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Warning: Spoilers Below!

Halloween Kills “Movie Review”

Halloween Kills, directed by David Gordon Green and starring Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, Anthony Michael Hall, and Andi Matichak, is the sequel to the 2018 film Halloween. The film takes place right after the first film’s events where Laurie Strode and her daughter and granddaughter attempt to trap Michael Myers in a burning home to rid the world and Haddonfield of decades-old trauma and torment.

While Laurie recovers in the hospital, she and her family quickly realize that Michael is still alive as they band together with the local townspeople to help defend and protect each other. This movie was a lot different from the others in the franchise because it mainly focused on a variety of other characters’ perspectives that writers never before explored in the original films, such as Tommy Doyle, Officer Hawkins, and Lonnie Elam. We even see Nurse Marion as she joins the cause to help. However, once again, Michael proves to Haddonfield that he is a force to be reckoned with. Despite the efforts of Laurie and the strong women in her family, the darkness that is Michael Myers is practically impossible to overcome in this case.

Overall, I thought the film was exciting and well done. As a Horror fan and a fan of the Halloween Franchise, it’s just tradition to love a movie that defines the spirit of Halloween. It was good to see a more realistic hospital concept filled with patients and their families considering the deserted concept in the original Halloween sequel all those years ago. However, we’ve seen it all at this point, as police and the people in the town take shots and swings at Michael that have no lasting effect on him. We’ve seen him take out a whole police department and now practically an entire fire department. We’ve seen him throw people out of a window, strangle people in a car, impale people with strange objects, and so on. I’m not sure what the franchise has in store for fans in the future, but it may be time for Michael to retire his mask and for Laurie to enjoy the rest of her days with peace. The special effects and other production elements were done with a clear vision, but aside from the opening credits, the score missed the mark on so many levels. The classic John Carpenter Halloween theme wasn’t touched in a way that allowed fans to connect to the films as done in the past traditionally. I still don’t know how much I like the new story to reflect that Laurie is not Michael’s bother. I’m still processing that idea, and honestly, I may never get over that. This film’s body count is high, and Michael’s comedic and dramatic personality was still the same. Jamie’s performance was thrilling as usual, and the supporting cast brought a unique wave of interest that helped produce a decent flow of the film.

I gave this film 3 ½ stars.

L.L.

Check out the trailer below:

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Warning Spoilers Below

Candyman 2021, directed by Nia DaCosta, written by Jordan Peele, and starring Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, appeared to be a retelling/sequel of the classic 1992 Horror film. The story follows artist Anthony McCoy, also known as the baby that was taken and almost sacrificed to Candyman in the original movie. Anthony’s goal is to become a prominent name in the art world. However, to reach his goal, he opens the door to resurrect Candyman through his artwork and loses himself and the life he has built with his girlfriend in the process.

Without trying to give too much away, I struggled to like this film. I tried because I loved the original, and I like Jordan Peele’s work. The storytelling process was a bit much, and I didn’t particularly appreciate how the writers tried to water down the legend that Tony Todd worked so hard to create. I was sitting on the edge of my seat the whole time, hoping to see Tony.  Honestly, the main reason why I wanted to see this film was that I was hoping to see Tony throughout the film, not just in the last five minutes.  The story about the baby being all grown up was a good concept, but it became lost when the writers attempted to recreate the story by adding “new Candymans” in the mix. The whole idea of trying to turn Anthony into Candyman wasn’t a good idea at all. The haunting elements that made this franchise so thrilling weren’t present. The story was overworked, and the kill scenes were just “blah.”  I will say that I was very excited when I saw Coleman Domingo (FEAR THE WALKING DEAD); however, when his character arc came full circle, it was just another letdown for me. The storyline was a little disjoined despite some elements from the original blended within. Although the cast was ok, I didn’t get that initial chemistry I usually see and discuss in my reviews. I was not too fond of the idea of multiple Candymans and one of them leaving candy on the floor before a victim succumbs to the hook. Another thing I didn’t like was how they tried to alter Daniel Robitaille’s (Candyman’s) origin story.

I still want fans of the original to see this film because it does make a great conversation piece. You will find yourself constantly comparing this new version to the original and analyzing the conceptual process of this film. Unfortunately, the film missed the mark for me, but maybe some new fans will come to like this version. I might attempt to watch it again once it is released on a streaming service.

