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Day of the Animals: A Retrospective

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You know a movie people love to riff and is unbearable without anyone talking over it? Birdemic. That movie has characters with zero chemistry, no charisma, horrible acting and even worse editing and special effects. The whole point of that movie is to warn people about global warming and the effects it would have on the environment and the inhabitants of this planet. Why am I mentioning such a movie? Well, because in 1977, a movie called Day of the Animals was released in theaters and it also deals with animals and the environment also. The main difference is that this movie was done so much better with a better budget, “good” actors and it also has a plot that actually is easy to decipher without any monologue scientific babble going on that comes out of nowhere and delays the movie from finishing. With that being said, comparing the two movies isn’t fair and should not the best reference to go on. The one question to ask is this movie enjoyable to watch? We’ll be breaking down the movie based on plot, the suspense/animal attacks that are frequent throughout the movie and the overall message of the movie. Let’s roll up our sleeves and put on plenty of sunblock as we take a dive into the mountains and explore Day of the Animals.

We open the movie with a text scroll. It warns us about aerosol canisters and its harm on the ozone layer and what it can do to the environment. It sets the mood for the movie. The movie is about a bunch of weekend hikers who go into the woods with a guide to get away from the city life and get back in touch with nature. We have a bunch of characters including a professor, former football player, two young lovers, a couple going through a rough patch, an ad executive, mother and her son, an anchorwoman, a Native American and the tour guide. So, it’s a great turn out. They take helicopters and go into the woods where they start to hike but notice that it is very quiet out there. They don’t hear any animals except for a lone screech/caw of a hawk. As they get further and further into the woods, they notice the animals stalking them. The birds are gathered together on the branches and just stare at them. It only becomes a problem when a woman (the one in the rough patch) gets attacked by a lone wolf. After the wolf retreats, the rough patch couple split from the group to get help while the rest of the tour continue. This is when the audience will start to know this is the beginning of the end for many of these characters. We just don’t know yet who will die and who will survive. The plot has a nice beat of the drum with the movie. It doesn’t really try to hurry up the action and the animal attack scenes but rather have the tension of the people grow and start to splinter as they start to lose hope that they will make it out alive. Though the pacing in the beginning could be a little contrived and not too interesting, it does make up for it with exposition of different characters just so we know a little bit more about them and give some sort of humanity to them so they don’t feel like a cardboard cutout of stock characters. I do enjoy each character has some sort of personality and even if it is annoying or racist, they still have their defining characteristic as well as a defining moment in the movie whether its a fight scene, a death scene or just for surviving.

From the beginning of the movie, we get lots of different scenes with animals and reptiles in their habitat doing their thing. It it shot very nice with just a nice hint of that 1970’s grainy film that we often associate with this time period. It would be nice having Morgan Freeman narrating the nature shots for how frequent they were using them but I digress. The animal attack scenes are done very well. The protagonists have their uneasiness in the wild and the animals are constantly stalking them throughout with a lone hawk seemingly being the boss/lookout. It’s when the music builds to that uneasy sound or the dead silence is when the animals will attack. Though they don’t get graphic with the blood and the final cue de grace, the shots being implemented show the animals attacking with some angles of the animals mouths, humans screaming and the rest of the characters reacting to the attack. It creates the uncomfortable image of an animal attacking and what it will look like if you were on the other end. In the pack attack sequences, there is so much going on and all you see are swarms of the animals and a lonely body on the ground squirming and the fighting. I enjoy the scenes with the animals because it offers us variety. We get a chance with swarm of hawks, mountain lions, wolves, rats, rattlesnakes, and even German shepherds’. I think the suspense of the animals and what they can actually do to a human offers us a glimpse of what to do and not to do when confronted by animals in the woods or even on your own street.

With the action sequences and the animals going crazy and attacking people, what is the message the director is trying to tell us? Is this supposed to have a profound impact on the consumers daily life or is the movie a cash grab to incite the same kind of uneasiness and fear like The Birds did with Hitchcock? I think with the text scroll, it has a little bit of both. The director, lead actor and producer of the movie did Grizzly the year before to much success. That movie was compared to a knockoff of Jaws. This movie is I guess the knockoff of The Birds. I don’t really think the director was trying to give a profound message about the environment but rather used the ozone depletion as a way to give a reason to why the animals are attacking the people.

