So, Halloween finally ends, huh? For me, it was over twenty years ago when Michael Myers offed Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) in 2002’s Resurrection, but that’s just me. Last year’s atrocious Halloween Kills had to be my least favorite of all the films in the franchise (next to only the Rob Zombie entries), but what can really be said about this latest installment that hasn’t already been said, and without giving away too much?
On the surface, it could just be considered an experiment gone terribly, terribly wrong. But there’s much to unpack here. And in the five days since its release, audiences have almost universally panned the film for the direction it takes. It starts out a basic origin story, highlighting the torment and eventual descent into madness of the bullied Corey Cunnigham (Rohan Campbell). The problem that exists – other than the fact that this takes away from the Michael vs. Laurie showdown that everyone was hoping for – is who is this character, and why in the hell should we even care about him?
The ensuing love story aspect between Cunnigham and Laurie’s adorable granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak) actually works in its own weird way, but feels better suited for another film entirely. But that aside, the rest of what is left is a heaping pile of metaphorical mess, clumped together by Director David Gordon Green’s would-be unique vision. Even the “kills” feel forced and largely unnecessary, if one can actually believe that.
Speaking of unnecessary, this entire newer trilogy that began in 2018 could have honestly just never happened and the world would not have missed a single beat. In fact, the best thing to even comes out of these films in my opinion has simply been the well-crafted John and Cody Carpenter (and Daniel Davies) composed music score, which was indeed the highlight of Ends (throwing in the Dead Kennedys’ “Halloween” during a party scene was a nice touch as well).
But you know where the music and storylines were even better? The original films. I’d much rather go back and re-watch Halloween III: Season of the Witch (my personal favorite, and yes that’s right, the one without Michael Myers) any day of the week. With that being said, keep an eye out for an upcoming 40th anniversary piece on the latter, dropping at the end of the week on Rewind It Magazine!
On the surface, Spirit Halloween: The Movie appears to be not much more than one long promo ad for the annual store in which it takes its name from. But despite its obvious flaws and cheesy-ness, it actually works as family entertainment in the same vein as the Goosebumps films, with a nostalgic touch similar to Stranger Things thrown in for good measure as well.
The plot is far from groundbreaking; a trio of adolescent friends (played by newcommers Donavan Colan, Jaiden J. Smith, and Dylan Frankel) faced with the pressures of growing up and the societal norms that come along with it, decide to spend Halloween night in said novelty store. But of course the ghost of a crabby old landlord (Christopher Lloyd) cursed by a witch before his demise in the 1940’s, is haunting the joint and looking for a permanent new body to possess before it’s too late.
Former ’90s babe Rachel Leigh Cook co-stars as the mother of one of the young boys, and Marla Gibbs (best known from such ’70s and ’80s staples as The Jeffersons and 227) plays the strange but wise old grandmother of one of the other children, each bringing just a tad more talent to the mostly unknown cast.
Spirit Halloween (the store) has become a pop culture staple, and an annual tradition as common as the haunted house for many. All in all, the film is harmless (perhaps even a bit shameless, depending on your viewpoint) fun, and perfect fodder for the spooky season.
If any band deserves an in-depth, career-spanning documentary, it’s everyone’s favorite shock rockers/Scumdogs of the Universe, GWAR, and I was a bit surprised by just how invested in This is GWAR I found myself becoming while watching it.
Beginning with the band’s early roots as a collective art outfit founded by Hunter Jackson and the late Dave Brockie in the mid-80s, the film goes through the band’s evolution and entire history in great detail (the way a proper documentary should). Along the way there’s copious amounts of interesting tid bits and fascinating footage that should delight even the most casual fan.
The only real downside is the rapid pace that sometimes speeds through certain eras of the band faster than desired. Personally, I would’ve liked a tad more emphasis on the making of lesser-received albums such as Ragnarok or We Kill Everything. Still, aside from including interviews from several past and present members of the band, there’s a number of celebrities that lend their thoughts and help the story along as well, including Alex Winter, Thomas Lennon, and even “Weird Al” Yankovic himself.
It’s safe to say that my interest in GWAR was put firmly back in place since viewing the film, and I’ve found myself falling down a rabbit hole of sorts and revisiting a lot of the band’s music again; hopefully it will have the same effect on you as well.
I was first introduced to Nova Rex back in 2016 via band founder and bassist Kenny Wilkerson, when I was scheduled to interview him for a now-defunct magazine I was writing for at the time (whose name I will never utter here). Since then, I’ve come to know and deeply respect Kenny and all the endeavors I’ve watch he and the band create for themselves since.
So it was my pleasure to attend the premiere of the band’s new documentary Ain’t EasyStaying Cheesy – their follow up to 2011’s Ain’t Easy Being Cheesy – last week along with numerous friends, family, and colleagues – as well as most of the band themselves – in tow (a night to remember indeed). And it was all the more special to personally receive a small credit in the film for contributing some brief interview questions during one of its segments.
