Do you need to do a complete re-watch of the series for El Camino? By Anna Purrington

The best thing about Netflix release films, for reviewers, is having it right there, whenever you want it. For instance, should you watch El Camino, love El Camino, and then feel the need to rewatch it the very next day in order to better itemize the reasons why you loved it, it's right there in your house!   [video width="1280" height="720" mp4="https://secureservercdn.net/45.40.155.175/a7n.c99.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/EL-CAMINO-Breaking-Bad-Movie-Teaser-Trailer-2019-Netflix.mp4"][/video]     Fans of the Breaking Bad series are well accustomed to the cinematic qualities director Vince Gilligan uses in his small-screen storytelling, and they're all present in El Camino, but one does get the feeling that such elements--shadowy shots at unconventional angles, time lapses of the New Mexican landscape, and even the opening credits--would be all the more impactful when viewed on the big screen of an actual theater. Either way, the El Camino experience is a fulfilling supplement to the original series which focuses on the story of chemist-turned methamphetamine empire boss Walter White's second-in-command, Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul).   [video width="1280" height="720" mp4="https://secureservercdn.net/45.40.155.175/a7n.c99.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/El-Camino-A-Breaking-Bad-Movie-Official-Trailer-Netflix.mp4"][/video]   As we witness the aftermath of the series' resolution and the events leading up to it, it's easy to start feeling a little guilty--Jesse's story is sad and terrible and quite honestly, I had forgotten most of it in favor of the conclusion of Walter White. In the race (via train heist, via great escape northward, via oscillating machine gun antics) to the end of the show, Jesse's experiences got a little lost in all the big plot moments and took a backseat to the bigger picture but the beauty of El Camino is that it doesn't need to hurry.     The film doesn't only make us remember Jesse's experiences, it walks us through Jesse's emotion, pain, and humanity in every scene. Multiple traumas and humiliations have rightly made Jesse desperate: his face is scarred, his voice is low and strained when he speaks, and his main goal is survival. We mourn for the old Jesse when we revisit his friends Badger (Matt Jones) and Skinny Pete (Charles Baker), whose experiences with drugs and White have been significant, but no where near as damaging as Jesse's. Despite everything, their loyalty to their friend is touching, reiterating to us that in this unpleasant story, there are people within drug culture still very much in touch with empathy and humanity.   The chronology rotates between flashbacks and the here-and-now in a lot…

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, 2019. by Anna Purrington

“You like that scary stuff?” This is what the school librarian asked me the first time I brought one of Alvin Schwartz’s short story collections to the checkout counter. It was the now-famous triology’s second volume, More Scary Stories; the first had been lost or stolen and the third not yet released, but I was still excited that my name had come up on the waitlist and I could finally get my hands on it.   [video width="1280" height="720" mp4="https://secureservercdn.net/45.40.155.175/a7n.c99.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/SCARY-STORIES-TO-TELL-IN-THE-DARK-Official-Trailer-HD.mp4"][/video]   I not only liked the scary stuff but thrived on it, and together with my younger brother, sought it out regularly, anywhere I could. We eventually read all three of Schwartz’s novels, and together with favorites such as Mother Bates, the beguiling Grady sisters of the Overlook, and Pet Semetary’s Zelda, committed the stories and their creepy images (courtesy of illustrator Stephen Gammel) to the depths of our horror-crazed memories.       It was easy to get hyped for film adaptation--André Ǿvredal (Trollhunter) and producer Guillermo del Toro are two brilliant, talented artists who have a solid grasp on the narratives, techniques and themes of effective horror. Overall, the film delivered with a skillful mix of new fear and old school ghost/monster horror (think Stranger Things or the recent It adaptations with the music of Lana del Rey mixed in for fun), but I suspect true fans of the books, like me, would happily trade a half hour off the film’s beginning or end for just one more of Schwartz’s stories. The vehicle of the stories--a group of awkward teenagers who steal a magical book out of a haunted house--is intriguing, but it eats up a lot of time in setting up how and why everything is going to go down. As it’s no longer unheard of to experience character development in horror films, we get some, and it’s sort of nice, but not all that necessary; we came to the theater for “The Toe” and “Me Tie Doughty Walker,” (not backstory) and we could forgive a few less personal details in favor of a few more scary things from the books.         Aesthetic detail, large and small, was what this film succeeded at best--the places and all the little pieces within them gave a classic, almost John Carpenter feel to the story (rather fitting considering all the hurting, maiming, and killing that begins on…

80’s Ladies: Netflix to Stream Season 3 of G.L.O.W. Friday August 9th by Ryan Scott

