Mortal Kombat (2021) Review

Today I decided to go a little different. Instead of doing another horror movie I went horror adjacent, but still fitting the season with Mortal Kombat from 2021. Mortal Combat was directed by Simon McQuoid and stars Lewis Tan as Cole Young, Jessica McNamee as Sonya Blade, Josh Lawson as Kano, Joe Taslim as Bi-Han/Sub-Zero, Mehcad Brooks as Jax, Tadanobu Asano as Lord Raiden, Hiroyuki Sanada as Hanzo Hasashi/Scorpion, Chin Han as Shang Tsung, and Ludi Lin as Liu Kang. Mortal Combat tells the story of Lord Raiden gathering the champions of earthrealm to fight in the tournament of mortal kombat against the forces of Shang Tsung and outworld. I’m probably gonna keep this review short as I don’t have strong feelings about this movie. For those who don’t know or know me, I am a fan of the franchise. It’s probably the only fighting game I’ve followed and I love the lore surrounding it, in all its versions. So I was excited when I heard they were coming out with a new movie. I think its interesting how the movie decided to go with some of the more different ides from the games in that a lot of stuff can happen outside of the tournament. Its a good idea and can make for a more interesting movie franchise instead of focusing on just the tournament. Though that can create some things that I’ll mention later that can have an unintentional affect. I think that the story and plotline of this movie is ok, its serviceable and works for the most part. It introduces some stuff that can work for this version of the lore, such as the dragon mark representing their champion designation. They also use it to explain why an average human can have super powers, but it has this unintentional affect of making it like an x-gene in practice. 

The characters for the most part all work. They’re pretty good adaptations of their game counterparts, especially Kano. He’s the most fun character throughout the movie. The performances are all good for the characters. It was cool to see what they did with some of the characters and what characters they would include. Cole was an ok new character, an interesting backstory but they gotta do more with him to make him interesting in the future. Sub-zero was a standout from just coolness alone, you can tell they wanted him to have an impact.
The movie looks great for the most part. The locations and sets are great and the cinematography is good at moments. The effects are mostly pretty good, some stuff could have used a bit more time, like Gorr and the compositing of the outworld scenes. Thought the ice effects were incredible, very creative use that sets it a part from the usage in the games. The score was ok, a little too dubstepy in some places for my taste. The action for the most part was pretty good, the best scenes being the opening and the ending final fight. Funny how the best fights all involve Scorpion and Sub-zero. Although that final fight was awesome. Though it would have been cool to see more of Scorpions abilities in that fight. The problem I have with most of the action is the editing, like its can get jumpy at times and really should have let the action flow instead. 

I had some big issues with this movie. I’ll start a bit smaller and work my way up. There are a few potholes to me in terms of the lore. So they mention that the tournament is held to protect the realms from each other, but then Shang mentions that none of the other gods are going to stop him from just invading earthrealm. They should establish why they have to work through the tournament, and why Shang is doing these underhanded tactics when they’re this close to winning. Although that could also be working towards some of the stuff the more recent story from the games did where the elder gods didn’t get involved with Shao Kahn’s workings until he invaded. The movie makes use of a lot of fan service, but it doesn’t really earn it. It’ll do stuff that only fans of the franchise would understand but doesn’t actually make use of them. Especially character wise, as there are some characters that are there just to be another score on the kill count. My biggest issue is that this feels like a generic blockbuster movie with mortal kombat paint on it. Like it’s just an ok blockbuster. It doesn’t do the work to get us to care about the characters, it expects everyone to know who everyone is to have us care for them. It’s hard to describe for some reason.

Over-all this was an ok movie. It could have been a lot better and just feels kind of generic. It has some cool moments and some cool kills, but it doesn’t earn it to me. I give it a thumb up, its not bad but not that memorable. 

Evil Dead (2013) Review + Franchise Ranking

Welp, went from Horror history to modern horror. Today i decided to finish off the Evil Dead franchise as it currently stands in movie format with the 2013 horror remake Evil Dead. This was another great movie in this franchise. It’s both different and similar to the original, which helps it stand on its own. Evil Dead was written and directed by Fede Alvarez and stars Jane Levy as Mia, Shiloh Fernandez as David, Jessica Lucas as Olivia, Lou Taylor Pucci as Eric, and Elizabeth Blackmore as Natalie. This movie takes a similar premise in that its about a  group of five friends going to a cabin in the woods, that was used as a place for the study of a demonic book of the dead that unleashes an evil force upon the group. This is the main plot line of the movie, where it differs from the original movie is in the characters and their motivations. They are not here for a vacation at a random cabin they heard about from someone, but they are here for a specific reason. They are here to help their friend and sister Mia quit drugs cold turkey. I really enjoy having this plot line here as it creates more personal stakes for the characters, it gives them a reason to be there and why when the supernatural stuff starts happening they don’t believe right away. It also really helps with the characters, in that they all have a stake in what happens here. There are all these interpersonal relationships here that didn’t really happen in the original that help this movie build the tension and the horror. We are able to care about these characters more. Another major change this movie had is the enemy. They decided to create a new book and a new demonic entity to haunt and hunt the characters. I do like how the book lays it all out for the people, it gives a reason to keep reading the book to keep it a part of the plot of the movie. It helps the flesh out the lore of this story and this demon. The entity, or the taker of souls as it’s called in this movie, is an interesting baddie. It has more agency and motivation than just having the characters join them. The soul taker also has  more of a voice in the movie and has less weird moments. I find it interesting that this enemy has to physically enter someone to possess them in some way. Mia through that woods scene, Olivia through the vomit, Natalie through the bite and Eric probably as a last resort. I also like the changes to the way the possessed act in this movie in comparison to the way they do in earlier evil dead movies. They’re strong, but not as resilient and only possess a person at a time. 

