Amazon Has Renewed The Expanse!

Forgive me TV Gods for I have sinned. After loving every minute of the first season of Syfy's The Expanse, I never continued with the second season. I don't have cable and by the time I had realized it was back, most of the season had passed. It became a show that I kept wanting to pick back up. I just never got around to it.

And yes I know, people like me are why this gem of a show was canceled at SyFy. But in my defense, Canadian ratings don't affect a US network choosing to cancel a TV show. So blame my American equivalents who let this gem of a show slip by in the ratings in this The Golden Age of TV.

But the guilt of The Expanse's death is no longer weighing on me because after the show's Stans rallied and have convinced Amazon to pick the show up for its 4th season. Apparently the head of Amazon also stans the show!

Now that it's renewed, I guess I will have to get caught up on the show.

The Toni Collette Emoji

Never have I ever: felt more emotionally invested in an Emoji as I have with the Toni Collette Emoji being used to promote her new horror film Hereditary. 

The film, which is shrouded in mystery (and which I have actively avoided all but the first trailer), is about a woman dealing with the death of her mother. 

The hype for the film has been absolutely through the roof since it screened at Sundance. Many are calling it the scariest film they have seen in years. While I normally try to manage my hype levels, I've loved most of the films that have been lauded as the scariest thing in years after debuting at festivals. See: It Follows, The Babadook, The Witch. 

And of course, anything with Toni Collette is worth seeing. Since her Academy Award nomination for The Sixth Sense, she's done kept up with roles in horror and genre projects. I especially enjoyed her in the Fright Night remake (which grew on me after my initial dislike upon its release), Krampus (which was an absolutely nasty delight) and the underrated Hitchcock (where she plays Hitchcock's longtime assistant Peggy Robertson).

Seeing her immortalized as a screaming Emoji, makes me wish I could have her all the time, not just when using the hashtags #Hereditary, #IGotItFromMyMother, #ToniCollette and my favorite #SatanicGrandma

Check out the trailer below. Hereditary opens in theatres June 8th.

Somebody's Killing Puppets

I am inordinately excited for the latest from Brian Henson, son of the late great Jim Henson, father of The Muppets. The Happytime Murders is a raunchy cop comedy chock full of puppets trying to suck Melissa McCarthy's non-existent dick.

Not since Meet the Feebles have we seen this much dirty puppetry! With some great humans being directed by the man who brought us The Muppet Christmas Carol AND Muppet Treasure Island, Happytime Murders has future cult classic written all over it!

Mustaches and Slashers and Gay Porn, Oh My!

I loves me some Pedro Almodovar, so when I saw that Vulture referred to the film as what the auteur might have made of a retro slasher, I was in. Let alone My New Plaid Pants likening it to something by Canada's own Homo-Provocateur Bruce LaBruce, I knew I was in for a treat of a trailer. In addition to serving some fantastic and authentic 70s vibes, the film is also giving me shades of Argento and De Palma. The trailer plays like they were all at some fancy director party, and found some quaaludes in a couch cushion and went to town.

It has everything! Mustaches! Vanessa Paradis' tooth gap! (Who does better work in just the trailer than her ex-hubby Johnny Depp has done in years.) Gay porn! Murder! A queer leading lady who may be both killer and or victim! What isn't to love! And without Harvey Weinstein around to buy the rights only to shelve the film (still bitter about French cult classic Livide), fingers crossed it will get a decent sized limited release!

Check out the trailer right now!  

Tully [REVIEW]

It is fitting that I saw Tully on Mother’s Day. With my own mom in a different city, it seemed fitting to celebrate mothers with a film that is such an unflinching and honest portrait of the difficult and beautiful role these women play in our lives. Director Jason Reitman and Diablo Cody reunite for the third time in what is possibly my favorite of their collaborations. Tully acts as a kind of conclusion to an unofficial trilogy comprised of Juno, Young Adult and Tully.

The basic premise of the film is pretty straight forward. Marlo is a mom of two, who is expecting a third any day now. Her son, who is in kindergarten has a plethora of emotional needs as a result of a yet to be named disorder which seems to be on the autism spectrum. Charlize Theron delivers an astonishingly raw performance. Watching the film, I wanted nothing more than to draw her a bath, take the kids to the park and give her a moments peace. Something she doesn’t seem to have had since the birth of her second child.

Marlo’s stresses come to a head when the baby arrives and she finds herself completely overwhelmed by her children’s needs. At her breaking point, she concedes to a gift offered by her brother, a night nanny named Tully.

Tully, played by McKenzie Davis is effortlessly cool, while also somehow managing to know exactly what newborn Mia needs, but more importantly what Marlo needs. She whisks in and essentially saves Marlo. She dotes on the baby, cleans the house and leaves flowers in a vase on the table. She bakes cupcakes for Marlo to take in for her son’s class. She is the life line to a woman who was drowning in the tide of her own life.

I won’t get into the various twists that the movie slowly unfolds for the viewer. And while I’m not about to spoil them, the twists aren’t what make this movie what it is. Many writers can pull the rug out from under you in the final act. The dialogue is possibly Cody’s best yet. The stand outs for me are Marlo’s interactions with the school administrator. It’s the perfect balance of wit, combined with the thoughts most people don’t say out loud. But then most people aren’t spiralling as result of lack of sleep, stress and general and complete physical exhaustion.

At the center of the film is Charlize Theron doing some of her best work yet. As Marlo she is covered in metaphorical wounds. From the lives she could have had, the lovers left in the past, the ones earned protecting her son from his own anxieties. Marlo is at the center of the film, almost always in frame. We see her at her bock rottom, and we see her at her idealized self. Throughout it all, Theron imbues her with a sense of realness. Of a woman who can carry the wait on her shoulders, but who suffers deeply as a result of the burden. Years from now, we'll still be talking about this performance. While the film may be overlooked in favor of flashier fare come election season, history will remember this powerhouse performance alongside her roles Aileen Wuornos and Grand Imperator Furiosa.

 Once you are done collecting all of your emotions when the end credits roll, call your Mom. She loves you and could probably stand to hear how much you love and appreciate the whole giving you life thing.

