Movie Review

STAR TREK (4K UHD BLU-RAY) – ATMOS IMMERSIVENESS LEVEL

Paramount

4k UHD Blu-Ray • Atmos

I never really got too into Star Trek and its many TV incarnations, or movies, and whatever else that universe spit out commercially. But back in the day, when I heard the nerds that made Lost were doing their own Star Trek, I knew I had to jump on. So I went to the theater and saw this movie and I was hooked. I remember buying the blu-ray as soon as it came out and it was one of the regular demo fixtures in my first 5.1 theater room I had. Now, it’s on beautiful 4K and sports a brand new Atmos track that is sure to blow anyone away. Here are the scenes that really stood out on my first Atmos watch:

• Chapter 2: The car chase has some really cool overhead moments as the cop on the hover bike jumps up and down behind the convertible and Beastie Boys’ Sabotage blasts through each of the speakers behind the action. Spock’s holographic lessons are taught from overhead speakers and the voices drift across the ceiling from every angle

• Chapter 5: Once everyone is finally on the Enterprise, the various bleeps and space bloops from all over the ship are constant and come from all directions. When Vulcan is being destroyed, the beam stretching down to the planet’s surface dances from the front to the back of the stage and crawls across the ceiling. Really cool

• Chapter 7: The sword fight on the Romulan platform has some really cool effects when fireballs erupt from some vents, and the sound follows the flames up the ceiling. Beeps on the Enterprise seem to be getting more frequent as the story gets more tense. When Kirk skydives to save Sulu, the wind whips all across the stage as they descend

• Chapter 9: When the red creature chases Kirk on the snow planet, he jumps around the stage and it kind of feels like the ceiling is caving in. Each roar comes down from right above you. It’s wild. Old Spock shows Kirk what happened in his timeline but it’s narrated through overhead speakers and dances across the ceiling. Easily, the best ‘god voice’ effect I’ve heard since I’ve toyed with Atmos movies at home

• Chapter 12: When Spock and Kirk board a Romulan ship, a firefight breaks out and phaser blasts bounce around the ceiling, sending pieces of wall and metal ricocheting all over

• Chapter 13: The Romulan drill is destroyed by Spock and it falls from Earth’s atmosphere into the water below the Golden Gate Bridge, and the sound cascades downward from the ceiling. The camera moves through red matter aboard the Romulan ship and the sound of the bubbles creeps through all the speakers and you can almost feel it

Overall, this Atmos mix is a leap over the already stellar TrueHD mix I was so used to. It’s got so many cool moments and at times, really immerses you into the movie. That being said, the front mix carries most of the weight throughout. This isn’t a bad thing. This is a big, loud, SPACE movie. It needs those fronts to be throaty and that dialogue needs to be clear amidst all the action. This is a great all around Atmos mix, but it’s not going to get all 5 rated speakers because it won’t really immerse you throughout the entire film.

DOLBY ATMOS IMMERSIVENESS:

🔊 🔊 🔊 🔊 / 5

Pet Sematary (Blu-Ray) – Atmos Immersiveness Level

Paramount

Blu-Ray • Atmos • 1080p Upconverted

Horror films are often discounted by people as not scary or dumb, but when you find out how they watched these movies, you might not be surprised they watched with all the lights on while laying in bed with their laptops. Well, the new version of Pet Sematary definitely deserves the full surround sound treatment.

I saw this unforgivingly mean movie in the theaters one Saturday afternoon after indulging on some magically edible delights, and I’ll tell you right now, that was probably the wrong move. I remember shrinking lower and lower into my chair, and though I didn’t have an Atmos receiver at home yet, I knew this was going to be especially wild in the quiet of my basement when it came out on Blu-Ray. I finally got the chance this week, and it did not disappoint. Here are some moments that stood out:

• Chapters 1-3: Several scenes with ambient bells and whispering voices in the overheads, interrupted a few times by the Orinco trucks blowing by, exciting the sub each time. Really fun jump scare moments

• Chapter 4: Whenever Louis dreams, Atmos and surrounds kick into high gear and there are ghosts whispering, as well as really unsettling wind and knocking effects. They really went for it

• Chapter 5: The infamous dumbwaiter scenes start here. Whispering, walking and things falling from above. Makes the movie that much more terrifying.

• Chapter 7: Another dream sequence with some really cool “god’s voice” narration gives way to some terrifying noises in the attic as Zelda’s dumbwaiter is again teased (strictly from above) and holy shit. Goosebumps 😰

• Chapter 10: Louis enters the Pet Sematary, and whispers, screaming, wood cracking, bugs, wind and more crawl across the ceiling. It’s almost torturous and made me giggle nervously at one point.

