Joaquin Phoenix is having a moment in the Beau is Afraid Trailer


I can’t even begin to explain what this is about from the Trailer. Leave it to A24 and Ari Aster (Hereditary, Midsommar) to come up something so weird. Beau is Afraid stars Joaquin Phoenix (Joker), Nathan Lane & Amy Ryan (both from Only Murders in the Building), Michael Gandolfini (The Many Saints of Newark), Stephen McKinley-Henderson (Dune)and Patti Lupone (Penny Dreadful).

Beau is Afraid is due out this April.

Avatar: The Way of Water (dir. by James Cameron)


James Cameron is still out there, trying to push the envelope.

My showing of Avatar: The Way of Water was not only 3D, but in HFR (High Frame Rate), which threw me for a loop. The only other movie I’ve ever watched on a large screen in HFR was The Desolation of Smaug and what was by mistake. The underwater scenes in the film are a sight to behold, but your eyes and mind need to adjust to it. HFR is that thing Christopher McQuarrie and Tom Cruise warned us all about earlier this year, the feature on most modern tv’s that enable a ‘smoothing’ effect. Films that normally look grainy are suddenly “live” under the HFR. It works really well for nature shows and sports events, and with a land as lush as Pandora, it’s good if you know what it is. I’m just not sure how well that will translate for audiences at home or for individuals who are new to it all. I can’t even begin to know what the underwater shooting was like for this film. James Cameron is known to be hard on his cast & crew. Ed Harris supposedly decked him once on the set of The Abyss and Mary Elizabeth Mastratonio once walked off set after they had a film issue on one point. I want to say that whatever they went through for The Way of Water seems to have paid off, but the state of movie theatres overall may have something else to say about that.

There were maybe only 3 people in my 3pm showing, and they seemed to stay for it. I know Cameron wants to save it all, but I feel the theatre experience is still dying. That’s a discussion all it’s own, but not here and now.

The Way of Water finds us having moved on some years after the events of the first film. Jake (Sam Worthington, Man on a Ledge) and Neytiri (Zoë Zaldaña, Guardians of the Galaxy) have a family of five now, living amongst the Omaticaya clan of Na’vi in the lands they moved to since losing Hometree in the first film. The boys, Neteyam (Jamie Flatters, Black Dog) and Lo’ak (Britian Dalton, Ready Player One) are like teenage Marines in training, dutifully following their dad’s orders up until the point where curiousity gets the best of them. The daughters, Kiri (Sigourney Weaver, Aliens) and little Tuk (Trinity Jo-Li Bliss), take a bit after their mom in some ways. There’s also Spider (Jack Champion, The Night Sitter), a young human who is close to Kiri. When humans return to Pandora, the Sullys find themselves once again under attack and on the run, colonization being the big bad it always was. Jake’s just trying to protect his family as best he can, something any parent can relate to. This takes them to a separate water based Na’vi tribe that takes them in and shows them their way of life. That, I really enjoyed. Though I’m mostly a loner at heart, seeing families and communities gel and work together plucks all the right heartstrings for me. There’s nothing that good teamwork can’t resolve and the story keeps circling that with Cameron’s “Family as a Fortress” theme.

If the Saw Movies taught us anything, it’s that you can always expand on a single story with fillers. They took one film, and weaved tons of side points without damaging the main thread. The Fast & Furious films did the same, making sure to keep the continuity, while adding additional content in between. Cameron had four other writers on board along with himself – Shane Salerno (Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem), Amanda Silver (War of the Planet of the Apes), Rick Jaffa (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes), and Josh Friedman (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles). With The Way of Water, I felt they were pretty successful at doing the same. The film even plants a few seeds here and there for future installments, should Cameron get the green light to go forward with his other 3 films.