At first, the film seemed all-too familiar as it once again recounted the band’s early days as they experienced various lineup changes and tried their hands at different markets. Eventually this segued into their current incarnation and many of the things they’ve done since, such as played the Hard Rock Hotel in Daytona Beach with fellow ’80s rockers Pretty Boy Floyd, or played the Amway Center in Orlando, not once but twice now (all events Rewind It was lucky enough to be there for).
Of course things finally cumulated with the addition of current frontman John Bisha of The Babys in place of most recent vocalist Adrian Adonis, which includes some bittersweet moments while also ending things on a high note. All in all, Ain’t Easy Staying Cheesy is a fun ride from start to finish, and should be required viewing for just about any true ’80s-era rock fan.
The latest (and final?) installment in the Jurassic World series, and overall sixth film in the Jurassic Park franchise, has received some negative backlash since its release. But in comparison to the last lackluster entry, 2018’s Fallen Kingdom, it’s world’s above in every way possible.
The story picks off exactly where the said previous film had left off, with Owen (Chris Pratt) and Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) living off the grid and raising the clone we were first introduced to in Fallen Kingdom, Maisie Lockwood (Isabella Sermon) in total seclusion, in a world where mankind is now living side-by-side with dinosaurs.
But of course there’s some bad guys out there who will go to extreme measures to get her back (as well as the young velociraptor offspring of Blue’s, Beta), including the crooked CEO of Biosyn Genetics, Dr. Lewis Dodgson (Campbell Scott). While Owen and Claire fight to get her back along with the help of some new friends they meet along the way (including a former air force pilot played by DeWanda Wise) doctors Grant (Sam Neill), Sattler (Laura Dern) and Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) are also uncovering the corruption at Biosyn after a series of events reunites them all back together.
Jurassic World: Dominion is everything a nerd fan boy could want, honestly; high speed chases, loud fights between gigantic monsters, and original characters/actors thrust back together and put onscreen alongside the newcommers. Is Jurassic World: Dominion often cliche and predictable? Sure, I won’t deny it doesn’t tread into those territories from time to time – how can it not at this point?
But overall, I fond myself getting totally lost and engrossed in the material here, probably for the first time since going to see the original Jurassic Park on the big screen all the way back in 1993. Steven Spielberg truly opened our collective imaginations with that first film all those years ago, and for my money, Dominion is the closest I’ve come to having that same feeling again from any of the other films in the franchise since.
Tom Cruise returns as Pete “Maverick” Mitchell and director Joseph Kosinski takes over for the late Tony Scott (whom the film is dedicated to) to deliver the long-awaited sequel to the 1986 blockbuster Top Gun. And unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re probably already well aware of what an all out thrill ride Top Gun: Maverick truly is.
Kenny Loggins’ hit from the original film “Danger Zone” opens the film the only appropriate way possible, as we quickly find our protagonist still working as a test pilot in the U.S. Navy, purposely avoiding promotions all these years in order to continue flying. But he’s quickly whisked away back to Top Gun to train a group of elite pilots for a specialized mission that ultimately only he can pull off.
Initially, my only complaint was the actual establishments of said new pilots – who come off just a tad on the obnoxious side at first – and the quick pace we’re introduced to new characters as though we already know them (the lovely Jennifer Connelly plays a former love interest perfectly, though). But once the awkwardness passes, it’s pure escapist entertainment of the highest level, filled with plenty of action, and unexpected drama (no spoilers, but the scenes with Val Kilmer, who briefly reprises his role as Tom “Iceman” Kazansky from the first film, really got me).
In this entry, Maverick not only faces adversaries in the sky, but several on his own team, having to prove himself not only to an admiral (Jon Hamm) who doesn’t want him there, but the son (Miles Teller) of his former late RIO and best friend from the first film, Goose (Anthony Edwards).
Forget whatever negativity the anti-establishment, blue-haired “critics” out there might want to spew about this being a “recruitment” video (they’re just miserable with their lives anyway); this is a damn good film that brings back the days of when movies were actual “events,” and I felt like that kid in the ’80s again, popping his copy of the first film in the VCR to re-watch it again for the umpteenth time). Cruise is at the top of his game in Top Gun: Maverick, and you’re missing out if you don’t take flight along with him.
Very few times can I recall actually sitting in a movie theater and thinking “This was a mistake,” but the thought did indeed cross my mind a time or two during Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (though to be completely fair, it may have had something to do with the screaming toddlers running amok through the theater the entire time).
I only saw the first film based off of the popular Sega character once, and while I don’t remember much standing out about it at all, it was harmless and even like-able enough. But for some reason, this second entry just seemed so tired and tedious, even with the addition of the Tails (Colleen O’Shaghnessey) and Knuckles (Idris Elba) characters this time around.
