By Paul Anthony
I will always start a review on a Blumhouse production by saying yes, they produce a lot of horror films but at the same time these films can be a hit or a miss, so the question is The Black Phone a hit or miss? The film was made on a budget of about 18 million and as of the writing of this blog has made 157 million dollars which makes you seem like it is a hit, but we got a lot to talk about here. The film is based on the 2004 short story of the same name by Joe Hill. The film is led by Ethan Hawke. So, let’s take a look at the plot.
The film takes place in 1978, here we meet Finn and his younger sister Gwen. Finn plays baseball and life seems normal though we quickly learn that this little town north of Denver. The little town is dealing with a child murderer, well at this point it’s just a kidnapper because the bodies haven’t been found just yet. The Kidnapper is dubbed the Grabber by the town and kids that are close or have been around Finn start to disappear. One day the police interview Gwen because word got around that she said something regarding the cases that haven’t been made public which annoys her alcoholic father and punishes her by beating her because she tells him that her dreams come true, and these are visions. We quickly learn that Finn’s mother had these dreams as well and that’s why she committed suicide, and he doesn’t want that fate for his daughter. The worse thing happens, and Finn runs into the Grabber, and he becomes the next victim. The Grabber informs Finn once he awakes that he is in a soundproof basement so he can scream but no one will hear him and the black phone that’s been in the basement and hasn’t worked since he was a kid. Nothing happens over the next few days but then the phone rings and each time the phone rings it’s a voice from a past victim and gives him advice how to escape but reveal they never did because they ran out of time and its game to the grabber. The last call is his friend who teaches how to use the phone as a weapon. At the same time Gwen finally has her father approval to use her visions to help Finn and the cops finally agree to work with her and with her help they find a house though no one is home and cops can’t find any bodies until they find the basement where he buried the victims and at that point Finn is fighting the Grabber and gets the upper hand then break his neck and kills and only to escape. We learn that he was only across the street from where the victims were buried. Finn shortly returns to school and now has more confidence from him surviving the grabber.
Now, some of the things I like about this film was Hawke’s performance and how the film used him, he wasn’t in every scene, and he didn’t need to be. The film didn’t rely on jump scares to move the movie along. Instead, it told a story and when the grabber was on screen, he was a threat. The movie made good use out of a small buget, and the effects were on par. Now in the end I am giving this film a Hit and a great grade of a A rating and think if you are true horror fan then you’ll enjoy this film.
By: Justin Hopkins
It is so good to see my favorite franchise thriving at the moment. The human hunting alien is killing it over on Hulu, with Prey at the moment, and our review of said movie is over on our YouTube channel. Leaving only one thing left to do, and that is to rank them from worst to best. A tough challenge for someone who loves most of these films, but I am onboard for anything that lets me talk about Predator for a little while longer. So without further ado, lets dive in shall we.
The bottom of the barrel, worst of the bunch. The only movie on this list that I have not gone back to re-watch since I saw it in theaters. The worst part is, there is a good movie in here somewhere. It had so much potential. The Fugitive Predator having to work with the humans to take down the Upgraded Predator. Cause the movie was at least tolerable till he died. The dialogue was terrible, they never caught on to the fact the jokes have to stop in movies like this, and the end was garbage.
6-Alien vs Predator: Requiem
While I can still find some enjoyment in this entry, still not that great. Wolfe, the lone Predator carries this movie on his back and I do like the Predalien we get here. Kelly was a really good character, who we really should have spent more time with over the dipstick brothers, especially, Ricky, seriously, they could have killed him. How are you going to make us suffer this character and not give us the satisfaction of his death. Also, having the final fight that we’ve been waiting the entire film for, end with the government bombing the town, is just cheap way to end it.
Don’t read to much into this placement. I love this movie. So much of Predator lore and weaponry comes from here. Loved going to the city setting after being in the jungle. The City Hunter himself was a different kind of hunter compared to the Jungle Hunter. Not showing Donald’s character honor in the way the previous one showed Arnold in the final fight and we got to look at the Trophy Room, which set the ball rolling for….
4-Alien vs Predator
Speak of undeserved hate. This movie was a blast. Yes, it probably should have been released as with an R-rating, but the story was great. Showing some backstory of the Predator’s history on Earth and how they use the Xenos as the ultimate prey. That the younger Predators must hunt to prove themselves as worthy Hunters. Each species got the chance to shine and we were introduced to Scar, who was so much fun to follow. Seeing the Predator working with a human for a change. A quality that has intrigued me so much. Would love to see them come back to this idea down the road.
This was so much fun. Seeing the game preserve planet. Giving us the Predator Dogs and the clans at war with one another. The characters of different backgrounds having to come together and figure out what is going on and how they could possibly overcome and escape. The Topher Grace swerve handled perfectly and made you feel even more sad for Nikolai sacrifice himself for him.
Amber Midthunder made me care bout Naru. I can’t remember the last time I went into one of these movies and did not cheer on the Predator. From start to finish, they built such a great world. The characters are well thought out. Casting was spot on. The effects and kills were great and would absolutely would love to see them revisit this world again. While it is sitting in second place, it is not here comfortably. This movie is going to age like a fine wine. Sure to earn the title of classic and may very well over take the top spot. Which of course,
Yeah, it is. I am going to keep this short, cause can only hurl praise on it so many times. It gave use a wonderful world and a marvelous Alien. Set a high bar and I love that we keep getting entries that try to match. For my money, all except one failed to be enjoyable and I’ll take all they dish out.
