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September 7, 2019

A Simplistic Review: Ready or Not

I’m not here for a long time, I’m here for a good time, and that might be one of the reasons why I like “Ready of Not” so much.

Samara Weaving is a star and a continues a great lineage of Scream Queens that came before her. Shoot, when i first saw trailers for this flick, I thought she was Margot Robbie. Those Aussies comes from good stock.

“Ready or Not” gave me just about the same feeling I got after watching “Cabin in the Woods” for the first time. It was satisfying, just campy enough, and offered just enough freshness to the genre where I had a GRIN on my face nearly the whole time.

People are constantly complaining that we are surrounded by nothing but sequels, superhero fatigue, and animated-to-live action retreads, but we have a great example of a film in “Ready of Not” that will go down as one of those fun cult hits the we’ll wonder why it doesn’t do better monetarily.

July 28, 2019

A Simplistic Review: Once Upon a Time In…Hollywood

 

As you get older you come to TERMS with many things. One, getting older; Two, time is running out to leave a mark on the world; and maybe even three is the fact that people are simply waiting in the wings to call you out for being a hack or completely undeserving of your success.

For all intents and purposes, I’m talking about Quentin Tarantino’s newest film, “Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood,” and while I might have more quibbles with this film more than his pervious eight (or nine if you include the damn near perfect “Death Proof”) “Hollywood” is a film about a Hollywood in which Tarantino fell in love with in a time where America was, perhaps, as fractured as it is right now.

As in many of QT’s later films, starting with “Inglourious Basterds,” he subverts expectations and creates a world he wants to live in on his own TERMS.

Top to bottom, the performances are great but the pacing drags in parts. We get some fresh foot shots that have been missing from his last couple of films, and you have to love that QT still loves him some feet.

Ultimately, where does this film fall in the Tarantino filmography. We critics love this, we live for these moments where we can tell YOU how good this film is! Sure, lists are super fun, and while I personally put this in my lower 3rd of his filmography, the fact remains that even with his being what I might think one of his “weakest” entires, it’s still better than 98% of films being released on a weekly basis.

July 23, 2019

A Simplistic Review: Spider-Man: Far From Home

I’ve certainly been sitting on this review for a while, but after a fair amount of thought, it was time to say what I think about “Spider-Man: Far From Home.” After the grandeur of “Endgame” the end of MCU’s Phase Three just feels SMALL.

This is of course a film that takes places over four different countries, has dazzling “special effects,” another great villain that ties perfectly into the MCU, but there is still something about it that pales in comparison, and perhaps that’s unfair, but its where we are right now as we enter a new Phase of Marvel films; I’m saying that a Spider-Man film looks SMALL.

This is why people say we can’t have nice things… 

June 10, 2019

Cashville Rules Everything Around Me: Wu-Tang Clan Makes History at The Ryman

It’s an understatement to say seminal hip-hop collective, Wu-Tang Clan, set a standard for all of shows that will come follow at The Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, TN after their show on Sunday night.

The Mother Church of Country turned into “The Mother F’n Church of Hip-Hop,” if only for one night.
Courtesy of The Ryman @theryman 
Founded in 1892, The Ryman Auditorium is a fixture in Nashville, hosting everyone from Johnny Cash, the Frist Jubilee Singers, Dolly Parton, The Grand Ole Opry, and even Elvis Presley (even if it was only one time). But this time the stage was home to RZA, GZA, “Young” Dirty Bastard, Inspectach Deck, Raekwon the Chef, U-God, Ghostface Killah, Master Killa, Cappadonna, and Method Man performing, in “nearly” its entirety, the record that re-established New York hip-hop as a viable product; 1993’s “Enter the Wu-Tang” 36 Chambers.”
Along with “36 Chambers” the Clan also performed favorites from “Wu-Tang Forever” like “Reunited,” “Ice Cream” from Raekwon’s “Only Built 4 Cuban Links” and even Cappadonna got his moment with a verse from one of my personal favorite’s “Run” from his debut album, “The Pillage.”
The energy was high from the crowd from the beginning to the end.
Courtesy @vaughnphillip via Instagram 
RZA led the way most of the show, appreciating the moment and getting the crowd hyped for what came next, and was more than happy the spray Moet into the crowd and even give those in the front row some much deserved Hennessy. I’m sure it Captain Tom Ryman new that one day Hennessy and Moet would cover the floors of his beloved Tabernacle Church he probably wouldn’t believe you. 
Other highlights included the DJ interlude from resident Wu DJ, Mathematics, who, little trivia for you, actually created the Might Wu “W” that so many guests had adorned on their shirts and hats. There was also the inclusion of Street Life into the show as he joined Method Man for a few verses of “Grid Iron Rap.”
But hey, there is always a nit pick with shows like this.
Courtesy of @graperunner via Instagram
With the group all nearly in late 40s or early 50s, you could see the energy tamper out about an hour into the show, namely GZA. At times he seemed pretty disengaged from the show and walked off stage numerous times, including during the encore of Ghostface’s “Charchez La Ghost.” Sure, the show seemed to have broken down by then as the remained members starting letting audience members on the stage to start dancing, but hey, it’s all in fun.
And as any hip-hop show goes, the audio is always tricky. The background music drowned out the MCs more often than not, but if you’ve ever been to a rap show, you probably know this is a pretty regular occurrence, and the typical motif of every member of the Wu rapping over each other.
But those are quibbles that in no way took away from what this show really was; a moment in Nashville, and Ryman, history that can’t be taken away. A historic rap collective put it’s stamp on a city that many people blame for being “New Nashville” and not the Nashville they grew up with. Sure, this might open up more doors for hip-hop to be a more common occurrence at the Ryman, but a generational group like Wu-Tang Clan won’t be around “forever.” 
June 10, 2019

A Simplistic Review: Wu-Tang Clan: Of Mics and Men

Rap groups come and go. Many have an expiration date, I mean just look at most of the groups from the last 90s and 2000s. Record companies chewed them up and spit them out, but hey, it could have also meant they just weren’t very good either.

