This Week in Macabre & Mysterious Media: Aug. 3rd – 9th, 2015.

~YOUR MUSICAL INTERLUDE~

Lauren Shera – Light & Dust (pretty witchy)

I think, this week, I’m most excited about:

the unwanted

~THE MOVIES~

NEW ON NETFLIX & IN REDBOX:

The Raven (2012) R

Available on DVD from Netflix.
LEAVING NETFLIX STREAMING ON AUG. 6TH.
Not Available from Redbox.
John Cusack. I can’t remember if I’ve seen this or not. Might try to make time before it’s gone. Anyone out there love it or hate it?
On IMDb here.

Maggie (2015) PG-13

Available on DVD from Netflix.
(Not yet Available streaming on Netflix, will update if I notice.)
Available from Redbox.
This zombie drama starring Arnold Schwarzenegger was never widely released in theaters. I did mention it when it came out but I want to feature it again, now that it is available to most of us. This is a sweet, sad, slow story. It’s well worth a watch, if you aren’t expecting a horror movie. The Ogre, especially, respected the ending.
On IMDb here.

What We Do in the Shadows (2014) R

Available on DVD from Netflix.
(Not yet Available streaming on Netflix, will update if I notice.)
Available from Redbox.
This mockumentary  from New Zealand isn’t as good as Spinal Tap, (what mockumentary is?) but it’s fun. I adore the character Stu, and I suspect you will too. I also have a special fondness for Peter, who can’t seem to stop himself from making new vampires.
On IMDb here.

The Guest (2014) R

Available on DVD from Netflix.
Available streaming on Netflix.
Available from Redbox.
I just Found this one for my 13 movies set on or around Halloween list. (Did you realize it’s only 13 weeks until Halloween?)  It’s a strange film. Half action flick, half … thriller? And there’s a fair bit of Halloween stuff scattered everywhere, including a high school haunted house. Not a bad watch.
On IMDb here.

The Unwanted (2014) NR

Not Available on DVD from Netflix.
Available streaming on Netflix.
Not Available from Redbox.
This one was brought to my attention by a review at the blog Danse Noir. Looks like it was made for me. Southern Gothic? Check. Vampire sensuality? Check. Airstream trailer? Check. It’s on my queue, and I might watch it tonight. UPDATE: I’m kinda torn about this one. Loved a lot of the atmosphere. Thought some of the special effects were just ridiculous. Got a little confused by the story itself. Yet … I may watch this again, some dark night.
On IMDb here. (linked)

Snowpiercer (2013) R

Available on DVD from Netflix.
Available streaming on Netflix.
Available from Redbox.
I resisted this movie SO hard. The premise is just ridiculous. I watched it reluctantly with my menfolk. I hated it pretty much all the way through … though, I had to admit at the time, there WAS a lot to like about the film-making itself. Now I see that it’s streaming on Netflix. And I’m going to recommend it to you. I’m listing it as an orange, but I think — in my heart of hearts — it’s really a green. What I know for sure is that I can’t get some of the film’s imagery out of my head, and the story has stayed with me far longer than the plots of many movies I have liked from the get-go.
On IMDb here.

Reading Rainbow (1985) G

Some themed sets are Available on DVD from Netflix; search Reading Rainbow.
1985 season now Available streaming on Netflix.
Not Available from Redbox.
Here’s my major outlier for the week. Got little kids? Fire up Netflix.

(NO LONGER) IN THEATERS:

The Gift (2015) R

In general release on Thursday, Aug. 6th

Available on DVD from Netflix.
Not yet Available streaming on Netflix.
Available from Redbox.
Oooh. I hadn’t seen any trailers for this yet, but I found it today, as I was checking new releases. I’m TOTALLY ready for a good thriller. Jason Bateman, huh? Ok. Could be interesting. 
On IMDb here. (linked)

Mr. Holmes (2015) PG

In general release right now. (Playing widely around me in the Twin Cites area.)

Available on DVD from Netflix .
No longer Available streaming on Netflix.
Available from Redbox.
This looks entertaining. (And will probably be of particular interest to Tim Prasil: Inventor of Persons.) Starring Ian McKellen & Laura Linney — that’s a fine cast.
On IMDb here.