The characters in this movie are all great in their own ways. They all have great motivations for being there and for acting the way they do in this movie. Mia is a pretty stand out character in this. She has gone through a lot in her life and goes through some major changes through this movie. Her story makes me feel like they used this experience as a way to have a metaphor for the struggle for sobriety. Her possession can be seen as the addicted side of her, and her becoming better in the end can be seen as her overcoming those urges. To be fair though the movie does kind of spell this out with her withdrawals coming right before her possession. Jane Levy is incredible as Mia, playing all sides to her amazingly. It helps that she probably gets the most to do in this movie in terms of acting since she also gets to play being possessed which was probably pretty fun to do. Her brother David is also a good character. He is someone who avoids the bad stuff, tends to run away and feels a lot of guilt for being that way. He wants to make right with his sister, to help her even though he hasn’t been there for years. He goes through the biggest character arc in the movie, growing to no longer taking the easy way. Learning to be there for the people that need it. Shiloh Fernandez is great in the role, carrying the weight of the guilt that the character feels. Olivia is an ok character, she kinda gets the short end of the stick as she’s not around for as long as the other characters. She’s a nurse trying to help her friend out of her situation, and is tired of constantly trying and her almost permanently dying from a previous attempt. Jessica Luca does pretty well for what she is given, though she doesn’t get to do a lot of the cool stuff the others get to do. Natalie is another ok character, she also doesn’t get to do much but does get some early stuff. Elizabeth Blackmore is also great in the role, helps she gets to do some of the more gnarly stuff in the movie. Finally we have the guy who started it all, Eric. He’s an interesting character, but also one of the more infuriating ones. He’s the one who read from the book with warnings on all the pages. In modern horror movie terms he would be the prick character. He’s the  closest to being a human antagonist and waits until like 2 people, including his girlfriend, have been affected to say anything. This movie kinda feels like its doing karma to him for being too curious for his own right. A lot of the bad stuff happens to him, and he probably suffers some of the most before he goes. Also Its funny how he started it and he was the one to fulfill it at the end. Lou Taylor Pucci is great in the role as well, though you can tell he probably had an uncomfortable time on set with all the stuff the character goes through.

This movie looks amazing, the cinematography and lighting all look great. The effects are all incredible. Much higher budget means more gnarly and graphic gore. Some real intense and crazy moments that make you wince a bit. Very well done and very brutal stuff. The final battle is a stand-out with some brutal and great effects, the blood rain is great and the effect of the demon sinking into the ground back to hell is great as well. The music is ok, pretty standard for a modern horror movie and I do enjoy the bigger moments of the score. The editing and pacing are well done and fit the speed of the movie. The set and props all look great and the Naturom Demonto, the new book of the dead, looks great as well. 

I do have a few issues with the film though. The bigger budget makes everything look great, but it makes it feel kinda generic. Its a good movie but the bigger problem with it is that it feels like a modern horror movie. In everything like tropes, the use of jump scares and everything. It doesn’t feel as unique or interesting as the original movies. The jump scares can be seen coming a mile away, the possessed feel more like traditional movie possessions and kind of take the movie down for me. The possessed feel like they can be from any possession movie, and don’t have that unique mental messing that the other movies have. They play more on the direct emotional connections of the characters and say stuff you can hear in other possession movies. The entity is a more traditional demon from hell and doesn’t have the strength o the mandarin demon of the other movies. Sure it makes it more real and emotional, but loses the charm of the other movies.

Over-all though this is a great movie. A worthy remake with some in tense gore. If you like modern horror this is right up your ally. I give it Two-Thumbs up!!!

Evil Dead is now finished in movie form for me, I guess I might as well rank where I see them. I do feel like this is the perfect franchise for this time of year as every movie has something for everyone. The good thing about the nature of the movies almost being mini-reboots between them all you don’t have to watch them all to get it. The Evil Dead is great for people who love classic horror and a little over-the-topness in their movies. Evil Dead II is great for people that want more comedy with their horror, and love more over-the-top style gore in their movies. Army of Darkness is great for people who want something not scary, that’s a bit more family friendly, and has more comedy in it. Evil Dead (2013) is great for people that love more modern intense horror with brutal gore. It is hard to rank these movies as they all have their merits and would be better to rank them by category. But if I have to rank them by what I liked more, than I’ll have to go like this. 

  1. Evil Dead II
  2. Army of Darkness
  3. The Evil Dead
  4. Evil Dead (2013)

Why these rankings, to me these are the rankings that I had the most fun with and that probably have the most rewatchability. Evil Dead II is a movie I want to rewatch with moments I want to rewatch and find it would be a great watch with friends. Army of Darkness is a ton of fun and has some great slapstick moments that never fail to make me laugh. The Evil Dead is a classic and is well worth a watch, but I don’t know if I’d rewatch it all or just skip to when the action happens. Evil Dead (2013) I don’t know if I have as much of a desire to rewatch, other than just maybe the finale. Over-all this is a great franchise that is well worth its legendary status.

Nosferatu (1922) Review 

Today we move on from the Evil Dead franchise and into a piece of not only horror history, but also the history of film itself. Today I decided to watch Nosferatu, one of the oldest horror movies out there and also one of the most iconic horror movies of all time. Nosferatu is a German Expressionist horror film directed by F.W. Murnau, and stars Max Schrek as Count Orlock. Nosferatu is an unlicensed adaptation of Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula. The filmmakers did change a few aspect of the film to avoid copyright issues as they didn’t have the rights to the novel. Some changed aspects are the names, the look of the titular vampire, his abilities, the setting, and the ending. The changes help set it a lot apart from the base material, as well as to keep it shorter to keep it within limitations of the time. The characters work for the movie and are effective in their roles. Performance wise we can’t judge the film from our modern views and understandings of acting. This is a silent movie from the 1920s, which means they were under a lot of limitations in the way they can communicate everything to the audience. Due to that, the acting is more like stage acting, in that they have to play the motions and emotions a lot bigger than modern film actors, or even sound actors from the next decade would. The one that does stand out though is Schrek as Count Orlock. He’s pretty understated and creepy in the role. This is an example where being a silent black&white film really helps the feeling of the film. Everything of it comes together to help create this sense of despair and creepiness that is terrifying in its own way. The use of him rising out of the coffin, or the stares he gives, or the use of shadows to show his affect on a person works incredibly to the tone of the film. Its also those moments where the expressionism of the film comes into play for me. Being that it’s a silent film we can’t really talk about the dialogue as they can only really be really important moments because they have to use it in title cards. There’s only a certain amount of title cards you can use before affecting the flow of the film. Especially when you have to balance the dialogue cards with the act cards and the narrator/journal cards that show up. Although those  can also be because of the issues with the nature of the age of the film. Its a silent film that is now 100 years old there was  a point in time where it was lost, and has lost parts of it. It’s been remastered and re-edited with new titles and new music, but it still has an effect on the film since it’s not the original stuff from the film. Over the years there have been a number of restorations of the film, each with different tinting, titles and music. The version I watched is, or was, it is supposedly leaving Shudder’s Prime Video channel on the 31st, from 2006. With the film now being in the public domain (even though it’s always kind of been treated that way) there’s probably going to be a lot more ways to watch it. Though those versions might also be copyrighted. I’m not actually sure though, as would a restoration be counted like a recording of a piece of music in the public domain. I’ll have to look into that. The music chosen for this version is ok, fits a lot of the scenes but can take you out a bit. Though that is an issue I’ve had with some other silent films having a score that doesn’t fit. The changes don’t exactly ruin it for me anyways, it’s just a thing you have to accept with watching these films.  Another thing you have to accept, is that these are not films that you can put on in the background. You have to pay attention and watch it to understand and get the full experience. Over-all this is a historically important film that is still worth watching. Whether for the historical aspect  of seeing life from 100 years ago, it’s impact on film history, or even because you just like watching silent movies. Its the origin of a lot of iconic and legendary imagery and it’s important to see the origin. Although it’s an ask to get people to watch it outside of a film studies context. Still though, I give it two-thumbs up !!

