‘John Wick’ Review

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Dir: David Leitch and Chad Stahelski

Cast: Keanu Reeves, Michael Nyqvist, Alfie Allen, Willem Dafoe, Dean Winters, Adrianne Palicki, Bridget Moynahan, John Leguizamo, Lance Reddick and Ian McShane

Synopsis: An ex-hitman comes out of retirement to track down the gangsters that took everything from him.

 

 

 

*Reviewer Note:  This will be a spoiler free review*

 

 

John Wick is one of those movies you would most likely not give a second look. The premise behind it is a tad wonky: An ex-hitman goes on a killing spree because they killed his dog. However, John Wick is a ton of fun and the action is so out there that you almost can’t help but enjoy yourself and have fun.

 

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John (Reeves) is mourning the death of his wife Helen (Moynahan) when he receives a puppy. The puppy, named Daisy, was her way for making sure John could cope with her loss. John looks like he’s doing okay until he goes out and ends up at a gas station where he encounters three gangster lead by Iosef (Allen). What seemed like just a minor annoyance becomes more when they break into his house, beat him up, kill the dog and steal his car. Unfortunately, and unbeknownst, to them, John Wick is a retired hitman who managed to get out of the life, but before he did, he was considered “the person you send to kill the Boogeyman.” Wick then comes out for one last job of revenge and will stop anyone who gets in his way. He then finds out that Iosef is the son of a kingpin that he use to work for in Viggo (Nyqvist).

 

The interesting thing about the movie is that is throws you into the criminal underground world. When Iosef steals Wick’s car he takes it to a chop-shop owned by John Leguizamo’s Aureilo, who immediately knows whose car is it, punches him and demands he leaves. When Aureilo gets a call from Viggo and asks for answers, he tells him what his son did and gets a reaction which borderlines funny, ridiculous, and serious. Wick never runs into anybody that isn’t a killer. He even stays at a hotel known as The Continental, which is run by Management, and is a safe haven/hotel for killers. There are also transactions done by gold coins. They have a code pretty much. This could also be a bit of a negative because when you see all of this, you kind of want to know more about this society, but we are left following John Wick killing people, which is okay.

 

Reeves could have gave Wick a wooden performance and taken the role to serious or even not serious enough. But Reeves gives a good range of emotions throughout the movie. Someone mentions that John looks vulnerable for the first time and Reeves actually gives us that. You do believe that John Wick was this most feared assassin by the way everyone treats him and takes him coming after Iosef seriously.

 

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Isoef (Alfie Allen) and Viggo (Michael Nyqvist)

 

The villains are rounded up by Michael Nyqvist’s Viggo, Adrianne Palicki’s Perkins, Daniel Bernhardt’s Kirill and Dean Winters’ Avi. Nyqvist is a no nonsense kind of guy and even punches his own son and calls him out when he finds out what he did. Winters doesn’t have a lot to do but give a couple comedic lines and be Viggo’s personal assistant. Bernhardt becomes Iosef’s protector and has some great fight sequences with John Wick. Palicki unfortunately is kind of forgettable, which is a shame because I do like her.

 

Willem Dafoe and Ian McShane pop up as old friends to John and are the last “members of the old guard.” But are only in the movie for short amount of times, but are still welcomed additions. Even Alfie Allen, who is the major reason why the events of the movie takes place disappears often and by the time he comes back you wish Wick would just kill him.

 

Of course, you’re not going to watch this movie for the acting. You’re going to watch this movie for the balls to the wall action. Well, you’re in luck because John Wick has that and then some. It’s appropriate because the movie is directed by stunt men David Leitch and Chad Staheiski, which shows during the action sequences because they are done so well and filled with combinations of martial arts and gun-play (or ‘Gun Fu’ as some call it) which leads to some brutal and some satisfying deaths.

 

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John Wick (Reeves) vs. Kirill (Daniel Bernhardt)

 

The action is great and you’re giving time to enjoy it. Killing for John is almost second nature. He makes kill after kill with extreme precious and doesn’t hesitate to kill anyone that has the great misgiving by being in front of him. One particular action sequence stands out to me and has a great combination of action choreography, background music, and cinematography. They care about the action and none of the fight scenes have shaky cam which action/fight fans will most likely appreciate. However, I will say the last shootout is a bit underwhelming, especially after the other scenes.

