‘Justice League’ Movie Review

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It’s finally here. Whether you are excited by it or even if you are dreading it, in many ways ‘Justice League‘ may well be the most highly anticipated movie of 2017! The surrounding controversy and behind-the-scenes drama have certainly created a huge amount of buzz for this film with the news of multiple reshoots, the passing of the baton from Zack Snyder to Joss Whedon for directorial duties, etc. After seeing it last night and going in with low expectations after the severe disappointment of ‘Batman vs Superman‘ and ‘Suicide Squad‘ but still cautiously optimistic in the wake of how incredible ‘Wonder Woman’ was, I’d have to say that Warner Bros & D.C. Comics have a bonafide hit on their hands and that the DCEU is finally on solid ground moving forward. If ‘Wonder Woman‘ was the movie that helped the franchise find it’s footing, then ‘Justice League’ is the film that sets them running full-speed ahead.

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As the world mourns the loss of Superman, Batman (played supremely well by Ben Affleck) continues to investigate a mysterious alien threat and, after an exciting and comic book worthy battle against a Parademon high above the rooftops of Gotham City, decides that his plan to assemble a team of people with powers must move ahead at once. While Batman goes to recruit The Flash (played with great comedic timing by Ezra Miller), Wonder Woman (portrayed confidently & brilliantly by Gal Gadot) sets off to bring Cyborg (wonderfully performed by Ray Fisher) into the fold. The goal? Prevent Steppenwolf (Ciaran Hinds) from uniting three Mother Boxes left behind during his previous attempt to conquer Earth and, thereby, turning the world into a new version of his home planet of Apokolips. Soon, Aquaman (brought to us in pitch(fork) perfect form by Jason Momoa) joins the fight but even he may not be enough to turn the tide (sorry, I’ll stop) in our heroes’ favor. Luckily, Batman has a plan: Use the remaining Mother Box currently in their possession in conjunction with the Kryptonian birthing chamber (used by Luthor to create Doomsday) to resurrect Superman! Will their plan work? Will Superman come back normal or “Pet Cemetery” style?!? (LOL! Ezra Miller…)

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Now… as for what worked and what didn’t: I will say that, overall, I think the movie was as close to comic book perfection as Warner Bros has given to us thus far. Considering all of the rewrites and reshoots, it is very hard to say which parts of this can be attributed to Zack Snyder and which parts are the responsibility of Joss Whedon and which parts are because of Geoff Johns being installed in a ‘Kevin Feige’ style position with the DCEU. For my money, the greatest area was the notable change in tone for Superman (a sparkling performance by Henry Cavill). He was brightly colored, smiling (even laughing) and full of light and hope in a way we’ve yet to see him in the previous two outings (aka: ‘Man Of Steel‘ & ‘Dawn Of Justice‘). The interaction between the lead characters was also very well done! Affleck’s portrayal of Batman is my favorite since Michael Keaton and the chemistry between him, Gadot, Momoa, Fisher & Miller was palpable! This goes double for the scenes shared by Ezra Miller’s Flash & Ray Fisher’s Cyborg. I would pay money to see a “The Brave & The Bold” style film with just the two of them. That being said, one of the negatives for me was the way The Flash’s character was written. Given his demeanor and style, he seemed more suited for a Wally West or, better yet, a Bart Allen style Flash than he did for a Barry Allen type. This is one glaringly obvious place where the writing stumbled over it’s own feet as far as characterization is concerned. Ray Fisher nails the role of Cyborg right out of the gate and the characterization here is a great mix of the original straight out of George Perez‘s & Marv Wolfman‘s “New Teen Titanscomic combined seamlessly with the “New 52” upgrades that we’ve come to accept and appreciate in the character. For the brief time they were in it, both J.K. Simmons‘ Commissioner Gordon & Amber Heard‘s Mera were also completely on-point!! I’m certainly looking forward to seeing more of them both in the upcoming solo films for Batman & Aquaman respectively! Some have complained about the story being a little flat, but I found it to be very solid. It perfectly incorporated aspects from all of the previous films into the narrative of this movie in a way that effectively made us feel that the build up to ‘Justice League’ was all worth it. Where ‘Dawn Of Justice‘ felt overstuffed with too many story lines being furiously cobbled together, this film felt well-paced, slick and exceptionally well-balanced. I could have also stood to see a little more of Aquaman, but aside from that, I think the once troubled DCEU franchise is now firmly established. On a scale of 1 – 10, I give ‘Justice League’ a strong 7.5 and I am looking forward with great anticipation and excitement to see where we go from here!! (BTW: There are TWO post-credit scenes and BOTH are very, very well worth sticking around for, I promise!)

