This Week in Macabre & Mysterious Media: May 11 – 17, 2015

Availability status updated Aug. 3rd, 2015

~YOUR MUSICAL INTERLUDE~

Nostra Morte | Perséfone

Thanks to Joanna Wagner, who brought this to my attention.

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

Wayward Pines

~THE MOVIES~

NEW ON NETFLIX & IN REDBOX:

Granite Flats (2013, 2014, 2015) TV series from BYUtv(!)

Not Available on DVD from Netflix.
Available streaming on Netflix.
Not Available from Redbox.
This blurb caught my eye: “It’s the 1960s. The height of the Cold War. The rural town of Granite Flats, Colorado, suddenly becomes a hotbed for mystery and intrigue.” (IMDb) A little more research reveals that this is an original, scripted drama from the folks at Brigham Young University TV. That’s interesting in its own right. Apparently the show has been on for BYUtv for the last three season, but now they have partnered up with Netflix to screen the whole show. To be honest, the few trailers I can find feel a little “after school special” to me, but I want to give it a fair shake because I love this era.
On IMDb here.

Extraterrestrial (2014) NR

Available on DVD from Netflix.
Available streaming on Netflix.
Not Available from Redbox.
This looks fairly average, but I do love anything with Michael Ironside in it.
On IMDb here.

(NO LONGER) IN THEATERS:

Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) R

Not yet Available on DVD from Netflix.
Not yet Available streaming on Netflix.
Available from Redbox.
Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult
[UPDATE] I had my doubts for the first 15-20 minutes, but in the end I came out stoked about this movie. The visuals are stunning. (I can close my eyes and “see” the sandstorm sequence.) The tone is much closer to Mad Max and The Road Warrior than to Beyond Thunderdome. The story is fine, but it’s the spectacle that will impress you. Don’t wait for it to come to DVD — this is one that deserves to be seen on the big screen.
On IMDb here.

Every Secret Thing (2015) R

Available on DVD from Netflix.
Not yet Available streaming on Netflix.
Available from Redbox.
Diane Lane, Elizabeth Banks, Dakota Fanning
I’ve not seen any previews for this on TV or in the theaters, which surprises me a bit, considering it opens Friday. Looks suspenseful. And I love what I see of the cast.

A detective looks to unravel a mystery surrounding missing children and the prime suspects: two young women who, seven years ago, were put away for an infant’s death. (From IMDb.)
On IMDb here.

~ON TV~

Wayward Pines | FOX | Thursdays | 9/8c | Starts this week, May 14th.

10 episodes

Available on DVD from Netflix.
Not yet Available streaming on Netflix.
Not Available from Redbox.
From the homepage:
“Imagine the perfect American town, beautiful homes, manicured lawns, children playing safely in the streets…Now imagine never being able to leave. You have no communication with the outside world. You think you’re going insane. You must be in Wayward Pines.”

“Based on Blake Crouch’s bestselling series of books and brought to life by M. Night Shyamalan. An “intense psychological thriller evocative of the classic hit Twin Peaks.””
UPDATE #1: I’m giving this orange status for now, based on one episode. I realized as I watched that I don’t really trust M. Night Shyamalan anymore. I adored The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable, but somewhere along the line, I realized that everythinghe’s done since is a trope, and there aren’t a lot of genuine twists to enjoy. I fear this is going to be like The Village, which was pretty and creepy, but essentially flat in the end.

UPDATE #2: I’m several episodes in now, and I think I hate it. I am willing to continue for a while longer, because I’m hoping things will become clear and/or something will happen to make it not so frustratingly bland. (A turn-around … I need a good turn-around.)
On IMDb here.

~***~

And that’s pretty much it for this week. I’m just coming off a four-day stint at the Paranormal Hotel, so I’m a bit worn out, but I hope to finish and post the next installment of Investigating a Haunting: Carlos Avery WMA, MN on Friday or Saturday. I also promised a little story to go along with a snapshot of an empty hotel room that I tweeted/facebooked a couple of days ago. (If everything goes just right, you might see that on Wednesday.) Right now, though, I have to catch-up to my word count goal for my novel project. Have a great week, Folks.

~***~

RECENTLY FEATURED ON MACABRE & MYSTERIOUS MEDIA

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.

Updated 2016.06.03


This Week in Macabre & Mysterious Media: April 6 – 12, 2015

Availability status updated on Aug 3, 2015.

