Monthly Rewind for July

Hello, everybody!

The sixth edition of Monthly Rewind is here, and we’re doing July!

I mentioned in the last post that I’m going to change how I did these going forward, and that’s going to happen here. I originally did all the movies I watched that month and gave my reactions to all those movies, good or bad. The new change is that I’ll still be doing that, but this time with only the movies that really left an impression or stood out. I’m not saying I won’t mention the bad movies, but for the most part, it’s going to be the ones that stood out.

If you know something came out during that month, or year, and it’s not on here. It’s a good chance that I haven’t seen it – yes, even after all these years – or I just completely missed it while putting the list together. It’s a lot of movies after all.

Alright, let’s get started with 2010!

 

2010

The Last Airbender

[REC] 2

Inception

Thoughts: Okay, let’s just get this one out of the way, M. Night Shyamalan’s adaptation of the hit animated series, The Last Airbender. I’m going to be honest, I have never finished the series, so I was going in with limited knowledge of the series, but even I knew that this movie wasn’t it. Forget the way too many close-ups – especially in a 3D movie – and a lack of character connections and changes, The Last Airbender suffers from being rather boring a lot of time. It saves everything for its “bombastic” third-act that was given away in EVERY trailer and TV spot.

Next is the sequel to the Spanish found-footage horror film, [REC]. The sequel picks up pretty much immediately after the first film, now following a SWAT team going into the building that has been closed off due to a virus, to find someone inside that could help with an antidote. I don’t want to give too much away for those who haven’t seen it, but I loved the first [REC] and while the sequel ups the action – given that these characters have guns – the sequel also changes the whole dynamic of the first movie and does something pretty cool to change it up. I’d definitely do a double-feature night, if you haven’t watched the movies before.

Finally, Christopher Nolan’s mind-bending sci-fi film Inception. And no, I’m not going to discuss if the ending was a dream or not, I have my opinion but that’s a WHOLE other post. Regardless, Inception does do everything to keep you on track on what level of the dream they’re in. If anything, you should appreciate the cast Nolan was able to put together.

 

 

2011

Horrible Bosses

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2

Attack the Block

Captain America: The First Avenger

Thoughts: Let’s start off with the comedy Horrible Bosses, following three friends (Jason Bateman, Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis) who hate their bosses that one night they think of the ways to kill them, and hire a “murder consultant” in MF Jones (Jamie Foxx). I didn’t think too much of Horrible Bosses before I saw it, but after watching the movie, I feel hard for it. The movie works when Bateman, Day and Sudeikis just let loose.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 is next on the list, and while I wasn’t the biggest Potterhead out there (I stopped reading the books after Goblet of Fire) my investment came straight from what I was seeing on screen, and not a previous knowledge like many that were probably watching. That said, I still felt the weight of a franchise I grew up watching was coming to an end.

Next is the British alien invasion film Attack the Block. Featuring the feature film debut of John Boyega and a pre-Doctor Who Jodie Whittaker as residents in a block in South London that is invaded by aliens who are trying to break into the building. I instantly feel in love with this movie after the first watch. The movie has a young cast and Whittaker and a small role by Nick Frost as a dealer to punch up some of the scenes. It’s a great watch if you haven’t watched it yet.

Finally, Captain America: The First Avenger, a bonafide prequel to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Chris Evans brings Steve Rogers aka Captain America to life seeing his humble beginnings to turning into a superhero and a symbol of hope during the war. Add in Hugo Weaving’s portrayal as the villainous Red Skull, a touching performance by Stanley Tucci and a great and breakout performance by Hayley Atwell as Steve’s love interest Peggy Carter, Captain America: The First Avenger is arguably the best movie in Marvel’s Phase One.

 

 

2012

The Dark Knight Rises

The Amazing Spider-Man

Thoughts:  Well, look at this. Let’s start off with The Dark Knight Rises, which was the final outing of Christopher Nolan’s Batman series with Christian Bale playing Bruce/Batman going up against a powerful new enemy, Bane (Tom Hardy), who takes Gotham hostage by force and effectively. Rises gets a lot of hate, and while some of it may be justified, I think taking some time away from the movie “lessens” the hate. No, the movie isn’t perfect, or a great conclusion after the great The Dark Knight, but Rises is a descent cap off to the Nolan films.

Now, let’s move on from DC and a final installment, to Marvel/Sony and the hopeful beginning/reboot of The Amazing Spider-Man. Only five years after Sam Raimi’s last outing in Spider-Man 3 – a fourth installment was in the works, but Sony and Raimi didn’t agree on how to go with it – Sony Pictures went the reboot route with 500 Days of Summer director Marc Webb and Andrew Garfield to play the iconic hero. Retelling the story of Peter as he’s bitten by a genetically altered spider that gives him powers and becomes the hero, Spider-Man, while trying to juggle his own life with Aunt May (Sally Field) after the death of Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen), his high school doings with a growing crush on Gwen Stacy (played wonderfully by Emma Stone), and being hunted down by Dr. Curt Connors’ alter-ego The Lizard (Rhys Ifans).

I actually enjoyed The Amazing Spider-Man, and thought Garfield’s Peter was descent enough, but the inclusion of Gwen Stacy as the main love interest was a good way to set it apart from Raimi’s films. Of course, Sony couldn’t help itself and ruined the potential franchise.

 

 

2013

The Lone Ranger

The Conjuring

Pacific Rim

Thoughts: The Lone Ranger got A LOT of flak when it came out. Most of it, at first, steamed from the public behind-the-scenes troubles with the budget and changing scripts. Then the movie came out and people still weren’t too big on it. The movie did suffer from tonal whiplash at times, plus it was a tad bit longer that it should have been – especially for a Disney movie. While even I wasn’t the biggest fan of it, I did find some of it decently enjoyable. The final action sequence on the train while the familiar theme plays throughout was actually pretty damn great.

Let’s move on to James Wan’s The Conjuring, the horror film that made a huge buzz when it came out. The movie is based on one of the case files by paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren (played by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga), who help a family after moving into to their new farmhouse that is haunted by an evil presence. The movie had some added layers going for it as a photo went around that a priest had blessed a theater after people started to experience things or pass out – much like The Exorcist when it first came out. The movie was rated-R, despite not having any gore or swearing in it, and the trailer that showed the “clapping game.”

I would arguably say that The Conjuring is one of Wan’s best films, especially horror, but given the film’s success – and spinoffs – I think it speaks for itself.

 

 

2014

Boyhood

Begin Again

The Purge: Anarchy

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Thoughts:  Let’s start off with Richard Linklater’s experimental 12-year film, Boyhood. Following the life of Mason (Ellar Coltrane) from early childhood until his arrival at college, the film was definitely a passion project for Linklater and a testament to his filmmaking and patience, and the cast as well, to getting this done. The movie itself, is just fine, unfortunately.

Next is the indie musical dramedy Begin Again, with Mark Ruffalo and Keira Knightley. The film followed a disgraced music executive who happens to meet a young singer-songwriter, new to Manhattan, and strikes up a partnership to create something new, with a group of equally talented individuals. Begin Again is a great indie film with an equally great soundtrack that makes it worth every minute.

The Purge: Anarchy took the interesting concept from the first movie and allowed it to have more room to play. Moving the action from inside a house to the streets of Los Angeles with more characters and its political themes starting to creep out more. Honestly, this is personally my favorite of the Purge movies, and in my opinion, the best one.

Finally, the second of the rebooted Planet of the Apes movies, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Moving the action years after the first movie, and following a group of human survivors who now live in a world ruled by apes, Caesar (Andy Serkis) tries to keep the peace as much as he can, despite a rival ape, Koba (motion captured by Toby Kebbell) seeing the humans as a waste of time. The movie upped the action, drama and ape scenes that continued the soon to be trilogy.

 

 

2015

The Gallows

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation

Thoughts: Ugh, The Gallows. I never hated myself for watching a movie while I watching it – that feeling usually comes after – but this one did it. The concept is fine; 20 years after a horrific accident during a small town school play, students at the school resurrect the failed show to honor the anniversary, but when they go to practice at the school at night, something starts to haunt them. I like that, and there is probably one or two shots that look cool, but the movie is terrible with characters that I couldn’t connect or root for at all!

The marketing also tried really hard to try to make the villain character as classic horror villain like Michael Myers, Jason or Freddy – which really should have been the telling for me.

Next is the adaptation of one of my favorite books, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – although the book was just titled “Me, Earl and the Dying Girl” by Jesse Andrews (who also wrote the film). The film followed high-schooler Greg (Thomas Mann), who spends his time making parodies of classic movies with his co-worker Earl (RJ Clyer), when they eventually befriend Rachel (Olivia Cooke), a classmate, who’s been diagnosed with cancer. The film was a pretty good adaptation of the book, slightly changing some things, and expanding on others. Highly recommend both if you haven’t read or seen them.

Finally, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation. The first movie to start continuing their stories from the last film including bringing back characters like Jeremy Renner’s Brandt, Simon Pegg’s Benji and Ving Rhames’ Luther. The movie follows Ethan as he tries to stop an unknown organization from causing chaos and getting stronger. The movie also gave us the introduction of one of the better female characters in the series Ilsa Faust, played by Rebecca Ferguson.

 

 

2016

Captain Fantastic

Ghostbusters

Lights Out

Train to Busan

Thoughts: Captain Fantastic gets a special mention here because it’s one of the rare movies I’ve seen Viggo Mortensen in, where he’s not surrounded by Hobbits or elves.

Let’s move on to the much-talked about female-led Ghostbusters, directed by Paul Feig. The movie gets a LOT of hate for whatever reason you want to insert from fans, I however, did end up enjoying the movie for what it was. Is it a little too much with jokes not really landing sometimes? Yes. Does the core cast of Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon work? Yes. Is Chris Hemsworth good in the movie? Yes. The movie itself? It’s fine.

Next is the surprisingly good Lights Out. Based on the (also good) short film by David F. Sandberg – who got the chance to direct the feature – the short was simple, when the lights go out, a monster appears. The movie expands on that concept and follows a mother (Teresa Palmer) who’s little brother is seeing a monster every time the lights go out, and it may be connected to her mother’s past. I watched the short when it first came out and loved it. So when I heard the movie was coming out, with James Wan producing of all people, I was thrilled to watch it.

Thankfully, the movie was effective and the expansion worked for the most part. It gets a little clunky when it’s trying to unpack the backstory, but the scares are effective.

Lastly, the excellent South Korean zombie horror action film Train to Busan. The film follows a group of survivors who try to keep a zombie virus outbreak come affecting them while on a train from Seoul to Busan. The film is effective on every level from the zombie action, to the actual characters we get to know from the focal point of a father trying to keep his estranged daughter safe, to married couple trying to work things out a group of school kids and more.

 

 

2017

Spider-Man: Homecoming

War for the Planet of the Apes

The Big Sick

Atomic Blonde

Dunkirk

Thoughts: Let’s first talk about The Big Sick, a semi-autobiographic account of the real-life early relationship between Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon. The two wrote the screenplay together with Kumail playing himself and Zoe Kazan playing Emily. The film is very heartfelt, funny and charming, and the fact that it’s loosely based on what really happened, Kumail and Emily falling for each other, the culture clash, and Emily contacting a mysterious illness, The Big Sick works on every level it can to keep you invested.

Let’s talk now about Atomic Blonde, the first solo outing of David Leitch, who co-directed John Wick, and starred Charlize Theron as an undercover MI6 agent who is sent to Berlin during the Cold War to find a missing list of double agents when one of the agency’s agents is killed. The was drench in nostalgia from the clothing, music and style, with a great supporting cast of James McAvoy, Sofia Boutella, John Goodman, Toby Jones, Bill Skarsgard and Eddie Marsan. But I’m sure the big thing that got people going was the action. We were all familiar now with what Leitch and his stunt team 87eleven were no capable of and Atomic Blonde didn’t hold back its punches. Atomic Blonde may just be an okay movie, but the action, especially the final act’s “long take” action scene, is what makes Atomic Blonde stick out.

Next is Spider-Man: Homecoming, which works on two levels as it’s yet another Sony reboot to Spider-Man, but this time it brings Spider-Man to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Tom Holland’s Peter Parker/Spider-Man was already introduced in Captain America: Civil War, but this was his, mostly, first solo outing. Holland does a great job of bringing a believably young Peter to the big screen, as he deals with high school including his crush Liz (Laura Harrier), keeping his secret from Aunt May (Marisa Tomei), trying to impress Tony (Robert Downey Jr.) and not trying to get killed by The Vulture/Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton).

I know there are people that have problems with Homecoming, which is fair, because even I know Homecoming isn’t entirely great, but we got Spider-Man back in the MCU which was a great move by Sony.

