AHS Apocalypse: Episode 2

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*fat free and mostly spoiler-free*

“The Morning After” wastes little time in diving into how the first episode ended.  The story-line is pretty strong, allowing this episode to pose a lot of questions, as well as continue to tie in with connections from AHS: Murder House (season 1). Mostly dialogue and light on the scares, episode 2 works effectively in a several ways:

  1.  More story is being built.
  2. Some characters are beginning to develop more depth.
  3. More questions are being posed, allowing viewers to want to continue to watch the rest of the season.

The first episode of this season got some rough feedback because it didn’t give us many scares, was too comedic, and didn’t give viewers the tie-in with Coven (season 3) they were “promised.” Unfortunately for those idiot viewers, they will be similarly disappointed with episode 2, which delivers equally enjoyable thrills, laughs, and intrigue as the previous episode. However, here, we’re asking some solid questions (i.e. the end of the episode!?).

The directing of this episode continues to fascinate. Episode 2 shows us the Rubber Man with some great contrasting scenes with him in the darkness or certain corners. I appreciate it most with its taking advantage of what little color is shown in the scenes, specifically scenes within the Outpost- oranges, blacks, grays- just drab colors. But the direction of the episode is unique in having the lesser folks in grey blend with the background until they physically move, for example. I’m prattling. I usually can guess plot points, but the surprise death and the additional twist at the end were not what I was envisioning. Brava!

The acting is finally, but slowly, starting to pick up for some. Sarah Paulson, however, will forever entrance me. She plays more of a “villain” (although if you really look at the big picture, is she?) as Venable. Yet she portrays vulnerability in fear of Langdon but only behind his back; and the scene of her being “tested” with her physical (and emotional) scars- BROWN COW STUNNING! Evan Peters, while I’ll never be a fan, is starting to show some depth and characterization as the sassy (and now kinky…) Gallant, with some well-times humor.

Overall, Episode 2 makes one want to continue watching, despite the sad ratings thus far for this season. Maybe AHS reached its peak back in season 4; maybe following the worst season yet, Cult, left viewers hesitant to even give this season a chance. Regardless, those viewers are, just like I thought….trash.

B+

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Office irl: entry #2

Week 9:

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My office of 150+ coworkers is in shambles. People are sprinting in fear. There are explicable fires. Paper is raining from the ceilings. I’m not sure how it even got to this point. Let me start at the beginning.

I’m telling lies- sorry ’bout it. My office, though it’s made up of a sea of cubicles and rolling chairs while sprinkled with standing desks, is wrapped in boring. It’s quiet, like deathly quiet, once you tune out the pecking away on keyboards. Nothing exciting goes on. Gossip does not exist here, as corporate-lifestyles and HR-ridden policies won’t allow for me to talk about Johnny being a Jew who eats sugar or Susan who has put on weight in the last two months. Everyone is offended by everything. #Embrace2018

And so imagine my hidden pleasure when we receive an office-wide email that the ice/water machine is broken “until further notice.” And then, just imagine the secret joy I experience when rumors circulate that we will no longer be provided complimentary creamer for coffee. Sure, to the casual peon, this seems like nothing remarkable.

You’re thinking: “Just bring your own water from home,” “You won’t die without ice,” “BYOC (bring your own creamer),” or “Why were the Emmy’s so awful, despite pushing its anti-discrimination agenda?” I’d like to show you, friends.

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A good chunk of my office consists of middle-aged white women who are the self-proclaimed health-enthusiasts:

  • on a Jenny Craig/Atkins diet plan
  • “lost so much weight on this diet”
  • eat cucumbers for lunch and leave the kitchen smelling like a fucking spa
  • go to and from the water/ice machine at least hourly to fill up
  • always adorned in ugly ass tennis shoes despite wearing (although seldom) a cute outfit that does not go with tennis shoes from 2006

Now, you can see what transpires when the water/ice machine are no longer in service. OUTRAGE! TYRANNY! UNION!

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In the same week, it was revealed that the office would no longer supply creamer. I can’t be mad. They previously had 3 practically keg-sized dispensers of three different flavored creamers to have on retainer at all times for the 150+ staff. And these folks were taking advantage of it- filling their Bubba Kegs with coffee, making three and four visits daily to to drink coffee and hang out while gossiping about the newest QVC deal. A positive is that I no longer need to hear coworkers saying the standard “I can’t deal with the day until I have my coffee,” white-people nonsensical dialogue with the white-people tight lipped smile.

