By Paul Anthony
You ever watch a hero movie without the actual hero? It would be a first that a superhero movie wouldn’t have a hero in it, and this is the first unless you count flashback scenes than never mine but if you do than we all can agree. The film stars Sylvester Stallone, Pilou Asbeck and Javon ‘Wanna” Walton. Now the movie started to film just when the pandemic started so it was on pause for 7 months until they could film again. It was delayed three times. First it was supposed to be released on November 20th, 2020, then December 11th, 2020, June 4th, 2021, and then it was finally released on August 26th, 2022. Now the question is having this movie not have a hero was it the right choice? Well let’s talk about the plot first.
The film starts with a voiceover filling us in on the back story. It us that there were two boys, twins that had rare powers and sometimes they would hurt people to no fault of their own and one day the town grew frustrated and try to burn their house down to kill them, but they survived but their parents had died. One boy wanted revenge and grew to become Nemesis, well the other one wanted to forgive the people and grew to save the people becoming Samaritan. The brothers grew to hate each and one day Nemesis set a trap to kill Samaritan, but the power plant blew up killing them both, though many believed that the Samaritan lived but was never seen again. 25 years has passed, and we meet a kid named Sam (Walton) who is a fan of Samaritan. But he lives in the poor section of town, where the crime has risen over the years and through a friend gets involved in with the wrong and when that crowd turns on him, he is saved by Joe (Stallone) Sam thinks he is the Samaritan though Joe denies it. But Sam also has the attention of a crime lord Cyrus (Asbeck) who wants to be Nemesis 2 and believes Joe is Samaritan, when all the roads lead to Joe and Cyrus fighting it out Joe reveals his true colors to save Sam and that is Samaritan did die but Nemesis lived and made a new life for himself as Joe. When Joe defeats everyone he tells Sam that he will do the right thing and when the news interviews Sam, he tells them that the Samaritan saved him to Joe’s delight.
How do you make an aging 80-year-old actor look good well adding him to the superhero business where CGI is god’s gift. Look Stallone did alright as old man who wants to be left alone. His ability in acting was good enough. The plot twist was alright at best, but they made one mistake by having Stallone by the characters, you knew he was one of them and preaching about the twins made it clearer. However, Heroes wouldn’t let the town get out of control with crime, so the twist was basically ruined. They could have had the twist executed just better. The rest of the stuff like the action and acting graphics seem to be just averaged to me. Though I don’t believe this movie was horrible and it seemed good but still felt like it was an average film that will get lost in the shuffle. In the end I am giving it a B because it felt like was an average film it still had enough to be above average.
By Paul Anthony
This week I decided to jump on the band wagon of reviewing this film and of course the film I am talking about is Without Remorse starring Michael B. Jordan. Now this movie is based on the Tom Clancy’s book of the same name. The book came out in 1993 and Hollywood wanted to do a movie as soon as possible but never got off the ground and sat in development Hell, even though they had a script and actors picked out. At one point Keanu reeves was cast as the lead role but nothing happened so than they moved onto Tom hardy once again nothing happened. it wasn’t until 2018 when this film started to pick up steam when new writers were hired to rewrite the film and Michael B Jordan was cast as the lead in the film. You had Jordan star as John Kelly but his supporting cast included Jamie Bell as Robert Ritter, Jodie Turner-Smith as Lieutenant Commander Karen Greer, Guy Pearce as Secretary of Defense Thomas Clay and Lucy Russell as Sarah Dillard, CIA Director. Like many films during the pandemic this film was supposed to be released in the theaters but that didn’t happen and that’s when Amazon acquired the film and had released on April 30th 2021. Now Let me make this clear, I have not read the book so with that being said I can give it negative or positive points for sticking or drifting away from the plot of the book.