• Chapter 13: Zelda finally makes her grand appearance. The squeals of the dumbwaiter coming from above, along with the creepy, crawling ghost are insanely detailed across the ceiling. It’ll grind your nerves

Here’s the thing. When this movie decides to get active in the overheads, it goes for it. Possibly more than any other Atmos movie I’ve seen at home yet. That being said, a lot of the movie is really quietly dialogue-driven, as the main characters spend a majority of the movie grief-stricken. So, for that reason, I can’t give Pet Sematary the full 5 speakers. It’s close, but not quite there. I definitely suggest you grab it just for those moments mentioned above, though, because they’ll rattle you.

DOLBY ATMOS IMMERSIVENESS:

🔊 🔊 🔊 🔊 / 5

Cliffhanger (4k UHD Blu-Ray) – Atmos Immersiveness Level

Sony

4k UHD Blu-Ray • Atmos

Helicopters, trickling caves, and explosions galore! I never got to see this classic in theaters, though I was only 8 when it came out, so I probably wouldn’t have enjoyed it like I do now anyway. After buying an Atmos receiver, this was one of the first purchases I made, and I knew that I had to dedicate a Saturday afternoon to it so I could savor every second of this new transfer. And wow, as many times as I have seen this movie, this was like a brand new watch all over again. Not only is that 4K transfer simply incredible, the Atmos track is almost dumbfounding. Here are some moments that really stuck out:

• Chapter 1: Helicopter over your head before any credits even begin to roll. Continues throughout scene as a dramatic rescue attempt unfolds

• Chapter 3-5: Scene begins with a jet going right over the middle listening position to the front of the stage. Rain pours over the roof of a ranger’s station. The two planes attempting to tie off on each other features a lot of ambient, overhead noise and talking into headsets. Ends with an insane jet explosion and crash landing that makes use of all the speakers across the stage. Ridiculously fun. Really active Atmos scene that is definitely demo material

• Chapter 7: Wind and snow dance across the ceiling as Stallone begins his first free climb. Makes you feel like you’re there. Bullets and explosions whizz from back to front right over you, causing an incredibly active avalanche that’ll wake your neighbors

• Chapter 10: Stallone and companion are in a cave. Water drips from above all around you before they find some bats who begin to flutter from all directions. Pretty much every scene that is shot in the caves goes insane with the overheads. Really fun use of Atmos

• Chapter 12: After blowing up a mountainside with C4 and debris rains down all around you, a helicopter climbs through the sound field to a windswept peak. Stallone runs across a bridge and you can hear the ropes tearing all around you before another C4 explosion rocks the entire room. Insane

From here until the final credits, the movie is just a full sonic assault. It has to be seen to be believed. Yeah, it’s probably overkill, but so is Atmos anyway, right? Like many 90’s movies that got the 3D Blu-Ray treatment and caused you to think halfway through, “This 3D transfer is insane!,” the Atmos mix on this disc is probably excessive, but it’ll be to the delight of those who really love incredibly active overheads and dramatic explosions every few minutes. Whoever mixed this over at Sony knew what the average Cliffhanger viewer wanted. Buy this one immediately.

ATMOS IMMERSIVENESS LEVEL:

🔊 🔊 🔊 🔊 🔊 / 5

John Wick: Chapter 2 (Blu-Ray) – Atmos Immersiveness Level

Lionsgate

Blu-Ray • Atmos • 1080p Upconverted

This movie is all over the place. Right from the get-go, a motorcyclist has an unfortunate run-in with Wick’s car, and the wreckage is sent in pieces all around your head. Then suddenly, John is quietly whispering with an adversary. The entire movie weaves in and out of near silence then pure chaos, and while this might sound obnoxious, it’s a beautifully immersive experience that doesn’t let up until the credits roll. Here are some of the best scenes:

• Chapter 2: A neverending car chase after a fresh rain. Ridiculously incredible overheads interacting with the music

• Chapter 4: People walking around and talking in a quiet museum makes it feel like people are all around you

• Chapter 7: Sub-killing club scene with crazy, pulsing EDM bullshit overhead

• Chapter 8: Shoot-out in the Roman catacombs. Echoes and bullets bouncing all over your head

• Chapter 9: Super long battle with Common. Fist fights through tunnels, down stairs, shots raining down from everywhere. Really cool scene

• Chapter 13: Another gunfight, accompanied by a bass-thumping classical score that bounces off the ceiling before giving way to a “god’s voice” intercom immersion in a neon-lit hall of mirrors. It’s fucking BONKERS

While not too many people consider this the pinnacle of the Wick saga, this is my first foray into the home-viewed Atmos John Wick movies, and wow, was I impressed. The music is ever-present and interchanging with the action, and even in the quieter dialogue-driven scenes, something is always crawling across the ceiling. They did an amazing job with this mix, and I’d definitely say this is a demo-worthy Atmos title.

