Every time he thinks he’s out, they pull him back in! Keanu Reeves’ action starring vehicle “John Wick” ended up being one of the best films of 2014, and three years later, we’re granted what is essentially “The Empire Strikes Back” of the John Wick saga. When John Wick went in to retirement, violence found him once and he wrought unholy vengeance one last time. Now that he’s been a few years in exile, living alone with his trusty pit bull, his past has returned once again. Italian gangster Santino D’Antonio shows up at John’s door aware of his mission of vengeance and now plans to take advantage of a decades old blood oath he made to him when he was working as an assassin. Handing him a very sacred reminder called a “marker” with John’s own blood in it, he plans to hold him to his oath, despite John’s protests.
A sequel to the 2011 video release Skeleton Key 3, this new film is in no way shape or form related to the Kate Hudson starring film from 2005. This film follows a man dealing with the (blue) zombie apocalypse while saddled with a demon sidekick/bully and a ragtag team of helpers. John Johnson, the man credited as the brain behind this film and the star of the film looks to be specialized in the anything goes/what the fuck type of horror films by the looks of his IMDB page. As this particular film is not listed and this reviewer will not be watching it again to pull the credits, the little bits of credits available on Midnight Releasing’s website are all that will be used to identify the players here.
2014’s “The Lego Movie” surprised fans two fold, not just by being an excellent movie, but by turning Batman in to one of the funniest supporting characters in an animated movie since—well ever. “The Lego Batman Movie” initially had me very skeptical as to how far they could stretch the hilarious side character in to his own feature film, and shocking enough Lego Batman’s spin off is fantastic. It’s laugh out loud funny, very clever, and has a bonafide appeal to both hardcore fans and new audiences looking for a giggle or two. Like the original movie that spawned it, “The Lego Batman Movie” garners a myriad absurdity and off the wall hilarity that will keep many viewers laughing almost non-stop, but the writing team also injects a lot of heart. While Batman is a self confident, obnoxious, egomaniac in love with his own vigilante persona, he’s also a man who doesn’t realize much of it is hollow without a family or someone to lean on.
Gary Sherman’s “Poltergeist III” is such a disappointing movie, and goes even further to stretch the mythology of the first film, so much so that I almost welcomed the loose spin off TV series from 1996. It’s very disheartening to see Carol Anne now under the care of her aunt and uncle in the big city, especially when the first and second “Poltergeist” films pushed the whole “Love” and “Family unity” themes on us so aggressively. Heather O’Rourke as Carol Anne has gone from side character to the principal heroine of the entire series, now living with her aunt and uncle in a very high class skyscraper and apartment building filled with mirrors. This, of course, allows Gary Sherman to concoct a lot of very surreal moments of horror here.
The original “Poltergeist” was like a fine tuned car that ran well and delivered all kinds of surprises. “Poltergeist II” is like an addition to said car, but it’s not a necessary addition and comes off kind of gaudy when you take a second look. It’s like someone added fins, stripes to what was an already great model in and of itself. The follow up to Tobe Hooper’s original is a childhood favorite of mine. It’s one I watched over and over on local television. While it may not make much sense as an extension of the first film, with a redundant premise, “The Other Side” is an okay sequel. That is, if you want to accept it as a sequel to the original film. It’s more an exploration of the spiritual world involved with the initial haunting from the first film, when all is said and done.
The new two hour+ installment of “Yu-Gi-Oh!” is an adventure set six months after the original series. While it definitely won’t convert new fans, it will likely act as a good book end for hardcore fans of the series. Especially in the way that it resolves a lot of character back stories, and ends every plot thread as best as it can. With Anime though there’s never a huge guarantee these characters will be gone for long, but “The Dark Side of Dimensions” is a new and unique adventure with Yugi Muto fighting a new villain alongside his friends, dueling against old grudges, old scars, and hopefully save his loved ones so they can pursue their futures.
As someone who spent a lot of his youth buying Archie comics every single chance he got, “To Riverdale and Back Again” is a mix of disappointing and confusing. Even in 1990, studios thought the Archie comics were a bit dated and old fashioned for live action formats, so they basically made the whole universe of Archie and gave it mortality. They take the entire gang shoot them over a decade in to the future where they are all confused middle aged folks trying their best to figure out the current predicaments in their lives. While the premise has a lot of potential to be original and unique, it really isn’t. The concept is painfully old hat, while the movie itself is not just bland, but 1990 bland. That’s that flavor of vanilla that was almost kind of impossible to swallow, even for a half hour.
Yes, believe it or not, the “XXX” movies now have a mythology. And a back story. And supporting characters. Now that America has officially found the “Jason Bourne” series a bit worn, Vin Diesel makes his return with his clunky and ridiculous “XXX” movie series, reprising his role as the rebellious, bald, smart ass anti-hero Xander Cage. This is a break from playing the rebellious, bald, smart ass anti-hero Dominic Torreto, and the rebellious, bald, smart ass anti-hero Riddick, and–the rebellious, bald, smart ass anti-hero in “Babylon A.D.” After the unwatchable dumpster fire that was “XXX: State of the Union” the studio brings Diesel back to prop up a light reboot and sequel of “XXX” that also opens up a world for more movies of this ilk.