The Intruder and all the images you see in this review are owned by Sony Pictures Releasing and Screen Gems
Directed by Deon Taylor
It either takes a whole lot of brains or a whole lot of nerve to try and squeeze a non-franchise thriller right between such big box office money sinks, and when talking about Screen Gems it can go either way. Yes, this is the studio that made my beloved Resident Evil movies, but also gave us the horrendous Slender Man, and frankly the rest of their filmography is just disparate; but all the credit to them for churning out low budget shlock and turning it into box office gold! They’re like the Blumhouse of the mid 2000s that’s still hanging around on the margins making ridiculous stuff like When the Bough Breaks, but also some real modern classics like last year’s Searching which you all better have seen by now! Where exactly will this movie fall in the Screen Gems canon? Well you can probably take a guess given its silly premise and wacky stunt casting, but let’s find out!!
Scott and Annie (Michael Ealy and Meagan Good) are your typical city folk who spent their entire married life in the hustle and bustle and have decided that now might be the PERFECT time to find a place a little off the beaten path and settle down to start a family. Hold your horses though! They aren’t looking for just ANY house! They want the PERFECT house that has like a bajillion rooms, a giant yard, and some real history to it! Well lucky for them that they found the one dude with the perfect house AND a strong need to sell it as soon as possible! Yes, good ol’ Charlie (Dennis Quaid) is moving to Florida to be with his daughter and has decided to sell his family home. Four generations have lived in this house, and for a rather steep price Scott and Annie can be the fifth. After some careful consideration and another look at the size of this place (they’ll have to Airbnb this mansion year round just to keep up with the payments!) they decide to purchase it and give Charlie a fat stack of cash that he can retire on! Everyone’s happy, right? Well… as it turns out there are a few loose ends here and there that Charlie needs to finish up and is still in town, but that’s not a problem, right? Well… he noticed the yard is looking a bit overgrown and thought it’d be neighborly to mow the yard, but that’s a good thing, right? Well… let’s just say that one thing leads to another, and another, and another, until Scott and Annie begin to wonder if this guy is ever gonna go to Florida, and that’s just the beginning of the weirdness that these two are being subjected to with Charlie still around! Will Scott and Annie ever get rid of this dude who CLEARLY didn’t seem ready to sell his house? What exactly does Charlie have planned, and just how far will he go to take back what he believes is rightfully his? Anyone get the feeling that this is what he did after making Movie 43? I mean sure he had money BEFORE that film, but that’s a movie so bad that it retroactively sucks away any success you may have had.
Proud Mary and all the images you see in this review are owned by Screen Gems
Directed by Babak Najafi
The big story around this film is that Sony (Screen Gems’s parent company) has basically buried this movie before it came out due to a severe lack of advertisement and promotion despite being everything that studios claim they want in films nowadays; i.e. a strong female lead and something that will appeal to black audiences. I mean it’s POSSIBLE that this film is utterly terrible which is WHY the promotion has been so low key, but even for a January release this seems to have been under represented; especially when stuff like The Bye Bye Man and Rings managed to get a decent amount of commercials and trailers prior to their releases. The trailer at looked good to me at least, but so did plenty of other trailers for movies that ended up being terrible, so who knows how this will turn out. Will this be another classic film that the studios were fools to have very little faith in, or are we in for a classic that will unfairly fall right below everyone’s radar? Let’s find out!!
The movie begins with Mary Goodwin (Taraji P Henson) performing a hit on some dude for reasons that I’m SURE are quite justified, but in the process he finds out that *GASP* he had a little boy! I’m… sure she’s never dealt with that before, being a hired killer and all… so she decides to spend the next year afterwards looking for this kid named Danny (Jahi Di’Allo) and where he ended up after the sudden death by brain splatter, and she eventually finds him working for a Fagin knock off named Uncle (Xander Berkeley) who naturally treats the kid like shit and barely feeds him. SURELY the best way to inspire hope in your under aged workers! That whole “catch more flies with honey” thing is bullshit anyway! Mary though doesn’t seem to like the current situation so she goes and blows the dudes brains out and takes the kid home with her. Sadly for her though, he wasn’t just some schmuck using kids to sell cocaine; he was connected to the Russian Mob which is in an uproar and believes that the crime family Mary is a part of that’s led up by Benny (Danny Glover) as well as his son Tom (Billy Brown) are responsible. I mean… they’re RIGHT considering Mary was the one who did it, but she’s not exactly telling everyone THAT pertinent detail, so the three of them have to find a way to keep the peace between the two families or prepare for an all-out war that could destroy them both. While this is going on, Danny is trying to figure out just who this mysterious lady is that not only saved him from a crappy boss, but is also letting him stay in her apartment free of charge. Will Danny find out the terrible secret that Mary is keeping that motivated her to seek him out in the first place? Will Benny and Tom figure out who’s REALLY responsible for the chaos this one death has caused, and will Mary be considered expendable if they do? Can Taraji P Henson kick enough ass in this to be the NEXT big action movie revelation!? Hey, if Brendan Fraser pulled it off, why not her!?
