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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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Warning: Light Spoilers, nothing major…

Marvel’s, Avengers: Endgame directed by Anthony and Joe Russo and starring an all-star cast continues the saga of the tragic aftermath of how a once thriving Universe attempts to survive the events of Infinity War. This movie was more than an epic adventure. It was a riveting odyssey that had many defining moments that changed the way we look at life, face tribulations, and connect to each other through the meaning of love and sacrifice.

Endgame is probably the best movie I’ve ever seen. The blending of each character’s storyline and how they each connect was absolutely amazing. After Thanos destroyed more than half of the Universe, the remaining Avengers spend years trying to think of ideas that will help to undo his actions. Before seeing Infinity War, I predicted the method in which these Superheros would try to destroy Thanos, and I was right. Without giving too much away, I will say that time travel plays a major part in this villain’s demise.

Each one of the Avengers deals with the heartbreak, loss, grief, and guilt over the situation in their own way. They each find it difficult to pick up the pieces of life and move on. There really is no moving on in this situation.

The Avengers do their best to execute their plan, while Thanos continues to relish in his victory always staying one step ahead of the Superheroes.

This movie is beyond anything I could imagine for this realm of cinema. Every element worked. The writing is strong, and each character complemented each other. The onscreen chemistry and presence within the cast are immense. The connection they make with the audience transcends every heroic and love story ever told. The special effects were great. The emotional energy that this movie has will impact how you see the characters and comprehend the story; it will forever impact your life as a fan of the Marvel universe.

Avengers: Endgame is worth seeing multiple times. This an unforgettable Blockbuster movie that deserves 5 stars.

Check out the trailer below:

L.L.

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Fantastic Beasts directed by David Yates and starring Eddie Redmayne follows the story of a young wizard, Newt Scamander, as he explores the City of New York and the underground world of magic. Newt Scamander is the author of the book Fantastic Beasts and where to find them, the same book that Harry reads at Hogwarts seventy years after these events. Newt Scamander finds himself in a world of trouble as some of his creatures have escaped his magical suitcase.  As Newt tries to finds the creatures, he also tries the keep the City safe from magic being exposed to non-magical beings.

The action packed fantasy adventure was exciting, and everything you would expect from a Harry Potter franchise film. There was a lot going on with multiple story lines but I still felt as though there was a clear direction in where the story was going. There were surprises at every corner and every moment was filled with thrilling elements. Eddie Redmayne displayed a soft spirited persona and made me smile almost every time he was in a new scene. Eddie’s character added a freshness to the story and created new elements to the Wizarding World.

The creatures were interesting in appearance and the concept of Newt being able to go deep inside the suitcase, to a whole new world was spectacular. The special effects were impressive and the magical elements were enthralling. The time period was authentic in its presentation and the supporting cast all added to the storytelling process.

Overall the movie is a must see. You will be enchanted throughout the entire film.

L.L.

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Don’t Breathe directed by Fede Alvarez and produced by Horror Legend Sam Raimi, stars Stephen Lang and Jane Levy.  The story follows a young woman and her two friends as she tries to make a better life for her and her daughter. Living the life of a criminal, Rocky and her two friends have knowledge and experience in robbing houses. They soon come to learn that a local blind man is sitting on hundreds of thousands of dollars of settlement money. The three decide to rob the man with the hopes of everything going smoothly. The plan is underway but things soon go sour despite the blind man’s disability.

This movie was just outstanding. It’s the perfect horror movie that fans have been anticipating for a long time. The intensity and suspense building is great. The overall concept was nice and fresh. The score kept the thrill going and Stephen Lang did an amazing job portraying “the blind man.”

I give this movie 5 stars, this is the type of film that people will be talking about for a long time. Go see it, if you haven’t already!

Happy Haunting

L.L 

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The 2016 Sony reboot starring Melissa McCarthy,Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones and Kristin Wig and Chris Hemsworth was ouright fun and funny. The movie follows two paranormal authors Abby Yates and Erin Gilbert as they try to prove that the ghostly apparitions that they have seen and experienced are real. Friend and fellow engineer  Jillian Holtzman joins the team as she creates some impressive gadgets to help catch and contain the supernatural creatures. The three soon quickly become a foursome once MTA worker Patty Tolen brings her knowledge of New York City to the table. The women soon prove their research and beliefs are true, but city officials do there best to discredit the women. In the process of the Ghostbusters trying to defend the city, they learn that a bigger threat looms as they realize that their very research and publication is the source of how the threat became one in the first place.

Overall I felt that this movie was really good. The special effects were awesome. The visual perception of the ghosts were done in a creative and cool manner. The comical aspect was done well. I found myself laughing every other minute. The character chemistry was great and there were nice surprises throughout the film. This movie made happy to watch. I’ve read some of the reviews on this film and I just don’t understand why people are so against four women being Ghostbusters. What’s the big deal? As an 80’s baby, and a person that loves the original two movies, I thought it was a fun remake to the franchise while at the same time there were elements of the film that kept it fresh for a newer generation. If you want to laugh and have fun, then this is the movie for you. I gave this movie a strong 4 stars.

L.L. 

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Writing with a purpose

Life has had its many challenges, so it’s been difficult for me to get back into the habit of blogging again. But I’m back and it feels good to get my words out (on paper, LoL). There have been and will be a lot of changes for me in the near future, which will all be positive. I’m moving in the right direction and will be able to put my writing back on the top of my list. In this post I will discuss writing with purpose and meaning.

People write in our society for so many reasons. They write for communication, entertainment, and to help us learn new things. Writers use words to express themselves and share parts of themselves that they would not necessarily share by speaking.  Writing in our world is the way we connect with others and how we are brought together in so many ways. The written word teaches us how to acknowledge each other’s differences, and teaches us about other, times,places, worlds, realms and dimensions.

I like to read a variety of genres, and it is important as a writer to write with meaning and purpose. When a writer writes with purpose they make a deeper connection with their readers. It doesn’t matter what genre you are reading. It is a writer’s job as a deliverer of communication to write in a way that makes the reader feel respected and viewed as a unique individual. Writing with purpose and the meaning behind the writing is a special bond that the writer and reader have between the two. It is that special human connection that links us among time and space.

Writing with meaning also is a way that defines who a writer is, and gives the writer a chance to express themselves in a way that makes them identify with others. Writing brings them in a world where the writers and the readers can be and do what ever it is that they want to be. It is the place where they can escape, share in an adventure of relive an event from the past. It is the place where they can fly into the future or save a damsel in distress. It is a place where you can be you any way or how you want to be.

Writing with meaning opens doors for both the reader and the writer and the relationship they share is honest and unbiased when they both stay true to who they are within their own world.

Stay True to Yourself,

L.L.

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