Knock at the Cabin and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures
Directed by M Night Shyamalan
M Night has had one of the more interesting career revivals as his latest film are not quite reaching the peak of his earlier work, but they’ve been solid features that have made a decent amount of money, so he’s gained much of his prestige back after being thought of as a joke for over a decade. Is his latest mysterious picture even more evidence that the king of twists is clawing his way back on top, or will it turn out that the hope he inspired in us was his greatest twist of all? Let’s find out!!
Eric and Andrew (Jonathan Groff and Ben Aldridge) are just trying to have a pleasant holiday with their daughter Wen (Kristen Cui), but things just can’t seem to go right! They have no cell service in their cabin, DoorDash isn’t willing to deliver this far out into the woods, and if that wasn’t bad enough, four religious fanatics with makeshift weapons and color-coordinated outfits have broken into their vacation home and tied them to a couple of chairs! The leader of the group is Leonard (Dave Bautista) who informs this unlucky family that the apocalypse is coming and there’s only one very arbitrary way to avoid it that no one here is going to like. The other three intruders, Sabrina, Adriane, and Redmond (Nikki Amuka-Bird, Abby Quinn, and Rupert Grint) plead their case as best as they can, but it’s certainly a hard sell and time is running out as the world seems to start crumbling around them. Will Eric, Andrew, and Wen be able to escape from their tormentors before they do something even more drastic? Is this just a simple case of mass hysteria as the four intruders see fate where there’s only coincidence, or is there more to the story than can be rationally understood? Seriously, what’s with the matching shirts? It’s not exactly something you’d do if you DIDN’T want to come off as complete weirdos!
M3GAN and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures
Directed by Gerard Johnstone
Every year like clockwork we get a horror movie that seemingly comes out of nowhere and gets the mass’s attention in a big way. Last year it was Terrifier 2, arguably Malignant the year before, and with this little robot girl’s meme-worthy dance moves, there was little doubt that this was going to make a splash in the usually ho-hum month of January. Still, the killer-doll movie is not the easiest story to pull off as failing to make the situation scary turns it into laughable nonsense, and however well M3GAN can pull off those Tik-Tok dances, she’s still gonna have to deliver on the horror if this is to live up to the hype. Is this a fantastic entry in the genre with a very savvy marketing campaign, or have we already seen the best this movie has to offer? Let’s find out!! Each generation needs its definitive doll; from Cabbage Patch Kids and Tickle Me Elmo all the way to Bratz and Monster High. Of course, none of those dolls were able to connect to the web or pass a Turing Test, and that’s the niche that M3GAN (Amie Donald and Jenna Davis) hope to fill as her creator Gemma (Allison Williams) promises to not just be a toy but a true friend! Good thing too, considering that Gemma’s sister just died in a horrible car crash with her husband and now has to take care of her niece Cady (Violet McGraw) who she can’t quite relate to but provides just the inspiration she needs to turn M3GAN into more than just a pipe dream and a tortured anagram for “Model 3 Generative Android”. With M3GAN finally approaching something resembling functional, Gemma gives her to Cady to help her navigate life after such a devastating loss which also allows her to field test the robot so her company can put her on the market. It certainly seems like a lot of responsibility to put on a freshly compiled artificial intelligence, and perhaps Gemma’s eagerness gets the best of her as M3GAN seems to be learning a little too much out there in the real world; one that can’t easily be quantified by code or operates on a set of defined rules. Will M3GAN take the wrong lessons from the world around her and become yet another cautionary tale of science gone wrong? How will Cady cope with the loss of her parents, and can M3GAN be a suitable replacement for the love and support that Gemma seems unable to provide? Seriously, is there anyone out there, robot or otherwise, that can remain well-adjusted with a non-stop internet connection?
Nope and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures
Directed by Jordan Peele
Very recently I’ve started watching Key & Peele in earnest as I had seen little more than clips online in the past, and frankly, it’s not all that surprising that at least one of them became a horror director. The duo made some very funny stuff, but there are also quite a few sketches throughout the show that not only have a sinister edge to them but almost feel like precursors to Jordan Peele’s first feature Get Out. Now he has two wildly successful features under his belt and much like M Night Shyamalan when he was in that position, his next move is to go for a spooky movie about aliens, or at least the general idea of them as the marketing has done a very good job covering up the true nature of whatever is going on here. Does this updated take on the classic sci-fi genre prove to be as groundbreaking as Peele’s previous films, or is even the best of filmmakers unable to escape the occasional dud? Let’s find out!!