Riverdale:Prisoners [TV]

This week's episode was a tense affair, although I'm heart broken we didn't get a reference to Prisoner - The Love Theme from The Eyes of Laura Mars by Barbara Streisand. Instead this week's episode is named for the haunting film by Denis Villeneuve. This week, several people are held prisoner, with varying results. However, we also see the film's themes play out, with our characters embracing violent ends to do what they feel is needed to protect their loved ones.

Spoilers ahead, so you have been warned. Now let's break down what the gang got up to on this week's episode of Riverdale.

With the violent death of Midge Clump last week, we see her funeral, with the entire town out to stand vigil for the slain teen. Cheryl, who was apparently quite close with the fallen Vixen, sings a solemn Rogers and Hammerstein song, with the cheer squad all clad in matching black uniforms, complete with black pom poms. She ends with a warning that like the Furies of ancient Greece, they will not stop until Midge's killer is punished.

After the funeral, Sherrif Keller who while handsome, obviously lacks any tacked, tries to assure Midge's mom they will catch whoever did this. For that, he earns himself a slap. Go, Mrs. Klump! We see Kevin rush to Dad's side, wearing an amazingly plaid wool coat that stands out instantly among the solid blacks of everyone else's funeral gear.

With the town turning on Keller, who is an obvious obstacle for The Lodges, Hermione shows up to Cheryl's house, when Veronica refuses to be involved in whatever scheme Boris and Natasha are working on. Side note: the way her parents look at her when she makes these kinds of quips is priceless. Hermione recruits Cheryl to pen an op-ed for the paper (which Hermione now owns), calling for Sheriff Keller's resignation.

Soon, Kevin is interrupting cheer practice, wild-eyed and demanding Cheryl issue a retraction for smearing his father. Cheryl apparently still bitter that Kevin sat there while he Mommie Dearest told her she couldn't do the musical. She is defiant as always and stands by what she wrote. I mean, people do keep dying on the Sherrif's watch, starting with her brother and most recently a close friend, so she kinda has a point? Later, we see Kevin come home to find his Dad finishing off a bottle of whiskey. He explains that he's been asked to step down by the Deputy Mayor. If Fred wins, he'll get his job back. If Hermione wins, he's out for good. But who will take up the investigation of The Black Hood? An outsider, says the now former Sherrif. I don't know though, I feel like it would take over 25 episodes to get the FBI up to date on all the shenanigans that we've seen in Riverdale so far.

Someone else searching for The Black Hood is Archie. No sooner has someone expressed concern that he might go searching the old janitor/alleged Black Hood's old home, then he is there, walking towards it like Marilyn Burns in some sort of Riverdale Chainsaw Massacre. He very quickly finds himself face to mask with a hooded figure. Before he can discern that it definitely isn't THE Black Hood, he's jumped by two other masked figures. Turns out, it's uber creep and serial rapist Bill Cosby Nick St Clair!

Turns out Nick is pissed about the whole massive beating he endured both at the hands of Veronica and The Pussycats, which bruised his ego as much as his face, and the one he got courtesy of Archie. The later beating has apparently left him with a limp, which must make a great story at whatever 4Chan for the 1% meetings he attends weekly. He has kidnapped Archie to get a cool million out of Veronica. When poor Ronnie can't find that much in the family safe, Nick offers an indecent proposal. Veronica can pay Archie's ransom by spending the night with him at his hotel. Meanwhile, Nick has told Arche he plans on killing him once he's done defiling Veronica while live streaming it via hidden camera so Archie can see it before he comes to finish the ginger off.

But this is Riverdale, so instead of a rape followed by murder, Archie escapes through brute abuse of the chair he is tied to. When he breaks the door to the hotel room down, he finds Nick on the floor. Veronica, who never met a moment of dramatic irony she didn't love, roofied Nick. She proceeds to hold him ransom and collect a cool million from his parents. When Hiram tries to chastise her for the potential drama this may incur for the family, she claps back, pointing out the St. Clair's hadn't even heard about Archie's kidnapping, meaning Hiram was blowing smoke when he said he was trying to appeal to them to free Archie.

In The Study, during another of those sexual tension filled scenes with Hiram, Archie admits he wants to "earn his bones", by killing The Black Hood. While he claims to want to protect the town, it's clear that vengeance is on his mind. But violence will only beget violence, as we have seen time and time again on Riverdale.

Jughead and Betty are convinced the killer is actually a copycat. Their number one suspect? Chick obviously. I mean how can they not suspect him? He is the creepiest human in town. Creepier even that Nana Blossom. So off they go to investigate. They meet with the evil nun who runs the orphanage where Charles Cooper was left all those years ago. The same place where two weeks ago, Toni broke Cheryl out of an illegal conversion camp. Betty leverages this as a way to get access to her lost brother's file. Though why hasn't someone maybe told Kevin's dad about this place? It's definitely illegal in New York state. The file has a photo of a boy who definitely does not look like a serial killer, and who is definitely not Chick.

When Betty arrives home with Jughead in tow, they find Alice in the kitchen, with Chick. They confront him, and after playing the Betty is gaslighting me card one last time, Betty whips out a photo of the real Charles. Next thing they know, he's grabbed a knife, slicing Alice's hand and going for Jughead like he's Vernita Green or something. But Betty does not fuck around. She grabs something and clubs him like the stone cold bad ass we know her to be.

In the episode's third kidnapping, Alice, Jughead and Betty tie him to a chair in the basement. Soon, he's gone full Hannibal Lecter. He explains that he met the real Charles on the street. It's implied they were lovers, or at least partners in crime. He says one day Charles came to The Cooper's door. Alice slammed the door in his face. He came home and overdosed that night. Madchen Amick embodies the horror and shame Alice feels at this news. She feels responsible for everything. The weight of what could have been crushing her soul. She seeks out FP, and confesses everything.

Meanwhile, Betty and Jughead head to the "hostel" aka sleazy motel where they found Chick. They question a nice older latina woman who explains that she recognizes the boy in the photograph. He always greeted her in Spanish and helped her with her bags. She says he lived with "the bad one" and that they fought constantly. One day, the nice boy was gone. She saw bloody sheets in the trash but kept quiet out of fear.

