Will Smith and the double standard of the Hollywood elite

This is not something I would normally publish – I mostly talk about movies and shows without going into the creator’s personal lives. But the situation with Will Smith is indicative of the current state of the film industry and there are some peculiar points to the story. And I may have let this one slide without a notice had it not been for Will’s decision to make an out-of-the-blue apology video.

Since Big Willie himself won’t let the situation die, we can talk about it now. He has released an apology video (four months too late) and everyone is talking about it. Which was his intention cause why else would he be doing it? It’s awfully lonely up there, in his Hollywood mansion, with his Oscar but not much else going for him. So that’s why he’s decided to remind the world that he still exists and also, what he’s now famous for. I’m sure he thought that his sombre look and the expressionless delivery of said apology would appear more genuine than showing actual human emotion, but he was wrong. It’s bizarre that he’s decided to frame the video as a Q&A session, like the actual apology is just a part of the programme. And how fake is the apology itself? Very. Especially him shifting the responsibility of reconciliation onto Chris by saying that he’s reached out and Chris didn’t want to talk, so now he’s here whenever Chris wants to talk. Like, it’s Chris’s responsibility now to initiate the conversation.

And again he brings up family, in this case Chris’s mom, apologizing to her. How about you don’t humiliate her son by slapping him at the biggest night of the industry?! But he brings up the mother deliberately to tug at the audience’s heartstrings (cause again, he’s not doing it for Chris, he’s doing it to revive his career).

As for the assault in question – and let’s not be coy about it, it was an assault – his excuse is that he was not thinking, it was an impulse, he was foggy afterwards and that’s why he didn’t apologize right away, like when he was delivering his undeserved Best Actor speech. Yeah, he was foggy alright but not from shock or whatever. Just like he’s foggy during this whole video – what are you on, Will?

What’s really interesting here is how much does Jada figure into all of this? And not in the sense that she’s the reason why the whole thing happened – Will was offended on her behalf since nothing was said or done to him personally – but how much of a puppet master is she in the relationship with Will? After the Oscars, people were sharing clips of the two, including the very candid talk they recorded on their marriage and the video at home where Jada berates Will for not wanting to be on camera. I’ve never been interested in their marriage and I’m not particularly interested in it now, but since it keeps coming up I’m gonna say that to me it looks like Will has no will (pun intended) of his own. He may have been projecting a confident alpha-male image prior to the incident but at heart he is a push-over, it is obvious now. You can see in those clips and interviews that he reluctantly does and says everything that Jada wants him to do and say, and it is even more obvious during the incident where Will actually laughed at the joke that he slapped Chris for minutes later. If Jada wasn’t there to pull the strings, nothing would have happened. But she rolled her eyes showing that she is even farther up her own ass than we thought before, and definitely did or said something off-camera that made Will go up on that stage and assault Chris Rock.

Now he’s saying that Jada in no way told or did anything that made Will commit the assault, but what else is he gonna say? He’s never gonna admit to being Jada’s puppet. And the fact that he can’t conceal his nervous laughter as he answers the question and reassures us that he was motivated by his past and his history with Chris speaks volumes. You don’t have to say anything to get your message across, truly.
And again he brings up family – his family this time – for no other reason than to elicit sympathy from the audience since he has definitely spoken to his family in the four months that have gone by since that night.

I will say that he seems genuinely sorry for stealing the spotlight from the nominees and winners of the night, especially Questlove who won in the category that Chris Rock was up there announcing. Interesting that so far this is the most genuine apology we’ve had. At least he might have some respect left for his colleagues. Then again it could be another tactic to get back into the good graces of the industry. Personally, I can’t trust anything he says anymore.

And no, I’m not being harsh or dramatic because the next point that he brings up is how he’s let so many people down who’ve looked up to him. And what does he talk about? What does he emphasize? How hard is must be to lose trust in someone you’ve held in such high esteem? No. How devastating it must be for the people who’ve looked up to him to have that hero taken away from them? No. Nothing about “them”, all about “me”. Apparently, it causes Will Smith psychological pain when he doesn’t live up to the expectations of the people, when he lets people down. Yeah, once again, it’s all about him.

You know what else? It’s the lack of emotion and the dead eyes that are really unsettling, especially when he says, I promise we’ll be able to be friends again… to his fans. So, not only is he not putting any genuine emotion into this promise, but he’s also promising to be friends with the people whom he was never friends with in the first place! How do you even describe your relationship with your fans as “being friends”? Sure, we all know what parasocial relationships are by now but we don’t verbally acknowledge them. There’s something so unsettling about this and the fact that it is the last thing he says in his apology video. Sounds more like a threat than a promise of something good.

So, what do we think about all this? And I am now wondering about the general consensus of the industry and the public regarding Will Smith. Is he cancelled now? I would think so since we’ve seen people being cancelled for similar situations. In fact, in many cases people were cancelled for alleged incidents. Not that the testimony wasn’t powerful or believable (although that differs on an individual basis) but there was no physical evidence presented. Whereas in the case of Will Smith, the whole world saw him commit physical assault during the biggest event in the film industry. An assault that was unprovoked (verbal provocation does not warrant a physical attack) and that led to no immediate consequences. Worse so, an assault that seemed to have been awarded by the industry which let him stay at the event, accept an award, give a speech and party into the night.

