The Invitation Preview

Jamie and Patrick wander the streets of New York. “Is that good?” asks Jamie, pointing to a crosswalk signal. They watch it for a while and indeed it does seem like it’s a good thing. It tells people when to safely walk across the road. “And that’s… good, right?” Patrick says, brow furrowed. Jamie agrees. It’s a good thing. He resists talking about how lame it is, despite its goodness, because they’ve turned over a new leaf. As they continue on their walk they are approached by a man. “Wait, aren’t you two the Bad Movie Twins?” Patrick begins to respond in the negative. They are just plain ol’ twins now. But before he can explain the man double punches them in the stomach. “That’s for making fun of Paul Blart,” he says and leaves them groaning on the ground. “Maybe we just aren’t meant to be good,” Jamie says, on the verge of tears, “even when we’re just following traffic laws someone wants to punch you in the stomach because of all the bad things you said about Paul Blart. Maybe Paul Blart is good and we are bad.” He’s full on weeping on the sidewalk at this point and Patrick is embarrassed. None of this is good. What is good anyway? Just before he turns into the Joker, a glint of shiny paper catches his eye. He crawls across the sidewalk and grabs the piece of paper. “Jamie!” he yells in excitement. Jamie crawls over to join him and gasps when he reads the paper. “This is good,” he whispers. The paper isn’t just any piece of paper. It’s an invitation to appear on a talent show entitled America is Very Good. “It’s not just good, it’s our destiny,” Patrick says resolutely. That’s right! We are watching The Invitation, which apparently is based on Dracula, a property we’ve returned to a number of times on BMT. Keep ‘em coming. Let’s go!

The Invitation (2022) – BMeTric: 48.3; Notability: 13

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 5.2%; Notability: top 12.0%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 9.8%; Higher BMeT: Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Brazen, The Bubble, Jeepers Creepers: Reborn, They/Them, Moonfall, Firestarter, Morbius, Blacklight, Me Time, Pinocchio, Spiderhead, Deep Water; Higher Notability: Jurassic World: Dominion, Black Adam, Pinocchio, Amsterdam, Morbius, Disenchanted, The School for Good and Evil, The Bubble, Moonfall, Deep Water, The Man from Toronto, The King’s Daughter, Spiderhead, Don’t Worry Darling, The 355, Where the Crawdads Sing, Blacklight, Samaritan, Slumberland, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and 10 more; Lower RT: Jeepers Creepers: Reborn, After Ever Happy, Me Time, Blacklight, Firestarter, On the Line, Brazen, The Last Manhunt, Morbius, Prey for the Devil, Hot Seat, Home Team, The King’s Daughter, The Bubble, The Man from Toronto, Senior Year, The 355; Notes: Decent BMeTric. For year-of films it often feels like we are hitting up all ‘dem 50+ BMeTrics, or we are watching a kind of entertaining film with a BMeTric of 10.

RogerEbert.com – 1.5 stars – During these last, lazy days of summer, there isn’t a whole lot to do. Still, you’re probably going to want to RSVP “no” to “The Invitation.”

(What a pun. It is nice to know there is still a place in the theatrical schedule for a solid August dump, you know? I fear it is an endangered species.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Fzczrdt9K0/

(Kind of looks like a standard glossy modern vampire film. The only exception is that the beginning looks more inspired by Get Out … I’m going to assume that inspiration didn’t go anywhere since I haven’t seen it mentioned anywhere as particularly notable in that regard.)

DirectorsJessica M. Thompson – ( Known For: The Light of the Moon; BMT: The Invitation; Notes: Directed the limited series The End for Showtime. This seems to be have been poised to be her breakout feature.)

WritersBlair Butler – ( Known For: Polaroid; Future BMT: Hell Fest; BMT: The Invitation; Notes: Seems to be a pretty consistent horror writer at the moment. Also wrote an episode of Helstrom.)

ActorsNathalie Emmanuel – ( Known For: F9: The Fast Saga; Army of Thieves; Furious 7; The Fate of the Furious; Maze Runner: The Death Cure; Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials; The Titan; Last Train to Christmas; Holly Slept Over; Twenty8k; BMT: The Invitation; Notes: Probably most famous as Missandei on Game of Thrones. She’s British and her first role, naturally, was on the soap opera Hollyoaks.)

Thomas Doherty – ( BMT: The Invitation; Notes: He’s been in a bunch of television including (and completely unsurprisingly) the Gossip Girl reboot. He looks like Gossip Girl incarnate.)

Sean Pertwee – ( Known For: Equilibrium; Doomsday; Dog Soldiers; The Reckoning; Goal! The Dream Begins; Swing Kids; Howl; I.D.; Alan Partridge; The Seasoning House; Mutant Chronicles; Goal II: Living the Dream; Love, Honor and Obey; Wild Bill; 4.3.2.1.; Prick Up Your Ears; Ultramarines: A Warhammer 40,000 Movie; Shopping; Blue Juice; Wilderness; Future BMT: Formula 51; BMT: The Invitation; Event Horizon; Soldier; Notes: He’s the son of the Third Doctor, Jon Partwee. He’s probably most notable now as playing Alfred in the show Gotham.)

Budget/Gross – $10 million / Domestic: $25,100,080 (Worldwide: $33,700,080)

(I mean … that ain’t bad. No one is getting fired over some quick horror cash during a terrible box office year, I’m telling you that much.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 26% (16/62): Despite a very likable lead and a refreshingly light touch, The Invitation is ultimately too predictable to thrill as either a romance or a horror story.

(Yeah, I think that sounds about right. It seems like they leaned too heavily into the vampire and missed the opportunity to do something a bit more interesting. Maybe for the sequel.)

Reviewer Highlight: Despite some ambitious efforts to revitalize hoary horror movie tropes with allegorical commentary on race, class and male privilege, “The Invitation” is too wearyingly hackneyed for too much of its running time. – Joe Leydon, Variety

Poster – DJ Spinvitation

(Looks like the front of a video game or something. It’s actually hard to connect this to a film, it’s gone so far from a typical movie poster. It’s actually almost meta. Like the poster is extending an invitation to watch the film… which just so happens to also be named The Invitation. Wish the font was better… and kinda everything else. Some OK artistic flourishes. C-.)

Tagline(s) – You are cordially invited to a nightmare generations in the making. (C+)

(This is actually OK if you ignore how long it is. It’s kinda clever with the “cordially” in there juxtaposed with “nightmare”… or am I being too kind. I’m probably being too kind.)

Keyword(s) – year 2022

Top 10: The Batman (2022), The Kashmir Files (2022), Top Gun: Maverick (2022), Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022), Thor: Love and Thunder (2022), Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022), Uncharted (2022), The Adam Project (2022), The Northman (2022), The Gray Man (2022)

Future BMT: 63.5 Jeepers Creepers: Reborn (2022), 63.4 Firestarter (2022), 52.1 Radhe Shyam (2022), 50.0 Umma (2022), 45.8 The 355 (2022), 44.3 Jurassic World: Dominion (2022), 37.8 Memory (2022), 26.2 Amsterdam (2022), 10.7 Black Adam (2022), 7.4 Where the Crawdads Sing (2022)

BMT: Moonfall (2022), Morbius (2022), Blacklight (2022), The Invitation (2022), After Ever Happy (2022), The King’s Daughter (2022), Prey for the Devil (2022), Don’t Worry Darling (2022)

Best Options (Horror): 63.5 Jeepers Creepers: Reborn (2022), 63.4 Firestarter (2022), 50.0 Umma (2022), 48.0 The Invitation (2022)

(Many good choices here, but The Invitation worked the best because Firestarter is going to be pushed to a different category and Umma is just a little too weird.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 26) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Sean Pertwee is No. 9 billed in The Invitation and No. 5 billed in Soldier, which also stars Kurt Russell (No. 1 billed) who is in Tango & Cash (No. 2 billed) which also stars Sylvester Stallone (No. 1 billed) who is in The Expendables 3 (No. 1 billed) which also stars Jason Statham (No. 2 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (No. 1 billed) which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 3 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => (9 + 5) + (1 + 2) + (1 + 1) + (2 + 1) + (3 + 1) = 26. If we were to watch The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 25.

Notes – In an interview with Bloody Disgusting, director Jessica M. Thompson revealed that an alternate “R-rated” cut of the film will be released in VOD and streaming following the theatrical run. In the other version, more gore, violence and nudity are added which were removed from the theatrical version for a PG-13 rating.