ATMOS IMMERSIVENESS LEVEL:

🔊 🔊 🔊 🔊 🔊 / 5

Five Decades of Nominees – 1994 – ‘The Remains of the Day’

Snooze

Alright. We’ve come to the end of the 1994 nominees for Best Picture. And what a snoozy doozy way to end them. I’ve been sitting on how to approach writing about this movie for a couple days, and I just…well, let’s give it a shot.

I’ll start with the acting. Anthony Hopkins, the most recent, and controversial winner of the Best Actor award, is so Anthony Hopkins in this. He’s a butler of a giant estate owned by a nazi sympathizer in pre-World War II England, and he rules every scene, as he always does. When I say Hopkins is so Hopkins, you know what I mean: he’s got those signature tics, the witty little reactions, the head-held-high snootiness that he’s best known for.

As always, he’s great, and I really think this movie would have been in a lot of trouble without him. Emma Thompson, like Hopkins, is who she always is – not bad, just incredibly British and sad, and honestly, it took me three sittings to finish this movie because Thompson films put me to sleep.

Something strange to see is Christopher Reeve, just a couple years before his debilitating accident that ultimately led to his death, as the American ambassador that attempts to convince the owner of the manor not to work with the Germans. The acting is here, the problem is, there’s not much else.

There are also a couple of Game of Thrones alums in this, not surprising since it’s probably the most British movie ever made. We’ve got a really young Lena Headey as a housekeeper, and that old blind dude from the wall as Hopkins’ dad.

This movie drags. Hard. I haven’t read the book, of course, but I came away from the film wondering what the hell just didn’t happen. I won’t ruin it for you, but when the credits rolled, I was really surprised. It’s one of the dullest endings to a movie I’ve ever seen, and I’m guessing it’s explained better in the novelization.

The strangest part of the film for me, is that there is this clique of butlers and housekeepers, and they’ve all crossed paths at some point. And there is also this hierarchy in which these people are fighting over, and the top spot is butler. Like, I’m sorry, but what the fuck? Is this a strictly British thing that I’ve never heard of or read about? Or was this made up for dramatic effect? What the hell is going on in this movie?

Sorry. I will say, the movie is pretty. It’s shot so well, and though it doesn’t really take many risks, each shot feels like a painting you’d find in a gallery. There’s a scene toward the end, where Hopkins and Thompson are sitting on a pier and the lights come on, and the contrast of the lights’ colors are absolutely mesmerizing. There is also a sunset scene with Hopkins driving that really is amazing. Trouble is, a lot of these shots make you feel like you’re watching something on PBS. I know there’s a market for that (probably bigger than I think), but woof, not my bag, man.

This is the sort of movie that’s playing at your grandma’s house on her tiny TV on a summer afternoon. It’s a costume designer’s blueprint, a Masterpiece Theater special stretched long, the film that appeases your groaning grandparents so they’ll watch the Oscars. It’s undeniably, the worst of the five ’94 nominees: not necessarily bad, but without the substance of the other four.

Where is ‘Philadelphia,’ by the way? How did that movie not get nominated? It’s cool that Hanks won Best Actor, but that movie carries so much more emotional depth and focuses on a much bigger worldwide issue than The Remains of the Day attempts to. Perhaps AIDS was still much too taboo for the Academy, but Philadelphia absolutely crushes me every time I see it.

Well, that’s the end of the 1994 nominees. Overall, the right movie won, and it really wasn’t close. I feel like four of these should have been nominated, but that seems to be the case every year. Next up for this month, we’ve got the 1985 nominees. I’ll try to squeeze them all in this month, but life has a way of making that tough, so we’ll see.

Have you seen The Remains of the Day and want to tell me I’m absolutely wrong? Think some other movies from 1993 should have been nominated for the ’94 Oscars that weren’t? Let me know in the comments or on Instagram, and it’ll probably help me write these in the future.

CinemAbysmal: The Podcast – Episode 44: The Last Days of American Crime and The Wrong Missy

Welcome to Episode 44 of CinemAbysmal: The Podcast, where contributors of CinemAbysmal.com talk about what society would consider some of the worst of the worst media out there.

