Hauntings are fairly common in horror films but “The Black Phone,” thankfully, puts a new twist on the concept.
The movie follows middle school student Finney (Mason Thames), a kid who lives in mid-size Colorado city with his sister Gwen (Madeleine McGraw) and father Terrence (Jeremy Davies). The community where Finney resides has been in a state of terror lately as several children have gone missing in recent weeks.
The suspect is only known as the Grabber (Ethan Hawke), and eventually, Finney becomes a target. Now kidnapped and locked in a basement, Finney has to try to survive, and ends up getting help from the spirits of the Grabber’s other victims, who speak with the protagonist through a disconnected black phone.
Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘The Black Phone’ is a frightening delight”
I have a feeling this film will have some guys shouting “not all men!”
This film from director Alex Garland from the company A24 stars Jessie Buckley as Harper, a woman who’s gone to stay at a cottage in the country after a personal tragedy. The rental is in a nice enough small town and all seems well, but issues with her past continue to trouble her.
It’s made only worse as she has to deal with some rather bothersome figures in town, from a prying priest to a creepy schoolboy. These men only make her mental state worse.
Continue reading “REVIEW: Alex Garland’s “Men” is ambitious but frustrating”
Stephen King is an iconic writer but the adaptations of his work have a tendency to be hit or miss. This new “Firestarter” movie is definitely one of the latter.
Zac Efron and Sydney Lemmon play parents of a daughter with a unique ability in the film. Their child, Charlie (Ryan Kiera Armstrong), has the ability to spontaneously create fire with her mind, although she can’t manage to fully control the power.
While her power is unique, though, her having an ability isn’t, as both her parents are also able to control things with their mind. This has put a target on the family by an organization set on controlling people with special powers. With Charlie’s powers more based on high emotions, it puts her family in a dangerous position, as their cover of being normal residents may be blown.
Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Firestarter’ is a faulty King adaptation”
Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been pretty poor so far.
Doctor Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) starts off this latest Marvel adventure on a down note, having to attend a wedding where the woman he loved is getting married to someone else. Any negative feelings about that have to wait, though, when a giant monster attacks a young woman nearby.
The woman is America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez), who has the power to travel to different universes, but can’t quite control it yet. After rescuing her, Strange seeks counsel from Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen), as she might be able to help with her knowledge of magic. However, Wanda sees an opportunity to use America’s powers for herself so that she can find a different universe where she can be happier.
Continue reading “REVIEW: Studio-driven ‘Doctor Strange 2’ short on substance”
Wow, two Liam Neeson action movies in less than three months. Fortunately, “Memory” is a better film than February’s “Blacklight.”
In “Memory,” Neeson plays Alex Lewis, a hitman for organized crime who almost always gets the job done. However, his latest job involves killing a child, something he refuses to do.
Meanwhile, Guy Pearce portrays an FBI agent named Vincent who’s investigating a trafficking operation. It turns out the girl Alex was supposed to kill was involved in the trafficking operation and those who run it are now after the hitman to bring him down for not going through with the task.
Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Memory’ is solid matinee action cinema”
The Chicago crime scene of years gone by is brought to life on a small scale in this bottle film.
Graham Moore makes his feature directorial debut with “The Outfit,” which centers on Leonard (Mark Rylance), an Englishman who owns a tailor shop in Chicago. The film’s protagonist runs an honest business, with the help of his secretary Mable (Zoey Deutch).
However, he has also set up a post box at his establishment used by crime organizations to communication. One night, this decision becomes a problem, as mafia members who’re customers of Leonard’s store begin using the shop as a place to go during a gang war. Leonard is then placed in a tense situation with dangerous men.
Continue reading “REVIEW: Visually appealing ‘Outfit’ bogged down by plotting issues”
It’s time to spin the “what will Liam Neeson’s action character be?” wheel! We’ve had mob enforcer, air marshal and former Marine in recent years.
And it looks like this time it’s FBI agent!
Travis Block (Liam Neeson) is an extraction expert for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. When an agent’s cover is blown and they’re put in danger, Block is who the FBI calls to help them get out. While he’s great at his job, though, his work experience has caused friction with his family, notably with his daughter Amanda (Claire van der Boom).
Recent attempts to make things right with his daughter and granddaughter are interrupted, though, by his latest job, which is to bring in a rogue agent, Dusty (Taylor John Smith). However, when Block learns the FBI is actually after Dusty because he wants to leak information about the agency’s wrongdoings, the veteran agent turns his attention to what the bureau is hiding.
Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Blacklight’ lacks entertainment value”
There’s a cat in this movie named “Fuzz Aldrin.” I’m not saying that alone made the movie good, but it didn’t hurt.
Patrick Wilson plays Brian Harper in “Moonfall.” Once a decorated astronaut, the film picks up with Harper falling from grace as he appears to be responsible for a disaster in space. Harper attributes the calamity to a mysterious swarm of particles, but the heads of NASA don’t believe his story. That begins to change, though, when the Earth’s Moon moves off its course and on a crash trajectory with the planet, seemingly caused by the same swarm.
A man who predicted this would develop is KC Houseman (John Bradley), an unofficial scientist who’s been theorizing about the Moon for quite some time. Houseman and Harper eventually get into contact and decide that they need to take action, and they move forward in doing so with the help of Harper’s old colleague Jocinda Fowler (Halle Berry), who’s now a higher-up at NASA.
Continue reading “REVIEW: Despite making a mockery of science, ‘Moonfall’ entertains”
I felt like I was drinking a 40 oz in the auditorium, because this film has a whole lot of Olde English.
Based on William Shakespeare’s play Macbeth,” “Tragedy” was written and directed by Joel Coen, with Denzel Washington playing the titular character. The film is a fairly straightforward retelling of the story, with Washington’s Lord Macbeth having a vision of ascending to the throne of Scotland.
That prophecy becomes fulfilled, and as the story goes, Macbeth’s reign turns out to be a difficult one. Soon after he takes the crown, he becomes paranoid and begins taking actions that only lead to more trouble.
Continue reading “REVIEW: Technically sound ‘Tragedy of Macbeth’ too inaccessible at times”
A title like “Nightmare Alley” may inspire thoughts that this film is about fantastical monsters.
But director Guillermo del Toro’s latest film is about how ordinary men can be just as monstrous as fabled beasts.
Bradley Cooper stars as Stanton in the film, a man who’s clearly on the run from his past at the start of the movie. As the film takes place during the later years of the depression and Stanton needing work, he ends up taking an offer to work at a carnival.
There, he meets a husband and wife duo who have an act where they perform as a pair of psychics, although, their mind games are actually just coded words to make it appear that they have powers. Still, Stanton sees an opportunity for himself and decides he would like to do such an act, but his efforts to do so leads to dangers and conundrums.
Continue reading “REVIEW: Take a stroll in ‘Nightmare Alley’ for quality noir”