But as the old adage goes, “Wu-Tang is Forever,” even if it shows how FRACTURED they are after you watch Showtime’s “Wu-Tang Clan: Of Mics and Men.”

The four-part series peers behind the curtain during their making of THE SEMINAL hip-hop record of the 90s “Enter the Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers” shows how they beat the music system by signing a lucrative record deal for each member, but also shows the dark side of management and how the death of Ol’ Dirty Bastard essentially imploded the group.

It’s a personal look, and plays like an intervention as the group gathers to watch old footage and wax lyrical on their struggles with each other and how the business has changed during their nearly 30 year run. 

June 8, 2019

Simplistic Interviews: Producer Heather Buckley, of “The Ranger”

On this Simplistic Interview, we sit down with Heather Buckley, producer of the 2018 horror film “The Ranger.”

From days writing at Fangoria Magazine to pitching films at Cannes and South by Southwest, Matt and Heather discuss what it was that got her into horror, how inclusion is shaping the horror genre, and essentially how she is an encyclopedia of genre knowledge. Oh, and of course punk rock!

Follow her all over social media too!

Twitter: @_HeatherBuckley
Instagram: www.instagram.com/_heatherbuckley

And of course check out “The Ranger!”

Twitter: @TheRangerMovie
Instagram: @therangermovie
Streaming on Shudder, Amazon Prime, and anywhere else where you can find great horror flicks.

June 3, 2019

A Simplistic Review: Ma (2019)

There’s nothing like a slow BURN. Just enough time to get some fire in your belly while you wait for everything to really start popping off. That’s the delicious BURN I got from Octavia Spencer and “Ma” this weekend.

First thing’s first, I’m always a fan of actors or actresses that have won big awards, namely Oscars, and continue to work in the genre field. Spencer looks like she is having the time of her life playing the Veterinarian-turned-psychopath, but there is some meat to this story that cribs ideas from flicks like “Carrie” “The People Under the Stairs” and maybe even “Fatal Attraction.”

“Ma” BURNS the house down in it’s final 20 or so minutes and creates a memorable new heavy that rivals the likes of Alex Forrest and Anne Wilkes.

May 29, 2019

A Simplistic Review: Booksmart (2019)

Man…so people are pissed! Apparently no one saw “Booksmart” over the Memorial Day holiday weekend. The unofficial kickoff to the Summer movie season! People instead saw a live action Disney remake, the story of an unstoppable assassin and they even saw superheroes punch super-villains in the face instead of a film about white people with white problems…what a shock.

Look, I know people are already taking SIDES on “Booksmart.” Excuses included;

It’s Annapurna’s fault for putting it out wide during the holiday. The audience is stupid and doesn’t appreciate indie comedies. People aren’t ready for female and/or queer leads in their coming-of-age comedies. The list goes on and on…

Honestly, “Booksmart” is fun. I laughed out loud a couple of times. But it’s also a derivative story that I’ve seen before.

Yes, having extensive LGBTQ representation is great, but it’s almost window dressing for the main story; friends at the end of their high school friendship. And the problem for so long is still using the LGBTQ community as the side gig to the problems of the straight community. Amy (played by Kaitlyn Dever) shows the struggle and anxiety of being gay, but it just seems to be…I don’t know…selling it short. But what do I know, I’m a straight, married, white male.

I digress, I liked “Booksmart” butI also like “Superbad.” I guess that shows where I’m at.

May 25, 2019

A Simplistic Review: Under the Silver Lake

I see what David Robert Mitchell was doing here.

Hmm, or maybe I don’t…regardless.

So you have this KOOKY film, “Under the Silver Lake,” where you have Andrew Garfield doing his best impression of Jeff Daniels’ The Dude, while he tries to figure out a conspiracy theory that would make Brian De Palma, Alfred Hitchcock and David Lynch blush.

On the surface, I really dig this flick. It’s so…..KOOKY. It really has no purpose, it’s mainly a series of vignettes that’s held together by an insane premise, but it works if you stick with it.

May 24, 2019

(Ep. 121): Fire Down Below – Movie Commentary: May 2019

We started this new year off with a film from 90’s action star and serial eater, Steven Seagal’s Hard to Kill! We continue the Seagal Saga with Fire Down Below, you know the EPA action film…no not that one…the other one…yeah there is another EPA action film.


Fire Down Below

1997 ‧ Thriller/Action ‧ 1h 45m

Description

When an EPA representative is discovered dead in a small Midwestern town, government agent Jack Taggart (Steven Seagal) goes undercover to check things out. He finds that local coal mogul Orin Hanner Sr. (Kris Kristofferson) is cutting financial corners by disposing of hazardous waste wherever he pleases and that local kids are falling ill because of this recklessness. Taggart then works to stop the shady activity and save the town, but Hanner and his thugs soon grow suspicious of him.

Initial release: December 13, 1997 (South Korea)
Budget: 42 million USD
Box office: 16.2 million USD
Music composed by: Nick Glennie-Smith
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