Army of Darkness (1992) Review

So I just finished Army of Darkness, the third and final movie of the original Evil Dead Trilogy. Army of Darkness is an American comedy horror directed and written by Sam Raimi, and stars Bruce Campbell as Ash Williams, Embeth Davidtz as Shelia, Marcus Gilbert as Lord Arthur, and Ian Abercrombie as The Wiseman. Army of Darkness sees Ash being sent back in time to the 1300s, a time when deadites are more rampant in the world. We follow his journey as he retrieves the necronomicon, becomes the figure of legend, and returns home……… after a lot of shenanigans. I have to say I really enjoyed this movie. Its a major departure from the rest of the franchise, but it still works as a part of it. The story and plot line of the movie is good for the type of movie it is. It works for the genre and the changes made to the Ash character. It build off of the last movie by giving the characters more agency in their actions. As this time Ash has to go to the book and retrieve it, the characters make more decisions throughout more of the movie and have more active roles. A lot of this movie works to show how Ash has changed over the, (….centuries, week?) I guess, week that the events of these movies happen in. 

I might as well talk about him already but Ash is great in this movie. He’s changed a lot and because of the stuff he’s much more of an asshole. I mean he’s tired and pissed off about everything that’s happened to him and is happening to him. This is also the first time we get to learn more about Ash’s history in the franchise. It establishes that he has a job and is I guess recently out of school. We also get to see more of his ingenuity from the second movie, although now he’s an expert mechanical engineer being able to make a fully functioning prosthetic hand in the 1300s. This is the movie that would go on to define the character’s personality going forward in the franchise. He’s a prick, he has a ton of memorable lines, and he’s a bit of a smart moron. His characterization is a big departure from the prior movies, like the rest of this movie. Performance wise Bruce Campbell is having a ball. He’s supremely confident, and gets to play a bunch of different versions of himself again. Funny to think about how this movie would also go on to define Bruce Campbell’s career and persona going forward. This is also the first time we see the character go on an emotional arc. He starts off the movie selfish and just wanting to get back home after all the shit, and throughout the run time we see him go through more shit, but come around to be the hero he’s destined to be. The character has developed a lot in the time we’ve been following him. From meek and timid in the first movie, to a full on action badass. This movie is the first time we get an actual villain, at least a characterized villain with Evil Ash. He’s a fun character that is as wild and wacky as the rest of the movie. Though I guess that can be considered one of the downfalls of the movie. The deadites in this movie are a lot more wacky in their characterization. I mean the army of the dead are like battledroids from star wars. They all have different personalities and are useful in the numbers they have. I do enjoy them though. The rest of the characters and performances are all effective and work in the wacky and over-the-top world of this movie.

While this movie is incredibly different than the first two, where it stands out is in production value. This movie has a much bigger budget and the movie makes great use out of it. Taking a page out of classic action and adventure movies, it makes use of stop-motion, puppets, a big castle set, lots of extras, and a classic army of skeletons. It also makes use of professional stunts and choerographers. A lot of use of fire and explosions which is fun. The skeleton puppets are hilarious and you can tell they had fun with them. We also get more of Sam Raimi’s interesting camera work and ideas for how the deadites mess with Ash. The deadite make-up and costumes have also changed a lot to resemble over-the-top demons, vs the changed facial features of the first 2 movies. Everything comes together to create this cartoonish atmosphere which really works for me. That’s actually a good way to describe this movie. It’s a live-action cartoon. We get over-the-top action, we get funny skeleton army, we get a massive battle sequence. Everything comes together to create this fun experience. The music is great again, fitting the kind of movie this is. The comedy also really works for me. I love the physical slapstick comedy that this movie decides to focus on. Like just everything at the windmill is hilarious, and the skeletons are funny. Oh I almost forgot about the skeleton scene when Ash is fleeing the cemetery. It’s a full on 3 stooges sketch and it just works so well for me. 

Over-all I had a ton of fun with this one. It’s very different from the rest of the franchise, being more slapstick and comedic than the second one. It has very little horror elements in the movie. To me this wouldn’t be a comedy horror, it’s more of an action/adventure comedy with horror elements in it. It still makes for a great experience though. It’s the perfect movie for this time of year. It just fits the halloween spirit for me. I mean it has some spookiness, skeletons, fun, funny, and mostly family friendly. If you haven’t watched it yet I highly recommend it. Just don’t go into it expecting anything like the other 2 movies in this trilogy. Two Thumbs Up !!

