Pre-text: I'm a big fan of the "Scream" franchise...heck, who isn't? The series, with all four previous installment having been directed by the late, legendary horror master, Wes Craven, began in 1996, and not only poked fun at the slasher-horror genre, but transcended it. It was fresh, new and different. Moreover, it was loads of fun.
The original film's success brought about a renaissance of sorts for horror movies, and was followed by "Scream 2" the following year, "Scream 3" in 2000 and "Scream 4" back in 2011. In my review of "Scream 4," I had wrote:
"11 years later for 'Scream 4' seems like the right timing for Scream to return with something worthy of shouting about. With the same sense of style and personality, I could see another Scream movie coming out maybe every 5 to 10 years, to give wry commentary on the state of the genre."
Well at least they got the timing right...then new film, called simply "Scream" and not "Scream 5" as it probably should be, lacks that familiar style and personality that made the others so sharp (pun intended). In a series where the killer is always a copycat, for the first time, this chapter is more "wanna-be" than it is "wants-to-be-good."
Thomasin McKenzie and Anya Taylor-Joy will one day be Oscar-winning actresses...of this, I have no doubt. They are two of the most captivating and talented young actresses in Hollywood and of their generation, and to see them face-off in "Last Night in Soho" is truly a sight to behold.
Edgar Wright ("Baby Driver," "Shaun of the Dead") helms this luscious, intoxicating film with confidence, style and pizzazz. It nearly derails with an abrupt shift from psychological thriller to straight-up horror in its final act, but Wright sticks the landing thanks to his commanding leading ladies.
M. Night Shyamalan has built a career on horror-mystery movies that don't always work, and that all seem to be chasing the lightning-in-a-bottle he found with his 1999 mega-hit, "The Sixth Sense." After a long string of clunkers, his 2016 "Split" got his fans excited that he was finally "back," but the follow-up, 2019's "Glass" all but shattered those high expectations.
With "Old," he effectively makes a feature-length Twilight Zone episode that isn't among his worst films (this is no "The Happening" or "After Earth"), but it is far from his best. And if "The Sixth Sense" or "Unbreakable" is too high a bar to set, even on its own, "Old" doesn't exactly revel in anything that feels new.
Shot entirely in Detroit, "No Sudden Move" is a fun, throwback crime caper. And it's not a gimmick or arbitrary that the movie takes place in the Motor City...in fact, this is one story that really couldn't have taken place anywhere else.
The 2018 novel, "The Woman in the Window," by author A.J. Finn, was a hot property in Hollywood and almost immediately after its release, was green-lit as a feature film. It attracted Oscar-caliber talent, like Amy Adams, Julianne Moore and Gary Oldman, with an adapted screenplay by Tracy Letts and Scott Rudin. Esteemed director Joe Wright ("Darkest Hour," "Atonement") was brought on board and "The Woman in the Window" looked like a surefire hit.
That is, until disastrous test screenings with audiences sent the movie back into post-production and delayed it from its original October 2019 release date. The pandemic put it out even farther, and 20th Century Studios was more than happy to sell it off to Netflix, who purchased the rights to the film and then unceremoniously dumped it as a mid-May release (Netflix, a PR powerhouse, did little to promote it and doesn't seem to have much confidence in its performance).
It's never a good sign when a movie goes through so much, but even in knowing the film's journey, it still lands as a massive disappointment when it arrives and is ever worse than you expect. With Adams, Oldman, Moore and also featuring Brian Tyree Henry, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Wyatt Russell and Anthony Mackie (the latter two of whom were recent co-stars in "The Falcon & The Winter Soldier"), you expect something great, and "The Woman in the Window" is not great...even if glimpsed through a window from across the street would one never reach that conclusion.
The "Saw" franchise is one of the most successful horror franchises of all-time, having grossed over a billion - with a "b" - since the first film hit theaters back in 2004. "Spiral: From the Book of Saw" is now the ninth film in the series and the first since the 2017 release, "Jigsaw."
The first two films in the series were fresh, unique and clever despite being labeled, perhaps correctly, as "torture porn." But the further we get away from that original pair of films, the more pointless the movies have become. Consequently "Spiral," feels like a copy of of a copy of a copy...an inauthentic wanna-be, much like the new killer it features who is yet again out for some twisted form of vengeance.
It's "Groundhog's Day" meets "John Wick," in one of the most entertaining, surprisingly funny action films you'll ever see.
"Boss Level" is not based on any particular video game, but it just may be the very best video game movie ever made.
Not technically a re-make of Alfred Hitchcock's first American film in 1940, "Rebecca" is based on the same 1938 Gothic novel by Dame Daphne du Maurier. Fans of the Hitchcock movie will quickly realize that A) Director Ben Wheatley is no Alfred Hitchcock, B) Lily James is good, but is no Joan Fontaine, and C) Armie Hammer is definitely no Laurence Olivier.
So if you're familiar with the film, it will fall short as an unworthy copy of the movie you know...and for everyone else who just learned a paragraph ago about Hitchcock's version, this "Rebecca" won't register as more than an empty drama.
Indy, eery sci-fi flick, "The Vast of Night" wants to pull you in to its very own Twilight Zone, and yet it never fully grabs a hold.
After successfully teaming up for "Patriots Day," "Deepwater Horizon" and "Lone Survivor" (we'll forget about "Mile 22" for now), actor/producer Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg finally release a dud with the Netflix action-comedy, "Spenser Confidential."
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