Doctor Sleep and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures
Directed by Mike Flanagan
Now that we’re a good few years into the Stephen King revival that was kicked off by IT (actually Stranger Things if we’re being honest) it was about time we start calling back to OTHER Stephen King adaptations, and not just that brief shot of the original Pennywise in IT or the numerous random callbacks in The Dark Tower. This is a sequel not only to Stephen King’s original Shining novel, but is the sequel to Stanley Kubrick’s film adaptation, so describing the making of this movie as Quixotic is not that much of a stretch. Then again, there’s no reason not to swing for the fences if you’ve got the chance, and the director has proven time and time again with films like Gerald’s Game and Ouija: Origin of Evil that he’s capable of making very good horror films, so perhaps the untouchable triumph that was The Shining is not so out of reach after all! Is this a worthy sequel to the original film and a great movie in its own right? Let’s find out!!
Dan Torrance (Ewan McGregor) has had a rough time of it since he and his mother managed to escape from the Overlook Hotel where his dad tried to murder the two of them before dying in the snow. It seems that he took after his father in the second worst way possible as he may not be an axe murderer, but he is an alcoholic who’s using his addiction to avoid dealing with his own problems as well as the powers that seem to have done nothing but cause him trouble as the ghosts from the Overlook Hotel try to haunt him to this day. He manages to find a bit of stability though in the town of True Knot where he meets a friend named Billy (Cliff Curtis), manages to give up the booze, and even gets a job as an orderly in a hospice care facility where he uses his power to sooth those who are about to die with those gifts that have given him nothing but heartache for the past thirty years. He also seems to have made a connection with another psychic user as they communicate with each other anonymously, but circumstances are about to change that will force them to finally meet one another. It turns out that there is a cult of other psychic users who have found out that eating the souls of psychically powerful people will give them everlasting life and so they roam the country looking for people to eat (mostly children as they are the most potent) and are ostensibly led by Rose the Hat (Rebecca Ferguson) who’s powers are among the strongest out there. Our mysterious pen pal to Dan whose a young girl named Abra (Kyliegh Curran) catches psychic wind of these monsters as they feast upon a child, and Rose the Hat catches a glimpse of her as well, so now that both parties know of the other’s existence there will surely be some serious X-Men like conflict coming soon and Abra could use all the help she can get to bring these fiends to justice. Will Dan be willing to help his friend Abra with her little problem of cannibal psychics trying to hunt her down? Who exactly are these murderous psychics, and why is one of them wearing such a distinctive hat? Will they find an excuse for going back to the Outlook Hotel so they can sell this movie on Shining nostalgia? Well of course they will, but will it be a GOOD excuse!?
“Look, I know it’s haunted as well as the birthplace of most of my trauma, but I’ve got a forty percent discount from Hotels.com and it’s the ONLY place in the area it applies to.”
Joker and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros. Pictures
Directed by Todd Phillips
Are we ready to do this? Alright, let’s do this. So Joker always seemed like an odd choice for a movie as his defining moments have always been in relation to Batman. Take him away, and what are you left with? Well if the trailers are any indication, you get something akin to Travis Bickel in Taxi Driver by way of Krusty the Clown. I mean I was at least interested to see where they were GOING with it since the trailers did a solid job of obscuring what the actual plot was, but the last few weeks of bad press have really drained any enthusiasm I could muster for what was already seeming to be a novelty at best. Does this manage to rise above the controversy surrounding it, especially the controversies cynically generated by those who have an active stake in the film’s success, or will this all be for a movie that ultimately isn’t worth the time and effort? Let’s find out!!
Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix) is one of many residents in the city of Gotham who is barely getting by and can feels that life has given him a rather crappy lot. All he wanted to do was be a comedian and make people smile, but street punks keep beating him up at his job, the rich politicians and lobbyist keep cutting social services that he needs, and on top of all that he has to take care of his elderly mother Frances Conroy) who’s unshaking belief that Thomas Wayne (Brett Cullen) will help her and her son has only become more and more obnoxious as the years have gone by. Why… it’s almost enough to drive someone MAD isn’t it!? Like say… if someone got so tired of this that they started wearing clown makeup and robbed banks! Well leave those fantasies at home as this is the REAL Joker for the modern age in that he’s really angry all the time but doesn’t do a heck of a whole lot about it and what he DOES do about it isn’t as… let’s say FLAMBOYANT as his comic book persona would have you believe. Still, the walls are closing in more and more as Arthur’s life goes further and further into chaos to the point that he may just be forced to fight back in a way that no one could possibly expect; least of all himself. Will Arthur’s miserable life come to some sort of hilarious denouement that gets all the squares to pop their monocles? What effect will his actions have on the rest of the city, and is he really so different from all the normal people out there? Seriously, is this REALLY the guy Warner Bros wants to be spouting his manifesto on the big screen right when they’re getting the DCCU back on track?