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‘Thor: Ragnarok’ Movie Review

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It’s been almost a decade since Marvel Studios gave us ‘Iron Man‘ and began creating a connected film world that brought our favorite comic book characters to life on the big screen. Now with the release of ‘Thor: Ragnarok‘ next weekend, we will have our 17th installment in the wondrous world of the Marvel Cinematic Universe! This 3rd film in the “Thor Trilogy” is a notable departure from the first two chapters in so much that it is laden with quite a bit more humor than the preceding movies even though the stakes are much higher for the Odinson than ever before. After the events of ‘Avengers: Age Of Ultron‘, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) has been following his recurring visions in an attempt to ensure Asgard’s safety from outside threats. Upon his return, he realizes that Loki (Tom Hiddleston) has been impersonating Odin (Anthony Hopkins) and ruling Asgard in their father’s place ever since the final events of ‘Thor: Dark World‘. On their way to find where Loki banished Odin, they are introduced to Odin’s first born; Hela the Goddess Of Death (Cate Blanchett). Hela easily defeats both Thor and Loki resulting in their being dumped on to a remote planet called Sakaar which is ruled by The Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum). Thor can win his freedom in the gladiator ring if he defeats Grandmaster’s champion – The Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo)!! Meanwhile, Hela is intent on ruling all of the Nine Realms but cannot leave Asgard because Heimdall (Idris Elba) has stolen the Bifrost Sword. Will Thor be able to find a way home and, even if he does, will he be able to defeat his elder sister Hela and prevent Ragnarok? Or will this finally be the end of fabled Asgard?

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Once more, Marvel has brought an incredible movie to the fans which gives us specific character focus while also still moving the overarching story of the combined Cinematic Universe closer to the climactic showdown with Thanos in next year’s ‘Avengers: Infinity War‘. The cast of ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ may be one of the most impressive of any Marvel film to date! Cate Blanchett is terrifyingly perfect as Hela as she embodies the beauty and horror of The Goddess Of Death combined with the smoldering rage of the prodigal daughter come to forcibly take what she believes to be her rightful place as ruler of Asgard and beyond. Returning players Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston and Idris Elba are excellent as always in their respective roles and it was fantastic to see more action from Elba’s Heimdall than we have been privy to in previous installments. The standout for me was Jeff Goldblum who chews the scenery as The Grandmaster in his own Jeff Goldblum-y style. Tessa Thompson is equal parts badass & divine in her portrayal of newcomer Valkrie and I’m hoping we get to see more of her character in future offerings from Marvel Studios.

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While this film is certainly my favorite of the three Thor movies, I still found a few little details that slightly bothered me. The previous two Thor films had a weighty gravitas to them that portrayed the style with which I’ve grown accustomed to seeing Thor. Almost Shakespearian in tone, if you will. This film almost had too much humor and felt more like an extension of ‘Guardians Of The Galaxy‘ than of ‘Thor‘. It also felt like a 70% Thor film and a 30% Hulk film simply because Marvel has neglected to do anything with Hulk outside of his 2008 standalone movie and then the two Avengers films. (Not entirely their fault as they have legal hurdles to overcome with Universal still owning the distribution rights to the character.) There was also a scene with Odin & Thor that was a little too Dumbledore-esque for my tastes. Again, these are small wrinkles and, to me, easily overlooked given the clever plot that almost seamlessly combines the Ragnarok story from the Thor books together with the now classic Planet Hulk saga. I also loved the 80’s look and feel of the graphics and colors in the film and the style of music throughout. While certainly not the best of the MCU films up to this point, ‘Thor Ragnarok’ is still an impressive outing for the franchise and one that you should definitely get out there and see sooner rather than later!! On a scale of 1 – 10, I would rate ‘Thor 3’ as a strong 8. AND… there are TWO post-credits scenes on this one so if anyone tries to get you to leave the theater before they both play, hold Mjolnir high over your head and tell them “NAY!!”

