The Cloverfield Paradox – *Great Spoilers*


 

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It’s Superbowl Sunday!!! Better yet, it’s The Cloverfield Paradox on Netflix.

This movie is 1 part – Event Horizon, 1 Part – The Thing, and 1 Part – Boring.

We begin with a dying earth and pesky scientists have tried to create a free energy machine innnnnnnn spaaaaaaace.  Sounds Legit.

There’s British people talking in traffic and I need closed captioning.  The lady in traffic is apparently an astronaut and “Comm Officer”. However, I can’t understand anything she’s saying; so maybe, communications wasn’t the best fit?!

We’re on the space station and they’re trying to do some particle acceleratin’ …woohoo, but something is amiss. The story is really dragging.

Now, there’s nerds, foozball playing, and awkward conversation.  Are we sure this is a Space Station and not the Google Campus?  I do like that all peoples are represented and they’re all boring.  It’s about time that we embraced that most people are boring and even some Netflix films.

They’re about to turn on their Shepherd Accelerator and …… they are making particles, energy, or s’mores?  Then, the Shepherd overloads.  I’m guessing they forgot to use a surge protector. They get control, but the earth is gone- must’ve left the Earth in their other solar system’s pants.  They’re hurtling into empty space.

The crew is starting to act weird.  The Russian- I’m going to call him Boris – is playing with his face a lot and we’re getting an Event Horizon vibe mostly because JJ Abrams decided to defile the memory of another one of my favorite films.  The steel walls have screaming and they decide to open it….because sure. They reveal a woman fused to wires and the bulkhead who knows the Comm Officer’s name.  It’s pretty gross.  They try to do some ER work on her and she lives.

Meanwhile….Back on Earth. There’s explosions!!!

Back on the station…

The foozball is playing itself and things are disappearing: gyroscopes, worms, and my time.   Boris has a worm creature in his head and it’s doing gross things to his eyeball.  Boris starts talking to himself and the voices in his head ask him to make a 3d printed gun.  Boris pulls the 3d printed gun on crewmates and dies with hundreds of worms shooting out of him.

The lady they found in the bulkhead – Mina – wakes up.  She thinks that she was on the station the whole time.  Mina accuses Schmidt of sabotage.  For scientists, they are unimpressive.  These dopes haven’t figured out that they’re in another dimension?! Did they get their PhDs from University of Phoenix?!  They lock Schmidt up for sabotage and proceed to make bad choices.

Back on earth…. More explosions, but now there are screaming kids.

Back on the station: The ship’s Irish janitor is doing repairs and his arm gets detached.  The ship let’s Schmidt out of the airlock and he’s being chased by the Irishman’s arm.  The arm writes them a letter….really. It tells them to cut Boris’ corpse open.  They find the gyroscope inside Boris.  The comms come back and their current reality is pretty bad.  They watch CNN and learn that they’ve traveled to Another Dimension …. Another Dimension … Don’t … you tell me to smile….Interplanetary.   In this dimension, there’s World War III going on and everybody has goatees.  They decide to turn on the Shepherd machine again and hopefully not attract a herd of sheep as well.

Back on earth, the Comm Officer’s husband has rescued a random kid and went to a bomb shelter.

Back on the Station:  Tam figures out that condensation was messing with their calculations, but then she drowns….somehow.  In the alternate dimension, Eva’s kids are alive.  In the “Good Dimension” Eva apparently installed some bad track lighting and killed everyone, but in this “Evil Dimension” – they’re fine because she used lamps I suppose.  Eva decides to go back to warn her twin not to use track lighting…..ever.  I’ve noticed that they do A LOT of caulking in this movie to exciting music, but it’s still a guy caulking. There’s another malfunction and half the ship explodes.

The crew decides that they need to de-couple the broken part of the station, engendering a long scene of attempted space station repair.  It was really slow AND they had this crazy 8-4pm window to do it.  Then, the captain sacrifices himself to do it because why not?

Eva orders that they turn on the shepherd.  All looks well, but Mina steals the gun and starts shooting.  She needs the “firing key” for some reason.  Presumably, the Shepherd will create energy, but that really makes no sense because it doesn’t create energy as much as derivative B-Movies.  Mina manages to kill Eva in the final scene Aliens style and it’s mildly entertaining.

Schmidt lives and they start the Shepherd again, but first she warns her evil twin not to use Track Lighting and to give the ball to Marshawn Lynch in the 2015 Super Bowl.  They see earth again- the good earth and they have a stable power beam.   Eva’s husband doesnt want them to come back because—-monsters.  Then, as the escape pod enters the atmosphere, we see a monster.  So, they unleashed monsters and NBC’s Whitney.

