I Don’t Want to Go Out – Week of January 30

A likely Oscar winner drives its Tesla of Justice into your living room this week. Well, it does if you’re smart, but The Square is not the only outstanding movie option for layabouts and slugabeds this week. They are all great! What?!

Click the film title for the full review.

The Square


Professor Marston and the Wonder Women

Last Flag Flying

Fright Club: Best PG-13 Horror

Who wants to scare your kids? Because there is ample opportunity to do so without breaking any laws. Yes, year after year the cinemas are lousy with God-awful PG-13 horror (Rings, Ouija, Wish Upon, Bye Bye Man) aiming to cash in on the underaged market with jump scares and lazy writing.

But, if you look closely you can find some scary shit. Nightmares in the making. So, we looked closely…

6. The Grudge (2004)

The amazing thing about The Grudge’s PG-13 rating is the remarkable amount of violence in this film. There is a death, dismemberment or supernatural act in very nearly every single scene in the movie.

There’s also the larger, scarier idea of a contagious haunted house. You’re not just in jeopardy when you’re in it. This shit comes home with you.

The Grudge is one of the rare American remakes of J-horror that stands up, partly because the antagonists from the original are involved (Yuya Ozeki as the terrifyingly adorable Toshio and Takako Fuji as the just terrifying Kayako). It’s also a benefit that director Takashi Shimizu (who also wrote and directed the original, Ju-on) is back, and that he keeps the setting in Japan. Plus those creepy-ass sounds!

5. Insidious (2010)

Director James Wan and writer Leigh Whannell took a break from each other after a disappointing follow up to their breakout 2004 collaboration Saw (Dead Silence—yeesh). The the pair were back strong in 2010 with a wildly imaginative descent into “the further.”

This is the film where Wan finds his way as a director, and a director of horror in particular. Whannell’s bold story offers plenty of opportunity to work, and the atmosphere, practical effects and clever use of jump scares has become the trademark of the filmmaker.

They are also the elements that help this genuinely frightening effort maintain a PG-13 rating. Man, this guy knows how to milk that rating, doesn’t he? That lady in black, that red-faced guy, the whole organ thing, that kid? Tiptoe through the Tulips?

The pair takes a ghost story premise and does what very few people can do well: shows us what we are afraid of.

4. The Sixth Sense (1999)

Oh, you totally didn’t figure it out. Don’t even start.

A troubled child psychologist (Bruce Willis) treats a young boy (Haley Joel Osment) carrying a terrible burden. The execution—basically, seeing ghosts in every corner of Philadelphia—could have become a bit of a joke, but writer/director M. Night Shyamalan delivers a tense, eerie product.

With his 1999 breakout, Shyamalan painted himself into a corner he found it tough to get out of: the spooky surprise ending. And though this would nearly be his undoing as a filmmaker, it started off brilliantly.

Part of the success of the film depends on the heart-wrenching performances: Toni Collette’s buoyant but terrified mother, Willis’s concerned therapist, and Osment’s tortured little boy. Between Shyamalan’s cleverly spooky script, a slate of strong performances and more than a few genuinely terrifying moments, this is one scary-ass PG-13.

3. The Woman in Black (2012)

Director James Watkins was fresh off his underseen, wickedly frightening Eden Lake. Screenwriter Jane Goldman (working from Susan Hill’s novel) had recently written the films Kick-Ass and X-Men: First Class, both of which are awesome. And star Daniel Radcliffe had done something or other that people remembered…

I’d have been worried that Radcliffe chose another supernatural adventure as his first big, post-Hogwarts adventure were it not for the filmmaking team putting the flick together. Goldman’s witty intelligence and Watkins’s sense of what scares us coalesce beautifully in this eerie little nightmare.

A remake of a beloved if rarely shown BBC film, the big screen version is a spooky blast of a ghost story. It makes savvy use of old haunted house tropes, updating them quite successfully, and its patient pace and slow reveal leads to more of a wallop than you usually find in such a gothic tale. Glimpses, movements, shadows—all are filmed to keep your eyes darting around the screen, your neck craned for a better look. It’s classic haunted house direction and misdirection laced with more modern scares.

Ten points for Gryffindor!

2. The Others (2001)

Co-writer/director Alejandro Amenabar casts a spell that recalls The Innocents in his 2001 ghost story The Others. It’s 1945 on a small isle off Britain, and the brittle mistress of the house (Nicole Kidman) wakes screaming. She has reason to be weary. Her husband has still not returned from the war, her servants have up and vanished, and her two children, Anna and Nicholas, have a deathly photosensitivity: sunlight or bright light could kill them.

