Review: Bates Motel 1.7 “The Man In Number 9”


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Really, Bates Motel?

After all that build-up and all the dramatic cliffhangers, that’s how you resolve the Deputy Shelby subplot?

Last week’s episode of Bates Motel ended with the evil Deputy Shelby (Mike Vogel) getting shot by Dylan (Max Thieriot) and ending up lying dead at the feet of Norma (Vera Farmiga) and Norman (Freddie Highmore).  How, we wondered, would the Bates Family get out of this one?  How would they handle the suspicions of Sheriff Romero (Nestor Carbonell)?  How could they possibly get anyone to believe what had happened, especially since Shelby’s sex slave had disappeared into the woods?

Well, that was all resolved in the episode’s first five minutes.  Romero showed up, believed everything that Norma told him, and agreed to help cover up the truth.  Problem solved.

Oh, and the missing sex slave?

Well, who knows?

To be honest, nobody seems to be too concerned about her.

Despite the fact that the rest of the episode was actually pretty well-done, it was all overshadowed by the anti-climatic resolution of the whole Shelby subplot.  (Or, as it was referred to in this episode, “The Deputy Shelby scandal.”)  So far, Dylan, Norman, and Norma have — individually and together — murdered four people and they’ve managed to rather easily get away with it despite the fact that they live in a town where criminals are burned alive in the town square.

(Are we ever going to hear about that again?)

Anyway, once Romero let the Bates Family off the hook, Bates Motel got back to normal.  In preparation for the grand opening of the Bates Motel, Norma attempted to pass out some brochures at a few local businesses but was told that nobody wanted anything to do with the Bates Motel because of the “Deputy Shelby scandal.”  I have to say that I laughed out loud when I heard that phrase.  I just imagined people driving by the Bates Motel and saying, “Did you hear about the Deputy Shelby scandal?”

However, there is a glimmer of sordid hope on the horizon when a guy named Jake (played by Jere Burns) shows up at the motel.  As Jake explains, he had a standing reservation with the motel’s former owner for a block a rooms every few weeks.  It’s pretty obvious from the first minute Jake shows up that he’s evil and creepy but Norma needs the money…

Meanwhile, Norman has perhaps the worst week of his life.  He discovers a stray dog and starts feeding it.  He even names it Juno.  (At first, I assumed that he had named it after the Ellen Page movie but I doubt Norma would have allowed him to see that film.)   Then, Bradley (Nicola Paltz) rejects him, explaining that their sexual encounter was a one time thing.  An upset Norman walks back to the motel and arrives just in time to see Juno get run over by a passing car!

Picking up his dead dog, Norman announces that he’s going to see Emma’s father the taxidermist and that’s where this episode ends.

There was a lot to like in last night’s episode.  Jere Burns gave an appropriately creepy performance as Jake and Vera Farmiga continues to find the perfect balance between melodrama and camp.  However, the rather convenient resolution of the “Deputy Shelby scandal” overshadowed the entire episode.  Normally, I enjoy the melodramatic shifts on tone that have come to define Bates Motel but, during last night’s episode, it was all just a bit too much.

Random Observations:

  • Jere Burns certainly is a creepy looking guy, isn’t he?  He looks and occasionally sounds like he could be Christopher Walken’s younger brother.
  • I say this nearly every week but Olivia Cooke really does deserve her own show where she plays a high school student who solves crimes in her spare time.  Her scenes with Vera Farmiga were a lot of fun.
  • Norma’s sex talk with Norman was performed to squirm-inducing perfection by Farmiga and Freddie Highmore.
  • It looks like Bradley might like Dylan and who can blame her when Dylan’s played by Max Thieriot?
  • When Norman was imagining being in bed with Bradley early in this episode, I briefly thought the show was acknowledging what I initially suspected — that Norman and Bradley’s earlier encounter took place solely in Norman’s mind.  However, it turns out I was wrong on both counts.
  • I wanted to cry when Norman’s dog got run over.

Poll: Which Films Are You Most Looking Forward To Seeing In June?


Last month’s results can be seen here.

As always, you can vote for up to 4 films and write-ins are allowed.

Happy voting!

I know that most people will probably be voting for either Man of Steel or World War Z but for me, June is all about The Bling Ring and This Is The End.

