When I was a child, I was absolutely traumatized by the film adaptation of Stephen King’s The Mist. Which means that logically I am now obsessed with horror films, because that’s how trauma works. ANYWHO!

As my love for the genre developed, I began to find myself drawn to movies that looked as though I could do them myself, make millions from just holding a small camcorder in my hand. While that is not entirely true, found footage movies are generally portrayed as just that. Which is what makes them so important. Found footage movies take horror directly into our minds and mess with us from the inside out. Which is why I believe they’re critical to not only horror but to film as a whole.

Still from Grave Encounters one of my personal favorite found footage films

Let’s take a journey back in time to the year of 1999 (I’m done rhyming now, but you know where we are headed with this). The Blair Witch Project had everyones minds bent and the hair on their neck standing up. Why? Because the film was marketed as almost a true story, add to that the fact that it was filmed documentary style and you have a recipe for true terror. The continuations of the franchise are their own breed of terror but I don’t think we’ll get into that right now. However, the found footage technique, take, style, however you want to put it, really hit the ground running after this film. The Paranormal Activity films, Cloverfield, Creep, and even films like Chronicle all make lasting impacts on the viewers, because they incredibly difficult to purposefully distinguish from reality.

Viewers have a desire, heck, a need for control when they see a film. How many times have you gone into a thriller or a horror film and tried to piece together how the whole thing would play out? How many movies have you found to be predictable? Were you disappointed when you were right? It’s no secret that movies follow a formula, and while found footage movies do as well to a certain degree, they keep something vital to us out of our reach. We begin to feel as though we are the ones doing the filming, seeing the events in real time therefore we feel as though we can’t predict what is going to happen next, which means our comfort of control slowly falls away. We watch the security camera footage through the phone recording, we close the shelter door as the creature we have yet to actually see finally comes into view. We become the main character. Found footage movies are like the film version of virtual reality systems. Play a horror game in one of those…do it…you’ll see.

Still from Chronicle

When audiences become uncomfortable, when they can’t predict things, or confidently understand how it was done with special effects, all cards are off the table. We begin to question things as though we really are the main character, not as if we are watching the main character. Found footage movies take away the audiences security, which is what horror has always tried to do. Not only are they successful at pulling us into the fear, but they are capable of instilling fear over every subgenre of horror. This makes them, in my opinion, the strongest contender in the horror field.

Give me some more found footage movies to watch on twitter (@justmenat_)

Until next time,

Stay entertained…

Alrighty everyone, we are half way through TFATWS and that means it is time for not only a re-cap (see…see what I did there…no? okay. thats fine. moving on.) but a set of predictions for the final three episodes.

What we’ve seen:

Wyatt Russel as John Walker
  • Re-Cap: I did it again to make sure it stuck. Anyway, we see in the first episode that Sam decided to give the shield back to the government. The government then did what it always does and disappoints everyone by giving the shield to John Walker, branding him the new “Captain America”. What else do we know? He has the audacity to ask Sam and Bucky to be his wingmen … i’ve never been more unimpressed.
Sebastian Stan and Anthony Mackie for The Falcon and The Winter Soldier
  • Sam and Buckys stories: We learn early on that Sam’s family is struggling financially to keep their business afloat. While we are learning more about this, we see Sam and his sister Sarah head to the bank to get a new loan to help their business. This lets us know that being an Avenger is volunteer work. Meaning they aren’t getting paid. At all. What. Bucky on the other hand is going to therapy, making amends, breaking people out of prison, and making friends with an old man whose son Bucky killed while being The Winter Soldier. Totally on par for Bucky.

  • Breaking people out of prison you say?: Right so we also know now that Bucky is terrible at hypothetical situations, and he broke Zemo out of prison. This doesn’t sit well with Sam but they know that if they want to figure out the Flagsmashers and get John Walker to shut his mouth, they’re going to need some help.
Erin Kellyman as Karli Morgenthau
  • Flagsmashers: The flagsmashers are a group of individuals who are aiming to get the world back to how it was. They are believed to be super soldiers, using the serum that was used on Steve and Bucky by hydra. They are being harbored by regular citizens in many countries in turn for medicine. They are run by Karli Morgenthau. I don’t have much to say on this one yet as I am still deciphering some things.

Predictions:

So with all of that said, I think we can all assume a few things, and we have been given some hints along the way.

  • We’re going back to Wakanda…someway, somehow.