This was a great bad movie, which is what JJ Abrams can do in his sleep. I would watch this if I had the flu or was in a B-movie place.

Stranger Things S2 Ep 9, The Gate; Alt Title: RE-U-NITED…..


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Cold Open: Reunited and it feels so good….Reunited… Yep, El is back in the arms of Mike whom she’ll rip in half when she catches him cheating with some rando floozy in college. But for now,  Reunited and it feels so good….. Mike is all pissed at Hop and they end up hugging.  Awwww.  El meets Max and doesn’t shake her hand. Max is in a tough spot: on the one hand she has a psycho Carrie-esque whack job who wants to explode her and the other is a terrible trash household. Poor Max.  They believe El can close the gate, but there are 100s of Demagorgans in their way.

Cara Buono is taking a bubble bath and Ted is asleep downstairs.  Ted, you are sad…sad man.  Then, Mullet-Guy arrives and flirts with Cara Buono and I just had flashbacks to my High School years.  They weren’t all bad.

They are planning on taking El to close the gate.  They take E-Will to the cabin to burn the evil out of E-Will.  Later, Steve easily breaks up with Nancy.  Pretty Awesome!

Hop and El do some catching up and Hop explains that he feels like some kind of a black hole, sucking up everything and destroying it – I can relate.  They head into the distance to the Castle…. I mean government facility.  There’s a brief moment where Dustin gets Steve to put the Demagorgan into the fridge because I suppose they want to make stock later…. Pro Tip: Low and Slow with lots of sage!

Steve and the gang decide to head into the caves to enter the lab ….  Well, about Team Steve….. Mullet-Guy arrives and decides to beat up Lucas.  Then, he beats up Steve….A LOT, until Max puts a dart in his neck and Steve remains knocked out on the floor.  Poor Steve.

Joyce, Creeper, and Nancy arrive at the cabin and try to cook the monster out of E-Will.  He gets some black veins and tries to strangle his mom to stop the purification.

The Lab:  El and Hop arrive to do battle.   They find Reiser and he’s dying.  They go down further and arrive at the opening.  Hop goes in and shoots a bunch of Demagorgons.

Meanwhile: Steve leads the way down the caves.  There’s a bit of comic relief and they find the center of the caves and drench it in gasoline and torch it.

It’s all very smash cut!!!

The shadow leaves E-will and goes into the sky.

El and Hop go down into the bowels of the gate and face off against the Shadow Monster.

Dustin meets up with Dart again….Reunited and it feels so good….

El tries again to shut down the shadow monster’s gate, channeling her anger.  El digs deep and focuses her rage.  I would just think of the Seahawks v Patriots….Just give the ball to Marshawn for Pete’s SAKE!!!!!  El wins! We Win! The gate is closed and the shadow monster is dead. Woohoo!

The Lab is all locked up, shut down, and the government got embarrassed by the Bearded Creeper in the Bathrobe…yep that one.

Reiser got Hop a birth certificate for El.  The show ends with a prom of sorts and Creeper is videotaping.  I really hope no one looks on the other tapes. YIPE!

The prom is hopping.  Man, they must have quite the budget! Time After Time plays and Lucas and Max dance.  Dustin gets shot down….A LOT! It’s alright, Dustin. Nancy dances with him.  Hey Dustin, she has pretty low standards lately; you might have a shot.

The parents: Hop and Joyce hug quietly outside reminiscing and grieving the ones they lost.

El and Mike dance to The Police’s stalker song- I’ll be watching you.  Everyone gets kissed, except for Dustin.  The school spins upside down with the Shadow Monster looking down.  Maybe, it’s the Shadow Monster’s turn to be Nancy’s Boyfriend.

So, Gentle Readers….Thus concludes another Stranger Things season.  I’ll keep writing more in 2018 and not just in the fall. This has been a lot of fun and very cathartic for me.  Cheers and MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! HAPPY HANUKKAH! And, I’ll even give a good year….this time.

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Stranger Things: S2 Ep 8 – The Mind Flayer Alt Title: Bob, Try Swiping Left


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Cold Open: We’re back in the evil lab and the monsters are coming up to attack. There are three of them and they are breaking through the glass.  It’s very reminiscent of the pilot, but that was good.  Hop and the other lab people are fleeing and getting eaten… a lot.

The monsters cut the power off in the building and Bob the Brain really needs to learn how to Swipe Left.

