Category: Movie Reviews

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”.

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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”.

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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”.

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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”.

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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”.

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Review: “The Wife”

Over the last few years female empowerment has reached a whole new level of relevance on the national stage. Feminism, neo-feminism, and the #MeToo movement have all played a hand in trying to inspire women to be stronger than the limits society has set upon them. While several films have touched on this movement one movie in particular that was released just a few weeks ago has quickly become a favorite and has begun to earn respect as a modern feminist classic. That film is “The Wife”. Based on the novel by Meg Wolitzer “The Wife” has gained a lot of attention for shedding some light on the sacrifices a wife makes for the sake of her husband’s success and the performances alone have made it a must see according to critics. With all the buzz surrounding it I final got to see it for myself and the big question is does “The Wife” balance its social commentary with grace or is it just another heavy-handed film living off the emotional weight of a modern movement? Let’s take a look. This is my review of “The Wife”.

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Review: “A Star is Born”

While a lot of films have amazed me over the years it takes a special movie and story to leave me sitting as the credits role taking a moment to fully absorb what I just watched. That was my reaction last night after I was privileged to view the local premier showing of “A Star is Born”, the fourth incarnation of a classic story of two artists falling in love and how fame and fortune impacts their love life. There’s been a lot of buzz around this movie. It’s Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut, it’s a modern take on a classic that was remade twice already and now it’s received early Oscar buzz as awards season approaches. I may have already given away my thoughts on the film in this intro alone but I have a review to do and besides the question still remains: does “A Star is Born” live up to the hype? Let’s take a look. This in my review of “A Star is Born”.

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Review: “Hell Fest”

It is October so it should surprise no one that at least one cheaply made horror film is in theaters right now. We usually get at least ONE every year around this season and this year we have “Hell Fest”, a slasher film that honestly has a pretty cool premise. What would it be like if a horror themed park became the site of a real murder? The setup offers a lot of opportunities for creativity and scares and maybe even some commentary on the obsession that people have with the macabre and horror in general. Or it could just be a bland slasher offering that wastes it potential. Which one is it? Well the park is open and I decided to find out for myself. This is my review of “Hell Fest”.

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Review: “Smallfoot”

The Warner Animation Group has slowly become one of the more legitimate competitors against Disney in recent years taking small steps with the LEGO movie franchise and “Storks” to prove itself as the latest incarnation of WB’s animation studio. So, it’s fitting that those small steps would lead to a new animation feature called “Smallfoot” which, despite my horrendous failure of calling it a Sony film in last week’s Box Office Breakdown, is in fact Warner Animation Group’s newest offering. Taking a subversive take on the legends of Bigfoot and the Yeti “Smallfoot” sought to continue to legitimize Warner Animation Group as a force to be reckoned with in the industry.  Does it succeed? Let’s find out in my review of “Smallfoot”.

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Review: “Night School”

I say it all the time, if you’ve read my blog you know that comedy is not exactly my favorite genre. It’s a hit or miss grouping of films that can be sophisticated and smart or absolutely stupid and nonsensical. But what happens when a movie falls in between? Enter “Night School”, a new feature staring Kevin Hart and the always hilarious Tiffany Haddish. A lot of times it’s the stars that make the movie but while star power does mean a lot in comedies the film also has to be interesting and funny. With that in mind “Night School” offered up a promise with a lot of potential to take full advantage of the capabilities of its leading man and lady. So, does this movie shine and do justice to the talent involved or is it just another humorless waste of time? Let’s look closer. This is my review of “Night School”.

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Review: “Assassination Nation”

Ever since I saw the first trailer for “Assassination Nation” I was hooked. I loved the concept teased in the trailers, the cast looked promising and I’m always a sucker for a project filled with great social commentary. Not everyone has latched on to the idea though which resulted in this film flopping at the box office over the weekend. It’s certainly not a movie for the faint of heart as films like this usually tend to be overlooked due to pretentiousness or a lack of substance. So does “Assassination Nation” deserve to be ignored or is it a gem being overlooked by a society desperately in need of a wakeup call they refuse to embrace? Let’s take a look. This is my review of “Assassination Nation”.

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Review: “The House with a Clock in Its Walls”

Jack Black is a very specific kind of actor these days. He’s like what Rosie O’Donnell and Robin Williams were in the 90s, an actor fully capable of taking on mature material but they were the go-to performers that children were clinging to when it came to live action and voiceovers for a time. Black has had somewhat of a career resurgence playing more family friendly roles in movies like “Kung Fu Panda” and “Ghoosebumps”. So it’s no surprise he’s at it again headlining the children’s fantasy film “The House with a Clock in Its Walls”. Based on the book of the same name by John Bellairs and directed by modern horror genre regular Eli Roth, usually known more for his graphic and violent films, “The House with a Clock in Its Walls” challenges its director to take on a more family friendly approach while challenging Jack Black to offer something new with his shtick. So what is the end result, a child friendly mess with a mouthful of a name or an entertaining ride that does more than pander to the lowest common denominator of its target audience? Let’s see what this house is hiding shall we? This is my review of “The House with a Clock in Its Walls”.

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