Double Feature: Antlers (2021) & Underwater (2020)

Antlers (2021)

Director (and co-writer): Scott Cooper

Cast: Keri Russell, Jesse Plemons, Jeremy T. Thomas, Graham Greene, Scott Haze, Rory Cochrane, Amy Madigan, Sawyer Jones

In an isolated Oregon town, a middle-school teacher and her sheriff brother become embroiled with her enigmatic student, whose dark secrets lead to terrifying encounters with an ancestral creature. – IMDB

Adapted from Nick Antosca’s short story The Quiet Boy who also co-writes the screenplay, Antlers is a slow-burn and gory horror film. The story dives into a small town which keeps the scope fairly small with a close-knit community and the story revolving a few people. The setting filmed in British Columbia in place for the Oregon town is one that fits the scenario incredibly well which emphasizes not only the vastness of the area but also fits in the creature very well. The execution of the unknown creature being a big highlight here especially since it never truly reveals its full form. The atmosphere of the film also takes a huge part of the effort to give the more creepy vibe. As with most films with endangered child(ren) being in the picture, this film plays around with the role the kids play here and the effect this creature is having on them.

Antlers spends a lot of time with its characters, the main one being Julia played by Keri Russell who is a child abuse victim and is trying to find ways to live with her brother Paul who doesn’t seem to truly understand her trauma and her recovery. Not believing and trusting her creates the moments here when Julia’s concern for a student in her class that she believes is going through more than the norm to eventually believing it has to do with a legendary Algonquin demon which gets dismissed by Paul who also asks her to not get close to Lucas’s father Frank. The character dynamic here plays a big connection to the plot and while Julia’s story isn’t overly focused on, it still bridges the gap of how she is suspicious of Lucas’s abuse and to protect him.

What makes Antlers so good and is somewhat of a spoiler is how it turns the story around a bit from the expectations. Anyone looking at this film would think its most probably a creature feature, which it is but its also about demonic possession which works itself in its own intricate way in this story leading to its open ending where most things are resolved but maybe what seems to be gone isn’t really gone. Cliffhanger endings really aren’t my thing but at least, it feels like the film cleverly did a circle of events from the first scene to the last, whether they meant it that way or not.

Underwater (2020)

Director: William Eubank

Cast: Kristen Stewart, Vincent Cassel, Mamoudou Athie, T.J. Miller, John Gallagher Jr., Jessica Henwick, Gunner Wright, Fiona Rene, Amanda Troop

A crew of oceanic researchers working for a deep sea drilling company try to get to safety after a mysterious earthquake devastates their deepwater research and drilling facility located at the bottom of the Mariana Trench. – IMDB

Something about the deep sea is always very scary. Underwater sets itself on a drilling facility in the Mariana Trench and the rumors of what lies in the deep dark depths are completely unknown making it a fantastic location for a horror film. Underwater is a few genres blended together and done in a pretty good way as it progresses. It starts out as a deep sea disaster film with a time crunch to exit before the whole facility goes down and slowly turns itself into a creature feature. In both genres, the film is executed pretty well and the tense atmosphere is also very much apparent. The deep ocean holds a lot of dangers from the controlling the pressure, the water element and of course, what swims outside which does seem to take a few similar moments of other horror films but still manages to deliver on a rather thrilling experience.

If we look at the execution, there are so many little details to love about this film. Right from the opening credits, it glides through newspaper articles at the beginning and the end. The beginning sharing the details the audience needs to know about where the crew is, why they are there and what the facility is about. Its give the details of the dangers and risks of being this environment that they could encounter while also delivering the map and situation the crew is about to face. It means nothing to the audience at this point but looking back, it was such a clever way to introduce the film. Doing this gives it the perfect set-up to get right into the disaster and not waste any time at all. Much like its ending, which wraps up in the same way like the film is actually recounting a top secret event as it talks about its survivors and the aftermath through its articles as well.

Underwater is powered by a pretty solid cast. Each character does have their own little character traits that drive them throughout the film. Kristen Stewart has truly been delivering some pretty great performances and showing the diversity and depth of her acting abilities and she leads the group here as Norah the mechanical engineer and the film is basically from her point of view as it follows her throughout the film. As she reunites with the survivors, the other crew starts coming in with the Captain being played by Vincent Cassel, who delivers almost a Titanic moment as he believes in going down with the vessel and has a pretty interesting backstory which has something of a test reveal at the end. T.J. Miller play something of a comedic relief however his character might be the weak link here as it sometimes feels not too necessary however, it does give him this odd character. Previously known for playing Colleen in Iron Fist, Jessica Henwick shows up in this one as a biologist and is one of the more nervous characters of the group. Much like the engineer Smith played by John Gallagher Jr. who tends to pop up in films and always reminds me how underrated he is as an actor considering he delivered some great performances before in 10 Cloverfield Lane (review) and Hush. While not too key to the whole thing, Mamoudou Athie is one of the smaller roles here however, he has been showing up on my watchlist of 2022 a couple of times already. While no one’s character is very deep, most of them feel very real especially faced with making the difficult decisions and sudden mishaps and faced with lots of death and unknowns, especially for Kristen Stewart’s Norah who genuinely feels like she is trying her best to hold it together.

