Welcome to the Weekend Watch. Where we try to point you towards the best ways to spend your viewing time (or, at least, steer you clear of the garbage).
The Space Between Us
Loren: Ah, The Fault In Our Mars. No thanks.
RDT: Gary Oldman, you, sir, are better than this movie. I hope you’re enjoying your boat.
Rick: I like the concept enough that I can look past the sappiness, but not enough to rush out and see it. I’ll wind up streaming this down the line.
Jen: 100% what Loren said.
Loren: I still can see Amber Tamblyn’s petrified face in the closet from the first one. That movie was good enough, and though I do like the idea of updating the video to an email attachment, it feels like then everyone would be dead. Seeing as how things go viral these days everyone in the world would have seen Samara’s video. I’m looking too much into this, aren’t I?
RDT: Many years ago, around the time it came out on dvd, I actually watched the original, well, not original original, the American original Ring. If you’re a regular reader of this column, this might come as a surprise to you (I, usually, don’t do horror). I was home one random weekday afternoon and I had it from Netflix (this was pre-streaming, but I still get the discs, even now). I popped it in the dvd player, plopped down on the couch, covered my eyes with one hand and hit play with the other.
Mere minutes into the film, the phone rings. I pause the movie, walk over to it (this was in the days of landlines), pick up and no one is there. Weird. Whatever. I got back to the movie. A couple minutes later, we’re still in the opening scene, the phone rings again. Pause the movie, walk over to the phone, answer it. No one there again. I walk back to the dvd player, eject the disc, go into my room and close the door.
That dvd sat on that player for weeks, until one night my then roommate made me watch it with him. We sat in the dark, and were scared by a pizza delivery guy, but I watched it.
Anyway, I will not be seeing Rings.
Rick: Not that you were asking, but here’s The Ring series by the numbers:
Number of novels – 6
Japanese TV series – 1: Ring: Kanzenban – 1995
Japanese features – 7:
Ring, Ring 2, and Ring 0 – 1998-2000
Rasen – 1998, a substitute sequel to the first film from a different company, based on the second novel. (I wish we were able to do that with American films and get away with it.)
Sadako 3D and Sadako 3D 2 – 2012-2013, based on the fourth novel, no relation to the other films.
Sadako vs. Kayako, the 2016 crossover film pitting the villain from Ring against the ghost from Ju-on (The Grudge, to US audiences). At least we’re not the only ones doing ridiculous “vs.” movies.
Korean feature adaptations – 1:
The Ring Virus – 1999
US adaptations – 4:
The Ring – 2002
Rings (short film that precedes the sequel) – 2005
The Ring 2 – 2005
Rings – 2017
Got all that? Hell, I barely do and I wrote this up. Nevertheless, there’s clearly an audience for this material. Rings got bumped from last year’s schedule to avoid competition from Ouija: Origin of Evil (which is actually decent, unlike its predecessor), a smart move on Paramount’s part. This may just wind up being a cash-in, but at least it looks like a decent evolution of the concept. I’m in.
Jen: You guys have a lot to say about this movie. I actually enjoyed The Ring (the American original version from 2002 as listed out by Rick above.) And the sequel seems to have the same feel – horror but not gross-out horror. I could give this a shake.
Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back
Loren: *Read Rick’s entry first* Ok I thought this looked like a sequel and kind of like one of those strange Stephen Chow movies like Kung Fu Hustle so that makes sense. I dig his stuff so hopefully they don’t change to much of the feel between movies. I may have check out the first one and then this in a weird double feature.
RDT: I feel as though, since I did not see the first one, I would be lost watching this one.
Rick: This story dates back to 16th Century China and has been adapted multiple times in various mediums starting way back in 1927. This latest entry is a followup to the Stephen Chow-directed film from 2013, which, given Chow’s taste and style (Shaolin Soccer, God of Cookery), is a more comedic take on the tale, but worth checking out if you like wild fantasy films. The sequel looks to have a bigger budget and a grander scale, all of which I’m okay with. I may not see this in theaters, but I’ll definitely watch once it hits home video.