As Evie exits the airport, the last picture shown on the wall is of Whitby, the supposed location of the film, and the place that Dracula was said to have landed in England.

Originally titled “The Bride”.

The statue of a dragon on top of an armored knight, is a reverse of the traditional imagery of Saint George slaying a dragon.

Goof: The Rolls-Royce Evie exits is left hand drive but should be right hand drive since they are in the United Kingdom.

Carfax Abbey is the name of the estate purchased by Dracula in the original Bram Stoker book, so the name New Carfax Abbey hints at the owner’s identity.

The old couple that recapture Evie after her escape are named Jonathan and Mina Harker, which are the names of two very prominent characters in the book Dracula.

Lucy, one of the brides of Walter (The Vampire), is also the name of the victim of Dracula in the 1992 Film and original book.

Walter’s surname, “De Ville”, is a play on “devil.” In modern Romanian, the English translation of “Dracul” is “devil,” further hinting at his true identity as Dracula.

According to director Jessica M. Thompson, there were two alternate endings for the film, one that was filmed and one that wasn’t. The unfilmed ending would have had Evie keep her vampiric powers, despite killing Walter/Dracula, and going out into the world to hunt other vampires while the filmed ending would have had Dracula survive the fire at New Carfax and return by ship to Romania, killing the crew and passengers on the way to survive. Thompson was not a fan of that ending as she felt it took away from Evie’s triumph to have the vampire live to see another day and also because she felt it would suggest there would be sequels, sentiments shared by the test audiences as they also hated that ending. Thompson’s original idea for the ending, which is what the final film ends on, was shot several weeks before the film’s release and required the use of a double for Hugh Skinner as he was unable to film the scene. It also allowed there to be one more scene for Courtney Taylor, who was an audience favorite during the screenings.

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Blacklight Recap

Jamie

You guys ever seen Murphy’s Law starring Charles Bronson? I’ll disregard the obvious “No” answer to that question and bulldozer my way to my point. Liam Neeson is Charles Bronson. Charles Bronson is Liam Neeson. Ever seen them in the same room? Didn’t think so. Waaaaayyyy back in the yesteryears of the 80’s our boy Bronson had ridden his Death Wish franchise fame to what wikipedia refers to as his Cannon Films era. We are sitting in the Cannon Films era of Liam Neeson (having ridden the Taken franchise to this point). More often the Cannon Films era films of Bronson were things like Assassination, which is pretty terrible as it meanders its way through a cookie cutter plot with an aging star (and I mean actively aging before your eyes). Then there are things like Murphy’s Law which is batshit crazy and I loved every second of it. So this is where we are with Neeson. Every time we watch one I’ll be asking myself, “Is this Neeson’s Murphy’s Law?” and then hope we haven’t yet turned the corner to the Final Years era of Neeson with whatever ends up being his Family of Cops trilogy.

To recap, Liam Neeson is a fixer. But that’s not exciting enough for a film. Let’s try that again, Liam Neeson is a fixer who also has OCD and wants to retire to spend more time with his granddaughter. Ah, much better. But there is something afoot in D.C. that he has to take care of first. After a congressional candidate is murdered in an intentional hit and run, an undercover agent attempts to leak it to a reporter. Neeson is tasked with bringing him in. On the way to doing so, Neeson stops by his granddaughter’s school to hang out a bit and ends up losing the agent. Oops. Later on, after the agent attempts to contact the reporter again, he is shot and killed by government agents in front of Neeson. Neeson is a bit peeved at this and confronts the FBI director about what the agent was leaking to the reporter. Namely, that the director has an operation that kills civilians who interfere with the government. The director is like “don’t worry about it” and brushes him off. Neeson is pissed and becomes even more pissed after his family goes missing and the reporter’s boss is killed for publishing the story. He breaks into the directors house and forces him to hand over evidence of the operation. This goes south from there, but Neeson is able to escape with the evidence. Using this evidence he is able to get the director arrested and get his family back (who turns out were just in witness protection, oops). THE END.

On a scale of Not Murphy’s Law to Murphy’s Law I declare Blacklight… drumroll… Not Murphy’s Law. Really not even all that close. Very much an Assassination type vehicle. Cookie cutter plot spiced up a bit with some mild OCD for our boy Neeson. Overall feels closer to a television pilot than a feature film. Honestly, there isn’t even all that much good to say about it other than they blessedly abstained from giving rickety crickets Old Man Neeson a love interest in the film. He’s just an old man who wants to spend more time with his granddaughter. Phew.

Hot Take Clam Bake! Neeson’s daughter is kind of right. He’s not a great presence in his granddaughter’s life. His OCD does seem in control, and I don’t really see so much harm in him helping her understand self-defense and staying safe. But… like… he’s also kind of an assassin. He killed a bunch of people in the movie and also ended up getting them dropped into witness protection. Just not really feeling that part of it. But you do you, guys. Go fly that kite and keep having some sleepovers. I’m sure your part in taking down one of the most important people in D.C. won’t come back and bite you. This is actually why they can’t make Blacklight 2. Just too sad when Neeson’s daughter has to be like “Told yah so. I’m going to have to ask you to stay away for a while… at least until you totally murder everyone trying to murder you at the moment… who’s that again? The President? Cool cool cool.” Hot Take Temperature: Sweet BBQ.

Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Blacklight? More like Why Are They Making this Old Man Run Around and Pretend to Be an Action Star? Oh Wait, That’s Liam Neeson?! Amirite? It is actually a bit distressing watching Liam Neeson run, but more on that later. Let’s go!

  • Oh boy, Liam Neeson cannot run. And not like, Liam Neeson looks like he runs slow. Or like Liam Neeson runs funny. But like did Liam Neeson blow out both knees right before filming? That is the level. He’s actually not as old as I thought he was. But then again, my perception of his age was 100% based on how he looks like when he runs so I was figuring he must be 103 or something.
  • Zing, sorry Liam, still love you, but put your feet up for a year, or maybe go to Germany for experimental stem cell treatment. Something. You need some cartilage in those knees brother.
  • Enough about Liam Neeson, let’s talk about this movie. This movie represents everything wrong with films in 2022. I will take no questions on this matter, thank you.
  • Fine, I’ll explain. Way back when when someone wanted to make something on the cheap they called Roger Corman or Dino De Laurentiis up, who called up a director who could work on the cheap, and they slapped something together with cheap effects. But those effects? They had charm. They were real, visceral things cobbled together by special effects artists (emphasis on “artist”). And sure, they looked cheesy, but there is an undeniable charm to something like Conan the Destroyer where it sometimes looks like crap, but also is just wild crazy shit and undeniably fun.
  • This? Slow moving cars moving around empty streets. Fake explosions, fake fights, and fake gunshots. And a storyline might as well be a ripped-from-the-headlines episode of a Dick Wolf television show. The construction of this film makes me sad. Because this is precisely the type of film that AI is going to generate in 10 years. And no one will really be able to tell the difference. Except Liam Neeson will run like a 20 year old when the AI makes it (zing).
  • I liked a few of the actors in it though, although add Taylor John Smith to the list of actors who might as well not have a face, that’s how interchangeable he is as a leading man.
  • Also this might be the worst third act of a film I’ve ever seen, it is nonsensical garbage.
  • I’ll leave you with my two favorite moments from the film. First, and I mentioned this in the preview, but there is something special about a little girl calling the action hero of the film “grandpa” right to his face. It probably speaks to the dire situation Hollywood is in that 60-year-old Tom Cruise and 70-year-old Liam Neeson are still starring in action blockbusters in 2022. The second one is that one of the side characters is a British person, and in his introductory scene he’s watching some footy (soccer to you Yanks). He is quite frustrated with the game, and at one moment bursts out “no no no no!” and throws a pen at the screen remarking “I lost a few quid on that one.” The intense moment portrayed on that screen? Stock footage of a soccer player passing a ball into the backfield. That’s it. Some poor intern was asked to add football to the screen and didn’t really think about what should actually go there, or (more likely) was given $0 and 15 minutes to do this task and winged it. Regardless, incredibly entertaining stuff.
  • Definitely a Setting as a Character (Where?) for DC. And I’m going to give it a MacGuffin (Why?) for the little zip drive with all of the “evidence” on it that the bad guys are really really concerned about. I think this is a tried and true BMT film because there are just enough weird shit in it to work for me.