“I call it… MY JOKE BOOK!” “…” “Seriously? Nothing?” “Oh, uh… no, that’s clever!”
The Goldfinch and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros. Pictures
Directed by John Crowley
So based on the trailers, this has to do with a heist gone wrong to steal a painting? Or maybe the kid knocked it off the wall which triggered a series of Rube Goldberg zaniness that led to the museum exploding? Okay, it’s probably not going to be THAT wacky considering the solemnity with which the trailers show the main character struggling with his guilt for… something, but apparently this is based on a book and I haven’t read it yet. Thankfully BASED ON THE BEST SELLING NOVEL doesn’t send a chill of dread down my spine the same way BASED ON A TRUE STORY does since a book is already supposed to have a beginning, middle, and end unlike someone’s life normally does, but I might be a bit out of my depth here because I hadn’t even HEARD of the freaking thing before the trailers started to come out and it clearly looks to be pure Oscar Bait, but I’ve seen enough of these kind of movies by now to hopefully tell a good one from a bad one. Then again, I was bored senseless in The Phantom Thread, so maybe I don’t know what I’m talking about in the first place. Is this the kind of awards contender that’ll appeal to all audiences instead of the very few who will be voting on said awards this year, or is all the pretense simply there to prop up a mediocre slog? Let’s find out!!
Theo Decker (Ansel Elgort and Oakes Fegley) hasn’t had the best like in his short thirteen years so far. He got blamed for smoking at school, his dad left his mom several months ago, and oh yeah his mother died in some sort of terrorist attack at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He manages to survive somehow, but with nowhere else to go he ends up living with a school friend’s family which is led by the regal Samantha Barbour (Nicole Kidman) who seems sympathy towards Theo but not much more than that. He eventually finds someone to open up to about the incident when he finds the partner of a man who died in the explosion along with the man’s granddaughter Pippa (Ashleigh Cummings and Aimee Laurence) who DID survive the explosion but suffered some serious trauma because of it. Theo and his new friend Hobie (Jeffrey Wright) do manage to lean on each other somewhat to deal with their grief, but at some point Theo’s crappy dad Larry (Luke Wilson) comes back to take him away to Arizona with his younger girlfriend Xandra (Sarah Paulson) where he meets a kid named Boris (Aneurin Barnard and Finn Wolfhard) who he soon becomes friends with as well. The movie goes between flashbacks to his childhood and the life he has today which seems to be rather miserable and it becomes clearer and clearer why as we learn more about his past; the continued trauma he had to go through even after his mother’s death as well as the brief moments of joy he managed to find despite his lousy circumstances. Oh, and there was this painting that Theo took from the museum for some reason after the explosion, but I’m sure that’s not too important. It had a bird on it I think. Will Theo find peace in his life after having to suffer so much? Is there anything in his fractured past that will hold the answer to him coming to terms with what happened to him and maybe some serendipitous turn of events will finally bring him the closure he needs? Seriously, what does he need that bird picture for in the first place? I mean it’s fine, but it’s no Rembrandt or Jim Davis.
“Oh Garfield! You truly capture the pain in my soul with your utter loathing of Mondays!”
The Banana Splits Movie and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Home Entertainment
Directed by Danishka Esterhazy
Well… I guess we’re finally here. After months of speculation and a couple of pieces by yours truly, we finally find out if this horror themed Banana Splits movie can justify its ludicrous premise. I’ve made no bones about the fact that I’m not looking forward to this, especially when it’s so blatantly trying to jump on the Five Nights at Freddy’s bandwagon with a property that isn’t even REMOTELY applicable (a Country Bear Jamboree horror film would make WAY more sense), but maybe the filmmakers know something I don’t and have found an angle to tell this story from that will make it an interesting examination of these characters and their place in popular culture instead of just a cheap attention grabbing cash in. Yeah, it’s probably the latter but let’s find out!!