Finally, Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk. The war film which is told through different perspectives that all merge together showing the rescue of Allied soldiers from the beaches of Dunkirk as the German army closes in. The film is highlighted by Hans Zimmer’s score that is playing throughout the film, almost non-stop and the cinematography by Hoyte Van Hoytema.

 

 

2018

Sorry to Bother You

Teen Titans GO! To the Movies

Mission: Impossible – Fallout

Thoughts: Sorry to Bother You gets a shout out here because of how freaking OUT-THERE it is, especially the longer it keeps going. The less you know about the movie, especially this one, the better the craziness is. However, if you do watch this, please STICK. WITH. IT.

Next is probably one of my biggest surprises in a long time, Teen Titans Go! To the Movies. Based on the new-style animated series, the meta approach of the movie saw the Teen Titans, mainly Robin, trying to get his own movie as superhero films are the big trend in Hollywood. The movie was just funny on all accounts and I loved it!

Finally, Mission: Impossible – Fallout, the last outing of the IMF – movie-wise with the seventh and eighth installment on the way (eventually) – where Ethan and his team try to stop a global nuclear war from happening. I don’t know where Fallout falls in the ranking of Mission: Impossible movies, but Fallout does have an awesome chase sequence in the streets of Paris.

 

And that’s it everyone. Admittedly, this was still a lot movies, but I can’t help that enjoy a lot of movies more than others. But more importantly, I want to know what you guys think about this. Let me know what your favorite movies in July were?

Monthly Rewind for June

Hello, everybody!

The sixth edition of Monthly Rewind is here, and we’re doing June!

I mentioned in the last post that I’m going to change how I did these going forward, and that’s going to happen here. I originally did all the movies I watched that month and gave my reactions to all those movies, good or bad. The new change is that I’ll still be doing that, but this time with only the movies that really left an impression or stood out. I’m not saying I won’t mention the bad movies, but for the most part, it’s going to be the ones that stood out.

If you know something came out during that month, or year, and it’s not on here. It’s a good chance that I haven’t seen it – yes, even after all these years – or I just completely missed it while putting the list together. It’s a lot of movies after all.

Alright, let’s get started with 2010!

 

2010

Splice

The A-Team

Toy Story 3

Thoughts: Let’s start off with the indie sci-fi thriller Splice, which followed two genetic engineers (played by Adrien Brody and Sarah Polly) who spliced together DNA of different animals and created a new type of specie that evolves too quickly. Splice continues trend of sci-fi movies of “what happens when you take the science too far,” but Splice took that to another level.

Next is The A-Team, which I think gets a little too much hate honestly. Yes, it’s over-the-top, but director Joe Carnahan wanted it to be over-the-top and honestly, I think the movie needed to be a little bit. I absolutely enjoy the hell out of this movie, and the main cast of Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper, Sharlto Copley and Rampage Jackson work together so well. If you haven’t watched it because of all the hate it gets, do yourself a favor and give it a watch. I guarantee you’ll be entertained.

Finally, Toy Story 3 aka the movie that broke all of us. I really don’t know what else to say about it other than it has one of the most perfect endings to a series that it could have given us.

 

 

2011

Green Lantern

Trollhunter

Super 8

X-Men: First Class

Thoughts: Let’s start off with the unfortunate Green Lantern movie starring Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan, the man granted with an alien ring that gives him special powers and inducts him into the intergalactic police force, the Green Lantern Corps. Admittedly, the movie had problems behind-the-scenes and studio interference, so maybe – and I stress, maybe – that was why we got a lackluster Green Lantern movie.

Next is the found footage Swedish film Trollhunter, which followed a group of students who investigate mysterious bear killings, only to find out they are actually hunting trolls, and comes across a troll hunter. I really ended up enjoying the movie on the first go-around, seeing as the usual found-footage movies at the time were all focused on demons or supernatural occurring, it was nice for the format to take a different approach and follow a gigantic being.

Next is the J.J. Abrams-directed Super 8. Abrams’ homage to early 80s sci-fi movies that followed a group of child friends that witnessed a train crash in their small town that secretly held an alien. The marketing campaign behind the movie followed the Cloverfield-method – the mystery box – and didn’t give away too much. The movie itself was very Spielberg-esque and was led by a great young cast.

Finally, X-Men: First Class, the reboot to the X-Men franchise took the action to the 60s to follow the first team of X-Men, and the beginning of the friendship-turned-rivalry of Professor X (James McAvoy) and Magneto (Michael Fassbender). I know some people have a problem with the movie because it messes up the “timeline,” which considering the X-Men themselves have dealt with time travel before that statement seems dumb to make in my opinion. Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed First Class. I liked the new cast, and I loved seeing McAvoy and Fassbender playing off each other.

 

 

2012

Prometheus

Ted

Snow White and the Huntsman

Thoughts: Alright, let’s start off with the Seth MacFarlane-directed Ted, the movie about a boy’s childhood wish that brings his teddy bear to life, and the friendship that follows into adulthood. Honestly, this movie about what you would expect, but there was just something about Mark Wahlberg fighting a teddy bear that is both ridiculous and fun to watch.

Next is Snow White and the Huntsman, a twist on the fairy tale that saw Snow White (Kristen Stewart) being banished into the Forbidden Forest and found by a new take on the Dwarfs, but also being hunted by the Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) under orders of the evil queen aka Queen Ravenna (Charlize Theron). Visually, the movie looks great. Story-wise, while changes to the story are welcomed, it’s still pretty standard. The movie also got some behind-the-scenes drama with the affair between Stewart and director Rupert Sanders.

Finally, Prometheus, the Alien prequel directed by Ridley Scott, which was promised as a prequel that would show how the Xenomorphs came to be, was redone before filming to give us something even further back in history – the Engineers. The movie gets a lot of hate, which is somewhat warranted, but it’s not as bad as some people think. Michael Fassbender is the saving grace of the movie as the android, David.

 

 

2013

This is the End

World War Z

Man of Steel

Thoughts: Let’s start off with the end-of-the-world comedy, This is the End. The movie had celebrities playing “themselves” when the apocalypse happens, and we end up following James Franco, Seth Rogen, Danny McBride, Jay Baruchel and Craig Robinson holding up in Franco’s house after his party. The movie obviously takes a different approach to the apocalyptic movies, taking the comedic approach with comedy actors playing themselves.

Next is World War Z, based off the book of the same name, although the movie takes a more straight-forward story approach, rather than the different stories that are connected in their own way like the book. Brad Pitt plays a former United Nations employee who is hired to find and stop the zombie pandemic before he officially takes over the world. The movie itself suffered A LOT of behind-the-scenes troubles like a whole third act rewrite, after filming, Pitt and director Marc Forster clashing on set to point that they wouldn’t even talk to one-another (although that said to be a “rumor”), prop guns were stopped at the border of Hungary and Paramount ended up changing the rating from R to PG-13.

Despite all that, I still pretty much enjoyed World War Z. I liked seeing Pitt in a zombie movie, and the final act of the movie that we got sounded better than what we would have gotten to be honest. So, yeah, I can see the hate, but I enjoyed the movie for what it was. Just don’t show me the rubber looking zombies again.

Finally, the still debated to this day, Man of Steel. Let’s just jump to “the scene.” The scene that made most people jump off the ship when Clark/Superman (Henry Cavill) had to decide to either let Zod, played greatly by Michael Shannon, melt/kill four innocent people or kill the only real connection he had to his old home, despite being a complete psycho. But Chris, “Superman doesn’t kill!” Yes, he does, and HAS whether it was intentional or not. But, let’s not dwell on a dead horse conversation. The movie itself was a pretty descent origin story, showing the Superman story in a different light and take.

 

 

2014

The Rover

Edge of Tomorrow

Snowpiercer

Thoughts: Let’s start off with The Rover, starring Guy Pearce as a loner in a post-apocalyptic landscape who gets his car stolen, and goes after the thieves and manages to capture one to help him, played by Robert Pattinson.  I didn’t know what to expect from the film, I only saw the trailer once months before the movie came out, and I saw Pattinson attached. The Rover was one of the “big” – the movie didn’t get a wide release – movies after Twilight ended. That said, I thought Pattinson’s performance was pretty good, and while it took a while for people to see Pattinson as a serious actor, The Rover was a great start to that.

Next is the Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt led Edge of Tomorrow aka the movie where Tom Cruise dies a lot after being effected by alien blood that lets him relieve the day he dies. Eventually, he uses it against the aliens to stop them with the help of a famed soldier, played by Emily Blunt. Based on a manga called “All You Need is Kill” the movie was a pretty smart sci-fi movie with the Groundhog Day twist were we get to see Cruise die a bunch, and Blunt be a badass. It does lull in the middle of the movie, but it thankfully punches back up before the third act.

Finally, let’s talk about the awesome Snowpiercer, directed by Bong Joo Ho, in his first English-language movie. The movie, like all Joon Ho movies, had some political or social themes, but Snowpiercer also has some awesome action scenes like the famous torch fight sequence. Seriously, if you haven’t watched the film, do it now!

 

2015

Jurassic World

Spy

Thoughts:  Let’s start off with Jurassic World, the sequel reboot to the franchise that takes place after the events of the original trilogy, but now ups the ante with reopening the park as a bigger experience and going full-blown commercial, including a bigger, meaner and dangerous new dinosaur, The Indominus Rex. A lot of people had problems with the movie, which is fair, but the movie was fun when it let itself be. Plus, seeing the final dinosaur fight made the little kid in me giddy, so that’s a plus in my book.

The next movie is the Paul Feig written/directed action spy comedy, Spy. Melissa McCarthy plays a desk-bound CIA analyst who is forced to go undercover to prevent a global disaster. This movie is freaking hilarious. Honestly, for me, 98% of the jokes work for me, and it is never not funny. Paul Feig did the movie because he knew nobody would let him do a James Bond-esque spy thriller, and it completely works. Plus, seeing Jason Statham act like a fool is worth the watch alone.

 

 

2016

Independence Day: Resurgence

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping

The Conjuring 2

The Shallows

Hunt for the Wilderpeople

Thoughts: Quite the month in 2016, so let’s get the worst out of the way. I’m looking at you Independence Day: Resurgence! I mean seriously, how do you mess up a sequel to a movie that everyone, to this day, That’s it, this movie sucks.

Let’s go from a bad sequel, to a good sequel in The Conjuring 2. The sequel ups the scares and creepy characters in Valek aka The Nun and The Crooked Man.

Next is a movie that surprised the hell out of me when I watched it the first time, Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping. Andy Samberg plays Connor4real, a pop singer once part of a boy band who goes solo and has success until his latest album which bombs hard. He then tries to bounce back any way he can. The movie is heavily inspired by This Is Spinal Tap as the movie is done as a mock-documentary style, and is filled with the typical Lonely Island humor. Definitely worth a watch.

Another surprise this month was the Blake Lively shark thriller, The Shallows. Lively plays a surfer who gets attacked by a great white shark 200 yards from shore and has to take refuge on a rock where the shark circles her, and a battle of survivor begins. I honestly didn’t think this movie would be anything special, but the movie is a solid thriller, with a pretty good scare in there.

Finally, the Taika Waititi-directed Hunt for the Wilderpeople. Julian Dennison’s breakout role with Sam Neill as a mismatched foster family who go missing in the New Zealand wilderness where they get to know each other and try to survive. The film is very funny, with Waititi’s humor and wit on full force.

 

 

2017

Wonder Woman

The Mummy

Baby Driver

Thoughts: Let’s start off with the big one here, the failed attempt of Universal trying to restart a shared universe of their classic monsters with the Tom Cruise-led The Mummy. Universal played their hand too hard here, even taking a photo with the stars of their next two movies before the release of their first movie, and even naming the damn thing. Then the movie came out, and it was mediocre at best. Pretty much anything worthwhile watching was already given away in the trailers, so yeah.

Next is the Edgar Wright directed Baby Driver. Following a young and talented driver named Baby (Ansel Elgort), who is always listening to music to drown out the ringing in his ear, and the different groups of thieves he drives for. Of course, during a major heist, things go wrong and Baby needs to get himself, and a young woman he’s recently met (Lily James), out of town. Wright is one of my favorite directors of all time, and Baby Driver cemented that fact, showing he didn’t just need Simon Pegg or Nick Frost to have a great movie. Of course, the one blemish on the movie is Kevin Spacey, but thankfully, he’s not in the movie that much.

Finally, Wonder Woman. After years of trying to get it off the ground, Warner Bros. finally delivered the Amazon Princess to the big screen with Gal Gadot, who was only known for playing Giselle in the Fast & Furious franchise, leading the charge with Patty Jenkins at the helm. The movie does fall into the CGI final battle cliché, but everything before that was a damn good experience. Plus, the score by Hans Zimmer was amazing.