Make sure to check out the sequel Blacklight 2: Ultraviolet in the Quiz. Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Blacklight Quiz

Oh man, so get this. I’m a 70 year old man, but I have the bod of a 70 year old action star. NBD. But you see, they asked me to run about five feet and I blew out my knee (the usual), stumbled, hit my head, and now I can’t remember a thing. Do you remember what happened in Blacklight?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) We meet Ancient Methuselah Action Star Liam Neeson as he gets ready for yet another job (“I’m getting too old for this shit” he mutters inaudibly I assume). What is his job?

2) Huh, but … like, how does one get into that kind of business? Probably not something extremely ethically questionable, right?

3) Well, good thing Liam Neeson is a totally normal person otherwise, right? … Right? Oh wait, nope, he has a bit of a quirk. What is it?

4) Meanwhile, the actual plot of the film! Turns out there’s a turn coat in Liam’s three letter organization. What does he know that the government doesn’t want everyone else to know?

5) A big part of the film was the disappearance of Liam Neeson’s family including his precocious granddaughter. Where did they go?

Bonus Question: Flashforward, and Liam Neeson is relaxing at home when he hears a knock at the door. There is a young woman there, who is she?

Answers

Blacklight Preview

Jamie and Patrick find themselves back in their apartment. The door to Kyle’s room opens and he stops short, his eyes widening. “Did you decide not to leave?” he asks, hope in his voice, “Lou gave me the Dongle and this note and said I wouldn’t see you for a while.” He looks at the note, already covered in chocolate. “I guess I won’t have to follow you after all,” he concludes and attempts to give them back the Dongle. But Jamie and Patrick stop him and shake their heads. “You did follow us,” Patrick says solemnly, tears brimming in his eyes, “And you saved us.” They explain how Kyle is the key to the Dongle’s destruction. “We were going about it all wrong,” Jamie says, a little embarrassed, “we spent years trying to destroy the Dongle. We could never do that. But you can… just by keeping it.” Kyle bites his lip in trepidation. He looks back at his room. Having got up the courage to invite Rachel over, she now was waiting in his room ready to watch Ghost starring Patrick Swayze as their first date. They can see the concern in his eyes. If he has the Dongle will it put Rachel in danger? Does this mean he will never know love? “Don’t worry,” Jamie says smiling, “she’s also the key to all of this. And as a gift for all that you did we’d also like you two to take over BMT. It’s time for us to move on.” Kyle’s mouth falls open in surprise. “But what are you going to do now?” he asks, prompting Jamie and Patrick to look at each other. “We don’t know,” Patrick says, “something good… time to move out of the darkness and into the light.” That’s right! We’re moving away from the ironic and into the serious 2022 choices with one of two Liam Neeson action films that critically flopped this year. First up is Blacklight, which is about… an old person beating people up, I think. Let’s go!

Blacklight (2022) – BMeTric: 61.1; Notability: 27

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 3.2%; Notability: top 5.6%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 2.3%; Higher BMeT: Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Brazen, The Bubble, Moonfall, They/Them, Firestarter, Jeepers Creepers: Reborn, Morbius; Higher Notability: Jurassic World: Dominion, Black Adam, Pinocchio, Amsterdam, Morbius, The School for Good and Evil, The Bubble, Moonfall, Deep Water, The Man from Toronto, The King’s Daughter, Spiderhead, Don’t Worry Darling, The 355; Lower RT: After Ever Happy, Jeepers Creepers: Reborn, Me Time, On the Line; Notes: Kind of amazing that Moonfall of all things has a higher BMeT. Maybe because more people saw it? That would make sense. Still, I feel like Moonfall is one of those films which ten years from now will have a 6.3 on IMDb and confuse anyone who watches it.

RogerEbert.com – 1.0 stars – Another season, another “Liam Neeson Has Skills” movie. Some of the variants of his popular “Taken” movies (the last one, “Taken 3,” was all the way back in 2014, how times flies) have been reasonably clever and even cinematically worthwhile on a surprising level (see for instance 2019’s “Cold Pursuit”). Mark Williams’ “Blacklight,” alas, is not among them.

(So … basically this is just a basic Liam Neeson snoozefest of an action film. Jokes on you RogerEbert.com. I watched The Ice Road. I’m immune to Liam-Neeson-omnia.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_N9pU4FMOs/

(Is … Liam Neeson trying to do something like an American accent? Or is supposed to be an Irish person who works for the U.S. government and has been in the country for so long he’s vaguely lost his accent? Anyways, I unironically love that we’ve reached the point where Liam Neeson explicitly has a granddaughter who calls the action hero in the film “grandpa” in the trailer. A perfect encapsulation of the current state of Liam Neeson’s career.)

DirectorsMark Williams – ( Known For: A Family Man; Future BMT: Honest Thief; BMT: Blacklight; Notes: Kind of amazing we never watched Honest Thief. Executive Produced Ozark for which he was nominated for three Emmys.)

WritersNick May – (BMT: Blacklight; Notes: Nothing on IMDb, but if you search the trades you can find articles about this specific film. Kind of funny, but it looks like the update was right, May ultimately did get a writing credit on the film.)

Mark Williams – ( Known For: Copshop; Future BMT: Honest Thief; BMT: Blacklight; Notes: If the article above is to be believed him getting a writing credit is nuts, but then again, he did write some of it, probably re-wrote a bunch on set, and him not him getting a credit was probably unlikely.)

Brandon Reavis – (BMT: Blacklight; Notes: Nothing about this guy at all. Given he has a story credit I would imagine he is the writing partner of May in some capacity.)

ActorsLiam Neeson – ( Known For: Schindler’s List; Love Actually; The Dark Knight Rises; The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe; Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker; Batman Begins; Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace; Taken; The Ballad of Buster Scruggs; Widows; The Lego Movie; Gangs of New York; Excalibur; Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones; The A-Team; The Commuter; Marlowe; The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian; Ted 2; Silence; Future BMT: Memory; Kingdom of Heaven; A Million Ways to Die in the West; Clash of the Titans; The Huntsman: Winter’s War; Daddy’s Home 2; The Marksman; Men in Black: International; Taken 2; Wrath of the Titans; Krull; Taken 3; Entourage; Honest Thief; High Spirits; Before and After; The Nut Job; BMT: Blacklight; Battleship; The Haunting; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor in 2013 for Battleship, and Wrath of the Titans; Notes: Y’all know Liam Neeson. Nominated for an Oscar for Schindler’s List. He was just announced as the main character in a Naked Gun remake that is happening.)

Aidan Quinn – ( Known For: Legends of the Fall; The Handmaid’s Tale; Flipped; Frankenstein; The Mission; Unknown; Benny & Joon; Wild Child; Desperately Seeking Susan; Michael Collins; Stakeout; Song for a Raggy Boy; Avalon; Haunted; Music of the Heart; At Play in the Fields of the Lord; If I Were You; Songcatcher; The Assignment; Elle s’appelait Sarah; Future BMT: Practical Magic; Reckless; In Dreams; Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius; BMT: Blacklight; Jonah Hex; Notes: Nominated for two Emmys for An Early Frost and Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (both miniseries). He’s a classic “that guy”. He’s married to Elizabeth Bracco.)

Taylor John Smith – ( Known For: The Outpost; Shadow in the Cloud; Insidious: Chapter 3; You Get Me; Martyrs; Some Kind of Beautiful; Almost Friends; Wolves; Future BMT: Where the Crawdads Sing; BMT: Blacklight; Hunter Killer; Notes: We’ll see him again in Where the Crawdads Sing. There is shockingly little about him. Probably most notable for being in Sharp Objects.)

Budget/Gross – $43 million / Domestic: $9,591,094 (Worldwide: $15,902,207)

(Disastrous, but that’s what happens when you have a bad action film. Could be a bit of Hollywood accounting here as well though since according to the article above there were pretty specific commitments about compensation tied to the profit this film made. But who knows. $43 million seems absurd for a 2022 Liam Neeson film. It feels fake.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 10% (10/102): Turn it off.

(I actually genuinely hate the consensus. It makes little sense beyond that the word “light” is in the title. Anyways, actually a rare <10% Rotten Tomatoes film, although barely.)

Reviewer Highlight: One could even argue that it’s not a movie at all, only a rusted-out recycling bin of ill-fitting themes, notions, poses, conventions, affectations, tropes, tropelets and inert snippets of dialogue from other movies. – Joe Morgenstern, The Wall Street Journal

Poster – Skloglight

(I like the colors, but that’s about it. Tells me nothing about what I’m going to see, which is probably the point. Anyone who sees this poster and is intrigued is going to get exactly what they want: Old Man Neeson. C.)