As always, I hope you enjoyed and….
Thank You For Reading!
By Paul Anthony
I am just going to start from here and let this be clear how do you title a movie with one state as the main title than have it take place in another state as the subtitle suggest. It weird that I start this blog off this way but since I first learned of this sequel, for some odd reason it would just keep bothering me. Like they could have called The Haunting in Georgia and that would have made more sense. Okay I am done ranting about the title. This is the sequel to the 2009 film The Haunting in Connecticut. This film stars Chad Michael Murray, Katee Sackhoff, Abigail Spencer and Emily Alyn Lind. The film had a budget of 1.5 million and had a limited release and was on video on demand because of that it managed to make 5.1 million dollars. Though I am shocked that it made that much. Okay let’s jump right into the plot!!
okay now the film is inspired by the events surrounding the Wyrick house of Ellerslie Georgia. The film takes place in 1993 when Andy and Lisa (Murray, Spencer) move into a house which they got on a great deal because the bank wanted to drop the property and they claimed no one has lived there before, but shortly after they settle in, Lisa’s sister Joyce (Sackhoff) basically moves in with them. At some point their daughter Heidi (Lind) starts to have visons or people that were once on the property and Joyce reveals to her that the women in their family are born with a veil covering their face which allows them to see things that others can’t. Lisa has this ability as well but has been taking medication to suppress the visons. At this point Heidi meets a spirit name Mr. Gordy. After this basically the family starts to deal with paranormal activity, the family brings in a pastor who reveals that their house was once a part of the underground railroad, and it had a stationmaster that lived there and tells them all the good that he did and how they will be getting visitors and they should be nicer to them than Mr. Gordy was to them, which they are, and they learn these people are ancestors of the slaves that came here for freedom but were never seen again. Through more acts the family starts to learn the truth and that is the stationmaster though did good also did bad by killing slaves and keeping some for his personal collections which included a conductor and Mama Kay the visitor ancestors. They learn that Mr. Gordy was a direct ancestor of the stationmaster and tried to cover up the wrong regarding his family name and just have people remember the good. In the end everything works out of course in the end the family no longer have visons and they lived there for another 5 years in peace. The film in the end shows pictures of the real family that the characters were based on.
This movie was 1 hour and 40 minutes long and by the time the film was ending that’s when you realize what the story was actually about. The affects were fine, and I see most of the budget went towards and nothing else including the acting and cheap writing by making Murray truly look like some hillbilly. The scares and jump scares weren’t there as well so if you were looking to be scared than this movie wasn’t it. In the end I do have to give it a D or 60 percent. What saved this film was truly the affects for the low budget film.
By: Justin Hopkins
I was thrilled to see this drop on Audible. Was a massive fan of Alien: Bug Hunt and thrilled to see Jonathon Maberry coming back for Aliens vs Predators. I love the Yautja (Predator) and will always take them and the Xenomorphs being brought together. Now, that I have listened to it, multiple times, lets dive in, but just like before. I will do my best to skirt around any major spoilers. Do my nest to talk about the stories within without blowing anything major.
Ultimate Prey brings us Stretching from the old west to current day. On fierce foreign planets and deep space voyage in far away futures. Characters finding themselves caught in a timeless fight between extraterrestrials. One, running solely off of instincts. The other, bound by pride and honor of the hunt. While many, are unsuspecting. Dealing with something much larger then themselves. Others, are aware of the situation, but everyone will be digging down deep within, to find out how far they can push themselves and finding allies in unsuspected places.
Going into it, was most excited for the Yautja and coming out of it, they were my favorite part. How much we got a deep dive into their lifestyles and actions. How much honor and pride they take, in not just the Hunt but their every day lives. the differing opinions they have on humans and how, not only did some of them change based around their encounters, but how they changed the people they were around.
A lot of the writers did something interesting. Which was done in the movies, but did click for me here and that was how different people reacted when dealing with a Yautja vs when they dealt with a Xenomorph. How scared and filled with terror a xenomorph they’d get when encountered by their more animalistic ways. While, their was base level of fear when staring at the Yautja. There was a morbid curiosity, in the foe that more resembles them in a way. More fear would tick in when the mask came off, but by then curiosity had already set in. This was not all the time of course, but was interesting when this did play out.
Loved the callback and references some utilized, such as the Raid on Area 51 event for the basis of their story. Bo’Kui being the ancestor from the Yautja from Drug Wars, in Predator: If it Bleeds anthology. A sequel to Predators and Scott Sigler bringing his world from Aliens: Phalanx back. Fun moments for people who have been following along and great way to get people to go back and enjoy what came before.
I loved the complex character work they bring us throughout. Abuse victim finding the strength to stand up for themselves. A trans character, who had been poisoned and left for dead on a planet in the middle of the battling species. Finding an unlikely ally, who is in a similar situation. On the flip side, you have Yautja’s who are coming to light with issues of their own. Broken pride and honor running deeper then they thought. All of which elevated the stories over just being about the hunt.