Max’s parents have arrive and see that Max is gone, whilst Mullet-Guy puts cologne on his junk.  I realize that Mullet-Guy’s dad went to my father’s school of parenting.

The boys are looking for …. something and are arguing. Steve hears something.  Team Steve!  He’s actually interesting this season.  They realize that the Demagorgon went back to the lab.

The evil lab – Reiser, Hop, Joyce and the rest are trapped in the lab and need to reset the computers to unlock the door.  Bob aims to sacrifice himself and reboot the computers with his knowledge of Basic.  Poor Bob.  Bob is down in the basement and it’s mildly entertaining.  He gets the power back on, but it’s still locked.  They are really trying to build some suspense…trying.

Paul Reiser tells them to go and he’ll stay behind and watch their exit.  Jeez, everyone is sacrificing themselves this episode; I wonder if I get to do something heroic in the finale?  Paul guides Bob, but a broom drops and the demagorgon gives chase.  Bob sees Joyce one last time, and then the monsters tear him apart as Joyce watches- helpless to save him.

They make it back to Joyce’s place and she’s a wreck.  They devise a plan to attack the hive mind leader.  My hope is that involves not renewing the show, but season 3 just got greenlit….so I’ll be doing this again.  They decide to put E-Will into a shed … as you do… because that will disorient him and leave E-Will to become susceptible to revealing the Shadow Monster’s weakness…for some reason.

They wake E-Will and has a conniption fit.  Joyce, Creeper, and Mike try to jog E-Will’s memory with a lot of boring stories so that his consciousness will emerge.  Then, they realize E-Will is using Morse Code.  It’s kinda cute and kinda boring- Coring TM.  A phone rings giving up their position.  BUMMER!!! The Demagorgons start to circle the party.  Then, one is thrown into the house …. dead. It’s El!! She’s back from the big city and all punked out.

This episode was like having a fling with an Ex.

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Stranger Things S2 Ep 7 “The Lost Sister”, Alt Title: Peer Pressure


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Cold Open:  El is going into her brain damaged mother’s mind.  She sees the girl who is the same one from episode 1 of this season.  Her aunt tries to get Hop to help see El and it doesn’t work.  El flees to Chicago to track down her “Sister”.  El gets to meet her “sister”. What we get is a show that has sacrificed small-town claustrophobia suspense  for a wider world of boring plot devices.

She meets her sister on the set of every bad 1980s scifi film ever.  I guess the Duffer Brothers also liked a lot of 1980s garbage movies.  This season is like a relationship that has gone bad with hairspray.

“Sister” explains that her ability is to get people to see or not see things.   I wish she could make see season 1 again.  “Sister’s” acting is THE worst and I mean Rico Rodriguez shitty.

El goes to the imbetween and listens to Hop’s call to her, but she gets awoken by Sister who introduces El to her gang.  It really tries to be interesting, but it’s not.  She explains that they track down people from the government Modine program and kill them.  “Sister” works with EL to focus on her anger and El starts moving trains with her mojo.

El helps them hunt down one of the guards from the government and they give her a punk makeover.  El and her new gang knock over a gas station. Kids today….  They track down a guard from the government.  El decides to kill him slowly, but has a change of heart because he says- Martha.  El says, How do you know that name?!!!!  Then, they have a nosh.  JK, He begs for his life and Jane stops Sister from shooting him.  Sister has Evil Modine appear to El and does some manipulating.  El sees Mike panicking and Hop in danger from the previous episode and decides that she has to go back to Hawkins.

Finally, the police show up at their hideout.  I’m really rooting for the cops finish them off, but Sister uses her powers and they don’t.  You really can’t have it all.

El heads back to Hawkings.

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Stranger Things, S2 Ep6- The Spy; Steve’s Redemption, Nancy is just terrible…again


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Cold Open: E-Will is in agony, Hop is getting a rough shower, and Steve becomes a hero (that can totally do better than Nancy- seriously Mullet-Guy)!

Steve enters the storm cellar and finds …. nothing but Dart’s skin.  It’s big now!

The Government shows up at Joyce’s Casa De Crazy and takes a bunch of polaroids.

Nancy and Creeper are prepping tapes of Reiser incriminating himself and they end up having sex.  Yep, they do it with the prodding of a creepy alcoholic in a bunker…. really.

Reiser shows Hop that the upside down has grown.

If you feel like this review is frenetic, it really reflects the story.  It was really terrible this episode.  It bounced around like a cocaine addicted superball, but with a ton of corny heart to heart moments that made me seriously root for the Demagorgon and the Upside Down to win.

