Bird Box: A Glass Half Full Review

Bittermin! Bittermin! Bittermin!

                What? Why are you yelling? And why do you have a blindfold on?

lemon blindfold3

Because we’re talking about the 2018 Netflix Original Birdbox!

                You mean the one starring Sandra Bullock of Miss Congeniality fame?

That’s the one! I love that movie, a one on the pain scale.

                But what about Bird Box?

I’m getting there. I guess I’ll start by saying it isn’t a one, but it also isn’t the tearjerker I think people might have made it out to be.

Yeah, I agree, while it does flex some likeable characters, some characters are a little stale and others have their likeability drained by some real stupid decisions. At times this movie and the decisions of the characters make sense because of the heavy focus on paranoia and distrust in the films plot but other times decisions are bad enough to make a viewer think “Well, that doesn’t really make sense logically at all”.

I don’t know, I think that the screenwriter (Eric Heisserer) did a good job of balancing characters out and making them be in a sort of grey area of right and wrong. Their motivations seemed logical for the most part if not all the time. They were put in tough situations and just had to roll the dice.

                You know, you’re right. I think that my main gripe really is with the way one specific event in the film took place.

There is a scene in the movie where all I felt was frustration brought upon by confusion that really had me focused on why something was happening instead of focusing on how worried I was about the characters.

                Exactly. You know exactly what I’m talking about and I think that the weight of that scene could’ve really had a bigger impacted if it were just a little more logically sound.

Because there were moments in the film like this one where tragedy had a feeling of being unpreventable and in this one pivotal scene that didn’t really come across. I just couldn’t help but feel like it was completely unavoidable and the set-up for it was borderline non-sensical.

                So, is it even sad with that in mind?

Yes! This isn’t t take away from the tragedy in parts of the film. Like I said, there are moments in this film that have you on the edge of your seat and feeling anxious and concerned for the safety of the characters. There are characters in this movie that you do no want to die but because there is a big destructive force on the loose it really isn’t a spoiler to say some of them do not make it.

                Hmm, looking at the pain chart, what would you rank it specifically?

I can’t see the chart.

                Take the blindfold off!

Fine! I give Bird Box…a 5. I think that some moments pull at the heart strings, but I’d save the Kleenex for a runny nose.

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The Deadman Rises Again…And Again

The Deadman. The Phenom. The American Badass. While most people are quick to scoff at the validity of The Undertaker’s history, there is science to back up some of The Undertaker’s astonishing feats throughout his career with World Wrestling Entertainment (Formerly known as World Wrestling Federation). One of those feats, performed not only once, but an incredible variety of times was that of his own resurrection from the dead. Again, save your dismissal for whoever doubts you after you’ve begun to believe in the magic of Ol’ Mark Calaway. Because even though it might just be smoke and mirrors, there are some explanations grounded in reality that will have you saying, “It’s still real to me, damnit!”

  • Lighting Struck the Same Place Multiple Times

Lightning struck his grave. In the 1940’s the USSR conducted experiments using electric currents on a decapitated dog to animate the animal. Experiments were a success and scientist found that the head did not only animate but seemed to respond to stimuli around it. Because the Undertaker was buried alive, there was no distinguishable or serious damage done to his body. Now, with the information gathered by USSR scientist, it makes it entirely possible that the grave of the Undertaker was struck by lightning. This would, in turn run currents strong enough through his dead body to revive the Deadman who would after this, be not so dead. Keeping also in mind that cold dirt would also help keep his deceased body intact. And Speaking of the cold…

  • Cryogenic Freezing Followed by Time Travel

The Undertaker, as great as he is, can only get lucky with lightning so many times. However, there is more than one way to bring someone back to life. Advances in technology have made it possible for someone (Like Paul Bearer) to have the body of a loved one cryogenically frozen with the hopes that advances in technology in medicine will be made that will allow for the deceased to be brought back to life in the future. With Undertaker’s most recent death being in 2010 at the hands of Kane (Who may or may not have had him cryogenically frozen in a fit of guilt or eagerness to reunite as The Brothers of Destruction), it is very possible that cryogenic freezing was an option at the time. So, theoretically what happened was that the Undertaker was frozen and then revived at some point in the future where the wealthy can also own time machines. Following the revival of the Undertaker (who would be wealthy enough to own a time machine) would use said time machine to return in time and once again step foot in a WWE ring again a short while after his burial in 2010. And I know what you’re thinking “But how can cryogenic freezing work if you’ve also been set on fire like The Undertaker was (Also at the hands of Kane) in 1998? This one is a little harder to explain but it isn’t impossible, especially when you know the right people. Enter reason number 3.

  • Papa Shango – The Voodoo Priest

For centuries, there has been folklore, mythologies and urban legends surrounding voodoo magic. When talking specifically of Haitian voodoo, there has been stories told of the zombification and resurrection of people through voodoo magic. This is interesting because when the Undertaker first perished in 1994, there was a voodoo priest on the WWE (then WWF) roster. Enter Papa Shango. It is possible that Paul Bearer, famous manager of the Undertaker made a deal with Papa Shango in order for him to bring the Undertaker back from the dead. It could be that Papa Shango revived The Undertaker and, in the process, used so much of his magic up that he had to leave Voodoo behind. This claim holds some weight considering that in the late 90’s, after The Undertakers Revival, Papa Shango would go on to become a pimp and founder of the world-famous Ho Train.

So, there it is. Next time your friends try to laugh in your face about the credibility of World Wrestling Entertainment you can school them by going Old School (That is the name of a signature move of The Undertaker) and body slam them with facts and history.

