Movies & TV / Columns

Stew’s August 2022 Movie Thoughts: Bodies Bodies Bodies, Signs, More

September 2, 2022 | Posted by Rob Stewart
Bodies Bodies Bodies Image Credit: A24

I actually skipped this article for the month of July for reasons I’ll get into momentarily, and I assumed no one really batted an eye.

And then I saw this!

So there you have it! You can all blame/thank Blissed Off for the return of my 2022 movie log, where I recount my quest to get through 300 movies by December 31st of this year. There’s not more to it than that if you are new; I’m just reviewing the flicks I’ve watched month-by-month and sharing my thoughts with you. So you can let me know what you think of what I’ve seen and keep me up on what you watched!

But yeah, as I mentioned, I did not do this for July. The reason is simple; I did a HUGE batch recording for my podcast, Stew World Order, in July, so about three-quarters of the movies I’ve seen would just have a summary of “Watched for a future episode of my show; listen in to see what I thought!”. And that seemed lazy for me and underwhelming for you. So I just let it slide for a month.

But we are back! I did have a couple more movies watched this month for the show, but the bulk of this log will be things I caught for fun. So I’ll have more to say, which is swell.

Let’s see how my New Year’s Resolution is going as of the 8 month mark!

(Oh, and only since people have asked, if you want to follow me on Letterboxd, do so HERE! I love sharing movie thoughts, obviously!)

FIRST TIME WATCHES: Shocking Dark, Kick-Ass 2, Prey, Bullet Train, Crank: High Voltage, A Banquet

Shocking Dark… Shocking Dark… what was that movie again? OH RIGHT, the 1989 D-tier trash movie that starts off as an Aliens rip-off that segues in the third act to being a Terminator rip-off. I mean… there are worse flicks to rip-off. Incredibly cheap and poorly made, but… kind of watchable? Watched for a cult classic watch party night. those get better…

So here we go with the early part of the month: Kick-Ass 2 was pulled for my podcast, so my full thoughts will be up when that episode drops.

And click on PREY and BULLET TRAIN to relive the full-length articles I wrote on those; I enjoyed them both a great deal! Bullet Train nosed past Top Gun Maverick into my #2 movie of the year spot so far.

Crank: High Voltage gets a half-star upgrade over the original Crank for not being TOTALLY abhorrent, I guess? I will definitely say those movies aren’t for me. I like action, and I LOVE action-comedy. But I watch the Crank movies, and I just feel like they are made by a 7th grader. Everything they try to do, something like Shoot ‘Em Up or Guns Akimbo did several times better. Watch those instead.

An early August Shudder find was A Banquet, a neat character-driven movie about a single mother and her two daughters, one of whom is suffering some kind of affliction where she can’t/won’t eat. It suffers from having an ending that REALLY hit as hard as a spitball, but the ride there is good, and the performances throughout are excellent!

REWATCHES: X-Men: Days Of Fun Past, She’s The Man, Aquaman, and Looper

Days Of Future Past and Aquaman are both future podcast episodes! I will say: having to rewatch Aquaman critically? It dropped a full star for me. So much worse than I remembered, and I remembered it as average.

So She’s The Man… I got drafted by the Review It Yourselfpodcast for part of his “Defend It Yourself” series where guests come on and defend a lowly rated movie that they unabashedly love. For me, that is She’s The Man, a movie likely more forgotten than maligned, but it does sit at about 40% on Rotten Tomatoes, which is horribly unjust! It starts admittedly quite weak, but by the halfway point, everything turns, and I still think this is one of the best comedies of the 2000’s. Likely Top Ten for me (and hey, that’s an idea…)

Finally from this section, that brings up Looper, a movie I abjectly HATED the first time I watched it, but wanted to give another shot to to see if I was wrong back then. And you know what? I was, to a degree. Now, I still think the story is complete and utter nonsense. It’s one of those “please don’t think about this for more than 10 seconds” kind of plots because if you do, everything falls apart. This time I allowed myself to just… go with it more, and I really dug the performances and the way everything unfolded in the third act.

FIRST TIME WATCHES: Bodies Bodies Bodies, Grotesque, Evolution, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Superman Vs The Elite

Bodies Bodies Bodies was a new release I saw in theater, and my full review of it can be found HERE.

Grotesque was one of those perfect surprises I never expected. It was part of our cult classics watch party, and most of those flicks are trash forgotten to history. This, however, really worked for me. It spends its first hour being any nondescript 80’s slasher movie you’ve ever seen… and then with about half an hour left, you figure everything is done. Except it then kind of turns into a police procedural before segueing into revenge horror AND THEN going off the rails entirely with one of my favorite movie endings I’ve ever seen.

I feel like I may have seen Evolution once. Maybe when it came out in theaters? But I’m not sure, and I remembered nothing about it. The charisma of the cast carries this movie as much as it can (I miss Orlando Jones, man), but the writing is just bad. At no point did I laugh; the most this movie has to offer are “there’s an alien in my butt” jokes. It’s all gross, stupid humor, even if the overall plot is kind of smart in its development. The execution is just so lacking.

As a visual spectacle, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon remains almost unparalleled all of these years later. Even thought it inspired a ton of movies in the 2000’s, I still thought it looked original in my first watch here. The story can get a bit murky–I sat and watched the whole movie, but I kept feeling like I must have blacked out and missed some details–but it mostly comes together in the end.