~YOUR MUSICAL AUDITORY INTERLUDE~

Deathly Spirits: A Ghost Story (and cocktail recipe) from Ted Raimi

A huge thanks to my daughter, Pooka, for finding this and sharing it with me.

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

movie poster whiplash

[EDIT] Now that I’ve found and added the sneak peek video for the 8th season of Ancient Aliens, though, I’ve got to say the TRAILER (at the very least) is not to be missed.

(See below.)

~THE MOVIES~

NEW ON NETFLIX & IN REDBOX:

Nothing exciting in the releases this week, but The Babadook is coming next week! Wait, here’s something: A movie called Monsters: Dark Continent will be coming to theaters soon. I’ll share that next week. Right now, you might want to check out its forerunner. (What’s the the correct name for a movie that spawns a sequel?)

Monsters (2010) R

Available on DVD from Netflix.
Available streaming on Netflix.
Not Available from Redbox.
This film has surprisingly good reviews. Not sure how I missed it entirely back in 2010.
On IMDb here.

Whiplash (2014) R

Available on DVD from Netflix.
Not yet Available streaming on Netflix.
Available from Redbox.
I forgot to mention Whiplash last week. It’s not horror, of course, but it’s definitely intense and suspenseful. And weirdly inspiring for artist types.
On IMDb here.

Housebound (2014) NR

Available on DVD from Netflix.
Available streaming on Netflix.
Not Available from Redbox.
O.M.G. This one is fantastic. I’m not even done watching it yet, but I had to pause it so I could come here and add it to the list. Because I missed it on Monday this week, I’ll feature it next week too.
On IMDb here.

NO LONGER IN THEATERS:

Ex machina (2015) R

Available on DVD from Netflix.
Not yet Available streaming on Netflix.
Available from Redbox.
UPDATE: It took me a couple of weeks after posting this entry to get to this one, but it was one of the best movies I saw in the month of April. This is scifi with a generous dollop of straight-up horror that takes over the middle of the film … in a good way. I have an issue with A.I. that goes all the way back to A.I. (2001) and this movie did not soothe me at all. There is just no good reason to be pursuing such technology. Decent acting. Interesting visuals. A head full of thoughts when you leave the theater. All in all, a good entertainment value.
On IMDb here.

~ON TV~

Ancient Aliens | HISTORY (not H2) | Fridays | 9/8c

(Eighth season begins April 10th.)
I cannot wait! This is my favorite sleep aid of them all.
Webpage here.

CANCELLED: The Returned | A&E | Mondays | 10/9c 

(First season complete; there will be no second season … on A&E)
I’m catching up with this series this week. I missed it when it came out, but luckily all the episodes are available On Demand through my cable provider. To be honest, I had it confused with ABC’s Resurrection, which I tried and abandoned last year. This show has nothing to do with that. It is an American version of a French television series which began in 2012 and went on to win an International Emmy for Best Drama Series in 2013. I’m three episodes in, and I’m liking it so far. If you have the opportunity to see it from the beginning, give it a shot. This one might have some legs.
On IMDb here.

BUT THERE’S AN UPDATE, OF A SORT: I didn’t go back for it after I wrote the above piece, and now I’ve learned that A&E has decided not to do a second season. That’s the bad news. The good news is that French version has become available on Netflix streaming. So let’s try that again, shall we?

The Returned / Les revenants – FRENCH TV SERIES (subtitled)

Available on DVD from Netflix.
Available streaming on Netflix.
Not Available from Redbox.
On IMDb here.

The Lizzy Bordon Chronicles | Lifetime | Sundays | 9/10c

(First season complete; there will be no second season. Not yet on Netflix.)
Sorry I missed this, Guys. I’m not a Lifetime watcher, but I’m thinking of giving this one a go, because I love Christina Ricci.
EDIT: Ok, I’ve given it about 15 minutes. So far I see two characters that I could maybe love, existing in a show that might be too chaotic and experimental for my tastes.
On IMDb here.

The first full episode is available online right now, at Lifetime.
The movie that came first is available on Netflix streaming now too.

~***~

INDEX TO ALL MACABRE & MYSTERIOUS MEDIA FEATURES HERE

The color of each 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.


Macabre Media: Behold the Darkness, Fit to Write, Pandemic, The Theory of Everything & The Imitation Game

Today, in Minnesota, we are having our first winter snowstorm of the season, and it’s a doozy. Some parts of the metro are expected to get more than a foot of snow. Before the snow, there was sleet, so the roads are awful. Also, the temperatures are dropping fast and the wind is picking up. It honestly doesn’t look too bad right here where I live, but I’m dreading going to fetch my boy from work.

