“Spider-Man: Far From Home” REVIEW

Plot Synopsis:

Peter Parker returns in Spider-Man: Far From Home, the next chapter of the Spider-Man: Homecoming series! Our friendly neighborhood Super Hero decides to join his best friends Ned, MJ, and the rest of the gang on a European vacation. However, Peter’s plan to leave super heroics behind for a few weeks are quickly scrapped when he begrudgingly agrees to help Nick Fury uncover the mystery of several elemental creature attacks, creating havoc across the continent! (Rotten Tomatoes)

Critic:

Spider-Man: Far From Home is the sequel to Spider-Man: Homecoming, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame as well as being the final film in Phase 3 of The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). This film deals with the aftermath of Infinity War and Endgame, which as we can see in the film- those movies have huge repercussions. People who were affected by Thanos wiping out half of all life in the Universe suddenly get brought back, and it messes up the status quo that was in effect for the five years after the snap. This film also deals with the fact that since Tony Stark isn’t available to help anymore- it’s now Peter Parker’s responsibility to carry on Tony’s legacy.

I will say that most of the jokes in this film don’t work as well, especially in the first half- but there were some stuff that made me chuckle quite a lot. What I really liked was that this movie was mostly a teen romance film, laced with super hero moments. In this film, Peter is on a school trip in Europe and he has this elaborate plan to ask out Mary Jane- but it goes horribly wrong when things out of Peter’s control become involved… mostly by either a rival of Peter’s who also likes MJ, or Nick Fury who wants Peter to stop this catastrophe that happens to be where his school trip takes place at.

What I also really enjoyed was Jake Gyllenhaal as Quentin Beck AKA Mysterio. Mysterio claims to be from an alternate dimension and he starts bonding with Peter and serves as a sort of big brother figure for Peter. For those of you who have read the comics and are confused on the marketing for Mysterio- don’t worry… they do Mysterio right! (That’s all I’m going to say without spoilers.)

I liked the second half of this film more because the action scenes were more impressive, the movie flowed better- and the relationship between Peter and MJ are more natural.

There are two end credit scenes in this movie: the Mid-Credit scene is the best one in my opinion and you’ll lose your mind when you see it! The second one is alright in my opinion, but it’s still pretty important.

Grade:

I’m going to give “Spider-Man: Far From Home” a 8/10 or a B.

The first half had some humor that didn’t land most of the time, but the second half and Mid-credit scene helped the film from suffering too badly.

Overlord (2018 Film) Review

Plot:

With only hours until D-Day, a team of American paratroopers drop into Nazi-occupied France to carry out a mission that’s crucial to the invasion’s success. Tasked with destroying a radio transmitter atop a fortified church, the desperate soldiers join forces with a young French villager to penetrate the walls and take down the tower. But, in a mysterious Nazi lab beneath the church, the outnumbered G.I.s come face-to-face with enemies unlike any the world has ever seen. From producer J.J. Abrams, Overlord is a thrilling, pulse-pounding action adventure with a twist. (Rotten Tomatoes)

Critique:

I’m going to be honest, when I saw the trailer to “Overlord” I thought they were making a live action version of the anime series… after that clearly didn’t become the case, I was skeptical about it because the zombie genre is one of my least favorite horror genres because of its over-saturation. I was also worried when I saw J.J. Abram’s name attached to it, because I thought they were gonna connect it to the convoluted Cloverfield series. And I’m here to tell you, this movie is actually pretty bad ass!

The movie hooks you right from the jump with this amazing plane sequence that’s chaotic, grisly, and violent… and it sets up the tone of the movie perfectly! The beginning of the film is all about getting you attached to these characters, that way when some of them meet their demise, it hits you hard. The thing I really like about this movie is that it presents real people- no one seems like a character to me. They all have their own personality that helps develop them as the movie continues. And the two characters I was attached to the most were Pvt. Boyce (Jovan Adepo) and Cpl. Ford (Wyatt Russell).

This film to me is 80% a World War II Film, and 20% is actually the zombie film. These zombies aren’t the slow walkers from “Night of the Living Dead” or “The Walking Dead” these are super soldiers that are fast, strong, and extremely dangerous. The zombies amplified the story without getting in the way, and I really appreciated that. The actor that played the villain, Pilou Asbæk, played a smarmy, vicious Nazi Captain, and he perfectly caused tension in the film.

