The Forever Purge and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures
Directed by Everardo Valerio Gout
The Purge sequels have been a favorite of mine since I started reviewing movies with the second and third one being fantastic examples of Carpenter-esque socially minded shlock action films, and even The First Purge managed to have much to wring another solid film out of the tired formula. To keep it going with a fifth one though seems to be stretching it, and frankly the fact that I simply didn’t even know this movie EXISTED until about a month or two ago is not what I’d call a great sign. Still, it’s amazing that any of these movies ended up working as well as they did and the world we are living through certainly gives Blumhouse and company more than enough material to work with for at least another film. Is this a fun and familiar reminder of why we loved going to movies in the first place, or have the wheels finally fallen off this series just when people were most eager to go back to the theaters? Let’s find out!!
Despite Senator Roan winning the presidency on a platform of ending The Purge, things are still the same by the start of this movie as the NFFA (New Founding Fathers of America) are back in power and the Purge is still on with nary a whisper of what happened in between. None of this is of particular importance to Adela and Juan however (Ana de la Reguera and Tenoch Huerta) who are just trying to live their lives in Texas despite the prejudices of those who celebrate The Purge and even Juan’s employers who don’t but still don’t particularly care for him and his kind being around. The two families ultimately end up on the same side though as this latest Purge Night doesn’t seem to go as planned as all the weirdos coming up with Busch League Jigsaw traps are still roaming the streets the next morning because this is the FOREVER PURGE and no one is gonna tell them to stop expressing themselves in the most violent and bigoted ways possible! After Jan and one of his friends TT (Alejandro Edda) save his employers Dylan, Cassie, and Harper Tucker (Josh Lucas, Cassidy Freeman, and Leven Rambin) from one of those Forever Purgers, they find Adela and start driving for the Mexico border as they are taking in refugees from America… BUT ONLY FOR THE NEXT SIX HOURS which sounds a bit arbitrary but it certainly gives our characters a ticking clock to race against as they try to make their way to El Paso without getting murdered by a bunch of White Supremacists who feel that their time is now to rise and up and kill everyone they don’t care for as well as anyone who dares to help them along the way. Can these people from disparate backgrounds work together and escape America before they’re stuck in there for good, or will the bitterness between Dylan and Juan prove to be the undoing for both of their families? Just how long can this Forever Purge go, and is this all just another sinister tactic from the NFAA? Is it just me or does everything feel a bit half-hearted here?
AEW Dynamite is owned by All Elite Wrestling, Tony Khan, Shahid Khan, and TNT
After several weeks in the Friday night timeslot which didn’t do much for ratings but hopefully got people ready to watch Rampage in a few months, we end this excursion away from Wednesdays with a big Saturday show that even has a AEW Title defense on it to really try and get people invested! Does the Strange Schedule Shows end on a high note with a great match in the main event, or have they been away from Wednesday for too long and just can’t find the right rhythm for things until they get back to their familiar time? Let’s find out!!
The episode begins with Alex Marvez trying to get an interview with Sammy Guevara but instead he witnesses Sammy getting ambushed by Shawn Spears. With last week’s attack and now this week, I’m starting to wonder if Alex Marvez is somehow behind it all!
Hangman Adam Page Vs. Powerhouse Hobbs
Taz joins the commentary team for this match
Hobbs has really started to come into his own the last few weeks, and this match is perhaps the best he’s had here at AEW so far! He has a lot more energy these days, he projects a lot of personality beyond just being able to do a REALLY good sneer, and he’s started to grow a beard that looks really good on him! Best of all, he comes off as SUCH a smart wrestler in this match and gives Page a run for his money in a very believable fashion! Hobbs starts the match off with an early lead before Page starts fighting back, but as soon as he goes for the Buckshot, Hobbs rolls out of the ring as he saw it coming a mile away. Page, unable to finish his big move, tries to follow Hobbs out of the ring and ends up getting tossed around for a bit while Hobbs works over his right arm to keep him from trying the Buckshot again! This is all great wrestling and it’s telling a story while making Hobbs shine brightly! He’s not explosive or giving us Baby Face pops, but he still stays pretty compelling in the way he intelligently takes Page apart and stunts his offense; to the point that Page honestly seems outclassed here! In fact, he’s so good here that I’m not sure why the crowd starts booing him and saying YOU SUCK throughout! It’s one thing to boo a devious heel, but this is just plain ol’ good wrestling and the opposite of sucking! It’s no until Hobbs gets Page on his shoulders that things start to turn in the other direction as Page manages to wriggle out and shoves Hobbs into the post. It takes a bit of time for Page to get his momentum going, but after a few boot shots to the face he starts running wild. He pulls the ropes and Hobbs tumbles to the floor, he jumps over the ropes and hits Hobbs below, and he even lands a Moonsault on him after dragging him back into the ring. The Moonsault only gets a two count so Hangman tries a German Suplex but Hobbs is too strong for to flip over and he retakes the advantage with a BIG knee to the stomach and slams him into the mat! Page manages to survive this and goes for a Deadeye but once again Hobbs isn’t going up for it and fights him off to land a cross body and get a two count. It’s at this point that Starks and Hook come out with the FTW belt and Hobbs is actually happy to accept it, but Brian Cage runs out and smacks Ricky on the back of the head before taking the belt that is technically his and walking to the back. Hangman goes for the Buckshot while everyone is distracted… AND HOBBS CATCHES HIM IN A SPINE BUSTER AND SMASHES HIM RIGHT DOWN TO EARTH!! Somehow this was only a two count, but that was an impressive counter from Hobbs and I love it every time he busts out that Spine Buster! The two get up and trade a few blows before Page gets the waist lock and FINALLY lands the German Suplex which softens up Hobbs enough for the Dead Eye which gets Page the pin and wins him the match! Hobbs was so impressive that I kind of wanted him to go over, but this was still a great match! AEW usually tries to start with something quick and explosive, but this was just as fun as a methodical and strategic war of attrition and I hope we see EVEN MORE of Powerhouse Hobbs in the near future!