Alright, shout out time. Everyone killed it. Standing ovation to Jonathon Maberry and Bryan Thomas Schmidt. Again, can’t imagine how hard it was to narrow this down to fifteen and getting just the right placement. All of the writers did amazing. Pouring so much love and care into their stories and they would be. Even the couple, I was not a fan of, were still good. Just compared to the rest of the lot kind of fell flat. Starting with, Chris Ryall, Steven L. Sears, Delilah S. Dawson, David Barnett, Mira Grant, Susanne L. Lambdin, Jess Landry, Bryan Thomas Schmidt, Yvonne Navarro, Curtis C. Chen, Roshin “Rush” Bhatia, Maurice Broaddus, E.C. Myers, Scott Sigler, Jonathon Maberry and Louis Ozawa. We got to call out the narrators as well, being an audiobook and all, and they did an excellent job breathing life into their characters and stories. Starting with, Bradford Hastings, Nicol Zanzarella, Stephanie Weeks, Feordor Chin, Timothy Andrés Padon, Soneela Nankani, Chelsea Stephens, Hilary Huber, Erica Sullivan, Sura Siu and Shiromi Arserio.
3. Abuse, Interrupted 2. First Hunt 1. Blood and Honor
This was a blast of an anthology. From great character work, deep dives into the Yautja and some terrifying moments with the Xenomorphs and some peeks up their own hierarchy. The pacing was perfect and even the ones I didn’t really take to I would listen to again. Just because I had such a good time in general. Check it out if you haven’t. Final Grade – S
As always, I hope you enjoyed and….
Thank You For Reading!
So, this one kind of snuck up on me. Despite the fact that streaming services have been putting out some banger movies. I have continued to overlook them. Like an idiot that I am. Fortunately, saw a trailer for this one and marked it on the calendar. What I saw was very enticing. Snowed in group, with one of them being a kidnapper, and one of them is Dennis Haysbert. That is all I needed to see. Now, let’s dive in and talk about it, shall we.
The movie kicks off at an Inpatient NA Meeting. Fellow Jade telling a story that Darby is uninterested in. Having heard this story from her already. This is Darby’s 11th day on seventh stint through Rehab and she is having doubts about being there, but is here on court order. The meeting is interrupted by a phone call for Darby. Telling her that her Mother is set to go into surgery for a brain aneurysm and that she should call her Sister, Devon, but they won’t let her call because of facility rules and that she has lied about reasons to call people before. That night she goes to Jade and blackmails her to use her cellphone. Getting ahold of her sister, who will not help her get out. Not having time to deal with her issues at the moment. Telling her to stay in rehab, but Darby breaks out. Stealing Mike’s car and find a baggie of cocaine in the car. Trying to get ahold of Devon, but she isn’t answering. After awhile and the storm getting worse and worse. She pulls aside to check the phone that keeps going off. Finding texts from Devon telling her to not come. Taking a moment to fantasies over taking the drugs she found. When a cop snaps her back to reality. Informing her that the storm has shut down the roads up ahead and she could either go back or stop at the rec center that a few others have gone to. When she gets there, finding an old couple, Ed and Sandi. Lars who is playing with matches, and Ash who is asleep. When Ed says that he had a bar for a moment out by the tree. She goes back outside to try her luck. When she is outside, hears a loud sound and a scream. Finding a child tied up in a van. Promising to come back for her. Darby slowly makes her way back inside, after Ed comes out. Looking around the room. Can’t get a signal to call for help. Up to her to try and figure out whose van it is and how to get the girl to safety and that is where I will leave it for now.
I really enjoyed a lot of the aspects this movie had to offer. It wasn’t some action spectacular, but focused on psychological components and human character. Everyone feels like they are grounded in reality. Darby is a flawed person who is doing the best she can to overcome her struggles and fears of losing her Mother. Finding herself in this situation and doing what she is capable of to try and save the girl and that bad people can come in different shades. Spoiler on that aspect in three. Two. One….
Okay, so this movie, both got me and didn’t get me in both senses of the word. I thought at first they were making Lars way to obvious. Playing with the matches and outburst during the card game. So, bit of a surprise when they revealed him first. Ash, not so much. Way to early and Lars was not going to be a lone wolf by any means, and of course his partner would be the first one she talked to. Only to turn it around and have a shocking surprise in that Sandi was involved as well. Seemingly coming from nowhere. Poor Ed, I feel so bad. Not only because I suspected him from the trailer, but was such a good guy. Believe he could have won their money back. I would have played Poker with him. Speaking of which…
I really liked the Idea of the playing BS instead of Poker. Being a game with the same deception reads that poker has. Darby’s addiction issues, allowed her to be apart of the game without having to gamble and focus solely on her mission of trying to figure out whose van it is.
Havana Rose Liu stole the show here. Playing up every part of who Darby is. Seeing the struggles she is having with her addiction at the start. To how much she wants to just go home and be with her Mom. Powerful scenes of whenever she is handling the drugs in the car and bathroom. Seeing on her face a wealth of emotions. Both good and bad, Havana killed it here. Dennis Haysbert was great as per the norm. Dale Dickey was great. A great amount of chemistry between her and Dennis. For such a young kid, Mila Harris did a great job as the kidnapped Jay. Danny Ramirez had a a lot flair and charisma as Ash and David Rysdahl was good as Lars.
While this movie wasn’t loaded with action. The attacks were pretty brutal, especially when the nail gun started getting utilized. Darby getting her arm nailed to the wall and having top remove it with the hammer and Lars getting a nail to the head was brutal…Well done all around.
I don’t have anything negative to say. I know it is a shocker, but this was a really good movie. Psychological thriller that had a great pace. Loved how grounded it felt. Performances from a group of people who brought it all together perfectly. Would gladly suggest giving this one a shot. Final Grade – A
As always, I hope you enjoyed and….
