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!
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!
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!
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 Paul Anthony
It seems like back in the earlier 2000’s Billy Bob Thornton was making a name for himself with his style of acting and that being a mean and yet sarcastic A-Hole, it only made sense that he would be good in this role. 2003 was good year for him and Bad Santa was a hit and could he struck gold again? I think over time this film began to have a cult following but at the time of its release the budget was 35 million and it only grossed 34 million which would make it a failure. I wonder why the budget was so high to begin with, I would have thought this film’s budget would be around 15-20 million, because minus Billy Bob Thornton and Marcia Gay Harden, there really wasn’t any other big name that would command a lot of money, most of the cast was just kids or extras. A lot of times most of the budget will go to graphics or big names stars, which makes me wonder how much Billy Bob was going to get for this film. As I stated this film should have been around 20 million tops. In the end it doesn’t matter I don’t think they were aiming for a series unless the numbers really wowed the studio.
Here we meet Morris Buttermaker a washed up former baseball player who works as a exterminator and wanting to make more money because a coach for a baseball team, which are basically the wild crazy kids of the losing team. Added in the equation the Buttermaker who drinks and flirts with women actually fit in with the kids, he then realizes he needs to put together a winning team after arguing with another coach. They then get a sponsor even though it was a strip club and Buttermaker recruits a girl who is a daughter of his ex and a hot shot kid who can bat and things start to change for the team but then Buttermaker changes his ways when he realizes he is having fun and wants the kids to do the same. they make it to the championship game where Buttermaker pulls his stars. so the others could play the game and they come up just short but doesn’t matter he celebrates with the team for coming in second place with non-alcoholic beer.
Now I never watch the very first film so I can’t compare the two films, I think the best part of the film was Billy himself, the rest of the laughs were far in between with the kids not being actually funny just being kids. Which can be a hit and miss and in this cast was a miss. Now the story was good but the execution just wasn’t there. In the end the film could have been better at the time. In the end I am giving this film a C for a rating. It wasn’t bad but it wasn’t good either. Obviously the film didn’t make a profit so we never got a sequel but as I stated before I don’t think they were aiming for a series.
Listening to “What is an Easter Egg??” at https://www.buzzsprout.com/285696/4704698-what-is-an-easter-egg
What is a Movie Easter Egg??
Some things should remain private but sadly not for these two! “Will and Jada Marriage reaction and discussion!!” at https://www.buzzsprout.com/285696/4613963-will-and-jada-marriage-reaction-and-discussion #WillSmith #jadapinkettsmith #FilmTwitter #AugustAlsina #Writer #podcast
By Paul Anthony
When you on on top of the world and you are making the most money and you keep producing hit after hit you will have your haters and now Disney and Marvel is facing that from some pretty big names but who is bashing the machine that marvel has become? Some of those people well the biggest names is Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola.
Here is the thing that bothers me the most with those two speaking out against Marvel and don’t get me wrong they have every right to do so but Scorsese said that Marvel films aren’t cinema but my question is what is cinema? We know there are several genres of film and the best description of the word is art of motion picture. Now through the years we can say its a film that tells a good story and deliver all the elements of literature and most of all it entertains us and keeps us hooked. I have watched many movies of Martin Scorsese and I do enjoy his work and many of his films I do own. But Is he right for calling a genre trash?
Scorsese and Coppola were some of the directors that started the new wave in Hollywood and changed the game, Some of Scorsese’s films include gang violence of the mafia or just gangs outright but they always had a little of everything but yet many people don’t like them as well but no one called it trash.
See it doesn’t make sense to me for him to call it trash, maybe it’s sour grapes or something because of the money Marvel. Scorsese highest grossing film was Wolf of Wall Street which grossed 392 million dollars and is a great movie to watch. When you look Marvel Studios movies that number would rank on the low end of list, still once again no need to trash something and it’s not like these films are poorly reviewed either so a lot of people don’t think this type of films are trash. Now I know a bunch of actors have came out and said hey they can say whatever they want to say and indeed they can, take nothing away they are legends but even legends can be wrong and in this case I have to say they are wrong but have the right to say that.
Now maybe behind the scenes Scorsese is feeling the pressure to make a mega hit like avengers type of gross and it’s not his style. In the end Marvel films are very much cinema, it is a modern art and they do get a lot more praise for their films then most other comic book films do. I am sure a lot of people are feeling the pressure to maybe put up Marvel like numbers for their studio but money isn’t everything. Maybe one day Scorsese could do a comic book film and with his style it would actually be a great if not the best comic book film ever!