And just like immediately after the Oscars, I am now once again baffled by the jarring double standards of Hollywood. Imagine if you were the one who assaulted a co-worker at an important work function? Imagine you went up to someone at a work event and slapped them across the face? Would you have been allowed to stay at that event without so much as a talking-to? Without the HR or the police being called? Without getting fired the next day? Without any repercussions at all? The answer to all these questions is a big fat NO. Yet in Hollywood if you’re a big enough star you can get away with anything.
This is our lesson for the day, boys and girls, enjoy!

Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003): KnigaWorm Review

This is going to be a strictly Rambling Review which I wrote a couple of weeks ago on a crazy hot day. And what is the best way to spend a crazy hot day? For some people, it’s going to the beach, but for me it’s staying inside a dark and, if needed, air-conditioned room and watching a horror movie.

Let the ramblings commence! Obviously, ALL THE SPOILERS AHEAD!

The only recollection I have of this film is a brief comment from my Diary.ru days saying, “I can’t believe how much they messed up the original. Ew.” So that’s what we have to work with. On the other end of the spectrum we have the fact that this is the one version of Chainsaw that I couldn’t find on subscription so could it be that it’s too horrific for the subscription crew? Cause that’s the tendency I notice on our streaming services – the truly gruesome fair like the original Martyrs doesn’t get a spot. But it might just have to do with copyright.

Anyway, I still don’t know if this is a remake of the original or a reimagining… At least judging by the looks of it, it takes place in modern day (which here is early 2000s) so already not a direct remake (upd: apparently, it takes place in 1973, the clothes threw me off.) Also, the nerd is not wheelchair-bound so there’s that. Anyway, I’m just glad to see a fuller-figured pre-Timberlake Jessica Biel. She used to be likeable and hireable back then, remember?

Here is another difference – the person they encounter is not a Hewitt brother (why did I think the family name was Sawyer?) but a traumatized young girl. Was she a prisoner of the Hewitts? I vaguely remember this trailer in the woods with some weirdos, so like there’s more than just the Hewitt family there.

Where was the girl keeping the gun?… Let’s just assume it was somehow tied to her inner thigh and leave it at that. The scene is horrific enough as it is. I like that the premise of them not going to the police about this is believable – they have pot stashed in the car so they can’t go to the cops or they’ll get arrested.

In a way, it’s good that I watched the prequel first. Now I know what it’s all about – who the Sheriff is, who the clerk lady is, why the guys are supposed to head to the Crawford Mill, etc. I guess Sheriff Hoyt learned his lesson from the prequel – instead of going and fetching the prey himself, he makes the prey come to him. Also, remember that Cousin Hewitt got his legs blown/sawed off in the prequel so he can’t help with fetching.

oh Jessica… your intentions are pure and your heart is in the right place, but it’s also what will get you all killed. Also, this is kind of a twist on the old premise – now we have five able-bodied unhurt young people altogether in a group. How are they gonna get separated and taken down? That’s interesting. Cause before it was either people separating and being differently abled, or starting off with being injured. But this is a new set-up. I suppose the kid will act as bait. And them being kind of stupid – you should have listened to the nerd. And while I kind of in a way get it about getting the girl’s body back to her parents (how they’re gonna find them is another question) but also, they are essentially all getting killed because of some weird honoring of an already dead body. So, I get it but I also really don’t get it. And now they got separated into two different locations, that’s just great.

I wonder, even without seeing the prequel, who would believe that R.Lee Ermey is the actual Sheriff? Just look at him. And listen to him, such sass. I know I’m not supposed to like him even a little bit, but again, thanks to the prequel, I appreciate this character. He is a great horror movie villain, the demented mastermind of the whole Hewitt operation.

LEATHERFACE! Don’t judge me, I’m a fan.

Is this proper police procedure to wrap up suicide victims in Saran wrap? I know that the guys are traumatized and not thinking clearly, but they should be really suspicious of this Sheriff. And yet, you have to admire Ermey’s commitment to this character, complete with anecdotes from “his patrol days”. Wait… is he actually letting the other kids go? Not forcing them into his car to go and testify or something? That’s interesting. So far, they only have one captured victim, and while that’s the arguably biggest and strongest guy, there are still four capable young people running around unattended. Alright, I’m invested now.

So, the collection of abandoned rusted cars, people’s teeth, and the suicide girl’s photo in a jar don’t raise suspicion? You still wanna stick around and investigate? Okay, fine, now you can’t abandon your friend, but why are you separating again?

Meanwhile, Leatherface is just out here, minding his business, working on his new catch. I bet he doesn’t even question how the guy got in the house, who he may have been with, etc. He’s just happy to have a new body to dissect and possibly a face to take.

Ms Leather the Face is at it again! Keeping it pushing. Gotta love the determination and the trek skills. Also, why so many sheets hung out to dry? Makes for a cool visual, but what is the practical purpose and explanation?

Yay, Ermey is back! And now we’re getting closer to the climactic third act with all the kids now in “custody” in one way or another and taken back to the Hewitt house. Ms Face treating the second guy like literally a piece of meat is dementedly brilliant. He treats the cut-off limb with salt so as to preserve it. He is preparing the meat for conservation. And yes, here he goes, working on his new face. And oh wow, his old face is… gross. I suppose that disease they mentioned in the prequel took parts of his face along with it. Rotting from the outside, so to speak. Also, I love the juxtaposition of Leatherface’s physical horror and Ermey’s psychological horror. Leatherface is a brutal executioner while Ermey goes for psychological torture and making people inflict physical pain on themselves, like with the poor nerd. This whole scene is fantastic! So well acted, so tense. This is how you do it!