Fast & Furious 9 and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures
Directed by Justin Lin
It looks like movies are back (at least for those who can safely vaccinate, which if you haven’t and are able to then do it please!) and what a better way to kick off the summer season than with another Fast & Furious movie!? Gotta admit, I was not on the F&F train for over a decade and it wasn’t until Fate of the Furious that I finally gave the franchise a chance. It’s a mixed bag to be sure, but the latter half of the franchise has been quite impressive as big budget spectacles though and the more professional wrestlers they throw into the mix the more I look forward to seeing them! So after a year of global misery and despair, is this action blockbuster we need to celebrate our slow but sure recovery, or has the Fast Franchise gassed out right when we needed it the most? Let’s find out!!
Dominic Toretto and Letty Ortiz (Vin Diesel and Michelle Rodriguez) have been living the quiet life with Dom’s son Bryan out in the country, but this peace is not meant to last as Roman, Tej, and Ramsey (Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, and Nathalie Emmanuel) show up with a distress message from the mysterious Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell) and they are forced to come out of retirement to find him and find what he was trying to protect. Sadly they don’t find the former, but the latter is a piece of some sort of doomsday device that is pretty much the SAME doomsday device these last few movies have had, and it gets taken right from under their noses by a mysterious jacked dude (John Cena) who also drives cars, has a cross necklace, and keeps staring menacingly at Dom. Turns out that this is none other than Jakob; Dom’s long lost brother! Not only must Dom and the crew stop Jakob and who he’s working for from getting the other pieces of the Doomsday Device, Dom must confront his past and perhaps even realize his own mistakes before they threaten to throw the world into utter chaos! Will Dom be able to face his brother and bring an end to his maniacal schemes? Who else has a stake in this Doomsday Device, and will they prove to be an ally or a hindrance to the Fast & Furious family? Speaking of family, are we sure Dom and Jakob aren’t actually cousins, or were their parents’ genes an ethnic roulette wheel?
Red vs Blue and all the images you see in this retrospective are owned by Rooster Teeth
The Halo franchise is owned by Xbox Game Studios
Much like the Halo franchise itself, Red Vs Blue definitely started to branch out around the time of Halo 3’s release; not just because the engine allowed for much greater control and possibilities for the show to work with but because Rooster Teeth themselves wanted to start fresh and gave us its best work after breaking away from Blood Gulch. Can they continue that success going forward, or will the temptation to return to what worked in the past be too great for them to resist? Let’s find out!!
Red Vs Blue: Relocation
Relocation is a four part mini-series to bridge the gap between Reconstruction and the next season Recreation as it follows Red Team trying to establish their new base while Caboose is working on some secret project at his new base. If you’re really in the mood for some breezy Blood Gulch comedy then it does the job fine and frankly holds up better than a lot episodes from that original run, but by going back once again to the two teams in a valley setup (this time they’re using the Valhalla map instead of Blood Gulch) it feels like little more than filler to tide fans over while they work on the next season.
Halloween Kills is owned by Universal Pictures and all the images you see in this trailer talk are the property of their respective owners
The Halloween sequel from 2018 (which was actually the THIRD sequel to the original movie; fourth if you count the sequel to the Rob Zombie reboot) had a VERY clear path to a sequel which I thought was to its detriment. For me, finishing off the series, at least as far as Jamie Lee Curtis’s involvement with it, in one final definitive perfect movie would have been preferable to… well pretty much what they did the LAST time they brought Jamie Lee Curtis back. In H20, she definitively killed Michael Myers and ended the nightmare, but then they made a sequel to bring him back and it was the worst Halloween film; yes, even worse than either cut of Curse. Well despite my protestations, Universal and Blum House are going ahead with the sequel and we have our first trailer to check out. Let’s see what they’ve got for us aside from a very awkward title!