I gave this film 2 ½ stars.

L.L.

Check out the trailer below:

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Warning Major Spoilers Below:

The Walking Dead Season 11 Premiere starring Norman Reedus, Melissa McBride, Lauren Cohan, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan, opened with fans sitting on the edge of their seat.  We find Alexandria’s group trying to pick up the pieces of a broken community after the Whispers War. The group tries to move forward as they attempt to search for much-needed food and supplies with the hope of rebuilding everything that they lost. Unfortunately, their new mission takes them into unfamiliar territory within an abandoned military base.  In classic TWD style, the group must face a variety of threats, seen and unseen. Daryl leads the group as they work together to tactically maneuver throughout the space in order to gather the materials they need. Things go awry quickly as Daryl suffers from a cut that leads to a chain of events that once again threatens the group’s survival.

Meanwhile, we finally see how things unfold with Eugene, Ezekiel, Princess, and Yumiko as they undergo processing at the Commonwealth Community. With much anticipation, we are introduced to the Comicbook Character Mercer. He has a strong military background and is the head of security of this community. Mercer is very hard to read, but I am looking forward to knowing his on-screen persona. Trust is big here between both Eugene’s group and the leaders of the Commonwealth.  Ezekiel and the others attempt to convince Eugene that coming to this community was not a good idea, but by the time he realizes it, it’s too late. Princess reveals that she has some interesting and valuable skills to help the group escape; however, those skills bring Yumiko closer to a family member she thought she once lost.

After Daryl’s group retrieves some food and supplies from the military base, they realize that their food won’t last long. So Maggie proposes that they go on another mission; to return to the community, she went to when she was with Georgie. Maggie states that Meridian has food, water, and supplies to help Alexandria rebuild; however, the Reapers killed everyone and took over the place.  Daryl and the majority of the group agree to go on the mission, clearly understanding that it is a considerable risk in many different ways. The group begins their mission, where a host of dangers lurk around. A major storm blocks their path, but Maggie suggests using the subway tunnels to avoid the bad weather. They all agree, but as more dangers strike, Negan feels it is a bad idea to continue. He seems to have a working knowledge of the area; but, since Daryl and other members of the group struggle with trusting Negan, he and Daryl struggle to find common ground.  As they continue, Daryl gets separated from the group, and Maggie is put in a situation where she has to lean on Negan for help. Unfortunately,  it looks like he ends up betraying Maggie, but looks can be deceiving.

This is the final season of The Walking Dead, and I felt that this was a great start to building a conclusion that will open doors for more storytelling. It was so exciting to see Daryl and Maggie together. Norman’s on-screen presence brings happiness and delight to fans. His demeanor and attitude are the definition of cool.  He looks amazing in the opening scene as he overlooks to scan the area below to ensure the group’s safety. Carol’s strength and leadership skills are impressive and have evolved with time. The military set with the lurkers was a great scene. Their positions on the ground and the darkness of the scene was a different type of darkness shown on TWD. The atmosphere was a muddled, cloudy, dusty, desolate environment that doesn’t understand the concept of light. The lurkers appeared to be sleeping, which is something very different we see in this world. When Daryl’s arm is cut, and the blood drops into the eye of the lurker, it starts a chain reaction that awakens the rest of them. This moment reminds me of when Selene awoke Markus in the Underworld films. Remember, they were vampires. This whole place brings up a lot of questions that I hope fans would get answers.

Another major scene in this episode was the subway tunnel that was filled with Walker body bags. This was another dark area that looked cool and scary at the same time. It seems as if those bodies were there from the start, but I hope we are told a good story that explains what happened there and at the military base. Both sets were done with a lot of creativity and consideration of the changing world. The artistry behind the Walking Dead brings fans into the world. This is not just any television show, but it is the greatest show of all time. I suggest watching the episode again in search of Easter eggs. The premiere episode was great in all aspects.

Five stars!!

L.L.

Check out the official trailer below:

As a bonus, check out the official TWD promo song “Who Will You Become.”

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Marvel’s Black Widow, directed by Cate Shortland, stars Scarlett Johansson, David Harbour, Florence Pugh, and Rachel Weisz. The film goes deep into Natasha Romanoff’s past as it explores her origin story within the MCU. The events pick up between the events from Captain America Civil War and the start of Infinity War.