The poor dude trying to get himself off the meat hook is… too much. It’s making me physically sick and I can stomach a lot of horror. I’m not even joking, my breakfast is starting to repeat on me from all this carnage.

How does this movie have such a low rating on IMDB? What’s wrong with people? This is such a solid horror film, especially for a remake.

I tell you… when Ms Face slashed the girl open and then turned around and looked at Jessica with her boyfriend’s face… that is the perfect blend of physical and psychological horror right there. Visceral is also the word we could use here. We could use all the words, really. This is seriously one of the best horror movies I’ve seen in a while! And now Jessica has encountered the Tea Lady and shit is about to get even more demented. And I already feel sick as it is. Honestly, I’m having Tick-Tacks and black sugared tea cause my stomach can’t take this, and I usually eat along with stuff like Saw and Hostel, but this is some next-level shit… I am actually taking a break because I can’t take it anymore. Wow…

Oh no, the Tea Lady is gonna drug Jessica, right? And I’m guessing that baby came from the suicide girl?

Oh look, Ms Face changed his face. I guess the new one didn’t fit him well enough. Maybe he should try the other dude, he had a broader jawline.

This is morbid. Poor guy can’t get off the meat hook although they keep trying, and he’s just hanging there, playing the piano with his one leg. Asking Jessica to finish him – and she actually did, wow. They can never do it, but Jessica is special.

JESUS! The nerd was in the bathtub and I thought it was the boyfriend who even without a face was somehow still alive. And I screamed, sorry neighbors! I actually screamed which again, never happens. What a movie!

Okay, hiding in some house is kinda stupid, but where else are they gonna go? I kind of get it. I’m guessing the nerd is still gonna die and Jessica might make it.

This movie is a neverending torture parade. Jessica somehow escaped the abandoned house (only because Ms Face got caught in the barbed wire and sliced his leg open.) But he caught up quickly at the meat-packing plant which again is operational and looks legit (remember the horror show from the prequel?)

Wow… that was a lot. I now need a sedative in the form of One fine day which I can finally watch. But this movie, this fucking movie… was fantastic! It is a testament to how truly gruesome a horror movie is if it made me scream and feel physically sick. Bravo, cast and crew!

Antlers (2021): KnigaWorm Review

Something sinister is going on in rural Oregon. The police find parts of a person’s body with suspicious human bite marks on a corpse that could not have been destroyed like that by a human. And in a school, the new teacher discovers that one of her students might be harboring a terrible secret.

Without spoilers, this is an effective, atmospheric, horror/thriller. I have been looking for a truly scary movie and none of the horror movies that I’ve seen lately have come close to having any effect on me, apart from boredom and annoyance. But this movie… this movie got to me. Partly because of great direction, visuals, and acting. Especially the actor who plays Lucas is superb! I hope he has a bright future ahead of him. He really is wise beyond his years, to be able to convey so much trauma and horror with such restraint. It’s very rare for a child actor.

Another reason why the movie is so effective is that it uses the horror elements to tell a larger story. In this case, the more obvious message is about how us, terrible humans, have hurt Mother Nature to the point where she is calling on her evil spirits to take revenge. And the message that had more effect on me and that is unveiled gradually throughout the movie is about the devastating effects of generational trauma. And how you might go about dealing with it in different ways – run from it, stay and try to deal with it through love or hostility, but the end result is almost never victory.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say that this is “elevated horror” on par with Hereditary but it comes close. And that’s saying a lot.

And now for the SPOILER-FILLED Rambling portion of this Review:

This is not a movie that I particularly wanted to watch from the get-go but there’s something about this cute little kid from the opening and the fact that he’s gonna get possessed or something (I’m pretty sure that’s where we’re going) that made me wanna watch it. Plus, you know, I’m collecting whatever I can get my hands on and then we’ll see.

This Lucas boy looks like Brick Heck which makes me like him and sympathise with him even more. And I’m guessing he’s telling the story of his father and… uncle (?) that got possessed in that cave? And now that’s whom he’s hiding in the basement and killing animals for? And now Keri Russell will try and help but his father lives in the basement and is possessed so she’s not gonna be able to reach any adults. And will she take him in or something? She might… Especially if she’s following him like that, she’s feeling sorry for him. She is really nice and she means well but she will only make everything worse.

Why do people always go to scary places on their own? Like this principal. Again, well-meaning lady, for sure, but she’s gonna get herself killed and the dad will be let outside to roam free. Why can’t you at least try and really do something productive, like take a look around, realize that it’s fucked up, and call the police immediately. What are you gonna do alone up here?

I think I’ve finally found something scary! Like, I’ve been looking for a scary movie but all have been disappointing. And this… this is making me sick, physically. Which is a good sign, as far as horror movies go.

An aside question: if Lucas has no electricity or running water at home, which I’m guessing is the case, and he’s dealing with raw meat and animal carcass all the time, how does he not stink so bad that all the authorities are called on him? Given how much Americans care about hygiene, this should have been concern number one.

At least Lucas has a breathing mask so he won’t get completely poisoned by all the foulness, and he does get water in a bucket from somewhere, but come on.

Finally, the police are at the house and they have to be more decisive than this! At least they’ve finally figured out that something is wrong and they’re getting a warrant. But what good is that gonna do? The father has turned into a monster, the little brother is nowhere to be found so far, and Lucas… poor Lucas.

