The Perfection, Review By Case Wright


perfection

Let me begin by writing that I love watching Netflix and I REALLY love livetweeting with Lisa and the rest of the Shattered Lens staff. We can coordinate times well and it’s easy to sync up.  This time, I was given the movie choosing authority and perhaps it will be my last.  I heard that The Perfection was a bit gory, but I figured come on, this is Shattered Lens- we Rocktober the October over here with our Horrorthon!  When I saw that Steven Weber was in it, I felt like ok, this is going to be like a Tales From the Crypt experience.  Well……….not so much.

The Perfection has trashy components to it and some cheaply built sets and the director REALLY wants you to know that they splurged and actually filmed in China! The best way to describe The Perfection is as an unaware, pretentious, and boring episode of Tales From the Crypt.  It had the victim goes to victimizer TFTC theme and the over the top gore, but it was always trying to be serious and important when it was just an overly long TFTC episode without any humor.

The plot is pretty straight-forward: Charlotte is a prodigy Cellist who left her art to care for her dying mother for ten-years.  When she tries to return to her life, she finds that a younger classmate Lizzy has attained the Cello fame that she sought.  She sees her old Mentor Anton (Steven Weber) and Charlotte is now the clear has-been.  Charlotte executes a plan to destroy Lizzy forever.  Charlotte meets Lizzy, seduces Lizzy, drugs Lizzy, and convinces Lizzy to chop her hand off.  Yep, another Hollywood girl meets girl, girl drugs girl, girl gets girl to chop her hand off story.  The Perfection was actually the original script for Love Actually.  The “To Me You Are Perfect” scene was just going to be Andrew Lincoln throwing severed hands at people – “To Me you are a perfect…Target” *throws hand at Juliet*.

Just when you think this movie will be a fun version of Black Swan it takes a turn for the dumb, gross.  Yes, I get that this was made by a post-Weinstein Miramax and it was showing how fame could encourage and condone horrible behavior, but it was done with so much exposition that it really caused the film to jerk from long explanations to gore and long explanations to gore and long explanations to trying a Subway Cold Cut Combo – even terrible movies get hungry.

I’m not sure if I should spoil this piece of trash or not.  It’s really not worth your time. Instead of watching this film you could eat a sandwich, do your taxes, plot revenge. However, it is nice to see that Steven Weber is still working – there’s that.

 

About Last Night: A Few Thoughts on the Golden Globes


Watching the Golden Globes is always an odd experience.

First off, there’s the mix of TV awards with movie awards.  For someone like me, who spends most of January thinking about the Oscars, it’s always somewhat annoying to have to sit through all of the television awards before even getting to the first film award.  The Emmys are over so it’s not like winning a Golden Globe is going to give Chernobyl or Fleabag the boost necessary to win a real award.

(Especially since those two shows already deservedly cleaned up at the Emmys….)

When it comes to the Globes, we care about the movies.  I was happy with the majority of the film awards.  I was especially happy to see the underrated Missing Link pick up the award for Best Animated Film.  I was glad that Once Upon A Time In Hollywood was named Best Comedy, even though I think it’s debatable whether or not the film was actually a comedy.  I’m sorry Eddie Murphy didn’t win for Dolemite Is My Name but, at the same time, Taron Egerton gave an outstanding performance in Rocketman.  I haven’t seen 1917 yet so I’m not going to comment on whether it should have won Best Drama or whether Sam Mendes deserved to defeat Scorsese and Tarantino.  That said, upset victories are always fun.

Of course, this morning, most of the Golden Globe coverage is not centered on 1917 defeating both The Irishman and Marriage Story for Best Drama.  Instead, almost everyone is talking about Ricky Gervais.  It says something about the vapidness of pop cultural criticism in the age of social media that Gervais was apparently “too mean” for some people.