 

All in all, John Wick does have some missteps but overall is a hell of a ride. The story might not be sound or all there but the action sure as hell makes up for it.

 

John Wick

4.5 out of 5

"Yeah, I'm thinking I'm back!"

“Yeah, I’m thinking I’m back!”

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‘Fury’ Review

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Dir: David Ayer

Cast: Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman, Michael Pena, Jon Bernthal, Jim Parrack, Brad William Henke, Kevin Vance, Xavier Samuel and Jason Isaacs

Synopsis: April, 1945. As the Allies make their final push in the European Theatre, a battle-hardened army sergeant named Wardaddy commands a Sherman tank and her five-man crew on a deadly mission behind enemy lines. Out-numbered, out-gunned, and with a rookie soldier thrust into their platoon, Wardaddy and his men face overwhelming odds in their heroic attempts to strike at the heart of Nazi Germany

 

 

*Reviewer Note:  This will be a spoiler free review*

 

 

Unlike most wars movies, David Ayer’s Fury sets the action near the end of World War II. The Allied forces are moving into Germany, troops are starting to break down, and the tank forces are down to only a few. The film follows one particular tank, “Fury” which is lead by Don “Wardaddy” Collier (Pitt) and his crew Boyd “Bible” Swan (LaBeouf), Trini “Gordo” Garcia (Pena), and Grady “Coon-Ass” Travis (Bernthal). We find out that they have just lost someone in the crew and has been replaced with new recruit and typist Norman Ellison (Lerman), who is completely out of his element. The crew is then sent out and have survive not just the war but each other, which is easier said than done.

 

We quickly learn who our main characters are. Pitt’s “Wardaddy” is the tough no nonsense sergeant, Pena’s “Gordo” is a hard drinking wise-ass driver, Bernthal’s Grady is the loader and is more “beast than man” as someone points out to him and “Bible” is religious – hence the name – and is the tank’s gunner. The group isn’t perfect. They have their little arguments and fight here and there, but the next minute they would be willing to die for each other. However, the group dynamics really show you how war can break a man and what happens when you do it for a long time.

 

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While we get to know the crew of “Fury,” the story could really be about Wardaddy and Norman. Both men are on opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to war. One being a seasoned fighter and the other is desperately trying to survive after being thrown in hell. One understands that you need to let the urge to kill off and it’s a kill or be killed world – which he shows him the hard way. The other is still trying to keep his innocence and acts as a surrogate for the audience to show us that these men might be far too gone.

 

This is driven more home by a scene that involves the whole group in a home with two German women (played by Anamaria Marinca and Alicia von Rittberg). The difference is light and day. Although I will admit the scene is a bit long but it does serve its purpose and builds up a lot of tension.

 

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The movie is brutal. Pitt’s Wardaddy even makes a statement that sums it up pretty nicely, “ideals are peaceful, history is violent.” Fury doesn’t hold back on the violence, at all. The first death comes within the first two minutes of the film and it gives you an idea on how violent and brutal the movie is going to be – also the fact that it’s a war movie should give you a good impression too.

 

Of course the movie is about a tank crew, so you can guess there is some a pretty good amount of tank action. The action is pretty great and you get a good feel that these characters have been doing this for a while. They all have their part of play and play it well. They can’t afford to not by in sync because everything needs to be lined up just right. One standout tank sequence comes near the end of the film where it’s a three-on-one tank battle. It’s got great tension, cinematography, and well action.

 

As you can probably assume, the cast is great here. Pitt is obviously good at barking orders, and does have moments where he cuts loose on the action. But it’s also his performance when he’s not being a leader, those moments when it looks like he’s trying to keep a grasp of some humanity. Lerman holds his own against the rest of the seasoned cast and shares most of his scenes with Pitt, and it shows that he stepped up his game to be on that same level of talent.

 

Bernthal is basically the bully and most unhinged of the group, but has his reasons. LaBeouf has his moments and one standout moment near the end but along with Pena doesn’t get much to do and get thrown a bit in the backburner. Jason Isaacs also shows up as a commander that gives “Fury” its order but is nothing more than just a very small role.

 

All in all, Fury is a brutal, action drama that shows us that sometimes heroes are not always perfect and have to cross into the grey area to survive. There are some problems here and there, but the great performances and tank action make the film easy to seat through.

