This Week in Macabre & Mysterious Media: Mar 30 – April 5th, 2015

Availability status updated on Aug. 3rd. 2015.

I’m still trying to work out the best way to do Macabre & Mysterious Media. I’d like to make writing these posts easier and quicker for me, and reading them more useful for you. I’ll be experimenting in the next few weeks, so please bear with me. (I’m not sure I’m going to stick with the date-as-post-title thing, for example. Terrible SEO.)

This particular list is long because I haven’t been staying on top of what’s going on lately, so I have some catching up to do. Because movies come and go so quickly, I’ll concentrate on gathering the best and most promising movies this week, but rest assured, you will also see television shows and games in the future.

NEW FEATURE: The color of the title is keyed as follows:
Black = Not yet watched. I’m interested … or I think you’ll be interested.
Red = Watched. Not recommended. Worse than the reviews or buzz indicated.
Orange = Watched. Recommended, with reservations or cautions.
Green = Watched. Recommended. A good movie that lives up to its reputation.

~YOUR MUSICAL INTERLUDE~
Blackie & The Oohoos – Song for Two Sisters

If you only watch one thing from this list, it should be:

nightcrawler

~THE MOVIES~

ON NETFLIX & IN REDBOX:

I have some last-minute alerts — these movies are about to become less accessible than they were:

Jane Eyre (1943)

Available on DVD from Netflix.
No longer Available streaming on Netflix.
Not Available from Redbox.
On IMDb here.

The Amityville Horror (1979)

Available on DVD from Netflix.
No longer Available streaming on Netflix.
Not Available from Redbox.
On IMDb here.

Clue (1985)

Available on DVD from Netflix.
No longer Available streaming on Netflix.
Not Available from Redbox.
On IMDb here.

There. You’ve got more time to plan for anything else on this list.

Nightcrawler (2014) R

Available on DVD from Netflix.
Available streaming on Netflix.
Available from Redbox.
BEST MOVIE IN THIS LIST
This film was robbed at the Oscars. I didn’t manage to see it before the 2014 Academy Awards, so I didn’t know just how pissed I should be. Jake Gyllenhaal should have been nominated for best actor. And, maybe, he should have won. This is a film that keeps you deeply engaged. (It’s not a horror movie, but it is horrifying … and very dark.)
Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Bill Paxton
On IMDb here.

Interstellar (2014) PG-13

Available on DVD from Netflix.
Not yet Available streaming on Netflix.
Available from Redbox.
A fine movie with an interesting premise. Solid scifi drama. This movie clocks in at more than two hours and forty-five minutes, but you won’t feel it. (As long as you don’t drink too much soda.)
Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain
On IMDb here.

A Good Marriage (2014) R

Available on DVD from Netflix.
Available streaming on Netflix.
Available from Redbox.
Joan Allen, Anthony LaPaglia, Stephen Lang. From a short story by Stephen King.
UPDATE: I watched it this weekend. Not bad. Pretty faithful to the short story. A fine performance by Joan Allen.
On IMDb here.

Stonehearst Asylum (2014) PG-13

Available on DVD from Netflix.
Available streaming on Netflix.
Available from Redbox.
Kate Beckinsale, Michael Caine, and Ben Kingsley
UPDATE: Just finished it. It’s based on a dark comedy, by Edgar Allan Poe, called The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether. It’s a pretty movie. There are some nice performances here – particularly by Kingsley. Not scary, but atmospheric. Feels fairly chick-flickish to me, but it’s got a nice twist. Worth a watch if you want to feel cozily creeped out.
On IMDb here.

Ouija (2014) PG-13

Available on DVD from Netflix.
Not yet Available streaming on Netflix.
Available from Redbox.
I’m willing to give this a go, mostly because I really like Olivia Cook, who is also in Bates Motel.
On IMDb here.

Jessabelle (2014) PG-13

Available on DVD from Netflix.
Not yet Available streaming on Netflix.
Available from Redbox.
This caught my eye because it’s set in Louisiana. I tend to like a good deep southern Gothic. We’ll see.
On IMDb here.

The Quiet Ones (2014) PG-13

Available on DVD from Netflix.
Available streaming on Netflix.
Available from Redbox.
On IMDb here.