Overall, Underwater is a pretty thrilling experience. It starts off right away in its quick-paced disaster moment and while there are some quiet and slow moments, the unknown dangers lurking creates the creepy and tense atmosphere needed to drive this film throughout. Some of the elements here do feel a little been there done that but it does have some good execution. The deep sea is a scary place and the mysterious danger here is executed pretty well.

15 Anticipated Films of 2020!

2020 is here! As we look forward at 2020, I know that its going to have a lot more unexpected releases come out but with what I have researched so far, this is a quick little list of 15 anticipated films releasing in 2020 that I’m looking forward to. There is no guarantee that I’ll get to see it in the theatres judging from last year’s theatre visits but here we are, the list in the order of release dates.

Underwater (January 10)

The first quarter of the year is usually fairly lackluster in what it has to offer. At least anything offered before March but somehow, I’ve been pretty impressed, in general with Kristen Stewart’s roles of late, even if I still have a few to catch up with. Being a fan of underwater movies and somewhat of an enclosed location setting, Underwater looks pretty good. I’m just hoping that the trailer doesn’t reveal everything that makes this one as thrilling as it looks.

To All The Boys: P.S. I Love You (February 12)

Being highly obsessed with To All The Boys I’ve Love Before, its been a long wait for the sequel. Its probably not going to be as good as the first movie, seeing as the source material also wasn’t as good in its second book in the trilogy as well. However, I’m sure its still going to tick all the boxes of a feel-good romantic comedy especially as the entire cast of the film are such charming characters.

Sonic the Hedgehog (February 14)

Its really a hit or miss situation here that can happen. It doesn’t have the appeal of say Deadpool Pikachu with Pokemon Detective Pikachu but it does have James Marsden and Jim Carey which are two actors that I like quite a bit. Plus, if you grew up with Sonic the Hedgehog as I have, its one that was probably eventually going to happen and something that its hard to not be slightly interested to see how it all goes.

A Quiet Place Part II (March 20)

While I had some issues with A Quiet Place, its not doubt that it was a pretty decent movie with a nice concept for horror and it did live up to most of my expectations. A Quiet Place Part II seems a little more by the books as the world seems more about discovering how much of humanity is still alive. If its anything like the previous direction, it should still be a lot of thrills. Finger crossed!

Disney’s MuLan (March 27)

I’m well-aware that the Disney live adaptations haven’t really been much of a success for most people. For the ones that I have seen, they are acceptable. However, Mulan making the anticipated list has to go mostly to the fact that Mulan is one of my favorite stories and its animated film was not so long ago that its a classic in my mind so its not as comparable. At the same time, the star power here in its cast is pretty decent and if not, its a full Chinese cast so thats always something to be excited about it, especially when Jet Li, Donnie Yen and Gong Li are all part of the film.

No Time to Die (April 8)

I’m far from a James Bond fan as I have so many films from the first few Bonds that I haven’t seen. But, I’m a pretty big fan of Daniel Craig as James Bond and have seen all of them. Seeing as this one is the last one with Craig as James Bond, it’ll be one to not miss, even if its after it hits home release.

Antlers (April 17)

Its hard to really tell when any horror movie is going to be any good. The premise here is pretty decent. The trailer looks fairly creepy. It has Guillermo Del Toro as a producer which is a good sign. Plus, Keri Russell is in it (and she proved that she does well in horror films in Dark Skies). It looks promising and hopefully will live up to it.

Black Widow (May 1)

Black Widow has been the Marvel movie that has been one that been waiting forever. While Marvel movies are quite formulaic at this point (as are most superhero movies) and rather saturated and I’m still a few Marvel movies behind and frantically catching up before they leave Netflix, Black Widow is one that will be very intriguing to watch especially since she’s pretty much been involved in all the phases of MCU but never got any movie of her own and always had a minor supporting role.

Fast & Furious 9 (May 22)

There doesn’t seem to be a trailer for Fast & Furious 9 yet but as a big fan of the franchise, no matter how ridiculous it all gets, its one that we will definitely find time to catch in the theatres. Its always going to be interesting to see what crazy levels its going to go.

Wonder Woman 1984 (June 5)

I’m not usually a huge fan of the DC universe films but Wonder Woman film was a pretty decent movie. Its enjoyable and Gal Gadot makes a great Woman Woman. The trailer seems to be rather on point with what made its first one enjoyable so here’s hoping that it will be the same. Its probably not one that I’ll catch at the theatres but still one that would be interesting to see at some point.

Monster Hunter (September 4)

No trailer yet for Monster Hunter movie. Its a smart move to make a movie out of it especially after the game was released last year with decent success. It’ll be nice to see where Paul W.S. Anderson takes the movie. Sure, he’s done some questionable movies but if you haven’t caught our look at his filmography on Season 1 of Movies and Tea, its well worth a listen as we definitely appreciated his work a lot more as there’s some pretty good defining elements. Plus, while I’ve had conversations with friends who say that its not admirable that he casts his wife a lot, but I’m a fan of Milla Jovovich and it’ll be interesting to see what role she does in Monster Hunter.