So this was faster than I expected. Keri went to the house again, found the principal’s car, and the police got access to the house, finally. And they found the principal’s body, and the very fucked up remains of his father. So the thing with antlers had literally burst out of the father, wow… And the little brother is nowhere to be found. Lucas is in the hospital now. And we’re getting glimpses of how the father’s condition progressed. And of course now the Native American elder is telling the police exactly what is wrong but the police don’t believe him. Yet, he is correct, we’ve seen it.

And this movie is a metaphor of how humans have angered nature with their reckless actions, and we’re all gonna pay a price for what we’ve done.

Welp… everybody’s fucked now. The Thing is at Keri’s house, the little brother is in the shed and also looks a bit possessed, and The Thing looks unkillable.

And now Keri’s brother has it… oh great. The cycle never ends. And the movie is also a metaphor for generational trauma and how, try as you might, you are almost guaranteed to lose this battle. Cause if you think you’re free from it, finally, the other person is not, and cycle continues.

What a great movie!

Stranger Things Season 4: KnigaWorm Review


This is a quite a polarizing season for me… I watched the whole thing without taking notes (though not in one sitting, I’m too old for marathons, lol), which is very unusual for me since I like to make my notes, but here I wanted to force myself to get immersed in a show, though my note-taking hand was itching. And surprisingly, I remember quite a lot which won’t last long, so let’s just get into it.

Before watching Season 4 I rewatched all the previous seasons (thank you, vacation time!) since my memory sucks and I always need a refresher. And I didn’t even comment much as I was watching – Stranger Things is not a show that I like to make commentary on, apparently. Although I yelled at the screen quite a bit, but since I don’t make video commentary only my neighbors heard it. Anyway, maybe when I rewatch four seasons before Season 5 (which comes out in 2024 so you know I’m gonna need another refresher) I might make a commentary. Just overall, I do love this show even if Season 3 was getting on my nerves with the abundance of storylines and characters, some of which have sadly transitioned into Season 4, so we can start with the most annoying recurring storyline…

THE SOVIET STORYLINE – yes, surprising as it may be, the Soviet storyline is my least favorite. Although it does give me strange pleasure (especially in the current political climate) to watch non-Russian actors torture themselves with our mighty Russian language, and it’s a genuine pleasure to see so many actual Russian actors onscreen. And Murray remains a delight with his impressively good Russian and great comedic timing. But… this is as far as the delight goes. I just don’t get the point of this storyline apart from making a too on the nose commentary on the Soviets vs Americans rivalry. At least if the Soviets had made a startling discovery during their Demogorgon experiments, or contributed to the plot in any other meaningful way. But as it stands, all this storyline did was give Hopper a makeover. And this storyline further pulled the characters apart (again, I don’t get the point of this either, we know how well the characters work together, so why this insistence on pulling them into different storylines all the time?!). Sure, we got a long-awaited Hopper-Joyce kiss but it was not even worth it. Especially since this whole thing made Joyce act completely irrationally, picking this suicide mission over her kids. Which is so not Joyce! Speaking of Joyce…

BYERS IN CALIFORNIA – Without mentioning Elle (I know that’s not how you spell her name, but I like it better this way, so bear with me) there’s not much left to say about this particular storyline. Jonathan and Will don’t have much to do this season and the so-called heart of the operation, Mike (only a hopelessly in love Will could have called Mike that) was also pretty useless. I mean sure, technically they did some stuff – they hung out with Elle, they watched Elle get in trouble, they lost Elle, they went looking for Elle, they found Elle, they helped Elle with the salt bath… you see what I’m getting at here? Without Elle there is no reason for them to exist on the show. I will add bonus points for Jonathan’s permanently stoned friend but that’s about it.

THE ORIGINAL PARTY – in the very first episode we see that not only Will has left the party for California, but also Lucas has left the party for a chance to become a popular jock. And once Mike goes to visit Elle in California Dustin is the only one of the party remaining in Hawkins. Sure, we also get introduced to Hellfire Club and its fearless leader Eddie… yeah, about Eddie. I don’t like him. Wait, before you throw pitchforks at me, think about it – Eddie is such a character character, you know? Like, he’s specifically designed to be a fan favorite and I hate that. Sure, people like him exist, but not so much like him. It’s especially obvious with his final Hero’s Guitar Solo and Hero’s Death. We do get a similar scene for Hopper fighting the Demogorgon with a D&D sword (btw, if Demogorgons are so easy to kill, how come Elle almost died killing just one of them in Season 1?) but at least we’ve known and loved Hopper since Season 1 so he gets a pass. Anyway, the remaining member of the part, Dustin, also doesn’t have very much to do this season, but you know who does get a lot to do?…

OLDER TEENS I’ve been calling them that since Season 1 so just go with it. I have three favorite storylines in Season 4 and the Older Teens are one of them. And here by Older Teens I mean Nancy, Steve, and Robin. Nancy’s character evolution is my favorite of the whole show. She is a real girl-boss and not in a forced, obnoxious way, but in an actually earned way. Her final battle is the culmination of her character arc and it’s so bad-ass, and no, not because FIRE! EXPLOSIONS! GUNS! Steve has also come a long way from his bratty self of Season 1 and I love that he hasn’t regressed to that old self – Lucas should learn from Steve about the uselessness of that high school popularity. I’ve enjoyed Robin from her first appearance but she was a bit two-dimensional in Season 3, so I’m glad that we got much more complexity from her this season. All in all, the best trio of Hawkins! They have single-handedly (almost) saved Max and Hawkins from termination. Speaking of which, we move on to my favorite storyline number two…

