Horror Sommelier: November 17th, 2017

Every week join Brennan Klein, your horror sommelier, as he runs through the upcoming theatrical releases and pairs them with the perfect horror film for a killer double feature.

JUSTICE LEAGUE

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Directed by: Zack Snyder & Joss Whedon
Starring: Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller, Ray Fisher, J. K. Simmons, Jeremy Irons, basically every actor that Marvel didn’t already snap up

Rating: PG-13
Run Time: 2 hours

Synopsis: Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman's selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists newfound ally Diana Prince to face an even greater threat. Together, Batman and Wonder Woman work quickly to recruit a team to stand against this newly awakened enemy. Despite the formation of an unprecedented league of heroes -- Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg and the Flash -- it may be too late to save the planet from an assault of catastrophic proportions.


Pairing: HOUSE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1944)

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Yeah, Justice League may be aping Marvel in their attempts to create an expanded universe for their Blockbuster characters, but Marvel didn’t invent the format. Far from it, in fact. As long ago as the 40’s (and certainly before that, but I’m no historian), characters from different properties met and fought in different combinations, the most notable being the Universal Monsters. The Wolf Man, Frankenstein, Dracula, and a slew of other lesser monsters came together for horrific adventures in different combinations over the years, but at that point the most massive gathering of big screen monsters was in House of Frankenstein, in which a mad doctor (Boris Karloff) escapes from prison with his hunchbacked assistant and revives some of your favorite horrifying stars for a twisted tale of revenge, betrayal, and plenty of murder.

 

THE STAR

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Directed by: Timothy Reckart
Starring: Steven Yeun, Zachary Levi, Aidy Bryant, Kristin Chenoweth, Gina Rodriguez, Christopher Plummer, Keegan Michael-Key, Tyler Perry, Mariah Carey, Ving Rhames, Oprah Winfrey

Rating: PG
Run Time: 1 hour 26 minutes

Synopsis: A small but brave donkey named Bo yearns for a life beyond his daily grind at the village mill. One day he finds the courage to break free, and finally goes on the adventure of his dreams. On his journey, he teams up with Ruth, a loveable sheep who has lost her flock and Dave, a dove with lofty aspirations. Along with three wisecracking camels and some eccentric stable animals, Bo and his new friends follow the Star and become accidental heroes in the greatest story ever told - the first Christmas.


Pairing: ROSEMARY’S BABY (1968)

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When you’re facing down a saccharine movie like The Star, with its questionable animation and slew of overqualified voice actors, the best option is to go for a little bit of counter-programming. And what pairs better with the birth of Christ than the birth of the Anti-Christ? You may not want to watch this half of the double feature with your kids, but the giving-birth-to-Satan’s-child classic Rosemary's Baby is the perfect spoonful of tannis root to take the edge off the sugary sweetness of that goofy family epic.


WONDER

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Directed by: Stephen Chbosky
Starring: Owen Wilson, Julia Roberts, Jacob Tremblay, Mandy Patinkin

Rating: PG
Run Time: 1 hour 53 minutes

Synopsis: Based on the New York Times bestseller, Wonder tells the incredibly inspiring and heartwarming story of August Pullman, a boy with facial differences who enters fifth grade, attending a mainstream elementary school for the first time.


Pairing: THE FUNHOUSE (1981)

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Let’s just say that the horror genre – and especially Tobe Hooper – has a different way of handling a child with facial differences. Hooper’s 1981 slasher The Funhouse is the inspiring tale of a hideous mutant who hides behind a Frankenstein mask overcoming an abusive father to get to second base with a fortune teller and murder the hell out of a bunch of sexy teens who are shacking up overnight in the funhouse at the local carnival.

 

ROMAN J. ISRAEL, ESQ. (limited)

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Directed by: Dan Gilroy
Starring: Denzel Washington, Colin Farrell, Carmen Ejogo
Rating: PG-13
Run Time: 2 hours 9 minutes

Synopsis: Roman J. Israel, Esq. is set in the underbelly of the overburdened Los Angeles criminal court system. Denzel Washington stars as a driven, idealistic defense attorney whose life is upended when his mentor, a civil rights icon, dies. When he is recruited to join a firm led by one of the legendary man’s former students – the ambitious lawyer George Pierce – and begins a friendship with a young champion of equal rights, a turbulent series of events ensue that will put the activism that has defined Roman’s career to the test.

 

Pairing: FALLEN (1998)

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I could look really hard into the themes and character archetypes of this lightweight Oscarbait film that will almost certainly manage to be completely submerged by the tsunami of awards contenders in late December. But who could possibly look further than Denzel Washington’s name up there in the credits? Why not just watch a handsome young Denzel battle a body-hopping murder demon in Fallen? It’s a delightfully weird flick that’s part The Silence of the Lambs, part Seven, and part Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday.

 

Also in limited release this weekend: Mudbound, Big Sonia, Almost Friends, Sweet Virginia, Mr. Roosevelt

Brennan Klein