Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from November, 2018

Nacros: Mexico (2018): Review

Technically, Narcos: Mexico (2018) is a spin-off of Narcos (2015). However, given their close ties, I like to consider it the fourth season of that show. The first two focused on Agent Murphy from the DEA, and his fight to take down Pablo Escobar. Season 3 focused on Pablo's successors, as combated by Agent Peña, Murphy's partner. Season 4 occurs before either the DEA or cartels were fully established; it tells the story of two opponents: the Thin Man, Félix Gallardo, and his rise from lowly hill bandit to the most powerful drug trafficker in Mexico; and Kiki Camarena. Kiki is a name that's appeared before in the show, though only in passing. Turns out, his contribution to the war-on-drugs is substantial.


Season 4 is my favorite, and I enjoyed the other three. It gets a lot right, even if it disclaims how various liberties are taken for dramatic effect. Such drama is not limited to dialogue; many additions up the ante, in terms of action. Consider the aquifer scene: Tradin…

I Am Not a Serial Killer (2015): Review

Billy O'Brien's I Am Not a Serial Killer (2015) is the story of a young man growing up in a small town. The only son of a single, female mortician, he lives with his mother, learning how to embalm corpses. Small wonder he has something of an abnormal fascination with death, most notably serial killers. He pores over their hideous exploits, fluent in the modus operandi of many a slayer. However, when he meets an actual killer, very little makes sense, in terms of what he thinks he knows about these elusive individuals.



IANaSK is an interesting horror film, on different levels. It's perspective is somewhat displaced, a frank examination of death in small communities via its tortured protagonist. However, small pinches of quirky humor introduce levity to counterbalance the dark subject matter. One quirky scene involves the protagonist being told by his therapist to behold a sensational object: a duck, coasting on a distant waterfront. The hero is confused, uncertain of the sig…

Castlevania, Season Two (2018): Review

Disclaimer: This review of the second season of the Netflix miniseries, Castlevania, contains many spoilers!

One thing before I begin: Trevor Belmont's whip—called the Morning Star, but which I'll simply refer to as "explodey whip"—is quite possibly the coolest thing ever. More to the point, and what really matters, here, is that all three heroes—Sypha, Alucard and Trevor—were amazing in their own right. Each repeatedly does things per episode that had me sit upright and exclaim, "That was so cool!" And I'm usually pretty critical of recent animation, because so much of it nowadays fails to capture a certain weight. Here, that wasn't a problem. I was thoroughly wowed by the sheer visual heft.


Better yet, the show feels faithful to the games, if you consider a loose adaptation faithful. Alucard's move set, the aforementioned "explodey whip" and Sypha's own magical repertoire all serve as nice visual nods to the attacks of their olde…

Summer of '84 (2018): Review

Directed by François Simard, and Anouk and Yoann-Karl Whissell, Summer of '84 is a wonderfully misleading horror film, one that spells itself out in familiar patterns. The narrator practically sighs during the opening shots. The voice belongs to Davey, the film's hero. We see him cheerfully deliver newspapers on his bicycle. However, the narrator of a bildungsroman (coming-of-age story) or similar formula is usually an older, wiser version of the same character, and Davey's older self sounds solemn and detached. This alone should warn that trouble is not simply afoot, but already come to pass. Over footage of present events, Davey speaks plainly about everyday tendencies to overlook evil in our own lives. He seems to discuss things backward—in hindsight, just like the little girls in Alex Proyas' The Crow (1994) or Terrence Malick's Days of Heaven (1978).


Summer of '84 is horror pastiche, much like Andrés Muschietti's It (2017); they operate in recognition o…