Steve Stebbing

Breaking down all things pop culture

1. Uninspired horror – Does it feel like good horror is a dime a dozen? With John Krasinski’s A Quiet Place currently killing it at the box office and with critics it feels like a good time to address all the cheap pandering films in this genre that don’t make the cut of even being a passably scary movie. Just look at Blumhouse’s latest one Truth Or Dare, a story that takes its inspiration from a handful of more successful movies to forge in glued together identity. Oh, a guy lured everyone to a place to get an unseen evil’s focus off of him and on to someone else? Seems like you lifted the beginning of It Follows a little. I feel like I’m being a little focused on this one movie, so let me bring up another one from last year, Happy Death Day. The movie basically rolls Mean Girls into a Groundhog Day style plot but fails to make any sort of original stride with this premise. My overarching complaint is that mainstream horror has been resting on its laurels for too long and we need better original horror. Especially Blumhouse. This is what you were made for!

2. The diminishing role of critics – This may be slightly self-indulgent of me to rant about this but it is becoming increasingly difficult to get the coverage on films like we used to in this industry. Now, for me to bring this up publicly is a bit premature as I have only been involved in an official capacity for around three years but those who have been doing this longer have voiced this concern as well and it really does seem that for a lot of us, the writing is on the wall. The position is frequently unpaid, we receive endless hate for our opinions and now the studios are actively restricting movies from us for review. Disney is the biggest culprit as Rogue One was the only new Star Wars film to get an advance screening and neither or the Episodes were shown. This has now stretched as far as the Marvel movies with Avengers: Infinity War being screening-less on the West Coast. Film appreciation in the media is nearing extinction and as a person who is passionate about it I feel the weight of my decision to get into this at the worst possible time.

3. The Gunman – Ever take a look at those Liam Neeson films like Taken, Unknown or Non-Stop and think “I wonder what Sean Penn would be like in that role?” Well, you are the only one and you’re weird but, that aside, it’s already been done in 2015 by, ironically enough, Pierre Morel, the man behind Taken. Well, the movie is new to Netflix this week and I know you’re asking what’s the problem? Is it Penn himself? No, not really. The big issue is the movie is boring as hell, predictable and not enough action bite to even warrant it to be considered part of the action genre. Fantastic character actors like Javier Bardem, Idris Elba and a pre-Oscar winning Mark Rylance star in the film but are so ineffectual and forgettable that they must have just come in, collected a paycheck and left. Again, just like most films in the last few years, I saw this one in theaters and still look for the day that I can get a full life refund from Morel and company, including Penn himself, who served as producer additionally. Make that cheque out to cash please!

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