 

Brad Pitt in Fury

 

Fury

4 out of 5

‘The Book of Life’ Review

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Dir: Jorge R. Gutierrez

Cast: Diego Luna, Zoe Saldana, Channing Tatum, Ron Pearlman, Christina Applegate, Kate del Castillo, Hector Elizondo, Danny Trejo, and Ice Cube

Synopsis: Manolo, a young man who is torn between fulfilling the expectations of his family and following his heart, embarks on an adventure that spans three fantastic worlds where he must face his greatest fears

 

 

 

*Reviewer Note:  This will be a spoiler free review*

 

 

The Book of Life is a great tribute to Mexican culture and its Day of the Dead (which the movie was originally going to be called) celebration – I’m not going to say holiday because it seems off to me. But who better to bring the culture to the big screen than producer Guillermo del Toro and first time director Jorge R. Gutierrez.

 

The movie start with a group of detention kids who end up taking a trip to the museum and find their tour guide (voiced by Applegate) that relates the story of the movie to them while also giving them, and the audience, a lesson in Mexican traditions.

 

The Book of Life follows three childhood friends – Manolo (Luna), Maria (Saldana) and Joaquin (Tatum) – who are caught in a love triangle end up becoming the subject of a wager between La Muerte (del Castillo), who oversees the Land of the Remembered, and Xibalba (Perlman), ruler of the Land of the Forgotten. If Manolo, La Muerte’s champion wins Maria’s hand in marriage, Xibalba must stop interfering in human affairs, but if Xibalba’s champion of Joaquin wins then he gets to rule both worlds.

 

After the three do something that could have harmed the people of the town, Maria is sent away by her father and leaves Manolo and Joaquin to follow in the footsteps of their fathers. Joaquin’s late father was a great soldier that protected the town from a deadly outlaw, while Manolo hails from a long line of famous bullfighters, but proves to be a disappointment to his father (voiced by Elizondo) because he can’t kill the bull and would rather be a singer.

 

Joaquin (Channing Tatum) and Manolo (Diego Luna)

Joaquin (Channing Tatum) and Manolo (Diego Luna)

 

Of course, Maria returns to town many years later and Manolo and Joaquin go back to fighting for her heart. Manolo’s attempts eventually lead to the heavy advertised journey to the Land of the Remembered – with all you eat churros! – and where Manolo meets his ancestors and of course learns valuable lessons.

 

Zoe Saldana as Maria

Zoe Saldana as Maria

 

I will admit, I didn’t think the movie would be as good as it turned out. The Book of Life has a lot of humor for adults and kids and is visually amazing to look at. The team really did a great job of making every setting having its own unique look and feel to it. The Land of the Remembered is easily the best looking setting in the movie with all the vivid and bright colors that pop in every corner. The animation might throw some people off but wooden look to the characters when they are in the town as opposed to the skeleton look in the other worlds is handled in an effective way.

 

While visually the movie is great to see, its plot does feel pretty predictable with two guys in love with same woman. But it’s the way the story is told that is important and luckily the movie is engaging and the characters are endearing and funny. Diego Luna really makes us root for Manolo. Channing Tatum gives Joaquin a goofball/showoff quality that thankfully doesn’t make you hate him, but also makes you feel for him consider who his father was. Zoe Saldana’s Maria isn’t really a damsel-in-distress, as she shows throughout the movie that she can take care of herself.

 

While they are the main focus of the movie, the relationship between La Muerte and Xibalba is, arguably, a bit more interesting. Del Castillo and Pearlman sound like they are having a lot of fun playing the characters. While in theory Xibalba, and maybe even La Muerte since her name is Death, they are villains, they have these really sweet moments together and don’t act like villains at all. I’d have to say one of the weakest voice casting is Ice Cube as the Candle Maker. Nothing against Ice Cube, because he does have some fun/funny moments, it just feels like they casted him to a have another “celebrity” voice against the mostly Hispanic cast.

 

La Muerte and Xibalba

La Muerte and Xibalba

 

The rest of the voice cast that includes Hector Elizondo as Manolo’s father, Danny Trejo as Manolo’s grandfather, and Gabriel Iglesias and Cheech Marin as mariachis do their part and have some great moments as the supporting cast.

