The Strangers: Prey at Night Review

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The Strangers: Prey at Night is the 2018 sequel to the original The Strangers movie released in 2008.  This time out, the trio of masked killers sets their targets on a family of four in an isolated trailer park.  What ensues is a long night of terror and bloody murder, because “why not?” The Strangers: Prey at Night takes everything that was good about the original movie and throws it out.  This time out, the movie has everyone doing the absolute dumbest things possible in order to get themselves killed and the killers are elevated to be essentially a supernatural presence at times before they’re eventually dumbed down as well.

SPOILERS

Multiple times during this movie I found myself asking “why would anyone do that?”  Where do I even begin?  The family travels to a remote trailer park owned by their aunt and uncle who we see brutally murdered in the opening scenes of the movie.  The strangers remain after killing the couple as they hear a voicemail letting them know that they’ll have new victims arriving.  So the family shows up and doesn’t find uncle or aunt anywhere, just a note saying to take your room and they’ll see them the next day.  At dinner someone makes a comment that upsets the teenage daughter, who promptly leaves the trailer to go off alone into the night to sulk, mom and dad send her older brother to go and retrieve her.  The two kids end up discovering their aunt and uncles corpses and rush back to their parents to let them know what happened.  Instead of calling the police right there, the father, asking “is this some sort of joke?” has the son lead him to the bodies to verify.  I guess this is a family that likes to joke about finding the murdered corpses of their family members often?

With mom and daughter alone back at the trailer one of the masked killers sets after them armed with a knife.  There’s one moment where shes standing in the kitchen facing both of them and the two women stand there and stare at her, like hit her with a chair or something.  The killer chases the two women who lock themselves in the bathroom where the mother helps her daughter escape through the hatch in the ceiling to her safety.  While the daughter is safe on the roof reaching down for her mother the killer is breaking through the door.  Mom makes no attempt to try and climb out with her daughter.  The killer gets through the door and enters the bathroom, embracing the mom in a hug from the back before she stabs and kills her.  Mom never even turned to face the killer for some reason, she essentially accepted death as soon as her daughter got out, does she not have survival instincts?

The dad and son after verifying that it wasn’t a prank head back to the trailer and find mom dead and daughter missing.  What do they do now?  Obviously hop in the car and drive around the area really fast yelling the daughters name out of the window.  They crash and dad is pinned in the wreckage while son escapes with a loaded gun to find his sister.  The sister is being chased by the male killer through a woods area where she hides from him among a series of large cement tubes.  In the tube shes in, one out of a lot of other tubes, another of the masked killers jumps out from the dark to scare her.  Was this killer hiding in that tube all night waiting for that moment?  Did they plan to guide her to that exact tube for that scare?  I imagine the killers were using walkies and great effort to coordinate this and I find it hilarious.

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Sister escapes and runs into brother as they’re chased by a killer.  Brother remembers that he has a loaded gun on him and aims it at the killer, the same one that killed his mom mind you, before turning and running away for some reason.  They end up abandoning it later of course, and he ends up separated from his sister.  While running the sister ends up on a road where a cop happens to arrive to help her.  They’re in the middle of the road and there’s really no cover for anyone to sneak up on them, yet the cop ends up getting killed as hes speaking to the girl because I guess the killer was invisible when she walked right up behind him.  Why are cops always useless in horror movies?  After this the roles essentially switch and the killers become as dumb as possible for some reason.

Sister grabs the shotgun from the cops car and runs off into the woods pursued by the killer.  The killer chasing armed with a knife while the girl still has the shotgun.  At some point the daughter realizes this and shoots her pursuer mid mass before finishing her off with another shot.  She was already dying but sure, waste your last bullet.  Back with the brother, hes being pursued though a store when he grabs a golf club to defend himself.  Eventually hes confronted by another killer armed with just a knife again, and they have a stare off before he realizes he has the upper hand.  He manages to kill this stranger as well before hes attacked and injured by the last remaining stranger who leaves him for dead.