By: Justin Hopkins
I know, it’s Sunday and this is not the normally B-Movie Review, but wanted to mix it up just a little bit, and in line with the rest of the lists I have put up this month. It would be almost a shame to not make one up for these as well. After all, this is the season of gory slashers, monsters, ghosts and all things that go bump in the night. It can be easy to get lost in the big three, Stephen King, and various others that might sneak onto TV, but these 8 can mix it up a little bit. While they may or may not hold up to the norm. They are still entertaining and is good to mix up your usual watch list from time to time. However, I have changed some things up, and a few important things to note before I begin. Number 1, being the obvious, I have had to of seen the movie to make the list. I don’t want to B.S a about a movie that I have never seen before. I am sorry, but wouldn’t be right to you and I am not going to do it. So, movies like Dead Alive or Terrifier or Satan’s Little Helper may be excellent movies, but haven’t seen them. So, they are not here. 2, I normally go for B-Movies that don’t have a theater run, but have lifted that rule, just a little and have allowed for limited runs to be present. Number 3, this is not a normal ranking, from worst to best kind of deal. Don’t take the numbers to literally. It’s just 8 suggestions that I feel can be fun to kick back and watch. Nothing more than that. With that said, lets get things rolling.
8. House Of The Dead
It would almost be a mistake to no include a Uwe Boll. To be fair, despite some over acting and cheesy moments. This zombie packed film isn’t a bad one. Bringing the arcade game to life, in gory fashion. Some fun characters in the form of Kirk and Skipper, and over the top zombie kills. Particularly enjoy the montage to the song Fury, where you get a long action sequence of the survivors taking out waves of zombies, with bits of gameplay weaved throughout. It’s a fun movie, not to be taken seriously, and in an over bloated genre such as zombies are now a days. That is all I am asking for.
There is always room for giant man eating monsters, and while we have the likes of Anaconda and Boa floating around. Python has been my go to for a long time. Really enjoyed the characters throughout the story. The little town setting and the issues they were having, that did not revolve around the giant snake. Of course, having a horror icon Robert Englund goes a long way as well. The CGI snake didn’t look to bad and the kills were fun and because of the attention they had on building characters. The deaths felt like they meant something to the story. All big pluses and a reason to give it a watch.
6. Killer Klowns From Outer Space
I mean, do I really have to give a reason to watch this. It’s killer aliens designed as clowns. It’s great fun from start to finish. Kills are over the top and fantastic. Being as creative as they could with stuff you’d find at a carnival to weaponize. I did a review on this a few weeks ago, and if you haven’t watched it. Now is the best time. If you have watch it again. Can never have enough of this one.
5. The Stuff
This is still one of the most bizarre movies I have ever scene. Right from the start, where the two men find white stuff coming out of the ground and eat it and turn it into a food craze that the world loves, and turns people crazy and under mind control and slowly eating them alive from the inside. With an investigator trying to sabotage them and later stop them before it is to late. Crazy ride from start to finish.
4. Black Sheep
This tongue and cheek, gore fest of a B-Movie is brought to us from New Zealand and is tremendous. It’s so hard to look away, no matter what craziness they throw at you. From flocks of deranged, scientifically altered sheep, Weresheep, and stupid one liners. The actors were top notch, characters were a joy to watch. Felt sorry for the main and his genuine fear of sheep in seriously traumatizing moment and enjoyed Angus get his comeuppance. And for those who like bloody and extreme death scenes. Black Sheep has you covered.
I want to remind everyone, this is not an official list. Sharktopus, is one of my favorite shark movies and movies in general. Do I think of it as the best of either category, no of course not, but I find it to be one of the most fun movies I have watched, and it is hard to explain why. The story is as out there as they come. Think the actors had a good chemistry together. The main characters took the situation seriously, while the side characters and those meant to die, were goofy and over the top. I enjoyed the look of Shaktapus himself. Crack up every time I watch him using the tentacles to walk across the beach and through the resort. Why do I suggest this, because with all the serious and dark movies to watch during Halloween and on this list. Sharktopus has a light heartedness to break them up and give you a bit of a break between them.
Speaking of dark and gritty, we land on the love letter to the 80’s Slasher Genre, Hatchet. Telling the story of the deformed Victor Crowley and his sad demise and vengeful return and my god they do not hold back on anything in this. Victor rips and tears people apart with his bare hands and chucks body parts at poor Ben. This movie gets you from the start with some fun moments of mardi gras and solid character build ups before a rather great introduction to Crowley himself. This should be a regular Halloween watch, but if it’s not. Then do yourself a favor and add. It is well worth the time.
1. Evil Dead
Could it be anything else. The King of the B-Movies. Almost hard to think of something new to say here that hasn’t already been said before. It’s not a particularly scary movie, but gave us a wild tale, of Ash becoming the least likely hero of all time. Everyone involved loved this movie and wanted it to be successful and showed first hand how well a B Movie can do. Of course you have seen it. If you ever needed a reason to watch it again. None better then now.
And that would be that. My 8 B-Movie suggestions to watch for Halloween time. Tell me what B- Movies you like to watch in the comments below. Be back next week with our regular scheduled B-Movie review and in the meantime.
Thanks for reading