If the plot suffers from any problems, it’s that they also took a page out of the Top Gun: Maverick flight manual in following the first film’s flow a little too closely. While The Way of Water has a plethora of new content – vehicles, machines, animals, locales – the story still moves along the path of the first film, making it just a little predictable. I was able to call out two scenes before they occurred. Other than those moments, I spent most of the film either really worrying about the Sully family – they’re outgunned, after all – and marveling at the views.

The editing is also a little weird. I understand this is a big undertaking, but some of the cuts between scenes seemed really abrupt to me, as if someone said…”This scene is out to explain this..you got it?! Good! Moving on to the next…” ..while the audience is still frantically taking notes on what just happened. At 3 hours and 12 minutes (just 11 minutes longer than Avengers: Endgame), there’s a lot to see, but I felt the pacing was okay. If there’s any part of the movie that could be used for a bathroom break, there is an extended sequence with a whale-like creature that could be your best opening. The movie might require more than one viewing to take it all in, but perhaps this is Cameron’s plan all along. One never truly knows.

The sound in The Way of Water was good. Explosions are sharp, animal sounds are cute and the hissing/wailing of Na’vi are clear (though strangely annoying after a while – we get it, you’re in pain or angry, ). The one element I was concerned with was the music. With James Horner’s passing in 2015, those shoes would be a little hard to fill. I originally hoped that Marc Streitenfeld would get the nod, based of his work on Prometheus. Composer Simon Franglen picks up where Horner left off, having worked together on the original Avatar score. Franglen knocks it out of the park, with a score that pays homage to Horner’s work while still making it his own sound.

The Way of Water introduces some new characters and cast. In addition to those previously mentioned, we also have Kate Winslet (Titanic) and Cliff Curtis (Sunshine) as the leaders of the Water Na’vi. Bailey Bass (Claudia in AMC’s Interview With the Vampire) plays their daughter, who helps to train the Sully children. Edie Falco (Nurse Jackie) is on board as a General charged with operations on Pandora. Jermaine Clement (What We Do In The Shadows) is also on hand as a marine scientist. Although everyone’s performances are good, the movie really belongs to the Sully children, with Weaver’s Kiri being the standout. Kiri’s a great character, reminding me a lot of Jinora from The Legend of Korra, and her story arc might be the best one of the lot.

Overall, Avatar The Way of Water is some serious eye candy. You might feel a little sad coming back to Earth after all the wonder Pandora has to offer. Disney could go wild on the merchandizing on this if they wanted (and they probably will). It manages to drop a number of surprises and information on the audience, though the overall trip may be a little too similar to the first film. I’m hoping Cameron gets the 3rd film set.

It’s time to party with Greta Gerwig’s Barbie Teaser!


Anyone who’s ever had a sister has encountered Barbie (and all of her costumed variants) at some point in their lives. Just as my sister played along with my Star Wars/ Transformers / Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles adventures, I played along with her and the Barbie Dream House and convertible, borrowing Kimber from her Jem set.

The teaser is cute, borrowing a bit from 2001: A Space Odyssey. We’re not sure what the story is, but the theme is definitely looking good.

Greta Gerwig (Little Women, Lady Bird) releases Barbie next year, starring Margot Robbie, Ryan Gosling, Emma Mackey, Simu Liu, Michael Cera, Will Farrell, Alexandra Shipp, Nicola Coughlan, Kate McKinnon and Ariana Greenblatt.

The Cocaine Bear trailer has something extra in the Picnic Basket!


Between Slither and Brightburn, I’ve been curious to see what an Elizabeth Banks horror film would look like. Well, it looks like that dream is coming true with next year’s Cocaine Bear. Based on actual events, Cocaine Bear is the tale of a bear who manages to get a hold of some cocaine and goes wild in the forest. One Part Prophecy, one part The Revenant with a pinch of The Edge and a dash of Cujo, and you’ve got what looks like a fun horror comedy.