The shift to winter-time (the end of daylight savings time) has been kicking my butt. I lose all energy with the sunset, which does not work for me. I need my late-night hours to be productive. My son and I came up with the idea to close the blinds and turn on all the lights in the apartment at about 4-4:30. This trickery seems to be helping, at least a little.

I’m trying other strategies to get past my general malaise, too, so I’ve been preoccupied with health & wellness this last week. That, too, seems to be working. The good news is I got some fiction writing done today and I’m still feeling pretty good, even though it’s deeply dark and treacherous out there. I’m hopeful for the coming week.

NOW:

YOUR MUSICAL INTERLUDE: Behold the Darkness by Medwyn Goodall

I know this is on the soundtrack of some game I’ve played, but I can’t put my finger on it.
If you, like me, need this song for your writing playlist it can be downloaded in MP3 at Amazon, for 99 cents HERE.

*****

MY FIT TO WRITE TEAM AT SPARK PEOPLE

I’ve mentioned the fitness and weight loss community called Spark People before. (Back in February, I wrote the post ‘Resolutions Review: How Spark People helped me lose 10 pounds in 11 weeks without dieting.‘)

There isn’t much overlap between that world and this one, but I thought I’d share the project I’ve been working on over there. I intend to grow it slowly, and mostly by invitation. (If you’re part of my regular blog crew, you write well enough for me to want you in the group, if you have an interest.)  It’s sucked up a lot of time to get it set up, but it’s well organized now so it should be easy to run and use. It should help keep me aware of my physical needs this winter.

fit to write collage

Wanted: Dedicated writers who need to develop & maintain a healthy lifestyle. Let’s build a community centered on being Fit to Write. Check out “Welcome Letter” in the general forum on the team page.

*****

PANDEMIC — A cooperative board game

pandemic_new_ed_

My son used some of his tip money to buy a new game and I am completely addicted. My family has been playing several times a week. I don’t have a competitive bone in my body, so the cooperative nature of this game means I’m actually having FUN. We’ve managed to win a few times. Here’s the description from the game designer’s site:

Four diseases have broken out in the world and it is up to a team of specialists in various fields to find cures for these diseases before mankind is wiped out.
Players must work together, playing to their characters’ strengths and planning their strategy of eradication before the diseases overwhelm the world with ever-increasing outbreaks. But the diseases are outbreaking fast and time is running out: the team must try to stem the tide of infection in diseased areas while also towards cures. A truly cooperative game where you all win or you all lose.

Source: This is from the same company that gave us Carcassonne.
Cost: approximately $25 – $40, depending on where you get it. (We got ours at Barnes & Nobel, but you can also order it from Amazon.)
Players: 2 – 4, working together against the game
Special Features: This is a good-looking game, with quality game pieces. It has fantastic replay-ability, because each player randomly selects a new specialist role for each game. Expansions are available.

& LATER:

We are STILL waiting on Horns. I’m afraid we may have missed it. It played two weekends ago, in one local art house. We intended to go this weekend, but it was already gone. This week, it’s way up in Duluth. We saw St. Vincent instead. (Which was really good, if just a tiny bit sappy. The skill of the actors in it, though, saved it.) This weekend we’ll probably go to Before I Go to Sleep, before that disappears.

At St. Vincent, we did see two trailers for movies we’re excited about. Granted, their subject matter stretches the boundaries of the “paranormal” theme here at the blog, but if Stephen Hawking and Allen Turing aren’t “alongside, near, beyond, altered, contrary to” normal, I don’t know who is.

I’m pretty sure these films will be around for a while, once they finally open. (Oscar bait, anyone?)

THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING

PG-13
Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, Tom Prior
Release date: playing now in select theaters.

(Local folks: it’s at the Edina Theater this week.)

*****

THE IMITATION GAME

PG-13
Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley
Release date: November 28th (in select theaters)

Here’s how this works:
If an item is posted in the NOW section, I have seen (or in some way experienced) it, and am actively recommending it. NOW items are immediately available to you if you have access to the same basic services I do.
If an item is posted in the & LATER section, it may mean that it has not yet been released, but it may also mean I have become aware that something of potential interest is currently available, but have not yet sat down with it.