What unspools is a beautifully constructed film using slow reveal techniques to upend traditional ghost story tropes, unveiling the mystery in a unique and moving way.

Kidman’s performance is spot-on, and she’s aided by both the youngsters (Alakina Mann and James Bentley). Bentley’s tenderness and Mann’s willfulness, combined with their pasty luster (no sun, you know), heighten the creepiness.

With the help of cinematographer Javier Aguirresarobe and supporting actress Fionnula Flanagan, Amenabar introduces seemingly sinister elements bit by bit. It all amounts to a satisfying twist on the old ghost story tale that leaves you feeling as much a cowdy custard as little Nicholas.


1. The Ring (2002)

Gore Verbinski’s film achieves one of those rare feats, ranking among the scarce Hollywood remakes that surpasses the foreign-born original, Japan’s unique paranormal nightmare Ringu. Verbinski’s film is visually arresting, quietly atmospheric and creepy as hell.

This is basically the story of bad mom/worse journalist Rachel (Naomi Watts) investigating the urban legend of a videotape that kills viewers exactly seven days after viewing.

The tape itself is the key. Had it held images less surreal, less Buñuel, the whole film would have collapsed. But the tape was freaky. And so were the blue-green grimaces on the dead! And that horse thing on the ferry!

And Samara.

From cherubic image of plump-cheeked innocence to a mess of ghastly flesh and disjointed bones climbing out of the well and into your life, the character is brilliantly created.

The Screening Room: Endurance Tests

We air some minor grievances with the Oscar nominations as we talk through the merits of this week’s new releases: Hostiles and Maze Runner: The Death Cure. We also run through new releases in home entertainment and preview next week’s flicks.

Listen to the full podcast HERE.

The Running Dead

Maze Runner: The Death Cure

by George Wolf

As if the YA heroes in The Maze Runner films haven’t been through enough, here come the zombies!

OK, they’re really zombie-like, after catching the “Flare Virus” that is quickly sweeping the dystopian future world of the trilogy’s finale, The Death CureBut some young adults seem immune, and when Minho (Ki Hong Lee) is among those rounded up for research purposes, Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) and the rest of his maze-running friends hatch a rescue plan.

Director Wes Ball is back to finish what he started with the first two MR films, and he flashes a well-developed eye for the composition of an effective action sequence. From the train-robbing prologue through the exploding finale in the “Last City,” the set pieces from Ball (a former visual effects supervisor) hold up. It’s what fills the time between the action, and how long it takes to reach that finale, that makes The Death Cure such a slog.

The themes are familiar and borrowed from any number of similar films, but it feels like there is a taut and tense action thriller buried somewhere beneath the two hour and twenty minute bloat.

While Will Pouter’s return gives the YA ensemble an impressive talent boost, Patricia Clarkson, playing little more than Standing Around Kate Winslet from the Insurgent series, is unnecessarily wasted. The connective drama here lacks the substance for all the mining it’s given, and the emotional depth the film is trying so hard to reach never materializes.

Still Searching


by Hope Madden

Hey, Christian Bale and Ben Foster are in another Western. Remember how fun 3:10 to Yuma was?!

Well, writer/director Scott Cooper is a very serious man. If there is one thing you won’t call his films—Crazy Heart, Out of the Furnace, Black Mass and his latest, Hostiles—it’s a laugh riot.

Hostiles is a morose Western with too-obvious intentions. Thanks to Bale and cinematographer Mesanobu Takayanagi, though, the result is a graceful if revisionist image. With Takayanagi’s help, Cooper recalls the best of John Ford’s The Searchers, and with Bale’s help he rectifies its worst.

Facing retirement from a lifetime of warring with Native Americans across the West, Capt. Joseph Blocker (Bale) has one final assignment: escort the ailing Chief Yellow Hawk (Wes Studi) and his family back to Montana so he can die with his people.

After many years of hatred and resentment toward Native Americans in general and Yellow Hawk in particular, Blocker wants no part in this “parade.” But he is a good soldier.

The journey offers opportunities for many an adventure, the first of which is the meeting of homesteader Rosalie Quaid (Rosamund Pike). Blocker’s party finds her in her burned-out home, but we already know what happened thanks to the profoundly brutal attack that opened the film.

Over the course of the film’s 133-minute running time, lessons are learned, each one coming at a very bloody cost. Though Bale and most of the supporting players deliver quietly devastating performances, their arcs feel more than forced. They feel patronizing.