Cocaine Bear stars Alden Ehrenreich (Solo), Jesse Tyler Ferguson (ABC’s Modern Family), Margo Martindale (Practical Magic, Justified), Isiah Whitlock, Jr. (Da 5 Bloods), both Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys (The Americans), O’Shea Jackson, Jr. (Ingrid Goes West), and Ray Liotta (Smoking Aces) in one of his final roles.

Cocaine Bear opens in theatres next February.

The 2nd Super Mario Bros. Movie Trailer has Karts, Tanooki Suits and Fire Flowers!


If you told me 10 years ago that Nintendo and Sega were still pushing each other to create things, I would have laughed in your face. I guess the success of the Sonic films caused Nintendo to finally throw their hat into the ring for their own animated feature. I have to say, it looks like Nintendo and Illumination Entertainment (Despicable Me, Sing) considered just about everything.

Mario Karts? Check.

Tanooki Suit? Check.

Fire Flowers? Yep, they’re here, too.

Rivalry with Donkey Kong? Yep.

All the Yoshis? Yep, all of them.

Possible references to Luigi’s Mansion? Seems that way.

I’m pretty excited to see what happens with this. The Super Mario Bros. Movie premieres in theatres next April.

Keanu Reeves returns in the John Wick 4 Trailer!


The High Table would like a word with John Wick.

I’m surprised there’s anyone left to fight, but on hand, we have Natalia Tena (Game of Thrones), Bill Skarsgard (Barbarian), Hiroyuki Sanada (The Wolverine), Scott Adkins (Accident Man), Clancy Brown (Thor: Ragnarok) and the legendary Donnie Yen (Ip-Man, Rogue One). They join the original cast that includes Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Lance Reddick, & Ian McShane.

John Wick: Chapter 4 is set to release in theatres on March 24, 2023.

Possession (dir. by Andrzej Zulawski)


After finally watching Warner Herzog’s Nosferatu some years ago, I got into an Isabelle Adjani kick. I found out about Andrzej Zulawski’s Possession via Twitter, and considered picking it up. However, the only copy available at the time on Amazon was the Mondo Vision Special Edition, which clocked in at almost $175 dollars. I haven’t seen a movie priced so high since my Aunt purchased the VHS version of Conan the Barbarian when it was first released at around $80.

Thankfully, Metrograph has the film on rotation in part of their movies at home service since last year. I’ve watched it a few times since it was made available, and perhaps it’s why Titane didn’t bother me as much is it did others. I felt truly uncomfortable with Possession, and it’s not an easy recommendation. I’m not sure I’d refer to it a horror film. It’s more of a supernatural drama, but by the end of it, you may find yourself wanting to wash your eyes out. I guess maybe the closest films I could compare Possession to are Marriage Story and Blue Valentine, but with some darker elements.

I should a moment to warn you now. Possession contains elements of nudity, abuse, creature sex and even a miscarriage. The film was originally banned in the United Kingdom as part of a movement to corral more extreme content in cinema. Films like Faces of Death, Tenebrae, The Evil Dead, Mother’s Day (which my older brother owned), Shogun Assassin and even Suspiria were once on a watch list to be seized if their videos were owned by anyone. This was done under the notion that the content of the films were either offensive or could corrupt the minds of anyone (children, in particular) watching it.

Possession is the story of Anna (Adjani) and Mark (Sam Neill, Thor: Ragnarok). Having recently arrived home from working abroad as an Operative, Mark suspects that Anna is cheating on him. She has found someone else, and it proves to be a major rift in their already damaged relationship. Add to this their son, Bob, and it just grows more complicated. When Mark confronts Heinrich (Heinz Bennent), one of Anna’s lovers, it doesn’t go well for Mark. Try as he might to make amends with Anna, she simply doesn’t feel anything for him anymore or rather, her new relationship is too much to let go. Mark’s attempts to reconcile aren’t exactly working in his favor, as he moves from constant questioning to outright violence in some cases. Mark isn’t exactly innocent either, considering that he’s grown fond of Helen, Bob’s school teacher (also played by Adjani) and reluctantly spends some quiet time with his annoying neighbor, Margit (Margit Carstensen, Martha).

