Tag Archives: sequel

Alien: Covenant (2017) Review

Published by: Anthony Wallace


IMG_20170323_0950491It was 38 years ago that movie watchers were introduced to ‘Alien‘ back in 1979. Director Ridley Scott would go on to terrify audiences with a gut wrenching, hair raising cat and mouse game when space truckers encounter a deadly beast in deep space. A first of its kind that would spawn rip-offs that pales in comparison to a horror masterpiece. Then 33 years later, Scott would return to the universe that solidified his career with 2012’s ‘Prometheus‘. His return was met with praise and frustration as the movie had high production value but lacked in answering it’s big questions.

This now leads us to the follow-up in ‘Alien: Covenant‘ where Ridley Scott promises to bring back the Xenomorphs and the carnage fans came to love. And he also provides answers to the many lingering pains that were left unanswered in ‘Prometheus‘. After months and months of anticipation the time has finally arrived where fans look forward to a much needed Alien sequel. What one has to wonder is if fans will be satisfied for what has been a tumultuous journey up to this point.

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As a colony ship, the Covenant, advances towards its destination of a new home they are hit by a neutrino burst. The crew awakens from cryo-sleep to then intercept a signal from a nearby planet that closely resembles earth. While investigating this new world they discover what turns out to be a deadly game of survival when death and chaos awaits their arrival. The film stars Katherine Waterston, Michael Fassbender, Billy Crudup, and Danny McBride.

I was in the minority of those who enjoyed ‘Prometheus‘ and praised the direction and production that was put into the project. The idea of the Engineers was clever as it brought about the idea of creators of mankind who then turn on their creation. Michael Fassbender’s David makes a strong presence as the newly created android by the Weyland Corporation as his ability to be curious takes on a life of its own. Going into ‘Alien: Covenant‘ I was looking forward to another strong performance by Michael Fassbender as this time around he plays not only David but the Covenant’s new android Walter.v1.bjsxNTM1OTU4O2o7MTczNDI7MTIwMDs0NjYyOzMxMzk

The way to describe ‘Alien: Covenant‘ is a little frustrating because as much as it tries to be an Alien movie it also tries being a sequel to ‘Prometheus‘. And a lot of it has to do with Ridley Scott trying to appease the fan bases in both camps. Starting with the positives the movie is beautiful to look at. If there’s one thing everyone can agree on is that Ridley Scott knows how to produce and direct. From the external shots of the Covenant ship to the landscapes of the Engineer’s home world they are breathtaking to watch. Even the cast do a decent job while falling one by one to deadly pathogens.

Lead actress Katherine Waterston plays the distressed co-captain alongside Billy Crudup’s Oram. The director’s belief in casting strong females for the role has proven to be true as was the case of Sigourney Weaver. Except she isn’t meant to surpass Weaver’s performance in the franchise rather to demonstrate the tenacity as she fights for her life. Unfortunately, a large chunk of the runtime is dedicated to Michael Fassbender’s David/Walter as he continues to explore the idea of creation. But that’s what saves the film from floundering into familiar gasps and terror. David takes things to the next level and that’s when he truly becomes a terrifying menace.

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Now we come to the difficult part because as much as we’re entertained by Michael Fassbender and the visual prowess of Ridley Scott, the film struggles to balance in tone. When we explore the terrain of an uncharted paradise it’s hard not to forget ‘Prometheus‘ and the scientific expedition that took place as they journey to find humanity’s origins. Then there comes a point when the monsters arrive, a.k.a the back-burster, and the many other creatures that show up in the film. The creatures almost seemed to take the backseat or were merely around to make an appearance. A good chunk of the film glides around the questions of the Engineers and how David survives a hostile environment. There never were smooth transitions between the terror and the grand ideas set by the script. It’s unfortunate because the lack of substance behind the Engineers is something I was hoping to see more of.

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There’s going to be disappointment and that’s because the script tries to please everyone but not in a satisfying way that we’d hope. Great performances by the cast; more specifically Michael Fassbender and even the one and only Danny McBride. There are terrifying moments in the movie and I wouldn’t even say its the aliens themselves. If you were put off by the religious and scientific garble in ‘Prometheus‘ then don’t expect it to go away. In fact, it may be more blatant as the movie does explore the ideas of heaven and hell. If you’re a fan of the aliens then you will also be disappointed because their mysterious beginnings may spoil the lore that fans have enjoyed for many years.