Resident Evil: The Final Chapter and all the images you see in this review are owned by Screen Gems
Directed by Paul WS Anderson
It has been quite a ride, hasn’t it? I’ve always been a fan of Paul WS Anderson and his work, especially considering that he’s the only director other than Uwe Bowl who’s attempted to make more than one video game movie and is the one who ACTUALLY made it work. People STILL say that we don’t have any good video game movies, but what they really mean is that there hasn’t been one that’s been critically acclaimed, and even THAT criterion is rather nebulous. So what if Resident Evil or Mortal Kombat didn’t win Oscars? Neither did Taxi Driver or Dr Strangelove! It truly is the end of an era though considering how few franchises from the early years of the new millennium are still around, recent revivals like xXx non-withstanding, and there really isn’t anything like it to take its place now that it’s over. Hell, this series DARED to be different from the source material which I can’t imagine ANY film getting away with now considering everything is about franchise management nowadays! It’s kind of a sad day to see this series go, though it will be doubly so if this final chapter turns out to be a poor note to end things on. Does Mr. Anderson manage to give us one hell of a sendoff to this beloved series, or has this franchise finally run out of steam right as it was about to reach the finish line? Let’s find out!!
The movie begins with the world having ended for at least the second time and Alice (Milla Jovovich) is all alone in the wastelands of what the world once was. Of course, being the savior of all humanity that she is, someone eventually comes a-knocking for her to be the big hero once again. This time, it’s… THE RED QUEEN!? Yes! The AI from the other films (played this time by Ever Gabo Anderson) that has been trying to kill her apparently wants to help her because Wesker (oh, spoiler alert: Wesker’s a bad guy again and is still played by Shawn Roberts) is just forty eight hours away from wiping out ALL of humanity and Alice has to stop him before then! How? Well apparently Umbrella developed an antidote for the T-Virus that no one bothered to mention up to this point and if she can release it into the world in time, all the zombies will die and humanity will be saved! Of course, the antidote (along with Wesker) is all the way back in Raccoon City so she has to travel back there, go back to the secret underground Umbrella base, and punch as many zombies as possible in the process! Can Alice save the world one last time before it’s too late, by which I mean the Resident Evil film rights expire? What exactly brought upon this change of heart from the Red Queen, and could this all be one giant trap to finally destroy her one true enemy? So wait, did she get her powers back or is she still human Alice?
Underworld: Blood Wars and all the images you see in this review are owned by Screen Gems
Directed by Anna Foerster
They managed to fit both an Underworld sequel and the final Resident Evil movie in the same month!? I mean sure, we’ve got a crappy horror movie and that Monster Trucks things as well, but way to step it up for January! Okay so NEITHER franchise is what you’d call paragons of cinematic exceptionalism, but they’re both fun in their own right and I remember the last Underworld movie being the best so far which this is a direct sequel to. Then again, the LAST direct sequel (Underworld Evolution) wasn’t a bright spot for the franchise, but maybe they’ve learned their lesson since then and can elevate this franchise to heights comparable to the MCU! Okay, MAYBE that’s a bit hyperbolic, but at least it’ll probably be better than the DCCU. Does this monster mash continue to kick ass and take names, or is this fifth entry the final stake through the heart that will finally kill this franchise? Let’s find out!!
When we last left our fearless hero Selene (Kate Beckinsale) she had stopped some sort of plot by werewolves to kill all the vampires. Standard stuff for this series, but the added twist was that Selene had a daughter… while she was in some sort of cryo-chamber or something. Well this one picks up some time later where Selene has sent off her daughter to someplace that even SHE doesn’t know where so that she can be protected if the werewolves or the vampires want to use her super blood. If you’ve been following these movies (or listen to the opening monologue that catches everyone up in this one), Selene and her one true love Michael (Sir Not Appearing In This Movie) are super special monsters; the latter because he’s half vampire half werewolf, and the former because… I honestly don’t recall. I THINK it had to do with Evolution, but whatever. The point is that Eve is the combination of a super vampire and a hybrid, so HER blood is AMAZING and everyone either wants a piece of Selene to get to her or they want her head on a stick because of all the super heroics she’s done previously, and this includes the vampires who are still salty about her cutting off half of Bill Nighy’s head that one time. That said, even though I don’t remember the exact reason WHY that happened, I assume it was justified because it was Bill Nighy. Alright, so that’s all the backstory leading into this movie, now what is the movie actually about? Selene is given a chance to earn forgiveness from the vampires if she comes back and works as some sort of trainer for their raw recruits in their army which is of the utmost concern considering this damn war between the werewolves and vampires is starting to turn against them and they are desperate for anything that will help them turn the tide; even if it’s from the one who cut off Bill Nighy’s head. The reason for this change of fortunes seems to be the werewolves’ new leader Marius (Tobias Menzies) who’s managed to corral them into an effective fighting force and also seems to be the primary one after Selene or Eve’s blood… for some reason. Like I said, she’s a SUPER vampire now, so I’m sure the werewolves can figure out a good use for it! Now with all that working against the vampires, including the fact that their basically down to two covens, you’d think they’d ACTUALLY work together, but unfortunately there are some bad apples there who are hoping to not only seize control of the coven, but frame Selene for awful crimes in the process. Could it be returning characters David and Thomas (Theo James and Charles Dance), newcomers to the series Semira and Varga (Lara Pulver and Bradley James) or someone else that I won’t even name!? What about those albino vampires that look like they’re stuck on top of a snowy mountain? Where do they fit into all this? The real question though is does ANY of this matter when you’ve got VAMPIRES SHOOTING MACHINE GUNS!?