 

 

2018

Upgrade

Hereditary

Hearts Beat Loud

Leave No Trace

Thoughts: Alright, the last year, and let’s start off with the least-known film on the list in Leave No Trace. The film starred Ben Foster and newcomer to the scenes Thomasin McKenzie (now know for her role in Jojo Rabbit), as a father and daughter who live out and strive out in the wilderness, but after being caught, go into social services until they try to make it back home. It’s a very great, quiet (in terms of drama anyway) film with a standout performance by McKenzie.

Another film that went under the radar was Hearts Beat Loud, which starred Nick Offerman and Kiersey Clemons as a father and daughter who start an unlikely musical duo the summer before Clemons’ character goes off to college. The music in the movie is great, and Clemons and Offerman give great performances together and apart. I highly recommend you take the take to watch this, you won’t regret it.

Yet another film that may have passed a lot of people’s radar at first is the Leigh Whannell sci-fi action film, Upgrade. Set in the near-future, Logan Marshall-Green’s Grey, a self-labelled technophobe, is implanted with an experimental computer chip implant with an A.I. system after he and his wife are attacked, killing her and leaving him seeking revenge. The low-budget movie did the best with the budget it had, and did create a whole new world to play in. Honestly, it was one of the best sci-fi films in a while.

Finally, Hereditary. Ari Aster’s horror mystery film following a family that is haunted by disturbing occurrences and deadly consequences. The slow-burn approach to Hereditary was really the make-it-or-break-it thing for viewers, but for those that stuck with it, were treated with some heavy imagery and nuances to the story. Hereditary isn’t for everyone, but there’s no doubt the movie left an impact on those that watched it.

 

And that’s it everyone. Admittedly, this was still a lot movies, but I can’t help that enjoy a lot of movies more than others. But more importantly, I want to know what you guys think about this. Let me know what your favorite movies in February were?

Monthly Rewind for May

Hello, everybody!

The fifth edition of Monthly Rewind is here, and we’re doing May!

I mentioned in the last post that I’m going to change how I did these going forward, and that’s going to happen here. I originally did all the movies I watched that month and gave my reactions to all those movies, good or bad. The new change is that I’ll still be doing that, but this time with only the movies that really left an impression or stood out. I’m not saying I won’t mention the bad movies, but for the most part, it’s going to be the ones that stood out.

If you know something came out during that month, or year, and it’s not on here. It’s a good chance that I haven’t seen it – yes, even after all these years – or I just completely missed it while putting the list together. It’s a lot of movies after all.

Alright, let’s get started with 2010!

 

2010

Iron Man 2

MacGruber

Thoughts: Let’s start off with Marvel’s third outing, Iron Man 2. The sequel that a lot of fans ended up not liking for various reasons, and honestly, I was one of them. The sequel does have its faults, but Marvel was still finding its footing. Plus, the sequel did end up giving us a lot of cool moments like Iron Man and War Machine back-to-back fighting off the robots, Black Widow and Whiplash’s introduction at the speedway.

Next is the comedy MacGruber, the feature-length film based off Will Forte’s SNL skit of the same name. I wasn’t a huge watcher of SNL, so I didn’t know about the skit, just that the movie looked like a dumb fun action comedy. So I went with that and actually enjoyed myself watching the overly ridiculously comedy that was happening in front of me. Even the celery.

 

 

2011

Thor

Thoughts: May 2011 was pretty light on movies, but I ended up picking Thor for a few reasons. I know some see Thor as the outliner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe – some even seeing it at the “worst” one – but again, Thor was part of the Phase One movies, where Marvel was still figuring everything out. It wasn’t also done in a different style as it felt more like a Shakespearian film with Kenneth Branagh directing, and an unknown actor, aka Tom Hiddleston, stealing the show. While even I don’t see Thor as one of the best movies in the MCU, it is in my eyes, one of the more ambitious films, in terms of approach.

 

 

2012

Sleepless Night

Moonrise Kingdom

The Avengers

Thoughts: Okay, let’s get started with the Wes Anderson film, Moonrise Kingdom, the first live-action Anderson film I remember watching all the way through (The Royal Tenenbaums, being one that I hadn’t watched all the way through). The film followed two young lovers who flee from their homes and the community coming together to find them. It’s about what you expect from an Anderson film, with our young lead Jared Gilman says “sons of bitches” at one point, which just broke me.

Next is the French action crime thriller Sleepless Night – which was remade titled Sleepless with Jamie Foxx, which was NOT good – which I first saw at Actionfest, and instantly loved it. The film follows a cop with a connection to the criminal underworld, whose cover is blown when his partner gets caught skimming a recent product. When the drug lord finds out, they end up taking the cop’s son, and the cop goes in to try to save his son on his own in one night. It’s not your traditional action movie, although there is a great kitchen brawl, but I really enjoyed the movie for what it was.

Finally, The Avengers, Marvel’s first big team-up movie brought all the comic book nerds, and non-nerds, together to experience a massive milestone in comic book movie history. It’s not perfect, even I can admit that, but you got to admit it was something.

 

 

2013

Iron Man 3

After Earth

Fast & Furious 6

Thoughts: Oh 2013, what was going on? Okay, let’s start off with Iron Man 3, once again, an Iron Man sequel that left many fans divided. Marvel took the chance and hired Shane Black to write and direct, and decided to bring one of Iron Man’s biggest villains into the cinematic universe in The Mandarin, played Sir Ben Kingsley, in what was more a sadistic terrorist than somewhat supernatural villain, plus the mishandling of the Extremists storyline. I don’t know, it’s not the best Iron Man movie, but I think the movie does get a little too much hate.

Now let’s get to a movie that deserves the hate it gets, After Earth. “Directed” by M. Night Shyamalan (it was said that Will Smith “really” directed the movie, but Shyamalan took all the heat for how the movie turned out) and starring Smith and his son Jaden as father and son in the future who get stranded on the former Earth, after their ship crashes. Jaden’s character then as to go and search for help for his father, who was injured during the crash. This movie was NOT good, in any way. Jaden just didn’t have the “it factor,” especially to lead a movie like this, and apparently the movie went through so many changes after it was filmed, that a longer cut existed with people cut from the movie, and more of the back-story of things included. Even then, I don’t think the movie would have been anyway.

Finally, Fast & Furious 6, the last movie in the franchise directed by Justin Lin (who started with Tokyo Drift, and directed the eventually-released F9), which had the crew, teaming up with Dwayne Johnson’s Hobbs against a deadly crew, with the returning, and now amnesic returning Michelle Rodriguez’ Letty. This was one that I knew had a bigger impact with me, cause of the theater crowd – although I do still enjoy watching it at home too – because EVERYONE was into it. It’s a tad melodramatic with the Letty and Dom stuff, but that’s one of the things the films had done at that point, so whatever.

 

 

2014

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Godzilla

Chef

X-Men: Days of Future Past

Thoughts: 2014’s back came to give us proper hits! Expect this first one we’re going to talk about, The Amazing Spider-Man 2! After a solid reboot with the first Amazing Spider-Man, Sony had to whiff it by trying to play catch up to the MCU and try to create their own connected universe with Spider-Man. The result was a bloated, messy sequel that got rid of its own saving grace in Emma Stone’s Gwen Stacy.

Now, let’s talk about the divisive film, Godzilla. One of the main things that everyone had a problem with was the “lack” of Godzilla in the film. Yeah, okay, but Godzilla would have really lost some of its luster by the end when he’s fighting the MUTOs, at least I think so. Besides, some of the best monster movies are the ones that don’t show the monster too often until the end, where they roam free like crazy. The other one was people thinking Bryan Cranston’s character died too soon in the movie. Again, people forgetting there needs to be stakes in a movie.

Let’s move on to, arguably, another divisive film in X-Men: Days of Future Past. Based off the popular comic story, the movie saw Wolverine’s mind being sent to the past in a desperate effort to stop an event that results in a dark future for both humans and mutants. The film changes A LOT from the comics, but the core is still kind of there. But the big selling point here was taking the cast of the Bryan Singer X-Men films and combining it with the cast of the new X-Men films. The result was a descent blend of the casts and some pretty intense and surprise death scenes.

Finally, the written and directed Jon Favreau film comedy, Chef, which as you can guess, Favreau plays a head chief, who quits his job after an incident and decides to open a food truck to reconnect with his estranged family. I didn’t know what to expect from Chef, but oh man did I love this. It’s a much smaller film that got lost in the crowed summer, but it’s definitely worth the watch. Word of advice, if you do end up watching this, don’t watch it while hungry. Don’t!

 

 

2015

Maggie

Tomorrowland

Avengers: Age of Ultron

Mad Max: Fury Road

Thoughts: Let’s start off with the smaller film that most people probably didn’t watch or get to watch, and that’s the Arnold Schwarzenegger-led, Maggie. The film saw Schwarzenegger as a father to Abigail Breslin’s titular character who gets infected by a virus that is slowly turning her into a zombie. The movie is just okay, being more of a character based-drama than your typical zombie movie, although it really doesn’t give you enough for the ending they went with, which lets the air out of you waiting for an ending, you think it’s building up to.

Next is the, generally disappointing, Tomorrowland. A lot of hype and expectations came with this one, and for good reason. It was directed by Brad Bird (The Iron Giant, The Incredibles, Ratatouille, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol), it had a screenplay by Damon Lindelof (which I didn’t really care about since I didn’t watch Lost) and it looked great. Then the movie came out, and it was nothing like people expected. I liked the message it was trying to tell, but the way it was executed was half-baked.

Now let’s talk about Avengers: Age of Ultron, the second Avengers movie, which brought one of the famed villains in Avengers history, which hyped people up even more. What resulted was a very mix bag as a whole. Ultron wasn’t what people expected him to be, the introduction of Wanda, Pietro and Vision, Hawkeye’s secret family and the Hulkbuster suit. But there is also the fact that the movie kind of loses itself for a bit, and just barely recovers.

Finally, one of the best action films of the decade, Mad Max: Fury Road. George Miller returned to Max, now played by Tom Hardy, as he tries to survive The Wasteland with Furiosa (Charlize Theron) as she tries to lead a group of women away from Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne). The movie pretty much has it all, top-notch action, beautiful cinematography and a killer score, what more do you want?

 

 

2016

Green Room

The Nice Guys

Captain America: Civil War

Thoughts: Another solid 2016 which will start with the indie thriller Green Room. The film followed a punk rock band that ends up in a skinhead bar, and after making a mistake, must fight their way out. It’s a very confined thriller with a descent chunk of the movie taking place in a room where the band is holding up. The selling point if you need one is Sir Patrick Stewart plays the head of the gang, so yeah.

The next film is the Shane Black written/directed film, The Nice Guys, starring a down on his luck P.I (played by Ryan Reynolds) and a rough around the edges P.I (played by Russell Crowe) who pair together to investigate a missing girl and a mysterious death of a porn star, who might share a connection. Besides the Shane Black-dark humor/wit, the combo of Crowe and Gosling, along with Angourie Rice, who plays Gosling’s daughter, make the perfect trio to keep the film going, and entertaining from start to finish.

Finally, Captain America: Civil War, Marvel’s ambitious retelling of the famed comic book story, obviously changed to fit the MCU characters instead of ALL the characters like in the comics. Civil War broke apart the Avengers and had them pick a side, and then added new players to the board like Black Panther and Spider-Man. I really don’t have a negative thing to say about the movie. I really enjoyed the action scenes, the airport sequence was amazing to watch on a big screen, and the final fight between Iron Man and Captain America is such a heart-breaker.

 

 

2017

Lowriders

Alien: Covenant

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

Thoughts: Let’s start off with the movie that slipped most people’s radar, Lowriders. The drama followed a young street artist (Gabriel Chavarria) in East L.A. who is caught between his father’s (played by Demian Bichir) obsession with car culture, his ex-felon brother (Theo Rossi) who is out of prison and his need for self-expression. I really connected to the movie, although not the car culture or ex-felon brother, but someone trying to make his own way in a family that expected one thing from me, while I went another. Plus, the movie’s very good, so there is also that.

Let’s talk about King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, the Guy Ritchie co-written and directed take on the King Arthur legend. I know some people who didn’t like the movie for their reasons, which is fine, and while I’m not the biggest fan of it either, I enjoyed Ritchie take on the character. Adding in some of his own flavors – a street hustler Arthur with his crew – and working with a bigger budget, and a pretty solid score, I did enjoy what I watched.

Finally, Alien: Covenant, oh man. Okay, first and foremost, there are some things I do like about Covenant, not a lot, but some. Overall though, Alien: Covenant is a tad bit messy for its good. Condensing the Alien mythology and the birth of the xenomorphs into one movie was kind of a slap to the face, especially considering that the movie’s final act feels like it was tacked on to have an early xenomorph attack.