Thank You For Reading!
By Paul Anthony
Well this is my first blog back in a while and the last few months have been crazy with marriage than buying a new home, but today we are back to getting on track and no other way around it and that is doing a review on a film that I was actually excited to see, that’s right I was excited to see this film. Now This was the 9th overall film in the franchise and the first since the film Leatherface from 2017, now I will say I have yet to watch that film and look forward to seeing how that film truly is. When I had heard about this film I was looking forward to it because the last film I actually saw from this franchise was Texas Chainsaw which focused on a older Leatherface. This film continues that trend. Lionsgate who had the rights before was suppose to produce five more films after Leatherface but lost the right due to the time limit and the rights go to Legendary Pictures and was released on Netflix. Filming had it’s issues including having to find a new director during production. Filming had wrapped up in the March of 2021 than just 11 months later here we are.
Now this story takes place nearly 50 years after the killing spree of 1973, so in other terms 50 years after the events of the first film. Here We meet the main cast as they travel to abandoned Texas town of Harlow. There is Melody, Dante, Dante’s girlfriend Ruth and Melody’s younger sister Lila. We learn Melody and Dante are investors and they want other investors to join them to buy properties in Harlow to basically bring it back to life in this new age. Things go as planned at first until Melody and Dante go into a old orphanage and meet the owner Ginny who says she still owns the building which than provokes an argument, at that point when meet a very large man who she claims to be one of the longest students there. Because of the argument Ginny has a heart attack and Ruth and the large man rides with the sheriffs as they rush her to a hospital. Sadly she passes away and the large man snaps and kills everyone in the van and even cuts Ginny’s face and that is when we learn that the large man was really a unmask Leatherface. and that is when the killing spree happens again and basically killing everyone in his way. At this point we learn Sally, who survived the events of the first film, became a Texas Ranger to find Leatherface and get her revenge. I guess she couldn’t find a large man in a small town that had basically no one living there, though the film makes it clear you can find anyone that wears a mask. Anyway we get to the point where Sally arrives to save Melody and Lila but this time Sally feels the wrath of Leatherface when he kills her. We have a back and forth battle with the girls and Leatherface. Its clear that the girls won until the end when they are driving away from Harlow and Leatherface rips Melody out of car and chops her head off and dances in the street and Lila is stuck in the self driving car. Now there is a post credit scene and that is Leatherface returning to his old house which is the house from the first film.
Now I have some issues with the film and those issues are, why and how did a grown man like Leatherface end up in a orphanage, they failed to explain that part. next thing is the investors wanting buy this old town, that seems like a weak idea because who would find value in a ghost town. Next the main cast mostly with Dante and Melody, they basically had them look like the villains so when they got killed you didn’t feel sorry for them. Having Lila being a school shooting survivor felt random and rushed, Basically this film had no character development and no plot to truly stay interested in. Now the film does live on its gore and basically that is what saved the film from being a complete failure. You had Leatherface snap a cop’s wrist and stab him in the throat with it and throwing a spinning chainsaw, sort of like a Darth Vader throwing his light saber. In the end that gore pushes a failure to a C rating and sure if you are fan of the franchise give it a watch but the truth be told you won’t miss anything if you did.
By: Justin Hopkins
So, this is later then I was expecting. Wanted to have this up on Tuesday, but, and this may be a hint at final thoughts, I couldn’t put it down. So much I wanted to do and trying to do as much as I could and I am nearly at the finish line. No sense in holding off any longer. Reviews are piling up and time to get the train going. I was excited, from the trailer, looked like they were shaking up the gameplay in a big way, and after so long of the same formula. Had no idea what to expect and hype was real. So, after a bit of a disappointing trip the last go around. Time to unretire Mui for another adventure.
Game starts off with us talking to Arceus, in a dark void. Falling through after the conversation and coming to on Prelude Beach. Being waken up by Professor Laventon and three Pokemon, Rowlett, Cyndaquil, and Oshawott. Who scamper off after Laventon talks to Mui. Who has no idea where we are or what is going on. Catching them for him, he takes us back to Jubilife Village. Centuries back in time from our normal stomping grounds. A place that doesn’t know much about Pokemon, fears them and are wary over the new person. After meeting with Captain Cyllene. Letting us have a place to stay for the night, but would have to pass as trial tomorrow to stay or be expelled out of the village and possibly die out in the wild. Overnight, lightning comes out of the rift we fell out of. Rei wakes us up, and takes us to Cyllene’s office. Giving us the challenge to catch three pokemon, Shinx, Starly, and Bidoof. Before we leave, Laventon offers us one of the three and after some thought, Shida the Rowlett became pokemon number one. Each representing how Pokemon are going to react to noticing you in the wild. Either going to ignore, run, or attack. After catching them, we are accepted into the Survey Corp at rank zero and instructed to go see Kamado. Commander of the Galaxy Expedition Team and challenges me to combat, Sumo throwing Mui into a wall. Warning us that not everyone will take kindly to us right away. Rei taught us how to craft and we got to run about the Obsidian Fieldlands for a bit and some requests from civilians and workers. Getting to Rank one and ending the day. When we wake up, have a meeting with Kamado, along with Irdia and Adaman. Leaders of the Pearl and Diamond Clan. Pearl believing in the god of time. The other, god of space. The Lightning from the other night have riled up the lords around the world. Sent to go talk to Klevor’s warden to find out more. Learning that Klevor won’t even let him get close. After a long time thinking. Laventon comes up with the idea to throw his food at him. I go back armed with Balms and start throwing them at his face. After a long sequence of him trying to attack me while I smacked him in the face with his food. Managed to settle him back to his normal state, and we were off to do the same with the next Lord, Lilith. Before we could do that though, have to appease one of the Pearl’s members and track down stolen goods. Leading us to the bandits, The Misfortune sisters, Coin, Charm, and Clover. Who coughs up the goods after we beat them. Returning it to her and calming down an out of control Ursaluna. Finally getting access to Lilligant and calming down their Lord and moved onto the next, a place without a lord. Since Arcanine drown saving him pup. Palina refusing to rush the young Growlithe’s traning. However when the Misfortune Sisters arrived and stole on of the Growlithes. The Growlithe evolves into Arcanine and becomes the Lord, and immediately, goes into Frenzy and another Balming fight later. We move on, with the new Lord in his place. Moving slowly on and doing the same to the fourth, Electrode, and even faster to deal with Avatugg. Due to the unmerciful attacks from Glalies and Abomasnow. Everyone cheering that all the lords are calmed, but that night, the rift acts up again, but Kamado in blaming us. To the point he expels us from the village. Much to the dismay of Iridia and Adaman. Told that we would be welcomed back if we can solve the issues. Resisting the urge to burn down the village as we left. Running into Volo who takes us to Madame Cognita. Telling us about the pokemon at the lakes and the red chain.. and that is where I am going to leave it for the time being.