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It may take subsequent viewings to change my perspective on ‘Alien: Covenant‘ as time goes on. But in the way I was thoroughly in awe of ‘Prometheus‘ on its first viewing it may be a tough mountain to climb. This is not an easy review because although I tried not to go in with expectations I still ended up feeling somewhat let down. The last thing I will mention is the sound score by Jed Kurzel. He did a great job by mixing in the sound of Jerry Goldsmith’sAlien‘ with this movie. There was a great use of buildup when things started going awry. It made me feel like we returned to Ridley Scott’s world and bringing back memories of how great the original ‘Alien‘ was. Though the latest entry in the franchise isn’t a deal breaker it certainly reminds us how special a filmmaker is able to explore the unknowns while terrifying its audience in the process.

Rating: 6.5/10

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What do you guys think of ‘Alien: Covenant‘? Do you plan on watching the movie? How would you rank the films in the franchise? And would you rather have gotten a Prometheus sequel or an Alien sequel? Comment below and share your thoughts.

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John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017) Review

Published by: Anthony Wallace


john-wick-chapter-2-posterThe boogeyman returns as Keanu Reeves stars in the sequel to Chad Stahelski’s action hit ‘John Wick‘ (2014). The original film was a huge hit amongst moviegoers; although it wasn’t a box-office smash, Summit Entertainment moved forward with the project and leads us to ‘John Wick: Chapter 2‘. Director Chad Stahelski returns to the chair and helms the brutal carnage that made it the success that it is. The film also sees Common, Ian McShane, Riccardo Scamarcio, and Lawrence Fishbourne.

When John Wick refuses to take the mark by Santino D’Antonio, Wick’s life turns upside down as he is thrust back into the life he’s so desperately tried leaving behind. But with no option he carries through with the order and that’s when he is double-crossed and that leads Wick to fend off the enemies and tries to get revenge and return to the life he so cherishes. But the further he’s pushed may be all little too late.

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It’s been a long while that fans of the original movie were anticipating a sequel to probably one of the most unexpected films of 2014. With the combination of Keanu Reeves and non-stop action with guns and knives being wielded left and right, there was just nothing you could’ve asked for. So going into this movie I anticipated nothing  but the same fun that we got the last time around. And ‘John Wick: Chapter 2‘ doesn’t disappoint. Not only is it more of the same but it flows effortlessly as the movie travels from one location to the next and delivering an adrenaline punch at best.

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What you got from the first movie is what you’ll get in the sequel but a new plot thread arises and leads John Wick into uncharted territory. Another great performance by Keanu Reeves as he continues to take the pain and punishment while kicking ass and making you regret you ever came face to face. Another mention goes out to Common who is the protector of one of the main villain’s sister. He had some great chemistry along with Keanu and there were brutal fight scenes between the two of them that on their own could have made the movie. The supporting cast all around did their job and although they weren’t breakout performances they did what they needed to do and carried the movie along.

You could easily say that the carnage we get in this movie is over the top compared to the previous film but it’s so much fun to watch that you forget about it. I mean who ever knew the damage that could be done with just a pencil. Yes the pencil makes an awesome return and even a deadly weapon if one were so inclined to use in self-defense. There are many sequences to mention but that wouldn’t be fun to divulge as it should be experienced in its full glory on screen. Could this movie outdo the greatness of the original? That’s a tough argument considering you can look at these films as art and trying to discern between the two can get complicated. But never-the-less they are exactly what they’re intended to be.

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Seeing as how the movie ended it is safe to say that the studio could go for another sequel and may be the case if the box-office is any indicator. There are many directions the John Wick franchise can go and it’ll be interesting to see how the studio plans to move forward from here. Definitely one the best action films we’ve seen this year with a star-studded performance by Keanu Reeves. Let’s get Chapter 3!!!

Rating: 7.5/10

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Are you looking forward to ‘John Wick: Chapter 2‘? What are some of your favorite Keanu Reeves films? Comment below and share your thoughts.