 

Since the movie is based around The Day of the Dead, it does address the meaning of it and does deal with the death of loved ones which some – if not all – Hollywood kids movies avoid. The other great thing the movie does is it takes modern songs and adds a mariachi flare to them (I think you won’t hear “Creep” by Radiohead the same again). Some of the songs – like Creep – add to the tone of the scenes, but some others add to the humor of the film.

 

All in all, The Book of Life is a ton of fun to watch. The Day of the Dead aspect of the movie is great to see on the big screen and done with respect.

 

 

The Book of Life

5 out of 5

‘Dracula Untold’ Review

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Dir:  Gary Shore

Cast: Luke Evans, Sarah Gadon, Dominic Cooper, Art Parkinson, Paul Kaye, Diarmaid Murtagh, Noah Huntley, and Charles Dance

Synopsis: Facing threats to his kingdom and his family, Vlad Tepes makes a deal with dangerous supernatural forces – whilst trying to avoid succumbing to the darkness himself.

 

 

*Reviewer Note:  This will be a spoiler free review*

 

 

Dracula is probably, if not, the best known vampire of all time. His story has been told many times in the past and has always been connected to the historical figure Vlad ‘The Impaler.” Dracula Untold is no different. While, I have seen the character of Dracula as a somewhat tragic figure – having to live with immortality and the need to drink blood all the time – director Gary Shore’s movie tries to bring that to the forefront, but the way Shore goes about it was not the best way to go about it. It also doesn’t help that Shore also relies on CGI bats to carry an action scene.

 

The movie starts with a narration telling us that in the 1400s, the Turkish Empire stole young boys to fight in their army. Among them was Vlad (Evans), who become a legendary warrior for killing so many and for impaling them to wooden spikes. When the war ended, he went to live a quiet and peaceful life as Prince Vlad in Transylvania with his wife Mirena (Gadon) and son Ingeras (Parkinson). We then go to the Vlad and his men encountering what is Turkish Scout armor in a river but no sign of the actual men. It turns out that lived in peace with the Turkish Empire but soon a Turkish ruler Mehmed (Cooper) comes to claim the young boys from the castle, including Ingeras.

 

Vlad takes offensive to this and ends up killing the troop sent to collect his son. When he realizes he has sign his people’s safety, he goes to the mountains to make a deal with the Master Vampire (Dance). Vlad wants the power to protect his family and people but the Master Vampire tricks Vlad into drinking his blood to get his powers but with a catch: he has to resist feeding for three days to become mortal again, or stay as a vampire forever.

 

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It’s hard to suspend some disbelief for the movie knowing how it’s going to turn out. And if you think that’s a spoiler than well I’m sorry. However, it’s the journey that counts, and for some parts, Dracula Untold did have some great moments, and I use some very loosely. Like I said earlier, I do see Dracula as a somewhat tragic figure, and the movie does try to play with that. Vlad isn’t a villain, although he has done bad things, he saw them as a way to stop more bad things from happening. All he wants his family to be safe and to live in peace, but is constantly reminded that he has done evil things and as a character says to him “you’ll always have that in you.” So it makes his decision to make a deal with the Master Vampire slightly understandable.

 

The meeting between Vlad and Master Vampire, I think is one of the best scenes in the movie. Despite the small amount of CG involved in the scene, it’s a great back and forth between two great actors in Luke Evans and Charles Dance. The scene involves a lot of mythology and starts to turn the movie into a fantastical territory. I also wish there was a lot more of it and sometimes it did feel a bit rushed but it serves its purpose.

 

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Speaking of the acting, Dracula Untold belongs to Luke Evans. He gives Vlad the perfect amount of humanity to makes feel his suffering, but can also makes us a bit uneasy when he vamps out. Dance, although only having a couple scenes is terrifying as the Master Vampire. Sarah Gadon’s Mirena thankfully isn’t a forgettable character and actually serves some purpose to the story, although I wish she did have some more to do. Unfortunately, the always reliable Dominic Cooper fails as the villain and just shows up from time to time to remind us there is someone that Vlad has to kill.