They took a big gamble, changing up the formula this much. Battles being a minimum, and putting the whole focus on exploration and catching pokemon. Helping to build a pokedex and educate the people in the village so they wouldn’t be as afraid of them. While at the same time, knowing which ones to be worried about, cause oh will some of them mess you up just the same.
That may have been my favorite part of the game though. Can still initiate the battles and do things the old way, but the new aspects are fantastic. Had so much fun trying to stealth around, failing because I am bad, and being chased by angry pokemon. At one point, had a Luxray after me, that became a pack of Luxray. Thought I lost them, but didn’t see I had angered another pokemon and an Alpha Alakazam flew in from out of nowhere. Scaring me off the side of a hill. Loved seeing Ghastly and Haunter rising up out of the ground, warmed my heart and made me laugh as I had to run again. Making the world so much more fun to travel around. See everything they had to offer because of the way the pokemon acted and reacted to your presence was such a delight. Which really went into immersing me into the game.
Another massive plus was that I was genuinely amused by most of the NPC characters that I dealt with throughout my playthrough. Never related more to a character than when Cyllene wouldn’t eat with us, because she wanted to enjoyed her meals better alone. From some fun requests like, investigate the Mr. Mime that was messing with the one guy. Helping a woman somewhat overcome her fear of Starly and continue having to go find the lost worker, Wanda. Loved watching the village grow, especially the shop. and meeting the different members of Diamond and Pearl, even Melli. Not everyone was a hit, but majority of them were fun.
I loved the art style they used in the game. Following Brilliant Diamond this felt like a giant leap forward. Did a really good job at adding emotions to the characters when they are talking and interacting with each other. Liked the biomes and territories that certain pokemon could be tracked down to. Such as Turtwig in a little lake, in the Droning Meadows, for example. The scenery and colors were beautiful and loved looking out across the terrain when I was flying around.
The little thinks such as the link cable so you didn’t have to trade pokemon to get them to evolve. Waiting for so long for stuff like this. Finally get to fill the pokedex without having to bring in another person. They were nearly perfect, but for one part.
Mixed feelings now surrounding request number 22, eerie apparitions in the night. The sole reason why I haven’t completed the Dex at the moment of writing this. I am all up for challenges, and all for running around the world, but it becomes quite different when you are trying to spot tiny purple lights. Some places have one left and I am pulling my hair out trying to find it. It gets real monotonous after a while. They have done these before, but never finished them and am actually trying this time, but wow it gets you down after a while.
Thought they could have done more with the Misfortune Sisters. They were fine, but reveal being they were just rowdy “bandits” was kind of anti-climactic. Now, admittedly, I did it to myself. Saw a couple story threads they could’ve went with. Particularly after we are kicked out of the village. Almost showed have gone further with Kamado being a baddie as well. Particularly knowing where Galaxy would end up becoming.
If you are into Pokemon for competitive side of the games. This game might not be all of that for you, but I am not one of those people. The battles tend to rank pretty low, and this game delivered so much of what I did like. Loved how the game looks and being able to run among/from the wild pokemon. Felt like the world was alive and NPCs were fun to interact with and did enjoy the direction the story went, and the surprise at the end took me off guard and would gladly suggest trying this game out. Final Grade – S
As always, I hope you enjoyed….
Thank You For Reading!!!!
By: Justin Hopkins
So, I was a bit hesitant going into this one. With anthologies, you can get some good stuff, but have to sypher through a slew of bad to get to them. Kind of mixed on the idea of the Colonial Marnie’s taking point. Sure they were fun, but thought it might get bland following them throughout 18 stories. But, I do love me some Xenomorphs and the idea that they would be mixing in some new aliens and strange tales was enough to sell me on giving it a shot. Before we do the dive in routine, let me say one thing. I was really torn on how to do this. Debated on breaking this up into multiple bits, but that would cause me to go more into spoilers then I care to. So, I will break it down as a whole. Things you can expect and go into more detail on a few later down the line at appropriate moments. Sparing the big twists and turns when I can. Okay? Okay, sounds good. Let’s dive in shall we.