Mainly that’s because the Native American actors have no such arcs. Studi, along with Adam Beach, Tanaya Beatty, Q’orianka Kilcher and Xavier Horsechief—the prisoners—are one-dimensional beings of pure wisdom, compassion and nobility.

Which is no doubt preferable to the being nameless, bloodthirsty monsters that stand in for Apache characters.

Cooper sets his tale at a bitter transition in American history when civilization was beginning to overtake the Wild West and people like Blocker were no longer sure of their purpose, no longer comfortable with their past. Like Blocker, Cooper seems determined to right a wrong but, again like his character, he doesn’t seem to know quite how to do it.

Oscars 2018: Nom Nom Nom

by Hope Madden and George Wolf

2017 was year marked by independents: original screenplays, original ideas, low-budgets, big returns. How beautiful is that?

Bearing his most intimate vision yet, Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water swept up 13 Oscar nominations, impressing voters in nearly every category, from technical achievement through acting and directing.

And Get Out represents the first full-blown horror film to be nominated for Best Picture since The Sixth Sense in 1999. The powerhouse indie not only earned more than $250 million, it also nabbed a total of four nominations, including acknowledgments for Daniel Kaluuya for Lead Male Actor and Jordan Peele for Original Screenplay and Director.

Slights were few and far between. Here’s a recap of the morning’s events:

Best Picture:

The biggest surprise here is probably Darkest Hour, a film marked by an outstanding performance and not much else. Mudbound or Blade Runner 2049, both with three noms themselves, would have been stronger choices. We would have loved to see a real long shot—The Florida Project, The Killing of a Sacred Deer or even A Ghost Story—in its place, but we know that’s dreaming.

“Call Me by Your Name”
“Darkest Hour”
“Get Out”
“Lady Bird”
“Phantom Thread”
“The Post”
“The Shape of Water”
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”


The unexpected exclusion here is not Steven Spielberg for The Post, but Martin McDonagh for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri—a film nominated for 5 Oscars: three in acting, one for film editing and McDonagh for the original screenplay. But it’s hard to pick nits with this list. We love the diversity here and wouldn’t change a thing.

“Dunkirk,” Christopher Nolan
“Get Out,” Jordan Peele
“Lady Bird,” Greta Gerwig
“Phantom Thread,” Paul Thomas Anderson
“The Shape of Water,” Guillermo del Toro

Lead Female Actor:

This list consists of Frances McDormand and everyone else. If there is a sure bet this year—and, let’s be honest, there are two—one of them is McDormand in this category. We’re thrilled to see Margot Robbie grab a nomination, and while it’s tough to ever argue the inclusion of Meryl Streep, we would not have been unhappy to see a woefully underappreciated Salma Hayak get the slot for her lovely work in Beatriz at Dinner or Michelle Williams for All the Money in the World.

Sally Hawkins, “The Shape of Water”
Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Margot Robbie, “I, Tonya”
Saoirse Ronan, “Lady Bird”
Meryl Streep, “The Post”

Lead Male Actor:

Not many surprises here and no real bones to pick. And when Gary Oldman picks up his statue and comments on the amazing talent in his category this year, we will agree.

Timothée Chalamet, “Call Me by Your Name”
Daniel Day-Lewis, “Phantom Thread”
Daniel Kaluuya, “Get Out”
Gary Oldman, “Darkest Hour”
Denzel Washington, “Roman J. Israel, Esq.”

Supporting Male Actor:

As is often the case, it’s the supporting categories that are stocked to brimming, with an “I wish they would have considered” list that’s longer than can possibly be accommodated. Will Poulter (Detroit), Barry Keoghan (The Killing of a Sacred Deer), Michael Shannon (The Shape of Water) and Armie Hammer (Call Me By Your Name) all delivered performances that, in any other year, would have earned them a nom. But this list is beautiful.

Willem Dafoe, “The Florida Project”
Woody Harrelson, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Richard Jenkins, “The Shape of Water”
Christopher Plummer, “All the Money in the World”
Sam Rockwell, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Supporting Female Actor:

Like the supporting men, the list of worthy contenders here is huge. We couldn’t be more thrilled to see Lesley Manville get this credit for her pitch-perfect turn in Phantom Thread, or for Mary J. Blige’s stellar work bringing more attention to the beautiful Mudbound. We would have loved to see Hong Chau nominated for Downsizing, but it’s hard to know which nominee to drop in her favor.