 

Unfortunately, Dracula Untold does have many missteps. One of them sadly falls into what should, and could have been, a highlight of the movie. It’s when Vlad takes on a big group of soldiers on his own with his newly equipped superhuman powers. Instead we get a massive amount of shaky cam, CGI, and quick moments that really don’t allow you to enjoy it the way you’re supposed to. I don’t mind shaky cam as much as others do but the amount of it in the scene really bothered me. The other issue, even though it’s a small one, is the rules of the vampirism in this world are not established. Vlad seems to be able to go out during the day time, even in an overcast, as long as he doesn’t step into direct sunlight. Silver also bothers them but doesn’t necessary kill them and one character even attempts to use a wooden stack that seems to show some effect. Maybe it’s nitpicky but rules do need to be established.

 

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The movie does have some cool visuals. The CGI bats, which are heavily advertise, are okay but the effect works better when Vlad uses them to disappear and reappear. Some shots look like cool screensavers and costumes are pretty damn impressive. Overall the movie does have a gothic feel and look to it, which is pretty welcomed considering Vlad is being presented as a somewhat dark superhero.

 

All in all, Dracula Untold isn’t a perfect movie but does have very few redeeming qualities to it. It also serves as the first movie in the Universal Monsters shared universe they are setting up. While it doesn’t totally feel like it was a complete setup, it is there. Out of the whole movie Evans and Dance’s cave scene is the best thing about the movie.

 

Dracula Untold

3.5 out of 5

‘The Guest’ Review

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Dir: Adam Wingard

Cast: Dan Stevens, Maika Monroe, Brendan Meyer, Sheila Kelley, Leland Orser, Tabatha Shaun, Joel David Moore, and Lance Reddick

Synopsis: A soldier introduces himself to the Peterson family, claiming to be a friend of their son who died in action. After the young man is welcomed into their home, a series of accidental deaths seem to be connected to his presence

 

 

 

*Reviewer Note:  This will be a spoiler free review*

 

 

The team of Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett is one that I’m starting to fully invest in. They caught eyes of general audiences with You’re Next and segments in V/H/S and its sequel. But they also made a highly enjoyable survivor thriller A Horrible Way to Die but with this new movie The Guest, Wingard who serves as the director and Barrett as the writer, they bring a great homage to the old movies of James Carpenter and 70s and 80s horror/thriller films.

 

The movie starts off with Laura Peterson (Kelley) who is grieving over the death of her son Caleb when a mysterious charming man shows up calming to be an old army friend named David (Stevens). He quickly wins over the family that includes the bullied son Luke (Meyer), rebellious daughter Anna (Monroe), and frustrated husband Spencer (Orser). Soon though, we start to realize that David is not who he says he is and terrible things start to happen.

 

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Almost like You’re Next, The Guest shares the same vibe as a movie from the 70s and 80s. It’s got action, dread, mystery, some dark comedy and catchy synthesizer music. Wingard knows exactly what he’s doing and finds the balance of all the tones running through the movie and manages to make every one of those moments enjoyable and fun to watch. It does have a rough part right before the final act but the nice thing is that even the characters are aware of it and even rolls their own eyes. In any other movie it would seem too self aware and cheesy and it is here, but considering the rest of the movie, it’s actually welcomed.

 

But The Guest isn’t just defined by its tone or feel, but by the performance of Dan Stevens. Stevens is wildly known for his performance in Downton Abbey, but never seeing the show, I can assume that this is nothing compared to what he’s done there. Stevens does a fantastic job of balancing David’s personalities through the movie. He has his charm about him and calls people “sir” and “ma’am” but the time it takes for him to get you to like him, David can switch to a menacing demeanor, which was truly frightening in some occasions. The nice thing is that he never really overdoes it and makes the movie hard to watch, in the sense that you never know what’s going to happen when David enters a room.

 

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The hard part is deciding what you think of David. He acts as a defender to the Peterson family – deals with some bullies for Luke – but since his actions are so brutal, it makes you think if the Petersons made the right choice in bringing in David or not. But, again, Stevens’ performance is so well done that you end up rooting for him, even though his actions are very exciting but brutal.

 

The other performances are a little hard to judge since we spend a lot of time with Stevens, and even when he’s not on screen the movie kind of slows down. Lance Reddick shows up as a man from David’s past and does what he can with the role but really goes nowhere expect to tell Anna about David. Brendan Meyer as Luke Peterson sees David as a friend and possibly surrogate brother as David teaches Luke to stand up for himself. Meyer does okay as the younger brother who finally finds someone he can talk to and a friend.