As it says on the back of the book, we got 18 stories from across the Alien Universe. Following mostly Colonial Marines, some new, such as Corporal Sykes and London to some names we know, like Hicks and Hudson to name a few. Along with a few others who are in desperate fights against Xenomorphs, other alien creatures and various messes created by the always wonderful Weyland-Yutani. To stories that diverge straight into very strange, very bizarre direction that I respect way to much to give anything away and as short as this is, where I am leaving off for the time being.
Lets get the shoutout and round of applause out of the way. First one going to Jonathon Maberry. Can’t imagine how hard it was to narrow it down to these 18 stories, but to get it in the right order to keep the pace moving along at just the right pace. Then you get the authors, Paul Kupperberg, Dan Abnett, Rachel Caine, Yvonne Navarro, Christopher Golden, Matt Forbeck, Ray Garton, Weston Ochse, David Farland, Larry Correia, Keith R.A. DeCandido, Brian Keene, Heather Graham, Mike Resnick and Marina J. Lostetter, Jonathon Maberry, James A. Moore, Scott Sigler, and Tim Lebbon. Can tell they really care about this universe and put some serious thought into their stories and they weaved some really fun stories. Since we are dealing with an audiobook, we got to give the narrators their roses as well, James Anderson Foster, Eric G. Dove, Chris Andrew Ciulla, Nicol Zanzarella, James Patrick Cronin, Suzanne Elise Freeman, Andrew Eiden. Michael David Axtell, Grover Gardner, Priya Ayyar, Peter Berkrot, Emily Sutton-Smith, Hilary Huber, and R.C. Bray. A audiobook lives and dies on narration and they all did great. Even when they were more monotone then it might have should. Somehow works for the story in question and adds that much more to it.
What really helped out was just how different each story was. Mixing up the plots from rescue missions to scientific research. Worlds that were at peace before chaos broke out. In some cases we got to listen to the carnage breaking loose to being dropped right into the middle of it. From Xenomorphs and different variations that a Xeno’s impregnated, I will never get the words, Blue Moon Centipede out of my head, and just different alien lifeforms in general. Making each story feeling fresh and exciting. But that wasn’t the only way they kept you on your toes. Good endings were not a given and at anytime, heroes could fall and some, there were none of those to be found.
While we got plenty of new and interesting characters and settings. When they did go to the well of characters and places we do know. They handled them with care. Really showing there love of them as a whole. Which is good in some of their cases because they got real bold in some of these. Like in, No Good Deed. Which is in my top three favorites from this set. Along with, Dark Mother, played it real gutsy and both of them worked.
Then we get to the weird ones. Dangerous Prey, Episode 22, and to a point, No Good Deed. No Good Deed not going to far off, just a character, but the others go way off the wall compared to the rest of the stories. Dangerous Prey, did it beautifully. My favorite of the lot. Catching me completely off guard by what is happening and just hanging on to every moment of it. On the flip side of that, was Episode 22. On my first listen to it, when not much a a fan. Have warmed up to it, but still not really for me, but that doesn’t make it bad.
None of these are bad stories. They can take Alien: Bug Hunt and use it as the script for an awesome show on any streaming service. Sure I didn’t like Episode 22 or Dark Mother as much as I did, Zero To Hero or Hugs To Die For, but they are not bad in the slightest. Episode 22 could easily be someone else’s favorite very easily, just not for me, and that is why I will gladly suggest anyone to check this out. There is a ton of fun things to appeal to not just fans of the movies, but those who just like Science Fiction in general. Final Grade – S
As always, I hope you enjoyed and….
Thank You For Reading!
By: Justin Hopkins
Being excited for Scream was almost a given. They’ve never really had a miss. I even really liked Scream 3 which is often pointed to as their weakest entry. Which is something to be proud of. Seeing how bad some other franchises have gotten. Scream has a lot going for them going in. The best final girl in Sydney, an iconic costume in Ghost face, and the way they weave meta and where the horror scene is at today all building intrigue. There is some worry, since this is the first one since the loss of the great Wes Craven and new team coming in, but after four hits under Scream’s belt. Had no reason to doubt. With that said, lets dive in and see how they did.
The movie kicks us off with, Tara. While Texting her friend Amber gets a call on the landline, from who turn out to be the killer, and another round of questions kicks off. To save Amber’s life. Revolving around the Stab movie Franchise, despite her only knowing Elevated horror. She knocks out the first two, but trips on the third. Tara tries to run for the door. Wanting to save her friend, but opens the door to the killer. Who gets a slice in. Backing her into the house, but is only safe momentarily before she is attacked again, and we cut to title screen. Coming back we meet Sam and Boyfriend Richie. When Sam gets a call. Informing her that her Sister Tara was attacked. She is okay, but in the hospital, and Sam and Richie are off to Woodsboro. While we meet the friend group. Liv, Mindy, Chad, Amber, and Wes. None of which are happy with Wes for calling Sam. After a brief conversation, calling each other out and addressing Liv’s Creepy Stalker. They had of to the hospital. We join up with Sam and Richie, with Sam getting caught up on the history of the town since he doesn’t know and never saw the Stab movies, before we get the happy reunion at the hospital. Friends leave the sister’s alone and we go off to the bar with them. Amber is not happy with Sam being back. She was a troubled teen and left abruptly in the middle of the night. The conversation is cut off by the stalker arriving and getting into an altercation with Chad. Threatening them on his way out, but is taken out by Ghostface in the alley. Back at the hospital, we see Sam waking up. Richie watching Stab movies for research reasons and she says she is going to get some food, but is really going to take anti-psychotics and we see the deceased Billy Loomis appear in the mirror. Talking to her about family secrets. Phone call snapping her out and it is the killer. Who says they know about her secrets and she calls him out and Sam is attacked from behind. Managing to fight them off and get away. Gets interrogated and told to leave town by Hicks. Sam returns to Tara and openly tells her the truth. About why Dad left and why she went off the rails when Sam learned that Billy Loomis was her real Dad. To which, Tara throws her out. For bringing up all of this now of all times. With nowhere else to go, Sam and Richie turns to the past for help and leads them to Dewey and where I will leave this for now.