 

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This is where things get really ridiculous.  The sister heads back to the police car in an attempt to escape when the remaining killer rams into her with his indestructible truck.  He rams her several times, rendering the officers SUV useless except his last ram left him stuck to the SUV unable to move.  The daughter notices that his truck is leaking gas heavily and throws her lighter into it causing the truck to explode.  She hobbles away, seemingly safe before, surprise the killer survived his truck exploding! No really, he survived.  Not only did he survive, the truck is still fully operational whilst on fire.  The killer pursues her before cornering her and attempting to finish her off with his ax instead of just running her over.  He keels over and its revealed that he was impaled by a shard of glass.  The explosion was just a minor annoyance, its the glass that did him in. The daughter is rescued by a passing family but the movie has one last jump scare as the badly scarred stranger makes one last attempt at her life before he collapses dead in the street.

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The Strangers: Prey at Night was dumb.  It takes a believable premise like the first film and trashes it.  The killers went from being unsettling and spooky to hokey caricatures of themselves.  The acting was average but the bad writing drags everything down.  The protagonists aren’t likable, they have no development, they aren’t even memorable.  This film really isn’t worth watching unless you intend to laugh at the absurd moments in it.  The soundtrack was good though.

3/10

-Andre

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The Thing (1982)

 

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Spoilers

In 1982 at the remote US Outpost 31 in Antarctica, twelve men stationed at the base are suddenly accosted by two men in a helicopter from a nearby Norwegian base.  The two Norwegian men attempt to shoot a dog as they chase it over the frozen valley towards the American camp.  In the ensuing confusion, the two men are killed, leaving the American team puzzled and in need of answers.  They fly to the Norwegian base and discover a massacre, everyone’s either dead or missing, the base is on fire, and they find the remains of a strange creature burned outside.  What follows is a tale of gripping paranoia and cosmic horror that’s sure to entertain.

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They don’t make horror like this anymore.  For starters the tone, its dark and hopeless.  These men are trapped, there is no help coming for them no matter how much they radio for it.  Outside they’ve got temperatures hitting in excess of fifty below.  While inside they have primal fear driven by a creature they can barely comprehend.  A creature that hides within the bodies of their friends, men they’ve known for years.  This causes intense paranoia and mistrust, making the men as much of a danger to each other as the thing is to them.  The thing knows this, and uses this to its advantage as it tries to keep suspicion off of itself, pushing the humans to suspect each other instead.Garry_assures_the_men_of_his_innocence_-_The_Thing_(1982)

This dark and hopeless tone is amplified by the use of music.  From the beginning of the opening scene you’re hit with this powerful haunting score with a thumping bass note that sounds almost like a human heartbeat, perhaps foreshadowing whats to come.  There isn’t a lot of music used in the movie, but when it is used it helps to enhance the tension present.

One of my favorite things about his movie is the practical effects used.  There’s nothing CGI, everything was built ranging from puppetry to stop motion.  The creature designs are amazing.  Take the Norris-Thing for instance, this guy was assimilated by the thing and has a heart attack.  One of the doctors in the group attempts to revive him using a defibrillator.  The thing, unfamiliar with the concept of a defibrillator perceives the shock as an attack and fights back, by opening up Norris’s chest revealing a large mouth that rips off the doctors arms.  This is just one of many amazing designs used by the production to create this story. Vlcsnap-2011-12-30-07h27m52s226

The characterization is another standout for this movie.  Whereas with horror movies of the modern era, you wind up with cheap jump scares, writing that makes no sense, or characters that make stupid decisions just to move the plot.  With The Thing there’s really one jump scare, in the aforementioned part about Norris and his chest mouth.  The characters are pretty smart in this.  They try hard to do everything they can to survive the situation they’re placed in.  There’s only one instance where you could claim that  someone did something dumb and that’s when this guy runs off into the night after someone that he suspects is the thing.  This goes completely against character for this individual as earlier on he was in a position where he had multiple armed men with him yet he refused to confront what he suspected was the thing behind a closed door, wanting to let it freeze to death instead.  The sudden change in character or “stupidity” can be explained by the common fan speculation that the guy didn’t care about running off alone because he was actually the thing by that point.

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The Thing is a timeless movie that only gets better with age.  It is a film that was panned by critics during its initial release, but in the years following has gained the respect that it deserves.  I consider this movie to be the greatest horror movie of all time.  It has everything I want in a horror movie, from the great monster, the effects, the characters and the setting.