Cop Car (2015) R

In general release on Friday, Aug. 7th.

Available on DVD from Netflix.
Not yet Available streaming on Netflix.
Available from Redbox.
Speaking of fine casting: I’m intrigued by the opportunity to see my beloved Kevin Bacon portray a Very Bad Man.

We’re trying to save some money around here, and we plan to cut back on going to the theater, but I gotta say this looks like a GREAT flick for the drive-in … and we haven’t gone yet this year (even though a night at the drive-in is a MUST-HAPPEN event, at least once a summer.) Crossing my fingers that this will soon show up where I want it to be.
On IMDb here.

Dark Places (2015) R

In general release on … hmm. Supposedly Aug. 7th, but I’m getting the vibe that this might be hard to find.

Available on DVD from Netflix.
Not yet Available streaming on Netflix.
Available from Redbox.
Charlize Theron. Christina Hendricks. Oh my. Looks like this save-money thing might be more challenging than I thought. It seems this is based on a much-beloved book by Gillian Flynn. (And readers are saying the movie isn’t nearly as good as the book. Big shock.) Perhaps I can save myself by hitting the library to stave off the crave. (Sorry about all the rhymes there.)
On IMDb here.

The Vatican Tapes (2015) PG-13

In general release now.

Available on DVD from Netflix.
Not yet Available streaming on Netflix.
Available from Redbox.
I don’t know. This is one that looks like it can wait for renting. If you’ve seen it and loved it, send me a note, will ya?
On IMDb here. (linked)

~ON TV~

All quiet on the TV front this week.

~***~

INDEX TO ALL MACABRE & MYSTERIOUS MEDIA FEATURES HERE

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

Last updated 2016.06.03


This Week in Macabre & Mysterious Media: June 28 – July 5

~YOUR MUSICAL INTERLUDE~

Johnny Cash & Joni Mitchell – The Long Black Veil

My most heartfelt recommendation this week:

insideoutenglish

~THE MOVIES~

NEW ON NETFLIX & IN REDBOX:

A few favorites are LEAVING Netflix streaming soon, so catch them while you can:

Stephen King’s The Stand (1994) TV mini-series

Available on 2 DVDs from Netflix.
No longer Available streaming on Netflix.
Not Available from Redbox.
This is a great (Gary Sinese) and terrible (Molly Ringwald) adaptation. I’ll recommend it, but I admit it’s mostly about nostalgia, and love for the book.
On IMDb here.

Also leaving, The Langoliers.

Natural Born Killers (1994) Director’s Cut NR

Available on DVD from Netflix.
No longer Available streaming on Netflix.
Not Available from Redbox.
What a cast: Juliette Lewis, Woody Harrelson, Robert Downey Jr., Tommy Lee Jones. Written by Quentin Tarantino. A brutal movie, but a great one. (I have not seen the director’s cut, which is most likely MORE bloody and brutal than the theatrical release — though I’m hard pressed to imagine how.)
On IMDb here.

The Manchurian Candidate (2004) R

Available on DVD from Netflix.
No longer Available streaming on Netflix.
Not Available from Redbox.
Another great cast: Denzel Washington, Liev Schreiber, Meryl Streep.
On IMDb here.

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004) PG

Available on DVD from Netflix.
No longer Available streaming on Netflix.
Not Available from Redbox.
I missed this completely when it came out, then forgot all about it. Is it worth a watch?
On IMDb here.

Underworld (2003) R AND Underworld: Evolution (2006) R 

This is a great opportunity to see the first and second installments of the Underworld series. If I remember right, Underworld is a fun adventure movie–not great art, not great horror, but a fine way to spend a couple of hours. I’ll rewatch and, if I still like it, I’ll give the sequel a go.
On IMDb here.

Available on DVD from Netflix.
Available streaming on Netflix.
Not Available from Redbox.

Available on DVD from Netflix.
Available streaming on Netflix.
Not Available from Redbox.

Ascension (2014) TV mini-series

Available on DVD from Netflix.
Available streaming on Netflix.
Not Available from Redbox.
This was a three-night mini-series on SyFy, in December. I’m a sucker for a good period piece and the reviews look promising.
On IMDb here.

