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Culture Movies/TV

12 Best Movies and Shows Added to Hulu in November

Hulu is slowly taking over from Netflix as the home of all of your favorite TV shows and movies—alongside its own original series. Here is what’s coming to the streaming service in November (and if you’re stuck on Netflix, check out our list of November shows here).

1. Pleasantville

Available: Starting Nov. 1 // Recommended by Trey Taylor

⌚️When to watch it: When racial tensions bubble over with your relatives, subtly put this on in the background.

Why watch it: Pleasantville is an allegory for race relations. Tobey Maguire and Reese Witherspoon are siblings who get sucked into the TV, forced to live out a ’50s Leave It To Beaver-esque sitcom. It’s sort of like Back to the Future meets Do The Right Thing. The film starts out in black and white and slowly transitions to color—which seemingly threatens the status B&W quo of Pleasantville. “We don’t like change!” the residents grumble when random citizens begin to live life in full color. It sounds confusing, but just watch it for young Paul Walker.

2. 28 Days Later

Available: Starting Nov. 9 // Recommended by Corban Goble

⌚️When to watch it: As far as sci/fi-horror hybrid movies go, Danny Boyle’s foray into the genre might as well be Frozen. You can play it on a loop. 

Why watch it: As if Boyle’s involvement wasn’t enough to check out this cerebral zombie flick, one of the best and most influential sci-fi movies of all time, it also represents the beginning of Alex Garland’s ascent. Garland, who wrote 28 Days Later, directed the two best sci-fi movies of the past five years (Ex Machina and Annihilation, don’t @ me) and 28 Days Later is his storytelling at its most bare—and most effective.

3. Monster’s Ball

Available: Starting Nov. 11 // Recommended by Brian Anthony Hernandez

⌚️When to watch it: When you’re not having a ball this Thanksgiving or when you need a critically acclaimed-reality check on how much progress our world still needs to make on a myriad of social issues, turn on Monster’s Ball.

Why watch it: This 2001 drama lasers in on interracial romance, racism and misogyny in America and earned Halle Berry an Academy Award for Best Actress, memorably making her the first (and still the only) black woman to win that coveted Oscar. She plays a widow named Leticia opposite Billy Bob Thornton, who portrays corrections officer Hank. Linked by tragedy, they attempt to numb their pain with intimacy, for better or worse.

4. Blue Chips

Available: Starting Nov. 1 // Recommended by Omari White

⌚️When to watch it: When you’re using your kid’s bedroom as a recruiting pit to look for top talents to add to your fantasy hoops team.

Why watch it: Talk about “by any means necessary,” this fictional sports flick introduces you to the cutthroat business of college basketball. All colleges and universities want to have a winning sports program. By hiring the best coaches available, it’s their job to elevate the program one season at a time. But what does it take to make sure you bring in the right people to start or continue a winning tradition? Coach Pete Bell shows us how to win and lose it all in this epic hoops tale, where money is the most dangerous player in the game. Just ask Shaq and Penny!

5. Amélie

Available: Starting Nov. 1 // Recommended by Madison Russell

⌚️When to watch it: When you’re feeling culturally drained from too much political talk across the Thanksgiving table and need two hours and nine minutes of pure intellectual and visual delight.

Why watch it: Amélie is a quirky, French romantic comedy that observes a charming girl’s expeditions in Paris’s Montmartre (categorically the best arrondissement, IMHO). I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again—Yann Tiersen’s transportive soundtrack coupled with a rapid-fire list of tiny splendors (cracking crème brûlée with a spoon and submerging your hand into a satchel of beans) is movie magic. 

6. Big Hero 6

Available: Starting Nov. 10 // Recommended by Brian Anthony Hernandez

⌚️When to watch it: When you’re surrounded by your nephews and nieces but need an easy way to entertain them while emerging from a turkey coma. 

Why watch it: It’s an animated superhero flick from the minds behind Disney’s Frozen … What more convincing do you need? This 2014 gem from Walt Disney Pictures follows the life of robotics wunderkind Hiro Hamada, inflatable robot friend Baymax and armor-clad crime-fighting friends that look like Disney-fied Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.

7. The Wolfpack

Available: Starting Nov. 12 // Recommended by Trey Taylor

⌚️When to watch it: When you want to hole up for the weekend and not feel guilty for not leaving the house.

Why watch it: Crystal Moselle’s feature debut is wild. Seven children are holed up in their NYC apartment at the behest of their father, unable to leave because of his fears of the modern world. So they spend the majority of their time consuming any and every movie ever made, writing out the dialogue, making homemade costumes and performing them for the camera. When they do finally rebel and begin to venture outside of their apartment, we see these boys truly come into their own. It’s dead fascinating.

8. Vanderpump Rules: Season 6

Available: Starting Nov. 3 // Recommended by Corban Goble

⌚️When to watch it: There’s an episode of Vanderpump Rules that speaks to every single feeling on the emotional spectrum, from scoured-out sociopathy to boundless love and loyalty. Take your temperature and go forth, and then watch the next three episodes after that one.

Why watch it: Season 6 took Vanderpump Rules’ spiraling, sprawling metafiction to new heights. “Pasta” is used as a codename for cocaine. Jax almost leaves a dramatic situation of his own devising to tweet for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Lisa’s puppetry of the Toms—who are opening a cocktail and tapas restaurant with Lisa, despite the fact that they seem to be the only ones paying for it—is a modern business tutorial. I don’t like when people throw around the term “Shakespearean,” but I really don’t like it here because Shakespeare never had characters this layered. See you next Tuesday.

9. Married With Children

Available: Starting Nov. 9 // Recommended by Brian Anthony Hernandez

⌚️When to watch it: When you need an instant pick-me-up about the state of your life and your family relationships, watch any or all of this 11-season comedy and revel in seeing the Bundy bunch bicker.

Why watch it: The Bundys are a dysfunctional family of four who shade the hell out of each other, essentially making any other family seem normal and nice. Al, Peggy, Kelly and Bud are the fantastically abysmal four that show us life can be full of lows but there’s always someone out there, likely in your own family, who can out-low you.

10. Escape at Dannemora

Available: Starting Nov. 18 // Recommended by Trey Taylor

⌚️When to watch it: When you want to break out of the prison that is time with your family over the holidays.

