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Sunday, October 21, 2018


It's been 40 years since Laurie Strode survived a vicious attack from crazed killer Michael Myers on Halloween night. Locked up in an institution, Myers manages to escape when his bus transfer goes horribly wrong. Laurie now faces a terrifying showdown when the masked madman returns to Haddonfield, Ill. -- but this time, she's ready for him.

Director: David Gordon Green

Cast: Jamie Lee Curtis, Nick Castle, Judy Greer, Andi Matichak, Will Patton, Virginia Gardner

Release Date: October 19, 2018

Genres: Horror , Thriller

Rated R for horror violence and bloody images, language, brief drug use and nudity

Runtime: 1h 44 min


David Gordon Green’s Halloween franchise refresh can be considered a success on multiple levels.  Green and Danny McBride wrote the script and their fandom shines through multiple times with specific call backs or camera techniques throughout the efficient but effective film.  Green occasionally flashes some visual flourishes which give the film a stylish look that makes for a better quality film overall.  The main thing they are able to inject into this entry in the franchise is a sense of fun.  There are well timed jump scares and tension throughout the film but there’s also some well placed comedy which keeps the film from being another soul less sequel.  Michael Myers is scary again even if some of the slasher tropes feel a bit goofy here and there.  Jamie Lee Curtis comes back to her cornerstone franchise and plays her part very well thanks in part to an interesting take on her character.  There are a few surprises here and there but ultimately the film goes exactly where you think its going.  Typically this is a major draw back but the film is so lovingly crafted that fans will be hard pressed not to be impressed by a return to form for one of the hallmark horror franchises. 


Sunday, October 14, 2018


The El Royale is run-down hotel that sits on the border between California and Nevada. It soon becomes a seedy battleground when seven strangers -- a cleric, a soul singer, a traveling salesman, two sisters, the manager and the mysterious Billy Lee -- converge on a fateful night for one last shot at redemption before everything goes wrong.

Director: Drew Goddard

Cast: Jeff Bridges, Cynthia Erivo, Dakota Johnson, Jon Hamm, Cailee Spaeny, Lewis Pullman, Nick Offerman, Chris Hemsworth

Release Date: October 12, 2018

Genres: Mystery , Thriller

Rated R for horror violence, and language including some sexual references

Runtime: 2h 21min


Bad Times at the El Royale is a solid twisty thriller from Drew Goddard.  You’d be remiss if you didn’t feel some very strong Tarantino vibes throughout mixed together with some Agatha Christie as each individual story plays out.  The film is stylish and engrossing even if the ultimate payoff is bit of a letdown.  Goddard cast is made up of strong performers and a bevy of recognizable faces but Broadway star Cynthia Erivo really leaves an impressive mark.  Jeff Bridges centers the whole thing with a tangible sense of heart with healthy shades of grey.  Jon Hamm does solid work in a limited role and the film is lesser for taking him off the board as early as it does.  A perpetually shirtless Chris Hemsworth is clearly having a blast hamming it up as the cult leader that brings all the plot threads together.  For all the strong performances and stories, you d start to get the sense that Drew Goddard fell in love with his own creation as the film starts to meander towards the end.  There’s really no reason for the film to be nearly 2 and half hours and the film suffers since this type of pulpy fare is best in short doses.  


Cindy Prascik's Reviews of First Man and Bad Times at the El Royale

Dearest Blog: Yesterday it was off to Marquee Cinemas for First Man and Bad Times at the El Royale.
Spoiler level here will be mild, nothing you wouldn't know from the trailers.
First on my agenda: First Man.
Some stuff you know and probably a lot you didn't know about Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon.
First Man is approximately 90% Things-I-Hate-About-Awards-Type-Movies, but I still enjoyed it more than I expected to. Ryan Gosling is terrific in the lead, and his supporting cast--led by the extraordinary Claire Foy--has no trouble keeping pace. The story of Armstrong's personal life is almost as fascinating as his road to the moon, and the film gives equal screen time to each. An over-abundance of extreme close-ups is effective in depicting claustrophobic cockpit conditions, but it gets awkward when it's just folks talking science or eating dinner. Likewise, jiggly camera work and very dark shots work well in putting the viewer inside the craft--often under terrifying circumstances--but otherwise are plain annoying. The movie could have used a bit of a trim, but it never really drags or feels bloated; ultimately the amazing story outweighs any flaws in the filmmaking. Closing with full disclosure: for the duration, all I could think of was Lincoln Osiris trying to re-enter the Earth's atmosphere in an old refrigerator box, which is why they don't let me vote for the Oscars.
First Man clocks in at 141 minutes and is rated PG13 for "some thematic content involving peril, and brief strong language."
First Man is a flawed telling of a great story, well worth your movie dollar. 
Of a possible nine Weasleys, First Man gets seven and a half.
Fangirl points: So many much-loved faces in this one! Shea Whigham! Corey Stoll! Ciaran Hinds! Pablo Schreiber! Brian d'Arcy James! Mister Cory Michael Smith!
Next on the docket, one of my most-anticipated titles of the year, Bad Times at the El Royale.
Mystery abounds at a past-its-prime hotel that straddles the state line between California and Nevada.
From the trailers, I expected Bad Times at the El Royale to be darkly funny, but instead it's mostly just dark. Smart, twisty storytelling and an exceptional cast should be the envy of Hollywood, with Chris Hemsworth, Cynthia Erivo, and Jeff Bridges turning in exceptionally strong performances. El Royale has layers to spare, and just when you think you've got it figured out, another one peels off to reveal something unexpected. The film boasts superb production design and a strong score by Michael Giacchino. I can't go into much detail without spoiling important plot points, but there are some disturbing and uncomfortable moments that lend a grim tone to the whole, ultimately making it less fun than it might have been, but no less brilliant.
Bad Times at the El Royale runs 141 minutes and is rated R for "strong violence, language, some drug content, and brief nudity."
Bad Times at the El Royale is one of the best movies I've seen this year...but I probably wouldn't watch it again. 
Of a possible nine Weasleys, Bad Times at the El Royale gets seven, which would have been eight but for a mean and unnecessary dig at my beautiful home state of West Virginia.
Fangirl points: You know it's officially awards season when Shea Whigham starts turning up in everything!
Until next time...

Sunday, October 7, 2018


Journalist Eddie Brock is trying to take down Carlton Drake, the notorious and brilliant founder of the Life Foundation. While investigating one of Drake's experiments, Eddie's body merges with the alien Venom -- leaving him with superhuman strength and power. Twisted, dark and fueled by rage, Venom tries to control the new and dangerous abilities that Eddie finds so intoxicating.

Director: Ruben Fleischer

Cast: Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams, Riz Ahmed, Jenny Slate, Scott Haze, Reid Scott

Release Date: October 5, 2018
Genres: Action , Horror , Sci-Fi

Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and for language

Runtime: 1h 36 min


Venom is a strange silly film that is saved by Tom Hardy’s commitment.  Ruben Fleisher’s movie is loud, tonally erratic and occasionally enjoyable.  When it works it works mostly due to Hardy who’s having a blast in the film.  He’s so incredibly watchable that it almost makes you forget the movie and its overall plot is so basic and tired.  Riz Ahmed and Michelle Williams on the other hand seem to be collecting paychecks.  Neither seems to be terribly excited about their characters probably because their so simplistic and one dimensional.  Fleishcher seems to be channeling 90’s movies for some reason.  Some of the action sequences, like a motorcycle/car chase, feel like they’ve been pulled right out of Michael Bay’s The Rock.  Hardy, to his credit, keeps it from being an outright disaster and if there’s a sequel hopefully it gives him a better overall film.

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