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Saturday Sequel Presents Jack Reacher: Never Go Back

By Paul Anthony

I promise that this isn’t Tom Cruise’s week here, just backed up in assignments here, best way to return to this blog series, I had to start with this film because of the previous blog but here at SmashWriting, we have watched a lot Reacher in the past few weeks. so this blog will end that fetish. Now this film is the sequel to the 2012 film Jack Reacher. Filming on this film started in October of 2015 and the movie was released 1 year later and nearly four years later after the first film. The events in this film are unknown from his last big screen appearance. the film once again stars Tom Cruise, Cobie Smulders, Aldis Hodge and Danika Yarosh. The film was produce on a budget that was between 60 and 95 million and only grossed 162 million dollars nearly 60 million dollars less than the first film. The film received mixed reviews and up to this point this series is dead, now thanks to the Amazon hit show, which Justin can’t stop watching to this day.

The film starts with Reacher in a diner when he is busted by the police, who we learn is covering up a human trafficking case in which Reacher solved. Reacher warns the cops what will happen if they arrest him, and they just laugh it off, but they get a phone informing them to let Reacher go and they will be arrested and sure enough they are arrested. At this point we learn that during his travels he has been in contact with Major Susan Turner who is holding his former command post. Then he learns from Colonel Sam Morgan that Turner has been arrested and accused of Espionage. Which forces Reacher to travel to D.C. to see Turner and find out the truth. In the process he learns that he has a daughter that he never knew he had and the people that are framing Turner is now framing Reacher and they learn he might have a daughter which has made weak at times and even more protective. Well, they are on the run he even notices how the girl has some of his traits. Like always Reacher manages to solve the case and clear the innocent of any wrongdoing and Turner is reinstated in her post. Reacher then has dinner with his daughter in which he tells her he remembers everyone he has slept with, and she reveals that he isn’t her father because her mother is the waitress that has been serving them and neither of them recognize each other, Reacher parts ways with her and as he is walking, it is revealed that she slipped phone in his pocket with a text message saying do you miss me yet and the film ends with him smiling at the text message.

Now I have to say from learning what I know regarding Reacher, Tom made him show a lot more emotion than apparently the character normally does, the action was on par with the first film, which I might have been expecting more fight scenes or even better action overall. Adding the daughter element made him weaker or showed his human side, hard to be a judge in this case. The plot did have a lot of twist and turns to try to make it seem more intense but just seems like they got lazy or stupid or both honestly. Overall, I am giving this film a C or 70 percent because in the end this film just seemed averaged and when it seems like that then it will get lost in the shuffle of action movies. And that is exactly what has happened!

Top Gun Review

By Paul Anthony

Next month Top Gun 2 is coming out and I am planning on seeing it, but something occurred to me and that was that I never got to watch the first film and well I have a free moment in the schedule, I wanted to take a day to review this film. Now last few days, I had to think about this because I feel like there are two Tom Cruises. The young Tom and the older Tom, now the older Tom takes movies and make it about him, as to where younger Tom was just a movie star in the 80’s. This film was released in May of 1986 and starred a good cast which included Tom Cruise, Meg Ryan, Val Kilmer, Tim Robbins, and Kelly McGillis. Now this film was produced from a 15 million and managed to make a 357 million dollars. Now In 2015 the United States Library of Congress selected the film the film for preservation in the National Film Registry, because it found it to be culturally, historically or aesthetically significant. The film also won an academy award for best original song for Take My Breath Away which was performed by Berlin. Now before most critics gave this film mixed reviews but praised the performance of Cruise and McGillis. Now Let’s start talking about the plot.