Soon, FP is at the house and quickly removes Jughead who is beating on Chick for information. He explains it isn't their place. If the ladies need help to get rid of the body, they are there for them. But what they do with him in the meantime, is between Betty and Alice. Betty gets a call from The Black Hood, with that insane ringtone. He wants Chick, one of the ultimate sinners of the town.

Soon, Hal is home and Alice finally confesses. She can't turn Chick in because she helped cover up the murder of the dude he killed in their kitchen.  As Alice explains things to Hal, I am assuming with the aid of some puppets cause he doesn't seem like he can follow otherwise, Betty heads to the basement. She pulls out Grundy's gun, and tells Chick they are going for a walk. She takes him to the graveyard, where she explains she isn't going to kill him. She's justn handing him over to The Black Hood. She calmly explains she will give him a head start, which he seems to think is a bluff. His face says this must be a joke, but as the hooded figure creeps closer, and Betty cooly counts the dwindling chances Chick has of survival. As he runs through the snow, we see Betty look on. She too has done what she thinks is the right thing, but it isn't about justice or protecting the people she loves. It's Dark Betty, wanting this imposter who broke her mother's heart open to suffer. It's truly chilling stuff.

When Betty gets home, Hal is gone. Alice says she is out looking for Betty. She tells her mom she dropped Chick off at the bus station. But we know what she did, and it seems she may finally have realised what many viewers have suspected, that her father may be the real Black Hood.

The Handmaid's Tale: June [REVIEW]

The second season of The Handmaid's Tale ventures into a story not yet told. Having ended at the same point as the novel, the first season ended with Offred aka June being driven off in a black van, to a fate unknown. As the second season's first episode opens, we see the shows answer to a question readers of the book in an unexpected sequence that epitomizes the power of the show both in terms of narrative and visuals. This is where we get into spoilers, so if you haven't seen it yet, turn back now. 

We open on June in the back of the big black van. Her fate is unknown to the subject and viewer alike. While we know in the book, June lived long enough to record her story on a series of cassettes. Where this van leads her to is answered in one of the series most gut-wrenching sequences to date. June is pulled from the back of the van, men with guns surround her as she is unloaded with the other handmaids. They are gagged with leather masks and violently herded down a concrete passageway. The horror and confusion fill the air, contrasting with the stark visuals of their red cloaks and white bonnets. The almost painting like manner in which everything is shot only makes it more horrifying, the beauty of the composition bringing the madness into stronger focus. The women scream and cry as they are beaten with the brunt end of rifles when they fall behind. Alma and June try to join hands, but Alma is tasered.

They are lead towards a light which reveals an abandoned stadium, when June turns around she sees three platforms each fitted with a row of nooses. An executioner marches along the gallows. Then a voice, Anne Dowd's Aunt Lydia bellows scripture as her voice echoes in the darkness that surrounds the floodlights that illuminate the platforms. The notes of Kate Bush's This Woman's Work becomes the haunting soundtrack to this macabre tableau.

Every actress in this scene sells the idea that they are being marched to their apparent death. Some are resigned, eyes vacant and hollow, the end to this nightmare in sight. Other's eyes are wild, like a cornered animal, not willing to die but without any choice or agency in the matter. We see June clasp her hands together in a silent prayer. Alma urinates herself in terror. When they are all fitted with nooses, we have all but forgotten that the show's title indicates that this can't possibly be it, where is the show without its titular handmaids? But without the safety net of the source material, anything is possible.

When the lever is pulled and they drop an inch but find themselves with nooses still loose, we see as shock, gratitude, blind shock and seething rage wash over the faces of the women. In voice-over, we hear June's prayer "Our father, who art in heaven... what the actual fuck?". At this point, the audience has a moment to catch it's breath before we continue to see just what is in store for June, while also seeing the beginning of the end of the USA and the rise of Gilead.

In flashbacks throughout the episode, we see June and Luke, blissfully unaware of what life has in store for them both. A normal morning conversation about Luke needing double A batteries and deodorant when June goes to Wallgreens throws us for a loop when she reminds him he needs to sign her prescription. "Do they really check it?" Luke asks, his tone that of a man who doesn't quite realize the world he has found himself living in. A world in which a woman has to get her husband to sign off on what we realize is her birth control prescription. She says, maybe she can go off of it? Luke is taken by surprise but is it's clear he would love to have another child. We know at this point, the birth rate has already been dropping dramatically since before Hannah was born.

Later June is staring out a window, half-heartedly reviewing rewrites, daydreaming about the possibility of a baby. When her coworker arrives to let her know her phone has been buzzing in the other room (but not without a creepy/sarcastic remark about the subject matter of June's work being sexy). The school has been calling. Hannah's fever has increased, and we learn the school has a strict policy on children being 48 hours without a fever before being at school. When they couldn't reach June, they called an ambulance, despite the nonserious nature of a kid with a bug.

At the hospital, the nurse repeatedly refers to June by Luke's last name despite June's corrections. She accuses June of giving Hannah Tylenol in order to circumvent the school's fever policy so she wouldn't have to miss work. The subtext is clear to June, as a mother, she is expected to devote herself entirely to Hannah, which means being a housewife without a career.

When she arrives home with a sick Hannah, Luke is there watching TV. Men with assault rifles opened fire on Congress. Martial law has been declared. When June goes to take Hannah to bed, Luke tells her there has been an explosion at the White House. On the TV, we see smoke and fire billowing from the building. The uncertain and terrifying new world before her, June's eyes are brimming with fear of the unknown future.

In the present, the handmaids are in a circle, arm extended holding a stone in the pouring rain, as punishment for their refusal to stone Janine to death in the season finale. When Aunt Lydia announces that June has a secret, that she is pregnant, she takes her stone, helps her to her feet and shields her from the cold rain with her umbrella. She has June taken to get a dry change of clothes and then in a scene that despite its strangeness, works so well thanks to the acting of Ann Dowd as Aunt Lydia. She goes to ring a church bell, rubbing her face against the rope, tears of joy in her eyes for the miracle of June's pregnancy.

She brings June soup, telling her she is eating for two. When June politely demures that she isn't hungry, Lydia takes her for a walk, threateningly pulling the chair out from under June. She takes her to the bellows of the Red Centre to meet Ofwyatt, a pregnant handmaid who drank drain cleaner and is now shackled to a chain, allowing her just enough room to make it from her bed to a rocking chair. She explains that this is the fate that awaits June if she refuses to be a good girl.