 

Finally there is Maika Monroe as Anna. The role really could have gone the way of Anna being a bit bitchy, but instead Anna is a bit standoffish, which is understandable once you understand the dynamic of the family. As the movie progress she suspects that David isn’t really who he says he is and rapidly sees David is a different light. Monroe is a relativity newcomer and manages to hold her own against Stevens. One particular scene stands out to me around the halfway point when Anna confronts David about who he is.

 

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All in all, The Guest has a great mixture of tones and pays a nice homage to other films from the past. With a great score and performance by Dan Stevens, The Guest is a fun, scary, and enjoyable ride from start to finish.

 

 

The Guest

4.5 out of 5

‘Annabelle’ Review

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Dir:  John R. Leonetti

Cast: Annabelle Wallis, Ward Horton, Tony Amendola, Alfre Woodard, Kerry O’Malley, Brian Howe, and Eric Ladin

Synopsis: A couple begin to experience terrifying supernatural occurrences involving a vintage doll shortly after their home is invaded by satanic cultists.

 

 

 

*Reviewer Note:  This will be a spoiler free review*

 

 

Spin-off movies are always a crap shoot. They either work, they don’t, or are so-so, with Annabelle – the spin-off/prequel of The Conjuring – it is a mix bag. It should be noted that James Wan, who directed The Conjuring, did not direct this, and why it’s probably not that important to mention, he did produce it and left the job to his cinematographer of The Conjuring, Insidious 1 and 2, and Dead Silence, John R. Leonetti, who still does keep a bit of the same style Wan had in The Conjuring.

 

The movie starts off the way The Conjuring started, with the Debbie (Morganna May, who makes a blink and you miss it cameo later in the movie) talking about the strange occurrences she’s had with the doll. We then go back a year before those events and meet our characters in Mia (who is coincidently played by an Annabelle as well), who is pregnant at the start of the movie and her husband John (Horton), who is working on becoming a doctor. John gives Mia the doll as a gift to add to her collection but later in the night Mia hears the neighbors scream and then gets attacked by the cult members, one of them happens to be the infamous Annabelle Higgens, who gets killed and as seen in the ads bleeds on the doll and cue the supernatural.

 

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Even when Mia and John move after having their baby, the supernatural happenings get more excessive and dangerous that they seek help from their priest, Father Perez (Amendola), and later Evelyn (Woodard), a local bookshop owner with her own past. Together they eventually find out what the demon attached to the doll wants and try to find a way to stop it.

 

Leonetii keeps the 60s and 70s-style vibe that James Wan is known for and approaches the movie in the same way with less-is-more. Creepy sounds like a creaking door, darkness, and all around building tension makes Annabelle nerve-wrecking to watch. Also, add in the fact that the Annabelle doll – which is not the way the actual doll looks due to rights issues – looks creepy as hell, doesn’t help either. The doll isn’t like Chucky because it doesn’t move or talk, but in a way that’s what makes it everything creepy.

 

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The cast does the best they can do. Wallis does a pretty decent job of carrying the movie and once the baby gets involved you can feel her anxiety to save her child, which does play a major factor in the story. Horton’s husband character doesn’t really do much nor serves any real purpose in the movie other than try to play supporting husband. Amendola’s priest character has a moment to shine but is scenes are so far in-between that his character is easily forgotten sometimes, which is a shame since Amendola is a great actor. Another waste is Alfre Woodard, who is also dependable, kind phones in her performance here and almost feels like she’s only in the movie for that final act. Her character, Evelyn, barely gets fleshed out, and when she gets a little interesting they kind of rip it away from us.

 

You should have to remember the movie is set in the past, and the movie does remind us from time to time. Mia watches the news that is talking about Manson family, roll dial phones, and old baby carriages (a nice Rosemary’s Baby reference). There’s also the dynamic of Mia and John, with Mia the stay at home mom and John the working man, and very late nights which leads him to never be around when Mia is being haunted.

 

All in all, Annabelle does have some great scares but isn’t on the same level as The Conjuring. The cast does okay and the Annabelle doll is as creepier as ever.

