Critters Attack! (2019) [Fantasia Festival 2019]

Critters fans have had slim pickings for a very long time, with lack of real printings of the original film on home media and new films coming together. Now in 2019 we finally got two new installments, but together they don’t really amount to much of a great “Critters” movie sadly. While “Critters Attack!” is waves better than “Critters: A New Binge” it’s still never as good as “Critters” parts one or two. It’s only an okay offering that’s right there beside “Critters 3.” That’s about as glowing as a recommendation that I can give it when all was said and done.

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Men in Black: International (2019)

“Men in Black International” should have worked. On paper it’s a great idea for a reboot, one that doesn’t bring with it the marquee name of Will Smith and the class of Tommy Lee Jones. I respect Sony for wanting to revive the “Men in Black” franchise after so many years, and I respect them even more for side stepping the whole “21 Jump Street meets Men in Black” movie they were planning. But in the end, this new attempts to jump start “Men in Black” for a new audience is a swing and a colossal miss. Worse, it’s absolutely boring.

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The Five Best Episodes of 2019’s “The Twilight Zone” Season 1

Jordan Peele’s ambitious reboot of Rod Serling’s “The Twilight Zone” has managed to become one of the most polarizing series of the year, but it’s definitely inspired people to talk and that’s a good thing. Peele is not settling on merely a tribute, but has managed to retrofit a lot of classic episodes to modern sensibilities. While some episodes were clunkers, most episodes this season have been fantastic. With the season finale airing now on CBS All Access, I thought I’d list the five best episodes of the first season.

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Hellboy (2019)

Like a lot of previous efforts to reboot a property, Neil Marshall’s handling of “Hellboy” was the apparent product of studio interference and clashing ideas that resulted in a hectic shoot for just about everyone. That’s a shame since when Neil Marshall is allowed to unfold his own ideas and monsters, he gives us “The Descent,” and “Dog Soldiers.” It’s not to say that “Hellboy” is a bad movie, it’s just one half of a very good reboot that’s fun, and action packed, and one half of a sloppy studio film that’s boring, over explained, and sloppily tailored for sequels, prequels, and spin offs.

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Leprechaun Returns (2018)

Seven movies later, and the “Leprechaun” movie series is still alive and kicking. I fondly remember watching the original movie on a VHS rental back in 1995, and studios have found it a necessity to keep the saga of our demonic little person going. After the horrendous re-imagining of the series from 2014 that tried to turn the Leprechaun in to a faceless beast, “Leprechaun Returns” gets back to what made the original movie series so entertaining and deliciously silly. Sans Warwick Davis, the original Leprechaun, of course (he declined to star in horror films for a little while).

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Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase (2019)

After 2007’s failed reboot “Nancy Drew” starring Emma Roberts, I was surprised anyone bothered to take the property in to theaters again. Roberts was very good in the role of Nancy Drew, but her take on the character was more self-aware and an homage, rather than a new, more modern approach for a new generation of girls. Thankfully Katt Shea approaches “Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase” with the definite desire to restart the series, and Sophia Lillis is now playing the iconic teenage sleuth, and manages to help deliver (co-Produced by Ellen DeGeneres) a satisfying mystery and a very good reboot.

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Halloween (2018)

It’s been a very long time since Michael Myers was such an imposing or scary horror figure. After many years where he became a reality star getting his ass handed to him by a hip hop star, and being turned in to a hillbilly, it’s good to see Michael Myers once again return to the form he arrived in as “The Shape.” Directed by David Gordon Green, “Halloween” (or “H40,” if you want to get very technical) won’t be for everyone, as it is a mixed bag that makes a controversial decision with its narrative and the mythos. In the end, though, I had a great time, and would recommend it, especially for the horror base looking for a good return to the universe Carpenter specifically established.

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Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich (2018)

I’ve been a long suffering “Puppet Master” fan who has waited patiently for the movie series to go back to its original course and head in to the deeper look in to the puppet mythos. After many years of pseudo-sequels and really awful bargain basement follow ups, we get a reboot but one that’s not a reboot, apparently. S. Craig Zahler’s “Puppet Master” is a new direction for the series that is an alternate timeline series that will exist alongside the original movie series from Full Moon. So not only do we have a crappy original series that needs a course correction, but a brand new series that’s junk from the starting gates with a feeble attempt to be provocative and controversial.

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