Here in this film, we LT Pete Mitchell AKA Maverick, and his Radar Intercept Officer Nick Bradshaw AKA Goose right off the bat we see Maverick as a cocky but talented fighter pilot but during one mission him and goose and their wingman Cougar have a mission, but Cougar basically chokes, and Maverick saves the day, but Cougar gives up his wings which opens the door for Maverick and Goose to join the TopGun program. Once there, Maverick becomes loved and hated but mostly hated by Tom “Iceman” Kazansky who is the top student of the program. Through the film, we see Maverick fall for TopGun Civilian Instructor, and they develop feelings for each other, at the same time Maverick forms a rival with Iceman and each compete for the top spot until one day an accident happens when Maverick gets in Iceman jet wash and flames out but during the ejection a malfunction happens, and goose hits his head hard and killing him and Maverick is cleared of any wrongdoing but nevertheless he feels the guilt of losing his best friend. Maverick does graduate from the program but doesn’t win the award for the best but shortly after graduating they given a mission which Maverick serves as Iceman wingman. However, during the mission Iceman and Hollywood which is another top pilot are ambushed and Maverick is sent to help at first, he seems like Hes going to abandon the mission but, in the end, saves the day as an award maverick can select his next location and job and he decides to become an instructor for the TopGun program.

Now, we have a young tom cruise which back than he wasn’t making movies that were all him. Which help each character shine in their own right. IceMan Val Kimer took each scene that he was in and he made people know that. Though his screen time wasn’t as much as Tom’s he still took the spotlight when he was on the screen. The story was basic because you knew right off the bat that Maverick in the end was going to come through. Lost of Goose midway through the film was a good touch because it gave us a chance to see how close these characters were. The jet’s were the main source of action and it was a thing of beauty to watch them. The problem is for me, we could have had more jet fighting rather than the love story aspect. Don’t me wrong the movie needed emotions but the love story was a waste when they could have gave us more Goose and Maverick. In the end I am giving this film a B or 80 percent. Its above average but not great!

Jack Reacher Movie Review

By Paul Anthony

Last week, on our podcast we decided to review the first season of Reacher which was on Amazon Prime and we gave it raving reviews and in fact Justin can’t watching it to this day. Now because of that, I thought it was time to take a look at first Jack Reacher film that stars Tom Cruise which came out in 2012. Now I have seen this film before but it has been a long while and I am talking about years here, so in order to do this blog, I know I needed to rewatch the film , so I did! Now prior to this film there was no attempts at making a film based on the novel series, since after all the novel series just started in 1997 and seemed like no studio really wanted to buy the film rights until 2005 when the book One Shot was released and by 2010, the ball started to roll and by 2012 the film was released based on One Shot, but the film was simply called Jack Reacher. Tom Cruise was cast as Reacher, but the fan base didn’t enjoy this casting, mostly because of the height difference, in the books Reacher is 6’4 and Tom Cruise is 5’8. Now he was surrounded by a star studded cast which included Richard Jenkins, Rosamund Pike, David Oyelowo, and Robert Duvall. Now let’s start with the plot!

We first seen the crime take place though we don’t know who it is, and we don’t know why but we do see a person killing 5 people, the police investigate and soon we meet a former sniper James Mark Barr and he is taken into custody, is offered a choice of life in prison or death but all he writes down is Get Jack Reacher. Here we learn Reacher is a drifter but was a major in the Military Police and makes it, Hes not interested in clearing Barr’s name because of their past and what Barr has done before just interested in the truth. So with Barr’s lawyer they begin to start this wild goose chase and break down all the information and deal with the true people involved which is gang led by Zec who was a political prisoner. In the end Reacher gets to the truth but not without taking a few bodies down with him and the film ends with Barr waking up from his coma and admitting to the shootings that he did but is still clear of the charges meanwhile Reach gets on a bus and sets his sights on the road again and the film ends.

Now let me start with Tom Cruise because he seems to be the biggest problem of the film. I do agree that he should never have been cast as Reacher because of his height. Reacher’s height is also one of his best physical defense because no one wants go up against someone with that muscle and height. Now also Reacher doesn’t show much emotions and Tom as big name actor has to act more than the character because he is a big name actor. Going away from the roots did hurt the film. The action and story wasn’t on track with each other just seemed off. Now I am not saying it was a boring film or even a bad film but it wasn’t something that to me was going to stick out and because of that in the end I am giving this film a C for grade or 75 percent!