OJ Haywood and his sister Em (Daniel Kaluuya and Keke Palmer) are left running their father’s horse ranch after an unexpected (and unexplained) accident took his life only a few months prior. Now Papa Haywood (Keith David) ran Hayood’s Hollywood Horse Ranch like a true professional as he took great care of the horses and worked well with the production studios, but unfortunately, his kids aren’t exactly filling his shoes with Em having the personality but not the business sense and OJ working great with horses but not with other people. The only thing keeping them afloat is selling horses one after another to the local rodeo owned by former child star Ricky Park (Steven Yeun), but that’s only going to last for so long before they will surely need to sell their father’s ranch and his legacy off to whoever will throw a few dollars their way. Fortunately, or perhaps unfortunately, there seems to be this strange thing in the sky that will occasionally pass soundlessly through the air in the middle of the night and has some sort of effect on electronic equipment which can only mean one thing; aliens, and therefore opportunity! Em is gung ho about capturing some fantastic footage of this mysterious spacecraft on film and selling it to the highest bidder, and OJ is just kinda going along with it since there isn’t much more they can do to save the ranch, so with the help of a local electronics store clerk (Brandon Perea) they set up a series of cameras around the ranch hope to get a once in a lifetime shot that will put Haywood’s Hollywood Horses back in the spotlight! What is this mysterious thing in the night sky that Em and OJ hope to capture on film, and can they do it without drawing its attention; or wrath? What is it doing here in the first place, and are the Haywood’s the only ones trying to catch a glimpse of it? Seriously, with the way things have been going lately, how much are they really gonna get for alien footage? It’s not like there won’t be another dozen or so terrifying news stories the next day!
So how’s everyone else enjoying their Spring? Lots of sunshine and pretty flowers? Well for me it’s been nonstop rain, a tornado warning, and a broken toilet that cost a bunch of money to fix, so things have been just a tiny bit hectic over here. That’s certainly a reason why my movie reviews have been a little late recently, but thanks to streaming services and studios becoming less confident about their theatrical releases, it’s now easier than ever to catch up on stuff in a timely fashion! To wit, I have three movie reviews for your enjoyment and to hopefully distract from the fact that I haven’t seen the new Top Gun movie yet!
Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers
Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers is owned by Walt Disney Pictures
Directed by Akiva Schaffer
The former stars of the nineties animated show Chip ‘n’ Dale Rescue Rangers have gone through a lot since its cancellation all those years ago with Chip (John Mulaney) selling out and going corporate while Dale (Andy Samberg) trying to make it work all these years later; banking on the nostalgia adults have for his glory days and selling signed photos at conventions to keep himself afloat. To make matters worse, they ended the show on pretty bad terms so they’ve hardly spoken to each other since then, but fate brings them back together as one of the cast members of that show Monterey Jack (Eric Bana) is in deep with the cartoon mafia and gets kidnapped right after calling both of them for help. With their friend’s life in the balance, Chip & Dale must put aside their differences and work together to scourge the LA Underworld (or at least the nostalgic cartoon version of it) to save their friend and perhaps even come back together after being apart for so long.
I’m either gonna be too harsh on this movie because I’m a giant sourpuss or I’m gonna be too nice to this for fear of looking like a giant sourpuss. It occupies a very strange place for me as I do genuinely enjoy a lot about this movie, but I still can’t quite get behind it for reasons that… well probably make me look like a giant sourpuss. Before we get into that, let me just say that I got a decent amount of laughs in this and I was genuinely tickled by a lot of the imagination on display. There are some deep-cut references that certainly appealed to me, and concepts like the putty captain and the puppet chef were well-realized and fun to watch on screen. Heck, I’d go so far as to say that the inclusion of Ugly Sonic has me convinced that he should get his own spin-off series because they were just that funny! It’s almost like the nineties kids finally got the Roger Rabbit sequel we always wanted to see as the movie’s use of nostalgia, however cynical it may be, is at least cleverly realized with some very funny premises throughout. I love the idea of turning the objects of nostalgia that are the lifeblood of the convention scene and making them the literal guests trying to make a few bucks at rickety card tables with tri-fold boards of merch. It’s clear that the creative behind this are of my particular generation, both with the nostalgia for all this nineties crap and the subsequent decades of nostalgia baiting entertainment, so it gets more than a few points for some level of authenticity even if the movie leans far too heavily on it which I guess brings us to what’s wrong with the movie. The thing is that you can only rely on sight gags and nostalgia for so long before the movie has to start standing on its story and this is where the movie just doesn’t work for me. I didn’t find Chip or Dale particularly endearing as characters, nor did I find the plot all that interesting with the mystery being pretty threadbare. Now I could avoid being a giant sourpuss here and chalk this up to being a kid’s movie where a swift pace and lighthearted tone can carry an otherwise simplistic storyline, but I feel the age and density of so many of the references means that it’s aiming a bit higher than it wants to admit. Do kids even know who the Rescue Rangers are? Heck, are kids gonna get any of the Disney Afternoon jokes in here; let alone the references to more adult-oriented stuff like South Park or the general concept of bootleg movies? It’s a movie that clearly wants to have its cake and eat it; setting its targets squarely on a Millennial audience while hiding behind the Gen Z for its immature and simplistic storytelling. Perhaps it splits the difference evenly enough that both groups will get at least something out of this and I can’t deny the moments I enjoyed throughout, so it gets a little bit of a pass from me but this trick isn’t gonna work indefinitely. Millennials will get sick of 90s-stalgia just as everyone got sick of 80s-stalgia about a decade ago, and what is that gonna leave us with? 2000s-stalgia? I mean it’d be nice if I got my Megas XLR reboot, but still…
