CinemAbysmal: The Podcast – Episode 6
‘Santa Clarita Diet & Samurai Cop’
Well here we are, already on episode six! This one was a blast as we are joined by the hilarious Yoli Banos (@ybanos) to discuss season one of Netflix’s Santa Clarita Diet and 1991’s ‘so bad it’s good’ classic, Samurai Cop. Check it out on all your favorite apps below! As always, please SHARE, RATE, AND SUBSCRIBE!
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Fast and Furious (2009) – Action | Drama
Directed by: Justin Lin
Starring: Vin Diesel and Paul Walker
Review by Eric Scot Lemons
A little bit about myself before I start this review. I am a father of three and as fucking vanilla as they come. I have missionary sex and know next to nothing about cars. But after watching Fast & Furious (or Fast 4 to us, Fastiacs), a movie that is like the first except willing to forgo definite articles, I am cruising through Craigslist, checking out cars, saying things like “drive train” and “capistulators” or “pass me a Monster Energy Drink.” I am searching YouTube vids on how to replace the spoiler sticker advertisements on a BMW 9000 just in case that may come in handy someday.
But anyway, Dom is back, motherfuckers; so is Letty and so is Brian, and unfortunately so is Jordana Brewster’s character. So yes, this is my third entry and the fourth film and if your math sensors are flaring, it may be because I don’t follow no fucking rules. But seriously, every online authority on the topic suggests that I watch the films in this order, cause that fits the chronology of the “story” in the franchise.
So this film starts with the gang back together as they try to run a heist on a moving fuel tanker. The stunts are terrific with Letty jumping around on the back of the semi-truck. Peril ensues. They barely make it out with their lives, and so Dom decides to leave the love of his life and break up the crew as to save each other the inevitable death that awaits them at the end of Crime Blvd. But guess what? Letty dies anyway. So Dom must avenge his fallen love. Brian is an FBI agent looking for the same peeps, so the two paths crossyet again and the greatest bromance to ever exist is rekindled once more. They must go undercover and defeat a drug lord.
Sound familiar? Much of this film’s plot is recycled from 2 Fast 2 Furious. Yet, far better executed. Justin Lin directs this film and finally after 8 years, the films about the coolest motherfuckers on Earth, actually looks cool. The film has a cohesive look throughout, although, if I am going to act like a grandpa, I will point out that some scenes were really fucking dark, being able to barely make out the muscle cars speeding through a Mexican cave. Maybe I need to turn up my settings. It is fun to watch for the most part, outside of the weird scenes that seem destined only to make frat guys cheer: like putting away a fellow racer on meth charges or the various lesbianic kisses as set pieces to show how cool the surrounding guys are.
Every one finally learned how to act in this one, which is strange, but maybe Tokyo Drift (the third flick featuring no original cast members besides Diesel) was a wake-up call for all involved. Paul Walker RIP is brunet in this one, which makes his eyeballs even more blue. I got so lost in them that I would crash into a telephone pole too. Jordana Brewster still makes me wonder why she is present at all. Gal Gadot is in this and she is pretty cool, although comes across as a love interest for Dom, with whom she has absolutely no chemistry. Also, Vin Diesel wears a ton of different V-necks in this and not your expensive Express for Men v-necks, but like the sorta see-thru Hanes ones so his nipples are just present in most scenes. Tyrese just takes his shirt off in the second one a bunch but that is a welcome addition to all films.
The racing and chase scenes are still pretty cool to watch, yet I wouldn’t be able to relate to you any stunt that was really cool. Just a lot of the characters talking to each other despite being in separate cars. There is a really cool scene toward the end in which they kidnap the druglord in Mexico and try to get him back into USA, a la Dog the Bounty Hunter. They are chased through the desert by shooting gangsters in a scene the most recently feels reminiscent of Fury Road, but has its roots down the line of 70’s American action flicks.
My one complaint is that Nos was featured so little in this movie and when they finally hit the button to send them flying, instead of the Rainbow Road-everything gets blurry shit, you just see their heads push back into the headrests. Probably much more realistic, but less iconic.
Terrific fucking film. Fun, better plotting and better acting. Okay stunts. I’d check it out, but wouldn’t make it my go-to if I felt like watching a balls out balls deep car chase movie. Definitely love the direction of the series so far.
Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (2017)
Directed by: Barry Sonnenfeld
Starring: Neil Patrick Harris and Patrick Warburton
How I Watched: Netflix
Review by: Holly Hill
Looks like we can finally wipe the 2004 A Series of Unfortunate Events movie from our minds. Netflix has revived the book series by Lemony Snicket, and Daniel Handler (the real Lemony Snicket) has written eight beautiful episodes for the series, giving it the whimsical outlandish adaptation it deserves.