As June obediently eats her soup, the other handmaids are marched in and put in lines. As Lydia had said, they are to be punished. First up is Alma, who is marched to the kitchen of the cafeteria where Aunt Lydia has her handcuffed to the stove, before turning the gas burner on, burning her wrist. As she wails in agony, we see the faces of the other handmaids, knowing they will be next.

Later, we see June at the doctor's office. Serena Joy shows up with a warning. June's smart girl games won't be tolerated any longer. Before she can utter any further malevolent threats, The Commander, and the Doctor, along with some male technicians enter. They perform a vaginal ultrasound confirming the presence of the child. June watches nauseated as Fred and Serena marvel at this "miracle", the child they will take and raise as their own.

When they leave June to get dressed, of the technicians as he is leaving, refers to her by her real name. Thrown by this, she moves to dress and finds a key in her boot with a red square on it. She moves to a back door and finds the same red square above the doorknob. She unlocks it and follows the markers down the stairwell and into the basement. Eventually, she finds a flashlight and is running through the passageways of the hospital basement. Eventually, she ends up in the back of a refrigerated truck filled with the hanging corpses of livestock. Her ride ends at an abandoned warehouse where she is instructed to wait for someone to come. But someone is in the building awaiting her. It's Nick who orchestrated her extraction, using his May Day ties to secure her and their unborn child.

In the final moments, we see June burn her wings and habit. She cuts her hair, which had grown down her back in the time since she was taken to the Red Centre. Realizing she still bears the red tag on her ear that marks her as a fertile handmaid, she takes a pair of scissors and a series of bloody attempts cuts her ear so she can remove the tag, adding it to the fire and declaring her name and most importantly her freedom.

As someone who is a massive fan of the source novel and who desperately wanted to know what happened next, this episode satisfied in a lot of ways, while also setting up what should be another excellent season of the show. Elizabeth Moss continues to face act like no other, imbuing June with a fire and a rage that makes you believe she has what it takes to make it out of this nightmare alive.

The only thing to rival the excellent performances by its award-winning cast is the stunning visuals. Reed Morano who directed the first few episodes of the series is not involved this season, but her fingerprints are all over the show. The juxtaposition of extreme close-ups, displaying the anguish and suffering on the faces of these women and the wide shots that seem like classic paintings from an alternate timeline come to life. While the show is incredibly grounded, it is also highly stylized, with light, shadow, and color essential to building this world.

With 12 more episodes to go in the season, the first episode shows us that despite having moved beyond its source material, there is still plenty of stories to tell in the world of Gilead. Check back later this week for my review of the second episode of season 2, titled Unwomen, in which we see the fate of Emily after she stole a car and used it to attack several men.

10 Trippy Films for 420! [LIST]

It's April 20th, which means it's international get baked day! As many stoners and nerds alike know, some films are just better stoned. So in honor of what Wikipedia refers to as an international day of counterculture, The Movie Cult presents 10 trippy films to watch high this 420! Or any other day of the year, you do you! 

Alex Garland's visually stunning scifi film just came out earlier this year and it's already cemented itself as one of the great science fiction films of our time. With some of the best visuals on film in the past decade, it's perfect for 420.

Being John Malkovich
The story of a man who discovers a passageway that leads into the mind of actor John Malkovich is a trip even when sober. Why not give yourself over to the madness, light a spliff and next thing you know you'll be seeing Malkovich's everywhere!

Beyond The Black Rainbow
Category Is: Canadian Art House Sci-Fi! This completely insane and vastly underrated gem tells the story of a young psychic being held captive by a mad scientist. Chock full of haunting hallucinatory imagery, it is the perfect film for those looking for something truly out there. 

Doctor Strange
While the Marvel Cinematic Universe is at this point pretty mainstream (Billions at the box office and even my Mom binged Jessica Jones), Doctor Strange is probably one of the weirdest mind trip to hit number one at the box office. Open your mind and watch Butterscotch Cabbagepatch and Tilda Swinton take on multiple dimensions and fight to stop Hannibal from feeding the world to an interdimensional being.

Donnie Darko: The Director's Cut
This tale of teenage angst, wormholes, and 4th-dimensional physics is a cult classic among stoners for a reason. Featuring the sullen Jake Gyllenhaal as Donnie, the director's cut inserts a ton of the physics into the film and cranks up the weird. 

From Beyond
Stuart Gordan, one of the masters of horror delivers a neon pink goo filled nightmare with his adaptation of HP Lovecraft's short story. Stimulate your glands with some ganja and next thing you know you too might find yourself seeing interdimensional beings and being warped into something unrecognizable. 

Dario Argento's candy-colored Fantasma already pop off the screen. After smoking a joint, the film will melt your brain with its bold use of color, light, and blood. Just don't smoke too much or you might become convinced your new ballet school ballet school is home to an evil coven of witches... Oh, wait?!

The Fountain
The films mind-blowing visuals are achieved using macro photography instead of the more common CGI. The result is truly some of the best sci-fi ever made. Combine that with the 3 different time periods, and the plot which doesn't treat it's audience like they can't follow, it's a perfect movie for stoners and occasional tokers alike. 

The Shining
This list wouldn't be complete without a contribution from the meticulous auteur Stanley Kubrick. For my money, The Shining is the perfect blend of suspense and bizarre visuals. Eat a cookie and check in to the Overlook, we've been waiting for you.

The Fall
Tarsem Singh is visually speaking the most underrated filmmaker working. His globe-trotting fairytale makes for the perfect film for 420. The sumptuous visuals, exotic locals, and incredibly clever camera tricks are stunning but won't overwhelm. 

Honorable Mentions:
There are so many more films that would work depending on your tastes. I'd be remiss if I didn't give a shout out to some more films that would be great for a stimulating screening on 420. Movies that almost made the list included: Videodrome, Melancholia, Return to Oz, mother!, Gremlins 2, The Big Lebowski, The Devils, The Cell, The Dark Crystal, The Holy Mountain, 2001: A Space Odessey, Enter The Void, Fantasia, Altered States, Naked Lunch, Enemy and The Science of Sleep.