The Batman Movie Review

By: Justin Hopkins

**SPOILER WARNING**

My intrigue level was rivaling my excitement going into the newest installment of Batman. Beyond the point of getting upset over casting of the Dark Knight. Proving the doubters wrong over and over when it comes to who wears the cape and cowl and willing to see what Robert can do with the character Liked the idea of this being an inexperienced Batman who is learning the ropes. Throw in Riddler, Penguin and Catwoman and they had the making of something good. Now, that it is in the books, let’s discuss.

**SYNOPSIS**

Movie kicks off, with Riddler watching the Mayor. Who after sees his family off, they are going trick-or-treating, turns on the debate. Talking to someone on the phone. Not happy his opponent is in a dead heap with him. Riddler attacks him when he gets off the phone, and begins to set the scene. From there, we jump to various ongoing crimes and a voice over from Bruce. Talking about how he has been doing this for two years and isn’t sure what kind of impact, if any, he has been having. That when Bat Signal comes on, it is not just a call, but spreads fear in those, that at any moment, he will seep out of the shadows and get them. And we see, most of the criminals flee at the sight. Staying clear of the dark, except for a gang at the train station, and sure enough, Batman comes out of the shadows. Taking the fight to them and putting the fear of god, in the guy they were attacking. Making his way to the Mayors. Being let into the crime scene, by Gordon. To the chagrin of most of the cops on the scene. Evaluating the scene. Seeing that a card had been left behind for him specifically, before the commissioner chases him out. Back at the cave, Bruce has removed the contact with the camera inside. Going back through what he saw at the scene. Printing out images of the riddle and sypher. Writing in his journal everything that transpired during the night. When we met Alfred. Where they get into an argument over Alfred needing Bruce to be Bruce and do things for the company and Bruce having no time for any of that. Telling him he is not his Dad, as he walks away. Catching back up with Alfred after a shower. Who has been working on the sypher. Together they come up with the word drive. With Gordon, they go to the Mayor’s Garage. Finding a thumb drive in one, with the Mayors thumb attached to it. Inside, were pictures of the Mayor, with another woman outside of the Iceberg Lounge. A mafia club run by the Penguin. Batman makes his way over and brawls his way to a conversation. Penguin denies knowing anything about knowing the girl, but the bartender, Selina takes interest in it. Batman noticing her watching and when he recognizes her boots from a pair in the photo. Follows her out of the club and back to her apartment. Finding the girl there. Only he doesn’t go in. Watching Selina get into gear of her own and sneak out. Following her to the Mayor’s where he catches he busting in the safe. Stealing a passport. After a brief scuffle, learns that the Mayor had stolen the women’s passport and she is to traumatized to say what she knows, but he gets her to agree to take her back so he could talk to her. Only, when they get back. Find the apartment is trashed and she is gone. On the TV, the news is reporting the body of Commissioner had been found. Video had gone viral of The Riddler introducing himself, with Commissioner strapped to a rat maze. Adding to the mystery that would only get deeper from here, but where I leave it for now.

**REVIEW**

I adored the story so much. The mystery was laid out exactly right. Pacing and rising tension was perfect and climax that was well told and seeing the aftermath of everything after, was chef’s kiss. How a mistranslation was able to create so much confusion. Misleading you to consider Penguin, Batman and then finally, Falcone.

Riddler’s motivation was well told. Growing up in dilapidated orphanages with promises never kept. Showing how a corrupt Gotham create this villain and even how from his perspective, Thomas Wayne would appear guilty. Since he never got to explain what happened with the reporter and it was his foundation that was being pillaged by the corrupt officials.