 

 

2018

Deadpool 2

Solo: A Star Wars Story

Thoughts: Let’s being our final month with Deadpool 2, the anticipated sequel after the first Deadpool surprised audiences with its meta and fourth-wall breaking humor. The movie itself was just okay to be honest, even with the inclusion of Josh Brolin’s Cable. It was kind of a bummer, but still enjoy the first time through.

Next is the much-talked about Solo: A Star Wars Story. I think at this point we all know the behind-the-scenes troubles and going-ons, so let’s move pass that, at least just a bit. The movie itself is kind of scattered in multiple places, but the better question, and the one that should be asked is, did you enjoy it? The answer to that is, yeah, for the most part. Alden Ehrenreich as a young Han was charming enough, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s L3-37 was a standout amongst the cast.

The other thing about the movie was it does suffer from the prequel effect aka no real danger to the main character, but what Solo also tries to do is set up more adventures. This would be fine, if the production wasn’t such a problem to begin with, plus if the movie ended up doing more better and got better fanfare. Especially considering the ending.

 

And that’s it everyone. Admittedly, this was still a lot movies, but I can’t help that enjoy a lot of movies more than others. But more importantly, I want to know what you guys think about this. Let me know what your favorite movies in February were?

February Movie Releases

So how are those New Years Resolutions coming along? Kidding!

Anyway, we’re here for movies! Compared to last year, February is looking like a legit month with some huge films coming out. It’s also the month that is bringing the end to a beloved franchise. So let’s get to it!

 

7th

Limited Release: The Lodge

A soon-to-be stepmom is snowed in with her fiancé’s two children at a remote holiday village. Just as relations begin to thaw between the trio, some strange and frightening events take place. The Lodge stars Riley Keough, Jaeden Martell, Lia McHugh, Alicia Silverstone and Richard Armitage.

 

Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) – Warner Bros., DC Entertainment, Luckychap Entertainment

After splitting with the Joker, Harley Quinn joins superheroes Black Canary, Huntress and Renee Montoya to save a young girl from an evil crime lord. Birds of Prey stars Margot Robbie, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Rosie Perez, Ella Jay Basco, Chris Messina, Ali Wong and Ewan McGregor.

 

 

14th

Limited Release: Ordinary Love

An extraordinary look at the lives of a middle-aged couple in the midst of the wife’s breast cancer diagnosis. Ordinary Love is lead by Liam Neeson and Lesley Manville.

 

Limited Release: Downhill

A remake of the Swedish film; Barley escaping an avalanche during a family ski vacation in the Alps, a married couple (Will Ferrell and Julia Louis-Dreyfus) is thrown into disarray as they are forced to reevaluate their lives and how they feel about each other. Downhill co-stars Zach Woods, Zoe Chao, Helene Cardona, Kristofer Hivju and Miranda Otto.

 

What About Love – UC541

Two young lovers change the lives of their parents forever when the parents learn from the joyful experiences of their kids, and allow themselves to again find their love. What About Love stars Marielle Jaffe, Miguel Angel Munoz, Jose Coronado, Maia Morgenstern, Andy Garcia, Ian Glen and Sharon Stone.

*No Trailer Found*

 

The Photograph – Universal Pictures, Will Packer Productions, Perfect World Pictures

When famed photographer Christina Eames dies unexpectedly, she leaves her estranged daughter, Mae (Issa Rae), hurt, angry and full of questions. When Mae finds a photograph tucked away in a safe-deposit box, she soon finds herself delving into her mother’s early life — an investigation that leads to an unexpected romance with a rising journalist (LaKeith Stanfield). The Photograph co-stars Chelsea Peretti, Rob Morgan, Lil Rel Howery, Teyonah Parris, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Jasmine Cephas Jones and Courtney B. Vance.

 

Sonic the Hedgehog – Paramount Pictures, Sega, Original Film, Blur Studio

A cop in the rural town of Green Hills will help Sonic (voiced by Ben Schwartz) escape from the government who is looking to capture him. Sonic the Hedgehog stars James Marsden, Tika Sumpter, Neal McDonough and Jim Carrey.

 

Blumhouse’s Fantasy Island – Columbia Pictures, Blumhouse Productions

The enigmatic Mr Roarke (Michael Pena) makes the secret dreams of his lucky guests come true at a luxurious but remote tropical resort, but when the fantasies turn into nightmares, the guests have to solve the island’s mystery in order to escape with their lives. Fantasy Island co-stars Lucy Hale, Maggie Q, Parissa Fitz-Henley, Austin Stowell, Jimmy O. Yang, Portia Doubleday, Kim Coates and Michael Rooker.

 

 

21st

Limited Release: Emma

Based on the novel by Jane Austen; Following the antics of a young woman, Emma Woodhouse (Anya Taylor-Joy), who lives in Georgian- and Regency-era England and occupies herself with matchmaking – in sometimes misguided, often meddlesome fashion- in the lives of her friends and family. Emma co-stars Josh O’Connor, Mia Goth, Johnny Flynn, Callum Turner, Chloe Pirrie, Miranda Hart and Bill Nighy.

 

Brahms: The Boy 2 – STX Entertainment, Lakeshore Entertainment, Huayi Brothers

After a family moves into the Heelshire Mansion, their young son soon makes friends with a life-like doll called Brahms. The movie stars Katie Holmes, Ralph Ineson and Owain Yeoman.

 

The Call of the Wild – 20th Century Studios, 3 Arts Entertainment

Based on the novel by Jack London; Buck is a big-hearted dog whose blissful domestic life gets turned upside down when he is suddenly uprooted from his California home and transplanted to the exotic wilds of the Alaskan Yukon in the 1890s. As the newest rookie on a mail-delivery dog sled team, Buck experiences the adventure of a lifetime as he ultimately finds his true place in the world. The Call of the Wild stars Harrison Ford, Cara Gee, Jean Louisa Kelly, Omar Sy, Karen Gillan, Dan Stevens and Bradley Whitford.

 

28th

Limited Release: The Whistlers

A policeman is intent on freeing a crooked businessman from a prison on Gomera, an island in the Canaries. However, he must first learn the difficult local dialect, a language which includes hissing and spitting.

 

Limited Release: Burden

When a museum celebrating the Ku Klux Klan opens a South Carolina town, the idealistic Reverend Kennedy (Forest Whitaker) strives to keep the peace even as he urges the group’s Grand Dragon (Garrett Hedlund) to disavow his racist past. Burden co-stars Andrea Riseborough, Usher Raymond and Tom Wilkinson.

 

Limited Release: Guns Akimbo

Miles (Daniel Radcliffe) is a video game developer who inadvertently becomes the next participant in a real-life death match that streams online. While Miles soon excels at running away from everything, that won’t help him outlast Nix (Samara Weaving), a killer at the top of her game.  Guns Akimbo co-stars Ned Dennehy and Rhys Darby.

 

The Invisible Man – Universal Pictures, Blumhouse Productions, Goalpost Pictures

Written and directed by Leigh Whannell (Upgrade); When Cecilia’s (Elizabeth Moss) abusive ex (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) takes his own life and leaves her his fortune, she suspects his death was a hoax. As a series of coincidences turn lethal, Cecilia works to prove that she is being hunted by someone nobody can see. The Invisible Man co-stars Aldis Hodge, Storm Reid and Harriet Dyer.

 

What are you looking forward to?

Monthly Rewind – January Movie Releases 2010-2018

Hello, everybody!

I’m starting a new feature here on Movies with Chris called Monthly Rewind! Given that the decade just ended, I figured I do something a little different than a “Best of” or “Favorite of” the Decade list. Instead of naming all of my noteworthy movies, I thought I would look at the movies I’ve seen in the last ten years in those given months and give my thoughts on them all these years later, or just how they have held up.

It’s something new, and potentially, a lot of fun. So join me won’t you? Let’s get started and take a look at January’s past. The only year we won’t do is 2019, given that we just went through all of it. Again, these are movies that I have seen.

If you know something came out during that month, or year, and it’s not on here. It’s a good chance that I haven’t seen it – yes, even after all these years – or I just completely missed it while putting the list together. It’s a lot of movies after all.

Alright, let’s get started with 2010!

 

2010

Daybreakers

The Book of Eli

Legion

Edge of Darkness

Thoughts: It’s rather weird bunch of movies here. The four of these don’t have a lot of staying power with me, and presumably with audiences. Daybreakers, a world where almost everyone is a vampire, still has its fans and it is still an underrated vampire movie starring Ethan Hawke.

The Book of Eli probably still holds some weight because of the twist at the end, plus some of the visuals by directors The Hugh Brothers. And of course seeing Denzel Washington kick some ass.

Legion I think has been forgotten about, even though it got a short-lived sequel TV series on SyFy. At least some of the visuals still work and stick around like Doug Jones’ Ice Cream Man.

Finally, Edge of Darkness, one of the last movies Mel Gibson led, before his public meltdown (also, his first since Signs in 2002), which I don’t think anyone really remembers. I know I barely remember it.

 

2011

The Green Hornet

A Somewhat Gentle Man

Ong-bak 3

The Housemaid

The Mechanic

Ip Man 2

Thoughts: This month actually had two movies I had seen at the Chicago International Film Festival – A Somewhat Gentle Man and The Housemaid. The problem is I can’t remember if it was the year before, or if they played during the festival this year (both got limited releases in theaters this month). As for the other movies;

The Green Hornet was a really bad misfire, even by today’s standards. Of course, the only big highlight anyone remembers about this is Jay Chou’s Kato, and Kato Vision. Since honestly, it probably the only thing people should remember.

Ong-bak 3 is still, to this day, a mess. Tony Jaa had made the biggest name for himself with the first Ong-Bak, and later Tom yum Goong aka The Protector, but it was when Jaa took it upon himself to try and direct and completely different story under the Ong-bak name, and it just didn’t work. It also didn’t help that the movie suffered because Jaa basically suffered a panic attack trying to direct this and part 2, which were suppose to be one movie.

The Mechanic, a remake of the 1972 film, this was at the time when Jason Statham was in those small, independent feel action movies that were mostly forgettable. The Mechanic stills fits that mold, but I think the more surprising thing is that the movie got a sequel, that we’ll talk about later.

Ip Man 2, I mean come on. The Ip Man movies are all known for the impressive fight sequences with Donnie Yen playing the titular character so well.

 

 

2012

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Contraband

Underworld: Awakening

Haywire

The Artist

The Grey

Thoughts: This was a weird January, for me. I remember thinking back then, that this a good January in a while. First, we had two highly divisive films in the spy thriller Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and The Artist. One was a very slow-burn spy film that many said was too dragged out, while the other went back to the old ways of Hollywood with a black-and-white, silent film, that has sadly been thrown to the wayside.

Contraband was a remake of the Icelandic film, which ironically, its lead star Baltasar Kormakur directed this. It’s probably one of more forgettable Mark Wahlberg-led movies, but also because he had Giovanni Ribisi playing the lead villain as a tough guy gangster. No disrespect to Ribisi, but come on.

Underworld: Awakening, the forth movie in the series, I’m sure it was meant as a way to bring back the franchise after its last film – which was technically a prequel to the first movie – but instead we got, probably, the most forgettable Underworld movie which didn’t do anything new for the series, other than give Kate Beckinsale’s Selene a daughter, who doesn’t even factor into the next movie (and they even recast), and introduce Theo James’ David, who is the most boring character in the series.

Steven Soderbergh’s Haywire was, to me, the start of Hollywood’s more brutal, gritty realistic take on fight scenes. It helped that Soderbergh cast MMA star Gina Carano as the lead, which got her more mainstream attention. The movie itself, slugs on a tad, with an ending that I remember kind of just happens.

Finally, Joe Carnahan’s The Grey, arguably, one of the only real movies that came out in January to have really a true amount of staying power. Anytime someone brings up The Grey it one of two things. One, how great it is or two, we never see Liam Neeson actually fight the Alpha wolf.

 

 

2013

Gangster Squad

Zero Dark Thirty

The Last Stand

Mama

Broken City

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters

Parker

Movie 43

John Dies at the End

Thoughts: I didn’t remember all these movies dropping in January, but here we are. I did manage to see Zero Dark Thirty in its limited release in December, but the wide release was this month.

Oh Gangster Squad, so much potential, and yet, such a disappointment at the end. Tragedy for the release date shift and reshoots aside, it’s hard to see how they wasted such a great cast and story, even to this day. Plus, the movie takes the Hollywood action route instead of the true takedown of Mickey Cohen.

John Dies at the End was one of those genre film festival favorites, which admittedly I watched much later, and I’ll admit, I wasn’t the biggest fan of it. But I can see why it was, and still has, a midnight movie fan base.

Parker, for me, is the most forgettable Jason Statham one-word title films, which had him playing a thief that gets double-crossed and left for dead, only to take a new identity and work with Jennifer Lopez’ character – a real estate agent who wants more of life – who happens to have a connection to Statham’s old crew.