Tagline(s) – They’re gonna need more men (C-)

(Meeehhhhhh. I guess it’s short in a somewhat pleasing way, but it’s far too generic to warrant any real credit. As a joke someone should take the last five Neeson films and photoshop the posters so they all have this tagline.)

Keyword(s) – year 2022

Top 10: The Batman (2022), The Kashmir Files (2022), Top Gun: Maverick (2022), Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022), Thor: Love and Thunder (2022), Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022), Uncharted (2022), The Adam Project (2022), The Northman (2022), The Gray Man (2022)

Future BMT: 63.3 Firestarter (2022), 62.6 Jeepers Creepers: Reborn (2022), 52.1 Radhe Shyam (2022), 49.8 Umma (2022), 47.6 The Invitation (2022), 45.7 The 355 (2022), 44.2 Jurassic World: Dominion (2022), 37.7 Memory (2022), 24.7 Amsterdam (2022), 7.7 Black Adam (2022), 7.3 Where the Crawdads Sing (2022)

BMT: Moonfall (2022), Morbius (2022), Blacklight (2022), After Ever Happy (2022), The King’s Daughter (2022), Prey for the Devil (2022), Don’t Worry Darling (2022)

Best Options (Action): 60.8 Blacklight (2022), 45.7 The 355 (2022), 44.2 Jurassic World: Dominion (2022), 37.7 Memory (2022), 7.7 Black Adam (2022)

(Yup, the best of the bunch. But no worries. Jurassic World 3 and Memory are both currently on the docket, so we will be hitting up a good number of bangers from the year.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 22) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Liam Neeson is No. 1 billed in Blacklight and No. 2 billed in The Haunting, which also stars Virginia Madsen (No. 9 billed) who is in Firewall (No. 3 billed) which also stars Harrison Ford (No. 1 billed) who is in Hollywood Homicide (No. 1 billed) which also stars Josh Hartnett (No. 2 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 3 billed) => (1 + 2) + (9 + 3) + (1 + 1) + (2 + 3) = 22. If we were to watch The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 16.

Notes – The lowest rated Liam Neeson action film on Rotten Tomatoes

Principal photography of the film started in November 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. In January 2021 it was announced that a car chase scene would be filmed in Canberra.

A cinematic technique of fast zoom in, out and in again (or the opposite) are used to increase the suspense of the story and symbolize Block’s obsessional compulsive disorder.

After Ever Happy Recap

Jamie

Hi, it’s me. Franchise guy. You know, the guy who wishes they made another Mummy movie starring Tom Cruise. So you can imagine what a gift the After series has been to all of us. This is already the fourth movie in a series that started as One Direction fan fiction. And it ain’t done! There are (allegedly) three more entries in the series in the works! Did Patrick and I make a wish upon a monkey paw in order to make this dream a reality? No (that was a totally unrelated wish). These are growing organically and we are just lucky enough to pluck them off the After tree. Hopefully those After trees will bear their sweet fruit for many years to come. I want to be watching Hardin and Tessa as forty-something people churning through Hardin’s (latest) mid-life crisis.

To recap, we start right where we left off. Hardin has just found out his dad isn’t his dad and his actual dad is totally boning his mom right before she gets married. He’s real sad and it is not sexy. I’m talking burning down his mom’s apartment in a fit of rage kind of not sexy. Tessa is kinda over it, particularly when he disappears on a bender with his old London friends. Returning home she is shocked to find her addict father dead in her apartment. Not ideal and not sexy. Word eventually reaches Hardin, who rushes back to be by Tessa’s side, but she is still not having him. I don’t blame her, Hardin has, to put it bluntly, transitioned from sexy sad to actually sad. He needs to go to sexy rehab to get his mojo back and stat. Tessa, meanwhile, decides to escape it all by moving to NYC and becoming a waitress. She seems to find some level of peace in her new life (and perhaps a burgeoning romance to boot), but she can’t escape Hardin who shows up on her doorstep claiming to be a new man. And what a new man he is! He’s bringing sexy back and Tessa is all about dat. Unfortunately, after the sexy has been sufficiently brought back, Tessa finds that the real reason Hardin is back is to shop his new book. You know it! It’s After, the meta book! He wrote After! And it’s kinda rude and crude. Hardin’s like “come on, I kinda need this,” but Tessa throws him out cause he’s a rude crude dude. Months later he’s been rocketed to fame as the hot young author and it looks like maybe Tessa and Hardin aren’t meant for each other after all (or are they? (they are)). THE END.

I think the only appropriate thing to do in a situation like this is to assess this film in direct comparison to the other entries in the series. I have fond memories of the first film cause it was kind of a quaint classic college drama. I found that one to be quite silly, but in a good way. The second is actually good… or at least has some good things in it. It is the only entry in the series that had me stop and think “wait, do these films actually have something to say about addiction and the difficulties of young love?” The third was streaming trash that was mostly funny because of all the places they decided to have Hardin and Tessa have sex. Somehow both the most and least sexy film in the series. Finally, this one, which is actually just kind of sad. It doesn’t feel like a complete movie. It’s like they left out all the sexy stuff and are saving it for movie #5. So all you’re left with is a not sexy sad film about a girl and the asshole she loves… bring sexy back, After! Where has all the sexy gone!?

Hot Take Clam Bake! Hardin did the right thing. I think you’re supposed to be conflicted as to whether Hardin did Tessa dirty by writing After. It’s a full blown tell-all and Tessa wasn’t warned about it. But guess what, Tessa (if that’s even your real name) you left Hardin with nothing but his memories. He was at rock bottom and forced to confront his feelings in rehab through art and ever since you met him how has Hardin communicated? Through the written word. There he is with no friends, no prospects, and no girl to have sexy sex with in his sexy gym, car, or hot tub (amongst the many other very normal sexy places he might have sex). What was this guy supposed to do but write a scathing rebuke of your relationship and become rich and famous while you toil away as a waitress? Hot Take Temperature: Mango Habanero.  

Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! After Ever Happy? More like Ever More Happy That I Get to Watch After Films for the Rest of My Life! Amirite? I am, because After is my guilty pleasure. Tessa and Hardin are an epic couple. Like Ryan and Marissa, or Romeo and Juliet. That level. Let’s go!

  • I’m not joking, I would watch one of these films a year forever. Make it like that show … Degrassi is it? The one where they just rotate out the characters as they age out of the series. Just get different After people forever and ever and ever and ever.
  • For real though, why not? This is the only thing Wattpad Studios has going for it.
  • The writing! The acting! The complete lack of a plot! This is the BMT triple threat franchise. Nothing in the world even compares.
  • Can I even remember what happened in this film? Let’s see. Hardin cries a bunch because his father isn’t his father, so he burns down a house and then parties in East London for a bit. Meanwhile, in Atlanta, Tessa’s dad dies from an overdose. Back in Seattle, Tessa learns she is infertile, and then Tessa reveals that she is breaking up with Hardin and moving to New York City as a strong independent woman. Hardin goes to AA and writes the titular After “novel”, which ends up in a bidding war in NYC. This is no bueno though, because Tessa doesn’t want her life put on blast in a bestselling “novel”. She breaks up with him again when he’s like “sorry not sorry, I’m selling this novel, it is like … the only thing I have going for me.” To be continued.
  • The To Be Continued is shocking to say the least. Spoilers but there isn’t another novel. There were four books and a prequel called Before. So, in a way they just Part I’d us! They made After Ever Happy Part I without telling anyone they were splitting the final book into two. Sneaky buggers. For real though, I would watch a 50-year-old Hardin struggling with addiction, crying to 50-year-old Tessa in their opulent midtown NYC penthouse, so I hope in 50 years there is an After Ever Happy Part XLI or whatever.
  • Wait, should I write After fanfiction? It started as fanfiction. So why not? Then I can have After forever and ever and ever.
  • Oh the movie? I will repeat myself: nothing happens, the writing is horrible, the acting is horrible, and you just watch inexplicable wealthy assholes cry at each other for 90 minutes. In other words: inject that right into my veins bro.
  • Unfortunately nothing so egregious as Hardin giving Tessa the gift of vertical integration via a Kindle in this one. I’m going to give it a Setting as a Character (Where?) for NYC, which if we are being honest, should have always been where Vance Publishing is based, and where Tessa should have always been living. Funny Secret Holiday Film (When?) for the brief shot of a New Years Eve party in NYC. And a Worst Twist (How?) just for the “to be continued” at the end. Definitely BMT, so much so it might be a leader in the clubhouse for BMT winner this year, but I’ll have to look back.