I love how they put this “Requel” together. The way they brought in the new characters, by having a few of them being related to the older characters who are gone now. Such as Randy’s Niece and Nephew being Minx and Chad. Along with creepy stalker being a relative of Stu. While it is a bit of a stretch for Sam being Billy’s kid. I am willing to go along with it because we got Skeet Ulrich back and it did play well in the climax.
I always love the conversations in these movies where they break down the rules in play for the movie. The class room conversation in 4, to Randy in one through three. Only fitting that it6 fell to his niece here and she knocked it out of the park. Loved the flow of the conversation and her frantic energy bounced off everyone’s questions really well. Creating a really fun scenes in the process. Speaking of fun..
The murders were brutal and I loved it. There is a simplicity with Ghostface that I just adore. Not a lot of crazy traps or elaborate deaths. Just using a knife for majority of the time. Quick attacks to the neck or rapid shots to the body. Only making it look more brutal. Lingering on the blade stuck in ones neck or the quick little jab when they took out the stalker, while Red Right Hand played. Chef’s kisses and round of applause all around.
While, I won’t be talking about who the killers are quite yet. I do want to talk about the motives, cause there motives made me laugh way to hard, in a good way. Having it be two toxic fans of the Stab movies, who were upset over the direction the film series went and were attempting to force it to go back to basics by giving them true story material to work with, that is just excellent and how it feels dealing with a toxic fan. Bravo to those who worked this out.
On to the cast and crew and they did a good job. Jasmin Savoy Brown being my favorite of the bunch. Her and Chad, played by Mason Gooding were the movie knowledge characters of the group, and Mason was good, but Jasmin brought the manic energy of the two and stole the scenes she was in because of her obsession on the topic. Jenna Ortega did a lovely job as Tara. She kept taking a beating throughout and felt really bad for her and Jenna did great portraying that. Mikey Madison, Dylan Minnette, and Sonia Ammar did a solid job rounding out the rest of the friend group. Although we did get more of Sonia. We didn’t get enough Liv. Going off the scene with Mindy where she was snapping over constantly being accused of being the killer only to be called to boring to be the killer. She was real creepy in that scene and loved it. Wish we got more following it. It was fun to see Heather Matarazzo back. Neve Campbell is still the best finale girl of all time. She is taking none of this. Just opening fire on closed doors. Telling off the killer and it is wonderful. David Arquette had a great send off to his character and Courtney Cox was there. She felt like Gale, but did not have a lot to do. Now, lets talk about Melissa Barrera.
I am still torn on what to think about her performance as Sam. The things she did right, was fantastic. Her just coming out with the secret and telling Tara the truth. The ending when she was taking out the one killer and wiping the blade clean, just like Papa, was one of the best moments in the movie. She felt like a strong but flawed character, but felt like they only scraped the tip of the iceberg here and left a lot on the table. Would like to have seen them play up suspicion around her a bit more and dive more into it. Need to see this one again before I can say how much I like the character or not, but they have set the table perfect to really explore this character more in sequels.
They really failed on the mystery part of this. You can easily piece this together pretty quickly. We will start with Richie, the boyfriend who knows nothing about any of this and is assertive about this. Only character who is downed by a light shove to a door. While every other character is tanking bullets and stab wounds. While Amber is just so confrontational and dirty looks. This was the least effective reveal in the series.
So final thoughts on Scream 2022. Going into it, Scream hasn’t had a miss yet and that doesn’t change now. Forgot how awesome the Ghostface costume looks on the big screen. Some fun kills and great moment. Mixed the older generation well enough with the younger. Could have given Gale a bit more to do, but didn’t really take me out of it to much. Loved the retelling of scenes with slight alterations to them. The new cast of characters were a lot of fun. Especially Tara and Mindy. While setting up a good future and interesting story to tell with Sam. Future looks bright for this franchise and would suggest checking this out in theaters. Final Grade – B+
As always, I hope you enjoyed and….
Thank You For Reading!
By: Justin Hopkins
The excitement was palpable for this movie. I have loved the world of Resident evil for as long as I can remember. When a new game drops it feels like and event. I even love the animated films and can have some fun with some of the Anderson films. So, it goes without saying after the trailer dropped, was counting down the days. So, lets take the trip back to Raccoon City and see how well they did, shall we.