Sing 2 and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures
Directed by Garth Jennings
Was anyone expecting the first Sing to be anything more than cloying and treacly? I mean it’s not like Illumination has a great track record for this kind of thing, especially with those toothless Seuss adaptations, but they somehow pulled it off with that movie which was sweet, sincere, and my favorite animated movie the year it came out! The moment that it was over though, I knew that a sequel was coming and that it was probably going to be a bad idea. The first one worked as its own story, so trying to fit another one on top of it seemed like typical sequel folly and an obvious attempt at a cash grab. Then again, it’s not like I was expecting anything out of the first one and it managed to surprise me, so why not the sequel as well? Can this movie capture the magic of the first film and give us the rare animated sequel that is just as satisfying as the first one, or should we just be glad that we got a good movie in the first place and write this one off as a mere victory lap from Illumination? Let’s find out!!
Following the events of the first film, the Moon Theater is back and better than ever! The all-star cast of Meena, Johnny, Rosita, and Gunter (Tori Kelly, Taron Egerton, Reese Witherspoon, and Nick Kroll) are living their dreams and selling out shows every night; all of which should make Buster (Matthew McConaughey) who owns the theater very happy, right? I mean that’s kind of the dream that they were all striving for in the first one! Well… no. Apparently, they all want to go to the Sing universe equivalent of Las Vegas and perform shows there; presumably next to furry versions of Blue Man Group and Carrot Top. After a talent scout (Chelsea Peretti) brushes them off, Buster drags his cast as well as Ash (Scarlett Johansson) to the big city to prove that scout wrong and appeal to the biggest producer in the city; Jimmy Crystal (Bobby Carnavale). Through some high-level schmoozing and a white lie here and there, he agrees to give them a shot; albeit it with quite a few strings attached. They have three weeks to throw together a lavish Broadway-style show from scratch, they have to include Crystal’s daughter Porsha (Halsey) in some way, and they need to find rock legend Clay Calloway (Bono) so he can be a part of the show. That last one, in particular, is going to be difficult as no one has seen or heard from him in fifteen years, but if Buster says he can get him, then by Jove, he’s gonna get him! Can the crew pull off yet another amazing show, even with the added pressures of a bigger production and an overbearing executive? What new challenges will our heroes face on their latest venture, and is this perhaps the end of the road for them? I mean it’s not like Buster has a habit of getting in over his head, right? Surely he knows what he’s doing!
It’s certainly been a while since my last Grinch video, and even back then I wanted to do this video. Life got in the way however and so it kept getting pushed further and further back, but in that time it’s changed into what I hope will be the start of a new video series! Let me know what you think in the comments below!!
Halloween Kills and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures
Directed by David Gordon Green
It looks like the only thing that could stop Michael Myers was a global Pandemic as this was supposed to come out last Halloween, but I guess any October is a good time to release a new installment of this series. The 2018 film was a breath of fresh air in a franchise that went off the rails in several different ways, but the ending left me rather cold as it was clearly there to make room for a sequel instead of giving us a definitive end to the story. Now that sequel is here so it’s time to find out if it was worth undercutting the dramatic conclusion to the last film to get one more story out of this new continuity. Is this the proper conclusion we were hoping to get in the last movie, or should they have ended the series then and there? Lets’ find out!!
Continuing where the last movie left off, Laurie Strode along with her daughter and granddaughter Karen and Allyson (Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, and Andi Matichak) are speeding away from her burning house with Michael Myers (James Judy Courtney and Nick Castle) trapped inside; a plan that seemed dubious when we saw it three years ago and now we can see exactly why as Michael manages to survive the fire and kills a bunch of firefighters in the process. Over the course of the evening, it becomes clear to the whole town of Haddonfield that Michael Myers is still on the loose and wreaking havoc wherever he goes, so it’s up to the people of that town including a fully grown Tommy Doyle (Anthony Michael Hall) to lead the charge and put an end to this murder once and for all! While all this is going on, Laurie is in the hospital recovering from Michael’s attack and Karen is doing what she can to keep her family together despite Allyson being in the throes of grief and seeking revenge wherever she can find it. Can this town put an end to this shadow that has been hanging over them since that fateful night in 1978? What will it take to put Michael down once and for all, and is it something that can be done without losing more lives and perhaps even the soul of this town? Seriously, Laurie. You couldn’t put two in the head for good measure before lighting the house on fire? Heck, you could have at least thrown a bit of gasoline on him!