Evil Dead II (1987) Review

So I’ve finally watched Evil Dead II and holy fuck, what a movie. Sorry, I’m still collecting my thoughts after finishing that movie, it’s such a ride. Evil Dead II is a 1987 horror comedy written and directed by Sam Raimi, and stars a returning Bruce Campbell as Ashley J Williams, Sarah Berry as Annie Knobby, Dan Hicks as Jake, Kassie Wesley DePaiva as Bobby Joe, Ted Raimi as Possessed Henrietta, and Denise Bixler. This movie is a reboot/retcon of the first movie, due to movie rights issues from the original movie. Evil Dead II catches us up with Ash after the “first” movie where he is continuing to be assaulted and tortured by the demons, now named deadites. We are also introduced to a new group of characters lead by the daughter of the archeologist who owned and lived in the cabin. Shit hits the fan when Ash meets the new group and the deadites come to play. 

The plot line of this movie worked for me. It tries to keep some similarities with the first movie, but it also works to set up things that will be used down the line in the franchise. It works to set up more of the lore and mythology of the deadites, while directly leading to its sequel. The one thing about the story and plot line is that it takes a little long to get going with the full group, and spends a lot of time in the first act showing Ash being tortured. I get why they did it this way, as it allows us to see more of what Ash is going through since a lot of the first movie was retconned in the opening recap. That’s one thing I would change about this, is that I would add more to the recap about the rest of the friend group from the first movie vs just having linda. To me it helped to show Ash’s determination and toughness that he’s still going strong, even after losing his girlfriend, sister and his friends. I guess it helps to view this as a different timeline version of events as a lot is different between the movies. 

This movie is a pretty big departure from the first movie, the first one was more serious in tone and in the things that happen. Whereas here the movie is more comical, especially in the scenes where the deadites are messing with Ash. The comedy doesn’t  take a way from the movie for me, it adds to it’s charm and works with the over-the-top nature they’re going for with this movie. The movie also has a much bigger budget than the first one does, and it uses it well. The sets, the effects, the blood all of it is at another level compared to the first. This one also has more thought behind it as well as you can tell they know where they want to go with it in the future. This was a movie made with a sequel in mind, but even if it didn’t get a sequel there’s enough established here to be a satisfying conclusion to the story. Whereas with the first movie, other than the ending scare, it feels like a complete story with the book being destroyed and the deadites defeated. 

Another big difference between are the characters and performances. Bruce Campbell goes full balls to the wall with his Performance as Ash. He has a lot more to work with in this movie since he basically gets to play 4 versions of Ash. He gets to be normal, losing his mind crazy, possessed hand, and full possession. I think it comes through how much fun he had on this movie. He’s a lot more experienced and confident this time around, he doesn’t have a timid voice anymore and gets to be more badass and heroic. This also comes through in his characterization, he’s more of a ladies man, he cracks one-liners, more no-nonsense after his experiences the cabin, and seems like a more traditional action hero. This version of Ash also makes great use of Bruce Campbell’s physical comedic talents and timing. I know he roughed up in the first movie, but the bigger budget allowed for likely better safety protocols to rough him up again. He takes a beating in the first half of this movie. 

The rest of the characters are pretty  good and interesting. Probably the best new character is Annie, as she has the most to do outside of Ash. She is the most related to the story and plot of the movie. Her performance is great as well. Everyone else does a great job with what they’re given. Its interesting though how many characters in this movie are done in because of people’s choices vs the first movie. Though I like the dynamic of the group more in the first one than I do here. Where this group shines is that the actors feel more experienced, or at least are given better direction when compared to the first movie. Which makes sense though as he had more experience by this point, as well as working with more experienced producers. 

Everything technical about this movie is incredible. It’s visually stunning and interesting and makes great use of all kinds of special effect tricks. The gore is more over-the-top and surreal, and not as gritty as the first movie. It’s not as brutal as the first movie as well, but makes up for it in just the sheer amount of blood that is sprayed in this movie. The music is great as well, just as good as the first one. One thing that’s not really technical is that this movie uses a lot more jumpscares than the first movie did. It’s not a knock against the movie as I feel like they’re used to help balance out the more comedic elements and moments. 

Over-all Evil Dead II is an incredible movie. Filled with scares, gore, fun, and some incredible one-liners. For those that haven’t watched it yet it is well worth the watch. Two-Thumbs up for me !!

The Evil Dead (1981) Review

So I’ve finally watched The Evil Dead for Halloween Week. If you haven’t picked up on it yet, I’m going to (try to at least) watch and review a horror or horror-adjacent movie every day leading up to Halloween next monday. I don’t have a planned list of movies, jut going off of feel. Though I guess I’ll be doing the rest of the original Evil Dead trilogy this week at least. The Evil Dead is a 1981 horror movie written and directed by Sam Raimi, and stars Bruce Campbell as a Ashley J Williams, Ellen Sandweiss as Cheryl, Richard DeManincor as Scott, Betsy Baker as Linda, and Theresa Tilly as  Shelly. For those that don’t know, The Evil Dead is the story of a group of friends going to a cabin in the woods for a vacation. While there they discover a basement with an ancient evil book and a tape recording of the archeologist that was studying it. They unleash all kinds of evil and chaos upon the playing of that tape, possibly even of apocalyptic proportions. At least if you bring the rest of the franchise into it. It may be a simple set-up, but its one of the originators, at least from my knowledge. I think it works in the movie’s favour though, as the movie is able to put more focus on the characters as well as the demons. It allows for the more creative elements of the movie to come out. 

The characters for the most part are also pretty simple and fit into certain archetypes. Ash is a stand-out character in this movie, even though he’s not the over-the-top character of the later movies. Though you can see the origins of a lot of that eventually characterization with the things he goes through and does in this movie. He really fits the “final girl” archetype here, he’s more quiet and respectful vs his more prickish friend Scott. The other characters all work in their roles, and work well when possessed. The performances are okay, which is good considering the experience level of the actors at this point in time. You can tell they had fun when in the possessed mode. You can see their development throughout the run time of the movie, and Bruce Campbell is the best showing of this for me. He starts off unsure and uneasy of himself, but by the end he’s grown a lot and seems more confident in his reactions to everything happening around him. 