Top 5 Moments from Riverdale: Carrie The Musical [TV]

The CW's answer to Twin Peaks/Dark Archie series Riverdale served up one of it's best episodes to date tonight with Chapter Thirty-One: A Night To Remember! 

Everyone's favorite small town gay who likes cruising in fox forest in short shorts, Kevin Keller is directing Riverdale High's school musical! And since this is Riverdale, of course, they are doing Carrie: The Musical! Yes, that is right, of all the cult classic musicals, they are serving us Carrie White on Broadway! The much maligned and reworked stage musical based on Stephen King's chilling novel and the classic Brian De Palma adaptation sees what is probably the widest audience in its history. Without further adieu, let's break down the top 10 moments from tonight's episode! 

Obviously spoilers, so please be aware!

1. The Gang is serving 70s nostalgia realness! As Kevin tells his new behind the scenes documentarian Jughead, his vision is going Full Depalma with the costuming. The result gives us such goodies as Veronica in full Latina Chris Hargensen fantasy. Betty of course with a great 70s blowout as goodie Sue Snell. And Toni "Antonia" Topaz as Norma, complete with rainbow tee and iconic red ballcap. 

2. Eat your heart out Glee! Joining the ranks of shows like Buffy The Vampire Slayer in delivering a stellar musical episode is tough. But thanks to some pretty stellar singers across the board, Riverdale sings the house down. Aside from characters we already know can sing (Cheryl, Veronica, Josie, Betty, and Archie), we also see characters like Kevin, Toni, and Chuck. And not to mention Ethel, who has a VOICE (and who we agree was born to play Carrie White) and Alice who we will talk about soon.

3. Cheryl's Journey Continues! The shows decision to take the ultimate mean girl and queen bee Cheryl, and build her into a nuanced layered character, was genius. She has suffered at the hands of her family. From an early age, she was told that she was sick and evil for her same-sex urges. To give her a coming out arc. Having her love interest break her out of conversion therapy in one of the series most romantic and heartbreaking moments. And thankfully, that story isn't going anywhere. After taking the part through equal parts sheer force of will and musical prowess, we see her mother snatch the musical away from her out of spite and cruelty. So when Cheryl shows up in Carrie drag, covered in blood, clutching a candelabra and threatening to burn this mother down, it felt earned. Even if it was also quite possibly the most extra way a person has ever demanded emancipation from their family ever.

4. Madchen Amick in Piper Laurie Drag! In possibly the most meta thing the show has done to date, Kevin casts Alice Cooper (Madchen Amick) as Margaret White. Madchen played the iconic Shelley on Twin Peaks, along with Piper Laurie, who famously brought the deranged Margaret to life in the 1976 film version of Carrie. While the show gives us other great Alice Cooper Lewks™ including a leather and snake print number to try and hook up with FP at Pops, it's her black church cape ensemble and white nighties topped with wild tightly curled hair that had us gagging.

5. The Black Hood, In The Closet with All Of The Sharp Objects! While we are robbed of a proper rendition of the school musical, we are treated to the shocking reveal! While I knew something dramatic was going to happen, I definitely would not have guessed that the final moments of the episode would involve Cheryl's understudy Midge being revealed on stage, stabbed through with countless knives and other sharp objects in an homage to the fate of Margaret White. What's even more, the message written in blood by The Black Hood, who it turns out was behind the threatening letters Kevin received, and the sandbag that almost smushed Cheryl earlier in the episode. While it would be wrong to hope that Midge's death could lead to a love triangle between Kevin, Fangs, and Moose, I will say that she hadn't been present enough to really feel like her death is a loss from the audience's perspective. But her death does seem like it will be a turning point for the season, returning to the hunt for The Black Hood.

And then there's everything else that happened!

  • Betty was a total bitch to Veronica, but then Archie convinced her Veronica isn't a total Slytherin and maybe having Voldemort for a dad is why she sometimes does terrible things? So why not makeup?
  • Alice, feeling all kinds of ways after FP's rejection, somehow manages to call Hal and next thing you know, he's gonna move back? Paging The Black Hood, I have your next victim!
  • Archie returned the fancy car Hiram got him and sold his music equipment to get a clunker for him and Fred to fix up. The fight for who gets to be Archie's daddy continues!
  • Kevin is kind of a total diva when directing? But also his minor interactions with Fangs are golden! Where's my tea?
  • Speaking of Fangs, he was the last person we see with Midge backstage before she ends up looking like St. Sebastian.
With so many suspects, it's anyone's guess on who the killer(s) is(are). With 4 episodes left, it looks like we are in for lots of twists and turns, not to mention buckets of blood in the coming weeks. Check back next week as we talk Chapter Thirty-Two: Prisoners!

You Were Never Really Here [REVIEW]

You Were Never Really Here is an artful, bleak story which showcases both Lynne Ramsey and Joquin Pheonix's talents in this violent and heart wrenching film.

Most movie fans will be familiar with the work of Lynne Ramsey through her film We Need to Talk About Kevin, the bleak and often times heartbreaking film which follows Tilda Swinton as a mother dealing with her inability to connect with her troubled son Kevin and the aftermath of his violent actions. While it was a difficult film to watch, Swinton delivers a surprisingly subdued performance alongside a star-making turn by Ezra Miller as the titular Kevin.

Keeping with her previous film's dark content, You Were Never Really here is not a feel-good movie by any means. However, it does showcase an absolutely stellar performance by Joquin Phoenix opposite the haunting Ekaterina Samsonov.

Phoenix plays a hitman who is tasked with extraditing the daughter of a politician, who after running away has been kidnapped by sex traffickers. What he discovers is a twisted web of powerful men who exploit and abuse their power to sickening ends.

The film is an exercise in show, don't tell. We never really know the full scope of the childhood of Pheonix's Joe. We see brief flashes to his mother as a young woman, hiding under a table, of young Joe hiding in a closet, and the implication is that his father was an incredibly violent man. Joe, it seems shares that violence but seeks to use it as a tool for good. That isn't to say Joe is a good person. Ramsey doesn't paint him as a hero, but rather as a deeply disturbed man who expresses his violence towards a noble means.