 

 

Annabelle

3.5 out of 5

October Movie Preview

I did this once at the beginning of the year a couple of years ago and at the time I didn’t know it was a mistake because movie change release dates all the time and the year wasn’t even finalized yet.  I intended on doing this every month, but of course I never did. Better late than never right?

The way this list will work is I’ll give you the full schedule, some buzz and my thoughts. But instead of telling you let me show you. I’ll also mainly be talking about nationwide releases, with a few limited releases. Also some of these limited releases will most likely get wider releases as the release date approaches. (Release dates are according to Box Office Mojo and IMDB)

 

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Left Behind: The movie’s buzz is mostly because of the fact that it stars Nicholas Cage as a pilot with a small band of survivors, that include Chad Michael Murray, Lea Thompson, Nicky Whelan, Martin Klebba and Jordin Sparks, during the supposed Rapture. The trailer alone got people talking so maybe this has some chance. (It also happens to be based on a book that I didn’t know about).

Gone Girl: This probably has the most buzz of any film coming out this month. Based on the very popular and best-selling book of the same name by Gillian Flynn, the movie is being directed by the great David Fincher and is headlined by Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris, Scoot McNairy and more. The movie has some people talking because of the supposed final act change – although those rumors had died down since then – the film looks great nonetheless, so I can’t wait.

Annabelle: The horror movies so far this year have been a bit meh, and now that October has rolled around, they might begin to pull a little more weight. What better way to start it off with the prequel/spinoff of The Conjuring. The movie will follow the events following the Annabelle doll, which has a real spooky history, but also the events before the opening of The Conjuring. The trailer promises some scares and the same aesthetic from James Wan films (he is also producing the movie).

 

10th

The Devil’s Hand (limited): At first I thought this movie was going to get a wide release but after hearing nothing for a while and then the movie going through three title changes, I guess a limited release is the way to go. The cast includes; Rufus Sewell, Adelaide Kane, Jennifer Carpenter, Thomas McDonell, and Leah Pipes.  Synopsis: When young girls start to go missing within a religious cult, older followers fear a long-told prophecy while the younger members suspect abusive elders are killing them off.

Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead (limited): Dead Snow got some attention for its horror comedy mash-up that followed a group of friends out in the mountain trying to have fun before zombie Nazi’s coming back. The sequel will see those Nazi Zombies coming back to battle the survivor of the first movie and a group of rag-tag zombie killers.

Whiplash (limited): This has been getting a lot of attention out of the Toronto International Film Festival. The movie follows a young jazz musician played by Miles Teller who gets more than he bargained by asking for help from a drumming instructor played by J.K. Simmons. I can’t for it.

Addicted: I really feel like this is just a rehash of a movie that came out last year but can’t recall what it was called. I really don’t have anything to say considering this doesn’t peak my interest. Synopsis: A wife is tested when she cheats on her husband, and it threatens to ruin her and her family.

Kill the Messenger: Talk about a loaded cast; lead by Jeremy Renner, Michael Sheen, Andy Garica, Paz Vega, Rosemarie Dewitt, Richard Schiff, Tim Blake Nelson, Michael K. Williams, Barry Pepper, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Ray Liotta, Robert Patrick, and Oliver Platt. The movie is based on true story of reporter Gary Webb, who reports on exposing the CIA’s role in arming rebels in Nicaragua and importing cocaine into California. The trailer makes it looks like a great tense thriller.

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day: Based on a child’s book of the same name, the movie has the lead cast of Steve Carell, Jennifer Garner, and Ed Oxenbould playing the lead character. The movie looks like a typical Disney family film, which isn’t a bad thing and actually looks better than I thought.

Dracula Untold: The movie has a crazy production story as it’s has gone through so many delays, different directors and actors in the lead that it was kind of a surprise when it finally got made. But now it’s here and Luke Evans will be portraying Vlad Tepes aka Vlad the Impaler and the man that, in this version, turns into the famous character Dracula. The movie looks okay and I’m a huge of Evans and can’t wait to see this take of the character.

The Judge: This one wasn’t on my radar because I didn’t really know anything about it, but with a cast of Robert Downey Jr., Robert Duvall, Vera Farmiga and Billy Bob Thornton and a great looking trailer, I’m all for it.

