Fear Street: 1666

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Poster for the movie "Fear Street: 1666"

Fear Street: 1666

End the curse.

20211 h 54 min

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.

Director Leigh Janiak
Runtime 1 h 54 min
Release Date 16 July 2021
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

Alita: Battle Angel

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Poster for the movie "Alita: Battle Angel"

Alita: Battle Angel

An angel falls. A warrior rises.

20192 h 02 min

Alita: Battle Angel is based on a Japanese comic book (manga) series called Gunnm from the early 90s. There was also a 1-hour cartoon (anime) adaption around the same time. Now we get a live action adaptation by master of cinema James Cameron. With Cameron at the wheel, you know a movie is going to be good. Mostly (but in fairness, everyone has to start somewhere).

The key takeaway from Alita is that it is just a good movie. Nothing in the film feels objectively bad. Alita herself is a balanced character with a real personality. She is a young girl learning new things in a world that is alien to her. At the same time, she is a total badass who can put everyone else in the room on the floor. Throughout the story, there is pain as well as joy. She makes friends and finds love but also finds enemies who want to destroy her for what she is, regardless of who she is. By the end of the film, she is far from the person she was at the beginning.

This being a James Cameron film, it probably goes without saying the special effects are amazing. Cameron proved that CGI is one of his main things back with Avatar, and that has not changed. The fight sequences are incredible and none of them are shoehorned in. Even the city just as the background is an amazing visual setting, giving audiences the sense of a real living, breathing city.

The plot in the movie is nothing too crazy. There are no major twists or shocks as the story develops. But there does not really need to be. In the end, this is not some kind of high stakes save-the-world scenario. The story is ultimately about Alita; about her finding who she was before and who she is now. This is an origin story.

The movie itself follows one of the big rules for a potentially great movie: leave the audience wanting more. This is clearly part of a much, much bigger story. We have only seen a small piece of a big universe with this film. Having not read the original manga, I cannot say off-hand how much of the original story is covered in the film adaption. However, the original story from the 90s was followed up by two sequel series. The latter of which is still ongoing. If Alita: Battle Angel gets a sequel, which seems plausible with the box office results, there is a lot more source material to pull from.

March 3, 2019