Why watch it: I imagine Patricia Arquette will win an Emmy for this. The miniseries—directed by Ben Stiller—is incredibly competent and uses all of its characters, played by Paul Dano, Benicio Del Toro and Eric Lange, to great effect. Inmates who are locked up in a high security prison do their best to break out with the sneaky help of Tilly (Arquette), who has a massive crush on inmate Sweat (Dano). People will be talking about this series for the rest of the year.

11. The Birdcage

Available: Starting Nov. 1 // Recommended by Trey Taylor

⌚️When to watch it: Whenever you feel that twinge of pain because you miss Robin Williams—so like, now.

Why watch it: This was Robin Williams’s Tootsie moment. Yeah, he got the Oscar for Good Will Hunting, which is great. But his best (and most underrated) supporting role? The Birdcage, wherein he plays gay drag club owner Albert with a kid from a former one night stand who shows up and declares he’s getting married. The catch: His kid’s fiancée is the daughter of this ultraconservative Republican senator. So Albert (Williams) has to re-enter the closet to play straight. And it’s hilarious.

12. The Little Death

Available: Starting Nov. 12 // Recommended by Trey Taylor

⌚️When to watch it: When you are struggling in the bedroom department with your significant other or just need a good laugh.

Why watch it: This anthology film explores different sexual fetishes. Each set-up features a wacky fetish that one couple tries out and the repercussions of going the distance. For example, one woman’s fantasy is to have sex forced upon her, so her husband, who naturally interprets it all wrong, dresses up in disguise and corners her in a public place only for it to hilariously backfire. Another couple explores phone sex for the deaf. I can’t bring myself to describe any more of this comedy. Just… watch.

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Culture Movies/TV

Proof Pierce Brosnan Is Instagram’s Most Supportive Dad

“The name’s Bond, James Bond, but you can call me… ‘Daddy.’” I presume that is a line that Pierce Brosnan—Goldeneye and Tomorrow Never Dies Bond, arguably the most shook, least stirred Bond—employs earnestly when he talks to his children Paris, 17, and Dylan, 21. He has given up his former position as the granddaddiest of James Bonds post–Sean Connery. Now, in his sunset years, the 65-year-old actor has really leaned into his latest role: Supportive father, especially on Instagram, @piercebrosnanofficial.


When he married Keely Shaye Smith in 2001 and had their two children, Paris and Dylan, he was only to play 007 one more time on screen in 2002’s Die Another Day before fully transitioning to Mamma Mia! dad as the pair came of age. As they grew up, Brosnan would parade them on red carpets for his movie premieres and cheer them on as they learned to surf in Kawaii, where they mostly grew up. He would also drop wisdom on them, having learned from his time on Mrs. Doubtfire how to properly raise intelligent, beautiful (both of his sons model) children.

“Every day before he would drop me off at school he would tell me, ‘Be great, be bold,’” Paris said in an interview with Abstract Filth. “That’s something my Dad has always said in his funny Irish accent.” Usually, you’d think, “Lame dad!” But no. In a weird twist, the admiration is mutual. “My role models are Dad, my brother, Dane Reynolds, Kai Neville, and Hedi Slimane,” Paris continued. They sincerely admire him.

And he’s raised two good’uns (not to mention his other three children from a previous marriage). Dylan is currently interning for a US Senator and may still be fronting his psych rock band Raspberry Blonde. Paris models when he’s not surfing the waves. Really though, the most endearing evidence of his zaddyhood is in the public eye. “A night I will ever forget … that was a big room in Paris and you filled it with love, respect and fun ❤️,” Pierce commented on an image of his son Paris after he walked in a Ralph Lauren anniversary fashion show.

“Beautiful you, beautiful friends, beautiful sounds ❤️???” he recently commented on a photo of Dylan’s. My favorite, though, is when he signs off as Dad. “Love you with all my heart dear Paris ❤️ Dad.”

In the words of Instagram commenter @alicewhitson2358: “You did a very good job with your boys. Well done ??”

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Culture Movies/TV

#TheUnknownHustle: Hugh Jackman

He may have danced his way across the Oscars stage and held the title of Greatest Showman, but actor Hugh Jackman will be the first to tell you that the toughest crowd he’s ever had to face was “an eight-year-old’s birthday party.” His role? Coco, a for-hire birthday party clown.


Before acting became a full-time gig, the same man who could tear through flesh and steel as Wolverine would paint up his face all pretty and do, erm, nothing.


“I am really bad at magic. I in fact used to be a clown at kid’s parties,” Jackman told In The News in 2015. “I was Coco the Clown, and I had no magic tricks. And I remember a six-year-old standing up at a party saying, ‘Mummy this clown is terrible, he doesn’t know any tricks’—and he was right.”


The actor was so bad at clowning and so desperate to save face that he tried the only thing he could think of: Whip out an egg carton. “I just gave them the eggs and let them chuck ’em at me!” he told The Financial Times in 2017. “I really didn’t have any skills. I was very Barnum-esque.”


Fairly humble beginnings for the most lasting of any career super hero. We’ll miss you, Coco.

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Culture Movies/TV

10 Best Movies and Shows Added to Netflix in November

1. Good Will Hunting

Available: Starting Nov. 1 // Recommended by Trey Taylor

⌚️When to watch it: When you’ve got a little over 2 hours to spare and want that feel-good Robin Williams pep talk.

Why watch it: It’s been four long years since Robin Williams passed away, and this is possibly his best serious role (sorry, Dead Poets Society). That scene where Sean chats to Will on the park bench—ugh, this moment is so touching, the antithesis of toxic masculinity. “Once more unto the breach, dear friends!” OK, time to revisit. 

2. Dogs

Available: Starting Nov. 16 // Recommended by Trey Taylor

⌚️When to watch it: When you’ve exhausted all the plays on your copy of The Secret Life of Pets and are ready to treat your dog to 360 minutes of wholesome bonding time.

Why watch it: A six-part documentary about dogs is due to bark up Netflix’s tree soon. Basically a cross between Marley & Me and Balto, Dogs promises to tail the life journeys of a variety of doggos around the world and tell the stories of their respective masters. “Dogs is an emotional palate cleanse,” co-creator Amy Berg said. “Watching the show offers a salve for the spirit and reminds us of the redemptive power of love.”

3. Scary Movie 2

Available: Starting Nov. 1 // Recommended by Trey Taylor

⌚️When to watch it: When you’re tired of sitting at the adult table at Thanksgiving and want to have an hour and a half-long laugh with the kids.