Grade:

Thankfully there was no Cloverfield connection, and this film balanced action and horror in a way that didn’t seem over-bearing. I’m going to give Overlord a 9/10 or an A.

It’s a fun popcorn film that embraces its B Movie status, and doesn’t try to be anything more than what it wants to be. So many movies try to be Shakespeare when they’re not, and I respect this movie for just going in, doing its job, and getting out.

“The Nightmare Before Christmas” Theatrical Release Review

Plot:

Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King of Halloween Town, decides to spread Christmas joy to the world. But his well-meaning mission unwittingly puts Santa Clause in jeopardy and creates a nightmare for all good little boys and girls everywhere! Who will save Christmas? (Ben Fancher IMDB)

Critique:

I remember the first time I saw “The Nightmare Before Christmas” was the summer of 2014 (ironic, I know) and I remember absolutely adoring it ever since. Now there’s been, naturally, a debate whether this is a Halloween or a Christmas movie… my input is that it can be both. My tradition has been to watch this film every Christmas because I’ve never been able to watch this on Halloween, until this year.

Well, I guess October 26 is close enough to Halloween. Originally I wasn’t going to do this review because I felt like there wasn’t going to be much input I could provide on here that I couldn’t already tell you from the 5 other viewings I’ve had of this film, but alas, by popular demand I’m doing this review to also add my theater experience to this review.

The stop-motion style of this movie is top notch, and it’s incredible that it still holds up even after its 1993 release. The thing I noticed about it on the big screen, rather than the small screen that I’m used to, is you can see more details on the characters, including rips and tears in the clothes.

The score in this movie is so good, that I actually own it on iTunes, but the sound quality is much better in the theater, the bass is boosted, and you can hear every individual instrument all around you. The musical parts seem natural, and it helps the exposition of the film as it goes along. “This is Halloween” Kidnap the Sandy Claws” “Oogie Boogie’s Song” and “Finale/ Reprise” are still my favorite songs off the score, and it was neat to be able to hear them and gage some of the audience reactions to see which songs they liked.

Grade:

This is probably the most predictable review I’ve done, but since y’all wanted it y’all got it.

“The Nightmare Before Christmas” is in my top 3 all-time favorite Tim Burton films along with “Edward Scissorhands” and “Beetlejuice” so this is already going to get a good grade.

I haven’t been able to see this in 3D yet, so until then it’s a 9/10 or an A.

Halloween (2018) Review

Plot Synopsis:

It’s been 40 years since Laurie Strode survived a vicious attack from crazed killer Michael Myers on Halloween night. Locked up in an institution, Myers manages to escape when his bus transfer goes horribly wrong. Laurie now faces a terrifying showdown when the masked madman returns to Haddonfield, Ill. — but this time, she’s ready for him. (Google)

Critique:

Out of all the iconic slasher characters, Michael Myers has always scared me the most because of several factors of the character: the blank expressionless mask followed by the heavy breathing, how much of a giant he is, and the fact that you have no idea if he’s entirely human. Michael seems to have no real motive, and he’ll sit right up from a gunshot like The Undertaker and Kane- and the mysterious, unknown nature of the character has always frightened me. In this film, Michael Myers retains some of those same traits, but the film humanizes him a bit- he can still be wounded, but he’s like an uncaged animal- and if you wound him and corner him enough, he becomes even more dangerous than he already was. I also have to mention that the design of his mask in this film is incredible, it’s been aged and worn out to give it a gritty, grizzled look that works for this iteration of the character. Another cool thing is you never get a clear look at Myers’ face, you’ll get a profile, a close up of the side of his face, and shots of his glassy, dead looking eyes, and it leaves it to your imagination to fill in the blanks.

Jamie Lee Curtis returns as Laurie Strode, and the way her character is portrayed is a breath of fresh air. Obviously she would be traumatized because of the near-fatal encounter she had with Michael in 1978, but that event has traumatized her so much that she’s become a walking embodiment of PTSD, and this trauma doesn’t just affect her- it affects her relationship with her family. Michael has gotten to Laurie in such a psychological way, that Laurie is alienated by her family due to her paranoia.

