Tag Archives: 2018

READER POLL FOR ALFRED EAKER VS. THE 2018 SUMMER BLOCKBUSTERS: THE CANDIDATES

The poll is closed. The winners were Slender Man, The Meg, and Life of the Party. Look for reviews this summer!

Summer’s almost here, and that means it’s time for the 366 Weird Movies reader base to send me, Alfred Eaker, on my fifth masochistic field trip of blockbuster movie torture. The candidates are below. Be sure to view the entire post; you will vote at the end.

  1. Life of the Party (Opens May 11). 1 hour and 45 minutes of ‘s one-note jokes. Guess what it’s about? Melissa as the life of the party.  If I get drafted into this, I’m taking my toenail clippers and a crossword puzzles (and I guarantee that I will still be able to give a detailed review).
  2. Deadpool 2 (May 18). The first one was, I think, the most successful R-rated movie to date being about a foul mouthed superhero (OK, yeah, that’s what I want out of superheroes). I haven’t seen it. Although it has the same writer, a different director was tapped. The jokes in the trailer are of the narcissistic  macho cutesy variety, which are the absolute worst kind.
  3. Solo: A Star Wars Story (May 25). God, the trailer looks so obvious and bad. The credentials don’t help; directed by one of the most pedestrian directors of the last 50 years (Ron Howard) and written by Lawrence Kasdan who, lets be honest, managed to followup the best of the Star Wars movies (Empire Strikes Back) with one of the worst (Return of the Jedi). After the too-original-for-its-own-good The Last Jedi proved to be the Milk of Magnesia for formula-craving alt-right fanboys, this looks to settle them back into a regular bowel movement routine.
  4. Action Point (June 1) brags that it stars the cast of Jackass and Bad  Grandpa, which means a lot of predictable juvenile pratfalls to amuse rednecks. It looks to be as exciting as a mud and tractor pull.
  5. Incredibles 2 (June 15). Again, I missed out on the original, but the trailer looks like a commercial for a line of toys.
  6. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (June 22). Geez, the last one actually made dinosaurs boring. I miss seeing a guy in a wrinkled lizard suit stomping on toy tanks.
  7. Ant-Man and the Wasp (July 6). Helmed by the director of the original, this promises to be… more of the same, and that wasn’t very good to begin with. I received a lot of hate for my lukewarm review  of its predecessor. Heads were exploding all over fanboy forums. I think I’ve been far more offensive since then, so perhaps this will restore me to some kind of previous glory.
  8. Skyscraper (July 13). Towering Inferno meets Die Hard. How original. At least Steve McQueen and Paul Newman were actual actors and could form syllables. Of course, they’re dead. The trailer gets philosophical, announcing: “Courage has no limits.” Hmph! Smell likes Old Spice. Director Thurber’s resume is that of an assembly line hack.
  9. Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (July 20). The first one was unbearably phony, with people in scuba flippers dancing to ABBA and waxing schmaltzy. Despite the presence of Meryl Streep (who embarrassed herself enough in the original) and Cher, even the title tells you it’s a fatigued rehash. To get us excited, they add an exclamation point. This  actually looked like the worst of the lot, until I saw the trailer for Life of the Party.
  10. Mission Impossible: Fallout (July 27). How much longer are we going to have to watch take off his shirt and run?  Even less exciting is the co-star casting of the worst Superman actor in history.
  11. The Meg (Aug 10). Jaws meets Godzilla? Might have some kind of potential if it was directed by someone so inept that they could produce an unintentional masterpiece. Instead, it has director Jon Turtletaub, who has been consistent in producing one film after another that is a hodgepodge of stale, leftover scraps.
  12. The Happy Time Murders (August 17). On paper, a muppet movie about a serial killer offing the entire cast of a children’s TV show sounds amazing. However, director Brian Henson (who’s no chip off the old block) and writer Todd Berger (The Smurfs and Kung Fu Panda) don’t leave a lot of room for optimism.
  13. Slender Man (Aug 24). When the haunted house attraction I work for sent an actor dressed as “Slender Man” to pass out street fliers, people freaked out and it made national news. I’m so out of the loop, I didn’t even know Slender Man was a preexisting character until today when I received the list of summer movies. When original ideas for a horror flicker run short, throw in images of maggots. That’ll gross ’em out! The trailer was a mere 2 minutes and within that time frame my mind started wandering toward my chemistry assignment (and I HATE chemistry).