Mary J. Blige, “Mudbound”
Allison Janney, “I, Tonya”
Lesley Manville, “Phantom Thread”
Laurie Metcalf, “Lady Bird”
Octavia Spencer, “The Shape of Water”

Original Screenplay:

Look how pretty! This list is suitable for framing. Glorious. The fact that so many others were worthy—The Killing of a Sacred Deer, Dunkirk, Baby Driver, The Florida Project—only proves that 2017 was an utterly spectacular year for original work.

“The Big Sick,” Emily V. Gordon & Kumail Nanjiani
“Get Out,” Jordan Peele
“Lady Bird,” Greta Gerwig
“The Shape of Water,” Guillermo del Toro, Vanessa Taylor
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” Martin McDonagh

Adapted Screenplay:

Here’s a category filled with surprises, which may represent a surprisingly weak year in adapted screenplays, but maybe that just means filmmakers took more chances on original work that paid off.

“Call Me by Your Name,” James Ivory
“The Disaster Artist,” Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber
“Logan,” Scott Frank & James Mangold and Michael Green
“Molly’s Game,” Aaron Sorkin
“Mudbound,” Virgil Williams and Dee Rees

Animated Feature:

Boss Baby? Really? It was a weak year for animated films—clearly—but who knew it was “Ferdinand and The Boss Baby get Oscar nominations” weak? Best bet would be to eject both of those, nominate Mary and the Witch’s Flower and just go with four.

“The Boss Baby,” Tom McGrath, Ramsey Ann Naito
“The Breadwinner,” Nora Twomey, Anthony Leo
“Coco,” Lee Unkrich, Darla K. Anderson
“Ferdinand,” Carlos Saldanha
“Loving Vincent,” Dorota Kobiela, Hugh Welchman, Sean Bobbitt, Ivan Mactaggart, Hugh Welchman

Best Documentary Feature:

Finally, bones to pick, and big ones: Whose Streets? and Jane. Sure, Faces Places has the upper hand in this category, but those two are glaring omissions. Boo.

“Abacus: Small Enough to Jail,” Steve James, Mark Mitten, Julie Goldman
“Faces Places,” JR, Agnès Varda, Rosalie Varda
“Icarus,” Bryan Fogel, Dan Cogan
“Last Men in Aleppo,” Feras Fayyad, Kareem Abeed, Soren Steen Jepersen
“Strong Island,” Yance Ford, Joslyn Barnes

Best Foreign Language Film:

Most of these haven’t screened in Columbus, but The Square was fantastic.

“A Fantastic Woman” (Chile)
“The Insult” (Lebanon)
“Loveless” (Russia)
“On Body and Soul” (Hungary)
“The Square” (Sweden)

The winners will be announced at the 90th Academy Awards ceremony March 4th


I Don’t Want to Go Out – Week of January 22

There are so many movies being made available for our pajama-wearing asses this week, it’s as if the fates are begging us to be lazy. So let’s do it! We’ll help you decide what to view.

Click the title below for the full review.

The Killing of a Sacred Deer (DVD)

The Final Year

My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea

Thank You For Your Service

Goodbye Christopher Robin


Exchange Students, Potato Chips and those Red Wings Fans!

by Hope Madden
It’s Blue Jacket season, which always makes me a little nostalgic for Brazil. Not that I’ve ever been there, but watching early Jackets’ history through the eyes of our Brazilian exchange student gave the whole experience more energy and excitement.

Edinardo – or Edodido, as my mother-in-law cheerily, loudly called him for no reason I can think of – moved in with us November of 2000, just in time for the Jackets’ inaugural season. He’d never seen a hockey game before, being more of a baseball guy, but he turned out to be a Yankee fan, so we decided to focus on hockey.

Edinardo came to us sort of by accident. My husband George had read his woeful tale in the Tri-Village News. He’d been mistakenly placed with a family planning a move to Peru.

That’s totally outside Grandview City School district.

The service had found another family to host Edinardo in Kentucky, but he’d made friends at Grandview Heights High and hoped to stay.

We’d never tackled the challenges of parenting a teen before. Since then, we’ve not only tackled those challenges, but we’ve actually tackled teens. Knocked them right to the ground.

But back in ’00, our son Riley was about to turn seven, we were still optimistic about the upcoming election, and the whole world seemed gentler.

Plus, we had two unused bedrooms, so we took him in.

We were interviewed, of course, to ensure we were fit to assume responsibility for the boy. The woman from the agency asked us what our policy was toward dating. I told her we weren’t allowed to (bada-bing!). It was all pretty silly, but they let us have him anyway.

There were ups and downs. He more or less refused to speak more than severely fragmented English, which was certainly the down part. He poured full bags of Lays Sour Cream and Onion potato chips on top of every meal I cooked. In his room at night, when he talked for hours on the phone with the friends he missed from back home, he sounded exactly like a roomful of 12-year-old girls.

