Love and Monsters: A Post-Apocalyptic (Almost) Romance

By: Kori Miller

 

With a year as chaotic as this one has been, it’s not exactly easy to find a feel-good film that’ll take you somewhere new. Between the seasonal horrors, aimless cartoons, and senseless action films, where’s the originality? Fortunately, director Michael Matthews decided to break the trends and give us a well-deserved post-apocalyptic quest film. With Dylan O’Brien and Michael Rooker, Love and Monsters might be what you’re looking for.

Love and Monsters follows a burned-out colony dweller, Joel, seven years after the monsterpocalypse took over the world and forced humanity underground. His life has been less than exciting since he gave up everything he once loved for safety. That is until he contacts his highschool sweetheart’s colony over the radio and falls for her all over again. Desperate to rekindle the flame he lost in his teen years, Joel ventures on to the surface with a sole mission: find Aimee. 

Films like these have a very important responsibility; they have to build a convincing universe for our characters to explore. The monsters in this movie are spectacular, each extremely unique and with their own strengths and weaknesses. They blend seamlessly into the world around them. The characters, albeit a bit campy, all have unique motivations and personalities. O’Brien doesn’t hit every time, but his emotional scenes have you hurting for the character in ways you wouldn’t expect.

Other than being good fun for two hours, there’s not a whole lot of comprehensive substance to Love and Monsters. We’re led to believe it’s a romantic quest, but it ends up being less than that. It’s bittersweet with minimal payoff. The universe and its diverse creatures end up being more interesting than the plot itself, reminiscent of similar films like Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them from 2016. It’s a perfect example of filmmakers who put their hearts in the wrong places, making the movie in itself an identity crisis on the big screen.

If you want a quick getaway from the painstakingly boring reality we live in, Love and Monsters is the perfect way to elicit a smile. It’s cute, heartfelt, and genuine when it needs to be. However, if you want something challenging, I’d politely redirect you to another film.

Love and Monsters currently holds a rating of 90% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 7/10 on IMDB.

2020 Presidential Election

By: Kori Miller

If 2020 wasn’t hectic enough, it’s election year in the United States. Donald Trump, the 45th President of the United States, ran for his second term this year as the Republican candidate. He ran against former Vice President and Senator Joe Biden, who ran as the Democratic candidate. Biden’s name is not one that is unfamiliar in politics; he has served a total of 44 years in our government. Trump, on the other hand, served his first four years in politics as the leader of our country after a career in business and as a television personality. The two have faced off against one another in debates and interviews, but what it really comes down to is the votes.

As of November 17th, Joe Biden has taken the popular vote with 79,046,356 votes, Donald Trump following with 73,320,694. The electoral college currently sits at 290 votes for Biden as opposed to 232 for President Trump. As of today, Georgia has yet to submit its official ballot counts. 

Suspicion of voter fraud due to the increased use of mail-in ballots has called for multiple recounts and lawsuits. While Georgia has currently issued a recount to ensure accuracy, Trump’s team has filed lawsuits against Michigan and Pennsylvania to stop certifying their election results until later this month to give more time for the campaign to handle its legal challenges prior to the federal deadline of December 8th. Because of this, we may not have confirmed or accurate results until much later into the month. 

As it currently stands, Joe Biden is projected to be the US president-elect, and he and Kamala Harris are set to take office on January 20, 2021. Biden has expressed big plans for his term, including a stimulus proposal, a reversal of Trump’s immigration policies, lowering the Medicare eligibility age, a full-fledged COVID-19 team & plan, rejoining the Paris agreement, and many more.  

Halloween Movie Recommendations

By: Kori Miller

One of the best elements of the spooky season is its movies. Many timeless horror movies draw inspiration or a setting from Halloween, making for some timeless classics to watch over and over again. So this October, I’m going to put some of my all-time favorites into the spotlight. I tried to primarily include movies you probably haven’t seen, so enjoy!