This movie is very low budget. There are points in time where (at least where I was watching it) the camera is either out of focus or the film wasn’t great so it looks a little strange. Other than that the budget really does end up adding to the movie, helping to create that sense of dread and uneasiness that is around throughout the movie. It also made the filmmakers get really creative with it, as the movie makes use of interesting camera shots and techniques that Sam Raimi would continue to use throughout his career. Probably the most famous and interesting one is the POV of the demonic force which helps give the feeling that it is ever present. You can especially see the creativity in the latter half of the movie when it goes balls to the wall and the demons are everywhere in the house. The camera work and cinematography also help with the atmosphere of the movie, letting you know from the beginning that something is off and wrong. 

The horror elements all work for me, they’re effective at giving scares as well as establishing the character and power of these demons. They really love messing with people before outright trying to kill them. The gore and effects are amazing, they all look great which is astounding considering that everything was basically done by kids out of college. It helps that the biggest stuff was saved for the later parts of the movie. A stand-out is the final sequence of the demons possessing Cheryl and Scott dying. That was insane with the mix of stop-motion effects, the blood and what i guess are miniatures for the hands that come out of the torsos are just incredible. The music as well is great, helps build the tension and is very memorable. The end credits music does make me laugh as its up beat after all this horror. 

Over-all this was an incredible movie. One of the best horror movies I’ve ever seen (although that’s not saying much as I haven’t seen a lot), an incredible ride that justifies its legendary status. Well worth a watch or rewatch if you haven’t seen it or haven’t seen it in a while. Two Thumbs Up !

PG: Psycho Goreman (2020) Review

It took me long enough but I’ve finally watched PG: Psycho Goreman to celebrate the beginning of Halloween week. Wow I really enjoyed this movie. For those that don’t know PG: Psycho Goreman is a Canadian science fiction horror fantasy comedy directed by Steven Kostanski. It stars Nita-Josée Hanna as Mimi, Owen Myre as Luke, Adam Brooks as Greg, Alexis Kara Hancey as Susan, and Matthew Ninaber & Steven Vlahos as the titular Psycho Goreman (Ninaber in the suit and Vlahos as the voice). Psycho Goreman tells the story of Mimi and Luke, a pair of siblings with wild personalities (in the case of Mimi), that unwittingly discover the prison of an unknowingly ancient and insanely powerful demonic alien warlord known to his allies and enemies as the Archduke of Nightmares. Shenanigans ensue as the kids teach PG the power of love. Brutal, bloody, violent love. I gotta say this movie plays right into my proclivities when it comes to B-movie schlock. It’s fun, bloody, but with a heart to it that brings it together. It definitely feels like an over the top 80s nostalgia movie with the family relationships and interactions, but it does it all in good fun. The family are fun, very pop culture inspired with how the kids can go wherever without parent’s questioning, how used they get to the situation and the things they are seeing. The kids are stand out characters, Mimi being the aggressive one in control and Luke being the calmer one that over-time loses his cool with the abuse his sister dishes out to him. They do feel like kids though coming up with crazy games to bide their time. The parents are ok, pretty typical for this type of movie. The aliens are all fun characters and have cool designs. Kostanski is able to build a surprisingly deep and rich universe of aliens and monsters of different designs and abilities that all somehow work together. It adds to the heart and feel of the movie, you can feel the fun they had and the passion they had come out through the screen. You can tell the movie is low budget, but that adds to it’s appeal. Even though it is it still looks great. The suits are all creative and cool, the effects all look great, and the gore is over the top and incredible. It all blends together to create this incredible mix of gore, toku, and fun that I just love. The music is great as well, having a memorable score with a big feel to it, and the original songs are fun. I know this is a short review but I just had a blast with the movie. Its fun, it doesn’t take it self seriously and its awesomely brutal. I mean there’s a kid that gets turned into a waddling brain with tentacles and it just continues on as if it’s completely normal now. Even his parents are just used to it. It’s well worth the watch if you’re into this kind of movie. Where else are you going to find a movie where you’re happy to see the main character go on to destroy the universe. Two-Thumbs up!!

Black Adam (2022) Review

So I saw Black Adam today, and I enjoyed it. Black Adam is a DC movie starring Dwayne Johnson as Black Adam, Aldis Hodge as Hawkman, Pierce Brosnan as Dr. Fate, Noah Continuo as Atom Smasher, Sarah Shahi as Adrianna Tomaz, and Quintessa Swindell as Cyclone. Black Adam to me is a really fun movie. It is surprisingly brutal at times and had some great action. One thing too keep in mind before going into this is that this is basically The Rock’s movie. I mean, he has a hand in the production of the movie, and is probably the reason this was actually made. You can tell he is passionate for the character and the material you can use the character in. But I can say from now you can see the age in how long this movie has been in development for. So let’s get into it.

The story and plot are pretty standard. The characters are looking for a macguffin that creates the big bad and can end the world. Where the interesting stuff is in the character interactions, especially between Black Adam and the Justice Society. Their interactions are fun and brought a lot to the movie. The constant debate about which way is better is fun and Hawkman and Adam’s rivalry is fun. The characterization and performances of the Justice Society are great. Aldis Hodge did a great job as Hawkman, a great interpretation staying truthful to the character while also leaving more to be wanted. Pierce Brosnan was a perfect Kent Nelson Dr Fate. He had the right amount of experience and wisdom brought to the role. Their relationship is a strong point of the movie.  Noah and Quintessa are great in their roles.

 The only performances I had issues with were Dwayne Johnson as Black Adam and Adrianna’s son Amon. Dwayne isn’t bad in this role, I just wish he gave a bit more in a lot of scenes. We don’t really get much of the comedic timing, and a lot of it is calm rock throughout. It doesn’t help that a lot of his lines we’ve heard in marketing a lot. Though in context they aren’t as weird as they are in marketing. I don’t hate it but I think we’ll get some more fun stuff with him in the future now that his history is established. Although characterization wise it is a good adaptation of the modern version from the comics, but not as hardcore to keep the heroic side to him there. His arc throughout the movie is great though, learning to move past his anger and rage to control himself and become the champion Kahndaq needs as its protector. Amon was iffy throughout, a rebellious teen fighting against oppression, while also being the Freddy to Adam’s Billy. Other than that the movie can be formulaic and a little derivative, but still doesn’t take away from my enjoyment of the movie.

