Category Archives: Film

Star Trek Day: 2021

Star Trek premiered this week, 55 years ago, and tomorrow we will celebrate all things Star Trek, past, present, and future with a live, free, global streaming event that I can not believe I get to co-host.

I’ve read the entire script, and I’m about to leave for rehearsal, so I know most of the OMGAREYOUSERIOUS stuff that will be revealed. I’m not going to spoil anything, but I will tell you that if you love Star Trek the way I love Star Trek, you won’t want to miss it.

I mean … look at this:

 

I’m co-hosting with my dear friend Mica Burton. We’ll be coming to you, live, from the Skirball Cultural Center, starting at 5:30pm Pacific / 8:30pm Eastern. Star Trek Day will be streamed on Paramount+, YouTube, Facebook, and via Rutherford’s cyborg implant.

“Host” is a fantastic horror movie.

A few days ago, my friend, Bonnie, recommended a movie to me that she’d seen on Shudder.

It’s called Host:

Six friends get together during lockdown for their weekly zoom call. It’s Haley’s turn to organise an activity and instead of a quiz, she’s arranged for a Medium to conduct a séance. Bored and feeling mischievous, [I removed something here that’s kind of a spoiler. It’s better to discover this in the narrative]. The friends begin noticing strange occurrences in their homes as the evil presence begins to make itself known, and they soon realise that they might not survive the night. A SHUDDER ORIGINAL.

I haven’t been legit scared by a horror movie in YEARS, but Host really nailed it. It’s creepy, unsettling, genuinely scary, and BRILLIANT. I watched it alone in my gameroom after Anne had gone to sleep, and by the end, I was looking at every shadow in the room.

This is the first thing I’ve seen that was made post-Coronavirus, the first thing that is set in the fucked up world we’re trapped in right now. The filmmakers just fucking NAILED it. It’s so good, I’m not afraid of overselling it.

It’s only 56 minutes long, and every minute is just perfect. I love this movie, and I can’t recommend it enough.

“Wil Wheaton is a very bad friend in trailer for horror-thriller Rent-A-Pal”

I have some news about RENT-A-PAL!

Set in 1990, the horror-thriller Rent-A-Pal stars Brian Landis Folkins as a lonely bachelor named David who searches for an escape from his day-to-day life of caring for his aging mother (Kathleen Brady). While seeking a partner through a video dating service, he discovers a strange VHS tape called Rent-A-Pal. Hosted by the charming and charismatic Andy (Wil Wheaton from Star Trek: The Next Generation), the tape offers him much-needed company, compassion, and friendship. But Andy’s friendship comes at a cost, and David desperately struggles to afford the price of admission.

Rent-A-Pal is written and directed by first-time filmmaker Jon Stevenson who was inspired to make the movie after coming across, on the internet, footage of a VHS video called Rent-A-Friend which really did offer entertainment, advice and friendship to lonely people in a pre-digital age. Rent-A-Pal costars Amy Rutledge.

IFC Midnight is releasing Rent-A-Pal in select theaters and on demand Sept. 11.

Here is our poster!

RENT-A-PAL

And here is the trailer:

Everything about this movie makes me happy. The cast is superb, the editing and photography and music are gorgeous, and the story is REALLY FUCKING CREEPY.

I can’t wait for y’all to see this when it comes out in September.

IFC Midnight Acquires Retro Thriller ‘Rent-A-Pal’

I am so excited to share this with all of you.

About a year ago (or ten years ago, what even is time amirite) I worked on a FANTASTIC movie called Rent-A-Pal. It’s a retro thriller, and I am intensely proud of the project as a whole, and my work in it.

The thing about movies is, making the thing is just a small part of the whole process. The real barrier is distribution, so people can actually see the thing you worked so hard to make. It’s not uncommon for a film to be made and finished, yet never get a chance to find its audience, because it can’t find a distributor.

So it’s extra exciting for me to learn that Rent-A-Pal has been picked up by IFC Midnight! You can see this fantastic little movie I’m in, from the safety and convenience of your own home!

Here’s a little bit from the press release:

“Inspired by the real-life VHS tape, Rent-A-Friend: The Original Companion, Rent-A-Pal is set in 1990 and follows a lonely bachelor named David (Brian Landis Folkins). In a pre-Tinder media era, David is looking to find an escape from the day-to-day drudgery of caring for his aging mother (Kathleen Brady). While seeking a partner through a video dating service, he discovers a strange VHS tape called ​Rent-A-Pal bosted by a charismatic gentleman named Andy (Wil Wheaton). The tape offers him much-needed company, compassion, and friendship but Andy’s friendship comes at a cost — and David is desperate to pay that price. Amy Rutledge also stars.”