E-Will has difficulty recognizing people or acting.  It really seems like both to me.  In any case, he emotes that burning the vines hurt “It” and made the Shadowmonster angry.  No one thinks that means Will has been compromised because like every episode this season the characters took stupid pills off camera.

Steve and Dustin have a long heart to heart on railroad tracks with meat to lure Dart to his death.  It’s like “Stand By Me”, but boring.  I’m being a little cruel here, but they deserve it.  Steve is showing some pretty good acting these scenes and his character moves to pure hero, which is great, but the entire flow of the episode needs a page 1 re-write.

Hop gets outside and tries to talk to El, but his voice is to any empty prison- I mean cabin.

Steve and Dustin prepare to set a trap for the Demagorgon and Lucas and Max show up to help.  When the night comes, the Demagorgon approaches, but isn’t enticed by the ground chuck.  Therefore, Steve uses himself as bait.  He’s officially a hero! I really thought they might kill him off here because he’d been humanized for so long.  Just as Steve is about to do battle, there are now THREE demagorgons!!! THREE!!! One last season was suspenseful and awesome, but this one we have a shadowboxer, I mean monster, I mean whatever.  Steve and the gang is about to be eaten, but the creatures are called off, why?

E-Will convinced the government to go after the “heart” of the vines in the evil caves, but IT’S A TRAP!!! Just as they get close, the demagorgons close in and we here the motion sensor sounds from Aliens….It’s kinda awesome and all the soldiers die.

Will tells Joyce that he’s sorry for laying a trap and that they should leave.  There are three demagorgons about to attack the government facility.  FADE TO BLACK.

See Below for a Hero:

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Stranger Things S2 Ep5 “Dig Dug”; Alt Title: Bad Ideas


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Cold Open:  The Evil Vines cover up the entrance Hop dug and he is trapped.  He leaves a trail of cigarette butts for himself or someone.  Then, the evil caves puff out some knock gas and Hop is on his back.

Nancy and Creeper get a room together and it’s more boring than awkward.

Hop wakes up and makes a quasi-gas mask and goes spelunking- Bad Idea #1.

There’s a subplot where Louis gets advice from his dad about girls and he tries to explain to Max last years events.  It’s kinda boring.  For the completists, Louis contrives a meeting with Max to explain all last year’s jazz.

There is a moment where Mullet Guy kinda comes on to Steve in the shower (At least, that’s how it came across to me).  Who knows, maybe Steve and Mullet guy will find love?  Honestly, it would be the first unpredictable twist of the season.  I hope those crazy guys make it work!  Steve, I get that you’re really into Nancy, but she’s in a motel room with Creeper.  You could do worse than Mullet Guy.  He works out and is a work in progress with great hair!

Dylan lures the teenage Demimoorgorgan into the storm cellar with baloney and it’s actually kinda scary.

Nancy and Creeper arrive at The Crank’s home.  There are cameras outside and he opens the door in a t-shirt, robe, and I’m certain dirty underwear.  They go into his lair to talk- Bad Idea #2.  They enter for some reason and he even has a steel door creeper room.  REALLY?!  REALLY?!  They play the tape Nancy made of Reiser totally incriminating the lab and they come up with a mediocre plan to discredit the lab and create a scandal not mentioning the monsters.  That should work. 

Bob stops by Joyce’s home and she creates excuses to keep him from coming in, but decides – Why not let him see my crazy house? He’s gonna find out we’re all nuts anyway and he’s into puzzles.  He takes a couple of minutes to absorb in all the crazy- You did these drawings?  Why…. exactly? BEST LINES OF THE SERIES!!!!

Bob realizes: 1) the vines are a map of the town. 2) the vines are hydrophobic.  E-Will trips out and sees Hop is in trouble.  Yep, Hop is enveloped by the vines and it appears to be the end of our intrepid Sheriff.

El gets to her Aunt, meets her catatonic mom, and realizes just how much her mom has gone crazy.  There is no there there, or so it seems.  Her mom indicates that she is ready to communicate with some flickering lights.  El goes into the imbetween and her mother show’s El: her birth, her abduction, another psychic playmate, a botched rescue, her mother’s ECT treatment by Evil Modine, and tonight’s winning lotto numbers- guess the fake!!!!

Bob creates a map to scale to find Hop with coordinates divined from E-Will’s drawings.  Pretty cool, Hop was last season’s breakout- this year is All About Bob!!!