The film starts in Aleppo where we meet a team of Navy SEALS which includes John Kelly (Jordan), after they do one mission they are tasked with another and that mission is to rescue a captive C.I.A agent but they aren’t fully informed of situation and worse they were given the wrong information about who took this agent and they learned that they killed Russians. Nevertheless they complete the mission and return home but than three months later, Kelly’s team gets picked off one by one and they come after Kelly next, he kills his attackers but not before they kill his pregnant wife but Kelly himself took near fatal shots. Over the next few months Kelly works to get his life back together but also find out who did this and why and kill them. Kelly sets out to find the guy who gave the passports to the Russians and gathers information from him before he kills him but this sends Kelly to Jail but seems like this was a part of his plan anyway. In the end Kelly Makes a deal with Thomas Clay who is the secretary of defense to find the Russians who did this and kill them. Of course nothing goes as planned and Kelly has to save his team and fake his own death but in this mayhem he learns the truth and the truth was Clay was behind everything which Kelly tricks him into admitting before he kills him. The main reason behind this was to boost the American economy by starting a new cold war. The plan doesn’t work of course. The film ends with Kelly getting a new name John Clark and wanted to start a new task force called RAINBOW.
I have to say the best part of this film was Jordan as Kelly his performance made it so much more believable. However outside of that I think it goes down hill from here. The film could have used a more action, to show us how badass Kelly really is and next the whole idea of started a cold war didn’t work for me. At the very least they could have thicken the plot but giving us a cliffhanger and leave us wanting for more but decided not. Like I said before I never read the book so this might have been the best they could do. The rest of the acting was on par, I don’t think anyone really stood out more than Jordan. In the end I am giving this film a B rating or about 80 percent!!
By Paul Anthony
As we continue our Journey through this franchise, it is now time to take a look at this long awaited sequel which the title doesn’t make any sense because for the most part they aren’t in America. Right off the bat after seeing this title before I knew the plot or even watched the film I had ask myself is this an omen to come regarding this film. I have stated I am not a fan sequels that have been delayed forever or not needed. It may seem like I am bashing this film before I even review it but trust me I am not but the problem is that this film was just too late. This film takes place thirty year after the first one. Now I am sure if this was 1993 or something we would all be curious of what the princess and prince was up to but not thirty years later. Now prime claims this was the number 1 film in America nd though its hard to say if that was true or not. We know the budget was 60 million and Amazon bought the rights 125 million so in so many ways I guess that means the film made money. The film brings back nearly all of the cast from the first film and adds Tracey Morgan and the ever annoying Leslie Jones and also adds Wesley Snipes as well, but let’s check out the plot shall we?
Akeem and Lisa now have been married for thirty years and have three daughters who seemed to be more of a badass than their own father who has seemed to be grown into a soft hearted person. Akeem gets summon to see his dying father who breaks the news to him that he has son and that’s important because only a son can take throne. Akeem must explain this to Lisa because this takes places days before they truly meet, though she accepts, his daughter does not because she has been training to be queen all her entire life. Nevertheless Akeem travels to New York to meet his son Lavelle whos is a smart mouth but nothing more and his mother is played by Leslie Jones. We get the back story and basically this was a quickie gone wrong. They return to Zamunda where Lavelle and his mom learns the ways of the royal family but once again Lavelle must be in arranged marriage which he doesn’t like because he is falling for the woman who baths him basically. Lavelle over hears his father making a deal though he just showed up at the wrong part of the conversation . Lavelle leaves with his mother and returns back to New York. Though Akeem finds him and gives him his blessing and they return home and there Akeem changes the laws and makes his eldest daughter heir to the throne.
So this film was a let down on a few fronts. 1 the plot seemed to be basically the plot from the first film. Which meant the jokes fell flat because they were all the same. Not too mention it had Leslie Jones in it and we had less of James Earl Jones. I guess the omen of title basically Jinxed it. Honestly it seemed to ride the back of the first film and that was about it. Now Overall this movie gets a A for effort but for a review I am giving it a D for a grade, let ‘s hope there won’t be a third one in my life time.