(Poll is open for 1 week only. You may vote once per day).

Direct voting link in case your browser blocks the poll.

CAPSULE: PARADOX (2018)

DIRECTED BY: Daryl Hannah

FEATURING: , Lukas Nelson, Micah Nelson, Corey McCormick, Anthony LoGerfo, Tato Melgar, Willie Nelson

PLOT: “Many moons ago, in the future…” a gang of cowboy-style fellows scratch out an existence on a remote farm; they’ve been exiled there by women-folk, who have proven better stewards of the earth. And there’s also Neil Young concert.

Still from Paradox (2018)

WHY IT WON’T MAKE THE LIST: This odd little film would conceivably make the cut (albeit waaay down the list) if it weren’t for the fact that, mid-way through, it becomes a Neil Young concert movie for about ten minutes. During the narrative bit, though, performer Neil Young and director Daryl Hannah (yes, that Daryl Hannah) have assembled a passable bit of amateurish art-house and strangely compelling “W.T.F.” meanderishness that’s not without its charm.

COMMENTS: What do you get when you combine a legendary country star, an environmental activist director kicking around, and down-time? Paradox is one possible answer. Neil Young, in his 21st acting role, narrates and stars in this 60 + 15-minute ((The “movie” itself is about an hour; unlike many people who might watch this, I could have done without the concert interlude lifted from Young’s 2016 tour.)) diversion, bringing along with him a couple of scions in Willie Nelson and other outlandishly talented musicians who, after all is said and done, make a decent fist of playing post-apocalyptic versions of themselves.

Daryl Hannah makes full use of every camera filter at her disposal and every little bit of editing trickery to render, visually, what might have once existed as a campfire tall-tale. Random shots of animals create an ambience that is both cute and natural, as well provide the occasional “What the…?” moment. (One shot with a very quizzical-looking deer seemingly watching over the action is particularly effective.) Our lads, of all ages, burn time talking, gambling, and digging up trash-treasure while waiting around for the “Gray Eagle”: a bus full of women who, in Paradox‘s loose narrative, are the Earth’s stewards. And Neil Young looks cryptic. Then he wanders the land toting a rifle. Then he plays his guitar. Then he looks like he might partake in a quick-draw with Willie Nelson. You get the picture.

Stripped of its concert footage center, Paradox would have made a nice little entry in one of 366’s appendices. But as this brief review has remarked, it’s nothing more than the sum of its circumstances: Neil Young and company with a few days to kill, Daryl Hannah with a movie camera and time to spare, and an impromptu feel derived from the director’s “one take” methodology. Lives will not be changed (though the occasional preachiness of Paradox suggests they wouldn’t mind if they were), but the world isn’t worse off for having this odd little digression into music, philosophy, allegory, and black hats.

Available exclusively on Netflix (at least for the time being).

WHAT THE CRITICS SAY:

“Once upon a time, a film like ‘Paradox,’ a vaguely hallucinatory sci-fi/Western hybrid with legendary rocker Neil Young at its hazy center, would have found its natural home on the midnight movie circuit. Alas, the midnight movie scene is practically dead, and it is therefore instead debuting on Netflix, which will at least make it more convenient for its target audience of Young completists, people too stoned to make it out their front doors and those who felt that ‘Masked and Anonymous’ was far too lucid and commercial-minded for their tastes.” – Peter Sobczynski,  RogerEbert.com (contemporaneous)