Tag Archives: Movies

My Most Anticipated Upcoming Movies of 2017

2017 is more than half finished now, but that doesn’t mean there still aren’t plenty of great movies coming out between August and New Year’s Eve. I recently researched what films are scheduled to come out over the next 5 months, and I was surprised by how many of them I’m looking forward to watching.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Starship Troopers: Traitor of Mars. In theatres on August 21.

I’m going to cut straight to the point here. Was the original Starship Troopers movie from 1997 cheesy? Yes, and that was a huge part of the appeal of it for me. Sometimes the best scifi is the kind that involves fighting gigantic bugs on faraway planets and occasionally cutting away to a futuristic commercial.

I can’t wait to see what else is going on in this universe. It’s one of the best ideas for a 90s sequel that Hollywood has had since Fuller House was announced.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Geostorm. In theatres on October 20.

There have been many natural disaster movies made in the past, but I can’t think of a single one that was caused by malfunctioning computers. This plot point alone was enough to make me curious about this film.

I’m assuming that a hurricane is a hurricane no matter how it came about, but there’s always the possibility that the writers have come up with some truly creative twists on this old trope. This is the kind of movie that I’d want to wait to rent until it was available on iTunes. As interested as I am in watching it, it will be even better if I can watch it from the comfort of my own home.

It doesn’t strike me as something that requires a big screen and a room full of strangers in order to enjoy it. Then again, I feel that way about almost all films these days.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Shape of Water. In theatres on December 8.

If I could only pick one of these movies to watch, The Shape of Water would be it without question. Guillermo del Toro won me over years ago with Pan’s Labryinth. The Shape of Water is promising to be every bit as interesting as that story, so I can’t wait to see if it measures up to my expectations.

I’m purposefully avoiding all spoilers for it. My regular readers know that I strongly dislike spoilers in general, and those feelings are only intensified by something that sounds like it’s going to a lot of fun to watch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Miss Kiet’s Children. In theatres on December 13.

Wow, this looks like a tearjerker. I have a lot of compassion for immigrants in general, but immigration must be even more difficult for children who aren’t necessarily old enough to understand the conflicts that forced their families to move so far away from where they were born.

One of the things I enjoy the most about documentaries is getting the chance to see the world through other people’s eyes. I know very little about the political or social situation in the Netherlands, so I’ll be watching Miss Kiet’s Children with the hope of changing that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ferdinand. In theatres on December 15.

When I was in high school, a friend of mine dated a cute boy named Ferdinand. This movie is NOT about their relationship in any way, but the title of it did make me pause and smile at that memory before watching the preview.

Ferdinand is actually about a bull who doesn’t want to fight anyone. I’m intrigued by that concept and hope that the storytelling will live up to the premise. From what I’ve read about it so far, I’m expecting to enjoy this story quite a bit.

If you have a Twitter account, come over and tell me what movies you’re looking forward to seeing the most between now until the end of the year.

How Social Media Is Changing the Rules About Spoilers

Those of you who have been following me for years might remember my post from 2014 about hating spoilers.

Since then I’ve been paying attention to how social media – especially Twitter – has been changing the rules about if, whether, and when it’s okay to share spoilers.

It was especially interesting to see how people reacted to The Handmaid’s Tale a few months ago because of how much faster that show was released in the U.S. than it was in other parts of the world.

Canada was always one or two episodes behind the United States depending on which day of the week you were on. Other countries were even further behind us.

People in the States were sharing spoilers before or right after the latest episode there ended. Even mainstream news sites were leaking plot twists as they discussed what had currently happened and what was going to happen next. I had to mute the hashtags for that show and avoid reading all news articles about it until I’d finished the whole series.

While I still believe that it’s rude to share spoilers for a show that has just aired, not everyone agrees with me and not everyone who does agree with me has the same rules about how to go about sharing them after a certain amount of time has passed.

