Scare Me

Tomorrow is October 1st, you know what that means? Halloween! All-day, every day! Go buy that 12ft tall skeleton from Home Depot and settle in with your own bag of Halloween candy because it’s officially Spooky Season. More importantly, this time of year wouldn’t be complete without a variety of appropriately-themed movies. The beauty of Halloween movies is there’s something for everyone, too. From family-friendly favorites like Hocus Pocus and Halloweentown to seasonal staples like Scream or (obviously) Halloween, everyone can get in on the celebration. For fans of the latter, Shudder is the perfect place to peruse a variety of thrilling horror movies. And what better way to kick off October than with their brand new release, Scare Me. Though it sometimes suffers from its 104-minute runtime, Scare Me is an incredibly fun and clever debut feature from actor-writer-director, Josh Ruben.

Enola Holmes

As a massive fan of Fleabag -- and everything involving Phoebe Waller-Bridge, to be completely honest -- I was very excited to see what Harry Bradbeer’s plans would be with Netflix’s latest outing, Enola Holmes. Not to mention, with Stranger Things' Millie Bobby Brown starring as the charismatic titular character, I had high hopes that this movie would be pure, joyous fun. Thankfully, it was exactly what I was hoping for. With a spunky Millie Bobby Brown leading the way, and with fantastic direction from Harry Bradbeer, Enola Holmes is an absolute delight. 

Bill & Ted Face the Music

I have a soft spot in my heart for Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. It’s a movie that’s so joyously absurd, you can’t help but feel pure happiness while watching it. And, honestly, in this already very chaotic period of time, a little joyful absurdity feels much-needed. The third film is one that’s been in the works for a while, with the second installment of this time-traveling trilogy being released back in 1991. Now, the long-awaited third film is finally out, and the timing couldn’t be more perfect. With Galaxy Quest Director Dean Parisot at the helm and the previous two film’s screenwriters, Ed Solomon and Chris Matheson, returning, Bill & Ted Face the Music is a most excellent send-off for the Wyld Stallyns. Led by charismatic performances and a script that relishes in the goofy humor that made the first film such a hit, Face the Music is the wholesome dose of pure joy we need right now. 

Yes, God, Yes

2020 has been... something. I can't find the right word for it, actually. It's been a year filled to the brim with life-changing events, and for me, I've occasionally found myself frantically searching for some form of stability. Sometimes, that moment of calm comes in the form of a long walk outside with my dogs or reading a book, but mostly it comes in the form of entertainment. If there's one thing that's kept my mind busy during quarantine, it's a delightful combination of television, video games, and movies. And even though movie theaters remain shut down for the latter (with no reopening date yet in sight... and probably not for a while), I'm unbelievably happy that a number of new releases have found homes and delighted audiences anyway. This is something that I hope continues with Karen Maine's debut feature, Yes, God, Yes, which provided me with a wholesome dose of genuine, funny storytelling. Spearheaded by an exceptionally nuanced performance from Natalia Dyer, Maine's debut feature film is authentic storytelling at its best, capturing an important and complex coming-of-age milestone with hilarity and sincerity. 

How To Be Alone (SXSW) - #52FilmsByWomen

There are so many things that I love about going to SXSW. The panels, interactive activities, movies (obviously), food trucks… man, I really love food trucks. It’s a festival that’s filled with so many new and different things to explore. You could spend all day roaming through the convention center and up and down Sixth Street and never get bored. In comparison to Sundance, I’ve found the festival to be more laid back, which I actually really enjoy. I love being able to go from a major premiere, like Us this year, to a smaller independent film and feel lively and infectious energy that radiates in each one.  

Us - SXSW 2019

Writer-Director-Producer Jordan Peele proved to the world in 2017 that he has the rare and magnificent ability to tackle genres on opposite ends of the spectrum. He ditched his sketch comedy past with Key and Peele and dipped his toes into the horror genre. His debut feature, Get Out, was so highly praised that it went on to win an Academy Award for Peele’s original script. He also managed to accomplish something that I’ve rarely seen happen in the film community – people from all over the world were collectively excited for his next feature. I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen a group of people, discounting the Marvel, DC, and Star Wars fan bases, buzzing about what he could possibly be cooking up next. He brings movie lovers of all kinds together, and It’s a miraculous thing to watch unfold. 