Trailer: Pacific Rim (Wonder-Con Exclusive)


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July 12, 2013 will be the date that will go down in otaku history when anime and live-action finally come together to prove that dreams of a live-action versions of some of the most beloved anime titles can work outside the animator’s studio. Guillermo Del Toro may not admit it but this Wonder-Con exclusive trailer for his upcoming Pacific Rim is chock full of anime influences.

Giant mecha aka Giant robots piloted by humans: CHECK

Giant monsters alien or interdimensional in origin: CHECK

Humanity brought to the brink of extinction and living in fortified cities: CHECK

It sounds like the basic outlines for anime of the past 30 or so years. There’s a bit of Neon Genesis Evangelion. There’s definitely a healthy dosage of the Mazinger Z DNA in this film. We can’t forget the classic Voltron that introduced many young people in the West in the 80’s to the joy of ultra-violent anime. Outside of anime there’s the Ultraman versus  kaiju live-action Saturday serials that continues to be popular in Japan to this day and was a staple of any growing boy’s entertainment agenda on Saturday mornings.

Whether this film lives up to the hype it’s been gaining since the first teaser was shown late last year is still an unanswered question, but for fans of action anime this film looks like a love-letter to us and everyone else should just hang on for the ride whether they want to or not.

Plus, for those not steeped in otaku culture it has something for you as well: Jax Teller, Luther, Clay Morrow and Charlie “Kitten Mittens” Kelly.

On July 12, 2013 will be the date to cancel the apocalypse.

Source: Joblo Movie Network

6 Trailers For The End of April


Hi!  It’s time for another edition of Lisa Marie’s Favorite Grindhouse and Exploitation Film Trailers!

1) Turbulence 3: Heavy Metal (2001)

Say what you will about this trailer and the idea of having a concert on an airplane, Slade Craven is a great name.

2) Harrad Summer (1974)

This film is a sequel to the Harrad Experiment, which I reviewed earlier this year. From what I can gather, this film is about the values of the future challenging the values of today…

3) Parasite (1982)

Speaking of the values of the future…

4) Score (1974)

“Amyl Nitrate?  What’s this?”  For some reason, that line made me laugh.

5) Screamtime (1983)

This trailer is actually scared me a little.  It was the puppet.

6) In Love (1983)

In Love was apparently an attempt to make a “real film” that just happened to feature hardcore sex scenes.  For that reason, the trailer’s been edited but you can probably guess what’s going on behind those “Scene Missing” cards.  I just like the trailer because of the theme song.

What do you think, Trailer Possum?*

Possum Charlie—-

*The Trailer Kitties have the week off.

 

What Lisa Marie Watched Last Night #80: A Mother’s Rage (dir by Oren Kaplan)


Last night, I turned the TV over to the Lifetime Movie Network and I watched A Mother’s Rage.

Why Was I Watching It?

First off, it was on the Lifetime Movie Network and, as anyone who knows me can tell you, I am an LMN fanatic.  Seriously, there’s nothing I love more than watching a good, silly Lifetime movie.

Secondly, just the title, A Mother’s Rage, is so melodramatic and over-the-top.  Just hearing that title, I knew this movie would be the epitome of everything I usually love about a good Lifetime movie.

What Was It About?

After her daughter is murdered, Rebecca Mayer (Lori Loughlin) sets out to find the man responsible.  Driving across a desolate desert highway and hallucinating that her daughter (Jordan Hinson) is still alive, Rebecca murders every man that she comes across.

Fortunately, all of these men happen to be rather scummy but still, the local police are determined to catch Rebecca and stop her trail of a murder.  Sheriff Emily Tobin (Kristen Dalton) pursues Rebecca with the help of her own teenaged daughter (played by Alix Elizabeth Gitter).

What Worked?

Lori Loughlin and Jordan Hinson were well cast as mother and ghost daughter and, for the first 20 minutes or so, the movie did a pretty good job of keeping you guessing as to whether or not Hinson was real or if she was just a hallucination.

Over the course of the film, Loughlin did murder a few people but, fortunately, everyone she killed was so sleazy that she still managed to remain a sympathetic character.

What Did Not Work?

Even by the melodramatic standards of Lifetime, A Mother’s Rage was not a very believable story.  Plot holes abound and the film’s final scenes were so sloppily edited that the film’s  imdb message board is full of people still trying to figure out what exactly happened at the end of the movie.