MAX – oh my red-haired love! It killed me that Max was the one who was sacrificed at the altar of Vecna, but I also know why it had to be Max – to make us suffer more (and the Duffer brothers love to make us suffer!). Billy’s death was such a huge tragedy for her that it nearly destroyed her, which is what made Vecna grab on to her with his disgusting tentacles of doom. And even though I’ve seen those images of Max levitating I had no idea why she was doing that. I thought the Season 3 storyline of demon possession was continuing but boy, I was wrong. I was very wrong. You know what else is very wrong? The way that Vecna kills people. It’s definitely the most gruesome way of killing that we’ve seen on this show, and we’ve seen a bunch of sick shit. But this particular way is so painful, sadistic, horrible… I wish they had just let Max die, honestly, despite how much I love her. Cause keeping her alive with these injuries is inhumane. I hope that she will have a significant role to play in Season 5 and not just that Elle couldn’t let her best friend die. Speaking of the one and only…

ELLE And of course Papa and Vecna, don’t worry. Oh Elle… the Duffers like to make you suffer the most. You can’t have a normal teenage life at the new school – the fucking disgusting bully Angela should be lucky that Elle didn’t have her powers and she only has to live with the scar from that roller blade. Elle can take care of herself even without her powers. And she was so adorable with her Mormon clothes, and her diorama of Hopper’s cabin, and her love for Mike. But of course nothing good lasts forever, and she was quickly returned to her buzz cut (impressive wig, btw), hospital gowns… and Papa. Oh how I loathe him. I am quite disappointed in Good Doctor whose last name I forgot for reaching out to Papa, although in Good Doctor’s defense that was the last resort and he genuinely wanted to help Elle and he was worried that they were doing more harm to her than good, and he did try to take her out of the facility… So, Good Doctor is kind of forgiven. But the ugly disgusting monster that is Papa will never be forgiven for all the horrors that he had inflicted on Elle, on the other special kids, on Hawkins and by extension on humanity itself. Elle hit him good with the speech about how his obsession with One and relentless pursuit of his sadistic goals had caused all the deaths and devastation. And sure, physically it was Elle who created Vecna, but the true mastermind and driving force was Papa. In fact, I am disappointed that it wasn’t Vecna who got the honor of killing Papa, but at least Papa is finally dead and that’s all that matters.

And now to the man of the hour – Vecna. Yes, that is his real name since he had always been the demon that he ended up becoming. I was quite surprised at the unveiling of this whole storyline. Sadly, since the casting of Vecna was not a secret, I knew that the kind nurse was not to be trusted. But I thought that Vecna was an ancient demon who took the form of a human to try and lure Elle to the dark side. I was not expecting the Creel child to end up becoming Vecna by Elle’s hand. That was so impressive and scary! And we saw the emergence of the Upside Down, or at least the emergence of Vecna’s version of the Upside Down, as it is really an ethereal plain that can be molded by particular demons (at least that’s how I understood it).

I love that we finally have an actual concrete villain for the show (apart from Papa) and not some goo or dust. Vecna is… cool. Yes, I said it, I love villains, give me a break. I especially love unapologetic villains who don’t need redeeming arcs and who are just bad because they’re bad. And I love that despite everyone’s best efforts Vecna still won this round and opened a portal to hell and we’re all living in the Upside Down now!

Seriously, how are we gonna get out of this one? And how are we supposed to wait two more years to see Season 5?! I know, I know, they need time to film their masterpiece but still… Let’s just hope an actual apocalypse doesn’t happen and we all live to see Season 5. And there better be some heart-wrenching deaths in Season 5! No more messing around, bringing people back from the dead. At least Will has got to go – he’s been living on borrowed time since Season 2. And maybe even Elle, if it gets to the “one cannot live while the other survives” type of confrontation with Vecna. We shall see…

And this is exactly why I need to write stuff down and talk stuff out! Now I know that this season was not polarizing for me, it was just a lot to take in, but really it was awesome, definitely better than Season 3 and possibly my favorite?… Nah, the favorite is still Season 1, but this is a close second.

Sinister: KnigaWorm Review

Film Friday Special: Sinister (2012)

Disclaimer: My reviews are unfiltered reactions that I write down while watching a movie. I normally refer to characters by the actors’ names, so don’t be confused. And obviously, MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD!

We’re off to a great start! “Honey, please tell me we’re not living two doors down from the crime scene!” – “Of course, not!” (“We’re living INSIDE the crime scene”)

WTF is this place?! I could buy one family “accidentally” getting strangled by a tree (with one girl still missing), but this next family getting burned alive in a locked car that’s not just locked but chained up from the outside. I’ve never seen anything like this, honestly…

Oh, dude… You’re not gonna alert the police, are you? Cause if you do, they’ll make you move and you don’t get to write your book. Which, of course, is more important than keeping your family alive. Sure, makes sense.

Oh, Ethan… How dumb do you have to be? You have now seen three families being murdered in the most gruesome of ways, and you’re still not moving to Norway?!?!?!? Or anywhere that’s far-far away from this place. And now the boy has drawn a picture of the four people hanging from a tree. That’s nice.

It seems that more than one murdered family has a child missing. Not sure if it’s all of them, but definitely the last family that got hanged, and the family that got their throats cut.

And now the lights are suddenly out and there is creaking in the ceiling. GET OUT!!! Seriously, can’t he find another job besides writing true crime stories? At least when you work at McDonald’s nobody wants to brutally murder your family.