This week, we talk some Netflix originals: The 0% Rotten Tomatoes rated The Last Days of American Crime, and another entry in the exhausting Happy Madison catalog, The Wrong Missy. Come listen to us gripe!

As always, please SHARE, RATE, AND SUBSCRIBE!

Find this new episode and more on Spotify, iTunes, SoundCloud, Stitcher, Spreaker, and everywhere else you find podcasts! Just search for ‘Cinemabysmal’!

Cats (2019)

Cats (2019)

Directed by: Tom Hooper

Starring: Francesca Hayward and Taylor Swift

I have personally witnessed the chasms of eternal darkness. I have dipped my feet into colossal pools of unending madness. My own eyes are stained with what once could only be described as some half-glimpsed myth; a terror that should have perpetually imprisoned itself as a permanent fable of the future. This ghastly creature I am so carefully describing – as to not potentially disturb it, causing me any further harm – is 2019’s film adaptation of ‘Cats.’

What we are subjected to, immediately and relentlessly, is a musical world of such strange proportion and unbelievably hellish terror that can only be compared to the seediest areas of Tim Burton’s Gotham alleys, and Roger Rabbit Toontown hopelessness. It’s a wondrous hellscape of unnameable horror, and is filled with anthropomorphic furries decorated flagrantly and depressingly in an unfortunate CGI veneer just asking for the chair. And they sing. Oh, do they sing. And they do not stop singing.

I know what you’re thinking: this is a musical, isn’t it? Yes, it’s a musical. But this is a musical drenched morbidly in coats of a sticky and unfortunate series of mumbles and meandering murmurings. Spectral singing horrors dressed as wannabe high school thespians haunting hallways would be a less disturbing sight to behold. But this unrelenting group of yowling felines does not give you a chance to gather yourself in its diabolical hubris. Not for a moment.

While the music viciously pummels the audience into an attempted braindeath, the horrifying bodies of these “cats” maniacally gyrate and sway like a group of strippers attached crudely to an out of control state fair Tilt-a-Whirl. Taylor Swift’s character – and her abnormally human chest – was the first thing my girlfriend pointed out upon our seemingly decades-long release from the theater. Idris Elba spends most of the film dressed in some sort of trench coat before madly dropping it toward the conclusion, revealing a once-veiled contortion of muscle and fur that rivals any notable body horror scene in the last decade.

I don’t know what the flying fuck this movie was about. It’s a coke-fueled nightmare from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s fixation on T.S. Eliot’s fixation on housecats, and really, I kind of gave up researching right there. Actually, I had to Google whatever in the living hell a “jellicle” cat is, because that phrase is repeated more often throughout the film than any other. It’s infuriating how often this word is said without any explanation whatsoever, and to keep you from watching this historical misstep in cinema, I’m not going to explain what it is to you either.

The movie is a series of autobiographical introductions sung madly by each of the characters. I know this is simply how Broadway operates, but the cinematic counterpart just does not translate. This celluloid nightmare is relatively short in today’s Hollywood landscape. Somehow though, the film feels like a mucky, eternal task by the time the credits scroll. Someone clapped upon their merciful appearance, but I am holding out hope that this was some sort of sarcastic lambasting, or even celebratory relief.

This movie is now a thing that exists. It’s an unfortunate anomaly gliding terribly over unexplored swaths of the ocean, proudly sprinkling its dead skin upon us like flakes of expired fish food. I will not stoop to the shadowy depths of feline puns that many movie reviewers have (admittedly leading me to see this festering wound of a film), but I will say that this will be remembered for decades – a cult classic not deserving of the title. See this with caution. We do not deserve to be treated like this, but if masochism is your bag, have I got the movie for you.

Nick’s Relatively New Movie Rundown – April 2018

I haven’t been reviewing movies much lately (or at all) because, ya know, life. But I recently got one of those dandy MoviePasses, so I’ll probably be hitting you guys with a little more if I get the sudden motivation. Anyway, here’s what I’ve been watching recently.

Ready Player One (3D IMAX BLASTEROID EDITION)

Holy shit. I loved this movie. I’m a sucker for pop culture nostalgia references, and I’m an even bigger sucker for a certain 1980 film set in the Colorado Rockies, so this was the perfect storm for me. I was a big proponent for the book itself, though it is by no means a literary achievement. Like the book, just let yourself be a kid again when watching this. No one does exciting, childlike action quite like Spielberg, and he’s at his fun, 80’s best here. The soundtrack is a blast, the acting is joyously hamfisted, and holy hell, watch this on the biggest, loudest, most 3D screen you can, because this is what a wallet-breaking theater experience is all about.

