Movie Reviews 2020


After Midnight (Something Else) (R)

Sometimes people can pull off a low budget horror movie (Paranormal Activity) to create a truly enjoyable event. Most times they can’t – like with After Midnight (Something Else).

This dud misses on almost every aspect of what makes a movie decent – horror or not. It starts out with a scene that smells of first semester film school dialogue and acting. Long riffs of mundane dialogue ensue and then it switches to a drunk who’s dealing with a girlfriend who left him and monster who suddenly decides to visit and terrorize him in his old shack of a home every night. 

He lives in a house filled with wired telephones, old radios, tape decks, record players and plenty of beer. (Study the photo above carefully). Even if that’s the way you really live, unless you’re eighty-years-old you still need a smartphone in 2020. No one seems to have a smartphone. The cars give away the fact that it’s set in today’s world. 

The movie soundtrack is like the director’s teenage kids are in a basement band making up really bad White Stripes knock-off songs. These awful tunes lead us back and forth to constant (annoyingly frequent) flashbacks of the couple years ago when their lines were poorly written and their feelings superficial. All the while they swill cheap wine. Constantly. Eventually they buy the town bar. 

Makes sense.    

Back to the scary stuff (there really isn’t much of that) we have another guy in a movie who is being attacked by a really bad-ass monster (nightly) so what does he do? Drinks like a fish. We’re talking passed-out drunk with the sofa barricading the front door and a shotgun in his lap.

Now I’m no survivalists, but I find it hard to believe any guy would choose the path of inebriation when personal defense is paramount. But that’s not the worst of it. Virtually everybody in the movie that isn’t pregnant it swilling wine, beer or hard liquor in every scene. I’m talking swilling liquids like they’re all stuck in a black tent in the Algerian desert. If you like the thought of sitting in a room listening to endless dialogue between drunk folks while the camera rolls for ten minute stretches without a cut, this might be a gem. The actors certainly learned their lines. Endless tirades of dialogue. A lot of bickering dialogue. Angry couples dialogue. You know, the fun stuff to listen to as it happens in front of you.

I don’t know any therapists – so I don’t know anyone who wants to listen to that.

It was yet another movie where I was rooting for the monster – to save me from any more of it. 

– Avoid!


Extracurricular (R) 
We’ve seen plenty of movies with goth high school teenagers doing bad things, but this might just take the cake. These four high schoolers meticulously plan murders and then coldly carry them out. It earns the R rating. 

Contrary to the hype and what most people around the world might think about American high schools today, it’s ridiculously unlikely you could find 4 psychotic mass killers in any one high school (even in Baltimore) much less two girls (that would be a first) much less all friends with one another. But as bad kids pretending to be normal kids goes, the acting here is first rate. (The two sidekick cops are poor actors but thankfully they aren’t the focus of this movie anyway). 

It is a Hollywood movie, so we’ve got the necessary P.C. boxes checked:
Mixed couples – check.
“Lethal Weapon” cops casting blueprint. Check.
LGBTXYZ appeasing lesbian couple. Of course!

As intensity goes it builds to a 10 about halfway through. So it delivers the goods. 

There are technical quibbles:
It’s one thing to have a filthy BMW on a backwoods road trip – but not the windshield. German carmakers and the people who drive them are finicky about windshield cleaning mechanisms. And often even the headlights have cleaning nozzles. C’mon, man!

Car alarms don’t sound all night. They all reset after one minute. All of them. Every single brand. And you turn a car alarm off with the key fob. Not inside the car. C’mon, man!

Cops don’t whoop their sirens for no reason in quiet neighborhoods at 2:30 AM. C’mon, man!

The trailer gives too much of the plot away. Perhaps a niche genre, but you know if this movie is for you or not. 

– Wait for Rental


End of 2020 Movies.

Go to 2019 Movie Reviews