Now it’s hard to say how any of it will work until we see the movie, but what’s interesting is that they are pretty much following the ORIGINAL sequel formula which is to have it take place on the same night after Laurie is taken to the hospital and have most of the action take place there. They sort of did that at the start of Rob Zombie’s Halloween II as a misdirection before jumping ahead to several months later, but here they seem to be playing it fairly straight which COULD work I suppose, but so much of this trailer feels like retreading what we saw in the last movie. Laurie is determined to kill Michael Myers, the cops are completely ineffectual, and somehow Michael manages to find the rest of Laurie’s family. There also seems to be a shift in Laurie’s character based on the dialogue in this trailer which is raising some red flags for me as well. In the last movie she was the only one who REALLY understood Michael, not as a fascinating glimpse into the human psyche like the podcasters or Dr. Sartain and not as a mere annoyance to be dealt with like the Sherriff, but as a mere mortal who is capable of great evil. Her references to him being THE BOOGEYMAN as a coy put down of the myth people want to build up around him is also a defense mechanism to try and keep herself above everyone else and therefore justify her survivalist lifestyle. Here, she’s talking about how each kill makes Michael grow stronger; like he’s a freaking Highlander. Perhaps the lines are worded differently in the final film, but it feels like we’re going down the same road that the latter sequels did in making Michael more than he actually is.
AEW Dynamite is owned by All Elite Wrestling, Tony Khan, Shahid Khan, and TNT
We’re back with the final episode of Friday Night Dynamite as they have one more show on Saturday before returning to their usual Wednesday night timeslot. It’s been an interesting few weeks to say the least with some great action but also one of the worst episodes they’ve had in some time. Can they finish their time in this new timeslot with a bang, or are they just not gonna be able to get their groove back until they return to their familiar night? Let’s find out!!
Jake Hager Vs. Wardlow – Mixed Martial Arts Match
Considering that they have to set up the octagon and that I HIGHLY doubt a match like this would work as a main event, it makes sense that they’d do the MMA match right off the bat. Personally, I’m not much of a fan of this kind of fighting. Sure there are some good matches out there if you search YouTube for a bit, but I am not going to be able to judge this based on any legitimate mixed martial arts merits and only on whether I found it entertaining in some way. That said, even someone as inexperienced as me can tell this is nowhere close to a shoot match considering they don’t have judges which means it has to end with one person beating the other. Also they didn’t bother hiring an MMA ref and just have Aubrey out there. I mean I GUESS she could be trained as an MMA ref, but I’ve certainly never heard of her doing that and the lack of known MMA professionals involved in this outside of Hager just makes it seem like a big game which I’m sure will annoy the MMA fans before the match even starts. Once it DOES start… I don’t know; I guess it was alright. If nothing else, I think they managed to find a decent balance between an actual fight and WRESTLING THEATER as it doesn’t feel TOO absurd as an MMA match, but it also feels like a highlight reel. It starts off small with the two being extremely defensive and throwing out the occasional jab, but eventually Hager manages to take Wardlow down for a few shots which he doesn’t sell all that much. In fact, by the end of the round Wardlow’s power completely overtakes Hager and spends the last two minutes punching him on the ground or against the wall. Second match continues where the first left off with Wardlow maintaining an advantage, but Hager gets into the groove of things and his MMA training proves to be more than Wardlow can overcome and he eventually passes out from a Triangle Choke. Of course there’s some brawling afterwards as Shawn Spears goes after Hager and MJF comes out of nowhere to attack Dean Malenko who ALSO came out of nowhere, but then Sammy comes out to chase everyone away and to ensure that this feud will be continuing for the indefinite future. I couldn’t possibly tell you if this was a GOOD MMA match, but it was at least brisk enough that I never got bored in it. Hopefully this does whatever it needed to for AEW, though I wouldn’t be too heartbroken if they don’t do this kind of match again.
