What Did You Watch This Weekend?

By  · Published on July 14th, 2014

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The Weekend Watch is an open thread where you can share what you’ve recently watched, offer suggestions on movies and TV shows we should check out (or warnings about stuff to avoid) and discover queue-filling goodies from other FSR readers.

The comments section awaits. I’ll get the ball rolling with the movies/TV my eyeballs took in this weekend.

I’ve been a Bong Joon-ho fan for over a decade now, and I eagerly await each new film he releases. The wait between 2009’s Mother and his latest, Snowpiercer, was longer than usual, but after multiple false starts I was finally able to plop my ass down in a theater Saturday night and watch it on the big screen. Seemingly everyone else who wanted to see it had by then, and advance word was already well into a hyperbolic state. And having now seen it I can say with certainty that it is… quite good. There’s a lot to enjoy – the action, the production design, the cast – but there are some glaring script issues that make it impossible for me to pour the kind of high praise onto it that so many of my colleagues have already done. I love that they love it, but I just don’t see why. The train just makes zero damn sense. And I don’t mean its existence or how it’s powered either. I mean the arrangement of cars and the people who populate them. Seriously. Take a single step back to look at them, and it is dumb. (And don’t get me started on that ending.)

Stop me if you recognize this movie. A family returns to their vacation home only to discover that someone has been shacking up in there. They soon find themselves harassed and stalked by home invaders wearing animal masks, and an attempt to go to the neighbors for help reveals that the killers have already visited and done what killers do best. Sound familiar? If so then you must have already seen the new film Torment. To be fair this isn’t a full-on ripoff of You’re Next as the story goes in some completely different places and it’s not a single bit funny. On the downside though it’s ridiculously dark at times too meaning I was basically imagining what terrible things we’re happening at any given time to keep myself interested. Still, worth a watch for horror fans.

One of the great benefits of doing FSR’s Blu-ray/DVD column is the opportunity to see smaller films I most likely would have missed completely otherwise. The new Spanish thriller, The Last Days, is a prime example. Like the underseen but fantastic Perfect Sense, this film imagines an apocalypse with an unusual bent. Instead of zombies or a virus, mankind falls prey to a mysterious and deadly wave of agoraphobia. People who go outside become crippled with fear to the point that their bodies simply give up and die. The film follows one character’s efforts to reach his pregnant girlfriend, and it handles the expected post-apocalyptic shenanigans really well. Even better, the final thirty minutes hits some strong emotional beats and thought-provoking narrative turns.

One hopes that someday Nicolas Cage will finish paying off his IRS bill so that he can finally stop saying yes to every single script that shows up in his mailbox, but until that day comes we can expect to see films like Rage every few months or so. Cage plays an ex-mobster who’s gone straight only to see his daughter kidnapped and killed. The murder triggers his past talents and soon he’s shooting a bloody trail across Mobile, Alabama. It’s not a good movie, but it’s also not a complete bust.

Finally, one of the best and funniest things I’ve watched in some time wasn’t a movie at all. It was the Michael Jackson episode of Adult Swim’s Black Dynamite animated series. Sweet Jesus it is hilarious and profane and constantly surprising. The entire season is laugh out loud funny, but this episode in particular – I rewound scenes to rewatch immediately after watching them. If you liked the film you’ll love this because it improves on every aspect from the writing to the characters to the storylines, and the animation style is visually exciting and consistently eye-catching. And did I mention it’s some of the funniest stuff I’ve seen and heard in ages?

What did you watch this weekend?

Rob Hunter has been writing for Film School Rejects since before you were born, which is weird seeing as he's so damn young. He's our Chief Film Critic and Associate Editor and lists 'Broadcast News' as his favorite film of all time. Feel free to say hi if you see him on Twitter @FakeRobHunter.