The Old Rules

This varied according to which parts of the Internet you spent time in, of course, but I remember the old rules being as follows:

  • Always put a spoiler warning before sharing anything that mentioned even mild plot twists.
  • Don’t discuss the latest episode of your favourite show with people who haven’t seen it yet unless they tell you they don’t mind.
  • When in doubt, don’t mention it.

I do not remember the mainstream media releasing spoilers back then the way they do now. To be fair, I don’t know if that’s because I watched fewer shows at that point or if the rules have since changed for the media as well.

The Controversy

If cats knew what spoilers were, they’d disapprove of them.

I’m going to be doing some generalizing and simplifying here for the sake of brevity, but people who have an opinion on this issue seem to fall into one of two camps.

The first camp believes that everything is up for discussion the second a show has finished airing in their time zone. While some of them do warn everyone about their discussion of spoilers ahead of time, many others don’t bother to mention it at all.

Interestingly enough, my own mother belongs in this group. If I read a book or watch a movie that she hasn’t tried yet, she genuinely doesn’t mind hearing spoilers about it. This blows my mind sometimes, but I’m much less cautious about discussing how stories end with her than I am with almost everyone else I know.

The second camp is against all spoilers. We want to be warned of potential spoilers well in advance so we can avoid them. We often also want everyone to use the official hashtags for that show or movie so that we can mute them before any of the plot twists are revealed.

The New Rules

  • Always use the appropriate hashtags when discussing your favourite shows on social media.
  • Give people fair warning if you will be sharing spoilers.
  • Find likeminded people to discuss (or avoid) spoilers with.
  • Respect the rights of others to make different decisions.
  • When in doubt, don’t mention it.

From what I’ve seen, the Internet hasn’t yet come to a conclusion about how long everyone should wait before spoiler tags are no longer necessary.

I take a conservative approach and add spoiler tags to almost everything. Just because a book was released a few decades ago doesn’t mean that everyone has read it. While I do occasionally share spoilers about old movies, TV shows, and books, I warn people first in case they don’t want to know what happened.

It’s going to be interesting to see how all of this plays out over the next few years.  Is giving spoiler warnings for everything no matter when it was released the best way to handle it? I honestly don’t know. This is something I do as a courtesy for others, but I don’t think it’s currently realistic to expect everyone to follow this rule given how unwilling they are to wait even a few days to dissect current shows.

With that being said, I would like to see people become more aware of the fact that their favourite shows have global audiences and that not every country or time zone gets the latest episode simultaneously.

What Cheesy Ghost Movies Can Teach You About Getting (and Staying) in Shape

One of my favourite things to do during a boring workout routine is to watch the kinds of ghost movies on Netflix that desperately try to be scary but end up being predictable and silly instead.

The nice part about these films is that they don’t require your full attention. Paying attention to 80% of the things happening on the screen is more than enough to figure out the plot twists well in advance, so they’re perfect for watching while you exercise.

The other reason why I watch these films is because there are lessons in every single one of them that would honestly work as well, and maybe even a little better, if you applied them to your workout routine instead of waiting until you move into a haunted house or accidentally knock over a gravestone to see how useful they’d be. Figuring out what those lessons are have also provided me endless amounts of entertainment on cardio days.

Lesson #1: Don’t Be Afraid to Take Advice from Others Who Have Already Been There

No one is ever too old to learn something new, and no one is ever too young to teach you something you didn’t know before.

I’m slowly forming a small group of fellow exercise enthusiasts who bounce ideas off of each other and ask for advice when there’s something we find challenging or confusing about our workouts.

Not everyone in this loosely-associated club of sorts practices the exact same routines, but we share enough in common that we can find those areas where we overlap and trade information about what does and doesn’t work.

There have been a few times when I’ve considered something and decided that it isn’t something that I should worry about for a wide variety of reasons, but I always listen to the reasons why someone gives for recommending or not recommending it before making my final decision.