 The movie looks pretty good, a good adaptation of Kahndaq and the abilities of the heroes. I like how Dr. Fate’s powers are shown throughout the movie, keeping it magical while keeping it different than Dr. Strange. The action was great, surprisingly brutal at times and loads of fun. I like how it showed how powerful the users of Shazam’s empowerment can be. The effects are for the most part pretty good, some stuff could have used a second pass and the head replacement stuff is off proportionally. An issue I do kind of have though is that it loves to use the Zack Snyder slowdown during action in the movie. It shows up a lot. The score is great, good use of music as well throughout. Although at times the choices of songs feel like they were made when Johnson was first announced 15 years ago. I liked the villains, making Intergang the invading force on Kahndaq is a great choice that can establish stuff for the future of the universe. Making the big bad be Sabbac is a great choice for me, it keeps him in the family of Shazam villains and I never thought I’d see him in live action. It’s a great adaptation of the modern version of the character and has some good action. I do kind of wish we got to see more of him in action against more characters. I do wish there were mentions or easter eggs related to Billy and his stuff throughout considering their history together in other media. One thing I didn’t mind was using this movie to introduce the Justice Society characters as I highly doubt we’ll get singular movies for them in the future, especially with the current Warner Brothers Discovery situation. I also enjoyed the costuming in the movie, Black Adam’s costume being a great adaptation of the classic suit while also updating it and texturizing it for modern movies. Hawkman is perfect, and Dr. Fate is a great adaptation playing up the alien elements of the character. Atom Smasher and Cyclone are perfect as well. Over-all I’d say Black Adam is a good, but flawed super-hero movie with some great action. It’s iffy in areas but over-all a great watch, Two-Thumbs up !

Also THAT MID CREDIT SCENE IS AMAZING. Sure it’s now the worst kept secret in movies, but it’s still great and the music sting was just awesome. 

She-Hulk (2022) Review

So She-Hulk is finally done. I can say over-all I thought it was a good show. I have my issues with it, but over-all had a good time with the series. She-Hulk is a Marvel streaming show on Disney+ starring Tatiana Maslany as Jennifer Walters/She-Hulk andGinger Gonzaga as Nikki Ramos. The Show is based off of the Marvel character of the same name. There will be spoilers in this post as a lot of my episode thoughts were written in the moment and contain them. It’s also difficult to talk a lot about what I think about the show without them. First, lets look at my episode first reactions. 

Episode 1: That was a good premiere episode. A good amount of comedy that is a good adaptation of the more popular versions of the character in the comics. A Funtime seeing Bruce again. The episode focuses on the differences between Jenifer and Bruce and their experiences at Hulks. Bruce experts her to have the same experience he did with his journey to being the way he is now. But she has had a different life and a different way of being a Hulk. I know a lot of people were upset by her but they have lived different lives and are forgetting that Hulk as a personality existed before the gamma exposure, whereas Jennifer  hasn’t had that. And in their life differences Jennifer has had more experience with having to control her emotions and herself, at least so  far in the show. There could still be a difference in personality at some point. She doesn’t want to be a superhero but we see in the end that it may be inevitable. The show keeps the 4th wall breaking nature of the character which in interesting to me. Good performances, good effects, cool to see more of what Bruce was up to during The Blip and  a good fight scene between two hulks. Over-all a good episode.

One thing to notice after rewatching the episode is that there might be a personality change there, like she does get more emotional and angry when in hulk form. And I think the reason Bruce is the way he is in this episode is that his form is a merging of both hulk and bruce, and so because of that the hulks impulsiveness and jealousy is rubbing off on Bruce.

Episode 2:  A fun episode with some good comedy, an good continuation of the story and the start of what Bruce was talking about coming to ahead with Jennifer being fired and no one hiring her except for a law firm that is opening a superhuman law service. It has some weird timeline implications, like how did the Abomination footage from Shang-Chi make it out? It will be interesting to see where the show goes from here.

Episode 3:

Another fun episode. A good episode continuing the She-Hulk dealing with press storyline, as well as finishing the current blonsky stuff. We get a view at some behind the scenes stuff for the future with the wrecking crew showing up. A fun episode with some fun storylines and character work. Although one thing I will say though is that this is the first episode where I could see some weird stuff with the effects on she-hulk. I don’t know if it was the suit she was wearing or what, but it just felt weird.

Episode 4: 

Another fun episode. I like how it showed what a  day is like in Jen’s life a lot, her dating life as Jen and as She-Hulk. It was a funny episode with some of the humour falling flat, if you don’t like drunk girl humour than you won’t like this episode. Madisynn was a fun character though, and her relationship with Wong was funny. Wong was great again in this episode, getting more of his personality and the things he enjoys. Donny Blaze was a funny character and gives a good reason why the mystic arts is kept the way it is in the MCU. We got some fun action, and good to see  She-Hulk get involved in it more. Over-all a fun episode with an interesting ending. 

Episode 5:

Another fun episode, we get more court stuff and getting a bit into the sadder part of what it is being a hulk. And how there is two identities there, and getting a bit into the differences between them. We’re starting to see the comic Jen a bit more with how in the comics she is mostly in hulk form due to preferring how she feels as a hulk. We also get to see Titania back and suing for name use, which is an interesting  idea to  run with for a super hero show. We a also get a teaser for the next episode with the costume maker who designed Jen suits for her to wear as a hulk, where we see a certain blind lawyer’s alter ego’s costume. 

Episode 6:

Another fun episode, we get more court stuff but without Jen as the B-Plot with an interesting character that uses them in a fun way. And Jen is at a wedding for a high school friend and uh-oh Titania is there to cause trouble. Its an interesting episode showing us more why Jen is growing to like being She-Hulk with the way her friend treats her throughout the wedding weekend.  We also get the first view of a possible relationship Jen could have with someone who likes her as Jen and as She-Hulk. We also get the first view of where this show is going with the introduction of the Intelligencia website that is actively working against Jen, and was behind the wrecking crew attack on her. Seeing the possible future of why Bruce wanted her to train and why Bruce was warning her about her life going forward. With the Intelligencia i wonder if this will be the first reintroduction of Tim Blake Nelson as The Leader since we now know he’s going to be in the next Captain America. Over-all a fun episode.