When it comes to a show like the Golden Globes, the host sets the tone.  For instance, when Tina Fey and Amy Poehler hosted, they set a tone that basically said: “Look at us and all of our famous friends!”  It’s a friendly tone where everyone tells everyone else how great they are.  When Ricky Gervais hosts, the tone of the evening is usually a lot more awkward because no one is quite sure what Gervais is going to say and, being the Brit who created The Office, it’s not like Gervais is going to suffer if no one in Hollywood ever returns another one of his calls.  Both approaches have their strengths and their weaknesses.  There have been some years when I’ve been in the mood for the Fey/Poehler approach.  This year, with its promise of 11 months of wealthy celebrities trying to tell everyone else how to vote and probably getting angry because people in Iowa don’t care about funding Amtrak, I was in the mood for someone willing to shake things up and say, “Get over yourselves.”  In other words, I was in the mood for RIcky Gervais.

During Gervais’s opening monologue, he touched on several topics that everyone should have known he was going to touch on.  He said that Epstein didn’t kill himself and then accused everyone in the room of being his friend.  He told the assembled that Ronan Farrow was coming for all of them.  He told everyone that no one wanted to hear their political opinions because they had no idea what it was like to live in the real world and that they had less schooling than Greta Thunberg.

And whether you think any of that is funny or not is up to you.  Humor is subjective.  Personally, I think that the most important thing that a comedian can do is ridicule people who think that they’re above ridicule.  I also think that any belief or ideology that’s worth anything will be able to survive being the subject of a joke.  Many of my followers on twitter were not amused that Ricky Gervais made a joke about Greta Thunberg but so what?  If what she’s doing is truly worthwhile, it’ll be able to survive someone making a joke about her skipping school.

Besides, Gervais made a few good points.  Jeffrey Epstein didn’t kill himself and a lot of famous people did hang out with him, even after he was first arrested.  The majority of Hollywood did work with Harvey Weinstein, even though apparently his behavior wasn’t exactly a secet.  There are many self-proclaimed “woke” celebrities who do work for terrible companies.  (And let’s not even get into the people who refuse to criticize China.)  And when it comes to politics, Patricia Arquette proved Gervais’s point to be correct during her acceptance speech.

(The audience, I noticed, was surprisingly lukewarm to Arquette’s anti-war speech.  There was some applause but still, one got the feeling that the room’s reaction was largely, “Oh God, Patricia’s talking politics again.”  Personally, I was more impressed with Joaquin Phoenix’s speech, if just because it may have been inarticulate but it was also sincere.  Of course, as soon as he said that celebs didn’t need private jets, the music started.)

Good points or not, you could tell that the audience was often not sure how to react to Gervais’s comments.  Tom Hanks looked shocked, though I think that has more to do with Hanks being the most impossibly wholesome film star working today than with what Gervais saying.  (Seriously, if anything bad ever comes out about Tom Hanks, my entire belief system will crash.)  Others, though, had that “OMG — WHAT’S HAPPENING!?” look on their face.  It reminded me a bit of the 2013 Country Music Awards, when Carrie Underwood made a joke about the Obamacare website crashing and the audience clearly didn’t know whether or not it was safe to laugh.

(Of course, the same people who loved it when the CMAs made fun of Obamacare weren’t amused when future ceremonies featured jokes about Trump.  So often, people’s attitude towards humor seems to be, “I love it when you make jokes about the other side but if you make a joke about me, you’re the worst person who ever lived.”  Eventually, Gervais will tweet out an anti-Trump joke and the people who love him now will suddenly hate him and the people who currently hate him will go back to retweeting him.  What a vapid time to be alive.)

Anyway, last night’s Golden Globes ceremony was a typical awards show ceremony and no one will remember a thing about it in a week.  The Globes are pretty much there to tide us over until the Oscar nominations are announced.  They did their job and life goes on.

Titans, S2 Ep 2&3, “Rose” “Ghosts” Review by Case Wright


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Halloween is over and now it’s time for all good persons to rally together and watch Titans! This season is following a tried and true method of bringing the gang back together, but they are emotionally apart and will hopefully return together.  This season’s Big Bad is Deathstroke (Esai Morales) and it’s AWESOME!