Lesson #2: Always Tie Your Shoes

Have you ever noticed how often characters in horror movies forget to tie their shoes securely? Sometimes they have to do that in order to give a menacing ghost the chance to catch up with them once they run away, but the last thing you want to do while running or walking is step on your own shoelace and trip over your own foot.

I always double-check my shoes and anything else I’m wearing that could potentially cause an accident before I start working out. Sometimes I have even been known to double-knot my laces if I’ll be going somewhere muddy or cold. It isn’t much fun to tie laces when they’re covered in dirt or slush.

Lesson #3: If Something Feels Wrong, Don’t Ignore It

There’s a fine line between pushing yourself to do better and injuring yourself because you overlooked pain while you were exercising.

If a specific move sends a tingle down your spine in a bad way, stop immediately. Most people wouldn’t wander into a dark basement in the middle of the night to investigate a strange noise if their flashlight kept dying at the top of the steps.

Use that same common sense when you’re working out. There will be more opportunities to try that move again  once you’ve gained more experience or moved on to better equipment.

Lesson #4: Some Days Are Going to Suck No Matter What You Do

Just like some houses are so deeply haunted that you won’t ever find enough holy water to cleanse them, some workouts are going to falter for reasons you couldn’t possibly predict or prevent.

For example, I’ve had multiple workouts that were interrupted by fire alarms. Obviously, fire alarms can’t be ignored for all kinds of safety and noise reasons. When that alarm sounds, the only thing you can do is get to somewhere safe and wait for someone to turn it off.

On a less urgent note, there have been times when my workouts were cut short because I was recovering from an illness or injury that turned out to be further back in the healing process than I originally thought it would be. My spirit might be willing to push it to the limit, but my body is a completely different story in that scenario.

Your mental health matters, too. Occasionally I have a day when my workouts are begrudging at absolute best due to other things that are going on in my life at that point. The faster I accept that I won’t be breaking any personal records those days, the faster I can get through the routine and put as much effort into it as I can reasonably manage for that particular day.

Lesson #5: Practice More than One Kind of Exercise

Could you outrun a vengeful spirit? Could you pick up an injured friend and carry them to the car? Are you limber enough to turn to the side, stretch backwards, and unhook your jacket from that rusty nail sticking out of the door before the ghost comes back again?

Obviously these things aren’t literally going to happen, but the failure of many horror movie characters to stay in good shape is a reminder that there’s more than one way to be fit. Ideally, we should all be practicing as many of them as we can.

I have been walking long distances for a decade and lifting weights for a few years now. Yoga is the next form of exercise to check off my list in 2017. I hope I’d be able to do all of the things listed above in an emergency.

Lesson #6: Try, Try Again

Not everything in life happens right away. As I blogged a few weeks ago, yoga wasn’t something I liked the first or even the second time I tried it.

Even now I’m not entirely sure what I think about this form of exercise, but I continue giving it chances to change my mind. Just like it can take horror movie characters more than one visit with a psychic to convince a restless spirit to move onto the next world, sometimes new workout routines need some time to settle into a groove as well.

If you truly don’t like it, there’s nothing wrong with admitting that and moving onto something new.  Don’t assume that your first impression of something will be your last one, though. People’s opinions change every day if they give themselves enough chances to decide what they really think about a specific form of exercise.

Lesson #7: It Never Ends

There will always be something new to learn.

You could always be a little stronger, faster, or more flexible.

Someone else will always need your advice.

There will always be other people who will have good advice for you if you open yourself up to it.

What about the spirits?

Yes, they will always return in the sequel regardless of how well you think you vanquished them at the end of the third act in the original film.

We Need Smarter Characters

One of the things that bothers me the most about modern fiction – especially when it comes to the horror and science fiction genres – is how little common sense and intelligence many characters seem to have in these stories.

Those of you who have known me for a few years might have heard me comment on this problem before, especially when The Walking Dead or Fear the Walking Dead are currently airing. I’m an intermittent fan of both of those shows. While I love their premises, the characters in them sure do make a lot of questionable decisions about who to trust and how to behave when they’re in immediate danger. At times that makes them extremely difficult to watch.

