Review: “Bad Times at the El Royale”

Drew Goddard is one of the brightest film writers of our time. In addition to contributions to awesome television shows like “Alias”, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and my personal favorites “LOST” and “Daredevil” he’s also become well known for his contributions to film. He wrote “Cloverfield” and World War Z” and the screenplay for “The Martian”, a film that garnered him widespread acclaim in the industry. His one directorial effort was “The Cabin in the Woods”, a stylish genre subverting horror flick that, again, is one of my personal favorites. So when I heard he was returning to the director’s chair and also writing a new film called “Bad Times at the El Royale” I was instantly hooked, even though it took me longer than I would like to actually see the film. Now I have and I’m ready to have my take on it. To be honest right off the bat it’s a criminally underappreciated work. How underappreciated? Well let’s dive in. This is my review of “Bad Times at the El Royale”.

Continue reading “Review: “Bad Times at the El Royale””

Halloween (1978) VS. Halloween (2007)

One of my favorite features on any movie-focused blog or video channel is the compare-and-contrast gimmick where two properties that are similar but different are compared to each other to examine which is superior. As a new feature for Cinema Spotlight I decided to debut my own version of this fun concept with “Versus”, an editorial-style write-up that looks at two products, whether they are just similar, an original and remake or any other relationship, and decide which of the properties are superior based on five specific factors. Considering that the new “Halloween” movie comes out this weekend I thought this would be the perfect time to break out this new feature and see how it goes. I toyed with a couple of different options for this first edition of “Versus” but considering that this will be the third movie simply titled “Halloween” in this series I decided to focus on the previous films, the original “Halloween” and its 2007 remake. So let the battle begin. It’s time to find out which film is superior, John Carpenter’s original 1978 “Halloween” or Rob Zombie’s 2007 re-imagining of “Halloween”.

Continue reading “Halloween (1978) VS. Halloween (2007)”

Top 10 Slasher Movies

The slasher film. It’s a style of horror film that has become a genre all its own over the years making for some of the bloodiest, most terrifying and even sometimes the most stylish and self-aware films in all of horror. Almost every film in this genre follows the same premise, a usually masked or disguised villain hunts down a group of people or a single person with a sharp object leaving a trail of blood and death in their wake. While this may seem like a concept that would grow old fast a lot of movies have successfully utilized the idea which helped the slasher film become a genre all its own. With the new sequel to one of the most beloved slashers of all time, “Halloween”, in theaters this weekend I thought it was time to finally explore this subgenre-turned-genre of horror for myself. Where does “Halloween” fall on this list? Read on to find out. These are my picks for the Top 10 Slasher Movies.

Continue reading “Top 10 Slasher Movies”

Box Office Breakdown, Oct. 12-14, 2018

I’m a little late posting my Box Office Breakdown this week, but if you’ve followed the numbers you’ll know there weren’t too many surprises. While last week I predicted that “First Man” or another film might be able to wrestle away the top spot (I’ve gotta get better at this) it was last week’s top two, “Venom” and “A Star is Born”, that ended up duking it out for the win. So which of these box office behemoths came out on top? Let’s break it down and find out. This is the Box Office breakdown for Oct. 12-14, 2018.

Continue reading “Box Office Breakdown, Oct. 12-14, 2018”

Review: “Goosbumps 2: Haunted Halloween”

Growing up I was a big fan of “Goosebumps”. Actually, to be honest I was more a fan of the books than the television show they inspired but they were both entertaining. So when the legendary series of children’s horror novels by R.L. Stine got their own theatrical film in 2015 I didn’t think it was half bad. Three years later the film has a sequel in theaters just in time for Halloween. While many saw some charm and fun in the first film, including critics, this sequel is not receiving as much love and focuses on a more original Stine story rather than established novels. So is this sequel worthy of the critical shaming it has received or is it more enjoyable than it’s getting credit for? Let’s take a look. This is my review of “Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween”.

Continue reading “Review: “Goosbumps 2: Haunted Halloween””

Review: “First Man”

The Apollo 11 mission to the moon is one of the most important moments in modern history, so why is that moment seldom depicted in cinema unless it’s used in a montage or to justify the plot of science fiction films? Well considering how important that moment was and the legacy of the men who landed on the moon I personally believe many directors just don’t want to do them an injustice so instead of focusing on the real story they incorporate it into fiction to justify creative changes or inaccuracies. You also see a lot of focus on Buzz Adrin because the first man who walked on the moon, Neil Armstrong, was considered by many to be a recluse after his mission before he passed away in 2012. Well after years of this fantastic story going untold on the big screen we finally have a serious cinematic adaptation of not only the first walk on the moon but the life of the man who made those astonishing first steps called “First Man”. Does this film do justice to one of America’s most inspirational accomplishments of the last hundred year or does it fall flat in trying to capture the life and mission of an American hero? Let’s take a look in my review of “First Man”.

