Oct 20, 2018

Review: "Halloween" (2018) Revives the Franchise With Meaningful Scares

Scene from Halloween (2018)
For horror fans, there's few title sequences that capture the excitement quite like the one in John Carpenter's original Halloween. Released in 1978, it was a sight of a glowing pumpkin which felt even eerie when paired with Carpenter's unnerving score. 40 years and umpteen reboots later, the sequence opens with something a bit cheekier. The song is the same, but the pumpkin first appears flat, as if the life has been sucked out of it. Over the course of the credits, it grows, inflating with purpose that ends with a close-up on the jack-o-lantern's eye, which looks eerily like antagonist and serial killer icon Michael Meyers. It's a subtle clue to the film's desire to resuscitate a mocked franchise, and it works better than it has any right to. This is a Halloween sequel that puts aside silliness in favor of genuine horror, and it works at creating one of the most interesting slasher movies of the year. It isn't just about kills. This time, it's also personal.

Oct 15, 2018

Channel Surfing: Camping - "Pilot"

Scene from Camping
Welcome to a new column called Channel Surfing, in which I sporadically look at current TV shows and talk about them. These are not ones that I care to write weekly recaps for and are instead reflections either on the episode, the series, or particular moments. This will hopefully help to share personal opinions as well as discover entertainment on the outer pantheon that I feel is well worth checking out, or in some cases, shows that are weird enough to talk about, but should never be seen.

Oct 9, 2018

TV Retrospective: "Better Call Saul" - Season 4

Scene from Better Call Saul
The audience for the Breaking Bad spin-off Better Call Saul are a patient crowd. While everyone knows where Saul Goodman, formerly known as Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk), will end up, nobody is sure how he got there. Over the course of the previous three season, Jimmy has been flirting with antihero status in the face of his do-gooder brother Chuck (Michael McKean). However, there hasn't been an outright shift into Saul Goodman: the ABQ huckster who is a "criminal" lawyer. Over the course of its fourth season, things felt like they escalated quicker than it had in the past, finally pushing Jimmy into situations that would require him to be the corrupt yet lovable man who will come to dominate skeezy ads and eventually work with the likes of Walter White and Jesse Pinkman. While the previous three seasons have required strong patience that was more emphasizing character development, here is where things finally shift and the name "Saul Goodman" finally gets mentioned. It's been a long road, but this season has been all the more rewarding because of the wait.

Oct 3, 2018

At 10 Years Old, "Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist" is Still a Rocking Film Waiting to Be Found

Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist
It's hard for younger generations to believe, but there was a time between 2007 and 2010 where Michael Cera was being pitched as a romantic lead. Yes, Arrested Development's Michael Cera, the guy more known for being awkward than traditionally handsome. You could blame the back-to-back hits of Superbad and Juno for raising him to that indie chic status. However, there was something to the persona that worked so well in director Lorene Scafaria's Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist: a film that finds two high school teenagers falling in love as they scout New York for a secret performance by Where's Fluffy. It's one of those films more that stumbles through scenarios than any deeper plot, but it's also one of the most affecting young romances of the decade thanks in large part to Cera's chemistry with co-star Kat Dennings, as well as a cast of comedians you may or may not know through Judd Apatow works. At 10 years old, the film is still an endearing little oddball about love, youth, and trying to find purpose.

Oct 2, 2018

Podcast Portal: Halloween Unmasked

Welcome to Podcast Portal: a spontaneous column that will highlight podcasts of all genres that are lesser known or new shows that are worth giving a listen. With the medium continuing to grow, it is hard to acknowledge all of them. However, I am going to try and find as many noteworthy titles as possible to share and hopefully expand your mind to the greatest growing medium out there. If you have any podcast that you feel is worth adding to the Podcast Portal, please make sure to inform me whether through the comments or through an e-mail (information in sidebar).