Genre films have a unique ability to offer entertaining and fantastical stories, while also being able to offer poignant commentary. This year saw the release of Parasite, Bong Joon-ho’s masterpiece that’s part black comedy, part home invasion thriller, and all-round commentary on class.

Another film that uses genre to tell a very entertaining story while also offering commentary on the time in which it was made is Rian Johnson’s whodunit Knives Out. The film doesn’t hide its politics, but it also doesn’t put them under the spotlight, instead putting enough on screen to spark conversations…the very same conversations that millions of American families had during Thanksgiving, which is exactly when the film was released. 

This post contains some minor spoilers for Knives Out.

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(Welcome to Out of the Disney Vault, where we explore the unsung gems and forgotten disasters currently streaming on Disney+.)

Back in 1986, ABC used to air a Disney movie every Sunday night as part of the, you guessed it, The Disney Sunday Movie programming block. It was hosted by none other than Michael Eisner, the recently hired CEO of The Walt Disney Company (who was still riding high and decades away from his bitter downfall). This wonderfully weird show gave us some of the most bizarre films Disney ever produced. And thanks to Disney+, you can watch them right now.

This week, we’re looking at the horrifying and bonkers film Fuzzbucket.

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Watchmen An Almost Religious Awe Easter Eggs

This episode of Watchmen was a doozy, wasn’t it? As if daring the audience to think the series could not throw more surprises at us, Damon Lindelof and his team of excellent writers have added not only to the story of Hooded Justice, but that of Doctor Manhattan.

We’ll be sure to talk about that last reveal for quite some time, but in the meantime, we have a lot more references to the source material and other things to consider this week. So join us, won’t you? Let’s look at all the references to the original Watchmen and more in “An Almost Religious Awe.” As always, this will be spoiler-heavy.

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joker review

Batman and the Joker would not exist if it wasn’t for Gotham City. Whether it’s the city that creates the Bat and its villains – as Joker or Gotham imply – or Batman that changes the city – as Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy seems to think – Gotham City remains a vital component in the Batman mythos. Except it was not always like this. 

For you see, the story of Batman is also the story of Gotham City, which is also the story of Joker. Joker showed us Arthur Fleck making speeches about society on a comedy talk show, so now it’s time to revisit the history of the worst city in the DC universe and how its biggest hero and villain evolved with it throughout the years. 

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Butt Boy Review

One of the joys of attending several film festivals every year is finding and celebrating the wildest and most unique genre movies from around the world. This year, the crown for wildest discovery goes to Butt Boy, a film that has been making the festival rounds, but one that should be seen by everyone.

Meet Chip Gutchell (writer/director Tyler Cornack) a man who is miserable with his life. He has a soulless job he hates, a loveless marriage he is tired of, and even though he’s a new father, he feels unfulfilled in every way. Then he gets an appointment for his first prostate exam.

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(Welcome to Ani-time Ani-where, a regular column dedicated to helping the uninitiated understand and appreciate the world of anime.)

For a couple of months now, I’ve shared with you some recent anime and a couple of older ones to both showcase the state of anime today and help those of you who unfamiliar with the medium to familiarize yourself with some genres and tropes. But since Halloween never ends in my house, and because being on the Internet feels like an endless horror movie, it’s time to revisit one classic anime that didn’t get the attention it deserved Stateside. A lot of people know about Cowboy Bebop and Neon Genesis Evangelion, but not nearly as many people are familiar with the tale of Serial Experiments Lain. Before some of you sharpen your pitchforks, I’m not saying that it’s a completely unknown anime, just that it wasn’t as influential or talked about.

Do you like mind-bending tales of psychological horror that will hit way too close to home in this internet-age? What about a sci-fi anime with non-linear storytelling and one of the darkest depictions of the internet and social media? Well, you’ll love Serial Experiments Lain. The show opens with a teenage girl committing suicide by jumping off a rooftop. Then we meet our protagonist, soft-spoken 14-year-old Lain Iwakura, whose life is turned upside down when she receives an e-mail from the girl who committed suicide earlier in the episode, claiming she has ascended to a new form within the “Wired” – the show’s version of the Internet. 

The show then deals with Lain entering the Wired, and experiencing some of the darkest corners of 1998 internet that look surprisingly like today’s internet. At the same time, she has horrifying realizations about her identity and reality itself. It’s a mind-twisting avant-garde, cyberpunk mystery about identity and what it means to be able to reinvent yourself in a place that isn’t technically tangible.

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Thanksgiving of Horror

Even after three decades, The Simpsons is still finding ways to keep things fresh. The latest example takes the long-running “Treehouse of Horror” and repeats it just a month after this year’s proper “Treehouse” episode, but with a Thanksgiving setting.

The episode begins with Marge introducing three spooky tales of horror and warning the audiences not to let their kids watch – just like in the good old days. The thing is, as gimmicky as the episode seems to be, it is also one of the best horror episodes the show has done in years. “Thanksgiving of Horror” is also full of references to movies and TV shows, so we asked to the episode’s writer, Dan Vebber, to guide us through all the easter eggs and reference in this scary holiday episode.

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Disney+ is officially here, and with it we finally got the live-action Star Wars show we were promised all those years ago. A gritty space western that dives into one of the most interesting corners of the Star Wars universe – Mandalorians – and also features the cutest little creature since Salacious Crumb? The Mandalorian should be every fan’s dream come through. And sure, for the most part people are raving about Ludwig Göransson’s score and of course, the aforementioned cute little 50-year-old creature. But even outside the complaints over the short runtimes for the episodes released so far, one particular argument made against the show has proven a bit baffling to me.

When we first meet the titular bounty hunter, he quickly dispatches some thugs, and captures his target, who he freezes in carbonite. When the Mandalorian goes to collect his bounty, he meets the leader of his bounty hunter guild at the all-too-familiar sight of a cantina. In-between the shots of a variety of cool-looking aliens, the Mandalorian and his guild leader talk about something called a fob, a chit, and a puck? This prompted a lot of talk on social media and amongst critics who argued that the show is too dependent on the viewer’s familiarity with the vast Extended Universe of Star Wars. But really, this is what makes the series quintessentially Star Wars in the first place.

Heavy spoilers for the first two episodes of The Mandalorian follow.

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Damon Lindelof wasn’t lying when he said his version of Watchmen was a “remix” of the original graphic novel. Part sequel, part prequel, and also part retcon, the show has surpassed every single expectation you probably had going in. With this latest episode, told primarily through flashbacks, the original superhero team known as the Minutemen finally get their due, as we see the origin of the very first costumed vigilante: Hooded Justice.

Of course, there’s still a ton of references and nods to the source material. So join us, won’t you? Let’s look at all the references to the original Watchmen and more in “This Extraordinary Being.” As always, this will be spoiler-heavy.

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(Welcome to Out of the Disney Vault, where we explore the unsung gems and forgotten disasters currently streaming on Disney+.)

With the launch of Disney+, countless long-forgotten Disney movies are finally widely available to the public. Some of these are classic that people have waited years to revisit. Some are…well, little-known for a reason. But once you’re done watching The Mandalorian, you’ll want something to pass the time with the new streaming service, right?

Sure, you can go re-watch a classic Disney animated movie. Or you can watch an old Simpsons episode. But why not experience some of the weirdest movies Disney has spent decades trying to forget actually exist?

If you’re brave enough to go with the latter, there are plenty of choices for weird, forgotten Disney movie that are finally out of the vault. If you don’t know where to start, may we suggest the truly bizarre family-friendly horror that is Mr. Boogedy?

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