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Movie Moxie’s Horror Closet presents Oculus

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Review By Alicia Glass 

Studio: Relativity Media

MPAA Rating: R

Director: Mike Flanagan

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A woman tries to exonerate her brother of the suspicion of killing their parents, by proving that the crime was a murder of supernatural origins.

Honestly, Oculus is one of the best horror movies I’ve seen in recent years, although that isn’t necessarily saying much. Karen Gillian as the adult Kaylie Russell, determined to prove that that unholy mirror is the actual cause of all their siblings troubles, gives a very fine believable, almost manic, performance. Brenton Thwaites as her brother Tim does a swell job as well, desperately wanting to believe all the stuff the nut-nut factory crammed into his skull, instead of the thought that it’s an eeeeevil mirror coming to get us. The movie centers on the story of the two siblings, trading off in younger flashbacks and adult determined-to-finish-this interleaved scenes in a very smart, understandable way. So let’s open the horror closet and see what we make of Oculus!

We begin with adult (more or less) Tim getting out of a “mental health facility” and being  picked up by his sister Kaylie. We learn rather quickly that Tim was roundaboutly accused of the murder of his parents but since he was a minor when it happened he was sent to a rehabilitation facility instead of jail, where of course they filled his head with reasonable, logical explanations for what actually happened to the Russell parents. Adult Kaylie is having none of it, however. She spent her free years tracking the mirror that she believes caused the horrors that happened to her family, and indeed, she happily tells Tim that she’s gotten her hands on the mirror in question and wants to take it back to their old house for a final confrontation and hopefully destruction. For the Russell children promised each-other that they would come together when they were adults and destroy the cursed mirror that tried to kill their whole family.

Kaylie has spent a very long time researching the history of the mirror and its various owners, and the horrors that were visited upon each and every last one of them before the mirror changed hands again. She’s rigged the old Russell house with all sorts of monitoring equipment, supplies and even set up a “kill switch” to automatically demolish the mirror in case it all goes horribly sideways. Tim is frightened already and immediately begins remembering what happened to his parents as soon as Kaylie convinces him to reluctantly remember his promise and come help kill that bloody mirror. And so we the audience are treated to some of the most disturbing instances any child should ever have to endure, in flashbacks of what happened to the Russell family.

Software engineer Alan Russell (Rory Cochran) moved his wife Marie (Katee Sackhoff) and their two adolescent children (Annalise Basso and Garrett Ryan) into a new house, and ignorantly purchased an antique mirror to decorate his new office. (The office seemed nice enough to me, but throwing that mirror in there seemed rather ostentatious and like it didn’t belong in there at all.) Things continue along their merry way until shortly after, both parents begin acting very strange. Mother Marie starts having visions of her own body decaying and becomes completely unable to take care of the children, much less really communicate at all. And Father Alan, well, he apparently can’t keep it to himself and becomes seduced by a malevolent spirit that seems to live in the mirror, this awful ghostly apparition of a woman with mirrors for eyes. The children try desperately to keep it together while their father locks their mother in chains in the bedroom and then himself in his study, to do who-knows-what-nasty with a ghost. All the plants in the house die, the dog disappears, food runs out and the neighbors won’t help. The children determine, despite being frightened beyond belief, that the only way they can stop the evil going on in their house is by confronting it themselves.

Well, obviously solving it themselves when they were children didn’t work out too well. Kaylie has resolved as an adult to stop the mirror at any cost, not reckoning just how high that cost could be. And poor Tim, after years of being convinced that there’s no such thing as any evil mirror that caused him to shoot his father, is back to impotently confront his younger self and the ghostly demons of his and his families past.

Gillian brings forth a cheerful determination for her character, left over from her Doctor Who days, that is a joy to watch. It was rather fun to see Katee Sackhoff play a character that quickly dissolved into a monster, and for Rory Cochran to pull a Shining-like performance for the father. The history of the mirror and all the people who owned it was fairly thoroughly looked into, but not the why and how of the evil curse living in it, which was a bold choice for the filmmakers, and one I appreciate. I of course don’t want to give away the ending, but it was rather like the end of Stephen King’s Rose Red, another very fine sendup of a haunted house story. The house, or in this case the mirror, that eats people gives no explanation as to its evil motives, and that just somehow makes it all that much more terrifying.

