Cinema Quarantino: Comfort Watching

Comfort watching can be anything from reality TV to period costume romances to challenging arthouse fare to old horror movies.

Howdy readers! 

Sometimes the only way to deal with a uncontrollable and terrifying situation is to jump feetfirst into something else. In an attempt to manage my near paralyzing fear right now, I’ll be doing my best to blog more often. It’s a win-win: I regain a sense of control over my world, and you can be entertained for however long it takes you to get through a thousand words or so. So let’s dive in!

Happy Thursday!

Today we’re going to talk about comfort watching – what it is, and how to do it successfully. So however you get comfy before you comfort watch, do that now; put on your PJs, your workout clothes, a homemade cosplay project, or nothing at all (no judgment!) and settle in for a little chat!

Continue reading “Cinema Quarantino: Comfort Watching”

Cinema Quarantino: Checking In

Howdy readers! 

Sometimes the only way to deal with a uncontrollable and terrifying situation is to jump feetfirst into something else. In an attempt to manage my near paralyzing fear right now, I’ll be doing my best to blog more often. It’s a win-win: I regain a sense of control over my world, and you can be entertained for however long it takes you to get through a thousand words or so. So let’s dive in!

Today’s post is a personal check-in so if you’re looking for reviews, check back on Wednesday for Cinema Quarantino: Comfort Watches.

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Quarantine Thoughts: Tiger King

Once finished with what can only be described as a ‘wild ride,’ I realized ‘Ah, so that’s why roller coasters are only like 3 minutes long. The human heart and mind can only take so much.’

Howdy readers! 

Sometimes the only way to deal with a uncontrollable and terrifying situation is to jump feetfirst into something else. In an attempt to manage my near paralyzing fear right now, I’ll be doing my best to blog more often. It’s a win-win: I regain a sense of control over my world, and you can be entertained for however long it takes you to get through a thousand words or so. So let’s dive in! 

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Logline reeeeally doesn’t do it justice.

Tiger King came on my radar through memes. Of course Netflix had suggested it to me, but their suggestions have been wrong before. I’ve been doing a lot of comfort-watching and wasn’t sure Tiger King would be a good follow-up for Howard’s End. 

Continue reading “Quarantine Thoughts: Tiger King”

Horror of Houses

The Housing Market sucks for buyers. It’s a seller’s market, and the Central Florida market especially sucks.

Hola, Readers and Friends!

Months have passed since last I updated this blog, for no good reason other than just… I haven’t. Procrastination, depression, avoidance, call it what you will, I went silent. Just couldn’t bring myself to say anything, since the (internet) world feels so full of noise. I’ve thrown a few stones into the raging sea that is Twitter, but nothing that feels meaningful. I’m still writing a bit, but not as much as I was.

(No, this isn’t a pity party. Stay your ‘close tab’ hand!)

So now you know what I’ve NOT been doing. Let’s catch up on what I AM doing.

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In Theaters Now: The Lighthouse (2019)

In Theaters Now entries give insight on films currently in theaters. There is a brief review, followed by a deeper dive with SPOILERS behind the cut.

Lighthouse_Poster
Teeny Poster

To paraphrase someone paraphrasing Freud, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar… unless it’s an 80 foot phallus symbolizing man’s hubristic attempt to navigate the tempestuous deeps of the sea and therefore also the human subconscious.

Let’s dive in!

The Lighthouse (2019) is a historical thriller/horror film by the writer/director team of Robert and Max Eggers, fresh off their success of 2016’s jolly lighthearted romp, The VVitch. If you haven’t seen The VVItch please know I just made a joke and with the exception of Black Phillip, it is neither lighthearted nor jolly. The Eggerses have already cemented their reputation as masters of subverting horror tropes with The VVitch, and The Lighthouse delivers more of the same, yet different. Magnificent costumes, an eerie score, and some soon-to-be legendary performances all combine to make an instant classic.

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“More o’ the same, says ye?” 

From the very opening scene, the film establishes itself with an aspect ratio of 1:19.1, which means the image is square. Filmed with a variety of cameras and lenses, including 35mm and some antique equipment dating back to 1918, the resultant effect is distinctive. There was even a little sign on the way into the theater stating, more or less, ‘Yes it is supposed to be that way please don’t tell us there’s something wrong with it.’ Between the peculiar aspect ratio, the black and white photography, stark compositions, and claustrophobic but vivid angles, it feels almost as if you’re watching some brilliant throwback from the dawn of cinema, the age where so many cinematic horror traditions were founded. Another reason I was reminded of that age was Pattinson’s performance, as his wide eyes and shaggy hair reminded me of Conrad Veidt in the immortal Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.

Lighthouse_Veidt
Fun fact: Cesar the Sleepwalker’s resemblance to Edward Scissorhands started me on my journey to being a film critic. 

The story is fairly straightforward: Ephraim Winslow (Robert Pattinson, sporting a more than passing 19th century Maine accent) has found work for the United States Lighthouse Service and is being dropped off to join Tom Wake (Willem Dafoe, genetically engineered to play this role; if he doesn’t go full Hemingway in the next 10 years we will have failed as a civilization).

The Lighthouse stands on a godforsaken, storm-washed rock infested with stroppy seabirds. The remote environment has already claimed one life, as Winslow is replacing a young man who went mad, claiming mermaids were singing to him. From the moment he arrives, Wake rides Winslow to get to work, quickly establishing a nautically flavored pecking order. Winslow is soon given almost more work than he can humanly do, and resentment blooms between the two men. The sonorous blast of a foghorn, noticeable early on and which should be jarring, inures itself and becomes no more remarkable than gulls crying or waves crashing. Wake gives Winslow task after task and insists they be done to his exacting standard, but the one thing Winslow is forbidden from servicing is The Light.

Lighthouse_TheBoys
Seriously, this movie still looks like a photo from that time period. SO PERFECTLY DONE. 

As the story winds out, it challenges the audience to read between the obvious threads: Is Wake real? Is Winslow? What really happened to the previous employee? How much of Wake’s Old Salt routine is an act, if any? What the hell is up between him and The Light?

Although Winslow manages the punishing routine well enough during his month-long assignment, a bad storm strands him on the island and he, already starting to unravel, comes straight off the spool. But anyone who’s watched the trailer knows that; the real treat is seeing it happen, how, and why. Viewers quickly realize that mysteries abound within Winslow, too.

Fans of H.P. Lovecraft, Algernon Blackwood, Arthur Machen, and the other voices of early 20th century Weird fiction will find plenty to love, as well as the dialogue, which was inspired by both Shakespeare and Herman Mellville. I will say that when the film comes out for home release I will appreciate the subtitles, as I sometimes couldn’t understand the dialogue and certainly missed crucial plot info. Fans of season 1 of The Terror, would also greatly appreciate the film and its depiction of 19th century nautical life.

And now… To the Spoilers!

Continue reading “In Theaters Now: The Lighthouse (2019)”