Though the director might not have given us his reason, it does offer questions about the ozone layer in general. With all the devastation happening currently right now in America with the hurricanes and a giant earthquake hitting Mexico, how has ozone depletion really affect the planet? I’m not going to go Al Gore on anyone talking about the polar ice caps melting and sea levels rising and the temperature on the planet continually rising (Oh snap, I did say that. Oops). Either or, the radiation that protects us is in the ozone layer and with it constantly decreasing, would radiation poison be a factor in animals natural behavior? Could this be a precursor for things to come? Will we expose enough animals to radiation that they can mutate and there could be an actual Planet of the Apes where humans becomes the endangered species? Maybe? I doubt it. Or, do I?…

Overall, this movie was fun. It tells a concise story and the action and suspense keeps me interested in who will come out on top and who will become the next victim. Some of the acting is a little hokey and it can have extra exposition at the times we don’t really want it, but, it does give the characters a background and some personality instead of stock characters who we don’t know much about and are just scene fillers. The animals are trained very well in the movie and it is nice to have a variety instead of just bears and wolves. If you want to see a movie that is about animals attacking humans caused by poor environment, watch this and avoid Birdemic.

“Day of the Animals” is available on Amazon Prime.

Written by Leon Rudzin

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‘Abigail’: Bite Me Harder Tiny Dancer

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A gang of misfit kidnappers find their tiny target far more bloodthirsty than they bargained for! 

So, unfortunately, the trailers gave it away and let’s be real that’s why most of us are here, the knowledge that the kidnap victim Abigail (Alisha Weir), codenamed by the would-be kidnappers appropriately as ‘tiny dancer’, is in fact, a vampire. Not a spoiler, point of fact, one of the film’s actual great selling points. And the reactions from the misfit club when faced with a real actual f*cking vampire, range hilariously from the blunt “no such thing as vampires” all the way to, “Are we talking True Blood or Twilight rules or what?” all while covered in buckets and buckets of blood. 

Anyway, the gang manages to subdue and abscond with the aforementioned Abigail, in a pre-prepared duffle bag, like you do, and converge to a new location, a house oddly similar to the one she was just taken from. Welcomed and given codenames by a man who introduces himself as Lambert (Giancarlo Esposito), our misfit club is told to simply hold down the fort in this strange old house with the girl chained up in a room and one person to attend her, for twenty-four hours, and they’ll all get paid. 

As inevitable as the tides, the dopey druggie Dean (Angus Cloud) is the first to die, and we’re going to give that death-style points for inspiring terror right off the bat. The very controlling Frank (Dan Stevens, holy crap yes that is the guy from FXs Legion) is also of course the most suspicious – of everyone around him, sure, but also he himself is totes sus. We don’t learn terribly much about the musclebound tank who gets dubbed Peter (Kevin Durand), he’s your pretty typical little-brains-heart-of-gold muscle-for-hire any proper gang needs, right down to the bottle problem. Sammy (Kathryn Newton), well, even for being a purported hacker-type, she has, like, reality issues. Rickles (William Catlett), he’s arguably the most dangerous among them, ex-military and yet somehow here and involved in kidnapping for a few mills. Joey (Melissa Barrera) is our Final Girl, and though she has the inevitable problems in her recent past, she seems more capable of doing the hard thing and still somehow empathizing at the end of the day. Must be her burning desire to get back with her son. 

The fit hits the shan pretty quickly, and Abigail morphs from tiny dancer to tiny monster, though honestly, the way Abigail spoke the entire time in the film, if the ‘nappers had been paying close enough attention, would have been a solid clue. The performance from Alisha Weir as Abigail is incredible, as she literally dances a fine line between comedy, tragedy, and outright monstrosity. With a face full of makeup and the force of a tiny tornado to back it up, Weir brings to mind the great performances of the vampires in 30 Days of Night who saw the practicality in the need to trap their food, but also, play with it a bit first before feasting! Anything else would give away the absolute fun time that is Abigail, so you should go see it, out in theaters now!

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Scrubs Reunion: The Band Gets Back Together

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Fans of the beloved medical comedy series Scrubs were recently treated to a thrilling surprise when John C. McGinley, who portrayed the iconic Dr. Perry Cox, dropped a photo on Twitter hinting at a potential reunion project. The image, showing McGinley alongside his former co-stars, sparked a wave of excitement and speculation among fans who have been longing for more adventures with the beloved Sacred Heart Hospital staff.

While details about the reunion project are still scarce, the mere possibility of seeing the gang back together again has sent waves of nostalgia through fans who fondly remember the show’s original run from 2001 to 2010. Scrubs was not just a sitcom; it was a heartfelt exploration of friendship, love, and the chaotic world of medicine, all wrapped up in a quirky and often hilarious package.

At the heart of the show was the bromance between JD (played by Zach Braff) and Turk (played by Donald Faison), whose antics and deep bond served as the emotional anchor for the series. Their dynamic, along with the sage wisdom (and relentless sarcasm) of Dr. Cox, provided viewers with memorable moments that have stood the test of time.

As we eagerly await more news about the Scrubs reunion project, one thing is for sure: it’s time to dust off those old DVDs, rewatch our favorite episodes, and get ready to welcome back our favorite gang of doctors, nurses, and janitors for what promises to be a memorable reunion.