Broken City starred Mark Wahlberg as an ex-cop trying to take down the mayor of his city played by Russell Crowe. I honestly don’t remember anything about this movie. I had to look up what the movie was about to even write that short synopsis.

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters was my guilty pleasure of 2013, and it still kind of is. It knows exactly what it is and doesn’t try to be something different. Plus, you get to stare at Gemma Arterton for an hour-and-a-half.

Mama, the film that brought up It and It Chapter Two director Andy Muschietti, and based off his own creepy short film. I think Mama gets some undeserved bashing – it’s not perfect or even all that great – but it’s definitely worthwhile, even though it does have a couple cheap pop scares.

The Last Stand, which I saw again recently, was highly more enjoyable than I remembered. It has the right amount of seriousness, humor, and quirkiness to Arnold Schwarzenegger getting older.

Then there’s Movie 43….ugh

 

 

2014

Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones

Her

Inside Llewyn Davis

Lone Survivor

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

Ride Along

I, Frankenstein

Thoughts: Her, Lone Survivor and Inside Llewyn Davis are the wide releases, and I’d say that Her probably has the most staying power over the other two mainly because of relevant it is still till this day. Inside Llewyn Davis does have a loyal fanbase, but I think it’s one of those movies that you don’t pop in regularly.

Ride Along was, arguably, the start of Kevin Hart’s film career stardom. Starring with Ice Cube as future brother-in-laws with Cube playing the hardened, no-nonsense cop, and Hart, a security guard, trying to prove himself. It was funny for the time and the chemistry between Hart and Cube worked, and still works.

I, Frankenstein was one of those movies I was weirdly looking forward to, even though I knew it was going to be bad. Then I watched it, and yeah. It’s not very good. Aaron Eckhart playing Frankenstein’s monster – named Adam – stuck in a war between Gargoyle angels and demons is a bit sloppy and overall things we’ve seen before.

Kenneth Branagh’s Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit starring Chris Pine was an okay movie then, and an okay movie now. Pine does fine with what he’s given against Branagh’s thick fake Russian accent.

Finally, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones, the only real spinoff of the horror franchise (there was a foreign spinoff that isn’t “canon”), it’s also considered a “cousin” film as it follows a Hispanic group of friends dealing with a demonic entity that does end up being connected to the main series. It’s not best Paranormal Activity movie, but definitely one of the better, and underappreciated, movies.

 

 

2015

The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death

[REC] 4: Apocalypse

Taken 3

Predestination

Inherent Vice

Paddington

Blackhat

Foxcatcher

American Sniper

Red Army

A Most Violent Year

Thoughts: Some more wide releases of limited releases a couple weeks prior in Inherent Vice, American Sniper and A Most Violent Year. American Sniper, still to this day, gets flake, mostly deserved, and that fake baby man. Come on, Eastwood! Inherent Vice is still the weird movie where people don’t really know what’s going on and A Most Violent Year is mostly forgotten, even though it has some great performances by Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain. Maybe it will get some more eyes on it as something is in the works to bring it back.

I believe Foxcatcher, was also a limited release gone wide this month. It was the first time we saw Steve Carell in a different light after The Office, and it was the first time I saw Channing Tatum as a real actor. Red Army was a documentary of the Soviet Union’s famed Red Army hockey team, which was very good, even if you aren’t a hockey fan.

The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death, is probably one of the forgettable movies this month, which is reasonable in my mind considering I really don’t remember anything about the movie. The same can be said for the thriller Blackhat, directed by Michael Mann, which starred Chris Hemsworth as a hacker who gets entangled in a dangerous, potentially worldwide threat. The only thing I truly remember about the movie – besides being a very diverse cast – is the sound going out in my theaters for what was probably the most exciting part of the movie, only for it to come back once the scene ended.

Taken 3 was a weird sequel, and honestly I can’t remember too much about this one either, other than the weird “twist” the movie does out of the blue. [REC] 4: Apocalypse, the final [REC] film, had a great set-up of bringing back original star Manuela Velasco as Angela, and trapping the action in a boat in the middle of the ocean, but the execution was kind of lacking, which is a huge bummer considering how great the series started.

Predestination, based on the short story “All You Zombies” by Robert A. Heinlein, not only brought us the great Sarah Snook, but a weird, twisty sci-fi mystery drama about a multitude of different themes that is definitely worth the rewatch or first-time viewing.

Finally, Paddington, I mean what’s left to say about the loveable Paddington, voiced by Ben Whishaw – originally voiced by Colin Firth, but him and director Paul King agreed they needed to go a different route – and his crazy adventures.

 

 

2016

The Forest

The Revenant

Ride Along 2

13 Hours

Carol

The 5th Wave

The Boy

Ip Man 3

Room

Kung Fu Panda 3

Jane Got a Gun

Thoughts: Weirdly, only three wide release here in The Revenant, which is still the bear basically rag dolls Leonardo DiCaprio that got him an Oscar. Carol, which I don’t hear too much about anymore, but Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara are fantastic in it, if you haven’t watched it yet, and then there’s Room, which gave us Jacob Tremblay and a fantastic performance by Brie Larson, which fans have turned on because…reasons?

This year might be the “worst” January in the decade to be honest. The Forest and The Boy were the horror films released this month and neither of them really did the job they set out to do. The Forest had the concept of basing it in Japan’s Suicide Forest with Natalie Dormer, while The Boy had Lauren Cohen in what was teased as a “is the doll supernatural or not?” Of course, only one of these is getting a sequel.

The 5th Wave, which was based off a pretty descent YA book, was a complete disappointment for me, personally. Even with the pretty much reliable Chloe Grace Moretz and pre-mega star Maika Monroe, the premise was perfect set-up for them to only make the most bland and boring “action” movie that year.

Speaking of disappointing, the Natalie Portman-led western Jane Got a Gun was most likely a product of behind-the-scenes troubles with original director Lynne Ramsay dropping out literally the first day of filming, and actors swapping in-and-out of lead roles and supporting roles.

Ride Along 2, a couple years after the first movie, brings back Kevin Hart and Ice Cube together moving the action to another city and bringing in Olivia Munn and Benjamin Bratt as the villain. I honestly can’t remember anything about this movie, which seeing how cheap these movies are to make, I’m surprised they didn’t make another one.

Ip Man 3’s main marketing push was having a fight scene between Donnie Yen’s Ip Man versus Mike Tyson’s Frank, and if you saw the movie, you know that the fight only happens once and it isn’t even the end of the movie. The movie itself is a fine action movie, and also introduces Jin Zhang’s Cheung Tin-chi, who got a spinoff movie.

The third and final Kung Fu Panda film came out this month, and brought an end to the movies in a perfect way. Not only did Po find his family and his people, he finally reached the end of his arc of becoming a great fighter.

Finally, 13 Hours, the Michael Bay-directed movie about the U.S. compound in Libya that got attacked, and the security team there defended it. It’s basically the “ill-timed” movie about the attacks in Benghazi. Bay isn’t really that kind of director so the movie was all about the action, and for that, I was thoroughly surprised. The cast is also pretty great with John Krasinski beefing up for the role.

 

 

2017

Hidden Figures

A Monster Calls

Patriots Day

The Founder

Underworld: Blood Wars

Monster Trucks

The Bye Bye Man

Sleepless

Live by Night

xXx: Return of Xander Cage

Split

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter

Thoughts: Four limited releases turned wide this month in Hidden Figures, A Monster Calls, Patriots Day and The FounderA Monster Calls is the one that sticks with me the most because I didn’t expect the movie to hit me as hard as it did. The Founder, the story of Ray Kroc who turned the family owned burger restaurant into what we know now, saw Michael Keaton be a ruthless, ambitious former salesman that made us loathe him. Hidden Figures and Patriots Day, both based on true stories, with Hidden Figures probably being the one of the two that sticks out to more people.

Ben Affleck-directed Live by Night was considered a huge disappointment by all accounts, and lead to some personal problems for Affleck. Speaking of disappointing, especially one that essentially killed a franchise, Underworld: Blood Wars made Selene into, basically, superhero with no real purpose other than “trying” to do something different, but it was a big heap of NOPE.

On that front, Resident Evil: The Final Chapter did end the long running franchise that was more of the same from what we’ve seen, with a twist I’m sure they thought was smart, but really came off as dumb. Monster Trucks was a weird take on the brand, but you know what, if I was a kid, I would have dug the hell out of this. As an adult, it was still an okay family movie.

Sleepless was actually a remake of a VERY good French film Nuit Blanche, which followed the same basic premise of a cop who goes to a nighclub where his son is being kept after a deal gone wrong. The remake was kind of lifeless despite its descent cast of Jamie Foxx, Michelle Monaghan, Scoot McNairy, Dermot Mulroney and David Harbour.

The Bye Bye Man…*sigh*

Honestly, the only thing that got me in for xXx: Return of Xander Cage was that it starred Donnie Yen…that’s it. I mean, yes the movie was as ridiculous as you would think it would be.

Finally, Split came out this month, in what was one of the best surprises of the month and best surprise twist sequels that I can remember. Even before that though, we got an amazing performance by James McAvoy, and it made Anya Taylor-Joy a household name.

 

 

2018

Molly’s Game

The Post

Phantom Thread

I, Tonya

Insidious: The Last Key

Paddington 2

The Commuter

Proud Mary

12 Strong

Den of Thieves

Maze Runner: The Death Cure

Hostiles

Thoughts: Four limited releases this month in Molly’s Game, I Tonya, The Post and Phantom Thread; five if you count Hostiles – which kind of came and went without much fanfare despite a solid performance by Christian Bale. The Post and Molly’s Game have pretty much, at least it feels like, been forgotten. Phantom Thread was Paul Thomas Anderson and Daniel Day-Lewis’ last team-up as this was Day-Lewis’ last film, and what a way to go out. As for I, Tonya, this arguably made Margot Robbie the true household name that she is now, with her portray as Tonya Harding. Plus it gave us Paul Walter Hauser.

This month also gave us Proud Mary, which I thought was a nice homage to 70s action movies, but it failed to really leave an impression. Insidious: The Last Key was the last Insidious movie we got, which acted as an origin story for Lin Shaye’s Elise and a prequel to the very first movie. It’s not the best entry in the series, but at least Shaye got one more ride of the character.

We also got the ending of the Maze Runner movies with the third entry The Death Cure which admittedly was a little too long for its own good, and lacked a certain punch for me. The same could be said about 12 Strong – the certain punch – the based on a true story war film that starred Chris Hemsworth leading a small group of soldiers to stop an attack from the Taliban after 9/11. The movie was more of a character movie than an action film like it was marketed, but seeing Chris Hemsworth, Michael Pena and Michael Shannon play off each other was a nice please.

Now for two movies that were surprisingly good in their own way, The Commuter and Den of Thieves. The Commuter could have easily been another Liam Neeson action thriller that most people forgot about – and maybe this one is too – I happen to watch it again recently and thoroughly enjoyed it again. When it comes to Den of  Thieves, this could have easily been a forgettable action crime thriller with everyone chewing up the scenery. And in some part, it really is, but there was something about the wannabe-Heat to it all that I really liked.

Finally, Paddington 2…again, how can you NOT love these movies!

 

And that’s it everyone. Admittedly, this was a lot. So I’ll probably tone down the lists going forward, especially since this is going up at the end of January. But more importantly, I want to know what you guys think about this. Let me know what your favorite movies in January were?

My Favorite, and Surprise, Movies of 2019

It’s the end of the year boys and girls, you know what that means? It’s list time!!

There were some great films that came out this year. The list really ranges all over the place, so you’ll see a wide array of titles, and even some surprises. But, of course, this is my list and my opinion so your list might be different, obviously, it is okay.

The list will have the films in alphabetical order, just to be fair, and because I really don’t want to go through the trouble anymore of picking a number one because it would be really tough. First let’s start off with the film that I didn’t get around to watching, whether it’s because I missed out in theaters, or because they were only in theaters in my area for a short time. Then we’ll move to the films that just missed the list, surprises of the year, honorable mentions and then the big ones.

 

Movies I Missed That I Wanted to Watch

The Gangster, the Cop, the Devil

Them That Follow

Tigers Are Not Afraid

Luce

Hustlers

Honey Boy

Marriage Story

The Report

The King

The Two Popes

Uncut Gems

1917

Portrait of the Lady on Fire

 

 

Just Missed the Lists

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Bodied

Cold War

Doctor Sleep

It Chapter Two

Klaus

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part

The Wandering Earth

Triple Threat

Yesterday

 

 

Surprises of the Year

Aladdin

Look, Disney live-action remakes are happening, and will continue, let’s get over it. Okay, now let’s talk a little about Aladdin. I don’t have an immediate connection to Aladdin like many others do, so the movie was already very lukewarm for me. That said, the movie wasn’t that bad. Will Smith as the new Genie wasn’t too bad, and Mena Massoud and Naomi Scott as Aladdin and Jasmine had some pretty great chemistry together. Aladdin was a pretty much a great family movie, and you can’t go wrong with that.