Candyman and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures
Directed by Nia DaCosta
Candyman is an interesting franchise to be sure; Starting off as yet another Clive Barker adaptation but given enough changes when translated to film that it took on a lot of different meanings and ended up speaking to an often underserved audience. Because of this place it holds in popular culture, who Candyman is and what he represents for a lot of people is something that I cannot truly opine on. I’ve only seen the first movie which was a very solid horror film, but it’s in a genre that’s full of great works so it never stood out to me as much as other films in the genre have. I AM however a pretty big fan of Jordan Peele’s work in the genre and while this isn’t directed by him, he did produce and write it which is a pretty good sign in my book! Will this be another classic horror film that Jordan Peele had a hand in, or is trying to bring this franchise back ultimately a doomed prospect like so many other horror rebotos? Let’s find out!!
Anthony (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) is an artist in Chicago who got some popularity early on but has struggled to find success since then; not just because he’s seemingly out of inspiration but due to the limited spaces that the ART WORLD wish to see his work exist in. After hearing a ghost story from his girlfriend’s brother Troy (Nathan Stewart-Jarrett) about a mysterious string of murders back in the nineties, he decides to investigate the area and runs across William (Colman Domingo) who gives him the story of Candyman (Tony Todd); a menacing figure covered in bees with a hook for a hand who will appear and kill you if you say his name five times in a mirror. With this, Anthony has finally found an idea with exploring despite his girlfriend Brianna (Teyonah Parris) not seeing much there, and her suspicions only get worse when Anthony becomes more and more obsessed with the legend and the case that happened in the nineties. With Anthony doing the work of spreading the story of Candyman, is he inadvertently bringing him back to resume his reign of terror? With such a dangerous legend that could lead to so much death, why did William even tell Anthony about it, and will learning more about the history of Candyman uncover disturbing answers to that question? If you only say his name four times, how long do you have to say it a fifth time before it counts?
Old and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures
Directed by M. Night Shyamalan
M Night Shyamalan is far from my favorite filmmaker, but I’m always interested to see whatever it is he’s made whenever his name flashes by on a trailer with this film being no exception! The conceit seemed decent enough in a Twilight Zone or Outer Limits sort of way which is definitely in his wheelhouse, but there was A LOT going on here that made this look both laughable and disturbing. I guess that’s why we all keep giving him more and more chances as no matter how bad he burns us with movies like The Happening, Last Airbender, and After Earth, there’s always something to his thrillers that makes them unique among everything else that makes it to theaters. Does he manage to knock it out of the park once again with this ghastly tale of time gone haywire, or will this tank so bad that he’ll have to make another low budget found footage movie as penance? Let’s find out!!
A family of four with parents Guy and Prisca (Gael Garcia Bernal and Vicky Krieps) as well as the young kids Trent and Maddox (Emun Elliott and Embeth Davidtz) are vacationing at a resort THAT THEY JUST SO HAPPENED TO FIND ON THE INTERNET where they cater to your every need in the most beautiful tropical paradise you’ve ever seen! Not only that, they have a secret beach that is PERFECT for spending a day at, so the four of them head out there along with another family of four (Rufus Sewell, Abbey Lee, Kathleen Chalfant, and Kyle Bailey) as well as a nice couple (Ken Leung and Nikki Amuka-Bird) to enjoy the day swimming relaxing! Things go sideways fairly soon however as Trent finds a dead body which some mysterious guy who was already there (Aaron Pierre) seems to recognize, and not long after that the oldest among them start to get sick. They try to leave but something is causing them to black out as soon as they try to step through the cavern that led them here, and to make matters worse the three kids all start to age rapidly. Trent and Maddox (now played by Alex Wolff and Thomasin McKenzie) and reaching adulthood within hours and everyone who has a medical condition is getting worse and worse as the seemingly fast passage of time is leaving their conditions untreated to rampage through their bodies. With only hours to go before the adults grow old enough to die from age alone, can they find a way to escape this beach before losing all the time they have left? What possible reason could there be for the beach being this way, and why were they put there in the first place? If they get out of this alive, do the kids get like twenty birthday presents in a day?
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?