Why watch it: My germs! My germs! Myyyy gerrrmsss!!! If you don’t remember that scene with Hanson the caretaker putting his reject ginger root hand in all of the Thanksgiving food, then it’s time for a rewatch. This movie—arguably the best in the Scary Movie franchise—is chockablock with actually funny jokes that you can replay over and over at the next dinner party you’re invited to.

4. The English Patient

Available: Starting Nov. 1 // Recommended by Brian Anthony Hernandez

⌚️When to watch it: When you’re on your 3 hour flight headed home, watch this 3 hour Oscar-winning flick from the comfort of your not-so-comfy economy seat.

Why watch it: This romantic war drama from 1996 is the latest Best Picture winner to make its way to Netflix, following Tom McCarthy’s Spotlight, Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List, Joel and Ethan Coen’s No Country For Old Men, Clint Eastwood’s Unforgiven and Francis Ford Coppola’s Godfather films. Ralph Fiennes plays the titular character, who, amid suffering from painful plane crash-related burns, retells his life through oh so steamy flashbacks.

5. House of Cards: Season 6

Available: Starting Nov. 2 // Recommended by Brian Anthony Hernandez

⌚️When to watch it: When you need 60 minutes of something to block out your drunk uncle’s unwarranted political rant, binge an ep of this eight-episode season.

Why watch it: The brilliant Robin Wright, who has earned an Emmy nomination every year since 2013 in the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series category for her powerful performance as Claire Underwood, takes over in the White House in this sixth and final season of this trailblazing Netflix original series. “I’m not going to be told what to do anymore, Doug, not by you or any man, ever again,” Underwood proclaims in the final season in which she becomes the nation’s commander in chief. “The first female president of the United States is not going to keep her mouth shut.” It’s her turn and we’re so damn ready.

6. Green Room

Available: Starting Nov. 12 // Recommended by Trey Taylor

⌚️When to watch it: When the escape room you splurged on didn’t exceed your expectations, this is 1 hour and 35 minutes of pure adrenaline.

Why watch it: Director Jeremy Saulnier’s slasher might seem more akin to Halloween fare, but this killer thriller is a fun watch any time of year. To give you a glimpse into the plot: Imagine if neo-Nazis had a secret concert space in the middle of the woods (password for entry: “Who is John Galt?”); then imagine a group of kids who went to the concert found themselves locked in the green room, where the only escape is guarded by a bunch of angry skinheads.

7. John Leguizamo’s Latin History for Morons

Available: Starting Nov. 5 // Recommended by Brian Anthony Hernandez

⌚️When to watch it: When you’re tired of being called out for being an uncultured swine, educate yourself with this humorous lesson on Latinos.

Why watch it: Colombian-American actor John Leguizamo’s one-man show Latin History For Morons started on Broadway and snagged a 2018 Tony Award nomination before coming to Netflix for the rest of the world to enjoy. It’s a comedically revealing crash course on the whitewashing of 3,000 years of Latino history.

8. Children of Men

Available: Starting Nov. 1 // Recommended by Brian Anthony Hernandez

⌚️When to watch it: When you’re trying to get a break from your way-too-energetic nieces and nephews for at least 1 hour and 54 minutes, watch this child-free movie.

Why watch it: Alfonso Cuarón’s 2006 dystopian thriller is set in 2027 in an infertile world where zero babies have been born in the past 18 years. Governments have collapsed as citizens have lost hope in a future worth living in, but amid the global disarray, Clive Owen’s character Theo teams up with his estranged wife Julian (played by Julianne Moore) to protect a refugee who miraculously becomes pregnant, all while dealing with the emotions of their past relationship woes.

9. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Available: Starting Nov. 16 // Recommended by Trey Taylor

⌚️When to watch it: When you have months until the return of Westworld but 2 hours and 12 minutes to travel back in time for a quick fix.

Why watch it: Another Coen brothers saga, but this time told as a six-part anthology. All the stories take place in the Old West. A wannabe bank robber, a prospector mining for gold, one last carriage ride hurrah—this film has it all. Though reviews stated that this Coens effort was a bit hit and miss, if you’re going to be a true film fan you can’t sit this one out.

10. Jiro Dreams of Sushi

Available: Starting Nov. 22 // Recommended by Trey Taylor

⌚️When to watch it: When you’ve just smashed the order button on Seamless and have 1 hour and 23 minutes until your sushi platter will be delivered.

Why watch it: What it takes to become a master sushi chef in one of the most uncompromising, three Michelin-starred sushi restaurants is a slog no matter what your familial background. For Yoshikazu, the son of renowned unagi dicer Jiro Ono, it’s an intense struggle to live up to his father’s legacy. But the combination of food and family is always a win. You know who might really enjoy this? The Rock. 

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Culture Movies/TV

3 Inspiring ‘Shark Tank’ Moments from Guest Shark Matt Higgins

A thousand entrepreneurs have braved the “shark” investors on ABC’s popular reality series Shark Tank over some 200 episodes this past decade, earning a total of nearly $125 million in investment money from the panel of main sharks and rotating guest sharks like Ashton Kutcher, Richard Branson and Troy Carter.

The latest episode is a tear-jerker, starring empathetic guest shark Matt Higgins, the 43-year-old vice chairman of the Miami Dolphins and co-founder of RSE Ventures. Higgins is one of Season 10’s several guest sharks—alongside Alex Rodriguez, Bethenny Frankel, Charles Barkley, Sarah Blakely, Rohan Oza and Jamie Siminoff—who joins mainstay sharks Mark Cuban, Kevin O’Leary, Lori Greiner and Daymond John.

In a rollercoaster episode, these are Higgins’s three best moments that highlighted his humble beginnings, his important work after 9/11 and his entrepreneurial expertise.

“The entrepreneurs who go on Shark Tank, they’re trying to make it and transcend—and I relate to that,” he said. “I feel like my whole life has been about that. It’s not about where you began, it’s about where you end up and how much distance you’ve covered.”

1. ‘On the first day of the job, my mother died’
ABC/Eric McCandless
Mark Cuban, Daymond John, Kevin O’Leary, Lori Greiner and Matt Higgins.

A montage of Higgins’s life revealed he was born and raised in NYC by a single mother living in poverty. “When I say poor, I mean really poor,” he said. “I made a decision at a very early age that I wouldn’t let poverty dictate the rest of my future.” And he didn’t. He dropped out of high school, obtained his GED, attended Queens College, pursued his law degree at Fordham Law School and then, at 26, became the youngest NYC press secretary when Rudy Giuliani appointed him to the post. But tragedy struck, twice. “On the first day of the job, my mother died,” Higgins sad. “I regret that my mother never got to experience the benefits of the life I’ve created.”