When the Bough Breaks and all the images you see in this review are owned by Screen Gems
Directed by Jon Cassar
I really did not want to see this. The trailers didn’t inspire much hope that this would be all that great and the premise sounded… unpleasant, to say the least. Still, Morris Chestnut is a national treasure and it’s always good to see Regina Hall get some work, so maybe the people in front of and even behind the camera can make something out of this dopey premise! We can only hope…
The movie is about John and Laura Taylor (Morris Chestnut and Regina Hall) who have been trying for oh so very long to have a child, but they’ve failed multiple times and are down to their last viable embryo. I’m pretty sure Regina Hall hasn’t gone through menopause though, so I’m not sure WHY it’s their last egg, but maybe she had some sort of medical issue that made her infertile and I just wasn’t paying attention. What all of this ultimately means is that they have one last shot to have a child, and so they have to pick the right surrogate to bring it to term. In walks Anna Walsh (Jazz Sinclair) who’s just volunteered at the fertility clinic that John and Laura are working with, and immediately Laura falls in love with her. Within days, Anna is pregnant with their child and the Taylors couldn’t be happier! That is until Anna’s shit head boyfriend Mike (Theo Rossi) beats the hell out of her and she’s left without much options. Hey, she’s already carrying their kid, so why not let her stay in the guest house? Well… it turns out that Anna may not be all there mentally, and she immediately develops a crush on John which complicates matters. Will Anna have her way with John behind Laura’s back? Just how far from stable is Anna, and what will she be willing to do to get what she wants? Just how the hell did THIS woman manage to bullshit her way through the fertility clinic’s psych evaluation!?
Don’t Breathe and all the images you see in this review are owned by Screen Gems
Directed by Fede Alvarez
Oh look! It’s that guy who did the Evil Dead reboot! I actually thought that movie was really good, but then maybe I’m the only one who thought so considering we’re getting this instead and as far as I know a sequel has been indefinitely put on the back burner. That, and Ash vs The Evil Dead kind of drew all interest away from doing something new to instead milk the original franchise, but whatever. The reason that new Evil Dead works isn’t because it was a remake of a movie everyone loved, but because the guy they got behind the camera was a real talent and knew how to bring something new to a franchise that is about untouchable as the Back to Future; a series even Hollywood hasn’t had the guts to try and reboot yet. So now that the director’s remarkable skills are being used for an ORIGINAL horror film, does he still seem to be the next big genre filmmaker, or will this Raimi protégé prove himself to be a one trick pony? Let’s find out!!
The movie follows three dumb ass…. well I guess I can’t call them KIDS considering they have to be at least in their mid-twenties, but these three ragamuffins are a trio of burglars who go around Detroit and pull small time jobs to keep roofs over their heads and a slowly expanding rainy day fund. We’ve got Serious Bro named Alex (Dylan Minnette), Wild Card Bro named Money (Daniel Zovatto), and Girl Bro named Rocky (Jane Levy); all of whom have their own clichéd and contrived reasons for doing what they do. They hear about some blind dude who got a lot of cash after his daughter was killed by some rich kid in a hit and run, and so they figure this is gonna be the last score to get them out of Detroit and go straight to LA… where whatever money they score will probably disappear in a three months. Do you know how much stuff costs in that town!? Anyway, this turns out to be the last freaking house you’d ever want to B&E considering the guy may be blind but is built like a brick shit house which makes sense because he’s played by Stephen Lang. Will the thieves get out the house alive, and will we want them to by the end? Is there more to the blind man than just being a bad ass military dude you don’t want to fuck with? Just what kind of sadistic game of Marco Polo is this!?