My upcoming trip to Chile, and the approach of Halloween, both help whet my appetite for new horror biopic El Conde, or The Count (2023). Writer-director Pablo Larrain always has unusual takes on people in positions of power, be it JFK’s widow packing up the White House (Jackie) or Princess Di swallowing her pearls (Spencer). Here he explains the bloodthirstiness of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet by exposing him as a 250-year-old vampire. I may not know enough South American history to get the jokes in this unusual satire, but I’ll definitely appreciate the shimmering black and white cinematography when this debuts on Netflix this weekend.
I finally got the chance to see Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem (2023) as it finally made its way to Aussie cinemas. Agree with Stuart and Jakob on this one, definitely the best Turtles movie so far, even if I still have nostalgic love for the ‘90s live-action movies. All of the young actors voicing the Turtles were phenomenal, I loved how they actually sounded like teens, and Ice Cube was the perfect choice to voice Superfly. The animation looked unique and absolutely beautiful at times and the score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross sounded right out of a David Fincher movie, which was a nice surprise. Hopefully the film’s decent box office allows them to make a sequel as I’d love to see a follow-up set in this TMNT universe.
I watched Together Together (2021) which is a very sweet story about platonic friendships. Ed Helms is mostly toned down (with only a few moments where he comes off overly animated) but Patti Harrison knocks it out of the park with a subtle and layered performance. It’s a very “slice of life” type film, it focuses mostly on the developing connection between a middle aged wannabe dad and his surrogate. The screenplay is very funny and the score is beautiful. A really sweet and comforting watch, and I give it the strongest of recommends.
There are a host of retrospectives returning to the podcast feed this year, and for some of them, I have some serious catching up to do. Recently, I turned my attention to the Saw franchise with Saw III (2006). They don’t make horror films like this these days, do they? I mean, I know Saw X is coming out soon, but besides that franchise, how many mainstream horror films are this gory and gruesome? The contraptions and torture devices are as inventive and wince-inducing as ever, and I appreciate that this movie scaled back the size of the cast compared to Saw II. By shrinking the number of characters, I felt more invested in these characters than I had in the last one. The ending, with all of its explanations and connection-building, felt forced and gratuitous. But I enjoyed everything up to that point. And that rotten pig carcass pit will never leave my mind. Worst way to die, hands down.