The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby (2013) R

Currently available on Netflix streaming. Him & Her
Here’s an interesting concept: two movies, about the same story, each shot from the viewpoint of one of the lovers in the story. (There is nothing paranormal about these movies, they are just interesting, so I thought I’d share.)
Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy
IMDb: Her
IMDb: Him
There is also a third movie, denoted as “them“. From reading the reviews, it sounds like this is the one to skip, because it’s a compilation of the first two films.

NO LONGER IN THEATERS:

It Follows (2014) R

Available on DVD from Netflix.
Not yet Available streaming on Netflix.
Available from Redbox.
There is a lot of buzz about this movie. I think I’ll be seeing it this week, because Ogre has heard good things. Gotta say, though, that I’m not impressed with the premise. I’m hoping it comes through in the execution.
EDIT: A reviewer I respect has a great piece up that perfectly encapsulates my hesitation about this movie. And one of his readers has an interesting counterpoint in the comments to the post.
Review: It Follows by The Angry Scholar
UPDATE: Ok. I finally saw it in July, 2015. I adored the soundtrack. (It’s good to hear a real soundtrack on a horror film again.) I very much appreciated that the teens/young adults in the movie are neither stupid, nor dickheads. (They are much truer to the kids I know than to the typical teen trope.) Despite the premise of the movie, the sexuality of the characters is respected and treated as a natural expression of affection. In short, this movie could have been terrible in the wrong hands, but it  was actually quite good. It raises the bar. It isn’t without its problems, though. I was never very satisfied with the strategies the characters used to deal with the thing that is following them and there are several inconsistencies in the sometimes illogical plot. I’ll say this: It led to some interesting discussing and theorizing between Ogre and me.
On IMDb here.

Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter (2014) NR? (I’d guess PG-13)

Not yet Available on DVD from Netflix.
Not yet Available streaming on Netflix.
Not yetAvailable from Redbox.
This is a movie about an urban legend, about the movie Fargo (1996). We saw it this last weekend and I think I mostly loved it. Granted, it’s a bit slow in places, but the second half of the film is memorable and affecting. It’s definitely not a paranormal movie, but it’s beautifully mysterious and, yes, a bit macabre.
On IMDb here.

Run All Night (2015) R

Available on DVD from Netflix.
Not yet Available streaming on Netflix.
Available from Redbox.
Not remotely paranormal, but — because I’m married to a cinephile — I see lots of movies. This was really good. Great performances, good writing and excellent pacing. Much better than I expected it to be.
On IMDb here.

And that will wrap it up for this week. Now that I clearly see what’s out there, I’m guessing I’ll get to about … three of these. (And I’m going to go watch Jane Eyre now, but that doesn’t count because I’ve seen it before.) Care to guess which ones? Would you recommend anything you’ve seen that I haven’t? 

~***~

INDEX TO ALL MACABRE & MYSTERIOUS MEDIA FEATURES HERE


And now a tiger salamander:

salamander in hand

I’ve been on a change-everything-in-my-life kick lately.

It’s been good. I went in for a long over-due check-up and got a clean bill of health. I took a look at my priorities and goals and made some real changes. I’m writing more and taking better care of myself. Pages are piling up. I’ve lost 12 pounds in 6 weeks.

I quit my job at the Paranormal Hotel. Okay, I sorta-kinda quit. I tried to make a clean break of it, but ended up agreeing to fill in for vacations and sick days and stuff … when I can. I suffer from some sort of twisted addiction to the place, I think. (I’m already scheduled for a long weekend in early May.)

I also started volunteering at our local nature center.

That chubby little guy up there is my new friend, Right-Side Salamander, aka The Fat One. (These are my names for him. The rest of the feeder-people don’t seem to make much of a distinction between the two.) Please forgive my filthy fingers … the salamanders need to have their soil loosened and moistened thoroughly, and the trowel is just unnecessarily awkward. I promise I wash very well after tending to my new buddies. (There are others critters I take care of as well. You’ll probably get pictures of them at some point in the future.)

I have been working on the blog too … you just can’t see any of that yet. I’ll give you a sneak peek of one upcoming feature though:

paranormal hotel block

Yep. It’s going to get its own section. (That link doesn’t lead to a public page yet, btw.)

… And that’s the end of tonight’s out-of-the-blue post. I just wanted to let you all know I haven’t died or anything, and that I’ll be back soon.