I know you’ve been clamoring for it. A return of Hardin and the Bad Boys with Hearts of Gold. You met them in Bad Boys Assemble: Hearts of Gold. Well, read about the sequel Bad Boys Assemble: Fists of Steel in the Quiz. It gives me some real Empire Strikes Back vibes. Cheerios,

The Sklogs

After Ever Happy Quiz

Oh man, I’m so brooding. I’m a bad boy, but my heart is so full of gold. And I punch things, because I’m so broken. I love Tessa (Tesssssaaaaaa!), she’s trying to fix me, and I love her so much, but I drink to forget how broken I am. But I drank so much I forgot everything! Do you remember what happened in After Ever Happy?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) We open where the last movie left off: Hardin is all mad because his father isn’t his father, and instead Tessa’s boss is her father. He’s so mad he decides to get real drunk and commit a crime. What crime, and who takes the fall?

2) After Tessa and Hardin return to London, Hardin is all like “I’ll see you laters. I’m totally not running away.” But run away he does. To where? And how does Tessa find him?

3) When Tessa goes back to Atlanta she finds her father dead (oh no!). What did he die of?

4) Tessa goes to the doctor to find out about something. What?

5) In the end Tessa moves to New York, Hardin writes the titular After series, and they break up like goobers (classic). But what does Tessa do for work while living in New York?

Bonus Question: Previously on Bad Boys Assemble: Hearts of Gold – Landon Carter from A Walk to Remember, David Elliot from Endless Love, and Kelley Morse from Here on Earth recruit Hardin into the Bad Boy Avengers (called H.O.G. aka Hearts of Gold). Infiltrating a University of Washington fraternity, Hardin frees Luke McNamara (head of H.O.G.) who calls on The Skulls to destroy the eeeeevil frat. In the mid-credits scene Hardin gets the call he’s always feared. Where is Hardin heading now?

Answers

After Ever Happy Preview

Kyle explains to Jamie that as a child he got explicit instructions from Sylvester Stallone to implant a simulation he wrote into Patrick’s car. Patrick knew that eventually Jamie would remember the one thing everyone knows about Patrick: massive gearhead. And Patrick knew a particular fact about Jamie: he will sing Your Body is a Wonderland by John Mayer when emotions are high. Sure you could bump into anyone on the street singing Your Body is a Wonderland by John Mayer. But get Jamie riled up and he’ll sing it again and again. And that’s what the simulation was designed to do, create a situation where Jamie feared the worst: the doomed fate of living out his remaining years as an elderly Frank Stallone. When Kyle heard the majestic tones of Frank Stallone’s voice singing “We got the afternoon. You got this room for two,” he had never heard anything more beautiful. Finally Jamie had returned. He takes Jamie back to his house and shows him the drawer where the Dongle has resided for many years. “And no one came to get it?” Jamie asks, curious. “Well, they came,” Kyle explains, “But then they left. I think… I think they didn’t understand how I could have such power and yet…” he sweeps his hand around his house and Jamie could see. The house wasn’t made entirely of glass or a work of modern art. Just a humble house full of love. No place for the Dongle to reside. “So are you ready?” Kyle asks and Jamie nods. “I’m a little sad that this means all this didn’t happen,” Kyle says, “But will you… remember me?” Just before the blinding light takes him back to reality Jamie tells Kyle to not worry, they’ll get him his happy ever after. That’s right! We are watching the fourth installment of everyone’s favorite After franchise. Hardin is back. Tessa is back. We are back. And yes, this did get released to theaters (duh). And yes, we are watching this in the Comedy slot of the cycle because we are being a little naughty (it’s after, after all… hey wait, that’s a good name for an entry in the franchise). Let’s go!

After Ever Happy (2022) – BMeTric: 45.0; Notability: 16

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 6.4%; Notability: top 10.0%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 0.0%; Higher BMeT: Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Bubble, Moonfall, They/Them, Firestarter, Jeepers Creepers: Reborn, Morbius, Blacklight, Me Time, Pinocchio, Spiderhead, Deep Water, Umma, The Invitation, Senior Year, The 355; Higher Notability: Jurassic World: Dominion, Black Adam, Pinocchio, Amsterdam, Morbius, The School for Good and Evil, The Bubble, Moonfall, Deep Water, The Man from Toronto, The King’s Daughter, Spiderhead, Don’t Worry Darling, The 355, Where the Crawdads Sing, Blacklight, Samaritan, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Memory, Firestarter, and 5 more; Notes: Yup, that’s a 0% on Rotten Tomatoes. Although, with only 6 reviews it is a tepid one.

Variety  Either way, when that final “to be continued…” title appears  — and never has a girly, curly typeface looked more like a ransom note — it’s by far the most heart-clutching #Hessa moment so far, because we realize we’re still at least one whole movie away from release from our collective captivity to this absolute nonentity of a franchise. “All of us have demons,” husks the opening voiceover in “After Ever Happy.” That’s very true: The apparently unkillable “After” series is one of them, and it’s not done with us yet.

(My god. Anyways, I actually had to double up here because there was actually only one major review of this film and it was in Variety. This series is pure lunacy.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hLQ-5exgctI/

(My body is ready, but is my mind? Will it explode with the incredible passion they’ve managed to put onto screen? Can I handle how much of a bad boy Hardin is? Can Tessa fix this broken man once and for all? How many people does he punch? I’m on tenterhooks here!)

DirectorsCastille Landon – ( Known For: Fear of Rain; BMT: After Ever Happy; After We Fell; Notes: A big Wattpad productions director she is also slated for the sequel as well, so we’ll get her own trilogy in the After franchise (at least). Also directing another Wattpad production, Perfect Addiction.)

WritersAnna Todd – ( Known For: After We Collided; BMT: After Ever Happy; After; After We Fell; Notes: She wrote the After series on her phone on Wattpad. Basically, this series is the only thing which is keeping the lights on at Wattpad productions from what I can tell.)

Sharon Soboil – ( BMT: After Ever Happy; After We Fell; Notes: Currently not slated for the sequel. That appears to be written and directed by Castille Landon. A true Landon vision, finally.)

ActorsJosephine Langford – ( Known For: After We Collided; Gigi & Nate; Moxie; Future BMT: Wish Upon; BMT: After Ever Happy; After; After We Fell; Notes: She has been pretty much just acting in this. She has an upcoming film called The Other Zoe which is about amnesia and love or something.)

Hero Fiennes Tiffin – ( Known For: The Woman King; Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince; After We Collided; The Silencing; Private Peaceful; Bigga Than Ben; BMT: After Ever Happy; After; After We Fell; Notes: I say this every time, but yes, he’s related to the Fiennes acting family. He’s actually in other films and has four films in production, so his career is maybe heating up.)

Louise Lombard – ( Known For: After We Collided; Hidalgo; Tale of the Mummy; My Kingdom; Lichnyy nomer; BMT: After Ever Happy; After We Fell; Notes: In the upcoming Oppenhiemer film. Was on People magazine’s list of the 50 Most Beautiful People in 1994.)

Budget/Gross – N/A / Domestic: $1,072,750 (Worldwide: $19,053,825)

(Wait … wait. Wait. No. But yes? So this was actually an odd duck. It was released widely for just two days in the US (September 7th and 8th). But then this seems to be a huge series in Germany or something? Because it made $4 million there alone! No wonder they still make these things, that probably is more than enough for a profit by itself.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 0% (0/6)

(There is really only one real review here. But here goes, let’s try a consensus: Nothing happens in this film. There is less than a bad episode of television worth of material, but yet you watch it all unfold in 90 minutes. The worst on screen romance in history.)

Reviewer Highlight: Can’t even charitably be said to be blah. It’s the space between the blahs. – Jessica Kiang, Variety

Poster – After After All

(Like the font and I like the framing or it all. But like… is it sexy enough? Am I wrong to kind of think this poster is for a not sexy movie? But that can’t be, can it? B-)

Tagline(s) – None

(Boooooooo. F. Let me give you one. Smooching is for the birds. Nailed it.)