In The Heights and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures
Directed by Jon M Chu
Things are finally opening back up and I’m so glad that we finally get to see movies in theaters again (remember to get vaccinated before you go!), but I’ll admit that I’m also still glad that Warner Bros is still releasing movies on HBO Max the same day as theaters. I don’t know if I’ll ever truly return to my old routine of going to the theater two to three times a week, but if I’m going to get ANYWHERE close to that I’ll need to make the transition slowly, so being able to sit on my couch and catch up on the latest releases without having to worry about show times or theater prices is a genuine relief to me. Perhaps a big lavish musical like this is something that SHOULD be seen in the theater, but I saw Hamilton for the first time on a TV and it blew me away then so hopefully Lin-Manuel Miranda’s earlier musical can hit home the same way whether it’s seen in the most ideal conditions or not. Is this adaptation of the Broadway show as magical as you would hope from the names behind it, or was it a stretch to hope that Hamilton’s success would mean all of Miranda’s works were worth bringing into people’s homes? Let’s find out!!
Washington Heights is a predominantly Latino community in New York City where Usnavi (Anthony Ramos) whiles away the days working in his bodega and fondly remembering of his childhood in the Dominican Republic. He has always dreamed of returning there one day and when an opportunity to leave all of this behind and return to his home country, he seizes upon it and plans to leave the community in just a few days’ time. While trying to tie up his loose ends, we learn more about the people of Washington Heights, their struggles, and the many characters who fill out the rest of the story including Nina (Leslie Grace) who’s back from her first year at Stanford but may not be able to return, Melissa (Vanessa Morales) an aspiring fashion designer who can’t catch a break, Claudia (Olga Merediz) who everyone in the community loves but has some deep pain that she’s pushing deep down to try and be the matriarch of the community that everyone needs, and even good ol’ Benny (Corey Hawkins) who dreams of pulling himself up by his boot straps and making something of himself in the world of business. As these stories interweave and Usnavi’s flight out of the country gets closer and closer, more secrets are revealed, more heartbreak is had, and more than enough excuses to dance are made to make the days go by with a smile on everyone’s faces and joy in their hearts! Will Usnavi’s final days in Washington Heights change the way he sees himself, his dreams, and the people around him? What hardships will the people in this community face, and will they be able to overcome them with strength and pride? Is there any other neighborhood with THIS density of amazing dancers, because I’m pretty sure Time Square’s got NOTHING on this!
AEW Dynamite is owned by All Elite Wrestling, Tony Khan, Shahid Khan, and TNT
We’re back with another episode of Dynamite and frankly I’m ready for these Friday shows to end. Not because of anything to do with the show itself (though last week was PRETTY bad) but because it throws off my entire schedule! I would have wrestling during the week and then the weekend for other stuff, but NOW everything is all crammed into two days! We only have a few more weeks of this strange timeslot so I’ll grin and bear it, but they’re gonna have to put on a GREAT show to make up for last week’s and for making my weekends that much more stressful! Let’s take a look!
Christian Cage Vs. Angélico
So apparently Matt Hardy has a bug up his butt about Christian Cage tossing him out at the Casino Battle Royale, and so he’s hired Angélico from TH2 to have a match with him. I mean I’m sure he was going to have a match with SOMEONE this week so I’m not sure why this particular matchup is so dastardly, but Angélico is one of those people on the roster like Joey Janela, The Varsity Blondes, and Penelope Ford who are around every once in a while and probably have had a bunch of matches on Dark or Elevation but REALLY should be getting more of a spotlight on Dynamite. The guy definitely has a unique physique looking like the handsome brother of Slenderman (dude has some SERIOUSLY long limbs!) and he’s so good at giving us a kind of match we don’t see enough of at AEW which focuses on submissions instead of high spots or big guy brawling. Every time Cage gets an advantage with a flashy strike or some sort of throw, Angélico is ready to cut him off and start working over his arm again until finally he has him in some sort of Arm Bar right in the middle of the ring! Cage is desperately trying to fight back against Angélico’s move as the crowd chants PLEASE DON’T TAP, and he finally makes it to the ropes to break the hold but is far from out of the woods. He makes a comeback with a reverse DDT, a Missile Drop Kick, and a Flying Headbutt, but none of it is able to keep Angélico down for a three count who himself is starting to lose steam after all these near falls. He makes a big mistake by trying to match Cage’s style and goes for a spot on the ropes only to get kicked out of midair and eating another two count. From there it’s mostly desperate flailing from the two of them which Christian proves to be the better one of the two and manages to finish off Angélico with the Kill Switch. As soon as the bell rings, Angélico’s partner Jack Evans runs in to attack Cage which goes rather poorly all things considered as he’s tossed ut of the ring with little effort. However, this does distract Cage long enough for Matt Hardy to sneak in from behind and land a Twist of Fate on him that leaves Cage dead in the middle of the ring. Angélico and Hardy are about to kick him some more when Jungle Boy runs out from the back and chases off Hardy and his two flunkies; leaving Cage and Jungle Boy to celebrate this victory in the middle of the ring. It was certainly a nice change of pace to start out with a match like this and I certainly hope it’s a sign that things are going to be MUCH better this week!