Oh no… He should not have said that he would rather cut off his hands than write a book for money and success! Mr Boogie hears it all…

The family that got burned alive also had a kid who went missing when everybody else was killed. Is Mr Boogie collecting kids?

And now he looked at Ethan!!! Fucking turned his head on the photo and looked at him!!! GET OUT OF THIS HOUSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And your child keeps having night terrors and walking around outside and crawling into boxes… And that’s not enough for you to leave? And now there’s a hound from hell… Oh shit.

So all of the missing kids are hanging out together, that’s nice.

This cute little police officer is so cute and smol. And he really wants to help.

Oh crap, the lawnmower scene was… effective. I tensed up so hard. Great minimalist filmmaking.

I’m so glad to see Vincent D’Onofrio every time! He has a very reassuring presence.

Meanwhile, the projector keeps turning on at the witching hour – do we need any more warning signs?! Ethan, you are dealing with an actual demon. RUN!!!!!

Although, in defence of this movie’s logic, it’s too late for them to run, as evidenced by the infestation of child ghosts. Of course, Ethan can’t see them but he can feel their presence, but his daughter can see a girl ghost who’s drawing bizarre things on her wall. I wonder if the drawings will stay in the morning.

Overall: So… no happy ending here. Ethan’s daughter got possessed and had a “House painting” party. Which was the bloodiest scene in an otherwise blood-and-guts free movie. I know they were hoping for a PG-13 rating which explains their choices but come on! This isn’t safe for kids to watch for sure. Not safe for adults either, but hey, we make our own terrible choices.

Not that this movie was terrible, far from it. Very cool, very scary, memorable and at least partly fresh. Like, it’s almost impossible to do anything new in filmmaking anymore, and the horror genre is built on cliches, but at least this is an original concept and not a remake or something. There is a sequel that i don’t feel like watching so as not to ruin my experience with this movie.

All in all, I highly recommend this movie!

The Greatest Showman: KnigaWorm Review

The Greatest Showman (2017)

Disclaimer: My reviews are unfiltered reactions that I write down while watching the movie. And I refer to characters by the names of the actors who portray them, so don’t get confused. Obviously, MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD!

We are a walking paradox: we truly want the things we do not have, and once we have, we don’t want them anymore. Take me and movies: back in the day, when few films premiered in our theaters (and when I could barely afford to attend a screening) I had a full schedule of film releases written down and yearned to see them as soon as possible. I scoured the market of (sorry, pirated) videotapes since they were the first ones to come out. Later, the same happened with DVDs. And then the streaming services became available in our country… and I lost interest in the film industry. Yes, specifically, the industry. I still love movies, I think that’s plain to see. But the industry itself has lost its appeal for me. No longer do I care about award shows, no longer do I want to know the details of celebrities’ lives. And that was a major factor in my desire to see the new films as soon as they were available, as I now understand. Maybe that’s a natural aspect of getting older – the impatience of youth is replaced by the exhaustion of living past 30.

However, this presents me with a great opportunity to see the films I want to see exactly when I want and need to see them. And I get to discover the hits that people have already forgotten and, hopefully, get to remind my readers of these gems that can brighten up their day.

One of these gems is being reviewed tonight.

Hugh Jackman is one of those rare celebrities that are universally loved. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I feel like most people either love him or just don’t care about him, but at least there are very few haters. And why would there be? Such a talented, charismatic, hardworking, charming man with no known discretions should be adored by the public. I mean, look at him in this film! I’m not even mad that he’s supposed to be playing a much younger man than he actually is – his enthusiasm makes up for the age difference. And yes, only Hugh could pull off a character like this. I’ve heard that the real story that this movie is based on is more problematic, but let’s not care just this once, please? Let’s just enjoy the music and the choreography, and forget our troubles!

We finally have a glimpse of the Efron! Maybe now we can get more Zendaya too. Why has she not been featured yet? Are they keeping her for duets with Zac? I hope not, Zendaya can carry the show on her own.

Oh no, girlie, don’t let those mean girls bully you into quitting ballet! Don’t disappoint us.

This is the most delightful drinking song I’ve ever heard! Zac got better at singing since High School Musical for sure. And sadly, I was right about Zendaya – as soon as Zac agreed to be on the show, there she is – a vision in slow motion. Boo… not at Zendaya, obvi, but at the fact that a female lead can only happen if there is a male.

The meeting with Queen Victoria went well. But of course, the real Queen is the divine Rebecca Ferguson. Oh, how I adore her! Don’t tell me she’s gonna fall for Hugh… can we be spared the melodrama? Just have a partnership for once? Zac and Zendaya having a romance is enough.

Zac, how dare you? Zendaya is worth more than your inheritance or your reputation. And Hugh, Hugh… don’t you dare! Admire her, worship her, that’s fine, but don’t even think. You have Michelle Williams who is happy in a movie for once – don’t break her heart!

And here we go, Hugh’s success has gone to his head. Too bad…

Of course, this is a well-structured film, perhaps a bit too well structured. The second act is plunging us into despair for the third act to bring us back.

Damn, the fire was DRAMA! I even screamed a little when Hugh went in to save Zac who went in to save Zendaya and the ceiling caved in. Of course, everyone is fine, but it was a moment.

Alright, guys, let’s bring on the third act! I can’t see Hugh being depressed.

Overall: BRILLIANT! Entertainment at its finest! Watch if you need cheering up, if you want to have fun, if want to be moved and motivated.