Keyword(s) – year2022

Top 10: The Batman (2022), The Kashmir Files (2022), Top Gun: Maverick (2022), Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022), Thor: Love and Thunder (2022), Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022), Uncharted (2022), The Adam Project (2022), The Northman (2022), The Gray Man (2022)

Future BMT: 63.3 Firestarter (2022), 62.6 Jeepers Creepers: Reborn (2022), 60.8 Blacklight (2022), 52.1 Radhe Shyam (2022), 49.8 Umma (2022), 47.6 The Invitation (2022), 45.7 The 355 (2022), 44.2 Jurassic World: Dominion (2022), 37.7 Memory (2022), 24.7 Amsterdam (2022), 7.7 Black Adam (2022), 7.3 Where the Crawdads Sing (2022)

BMT: Moonfall (2022), Morbius (2022), After Ever Happy (2022), The King’s Daughter (2022), Prey for the Devil (2022), Don’t Worry Darling (2022)

Best Options (Comedy): 24.7 Amsterdam (2022)

(Oh huh … that’s right! Since we couldn’t do Amsterdam (it’s the only chain reaction film!), we decided to classify After Ever Happy as a comedy. Isn’t it? I mean … I find it hilarious. So isn’t it? Funniest comedy of the year in my opinion.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 21) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Stephen Moyer is No. 7 billed in After Ever Happy and No. 10 billed in 88 Minutes, which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 3 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => (7 + 10) + (3 + 1) = 21. If we were to watch The Replacement Killers we can get the HoE Number down to 17.

The King’s Daughter Recap

Jamie

Our BMT venture (and future empire) is inherently a silly venture. But serious things do have impact. The King’s Daughter is a clear byproduct of one such serious thing: the pandemic. Way back in 2015 we were already seeing the writing on the wall regarding streaming (and the writing spelled out “The Ridiculous 6” in big block letters). Sandler was the king of BMT and yet would disappear from our lives if we didn’t relax the theatrical requirement… but we didn’t break. Flash forward to the pandemic and nothing is theatrical and so the end of year cycle was in an existential crisis. What is a theatrical requirement without theatrical releases? … but we didn’t break. And now this is our reward. 2022 has juuuuust enough films for us to do a true blue end of year cycle and so we take what we can get and that includes The King’s Daughter. Funny enough, The King’s Daughter had already wrapped filming BEFORE we watched The Ridiculous 6… and yet it also didn’t break. It persisted all the way to BMT glory.

To summarize, Pierce Brosnan has some glorious flowing locks and is like “check out my hair and also I want to live forever find me a mermaid.” And someone does. This dude brings the mermaid back and the king’s doctor is like “thanks, and also we are going to murder it so make sure it survives till then.” And the guy is like… uh, OK. Meanwhile he also has a secret daughter that has been kept away in a convent and Brosnan is like “check out my hair and also bring me my daughter.” And someone does. She’s a dope musician and pretty quickly he’s bipping and bopping to her tunes. While she’s living it up in luxury she stumbles upon the sea captain and his hot bod (and also the mermaid). She’s instantly smitten. Meanwhile her daddio is ready to marry her off for profit (and still planning on killing that mermaid). She ends up going out for a day of fun with the sea captain and breaks her arm which is then magically healed by the mermaid. So as you can imagine, she is horrified when it is then revealed that this magical creature is going to be sacrificed for the King. She and the sea captain go off to free her. They fight off an evil doctor and then she flees to the coast where she begs her dad not to kill the mermaid. He refuses so she does the only thing she can: fling herself from the cliff so that he needs the mermaid to live in order to save her life. He stops the mermaid murder and allows her and the sea captain to go off on sea adventures together. THE END.

Let’s start with some positives. Cool looking movie. It was filmed at Versailles so it’s a visual feast at times and you can really feel at those times the love and care that finally brought the film to the big screens. I also found the story itself to be weird fun… although the book appears to be even weirder so maybe I would have liked it more if it was a more faithful adaptation. Now for the negatives. The film is a narrative mess, particularly in the beginning as they try to hack their way into the story. And I really do mean hack, as the film appears to have been edited by a terminator robot designed to get you from beginning to middle as quickly as possible. Once there you just kind of muddle along as you wonder to yourself exactly how you ended up watching a movie that even Pierce Brosnan has probably forgotten exists. So yeah, negatives certainly far outweigh the positives in this mermaid tale that everyone was clamoring for. As for Spiderhead, is it wrong that I kind of dug it? I thought the acting was pretty good and the concept engaging (if maybe a little simplistic). I often find contemporary science fiction a little cold and often extremely stupid (The Circle is a good example… Replicas as well) and this is far superior to most of the films in that genre that I’ve seen recently. Surprised it dropped so low on RT, even if it’s overall just an OK film.

Hot Take Clam Bake! Brosnan was right. First of all he seems like a pretty good king. I didn’t see the obligatory attempted assassination scene that would tell me he was bad ergo he was good. And it’s not like this is the only mermaid around. So maybe he’s just trying out this dangerous experiment first on himself so that then he could bring the disrupting technology to the masses of France. Ever think about that? We even get a glimpse at the end of Atlantis and there was like… a lot of mermaids. So, what? This alleged King’s daughter gets to decide whether the world gets to know about being immortal. Who came along and made you Queen of Mermaid Protection, lady? I want to be immortal, but I also don’t want to be the first person to try out some weird mermaid medical procedure. Brosnan was a risk-taking visionary stopped by his shortsighted daughter. Hot Take Temperature: Blazin’

Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! The King’s Daughter? More like Wince Harder! Amirite? A film so big it was 20 years in the making and shelved for 8 of those years. Let’s go!

  • So this film was optioned in the late 90s/early 00s and has been in production for literally 20 years. It is basically this generation’s Avatar 2. The grand vision of (checks notes) Sean McNamara finally coming to screen!
  • Oh, but it was filmed around 2014. That’s right, it sat on a shelf for 8 years waiting for just the right moment to dump it in theaters (that has to be a contractual thing right?) and forget about it.
  • It was also apparently the largest Chinese investment in an American film ever? That is a very 2014 thing as well. These days American films don’t even get released in China. This could actually be a record held by The King’s Daughter for a long long time.
  • The first third of the film is basically 70 separate shots all strung together by a poor editor who was probably given 48 hours to recut the film and chainsmoked the entire time. I’ve never seen so many smash cuts in my life. Just smash cut to the North Sea. Smash cut to the convent. Smash cut back to Versailles. There is clearly very very little footage available to construct this film. Which also makes it ultra confusing as to why it isn’t 80 minutes long. I would have fully expected it to be 80 minutes with 7 minutes of credits to stretch things out.
  • There is something to the costume design and pop soundtrack. Like a CW show or Vampire Academy thing maybe. There are moments where it is jarring. Like when they have a shot of the main character and she’s in a dress with a full length back zipper. I had to look it up. Zippers weren’t invented until maybe 200 years after the film took place. So there is an anachronistic faux-modern thing going on with the costuming and stuff. I hate it personally, but it is a thing.
  • All the acting is awful. There is a scene near the end where William Hurt and Pierce Brosnan are just spouting like “Forgive me Father for I have sinned” and Hurt is like “You are forgiven” and then they awkwardly touch each other’s faces and … I think half this film might be improvised? Something is up with it because even the established actors seem to be bumbling around not quite knowing what they are supposed to be doing.
  • This film is very perplexing. It should be a fun watch as it is a complete mess with several laugh out loud moments. But it is also only entertaining for the first thirty minutes and then sinks into a boring non-story for an hour and the film is overall just quite boring. Which is too bad.
  • Naturally a Setting as a Character (Where?) for France, and specifically Versaille. There is nothing else. It is set in a specific year in the 17th century (they say at the beginning) and it is specifically set during a solar eclipse, but I looked it up. There wasn’t an eclipse in the right spot that year, so that was just all made up. Closest to Bad for committing the bad movie mortal sin of being boring.
  • Along with The King’s Daughter we had to go hunting for a 2022 friend and that naturally led us to Spiderhead. I knew of Spiderhead because it is based on a short story which people seem to enjoy quite a bit called Escape from Spiderhead. Naturally I read the short story which is very short and it is an interesting read. It does kind of ruin the movie. The movie ends up veering into a weirder story involving an actual escape, the main scientist taking his own drugs, and a lot more prisoners than in the book. The main differences: (1) In the original the main character doesn’t just drunkenly kill his friend and girlfriend, he kills a guy with a rock during a fight on purpose; (2) There is no love interest; (3) He kills himself in the end, that’s his escape, he gives himself a huge dose of the sadness drug and then kills himself. The movie is interesting in its own way, but would have been much more interesting if they had stuck to the book more. A character study where you really only see three or four characters and keep the title and twisty ending. As it stands it just ends up being a glossy Netflix movie without much heart. C. Some interesting stuff, but not enough to recommend.