Evil Reiser learns that the Hawkins soil is ALIVE!!!!!!  That’s pretty much it for him this episode.

Bob figures out Hop’s rough location and is amazed they bring him along to help.  Awwwww.   E-Will, Mike, Joyce, and Bob are looking for Hop and E-Will goes into his head and says to make a right.  Joyce and Bob arrive at the cave entrance for Hop and Bob doesn’t seem phased that he’s going into another dimension.  Good for you, Bob! Thanks for taking this in stride.  They rescue Hop.  The vines are about to overtake our trio, but the government arrives with flamethrowers and start burning the vines, sending E-Will into a painful seizure.

Steve and Dylan are paired up to deal with the teenage Demimoorgorgan, but it’s escaped!!!! WHA?!!! It has broken out into the evil caves and is now loose in our world.  Dylan, this is 100% your fault! You are the biggest bad idea of them all! – Bad Idea #3.

This episode wasn’t too bad.  People acted kinda stupidly as is usual this season, but at least Bob acted as a counter-weight to all the dumbassery.  Cheers!!!

 

Stranger Things S2 Ep 4 “Will the Wise”; ALT Title: Everything that is WRONG with season 2


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Cold Open: Joyce is trying to find Will who is busy getting possessed by black smoke “Supernatural” style.  The Smoke Monster fully enters Will and he becomes…. YES—

E-Will. —You’re Welcome, America.

Analysis: The smoke monster is everything that is wrong with Season 2.  Season 1: the big bad was a predator- corporeal, eating, breathing, and reproducing.  This season: it’s a smoke monster- ethereal and spooky, essentially an evil spirit.  Evil spirits are fictional and it destroys the idea of the Upside Down.  The Upside Down is a PARALLEL universe: what is here is there, but different because it evolved without the sun.  There aren’t spirits here running about, so there shouldn’t be spirits there running about.  That’s why season 2 fails! The creators undermined their own mythology for the sake of creative expedience and it drains the scares right out of us.

Joyce tries to wake Will, but he can’t remember what happened because E-Will is being all E-Will.

Hop sees El and is justifiably pissed, but imprisoning a teenager is just not a workable solution.  Hop tries to ground El and it goes…about as well as can be expected with a teenager with terrible super powers.  She hits Hop with a book, throws furniture around, and blows the windows out.  They’re also a lot alike; they both react without thinking.

Hop, you’re not the best Dad.  You take crazy risks without the slightest concern whether or not you will come home to your ward.  Grow up!

Nancy easily lies to the now placeholder Cara Buono that she’s staying at Stacy’s…. and it works. UGHHH.  It’s actually a plot to catch the lab guys red handed and give the data to the Crank from episode 1.  She and Creeper are faux-waiting for Barb’s mom and then get “captured” by the government guys.  It’s legit 1980s creepy and one of the few good scenes of the episode.

Joyce is trying to nurse E-Will back to health.  His temperature is below normal and she tries to give him a bath.  Joyce you should really read- Chicken Soup for the Demonic Soul.

We get a very hamfisted clue as to how to defeat the smoke monster: E-Will is scared of the bath water.  Side note: there is a cool juxtaposition with Mr. Clarke describing fear responses in organisms.

Hop is with Joyce and Will and trying to get him to describe his E-Willness and he can’t unless he uses …..crayons?  Will, I get it- you’re the artsy one of this D&D tribe, but as Daniel Tiger tries to instruct my girls- Use your words…. Use your words.  There we go. Will uses drawing to craft what is revealed to be a network of vines.  Joyce uses the drawings as her latest Crazy Home Journal interior decorating and puts them up everywhere.

We return to El cleaning up the house and finding The Trapdoor of Contrivance.  We see a box labeled Vietnam.  So, Hop is a Vet, not a surprise.  El discovers the evil lab box and finds stuff on her mom.  El uses her mojo to go to the imbetween and make contact with her.  El’s quest begins to find her mom.

Hop reveals that he might be the worst Dad/Cop ever and realizes E-Will’s drawings are vines and he takes E-Will’s statement that they are killing to be literal and rushes off without consulting anyone about his plans or whereabouts or any backup whatsoever civilian or otherwise.  Hop, how did you get through Vietnam or even your teen years?! 

Dylan looks for his “pet”.  His poor mom is a fright looking for their cat.  Dylan finds Dart eating Mr. Snuggles or whatever he’s called.

Hop digs down into the pumpkin patch and enters a tunnel of Upside Down and for hamfistedness the camera rotates making him upside down on the screen.

NOTE: smoke from Supernatural and this show below….