Then, the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks happened. He was tasked with managing the city’s media response efforts before becoming chief operating officer of the agency in charge of rebuilding the World Trade Center. “The greatest professional honor of my life was to be involved in the rebuilding effort,” he said. “It would become a defiant symbol of resiliency for New York and for the country.”

2. ‘Your father will live on forever through each of you and this product’
ABC/Eric McCandless
Kaley, Kiera and Christian Young pitch their late father’s invention.

“I was at Ground Zero during 9/11 and spent two years doing cleanup,” Higgins told three siblings who lost their mother to breast cancer in 2012 and then later lost their father to cancer that developed from being a firefighter in the 9/11 cleanup. “I met a lot of great people like your dad and a lot of people who have lost their lives. It’s great that you’re doing this.” This being Kaley, Kiera and Christian Young finishing what their father, Keith Young, had started. Before he passed away, Keith had been inventing the Cup Board Pro, a well-designed bamboo cutting board with a detachable cup to collect juices and scraps. His dream was to pitch it to the sharks on Shark Tank, but he died three months prior to the episode’s taping. Every cutting board featured the number “343” on it to represent the number of firefighters who died on 9/11.

“Your dad sounds like an amazing guy,” a teary-eyed Higgins told the three children, aged 24, 20 and 15. The youngest Young chimed in at one point with, “Who’s ready to make our dad’s dream a reality with us,” with not one dry eye on any of the sharks.   

Moved to tears, all five sharks unprecedentedly decided to invest a combined $100,000, each offering $20,000 for 20 percent company. The bonus catch? Well, the money earned from the sharks’ stake would be donated a charity helping 9/11 first responders. “Your father will live on forever through each of you and this product,” Higgins said.  

3. He doesn’t invest in ideas; he invests in people
ABC/Eric McCandless
Matt Higgins and Lori Greiner invest in Guy Vaknin’s vegan sushi chain Beyond Sushi.

Early in the episode, Higgins proclaimed, “I don’t invest in ideas; ideas are cheap. I invest in people, special people who have what it takes to take that idea and go the distance.” One special person he believed in was New York chef Guy Vaknin, owner of vegan sushi chain Beyond Sushi. Vaknin requested $1.5 million to expand his business across the nation. With that much money on the line, Higgins grilled Vaknin with questions, exchanging detailed business terms that eventually scared away fellow shark Daymond John from investing. Vaknin impressed Higgins and Lori Greiner.

“We’re going to work together and change your life,” Higgins told Vaknin. “We’re going to make this a very big company. We’re going to cross-market like crazy. I’m going to help you get into airports and stadiums all over the country.”

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Culture Movies/TV

Why Big Movie Stars Ruin Horror Films

A good horror movie requires the right combination of ingredients.

Among other things, a nail-biting, pants-wetting horror should include a good premise, some earned scares, and ideally bring something totally new to the genre. One thing it shouldn’t have? A-list movie stars. As a devout horror fan who has feasted upon hundreds of scary films, a trend jumped out. Basically, if a top-billing actor is in a horror movie, it’s not going to be any good. Think Mark Wahlberg in The Happening, Jennifer Lawrence in House at the End of the Street, Helen Mirren in Winchester, Robert De Niro in Hide and Seek and Samuel L. Jackson in Cell

Yes, there are exceptions. And yes, art is subjective. However, it turns out that my opinion can be measured—and the data backs me up. Using Rotten Tomatoes’ aggregator scale, good ol’ fashioned Google and some investigative know-how, I have done the research to prove my thesis: Big stars ruin horror movies.

For starters, I looked at Rotten Tomatoes’ own list of the 150 best horror films of all time, which takes into account both critical and audience reviews. Of those, there are around 30 American-made movies that have been released in the past decade. However, only eight of those films star a boldface name.

Carrie/Sony Pictures
Julianne Moore starred in 2013’s Carrie

Eight films out of 30 good ones released in the past ten years may seem conclusive on its own. For the onslaught of horrors churned out every year, it’s a pretty anemic list that includes both good actors and a redeeming narrative. But it’s the number of low-rated movies released during this same time frame that really hammers my point home.

I also painstakingly looked at most of the American horror films that have been released over the last ten years and looked at the Rotten Tomatoes scores for the ones that starred A-List actors. By that measure, it’s pretty easy to see that the vast majority of horror movies led by big-name celebrities are simply not very good.


Obviously, this cultural disease affects far more than the last ten years. Do you want to talk about Liam Neeson starring in the cesspool that is The Haunting in the same year he was Qui-Gon Jinn in Star Wars Episode I? Or how about the stain on society that is Dreamcatcher and how Morgan Freeman somehow found himself in that cast?

From 2007 to now, there have been over 40 films with big-name actors that received less than 60 percent approval on Rotten Tomatoes’ aggregation scale. While not an exhaustive list, I believe it is comprehensive enough.


Check out these beauties:

The Happening (Mark Wahlberg)

Winchester (Helen Mirren)

Flatliners (Ellen Page)

House at the End of the Street (Jennifer Lawrence)

Carrie (Julianne Moore)

Hide and Seek (Robert De Niro)

Silent House (Elizabeth Olsen)

1408 (John Cusack)

Amityville Horror (Ryan Reynolds)

The Messengers (Kristen Stewart)

Jennifer’s Body (Megan Fox, Amanda Seyfried)

Another Me (Sophie Turner)

6 Souls (Julianne Moore)

The Reaping (Hilary Swank)

All of the Resident Evil movies

Stir of Echoes 2: The Homecoming (Rob Lowe)

Vacancy (Luke Wilson, Kate Beckinsale)

The Alphabet Killer (Eliza Dushku, Cary Elwes)

The Eye (Jessica Alba)

The Strangers (Liv Tyler)

Blood Creek (Henry Cavill, Michael Fassbender)

The Wolfman (Benicio Del Toro)

Bag of Bones (Pierce Brosnan)

Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark (Katie Holmes, Guy Pierce)

Drive Angry (Nic Cage, Amber Heard)

Red Riding Hood (Amanda Seyfried, Gary Oldman)

The Thing (Joel Edgerton, Mary Elizabeth Winstead)

Twixt (Val Kilmer, Elle Fanning)

Maniac (Elijah Woods)

Dark Shadows (Johnny Depp)

Deliver Us from Evil (Eric Bana, Olivia Munn)

Crimson Peak (Jessica Chastain, Tom Hiddleston)

Maggie (Arnold Schwarzenegger)

The Lazarus Effect (Olivia Wilde)

Poltergeist (Sam Rockwell, Rosemarie DeWitt)

Cell (Samuel L. Jackson, John Cusack)

The Forest (Natalie Dormer)

The Veil (Jessica Alba, Thomas Jane)

With all of these, the goal of the studio is to bring star power to these horror movies. That intention seems to have little regard for the quality of the film being made. To wit, the inclusion of A-list actors actually hurts the chances of making a good horror movie.

