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Fear Street: 1666

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Poster for the movie "Fear Street: 1666"

Fear Street: 1666

End the curse.

20211 h 54 min
Overview

In 1666, a colonial town is gripped by a hysterical witch-hunt that has deadly consequences for centuries to come, and it's up to teenagers in 1994 to finally put an end to their town's curse, before it's too late.

Metadata
Director Leigh Janiak
Runtime 1 h 54 min
Release Date 16 July 2021
Details
Movie Media VoD
Movie Status Available
Movie Rating Very good

Man, what a fun trilogy. For all the horror movies I watch, it’s rare to find one (or three, in this case) I genuinely consider good. It’s equally rare to have sequels leading so directly into each other and nice when it happens. Just the fact that this is good isn’t too surprising since it’s based on the works of R.L. Stine. Now, I never actually read the Fear Street books but I was very much a Goosebumps kid and this story definitely feels like Goosebumps aimed at an older audience.

There’s a lot of vibes to classic slasher films here too. The direct sequel thing is pretty akin to Friday the 13th II-IV, as is the campground setting of the 2nd movie. A lot of the humor and the whole slasher vibe in general, particularly in the 1st film, is very reminiscent of Scream. They even poke fun at the situation they’re in not working like a horror movie at one point.

Part III here is kind of an odd duck because it’s basically two movies. The first half is in the titular 1666 and shows us how all this curse nonsense got started. Then it jumps back to 1994 so the modern day characters can finish doing their thing. But what really stuck out was that through it all, across three films, it stays good. The first movie sets the bar and by the end of the third, we’re still there.

As Jack Black portraying R.L. Stine said in the Goosebumps movie, “Every story contains three parts: the beginning, the middle, and the twist.” That pretty accurately describes a lot of the actual R.L. Stine’s work and it extends to this adaptation. A fantastic trilogy I can’t recommend enough for horror fans or people just looking to watch something good and spooky. Man, I really hope we can get some more of Stine’s work adapted now.

July 25, 2021

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

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Poster for the movie "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri"

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

20171 h 55 min
Overview

After seven months have passed without a culprit in her daughter's murder case, Mildred Hayes makes a bold move, painting three signs leading into her town with a controversial message directed at Bill Willoughby, the town's revered chief of police. When his second-in-command Officer Jason Dixon, an immature mother's boy with a penchant for violence, gets involved, the battle between Mildred and Ebbing's law enforcement is only exacerbated.

Metadata
Director Martin McDonagh
Runtime 1 h 55 min
Release Date 10 November 2017
Details
Movie Media VoD
Movie Status Available
Movie Rating Very good

If I had to use just one word to describe this movie, it’d be “sorrowful”. The film is very much a black comedy, but there are segments where it leans a lot more towards “black” than “comedy”. The premise is pretty simple; this woman’s daughter was raped & murdered, the cops didn’t catch whoever did it, and that is destroying her. It’s pretty obvious from the get-go that Frances McDormand’s character Mildred does not take shit from people. But at the same time, she feels powerless in so many ways and it’s hard to watch all the struggles happening to this woman and the people around her all stemming from this one horrific act of violence.

The performances here are amazing. Just about every time Mildred opens her mouth, you can feel the anger and resolve of her words in the air. But we also see her moments of grief; she is a very 3D character. One moment you’re laughing at how she’s made some bastard feel like a fool and the next you’re sucker-punched in the gut by seeing her vulnerable. And it all just feels…real. Movie characters can be pretty 2D and simplistic, but everyone knows that real life is a swirl of emotions. Horrible things like this actually happen, all the time, and even fictional stories like this one (built with a grain of truth, mind you) can hurt even while being entertaining once you remember that.

Now, I have seen a couple of other reviews that complain about the portrayal of racism in this film. On one hand, I definitely agree that the racist characters turning over a new leaf and all is forgiven is bullshit. On the other hand, this movie takes place in rural Missouri. It would be weird if there weren’t any racist characters. I say that as someone who lives in Missouri, born and raised. You get more than a couple of miles from the major city limits around here and you start to hear banjos.

This is definitely one of the emotionally strongest films I’ve seen, ever. Everybody goes through some form of pain and loss in their life, but my god, I cannot imagine what it would be like to lose a child. Most people can’t, thankfully. But this film comes shockingly close to giving audiences a taste of what those emotions can do to people. And despite all the plot holes…well, it’s still a movie. Suspension of disbelief is a thing, use it and just enjoy the film.

January 31, 2021