By Paul Anthony
I guess we can call this Eddie Murphy weekend here at SmashWriting and I say that because today I am reviewing his film and on Saturday I am reviewing the sequel to this film as well which is titled Coming 2 America, creative huh? In the 1980’s Murphy was as hot as anyone with having a good stand up career and being in hit after hit, basically for the new age people he was Kevin Hart of the 80’s. The movie stars Eddie Murphy but the cast was actually stacked with talent, you had of course Arsenio Hall, James Earl Jones, Shari Headley and John Amos. The film also had Louie Anderson and a younger Samuel L Jackson. Though this film didn’t need Anderson, it should be noted that the studio which is Paramount requested that there needed to be a white person in this film, and truly no there was no need for that. The film was released in the summer of 1988, the film had a budget of just 36 million and managed to make 350 million, now this is the part where I say sequel would happen but we know that is truly the case. I have to admit its been awhile since I watched the film so I needed to watch it over again. Well let’s waste no time and check out the plot.
The plot is simple Eddie Murphy plays the prince of an African country who must get married to a princess which his father has already arranged but this is not what the prince wants and during announcement he decides that he wants to find his own bride though he does not exactly say that. He basically tells his father he wants to go to America to basically have sex. So him and his servant travel to New York to begin the process though they agree that no one should know their true identity. Instead they act like they goat keepers. After failed attempts to meet the queen to be at clubs the two attend a fundraiser where the prince finds the perfect woman for him and her name is Lisa however he must fight for her love because she is already and though he managed to win her heart, he must reveal the truth to her and tell her he is a prince. At this point his father has come to America to find him and bring back home and is shocked to find out what he has been up. Once the prince tells Lisa the truth she runs away and basically he becomes sad and returns home with his family to marry his arranged bride though he is shocked to see that it is Lisa and everything ends well.
Okay now this film is suppose to be a comedy and to be honest I did catch myself laughing at few jokes. “The royal penis is clean” was funny line as well as the good morning neighbors, I never been a fan of Murphy being different characters though they had their moments. With it being a comedy I didn’t expect much of anything else regarding the plot. In the end honestly it was a hit but I am giving it a B but still enjoyed watching it!!
By Paul Anthony
It is hard for me to start this review off any other way but to say wow to this film. this could be a film of the year for me candidate. When you have a movie that the characters are Jim Brown, Sam Cooke, Malcom X and Muhammad Ali, then it better be a good film and sure enough it was. It is crazy already praise the film so early in this review but there is a lot to talk about. First I didn’t know this was an actually play and I didn’t even realize this was an fictionalized meeting of these legends. The film was directed by Regina King which marks her first feature film as an director, then the screenplay was written by Kemp Powers which he based it on his play. The film stars Kingsley Ben Adir as Malcolm X, Eli Goree, Aldis Hodges as the Great Jim Brown and Leslie Odem jr as Sam Cooke.
The film starts in 1963, here we see a young Muhammad Ali who was still going by Cassius Clay being over confident and getting knocked out, we then see Sam Cooke have an humiliating performance at the Copacabana in front of an all white crowd. Jim Brown returns home and see’s an old family friend who is white and embraces him kindly, though Brown offers to help move furniture but gets denied to come in the house because he black. We then move onto Malcolm who returns home and informs his wife that he wants to leave the nation of Islam. We then skip to 1964 where Clay wins the title and Malcolm plans a little get together with the four of them to celebrate the victory. But when the four of them get to the hotel Malcolm reveals that he only invited them so they could reflect on their accomplishments. Though as the night moves on Malcolm and Cooke begin to disagree with the way they see things in their success and add insult to injury in this feud Clay reveals he might have second thoughts about joining the nation but everything comes together and the group comes together and supports each other. Brown retires from football to become an actor, Cooke being inspired by the argument writes a great song that he performs on the Tonight show Clay joins the Nation of Islam and Malcolm completes his autobiography and leaves the nation though his life turns to worse because of it and the film ends.
First the acting was on point, I felt the emotions of the characters that I was watching, the dialogue went perfect with the scenes that we got to watch. This film told a powerful story and because of that story we didn’t need any special effects or graphics or even over the top action. Each scene left you waiting for the next one and each sentence did the same thing. In the end I have to give this film an A plus for a rating and label it as a must watch film!