Hereditary (2018, R) – Starting the list off strong is a psychological folk-horror that’ll disturb you long after the credits have rolled. Hereditary is an Ari Aster film that follows the estranged happenings that come across the Grahams after their matriarch passes away. Things seem to keep getting worse for the family, and I guarantee you’ll never be able to predict the ending. 10/10

Little Shop Of Horrors (1986, PG-13) – If horror isn’t quite your style, Little Shop Of Horrors might be. It’s a dark comedy musical about a man-eating plant that also happens to be an amazing singer. We follow Seymour, an unfortunate employee at a floral shop after he comes across a fly-trap looking plant with a taste for human flesh. Unsure of what to do, he entertains it… But how long exactly can that go on? 8/10

The Fly (1986, R) – Sometimes all you need to complete your Halloween night is a bit of good ol’ fashioned body horror. The Fly is a film about science, teleportation and… A human fly hybrid. Yeah, it’s pretty gross. 8/10

Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988, PG-13) – The title for this one is kind of self-explanatory. Killer Klowns from Outer Space is a classic movie about teenagers being terrorized by, you guessed it, killer clowns from outer space. It’s quirky, bizarre, bordering abstract, and a lot of fun to watch with friends. 6/10

Raw (2016, R) – This French movie isn’t exactly for the weak-stomached. A vegetarian girl entering veterinary school partakes in her first bite of flesh as a part of the school’s initiation and immediately undergoes a strange transformation in cravings. She simply cannot get enough meat, no matter where it comes from… including humans. 9/10

What We Do in the Shadows (2014, R) – Ending on a lighter note, What We Do in the Shadows is a mockumentary-style comedy written by and starring Taika Waititi. It follows a group of vampires from various time periods living together in a flat in New Zealand, and they don’t exactly get along. Our characters spend a majority of the runtime arguing about the dishes or whose turn it is to take out the trash. It’s an ironic setting for immortal killing machines and a perfect spooky comedy. 10/10 

Well, those are the handful of films I’ve selected as my go-to’s for the season. I hope you find something you’ll love this fright night, and please remember to stay in and stay safe! Happy Halloween!

Honorable Mentions: Edward Scissorhands (1990, PG-13), Gremlins (1984, PG), Midsommar (2019, R), Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007, R), Heathers (1988, R).

The Lighthouse: A Maritime Nightmare

By: Kori Miller

Movie Poster for The Lighthouse (2019)

Modern directors and a higher demand for quality in films has created a breeding ground for exceptional horror movies. Directors like Ari Aster and Jordan Peele are single-handedly reshaping the genre, and it’s a welcome change. In this instance, it’s Robert Eggers stepping up to the plate with his latest horror film, following The Witch in 2015. With a short and sweet filmography, he has already proven himself to be capable of masterpieces. In 2019, he released The Lighthouse.

The Lighthouse is a psychological horror film that follows Ephraim Winslow (Robert Pattinson), who is serving a contract job as an assistant to a lighthouse keeper (Willem Dafoe) for a month on an isolated island off the coast of England. As the two are eventually stranded with no contact with others and seemingly no hope, the only thing left for them to do is ration their food and pray for the best. However tensions rise as secrets emerge, and the two cannot stay away from each other’s throats for long.

This film has a gritty style, being shot entirely on black and white 30mm film and with a 1.19 to 1 aspect ratio to make it appear older and more sophisticated. This, matched with the combined production value and filming location, makes the real elements almost indistinguishable from the staged ones. And against all odds, it manages to fuse a surprising element of comedy, almost in self-awareness.

The actors are entirely convincing, which ironically poses a challenge for a western release. The filmmakers studied journals kept by old lighthouse keepers to develop convincing accents for the actors to dawn in the film. Due to the unique dialect, the plotline is difficult to follow without aid. This normally wouldn’t be a threat to conventional psychological films, but The Lighthouse is uniquely dialogue-based and a good portion of its relevant scenes require a lot of attention. Additionally, the film’s themes and imagery are rather disturbing which makes it unsuitable for a general audience. These factors create a following for the movie with a very specific taste. Despite the quality, not very many casual film fans took much interest upon its release.

As one of the best-received films of 2019, The Lighthouse holds a rating of 90% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 7.5/10 on IMDB.