Friday, May 21, 2021

21 May 21 - Spiral: From The Book of Saw

…John Kramer was right. The spiral a symbol of change, evolution, progress…” 

Hey, blogspot readers, SouthSide is back! Did you miss her? She certainly did miss you …the fans, bands and the crazed adventures. So, let’s forget about 2020 …the year that everything went to heck in a heartbeat. It’s time we focus on getting back to “normal” with a few changes of course such as mask wearing and social distancing. So, to kick off her first SouthSide On The Town blog post, SouthSide decided to test the waters by seeing the latest chapter from the Saw series – Spiral.

Spiral: From The Book of Saw boasts a couple of heavy A-list actors which is quite unusual for a movie of this horror caliber. It stars Chris Rock …yes, that comedian Chris Rock debuting in a serious role, blogspot readers, as Detective Zeke Banks and Samuel L. Jackson …another definite yes that Capital One spokesperson portraying Chris’ father, Marcus Banks who was once the captain of the department where Chris’ character works currently as lead detective. One warning before SouthSide divulges a bit of the movie’s plot. No spoilers here. You simply have to see this one for yourself. 

So, blogspot readers, are you ready to play a game? Ready to live or die …then make your choice. 

The plot revolves around a Jigsaw copycat murder that leads to a few more. Someone has a serious grudge against the Metro police department especially since the victims are somehow connected to Detective Zeke Banks. However, wait a minute …John Kramer, the original mastermind behind Jigsaw is dead. Yes, blogspot readers, that’s quite true. Yet, you have to admit he probably left an impressionable mark certain people who were wronged in life. See, Detective Banks is not really liked amongst his peers …all because he ratted out on a fellow officer years ago and with every chance taken, they tend to remind him of that indiscretion until one of their own becomes the first victim of the Jigsaw copycat. It’s not a pretty end for our victim either. Blood splatter from the camera lens view was totally cool, blogspot readers. 

Now, if you’re squeamish when it comes to blood splatter and or intense violent scenes, then SouthSide highly recommends you wait until Spiral hits the DVD/Blu-Ray medium. This movie definitely has some cringe worthy moments to which had SouthSide squirming in her seat a little. Yet, what is a Saw type movie without its infamous traps designed to “punish” the victims …though not on a John Kramer level. Spiral’s copycat killer is a novice but quite creative …so he or she is still learning and perfecting their craft. 

What makes this movie somewhat different from the other eight chapters of Saw is the copycat seems to has a personal motive or agenda even though this the police aren’t left clueless or running around in circles. Chris Rock’s character knows that as well as his new rookie partner Detective William Schenk (Max Minghella) who gets some sound but comedic advice about being a married detective. This is the moment where a bit of Chris Rock comedy shtick shines briefly …something not truly seen in a Saw movie. This reviewer liked the fact the writers, Josh Stolberg and Peter Goldfinger designed this chapter to set itself slightly apart from the others. Good idea. In fact, she enjoyed the references to The Wire and New Jack City …a movie in which Chris Rock starred in as Pookie the crackhead. Also, there’s a reference to original Saw movie towards the end. Yes, blogspot readers, something personal is going that this copycat wants to punish the dirty cops. Basically, he wants to teach them a lesson for the wrongdoing they did in the past. 

Why is Detective Zeke Banks targeted? What does all of this have to do with his father? Who is pulling the strings as the Jigsaw copycat? Who lives or dies? 

Go see Spiral: From The Book of Saw to find out, blogspot readers. 

SouthSide enjoyed this movie even though she felt parts of the movie plot was a bit rushed here and there. The writing team could have gone an extra few minutes slower with the BIG copycat killer reveal despite the mountain of hints and clues pointing towards who it is. In this reviewer’s honest opinion, they made it way too easy for the average moviegoer to figure out that mystery. SouthSide also liked how director Darren Lynn Bousman shows us Detective Bank’s emotional breakdown and range from expressing grief over the loss of a good friend and fellow co-worker to a couple of scenes of intense rage and frustration because the copycat killer is teasing and taunting him with his neatly stringed packages. SouthSide would be feeling the same thing if someone was literally getting under her skin with such elaborate “games” of deadly chance that’s murdering her co-workers. And lastly, there’s a definite hint for a sequel, blogspot readers, at the end. Question is how will the writers play out between our protagonist and the antagonist …and will it top Spiral? 