It costs a lot of money to bring big stars onto a project. That’s money most studios won’t want to waste on a script that could alienate possible audiences and affect box office numbers. Horror, just like every other genre, can get weird and experimental, which is often when it’s at its best. Studios wouldn’t want to take a chance on that and instead make a safe bet of hiring big actors.

Sorry, but putting Mark Wahlberg and Zooey Deschanel into a bad movie isn’t going to make that bad movie much better. Wind? As a villain? Mmk.

Another large problem is that stars are pretty recognizable. That’s why they’re stars. More than most other genres, horror movies demand a suspension of disbelief that takes you out of your life and puts you in danger. It can be tricky to get into that headspace when it’s Robert De Niro being haunted.


A good actor can make this work, sure. But no one is going to believe that Nic Cage is a small-town detective visiting an island in search of a missing girl. That’s going to lead to an utterly terrible movie (albeit a timeless internet meme).

House At The End of the Street/FilmNation Entertainment
Jennifer Lawrence starred in 2012’s House At The End of the Street

Seeing enormous stars in some of these movies also makes me wonder if everything is OK with them. While Helen Mirren is wandering through her many haunted rooms in Winchester, all I can think is, “U OK Hun? You don’t need this.” Many fine, popular actors have begun their downward slope into obsolescence. You really, really don’t want to see some of the horror films that Cary Elwes, of Princess Bride fame, has been doing lately.

From the actors’ point of view, A-listers themselves must consider their value and choose career projects carefully to ensure they can keep their jobs. We all know that horror can create some, er, compromising situations for the actors involved. It’s a genre that thrives on creative mutilation, like Dead Alive’s inventive use of a lawnmower, You’re Next’s blender head scene or anything in the Hostel films.

It is also interesting to look at the box office numbers for American horror movies over the past ten years. There are many star-led horror movies that show up high in the box office rankings, like Crimson Peak and A Quiet Place. However, the majority of those that have earned the most money have casts of lesser-known, or unknown, actors. The box office successes of the Saw films or the Conjuring films all cast lesser-known actors and go on to great financial gain (even though they severely lack in quality).

Other outliers to this whole theory exist, and they often come from alternative sources. International funding is one. A recent, and fantastic, exception to this rule is 2017’s The Killing of a Sacred Deer, starring Nicole Kidman and Colin Ferrell. It was directed by the Greek filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos and produced by British and Irish production companies. Often, foreign producers are more willing to take risks on avant-garde stories.

Big studios probably won’t change up their strategies anytime soon, so the data will most likely continue to speak for itself. Though it’s not impossible for A-listers to make good scare fare, if a horror movie has a big star in it, you might want to wait for the reviews.

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Culture Movies/TV

Paul Dano Is Hollywood’s Most Underrated Hustler

I saw Paul Dano unpacking his groceries this past summer. At first, I wasn’t sure it was him. I walked quickly by, then backtracked because I often walked down that street. I used to live nearby and had never seen him before. I suppose I was shocked: Stars—They’re Just Like Us! There he was, all 5-foot-11 inches of him. He was behind a gate covered with vines in a sort of courtyard, lifting bags out of a hatchback. I stared at him in silence and could easily make out what the New Yorker described as his “boyish, pincushion face,” mostly curious if he knew how close his place was to a) mine, and b) the former digs of Heath Ledger and Michelle Williams when they lived together in Brooklyn, the place where their daughter Matilda’s hand prints were once cemented in the sidewalk out front.

Not many celebrities live in Brooklyn—they mostly live in this “paparazzi proof” Tribeca building—but Dano isn’t particularly “famous.” Despite being voted “Best Actor” and “Most Likely to be Famous” in Wilton High School’s “Break On Through” 2002 yearbook, his renown is akin to a Sam Rockwell, a Michael Shannon, or a Logan Marshall Green—names you’ve likely heard but whose faces you simply cannot conjure. “[I would] put him in the same catagory [sic] as Giovanni Ribisi, great actors but they have a very strange level of fame, where they are in big movies but never really recognized,” one Redditor wrote in a thread about Dano. Consensus tells us that Dano is underrated, just look at the YouTube comments. But moreover, he’s virtually unknown.

Amanda Edwards/Getty Images

The 34-year-old was born in New York and moved to Connecticut after third grade. According to Page Six, Dano and his girlfriend (wife?) Zoe Kazan “live in Brooklyn and avoid publicity.” This past August, they “secretly collaborated” on having a child, Alma.

We hardly know the guy, yet he has watered the nation’s crops since 2000 in films like L.I.E., Ruby Sparks, Little Miss Sunshine, There Will Be Blood, Looper and 12 Years A Slave. He has been hailed as one of the best actors of his generation, a generation which might include actors like James Franco, Jake Gyllenhaal and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Of those, Paul Dano is inarguably the best. He is both figuratively the best as well as objectively, based on science, the best. In a ranking of 30 actors consistently in the best movies from the past decade, Dano topped the list. He chooses to work with directors who are both excellent and allow him to be excellent. He has admitted before to playing “the long game” with his career, which is to say, he’s shirked the opportunity to cash out with a big movie. He has played a queer teen hustler, the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson, a slave driver and a survivor-man foil to a farting corpse. Now, Dano is a director. His directorial debut, Wildlife, stars Gyllenhaal and Carey Mulligan in a tense potboiler. It debuted this weekend in four locations, grossing $105,614, which is impressive.

So why don’t more people know him? He’s never gotten a matching tattoo with Zoe Kazan, bought a teacup pig or professed his love à la Johnny Depp to Winona when the former proclaimed, “I love her almost more than I love myself.” (Key word: Almost).