We see flashes of dead women, piled like fish in a shipping crate and we can infer that they represent Joe's failure to save a girl he was sent to find. We never see the sexual assault shown on screen, instead, we see its effect in the haunted eyes of victims and rooms done up in pinks and yellows, with grown naked men who Joe violently bludgeons with a ball-peen hammer.

The film builds to a violent climax but ends in a manner that implies that Joe, nor his new charge will ever truly be free of the horrors they have seen.

You Were Never Really Here is playing in select cities, check your local theatre listings.

Drink Up! Marvel's Jessica Jones Renewed for Season 3 [TV]

Netflix has ordered a third season of Marvel's Jessica Jones! Based on the neo-noir comic series Alias, the series from Mellissa Rosenberg reimagined the meta hard-drinking PI and former superhero for the Marvel Cinematic Universe and in doing so, along with star Krysten Ritter, provided one of the most deeply affecting portraits of sexual trauma.

The first season, which explored the fall out from Jessica's time as a captive of Kilgrave aka The Purple Man. In the comics, a literally purple asshole who can make anyone do whatever he wants. While Alias was full of delightful meta moments, such as Jessica's high school crush on classmate Peter Parker, or that no one, not even bestie Captain Marvel noticed when she disappeared, the show traded the sly winks that worked so well in the comics, for a gritty nuanced take on Jessica.

Centering a show on an alcoholic survivor of sexual assault who just happens to be one of the strongest humans on earth seemed like a wild shot. But with it's noir tone, focus on the emotional fallout victims face after assault and a complex protagonist who's only real call to duty is making amends for the things Kilgrave has done in his attempts to torture (or if you ask him, woo) her out of a combination of revenge and sense of ownership over her.

Taking a brief foray into team up territory, Jessica joined former lover Luke Cage along with Daredevil, Iron Fist and everyone's favorite Night Nurse: Rosario Dawson's Claire Temple to fight the undead ninja cult The Hand, lead by Sigourney "There is Only Zhul" Weaver. While it was an enjoyable adventure, Jessica was often sidelined in favor of Daredevil and Iron Fist whose stories are more rooted in the Hand mythos.

In it's second season, the show doubled down on it's morally gray story telling. Exploring the origin of Jessica's powers, as well as the aftermath of the car crash that killed her family. While some felt the lack of a clearly defined villain hurt the show, many including myself think that the complex dynamics that ultimately lead to the reveal of who the true villain has been all along made for some of the most reward TV of the year. 

With a third season announced, it looks like a strong possibility that we will be seeing the conflicts among the core characters of Jessica, Malcolm, and Patsy play out in interesting ways given how each character was left at the end of season 2.

Based on it's current slate of Marvel properties, we will have to wait until after new seasons of Luke Cage (June 22nd), along with Iron Fist, Daredevil and new addition The Punisher which are each in various stages of production, before we see more of our favorite drunk PI, with a late 2019 debut seeming like a strong possibility.

VIA Deadline

A Quiet Place [REVIEW]

Of all the genres, sound plays one of it's biggest roles in Horror. With A Quiet Place, writer/director/actor/Daddy John Krasinski uses sound or rather a lack of it, to create incredible tension.

For those of you not familiar with the stellar marketing campaign or the trailers, clips etc. The film is about a family living in seclusion while trying to avoid making any sounds, as they are being hunted by creatures that track their prey using sound.

This review is going to have some vague spoilers but I won't ruin things. However, if you prefer to go in completely fresh, get yourself to the theatre before reading beyond this point.

The film opens with very little in the way of set up, quickly getting the viewer up to speed by visual cues and the behavior of the family at the centre of the film. They communicate using sign language (which makes sense as they have a deaf daughter), they walk barefoot on pre-laid paths of sand, and every movement is careful and measured. The opening scenes get the viewer hooked into the story and the world building is top notch. The characters immediately feel like a family you want to root for.

The opening scenes also show us that this movie isn't fucking around. After a flashforward, we see that the family is still living if not thriving in this new world order. Emily Blunt's character is almost due with a baby, which helps ratchet the tension up throughout while also giving us some truly heart-wrenching moments in between the action. In particular, I absolutely loved the way they answered the question of how do you possibly keep a newborn from crying and alerting the creatures.

The film plays out over a very tense hour and a half, but at times I felt that it showed it's hand with some heavy foreshadowing. Introducing elements that tell the audience "remember this, it's gonna be important". As someone who lives for movies, especially horror, these beats can sometimes take away from a movie but the acting was so good that it didn't hurt the experience when they followed through on those winks to the audience.

Speaking of acting, everyone gives it 110 percent. Emily and John who are married in real life, make you believe they would do anything and everything to protect their kids. The moments of love and caring, contrasting with the violence and anguish really pull at your heartstrings. It was especially nice that they cast a hearing impaired actress to play the daughter. It gave a sense of authenticity which helped sell the crazier genre elements of the film.

In a lot of ways, this felt like it would play well as a double feature with M. Night Shyamalan's Signs, which the film definitely owes a debt to. However whereas Signs' deus ex machina was an out of nowhere reveal, this movie definitely hand feeds the audience a major part of the ending. But again, with top-notch acting, it didn't matter that I figured it out before it happened.

If there is one thing that keeps this movie as a great movie rather than an instant classic, it's the film's score. Yes, large portions of the film are almost silent, aside from the ambient noises of the character's lives. However during moments that are filled with tension, too often the score overwhelms.

And I get why the film wasn't done without any score. It was obviously a struggle for the audience I saw it with to keep quiet, and without any score, the general audience would never be able to sit in absolute silence for an hour and a half. As it is, 5 minutes into the start of the film (which was over 20 minutes after the listed showtime thanks to trailers) a group of young women came in and sat one seat down from me with one constantly checking her phone and another munching like a tiny hippo. My friend and I moved down the row and it solved that problem.

Even moved from distracting patrons, the theatre had some noise bleed issues during the silent portions of the film that made it seem like there was a radio on in the background. Going full art house and only allowing diegetic sound would have made it nearly impossible for the film to get a wide and successful release, let alone topping the box office. However, the film nerd in me holds out hope for a home video release with the option to watch without the score.

