View profile

🎬 "We're werewolves, not swear-wolves!"

Thanks to everyone who responded to Monday's newsletter with their recommendations!
🎬 "We're werewolves, not swear-wolves!"
By Eric Johnson • Issue #76 • View online
Thanks to everyone who responded to Monday’s newsletter with their recommendations!

🧛‍♂️ What We Do in the Shadows
“Vampire roommates in New Zealand” is a great logline, and the supremely silly What We Do in the Shadows earns it.
Despite its short runtime, the mockumentary mines a huge amount of clever comedy out of that premise, with jokes that range from gross-out visual gags to next-level wordplay to perfectly timed awkward pauses.
I love all the actors here, but especially writer/director Taika Waititi as the 379-year-old dandy Viago and the surprisingly polite gang of werewolves, led by Rhys Darby, who rebuke each other when one of them uses profanities.
So far, I’ve only seen the first season of the TV show spin-off but would also recommend it for anyone who likes this style of comedy, with one caveat. As many reviewers have noted, the first few episodes are a bit repetitive for anyone who has seen the movie, but by the end of the season, the show goes to bigger and better places.
What We Do In The Shadows - Official Trailer
What We Do In The Shadows - Official Trailer
What We Do in the Shadows is currently streaming on Hoopla and Kanopy, and you can find it on most of the big video sites — $3.99 to $4.99 to rent and $10.99 to $14.99 to buy.
☥ Gods of Egypt
Gods of Egypt is a fascinating failure of a film.
On paper, it has all the hallmarks of a big, fun adventure movie like the first Pirates of the Caribbean: A powerless kid must team up with an outcast rogue played by a famous actor (in this case, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau from Game of Thrones) to do battle against supernatural foes.
Alas, none of the characters is compelling or fun to watch, with the lone exception of Chadwick Boseman as the campy god of wisdom Thoth. The other performances are so wooden that I have to assume this movie was entirely filmed on a blue screen set by a director who was taking a nap in the corner.
The special effects frequently resemble video game graphics, and I do not mean that as a compliment. But this is really the most fascinating part: Every now and then, there will be an awesome shot or a creative set-piece that clearly required hundreds of hours of work from dozens of people … and then the movie looks cheap and tacky again and you remember that, oh yeah, you don’t care about these characters. I wish I could say this movie was so bad it’s good — but it’s just bad.
Gods of Egypt (2016) - Bow Before Me or Die Scene (1/11) | Movieclips
Gods of Egypt (2016) - Bow Before Me or Die Scene (1/11) | Movieclips
Gods of Egypt is currently streaming (with ads) on Vudu, and you can find it on all the big video platforms — $3.99 to rent and $7.99 to $11.99 to buy.
🎥 Dolemite Is My Name
I wish I hadn’t taken so long to watch Dolemite Is My Name, which is a funny and fast-paced Hollywood story with a potty mouth and a heart of gold.
Eddie Murphy stars as Rudy Ray Moore, a struggling comedian who becomes a cult phenomenon when he assumes the pimp-like character of Dolemite, and decides to gamble everything on a Dolemite movie. Murphy is superb and, now that I’ve seen the movie, I am qualified to say he was SNUBBED by the 2020 Oscars — only four and a half months late! Is it bad taste to say that I like this performance better than Adam Sandler’s in Uncut Gems? Whatever, I do.
Moore’s material is filthy and his blaxploitation movie Dolemite (parts of which we get to see recreated) is disreputable, to say the least. But I defy anyone to watch Dolemite Is My Name all the way through and not be charmed by its surprisingly wholesome message.
Dolemite Is My Name | Official Trailer | Netflix
Dolemite Is My Name | Official Trailer | Netflix
Dolemite Is My Name is currently streaming on Netflix.
🎲 50/50
When you hear the words “Seth Rogen movie,“ you might think of pot-smoking jokes, casual misogyny, and bromance. All of those things can be found in the Jonathan Levine-directed dramedy 50/50, in which Rogen costars opposite Joseph Gordon Levitt — but fortunately, it has so much more to offer.
Levitt stars as a young, healthy public radio journalist who gets a rare form of cancer, and Rogen is a friend/coworker/bro. Both of them are in top form here, as is Anna Kendrick as an adorkable therapist-in-training.
I love the way Levine balances its cast’s comedy chops with the serious subject matter, a juggling act most filmmakers would fumble. Some of the minor characters — especially Bryce Dallas Howard as Levitt’s longtime girlfriend — don’t feel completely realized, but it’s ultimately moot, because you really, really want Levitt to be OK.
50/50 Movie Trailer - Official [HD]
50/50 Movie Trailer - Official [HD]
50/50 is currently streaming on Fubo and Showtime. You can also find it on all the big video platforms — $3.99 to rent and $9.99 to $11.99 to buy.
👰 The Bride of Frankenstein
Unlike its predecessor, most of Bride of Frankenstein not based on a book. It shows.
Picking up more or less where the first movie left off, we learn that both Dr. Frankenstein and his monster are both alive and making new friends. The doctor’s friend is a ridiculous old acquaintance, Dr. Pretorius, played by Ernest Thesiger, who sucks the horror out of the movie’s first act through sheer force of camp.
Once again, Boris Karloff is the MVP; his scenes with an old blind recluse (O.P. Heggie) are the movie’s standout sequence, and make us truly invested in what happens to the Monster. Unfortunately, the climactic scene back at Frankenstein’s lab feels more like a rehash of the first movie than anything else.
It’s dispiriting to see the timeless traits of cash-grab sequels in such an early film, but there’s still enough to like here that it’s worth seeing once.
Bride of Frankenstein (3/10) Movie CLIP - Teaching the Monster Manners (1935) HD
Bride of Frankenstein (3/10) Movie CLIP - Teaching the Monster Manners (1935) HD
The Bride of Frankenstein is not currently streaming anywhere, but you can find it on many of the big video platforms — $3.99 to rent and $12.99 to $14.99 to buy.
Did you enjoy this issue?
Eric Johnson

I'm reviewing every movie I watch, and watching every movie I own. Settle in, this is going to take a while.

If you don't want these updates anymore, please unsubscribe here.
If you were forwarded this newsletter and you like it, you can subscribe here.
Powered by Revue