The Williams Family wanted nothing more than for little Harley’s birthday (Finlay Wotjak-Hissong) to go perfectly and the best way to do that would be to take him to see a live taping of his FAVORITE show; The Banana Splits; a quartet of singing animals made up of Fleegle the beagle, Bingo the ape, Drooper the lion, and Snorky the elephant (voiced by Eric Bauza). In this universe however, I guess the Banana Splits are the entire half hour instead of the bumper between cartoons and they use a retro-sixties aesthetic… ironically maybe? Well whatever the case may be, his mother Beth (Dani Kind) managed to score five tickets to take the both of them along with his dad Mitch (Steve Lund) and his step brother Austin (Romeo Carere) along with a friend from school Zoe (Maria Nash) who’s too cool for the Splits but has to go anyway. Once they get to the studio where it’s filmed which is located WAY in the back of the lot, we learn that The Banana Splits, while successful (somehow) is a production of many frustrations. The stage manager Rebecca (Sara Canning) has to manage the incompetent staff as well as the overly dramatic Stevie (Richard White) who’s the only human in the cast and drinks his sorrows away on a daily basis. Fortunately The Splits themselves aren’t as troublesome as they are LITERALLY ADVANCED ROBOTIC ENTERTAINERS that this studio can somehow afford and are regularly maintained by the overly enthusiastic programmer Karl (Lionel Newton), and most everything else is managed by the page Paige (Naledi Majola) who is way sicker of that joke than you are. Well in case you weren’t sure what movie we were watching, the robotic Splits end up getting a crappy firmware update and start to go on a murdering rampage as soon as the taping is over and the only ones left in the studio are a few employees and the lucky few who were chosen to meet The Splits in person; including the Williams family. Will anyone be left alive after The Splits enact whatever horrifying machinations they are dead set on enacting? Are the true Splits still somewhere within those cold metal shells, and is there a way that Harley can reach them? Even if he could though, who would WANT to reach them? Bunch of dead eyed Chuck-E-Cheese rejects. Back in my day, The Banana Splits had life and personality; not circuits and microchips con-sarn-it!
“NOT PROGRAMMED FOR AFFECTION! HUG PROTOCOLS ARE IN BETA!!” “Aww… I love you to Bingo!”
Blinded by the Light and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros. Pictures
Directed by Gurinder Chadha
See, I was confused about this movie when I first heard about it because of the title. Blinded by the Light is a Manfred Mann song, right? I’m not the only one who thought this? Well apparently it WAS a Springsteen song first which either goes to show my utter lack of musical knowledge or just how much THE BETTER VERSION has overshadowed the original. Seriously, they play the Springsteen version at one point, and I was pretty much meh on it. The song NEEDS those chopsticks! ANYWAY! Since Boomer Music is all the rage these days we were surely going to get the Springsteen movie at some point, and for someone like me who barely knows anything about the guy (Baby We Were Born to Run, Born in the USA, and… well that’s about it), this might be the perfect way to educate me about his place is musical history while also telling a compelling narrative about an immigrant family in Thatcher’s Britain since this is apparently based on a true story about a guy I’ve never heard of. A movie about a musician I know nothing about told through the life story of a person I know nothing about. Probably should have done some homework ahead of time, but regardless of all that; is this a good movie about the music that inspired a man to live out his dreams? Let’s find out!
Javed Khan (Viveik Kalra) is your typical Pakistani teenager living in Britain in the late 1980s; facing discrimination from skinheads in the neighborhood and barely getting along with his family at home. His father expects him to get a high paying (and very boring) job once he graduates from college and until then he studies, he works lousy jobs, and he stays away from all the white kids having parties and premarital sex; the only solace from the drudgery being the poems and essays he writes every day. Not for mass consumption of course since his father would never approve, but it’s at least SOMETHING that makes him a little bit happier. If only there was someone out there who can open his eyes to the world he’s missing out on! If only there was a… musical artist let’s say, who understands his plight and can reach him on an emotional level that nothing else has before! Well luckily for Javed, he meets someone at school named Roops (Aaron Phagura) who tells him about… The Boss. Have you heard the good word about The Boss? Well in case you hadn’t heard, The Boss is Bruce Springsteen and he writes music that transcends generation, nationality, and race; so much so that this sad Pakistani teenager gets a new lease on life after two cassettes worth of rock and roll goodness! Can Javed turn his life around and start to follow his dreams instead of living up to the expectations of his father? How will his family react to his new taste in music and the rebellious attitude that comes along with it? Can he REALLY pull off the sleeveless flannel look? Then again, can any of us?