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‘The Snowman’ Movie Review

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The Snowman‘ film, based on the best-selling novel by author Jo Nesbo, has all the markings of a fantastic crime thriller. The cast is an extraordinary one consisting of A-Listers such as Michael Fassbender, Rebecca Ferguson, J.K. Simmons, Toby Jones and Val Kilmer. The premise of a cat-and-mouse game between an elite detective (Fassbender) and a vicious and elusive serial killer who is triggered by the first snowfall sounds exciting. The exotic backdrop of Norway and beautiful scenes shown throughout the film hold a decorative yet unsettling thrall for the viewer. Sadly, all of these elements fail to save the incoherent and jumbled story of the movie itself. This is a film I was anxious to see, somewhat glad I saw, but still felt somehow very disappointed by the end product.

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Michael Fassbender as the lead (Harry Hole – yes, that’s the character’s name) gives a stoic but sincere performance as a brilliant detective who struggles with alcohol addiction. Unfortunately, while we are given examples of his alcoholism, we are merely left to understand, through some weak dialogue, about the brilliant detective part. That seems to be the theme of the movie – some jumbled scenes and a line or two of dialogue to establish the motives and backstory of the main characters. This, unfortunately, doesn’t help the audience to really feel invested in any of the players that we are randomly introduced to throughout the film. Some characters almost feel as though they were added as an afterthought to help shore up the shaky storyline and force it forward. Val Kilmer and Toby Jones are especially underutlized as a means of giving Rebecca Ferguson‘s character some sort of motivation in the case of Kilmer and then as a means to provide a bit of much needed exposition to Fassbender’s character in the case of Jones.

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J.K. Simmons shows up as part of an almost secondary plot which never quite runs fully tangent to the main narrative. While his portrayal of his character is fantastic, it once again feels like he doesn’t NEED to be there due to the rambling plot and sloppy story which feels like it’s just all over the map. Towards the end, the movie makes a desperate attempt to pull the meandering threads together but it’s too little too late for my tastes. Having not read the original novel on which the film is based, I can only assume that the fault rests with Peter Straughan for the screenplay adaptation or with Tomas Alfredson‘s direction. There were even several quick scenes that I questioned the reasoning as to why they were included at all. The real letdown came at the end with how the killer is finally stopped. I understand the symmetry perhaps, but the finale doesn’t do much in the way of making it feel like our hero won the day. (You’ll understand when you see it.) Overall, if you’re a Fassbender fan (and who isn’t) then you may still want to check this movie out this weekend. Otherwise, you may want to hold off until it hits Netflix or Redbox. On a scale of 1 – 10, I’d have to , sadly, rate ‘The Snowman’ a very cold and disappointing 4.

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‘Breathe’ Movie Review

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The movie ‘Breathe‘ will be released in theaters this weekend and it marks the directorial debut of Andy Serkis. For my money, he has a winner on his hands right out of the gate! Based on the true story of Robin Cavendish, diagnosed at age 28 with polio and given only 3 months to live, the film is equal parts heart-breaking and uplifting. At the beginning of the film, we are introduced to Robin (played brilliantly by Andrew Garfield) as he meets, falls in love with and, subsequently marries, Diana Blacker (portrayed by the ever graceful Claire Foy). In 1957 while in Africa for his job as a tea broker, Robin suddenly falls ill and becomes paralysed from the neck down, unable to breathe on his own. A few weeks later, Diana gives birth to their son Jonathan but due to Robin’s condition, he is unable to even hold his newborn child. Despair sets in and Robin begs for death but Diana refuses to let him give in. (Interesting side note: the real life Jonathan Cavendish is one of this film’s producers!)

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After forcing his release from the hospital and being told by a doctor that he would be dead within 2 weeks outside of their medical confines, his family and friends move him into a new home and Robin slowly begins to find his reasons for living. With the help of his friend Teddy Hall (played gleefully by Hugh Bonneville), an inventor and a professor at Oxford, Robin is able to mount his respirator on a makeshift wheel chair which allows him to experience more of life. The story is thick with emotion as you experience both the highs and lows of the characters in this gripping film about the heights of the human spirit. The entire cast is absolutely superb and they are skillfully guided by Serkis’ steady hand. While I felt there was a slight lack of chemistry between Garfield & Foy early on in the film, that didn’t seem to matter by the end as they both slowly draw you in to this sobering look at how life can change almost instantly and how what we choose to do with our life can be impacted by those with whom we surround ourselves. This will almost certainly get some award nominations in the upcoming season and I would rate the film a solid 8 out of 10. Just make sure to order a side of tissues with your popcorn and soda.