 

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Frogfathers lessons from the Normandy surf

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Frog Fathers: Lessons from the Normandy Surf” is a deeply moving documentary directed by Bob Whitney, narrated by John C McGinley, and presented by World of Warships and FORCE BLUE. It chronicles the journey of four Navy SEAL veterans revisiting the site of the D-Day landings to honor their forefathers and gain a deeper understanding of the sacrifices made during World War II.

The film’s strength lies in its raw emotional impact and historical significance. It blends personal narratives with archival footage, offering a poignant tribute to the bravery and resilience of those who fought on June 6, 1944. The veterans’ reflections and the cinematography effectively capture the solemnity and reverence of their pilgrimage.

While the documentary focuses primarily on the veterans’ experiences, it also serves as an educational tool, highlighting the strategic importance of the Normandy invasion and its pivotal role in shaping modern history. The film’s respectful approach and engaging storytelling make it a compelling watch for anyone interested in military history and the enduring legacy of the D-Day heroes.

Overall, “Frog Fathers” is a powerful and heartfelt documentary that honors the past while inspiring present and future generations to remember the sacrifices made for freedom 

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American Horror Story: Delicate

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As most of us are already aware, the 12th Season of AHS has been fraught with all kinds of differences to the previous seasons, mainly in that this is the first one to be based entirely off a novel, ‘Delicate Condition’ by Danielle Valentine. The first half of the season aired in October 2023 to mediocre reviews, while the SAG-AFTRA strike caused production and airing delays for the latter half of the season, and the episodes of Part 2 were all cut to less than an hour long apiece. And none of that is even getting into the disjointed attempt at storytelling for Season 12, so let’s dive into this! 

Meet Anna Victoria Alcott (Emma Roberts), former young ling star of Hollywood now struggling to recapture fame as an adult, who wants a baby, very very badly. Bad enough to drive herself and her husband Dex (Matt Czuchry) through multiple unsuccessful rounds of IVF (in-vitro fertilization), bad enough to keep trying no matter how crushing each failure turns out to be, bad enough to involve her purported best friend and bougie publicist Siobhan Corbyn (Kim Kardashian) in her struggles, and maybe, just maybe, bad enough to give up on a burgeoning resurgence of her career after interest in her comeback role for The Auteur begins garnering her Oscar-worthy attention. 

So, Anna and Dex are going to go through yet another round of IVF, likely one of their last attempts at it, from a different doctor, Dr. Andrew Hill (Denis O’Hare), and clinic based on Siobhan’s recommendation. And already, strange things are beginning to happen to Anna – her appointments that she set herself begin springing up incorrectly, a doom saying woman called Preacher (Julia White) shows up spouting warnings about trusting no one, dire warnings appear in unlikely places, and BTW, it seems as though long-suffering but good-nurtured Dex has a side-piece too. It doesn’t help that Dex’s new partner at his art gallery, Sonia Shawcross (Annabelle Dexter-Jones), bears a striking resemblance to his dead ex-wife Adeline, either. Those spiked emerald heels start appearing weirdly too, and it seems as though no one will listen to Anna as she grows more and more suspicious that some sort of sinister cult has designs on her as-yet-unborn baby. At the same time, Anna tries to live the life of a successful returning actress, attending parties and gallery openings while draping her rapidly-expanding middle in shimmering fabrics and actively ‘campaigning’ for that little golden statue that most actors covet. Competition is fierce, even among her co-stars of The Auteur, and while Anna wants to be supportive of her fellow entertainers, she clearly appears to be incapable of doing both at the same time – wanting the baby and the little gold award at the same time is too much to ask, apparently. 

Elsewhere, mostly in the past, various women in states of desperation formed from one situation or another are visited by sinister-looking women in prim black dresses, headgear reminiscent of – to me anyway – an odd cross betwixt birds and bunnies, my guess is an ostensive nod to fertility in general, and a general feeling of blood-bound witchery about them at critical moments of crossroad choices. 

Though the second half of the season moves a good deal faster than the first, the attempts at callbacks and reminder flashes to Part 1 hit with all the impact of a dropped bag of garbage onto their friends Talia’s (Julia Canfield) borrowed bougie kitchen floor – splat, into incomprehensible silence, from all parties, both characters and audience, concerned. Even the reminders that, in Part 1 of Delicate Dex’s mother Virginia Harding (Debra Monk) did indeed have perfectly valid memories of abuse at the hands of a black cult and Dex’s own father Dex Sr. (Reed Birney), the revelation pales and peels away in the face of Dex’s true parentage. 