No, I don’t expect perfection from fictional characters anymore than I would from living, breathing people. There is definitely something to be said for showing exactly what happens to people when they make the wrong decision. You can learn a lot about someone based on how they react to things going horribly wrong in their lives.

There does come a point, though, when it’s hard to emotionally connect to someone who keeps making nonsensical choices. If there is a herd of zombies wandering around in the woods outside of your home, you really shouldn’t be going for a nature walk alone. If that new person you just met makes your skin crawl,  don’t ignore that feeling and tell him where you live when he asks.

These are the kinds of things that pull me out of the plot. If the protagonists were children or had unusual backstories to explain their naiveté, I’d completely understand. When seemingly normal adult characters do it over and over again in a violent and unpredictable setting, I start losing sympathy for them.

I’ve learned valuable lessons from my mistakes. Why don’t these characters apply the things the experienced in previous seasons to what’s currently going on with them?

What originally attracted me to these genres were the questions they asked about life. A good horror story peels back all of the social niceties to expose the grey underbelly of what frightened people the most in a specific era. Who do they trust? Who or what keeps popping up as the villain? You can learn a lot about a society based on who and what it fears!

Well-written science fiction asks questions that many people don’t otherwise think about. What does it mean to be human? How do we know if we can trust our governments? What kind of life might exist on other planets? What would happen if….?

These questions only work, though, if the characters that could ask them are aware enough to actually bring them to the audience’s mind.

Have you noticed this problem in the books you read or the shows you watch? Who are some of the smartest characters you’ve found recently?

Overthinking Chicken or the Egg

Chicken or the Egg from KIMWU on Vimeo.

This is a ridiculously cute short film about a pig who falls in love with a chicken. Eggs used to be his favourite food, but he stops eating them for her sake.

The temptation to cave in is always with him, though. As much as he loves her, he really misses those eggs and he’d eat them in a second if he thought he could get away with it.

What I found really interesting about this film is that Mr. Pig never talks to her about any of this. He assumes he knows how she feels and what she thinks, and he bases all of his decisions about their life together on these assumptions.

I have mixed emotions about this piece.

1) It’s sad to see the pig give up something that gave him so much happiness. Will he wake up 20 years from now with regrets, or is his self-denial a positive thing?

2) I wonder what Ms. chicken would have said if Mr. Pig had asked her what she thought of  eating eggs? They were almost certainly unfertilized, so it wasn’t as if Mr. Pig was eating chicken embryos.

3) And eggs are suddenly quite unappetizing. 😉

What do you think?

 

Hobbits and the Nasty Business of Adventures

Last weekend Drew and I watched The Hobbit. I’ll try to review it without sharing spoilers but stop reading now if you don’t know the basic storyline. The cinematography is breathtaking. Rivendell and The Shire in particular were amazing well done. I felt like I was standing next to the characters as they explored both… Read More

Taoist Horror Movies

Believe it or not this phrase was a recent search term that lead someone to On the Other Hand. It’s one of those terms that sticks with you. I’d never thought about what a Taoist horror movie would look like or even wondered if there was such a thing. What makes a movie Taoist? Does a… Read More

The Joy of Fear

Happy Halloween! Let’s talk about our favourite horror, ghost or supernatural tales today. When I was nine or ten years old I checked a book of ghost stories out from the school library and snuck it home. Mom found it, of course. Somehow parents almost always do. 😉 I don’t remember having a conversation about… Read More

Pacifists and Horror Flicks

Despite the title, this isn’t just about watching scary movies or about nonviolence.  It’s about being incongruent.  Yes, I’m a pacifist who loves (certain) horror flicks. Fear and anticipation are a delicious elixir when one knows that they are, without a doubt, absolutely safe. I don’t like blood and gore, torture, or graphic scenes of… Read More