In this film, there are many questions about Romanoff that are answered. First, we are introduced to members of her family. We also were able to look at how her involvement as a spy/assassin has impacted the relationship she has with her family.  It is very evident to see the deep-rooted emotional scars that Romanoff carries throughout the franchise films, but now we understand why.  

What is nice about this film is that the director, writers, and Scarlett do an excellent job at creating and showing multiple layers of Romanoff that we have seen before while still allowing the audience to explore this character in a brand-new way without losing any depth to her.

Overall, the film was great but also very fresh. The chemistry between Romanoff and her family was tight. I loved the little comedy added into the script and enjoyed the detailed and elaborate action and fight sequences. The movie flowed well, and I had no issue with the length of it.  Florence, David, and Rachel did a great job bringing their characters to life. Their performances added more thrill to the film.  Scarlett did a fantastic job with her overall performance, and the storytelling process made us fully understand her character in a newfound way.

This movie is worth seeing multiple times. I gave this film five stars!

Please check out the trailer below.

L.L

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The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It “Review”

The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, starring Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson and directed by Michael Chaves is the third film in the Conjuring Franchise. The film follows Ed and Lorraine Warren as they investigate a murder that is potentially linked to a demonic possession. Documented as true events, we see two characters and a story that explores how strong Ed and Lorraine’s love for each other is. Ed and Lorraine are in a different stage in their lives and careers as they continue to battle the dark forces to save and protect the families they connect with.

Overall, this film was strong in its storytelling components. Wilson and Farmiga make a great pair, as their on-screen presence continues to charm movie goers. The supporting cast did not do much for me. I was hoping to see some storytelling blending between the court case and the haunting/exorcism, somewhat like the Exorcism of Emily Rose. There were some noticeable horror references throughout the film that were fun to point out, but I did feel like the first two films were much better than this latest installment. I was also looking for a deeper connection to the Nun in this film, but that also fell a bit flat. Since the Nun has appeared throughout the franchise, including a prequel, I was still hungry to see if there was more to that story despite the ending in The Conjuring 2. The special effects were average according to my expectations. This film did not give me that “jump out of my seat” feeling, but it was still worth watching and it was a lot of fun.

This was my very first in-theater post pandemic movie. I gave this movie 3 ½ stars. I highly recommend watching all the Conjuring Universe Films.

L.L

Check out the trailer below: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h9Q4zZS2v1k

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WARNING SPOILERS BELOW!

Godzilla versus Kong, directed by Adam Wingard, is a sequel that merges the Godzilla and King Kong story franchises beautifully. A couple of years after a fellow Titan awoke Godzilla, the story takes place as fate and humanity’s influence evolves. Godzilla and Kong battle it out to rein as Supreme. As a new manufactured threat is soon unleashed, Kong and Godzilla realize that they are not enemies but allies. The two team up to defend the Earth and protect the people.

This movie was a great adventure that was a long time coming. It was filled with action, and the merging of both storylines added a lot of depth and complexity to the characters. It is rare to see monsters have such personalities and traits that humans relate to. People usually see typical monsters as entities that are not intelligent and are unreasonable. In this case, these characters’ foundations have such a compelling backstory that adds to the elements that make these characters so unique and memorable.

In the beginning, we see an older, gray Kong that appears to be relishing in peace, as if he is enjoying the first years of retirement. Kong has spent his life protecting others and defending those around him. He was a leader, a Real King. (A new foundational story that could come out in a future film). Godzilla, we see a powerful out of this world entity that does his best to find a space in the world that will accept his uniqueness as he molds the space to adapt to his unique needs. He understands the difference between right and wrong throughout this experience and has more human traits than we realized. 

(I love Millie: shout out to Stranger Things and the entire cast of this film, but it was clear that the stars in the movie were Godzilla and Kong.

The movie gets straight to the point and moves fast, which is excellent. The visual effects were amazing, making the fight scenes intense and an incredible experience to gaze upon the screen. The score and sound effects also added to the home theatrical experience while viewing on HBO Max.

Overall, Godzilla vs. Kong was that classic movie you watched as a kid in the 80’s but with an update that incorporates modern technology with futuristic fantasy elements. This movie is worth a second viewing, and I gave it five stars!

L.L.