Check out the sequel to the film called The King’s Granddaughter. Cheerios,

The Sklogs

The King’s Daughter Quiz

Oh man, so I was a sweet little merman, living in Atlantic (natch), when an eeeeeevil fisherman caught me and bopped me right on the head! Now I can’t remember a thing! Do you remember what happened in The King’s Daughter?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) In the court of Louis XIV an event causes the king to fear for his mortality. What happened?

2) Meanwhile, the king’s illegitimate daughter is hidden away in a convent. What mundane activity is she barred from doing?

3) But it is time for a big celebration, so the king calls his daughter to court. It turns out she has musical talent! What position is she appointed to, and what instrument does she play?

4) Later the king’s daughter is flirting with her potential beau and uh-oh, an accident happens. What happens to the king’s daughter and how is she cured?

5) What stops the king from killing the mermaid and getting eternal life?

Bonus Question: Years later, the king lays on his deathbed. His dear friend Father Pere La Chaise by his side. As he dies he whispers one final work to La Chaise. What does he say?

Answers

The King’s Daughter Preview

Patrick’s beautiful mind has created a most beautiful simulation. Kyle and Jamie meet in billions of different ways. Some are hilarious, others somber dramas of loss and ennui. In one, Jamie has been turned into a rabbit. At one point, Patrick is brought to tears as he witnesses Jamie live a full life of love, dying in the arms of his beloved on his 101st birthday. Through his tears he witnesses over and over again the solution to their problem. He scribbles down a full list of instructions for Kyle. He presses the piece of paper into his tiny hand and tells him everything he needs to know and bids him adieu. With that he sits down with the pile of scripts waiting on Stallone’s desk… he’s got all the time in the world, so he can really craft a masterpiece.

Kyle’s eyes gleam as he looks at Patrick’s kick ass Pontiac Trans Am. “He literally never stopped talking about this car. Just a giant gear head for sure,” Jamie says, shaking his head. Kyle nods. It was true. If there was one thing everyone knew about Partick it was that he was a giant gear head. “Hello, Frank,” the car says, startling Jamie. When did the car start talking? “So he’s just Frank, not Jamie?” Kyle asks anxiously. The car says nothing and Kyle turns to Jamie sadly. He picks up a bunch of pebbles and starts pelting Jamie with them. “Get out of here, you idiot,” he yells, tears streaming down his face. “You spider… you stupid head.” Jamie is scared by this turn of events. Not knowing what else to do he begins to sing Your Body is a Wonderland by John Mayer again and Kyle stops. He wipes his eyes. “It really is you,” he smiles.

That’s right! We are nearing the end of our 2022 journey heading into the current year cycle. They really did have all the time in the world crafting one of the more bizarre releases of the year in The King’s Daughter. Filming began in 2014 for this film and so obviously all that time created a beautiful BMT diamond for us to gaze upon. We ended up pairing this film with Spiderhead. Probably the biggest non-theatrical release of the year below 40% RT. I kinda thought it looked good. Let’s go!

The King’s Daughter (2022) – BMeTric: 34.1; Notability: 30

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 9.2%; Notability: top 4.0%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 5.0%; Higher BMeT: Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Bubble, Moonfall, Firestarter, They/Them, Morbius, Me Time, Blacklight, Jeepers Creepers: Reborn, Pinocchio, Spiderhead, Deep Water, Umma, Senior Year, The Invitation, The 355, After Ever Happy, Jurassic World Dominion, Samaritan, Persuasion, and 3 more; Higher Notability: Jurassic World Dominion, Black Adam, Pinocchio, Morbius, Amsterdam, The School for Good and Evil, The Bubble, Moonfall, Deep Water, The Man from Toronto; Lower RT: Jeepers Creepers: Reborn, After Ever Happy, Me Time, Blacklight, Firestarter, Morbius, Paradise Highway, Home Team; Notes: Good stuff. Blacklight, Firestarter, and After Ever Happy are on the docket, so well start cleaning up the lower RT ones for sure. The BMeT seems to be dominated as usual by very bad streaming films.

RogerEbert.com – 1.0 stars – “The King’s Daughter” has been kicking around as a potential project ever since the book on which it is based, Vonda McIntyre’s novel The Moon and the Sun, was published in 1997 (winning the Nebula over a little-known book called Game of Thrones). It’s not hard to see why this story would have so much appeal. There is a strong female central character, and the book blends together historical fact and supernatural-fantasy, using the Versailles court of Louis XIV, the “Sun King,” as backdrop. Jim Henson Pictures expressed interest in the story, as did Disney. Natalie Portman was attached at one point in the early aughts. None of it came to anything, although the property continued to change hands. The only reason this background matters is that “The King’s Daughter,” directed by Sean McNamara, released on this day in the year 2022, was actually shot in 2014, and slated for a 2015 release. To call this a “new release” is to stretch the truth into absurdity.

(This really is one of the more bizarre releases in recent memory. As they ask in the review: who is this for? For what purpose is this released to theaters? Was it just that in January 2022 there was a gap in the schedule with covid still around and so the production studio took a flier on something with almost nothing to lose? It seems that way. Maybe the rare case in which something was released widely because of the pandemic instead of in spite of it.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NjGSWdmVVHM/

(Nonsensical. Just disparate things edited together with a pop music soundtrack. Exciting stuff.)

DirectorsSean McNamara – ( Known For: Soul Surfer; The Miracle Season; Spare Parts; 3 Ninjas: High Noon at Mega Mountain; Cats & Dogs 3: Paws Unite; Field of Lost Shoes; P.U.N.K.S.; Aliens Stole My Body; Treehouse Hostage; Mighty Oak; Cody the Robosapien; Space Warriors; The Legend of Galgameth; Race to Space; Future BMT: Raise Your Voice; BMT: The King’s Daughter; Bratz; Notes: Nominated for an Emmy for producing That’s So Raven. His filmography is bonkers. He directed things like the straight-to-video sequels to Baby Geniuses. No wonder this film looks the way it does.)

WritersBarry Berman – ( Known For: Benny & Joon; Future BMT: The Adventures of Pinocchio; BMT: The King’s Daughter; Notes: Strange career. I think it is probable that he wrote his version of the screenplay in the early 2000s when the book was first optioned, since his last feature film was made in 2000 previously.)

James Schamus – ( Known For: Hulk; Lust, Caution; Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; The Ice Storm; Eat Drink Man Woman; Ride with the Devil; Indignation; Taking Woodstock; The Wedding Banquet; Pushing Hands; BMT: The King’s Daughter; Notes: Nominated for three Oscars, two for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and one for producing Brokeback Mountain. Well known for his collaborations with Ang Lee.)

Vonda N. McIntyre – (BMT: The King’s Daughter; Notes: Odd one. She’s the writer of the book which won the Nebula Prize in 1997. Odd because she doesn’t have a TMDb profile at all, so it screws up all my algorithms. Get on that TMDb!)

ActorsPierce Brosnan – ( Known For: GoldenEye; The World Is Not Enough; Mars Attacks!; Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief; Mamma Mia!; The Mirror Crack’d; Cinderella; The World’s End; Tomorrow Never Dies; Die Another Day; Mrs. Doubtfire; The Foreigner; Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga; Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again; No Escape; The Thomas Crown Affair; The Ghost Writer; The Misfits; The Only Living Boy in New York; False Positive; Future BMT: Black Adam; Remember Me; Dante’s Peak; The November Man; After the Sunset; Laws of Attraction; I Don’t Know How She Does It; Love Affair; BMT: The King’s Daughter; The Lawnmower Man; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Supporting Actor for Mamma Mia! in 2009; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple for The World Is Not Enough in 2000; Notes: Y’all know Brosnan. Famously couldn’t play James Bond due to commitments to Remington Steel (and possibly odd contract conditions like not being able to wear a tuxedo outside of Remington Steel). But then they want back to him in the 90s when working on Goldeneye.)

