30 Days of Film in September 2022-week 3

September 17th-Pearl from 2022 (Director/Co-Writer: Ti West, Star/Co-Writer: Mia Goth, Cinematography: Eliot Rockett, Runtime: 102 mins)

The last review I am writing as I am still reeling from this cinematic experience. Me and Scorsese the same for real. I watched the X the day before, I liked it quite a bit but this film… fuck yeah yeah!

Pearl starts up in 1918 with the Spanish flu happening and the end of WWI on the horizon. Pearl lives with her domineering mother and invalid father. She’s angry, frustrated, and wants to be a star. She sneaks in a silent film, meets the projectionist, plays with a scarecrow, plans to do a dance try out that her sister-in-law tells her about, and she is angry that her husband (from a rich family) wants to live on the farm-AND WENT TO WAR!

Mia Goth is sensational! But I need to mention that Tandi Wright is exceptional as Pearl’s mother, delivering a performance that-while overshadowed-is essential to the films story. This is beautiful move-great sue of color. For a film that is essentially small with few locations, it feels like a lived in fully realized world. X captures a bit of the Texas Chain Saw Massacre and 7-s grindhouse horror vibe in its visual, this one feels like a love letter to technicolor though the film takes place decades before. It builds and builds and just goes off. The dance sequence is chefs kiss.

A fucking stunning piece of work and I liked X more because of it.


THE ENTIRE REC SERIES:: September 18th-[Rec] from 2007 (Directors/Co-Writers: Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza with co-writer Luis A. Berdejo, Stars: Manuela Velasco, Cinematography: Pablo Rosso, Runtime: 78 mins)

[Rec]2 from 2009 (Directors/Co-Writers: Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza with co-writer Manu Díez, Stars: Manuela Velasco, Cinematography: Pablo Rosso, Runtime: 85 mins)

[Rec]3 from 2012 (Directors/Co-Writer: Paco Plaza with co-writer Luiso Berdejo, Stars: Leticia Dolera and Diego Martín, Cinematography: Pablo Rosso, Runtime: 80 mins)

[Rec]4: Apocalypse from 2014 (Directors/Co-Writer: Jaume Balagueró with co-writer Manu Diez, Stars: Manuela Velasco, Cinematography: Pablo Rosso, Runtime: 95 mins)

Finally opened up that [Rec] bluray set from Scream Factory. I watched the first two because of Faculty of Horror in the early days of the pandemic (it’s still here people!). I had heard 3-4 were not good, but I wanted 1-2, so I got the set as a gift last Christmas. I am going to block quote my review of the first two films.

Sticking to the months genre but breaking from the time frame of pre-1980s horror I jump to the 2000s because of podcast Faculty of Horror. Their plans for the year screwed up by the current pandemic so they have decided to get into pandemic horror. I have of course watched The Crazies and Dawn of the Dead this month which has been quite the watches for the moment. Now I have seen Rec 1 and 2, so yep… I don’t know if I want to more pandemic horror because that stuff is hitting. Especially with all the idiots out there today and probably tomorrow. Seriously, some cool stuff here but I am actually looking forward to getting out of horror films for a little while after this month.

Rec follows a TV reporter and her camera tagging along with fire fighters responding to a disturbance. On arrival they meet a pair of police officers, all to check on a woman screaming her head off. Soon they encounter a vicious lady covered in blood and the apartment complex is packed up and they are in forced quarantine. They soon learn an infection is cause violent, mindless aggression and it passes by saliva. So things get crazy and in the third act we discover exactly where the contagion started and its not your typical zombie stuff. Rec 2 picks up basically at the tail end of the first film as SWAT operatives and an official of Ministry of Health go inside to secure the scene. Turns out the official is really a priest and he’s looking for the cure to stop the spread of this evil. Oh, and some dumb teens get trapped inside because teens are stupid.

The first Rec is fantastic. Short and to the point. We meet Ángela Vidal and her cameraman at the start, get the set up, and shoot forward into the house and BOOM! We’re into it. We watch as the craziness builds quick. Them getting shut in is quite the scene. I honestly not really a fan of found footage. I struggle with Blair Witch Project. I appreciate it, I respect it, but I would rather watch the sequel. However I do really dig this. The suddenness of the violence, the back and forth trying to figure a way out, the build into the penthouse where things start coming together. Also the fact Ángela is an interesting lead. Very much the enthusiastic reporter who starts to break down in fear as things get worse and worse and worse. A strong focal point character. The follow up films focal point is Dr. Owen, who is frustrating. Rec 2 builds on the mythology with some highs and lows. A little too magic at times but at the same time I dig some of the ideas and twists, as well as the almost video game way the film is laid out. The downside to Rec 2 is the teens and the two dudes who sneak in, because the stupidity of the teens. Mire was an idiot.

You know, as much as I really enjoyed Rec 1 not sure what else to say. Its quick cut, does what it needs to do, and while it has a strong performance from Manuela Velasco (who is fantastic in her small part in the second film) the performances are just serviceable for the most part. Rec 2 is a strong follow up yet it doesn’t reach the heights of the first film. Still, highly recommend the first film and if you like it watch the second movie. Not sure I will check out 3 or 4.

Now, over two years later, I like the first one a little less. That’s really because the surprise factor wasn’t there this time. I went in pretty blind, and was blown away-this time, I still really liked the film but I will be slipping it down a spot or two in my general rankings. On the other hand, the rewatch of the second film led me to knock it up a half star. It’s a low 4 stars but I liked it more-though the teenagers still annoyed the fuck out of me.

