REVIEW: Annabelle Comes Home [2019]

Miss me? After an excitingly popular debut during The Conjuring‘s prologue, the creepily revamped Annabelle doll (its real-life counterpart was actually a Raggedy Anne) earned the title role in the first spin-off of this ever-growing horror universe. That installment left much to be desired with screenwriter Gary Dauberman eventually redeeming himself three years later on Annabelle: Creation thanks in part to director David F. Sandberg. You might assume this demonic vessel would then be left alone since its tragic trajectory had now been fully drawn from the home of its…

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REVIEW: The Nun [2018]

Mary points the way. There’s a scene in Corin Hardy‘s The Nun where a young postulant receives her vows inside an unholy abbey while the ashes of a dead sister smoke in the background and an unlikely alley loads a shotgun in the fore. It’s the type of moment that should conjure laughs via its absurd juxtaposition and yet anyone who follows The Conjuring franchise knows the inherent severity of its subject matter renders such comically ripe material unintentionally hilarious instead. That’s why so many of these movies find an…

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REVIEW: The Curse of La Llorona [2019]

She’s already here. When Warner Bros. decided to capitalize on the box office and critical success of James Wan‘s The Conjuring by crafting an extended universe of creepy spirits with a feature length tale born from that film’s prologue, the results were not great. Annabelle felt rushed at best and retrofitted at worst—a generic horror injected with a popular character for no reason other than selling tickets. If not for Wan going back to the well for The Conjuring 2 to remind audiences of the potential this franchise possessed, the…

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REVIEW: Aquaman [2018]

It’s fish-MAN. Arthur Curry’s Aquaman has been known in mainstream pop culture circles as DC’s whipping boy for a long while since it’s easy to mock an orange spandex-wearing dude who talks to fish when measured against his “cooler” Justice League compatriots. “The Big Bang Theory” made jokes at his expense for a few seasons and “Entourage” decided to use the hero’s lackluster reputation as proof Vinny Chase could turn anything to gold (with James Cameron‘s help). So it was a refreshing surprise when Jason Momoa was cast for Curry’s…

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REVIEW: Annabelle: Creation [2017]

“Dear diary. Today I came home.” You can’t blame audiences for being skeptical about a prequel to a prequel to James Wan‘s acclaimed The Conjuring when the first proved a huge step down in quality. There was no way Annabelle would equal the level of contemporary horror classic that Wan’s look into the paranormal via Ed and Lorraine Warren possessed, but the hope was that it would come close. Not only did it create a whole new mythology around the titular doll that flittered with rendering everything we had learned…

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REVIEW: Annabelle [2014]

“Crazy people do crazy things, ma’am” The story of Annabelle—a possessed Raggedy Ann doll from the 1970s—is a part of Lorraine and Ed Warren’s lore as experts in the occult. It along with the Amityville house are what the couple are most known for “combating” and thus easy fodder to provide audiences an entry point into understanding what these demonologists do. That’s why James Wan and company used them as prologues to his The Conjuring series, the former with Part 1 and the latter Part 2. Whereas Amityville already came…

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REVIEW: Lights Out [2016]

“Are you doing this to help him or hurt her?” The story behind Lights Out is one many YouTubers aspire towards because it sees Swedish filmmaker David F. Sandberg evolve from three years of super short online scares to a seat beside contemporary Hollywood horror king James Wan. You could call his three-minute original from 2013 a “proof of concept” as it exists as the introduction of a monster seen only in the dark without any real context or story necessary. In fact, Sandberg’s feature debut pretty much recreates this…

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REVIEW: The Conjuring 2 [2016]

“This is the closest to Hell I ever want to go” When a formula succeeds as well as that of James Wan‘s The Conjuring and its real life subjects have as extensive a Rolodex of haunting investigations as Ed and Lorraine Warren, the prospect of a sequel arrives as both inevitability and an initial pause. Generally these types of projects change creative hands early so studios can rush ahead without worrying about scheduling conflicts, but Wan has never been one to shy away from involvement on subsequent entries to his…

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REVIEW: Furious 7 [2015]

“You never could take a punch” There’s something about this series that’s transcended any intellectual discussion about cinema. How else does a lamely derivative version of Point Break substituting waves with cars spawn six sequels in fifteen years? Think about that. 2 Fast 2 Furious was so bad that star Vin Diesel turned down a twenty-five million dollar payday to be in it. Then the third entry threw everything out the window but horsepower and took things international across the Pacific. This is where the taste of its potential began,…

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Top 25 Films of 2013

(short and sweet and to the point; culled from watching 220+ releases. constantly updated as i catch up to those i missed. click poster for review if applicable) #25: Mud directed by Jeff Nichols #24: Pacific Rim directed by Guillermo del Toro #23: The Conjuring directed by James Wan #22: Satellite of Love directed by Will James Moore #21: Una noche [One Night] directed by Lucy Mulloy #20: The Great Gatsby directed by Baz Luhrmann #19: The Spectacular Now directed by James Ponsoldt #18: Blue Jasmine directed by Woody Allen…

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REVIEW: The Conjuring [2013]

“There’s usually always some rational explanation” After watching the cinematic account of the Perron family’s plight in 1971 during James Wan‘s The Conjuring—alongside a brief view at Annabelle, the creepiest little possessed doll ever—it’s hard to believe paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren’s most infamous case of demonic insanity was Amityville. Described as the story that couldn’t be told until now via an opening text-based screen crawl reminiscent of the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the events that occurred in Roger (Ron Livingston) and Carolyn’s (Lili Taylor) Rhode Island home are…

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