Eventually, Mark hires an investigator (Carl Duering) to follow Anna and track down her lover. The detective manages to find Anna living in a run down building. He discovers who (and more importantly, what) she’s been sleeping with, which prompts Anna to kill him. As curiosity grows over Anna’s new relationship, Heinrich checks in on Anna, only to be attacked. Heinrich returns to Mark for assistance, which leads to some strange events in the last half hour.

Although the film is about 2 hours and 4 minutes, it does takes a while to get to where it needs to go. I’ll admit to having moments of wondering just what was going on, as the film felt like it was looping in circles. Mark wants Anna, Anna hates Mark. Mark loves Bob, so does Anna. Once the detective comes into the picture, things pick up a bit. There’s also a miscarriage sequence that was hard to watch. If you can handle it, so be it, but for me, it was definitely a “What the hell?” moment.

Possession‘s special effects were created by Carlo Rambaldi, who also went on to work on E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial. The creature in the movie is somewhat menacing in its various forms, with tentacles slithering. I would have loved to see the audience reaction to it on screen. Possession was a hard film to make for both Sam Neill and Isabell Adjani. Supposedly, the movie caused Adjani so much stress that it was rumored she attempted suicide. Neill also had issues working in the film and according to Wikipedia, he considered it one of the “most extreme film” he ever made. It truly shows throughout the movie. Both actors push at each other like an angry married couple, and the interactions between the two are the real shocking elements of Possession. You have thrown chairs, tons of screaming and fighting.

Overall, Possession is a film that isn’t a required watch, but I was curious about the ban behind it. It has some strong and wild performances by both Sam Neill and Isabelle Adjani. Adjani’s performance would win her the Best Actress at Cannes, and was well deserved. It’s almost an out of body experience, for the most part.

Marvel releases the Ant Man & The Wasp: Quantumania Trailer!


Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), Hope (Evangeline Lilly), Cassie (Kathryn Newton, Detective Pikachu) and the Pyms (Michelle Pfeiffer and Michael Douglas) are back for another adventure. This time, it appears they’re all pulled into the Quantum Zone and meet some strange creatures, one of which is the variant of Kang The Conqueror (Jonathan Majors, The Harder They Fall). Peyton Reed returns as well to direct the film, which also includes Bill Murray and Samuel L. Jackson.

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania will be released next year.

Michael B. Jordan and Jonathan Majors square off in the trailer for Creed III!


After working with Ryan Coogler since 2013, Michael B. Jordan’s making his directorial debut with Creed III. The trailer seems to share along with Jordan’s character Adonis Creed finding a new adversary both in and out of the boxing ring in The Harder They Fall‘s Jonathan Majors as Damian. Tessa Thompson, Wood Harris, and Phylicia Rashad are also on hand.

Creed III is set to release next March in theatres.

Movie Review: Beware! The Blob (by Larry Hagman)


Everyone has one movie or two that hit them so hard it caused them to develop habits. It could be shaking your shoes to confirm no spiders are in them, counting the seconds after a lightning strike for the thunder, or checking the back seat of your car before you get into it, just in case. Some movies kind of imprint themselves on you in different ways.

Beware! The Blob (or Son of The Blob in some circles) was the most terrifying film I saw as a kid. I watched it in front of my grandmother’s living room tv that had a little alarm clock on the floor beneath it. Unlike Friday the 13th and Halloween, where I could rationalize my fears, Beware! The Blob had me fearing the summer and any open crevice we had. On any visits to our local video store (in the Pre-Blockbuster days), I’d pick out video games to rent and could see the box for the film in the horror section. I’d never walk over there, even in my early teenage years.