Death on the Nile (October 9)

After having recently seen Murder on the Orient Express and how that turned out so very well, Death on the Nile is a top anticipated film that we might actually head out to the theatres to see. Agatha Christie is an author that I’m slowly working through her work and I actually haven’t read Death on the Nile (so maybe will add that to my TBR pile). However, it’ll be great to see Kenneth Branagh come back as Hercule Poirot on another adventure.

Godzilla vs. Kong (November 20)

Kong: Skull Island almost made it onto my Top 10 movies of the decade over on Movies and Tea. While I still have to catch up on Godzilla:King of the Monsters, I’m always down for a kaiju movie. Monsters and creature features are up my alley so it seems rather fun to watch Godzilla and Kong battle it out! I kind of saw this coming a few years ago so just hoping that it’ll be as fun as I’m expecting it to be. However, with no trailer, its hard to truly nail down expectations right now.

Uncharted (December 18)

It feels like the Uncharted movie has been in the works forever. At least, it seemed to be something that had been talked about since the 4th game of the actual franchise was released (before the spinoff one). Nathan Drake is a great character and if anything, it would have been sweet to get Nolan North to do the character although its probably a rather demanding role. Tom Holland is Spider-Man in my  mind right now so its going to be a little hard to watch him as Nathan Drake, however, the Uncharted stories are usually pretty fun so I’m expecting some great things..although as we all know, video game adaptations really don’t get that well-received and Uncharted’s story has spanned over four games so it really depends what story angle it plans to use. Looking forward to seeing a trailer for it soon.

On the Rocks (TBA)

This list has changed around a little in the last 5 picks added in and after finishing the Sofia Coppola season on Movies and Tea in Season 3, its a director that really has sparked my interest on what she will deliver. I loved her father-daughter relationship movies and On The Rocks is one that brings back working with Bill Murray and features a father-daughter relationship in a more grown-up family relationship. It fits exactly into Sofia Coppola’s wheelhouse (and should be as she is the writer also) and can turn into something subtle and with depth.

Honorable Mentions: Fantasy Island, Gretel & Hansel, The Lodge, The Invisible Man, The New Mutants, Antebellum, Birds of Prey, Bloodshot, Onward, Candyman, Top Gun: Maverick, Tenet, Halloween Kills, Raya and the Last Dragon, Dune, The Dig, Rebecca

That’s it for 2020 anticipated films! These are mostly the bigger movies (without foreign films or indie films as they are hard to track).
What movies are you anticipating? Any other ones that I missed? Share them in the comments below.

Seattle (Day 1): An Extreme Walking Tour [Part 2]

Continuing on with my vacation adventures, Part 2 of the extreme self-made walking tour to make sure our legs would hurt at the end of the day is all about the Seattle Aquarium.

I love Aquariums and its always a blast to visit. The Seattle Aquarium is pretty big with a lot of walking areas inside and outside there are viewing areas for seals and river otters and sea otters.  We had a lot of time here mostly because I insisted that this place we don’t rush.  If they were going to rush, they could do the next thing without me.  My objective for Seattle was to go to the Seattle Aquarium so that was my one request.  Luckily, they didn’t ditch me because I would have regretted not going to the spot afterwards for the Underground Tour which I talked about HERE for a photo challenge a few weeks ago.

Let’s go check out the Seattle Aquarium!

Windows on Washington Waters

Seattle Aquarium

Life on the Edge: Touch Pools, Moon Jellies, Giant Octopus

Seattle Aquarium

Touch Pool

Seattle Aquarium

Moon Jellies

Seattle Aquarium

Giant Octopus

Pacific Coral Reef & Tropical Pacific


Seattle Aquarium

Seattle Aquarium

Seattle Aquarium

Underwater Dome

The actual Underwater Dome is just that last picture but I’m starting to get a little confused as to why there was more corals and sea creatures between after the Birds area.  I’m a little confused but you get the idea, right?

Marine Mammals: Sea Otters, Harbour Seals, Northern Fur Seals, River Otters

Seattle Aquarium

Seattle Aquarium

Seattle Aquarium

Seattle Aquarium

There really are no words for the Seattle Aquarium.  There were a ton of really neat corals and fishes and much much more. I loved it a lot! Its worth every penny.  The Underwater Dome made it hard to take good pictures but standing in it was really nice.  Plus, the seals and otters are really alive and happy.  It shows that they seem happy with the environment they are in since they come off as extremely playful.  You have the above and underwater viewing for those so its really well thought out.

Part 3 will be coming up to wrap up Day 1 of Seattle.  I just didn’t want to overload the posts with too many pictures.  I’m a little surprised Seattle took up that much time and we haven’t even started Alaska which will have a ton of different segments, other than pictures, one special segment that I’m getting stuff together for but I think it’ll be a finale and also my views on my first time cruising. Just a heads on what to expect.  My guess is this travel bit is going to span over the next month.

What do you think of the Seattle Aquarium? Have you ever been?