By Paul Anthony
Here we are in a new time period for films because of the outbreak that the world is going through currently, three months ago when this all started a feud actually started between Universal and the largest movie theater chain that is AMC. The feud started because Universal decided to release Trolls to home rentals and saw a good number in return and this sparked them to announced that they may start to release films early and at home rentals which the average price was around 20 dollars. this prove to be a successful move but AMC took offense to these comments and this is how this feud started. now we know we would have a winner and a loser in this feud but who and could a deal be reached?
We now know that a deal has been reached and this might be a game changer in the industry. The deal is between Universal and AMC which AMC will have the film for 17 days after it is released before Universal will decide to release the film on PVOD. We know from common sense this window could last longer depending on how well the movie does at the box office. Sure the film can make money on PVOD but most likely not as much as it would in a theater. Mostly because the the cost of a ticket per person. It is a well known fact to rent a movie for 20 dollars for a family would be cheaper then buying 4 tickets or so. At the end of the day both parties wanted to make money but more so Universal needed to be smart and look at the numbers correctly but also be loyal to the fanbase that love their movies.
We now have to wonder what will follow after this deal between the two giants. Will more giants follow this path. We see already everything is right now taking a hit because of this outbreak situation. When seen films like My spy head to Amazon just so we can watch it but Big budget films have yet to be release because studios know that they could lose money by going to PVOD so theaters know that they will have the movie for sometime but the question is now for long. Studios might want to wait to see how all this plays out, no doubt that Universal has a big films coming out in 2021 and if this deal fails or hurts the studio. Then we know PVOD wasn’t all it was cracked up to be and this idea will fade.
PVOD is a nice thing but it takes away the most popular date idea in history, a Dinner and movie with a night out on the town and as Justin spoke some movies are better on the big screen. Just listen to his review of the film Becky, he clearly states this film would have been better on the big screen. Trolls may have been a fluke because it was a family movie and the outbreak just started and people needed to watch something as the fear started to sit in with people. In the end time will tell how this deal will work out with all parties.
By Paul Anthony
Here we are about to talk about a movie that just couldn’t get released. The Movie kept getting pushed back and back. This film was suppose to come out in August of 2019 but then got pushed to January of 2020 then to March then to April but then this virus happened and it seemed like this film was doomed but then Amazon bought the rights to the film so the move goers could see this film and the film got a home release. The question I always have is if this film was released how much would it make? Truth is the budget was a low 18 million for this comedy and it did gross when it could overseas a nice 5.5 million. Comparing this film with Dave Bautista other film Stuber I would ball park around 30 million. Now Stuber was considered a failure with being an summer time film, which could have been the reason why this film was moved out of the summer. So how good was this film? Well the truth be told this film was on par with Stuber, except this was more aimed at families rather than just adults, so if you liked that film than you will like this film as well.
The film revolves around JJ who was a former Special Forces soldier who became a spy for the CIA. It is clear that though he was a great soldier, he not a good spy. We seen this in the opening scenes when he blurs out information that he didn’t receive unless he was a spy. The one thing he can do is fight and blow stuff up which is how he makes it out a live. After returning to the headquarters and it seems like he did a good thing he is told by his boss that though he did good with fighting , he didn’t get any information that was truly needed and is told that maybe being an spy just not for him but is given a easy mission in Chicago with his new partner. His Mission is to watch a family of a criminal they have their eye on, simple enough right? Soon as they get to Chicago he comes across the niece of the Criminal and his cover is blown but she manages to blackmail him as long as he serves a father figure and teach her how to become a spy. The adventures that he does with the girl brings the laughs of course and they even save the day together and when the mission is over, he decides to return to Chicago to live with her and her mother who he began to have feelings for towards the end of the film.
This film had some cheap laughs but you couldn’t figure out who the audience should be because it wasn’t meant for kids but wasn’t meant for adults either. Some things wee just too out of place for me to really like but enjoyed Bautista and glad to see he is growing as an actor. In the end I am giving this film an C for a grade. It felt average to me and honestly can’t say more about it.