But Scrubs was more than just its main characters. The supporting cast, including the eccentric Janitor (played by Neil Flynn), the neurotic Elliot (played by Sarah Chalke), and the wise-cracking nurse Carla (played by Judy Reyes), each brought their own unique flavor to the show, creating a rich tapestry of characters that fans grew to love.

While the photo shared by McGinley has fueled speculation about what the reunion project might entail, whether it’s a one-off special, a new season, or something else entirely, one thing is certain: fans are eagerly awaiting any opportunity to dive back into the world of Sacred Heart Hospital.

In an age where reboots and revivals are commonplace, Scrubs stands out as a series that has the potential to recapture the magic that made it a fan favorite in the first place. With its blend of humor, heart, and unforgettable characters, a reunion project has the opportunity to not only satisfy longtime fans but also introduce a new generation to the joys of life at Sacred Heart.

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‘The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes’: Rebellion with a cause

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The story of the rise of Coriolanus Snow, from teenage Capital City pawn to rising Dictator of the Hunger Games! 

Apparently no one out here in post-apocalyptic Panem has heard of irony and so they name their children things like Coriolanus (Tom Blyth), Tigress, and further off in Hunger Games lore, after swamp plants like Katniss. Corio’s father was a legendary general and that is pretty much the only reason young Snow and his meager family of grandmother called Grandma’am (Fionnula Flanagan) and sister Tigress (Hunter Schafer) are tolerated here in the Capital City at all. 

Most of the snotty youngsters at the academy won’t let Snow forget how far his family has fallen, but he’s generally not concerned with them. What is concerning is the strong disapproval of the drugged-up Dean Casca Highbottom (Peter Dinklage) and the creepy attention of Dr. Volumnia Gaul (Viola Davis) as she lurks in the classroom sniffing out talent. The Dean feels very strongly the annual Hunger Games should end, while Gaul is violently adamant that not only do the Games continue, but that they get as much more attention as possible. And young Snow is stuck in the middle, when the yearly prize money normally awarded to the academy student with the best grades gets switched out for, you guessed it, the student that can make this years’ Hunger Games as entertaining as possible. 

Whilst the students are protesting this sudden change, the annual Reaping is about to commence, and big shock and surprise, Corio’s candidate from District 12 Lucy Grey Baird (Rachel Zegler) is chosen as a Tribute. This is where the film begins to really take off on musical wings, for as it turns out, Lucy Grey can sing. Boy, can that gal sing! She can sing, she can play guitar, she can work a crowd, she can calm things down, she can fire ‘em up too! And Corio, being no dummy himself, instantly plots ways to use his Tributes amazing voice to draw attention to her, and admittedly his own, plight! 

Though far too many people sneer at the idea, Corio takes his position as Mentor to his Tribute seriously enough to sneak onto the tram taking the Tributes to their habitat, which turns out to be a completely appropriate moniker, as this year the Tributes are held before the Hunger Games in a large zoo habitat so the weatherman ‘Lucky’ Flickerman (Jason Schwartzman), host of this years games, can MC the hell out of everything up close and personal! 

What happens at this years Hunger Games and the subsequent consequences to both Corio and Lucy Grey is actually only half the story, and the movie. Coriolanus has always had to be opportunistic, but learning to be absolutely ruthless when necessary under the tutelage of Dr. Gaul, who basically thinks it’s always best to be merciless, is an eye-opening education indeed.  Even after they’ve both been consigned to military service and his friend Sejanus Plinth (Josh Andres Rivera) decides to finally rebel, Corio and Sejanus continue to deceive each other and themselves, to accomplish their separate goals. Not even the love Corio swears he feels for Lucy Grey can save him, or them, from the adamant absolute necessity of the Hunger Games continuing. And after all that’s happened, Coriolanus Snow has gotten a terrific education in the best way to be the absolutely ruthless next Hunger Games advocate, and oh yeah, President of Panem. 

The movie does itself no favors by trying to stuff not one but two major storylines and a bunch of side storylines sadly introduced and then ignored, into the film. It would have been entirely possible to turn Ballads of Songbirds and Snakes into two different movies, separated between feathers and scales if you like, and do justice to the major storylines in both. Blyth gives a fine  performance as a young Coriolanus Snow, but the fact that President Snow is played by Donald Sutherland in all three of the Hunger Games films means Blyth has incredibly large shoes to fill. Rachel Zegler as Lucy Grey is absolute fire, and yes the actress did sing the songs in the film herself, including the Hunger Games franchise epic song, ‘The Hanging Tree’. Every time Lucy Grey opens her mouth and sheer soul-searing music comes out, it provides a distinct counterpoint to the soul-crushing ambition of Coriolanus Snow and further demonstrates the District and Caste separation Hunger Games is known for. And if, by the end of the film, Coriolanus Snow has come to agree that the Hunger Games must continue but perhaps under his own auspices, he has no one but himself to blame when another younger but still rebellious female blows it all up in his face! 

Choose rebellion or conformity for yourself in The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

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