And Just Like That… Episode 4 Review

by KnigaWorm

I decided to try something new in these rambling reviews, where I concentrate on each character and discuss the overall issues at the end of the review.

SPOILER ALERT! for the entire show and film collection of Sex and City. And obvi, for this show.

S1E04: Some of my best friends

Carrie – Like I feared, Carrie is going back to being her old self, including smoking, apparently. REALLY?!?!?!? Are we really going to try and make smoking great again in the age of Corona where people are literally fighting to breathe?!!? Speaking of which, when is this show supposed to be taking place? Nobody is wearing masks, so is this pre-Corona? I suppose… Anyway, Carrie is selling her and Big’s apartment and befriends her realtor. And as always, the show is vague on the logistics. Starting with, is Carrie seriously going to live in her old apartment? What about all the stuff that she’s accumulated over the years of living with Big? Even if she sells all the furniture and stuff, where are all her clothes and shoes gonna go? Don’t even try to tell me that it’s all gonna fit in the same closet. As someone who has recently downsized her life, I know for a fact that you accumulate stuff by the size of your home. So Carrie must have so much stuff after years of living in a giant apartment. Also, has she ever paid back Charlotte for the money she lent her for the down payment?

Anyway, this new friend is so obviously a Samantha clone – a single and fabulous woman – that I have no doubt their budding friendship is gonna happen. There’s not much personality to speak of beyond the Samantha persona so let’s move on.

Miranda – Continues to struggle with all the choices that she’s made in her life, which is not subtly revealed in her conversation with her new Black friend. See, you guys, we’re getting two Black friends, a Latina, and an ethnically ambiguous Samantha. This show is so diverse! Anyway, Miranda sort of advocates for having a child, but only if you really really want to. But if not, that’s fine as well. Just as long as you remember that you will always have something missing in your life. Wow, what an uplifting message!

Charlotte – Continues to go through a menopause-induced mental breakdown, this time working on the important issue of race. Of course by inducing the levels of cringe that only the second movie managed while trying to edumacate Muslim women on the issues of feminism. She cancels Harry’s colonoscopy three times just to have a show-off dinner party for her one important Black friend (also, just her one Black friend). The dinner ends up getting cancelled anyway, so she and Harry proceed to embarrass themselves at the Black friend’s birthday party. Is there a more tired way of showing how bad White people are at race than showing them mistake one Black person for another? If there is, please let me know. Anyway, it turns out relatively well, mainly because the Black friend is super-cool and I should start learning her name.

OTHERS – Is this seriously how we’re dispatching off Stanford Blatch?!?!?!!? THE STANFORD BLATCH??!?!?!?!!? By stating that he is managing a 17-year-old Tiktoker and moving to Japan for her indefinitely?!?!?!!? Oh and also, just like that, he wants a divorce. WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK!?!?!?!? This hurts more than what they did to Big. And sure, maybe having two major characters die within a span of two episodes would have been too much but couldn’t you have thought of something else?! In fact, this is an even worse treatment than Samantha got. And Stanford was always there for Carrie, even if the further the show (and the films) went, the more he got reduced to an insufferable gay stereotype. Still, Stanford deserved so much more, you monsters.

Overall, this show continues to get progressively worse… Kim Catrall has truly dodged a bullet! I sure hope she doesn’t get bullied into joining this show for a second season if there ever is one.

And Just Like That… Episode 3 Review

by KnigaWorm

SPOILER ALERT! for the entire show and film collection of Sex and the City. And obvi, for Episodes 1&2 of this show.

S1E03: When in Rome

Haha, I already spoiled the fact that Natasha is coming back this episode! Although, I remember her from the trailers – back when we didn’t know about Big, so Natasha being there felt forced. Well, at least now she has a reason to be there. And so does Aidan, for that matter, but that’s not here yet, I hope.

Judging by the title, and the opening scene, Carrie is gonna put all her efforts into making it big in the cringe podcast world. Which makes sense, I guess, cause she needs something to do now that Big has been disposed of.

Charlotte and her messed up face continue to be the worst.

The way that they bring back Natasha is the worst. And also WHY?! What’s the point of bringing her back? I guess we’ll know soon enough. And Carrie saying that Big did nothing wrong to Natasha and Carrie was the one having an affair with someone else’s husband is so infuriating that I don’t even want to go there.

Please tell me this isn’t happening! Charlotte is the last person who should be dealing with a child’s gender identity dilemma. This is gonna be the worst.

Meanwhile, Carrie is going crazy over all the things that Big was (possibly) hiding from her. And how does Carrie not realise that Gogi is Big’s computer password?

So Carrie messaged Natasha on Instagram and got blocked. Haha, you go, girl!

Meanwhile, Charlotte found a whole bunch of tiny liquor bottles in Miranda’s backpack. So hopefully we’ll be focusing on this serious issue now. Also, Miranda and Steve haven’t had sex for years? Years?! How is that even possible? Don’t tell me that’s why Miranda drinks.

So Natasha flat-out ghosted Carrie – to the point where she told her assistant to tell Carrie that she was in Rome… when Carrie saw her walk into her building at work. And then Carrie and the girls were huffing and puffing past Natasha’s office and she saw them! So now she knows that Carrie knows and I have no idea what’s gonna happen but it’s not gonna end well for sure.

In the end, it was not bad but also not interesting. Another missed opportunity. And just like that, this show is just as bad as we feared.

And Just Like That… Episode 2 Review

by KnigaWorm

SPOILER ALERT! for the entire show and film collection of Sex and the City. And obvi, Episode 1 of this show.