What did you think of A Quiet Place? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Cinematic References in Annihilation [VIDEO]

Annihilation is arguably the best sci-fi film of the year so far. It offers interesting and unique visuals that marked it as a truly innovative film. At the same time, like most great films, it made reference to stylistic flourishes of several classic sci-fi films. 

As detailed in this wonderfully eerie video by Herrozzy, we see the visual parallels drawn from the the body horror of the Alien Franchise, and the meticulous framing of Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odessey. With several nods to Tarkovsky's Stalker and Solaris, and along with Steven Soderbergh's less favored George Clooney starring remake. Speaking of the subpar work that follows up much better material, Herrozzy manages to draw a comparison between the climax of the film, and the death of Cate Blanchette's Russian villainess from Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. 

Perhaps my favorite film that they draw reference in the video is Darren Aranofsky's very underrated historical/sci-fi/fantasy epic The Fountain. Aranofsky's visuals in that film are some of my favorite ever put to film and seeing them compared to Annihilation really drove home not only my love for both films. 

Alex Garland has shown us that he is truly the next sci-fi master with his work in Annihilation. Along with his previous work with Ex-Machina, and with being heavily involved in the production of Dredd, another great underrated film. He also wrote movies like 28 Days Later, Sunshine and Never Let Me Go. If anyone wants to come for Sunshine, they can meet me out back in the parking lot. Despite devolving into a pretty standard slasher in the third act, Sunshine was just a ton of fun and a great bleak sci-fi film!

With his next project being a limited series for FX called DEVS, more in the vein of Ex Machina, having everyone excited. I just hope that he returns to the hallucinogenic beauty of his work with Annihilation. Perhaps for a Swamp Thing movie?

Spoiler Warning: This video contains spoilers for Annihilation. 

New On Home Video! [April 10th]

 Check out what is new to DVD and Bluray today! We have cannibals, freaks, warriors and Daniel Day Lewis!

My Friend Dahmer Based on the critically acclaimed graphic novel, written by one of infamous Gay Cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer, this movie tells gives us a peek into Dahmer's life before he started killing, dismembering and eating men. 

Featuring former Disney star, and future Harvey Kinkle on The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina as the titular Dahmer, along with Anne Heche in the completely unhinged role of Mother Dahmer. An excellent movie which manages to make you both horrified and feel sad for teenage Dahmer. 

The Greatest Showman Hugh Jackman goes full tilt musical in the highly fictional and very catchy interpretation of PT Barnum, founder of one of the most popular circuses. Featuring Oscar-nominated numbers and a bevvy of freaks, it's the perfect musical for weirdos and Broadway lovers.  

Mohawk The classic subgenre of the revenge horror film, gets a fresh take with this period piece. Featuring an Aboriginal lead and lots of blood and violence, find out what all the critics were raving about after it's festival showings. 

The Phantom Thread Love him or hate him, there is no denying that Paul Thomas Anderson is a master of his craft. Daniel Day Lewis nabbed another Oscar nom for playing a designer. If you're over Lewis as I am, check it out for a fantastic performance by Lesley Manville. 

All of these can be found at your local video store, online and wherever you buy your physical media.

"Everything You've Heard About Me Is True" Solo: A Star Wars Story [TRAILER]

With less than 2 months before it hits theatres, we finally have a full trailer for Solo: A Star Wars Story! We finally get a better idea of the plot, as well as a better look at a lot of the characters.

Once again Lando steals the show. Donald Glover's take on Lando Calrissian is so instantly charismatic that I sincerely hope that he doesn't overshadow Alden Ehrenreich. As many know the production was full of rumor and controversy and with a limited filmography, many fans are nervous if he can pull off a decent Harrison Ford impression.

Chewbacca is a delight as always and I'm very excited to see him get fleshed out since so much of his story is part of the de-canonized "Legends" extended universe, with very little happening on screen aside from The Star Wars Holiday Special.

Rounding out the cast is The Khaleesi herself, Emelia Clarke and  Woody Harelson as Woody Harelson. Along with everyone's favorite androids who dream of electric sheep, Westworld's Thandie Newton and Marvel's The Vision aka Paul Bettany.

Speaking of droids, Pheobe Waller-Bridge as the first lady droid on the big screen (sorry BB8) as L3-37, who seems like she'll be a blast. It's nice to see them giving us a female droid and based on this trailer, she seems like a welcome addition to the ranks.

All in all, the trailer gives everyone a lot to hope for. Here's hoping the end of May is cause for celebration rather than an endless flood of click bait disguised as think pieces about Solo.

Check out the trailer, and share your thoughts in the comment section!

Michael B. Jordan Sets Fires: Fahrenheit 451 [TRAILER]

Last year brought us the magnificent Television adaptation of Margaret Atwood's terrifying dystopic novel about a woman forced to act as a handmaid, a sort of biblical surrogate/sex slave for the wealthy elite who rule in a dystopic Christian theocracy called Gilead, which was once the United States of America.

This year, we are getting another stunning adaptation of another classic dystopian novel with HBO's film adaptation of Fahrenheit 451. Written by Ray Bradbury (shout out to The Halloween Tree!), the novel is set in a future where firemen are tasked with burning books, to keep the masses docile and ignorant.

Long considered one of the most important dystopian novels, along with Handmaid's Tale, Brave New World and 1984. The novel was adapted in the 60s by Truffaut starring Julie Christie.

Starring Michael B. Jordan and Michael Shannon, who are both arguably at a high water mark in their careers. Jordan, in particular, has shown just how capable he is of making the audience empathize with someone who has done bad things, after his electric performance in Black Panther. Check out the trailer and then I will share some thoughts.

Right off the bat, it shows us that it's the future, but just barely. You have a feeling that this world isn't that far off, which is one of the best and most terrifying parts of any dystopian work. In an age where everything is becoming more and more digitized, a world without books, in which all information is controlled and produced doesn't seem as unlikely in a world full of fake news and reckless propaganda.

Michael Shannon is always a delight as the menacing villain who will gladly serve an authoritarian state. It's truly a testament to his skills as an actor that he can play so many of these roles and still be riveting to watch on screen.