If you want to know more about USSR experiments on a decapitated head, go here: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-5042285/Chilling-video-shows-scientists-bringing-dead-dog-life.html

If you want to know more about Cryogenic freezing, go here: https://www.wired.com/2014/07/revive-the-dead/

If you want to know more about Haitian Voodoo, go here: https://www.ranker.com/list/history-and-stories-from-haitian-zombie-voodoo-mythology/christopher-myers

Seoul Station

To begin, there must be a disclaimer. This is, at the time of writing, the first Bitter Lemons review to go up on Broadstew. These articles are intended primarily to inform a viewer/reader how sad the movie they are about to watch or plan to watch will be. This is a zombie movie. And I really am not sure what zombie movies you are watching if you go into zombie films with anything but a feeling of cynicism and pessimism weighing heavily on your soul.

I agree with you and I’ll take it from here Bitter Lemon. After all, it’s my face on the pain chart. But yes, zombie movies are like military movies in that the only way everybody makes it out alive is a through a “it was all a dream” segment.

Which to be honest, is worse than having everyone die.

That’s debatable, but let’s get to the movie.

Seoul Station is a 2016 South Korean animated film written and directed by Yeon Sang-ho. It is a pre-quel to the film Train to Busan, which releases a year earlier and is also written by Yeon Sang-ho. But more on Train to Busan in another article.

Anyways, Seoul Station is one of those movies that grabs you by the seed’s twists slowly but with enough pressure to make sure that you’re in agony. It does a good job of establishing pre-zombie outbreak that every character’s life is terrible, and so from the get-go, you’re not going to have anything that resembles a smile on your face.

I agree, and like you said, as the movie progresses, Yeon Sang-ho does an incredible job of keeping a consistent tone and bleakness to the film.  I think it’s effective and it also works well to create a feeling of sympathy for the characters.

That’s right! I found myself really rooting for the characters and when in their moments of turmoil, I really felt well, sad. And that made what happened to and undisclosed amount of them at the end of the film hard to swallow [how’s that for spoiler free?]

I will say though, that sometimes-giving characters those moments of happiness can work to make the final result more gut-wrenching if it doesn’t pan out the way you hope it will as you watch the movie.

Also, if everything is already wrong in their lives, it kind of makes you think about how much worse off they are being zombies you know?

I get that. So, likeable characters, shitty circumstances, a bleak tone and very limited moments of happiness throughout, so much so that you almost find it hard to believe there will be a light at the end of the tunnel; how much pain do you feel after having watched this film? Show me on the pain chart.

With all of that in mind, I give this movie a 5 on the pain chart and think that most people can watch without a box of Kleenex handy.

Train to Busan: Glass Half Full Review

Train to Busan (2016) is a South Korean zombie film from director Yeon Sang-Ho. As stated in an earlier Bitter Lemons review (See Seoul Station), there is always a very present possibility of disaster when it comes to zombie films.

They’re all going to die aren’t they!?

                Relax! But yes, they are characters in a zombie film, so it isn’t looking very good from the get-go.

Well then, maybe knowing what to expect will make this a little easier to swallow if anything goes sideways…Is what I said before watching this but boy was I WRONG.

                Yeah, if you’re setting yourself up to be let down on but only expecting the run of the mill zombie film you are in for quite a gut-wrenching surprise with Train to Busan. The film is really carried by incredible performances all around.

Everyone in this movie (except for the one person that manages to worse than the zombies) is so likeable that almost every character that was introduced was one I was rooting for! And even though starting the movie I was almost duped into thinking that the main character Seok-woo is someone I shouldn’t like because he isn’t too great of a dad. But then, through the actor’s performance I am left without a hesitation that what he wants is to protect his daughter whom he loves very much.

That’s right, and it’s not just him that has motivations in the same vein. There is a theme of family and self-sacrifice for loved ones throughout the entire film. So much so that every inevitable death in the film has a powerful meaning behind it that either progresses the story or completes a character arc and reveals a character’s inner truth.

Meaningful is a good word to use. Another one I’d choose is impactful because every time one of those moments would come, I’d feel like I was just punched in the gut.  Especially because another theme I saw was redemption.  Sang-hwa throughout the movie was putting himself in positions to do anything to save his pregnant wife and then later would also do his best to save any of the group of survivors he was with. Later he almost passes that torch over to Seok-woo who even if a little reluctant, carries it all the way through to the film’s heartbreaking but beautiful ending. And now I think I’m going to go cry in a dark room.

                Careful with spoilers! But yeah, you’re right. Train to Busan is an amazing film that focuses on its characters and although the zombies are always present, it never feels like they are the focal point of the film which at times can hurt a film. Because of this, it sets up a very tough to swallow cocktail of very loveable characters in a genre where 99.9% percent of characters are doomed from the second the opening credits starts to roll.

I hate zombie movies.

Really?

Yeah, but I love Train to Busan. But I also hate it.

                Well, how about you tell me how much it hurts on the pain chart.

It’s a 7! Keep a pair of sunglasses handy if you want to keep it cool around your friends and not let them know you’re tearing up.

Soup’s Up

Welcome to Broadstew.com!

This website is going to serve as a collection of opinion pieces revolving around just about everything I watch, read or write on a daily basis. At the time of writing this the main attractions on this website are Glass Half Full Reviews, a type of film review that I hope will stay away from the toxicity of online bash reviews which seem to be in right now. A long with that, I will be uploading pieces of personal fiction that will also be uploaded. And finally, Based on A “True” Story which will make a case for skeptics and believers alike and will tackle things that claim to be true but not be so.