Rings (2016/17) Review

mv5bnju1ndaxntg0mf5bml5banbnxkftztgwnzuxmjewmti-_v1_ux182_cr00182268_al_Following the footsteps of Hollywood as it continues to revisit long lost franchises, we get the third installment in ‘Rings‘. The film is directed by F. Javier Gutiérrez, who was only involved in one other film and is fairly new to Hollywood. It has been 12 years since we’ve seen a sequel to ‘The Ring Two‘ and what begs the question is why now? That can be said for many properties in the horror genre as not only this month, January, but for the remainder of 2017 as well. So let’s dive into ‘Rings‘.

When Julia suddenly loses contact with her boyfriend Holt as he attends a University, she goes on a search to only discover that not all is as it seems. Soon after Julia watches a video she then gets the message that she has seven days to live. This sends her on a wild goose chase to locate the remains of Samara before it’s too late. The film stars Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz and Alex Roe.

In my last review with ‘Resident Evil: The Final Chapter‘, I spoke about how the series has been around for 15 years and that by this point it was more of a fan affair. So with ‘Rings‘ you look at it and wonder if it is even relevant to the fans of the original back in 2002. Coming off of a very disappointing sequel in 2005 one stops to think if there’s a purpose on moving forward. The trailers leading up to its inevitable release were cringeworthy alone as you can sense that the lore and greatness of Gore Verbinski’sThe Ring‘ was all but non-existent. This leads us to three minutes of footage that was put out by the studio which saw a doomed flight for a couple of passengers. At this point nothing could save this movie.

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Do not think after 12 years that resurrecting this franchise was going to be amazing. There’s an epidemic going around with these properties where continuity doesn’t mean anything anymore. The troubling aspect of this is that the fans of the original will hate the direction on which the movie takes; whereas the general audience most likely will not notice. Just from what I’ve seen it felt like the studio deliberately made it into a stand-alone from its predecessors. There wasn’t even a nod or mention of Naomi Watt’s character from the previous films.

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The acting in this debacle was below average and the couple that we follow of Julia and Holt, both played by Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz and Alex Roe, were cringeworthy. I do have to say that from the beginning when Julia first came on screen she didn’t bother me at first and I was going along with it. But there’s a certain moment when logic is supposed to kick in that she does the inevitable and lost my interest soon after. And we have Alex Roe who’s only there because of good looks and cause he’s the person that puts Julia in her predicament in the first place. We also have to mention Johnny Galecki who plays Gabriel who for the most part I thought would play a bigger role just by how the movie started. He gets wasted and written off by the half-way mark which by that point nothing was going right so he was smart to leave in that sense.

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One of the big caveats that I had with the film was the pacing because there were times when characters were jabbering and nothing was happening. Which then leads me to the plot of the movie which has to do with Samara. She was watered down compared to what we’d seen in the previous films to a point where I didn’t find her terrifying at all. One of the plot devices had to do with characters showing the tape to other people and in which would pass death down the line. No spoilers there but how many times have we seen this used? We’ve seen this in ‘Final Destination‘, ‘It Follows‘, among others. And yes, given the opening to the film you get a Final Destination vibe. There’s even a scene that takes place towards the latter end of the movie where you sense ‘Don’t Breathe‘ and was a complete ripoff from that.

If you’re going into ‘Rings‘ as a fan of the original you are going to loathe this movie. There is nothing redeeming here and even for the general audience who go to see this will regret it just by the acting and pacing. Forget what you had remembered in the other films because it just won’t matter since Samara seems to have multiple variations of her story. Try not to get sucked into the theater because if you thought watching the video was going to get you killed, then believe me this movie actually will.

Rating: 4.5/10

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What do you think of ‘Rings‘? Do you plan on watching it? Comment below and share your thoughts.

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (2017) Review

Published by: Anthony Wallace


resident-evil-the-final-chapter-posterWith a five year delay, and after countless sequels, it looks like Milla Jovovich is hanging her artillery up for good. Paul W. S. Anderson returns to direct ‘Resident Evil: The Final Chapter‘ and looks to bring the franchise he started back in 2002 to a close. All the lingering questions everyone’s had about the Umbrella Corporation and if and what can stop the T-virus from whipping the face of humanity into extinction will be revealed. For over 15 years, it’s a franchise that many gave up on as the series dragged on with Jovovich at the helm. Some may argue the sequels gave a clear identity of what it wanted to be, as we’ve seen in other franchises such as in the Fast and Furious series. It all comes to an end and much of the production is more of like a thank you to everyone that stayed the course, for good or indifferent.