“Rose” is about well Rose who is in peril.  She’s missing an eye and is getting chased by the police.  Dick intervenes and takes her in for some reason, but it turns out Rose is Deathstroke’s daughter…Dun Dun Dun!!!! She also has a lot of snark, which the show needs more of.  It also has Jason Todd as a budding superhero looking for acceptance by Dick Grayson as he tries to fit into the Titans.  I’m glad that Curran Walters is a series regular, BUT I feel like his talent and his character is being wasted; he should be on his own show and have him evolve into the anti-hero- Red Hood.

Where’s the rest of our heroes? Hank and Dawn are out in Wyoming trying to go straight by running a horse riding camp for addicts.  Apparently, their need to fight crime was feeding Hank’s addiction.  But, is Dawn hanging up the cape and spandex???? NOPE! She’s out beating meth cookers within an inch of their lives! Yes, she’s returned to badassery.  Their utopia crashes down when their car explodes.  Why did the car go boom?  Deathstroke sprung Doctor Light from prison. He can manipulate energy and blow things up.

This episode dovetails perfectly into Ghosts- Episode 3.  The old Titans- Donna, Hank, and Dawn are back at the HQ and learn that Doctor Light is on the loose, Deathstroke is after them, Dick is harboring Deathstroke’s daughter, and the sushi he fed them came from a gas station.  Basically, everything is terrible and Dick is so busy trying to be a Dad that he forgot that he had to also be an angry badass.  Who is Doctor Light?  He’s a Mad Max looking supervillain who according to the comics is a serial sex offender and murderer.

The old gang tries to find Doctor Light and excludes any of the New Titans from the fight. Why? Because Dick’s trying to protect them and do things differently from Batman, but he didn’t bother to tell the New Titans that the last time they tangled with Deathstroke, it was a disaster. They hint at the disaster that they keep teasing at, forcing us to guess how terrible it was.

There is a secondary story of Starfire being pulled back home to be Queen.  Honestly, I hate this subplot.  She brings so much to the show and this subplot feels like a sidelining to me.

While Dick is trying to be a TV Dad, Jason is determined to prove himself.  He and Beast Boy go after Doctor Light and they find him, but IT’S A TRAP!!!! Jason gives a good fight, but is captured by Deathstroke!!!! OH NO!

These episodes fit together well and act as a great vehicle to ramp up the tension and suspense.  The cast is really bringing it again this season and Esai Morales was born to play this role.  He encapsulates the quiet rage and evil brilliantly!

 

 

Horror on TV: The Twilight Zone 3.24 “To Serve Man” (dir by Richard L. Bare)


“It’s a cookbook!”

During the month of October, we like to share classic episodes of horror-themed television.  That was easier to do when we first started doing our annual October horrorthon here at the Shattered Lens because every single episode of the original, black-and-white Twilight Zone was available on YouTube.  Sadly, that’s no longer the case.  In fact, there is exactly one episode of the original Twilight Zone on YouTube.

Fortunately, that episode is a classic.  In 1962’s To Serve Man, an alien (Richard Kiel) comes to Earth and invites people to return to his home planet with him.  He leaves behind a book.  When everyone learns that the title of the book is To Serve Man, they excitedly decide that the book must be an instruction manual on how to help mankind.  The truth, as we learn in the episode’s classic finale, is something a little bit different.

Here’s the episode!  Watch it before YouTube yanks it down.

(This episode originally aired on October 2nd, 1962.  It was directed by Richard L. Bare from a script by Rod Serling.  It was based on a short story by Damon Knight.)

Enjoy!

Great Moments In Television History: Ghostwatch Traumatizes The UK


On this date, twenty-seven years ago, children across the UK were scarred for life.