Michael B. Jordan however, is very much the star of this trailer in every sense. Every moment he is on screen, you feel the emotional journey he will be going on in the film. His work as Eric Killmonger in Black Panther showed that he isn't afraid to play into the complicated nature of a character. I can't wait to see how he shows us a man losing faith in a system he enforced for so long. I mean, can you imagine the horrifying guilt one would feel, realizing the magnitude of burning books and indoctrinating children to do the same.

HBO is known for delivering stellar cinematic content, and I can't wait to see it! Fahrenheit 451 will air on HBO on May 19th at 8PM.

Opening This Weekend [April 6th]

A Quiet Place  The Office's John Krasinski writes, directs and stars opposite his wife Emily Blunt in this horror flick in which something monstrous hunts a family, triggered by even the slightest sound. With critical raves across the board, the only thing to keep this movie from being amazing is the risk of someone talking during the movie.

Blockers  A sex comedy in which a group of young women vows to lose their virginities on Prom Night. But when overprotective and hilarious parents catch wind of their daughter's plan, hijinks ensue to keep them from fulfilling their pact. With an the always hilarious Leslie Mann, Ike Barinholtz of MAD TV and The Mindy Project and Pro-Wrestler/Real Life He-Man turned surprisingly funny actor, it looks like a funny and fresh take on the standard loose your virginity at prom plots that have become standard fare.

Chappaquiddick  Based on the true story of Ted Kennedy's involvement in a car crash that left a young woman dead, it boasts a solid cast and intriguing premise. Come for Kate Mara's eyebrows, stay for the based on a true story realness.

Lean On Pete  A sad movie about a boy and his horse. Perfect fare if you are looking to have a good cry. It boasts Steve Buscemi, Chloe Sevigny and up and comer Charlie Plummer. Avoid it if you aren't a fan of movies where the animal probably ends up dying.

Welcome to The Movie Cult

Welcome to The Movie Cult, a blog dedicated to the worship of film and television. With a strong focus on genre fare, The Movie Cult will strive to deliver engaging content that explores everything from Art House to Blockbusters, Peak TV to obscure cartoons, horror, scifi, fantasy, action, grindhouse and everything in between.

Isle of Dogs [REVIEW]

Whatever Happened To Man’s Best Friend? - Atari

The plot for indie auteur Wes Anderson’s film sounds both unlike his previous efforts and yet also exactly like the kind of film he would make. In a futuristic city of Megasaki, Japan, a young boy steals a plane and crash lands on Garbage Island, now home to the cities dogs. After canine overpopulation, compounded by Snout Fever and the Mayor’s ancient blood feud with dogs results in dogs being outlawed and quarantined on the aptly named wasteland.

The world of cinema needs more films that take the painstaking efforts towards worldbuilding that Wes Anderson and his team of creatives have provided with Isle of Dogs. The stop motion work and puppetry for this film is a truly remarkable achievement. While the pantheon of great stop motion films is largely made up of the work of Henry Selick and Tim Burton, Wes Anderson shows that he is not fucking around with a meticulously crafted tale of a boy and his best friend. Having previously dabbled with the style in some underwater sea life sequences in The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and making his own contribution to the canon of Cult Classics for Kids: Roald Dahl Edition with The Fantastic Mr. Fox, his latest feature Isle of Dogs, Anderson establishes himself as a master of the medium.

Animation works best when the visuals work in tandem with a good story and a talented voice cast. Luckily, Anderson has an embarrassment of riches at his disposal with this cast. Bryan Cranston leads as a no nonsense stray who leads the film’s celebrity voiced pack of Alpha Dogs. Along with Jeff Goldblum as a gossipy hound in one of the best running gags in the film. The gang is rounded out with Edward Norton, Bob Balaban and Anderson mainstay Bill Murray. In smaller supporting roles we get another great voice work performance from smoky voiced Scarlett Johansson (see also: Her and The Jungle Book). Actual Alien-Witch Tilda Mother Fucking Swinton as a pug named Oracle who is a hilarious delight in a way only a deadpan gag about a Psychic Pug in a Wes Anderson movie can be.  Joining them are such recent critical darlings as Academy Award Winner Frances McDormand who provides some helpful translations and Oscar Nominated Multi-Hyphenate Greta Gerwig as a freckled exchange student fighting the good fight to save dogs and fight injustice. Not to mention narration by Courtney B Vance and a surprise cameo from real life role model-artist Yoko Ono. 

If Wes Anderson’s is most known for it’s dead pan humor and painstaking attention to detail,  then this film exemplifies his talents. Each part of Garbage Island is meticulously designed and curated, as though by some sort of OCD alt-universe WALL-E, to visually delicious effect. Evoking a kind of dystopic hellscape, the island is both stunning in it’s design, but also truly heartbreaking, because it is populated by a horde of abandoned dogs. Their sad eyes bulging from frames starved on a diet of what little garbage they can salvage and slowly dying from a disease that has ravaged the dogs of Japan. This dichotomy of beauty and sadness feels like a natural evolution for Anderson. Juxtaposing the bleak industrial settings of the titular island and the sleek and beautifully ornate Megasaki give the film a kind of science fiction flare which feels fresh without betraying the retro aesthetic that is synonymous with his oeuvre. 

The film also very much feels like a western love letter to Japanese film. In the way that Tarantino’s Kill Bill was a valentine to violent samurai movies that were popularized in the states as Grindhouse fare, Isle feels very much like a love letter to the films of Kurusawa and the kind of Japanese films that were popularized in The West by arthouse theatres. It doesn’t feel appropriative but rather one gets the sense that there is a deep appreciation for the beauty and sophistication of Japan’s culture and some of it’s great filmmakers.

Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs feels like it is both his strangest film so far and yet it might also be his most universal. A group of people fighting for the right thing despite the ever mounting odds. Whether that looks like protecting your family, helping someone in need, fighting an aggressive and violent regime, or crash landing a stolen plane on an island of garbage to save the only real friend you’ve ever had, the most noble pursuit is the one made with love. 

Isle of Dogs is currently in select cities across the world. Check your local listings and support your local theatre.

Welcome to The Movie Cult

Welcome to The Movie Cult, a blog dedicated to the worship of film and television. With a strong focus on genre fare, The Movie Cult wi...