 

17th

Men, Women, & Children (expansion): Yet another movie that had a lot of buzz out of the Toronto International Film Festival that follows “a look at the sexual frustrations that young teenager and adults face in today’s world.” I don’t know about the movie other than that and that it had good buzz. The cast stars Ansel Elgort, Kaitlyn Dever, Jennifer Garner, Adam Sandler, and Judy Greer.

The Town that Dreaded Sundown (limited): This is acting like a reboot/spiritual sequel in where the first movie apparently existed in the movie’s world and is now happening in real life. The first trailer came out and there have been some mixed reactions. I still don’t know how I feel.

The Best of Me: It’s a Nicholas Sparks movie. What else do you want me to say.

The Book of Life: Produced by Guillermo del Toro and taking it’s style off Mexico’s Day of the Dead art, the movie looks like a great fun movie. Visually it also looks beautiful.

Birdman: Directed by the impressive Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (Babel and Biutiful), this looks absolutely crazy, but in a good way. This follows a struggling actor played by Michael Keaton, who played an iconic superhero called Birdman, trying to stay relevant. The rest of the cast includes Emma Stone, Edward Norton, Naomi Watts, Amy Ryan and Zach Galifianakis.

Fury: Another one I’m really excited for is David Ayer’s (Harsh Times, Street Kings, and End of Watch) WWII tank action drama that follows a crew at the tail end of the war. The movie stars Jon Bernthal, Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman, Michael Pena, and is lead by Brad Pitt playing someone named Wardaddy. Yeah.

 

24th

St. Vincent (expansion): I really knew nothing about this until recently and follows a “young boy whose parents just divorced finds an unlikely friend and mentor in the misanthropic, bawdy, hedonistic, war veteran lives next door.” The movie stars Bill Murray, Naomi Watts, Melissa McCarthy, Terrence Howard and Chris O’Dowd.

White Bird in a Blizzard: Based on a book by Laura Kasischke, it stars Shailene Woodley, Eva Green, Christopher Meloni, Thomas Jane, Gabourey Sidibe, and Angela Bassett. This is another movie I didn’t know anything about until I looked at the schedule but I don’t see myself watching this. The movie will follow a young girl whose mother disappears and her life gets thrown into chaos.

Ouija: Yes, it is a horror movie based on an Ouija board. The movie is trying to pull a story together about a group of friends that want to find out to their friend that just died. The movie doesn’t really look that good and it’s being produced by Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes banner, ugh.

Laggies: I didn’t know anything about this until some good reviews came out of film festivals last year. The movie has Keira Knightley who hasn’t “grown up” and lies to her fiancé about going on a retreat but ends up hanging out with a high school student played by Chloe Grace Moretz. The movie also stars Sam Rockwell as Moretz’s father. The trailer made it look like a fun, charming, pseudo-coming of age movie.

John Wick: I was completely surprised by how pretty good this looked in the trailer. The movie has Keanu Reeves playing a former hit man who gets back in the business after some people take the last good thing from him, he gets back in the business and ends up killing a lot of people. The rest of the (impressive cast) has Adrianne Palicki, Willem Dafoe, Bridget Moynahan, Jason Isaacs, Alfie Allen, Lance Reddick, Michael Nyqvist and Ian McShane.

 

31st

ABCs of Death 2 (limited): 26 short horror movies directed by different directors. I hadn’t gotten around to watching all of the first movie.

Horns (limited): Based on the very popular book by Joe Hill of the same name, Daniel Radcliffe plays Ig Perrish who wakes up after his girlfriend mysteriously dies (played by Juno Temple) and starts to grow horns on his head. The movie has some descent buzz around it and with the book being pretty good, I can’t wait to see how it turns out.

Before I Go to Sleep: Yet another movie I didn’t know about until I looked at the schedule but follows Nicole Kidman as a woman who wake up every day remembering nothing after an accident and then starts to remember things that makes her question everything. The movie also stars Colin Firth and Mark Strong.

Nightcrawler: This has been getting a ton of buzz recently and some are saying that Jake Gyllenhaal might get nominated for an Oscar and that’s it’s one of his best performances in his career. The movie follows Gyllenhaal’s character as he delves into the criminal underground of L.A. The movie looks great and also stars Bill Paxton and Rene Russo.

 

So what movie or movies are you looking forward to in October?