Loved how the Batman was used here. Being early into his Crime Fighting, he had tech and detective abilities, but hasn’t quite put it all together. But did have the reputation, of something to be feared. When the Bat signal came out and everything would get tense and people were afraid. How he would rush into fights and tank damage, but would overwhelm his opponents with overall brutality. Putting the fear into not just bad guys but those he is trying to save as well, and all of this brutality and anger is starting to bleed through to when he was Bruce.
As much as I loved the portrayal as Batman, think Robert Pattinson may have shined his brightest as Bruce Wayne. Spending all his time, as Batman. Being around the violence and misery. All the while not seeing the positive impact he set out for, was making him miserable. Making him want to put on the mask and get back to it, and miserable even having to pretend to care about anything related to Bruce. By the end, learning that he was in fact making an impact just not the one he wanted. That the lesson he was preaching was one of vengeance and people gluing to that. That he would have to change and be better and I am really looking forward to seeing where they go from here on that note.

The fight scenes were great and cinematography was gorgeous. The score they had for batman was interesting in a good way. While The Batmobile was incredible.

Had already droned on about Robert Pattinson, he was great at the role. Lets take a moment to shine a light on the rest. Jeffery Wright was the perfect choice for Gordon. Him and Robert had some really good chemistry together. A lot of fun seeing them working together on the screen. Same with Andy Serkis’s Alfred, who I want to see much more of in the sequel. Paul Dano was incredible as Riddler. Bringing out the arrogance in the highly intelligent villain. Who seemed like someone who you’d encounter in the real world. Collin Farrell was perfect on making Penguin an interesting character. John Turturro was a surprise to see as Falcone, and knocked it out of the park, especially with Zoe Kravitz’s Selina Kyle. Who played a good Catwoman. She had the moves, looked great, and left me wanting to see more of her in this world as well.

This is very much a mixed aspect of the movie. While I loved the cinematography. There were a few rough spots, where things were to dark for their own. Example, is toward the end at Falcone’s, when Batman was fighting through the hall. Only light from gun flashes. Which, is great, but the flashes were so rapid, that I was pretty much blind through most of it. This might have just been a my eyes kind of deal or might not be there when I watch at home, but for now. It’s in the mixed category.

But that is all I got for you. This was a thrilling, psychological ride, with a ton of good action and horror themed moments. Actors and actresses did a ton to flesh their characters out and left them with places to grow and move forward from here. Go forth and check it out. Keep the Joker in the asylum and bring me the Court of Owls. Final Grade – S

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As always, I hope you enjoyed and….

Thank You For Reading!

No Exit Movie Review

**SPOILER WARNING**

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.

**SYNOPSIS**

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.

**REVIEW**

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

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As always, I hope you enjoyed and….

Thank You For Reading!

Texas Chainsaw Massacre Review

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.

Whose Your Spider-Man?

BY Paul Anthony

I had been wanting to do this blog for a long time now but decided to wait until we were out of the spoiler zone for the Spider-Man fan base. We now know that Spider-Man: No Way home is killing it at the box office even when it finally dropped to second place it is still making money, even as this blog is being typed. We saw both Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield return as Spider-Man. Which shocked the world in some ways because there were so many rumors regarding the both of them. We of course now know that everyone came back, and it made me wonder who I consider my Spider-Man to be? Afterall, I have seen all the modern Spider-Mans. However, before my time there was one actor who played Spider-Man for the television movies from the late 70’s to the early 80’s. His name is Nicholas Hammond and if you have seen his films then you might consider him your Spider-Man and if you do than that is fine but since his films weren’t in the theaters sadly, he won’t count for this blog.

we will first start with the first of them all and that would Tobey Maguire who was cast as the hero in the summer of 2000 and even manage to beat out the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, Freddie Prinze jr, Chris O’Donell, Jude Law, Chris Klien, Wes Bentley, Health Ledger, James Franco, Scott Speedman and even Joe Manganiello. Though James and Joe would still be cast in other roles. Nevertheless, Tobey won the job and filming was set to begin in November of 2000, it got pushed back to January of 2001. Though we didn’t have insight to contract details back then we do know he was offered 3-4 million and higher salary for two sequels. In this time frame there had only really been a few successful comic book movies outside of Batman and Superman. No doubt this was going to be a challenge. Now it’s lifetime the film managed to gross 825 million dollars and managed to spawn two more films with Maguire starring as Spider-Man. The series ran from 2002 to 2008. At this point we had nothing to compare to Maguire’s performance as Spider-Man because there really wasn’t another Spider-Man. Sadly we never got a Spider-Man 4 for a number of reasons regarding contracts and creative direction, at this point the series that was a big hit was left for dead. Until just four years later a reboot came out titled The Amazing Spider-Man.