Alice (Milla Jovovich) arises to find out that much of humanity has now been deceased. However, with a little help from the Red Queen, she discovers that an anti-serum exists deep within the hive’s location. And with Dr. Isaac (Iain Glen) on the hunt to stop Alice in her tracks, his master plan is in jeopardy. It’s a race to Raccoon city with the true fate of humanity resting in Alice’s hands.

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I was a fan of the Resident Evil video games back in the 90s and it was announced that a film adaptation was in the works everyone was intrigued; especially with Milla Jovovich being attached to the project. Once it hit theaters it was drawn with a mix bag with some liking it and others thinking it was mah. Though not a complete transfer from the storylines we’d seen in the games it had an appealing premise and action sequences to entertain. Thereafter, the series became a thing on its own and eventually giving us that videogame feel with ‘Resident Evil: Afterlife‘ (2010). By this point, the series seemed like a cash grab and became a huge appeal to audiences overseas where much of the revenue came in.

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One thing you could take from the recent and supposedly “final” chapter is that you could tell it was made for the fans; whichever how many are left that is. It went away from a level by level game mode to more of what ‘Apocalypse‘ brought. Story elements were thrown in to tie up the loose ends of the series, including the backstory behind the Umbrella Corporation and why the T-virus was created in the first place. We’d even get a philosophical explanation by Dr. Isaac that really takes the originality of the premise into familiar territory. But what would you expect from the last and final film?  Aside from the beginning and end, everything in between is exactly what fans come to pay and see. And rightfully so.

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The movie promises to come full circle and for the most part we get a conclusion to Alice’s character. But to argue that the movie is the best in the series is a tough argument to make. There were moments when the effects looked cheap and the acting was never top notch either. Some of the plot points had me scratching my head at times when there was talk about the anti-virus. I could’ve sworn the anti-virus was mentioned in the very first movie and thus had me wondering why it was supposed to come as a surprise that one exists. But again, we’re not here for story so it doesn’t even really matter.

With the series coming to a close and Milla Jovovich bowing to her fans for one last time (let’s hope) I sincerely hope it is the end. After a five year break it’s a little surprising Paul W. S. Anderson would even return given the lack of interest in the U.S. market. ‘Resident Evil: The Final Chapter’ does have action for everyone as one would expect by now. As a sendoff to a franchise that fans have come to endure it does leave you with some satisfaction. And that’s being nice coming from someone who lost interest after the original.

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Rating: 5.5/10

What do you think of ‘Resident Evil: The Final Chapter‘? If you had to rank the films in order from worst to best, how would you rank them? Comment below and share your thoughts.

Ouija: Origin of Evil (2016) Review

Published by: Anthony Wallace


ouija_two_xxlg-jpegThe Halloween season is looking quite bare with little scares coming out but all may not be lost as Universal returns to conjure up evil spirits in ‘Ouija: Origin of Evil‘. When Hasbro and Universal teamed up with their original outing back in 2014 with ‘Ouija’, it turned out to be a terrible bland mess of a movie. Audiences weren’t digging; however, the box-office had something else to say as a $5 million* budget landed them $103 million* globally. With a new director in Mike Flanagan, the studio looks to take the Hasbro property in the right direction and give audiences a truly terrifying experience.

Set in the 1960s, a mother of two girls is in the business of fortune telling and scamming her customers in believing they’re making connections with the deceased. However, when her youngest daughter Doris discovers the Ouija board and begins to make connections with the dead, she unwittingly sets loose a demonic spirit that not only devours her soul but endangers her family as well. The film stars Elizabeth Reaser, Annalise Basso, and Lulu Wilson.

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Having seen the original film two years ago it was one of the blandest experiences you can imagine. There was a scrambled story with plot holes that were bigger then the glass of the Ouija piece. Though the production had eerie imagery and nicely shot scenes, it couldn’t bear the weight of its faults. So going forward with Ouija 2 was not something I was looking forward to and when the trailer came out there was already a disposition that wasn’t winning me over. But leading up to its release and favorable reviews by critics I must say that ‘Ouija: Origin of Evil‘ was a vast improvement from its predecessor.