You can read the whole release at Deadline.

destroy all monsters

My friend does this thing where he smokes some cannabis, takes a few puffs of his delta 8 vape, and watches movies that I guess are enhanced by his altered state of mind.


I know, I know, you’re like, “So what? We all have that friend, and it is me!” I hear you. The thing is, my friend writes reviews of these movies, and they are fantastic. Witness:

 


Lance’s Movie Joint Perhaps you think Marvel pulled off the world’s greatest film crossover event by designing a 10-year, multi-film, multi-character movie arc that would lead everyone to the same place at the same time, but I must respectfully disagree because I have seen the world greatest film crossover event and it happened in 1968. Consider that in one 90-minute film (not two 3-hour bladder contests) you get Godzilla, Rodan, Mothra, Gorosaurus, Manda, King Ghidorah, Anguirus, Kumonga. and Godzilla Jr. (aka Godzooky) all in one film battling each other for world monster supremacy. And that film is Destroy All Monsters. I need to pause here and express a warning if you’re planning on smoking a doob or two and settling back with a party size bag of Doritos and a 6-pack of Coke Zero and watch this film and that warning is do not try to make sense of this film in the context of any other Toho kaiju movie because this one stands alone. Whereas in some other cinematic universes there exists a thread – however tenuous – that ties them all together through references and backstories, no such thread exists here other than “hey there are gigantic monsters on the Earth and sometimes they get pissed off.” I actually tried to piece together some kind of puzzle of all the other films leading up to this one to see how all the monsters ended up on the same island and why only Mothra needs two tiny women singing to him (her?) whereas the others act independently and do the monsters like humans or nah and why always Tokyo (though in this case they also destroy Moscow, Paris, and New York for good measure) but then I got higher and thought to myself, fuck it, nothing matters anyway. While the (SPOILERS!) costumed actors portraying this variety of monsters do their humble best to stomp all over the carefully and lovingly crafted sets of tiny buildings and real working vehicles, the real stars here are the set designer and the dubbing actors who manage somehow to be even more unbelievable (and awesome) than the monsters. Several times I had to rewind the film to re-experience a line or a look or, like, Godzilla performing some expert karate moves, and what higher praise can I give than that this film managed to overcome my brain’s fuzziness several times to provide things that were crazy awesome amazeballs? You’ll be tempted to talk over the dialog as the monsters engage in one of many, many, many scenes of Thunderbirds-like destruction, but don’t do it! The very next line uttered could be the best one yet – followed by an even better one. It struck me how much these films rely on an uneducated audience, and how much we all know about physics and space travel and gravity that we didn’t (care about) in 1968. Nothing makes much sense, but it’s all pretty and camp and awesome. [5/5 Weeds] (Currently streaming on The Criterion Channel, and you must watch the dubbed version for the full THC effect.)


So I have never been a huge fan of Kaiju movies, but I think it’s because I never saw the right ones. I saw the Matthew Broderick Godzilla, which is damn close to unwatchable, and I vaguely recall being a teenager and seeing some Kaiju movie that was all about annoying little kids singing songs at a Kaiju monster while someone talked into a wristwatch. (It is distinctly possible that my brain has invented a single movie from random bits of TV I saw on weekend afternoons when I was growing up).

But after reading Lance’s review of Destroy All Monsters, I decided that I would give this movie a chance to be my proper introduction to Kaiju … and holy shit I loved it. It was so weird and so over the top and so badly dubbed and such a goddamn delight to watch! If this is a fair and representative sample of what Kaiju movies are like, I’ve TOTALLY been missing out for, like, my entire life.

 


If you, like me, are new to this genre, or are curious about it, I can’t recommend Destroy All Monsters enough. It’s got a TON of exposition so you don’t have any FOMO about complext character backstories or whatever (if any) thread connects the larger Kaiju film world together. There are no children singing songs, at all, and the Kaiju do a goddamn delightful job destroying all the carefully-constructed cities they stomp around in. There are no silly breakdancing moves, and everything in it is grounded in some version of reality, so I never felt like it was insulting my intelligence by pandering to any section of the audience with dumb fan service like, oh to pick a random example out of thin air, the final season of Game of Thrones.


The big brains at SyFy wire have you covered, too, if you are like “I want to watch one of these movies, but I don’t want to risk a three dollar investment because I am a savvy consumer.” Check out this Really Big List of Ways To Watch Kaiju Movies Online, and if you partake of the wacky tobacky, get ready to enjoy a sublimely weird and totally satisfying, supremely fun 90 minutes.