It: Chapter Two (2019)

Stephen King is an author that never goes away even when he’s experienced something of a renaissance in pop culture. King’s “It” remains one of his most iconic and easily digestible novels, but peculiarly a book that needs drastic alterations to make it more palatable for film. Andy Muschietti had a bonafide challenge on his hands to deliver a two part film that confronted the terror of loss of innocence, and confronting the demons of the past. It all invariably comes dropping down on the Losers Club with the help of the mercilessly vile Pennywise the Dancing Clown.

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John Carpenter’s Vampires (1998): Collector’s Edition [Blu-Ray]

“They don’t sleep in coffins lined in taffeta. You wanna kill one, you drive a wooden stake right through his fuckin’ heart. Sunlight turns ’em into crispy critters.”

I love John Carpenter. I love John Carpenter just as much as Spielberg, and that’s saying a lot as anyone who knows me knows I’m a big Spielberg nut. In either case, even Carpenter’s lesser efforts in the late nineties to early aughts are somewhat entertaining, if only because even when he never quite sticks the landing, he’s at least going for something different. With “Vampires,” Carpenter tries his best to rethink and remold the modern vampire and make them terrifying again. While the movie isn’t great, its ambition and ability to make Vampires primal monsters again is admirable and worthy of an audience.

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Batman: Hush (2019) [4K Ultra HD/Blu-Ray/Digital]

It’s not often I sit down to watch a DCAU movie and want to immediately desire the original source material instead. I’ve never read “Batman Hush” but from what I originally gathered it was an iconic storyline that made waves in the aughts. The movie however is a disappointing, half baked and painfully boring Batman adventure that never really goes anywhere. Rather than treading new ground or giving us something completely different, “Batman Hush” just feels forced and never quite rises above the anemic energy.

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Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019)

“Stories Hurt. Stories Heal.”

Although “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” has gone down considerably well with audiences it might remain one of the most misunderstood movies of the year. The original books from Alvin Schwartz and Stephen Gammell were compilations of urban legends, urban folklore, and original tales, the former of which had been shared for generations by many people. They began life as morality stories and then became campfire tales. Sure André Øvredal could have turned the books in to a normal anthology, but in the end he opts for something of more substance. “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” is about stories. The stories of the past. The stories we tell one another. The stories the characters tell each other to survive. The stories that can ultimately destroy us.

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Dora and the Lost City of Gold (2019)

Nickelodeon has been in a tricky scenario over the last five years, in where the audience that once watched their hit shows is now becoming adults. Now they’ve scrambled for ways to appeal to a new generation, even aging their banner characters a bit. With “Dora the Explorer,” Nickelodeon has taken great pains in allowing her to blossom with her audience, and then revert back to the original formula that made her such a hit. With this feature film adaptation, they manage to pull off what is a loving tribute, a fun action adventure film, an adaptation that is never afraid to poke fun at itself every now and then, and a spotlight for latinx movie heroes we can root for.

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Small Gauge Trauma Shorts 2019 Block [Fantasia Festival 2019]

As with every year, Fantasia Film Festival is also a place to showcase the talents of filmmakers that specialize in making short films of all genres. This year I tackled the “Small Gauge Trauma” block and thankfully didn’t find a single bad apple in the whole bunch. These shorts aren’t just creative, but they’re incredibly original and delivered in the realm of horror big time.

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