Doing a time piece in the 1960s was a good decision because we got to see an authentic look of how the Ouija board was perceived and giving it a game feel as it was originally marketed as. There also has to be credit given to the production from the lighting to the opening credits and the sequences of terror when Doris comes into contact with spirits that was followed by disturbing imagery. One scene that will be mentioned and was in the trailer was involving Doris and her body folding backwards. When you watch the film and you see exactly what’s happening to her you’ll get goosebumps.

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The acting was a plus, given the fact that the film focused on a mom and her two daughters; whereas in the last outing we didn’t get a sense of connection with the teenagers as they were hunted down one by one while being pretty much disposable. Here we get a reason to care for the characters especially when it involves Alice’s deceased husband and father to their two girls. Elizabeth Reaser plays the mom and was awesome as she tries to make a living while also trying to help people with what she considers a legit way of making a living despite how others would question her as a medium. She’s followed by Lulu Wilson who was genuinely creepy while encountering the spirits that overtakes her body.

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Now having given credit for being a better movie then the original ‘Ouija‘, there are still problems with the movie. For instance, the pacing was all over the place because it starts by taking its time and focuses a lot on Alice and her daughters reminiscing about their long lost father. Then once the possessions take place you’d think the suspense would build and build but instead it takes its time and hardly has moments of real terror. A pastor, played by Henry Thomas, is an example as someone who you’d think would play a bigger part in the movie but the opposite happens and your left shaking your head. Why certain things are happening aren’t fully explained either which was frustrating.

A surprise turnaround with genuinely terrifying imagery and better-then-expected performances, ‘Ouija: Origin of Evil‘ dishes out one of the better experiences going back to 1986’s ‘Witchboard‘ which outlasted it’s less then stellar sequels. After ‘Ouija‘ in 2014 it was stated there could be many sequels in the works. With positive word of mouth it can be safe to say another sequel will be rolled out pending the box-office result considering the lambasting of the original.

Rating: 6.3/10

What do you guys think of ‘Ouija: Origin of Evil‘? Are you planning on watching the movie? Comment below and share your thoughts.

Source: BoxOfficeMojo

The Conjuring 2 (2016) Review

Published by: Anthony Wallace


conjuringpostersmallAs the movie season enters into the Summer, movie-goers are hungry for a satisfying horror movie. Up until now Hollywood has struggled in that department; that is until James Wan announced last year that he would return to the world of horror after finishing up ‘Fast and Furious 7‘. And with production coming to a close, he would announce that ‘The Conjuring 2‘ would indeed be his next project and continue the case studies of Ed and Lorraine Warren. After a rousing success with the original 2013 hit and a less then stellar spin-off in ‘Annabelle‘, fans are clamoring to see the franchise return to form with James Wan directing the sequel. So with that in mind, did ‘The Conjuring 2‘ live up to the hype of the original? Maybe so, but that’s nothing to knock at as it truly has a strong footing.

With the return of Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson in their leading roles as Ed and Lorraine Warren, they venture out into one of the most diabolical cases in history as the Hodgson family in Enfield England experience terror as a spirit slowly destroys the lives of a mother and her four kids. As the mystery goes deeper and sanities begin to reach a breaking point, Ed and Lorraine’s spirits are tested and could potentially lead to their end. The film also stars Madison Wolfe, Frances O’Connor, and Simon McBurney.

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Having seen the original film I was a huge fan and it really catapulted James Wan’s career as a horror director. What made the original so great was the focus put on the characters and you actually caring about them when things go bad. Also, the cinematography was what really stood out as it built tension and suspense. Some may criticize the children in the first Conjuring for being annoying but shouldn’t be at fault as most of the attention was put on the mother, played by Lili Taylor, as she slowly became possessed by the demonic spirit of the evil witch. Where the first movie may have struggled, the sequel rights itself as the children become the focal point.