The first season has eight episodes that cover the first four books of the thirteen book series. This allows for an hour and a half to be dedicated to each book, with a Part One and a Part Two. For anyone who has read the books, you will appreciate that the creators have been able to capture the absurdity of the situations the Baudelaire orphans are put in.
Let’s start with the opening credits. “Look away, Look Away”, is the song that greets us as we go through a map of all the unfortunate events that are about to take place. It echoes what Lemony is always telling the reader in the book: unless you want to feel miserable, stop reading. The song is performed by Neil Patrick Harris (more on him later), and each new episode has a more detailed version of what fate awaits the orphans each episode. Simply put, it’s brilliant.
Onto the sets and costumes. The entire thing felt like I’d walked into a Wes Anderson film. The sets were gorgeous. The entire look of the series also has an Addams Family feel as well, which is appropriate seeing as the director for the 1991 film also directs five of the episodes. The sets are so fully realized, it’s hard to not be impressed. Uncle Monty’s gardens, Count Olaf’s decrepit home, and even Briny Beach where the story really begins. No detail is too small.
The acting. Neil. Patrick. Harris. Is there anything he can’t do? I love that we get to see a different character from him every single episode. He’s trying to be Count Olaf, but he’s also Stephano. He’s a sailor, but he’s trying to kill the children. No matter what it is, NPH pulls it off. No surprises there. The musical number in the first episode had me dying. The children are all casted wonderfully and I have no major complaints, even though Sunny’s CGI actions kind of creep me out. Olaf’s theatre troupe is everything a book reader could ask for, and Mr. Poe is obviously the best worst character.
Throughout the books, Lemony Snicket will stop the reader to explain that he is very serious, this will not be a happy ending. Or he will explain a phrase that most kids don’t understand, or a word. Have they cut this from the show? Absolutely not. Lemony Snicket acts as the viewer’s narrator, and he is played by Patrick Warburton.
There are also a plethora of subtle nods to the books while adding in some new fun plot lines as well. Count Olaf saying, “Except I can’t seem to find the sugar bowl.” I mean, come on. And [SPOILER] The Baudelaire orphans might not even be orphans! Will Arnett and Cobie Smulders are playing the parents, and it looks like they will be up to some pretty interesting things in the series trying to reconnect with their children.
In the end, what makes people want to watch more A Series of Unfortunate Events? Well, all of the above mentioned things are a start, but I think what really has people coming back is that the show is just like the books. It is the purest adaptation I’ve seen quiet possibly ever.
While waiting for Season Two, remember that if you need help, don’t call the regular fire department, check the sugar bowl, and look for clues in acrostic poems. I am looking forward to learning more about VFD, the fate of the Baudelaire parents, The Quagmire Triplets, Esme Squalor, and Carmelita Spats. If you feel like you can’t wait for Season Two, I’d go back and do a frame by frame rewatch of the series. There are clues EVERYWHERE.
Directed by: Patrick Brice
Starring: Patrick Brice and Mark Duplass
Review by CinemAbysmal
First of all, this was not supposed to be the psychological horror movie that it turned out to be. Apparently, Duplass and Brice showed the early cut to their friends and they suggested they turned the mostly improvised story into a horror movie. There’s word out there that it even has three alternate endings (the one they left in was pretty damn good).
Most people know Mark Duplass as Pete from The League on FX. And while I find him pretty damn hilarious in that show, I think I respect him more for his efforts in producing, writing and directing ‘Mumblecore’ films and TV shows such as The Puffy Chair and HBO’s Togetherness. I’m not exactly the hugest fan of this breed of film, but I appreciate it because it reminds me quite a bit of 1970’s Woody Allen. So when I saw he was in a pseudo-found footage film, I was pretty excited to check it out.
Mark Duplass is definitely the best part of this movie. It’s perfectly titled, as he is truly creepy as Josef, a dude hanging out in a cabin in the woods who hired a videographer for one day on Craigslist. The protagonist, Aaron (Patrick Brice, who actually directed the film as well), is pretty great as the videographer that is suffering through Josef’s pretty damn annoying antics, until you see something else is really wrong with Josef. I’ll stop there, but it’s a pretty excellent portrayal of crazy by Duplass.
Creep isn’t perfect. In fact, at times, it feels a bit insufferable with Mark Duplass doing everything he can to be the most insane, obsessive person on earth. What it is though, is a nice departure from the found-footage films we’ve been force fed over the last couple decades. There’s very natural discussions, which leads to some pretty convincing fear and scares coming from the actors. Don’t expect it to be too funny with Duplass, but just sit back and enjoy what’s about to hit you.
The new episode of CinemAbysmal: The Podcast is out for all your aural pleasure! Holly, Eric and Nick get spooky just in time for Halloween and discuss The Wicker Man with Nicolas Cage, Netflix’s Hemlock Grove, and are relentlessly interrupted by everything that the world could possibly throw at them. Check it out in the link below!