The takeaway about Spiral, blogspot readers, is this – it totally changed the (hidden) horror movie rules. What rules? Oh, everyone knows them …or should know them especially one particular – casting Chris Rock and Samuel L. Jackson just elevated this genre into a whole new spectrum. Never once did SouthSide ever thought she would see Chris Rock cast in a serious role. That touch of his trademark humor within the beginning scenes reminds the viewer he still retains his humorous side within the serious tone of the scenes played out on the screen. And despite being serious most of the time, Samuel L. Jackson displays a comedic side to him with the best movie quote ever delivered within this franchise series – “You wanna play games, motherfucker? Alright, I’ll play”! Now that was really badass, blogspot readers. His character was about to cower to a copycat killer …not usually seen in a Saw movie. SouthSide welcome the flip to the script and hopes the sequel doesn’t deviate from that direction. 

Spiral: From The Book of Saw is currently in theatres now. SouthSide recommends seeing it. 

 Until next time, support your local scene,


Tuesday, November 19, 2019

07 Nov 19 - Icon For Hire

Depression and other mental health issues ...being a survivor ...seeking and gaining acceptance ...fighting one's pain ...finding one's true self and worth and more - things this generation are facing head-on every day than over thirty years ago, Blogspot readers. Tough subjects many bands wouldn't dare touch or highlight within their music. However, SouthSide recently discovered one such band who completely understands how tough life can be when tossed an emotional and or physical curve ball as well as offers sound yet comforting advice through their highly energized alternative guitar-rock music.

Icon For Hire recently returned to Chicago's famous Subterranean Lounge for a one-night only, all ages performance with Veridia ...and believe it or not, this reviewer was looking forward to seeing this dynamic group of musicians. Days before the show, SouthSide had the extreme chance to listen to Icon's music finding it rather interesting the band chose to tackle issues only a person would privately confide to a counselor or therapist behind closed doors. Yet, by putting that "out there and in the open" Pink (as in Floyd from The Wall) exposing his emotions for all to see, Icon doesn't shy away with its message of hope despite having to face the bad and ugly by sugarcoating it for the fans.

Yes, Blogspot readers, it may be a rough and tough world but do not despair because you are a survivor. You can do it ...just have faith in yourself. Themes in which Icon For Hire wonderfully touches on through songs like Hope of Morning, Happy Hurts and Now You Know. The one song which truly tugged on this reviewer's heartstrings was Hollow where lead vocalist Ariel Bloomer in this live version poured out the deep, gut-wrenching emotions heard inside the lyrics. One could only imagine what she was experiencing in the past to put such feelings into a powerful song like that. Another example was their acoustic version of You Can't Kill Us - in SouthSide's opinion was way better than the recorded version. Here is where Ariel's voice absolutely shined with passion when accompanied with an acoustic guitar and harmonizing vocals from the vocalist of Veridia. Two vocal powerhouses that literally had the venue from top to balcony enthralled by this special performance. If you really want to feel the earth move as well as shake and roll, get ready to Jump along with Icon and the band's fans, Blogspot readers ...nothing like experiencing grown adults jumping around you on the balcony while each fan is sing along to every song.

SouthSide highly recommends checking out Icon For Hire while the band is currently on its west coast tour at a local venue near you. Be prepared to hear inspiration and motivation ...hope and acceptance the best "you" that you can be, Blogspot readers, be a survivor.

For more information about Icon For Hire, you can find them on Facebook or head to their official website

Until next time, support your local scene,

Friday, October 4, 2019

1 Oct 19 - The Field

Hey, blogspot readers, something strange and spooky is happening within a farmland field ...and it's not those mysterious children of the corn either.

Picture this, if you will, a happily married couple in the autumn of 1961 running towards their farmland until...suddenly and unexpectedly the wife disappears ...vanishing without a trace. Where did she go within the field?

That, blogspot readers,is just the beginning of this supernatural, psychological thriller (with a bit of romance) mystery of this indie movie, The Field.

Now, flash forward to modern day at the new sold Dondlinger Farm owned newly transplanted couple from Chicago, Ben (Tim Higgins) and Lidia (Kara Mulrooney) in an attempt to rekindle the lost romance of their stalled marriage. It's a second chance at love, blogspot readers.He is a former chef now turned photographer while she is an interior designer but together, they're totally out of place in this quiet community of Manitowoc. Yet, you can tell this couple is determined to make it work.