Leon Bennett/Film Magic/Getty Images

But then, Dano never set out to be famous. “I know that a certain kind of work fills me up more than another kind,” he said in Off Camera with Sam Jones in 2015. “For some reason I was interested in long game, the idea [of it],” he said. “And also because fame looked terrifying and horrible to me. Some people probably want that … Having a bunch of people take your picture? It’s horrible. I’ve gotten a lot better at handling it. You have to know yourself enough because [when you’re young] you are still discovering who you are and it feels like somebody’s asking you to be something you’re not. All of a sudden if you’re supposed to get your haircut a certain way, and dress a certain way, and get your picture taken and be given money. At that age … it would’ve been too much for me.”

Post-Twilight, teen star Robert Pattinson worked hard to rehab his heartthrob image. He had survived the vampire bite of mass commercial success and now wanted to disappear; he, too, wanted to play “the long game.” So he started dating the quirky musician FKA twigs and picking projects like David Michôd’s The Rover and the Safdie brothers’ Good Time. Likewise, in an almost calculated mirror trajectory, Kristen Stewart eschewed comic-book-movie-money for small films made by fringe directors. As a result, K-Stew picked up the César award at Cannes for her work in Clouds of Sils Maria. Jake Gyllenhaal and James Franco and Joseph Gordon-Levitt have all subscribed to the “one for them, one for me” theory where an actor can get that money while still maintaining indie cred.

MediaPunch/Bauer/Griffin/GC Images

Not Dano. If his name was ever floated to studio heads for the next Spidey or Bond, they were offers he refused. The most commercial potential he had was with a movie he would now likely prefer to scratch off his filmography: A 2004 film called The Girl Next Door that surfed the wake of the American Pie franchise. At the same time he was in production for that, he was offered a role in The Ballad of Jack and Rose alongside Daniel Day-Lewis and Catherine Keener. Point being, Dano didn’t have to pivot from his strategy of picking outlier directors or dialog-heavy scripts. He didn’t have to rehab his image or convince anyone of his cool. What he already had is what many stars are hell-bent to achieve: Longevity.

Perhaps Dano doesn’t even know what he has. “I started acting at a very young age,” he told Sam Jones. “I can’t tell you why, and I still don’t know if I can tell you why and I wonder if that’s a part of why I still do it. In some strange way, trying to figure out something because I am drawn to this thing. I just can’t quantify why—I think it’s a very strange job. Being an actor is a really strange thing to do.”

When describing his new film, Wildlife, adapted from a Robert Ford novel of the same name, Dano ascribed the reason it initially grabbed his attention was because “There’s something moving to me about the idea that we just don’t know what’s going on in the lives around us,” he said. Maybe the irony of leading such a private life is lost on him. However, with his lethal combination of sensitivity, ambition and brains, Dano has ensured he will continue to appear in films we watch and praise. He is the most workaday, underrated hustler in Hollywood. But the internet puts it best: “Dude’s got impressive range!” He may never get much purchase from his fame. If you’re lucky though, you might spot him unpacking groceries.

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Culture Movies/TV

Should Jonah Hill Be the Next Bond?

As we approach Bond 25, British papers circulated rumors that Richard Madden, best known for playing Robb Stark on Game of Thrones, would be named the next Bond. (The Bond that Was Promised, perhaps? I’ll show myself out). This rumor, while potent, has already been somewhat diffused; Bond 25, as the next Bond is temporarily titled, isn’t out until 2020. Making any kind of Bond replacement announcement would be counter-productive to the promotion of Bond 25.


But even as Idris Elba finally quashed his own Bond rumors, it remains apparent that the question of “who should be the next Bond?” still revs up the collective cultural imagination. And who better to capitalize on that very imagination than California-born actor Jonah Hill?

Here’s how I see it: The most valuable demo right now is the young male demo—18 to 24 if you want to call it that, but I’m thinking younger than that, too—and brands of all kinds are rearranging their core philosophies to find ways to engage these young fellows. To aspirant hypebeasts, Hill is an icon; even though scumbro culture took a big hit when Pete Davidson and Ariana Grande broke up, Hill’s directorial debut Mid90s got largely positive reviews and also featured a Del tha Funkee Homosapien song (which is so random but also so ’90s!).

If you’re in the director’s chair for Bonds of the future, positioning Bond as friendly and inviting to this younger demo is a must. The new Bond has to be as comfortable rocking a Palace Skateboards eight-panel as he is a Tom Ford three-piece. (Maybe Bond passes up his signature Manhattan… so he can vape instead! Just spitballing here, I think a lot of things can fit.) Plus, recent turns as a somewhat-bumbling and overdressed but ultimately suave rich kid-type in Cary Joji Fukunaga’s Maniac might as well be a screen test for the Millennial Bond character Hill is destined to inherit. Fukunaga is directing the new Bond, so they’ve already worked together once. Can I be more obvious here?!

Generally, Hill should be up for more franchise pillar parts within our landscape of Extended Cinematic Universes. A few weeks ago, many outlets reported that Henry Cavill would not be reprising his role as Superman in forthcoming movies from Warner Brothers. So we polled our audience on who they might like to see step into the Superman franchise:

I think it’s safe to say that our audience has a “bad case of the Jonahs”—maybe even a Superbad case am I right! I hope you guys are still reading this.

Point being, Bond is a great role for Hill and basically a no-brainer if you’re going to get the Creator Generation in the mix with the excessively Boomer-y Bond. Mr. Fukunaga, flip that switch!

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Culture Movies/TV

Just How Presidential Are The Rock’s Sushi Sunday Meals?

Sandwiched between Instagram snaps of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson high-finning a beluga whale and bench-pressing a scrapyard’s worth of iron sits an innocuous photo of some sushi in front of a laptop. The screen is open to a streaming service. He’s about to sit down and soak in a documentary with a buffet of sushi. It’s probably one of the most familiar images for workaday millennials everywhere: What to order on Seamless and what to queue up on Netflix?

I can’t find when The Rock started posting “cheat meals”—which I have gathered through some clever Googling means “food that he eats to spice up his quotidian diet” of, according to ABC News, “an egg-white omelet or chicken breast and some rice.” Snore. I know that many celebrities who have to gain muscle mass, the famous four Chrises come to mind, eat sad diets of boiled chicken breasts and steamed broccoli. But a cheat day, I would wager, should include a family of four carb-load meant to offset the low-level depression experienced by necking back a daily cocktail of egg whites.

Many of the preliminary entries on his #CheatMealSunday posts were stacks of pancakes, seemingly garnished with a slab of peanut butter and a healthy pour of Organic 365 maple syrup, sometimes topped with chocolate chips. All were accompanied by a Netflix documentary of some sort. It looked kinda gross. Like, sorry IHOP, but no matter how you style a stack of pancakes, they look like spheroidal disks of despair.