Kaya Scodelario – ( Known For: Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile; The Maze Runner; Moon; Crawl; Maze Runner: The Death Cure; Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials; Don’t Make Me Go; Wuthering Heights; Now Is Good; Spike Island; Tiger House; The Truth About Emanuel; Shank; Twenty8k; Future BMT: Clash of the Titans; BMT: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales; Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City; The King’s Daughter; Notes: In 2014 when this was shot she would have been shooting Maze Runner and just coming off of Skins. So the casting makes a bit more sense in that context instead of her current status as the lead in a defunct Resident Evil franchise.)

William Hurt – ( Known For: Avengers: Endgame; Avengers: Infinity War; Robin Hood; The Incredible Hulk; Black Widow; Captain America: Civil War; Into the Wild; The Village; Body Heat; A History of Violence; A.I. Artificial Intelligence; The Good Shepherd; Dark City; Altered States; The Big Chill; Mr. Brooks; Eyewitness; Tuck Everlasting; Broadcast News; Syriana; Future BMT: Vantage Point; Michael; Trial by Jury; BMT: The King’s Daughter; The Host; Lost in Space; Winter’s Tale; Notes: Died in March. Was nominated for Best Actor three years in a row (1986 he won for Kiss of the Spider Woman, 1987 he was nominated for Children of a Lesser God, and 1988 he was nominated for Broadcast News). Also nominated for Supporting Actor in 2006 for A History of Violence. Nominated twice for Emmys as well.)

Budget/Gross – $40 million / Domestic: $1,758,963 (Worldwide: $2,204,327)

(My god. Again, why even bother to release this? Was it a clause in a contract or something. There is no way it makes more money than dumping it on streaming right? Or do studios get paid by theaters to play movies or something? It makes no sense.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 20% (13/65): A muddled mess that was clearly tinkered with in post-production to little avail, The King’s Daughter is a royal disappointment.

(Tinkered?! The first 30 minutes of this film are an editor’s nightmare. Clearly just 40 disparate 3 minute long scenes strung together to try and build up an otherwise non-existent story. That isn’t tinkering. That’s an abomination.)

Reviewer Highlight: The King’s Daughter might be more fascinating than the movie itself, which has its moments of campy delights but is eventually sunk by the meandering story, some over-the-top performances and underwhelming special effects. – Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times

Poster – The King’s Sklogger

(Look at Brosnan’s flowing locks! The poster certainly tells a story. Just not one I want to look at. I guess I like the gold font on the blue background. C+.)

Tagline(s) – A King. His Daughter. A Hidden World. (C-)

(This tagline is telling us things already explained by the title of the movie. It’s got the structure of a tagline, but somehow really doesn’t work.)

Keyword(s) – past

Top 10: The Shawshank Redemption (1994), Forrest Gump (1994), The Dark Knight Rises (2012), Django Unchained (2012), Gladiator (2000), Inglourious Basterds (2009), Saving Private Ryan (1998), Schindler’s List (1993), The Prestige (2006), Shutter Island (2010)

Future BMT: 88.7 BloodRayne (2005), 73.0 The Unborn (2009), 70.5 Texas Chainsaw (2013), 70.2 Black Christmas (2006), 67.4 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III (1993), 66.0 The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death (2014), 64.6 The Final Destination (2009), 62.1 The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008), 59.8 Exorcist: The Beginning (2004), 56.8 Robin Hood (2018), 55.1 Annabelle (2014), 54.9 The Quiet Ones (2014), 54.5 Snow Dogs (2002), 53.8 Spy Hard (1996), 53.2 Porky’s Revenge (1985), 52.4 2016: Obama’s America (2012), 52.1 Radhe Shyam (2022), 51.6 Porky’s II: The Next Day (1983), 50.3 Halloween Kills (2021), 50.2 The Last Legion (2007)

BMT: Epic Movie (2007), Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987), The Fog (2005), Movie 43 (2013), Super Mario Bros. (1993), Glitter (2001), Holmes & Watson (2018), The Master of Disguise (2002), The Legend of Hercules (2014), Grease 2 (1982), The Bye Bye Man (2017), Jonah Hex (2010), Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991), Wild Wild West (1999), Highlander: The Final Dimension (1994), The Ridiculous 6 (2015), Highlander: Endgame (2000), Black Knight (2001), Chernobyl Diaries (2012), A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989), Cool World (1992), The Musketeer (2001), An American Haunting (2005), Apollo 18 (2011), Ishtar (1987), The Curse of La Llorona (2019), Hellraiser: Bloodline (1996), Pinocchio (2002), The Nun (2018), Bolero (1984), Bones (2001), Shanghai Surprise (1986), Return to the Blue Lagoon (1991), House of Wax (2005), Season of the Witch (2011), The Tuxedo (2002), Mannequin: On the Move (1991), Pompeii (2014), Ghost Ship (2002), Assassin’s Creed (2016), The Scarlet Letter (1995), Dolittle (2020), Timeline (2003), The Quest (1996), X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019), Wagons East (1994), The Three Musketeers (2011), Diana (2013), Ben-Hur (2016), Rambo III (1988), Around the World in 80 Days (2004), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning (2006), The Blue Lagoon (1980), Cutthroat Island (1995), Texas Rangers (2001), The King’s Daughter (2022), Sucker Punch (2011), Captain Corelli’s Mandolin (2001), Jobs (2013), Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights (2004), Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981), Original Sin (2001), Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (2013), American Outlaws (2001), Universal Soldier (1992), Winter’s Tale (2014), Harlem Nights (1989), I Dreamed of Africa (2000), Pearl Harbor (2001), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003), The Identical (2014), The Chamber (1996), The Marrying Man (1991), Wild Bill (1995), In Love and War (1996), Sleepaway Camp (1983), Gods and Generals (2003), The Lone Ranger (2013), X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009), 1492: Conquest of Paradise (1992), Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017), Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985), Halloween II (1981), September Dawn (2007), Young Guns II (1990), Oscar (1991), Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011), Evening (2007), The 13th Warrior (1999), White Comanche (1968), Gangster Squad (2013), Now and Then (1995), A Dog’s Purpose (2017)

Best Options (year2022): 52.1 Radhe Shyam (2022), 34.2 The King’s Daughter (2022), 20.6 Amsterdam (2022), 7.3 Where the Crawdads Sing (2022)

(There really wasn’t much to choose from here. I promise you, we would have never watched this film if not for the fact that it was the only bad film released in 2022 set in the past.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 17) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Kaya Scodelario is No. 2 billed in The King’s Daughter and No. 1 billed in Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City, which also stars Neal McDonough (No. 7 billed) who is in Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li (No. 3 billed) which also stars Chris Klein (No. 2 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 2 billed) => (2 + 1) + (7 + 3) + (2 + 2) = 17. If we were to watch Laws of Attraction, and Next we can get the HoE Number down to 14.

Notes – Filmed in 2014, it remained unreleased until 2022.

The film was partly filmed in the Palace of Versailles, which included a huge dance sequence filmed inside the Hall of Mirrors. They had to film it at night, when the tourists weren’t around, and struggled to finish it up by 5:30 a.m.

Filming wrapped in May 2014 and a release date was set for April 2015. However a series of events starting with the studios lack of enthusiasm with the cut they were originally presented with followed by Fan Bingbing getting into trouble with the Chinese authorities for non payment of taxes had impeded this film’s release. As the film featured a then major star in Chinese cinema and Chinese investors stumped up 50% of the budget, her income tax issues and the negative publicity in China effectively killed her career there and with it any chance of a lucrative Chinese release. With Pierce Brosnan as the only international star in the cast and without a major studio to back the release campaign the film sat on the shelf for nearly eight years.

Benjamin Walker (Yves De La Croix) is married to Kaya Scodelario (Marie-Josephe D’Alember).

The final film of his to be released while William Hurt was alive, however, it was far from the final film he shot as it was shot 8 years prior to its release and Hurt’s death.

The second time Julie Andrews narrated a film, as she narrated Enchanted (2007).

The 1997 source novel by Vonda N. McIntyre: ”The Moon & the Sun”, was awarded the Nebula Award for Best Sci-fi Novel, besting the George R.R. Martin novel which would generate the Game of Thrones (2011) series.

The film rights for the source Vonda N. McIntyre novel ”The Moon & the Sun” were purchased in 1999 by Jim Henson Productions, with Broadway director Christopher Renshaw was announced as making his cinematic debut. Henson associate Bill Mechanic reportedly brought the project with him to Disney who signed Mechanic as a producer in 2001 and a 2002 start date with Natalie Portman as star was announced, but did not eventuate.