You Were Never Really Here - #52FilmsByWomen

As many in the film community (especially Film Twitter) have already stated, the Oscars were weird this year. It all started with their addition of the Popular Film category which was immediately scrapped after intense public backlash, then making the decision to go host-less, and then deciding to show VERY important awards on commercial breaks which, once again, was faced with negativity from the public AND Academy members, prompting them to quickly put them back in the show. The whole award season felt exhausting, and that’s coming from someone who absolutely adores award shows. The show itself felt underwhelming, with plenty of awards being given to movies that many felt didn’t deserve them. BUT, amidst the sea of confusion, there was a faint glimmer of light. This year had shown a record-breaking 15 wins for women in film! From Hannah Beachler being the first African-American woman to win for her production design on Black Panther to Domee Shi and Becky Neiman-Cobb winning for their work on the adorable Pixar animated short Bao, the Oscars are slowly making progress. Emphasis on: slowly. These records are exciting to see, but we still have a long way to go. For example, 2018 saw many female directors releasing films that were well-deserving of Oscar nominations. But, unfortunately, in the Oscars' 91 years, still only 5 women have ever been nominated for Best Director. So, this week’s 52 Film’s by Women entry is for a woman who I would have loved to see in the Best Director category this year: Lynne Ramsay and her film You Were Never Really Here

Blockers - #52FilmsByWomen

I was in definite need of a pick-me-up after these last couple of weeks. As someone that struggles with seasonal depression, the constant buildup of snow and ice combined with intense negative temperatures really started to bring me down. It’s difficult to want to do anything when you’re stuck in weather like that, so I found myself curling up and perusing through streaming services. There’s always a wide array of things to choose from, but when I’m feeling down I always find myself re-watching personal favorites that I can rely on. One movie in particular that I ADORE and always manages to lift my spirits is Kay Cannon’s Blockers, which you can watch right now on HBO! It warmed my heart right up when it was -50 degrees outside, and I’m SURE it’ll have the same effect on you. 

Destroyer - #52FilmsByWomen

Nicole Kidman has been, and always will be, one of my favorite actors. She’s constantly testing her limits and defying audience expectations by showing just how far she’s willing to go when it comes to a role. In Destroyer, she plays a reckless, angry, alcoholic detective with a callous attitude alike to that of a male in a similar role – which is what makes this film stand out. In an interview with The Verge, director Karyn Kusama stated, “to me, the story came alive not because she’s a woman in a man’s role, but because she’s a woman in a very unusual woman’s role. It excites me that she gets under people’s skin, that she rankles people, because we need that.” I couldn’t agree more. 

The Kindergarten Teacher - #52FilmsByWomen

I thought about a lot of things while watching The Kindergarten Teacher. One being; “wow… I can't believe I actually feel sympathy towards this woman,” and the second being; “how in the WORLD has Maggie Gyllenhaal never won an Oscar?” The latter is something I could rattle on for hours about in regards to both of the Gyllenhaal siblings (IT’S CRIMINAL, RIGHT?), but I’ll save that rant for another day.  

If Beale Street Could Talk


Barry Jenkins is a filmmaker with a compassionate eye. He doesn’t just tell a story, he immerses you with the utmost care into a delicate tale that requires love and patience from its audience. You feel every emotion that befalls the characters as the camera occasionally, and with grace, focuses on their face and takes a brief moment to allow the viewer to put themselves in their shoes. It's a powerful moment of intimacy that’s guaranteed to leave an impression. You fall in love with the poetic atmosphere, the music, the characters… it's a beautiful experience. His previous Oscar-winning movie Moonlight was a true testament to the tones that he values in his narratives and his third feature-length film, If Beale Street Could Talk, is a follow-up that sweeps you off your feet while simultaneously breaking your heart in an eloquent adaptation of James Baldwin’s acclaimed novel. 

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

“That person who helps others simply because it should or must be done, and because it is the right thing to do, is indeed without a doubt, a real superhero.” This quote, featured at the end of this film from the late, great Stan Lee, perfectly encompasses the beautiful message within Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse… 

Anyone can wear the mask.