The Secret of Roan Inish (1994) PG

Available on DVD from Netflix.
No longer Available streaming on Netflix.
Not Available from Redbox.
I can’t find a decent trailer, which does not bode well. Still, I think I liked this when it came out. I’m not going to give it a color rating yet, because I don’t really remember it. If I give it a go, I’ll come back to update my opinion.
On IMDb here.

This week, Redbox will be getting in a couple of things worth mentioning too:

The Houses October Built (2014) R

Available on DVD from Netflix.
Available streaming on Netflix.
Available from Redbox.
Saw it. Eh. I liked the first third best, and the ending felt rushed. Neither as suspenseful (which would have been good) nor as gory (which would have been bad) as it could have been. Also, this is one of those movies where you end up thinking they are all idiots, who could have walked away at any time. I’ll add it as an alternate to the Halloween movie list, because it’s not horrible and it does capture something about Halloween. I will say that it made me realize I’m awfully trusting (too trusting?) when it comes to haunted attractions.
On IMDb here.

 

(FORMERLY) IN THEATERS:

Terminator Genisys (2015) PG-13

In general release on Tuesday, June 30th.

Available on DVD from Netflix.
Not yet Available streaming on Netflix.
Available from Redbox.
Boy, this one cries out for a drive-in screening, doesn’t it?
On IMDb here.

Max (2015) PG

In general release already.

Available on DVD from Netflix.
Not yet Available streaming on Netflix.
Available from Redbox.
Here’s my complete outlier for the week. We saw the preview for Max while waiting for Inside Out to start. All three of us choked up. (The 19 year old boy, the Ogre and me.) Way to hit me in multiple tender spots, movie-maker-people. As soon as we all have a day off again, we’re going to see it. I will bring a purse full of Kleenex. Can someone reassure me that the dog doesn’t die? Please?

UPDATE: We teared up when we were supposed to, but we also laughed inappropriately at how bad parts of this movie were. My son suggested it would have been much better if they’d spent more time showing us the rehabilitation and adjustment of the war dog, and he’s 100% right. When it comes to the humans in the movie, there’s far too much stereotyping, troping, and character simplification going on. You kind of know a movie is pretty mediocre when a few lines, scattered through the film, strike you as REALLY good … compared to the rest. Save your theater money and wait for this to become available to you via a cheaper option.

SPOILER: Highlight here -> The dog does not die.
On IMDb here.

Speaking of movies that hit me right in the heart:

GO SEE INSIDE OUT! 

If you can, go when the theater has a mixed audience of adults (male & female) and kids. For more thoughts about this movie, visit its updated listing here.

~ON TV~

Humans | AMC | Sundays | 9/8c | June 28th

This show premiered on SUNDAY the 28th. If you can’t On Demand it, you can watch it at AMC.
From IMDb:
“In a parallel present where the latest must-have gadget for any busy family is a ‘Synth’ – a highly-developed robotic servant that’s so similar to a real human it’s transforming the way we live.”

I’m especially vulnerable to emotions inspired by the ethical problems inherent in A.I. (The movie did a number on me.) I just saw Ex Machina, though, and I liked that. Perhaps I’m too sensitive about the topic when it involves a child robot. I’ll absolutely give Humans a shot. I think shows like this can be a good way to get people thinking about, and talking about, the potential consequences of bringing artificial intelligence into the world.

UPDATE: I’m giving this a cautious green, but I reserve the right to change my mind after I see some more episodes. I like what actress Katherine Parkinson is doing with the role of Laura, the mother in a family that has just obtained its first synth. As usual, I hate the way the teenage children are presented as sullen and difficult … but it seems apparent that popular media in general is incapable of suggesting there is any other option, so I can’t hold that against this show … at least not too much.

Zoo | CBS | Tuesdays | 9/8c | June 30th

From IMDb:
“A young scientist searches to find out what’s causing a rash of violent animal attacks.”

From James Patterson. Hmm. Not sure about this. I hate seeing animals killed, even in fiction. I’ll probably give it a go, but I’m skeptical.

