(This article contains spoilers from the first season of Vice Principals. If you want to avoid them just know that this series comes highly recommended)
One of my favorite things about Jody Hill’s Eastbound and Down is the way that each season is structured like a movie. Moreso than most serialized series, these season arcs are designed with a real beginning, middle, and end, and the characters go through significant arcs from start to finish. Vice Principals follows a similar model, making it a difficult show to judge after just a few episodes.
I was not a fan of the Vice Principals pilot. The characters it presented seemed one-dimensional and plot points flew in and out too quickly to pique my interest. Danny McBride and Walton Goggins seemed to be portraying similar characters to what they had done on the past, and the show felt like it was coasting. But I stuck with it on the strengths of Eastbound and Down, which grew by leaps and bounds over its initial season. I’m pleased to report that this was the right decision.
Continue reading Vice Principals Season 1 Review
When taken completely on its own merits, 2016’s Blair Witch isn’t bad. It’s an above-average movie in the “found footage” horror sub-genre, written and directed by the team that created You’re Next (which is very good) and The Guest (which I have not seen). There are plenty of jump scares, some surprises, and a real escalation of horror that caps off with an especially intense ending. It’s hard to deny the film’s competence, which is ironically the movie’s biggest flaw.
Blair Witch feels like it was created for all of the people who saw 1999’s “The Blair Witch Project” and said “That sucked! It’s so boring!” 2016’s film is the original turned up to 11. Instead of whispers and laughter in the shadows, we have deafening noises and uprooted trees. The creepy stick figures that served as a creepy harbinger of doom in the original have their own twisted purpose here, there’s more gore, more definitive fates for the different characters, and a far lesser desire to hide the supernatural elements from the camera.
Continue reading Blair Witch Review
The most interesting aspects of Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg’ Sausage Party are what they’re NOT promoting. Sure, the movie revels in its own bad taste, with just as many sex jokes and f-bombs as you’d expect from the Pixar-but-perverted slant of its ad campaign. But the film has far more to say about the failings of organized religion: its usage to paper over very real human fears, its role in global conflicts and warfare, its hindrance of actual scientific development, and its tendency to shame people for their inherent desires. Sausage Party empathizes with believers, but never obfuscates where it stands in regard to faith.
It’s a bold, refreshing, and inherently risky stance for a studio film to make, which is probably why it’s not the part of Sausage Party that is being sold to the masses. Sausage Party’s moral can be boiled down to “promote Atheism over religion, but don’t be a dick about it,” which is a hard sell to a country in which over 75% of the population identifies themselves as having faith in a higher power. Sausage Party is not likely to change anybody’s minds on such a grand subject, but it’s fascinating to me that a project could be greenlit at all, let alone be one of the biggest success stories of the summer.
Continue reading Sausage Party Review