Aw, the cinematic trappings of a romantic movie ...not so fast, blogspot readers. There are creepy things and weird dreaming (among other occurrences) that begin to happen between our two main characters. Besides Ben getting so caught up with his ghostly images appearing in his photos, Lidia uncovers strange photos and finds of her own which may involve Runistic/Satanic rites that were once documented by the town's art gallery owner, George (Barry Bostwick).

Please, also note, the townspeople harbor their own level of creepy vibes throughout The Field. There's the Manitowoc County sheriff, Roy Dondlinger (Mark Metcalf) who cruelly outs the new inhabitants with his surly brand of welcome at the local diner upon noticing Ben eating the very last slice of Warren Cafe's infamous blueberry pie. That's strike one against our main characters. The local cashier (Mark Borchardt) at the local hardware store who enjoys spouting his own version of guru, zen-like Celestial prose to Ben and George (Bostwick) who was a former New York photographer/ad man harbors some dark secrets to his past and connection to the farm and field. And there's Edith (Veronica Cartwright). She, blogspot readers, is an unsolved mystery wrapped within herself to which you might soon get the feeling she's not whom she really is due to her off mannerisms.

The more secrets are uncovered or discovered about The Field the more suspenseful and strange the movie becomes, blogspot readers. That's the psychological thriller beauty of this indie supernatural film. Various connections or as filmmaker Tate Bunker coins it as "mythology" to the farmland field will begin to lead you, the viewer, down different paths of perhaps different parallel dimensions occurring at the same space of time. It's that kind of vibe that will stick with you until the very end ...ah ha - no spoilers by this reviewer here, blogspot readers. You have to see The Field.

If SouthSide had to compare this movie among other commercially produced or with other genres she has seen, she would have to say there's a tiny bit of Jordan Peele's US (you will know it when you see it), mixed with Alfred Hitchcock suspense, and the supernatural element of Clive Barker or Ari Aster (for the ruinistic symbols and details) with some heart-racing moments and the added touch of romance just to lighten the mood ...a little. However, SouthSide would like to add a word of caution, blogspot readers. When viewing the trailer for this movie, don't immediately assume The Field is a "horror"movie. No real horror to be found here ...just good old fashion suspense and surprises that will come unexpectedly throughout.

SouthSide could go on and on raving how great The Field was ...from the script writing to the directing and wonderfully well-placed music that blends as well as highlights the dramatic suspense and spookiness together to the acting with totally believable characters just to convince you to see this movie. Nope, she would rather let your mind be intrigued after reading this review and or viewing the trailer. During this age of reboots, remakes and sequels having sequels, it was very refreshing to view something so original and out of the Hollywood ordinary which allowed this blogger's mind get spookified by the creepy farmland trappings in between a few laughs that weren't forced upon her as a comedic set-up and then question her sanity along with Ben and Lidia the further she watched The Field.

Oh before SouthSide signs off - yes the farm used in The Field and surrounding land as well as town of Manitowoc is real, blogspot readers.Just don't expect her to venture into the field alone either ...merely a precaution.

Highly recommended

Until next time, support your local scene,

Thursday, July 11, 2019

9 July 19 - Midsommar

Warning - there are NO spoilers in this review

Midsommar ...the highly anticipated follow-up to Ari Aster's break out cinematic hit, Hereditary, blogspot readers, was recently seen by this reviewer and she highly recommends seeing it ...especially on the big screen for its colorful beauty and optical effects well as the subtle horror that doesn't grab you right away like most movies within this genre. The keyword here is color. Contrast to Hereditary in which you are immersed within the dark, Ari takes you out of the dark and puts his characters and you the movieviewer in constant daylight at the height of the summer solstice in a quaint place that's in the middle of nowehere ...where everything and everyone is not what or they seem to be, blogspot readers.

What's different about Ari Aster's Midsommar besides touching on murder, suicide and death, he also tackles a relationship that is on the brink of breaking up though neither person wants to be the one to do the "breaking up" part. 