Here we now had a new actor taking the role from Maguire and that was none other than Andrew Garfield who got the role just two years after Spider-Man 3 came out. Now the film was released in the summer of 2012, and it seemed like that film series wanted to show Peter Parker true intelligence by having him design his own web shooters which did go more towards the comic book. This film series wanted to keep Spider-Man in high school though he was already 17 and in his junior year. At first, I know was bitter about the reboot, I so bad wanted to see part 4 and not see a reboot but I have to admit Garfield sold me on it. His performance gave us a nerdy but funny Peter Parker and a Spider-Man that truly moved like a Spider-Man. two years later we got the sequel and it seemed like that Maguire/ Spider-Man was a thing of the past. Though Sony failed to learn from their mistakes with adding too many villains and changing Parker’s parents’ deaths and so forth, though the lone bright spot was for the first time on the big screen Spider-Man failed to save Gwen. Now No one knocked Garfield’s performance, but this film managed to become the lowest grossing spider-man film and had very high budget which was around 293 million and you knew what was coming and that was a reboot and another failed ending.

Now at this point just a year later in a shocking turn of events Sony worked out a deal with Marvel to Allow the character to return home as long as Sony gets something out of the deal. This shocked the world because we knew that at this time the MCU was in full swing and killing it at the box office and we knew Sony own the film rights, but we didn’t know was that Sony needed to release a spider-man film every 5.75 years to keep the film rights. The original plan was to find a way to bring Garfield’s Spider-Man in the MCU but both Sony and Marvel agreed to go a different direction and that was to reboot the character once again and truly make a film series of Peter Parker in high school, but they needed a young actor which they found that in Tom Holland who was 17 at the time of the casting to play a 15-year-old Peter Parker which was close enough. Tom made his appearance as Spider-Man in 2016 hit film Captain America: Civil War and Marvel did a good job at introducing him and getting away from the beginnings that we saw Sony do twice, instead we see him, and he has only been Spider-man for 6 months and just been doing the small things well the Avengers fight Aliens from Space. a Year later we get Spider-man: Homecoming, which I loved the title and found it Ironic. This was Tom Holand’s first full film as Spider-Man, and we managed to make it a third solo film and with a bright future and maybe a part 4!! In all Tom has played Spider-Man for 6 films, Maguire 4 films and Garfield in 3 films, the latter two also starred in Spider-Man No Way Home. Now it is time to ask ourselves, who is your Spider-Man?

I catch myself asking that question over and over again and I have to keep breaking things down, since this one a few cases where there have been three actors in one generation which most cases its one actor per generation. Now With Maguire I believe he was the better Peter Parker; he was quiet but innocent at the same time, he was very smart but not enough to brag about it. Him as Spider-Man almost was the same as Peter Parker which goes against the alter Ego situation. Now we have Garfield and his Spider-Man. What stands out to me is when he is under the mask, he seemed to become the spider and his movements were based on an actual spider, we can argue that the technology wasn’t fully there for Maguire to do this but then again that series went away from a few things regarding the comics. Garfield performance as Peter was hilarious with his jokes but sometimes came off as a creep regarding Gwen, it was one thing to be nervous because we all have been there but being a little creepy wasn’t a Peter thing. Then we have Tom Holland. who seemed to have blended the two previous spider-man’s together which might have been the right thing to do? He moves like Maguire with hints of Garfield in it, He does show his intelligence but at times seems to be a fan boy and amaze at the same time, which can go overboard at times and that is both as Peter and Spider-Man, Now the good thing is that the character was able to grow as the series went on which makes me more excited to see where the character goes from here at No Way Home.