 

Blinded by the Light

I didn’t think I was going to watch Blinded by the Light, mainly because I didn’t think I’d connect to it because I’m not a big Bruce Springsteen fan. The great thing is, you didn’t need to be. That to me, made me a fan.

 

Crawl

I was admittedly not on board with Crawl when I first read about it and saw the trailer. I gave it chance, and I’m glad I did, because instead of a pretty much a forgettable, cheesy movie; we got a damn solid thriller with Kaya Scodelario easily putting the movie on her shoulders.

 

El Chicano

El Chicano is mostly likely going to be one of the handful of movies that people didn’t even know came out in 2019. Produced by Joe Carnahan, the movie followed L.A.P.D. Detective Diego Hernandez, who is assigned a career-making case that he finds out has connections to his brother’s supposed suicide, and a turf war between two rival gangs that promises city-wide chaos. He then dons the masked street legend El Chicano to take the streets back. It’s a pretty solid indie action movie that touches on family, “superheroes” and culture.

 

6 Underground

This is the closest thing I think we’ll ever get to knowing how the mind of Michael Bay really works, without the worry of a PG-13 rating, and worrying about damaging a franchise name (Transformers). 6 Underground is a bit of a mess, but damn is it an entertaining mess.

 

 

Honorable Mentions

Alita: Battle Angel

A lot, and I mean A LOT, of people had things to say about Alita: Battle Angel even before it came out and the reaction after the film came out was even more. It was a rather ambitious approach and take on the manga adaptation, that may not have totally worked for producer James Cameron – this being a passion project of his – and director Robert Rodriguez. While the movie loses some steam by the end, it was rather entertaining throughout.

 

Apollo 11

Documentaries rarely make it to my end of the year list, and some of that is mainly because I don’t really watch too many, I forget I watched them, or don’t watch any at all. That said, Apollo 11 stuck with me. The Apollo missions are historic in every way, but seeing this on the big screen, was one of my favorite experiences in a theater this year.

 

Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw

Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham and Idris Elba together on screen in the Fast & Furious universe? Dumb fun action sequences? What more did you want!?

 

Fighting with My Family

Based on the life of former WWE superstar Paige, Fighting with My Family followed Saraya Knight (Florence Pugh) who dreams of being in the WWE with her brother Zak (Jack Lowden), but when they only accept her, it sets a rift between them and pushes Saraya to her limit. The film itself was also based on the documentary of the same name, which followed the Knight family, who run a wrestling promotion in the native England. Pugh totally carries the film on her shoulders, with great supporting performances by Lowden, Vince Vaughn as Hutch Morgan and Nick Frost and Lena Headey as Saraya’s parents. The only thing that irked me a bit was knowing they didn’t really touch on a lot of stuff that Saraya actually went through in her time in WWE, but whatever.

 

Ford v Ferrari

One of the great things about Ford v Ferrari is that you didn’t need to be a gear-head to love/like the film. Mainly because the movie was much more about the friendly relationship between Carol Shelby (Matt Damon) and Ken Miles (Christian Bale) trying to beat the odds of beating Ferrari at Le Mans, a 24-hour race. Damon and Bale were fantastic together, that its hard to believe it took this long in their careers to work together.

 

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum

Parabellum continued the world building of this hitman world, and even did some globe-trotting. Giving us more characters, more obstacles and more headshots than we can count; and I’m not losing any interest whatsoever.

 

Jojo Rabbit

Taika Waititi’s anti-hate satire followed Jojo (Roman Griffin Davis), a young boy in the Hitler Youth, who finds out his mother, Rosie (Scarlett Johansson) is hiding a Jewish girl, Elsa (Thomasin McKenzie) in their home; all while he talks to his imaginary friend, Adolf Hitler (played by Waititi himself). Waititi’s humor may not be for everyone, but his humor here with the seriousness – and it does get serious – of the real setting of WWII, Jojo Rabbit was definitely an experience.

 

Little Women

I’m going to admit something I probably shouldn’t; I’ve never read Little Women. I knew what the book was about, but just never got around to reading it. That said, I was looking forward to the movie, mainly because of the cast and that Greta Gerwig was writing/directing. Thankfully, it didn’t really matter if I had read the book, because the casts’ chemistry and Gerwig’s direction was great to watch.

 

Queen & Slim

I really didn’t know what to expect from Queen & Slim, and that was probably the best thing to feel going into the movie. A simple date night gone wrong, with the added racial themes and tone, and you have really one of the best films of the year.

 

Richard Jewell

As a director, Clint Eastwood is pretty hit-or-miss. Recently he’s been on a miss or misstep category, but Richard Jewell has put him back in the hit category. Based on the true story of Richard Jewell, the hero that saved lives during the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, but was labeled a villain by the FBI and the media. Honestly, the driving force behind the film is the terrific performance by Paul Walter Hauser as Jewell.

 

Shazam!

I was not onboard the Shazam! train whatsoever, but damn did I have a great time watching it. It was perfect, and some things were a little mishandled, but the cast is what really kept this movie together.

 

Spider-Man: Far from Home

Drama after the film came out aside, Far from Home was a nice follow-up to Homecoming. While the ramifications of Avenges: Endgame were there, admittedly used as almost a crutch, Far from Home continued the development of Tom Holland’s Peter Parker/Spider-Man. Plus, the Mysterio illusion scene is worth the price of admission alone.

 

The Peanut Butter Falcon

A nice coming of age tale that follows Zak (played by Zack Gottsagen), a young man with Down Syndrome, who runs away from his care home to make his dream of becoming a professional wrestler  come true. Along his adventure he meets Tyler (Shia LaBeouf), who is running away from his own troubles and later convince Eleanor (Dakota Johnson), Zak’s social worker, to join them. It’s a also a nice “road trip” moving with everyone putting on great performances, especially Gottsagen (who really has Down Syndrome), who honestly steals the show.

 

The Standoff at Sparrow Creek

This is one I didn’t really know anything about until it came out. It follows an ex-cop turned militia man (the underrated, James Badge Dale), who is placed in charge to investigate the shooting at a cop’s funeral that leads to someone in his own militia. The film is extremely tense from start to finish, with everyone in the cast giving it their all, but make no mistake this is Dale’s show, with the only other person I want to point out is Happy Anderson, who plays Morris, in a long, drawn-out scene between the two early in the film. Definitely try to check this out.

 

Toy Story 4

Cash-grab or not, Toy Story 4 still tugged on the heartstrings the only way Disney and Pixar know how to do nowadays.

 

Other Notable Movies: Notre Dame, Happy Death Day 2U, Brittany Runs a Marathon, La Llorona, Pain & Glory, Little Monsters, One Take of the Dead

 

Best/Favorite Movies of the Year

Avengers: Endgame

Look, I’ve been invested in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, like many others, since it started. Endgame was the culmination of everything since the very first Iron Man. If you didn’t like it, that’s fine too. But as a nerd, seeing the final battle on the big screen, with all those characters, MY GOD!

 

Booksmart

The directorial debut of Olivia Wilde followed two top academic students and best friends (Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein) who, on the eve of graduating high school, realize that being top of their class didn’t really mean too much as the people that partied also got into good schools. So, for one wild night, they go on the search for the big party of the night. There is a lot more to the basic premise of the movie, a lot of which you should go in without knowing. That said, Booksmart is hands down one of the best movies of the year.

 

Detective Pikachu

If you’re my age, or around my age, you grew up with Pokemon, and you may or may not have loved it. I loved it. I was hesitant about a CGI/Live-Action movie because of how the CG Pokemon would look, but they were damn impressive, a little more furry than I thought, but impressive nonetheless. Plus, I want a Ryan Reynolds-voiced Pikachu following me around now.

 

Dolemite Is My Name

Eddie Murphy is back! Playing real-life comic Rudy Ray Moore in what it took to make Moore’s iconic and classic Blaxploitation film. The whole cast is fantastic and Murphy is back to fine form towing the line from funny to dramatic.

 

Knives Out

Rian Johnson’s whodunit Knives Out was probably, for me, one of the most entertaining films and film-watching experiences, of the year. Down from the cast to Johnson’s directing and taking his own twist on the genre.

 

Midsommar

The second feature by Hereditary director Ari Aster, Midsommar is an even bigger and longer slow-burn of a movie that is both disturbing, and beautiful to look at it. Florence Pugh and Jack Reynor play a couple on the ropes, who go to Sweden with two others to visit a rural hometown’s fabled mid-summer festival, where things go very, very wrong. The less you know the better, but again, it’s a slow-burn movie that goes somewhere I didn’t see it going.

 

Parasite

Bong Hive! That’s it. That’s my description of why it’s here.

 

Ready or Not

I really loved Ready or Not. There wasn’t too much I can even say that I disliked, so yeah it was going to be put in this section. The movie followed Grace (Samara Weaving), who just married into the Le Domas family, but before she can really become family she must survive the night of a deadly game of Hide and Seek. The movie was treated like a horror comedy, and it felt just like that but without getting into the campy side of things. The cast is fantastic in the roles they play, to the point you can almost tell they were given the okay to just let loose as much as possible.

 

The Farewell

Based on an actual lie that writer/director Lulu Wang is apparently still upholding, a Chinese family discovers that their grandmother has a short time to live, so they fake a wedding to gather before she dies. The movie is absurd in a good way, and when it’s not being darkly funny, its borderline tugging on your heartstrings. It also, probably, changed a lot of opinions on Awkwafina – like myself – who only saw her as a comedy act.

 

Us

Jordan Peele’s second directorial feature was every bit as great as his first, Get Out. While Us goes more into the horror genre, it still plays with social commentary that had everyone talking. Plus, we got to see everyone in the cast play two very different versions of themselves, so yeah.

 

That’s it folks. It was definitely an interesting year for movies, films and everything in-between. What were your favorite, enjoyable, liked and best movies/films of the year? Do you agree with me? Disagree? Undecided? Nevertheless, here’s to another great and awesome year of movies and films.

January Movie Releases

Happy New Year!!

That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, we have a new year in front of us which means one thing: new movies! Now, January is usually referred to as Hollywood’s “Dump” Month. Meaning they will release movies that they don’t think will perform well or are not confident in. Sometimes that is the case, but sometimes a movie will shine through. January is also filled with expanded releases of movies that came out in late December, so there is also that to look forward to.

 

3rd

The Grudge – Screen Gems, Ghost House Pictures, Stage 6 Films

A remake of the Japanese horror film, Ju-on, and the American remake from 2004, a house is cursed by a vengeful ghost that dooms those who enter it with a violent death. Directed by Nicolas Pesce (The Eyes of My Mother), The Grudge stars John Cho, Andrea Riseborough, Demian Bichir, Betty Gilpin, William Sadler, Jackie Weaver and Lin Shaye.

 

10th

Expansion Release: 1917 & Just Mercy

 

The Informer – Aviron Pictures, Thunder Road Pictures, Imagination Park Entertainment

An ex-convict (Joel Kinnaman) working undercover intentionally gets himself incarcerated again in order to infiltrate the mob at a maximum security plan. The Informer co-stars Rosemund Pike, Common, Ana de Armas and Clive Owen.

 

Like a Boss – Paramount Pictures, Artists First

Two friends (Rose Byrne and Tiffany Haddish) with very different ideals decide to start a beauty company together One is more practical, while the other wants to earn her fortune and live a lavish lifestyle. Like a Boss co-stars Salma Hayek, Bill Porter and Jennifer Coolidge.

 

Underwater – 20th Century Fox, TSG Entertainment, Chernin Entertainment

A crew of aquatic researchers work to get to safety after an earthquake devastates their subterranean laboratory. But the crew has more than the ocean seabed to fear. Underwater stars Kristen Stewart, Jessica Henwick, John Gallagher Jr., Mamoudou Athie, T.J. Miller and Vincent Cassel.

 

17th

Limited Release – The Wave

Frank (Justin Long), an opportunistic insurance lawyer, thinks he’s in for the time in his life when he goes out on the town to celebrate an upcoming promotion. But their night takes a turn for the bizarre when Frank is dosed with a hallucinogen that completely alters his perception of the world. The Wave co-stars Donald Faison, Katia Winter, Bill Sage and Tommy Flanagan.