Meet our millennial couple, Christian and Dani ...and boy, do they have problems, blogspot readers. They want to break up but seem don't know how. Yes, they are that couple in dire need of a couple's relationship expert to help assist them in this delicate matter. Even Christian's friends can easily see there's problem with his relationship with Dani ...urging him to break up with her until ...tragedy strikes Dani which somewhat brings them "closer" together.

He's there for her yet not really "there" in sense of comfort and whatnot. In comes the idea of spending the midsummer solstice at a remote commune in Sweden where Christian's friend Pelle is from to celebrate the 90th tradition of midsommar. Festivities, fun, food, etc etc to be had during this nine day festival in which the invited guests are encouraged to participate. Seriously, blogspot readers, that's actually when the real fun as well as horror begins for our four American and two British characters.

Not going to spoil it for you, blogpsot readers, but if you have seen Ari Aster's Hereditary, you will understand and appreciate the way there's always a gradual buildup to the horror scenes. Midsommar will not disappoint you. SouthSide does advise that you keep a sharp eye on a few things throughout the movie like the bear in the cage and the walls around the commune.

Color, blogpot readers, is very important when viewing Midsommar despite opening dark and gloomy before dazzling the eyes with such vibrant array of colors from the clothing to the May Queen's flower crown. Never had SouthSide seen a movie in which color is also the prime focus and character ...especially within a horror movie. Ari Aster has started something here, blogspot readers. Color in his movies has way of being beautiful as well as frightening to hide what's lurking unseen (or seen) throughout this movie. Ari Aster's bedazzling array of color usage and paletting is quite jaw-dropping, blogspot readers, Violets, blues, pinks, reds, yellows, greens etc seem to pop to life on the big screen.It was in this reviewer's mind, deliciously terrifying which could make Midsommar a film class study on how color can effect directly as well as indirectly a certain scene or mood.

Yet, it's not all about color that what makes this movie such fun to watch. His casting choice was spot on, blogspot readers, featuring Florence Pugh as the emotionally clingy, wrecked Dani and Jack Reynor as the "I want to breakup with you but can't" Christian. These two had a natural chemistry between them which made it seem so real and believeable each time ...either separately or together on the big screen. SouthSide loved Vilhlem Blomgren as Pelle - that creepy Swede who comes from the secret remote cult-like commune village ...never really telling his friends what the nine day festival entails. And there's also William Jackson Harper (as Josh) and Will Poulter (as Mark) - who btw meet gruesome deaths that are never shown on screen but you somehow get the hint of happened to them. Oh yeah, keep this phrase "skin the fool" in your head too. There's also engaged British couple, Connie (Ellora Torchia) and Simon (Archie Madekwe) who were invited by their friend Ingemar (Hampus Halberg) who just happens to be Pelle's "brother".

During Midsommar, there will be moments when you feel as if you're experiencing a bad acid trip from the way certain scenes would appear to be "breathing" and "alive" through Ari's camera tricks. Things here have a way of becoming one with the characters or moving about them that throws off their sense of what is reality and what is not. They barely had any left after consuming homegrown drugs, sleeping pills and "special" teas during the midsommar festivities that you too will start feeling the trees breathe and becoming one with nature. And also, it wouldn't be an Ari Aster film without some weird ritualistic chanting, pagan references and rituals and music that pulls every scene together with the characters and what they're doing in that particular scene. Some might get weirded out by the sex scene with Christian and one of the maidens who has chosen him. Not going to say what happens but it's very interesting to watch Reynor's reaction as if he didn't know Ari was to have that happening during this particular scene.There's a lot of screaming going on too. Screaming to expell all the pent up emotions kept hidden and tucked away inside for far too long, blogspot readers, to which sets up the final shocking scene that ends Midsommar.

Not going to tell you what happens. See the movie, blogspot readers.

Granted Midsommar does take a slow start at the beginning to set up the characters and their arrival to Sweden, this movie will have you cringing in fear from the intense yet suspenseful scenes. It's overall a vividly colorful work of art that brings horror out of the darkness and into the light underneath the sunny beauty that is midsommar. The ending will either mind fuck your head or have you laughing.

SouthSide was simply blown away, blogspot readers, and she's going to see it again.

Until next time, support your local scene,

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

29 Jun 19 - Pride in the Park Photo Gallery

Hey, blogspot readers, SouthSide took over 500+ photos during Pride in the Park on Saturday. Here are some that didn't get axed. Enjoy!

Until next time, support your local scene,