Episode 7:

Another really good episode. I think so far it’s the best episode. We get to meet some fun characters and the return of another into something I wasn’t expecting. The episode had an interesting opening showing the development in the relationship between josh and jen. We get to see Emil Blonsky again, this time at his property for healing. It was really fun to see this hippy version again, and it also shows that his  development has stayed with him and he is actually doing it. The other characters in the therapy group are fun. We get to see Jen working on the difference between her and she-hulk, and coming to terms a bit with it. It lays the foundation for what could eventually happen in the show with the group giving her advice. The reveal at the end is heartbreaking with where it could go and how we could see the comic Jen come into play. I definitely feel that this episode could be a bit of a response to the eventual criticisms of the show from the writers with the more overt character development for jen and her relationship with she-hulk. We get a bit more intellegencia stuff with that ending and the beginning of the endgame of this season as I think there are only 2 episodes left. Excited to see where it goes and another great episode.

Episode 8:

The penultimate episode is a pretty good one. We get some fun stuff with Jen having to defend a client in the wrong, that caused his own problems. Leap Frog is an ok character, definitely a commentary on these types of lawsuits. But that’s not what we’re here for, it’s finally the Daredevil episode! He’s good in this, it is a  more comedic version of the character but not much so. It’s still the daredevil we know and love but put in a more comedic situation than dealing with what he typically does. His chemistry with Jen is great, the fights are ok. The intellegencia also make their big move exposing what they have on Jen and violating her privacy trying to make her seem like another rage-filled Hulk at the gala. Next episode is going to be interesting as it’s the finale and has to wrap everything up. 

Episode 9:

The finale episode of the season. Its a good finale. It wraps up some of the plot lines throughout the season in a fun way. I do have a few issues with it though, as I feel like going for the joke finale might not work as well for me considering all the emphasis placed on certain things throughout the show. While what they went with works for the character and the type of show it is, I don’t feel like it is satisfying enough to me. I’ll get more into it in the full season thoughts but I do kind of feel that it’s a cop-out ending. I think a lot of the problems I have with it are things that are being saved for other stuff down the line. Outside of that, I did find the marvel studios scenes funny and interesting how they’re poking fun at themselves. The ending was fun and surprising that they would bring THAT character into it here, and also we see that Jen isn’t the only 4th wall breaker with that ending stinger. Over-all a good finale.

As you can see I did really enjoy the show. I don’t know if this is gonna end up as “structured” my reviews normally are but here we go.

The story and format of the show was interesting and a first for marvel. Going fully in with the legal sit-com genre that does really work for the show and the character. It’s definitely different than pretty much all the other marvel shows we’ve gotten so far on Disney+, and does show that these different genres can work for marvel characters. Not everything has to be action oriented with these shows, and you can do a lot more with the characters than has been shown so far. 

The show does have a bit of a through-line story, but is mostly a by-the-week show. Everything does have continuity from each other but each episode has a different story that like a sit-com mostly wraps itself up at the end. The main focus of the story though is on Jen and her journey into being a Hulk. How her life changes for better and for worse, and how she slowly learns how to cope with it all. There are some biggish storylines that happen in the show that don’t really get resolved by the end. Knowing marvel these will likely be brought back in the future with where I think the Hulk stories will be going in the future. 

Lets move on to the characters and performances, though here I’m mostly going to talk about Jen as she’s the main focus of the show and the one who changes the most. Tatiana Maslany is honestly perfect as Jennifer Walters, otherwise known as the titular She-Hulk. She perfectly embodies the workaholic, awkward side of Jen, as well as the more confident and strong-willed side of She-Hulk. Her character arc throughout the show is an effective one for the type of show it is, and for the character it is. She goes through the journey of self acceptance, a similar journey that Bruce went through with his Hulk in a much faster pace. Jen doesn’t exactly have another personality in She-Hulk form and is almost always in control. To me though, She-Hulk is a different personality in a way, it’s still Jen at the wheel, but it’s a different version of Jen in a way. She’s more confident in herself and her body as She-Hulk,  she has more fun than in Jen form. We see how much of Jen’s life is different because of She-Hulk, in so many different ways. Jen learns a lot throughout the show of what it means to be a Hulk and to deal with the new problems that she wouldn’t have dealt with otherwise. It’s also to me why I didn’t get mad like a lot of people did after the first episode and the way Jen talks to Bruce who has been dealing with this for a long time. While she doesn’t have the exact same issues Bruce does, he has been dealing with these things for far longer than Jen has. To me, we do see this throughout the show, that Bruce was right in some aspects. Heck the connecting threads of the show are everything that Bruce was warning Jen about. She has a target on her back, people want her spot her powers her name and want her dead and gone. So much of her arc is learning through this and learning to accept her hulk self and even the name of She-Hulk. We slowly see her learn to accept herself and her faults and finally take control of her life. 

Everyone else did a great job and were great characters. It was fun to see what they did with Emil and the Abomination and it was interesting to see how they have made him similar to a Hulk as well that he can choose between his human and abomination forms. It was cool to see Bruce again and see how its not just Bruce in the smart Hulk form as there are moments we see the other hulk personality come out at points. Nikki was a fun character and good friend. It was cool to see Daredevil again and I felt like they handled his character well in it. I know people can have an issue with the way he was handled, but he is not in a serious situation in this show. Wong was awesome and hilarious as always. 

For me the comedy of the show worked really well. It was silly and goofy and meta at times. Ok not at times it was frequently meta and got very much so at the end. A lot of the comedy had to deal with making fun of “alpha” men or men with that mindset. A lot of the antagonists in the show are those guys, to the point they made the ultimate antagonist of the show basically 4Chan and the other internet troll types who target and harass women in those ways. I enjoyed the way the show used the meta humour, with almost once an episode of Jen talking to the audience about the show and poking fun at itself. Then the finale goes all the way with it, full John Byrne She-Hulk comic with it. I don’t want to spoil it, but it goes almost full Blazing Saddles with it. That was a fun way to end the show, straight up poking fun at themselves and the negative commenters in the audience. 