UPDATE: It actually started off better than I thought, then resorted to a typical sci-fi plot device, then bounced back from that … a little. I think it’s just going to drive me crazy as I’m compelled to think, over and over, “but that’s not even close to what an animal would do!” I’m going to give it another couple of episodes to see where it goes.

~***~

INDEX TO ALL MACABRE & MYSTERIOUS MEDIA FEATURES HERE

The color of the title is keyed as follows:
Black = Have not yet experienced. I’m interested … or I think you’ll be interested.
Red = Have experienced. Not recommended. Worse than the reviews or buzz indicated.
Orange = Have experienced. Recommended, with reservations or cautions.
Green = Have experienced. Recommended. Good (or great) work that lives up to its potential.

This Week in Macabre & Mysterious Media: May 4 -10, 2015

Availability status updated Aug. 3rd, 2015

~YOUR MUSICAL INTERLUDE~

Buckle up, Folks…

Nekromantix – Gargoyles Over Copenhagen

~A BOOK~

You know I don’t feature many books here, in my Macabre & Mysterious Media posts, (which is CRAZY, I know, all things considered) but occasionally something new comes along that I just have to share. Recently I had a chance to read an advance copy of The Bear Who Wouldn’t Leave, by J.H. Moncrieff, and I loved it.

There’s even a spiffy book trailer:

This novella becomes available on Tuesday, May 5th, for just $2.66.

Support this debut author by grabbing a copy HERE.

You’ll want to have read it by the time June rolls around, because … (I’m excited to announce) … I’ll be interviewing J.H. Moncrieff on Skype at the end of May!

We’ve been in contact for the last month or so, working out the details of our plan. We still need to nail down a firm date and time for the conversation and decide what specific cocktail we’ll be sampling together. FYI, we have agreed the concoction we settle on must 1) be something that neither of us has every tried 2) include Malibu rum, and 3) have a spooky name.

I’ll be creating one or more videos from the raw footage, and will post the end product(s) in early to mid June. Of course we’ll be discussing The Bear Who Wouldn’t Leave, and there might be spoilers in the video(s). (Especially if we choose to indulge in strong cocktails.)

~THE MOVIES~

NEW ON NETFLIX & IN REDBOX:

It’s a quiet week on Netflix except for this:

Grace & Frankie (2015) TV SERIES

Not Available on DVD from Netflix.
Available streaming on Netflix.
Not Available from Redbox.

Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, Martin Sheen, Sam Waterson

Not even a tinge of spooky here, but I’m really looking forward to this cast! It’s going to be a perfect binge on a rainy weekend. Update: On first viewing, I thought it was too on the nose and over the top, but Ogre fell asleep while we were watching the second episode, so I had re-watched it last night. It was better. Perhaps because I’m already invested in the happiness of the characters? 

On IMDb here.

Also, my favorite Angry Scholar has led me to something I missed:

The Road (2011) R

Not Available on DVD from Netflix.
Available streaming on Netflix.
Not Available from Redbox.

On IMDb here.

Warning: this is hard to find on Netflix, because of the OTHER movie titled The Road (2009). (You know, the deeply depressing one, based on the Cormac McCarthy novel.) Scholar mentioned THIS movie in his recent post:

 Smart, Beautiful, Horrible: Horror’s Thoughtful (and Funny) Filmmakers

…where he also recommended Starry Eyes (2014) which I featured last week. (I’m going to have watch that one, despite my reservations.)

NO LONGER IN THEATERS:

Maggie (2015) R

Opening Friday the 8th, though it may not be in wide release yet.

(I can’t find it playing near me this coming weekend, though a couple of theaters say it’s “coming soon.”)

Another zombie movie, this one starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. WAIT! Don’t just skip along. I’m hearing really good things about this one.

(I’ll probably share it again, when I believe it’s ACTUALLY going to be available to a lot of us.)

On IMDb here.

~ON TV~

Nothing exciting on TV this week, except for that Grace & Frankie show, which is really a Netflix thing.

~***~

INDEX TO ALL MACABRE & MYSTERIOUS MEDIA FEATURES HERE

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