All of that changed, however, when the sushi train rolled into the station (read: The Rock’s mouth). Now, The Rock’s Instagram has become a bona fide carb heaven, a relatable tribute to the Hungry Man in all of us, and it—wait—CAN YOU SMELL WHAT THE ROCK IS COOKIN’? Yes, he’s cookin’ up likes on his Instagram while watching digestion-aid documentaries like the new Mr. Rogers film, Won’t You Be My Neighbor? It’s a lofty pastime for the wrestler cum actor who might one day add president to his growing list of job titles.

This may seem unimportant to the layman. But I, a political food sleuth, have taken the liberty to assess these meals based on their potential to launch a presidential bid. Not to place too much importance on a meal, especially ones that look like heart attacks waiting to happen, but even his worst #cheat meals look healthier than our current Prez’s best. Sad! So let us now evaluate, via arbitrary criteria, the kinetic energy of his meals and how they, ahem, stack up to past presidential competition.

“Tried this new soosh spot that was a recommendation from my new best friend, Stanley Tucci,” The Rock captioned this photo of give or take 60 bites of sushi distributed over three plates. I suppose Tucci and The Rock met on set of his angry gorilla blockbuster, Rampage, and talk naturally turned to good sushi spots between takes.

This was The Rock’s second watch of Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, a documentary about a man whom he praised as “one of the most kind, compassionate, caring & steadfast human beings to ever walk God’s green earth.”

VERDICT: A president with Stanley Tucci on his speed dial? That is at least six nigiris out of a possible ten. Also, imagine a president who calls it “soosh.” Soosh, there it is!

Emily Blunt recommended whatever sushi spot The Rock ordered from here. We’re going to quietly applaud The Rock for taking food recs from a majority of the cast of The Devil Wears Prada, but on this particular night the future prez dug into the four-part HBO series about producer Jimmy Iovine, The Defiant Ones.

VERDICT: That’s some quality watching and he followed it up with his signature peanut butter cookies (more on this later). This is a solid eight nigiris out of ten. In the words of The Rock paraphrasing an unattributed quote he heard in his early days that is now attributed to The Rock, “Once you’ve been hungry, you’ll never be full.”

OK there is no sushi in this picture, which is slightly deflating because I thought we were only cheating with quasi-healthy grub. According to the Globe and Mail, sushi is “a good source of heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids thanks to the fish it’s made with. Sushi is also low in calories—there’s no added fat.”

But what this photo lacks in raw fish it more than makes up for in explosive carbs and proteins. For someone who occasionally suffers from food eyes—the culinary counterpart to Audrina Patridge’s ceiling eyes—there is just too much to look at.

Luckily, there’s an explainer in the caption: These are “Double milk chocolate and peanut butter chip cookies with creamy peanut butter smothered between the two cookies. The camera angle makes these nuggets look small, but they’re huge. How are they you ask? Well, they’re just like my nickname after I drink tequila—Big, tasty & heavenly.”

VERDICT: Holy jalopy, how do I make these? Is there a recipe @therock? I already forgot about sushi, we just need this recipe. This is nine nigiris out of ten. Where is my nearest polling booth?!

I just needed to throw back to this pre-sushi train #CheatDay meal. First of all, this looks like a weird nude you’d send to someone who watches those breadface videos on YouTube. Beez in the trap! Carbs on my lap!

Can I also point out how disappointing this is? The pancakes are melting off of the sides of the plate. If you even so much as splashed a bit of syrup on them, it would certainly drizzle onto your crotch. Nobody wants maple syrup in or around that area… Do they?

VERDICT: This is boring to look at unless you like feet. There is not a nigiri in sight and it’s equivalent to the sad photo of Trump on Air Force One in front of some KFC. Not my president!

Bury me with a copy of The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling on DVD. Or Southland Tales, one of the most unsung on-screen appearances for The Rock.

With this more recent post, we’re back to sushi, and these rolls boast more color than a New Orleans pride parade on Shrove Tuesday, a holiday we’re sure The Rock celebrates. Based on that cursory observance, I would hazard a guess as to say The Rock is supportive of the LGBTQ community. The veracity of that statement is confirmed in the caption, wherein he clearly voices his support by saying: “So the take away here, is be you. And don’t cheat yourself, treat yourself—crush your cheat meals.”

VERDICT: Wow. That is already leagues ahead of what many past presidents have said re: the gay agenda. I’m proud of what The Rock signifies, both in the film world and the culinary realm. And if anything can be gleaned from his sushi orders, it’s that The Rock is unfailingly a vote for pro-choice and the dismantling of a capitalist stronghold on contemporary American society. Phew! That was a lot to get through. Time to order some sushi. ?

Categories
Culture Movies/TV

12 Terrifying Horror Movies That Gave These Directors Their Start

Every year, I boldly take it upon myself to watch as many of the unknown horror films that Netflix offers in hopes of finding diamonds in the rough. I put myself through hours and hours of pain just so you, a true horror fan, can have a distilled, true understanding of what lies for you at the bottom of that red, streaming sea.

UPDATE: For Peter’s 2019 recommendations on IGN, click the link in his tweet. 

And I’m not going to lie: 2018 (being 2018) was the toughest year I’ve had yet trying to pan the Netflix river for its horror gold. Usually by mid-September, I’ve found a decent crop of weird, unheard-of horror films that I’m anxious to share with the October crowd. But I watched a lot more schlock than usual this year before finding enough entries that I felt comfortable recommending.

Every year I compile a list of new movies. So before you shout at me about Oculus and A Dark Song (both amazing and watch them now), here are my lists for 2016 and 2017. Many of those gems are sadly not on Netflix anymore, but that’s no reason not to seek them out.

Away we go, and I hope you’re left completely terrified until next year.

Murder Party

Not only is Murder Party the first movie from excellent writer/director Jeremy Saulnier, who went on to make the nerve-squeezers Blue Ruin (2013) and Green Room (2015), it’s also tied for my favorite new horror discovery this year.

The plot of Murder Party is simple. A quiet, lonely man literally stumbles upon a mysterious invitation to a party on Halloween. Intrigued and with nothing better to do, he bakes some banana bread, constructs a knight costume out of cardboard and heads to the party—only to find out that it’s not the sort of party he expected at all.

What follows is a gruesome, gory and actually fun romp through the situation Saulnier sets up. It definitely has its amateur flaws and you can see the cracks through the acting and production value. But behind it all, there is genuine passion and joy in making a practical effects–filled nightmare of a party. Trust me on this one. It’s great.