S1E02: Little Black Dress

I can’t look at Stanford being sad over Big because Stanford is gonna die next… And unlike Chris Noth, Willie Garson is actually dead, so they have to write him off the show by killing him – there’s no other way. They can’t relocate him like Samantha cause thank God, Kim Catrall is fine. But Stanford… I can’t.

Carrie is taking it well, but I know this pain – it’s slow and lasting. She will hold together for the funeral and then she’ll gradually fall apart. At least Miranda and Charlotte are with her. Of course, Carrie called Miranda first.

Charlotte should not be crying with that messed up face. And yeah… Charlotte has gone insane. It’s official now, there were signs before but now this is full-blown… madness.

And Miranda continues to win her law education… not. She has also changed way too much.

So the funeral is… chic. A normal New York City event. Yeah, of course, that’s how Carrie decided to handle it. And of course, she’s socialising and not crying. And yeah, Susan Sharon might be a lot, but she has a point – does no one remember how crap Big was for most of the show? It’s not important at the funeral, but a valid point nonetheless.

This is sad… just sad. Carrie has never been a normal emotional person, so her reaction is normal for her. The fact that she can’t sleep even with a sleeping pill shows just how much she misses Big and what a state she’s in.

So far, I am surprisingly happy with this remake. Maybe happy is not the right word, given what we’re dealing with here, but I was not expecting to like this and yet, I do. I am looking forward to next week.

And Just Like That… Episode 1 Review

by KnigaWorm

And just like that… I’ve decided to come back to blogging. Missed me?

Anyway, what better way to come out of unexpected self-imposed retirement than by reviewing a show that I am lovingly referring to as Sex in the Retirement Home? I am actually watching the show in real-time and commenting as I go along, but at first, I wasn’t sure if I even wanted to post my comments here, but hey, any content is better than no content, right?

Since the show airs one new episode per week, I will be sticking to a weekly TV Show Wednesday (or as we call it, What’u watchin’ Wednesday) but while I still have some reviews to catch up on, I’ll post them daily.

As always, SPOILER ALERT! for this instalment and the rest of the series and movies.

S1E01: Hello, it’s me

Here we go again… Right off the bat I am annoyed by Carrie’s over-excitement about getting a table, and her terrible puns which have not aged well, but at least her style is not as crazy as I feared. And SJP doesn’t look as bad as I feared – they somehow live-photoshop her, or they just have wizards working in lighting and make-up. You know who doesn’t look good? Charlotte. Oh boy… And the worst part is, with that messed up face full of Botox and God knows what else, she has the nerve to tell Miranda to dye her hair since she’s going back to school. At least Miranda genuinely looks good, and that hair actually works really well for her. Charlotte, on the other hand, looks atrocious, especially when she smiles which she does a lot, unfortunately. And she continues to be the most insipid character of the four, or now three, and it’s even more apparent now that she has more screen time.

Speaking of the fabulous elephant in the room, they do address Samantha’s absence with all the details of the real-life spat… Only now Samantha looks like the callous one, and true to form, she does look that way in real life as well, depending on whose side you’re on. Frankly, I couldn’t care less, but I do know that Samantha would have made this revival more tolerable.

Okay, I take it back – SJP looks bad. There are some moments of the old Carrie, but then she turns into the Wicked Witch of the West. Good thing Big hasn’t changed much. And I do like their relationship. I hear they’re gonna bring Aidan back, I hope not for a cheap and fake possible cheating situation. aren’t we over this yet?

Meanwhile, Miranda has just bombed so hard on her first day in school. Yikes! The one smart collected woman of the group has vanished. Now we are back to the horrible movie characters, and here I was hoping to get a little bit of the show vibes back. Well, too bad on me for false hopes.

Oh crap, here is the extra cringe podcast thing from the trailers. I already wanna die… May I not comment on this whole situation?

Hahahahahahaha, Carrie is the OG of shopping addiction, not the sex discussion of any kind. She was a prude in her thirties and of course, she is even more of a prude in her fifties. Also, why the hell does she need this idiotic blog?

ARE. YOU. FUCKING. KIDDING. ME?!!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!??!?!

And just like that, you kill off Big!?!?!?!?!?!? What even is the purpose of this idiotic revival without him!?!? I can’t even… And the fact that he waited for Carrie to come back to (I’m assuming) see her again and she didn’t even try to give him his pills or call an ambulance, but instead got her shoes wet – that’s the sacrifice, people! Okay, fine, I get the point that Vulture is making – switching focus from Carrie and Big’s happily ever after to a more sombre reality is brave and makes the show stand out from the original. True, we’ve had plenty of Carrie and Big drama over the years, we don’t need to artificially create more. Because you know that showing functional strong marriages is not what this show is about. God forbid you show a couple of grown adults who have a strong stable marriage and don’t use every opportunity to pull a flimsy fight out of their ass. I still have hope for Miranda and Steve – he is adorable as ever with his new hearing loss – and perhaps the new black power couple will be an interesting mix, but dammit, I wanted to see Carrie and Big being adults for once. Oh well… And just like that, Carrie is back to being an imbecile. I just hope that she gets to keep the apartment, I don’t want her back in that shoebox. Plus, where would Stanford ride out his fights with Anthony?… Although, we’re not getting more of that, since Willie Garson actually passed away during filming and he will be written out of the show somehow. I’m guessing Big is not the only character we’ll be burying this season.