Fear Street Part One: 1994

Director: Leigh Janiak
Writers: R.L. Stine, Kyle Killen, Phil Graziadei
Staring: Kiana Madeira, Benjamin Flores Jr., Oliva Scott Welch
Streaming: Netflix
Release Date: July 2, 2021

A circle of teenage friends accidentally encounter the ancient evil responsible for a series of brutal murders that have plagued their town for over 300 years. Welcome to Shadyside.”

Fear Street Part One: 1994 is the first part of a Netflix-produced backwards-chronological horror trilogy. While it every movie is going to have an individual story, all have an intertwining arc of evil which connect in some way shape of form.

The best thing I can say about Fear Street Part One: 1994 is oozing with confidence. All three of these movies are helmed by Leigh Janiak, and the 41 year old is off to a good start in terms of first impressions! She made one feature movie Honeymoon (2014) and this Fear Street series is her next journey into horror genre.

Besides the gusto that Janiak infuses into Fear Street Part One: 1994, the story flies by with the help of a great young cast. Each of the actors plays a standard high school/slasher movie character persona, but none are boring.

The two standout young actors in the bunch are Benjamin Flores Jr. as Josh and Julia Rehwald as Kate.

Josh (Benjamin Flores Jr.) is the nerdy, educated but socially awkward younger brother of the main character. Flores Jr. is funny and charming; you’ll be forced to cheer him on the most and you’ll be happy about it.

Kate (Julia Rehwald) is the super successful but spicy and slightly dirty in terms of her post-school activities. This is Rehwald’s first major motion picture credit on IMDB but I think she has plenty in her future. That may be aided by the act that she is incredibly beautiful.

Fear Street Part One: 1994 blows by all the clichés with its charisma and sheer pace of the story. This scene-setting movie isn’t just expansionary mumbo-jumbo; it has character and it has smarts (even for how dumb some of the characters are). Don’t get too attached to any of the characters, and don’t try and over think anything.

The personal Netflix direct comparison I’d make is that if you liked The Babysitter (2017), then you’ll enjoy Fear Street Part One: 1994.

STANKO RATING: B+ (4.0/5 Stars)

Mutiny On The Bounty

Director: Frank Lloyd
Writers: Talbot Jennings, Jules Furthman, Carey Wilson, Charles Nordhoff, James Norman Hall, John Farrow, Margaret Booth
Staring: Charles Laughton, Clark Gable, Franchot Tone
Streaming: HBO Max
Release Date: 1935

“First mate Fletcher Christian leads a revolt against his sadistic commander, Captain Bligh, in this classic seafaring adventure, based on the real-life 1788 mutiny.

This is the first movie I watched after nearly two weeks without a one, and it was a fantastic decision. Mutiny On The Bounty is a harrowing drama with a sharp script, fantastic directing and a wonderous sense of atmosphere. You feel yourself swaying with the waves of the Bounty and you definitely feel the arc of each character’s growth.

Charles Laughton as Captain Bligh is one of the most despicable acting performances I have ever seen. And that is a compliment. The torturing of men, the flogging of dead men and the pure distain for any freedom; all of it is as tumultuous a tempest.

Franchot Tone as Roger Byam has the most complex growth as a character. Starting off as the naive seamen with a career laid out ahead of him, Bryam evolves into his own man. His final speech at the conclusion of the movie is classic stage acting, delivering a soliloquy that delivers the whole point of the story in one fell swoop.

Bryam’s character is shaped heavily by Clark Gable’s portrayal of Christian, the man who leads the angry men on the mutiny of the boat. It is just now clicking with me that the hero who leads people on an exodus from evil to a paradise is named…Christian. Maybe a tad on the nose. But even with that direct punch to the viewers cerebrum,

Laughton, Tone and Gable were all nominated for Oscars in leading roles for their efforts in Mutiny On The Bounty. The movie itself was nominated for seven awards, and only won for Best Picture.

Strictly for myself, Mutiny On The Bounty checks off a lot of my personal list in terms of Oscar Winners, NBR Top 10 Films of the Year and AFI top films. Would recommend this to anyone. It shows that special effects don’t mean squat if you have star power and a great script.

STANKO RATING: A- (4.5/5 Stars)

Out On Thin Air

Director: Dylan Howitt
Streaming: Netflix
Release Date: 2017

“Iceland, 1976. Six suspects confess to two violent crimes. This is the strangest criminal investigation you’ve never heard of.”

I personally was inspired to start Out Of Thin Air when I began the crime thriller book The Snowman by Jo Nesbø. Just embracing the Norwegian and Icelandic culture I suppose.

This documentary on Netflix has a better premise than its execution. The story is interesting and the crimes connected without a doubt, but the main six subjects who make the story flow are not engaging. This is no one’s fault, but their testimonials do no pull you into the journey they all went through.

Out On Thin Air struggled to find its footing on what it wanted to highlight. Was it the police conduct? The media coverage? The possible murders? Or the victims themselves?

It is a fine documentary that passes the time but it is not going to have you doing secondary research or wanting to binge another documentary of the type.

STANKO RATING: C (2.5/5 Stars)

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