Check out the trailer below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=odM92ap8_c0

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by LaTaeya Lane

New Wonder Woman 1984 poster is totally '80s

Wonder Woman 1984, directed by Patty Jenkins and starring Gal Gadot and Kristen Wiig is the second installment in the Wonder Woman Film Franchise. This film focuses on how Diana tries to deal with the devesting loss of her one true love, Steve Trevor, while she attempts to find balance in other aspects of her life. As Diana faces her grief, she encounters a darkness that is unleashed upon the world that threatens humanity’s survival. Diana’s choices and the choices that others make around her have a domino effect upon Diana.

Warning: Spoilers Below:

 I must say that Gal Gadot is an amazing actress and I love her in her role as Wonder Woman. Kristen Wiig, as Barbara Minerva, did a fantastic job playing the female antagonist.  Both women were great in this film. They had a lot of great scenes together and had great chemistry.

The main problem with this film was the overall storyline and score: The writing was so disconnected from the time, and the story did not cohesively connect to Diana. The opening scene takes place in a Mall, and I felt like Wonder Woman taking on a mall robbery was more appropriate for Spiderman (excuse the Universe crossover) but Wonder Woman in a mall saving people is beneath her and her abilities.)

The whole concept centered around Max Lord could have been done in a more creative and balanced manner. I liked Pedro Pascal as the villain, but the idea of him consuming the powers of an ancient stone could have turned into one of the greatest superhero good versus evil concepts ever written. The movie fell so flat on so many levels with the writing aspect. I also felt that the directing was a bit disconnected. When people watch this film, or at least when I anticipated watching this film, I came in with the same high expectations that the first Wonder Women film and the Justice League films created and delivered.

I must admit that I was disappointed.

If you are going to put a year in the title of a film, then you better be prepared to present aspects of score and cinematography in a way that transports your audience to that time. The mall scene looked like a mall from the ’80s but I can’t recall any other important components that would bring me to that time. As an 80’s kid, I wanted to feel those happy feelings and see those sights that would bring me back there. This film missed the mark big time, especially with the music. The music in a movie is responsible for the entire mood of a movie. It brings emotions, magic, connections; it is the last puzzle that connects all the other pieces together and unfortunately WW84 did not deliver that.

I have mixed feelings about the fashion. Gal and Kristen’s costumes were amazing! I loved everything that was presented in the film with those two. Even Steven Trevor’s costumes looked good, (they did try too hard with his wardrobe changes. I even loved Diana’s armor. I just had a problem with the fact that Diana should have had that armor when she and her Justice League colleagues battled Steppenwolf. The use of the armor did not seem to fit the situation she was in.

Overall, I gave this movie three stars for my loyalty to Gal and the Wonder Woman Franchise. It’s worth watching since WW3 is in the works, as well as additional Justice League Franchise films. I just hope that they upgrade their writing team for the future.

L.L.

Check out the trailer below:

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Warning Spoilers Below:

Bill and Ted Face the Music, directed by Dean Parisot and starring Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter, picks up over twenty years after the events that took place during the Battle of Bands. Bill and Ted, married with adult children, still find themselves struggling to make their musical dreams come true while still hanging on to their unfilled destiny to save the world with a song that is intended to realign the Universe. As they try to fulfill their destiny and attempt to save their marriages, Bill and Ted are recruited by Rufus’ Daughter, played by Kristen Schaal, to come up with the Universe saving song in just a few hours.  Bill and Ted accept the mission and quickly head off in their iconic Phone Booth time machine to travel into the future to get the song they wrote. Meanwhile, Bill and Ted’s daughters set off on their own adventure to help gather important historical figures to create a brand-new band for their fathers.

Overall, Bill and Ted Face the Music is a great movie. The flow and tone of the film had a sweet familiarity that fans will appreciate and love. The reprisal of the original cast was refreshing to see; characters such as Missy, Deacon, Death, and Sargent Logan. The addition of Bill and Ted’s daughters added a refreshing take to the franchise while giving them their own special moments to share. (I got the feeling that Bill and Ted were passing the torch.)  Most of all, it was amazing to see the Holographic Image of Rufus played by the late and talented George Carlin. The emotions flowed when he came across the screen, and Bill and Ted acknowledged him tenderly.