In closing, yes, I lied at the beginning and said the office was a mess of people running and screaming, surrounded by fires. And while that may not be the literal case, figuratively, I could not be more correct.

AHS Apocalypse: Episode 1

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*spoiler-free AND gluten-free*

After last year’s American Horror Story politically-frenzied season, Cult, pushed every social and political agenda down our throats unwillingly, creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk only had the option to go up with this season. And while we are only through one of ten episodes, I feel this season has promise. I’m trying to ignore the hype of this season’s first truly explicit mash-ups with previous seasons of Coven and Murder House because I don’t want to be led on like the time I was brought on a date to a “fancy restaurant” only to end up at a Piccadilly and be told to “choose whatever [I] want- go crazy!”.  So continue to eat your Lean Cuisine and cry in your vehicle during your lunch break as we begin.

Episode One, charmingly titled “The End” (brings me back to the final episode of Lost, but just sext me later about that), delivers some campy and deliberate humor that most often works. We are given characters that, as with most of Murphy’s seasons, are so easy to hate because they are obnoxious- a bratty rich Insta-famous female and a sassy gay hairdresser. This easily-disdained character showcase is the main downfall for this season as of now. Much like Cult, it’s hard for one to care about any of the characters getting killed off if they are not likable upon meeting them. It also makes it easy to guess who will survive towards the end.  However, per usual, thank goodness for Sarah Paulson and Kathy Bates- they give some life to their characters in such a way that you’re kind of rooting for them, despite their perceived horrible intentions.

The filming of this episode is fun to look at. The symmetrically-perfect interior views of the outpost (potentially the viewers’ main home for this season) are brown-cow stunning. The outside shots of the post-apocalyptic world give one great 70s horror-movie vibes. Critics are already complaining about this season not having scares and being too funny. I know if we revisit AHS Murder House and think back to how it was “scary,” we will kindly remember how it also tied in some quirky and comical moments. Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk always have humor folded into their work. Remember Glee and Scream Queens (God, I miss this show. Do you hear me? It’s me, Margaret)? Let’s try to appreciate what this season could have to offer that is not anti-Trump fake news and socialism like Cult did.

B

“It’s like what you expect, but then worse.”- me

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Based on “true stories,” Slender Man takes place in a small town where they jokingly summon an online myth where young people go missing.

So, you take a spooky internet fashion icon creepy mythical monster, and you did everything wrong with it. I was not optimistic going into this movie, as much as I tried. Director Sylvain White (direct-to-video’s I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer), bores the hell out of audiences with a rough screenplay of 73% forest close-ups. The young cast does what a young cast does- overact but still allows the audience to be indifferent, despite their trials and tribulations. Joey King and Julia Goldani Telles stand out if that’s any constellation; but that’s like saying there is a standout bartender at a Friday’s.

I genuinely could not wait for it to end.  A lot of scenes are simply close-ups of trees and the woods, having us constantly looking to see if we indeed could spot Slender Man, but we don’t. And when this movie decides to show him, they show him full frontal (#nohomo) to where you can see his his entire face, body, hands, nearly everything except for his slender penis. Hell, we even see him as an octopus. And my rule with horror, like with handicap parking spots, is that less is more. Slender Man is shown so, so very much in this movie that it becomes comical. Additionally, the special effects used to portray how spooky friend are so rough that it feels like it’s a SyFy movie in many segments. If the direction, writing, and promotion for Slender Man would had any passion beyond (respectively) directing tv episodes, no-name screenplays, and the budget of a value menu at Arby’s, this movie would have been a bit more promising.

D+

“A sexy, vivacious, lady of the night.”- me on myself and Hereditary

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A24, the independent production company slowly making a name for itself with the famous Lady Bird and The Witch, truly showcases with Hereditary.  Directed by first-timer Ari Aster, this movie is fantastic on a visual level. The cinematography is picture perfect with great use of space and angles, and it is really something to behold.  It creates an atmosphere that goes beyond using a blue filter like so many horror movies usually choose to do. And with these camera angles and edits, the audience is sucked in to what feels like another world. Meanwhile, show-stealers Toni Collette (who needs an award for this movie) and Alex Wolff (a fresh face that really delivered a stellar performance) put in their tiiiiiiime. They made me question the genre of this movie with the emotion poured into it- bravo! *kisses fingertips*

Hereditary takes a lot of unexpected turns, despite how much you think you know what’s going on. It creates some powerful, thought-provoking, and truly morbid scenes that you can’t help but stare in wonder. I needed to do some pray and soul-searching by the end of this movie because it really surpasses horror in a sense that it explores beyond that. I must be tight-lipped so as to not give details away, but this was one of the first movies in some time that I walked away and still thought about it, much like a school girl after her first kiss in a CVS parking lot.