By Paul Anthony
Here in this blog we are soon approaching the first full month of Disney Plus and I sat back thought man I should review this streaming service that had so much hype. This streaming service once had the nickname Netflix Killer just like how Netflix killed the rental industry. So did it really have that type of impact? My answer is no in the end Disney plus is great but never lived up being the so called Netflix killer. I’ll break it down for you.
Day 1 here we go people were so excited since we heard stories of all the shows they were going to have but the problem most of those shows weren’t actually finished just yet. Sure we had a few new shows and few movies, the biggest show that is taking center stage is the Star Wars show The Mandalorian with the bounty hunter who has no name yet and baby Yoda which isn’t his name but that is what everyone is calling him. When they bought Fox we knew the Simpsons would be on their way to Disney plus and sure enough they were on there. Yet Family guy wasn’t once again there is a fan base that is lost that Disney didn’t jump on. As a Marvel fan I am exciting for all the Marvel shows that are coming yet they were no where near ready which is bummer. We all know we love to binge watch shows on these streaming services and I get it Disney wanted to be different but not having resume feature at first was a joke. They did add this feature but only after the fact when the fans started to cry that this didn’t make sense and they were right. How could they could they miss something so simple, I’m not sure.
Last also go back to the launch and how it nearly crash the website, I get that certain things you can’t predict but you should have expected people would flock in the millions to sign up and log in and right off the bat watch their favorite shows, I mean Darkwing Duck was trending at one point and I loved singing the Chip and Dale Rescue Rangers song over and over again. If there is one thing Disney plus did was it brought back our childhood but that is all, no it is not a Netflix killer as many people called it, truth is as of right now it is another streaming service with great content at a cheap price and in the end its the cable companies that need to worry not Netflix.
By: Justin Hopkins
It can be pretty intimidating huh. What started out as a few, allowing you to cut the expensive cord of cable. Has seem to grow into a monster. Even doing research for this list they just kept coming and coming. Every Channel and Brand and Sport all seem to be rolling out new one every month it seems and if you want to keep up with your favorite form of medium. You have to sign and pay up to do so, and of course, they can’t seem to share among themselves to help out, but we are not helpless. We have the power to go through and check them out ahead of time, and see which ones are best suited for our viewing needs and today we are going to do just that. I am going to go through them and talk about them in some detail and whether or not I would suggest it. Without further ado, let’s start with one of the originators, Netflix.
Blogger Note. I am going to skip Youtube and Twitch. I know you can get great material on both. Binge watch a lot of Youtube myself. Just don’t really count either as streaming services. No matter what they say about Youtube red. Don’t pay for Youtube. If you find a Youtuber or Streamer you like, give to their patron and help them out directly.
I remember running to and from the post office. Eager to get my DVD from Netflixs. God, I feel old. Anyways, Hulu may have beat them to the punch on streaming, but in my opinion, Netflix seemed to perfect it. They had a good blend of movies we were looking for and their own original programing. House of Cards, Orange Is The New Black, Marvel, Castlevania, Disenchantment, Stranger Things. Even their movies deliver. They seem to be taking a lot of hits in the wake of Disney Plus and an even bigger one when HBO Max debuts, but for my money. Netflix is still a must have in my book. For their original content alone. Prices can bit much, but worth every dollar.
I have never seen the appeal behind Hulu. Always just been kind of boring. Mostly, because what I watch I can find through other services. When there biggest selling point is based on catching up on shows you missed and those shows will soon be accessible through other means. Think Hulu may be in more trouble than any of the rest. There original content has never appealed to me and the prices range from cheap at 5.99 to the more crazy at 50. I understand going the Hulu route, but do yourselves a favor and combo them up with Disney and Espn Plus.
The newest one to the table and one of the best. There is very little that I don’t enjoy about it. Mandalorian has been enjoyable and the clone wars cartoon. The world according to Jeff Goldblum has been a blast. The entire run of the simpsons, and can binge watch them over and over again. They have so many of the cartoons from my childhood. Multiple Spider-man ones. Some that I was too young for and Earth’s Mightiest and Avengers Assemble. There was an issue with episode order for the X-men, but that is such a minor problem that it is barely noticable and will probably be worked out soon. Then we go to Bug’s Life and Lilo and Stitch and we are talking my language. A steal for 6.99 a month or 12.99 if you bundle it. This is a must for streaming services.