 

Dolittle – Universal Pictures, Perfect World Pictures

Dr. John Dolittle (Robert Downey Jr.) lives in solitude behind the high walls of his lush manor in 19th-century England. His only companionship comes from an array of exotic animals that he speaks to on a daily basis. But when young Queen Victoria (Jessie Buckley) becomes gravely ill, the eccentric doctor and his furry friends embark on an epic adventure to a mythical island to find the cure. The voice cast includes Tom Holland, Rami Malek, Selena Gomez, Kumail Nanjiani, John Cena, Ralph Fiennes, Octavia Spencer, Marion Cotillard and Emma Thompson. The rest of the human cast is filled by Michael Sheen and Antonio Banderas.

Thoughts: Dolittle is already coming in with some troubles. The film was reportedly plagued with production troubles, and post-production issues as well, resulting in some reshoots that also involved bringing in different directors.

 

Bad Boys for Life – Columbia Pictures, Jerry Bruckheimer Films, Overbrook Entertainment

Marcus and Mike have to confront new personal issues, as they join the newly created elite team, named AMMO, of the Miami police department to take down the ruthless Armando Armas, the vicious leader of a Miami drug cartel. Bad Boys for Life stars Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Vanessa Hudgens, Alexander Ludwig, Charles Melton, Jacob Scipio, Kate del Castillo and Joe Pantoliano.

Thoughts: Say what you will about long-gestating sequels, seeing Will Smith and Martin Lawrence together, going back-and-forth is going to get my money.

 

24th

The Last Full Measure – Roadside Attractions

Thirty-four years after his death, Airman William H. Pitsenbarger (Jeremy Irvine) is awarded the nation’s highest military honor, for his actions on the battlefield. The Last Full Measure co-stars Sebastian Stan, Ser’Darius Blain, Alison Sudol, Diane Ladd, Ed Harris, William Hurt, Bradley Whitford, Samuel L. Jackson and Christopher Plummer.

 

Run – Lionsgate

Directed by Aneesh Chaganty (Searching), a home schooled teenager (Kiera Allen) begins to suspect her mother is keeping a dark secret from her. Run co-stars Sarah Paulson.

*No Trailer Available Yet*

 

The Turning – Universal Pictures, Amblin Entertainment, Vertigo Entertainment

A modern take on Henry James’ novella “The Turn of the Screw,” a young governess (Mackenzie Davis) is hired by a man who has become responsible for his young nephew and niece (Finn Wolfhard and Brooklynn Prince) after the deaths of their parents.

 

The Gentlemen – Miramax, STX Films

Written and directed by Guy Ritchie, A British drug lord tries to sell off his highly profitable empire to a dynasty of Oklahoma billionaires. The Gentlemen stars Matthew McConaughey, Charlie Hunnam, Henry Golding, Michelle Dockery, Jeremy Strong, and Hugh Grant.

Thoughts: Guy Ritchie seems to be back. Let’s hope so!

 

31st

Limited Release – The Traitor

The real life of Tommaso Buscetta (Pierfrancesco Favino), the so called “Boss of the Two Worlds,” the first mafia informant in Sicily in the 1980s.

 

Gretel & Hansel – Orion Pictures, BRON Studios, Automatik

A long time ago in a distant fairy tale countryside, a young girl (Sophia Lillis) leads her little brother (Samuel Leakey) into a dark wood in desperate search of food and work, only to stumble upon a nexus of terrifying evil. Gretel & Hansel co-stars Jessica De Gouw and Alice Krige.

 

The Rhythm Section – Paramount Pictures, IM Global, Eon Productions

Based on the novel by Mark Burnell (who also wrote the script), a woman (Blake Lively) seeks revenge against those who orchestrated a plane crash that killed her family. The Rhythm Section co-stars Jude Law and Sterling K. Brown.

 

What are you looking forward to?

November Movie Releases

It’s Turkey Month ladies and gentlemen!

Happy Early Thanksgiving! It’s now at the point that we have a great film or films coming out every week and some that will for sure divide films fans. Now let’s jump right into the fray and see what’s coming out!

 

1st

Arctic Dogs – Entertainment Studios Motion Picture, AMBI Group

Swifty the Fox (Jeremy Renner) discovers a devious plan by Otto Von Walrus (John Cleese) to drill beneath the Arctic surface to unleash enough gas to melt all the ice. With the help from his friends – an introverted polar bear, a scatterbrained albatross, a crafty fox and two paranoid otters – Swifty and the gang spring into action to foil Otto’s plot and save the day. The voice cast also includes James Franco, Heidi Klum, Laurie Holden, Alec Baldwin, Omar Sy, Michael Madsen and Anjelica Huston.

 

Harriet – Focus Features, Story Gold Features, Martin Chase Productions, New Balloon

The extraordinary tale of Harriet Tubman’s (Cynthia Erivo) escape from slavery and transformation into one of America’s greatest heroes, whose courage, ingenuity, and tenacity freed hundreds of slaves and changed the course of history. Harriet co-stars Leslie Odom Jr., Joe Alwyn, Clarke Peters, Deborah Ayorinde and Janelle Monae.

 

Motherless Brooklyn – Warner Bros., Class 5 Films

Based on the novel by Jonathan Lethem, and directed by Edward Norton; set against the backdrop of 1950s, Lionel Essrog (Norton), a lonely private detective afflicted with Tourette’s Syndrome, ventures to solve the murder of his mentor and only friend, Frank Minna (Bruce Willis). Motherless Brooklyn co-stars Willem Dafoe, Leslie Mann, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Michael Kenneth Williams and Alec Baldwin.

 

Terminator: Dark Fate – Paramount Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Skydance Media, Lightstorm Entertainment, Tencent Pictures

Directed by Tim Miller (Deadpool), Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) and a hybrid cyborg human (Mackenzie Davis) must protect a young girl (Natalia Reyes) from a newly modified liquid Terminator (Gabriel Luna) from the future. Dark Fate co-stars Diego Boneta, Edward Furlong and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Thoughts: The Terminator franchise doesn’t have the best history since the release of Judgment Day, but everyone is touting that Dark Fate is getting the franchise back on track. Of course, that’s studio people, it’s really all about the fans, and from the looks of it…they could be right. It helps that Linda Hamilton is back as Sarah Connor for one, and it’s going back to its rated-R roots (which may or may not help who knows). It can’t be as bad as Genisys right? RIGHT?

 

 

8th

Limited Release – Honey Boy

Written and starring by Shia LaBeouf – it is a semi-autobiography of his life – a child actor works to mend the relationship with his hard-drinking, law-breaking father. Honey Boy stars LaBeouf (as his father), Noah Jupe, Lucas Hedges, FKA Twigs, Maika Monroe and Clifton Collins Jr.

 

Playing with Fire – Paramount Pictures, Paramount Players, Nickelodeon Movies, Broken Road Productions

A crew of rugged firefighters meet their match when attempting to rescue three rambunctious kids. Playing with Fire stars John Cena, John Leguizamo, Keegan-Michael Key, Tyler Mane, Brianna Hildebrand, Christian Convery, Finley Rose Slater and Judy Greer.

Thoughts: What is this movie!?

 

Last Christmas – Universal Pictures,

Directed by Paul Feig, and co-written by Emma Thompson – Kate (Emilia Clarke) is a young woman subscribed to bad decisions. Her last date with disaster? That of having accepted to work as Santa’s elf for a department store. However, she meets Tom (Henry Golding) here. Her life takes a new turn. For Kate, it seems too good to be true. Last Christmas co-stars Thompson, Patti LuPone and Michelle Yeoh.

 

Midway – Lionsgate, The Mark Gordon CompanyD

Directed by Roland Emmerich, the story of the Battle of Midway, told by the leaders and the sailors who fought it. Midway stars Patrick Wilson, Luke Evans, Woody Harrelson, Aaron Eckhart, Keean Johnson, Alexander Ludwig, Mandy Moore, Darren Criss, Nick Jonas, Ed Skrein and Dennis Quaid.

 

Doctor Sleep – Warner Bros., Vertigo Entertainment, Intrepid Pictures

Based off the novel by Stephen King, years following the events of The Shining, a now-adult Dan Torrence (Ewan McGregor) meets a young girl with similar powers as his and tries to protect her from a cult known as The True Knot who prey on children with powers to remain immortal. Directed by Mike Flanagan (Oculus, Hush, Ouija: Origin of Evil, Gerald’s Game, Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House), Doctor Sleep co-stars Rebecca Ferguson, Kyliegh Curran, Chelsea Talmadge, Cliff Curtis and Bruce Greenwood

Thoughts: A sequel to one of the most popular horror films, maybe ever, Doctor Sleep looks like it’s going to be a healthy mix of nostalgia and being its thing. It also helps that the film is directed by the very talented Mike Flanagan. So yeah, Doctor Sleep could potentially be one of the best movies of the month.

 

 

15th

Limited Release: Waves

Written and directed by Trey Edward Schults (It Comes at Night); Traces the journey of a suburban African-American family – led by a well-intentioned but domineering father (Sterling K. Brown) – as they navigate love, forgiveness and coming together in the aftermath of a loss. Waves co-stars Kelvin Harrison Jr., Taylor Russell, Alexa Demie, Renee Elise Goldsberry and Clifton Collins Jr.

 

The Good Liar – Warner Bros., New Line Cinema,

Based on the novel by Nicholas Searle, and directed by Bill Condon; career con artist Roy Courtnay (Ian McKellen) can hardly believe his luck when he meets well-to-do widow Betty McLeish (Helen Mirren) online. As Betty opens her home and life to him, Roy is surprised to find himself caring about her, turning what should be a cut-and-dry swindle into the most treacherous tightrope walk of his life. The Good Liar co-stars Jim Carter, Laurie Davidson and Russell Tovey.

 

Charlie’s Angels – Sony Pictures, Columbia Pictures, Brownstone Productions,

When a young systems engineer  (Naomi Scott) blows the whistle on a dangerous technology, Charlie’s Angels (Ella Balinska and Kristen Stewart) are called into action, putting their lives on the line to protect us all. Charlie’s Angels co-stars Elizabeth Banks, Djimon Hounsou, Sam Claflin, Noah Centineo and Patrick Stewart.

Thoughts: I wasn’t completely sold on the new Charlie’s Angels movie, but I’ll admit the FIRST trailer at least had me in for the idea of the reboot. This second trailer though, oof.

 

Ford v. Ferrari – 20th Century Fox, Chernin Entertainment

Directed by James Mangold (Walk the Line, 3:10 to Yuma, The Wolverine, Logan) – American car designer Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon) and driver Ken Miles (Christian Bale) battle corporate interference, the laws of physics and their own personal demons to build a revolutionary race car for Ford and challenge Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1966. Ford v. Ferrari co-stars Caitriona Balfe, Jon Bernthal, Josh Lucas, Noah Jupe and Tracy Letts.

Thoughts: This one has been in the works for a while, and it’s finally here and it looks pretty solid. The film already has a great backstory so hopefully that will bring people out to watch.

 

 

22nd

Limited Release – Dark Waters

Based on a real story and magazine article by Nathaniel Rich; A corporate defense attorney (Mark Ruffalo) takes on an environmental lawsuit against a chemical company that exposes a lengthy history of pollution. Dark Waters co-stars Anne Hathaway, William Jackson Harper, Bill Pullman, Bill Camp, Victor Garber and Tim Robbins.

 

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood – Sony Pictures, TriStar Pictures, Tencent Pictures, Big Beach Films

Based on the true story of a real-life friendship between Fred Rogers (Tom Hanks) and journalist Tom Junod. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood co-stars Matthew Rhys, Susan Kelechi Watson and Chris Cooper.

Thoughts: You ready to cry? I’m not ready to cry. Because we’re going to cry.

 

21 Bridges – STX Entertainment, AGBO, Huayi Brothers

Thrust into a citywide manhunt for a duo of cop killers, NYPD detective Andre Davis (Chadwick Boseman) begins to undercover a massive conspiracy that links his fellow police officers to a criminal empire and must decide who he is hunting and who is actually hunting him. During the manhunt, Manhattan is completely locked down for the first time in its history – no exit or entry to the island including all 21 bridges. 21 Bridges co-stars Sienna Miller, Taylor Kitsch, Stephan James, Keith David and J.K. Simmons.

 

Frozen 2 – Walt Disney Pictures, Walt Disney Animation Studios

Anna (Kristen Bell), Elsa (Idina Menzel), Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), Olaf (Josh Gad) and Sven leave Arendelle to travel to an ancient, autumn-bound forest of an enchanted land. They set out to find the origin of Elsa’s powers in order to save their kingdom. Frozen 2 voice cast also includes Evan Rachel Wood and Sterling K. Brown.

Thoughts: You ready for the next “Let it Go” to be played over 100 times? ARE YOU?

 

 

27th

Queen & Slim – Universal Pictures, BRON Studios,

A couple’s (Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith) first date take an unexpected turn when a police officer pulls them over. Queen & Slim co-stars Indya Moore, Chloe Sevigny, and Bokeem Woodbine.