Another thing I like about this movie is John Carpenter’s score. It still retains the classic vibe of the 1978 film, but it’s been revamped in a modern way using electronic synths and violins, and an interesting thing to note is Carpenter’s son helped write the soundtrack with him.

Something I have to mention is the fact that there are some false jump scares, which is a modern horror trope that gets on my nerves, but there’s enough real genuine horror moments that outweigh those few moments I was annoyed at. Another thing that normally bugs me is when characters conveniently lose IQ points whenever they’re chased by the antagonist, but I won’t really hold that against the film because it honestly feels like it’s embracing that trope of the slasher franchise.

One thing I will hold against this film, however, is that flat ending this film delivers. Look, I know that the original film didn’t necessarily have the most concrete ending either, and this is obviously a tribute to that film, but the reason why this one is inexcusable to me is the fact that they zoom in on a character holding a knife… and that’s where they cut to credits. That frustrated me, because what am I supposed to take away from an ending like that?

I appreciate that this film wipes away the other movies in the franchise, and it makes Michael scary again, but that flat ending bugged the hell out of me, and you lose points for that.

Grade:

Halloween (2018) is definitely going to make fans of the Halloween franchise happy, and there’s no doubt it’ll do well in the box office, but the biggest critique of mine is that ending.

So, I have no choice but to give this film a 8.5/10 or a B+

To get the full experience: watch the original film and listen to the song “Stabbing in the Dark” by Ice Nine Kills, and you’ll be all set to see this movie!

“The Haunting of Hill House” REVIEW| A Netflix Original Horror Series

Plot Synopsis:

Flashing between past and present, a fractured family confronts haunting memories of their old home and the terrifying events that drove them from it. (Netflix)

Critique:

Normally on my blog I’ll do reviews for theatrical releases, however in rare cases I’ll review Straight To DVD Titles (case in point, see my review of “Batman Ninja”) and with something like Netflix’s “The Haunting of Hill House” I feel so profoundly to talk about this series, because this HAS to be talked about!

As many of you may know, I’m a huge fan of horror- I practically grew up on horror because my grandmother would let me watch old black and white horror films whenever I visited her. And for a while now, I haven’t really seen anything that had caused me the same terror as those movies did where I had to leave the lights on before I’d go to bed…. that is, until this series.

So, what makes this series so scary? For me, what makes this show incredibly terrifying, and downright horrifying is the blend of the supernatural along with the very real issues this family is plagued with both while living in the house, and even after leaving it. The house, we later find out, is very much a character itself and the impact it has on the family inhabiting it is very sinister. Some members of the Crane family do very dangerous stuff to themselves as a way to cope with what happened in the house, other members exploit it as a way to make a career. So yes, the ghosts, ghouls, and malevolent spirits are terrifying- but the scariest thing is the fact that this haunted house has tore apart this family in a truly tragic way.

The one thing this show definitely nails is the atmosphere, it makes you feel like you’re actually a resident in this haunted house. Another neat touch is if you pay close enough attention, you’ll see some specters lurking in the darkest corners of the house. Another thing that really helps build the atmosphere is the score in the series, it definitely sets the mood. Something else that this series does is produce horrifying images that will forever be burned into your brain, so if the atmosphere and mood doesn’t affect you, the disturbing visuals definitely will!

Another thing I like is, just like in the movie “Oculus”, this show jumps from the past to the present, back and forth in time almost seamlessly. Some people may have a problem with this, but for me it’s a great way to connect certain events together… one significant event being the reveal of The Bent Neck Lady’s identity, which got the biggest reaction from me.

Now while there are a few false jump scares (sorry, I gotta mention it) there’s still plenty of very real moments of terror to keep you gripped to your seat.

Grade:

This is honestly one of the most terrifying shows I’ve seen in a while, and it’s definitely more effective than something like “The Nun” that I’ve seen this year- so I have no choice but to give “The Haunting in Hill House” a 10/10 or an A+. If you’re a fan of horror, you NEED to watch this series!

“The Nun” Movie Review

Synopsis:

When a young nun at a cloistered abbey in Romania takes her own life, a priest with a haunted past and a novitiate on the threshold of her final vows are sent by the Vatican to investigate. Together, they uncover the order’s unholy secret. Risking not only their lives but their faith and their very souls, they confront a malevolent force in the form of a demonic nun. (Google)

Analysis:

When I first heard that they were making a movie about the Marilyn Manson Nun from “The Conjuring 2” I will admit, I scoffed at the idea, and for about 30 minutes of this film- I was about to eat my words.