  • We’re getting a cameo that is said to be very emotional.
    • Most of this was filmed before the pandemic, meaning when Chadwick was still with us. Do with that information what you will. I know that if we see him again in the MCU I will be a blubbering mess.
  • Sharon is up to something.
    • We know from the end of episode 3 that there is absolutely something going on with her. Whether it ends up being good or bad, I don’t know. I do find the theories that she is the Power Broker very interesting and will probably stick with that idea for awhile.
  • Bucky will confront Yori about his son
    • I can see this being in the final episode, meaning Yori will be Bucky’s final person to make amends with. Am I emotionally prepared for that heartbreak? No. Not one bit. Do I want to believe that it won’t hurt? Yes. But I also want to believe that Steve is really on the moon just chilling, so I guess we can’t have nice things.

What are your Falcon and Winter Soldier predictions? Let me know on twitter and make sure to follow and share the blog post!

Stay entertained!

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Let me just start off by saying when it comes to new shows or series, it takes a lot for me to just take a chance on one. Like, come on, I have rewatched New Girl seven times. You read that right…seven times. But I finally took a step outside of my “Schmidt yelling all the time” comfort zone and I’m glad I did.

Harrison Osterfield as Leo in The Irregulars

I have been following Harrison Osterfield on instagram for a couple years now, and so as soon as he started promoting this show I was in the loop. I was curious about the series as it looked like something that didn’t scream *me*, but once it was available to me I decided to give it a shot as I hadn’t seen Harrison in anything before. Little did I know I would not only get to see his work, but I would be exposed to a great cast, emotional themes, and unique episodes that appealed very heavily to my love of thriller/horror movies.

Characters from left to right: Leo (Harrison Osterfield), Jessie (Darci Shaw), Bea (Thaddea Graham), Spike (McKell David), and Billy (Jojo Macari)

The Irregulars starts out with a thorough introduction to the character dynamic and pulls the audience in because we want to know why and how these people came together. We are also very aware from the get go that these are kids, and by kids I mean 17-ish years old…so I don’t know if I as a 21 year old can call them kids but for right now we’re going with it. They have been put through the wringer emotionally and mentally as well as physically. However, when the opening characters Bea, Jessi, Spike, and Billy meet up with their final puzzle piece Leo, they solidify their bond and create a very strong group. Following them through the show was not only following characters but following very different and unique arcs all at the same time. Now we all know by now that when you have younger characters going through very adult things, it can be hard to believe or get behind. However I think this series does a great job of truly making you see these characters as matured individuals in those areas.

David, Macari, and Shaw as Spike, Billy, and Jessie in The Irregulars

Dealing with grief, isolation, substance abuse, self confidence, and love can all be things we tend to see poorly addressed in younger characters. I can think of tons of shows off the top of my head that just miss the mark on these issues in general. The Irregulars is not one of them. The characters progression and handling of these topics is logical and makes sense due to the way they are framed and how they interact through the entire show. That being said, this show brings in probably close to 20 or 25 major plots, arcs, and themes all in the first eight episodes. On the surface it seems incredibly heavy but I promise you, it wasn’t. It’s actually a lot harder to explain than I thought it would be when I started writing this, so I am going to try my best. Each plot point, whether general or character specific, is perfectly addressed in a way that it keeps you wanting more but not being confused without more. For example, we follow Jessi through the show, and to avoid spoilers, we know about the butterfly and what it means for her character. Then in the last couple of episodes we learn more about Spike and how he interacts with Jessi. This was shown to the audience in a way that makes us want to see more, but we have enough information to fully understand them. Same with the connection between Bea and Leo and Bea and Billy.

Osterfield and Graham as Leo and Bea in The Irregulars

If you’re a fan of mystery and want some new characters to absolutely fall in love with, The Irregulars needs to be your next watch. There is only one, eight episode season available and I finished it in two days, so you can have confidence that it won’t be a waste of your time. Going off of that, this was the shows first season, and it was able to introduce so many things and not cloud the audiences mind. I think it left off perfectly for a second season and I really hope we get at least one more. What will I do if we don’t? Well I can assure you that it’ll probably involve a very strongly worded letter to some people…I’ll say please in it a lot but that’s besides the point.

The Irregulars is available to watch now on Netflix! Make sure to watch it and let me know what you think on twitter @justmenat_

Stay entertained…

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When I was much younger than I am now, my father was absolutely obsessed with Godzilla. I remember almost all of the movies and can picture each version of the monster in my head with total clarity. Even the ones I don’t want to remember…such as the Godzilla that was in the Matthew Broderick movie from 2000. I don’t think any of us want to remember that one. But nonetheless, I am a huge Godzilla fan to this day. I also am a huge fan of Kong: Skull Island. So when Godzilla vs. Kong got announced, I was over the moon.