I don’t know how he did it, but you’d swear we had a Brazilian middle school cheerleading squad stomping around and squealing up there.

He pronounced George with the most gorgeous accent, but called me Rope and referred to Riley as Big Baby, which came out sounding like Pig Baby – a nickname that stuck for a while, actually.

But once it got beyond the “let’s be on a first name or close to it basis” we didn’t really gel as a group until hockey.

Although our first game didn’t go as well as it might have.

We decided at the last minute one night to give hockey a try as a newly-extended family. George was going to meet us at Nationwide Arena, and I planned to scalp four tickets in the meantime. (It’s not illegal; it’s just frowned upon. And in 2000, it was harder than you realize.)

The guy wanted $35 apiece.

“Dude, there’s no way. We’re just looking for cheap seats,” I explained.

“I can give them to you for twenty each,” he countered.

I can see the scene from his point of view: a wholesome enough hockey mom, an apple cheeked 7-year-old attached to one hand, an exchange student eager for new cultural experiences behind. I countered back:

“That would be all the money I have. The boys are going to need a hot dog, at least, once we’re in there.”

“Fifteen bucks.”


As I dug around for the sixty bucks, Edinardo decided he wanted to treat and pulled out a hundred dollar bill.

Well, it’s not like I wanted to strike up a long term friendship with the scalper.

Plus, it was a good opportunity to explain some of the nuances of American sports culture.

Edinardo loved the game so much that he began going on his own as often as he could. His best day in the US came during a Jackets’ home stand against the hated Red Wings.

The Jackets got behind. A Red Wings fan – a particularly belligerent one I like to imagine wearing a mullett – shouted to Edinardo as his team went ahead, “Hey, loser, why don’t you go home?”

I hate that part of the story. Edinardo, alone in a sea of drunken hockey fans, harassed and intimidated. But his tale improved.

The Blue Jackets went on to an amazing come-from-behind win. The screaming crowd was on its feet. It was the most excitement Edinardo had been part of since coming to our country. Full of team pride, he turned around to the Red Wings fan.

“Now maybe you go home.”

God bless America.

The Screening Room: Action and Oscar Contenders

Busy week! Loads covered on this week’s podcast: 12 Strong, Den of Thieves, Phantom Thread, Call Me By Your Name, Mom and Dad, The Road Movie, The Final Year and Mary and the Witch’s Flower, plus a quick look at what’s new in home entertainment.


Listen in HERE.

There Will Be Stickpins

Phantom Thread

by Hope Madden

Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis) sews little treasures into the gowns he makes for the most upper of crusts in 1950s London: little notes, wishes, secrets. It is a connection between the creator and the creation, existing regardless of the audience.

In many ways, Woodcock could be a stand-in for writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson, a filmmaker whose work is genius (few would argue) even if there are things about each creation we may not entirely grasp.

Phantom Thread may be his most exquisite and least accessible film. Every frame, every elegant sweep of the camera, every jaunty note from Johnny Greenwood’s score says classic glamour. And at the center of this controlled, rhythmic beauty is Daniel Day-Lewis.

Hard to go wrong there.

Day-Lewis entirely inhabits this character, as you, of course, expect. His Woodcock oscillates between childlike charm and parental dismissiveness, and it’s a beguiling creation: narcissistic but tender, spoiled and selfish but dignified, the epicenter of his universe and yet frighteningly dependent.

The conflict here is subtle. While your eyes will not leave Woodcock and his glorious gowns, the remarkable Lesley Manville refuses to escape your notice. Manville plays Woodcock’s sister Cyril, the business brains to balance Reynolds’s creative genius, yin to his yang, Alpha to his Omega.

Manville is chilly perfection, her every gesture and expression a conundrum of thoughts and emotions. She keeps this man, this art, this world working. There is one scene in particular—Reynolds loses his temper when his breakfast solitude is broken and Cyril reminds him with clarity and authority exactly who is in charge here.

Which brings us, slowly and quietly, to the film’s actual conflict. Woodcock tires of the muse/model/girlfriend living with him, leaves Cyril to remove the problem and heads into the country for a rest. There he meets his next muse, the lovely German waitress Alma (Vicky Krieps).

What follows is an interesting, deeply human, beautifully acted and quite surprising battle for Alpha. And of course, it’s a great deal more than that. Namely, it is a meditation on creation and recreation, on the tricky nature of inspiration, on an artist’s obsession, on the surprising intimacy between creator and creation.