Continue reading “Review: “First Man””

Top 10 Stephen King Horror Movies

Oh Stephen King. He’s both the butt of many jokes and a visionary that brought some of the most legendary horror novels to the masses. Many of those books have been adapted for the big screen, some by his own hand and some with more creative license attributed to them. Recently details about the newest adaptation of his books, a remake of “Pet Sematery”, have been released which had me reminiscing on the Stephen King films we’ve seen so far. Whether we like them or hate them and whether HE likes them or hates then Stephen King movies have become something of a genre all their own and while not all of them are horror films today I’m going to look at those that are meant to bring the fright today. These are my picks for the Top 10 Stephen King Horror Movies.

Continue reading “Top 10 Stephen King Horror Movies”

Review: “Mandy”

I don’t review a lot of “on demand” movies. I try to see most films in the theater when I can but occasionally one comes along that has a release so limited but is still so popular that I just have to seek other ways to view it ASAP. One film lately that has gained a lot of buzz is “Mandy”, an action horror film that, to be blunt, is one heck of an odd ride. I’ve had a few people ask me to review this movie and even more have recommended I watch it regardless so I finally did…TWICE…and boy was it an interesting ride. So is “Mandy” the must see horror experience everyone is making it out to be or is it more overrated than we’ve been led to believe? Let’s take a look. This is my review of “Mandy”.

Continue reading “Review: “Mandy””

Trailer Breakdown: “Pet Sematary” (2019)

“Pet Sematary” is one of my favorite Stephen King movies having been one of the first I saw when I was a kid (my first was “Cat’s Eye”). I remember the original AND the sequel both terrifying me to near death especially thanks to its macabre subject matter and its involving the death of animals. With Stephen King adaptations in the middle of a renaissance of sorts thanks in no small part to the success of “It” I’m not shocked that a remake is on the way. We’ve had numerous sneak peaks released this week including a poster and photos but we also got the first trailer for the film today which showcases what we can expect from the project. Considering I had already planned on releasing a Stephen King related top-10 tomorrow it’s only fitting that I also take a look at the trailer and see what this new interpretation of the novel might hold. This is my breakdown of the first trailer for 2019’s “Pet Sematary”. Want more Stephen King? Look for my picks for the Top 10 Stephen King Horror Movies tomorrow afternoon. ALSO because I will be comparing this remake to the original movie there will be SPOILERS in this breakdown so if you haven’t seen the first film or are unfamiliar with the story you have been warned.

Continue reading “Trailer Breakdown: “Pet Sematary” (2019)”

Top 10 Kid- Friendly Horror Movies

While horror is obviously a very adult oriented genre that doesn’t mean kids can’t get in on the fun. In fact, horror is one of the few genres where even the most child-friendly material usually always includes an adult-friendly edge. In the 90s I was introduced to horror thanks to animated features that incorporated gothic themes and darker tones and over the years I’ve seen many quality products continue that trend using stop motion, computer animation and even live action. With a “Goosebumps” sequel on the way this weekend I thought it was the perfect time to look at some of my favorite horror movies that provide a perfect introduction for those still too young to embrace the more brutal aspects of one of cinema’s most popular genres. These are my picks for the Top 10 Kid-Friendly Horror Movies.

Continue reading “Top 10 Kid- Friendly Horror Movies”

Box Office Breakdown Oct 5-7, 2018

It was a brutal battle at the box office as I expected with Sony’s “Venom” and Warner Bros. “A Star is Born” both premiering to kick off the month of October after a record September. Both films had two very different stories going into the weekend with “Venom” getting a lot of early negative buzz from critics and fans worried if the PG-13 version of the traditionally violent character would disappoint. On the other end “A Star is Born” received acclaim and early Oscar buzz while fans of Lady Gaga turned out to try and sabotage “Venom” in online reviews to earn the Warner Bros. remake a top spot opening. So who took the crown? Let’s take a look in this week’s Box Office Breakdown.

Continue reading “Box Office Breakdown Oct 5-7, 2018”

Review: “Venom”

Remember back in the early 2000s when superhero movies were just regaining their legitimacy? After a series of flops the genre was in need of some major fine tuning and the likes of “Spider-Man” and “X-Men” helped revive the genre for a new generation with a combination of campy mind-numbing action, fun villains and humor. Over the years the genre has evolved with filmmakers taking the stories and characters more seriously with more sophisticated and timeless humor. While I love what superhero films have become I do find myself longing for the old days of careless action now and then which is why my take on one of 2018’s most divisive wide released films, “Venom”, may not be on par with the rest of the critics out there. To say this movie has problems would be a small understatement but to say it’s unwatchable would be a gross exaggeration. With so many people weighing in on Sony’s first entry in its proposed “Spider-Verse” I gladly gave “Venom” a watch. Does it stand out as a fun, less serious comic book adaptation or does its dependence on an old formula hold it back? Let’s find out. This is my review of “Venom”.

Continue reading “Review: “Venom””