One huge issue that I had with this film was that Lori Loughlin essentially murders several people in broad daylight and yet, somehow, there are never any witnesses.  Seriously, Loughlin apparently managed to find the least traveled highway in America.

Then again, it was a Lifetime movie and therefore, it all worked.  Criticizing a Lifetime movie for being melodramatic is like criticizing a kitten for being cute.

“Oh my God!  Just like me!” Moments

Lori Loughlin’s daughter is described as being an aspiring dancer who had a massively overprotective mother and, seriously, how could I not relate to that?  Meanwhile, Kristen Dalton’s daughter spends her time stealing crime scene photographs and trying to solve crimes and again, how could I not relate?  Seriously, there were times when this entire film seemed like one big “Oh my God!  Just like me!” moment.

Lessons Learned

I will apparently watch anything that shows up on Lifetime.

Grindhouse Classics : “Pick-Up”


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One word that doesn’t usually (if ever) come to mind when you’re talking about the drive-in fare churned out by Crown International Pictures in the 1970s is weird.

Yeah, okay, fair enough — I suppose just about any CIP flick looks a little bit “weird” to a contemporary audience, given that they’re all very much  products of their time, but honestly, pretty much everything released under their banner boils down, story-wise,  to a simple morality play with a generous helping of sex (always) and violence (sometimes) thrown in — and more often than not, as with most exploitation fare, the most common themes in the Crown back catalog are “don’t set your sights above your station in life” and “don’t talk to strangers.”

At first glance, 1975’s Pick-Up, directed (and produced, and shot, and edited) by Bernard Hirschenson, would appear to fit comfortably into the “don;t talk to strangers” category, since it’s the story of two footloose-and-fancy-free hippie chicks named Carol (Jill Senter) and Maureen (Gini Eastwood — no relation, at least that I know of, to you-know-who), who hitch a ride across Florida with a far-out guy named Chuck (Alan Long) who is, like them, at loose ends and just “taking in what the world has to offer, one day at a time, man” in his fuck-pad RV.

Come on — he’s gotta be trouble, right? I mean, he’s an Aries, and according to the supposedly-metaphysically-tuned-in Maureen, Aries guys are bad news these days because of some state of flux going on in the universe or something. Still, the girls hop in for a ride anyway —

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Trouble eventually does come their way, but Chuck isn’t the cause. After a deluge, the RV gets stuck in the Everglades mud, and that’s when things, as I promised at the outset, get weird. Chuck and Carol get busy screwing their brains out, but Maureen in between reading star charts and tarot cards and having waking (and sleeping) visions of her childhood, is visited by Pythia, a priestess of Apollo, who gives her a sacred dagger for some reason or other. And if you think that sounds strange, wait until the slimy politician and latex-faced clown show up.

Okay, yeah, none of this makes a tremendous amount of narrative sense — or even common sense — but it sure is interesting. It turns out that Maureen was molested by a priest as a child (guess they were into girls in the ’70s) and this is at the root of her psychological disturbances, which culminate in quite possibly the most bizarre  scene (of many contenders) in the film, where she and Chuck finally “make it” on a stone altar with the clown, the politician, and the priestess watching on. And all this right after Chuck kills a wild boar (be warned, this film does feature genuine animal slaughter, although hardly of Cannibal Holocaust proportions) What does it all mean? Who knows. And honestly, who really cares? Pick-Up was clearly made with the stoner crowd in mind and, frankly, was probably made by members of the stoner crowd, as well. It’s all good, man. Just go with the flow.

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There are some notable things to point out in relation to this film while we have a moment — the Florida Everglades locations are authentic, and were probably an absolute bitch to film in (good thing everybody was probably high), and both Senter and Eastwood are not only reasonably talented actresses, but absolutely gorgeous, as well — yet neight ever made another film. Go figure.

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Like most of the Crown stuff we’ve covered both here and at my “main” site — http://trashfilmguru.wordpress.com , for those of you who don’t know — Pick-Up is available on Mill Creek’s 12-disc, 32-movie “Drive-In Cult Classics” DVD boxed set collection. There are no extras, but the remastered widescreen transfer looks surprisingly crisp and clean and the mono sound is, at the very least, perfectly adequate. This may not be the best film in the collection by any stretch, nor is it the most fun, but it’s definitely one of the most interesting, and it’s well worth the 80 minutes of your life it takes to watch it.