Now who is my Spider-Man? Well with watching all three and knowing I am only in my early 30’s, I would have to say now it is Holland because he has the time to keep evolving the character and that is something we didn’t see from the other two. Now Maguire is the OG and no one will take that away from him and Garfield proved he could step out of Maguire shadow and cement his legacy and of course Holland proved that he respected those character of the past. In The end Holland is my Spider-Man, so now who is yours?

Scream 2022 Movie Review

**SPOILER WARNING**

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.

Synopsis

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.

Review

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.

Finale

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+

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As always, I hope you enjoyed and….

Thank You For Reading!

My Top 10 Movies of 2021

By: Justin Hopkins

Another trip back down the road. A calendar years worth of movies to weigh with invisible qualities that, only the one putting their list together can see. What movies made them feel something. Happiness, sadness, suspense and thrills. Fan favorites being taken off from the list cause of little tick. Making space for an unpopular one. Making a list that is uniquely your own. Which is what makes them so much fun. To see why they chose they way they did and pick up some that you may have overlooked or missed, because it was easy to do in 2021. So, with all of that said, let’s dive in shall we.

10. Malignant

Style and creativity helps lock down the tenth spot on my list. Despite the fact I gave it a bit of a mediocre grade. Annabelle Wallis did a really good job as Madison. Which went a long way in paying off a climax that stays with you long after the movie is over.

9. Psych 3: This is Gus

I had to. I love this group so much and every time they put out a movie it is such a delight. James Rodriguez and DulĂ© Hill never fail to entertain. The fight in the bathroom was over the top in the best possible ways and Timothy Omundson can pull on the heart strings with almost ease. A must if you were a fan of the show and check out the show if you haven’t so you can enjoy this one.

8. Spiral

I know, I am shocked to. Had given up on the Saw movies after 3, and was disappointed in that one. This movie was more then just look at the elaborate traps that the series had seemed to fall into. Presenting us with an intriguing story and mystery around it, and while there were a lot of solid performances, Chris Rock is the one that sealed it for me. He excelled in his performance and should stick to the genre for a while.

7. Ghostbusters: Afterlife

This felt like the sequel that should have come out a long time ago. Cast, setting everything was spot on and future looks bright for them moving on.

6. Kate

I love this movie so much. This was such a fun movie. From the fight sequences, colors, music. Mary Elizabeth Winstead was spectacular, by making you care about a character that you know is doomed.. I actually thought it would be higher on the list, but it’s been that kind of year.

5. Cruella

They made fashion war entertaining. Took a character as vile as Cruella and made her a sympathetic hero. Not a small feat, but they managed to pull it off. Of course, having Emma Stone as Cruella, makes it so much easier for them.

4. Resident Evil: Welcome To Racoon City

The fanboy in me had an absolute blast with this. Loved the changes they made to keep those who know the story off kilter and had they not made Leon a joke. This could have been number 1.

3. The Suicide Squad

Hey look, a dark, mature Comic Book Movie that is actually fun to watch. Margot is still excels as Harley. Idris Elba and Daniela Malchior were amazing additions and can’t believe it took this long to get villain John Cena. Even Joel Kinnaman made us care about the death of Rick Flag and he was awful in the first go around.

2. Spider-Man No Way Home

What can I say that hasn’t been beaten to death the last few weeks. It has everything. Nostalgia, emotional thrill ride, excellent moments and scenes. They took you on a ride throughout and ended on a bittersweet moment. An excellent movie that nearly knocked off the number one movie.. or well movies.

1.Fear Street Trilogy

Is it a cheat putting all three of them together; maybe, but the three work so well together that I can’t ignore them. Had me on the edge of my seat and emotions swinging wildly. Characters that I couldn’t stand and swung wildly the other way and was pulling for them to make it. Cliffhangers that had escalated everything perfectly, and a reveal that was a hundred percent the opposite of what I thought I was expecting. Had me hooked and engaged and they even had great and gruesome kills. 1994, 1978, and 1666 came together and fit together seamlessly and made for a stunning story, and claims the number one spot on my list.

As always, I hope you enjoyed and….

Thank You For Reading!