This film started off dark, grisly, and a bit frightening. The tone started off great early in the film and it seemed like this movie was going into a RPG direction which was something I thought was cool. The director, Corin Hardy (known for directing the Irish/ Scottish creature feature film “The Hallow”) did a good job with setting up the dark mood of the film, especially with the gothic looking Church abbey that most of the film is set in. But right as I was about to apologize, the film started to explore the abbey and said “Well, looks like our job here is done.” To which I replied with “Wait, what? Oh no. Oh no! OH GOD THIS FILM IS FALLING APART!”

My real problems with this film is: for starters, this film seems like a step down for the director, the scares are too telegraphed to be truly frightening, and the only character I can connect with is the character Frenchie (Jonas Bloquet) because he seemed to be the smartest character in comparison. Another thing that disappointed me was the fact that I felt like Sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga, best known for the television series “American Horror Story”) felt wasted to me. And the last thing that bothered me was the fact that The Nun, the thing that’s selling the movie, doesn’t show up until the third act of the film- so for the rest of the movie, we deal with ghosts, and henchmen of The Nun… So, I honestly feel bad if that’s your only reason to watch the film because that Nun is the most Prima Donna demon I’ve ever seen in a film.

So, this further proves my point that this movie was unnecessary to me, because we already got The Nun’s story in “The Conjuring 2”. The movie I honestly wanted was a movie for The Crooked Man, because in “The Conjuring 2” we only got a nursery rhyme and a cameo from him… so if we get one more movie in The Conjuring Universe, it better be for my boy, The Crooked Man!

Grade:

“The Nun” is a step above the first “Annabel” movie, but that’s a low bar to leap over… so this is one of the weaker films in The Conjuring Universe and since I don’t have to hold back, I’m giving this film a 4/10 or an F.

If you really want The Nun, be my guest- but I’d personally suggest just watching “The Conjuring 2”.

Mission Impossible: Fallout

Plot:

Ethan Hunt and the IMF team join forces with CIA assassin August Walker to prevent a disaster of epic proportions. Arms dealer John Lark and a group of terrorists known as the Apostles plan to use three plutonium cores for a simultaneous nuclear attack on the Vatican, Jerusalem and Mecca, Saudi Arabia. When the weapons go missing, Ethan and his crew find themselves in a desperate race against time to prevent them from falling into the wrong hands.

Review:

It’s rare for me to watch a movie where I’m so engrossed by what I’m watching, that I’m actually gripping my seat out of nervousness… and that’s honestly the biggest compliment I can give this film.

This is the sixth installment of the Mission Impossible franchise, and this is probably one of the darkest films in the series, there’s a lot of twist and turns, and you have no idea who to trust in this film.

The characters in this movie are more human than they’ve ever been in the previous two films in my opinion because there’s consequences for every action, and a situation that you’re normally prepared for gets more complicated whenever a small detail is overlooked, or not thought of ahead of time.

Speaking of characters, I really liked Henry Cavill’s character, August Walker- because he’s the polar opposite of Tom Cruise’s character, Ethan Hunt. Ethan Hunt prefers to be more covert, and stealthy- and if August isn’t punching something, he’s not interested in it. He’s aggressive, dangerous, and once he’s made his mind up on something, he doesn’t let anything deviate him from his goal.

The reason why I gripped my seat so much in this film was because most of the action was done practically by the actors, especially Tom Cruise- who has made this gimmick of his an attraction to see the films… so when you see someone jumping off roofs, planes, and motorcycles, it’s very nerve-racking to watch knowing that it’s the actors, and not stunt people doing this.

The only problem I had with this movie was I wasn’t feeling the villain in this film… to be honest though, I don’t think any of the other villains can be as good as Phillip Seymour Hoffman in Mission Impossible 3.

Grade:

I had a lot of fun in this film, and if you’ve enjoyed any of the MI films (except Mission Impossible 2, we don’t talk about that film) then I think you’ll enjoy it too!

I’m giving “Mission Impossible: Fallout” a 8.5/10 or a B+