Most consider the 1958 original a Classic, and Chuck Russell’s 1988 update often goes toe to toe with John Carpenter’s The Thing on the Best Remakes list. Beware! The Blob will probably never make that list, but it’s not a total loss, given a recent rewatch. The film’s greatest strengths are in the casting and the special effects. From a cinema history/trivia standpoint, the film marks one of the earliest credits for Cinematographer Dean Cundey. Cundey worked as a 2nd Unit Cinematographer for the film, particularly with the animal shots in the opening and later on. That might not sound like much, but Cundey would go on to be picked by Debra Hill to help out on Halloween in 1978. From there, he had The Fog, Halloween II, The Thing, Romancing the Stone, Back to the Future, Big Trouble in Little China, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, and Jurassic Park, to name a few.

With 14 years since the first film, there were some tech upgrades to how the blob was made. A large plastic balloon was used for some scenes (particularly the bowling alley sequences). Additionally, silicone was added to a drum to allow for the “blob pov” during the bowling alley sequences. In most sequences, a red dyed powder mixed with water was used. To make sure the audience was aware the Blob was close, a high whistle would sound, giving anyone with even the slightest bit of tinnitus some cause to look over their shoulder. Academy Award Winner Tim Baar (The Time Machine) and Conrad Rothmann worked on the effects, along with Cundey.

In his film directing debut, Larry Hagman (TV’s I Dream of Jeannie, Dallas) weaves a tale of horror lurking through a town peppered with parties, hobos, a boy scout team, an angry bowling alley owner, some dune buggy aficionados and a sheriff (Richard Webb, The Phantom Stagecoach) who’s a little confused about some of the events happening in town. To his credit, it’s amazing to see who Hagman assembled here, as he called in some friends to join in on the fun. Comedian Godfrey Cambridge. Cindy Williams, just a few years shy of American Graffiti. Gerrit Graham, about two years before Phantom of the Paradise. Sid Haig (The Devil’s Rejects) is here as well. You can even spot Hagman in the film as one of three hobos squaring off with the Blob. It should be noted that the other two hobos with him are Burgess Meredith (Clash of the Titans) and Del Close (Chuck Russell’s The Blob).

The film flows like it’s namesake, with some chapters having little do to with anything – Dick Van Patten’s boy scouts, while funny, could have had one of their scenes cut for speed. It’s not incredibly terrible, but it’s exactly great, either. Most of the script, written by Anthony Harris, was tossed with ad-libbing done on set. Despite all this, it does looks like the cast enjoyed themselves making the film. It has that going for it, at least.

Sid Haig was caught unaware in Larry Hagman’s Beware! The Blob

Chester, A construction worker from the Arctic (Cambridge) is getting his camping gear stowed away when his wife, Marlene (Marlene Clark, The Beast Must Die) discovers a thermos in their freezer. He explains he performed some work and brought home a piece of what the found in the Arctic. Setting it on a countertop, the couple forget about the thermos, which pops open. The newly released blob absorbs a fly and a kitten before moving on to larger prey. Before we know it, Chester is having problems with his TV – which happens to be playing the original 1958 movie – as it slithers into his favorite recliner. It’s a sequence that’s burned into my mind. I always check a chair before sitting in it. Some check for thumbtacks, I check for alien goo.

When Lisa (Gwynne Gilford, Masters of the Universe & actor Chris Pine’s Mom) discovers Chester with his new friend, she dashes out and heads to her boyfriend, Bobby (Robert Walker, Easy Rider). By the time the couple return to Chester’s place, they find the house empty. Can the couple convince the cops and the town of the danger ahead before it’s too late? Most of Beware! The Blob‘s scenes are set up in a way where people are completely oblivious of it until it’s touched them, causing said individual to slip and fall into the camera. The climax of the film takes place in a bowling alley, which is actually impressive for the techniques used, but even with the casting, you might spend more time laughing than anything else. Perhaps that’s my way of rationalizing the film years later.

At the time of this writing, Beware! The Blob is currently available to watch on the Plex streaming service. We’re also labeling this an Incident – out of respect to the kitten – and returning the timer to Zero.