Which brings us back around full circle kinda sorta, to the only real character worth a damn in this entire miserable season of strange feminism and aspirations of world domination through a kind of idiotic Rosemary’s Baby nightmare scenario, we should have known she’d steal the show when Kardashian was cast for it, Siobhan Corbyn, leader of the blood cult her high and mighty (old) self. Throughout the whole show her character has remained exactly the same, and it’s a wonder Anna can stare at her all stupefied while Siobhan does her villain speech at the end of the last episode. Siobhan never masked her ambition or greed, her mysterious protective vibe and even deep love for Anna, and can always be counted on to have secret plans of her own, already in motion, bitch. 

The idea that Anna herself was used as a surrogate for Siobhan and her incestuous eugenicist plans, plus the sweet little demon baby she just birthed, has an ironic the-world-is-tilting-the-wrong-way kind of witchy madness to it. Sure, Anna really can have it all, the baby and the golden statue, if only she joins the patriarchy-crushing cabal of blood witches with world domination plans, got it. 

I have questions, or I would have, but things are moving on and Anna is being saved by … Dex’s dead ex, Adaline the former member of the coven right okay her, she’s going to show back up and offer Anna a simple chant to Hestia her patron Goddess, and that is somehow enough to deal with Siobhan entirely – poof. And finally, after all that rigamarole, decades of planning and scheming and witchy plotting finally settled, Anna really can have it all as a White Witch of Hollywood, heaven help us, with her perfectly human baby and that damned little golden statue, clutched in an only slightly desperate grip. 

As with any season of AHS there are a great deal of statements that could be implied just under the skin of the season – the canker way of ambition, the millenia-old pain of a woman giving birth, the savagery and bloodshed that comes with bringing forth life, pushback against both the patriarchy and ultra-feminism, the absolute desperation of humans wanting to have a child, and perhaps strangest and most open to interpretation of all, what it means to be feminine. The worlds population of women who can’t or don’t or simply won’t have children, for any reason or none, are relegated to servants, expendable servants at that, for this new world order that Siobhan is proposing, and that is far too close a comfort to things like outright slavery. A dictator is a dictator, no matter how great she looks in those emerald spiked heels. 

It’s not the really beautiful grotesquerie that Ryan Murphy and his AHS gang are often known for, nor is it utterly terrible and should be burned at the stake. What Delicate should be, is put back together with missing and cut footage, an hour long per episode again come on folks, fleshed some more of Siobhan’s baby-stealing adventures in the past and given us an actual reason to like anything about the whiny Anna, at least the Part 2 we as longtime AHS fans deserve. Toss in some more spidery hijinks! Give us the actual origin of those weird feather bunny-ear headdresses! 

American Horror Story Delicate the whole season can be seen on FX! 

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Jurassic Park: Unraveling the Mystery in a World Gone Prehistoric!

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Hold onto your hats, dino fans! The highly anticipated sequel to the adrenaline-pumping Camp Cretaceous saga is here, and it’s taking us on a wild ride six years in the making. Following the harrowing events of Camp Cretaceous, our beloved “Nublar Six” are back, but they’re not out of the woods just yet. In fact, they’re about to plunge headfirst into a world where dinosaurs roam freely alongside dangerous humans, and trust us when we say, it’s a Jurassic jungle out there!

Picture this: a world where survival isn’t just about avoiding sharp-toothed predators but also navigating the treacherous waters of human greed and deceit. As our resilient heroes reunite in the aftermath of a heart-wrenching tragedy, they quickly realize that danger lurks around every corner, and trust is a luxury they can’t afford. 

But wait, there’s more! Prepare to embark on a globetrotting adventure like no other as the Nublar Six find themselves thrust into the heart of a conspiracy that threatens not only the fragile balance between dinosaurs and humanity but also their very existence. From the lush jungles of Isla Nublar to the bustling streets of bustling cities, buckle up for a rollercoaster ride of epic proportions as our intrepid group races against time to uncover the truth about one of their own and, ultimately, save both dinosaur and humankind from certain doom.

So, dear readers, if you thought you’d seen it all in Jurassic Park, think again! With heart-stopping action, pulse-pounding suspense, and jaw-dropping revelations, this latest installment promises to be a game-changer in the Jurassic universe. Get ready to roar with excitement because Jurassic Park: Unraveling the Mystery is about to take a bite out of your imagination and leave you hungry for more!

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