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‘Friend Request’ Movie Review

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A new horror movie hitting theaters this weekend is ‘Friend Request‘ starring ‘Fear The Walking Dead‘ actor Alycia Debnam-Carey as college student Laura Woodson. Laura seemingly has it all: A perfect boyfriend, popularity, good grades, etc. As a result, she feels compelled to accept the friend request of a loner student with 0 friends, Marina Mills (played by Liesl Ahlers). But when Marina becomes obsessed with Laura and begins to cyberstalk her, Laura unfriends her causing Marina to take her own life on video for all to see and sets into motion a curse that will change Laura’s life forever.

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The premise of the film is a good one: Take something like technology, that makes us feel safe in the face of ancient practices of witchcraft and scrying, and make that technology the very vehicle that spirals us deeper into the supernatural clutches of evil. After Marina takes her own life by setting herself on fire and hanging herself in front of her laptop, the video appears in Laura’s Facebook feed leading to many people commenting on how awful she is to post such a thing. After multiple unsuccessful attempts to remove the video and even delete her account, she is questioned by the police and the dean of the college. After Laura receives a posthumous message from Marina warning her “u will know how it feels to be lonely.”, one-by-one her real life friends begin to die horribly after mysteriously becoming online friends with the now deceased Marina. This leads Laura in a race against time to find a way to break the curse before everyone she cares about dies.

The first half of the movie does well and pulls you in immediately. The imagery used in both the Facebook rendering of Marina’s page and the jump scares throughout are what one would expect from a solid, modern-day horror film. Sadly, the second half of the movie begins to unravel quickly and the film almost seems to not know what to do with itself. By the movie’s climax, there are some rather large plot points that strain credulity and the actual finale lacks any significant punch at all and leaves one rolling one’s eyes instead of looking over one’s shoulder. I’m sure this movie will appeal to the teenage crowd who want to kick off the “scary movie season” with a mindless flick, but the seasoned movie goer and horror movie buff will find the overall film rather lacking in the face of several recent genre hits such as ‘It‘ and ‘Annabelle: Creation‘. If I were you, I’d save this one for a watch at home with no better option and save your movie theater money for something better. On a scale of 1 – 10, I’d have to sadly give ‘Friend Request’ a weak 4.5. Feel free to unfriend me if you disagree. 😉

‘Kingsman: The Golden Circle’ Movie Review

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For those who may not have seen the original film, Kingsman is an independent British spy agency that works behind the scenes to protect the world. The idea is sort of a mashup of the slick espionage shows and movies like ‘The Avengers‘ and ‘James Bond‘. The first film even slyly poked fun at this notion much in the way the ‘Scream’ films poked fun at the horror movie genre. Sadly, ‘Kingsman: The Golden Circle‘, comes up a little short of the original. While still enjoyable, the plot strains the limits of one’s suspension of disbelief and isn’t quite as fun as the preceding entry. Opening with an assassination attempt of Eggsy (played again by Taron Egerton) by a rejected Kingsman applicant Charlie (a role reprised by Edward Holcroft), the movie delves breathlessly into action with a well-choreographed close-quarters fight scene and explosive car chase through the streets of London. It’s revealed that this assassination attempt wasn’t merely revenge but part of a plot to take out Kingsman as Charlie is seen to be working for illegal drug czar Poppy (played gleefully, but a bit over-the-top, by Julianne Moore). A country-wide missile strike ends up being Plan B and all of the Kingsman agents are wiped out except for Eggsy and Merlin (once again played by Mark Strong). The “Doomsday Protocol” is performed by Merlin leading the pair across the Atlantic to the state of Kentucky where they are introduced to their American cousins: The Statesman.

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The group is headed by Champagne (Jeff Bridges) with tech whiz Ginger Ale (Halle Berry) and staffed by Agents Tequila (Channing Tatum) and Whiskey (Pedro Pascal). After clarification of who Eggsy and Merlin are, The Statesman agree to help The Kingsman find and eliminate Poppy and the threat of poisoning drug addicts by obtaining her cure before world leaders capitulate to her demands of legalizing all drugs and granting her and her organization total amnesty. The real wrinkle comes in when it is revealed that Eggsy’s mentor Harry (played once again by Colin Firth) is actually alive, amnesiac and living in the care of The Statesman. From there, the world-saving begins in earnest with everything from robotic dogs, exotic locations and Elton John. (You read that correctly.)
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Even though the film clocks in at a lengthy 2 hours & 21 minutes, to its credit, the film never seems slow. I was a little disappointed by how sidelined the roles for Halle Berry and Channing Tatum were after how much they were both hyped in the previews. Jeff Bridges did a fine job of chewing the scenery and Julianne Moore as the villain was serviceable but her role lacked the charisma and punch that Samuel L. Jackson‘s villain has in the last film. This bit of criticism, from my standpoint, has less to do with her acting and more with the disconnected writing for her character. (I.E. The plot was wild but her motives and demands were mundane.) The standouts for me were Colin Firth, who tends to be superb in everything, and Marc Strong who gives, perhaps, the most real & grounded performance of the lot. It was also a delight seeing Elton John playing himself in a hilarious role as Poppy’s celebrity hostage / play thing who eventually gets his revenge in a deliciously fun and unmistakably Elton way.