Score: 8/10

Isle of Dogs

This is the first movie I have used my MoviePass with, and god damn, I could not have picked a better one. While I really liked Fantastic Mr. Fox, I couldn’t help but feel Wes was holding back a lot to try and appeal to the younger crowd. Being as dark as his comedy usually is, it just didn’t quite feel right watching these foxes not going full Baumbachian-existential-crisis mode. Well, here’s the retry. Dogs is dark, man. Like, not only in tone, but the message delivered, as well. I ate it all up. It’s not only a gorgeous love letter to man’s best friend, but a bitingly nasty take on the world’s political climate. This is a fun watch, and while not a typical Anderson film, it’s enough to satiate long time fans. Put this in the top half of his films.

Score: 9/10

Rampage

Ok. Just listen. If you played this at the arcade like I did when I was a kid, you agree that the story behind the action was weak as fuck, but who cares, right? LET’S DESTROY THIS FUCKING CITY! Enter The Rock in a tiny t-shirt (let’s be real, it’s probably an XL) as a Primatologist *giggle* in his early 90’s, Schwarzeneggery best. This is by no means a good movie in the critical sense. And really, there could have been more destruction. But if you go into the movie expecting exactly what this movie is – a dumb arcade game – you’ll probably leave as I did: satisfied with some mutant animals absolutely annihilating a city.

Score: 6/10

A Quiet Place

Alright, I’m going to blame my experience with this movie on the crowd in the theater – most notably, this Starbucks-sipping basic beezy saying “No, no, no, no don’t, don’t, DON’T” in the most suspenseful of scenes throughout the entire film – but, I’m also going to blame my constant needing to know what other critics think of a film. I don’t always rely on Rotten Tomatoes, especially with horror, but seeing a 95% attached to a straight horror film is still surprising. Was the movie suspenseful, frightening, original, even groundbreaking? Sure. Definitely. Is it meant more to watch at home, away from the buzz of reclining seats, package rustling, popcorn munching, and constant bathroom breaks? For me, absolutely. So, if that shit bothers you like it does me, wait to watch this one at home in the dark. That being said, it’s a cool movie. I’m excited for Krasinski as a filmmaker. He’s definitely got the chops.

Score: 7/10

Alright, that’s it for me here. This probably sounded like an ad for MoviePass. It’s not in the commercial sense, but you should get one. I haven’t been to the theater this much in one month since I was a kid at the dollar theater on Spokane’s Garland Avenue, so at a measly $10 a month, you should probably get one.

CinemAbysmal: The Podcast – Episode 24: How High and Disjointed

Welcome to Episode 24 of CinemAbysmal: The Podcast, where the three writers of CinemAbysmal.com talk about what society would consider some of the worst of the worst media out there. This week, we discuss the hazy cult classic How High and the first three episodes of the strange Netflix Original, Disjointed! Check it out on all your favorite apps below! As always, please SHARE, RATE, AND SUBSCRIBE!

iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/cinemabysmal/id1153464020?mt=2

SoundCloud – https://soundcloud.com/cinemabysmal/23-movies-everyone-loves-that

Google Play Music – https://play.google.com/music/m/Irjld24rxpsi22hdnugilmxh57u?t=CinemAbysmal

Stitcher https://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=128435&refid=asa

Spreaker http://www.spreaker.com/show/cinemabysmals-show

You can also find us on BeyondPod! Just search for CinemAbysmal.

CinemAbysmal: The Podcast – Episode 18: Halloween – It Follows, As Above, So Below, & We Are Still Here

IMG_20171012_100934 (1)

Welcome to the 18th episode of CinemAbysmal: The Podcast, where the three writers of CinemAbysmal.com talk about what society would consider some of the worst of the worst media out there. This week, we discuss the three of some of our favorite current horror films in anticipation of Halloween, as well as more of Eric’s bathing habits! Check it out on all your favorite apps below! As always, please SHARE, RATE, AND SUBSCRIBE!

iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/cinemabysmal/id1153464020?mt=2

Google Play Music – https://play.google.com/music/m/Irjld24rxpsi22hdnugilmxh57u?t=CinemAbysmal

Stitcher – https://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=128435&refid=asa

Spreaker – http://www.spreaker.com/show/cinemabysmals-show

You can also find us on BeyondPod! Just search for CinemAbysmal.