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There’s a lot to appreciate in ‘The Conjuring 2‘ as most of what’s liked is in the little details. Without giving anything away in spoilers, in the opening of the film we get another introduction to a case study; however this time being where the last movie left off with Ed and Lorraine Warren venturing to Rhode Island and visiting the Amityville home. This to me was a great opening to the movie as we got to see a glimpse into one of the most well-known and most publicized hauntings that would then get into the hands of Hollywood. With the right amount of attention and focus the movie doesn’t spend too much time on the Amitvyville story; rather it builds into the paranormal events that we would then see in the Enfield case. The wrongs that most films do is done right by James Wan and his abilities to not sway away from conventional wisdom. We’ve already been introduced to the Amityville story with numerous films and what Wan succeeds in is not retelling a story that’s been done time and time again.

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As for the focal point of the movie with Janet Hodgson (Madison Wolfe) being manipulated by the evil entity, Wolfe does an amazing job. Not only do you care for her as she tries to prove everyone wrong, but she also has that innocence that most kids would have at a young age. Most of the time in movies people are cast without thought of how they are perceived by audiences. This can sometimes lead to a disconnect; especially when they are in a lead role. There even has to be praise for Frances O’Connor who plays the mom as she delivers a good performance as she tries to keep her children safe when the media begins to come into the picture.

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The casting was superb in this film which leads us to another strong performance by Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson. Their chemistry together is seamless and leads us into rooting for them when things turn upside-down. Even when the media begins to question their beliefs and close encounters with the paranormal, they may start to rethink a continuing venture into the unknown but doesn’t stop them when the Hodgson family come into the picture. There’s a moment when the importance of family is brought into play and how togetherness is what will prevail anyone or anything from tearing them apart. With overall satisfaction, we can potentially see future sequels of Ed and Lorraine Warren and their case studies as Wilson and Farmiga have become the staple of the franchise.

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Now it’s not to say that the movie doesn’t have its flaws as the scares we got from the original don’t quite live up here. The first movie was atmospheric with dread; however, here we have a combination of ‘Insidious’ and Conjuring effects. The movie says the Enfield case is the most “diabolical” of them all but I would beg to differ by saying the first movie lived up to that monicker. In ‘The Conjuring 2‘ it’s more so a poltergeist where a spirit haunts the home and isn’t afraid to reveal itself to the outside world. The movie does have tension and some visually terrifying moments that only showcase the strengths of James Wan who knows how to respect the horror genre without resorting to violence as most horror films now-a-days falls victim to. So going into ‘The Conjuring 2‘ you will notice a slight difference in the scares which only benefits the film from falling into retread territory.

After all that was said and all has been seen, ‘The Conjuring 2‘ is a solid sequel to James Wan’s original. Though it may not live up to the original, it definitely makes up for it with strong performances and a spooky tale to be told. Where most sequels fail, Warner Bros. and James Wan do justice and only promises more sequels to follow if and when ‘The Conjuring 2‘ leads to a box-office success.

Rating: 7.5/10

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What do you guys think of ‘The Conjuring 2‘? Do you plan on watching the movie? Comment below and share your thoughts.

Zoolander 2 (2016) Review

Published by: Anthony Wallace


Zoolander-2-Movie-PosterIt’s the return of the fashion sensation as Derek Zoolander makes an impact in Paramount’s much anticipated sequel from 2001’s ‘Zoolander‘. When Justin Bieber is gunned down, Derek Zoolander is brought in to search for the person responsible. When Mugatu escapes from imprisonment he holds Zoolander’s son captive and seeks to sacrifice Jr. to a cult. Ben Stiller returns as director along with co-stars Owen Wilson, Penelope Cruz, and Will Ferrell.

After a 15 year absence we are reunited with Ben Stiller as Derek Zoolander. Audiences pushed for a sequel and their voices were heard. The only question to ask is if the long wait  pays off. Unfortunately, there just wasn’t much here to warrant much of a celebratory return. We do get the chemistry between Derek and Hansel that everyone enjoyed from the original. This time, however, the script was minimal with little cohesion to last the entire 104 minute runtime.

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If your a fan of the original ‘Zoolander‘ you may find something to enjoy but for general audiences who aren’t familiar with the property may not find it to be enjoyable.

Rating: 4/10

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What do you guys think? Are you planning to watch ‘Zoolander 2‘? Comment below and share your thoughts. And click the like button if you enjoyed reading this post.