Look, I don't want to pat myself on the back too much. This blog already is a bit of an ego trip, but I'm just a normal guy. I put my pants on one trite quote at a time. However, after hearing that the twist in Malignant was supposed to be completely surprising, I figured it out in something like 20 minutes. What, like it's hard?
I know I said that last week's episode, “What If the World Lost Its Mightiest Heroes?” was my new favorite episode of What If...?, but that's no longer the case. "What If Doctor Strange Lost His Heart Instead of His Hands?" continues the series' fine tradition of clunky episode titles, but it delivers a compelling tale of love and loss that also actually involves the Watcher! You know, the omniscient narrator of the whole thing? He gets to actually do something! Kind of.
I think this is the first anthology I've reviewed on the blog? The only other time I've used that tag was with The Star Wars Holiday Special, and that was mostly a "for lack of a better word" situation. The Field Guide to Evil is a horror anthology that focuses on multicultural folklore, broadening our horizons by showcasing creatures and demons from around the world. But unfortunately for this film, not every story is told as well as the others. There were some shorts I loved, and others that just left me feeling meh.
Here we finally are, the last arc in the first season of Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, AKA When They Cry. Or is it series, since the next series/season has a different subtitle, title song, and end credits song? I'm honestly not sure, just like I'm honestly not sure what's really going on in this series. But not necessarily in a bad way? That's the intent, what with it being a mystery series and all, but damn, it would be nice to get some actual answers. Good thing this is a so-called answer arc! So let's jump into Atonement and finish off the first season. Series. Whatever.
Who doesn't love a good bad disaster movie? You don't go into Sharknado expecting fine cinema, you go in hoping that a guy cuts a shark in half with a chainsaw, and that said shark was delivered to him via tornado. So imagine how excited I was when I first saw a film called Tsunambee. The tagline on the poster is "This is gonna sting a little!" It's a goofy movie about a tsunami of bees, right? Right...?
The first four chapters in Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, AKA When They Cry, are referred to as "question arcs." I think it's a great name because I have a whole bunch of questions as to what the fuck is going on. But now we've entered the so-called "answers arcs." I went into the Eye Opening arc completely unprepared for what I was about to see and learn, thinking it was going to follow the pattern I had assumed was there based on the question arcs. Is every question answered? Absolutely not, but I learned enough new things that I realized I've been working on some faulty logic about what's really going on here. This arc is six episodes, so this'll run a little long!
Is it weird to say that I missed watching bad movies? Probably, but back when I could safely have people over at my place (what seems like a hundred years ago), bad movies were the staple of Movie Night. We'd sit around and riff on them, finding enjoyment more through our own senses of humor than whatever lame thing was on the screen. But I watched this alone, with only my growing disappointment as company. I swear we watched It Waits a decade ago--literally this time--but all I could remember was hating a parrot? Turns out that's all that's memorable about this direct-to-DVD flick.
When we last left Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, AKA When They Cry, three of the five main characters were dead. Keiichi murdered Rena and Mion in self-defense, but the drug they injected him with made him rip out his own throat, eventually dying from blood loss. So... what now? Do we continue the story with the survivors, Rika and Satoko? Does detective Oishi take a main role in investigating the strange and possibly supernatural happenings at Hinamizawa? Nope! We're going to pretend the first arc never happened! Let's get weird and homicidal (again) as we look at the second story arc, Cotton Drifting.
Let's try something a little different. Disney+'s release schedule for new shows is pretty tight, with episodes releasing weekly followed by a making-of documentary and kicking off with a new series the week after. For the time being I'm going to skip the Star Wars shows, but that still means that the majority of these Saturday posts will be tied up with the MCU, not leaving much time for anything else. Well, I'm instituting a new policy for the blog: when I'm in the middle of reviewing the latest MCU show on Saturdays, a completely different show's posts will go up as a bonus on Sundays. Does this mean that the last half of the month will have a post every single day thanks to MCU March? Yup! Will I regret this? Probably! But enough of that, let's talk about child murder.
Full disclosure, I was one of those people who believed that this movie was never going to be released. Originally slated to be released in April 2018, it was delayed four or five times because of things like the Fox/Disney merger and reshoots to change the entire tone. Like you do. In the end it released to an extremely limited theater run in August 2020, and was made widely available for [legal] streaming yesterday. As the last 20th Century Studios X-Men adjacent film--ending a 20 year franchise--was it worth the wait? Well...