The music choices and score of the show are good, some fun tracks that fit the show. The action of the show is mostly ok, it’s there and its serviceable for a show that’s not about the physical action. The effects are mostly good, it is a bit iffy at times but works well for the most part. 

Now for my issues with the show. For me the show just didn’t hit right. I mean part of it is that I’m, not too big on the genre, but I feel like part of it was that it was a superhero show that didn’t want to be a superhero show. Like you can really see this in the finale. But again that’s apart of it. It’s not a superhero action show and i think that is one of the reasons the show can rub people the wrong way. Outside of that I think my biggest issue is the length of the show. Its a very fast show, no episodes go longer than 35 mins WITH credits so each episode is barely 30 mins long. They do  a lot with that time, but I feel like the show could have actually been longer. I think having more episodes could have helped the show develop over time and even give us more time with the character. Even an extra episode would have helped to me to give us more time with Jen at her lowest point before the finale. Maybe even do the original fake finale than Jen decides to do what she does in the actual finale. That’s where another issue is, the finale is kind of unsatisfactory for me ( as you can see in my first reaction to it). It’s a cop-out ending while still being a fun way to end the show. Its not just the meta stuff for me, but it’s the meta stuff that basically skips over all the stuff that’s been going on in the show to leave off with a kind of happy ending. You don’t get a confrontation and all the stuff that happens in the prior episode is reversed. 

Over-all I do have to say though that She-hulk is a pretty good show for what it is. I give it One Thumb up !

Werewolf by Night (2022) Review

So I just finished watching the Marvel Disney+ special presentation Werewolf by Night. The special is directed by composer Michael Giacchino and stars Gael García Bernal as Jack Russell, and Laura Donnelly as Else Bloodstone. The special is based on the Werewolf by night comic character created by Gerry Conway, Michael G. Plug, Roy Thomas, and Jean Thomas. This is the perfect time of year for a special like this. Seeing as we’re in the spooky season of October and Halloween, this is a special that fits perfectly around it. Also I will warn that if you haven’t seen it yet, there will be spoilers of things that happen in it. Though there won’t be many as there isn’t really too much to spoil. 

I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed this special. Everything about it put on this kind of nostalgic feeling of classic monster movies, with the production quality and value of a modern marvel project mixed with classic B-movies. It’s not too serious, but also doesn’t treat itself like a joke. It is a faithful representation of those styles of movie with a modern flair. From the setting to the story to the music it’s all faithful and great. They really put some effort into this, you can tell they love those old movies. The performances were all great, Bernal and Donnelly did great jobs as their characters. I feel like Donnelly might have had more to work with as she gets more action in this special whereas Bernal waits a bit until the second half. Another character worth mentioning is MAN-THING (regressing the urge to make a Swamp-Thing animated series intro reference here). He was handled great in this special, a mysterious figure that we don’t know much about in the MCU (yet) but his relationship with the main characters is fun, and I like how he turns around if you know his name. He was adapted pretty much perfectly. I don’t know much about him from the comics but from what we’ve gotten it’s perfect. 

I think Giacchino was a great choice for this, he is a first time director but you can see his influences in it. He makes some great choices in it in terms of the action and handling the lighting of the special. Visually the special is great, the b&w look of the special is great and doesn’t cover anything. The lighting really works for this, it’s a little dark and moody and spooky but doesn’t drop down to be too dark to see anything. Even the scenes where the light is slowly fading during some of the big set pieces of the special, it all works and looks great. Doesn’t detract from the overall feel. The action was pretty good, I feel like the only issues I had with it was with Else Bloodstone as she felt a lot like the spy type action we get from the black widow type characters. At least her first fight really reminds me of the opening fight in Captain America: Civil War. Doesn’t help its a similar silhouette to that scene.

 Other than that the action is great, the Werewolf stuff at the final act was awesome. The stand-out moment being that scene in the kind of hallway when the door is closing with the light going down with it. We get some cool werewolf action, a hallway fight, and some surprising gore. I’m relatively shocked that  they were able to get away with what they did in this special. It is pretty brutal in some scenes, some stand-outs being the aforementioned werewolf stuff, as well as the man-thing kills. Those were awesome and everything I hoped they would be, as they brutal and pretty horrifying from a certain view. I do feel like they were able to get away with this because it’s a Disney+ special in b&w so there’s no red blood. The music is great throughout the special, composer Giacchino does a great job at making the music feel like it fits right in with old universal monster movies. It has the right amount of suspense and dread, as well as bombast and fanfare.

The effects work is all great, being that outside of the colour grade there isn’t too much but still a good amount of digital effects. Such as the main man himself Man-Thing, who is a perfect adaptation of the comic book design. The colour does enhance the effects though as the digital blood doesn’t really take you out as much as it might if it was coloured red. I love how they handled the transformation scene, showing him changing in silhouette as the camera dollies in on Elsa’s shocked and scared face. The design of the werewolf is great as well, he looks like a classic wkolfman, but with a bit more hair, a more human featured face, and the facial tattoos of Jack. I love how they went with a classic dude in a suit for a lot of the werewolf stuff instead of full digital, I always love a good monster costume. 

My issues with this special are few in between. My first one is that outside of the motivations they show us, the main characters don’t really go in a arc in this. I can see why they didn’t as this is just kind of showing off these characters and establishing their relationships for the future. I kind of wish there was  a bit more of a  story reason for the end change into colour. Although maybe its done to show that these characters and events are in the main MCU and will becoming back eventually out of this situation. These are probably just symptoms of my biggest issue, that the special could have been longer. I feel like if it had more time we could have fleshed these characters out more. Although I guess that will be for the future.

I mean we’re going to see these characters again eventually. It establishes and builds up a new magical artifact, with potential connections to other stuff in the MCU. A new side of the universe is shown off of darkness, horror, and monsters that we will be seeing more in the future with Blade and possibly Black Knight. Man-Thing will especially be important in the future if he serves the same role as his comic counterpart does, with all the multiverseal stuff going on at the moment. 

Over-all Werewolf By Night is a great special that is a lot of fun and perfect for this season we’re in. If you like old monster movies I can’t recommend this enough. Two-thumbs up ! It’s worth a watch and might be on my halloween watch-list going forward.