10/10

-Andre

Top New Artist of 2017

Here are Billboards year end charts:

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  1. Lil Uzi Vert

 

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2. Khalid

 

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3. Niall Horan

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4. Kodak Black

 

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5. 21 Savage

 

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6. James Arthur

 

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7. Cardi B

 

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8. XXXTentacion

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9. Harry Styles

 

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10. Brett Young

Check out our catalog at http://fountaindale.org or give us a call at 630-759-2102 and see what albums of these artist albums are available or place a hold.

-DR

Step by Step How to on LP to CD Transfer

Growing up for many of us, our first type of exposure to music came either via the radio or from our own or our parent’s record player!!  For a long time there seemed to be a slow decline of LPs as cassettes, CDs, and, eventually, MP3s become more predominate.  It looked like the death of vinyl was imminent.    However, in the mid 2000’s something incredible happened…vinyl was coming back in a BIG way and has seen no slow down or stopping since!  There are many reasons attributed to this but the one that seems to be unanimous among the young and young-at-heart is the SOUND.  Vinyl just has a richness that MP3 and CDs lack.  With that, newbies started purchasing them while other people started dusting off their old collections and/or parent’s collections and started giving them a spin.  However, as it was now as it was then, vinyl is not the most mobile of mediums BUT with today’s technology converting vinyl has never been easier!!  Fountaindale’s own Studio 300 has the means and way for anyone to convert your vinyl to CD to be able to listen to that vinyl quality and vinyl sound…in your car!  Below are the steps needed and necessary to navigate this:

 

1.  Insert blank CD-R or CD-RW into CD recorder.  Then place album on turntable.

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2.  Turn the turntable on, choose 33 rpm, and hit start.

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3.  Press record on the CD recorder. Then drop the needle on the album.

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4.  Press play to start the recording process. The recorder will automatically separate the tracks when it detects a pause.  When the first side of the album is done recording, press the pause button on the recorder.

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5.  Turn the album over and drop the needle. Hit the pause button to continue the recording process.


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6.  When the second side is recorded, press stop, then press finalize. When it asks FINALIZE OK?, push ENTER on the MULTI DIAL knob.

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7.  Once finalized you’ll be able to listen to the disc on any CD player.

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With that you are all set and ready to go, go, go!!

-Brian S

What I’m Diggin…

What I’m Diggin is a quick portion of the XmeetsY blog that just lets our readers know what I am into for that week and what we have to offer at the library on that specific topic. I recently picked up “The Rescuers Down Under” on Blu-Ray. Although I am probably to old for Disney movies, this was one of my favorites as a kid and still is. I bring that up to lead into what I am diggin this week. There is a particular song in “The Rescuers Down Under” that I liked as a kid. I actually forgot about it until recently when I  re-watched the movie on Blu-Ray. There is a part of the movie where Wilbur the albatross is dancing to a song in an airplane hanger, the bird has some moves. Let me clear something up really quick for those of you who might not be familiar with the movie. Wilbur is an albatross who is given the task of flying two RAS agents, who are mice, to Australia to help a young boy who has been kid napped. Wilbur is voiced by the late and great John Candy, which makes the scene so much better. I put the video below so you can first see Wilbur singing the song, it’s pretty funny.

 

The song that he is singing in the first one minute of the clip is called “Black Slacks” and is sung by the late 1950s band Joe Bennett and The Sparkletones. That song is what I’ve been diggin, I’ve recently re-discovered a love for Rockabilly music. I did a little searching and found out that the library actually has a CD with that particular song on it, its on a greatest hits album mixed with a few other well known Rockabilly musicians.   That particular CD can be found in our library’s catalog here.  There’s so many different Rockabilly bands out there. Here’s a few to start out with that I found that we have at our library: Rockabilly Riot, Brian Setzer Orchestra, Elvis Presley and the Original Rock ‘n’ Roll Kings, and Stray Cats.