Psych 3: This is Gus Movie Review

By: Justin Hopkins

**SPOILER WARNING**

I was absolutely devastated. Psych was one of my favorite shows during its run, and the first two movies were great fun, and I had no idea that this movie dropped till about a week ago. No fault other then my own for not being on the ball, but being that I see so many trailers for movies I don’t want to see. Would have been nice to see one to highlight this one. On the plus, side though, I went into this one truly blind and will always take more Psych in my life. So, lets jump in and discuss how they did the third time around.

Synopsis

The movie kicks off with a media storm outside of the Police Station. Buzz bringing in a suspect, with his lawyer demanding his release. Being stopped by a returning Lassiter, who tells everyone they have the wrong guy, and starts explaining how the real culprit is the lawyer. Being fed the information through an ear piece by Shawn. Who is hiding in a bush nearby with Gus. Everything is going well, until Shawn and Gus get into an argument over food, that Lassiter starts to repeat out loud. After the crowd dissipates, they are taking him back home. Learning he is still in rehabbing and struggling with his recovery. While Gus is preoccupied with preparing for the wedding. Shawn tells him that they can’t keep coming back down here to help him, but he doesn’t take that well. Saying that they are coming for his job and if they don’t come back, they are dead to him. Shawn goes to his Dad to get him to help, but refuses. Saying Lassie is worse than what he wants to admit and all they have done is give him false hope by helping. While he is out helping Gus with errands for the wedding. We learn that Gus is determined to have this wedding before she gives birth, but there is an issue; she hasn’t gotten divorced yet. Shawn starts to pry. Even going to Juliet to try and get her to look her up, but she won’t. Since they agreed to not have any children. Sees her friendship with Selene as her chance to be Godmother and tells him to leave it alone. So, of course, he goes to Chief Vick. Who is fixated on getting her meeting with the press out of the way so she can go on her family camping trip and while she doesn’t out right tell him no. Does so in a way that it didn’t happen if he doesn’t get caught and leaves him alone in her office. While the four are at dinner, Shawn steals her purse, and takes it into the bathroom. Getting an address from indents in her wallet, but is caught by Gus. He tries to explain but a fight ensues. After a lengthy brawl, Shawn convinces him that the two can settle this by just going to talk to her Sister. When they get there the next day, she has no idea who they are and when they argue with her boyfriend. She makes a run for it. Catching up to her when she flips her car. Confessing that she hires her to play her sister, and that Selene isn’t even her real name and he was not the first guy she introduced. Back with Juliet, Selene comes to her office, she found a bunch of stuff in her purse. If they are doing what she thinks they are, then they are in danger and that is where I will leave it for now.

Review

Nobody has lost a step. Says so much on how good everyone is at there roles and how much chemistry they have together. Able to step into their characters like they had never stopped. The jokes, over the top moments, and emotions all hit so well and this movie had them firing on all cylinders.

They did a solid weave this story together. Not the first time they have gone to Gus attracting the wrong person and you really found yourself pulling for him. Hoping that this was all a misunderstanding, so he can have a good ending. While also not dropping the ball when it came to Lassiter. Showing his struggles with recovery and not sure what to do. Building on the emotions he had from Lassie Comes home and made for some of the best parts of the movie.

Along with planting scenes for things to come. With a post credit scene of Allen changing his focus to Gus and Selene in a room full of their picture. Besides the fact that Alan Maldonado was a lot of fun as Alan, but they way they used him. Could prove to be a credit threat to them and like the idea of a recurring threat. Also, I do hope we get to see more time for Vick and see where they are going with her family issues.

And before we end this, I go to talk about the bathroom brawl. It was so over the top and delightful and every time you thought it was over it just kept going and I could watch an entire movie length of that fight.

That is it. No negatives to speak of. Slightly mixed on was I didn’t care to much for the music video, but it is at the end and didn’t take anything away from the film. Have talked about the cast before and they are all wonderful at their characters and just love the fact we keep getting more from this world. Definitely check it out on Peacock. You won’t be disappointed. Final Grade – A +

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As always, I hope you enjoyed and….

Thank You For Reading!

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