A-

 

“It was just nice.”- me talking about both picnics and this movie

Taking place before the rest of the movies of the Conjuring universe, The Nun presents beautifully with its dark and shadowy ambience. Newbie director Corin Hardy seems to do the best to his abilities with some good writing by James Wan and Gary Dauberman (It, Annabelle, future director of the upcoming third Annabelle movie).

The story paces well, similar to those of the other movies of the Conjuring universe, and it definitely throws everything under the kitchen sink at us in its final scenes, for better or worse. The movie revisits all of the previous scares the nun character gave us in Conjuring 2, so it seems overcooked when we see it again here.

Similar to the momentum of scares as in 2012’s The Woman in Black, The Nun continues to build to its final moments, but also just like Woman in Black, this movie repeats much of the spooky antagonist frequently that by the end, we’re not really spooked so much as wanting to invite her out for coffee.

Hit-and-miss actress Taissa Farmiga, (sister of Conjuring‘s Vera Farmiga) does nicely and pairs well with the other actors. We start seeing some comedy in this part of the series, much to do with the ohh-la-la Jonas Bloquet. And Bonnie Aarons plays the spooky nun well as she has before.

I’m not mad. I’m fine, just fine. Don’t look at me; look at the floor.

C+

“My eyes are bleeding…” a dramatic but fair IMDB reviewer

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I know much of America is marching forward with torches and pitchforks about how terrible this movie, much like IMDB user gresh864 seems to be doing (see above). And in the negative reviewers defense, their criticisms are funnier than the movie itself. IMDB’s  ntaradilis trumpets, “Most offensive thing is it just isn’t funny.” travism-44784 declares The Happytime Murders to be “Another McCarthy Turdfest.” A more…positive…review comes from the 2-star rating of  iwilldestroyhentai “…because at least it ended.”

I can say I’m not biased here because I was actually looking forward to this movie. And while it did seem like time stood still during it (even though its running time is not even 90 minutes without credits), I forced myself to keep watching, just as I did with Kazaam in 1996. The Happytimes Murders isn’t necessarily anything new. Sure, it had potential to be refreshing in that children’s puppets had the viability to do adult things and make it so delightfully inappropriate. The movie gets so caught up in making sure audiences see the puppets stripping, doing drugs, and having sex that it forgets about the actual comedy for the duration of the movie. Every joke in this movie is just not funny. Don’t blame Melissa McCarthy. I know she did Life of the Party, The Boss, and Tammy; however, lest not forget her in Bridesmaids, The Heat, and the imaginative revision of Ghostbusters (lol totes joking).

Seriously though, let’s blame the director and writers. Verbally accosting McCarthy is pointless. She did the best she could with what she was given, much like a new member of the Crips who was given a banana to break into a person’s vehicle. The Happytime Murders‘ director Brian Henson (yes, the man behind The Muppet Christmas Carol, Muppet Treasure Island, and 38 episodes of the children’s show Sid the Science Kid) is used to creating short productions for television or children’s puppet movies. I’m going to guess he is still trying to adjust to “adult humor” beyond how a prepubescent envisions it with strictly stripper boobs, snorting lines, and loud sex.

Let’s also blame the writers for this crowded-elevator-that fell-from-24-stories-of-a-mess screenplay. The two gentlemen behind this movie have written only for children’s shows, “shorts” that are usually holiday TV specials, and TV movies. So it explains why a lot of this movie seems more like lackluster segment after segment than an actual comedy. The audience visits one “adult” place after the other. My nephew would like The Happytime Murders because the audience gets to visit a sex store, a strip club, and an underground drug-lord locale, but that is simply because he’s a teenager. This movie did everything wrong much like 2016’s Sausage Party did for me- so much potential wasted. #unapologetically

D