Happy Death Day 2U
A Middle Aged Movie Blog. Being the periodic journal of a film loving middle aged independent science fiction writing father of two and his ongoing adventures in cinema and home video
Coerced into watching Happy Death Day 2U (2019) in the evening. I was planning to watch cooking shows and go to bed early to read a book. Still, glad I stuck around. Following on from the original Happy Death Day, which was a financial hit for lo-fi horror purveyors, Blumhouse in 2017, the sequel, which was rushed into production to capitalise on the original’s success, isn’t quite as sharp as its predecessor. Coming across like a mash up of John Hughes Weird Science (1985), Groundhog Day (1993) and a veritable parade of 1980’s teen slasher favourites, the film struggles to figure out exactly what it wants to be. There’s some guff about science nerds causing a shift in dimensions. There’s a return to the timeline of the original movie though in an alternate dimension where aspects of the day are different. It’s relatively bloodless again, but, overall, it’s good fun and worth the effort if you enjoyed the original. Disappointing box office returns mean it’s unlikely there’ll be a third. This seems a shame, as given the goofy premise, one suspects it had enough left in the tank to carry off further instalments. Directed by Christopher Landon. Starring Jessica Rothe, Israel Broussard, Suraj Sharma and Steve Zissis.
Went to watch Frozen 2 (2019) after managing to avoid it first time round with the kids, as there was nothing else to watch at the cinema for me and the boy in the time we needed to fill whilst my daughter attended a pantomime with the local Rainbows group, other than the Disney sequel.
Not as strong as the original, which I was never the biggest fan of. Too much exposition in the first third. None of the songs really stood out for me that much, either. I can’t say I remember them with the benefit of hindsight. Still, I didn’t want to take a blowtorch to Olaf in this movie and the animation, as you’d expect from flagship Disney was impeccable throughout. Directed by Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck.
After the sort of election result that made me want to run to the hills (literally in this instance, Scotland is starting to look like a viable option at this point!) went to see Knives Out (2019) at the Odeon in Manchester. Rian Johnson’s lovingly crafted whodunnit, which is as respectful of the detective murder mystery genre it frolics about in as it is humorous, was a delight. Excellent performances from a stunningly assembled ensemble. Daniel Craig’s badly accented detective is a hoot. I hope there are further films in the pipeline. I would definitely go to watch them if that was the case.
Attended a screening of Calamity Jane (1953) at the weekend with my darling wife, and enjoyed it for the most part, despite the fact I was experiencing a hellish tummy bug, that laid waste to my interiors and had me man-groaning for long periods. Had to miss out on a screening of Cabaret (1972) as a result the following day, which I was really looking forward to seeing on the big screen, but then sometimes, you have to admit defeat.
Watched a bunch of episodes of The Witcher on Netflix, from the books by Andrzej Sapkowski. Not a bad TV Show. Bit confusing for the casual viewer I expect, but excellent action and fight sequences helped iron out any creases. One-time Man of Steel (2013) Henry Cavill as Geralt of Rivia, the eponymous Witcher who wanders round a generic fantasy land hunting monsters and getting into trouble, resembles Legolas after a night out on the lash. However, as a broody man of few words with a penchant for elaborate swordplay, he fits the bill nicely. Anya Chalotra as Yennefer of Vengerberg, meanwhile is all kinds of fun. She is especially astonishing during an eyebrow raising transformation sequence that even hardened fantasy and horror fans will have trouble not flinching at. Overall, a pretty strong showing.
Went to Home to watch On the Town (1949) with the boy and a fine time was had singing and foot-tapping along and watching Gene Kelly tap dance and soft shoe shuffle his way around the silver screen. All that smiling must have been hell on his cheeks in later years. Properly technicolour MGM crowd pleaser. My seven-year-old son loved it, and so did I. Directed by Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen. Starring Frank Sinatra and Jules Munshin.
Continued with my Twin Peaks marathon, getting into the post Laura Palmer episodes of the second season and feeling my enthusiasm wane a bit as the mystery of the show tapers off. Still, I have Twin Peaks: The Return (2017) to keep me going to the end and Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992) might be on the cards at some point too.
For my Xmas Eve special, after suffering through two Harry Potter films and a bunch of last-minute yuletide related guff, watched Anna and the Apocalypse (2017) on streaming. This movie is a Christmas musical comedy with zombies, part Shaun of The Dead (2004) homage, part ode to Josh Whedon’s stand out Buffy The Vampire Slayer episode, Once More with Feeling. The film basically follows Anna in the dying days of her time in further education, plotting her escape from a provincial grey zone with a view to going travelling and sightseeing the world.
Unfortunately, there’s a zombie apocalypse and Anna and a motley band of school friends find themselves singing and dancing and offing zombies in spectacularly bloody fashion given the film’s budget, in order to get back to school where the army is reputed to be rendezvousing to rescue any stragglers.
The cast is mostly made up of unknown actors. However, the songs are funny and knowing, the zombies are a low-grade treat, and the majority of death scenes are bloody and creative. Also, there’s a genuine sense of jeopardy in the film with key characters in danger of getting their guts pulled out with unnerving frequency. An unhinged performance from Paul Kaye as a buttoned-down schoolteacher experiencing a monumental breakdown, does the film a lot of good. File under alternative Xmas movies in your database. Destined for cult status. Directed by John McPhail. Starring Ella Hunt, Malcolm Cumming, Marli Sui, and Sarah Swire.