Halloween Adventures in B-Movie Horror 2022 Part 1

It’s the other most wonderful time of the year. Oktoberfest beers, pumpkin spice lattes, leaves changing to beautiful colors, and of course, Halloween.

With the return of the spooky season, I’m going back to the world of B-movie horror and checking out what it has to offer. For this first installment, I’m going with a mix, with a UFO flick and a pair of slashers.

Continue reading “Halloween Adventures in B-Movie Horror 2022 Part 1”

REVIEW: ‘Smile’ will have horror fans smiling

Here in Minnesota, we know all about misleading smiles. It’s called being passive aggressive. The smiles in this film, though, are much more devilish.

Parker Finn makes his feature directorial debut with this new horror film, with Sosie Bacon playing the protagonist Rose. A doctor in a psychiatric ward, Rose regularly works with patients and it’s what brings her into contact with a troubled woman at the movie’s start.

The woman, a PhD student, says she’s been seeing a sinister figure who takes the form of people with an evil grin, before taking her own life. At first, Rose deduces that the woman must have been suffering from a mental ilness, until the same evil force begins appearing before her, too.

Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Smile’ will have horror fans smiling”

REVIEW: ‘Amsterdam’ collapses as plot becomes convoluted

Director David O. Russell’s latest film shows he still hasn’t managed to recapture the spark that he had with 2012’s “Silver Linings Playbook.”

In O. Russell’s new feature, which he also wrote, Christian Bale stars as Burt Berendsen. A veteran of World War I where he lost an eye, Burt is a doctor working in New York City, where he often crosses paths with friend and lawyer Harold Woodman (John David Washington).

The movie picks up with the two men being hired by a woman to investigate the mysterious death of her father. Things go wrong, though, when the woman dies and they are framed for her murder. To clear their name, they start an investigation into what’s going on, and get help from a woman named Valerie (Margot Robbie), who they met in Europe during WWI.

Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Amsterdam’ collapses as plot becomes convoluted”

REVIEW: ‘Bros’ is a winner thanks to sharp humor and genuine heart

Romantic comedies can often be predictable but if they make you care about the relationship and make people laugh, it’s a success.

“Bros” does just that, and more.

In the film, Bobby (Billy Eichner) is a successful podcast host and is on the leadership team working toward opening a museum dedicated to LGBTQ+ history. While his career is going well, though, his love life isn’t all that active, as he’s reluctant toward long term relationships.

That is until he meets Aaron (Luke Macfarlane), who he hits it off really well with. Aaron, another person with little luck in romance and hesitancy toward commitment, also really comes to like Bobby. The two begin dating, but they have to overcome some of their previous concepts on love to make their relationship work.

Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Bros’ is a winner thanks to sharp humor and genuine heart”

REVIEW: Jumbled second half damages derivative ‘Don’t Worry Darling’

After helming the teen comedy “Booksmart” in her directorial debut, Olivia Wilde took a leap to the thriller genre in her sophomore effort.

While some of “Don’t Worry Darling” is effective, though, Wilde’s latest film doesn’t stick the landing very well.

Florence Pugh stars as Alice, a 1950s housewife who lives with her husband Jack (Harry Styles) in a small town in the southwestern United States. The town has been set up for workers who seem to work at a secretive government facility, and their families.

Alice and Jack have a comfortable life, with plenty of amenities and luxury to enjoy. Everything seems great, but Alice begins to notice some strange happenings and struggles with the restrictions around town, leading to a mystery unraveling.

Continue reading “REVIEW: Jumbled second half damages derivative ‘Don’t Worry Darling’”

REVIEW: ‘See How They Run’ succeeds on strong humor

More Saoirse Ronan mystery movies, please.

In director Tom George’s feature film debut, Ronan portrays Constable Stalker, a young officer on the force, who is assisting Inspector Stoppard (Sam Rockewell) on a murder case. The victim in the case is Leo Kopernick (Adrien Brody), a film director who was set to helm the adaptation of Agatha Christie’s “The Mousetrap.”

As it just so happens, there are plenty of suspects who had a dislike for Leo, and the investigators’ case soon becomes an Agatha Christie-like whodunit. The two protagonists have to work quickly, too, as the murderer remains a danger to others involved in the production.

Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘See How They Run’ succeeds on strong humor”

REVIEW: Getting to know ‘Pearl’ is amusing and frightening

The beginning of Pearl’s path from sweet farm girl to the woman she became in the film “X” is on full, technicolor display in this prequel.

Taking place in 1918, “Pearl” follows the titular character, played by Mia Goth, as she descends into madness. There are a few factors pushing her there, but the main one is her mother, Ruth (Tandi Wright).

Ruth is a domineering woman, never showing compassion to her daughter and instead deriding her for wanting something beyond the farm life. That something is a career in dance, but as time gets closer to an audition that could give Pearl an escape, things begin to happen that awaken a darkness in the character.

Continue reading “REVIEW: Getting to know ‘Pearl’ is amusing and frightening”

REVIEW: Smith’s ‘Clerks III’ has moments, but remains a misfire

Talk about coming full circle.

After a 16-year break, the Clerks Randal (Jeff Anderson) and Dante (Brian O’Halloran) are back on the screen, right back where we left them. The friends still own the Quick Stop store, while the adjacent video store has become a marijuana dispensary run by Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (Kevin Smith).

The opens with the clerks doing their usual antics, until Randal suddenly collapses, which ends up being the result of a heart attack. While he does survive, it leaves him wanting to do something with his life, and he chooses to make a movie about the experiences of working at a convenience store.

Continue reading “REVIEW: Smith’s ‘Clerks III’ has moments, but remains a misfire”

REVIEW: Quiet thriller ‘God’s Country’ features a captivating character journey

The loneliness and isolation that comes with living in the country is certainly well represented in this picture.

Thandiwe Newton stars as Sandra in the feature directed and written by Julian Higgins. A college professor, Sandra is a woman who has just lost her mother and now lives alone in rural Montana.

The movie picks up with her one day noticing a red truck on her property, owned by two hunters. She asks them to stop coming onto her property, but they refuse. Their willingness to continue begins an escalation between the characters that pushes Sandra to her limits.

Continue reading “REVIEW: Quiet thriller ‘God’s Country’ features a captivating character journey”

2022 Summer Movie Awards

Summer 2022, headlined by “Top Gun: Maverick,” has come to an end, meaning it’s time to honor the best the season had to offer.

The summer movie season, for me, runs from the start of May until the end of August, so any movie I watched during that time was eligible. “Maverick” as expected, definitely had some success. However, plenty of other films earned awards too.

Continue reading “2022 Summer Movie Awards”