 

Knives Out – Lionsgate, Media Rights Capital, FilmNation Entertainment, Ram Bergman Productions

Written and directed by Rian Johnson (Looper, Star Wars: The Last Jedi), a detective (Daniel Craig) investigates the death of a patriarch of an eccentric, combative family. Knives Out impressive cast includes Chris Evans, LaKeith Stanfield, Ana de Armas, Toni Collette, Katherine Langford, Riki Lindhome, Jaeden Martell, Don Johnson, Jamie Lee Curtis  and Christopher Plummer.

Thoughts: Knives Out has gotten a lot, A LOT, of love in the film festival circuit, so Knives Out looks to be one of those movies that you’re going to need to watch opening weekend.

 

What are you looking forward to?

October Movie Releases

It is October ladies and gentleman!

This month looks pretty great and, yet again, some early Oscar nominations could come out. Of course, let’s not forget that it is the month of Halloween, however, unlike past years; it seems there is only one “big” pure horror movie coming out. But let’s stop talking about them and actually get to them!

Also, Happy Early Halloween!

 

4th

Limited Release – Pain and Glory

A film director reflects on the choices he’s made in life as past and present come crashing down around him. Pain and Glory stars Antonio Banderas, Penelope Cruz, Asier Etxeandia and Nora Navas.

 

Limited Release – Lucy in the Sky (Expansion/Wide Release Later in the Month)

Astronaut Lucy Cola (Natalie Portman) returns to Earth after a transcendent experience during a mission to space, and begins to lose touch with reality in a world that now seems too small. Directed by Noah Hawley (creator/writer on TV series Legion and Fargo), Lucy in the Sky co-stars Jon Hamm, Dan Stevens, Zazie Beetz, Nick Offerman, Colman Domingo, Jeffrey Donovan and Ellen Burstyn.

 

Joker – Warner Bros., DC Entertainment, Village Roadshow Pictures, BRON Studios

Synopsis: A standalone story around the origin story of Batman’s iconic arch nemesis never before seen on screen, Todd Phillips (The Hangover movies, War Dogs) directs the exploration of Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix), a man disregarded by society, and a broader cautionary tale. Joker co-stars Zazie Beetz, Frances Conroy, Brett Cullen, Douglas Hodge, Marc Maron, Brian Tyree Henry, Shea Whigham and Robert De Niro.

Thoughts: Joker has been one of those movies that Film Twitter has been going crazy for since the second trailer, and even more so, after it had its premiere in the film festival circuit, and the word of mouth was great. While I’m still on the outside of the hype train, I do hope that the movie is good, mostly for the stake of not seeing people go at each other’s throats online.

 

 

11th

Limited Release – Parasite

Directed by Joon-ho Bong (The Host, Mother, Snowpiercer, Okja), all unemployed, Ki-taek’s (Kang-ho Song) family takes peculiar interest in the wealthy and glamorous Parks for their livelihood until they got entangled in an unexpected incident.

 

Jexi – CBS Films, Entertainment One

A comedy about what can happen when you love your phone more than anything else in your life. The cast includes Adam Devine, Alexandra Shipp, Wanda Sykes, Ron Funches, Justin Hartley and the voice of Rose Byrne.

 

The Addams Family – United Artists Releasing, MGM, BRON Creative,

Directed by Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon, the directing duo behind Sausage Party, an animated version of Charles Addams’ series of cartoons about a peculiar, ghoulish family. The Addams Family voice cast includes Oscar Isaac, Charlize Theron, Chloe Grace Moretz, Finn Wolfhard, Nick Kroll, Elsie Fisher, Pom Klementieff, Aimee Garcia, Martin Short, Catherine O’Hara, Allison Janney and Bette Midler.

 

Gemini Man – Paramount Pictures, Skydance Media, Jerry Bruckheimer Films, Alibaba Pictures

Synopsis: Directed by Ang Lee, an aging hitman (Will Smith) faces off against a younger clone of himself. Gemini Man co-stars Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Benedict Wong and Clive Owen.

Thoughts: Gemini Man has been in the works for quite some time now, seriously like decades. Finally, we’re getting it with Ang Lee behind the camera, and Will Smith fighting himself. So, yeah, I’m looking forward to it.

 

 

16th

Jay & Silent Bob Reboot – Fathom

Once again written/directed by Kevin Smith, Jay and Silent Bob (Jason Mewes and Smith) return to Hollywood to stop a reboot of ‘Bluntman and Chronic’ movie from getting made. The sequel brings back familiar faces along with more celebrity cameos.

(Red Band Trailer)

 

18th

Limited Release – The Lighthouse

Directed by The Witch’s Robert Eggers; the story of two lighthouse keepers (Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe) on a remote and mysterious New England island in the 1890s. The Lighthouse co-stars Valerila Karaman.

 

Jojo Rabbit – Fox Searchlight Pictures, Defender Films, Piki Films

Based on the novel by Christine Leunens, and written and directed by Taika Waititi; a young boy (Roman Griffin Davis) in Hitler’s army finds out his mother (Scarlett Johansson) is hiding a Jewish girl (Thomasin McKenzie) in their home. Jojo Rabbit co-stars Waititi as an imaginary Hitler, Rebel Wilson, Alfie Allen, Stephen Merchant, and Sam Rockwell.

Thoughts: Jojo Rabbit is in a very unique position. On one hand, fans are eagerly awaiting to see Taika Waititi’s newest film that looks funny and great. On the other, it was reported that Disney is every hesitant on how they are going to promote this because they’re basically scared of losing the general audience because of the subject.

 

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil – Walt Disney Pictures, Roth Films

Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) and her goddaughter Aurora (Elle Fanning) begins to question the complex family ties that bind them as they are pulled in different directions by impending nuptials, unexpected allies and dark new forces at play. Maleficent: Mistress of Evil co-stars Sam Riley, Harris Dickinson, Ed Skrein, Juno Temple, Imelda Staunton, Lesley Manville, Chiwetel Ejifor and Michelle Pfeiffer.

 

Zombieland 2: Double Tap – Sony Pictures, Columbia Pictures, Pariah

Synopsis: Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), Tallahasse (Woody Harrelson), Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) move to the American heartland as they face off against evolved zombies, fellow survivors (Zoey Deutch, Avan Jogia, Rosario Dawson, Thomas Middleditch and Luke Wilson) and the growing pains of the snarky makeshift family.

Thoughts: Ten years after the first film came out, the gang is all back and not just in front of the camera, but behind the camera too. Writers Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese, along with director Ruben Fleischer are back to bring us back into this crazy zombie-filled world.

 

 

25th

Limited Release – Frankie

Three generations grappling with a life-changing experience during one day of a vacation in Sintra, Portugal, a historic town for its dense gardens and fairy-tale villas and palaces. Frankie stars Isabelle Huppert, Marisa Tomei, Greg Kinnear and Brendan Gleeson.

 

The Current War – 101 Studios

The dramatic story of the cutthroat race between electricity titans Thomas Edison (Benedict Cumberbatch) and George Westinghouse (Michael Shannon) to determine whose electrical system would power the modern world. The Current War co-stars Tom Holland, Nicholas Hoult, Katherine Waterston, Tuppence Middleton and Matthew Macfadyen.

 

Countdown – STX Entertainment

When a nurse downloads an app that claims to predict the moment a person will die, it tells her she only has three days to live. With the clock ticking and a figure haunting her, she must find a way to save her life before time runs out.

 

Black and Blue – Sony Pictures, Columbia Pictures

A rookie cop (Naomie Harris) inadvertently captures the murder of a young drug dealer on her body cam by corrupt cops. She teams up with someone from a neighboring community (Tyrese Gibson) to get the footage to the right people, all while on the run from corrupt police officers and other criminals. Black and Blue co-stars Frank Grillo, Beau Knapp, Reid Scott and Mike Colter.

 

What are you looking forward to?

‘It Chapter Two’ Review

Director: Andy Muschietti

Writer: Gary Dauberman

Cast: Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Bill Hader, Isaiah Mustafa, Jay Ryan, James Ransone, Bill Skarsgard, Jaden Martell, Wyatt Oleff, Jack Dylan Grazer, Chosen Jacobs, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Teach Grant, Andy Bean, Sophia Lillis and Finn Wolfhard

Synopsis: Twenty-seven years after their first encounter with the terrifying Pennywise, the Losers Club have grown up and moved away, until a devastating phone call brings them back.

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

 

It’s – no pun intended – finally here! The much anticipated ending to the horror hit based on the classic and acclaimed novel by Stephen King, It. While the 2017 split some fans of the original TV movie with Tim Curry playing the famed Pennywise, the dancing clown, director Andy Muschietti (Mama) had some more room to play with. For one, this was not a TV movie, and it was rated-R, so blood, gore and foul language was on the table. Plus, if you stop anyone on the street and ask them about Pennywise or It, they would most likely know what you’re talking about.

I, for one, really enjoyed and liked Chapter One. The young cast was amazing and Bill Skarsgard’s Pennywise was frightening on every single level he had to be. So needless to the say, I was looking forward to Chapter Two, especially with its adult cast being pretty damn impressive, and the promise it was going to up the ante. So, does It Chapter Two live up to the hype? Or does it sink deep into the sewers?

It Chapter Two starts out pretty rough with a scene that is in the book, but still doesn’t make it easy to watch play out. It also shows us that Pennywise is still truly alive ready to rein terror again in Derry. Pennywise’s return sparks Mike (Isaiah Mustafa), who never left Derry, to call the Losers Club to return to Derry to defeat Pennywise for good, just like the promised at the end of the last film. Each of the Losers have gone on and made a good to great life for themselves. Bill (James McAvoy) is a well-known writer, whose last book is getting made into a movie, Richie (Bill Hader) is a famous stand-up comic, Ben (Jay Ryan) has become some successful businessman, and is now skinny, Eddie (James Ransone) is a risk analyst, Stanley (Andy Bean) is happily married and Beverly (Jessica Chastain) is a wealthy, but also still can’t escape an abusive man in her life.

When they finally get together, they catch up on their lives and the memories of their time in Derry start to come back, and then they all admit when they got the call from Mike, they felt fear. That fear is because they remember the man that gave them that fear, Pennywise. What starts is a series of horrifying events that target the Losers Club, and what leads to an epic final fight against Pennywise.

Of course, the big thing everyone is talking about is the runtime of It Chapter Two. The film runs at a lengthy two-hours and forty-nine minutes, and thankfully, for the most part you don’t really feel it too much, at least I didn’t. The beginning of the film is a little slow to start, but once the Losers get together, the movie moves to its epic finale, which admittedly, drags on just a bit, and is a bit too CG. Regardless of how you feel about the length, you have to give it to director Andy Muschietti and returning screenwriter Gary Dauberman (the Annabelle movies, The Nun) for stuffing the movie with more mythology on Pennywise, content and some ambitious moves. Unfortunately, the scope of It Chapter Two is just a bit too big and does lead to some unevenness throughout.

Given those problems, it’s made up through the cast. The adult cast are all great, and they really do feel like the adult versions of their younger counterparts. McAvoy’s Bill is still haunted by Georgie’s death, Chastain’s Beverly has a more nuanced and quieter performance, Mustafa’s Mike is a bit cagey since he’s never left Derry, Ryan’s Ben still pines over Beverly, and then you have the highlights of the cast in Hader and Ransone. Hader’s Richie is getting more of the love online, and it’s deserved, but for me Ransone deserves the same amount of praise, maybe even a little more.

Obviously, with Hader being attached, the humor/comedy was bound to be high, and that’s exactly what it was. Hader’s Richie is pretty much always on, which may or may not get a little tiring every now and then, but Ransone also gets his time to shine on the humor. After seeing the film, I honestly want to see Hader and Ransone reunite somewhere down the road. That said, Hader’s Richie has a subplot here that is nicely done and not heavy-handed.

Undoubtedly, the thing everyone probably wants to know is if It Chapter Two is scary. For the most part, I think so. It’s more or less of the same scares we got in It, with some jump scares and some well-time moments with Pennywise or other ghoulish beings. There also a pitch-perfect homage to another classic horror film that had me grinning from ear-to-ear while watching. That said, the movie is also pretty emotional. No seriously, I was at one point at the verge of tears, which is something I was not ready for watching a horror movie.

All in all, It Chapter Two is a worthy enough sequel, and while the sequel does get a bit too ambitious for its own good, the adult cast really holds the film together. The scares are upped, and Bill Skarsgard’s Pennywise is certified to be a new horror staple. I can’t really say that It Chapter Two is better than It, but if you were a fan of the first film, you should enjoy or like Chapter Two.

Also, keep an eye out for some great Easter Eggs and cameos!

It Chapter Two

4 out of 5