stuck looking at a bunch of rabbits for what I assume was 3 minutes just waiting for the movie to get started.

Overall Grade: C-

There’s just too many questions, and too many inconsistencies to feel comfortable giving it anything higher. Maybe in the upcoming weeks certain plot revelations might come to fruition, but I’m not looking for Kubrick levels of hidden meaning, and this is not Kubrick-esque. I’ll chalk this up to a sophomore slump by Peele and the pressures of following up to such an acclaimed film. I just got hints of M. Night Shyamalan in this movie, meaning a Director/Writer who is owning a genre and gets type-casted to that medium. Let’s hope Jordan Peele doesn’t head down that same road.

Us (2019) 1h 56min | Horror, Thriller | 22 March 2019 (USA) Summary: A family's serenity turns to chaos when a group of doppelgängers begins to terrorize them.
Countries: USALanguages: English

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