Onto 3 and 4, with the final film an actual direct sequel to the second film except no longer found footage. Our lead Ángela is back after no being in 3, she’s quarantined on a bot with more religious types after the possession cure. Things go wrong. I which I could muster interest in doing the final film a proper review but seriously-why? I get why the third film broke tradition but this seems like a waste. It also goes back on a major twist in the second film. None of the supporting characters really matter-one just to tie into the third film. Its incredibly disappointing, though still sort of watchable.

From 4 to 3, a film set in the universe but removed from the central story. Genesis takes place on a wedding day when the zombie outbreak happens. The newly married couple looking to reunite and get away. That’s the film in nutshell and the movie is good. My rankings for these films go chronologically and three, while a set down from 2, is miles ahead of 4. Its got some pretty decent zombie kills, a fascinating location, good leads, some decent supporting characters, and one hell of a finish. Seriously, the last ten minutes of this are fantastic and why I went from “this is better than I thought it be” to “this is legitimately good.” Rec 3: Genesis may not go down as a zombie classic but it broke from the previous films and delivered a film the really could stand on its own.

[Rec: One / Two / Three / Four]

September 19th-Viridiana from 1961 (Director/Co-writer: Luis Buñuel and co-writer Julio Alejandro, Stars: Silvia Pinal, Francisco Rabal and Fernando Rey, Cinematography: José F. Aguayo, Runtime: 90 mins)

Called the great film from Spain, Viridiana is about a nun in training convinced to see her ailing Uncle who ahs supported her. He’s a son of a bitch. I don’t feel like going into detail further but then I can’t keep talking about the story. Look, the film looks good, the performances are strong, and I get it… But I don’t much care… Its a good film but was not for me.


Do Revenge from 2022 (Director/Co-Writer: Jennifer Kaytin Robinson with co-writer Celeste Ballard, Star: Camila Mendes, Maya Hawke, Austin Abrams, Rish Shah, and Sarah Michelle Gellar, Cinematography: Brian Burgoyne, Runtime: 118 mins)

Camila Mendes and Maya Hawke pull a Strangers on the Train-not really. Especially because in Strangers on a Train, one of the guys doesn’t do the crime he’s asked for because he thought the whole thing was some sort of sick joke. Anyway, Camilia plays Drea-a top queen B who is undone by a sextape she believes her boyfriend leaked. At tennis camp she meets Hawke’s Eleanor, who talks about how a girl ruined her life by turning her into a predatory lesbian by starting a rumor of her coming out. So the two look to get even. Don’t worry-twists ahead.

I liked it. I guess I do kinda like high school teen girl flicks. Heathers, Mean Girls, Clueless, 10 Things I Hate About You, and Sugar n’ Spice. Camila and Maya are fantastic, supported by a strong cast including a small part played by SMG (iykyk). Its bright, slick, good music choices, and I really enjoyed it.


September 20th-The Empty Man from 2020 (Director/Writer: David Prior and Based on comic book by Cullen Bunn and Vanesa R. Del Rey, Stars: James Badge Dale, Marin Ireland, Stephen Root, Ron Canada, Robert Aramayo, Joel Courtney, and Sasha Frolova, Cinematography: Anastas Michos, Runtime: 137 mins)

Was saving this for October but heard it was leaving HBO Max, and apparently it has limited footprint on the net-not rentals available but you can purchase it. No real physical copy. So I watched it, it was interesting. Yet I don’t like it nearly enough to sing its praises as a modern cult classic.


September 21st-The Wild One from 1953 (Director: László Benedek, Writers: John Paxton, Ben Maddow and Based on “Cyclists’ Raid”
by Frank Rooney, Stars: Marlon Brando, Cinematography: Hal Mohr, Runtime: 79 mins)

Looked good, not for me.


September 22nd-Arabesque from 1966 (Director: Stanley Donen, Writers: Julian Mitchell, Stanley Price, Peter Stone and based on the novel The Cipher by Alex Gordon, Stars: Gregory Peck and Sophia Loren, Cinematography: Christopher Challis, Runtime: 105 mins)

Fascinating spy thriller comedy that had an interesting bit of camp, and questionable brown face.

A professor played by Gregory Peck finds himself embroiled in a mystery revolving around a cipher that needs translating. Different forces needing the information and one of those sources is a beautiful woman played by Sofia Loren. Stanley Donan’s film has bright colors, shot at interesting angles, pretty good music, camp villain performances while the lead seemed to play it as straight as possible, and some psychedelic action going with drugging Gregory Peck. It was reminding me Batman from 1966-the same year this dropped.

It was convoluted with the story being the weakest part and probably “not good” but I enjoyed it.


September 23rd-Sorcerer from 1977 (Director: William Friedkin, Writers: Walon Green and Based on Le Salaire de la peur by Georges Arnaud, Stars: Roy Scheider, Bruno Cremer, Francisco Rabal, and Amidou, Cinematography: John M. Stephens and Dick Bush, Runtime: 122 mins)

It was very good. I actually liked the first third the most, which is really weird because its an extend prologue to get to the meat of the film. Strong performances, beautifully shot, solid film. I liked it.



About CM Towns

I like comics, wrestling, and other junk.
This entry was posted in film, movies, reviews and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to 30 Days of Film in September 2022-week 3

  1. Pingback: 31 Days of Film in September 2022-Links, Rankings & Stats | My Geekdom

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