It was on Halloween night that the BBC aired a live call-in discussion show called Ghostwatch.  Recognizable BBC reporters like Craig Charles and Sarah Greene were seen investigating a reputedly haunted house and playing Halloween pranks on each other.  In the studio, host Michael Parkinson interviewed an expert on the paranormal and invited viewers to call in tell their own stories of the supernatural.  Many people called throughout the show, telling stories about how they had been haunted by a malevolent spirit called Pipes.  Even as Parkinson laughed off the stories, strange things started to happen in the house and the studio.  A mirror fell off the wall and landed on a member of the crew.  The calls into the show started to get increasingly desperate as the callers said that they were being attacked by Pipes at that very moment!  The show’s paranormal expert said that the show was acting as a “national seance” and soon poltergeists would be attacking ever home in the UK!  Suddenly, viewers saw something inside the haunted house grab Sarah Greene and drag her off camera!  Inside the studio, the lights exploded and everyone fled, except for Michael Parkinson.  After saying he wasn’t sure if anyone was still out there who could hear him, Parkinson suddenly started to recite a nonsense rhyme.  But his voice was different and viewers realized that Parkinson had been possessed by Pipes!  “Fee fi fo fum!” Parkinson threateningly intoned before the picture finally went dead.

Ghostwatch, of course, was an enormous prank.  Though it was presented as being a live broadcast, the whole thing had actually been filmed a few weeks before.  Even though Michael Parkinson gave out the BBC’s actual number when he asked viewers to call in with their ghost stories, viewers who called during the airing of Ghostwatch heard a message telling them that the show was fictional.  (Unfortunately, so many people tried to call during the show that most callers got a busy signal instead.)  Michael Parkinson, Craig Charles, and Sarah Greene were all recognizable, real-life BBC news personalities but none of them were actually attacked by ghosts or possessed on Halloween night.

Just try telling that to the children who watched Ghostwatch.  Some were reportedly so traumatized by the show that they were still having nightmares weeks after it aired.  Despite the fact that Ghostwatch had aired as a part of Screen One, many were convinced that they had just seen Sarah Greene killed by a ghost and Michael Parkinson possessed by Pipes.  Even though Sarah Greene made an appearance on Children’s BBC to assure young viewers that she had not been killed (despite that ghost dragging her under the cupboard while the entire nation watched), many were not convinced.  What if Sarah Greene had become possessed just like Michael Parkinson?

Always eager for a chance to condemn the BBC, the British press had a field day condemning Ghostwatch.  The BBC responded by placing a 10-year ban on the show.  Ghostwatch would not be released on video until 2002 and it has never again aired on the BBC.  You can watch it on Shudder, though … if you dare!

Previous Great Moments In Television History:

  1. Planet of the Apes The TV Series
  2. Lonely Water

Horror on TV: Halloween Is Grinch Night (dir by Gerard Baldwin)


So, we all know that the Grinch once tried to steal to Christmas and then his heart grew a few sizes but did you know that apparently, the Grinch also tried to steal Halloween?

Until a few days ago, I did not.  I was going through YouTube, searching for horror films that I could share here on the Shattered Lens, and guess what I came across?

A TV special from 1977 entitled Halloween is Grinch Night!

Unlike How The Grinch Stole Christmas, Halloween is Grinch Night apparently never became a holiday classic.  Perhaps that’s because Halloween is Grinch Night is not exactly the most heart-warming of holiday specials.  Whereas How The Grinch Stole Christmas tells us about how the Grinch learned the true meaning of Christmas, Halloween is Grinch Night gives us a Grinch who has no redeeming features.  There is no hope for this Grinch.  This Grinch will steal your soul and probably drink your blood.  This Grinch is pure Grinchy evil.

This is the Grinch of our nightmares.

Check out Halloween is Grinch Night below and hope the Grinch doesn’t capture you this Halloween…

Horror On TV: The Great Bear Scare (dir by Hal Mason)


I came across this old cartoon on YouTube.  Apparently, it aired in October of 1983.

It’s about bears living in Bearbank.  Halloween is approaching and they’re worried about getting invaded by the monsters who live on Monster Mountain.  Well, that makes sense.  My question is why would you buy a house near a location called Monster Mountain?  And really, shouldn’t the monsters be in the houses and the bears in the mountains?  This cartoon is weird.

Anyway, the bears are getting ready to feel the city but little Ted E. Bear sets out to confront his fears!  Woo hoo!

I don’t know.  It’s from 1983.  That was a strange year, I guess.

Enjoy!