The movie kicks us off showing Claire as a little girl, at the Raccoon City Orphanage. Being awaken in the middle of the night. Seeing someone hidden in the far end of the room. Someone she has seen before. Waking Chris in the process who tells her it is in her imagination and tells her to go back to bed, but she goes looking for her. Tracking her down in a tent. Learning her name is Lisa Trevor, when she reads the medical tag on her wrist and she lives below. When she crawls into the tent, Doctor Birkin pulls her out. Asking why she is up when Chris gets her out of trouble, with a sleepwalking excuse. Back in bed and she opens her eyes. Seeing the doll from the tent and a good look at Lisa. When she screams, we jump to her waking up as an adult. Getting a ride from a truck driver. Who lectures for screaming in her sleep and wanting to go to Raccoon City. Which is becoming a ghost town since Umbrella has been in the final process of moving out of town. Taking his eyes off the road to make a pass and grab her leg. Missing a woman stumbling out into the road and runs her down. Claire jumps out and rushes to her aide and while she is trying to calm the driver down to help move the body. She gets up and stumbles away. Not realizing she disappeared till the dog gets out and runs to the spot. Lapping at the blood. The driver pulls him back, telling Claire to either come or stay, but he is leaving. Cutting to Leon where he is just waking up and falls back to sleep at the diner. Where Wesker sets a ketchup bottle on his head for a bet with Jill to knock off, which she does and wakes him back up. Learning that he was transferred from his last job, thanks to his Dad, on the account of shooting him in the ass. Jill sticks around when everyone leaves to wish him luck and assure him it will get easier, and we see the Waitress has blood coming from her eye. Meanwhile, Claire gets dropped off, and while she is walking away., The dog starts turning and bites his hand. Back with Claire she arrives at Chris’s house. After the creepy neighbors staring and closes the blinds. Allowing her the freedom of breaking in. Seeing pictures of Chris as an adult standing next to Birkin. Chris comes down for a not so warm reunion. Seems Claire had runaway five years prior after spouting conspiracy theories about what Umbrella was doing. Getting worse when she tells him what happened with the woman and shows him a video of a reporter explaining that Umbrella is leaving because of years of polluting the water and now something worse had gotten out and what was left of the city was doomed. After a brief cutaway to Birkin getting a phone call and he gathered his family to leave. A siren goes off, telling the civilians to stay indoors. Chris gives her money, telling her to lock up when she leaves and goes off to the police station. When the neighbor woman appears at the back door. Writing out the words, Itchy, Tasty on the door and he kid comes through the front. Hiding under the table. Claire asks if they need help, but they say she is the one who needs help. Before Mom crashes through the door. Claire manages to fight her off. Getting to the bike outside and speeds off to find her brother, while the city erupts into chaos.
I was a little worried when I heard they were mashing the events of the two games together. A lot of events to cover, but they really made it work for them. Never feeling like there was any wasted motion. Great pacing and always excited to see what was happening when they shifted from one character to the next. Escalating to a surprising conclussion.
While there was some excellent fan service, from Jill having lines like Jill sandwich and referencing the giant snake and spider. The truck Driver with his burger and brought the Mansion and Police Station to life in a beautiful way. They also made some changes to the lure and the story and for the most part, worked fantastically. The fan service bringing you to a familiar world, with slight changes that, for the most part (we will talk about a bad one later) but kept you surprised as to what may happen. Having the helicopter crash occur at the mansion and Sherry be found by Jill and Chris, instead of Claire. How they handled Wesker and Irons, but my favorite might have been with Lisa. One of the most tragic stories in the franchise and was nice to see her have a bit more. Could see Claire as a kid getting close enough to bond with the likes of Lisa and great scene of Lisa taking down a Licker and in the end, having the friend in Claire.
They had a really dark and gritty feeling that suited the world of Resident Evil. Loved they took the zombie transformation back to a more painful and twisted transformation instead of an abrupt one, with stuff like Itchy and tasty. Going heavy on the gore and mutations. All of which was a lot of fun and G-Birkin looked great.
The cast was spectacular. Kaya Scodelario had a fair amount of screen time and she killed it in her portrayal of Claire. Being my favorite character in the game, was excited over how well she did. Marina Mazepa was awesome as Lisa, with her hunched over movements and way she spoke. Robbie Amell not only channeled a lot of young Chris Redfield, but also looked a lot like him too. We didn’t get a lot of time with Neal McDonough’s Birkin, did excellent with bringing who Birkin is and I am really looking forward to see where Tom Hopper can take Wesker from where this ended. While, Avan Jogia did do a good job with what they had him doing with Leon, the problem being….
I hated what they did with Leon. He really was just a punching bag or the butt of the joke for most of this movie. It got to the point of where it was just sad, especially when he slept through the truck, flipping over and exploding in front of the police station while he is at the front desk. Great scene mind you, but expecting more from Leon S. Kennedy. Not expecting him to come off as action hero he would come across as later, but little better direction than this.
A bit more mixed, was the sound and it wasn’t just on me, but a friend I brought with me brought it up as well, where a times this sound gets to loud. It wasn’t throughout, but at certain points they could have dialed it back a few decibels a bit. Small nitpick, but when it happened, it got jarring.
So, what’s the final thoughts here? Floating between high B and low A. On one hand, I really didn’t like what they did with Leon. Could have been a better in between they could have gone with. On, the other, they did a lot of things right. You can tell they really do care about the world of Resident Evil. Entwinning fan service, with changes that did work, and most of them did work and it does far out weigh the negative. I want to see more come from this and hope the likes of Jill and Leon can get more in sequels. I do suggest going to check this out in theaters, for it has a lot to offer, especially for fans of the games. Final grade – A –
As always, I hope you enjoyed and….
Thank You For Reading!