Wondering what to do with your upcoming free time? Good thing we have some suggestions for what you should be watching, playing, reading, listening to, etc.
Well, Ben does at least. Lauren gave herself an extra week and still managed to find nothing to add to this Suggestion Box. Shame bell.
Ben’s Movie Pick: In Bruges – Martin McDonagh has an unparalleled talent for crafting black dramedies that’ll have you bouncing between laughing out loud one moment and on the verge of tears (or straight up ugly crying) the next. His first feature length film, In Bruges, balances a dark, depressing story with some of the most bizarre and memorable dialogue I’ve seen in any film, most of which is delivered by an outstanding pair of actors. Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson play off of each other phenomenally, making the most out of their characters’, their inner turmoil, and the fucked up situation they’ve found themselves in. They’re absurd and outlandish, but also completely believable and sympathetic despite having done terrible things. And then there’s Ralph Fiennes; he may show up late to the party, but he more than makes up for it by stealing every scene he’s in thanks to an outstandingly hilarious and equally memorable performance. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is definitely McDonagh’s best work to date, but In Bruges is still an absolute gem of a movie that I cannot recommend enough.
Ben’s Movie Pick: Mandy – Mandy, my number one movie of 2018 and favorite Nicolas Cage movie period, is an outlandish, gory, masterfully crafted, and utterly unique experience. Cage’s wonderful performance as Red is understated – yet completely captivating – until he erupts into the most outrageous and memorable performances of his career. Andrea Riseborough gets all the chef’s kisses as the eponymous character, and Linus Roache’s Jeremiah Sand, the main antagonist of the movie, is outstandingly creepy, along with almost every single one of his devout followers. The action in Mandy is equally fast and savage, almost like there are sporadic, chaotic explosions of vengeance and violence centered around Red as he slaughters his way through those who “wronged” him. The camera work, set design, and the film’s overall visual style are astounding, giving Mandy a cosmic horror-adjacent atmosphere that I get lost in every time I watch it. Oh, and the soundtrack is INCREDIBLE!
Ben’s Movie Pick: Psycho Goreman – Psycho Goreman is exactly what I was hoping for: a thoroughly entertaining, shamelessly dumb ride that’s packed with equal amounts of humor and ultraviolence. The story centers around a young brother and sister who uncover an ancient warlord of unspeakable evil known as “the Archduke of Nightmares,’ along with his power source, which the youngest of the two children uses to control him. Eventually, the Archduke’s return brings other evil forces to Earth, putting the savage warrior, the children, and their family in danger. It hits some of the familiar “kids befriend an otherworldly being” story beats we’ve seen countless times before, but focuses on creating as much carnage and comedy as possible instead of instilling any kind of genuine moral lesson for the protagonists or audience. Psycho Goreman has that exact blend of complete confidence and campy ridiculousness that I will never ever tire of, and the costumes and visual effects give the feature a “Power Rangers meets David Cronenberg” vibe. All in all, it’s a silly, bloody delight from start to finish.
Ben’s Video Game Pick: Dead Space 2 – The second main entry in this beloved-yet-abandoned survival horror franchise (for the love of God, give us Dead Space 4, EA!) is one of the scariest games I have ever played, and the best in the entire genre. Even though it’s a decade old, Dead Space 2 remains a superb action-horror adventure and stands above older and more recent horror gems alike thanks to a thoroughly creepy environment, a wide range of grotesque, horrifying enemies, brutally effective weapons, and the best HUD in gaming history, the latter of which keeps you completely immersed in the terror. Dead Space 2 continues the journey of Isaac Clarke, the protagonist from the first game (and unluckiest engineer of all time). The poor bastard busted his ass in Dead Space to barely escape the derelict mining vessel that had been overrun by the Necromorph scourge (think zombies meets John Carpenter’s The Thing meets Ridley Scott’s Alien) only to be experimented on in a lab until the very same plague began to spread there! Isaac must use his wit, engineering talents, and sheer willpower to stay sane and escape the infectious menace once more. It’s an intense and harrowing experience that is still my gold standard for survival horror gaming, and aside from maybe Resident Evil 8, I don’t see anything coming up in the near future that seems capable of dethroning Dead Space 2 from its place at the top.
So what do you think about these picks? What content did we miss over the past two weeks while we were spending time with these? Be sure to leave a comment below letting us know about everything (both current and simply new to you) you’ve been consuming lately!
And while you’re here, be sure to check some of the site’s other recent content:
- Middle of the Row: The Podcast episodes on the newly released Wonder Woman 1984 and Soul, as well as flashback episodes to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011) and Donnie Darko (2001).
- A Middle of the Dial episode from Jon with Sydney Sprague.
- Written reviews of the newly released films Locked Down (from Ben) and The Dig (from Lauren).