The third in the combo, and make it quick. If you don’t combo it, don’t. Even if you are the biggest sports fan. Can’t imagine this being worth while. You can always listen to the game on radio and stats almost anywhere. It is cheap, at 5 dollars a month, but still five dollars to much. Bundle or skip.
Had no interest in this till I got it for free and now one of my most used. Especially for B Movie Sunday. I am not quite sure the price, but seems you need a membership to Amazon Prime first which is 119 dollars a year, 12.99 dollars a year. As much as I love it, it drives me up a wall at the same time. While they have a massive selection of movies. Seems a large chunk of movies you want to watch, you’ll be paying to rent or buy. The buying part is nice, but when you are already paying for the service. Kind of feeling a bit ripped off paying again, but can understand why. The original content is solid, with the likes of The Boys and Good Omens. For what you get though, and the amazon benefits. It ain’t that bad of a deal. Especially for movie junkie.
This is one I don’t have ad it infuriates me so much that I can’t get it, cause I want it so bad. It’s library consists of horror movies and the remake of Creepshow, but because they don’t accept my card. Shudder please fix this. Meanwhile, if you are a horror movie fan, this should be high on your list.
Basic Cable Channels
Alright, I am kind of cheating by combining them, but since only one is getting the nod here. It’ll be fine. Can’t imagine why I would want CBS Access or NBC and I don’t even think they cost anything. Peacock maybe when they launch to watch the new Psych movie, but that would be it. Would suggest The CW, because as far as TV programing. They have the best shows on television. Arrowverse is still going and getting better by the week. You can find older stuff on CW Seed, such as Constantine and the animated movie. Birds of Prey and Everyone Hates Chris and Whose Line Is It Anyways. The CW and CW Seed are the only one of the basic channel ones I would even bother with.
Okay, here me out. I know, that it comes with ads, but it is nowhere near as bad as TV, and they really do offer so much. They got some really good TV shows and thousands of movies. From great ones in the past to some strange and bizarre ones. You can literally get lost in all of their content. It’s completely free so costs nothing to give it a shot. You’ll really enjoy yourself and if not, haven’t lost anything.
My most neglected one. I really enjoy what little anime I have watched and am all ears if you want to drop your favorites in the comment section to guide me to the good ones. I definitely suggest it, for Dragon Ball Library alone and they have just, so much anime to pick from. I know Crunchyroll is a big one as well, but suggest Funimation over it, and will go more into why later down the line.
I love this streaming service. The access to Comic Books and there lineup is vastly Underrated. DC animated has always been the gold bar and you can find it all there. The Batman animated show in all its glory. Old School Justice League and Adventures of Lois and Clark. The animated movies are all spectacular and Their shows. Swamp Thing, Doom Patrol, Titans and Harley Quinn Animated soon to join the frey. There is no other streaming service I will pull for harder, than DC Universe. At 7.99 a month, you won’t be disappointed and hope they don’t merge with the next one on the list.
This one has yet to debut, but is boosting a powerhouse of a library. Rick and Morty, Friends, Big Bang Theory, Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air, and Doctor Who. Movies such as Conjuring, 2001 A Space Oddity, Matrix. Looney Tunes, Sesame Street. They have TNT, TBS, Adult Swim, CNN, Max, And Tru. With TNT they can look to add AEW PPVS and rival WWE even more than they are now. Along with access to DC and Crunchyroll meaning they could very well combo CrunchyRoll and DC Universe into the 14.99 dollar price, which would be the only way I am going to sign up for this one. This may well be a massive hit, and do hope them the best, but for the asking price. Just don’t see any reason to add it on to my budget without Crunchy and DCU along with the mix.
I know I missed a handful. Probably some obvious ones, but has to end at some time. I know my opinion will not be shared by some, but that is the best part of this. Yes, there is so much streaming going on, but that means there is so much more for us to explore. New shows to discover. Old ones are back for us to reminisce and bring back memories of when we first watched them and share with friends.
Thanks for reading.