“Look at my hair, and know that I am judging you.” “Whatevs. I look GOOD!”
The Twilight Zone and all the images you see in this recap are owned by Warner Bros Television and based on the series created by Rod Serling
Directed by Allan Kroeker
The episode begins with the titular Gabe (Christopher Titus who I’ve talked about in the past) smashing his car into someone else’s by accident; someone by the way who doesn’t even seem too perturbed by it which is a little odd. His driver’s side door is half caved in and yet rather than get yell at Gabe or get his insurance information, he makes a half-hearted crack at his driving skills before calling him a loser. Seems a bit low key considering the damage inflicted which I would certainly call a silver lining, but then Gabe is one of those perpetually miserable dudes who attributes everything to his all-encompassing belief in his own bad luck. Well that and his lousy boss who’s keeping him down at work. Gabe is basically the embodiment of lower white working class angst which is a topic Sir Titus is quite familiar with as he jumps right into a stand up routine while explaining to his wife (Stefanie von Pfetten) why he didn’t get the promotion due to his lack of butt kissing skills. He goes outside to nurse his ego as well as the big lump on his head which he got in the car crash when he notices some guy in an orange jumpsuit (Kelly Perine) in the backyard killing his grass. When confronted, the guy just oddly says that Gabe shouldn’t even be able to see him and that he should pretend this is ALL some big hallucination before turning tail and running off while Gabe just stands there; gawking at the absolute gall of this guy to just kill his grass and say IGNORE ME. I wish I got to see the inner workings of the universe whenever I bumped my head.
“Darn crabgrass. I should have listened to Philip K Dick when I had the chance…”
The Twilight Zone and all the images you see in this recap are owned by Warner Bros Television and based on the series created by Rod Serling
Episode directed by Brad Turner
We’re back with another episode of The Half-Remembered Zone and this is one that I remember quite a bit; particularly the ending which… I don’t remember liking all that much? It’s an interesting episode to be sure, but I mostly remember it feeling like some sort of PSA about dealing with loss rather than something I could genuinely connect with. Then again, I watched these episodes when I was a foolish teenager and now that I’m a foolish man I might have a slightly different perspective on it. Has this episode aged like a fine wine, or am I about to chug a gallon of fifteen year old milk that didn’t go down too smooth the first time around? Let’s find out!!
The episode begins with two friends Andy and Marco (Clifton Collins Jr and Greg Serano); the former with a terminal illness and the other trying to show him a good time by driving fast and reliving old memories. It’s not doing much to stave off the constant coughing and the fear of death, but I do think the dynamic here is very strong between the two. Marco is definitely cheery in that way that people get when they want to help someone forget about what’s wrong and () is brutally honest about how scared his of dying at such a young age. We find out that this car Marco is driving was built by Andy and that it’s going to be in a big race in just a week’s time that Andy is afraid he won’t get to see, but as luck would have it while they’re cruising on this rainy night, they find that the track has already been set up and that no one else is there. At first Marco is hesitant to do this and thinks that Andy should get to a hospital, but Andy is adamant that they take one LAST LAP together and so Marco drives the course. What neither of the realized is that driving ridiculously high speeds on a track on a rainy night is PROBABLY not the best idea and so they end up crashing the car. Andy wakes up in ambulance seemingly no worse for wear despite the whole cancer thing, but Marco… well he didn’t make it. Well sucks to be him I guess, but somehow (I’m guessing THE TWILIGHT ZONE did it), Andy no longer seems to be terminal. In fact, he’s basically back to his old self which is a detail I DEFINITELY don’t remember from the first time I saw it and on top of that the race track completely disappeared when Andy goes to visit it the next morning which I don’t remember either.
“This is not my beautiful racetrack! This is not my terminal illness! HOW DID I GET HERE!?”