So while this film carries the franchise forward, it also falls victim to “sequel syndrome” in not being able to completely recapture the elements and charm of the original. All of the actors do a fine job with what they are given, but some of the performances seem to suffer from being provided too little with which to work. Given the hype that the film has received and the anticipation of this sequel from fans who loved the first installment, I’d say that it will take the #1 Spot at the box office from ‘It‘ but will suffer a sharp decline for the second weekend. Based on all of this, I’d give the film a 6.5 out of 10.

AfterShock Comics “Dark Ark #1” Review

Hitting comic book stores on September 20th will be a very cool and incredibly interesting new series from AfterShock Comics called “Dark Ark“. It combines all of the elements of myth, lore, and alternate history into a deliciously dark tale set during the Biblical time of The Great Flood. Written by the always exceptional Cullen Bunn and smoothly drawn by Juan Doe, “Dark Ark” presents us with the idea that Noah may not have been the only one to build an ark to ride out the 40 day and 40 night deluge of the Earth. In this tale, a dark wizard by the name of Shrae takes two each of the demons & dark creatures (I.E. vampires, manticores, harpies, etc) aboard his own ark to survive the flood. But when a gathering of these monsters inhabit such a small space for so long, trouble is bound to happen. This is a fascinating look at a plot that runs tangent to a story with which we are all familiar. The scenes set by Bunn’s narrative and Doe’s accompanying art make for a compelling read that will make you hunger for the second issue as soon as you’ve finished the first! Comics like this are the reason independent publishers like AfterShock should be celebrated. “Dark Ark” is due out on September 20th so hurry and let your local comic book store know that you want them to put it on your pull list! You may even want to get 2 copies to make sure you get the alternate cover drawn by the phenomenal Phil Hester. On a scale of 1 – 10, I give “Dark Ark” a strong 8.5.

‘The Hitman’s Bodyguard’ Movie Review

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The Hitman’s Bodyguard‘ shoots into theaters this weekend starring Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, Elodie Yung, Gary Oldman and Salma Hayek. If those names alone aren’t enough to pique your interest, then perhaps my review may persuade you further. The best way to describe this film is to say it’s like ‘The Odd Couple‘ meets ‘Lethal Weapon‘. Reynolds plays Michael Bryce, a triple-A rated personal security operative who is at the top of his game until he loses a high value client. Fast forward 2 years and Bryce is on his own, providing security for drug-addled attorneys. Samuel L. Jackson plays Darius Kincaid, a professional & experienced hitman, who has been offered a deal by Interpol: testify against Belarus’s feared dictator Vladislov Dukhovich (impeccably played by Gary Oldman) and his imprisoned wife, Sonia Kincaid (delightfully portrayed by Salma Hayek) will go free. After accepting the deal, Interpol begins the transfer of Darius Kincaid to the International Court Of Justice hearings in Amsterdam under the watchful eye of Agent Amelia Roussel (Elodie Yung).  Before they can make it out of London, the transfer caravan is hit by agents of Dukhovich who will stop at nothing to keep Kincaid from testifying. With no choice left, Roussel calls in ex-boyfriend Bryce to insure that Kincaid makes it to Amsterdam in time for the hearing. If Kincaid doesn’t appear in court to testify, Dukhovich will go free.