An overwhelming wave of 80’s nostalgia has swept over our current pop culture zeitgeist. As ruffles, scrunchies, and damaged hair are once again en vogue, it seems only natural that a slew of 80’s themed shows have made a massive impression over the past few years.   [video width="1280" height="720" mp4="https://secureservercdn.net/45.40.155.175/a7n.c99.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/GLOW-Official-Season-3-Trailer-Netflix.mp4"][/video]   The Goldbergs, Red Oaks, & Wet Hot American Summer: The Series have all been shot out of the canon within just five years of each other, and all with a certain degree of success. Out of this slew of “80’s Nostalgia” television, one show has risen to the top of the pack. That show is of course Stranger Things. Smart, suspenseful, heartfelt – the show is perfect in every way. However, while Stranger Things is most undoubtedly the show giving 80’s babies the warmest of the warm fuzzies right now, in my own subversive opinion, it’s Netflix’s G.L.O.W. that ends up taking the cake for best new show of the 80’s in the 2010’s.   I absolutely love G.L.O.W., if you’ll let me gush for a minute. I’ve always been drawn to quirkier, character-driven fare, and over the course of its last two seasons, G.L.O.W. has proven itself the perfect outlet for audiences of those sensibilities. With dialogue that causes frequent snort-laughs, emotionally engrossing characters, and a chemistry amongst the women of the cast that basically leaps out from the screen and body-slams its audience, G.L.O.W. is that rare confection: a smart show that ends up getting to the throat by way of the heart.   Inspired by the true stories (with a fair amount of fabrication thrown in) of the stars and creators of the “Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling” Pro-wrestling promotion that began shooting in 1985, G.L.O.W. deserves a special place amongst the current wave of 80’s Nostalgia Shows for, if nothing else, being the first show to handle the themes and issues of the decade with an integrity that reaches beyond the campy, gimmick-laden, and tongue-in-cheek. Isn’t it the ultimate irony that the Sci-fi Horror of Stranger Things ends up giving us a warmer glow than the decidedly darker screwball comedy of G.L.O.W.? G.L.O.W. for the last two years, has been consistently unafraid to give us more than a glimpse of the dark underbelly of 1980’s Los Angeles, the women who were fighting for autonomy, and the sleazy men who ran the show. It’s no coincidence…

The Irishman Teases ‘Fresh Paint’: Netflix and Scorsese team up to chase critical Glory by Ryan Scott

One of the buzziest properties headed into the fall of 2019 is Martin Scorsese’s epic crime drama The Irishman starring Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci.   [video width="1280" height="720" mp4="https://secureservercdn.net/45.40.155.175/a7n.c99.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/The-Irishman-Teaser-Trailer-231-2019-Movieclips-Trailers.mp4"][/video]     The trailer alone feels epic, spanning decades as it provides audiences with small pieces of the puzzle that will be Scorsese’s The Irishman.     De Niro plays Frank Sheeran, a WWII Vet who became a mob hitman and played a crucial role in Jimmy Hoffa’s disappearance. Pacino is starring as the notorious union boss Hoffa. The supporting cast includes heavy hitters like Harvey Keitel and Anna Paquin, but also Scorsese’s as-usual out of left field supporting choices, like Ray Romano (remember when he put JoAnna Lumley in a small but crucial role in The Wolf of Wall Street – Scorsese has a penchant for giving pop culture junkies plenty of gleeful Easter eggs in his casting.) Every one of these players are featured in the two-minute-twenty-second trailer released by Netflix (yes, Netflix – more on that later) yesterday.     Based on Charles Brandt’s book I Heard You Paint Houses – uttered in the opening moments of the trailer by Al Pacino (who surprisingly enough has never worked with Scorsese until now) the film marks Scorsese’s long awaited return to the Gangster genre (which many feel he all but perfected with films like Mean Streets, Casino, & the all-time great Goodfellas,) after over a decade of forays into projects as varied as Hugo, Shutter Island, The Wolf of Wall Street, & Silence.     The two biggest stories surrounding The Irishman concern Scorsese’s choice to use CGI FX to de-age his actors (Upon seeing the trailer, this viewer did a double take. “There’s not enough Vaseline in the entire World” I said out loud) and Scorsese’s much surprising and much opined decision to distribute the film with Netflix streaming service rather than through a traditional cinema distributor route. As for the former. Yes, I must admit, seeing Robert De Niro go from youth to middle age within a span of a few seconds in the trailer is jarring to say the least.     Ultimately, this new VFX technology helps the actor remain consistent in the role. While we may lean in when the trailer lingers over a seemingly younger De Niro’s face, rest-assured Scorsese is aware of this, and he has stated that…

Once Upon A Time in Hollywood: Tarantino’s Revenge Fairy Tale by Ryan Scott

  If We’re going to reflect on Once Upon a Time in Hollywood as Tarantino’s Fairy tale, then one has to take into consideration the underlying theme of revenge that permeates all of his film oeuvre.  Tarantino has created a 1969 Hollywood that is so sumptuously textured and sensually colorful it is immediately more like a fairy tale than anything Hollywood has ever been in any reality past or present.    Once Upon a time in Hollywood is immediately remarkable in that it is a Tarantino film like no other, while also being the quintessential “Tarantino” movie.  If you’re looking for Tarantino’s subversive take on the socio-political climate of 1969 Hollywood and an exploration of the social and psychological reverberations of the Manson family murders, please turn around and walk in the other direction, because that is not this movie.   What Tarantino is striving for seems to be a bit more difficult to put your finger on.  What is clear is that Tarantino has created the film he wanted to make, even if it is indulgent and thematically in-cohesive, but I digress.   Every single one of Tarantino’s films has revenge as a central plot point (The Hateful Eight, Kill Bill, Django Unchained, Deathproof, True Romance) or have it tangentially connected to characters within the plot thematically (Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs, Inglorious Basterds.) At first glance, none of the formula for anything remotely resembling a revenge story is present in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.   While the title’s “Once Upon a Time” calls to mind bloody crime thrillers like Once Upon a Time in New York or violent epics like Once Upon a Time in the West, it might actually be most apt to read Tarantino’s title as quite literally the homage to fairy stories it has been for centuries. During one scene, DiCaprio’s character has an exchange with a child actress on the television show he is working on in which she declaims to be reading a book about the life of Walt Disney. She then refers to Disney as “Magical.” Throughout Disney’s career, he turned a profit by taking classic, often gruesome stories, re-arranging their unpleasantries and making them more palatable as entertainment than as moralistic warnings. Tarantino’s cinematic world is often so self-referential, I couldn’t help but be stricken by the parallel Tarantino seemed to be drawing between himself and Disney.   Tarantino too has…