My wife constantly trashes the whole idea of Superman and that more superheroes don’t just kill everyone, so figured I’d get her to watch Superman Vs The Elite with me. Nothing here changed her mind, haha, and it made me just want to read the comic again instead. It’s an oddly clean and brightly animated movie given the book that it’s drawn from.

REWATCHES: Amityville Horror (2005), Ghost In The Shell, Halloweens 4 and 5, 30 Days Of Night

Some really creepy imagery, a brief runtime, and a performance from Ryan Reynolds the likes of which we haven’t seen in ages make The Amityville Horror remake worth watching. Seriously, it’s SO WEIRD watching Ryan Reynolds play evil. Not just… humorously antagonistic. Actual malice and horror from him here. We had no idea where his career would go. Aside from that, this is some generic late 90’s / early 2000’s horror with shaky twitchy ghosts and the like.

Ghost In The Shell and 30 Days Of Night were two more hits for the podcast! This was actually the second time THIS YEAR I watched GitS, and my score went up this time.

John from The Pint podcast and I have done three Halloween movies for the past three years for a series on his show called Trash, Tolerable, Or Treasure?. The premise there is that he takes films that are historically disrespected and gives them another chance to see if they earn their rep or not.

Two years ago, it was Rob Zombie’s Halloween 2. Last year it was Halloween Resurrection. This year, we did Halloween 5, which of course I can not watch without also seeing Part 4 leading into it. As you can tell by my score… I definitely don’t think it’s trash! I actually had fun sitting down and watching it while taking notes and pointing out everything I dig about it.

Halloween 4, meanwhile, is simply one of the best slasher franchise flicks ever made.

FIRST TIME WATCHES: Bloody Hell, Motherly, Girls Nite Out, Orphan: First Kill, Samaritan

Bloody Hell was a Shudder find, and weirdly enough, it was down to Bloody Hell or Motherly, and we ended up catching both. Bloody Hell was the CLEAR winner, though.

Bloody Hell is the story of a man who serves 8 years in prison for thwarting a bank robbery (the story unfolds throughout the movie) and then vacations in Finland at the end of his sentence to get away from the press. The lead is Ben O’Toole, giving a hell of a dual role, and the story is a joy. Just a complete blast here.

Motherly is also good, if a bit predictable, but that doesn’t change the fact that the road to the climax is worth it, and the final act is both chilling and darkly humorous. If you have to choose between this and Bloody Hell, watch BH. But if you don’t? See them both!

In the wake of Grotesque, the next cult movie watch party was Girls Nite Out, which is not a fitting title. It’s another 80’s slasher without the mayhem of Grotesque. It’s pretty straight forward until you get to the end, which will no doubt make you think of another more famous slasher that actually came AFTER GNO, but did what it does so much better.

I heard from many people that Orphan: First Kill was another nutso horror offering with a crazy turn. I mean… it DOES take a turn, but I wouldn’t say it’s a completely bizarre or noteworthy one. Still, it’s not bad by any stretch (though the camera work and weird shots to make you think Isabelle Fuhrman has not grown up since the predecessor are obnoxious), and it’s great to see Julia Styles still doing stuff.

Samaritan is very much like Motherly in that you see everything coming from over an hour out, but that didn’t really hurt the ride for me. I will say that whereas Motherly had its best act as the third despite the lack of surprise, Samaritan’s third act was the worst because they could have made the reveal a bit better.

Still, it was WAY better than I expected from a 2022 Stallone role. He actually does a good job here, though I’ve seen opinions vary as to that. I think he was playing “old, tired, beaten-down, and sick of everything”, but that also might just be him now, what do I know?

REWATCHES: Weathering With You, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, Signs, Halloween Kills, National Treasure

Weathering With You remains an absolute spectacle that I rewatched after making a list that will come out later this month!

Batman: MotP was another watch for a future episode of the podcast!

I’ve had Signs on my To-Watch-Again list for about a year since I heard another podcast cover–and gush over–it. They seemed to make it sound far better than I had remembered, and you know what? Maybe it was their clear love for it, but I saw everything about it that they had. For me? M. Night’s best movie. The story is so well-developed and brilliantly thought out.

I’ve watched Halloween Kills twice THIS YEAR, my god, what is wrong with me? Well, my Mother-In-Law was visiting and had not seen it yet, so we watched it with her. I stand by my assessment: I don’t hate this, though it IS objectively… not particularly good.

Absolutely cliché as hell, and not that spectacularly written, National Treasure style treasure hunt stories like this always bother me because there’s virtually no way nobody discovered this treasure by accident in the last 200 years. Maybe that’s why I don’t love Indiana Jones as much as others do. It’s not my genre of choice.

The final treasure has a fucking staircase that lets out behind a wall. Why wouldn’t the clue just take you THERE instead of to the old rickety dumbwaiter system that has two more locked doors you need to figure out clues to get past? Just “Hey, go kick this wall down. PS, hopefully this wall has not already been broken or destroyed by man or nature in the last 200 years and some, like, investment banker found the treasure in the meantime”. It’s all “Go here to go there to go over there to go to that place and then pass a few more tests and THERE IT IS”. There’s no way no idiot blindly stumbled into the final point and found this already!

And that’s that (for now). I’m writing this at 11am on 8/31, so there is a chance I’ll watch something on Shudder tonight (I have heard Watcher is good…), but as of writing?

I’m at 220 on the year, which puts me on a pace for 330 by year’s end. Though I imagine I’ll slow down for the holidays.

Not that I did last year.

So maybe not!

Either way, 300 is totally in sight, so hopefully I can make it there!

Until next time… take care!