The story was presented fluidly, while it answered some questions and tied some storyline loose ends. Some new characters were introduced, and the addition of Robot, played by Anthony Carrigan, brought the concept of “feel-good comedy” into the film. The scenes and visual effects brought the movie franchise into the 21st century, and Alex and Keanu’s performances were classic and magical. My only disappointment was the music within the film. I felt like there weren’t any staple musical performances within the soundtrack that added to the elegance that the first two Bill and Ted movies brought. I know that music plays a significant role in films, especially with Bill and Ted, but it is not a total loss. Just seeing Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter on screen together is worth it. Their on-screen chemistry displayed a connection as if the adventures of Bill and Ted never stopped. This movie will add to their legendary status.

I really liked this film and gave it four stars for good theatrical fun.

Check out the trailer below.

L.L

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Joker starring  Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro and directed by Todd Phillips, tells the story of a Gotham City man Arthur Fleck as he attempts to achieve his dreams of becoming a standup comic while battling mental illness and struggling to find his place within a society that does not treat or accept him fairly.

I saw this movie opening weekend in October 2019, and then 5 more times after that. With so many things going on with work and grad school, I just did not have the time to review this film. This by far, I think is the best Joaquin Phoenix movie I have seen, in addition to one of the best movies of all time. There is something extremely deep about this film and the story behind it. There is such an odd connection that moviegoers have with the lead character Arthur. We see that he does his best to live a life that mainstream society may call, “normal”. Arthur works as an entertainer, trying to make ends meet, he takes care of his sick mother, and he is even receiving treatment and attempting to live with his inner struggles, by dealing with his mental illness, to the best of his ability. The character tries to deal with his issues as he displays independence and even attempts to have a relationship with a neighbor that appears to understand him, but overall the movie is not quite what it seems to be, at least through the main character’s eyes.

Arthur, as portrayed by Joaquin, is completely transformed into this the dark and complex character that we all thought we knew just through our background knowledge of the Batman comic book and film franchise but as we all know now, this film is a standalone movie but still artistically connects the historical relationship between the Wayne family and Arthur aka the Joker in a way that makes the two storylines blend together very well.

All the elements of this film are massive ingredients for a film success on so many levels. The visual representations were creative and authentic.  We were brought into the character’s world and underwent a journey of emotional experiences that enveloped a multitude of highs and lows, as well as revels shocking moments and moments of happiness and potential hope. This film has won several awards including a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Motion Picture Drama and an Academy Award for Best Actor as well as an Academy Award for Best Original Score. The Score took me to that place where emotions dwell deep within, where questions about the structure of how our society appropriately and inappropriately deals with mental illness, bullying, and the differences among people. Joaquin Phoenix in conjunction with  Robert De Niro and the supporting cast all created a world where the moviegoer sees the world of mental illness, poverty and the other complexities of life including the horrors of child abuse and enabling as ongoing issues that need to be exposed and changed for the better to improve the quality of human life.

Overall, I gave this movie 5 stars

Joker is a great film.

L.L

Check out the trailer below…

Check out the Amazing Bathroom Dance song that received an award for Best Score.

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Warning  Light Spoilers below…

Season 10 of The Walking Dead directed by Greg Nicotero picks up several months after the people of Alexandria suffered major losses at the hand of the Whisperers. The story continues as Rick’s legacy lives on within Alexandria. The communities band together to prepare for another battle.

Daryl and Carol once again make a deep-rooted connection while attempting to make plans to see what’s beyond the realm of Alexandria, Hilltop, Kingdom and Oceanside. MICHONNE learns that Judith is a lot stronger than she seems and realizes that her maturity level is more than she anticipated. The group faces a major challenge as they attempt to stay within the boundaries of the agreement between the communities and the Whisperers.

Overall this was a very enlightening episode that showcased the strength of many of the newcomers. Some of our favorite characters like Daryl are opening up more and making more connections with the community. Alpha’s daughter is trying to create a home for herself in the community while Negan continues to step out embracing humanity.

The flow of the episode was good and provided fans with the expectations and excitement of what our vision of a season 10 premiere should be. The opening scene was epic and the show displayed a great deal of elevation and evolution among characters, plot, setting, and mood. The Walking Dead has now stepped into the future of survival and has demonstrated what true unity means within the spectrum of humanity.

I can’t wait to see how this season unfolds.

L.L.

Check out the trailer below…

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