In a nutshell, Dr. Robotnik/Eggman (Jim Carrey) has enlisted the help of Knuckles to seek out his revenge on Sonic (Ben Schwartz), and Tails more or less comes from out of nowhere to come to Sonic’s aid. The “adventure” that ensues is anything but captivating, and the majority of the jokes fall flat (though the one Carrey manages to squeak out on Limp Bizkit was rather amusing).
To the flimmakers behind this; put more effort into the next installment’s story line. And to the parents who had to bring their brats to the theater the same night I was there; please spare the rest of us, and wait until they’re old enough to have attention spans that actually last a bit more than just a few seconds.
I really wanted to like Netflix’s attempt at appealing to the metal community with this new teen comedy/drama. But while the film is harmless enough, I couldn’t help but shake the feeling there was just something missing from it the whole time.
The plot follows high school outcasts Kevin (Jaeden Martell) and Hunter (Adrian Greensmith) as they navigate through bullies, parents, and trying to find a bass player for their would-be metal band in order to play their school’s “battle of the bands” contest. They eventually find some camaraderie via an equally awkward social misfit (Isis Hainsworth), but not before some predictable “but she’s a girl!” arguments first.
While the music is spot on and the metal references are heavy, nearly everything feels driven by cliche and predictably. Not even some cameos (and some fairly bad acting) from metal greats Rob Halford (Judas Priest), Scott Ian (Anthrax), Kirk Hammett (Metallica) and, um, Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine) can save things in the end.
Is Metal Gods a bad movie? No. But is it really anything we haven’t already seen before? Not really. In the end, it really is “just there,” and the world would not miss a beat with or without its existence.
Tony Hawk was the stuff of absolute legend growing up in the ’80s, and literally everyone and anyone with a board wanted to be him (I have vivid memories of my older brother and his friends putting on full shows of tricks, jumping ramps and whatnot for the entire neighborhood). This documentary details nearly every moment of his life with total transparency and grace.
From his fast and steady rise to stardom, to his sudden fall in the ’90s during skateboarding’s decline, to his eventual comeback and peak as a pop culture phenomenon, no stone is left un-turned (except, that is, his appearances in such ’80s films as Gleaming the Cube and Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol, which Hawk has since addressed more or less on his socials). Fellow contemporary pro skaters such as Lance Mountain and Duane Peters also appear to help the story along.
The drama of his experiences are very much real, and at times completely relatable (his relationship with his father and eldest child are a couple that strike some definite nerves on a personal note), making him actually seem human. Even if you’re not a huge skateboarding fan, it’s hard to not see some sort of reflection of yourself in a story as compelling as this one. Definitely worth investing the time in this rollercoaster ride.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; I am not a big comic book/superhero flick kind of guy. I could honestly care less about the majority of these self-indulgent, overly-complicated films and their confusing, numerous “multi-verses.” But like Spider-Man, Batman is one superhero that I’ve tried to follow since my childhood, though I gave up on the character after Ben Affleck’s portrayal of him in 2016’s Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice (apparently he even reprised his role in a couple more crossover films, which just goes to show how little I keep up with the over-saturated superhero film market).
And I didn’t hold out much hope for The Batman, either (adding a “The” to the title before “Batman” really didn’t seem all that original to me). But early on in the film, I suddenly understood what the hype was all about. This new interpretation of Batman (this time played by Robert Pattinson of Twilight fame) creates a world of pure neo noir escapist entertainment with the ability to take one away into another reality, for better or worse.
It’s definitely a commitment to sit through the entire film (which reaches nearly three hours in running time), which finds our hero (or anti-hero?) teaming up with the Catwoman (Zoe Kravitz) to tackle the seedy corruption of Gotham’s underbelly, as well as play along to the sick games of The Riddler (Paul Dano), who is more sadistic than ever portrayed on screen before (and even reminiscent of Slipknot frontman Corey Taylor) this time around.
And for the majority of the film, they actually had me invested. That is, until Kravitz’s character had to utter a disgusting line about “white privileged men.” In an instant I felt both deeply alienated, and personally attacked, as these know-it-all Hollywood elitists (in this case, lead by a white man surely more “privileged” than myself, director Matt Reeves) once again managed to insult a good portion of its own audience all at once, just in order to get their own ignorant opinions across in a film.
What people like Reeves who incorporate these types of sentiments don’t seem to understand is, they’re actually doing nothing for “equality,” but causing further division and harm among our society as a whole. Hatred towards anyone (yes, even white men) should never be accepted, yet it’s becomes more normalized now than ever before in Hollywood thanks to this type of subtle brainwashing being injected into media, and is doing nothing more than taking us all backwards. Had it not been for these underlined racist tones in The Batman, I would have definitely rated it a higher score than I did.