Hottle as Jia

First of all, if anyone was expecting this movie to be some artsy outing with an amazing cast and script, you’re in the wrong place and you won’t get it from this movie. Obviously we have our familiar characters from Godzilla: King of Monsters Millie Bobby Brown and Kyle Chandler as well as a familiar face to us, Alexander Skarsgard. However, this movie does exactly what it is meant to do and keeps your focus on the monsters, while using the cast to attach you to them. Specifically with the character of Jia, played by Kaylee Hottle, and her lone relationship and understanding with Kong.

Tokyo scene from Godzilla vs. Kong highlighting color and editing.

For the film itself, it is an amazing experience for fans of Kaiju films and fans of action films while also bringing enough cinematic intensity to appeal to general movie and film fans. This movie is visually stunning. The detail in both Godzilla and Kong is immense and intricate, the editing on the film is beautiful and full of depth and saturation, and there are so many beautiful scenes that I could sit and watch over and over again.

The plot of the movie is easy to follow and easily keeps your attention, the constant question of who will come out on top. The rise and fall of characters who are already stated to be only feared due to their magnitude, as we know from their origin stories that they don’t attack unless provoked. We see a child connect to one of these “monsters” and we begin to humanize them only for them to seemingly fail. Really this is a long winded way of me saying I totally cried during the ending of this movie and I have no shame in that being completely fair.

Hollow Earth scenes, detail is impeccable and this comes from one of my favorite scenes in the whole film.

Godzilla vs. Kong is a Kaiju rampage through and through (even some Pacific Rim concepts came into play) and is more than satisfying for fans of the genre. Through the other elements that it not only brings but excels at, I believe it will appeal to a much broader audience as well. Godzilla vs. Kong is now playing in theaters (wear your mask if you choose this option) and streaming on HBO Max until April 30.

Stay entertained.

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Paul Bettany and Elizabeth Olsen in Wandavision “Now In Color”

When Marvel first announced their series ideas pre-covid, I will admit that this series was the one I expected the least from. Now that this was the first show we were able to witness I cannot say if that is still the case or not. Wandavision is a very important piece to the ever evolving MCU puzzle, but that doesn’t mean it is without its flaws. Most of which are simply a matter of opinion.

The Good:

I think the most important episode of the series would be episode eight “Previously On”. This not only introduces Wanda Maximoff as “Scarlet Witch” but gives a full insight to her previous life changes and events that lead her to this point. Including more hints at future X-Men involvement due to a theory that I will link right here. We have a very thorough introduction to Wandas new “alias” or “funny nickname” as Hayward would put it…still don’t like him and I just KNOW he’s going to be back in some way. We see her shift fully into the persona in the final after credits scene of the finale giving us our first full idea of how we will see her in Dr. Strange Multiverse of Madness.

The not so good:

Evan Peters, who plays Peter Maximoff in the X-Men universe, playing Pietro Maximoff in the MCU…for now.

I feel that the reason I find these things to be let downs or missed opportunities is truly my own fault. I fell victim to the rabbit hole theories, ESPECIALLY Paul Bettany’s little cameo joke. We were told that this series would lead us directly to Dr.Strange Multiverse of Madness (as we are already aware of Wanda Maximoff’s role in the film) and even some rumors to Spider-Man No Way Home hints. Those did not come to fruition. I was very firmly convinced we would see Patrick Stewart calling out to Peter Maximoff after he was pulled from the X-Men universe into Westview by Agatha, who was in fact behind everything all along. My hope for X-Men integration with the MCU is not completely extinguished however…I just can’t personally let go of that yet.

Wandavision Poster

So overall, I enjoyed Wandavision in some aspects and was sort of let down by it in others. I appreciate Marvel letting me not see Vision brutally murdered again when I am still trying to cope with the events of Endgame. I think the introduction of “Scarlet Witch” was done incredibly well and created a very exciting character arc for her. I wish we had a little bit more set up for future projects and I most certainly wish we had a more concrete X-Men introduction…but we have a lot more shows and movies to get through.

All episodes of Wandavision are available now to stream on Disney+ and make sure to mark your calendars for Falcon and The Winter Soldier which begins streaming March 19.

Stay entertained…

Image links:

Poster

Wanda and Pietro

Wanda and Vision

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