Enemy

Next is a movie that has a really special place in my heart, an early one from Denis Villeneuve, the director behind Arrival (2016) and, most recently, Blade Runner 2046 (2017). It’s now streaming on Netflix. Now, it may not exactly fit the usual definition of a horror movie, but Enemy will still weird you the hell out and make you unsettled about what exactly it was that you just watched.


Enemy stars Jake Gyllenhaal as a bored, lost history professor. One day, this sad man sits sadly in his sad house watching a movie all alone and he catches sight of an extra in the background who looks exactly like him. What follows is a twisted story that wraps around its subjects in an increasingly claustrophobic way as borders are crossed, identities are questioned, kinks are explored and questions remain. The last shot is so bewildering and, in its own way, horrifying, that I have thought about it for years after watching it.

This is one of those movies that might leave many cold and annoyed that they waded into Enemy on my recommendation. Good for you for trying something new.

Creep 2

You can’t talk about modern entrepreneurial filmmakers without talking about Mark Duplass. Fortunately for all of us, he’s a big fan of horror films. He wet his whistle by co-writing 2008’s Baghead (not great), followed it up with 2012’s Black Rock (much better) and hit his stride in the genre with the 2014 film Creep (very, very good).

Though I trust Duplass more than I should, I still hit play on Creep 2 with just the slightest bit of trepidation. After all, the first Creep was such a complete and self-encapsulated movie, trying to milk more out of it seemed like a fool’s errand.


Well, please watch Creep 2 (preferably after you’ve watched the first one, also streaming on Netflix). It isn’t so much a continuation of the first movie as it is a very different type of movie with the same character and tone. It is a tense, taut, gaslighting movie that plays with expectations and form. Great acting from Duplass and a continually intriguing plot will leave you glued to the screen.

The Ritual

The Ritual is the other movie tied for my favorite, surprising discovery of this year. When four British friends head out for a backpacking trip in the deep forests of Scandinavia to commemorate their recently killed friend (The Descent, anyone?), you know things are going to get weird. And they do!


When they stumble into an old shed that appears to house an idol to worship an old, wild god, things take a decidedly pagan turn. And just when you think you’ve seen this type of movie before, it goes places deeper than you’ve probably ever seen. And if you have seen this, tell me where because I am a sucker for old gods and ancient religions.

The Boy

The Boy is another movie that subverts expectations in the best way possible. It begins as the already creepy story of a woman taking a nannying job only to discover that her charge is a porcelain doll of a boy meant to replace an older couple’s long-lost son. And it ends somewhere different.


While I hesitate to say this is a great movie, I am glad I watched it. I found it surprising and well done for what it was. Don’t think you have this movie all figured out when you press play, you may be wrong…

The Babysitter

The Babysitter is a bit of a quandary. It’s not a “good” movie, per se, but I still don’t hesitate in putting it on this list. It’s the story of a pubescent hetero boy getting the babysitter of his dreams, except for the whole demonic cult thing.


The Babysitter is heavily steeped in, and exaggerates, the tropes and exploitative impulses of so many horror movies that came before it. It’s very heavy on the gore, the sexuality, the violence… It’s aggressively a horror/comedy. A hormedy? And for that much, I’ll say it works as a fun celebration of horror past. This is certainly not a movie that will scare you, but it’s pretty enjoyable to watch.

As Above So Below

What if The Da Vinci Code were a horror movie? And, ya know, like, good? Then you’d have As Above So Below. It’s a shaky cam horror movie that explores the actual depths of the catacombs beneath Paris and doesn’t find anything good. I’ve long been an apologist for shaky cam movies and it’s films like this that prove me right.

I was alarmed when I researched it and saw that it only has 25 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. It’d been a while since I watched it, so I checked it out again and can clearly say that those fools don’t know what they’re talking about. This is a solid movie.

Terrifier

So, um, my notes for Terrifier only read “Jesus Christ.” This film is not for the faint of heart. A very low-budget film about a murderous person dressed in a particularly disturbing clown outfit, Terrifier continually feels like it dares itself to be more graphic, more horrifying, more intense. And to that end, it is a big success.


Terrifier doesn’t earn any real points for plot, story or subtlety. Instead, it doubles down on how horrific it can make its death scenes. It wonders aloud, “What are the limits of practical effects???” And it answers that question very well. So, um, just know what you’re getting into.

Emilie

Emelie is a tricky one, and the weakest movie on this list. It starts off with a bang as a babysitter (side note: What is with babysitters and horror?) on her way to a job is suddenly replaced by a stranger. The first half of the movie unfolds in a truly fascinating spectacle. I loved the boundaries that it sought to push and was actually startled by some of the directions it took.

Unfortunately, the last third of the movie flaps limply into being as the reveal and resolution seem replicated from any number of previous horror films. All that said, I’m glad I watched it because the first half was so rich and upsetting.

Patchwork

Patchwork is another horror/comedy that surprised me. It’s an indie movie in which a woman goes out to celebrate her birthday and wakes up Frankensteined into a body with two other women. Together they unite (as much as they can) to unleash their fury on all the men that led them to their current position. It seems to have a lot of contemporary resonance until you see that the writers were both men. OK.


But while there are many flaws in Patchwork’s fabric, there’s so much joy in this movie reveling in what it is. And for that, I recommend it.

Malevolent

Malevolent is yet another movie that surprises you with its treatment. Once again, you think you know where a movie about scamming ghost catchers taking on a big haunted house is going to end up. And much to its credit, Malevolent goes somewhere else.

While not the most original of movies, it handles its well-worn plot with extreme deftness. Where lesser horror movies would ramp up the score with the slightest hint of violence, Malevolent stays quiet and lets the images speak for themselves. It’s a weaker one on this list, but well worth watching.

Évolution

Oh ho, dear reader, I (and Netflix, I suppose) have one weird-ass gift left to give you. Évolution is the story of a boy living with this mother on a remote island. They are surrounded by other boys and their mothers as they live a primitive life in apparent seclusion. Things take a turn when the boy, while swimming in the sea, finds the body of a dead child. As he tries to explain what he saw, he mother grows defensive and he grows suspicious.


Évolution is a slow, atmospheric movie that gradually unleashes its nasty, dark secrets upon the watcher. It does this quietly and with deliberate unease. You will probably never truly know the answers to the questions that Évolution leaves you with, but you will most likely remain shook.