I honestly dare you to try and find a film more bizarre than Nobuhiko Obayashi’s 1977 haunted-house horror-comedy — and adequately titled Japanese production — House. While the synopsis of the plot is rather straight-forward, what transpires in this absolutely bonkers 88-minute roller coaster of gores and goofs is anything but ordinary, and barely even comprehensible. However, this is what makes House such a one-of-a-kind experience that deserves to be seen and (hopefully) adored by a larger audience. Merely describing the overview of House does it no favors, nor would it necessarily make you want to watch it. It’s a fairly simple set-up, after all. What makes House so watchable, so unique, and ultimately so great, is its unbelievably kooky execution and intentional surrealism.
I truly have never seen a film as weird as this one.
While there has been a bit of fatigue for superhero movies in recent years — especially seen in 2016 with the releases of the downright bad-to-mediocre entries Batman v Superman, Suicide Squad, and X-Men: Apocalypse — I’d argue that 2017 has not only been a wonderful return to form for the highest-grossing genre in film, but also the absolute best year for comic book-based movies maybe ever. We’ve seen the release of the exquisite, mold-breaking Logan; as well as the unexpectedly good, DCEU-saving Wonder Woman; and, of course, the incredibly fun Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Also, I don’t know about you, but I’d include the hilarious Lego Batman Movie in this list as well…and as a guilty pleasure and total nostalgia trip, let’s put Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie on there, too — cause why not?
But while I’ve enjoyed my time with each of these previously mentioned films, my favorite of all this year’s contenders is the latest, Spider-Man: Homecoming, which sees its home release next week. Being a part of what is perhaps the most tired superhero film franchise since the turn of the century — following 2007’s unloved Spider-Man 3 and the underperforming two entries in the Amazing Spider-Man reboot in 2012 and 2014 — Homecoming had a lot to prove. It seems Sony understood this, as they finally struck a contract with the hugely successful Marvel Studios following Amazing Spider-Man 2 in order to include a new iteration of the character in the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe.
While this deal allowed for a glorified cameo and introduction for the new Spidey in last year’s Captain America: Civil War — and his part was awesome — it almost felt too good to be true. However, after seeing his first solo film for myself, I can say with certainty that Homecoming is the best movie the character has been at the center of since Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2.
We’re already nearly half of the way through October — can you believe that? Well, me neither. It’s Tuesday, so of course Jake and I have updated the weekly Jukebox for your listening pleasure.
The ‘list features 20 songs including new singles from Run The Jewels, Sam Smith, and Jessie J, as well as a pick from both Jake and I off of Kelela’s awesome debut LP.
Also, since I’ve added a brand new single from St. Vincent here, I would like to inform you that she has an album coming out at the end of the week called Masseduction. Yeah, this is a big deal, people! Keep an eye out for that, and I will surely be picking out a favorite for next week’s playlist.
The term “sequel,” when it comes to film especially, is almost always liable to send a shudder down the spines of dedicated fans — something that’s doubly true when speaking about cult films. While it makes absolute sense for some movies to receive follow-ups, others are likely better off left as standalone affairs. For 35 years, Blade Runner definitely fell into the latter category, being one of the most beloved cult sci-fi films ever made. Ridley Scott’s 1982 classic remains an utterly definitive and complete film — one that left its viewers with a set of unanswered questions that would fascinate an audience and be mined over for decades to come; its ambiguity prevailing as one of its greatest strengths.
So when Scott began talking about a potential sequel earlier this decade, fans were understandably skeptical and rather doubtful of its ability to live up to the first. But with Blade Runner 2049, acclaimed director Denis Villeneuve (Prisoners, Arrival) has teamed with screenwriter Michael Green and original Blade Runner scribe Hampton Fancher to deliver what is not only one of the great films of 2017, but what will very likely go down as one of the best sequels in all of film history. 2049 does answer some ideas leftover from before, but in their place introduces its own bevy of compelling questions, being a successor worthy of the Blade Runner title as well as a film that may even surpass its predecessor.
I would like to take this opportunity to extend thoughts and prayers from the entire Jet Fuel Review staff to any and all affected by the horrendous shooting that occurred in Las Vegas the other night. It is true, especially in troubling times like this, that turning to music may feel like one of the only things we can do, as it provides the comfort and escape we need from the travesties in the real world. But even then, I encourage all to help out in any way, if possible, to support and aid the people and families who are victims of the attack.
Secondly, RIP to Tom Petty, who was one of the greatest rock performers of all time and a childhood favorite of mine. As such, I have honored the man with the inclusion of what is likely my favorite track of his at the top of my half of the playlist.
Elsewhere on the Jukebox this week, Jake and I have highlighted tracks from Angel Olsen, Grizzly Bear, James Blake and Bon Iver, and Post Malone.
Co-written by and based upon the real-life story of comedian Kumail Nanjiani and his former girlfriend Emily V. Gordon, The Big Sick presents an endearing story of stand-up comedy, new-found love, and a tragic illness. It’s a film thatis joyously human, heartfelt, and hilarious, effectively reviving the rom-com genre with a captivating, fact-based story that provides a uniquely important insight into a culture and its quirks that aren’t often seen in American cinema. The Big Sick is without a doubt a film that stands among the most fulfilling and absolute best of 2017.
Nanjiani plays as himself, set early on in his career in Chicago as he performs at small clubs, hopelessly waiting for the day that he makes it big. One night, a cute woman in the crowd “heckles” him during a set, leading him to playfully confront her about it following the show, and the two show an immediate chemistry together… it’s not long before they’re dating. This woman is Emily, who is delightfully portrayed by Zoe Kazan. As their budding relationship grows into something stronger, everything seemingly falls apart at once in a devastating one-two punch.