Jen: Um, there’s a lot going on here and I don’t think I have the wherewithal to get through all of this without having seen the original.
I Am Not Your Negro (Limited)
Loren: This couldn’t be more timely and necessary to watch in these troubling times.
RDT: I have no snarky response. No witty retort. I will simply say that this obviously addresses an important, and unfortunately timely, topic. And is likely very much worth seeing.
Rick: *adds to the top of documentary must-see list*
Jen: I will be checking this out for sure.
The Daughter (Limited)
Loren: Meh, I’m going to be lazy and read the Wikipedia for this later because I’m pretty sure I know what’s happening here.
RDT: So that’s what happened to Mark Brendanawicz after leaving Pawnee.
Rick: I think I have this one figured out, but I won’t be lazy and read the wiki later. I need to see it to be sure.
Jen: This cast is fantastic and my interest is peaked. I likely won’t see this in theater, but I’d be open to catching it on streaming.
Loren: Weak. Sauce.
RDT: Dear Eliza Dushku, my mother once said that if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Good luck with your new movie. Call me! –RDT
Rick: Robert Legato is making his feature directing debut here after decades working on huge movies as a VFX Supervisor (Titanic, Armageddon, The Jungle Book). As far as the visuals go, the movie will shine. The rest feels a bit standard. I may stream this if I’m bored, but it’ll probably fall off my radar.
Jen: This premise is absurd and nothing in this trailer even made me jump or react in any way. This is a hard pass.
Imperial Dreams (Netflix)
Loren: I was all ready to make a sleeping stormtrooper joke and then John Boyega shows up and ruins that. This looks… good? I guess. Not really my cup of tea.
RDT: This premiered at Sundance three years ago. I wonder what took Netflix so long? It’s a well done trailer, but is it sitting on the shelf for so long an indicator of its quality? Regardless, I’m intrigued enough to put it on the list. One day, sooner than later, it’ll make its way to the top, I’m sure.
Rick: The fact that Netflix sat on this for so long gives me pause, but it doesn’t look lacking in any way. I’ll add it to the queue.
Jen: Nothing, it’s just something in my eye. This feels like something I could power my way through with a handful of tissues.
Santa Clarita Diet (Netflix)
Loren: Wait, this isn’t about cannibals? Well that’s disappointing, I guess. I mean, yeah, Zombie’s are pretty played out right now but at least this is a different take. I don’t think I’ll be making the time for this though.
RDT: That’s a pretty funny trailer, and I enjoy Barrymore and Olyphantastic. But I’m kinda over the zombie trope (even smart ones), and I’m not hearing great things. We’ll see….
Rick: I honestly thought this show was about cannibalism before Netflix auto-played the trailer for me the other night (I really wish Netflix would stop doing that. It drives me batty). Color me disappointed. Like RDT, I’m super tired of zombies. The only thing I’ve found remotely worthwhile lately is the “A Ride in the Park” segment from V/H/S 2. Other than that, everything else feels like lazy writing.
Jen: I’m not big on zombies, but this does look cute and clever. I don’t think I could watch more than, say, six episodes of this, but I will for sure give it a shot.
Bill Burr – Walk Your Way Out (Netflix)
Loren: I love me some stand up comedy but Bill Burr has never really done it for me. Not my style.
RDT: I watched it. It’s a little dated, which is weird to say about a comedy special recorded within the last few months. Definitely not his strongest. And some of it was downright mean, which I can handle, if it’s also funny. This was not. Nashville was the wrong choice, too. I don’t think the crowd was on his side.
Jen: I’m not related to Bill Burr, but I may as well be. Rather than sit through this whole special I could really just call some cousins.
So that’s your upcoming weekend in review. Let us know what you saw, liked and/or hated.
–Loren, RDT, Rick, and Jen