-J-

The Top 5 Albums by The Beach Boys

 

With today being the first day of summer and acclaimed musical genius, Brian Wilson’s 70th Birthday , what a more appropriate time to take a look at Wilson’s famous band’s top 5 albums.  Wilson, his brothers Dennis and Carl, Cousin Mike Love, and school friend Al Jardine formed The Beach Boys over 50 years ago and in doing so created timeless music filled with fun, sun, girls, and surf.   The wave they created shows no sign of waning, in fact just this year, The Beach Boys have reunited for their 50th Anniversary to sold-out shows and critical acclaim.   The band’s music has provided a cultural bedrock and has left such an indelible mark that they are known as and simply referred to as “America’s Band”.  Here is a list of their top 5 albums:

 

 

1.  “Endless Summer” (1974)

This greatest hits album sparked the resurgence of The Beach Boys popularity and helped turn them from has-beens to legends.  A #1 album in 1974, it contains all their greatest hits (at the time) and the songs they are best known for.

Key Tracks:  “California Girls”, “Good Vibrations”, “Surfin’ USA”

 

2. “Pet Sounds”  (1966)

This legendary album is found on many “Greatest Albums of All Time” lists, usually in the #1 or #2 spot.  This album showed that the band was more than just a surf group but were actually artists on the level of The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.

Key Tracks:  “Wouldn’t It Be Nice”, “God Only Knows”, “Sloop John B”

 

3.  “Sunflower”   (1970)

While Pet Sounds is considered Brian Wilson’s masterpiece, this album is considered the band’s masterpiece.  With Brian retreating from the band, music industry, and the world at the time; this album shows the band picking up the slack left by the oldest Wilson.  This album showed that the other Boys could definitely make amazing music in their own right even with the long shadow cast by older brother Bri.

Key Tracks:  “Forever”, “This Whole World”, “Cool, Cool Water”

 

4.  “The Beach Boys Love You”  (1977)

This is the album that has long divided the group’s fans.  It may be a “love it or hate it” type of album but one that all will agree is the most unique Beach Boys album ever made, before or since.  In fact, no other album by any group sounds quite like this.  It shows Brian Wilson returning with full force, back writing and producing all the material.

Key Tracks:  “Roller Skating Child”, “Honkin’ Down the Highway”, “The Night Was So Young”

 

5.  “That’s Why God Made the Radio”   (2012)

This is the band’s most recent album.  It is the band’s first album since 1992 and the first with Brian Wilson since 1985.  Again, it shows Brother Bri returning with full force, back writing and producing all but one track.  The album debuted at #3 on The Billboard Top 200, showing that age hasn’t diminished the group’s talent nor their popularity.

Key Tracks:  “That’s Why God Made The Radio”, “Isn’t It Time”, “From There to Back Again”

 

So take a listen to a band, who’s music has defined popular culture and provided many with an endless Summer.   Surf’s up!!

-Brian S.

Documentaries

The buzz around here the past few days was the Blizzard (complete with Thundersnow).  We’ve made it through this one, but more snow is on the way. Stacks of DVDs have been getting checked out in preparation of settling in during this weather.  Recently, I’ve watched a few documentaries that I enjoyed and wanted to share. So, for those of you who like dance, music, wine, and art put these in your queue. Stay warm!

Ballerina (2006) “An intimate portrait of five ballerinas from the Kirov.”  From IMDB.

Blood Into Wine (2010) website Maynard Keenan, Tim & Eric, Milla Jovovich, Patton Oswalt, Arizona, Wine!

Exit Through the Gift Shop (2010) website Banksy is a graffiti artist with a global reputation whose work can be seen on walls from post-hurricane New Orleans to the separation barrier on the Palestinian West Bank. He fiercely guards his anonymity to avoid prosecution. An eccentric French shop keeper turned documentary maker attempts to locate and befriend Banksy, only to have the artist turn the camera back on its owner. Includes footage of Banksy, Shepard Fairey, Invader and many of the world’s most infamous graffiti artists at work, on walls and in interview. As Banksy describes it, “It’s basically the story of how one man set out to film the un-filmable. And failed.” Written by Paranoid Pictures

Recently nominated for Oscar for Best Documentary. To quote my friend and artist, Michael Rank, “That movie singled-handedly made me love AND hate art at the same time.” I completely agree.

The Heart Is a Drum Machine (2009) Facebook page “What is music? Many of today’s top artists and scholars grapple with the question in this cinematic look at a uniquely human obsession. The Heart is a Drum Machine is a new feature documentary film project from the producers of Moog.” From IMDB

Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man (2005) website Fans will love this part autobiography, part concert.

All of these titles are availble on Netflix streaming. What are you watching? Let us know!

-Sabrina