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: 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: Passengers [2008]

Better now than later. An explosion, crash, confused man, and burning plane: this is the sequence of images as Rodrigo García‘s Passengers commences. It’s a pretty straightforward visual set-up for the incident everything else will surround before his lead (Anne Hathaway‘s Dr. Claire Summers) is introduced during the next scene. She’s a trauma counselor enlisted by her boss (Andre Braugher‘s Perry) to take point on helping the small group of people who survived process the event. They’re all in differing stages of psychological distress with one remembering a fire (Ryan…

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REVIEW: The Commuter [2018]

One little thing. If the timeline is to be believed, the fourth meet-up between director Jaume Collet-Serra and Liam Neeson entitled The Commuter was the result of the latter rather than the former. Byron Willinger and Philip de Blasi‘s story went through the hands of at least two other stewards as well as a rewrite by Ryan Engle before finally going in front of the cameras. So one could hypothesize Collet-Serra was brought in as someone familiar with the genre, tropes, and especially the lead actor to bring things home.…

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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: 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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REVIEW: Young Adult [2011]

“Mad Love, Buddy” And the award for movie with the worst message for young adults is Young Adult. Bravo Diablo Cody for what appears to be a cathartic foray into justifying arrogance, shallowness, and alcoholism as signs of great artistic talent rather than portraying them as glaring issues needing work, help, and maturity. Kudos for hiding a dark cesspool of angry depressive horrors beneath the sheen of a light-hearted coming home to romance the now married ex-boyfriend comedy and for allowing horrible monsters to become more horrible. Thanks for at…

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REVIEW: Insidious [2011]

“Last night I watched myself sleep … then I flew away” Ever since James Wan and Leigh Whannell collaborated on what became a franchised sensation in Saw, expectations for the two were high. I haven’t seen their second film, Dead Silence, but I do remember press being positive and the creepiness of dolls—a motif the two seem to champion, (look at the chalkboards for an Easter Egg here)—quite unnerving. So, with the buzz on their newest horror film, Insidious, almost universally great, I became excited for what could be an…

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REVIEW: Morning Glory [2010]

“The anchors of the show are, ah, difficult and … semi-talented” Director Roger Michell is a sleeper. Do you recognize the name? It rang a bell with me, but I couldn’t quite place where it was attached in the past. His newest work, Morning Glory, is much the same. All the promotional material used producer J.J. Abrams and his Bad Robot shingle as selling points, leaving the director’s identity far in the distance as something of worthwhile mention. Also, if you ask five people on the street that have heard…

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REVIEW: Watchmen [2009]

“The end is nigh” The ultimate graphic novel—a tale many hold to be amongst the greatest stories ever written regardless of being illustrated—has finally been brought to cinematic life after twenty years and multiple failed attempts. Should an epic tale set in such a specific period of time (the Cold War of the 1980s) be updated? Should the bleak nature of humanity depicted be toned down? Will lunatics and delinquents dressed up in costumes pretending to be superheroes bring in a public more interested in reality television then something based…

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REVIEW: Lakeview Terrace [2008]

“Honey, I’m home—owner” If you wanted to see a face of shock, you should have seen me when I found out the new Samuel L. Jackson vehicle Lakeview Terrace was directed by Neil LaBute. When I think of the man I can only conjure images of the fantastic Shape of Things and In the Company of Men, and I haven’t even seen that one yet. To watch the trailer for this seemingly generic, racially motivated clash between neighbors just made me shake my head in shame. If it weren’t for…

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