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The film is laced with the typical Ryan Reynolds‘ humor and Samuel L. Jackson‘s signature swearing. There is also a LOT of violence, but then again, the title IS “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” so one SHOULD expect quite a bit of the rough stuff. Action is the order of the day and both Reynolds and Jackson are easily up for the task. Their chemistry on-screen is fantastic and all of the supporting cast are also superb in their roles. (Honestly: When has Gary Oldman ever NOT been superb?) The plot itself is not particularly inventive and the story is rather predictable, but it moves along at such a great pace from the beginning that you never really have a chance to stop and think about this flaw until after the film is over. The fight choreography and stunt work throughout the movie are also exceptional and I think this is a project that should afford a great deal of pride to all of those involved with the entire production. For best action flick of the year, I’d say that this one comes in right behind ‘Atomic Blonde‘ for me as the most fun offering of the summer. On a scale of 1 – 10, I’d give ‘The Hitman’s Bodyguard’ a solid 7 with just a few points off for the aforementioned predictability. If you get the chance to see a film this weekend, I would certainly recommend checking this one out. If for no other reason than this: You get to see Elektra hire Deadpool to keep Sirius Black from killing Mace Windu. Now THAT’S entertainment!!
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‘Annabelle: Creation’ Movie Review

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Horror movies are generally quite bankable. People LIKE being scared. The last time a horror movie truly lived up to its name for me was 2013’s ‘The Conjuring‘ which is now in my “Top 10 Scary Movies of All Time” list. That movie had a side story featuring an incredibly creepy doll named Annabelle that was possessed by evil. I clearly was not alone in my fear of this gruesome creation because the doll got a spin-off movie in ‘Annabelle‘ which came out just a year after ‘The Conjuring’. Now, we get the origin story of the world’s creepiest doll with this weekend’s release of ‘Annabelle: Creation‘. This film stars Anthony LaPaglia as Samuel Mullins, the doll maker who, after suffering the loss of his young daughter, unknowingly allows a demonic force to possess his latest creation in an attempt to bring his daughter back. Twelve years later, Sister Charlotte (played by Stephanie Sigman) brings a group of young orphan girls to the Mullins’ large home to live until they can be adopted. But when young Janice (played by Talitha Bateman) unknowing finds the doll and takes it out of it’s hidden prison, the malevolent spirit is unleashed and takes its revenge on the Mullins and everyone else living under their roof in horrifying ways.

This film succeeds in delivering genuine frights along with a compelling narrative where many other horror films tend to do either one or the other. For me, supernatural tales are generally more frightening than slasher flicks and ‘Annabelle: Creation’ is no exception. There is something universally frightening about making a seemingly innocent doll or child the focal point of evil. It’s been done well in other films throughout the years and is something this movie does even better than it’s predecessor. All of the acting solidly delivers to keep the audience engaged with the characters throughout the lean 1 hour and 49 minute run time and the pacing never drags. While there was a moment or two when my suspension of disbelief was tested, it wasn’t enough that I couldn’t thoroughly enjoy the overall film. For everything ‘Annabelle: Creation’ gives us, I’d rate it a strong 7.5! I predict that this movie will be #1 at the box office for it’s opening weekend and I would certainly recommend seeing it to any of my fellow horror movie fans out there. Just make sure you leave a light on for when you get home. And maybe make sure any dolls you have in the house are put away. Just to be safe.

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‘The Defenders’ Review of Episode 1.2

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After a slow start with Episode 1 to re-establish the main characters, Episode 2 starts off with Matt Murdock perched on the roof of his apartment listening to the various sounds of Hell’s Kitchen after an apparent earthquake has shaken the city. He reacts to a problem he feels can’t be ignored but is immediately upset by his decision to intervene. He is clearly still torn by his decision to stop being Daredevil. Meanwhile, Colleen and Danny continue to investigate the presence of The Hand in New York and follow their only lead in an attempt to get closer to their goal of stopping The Hand once and for all. Jessica Jones continues with her investigation into the suspected disappearance of a seemingly ordinary businessman who looks to be wrapped up in something far more complicated than Misty Knight and the police seem to think.. Luke Cage does what he can to help take care of the damage done to Harlem by the tremors from the night before and works a lead given to him by Turk in order to find out why young men in Harlem keep ending up dead after the working for a man by the name of White Hat.

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Whereas the first episode of this new series was a little slow and felt disjointed, we can see a more cohesive series being formed in the second episode as the various characters’ stories begin to slightly overlap. The overall style also seems reflective of that in this episode as the first seemed to be trying to keep each character’s scenes locked into their own show’s style of filming. Now that the interaction between some of the key characters is beginning to happen, I am completely invested. The acting was as solid from all of the players assembled as it was in their individual series. I am giddy about the possibilities of where the show goes from here. Given that this particular series is only 8 episodes long, I am sure the pace will pick-up dramatically and the complaint heard from some regarding the solo series about being a bit slow in some instances will not be a complaint that ‘The Defenders‘ will receive past the first episode. For only being the 2nd episode with all the occurred, I would rate it a solid 7.