Archive | December 2019

And a Happy New Year

Want to take a moment to thank everyone for their support throughout 2019. You all have been amazing and hope you nothing but the best in 2020.

Box office Rundown 12/30/19

By Paul Anthony

welcome to the final edition of Box Office rundown for the year of 2019 and we are just days away from kicking off a new year in film but how did this weekend stack up. For Starters, Star Wars: Rise Of Skywalker remains in the number 1 spot. Uncut gems got the biggest jump when it got a wide release, it went from 15th to 7th and the biggest loser is Cats which to my shock remains in the top ten but dropped from 4th to 8th, so without wasting time let’s look at our current top ten.

  1. Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker, 72 million
  2.  Jumanji: The next level, 35.300 million
  3.  Little Women, 16.525 million
  4.  Frozen 2, 15.500 million
  5.  Spies in Disguise, 13.200 million
  6.  Knives out , 9.725 million
  7.  Uncut Gems, 9.552 million
  8.  Cats, 4.830 million
  9.  Bombshell, 4.7 million
  10.  Richard Jewell, 3.010

Well for the first weekend of the year we only have 1 wide release and that is the Grudge, which should help it make some money but I don’t see it becoming the number 1 film in it’s run. Here are my predictions!

  1. Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker
  2. Jumanji: The Next Level
  3. Frozen 2
  4.  The Grudge
  5. Spies in Disguise
  6. Little Women
  7.  Uncut gems
  8.  Knives Out
  9.  Bombshell
  10.  Richard Jewell

Sequel Saturday presents The Santa Clause 2

By Paul Anthony

Welcome to the end of the year edition of Sequel Saturday and we are continuing the trend of Christmas and or holiday movies. Now I am one of those people that can’t stand the cheesy normal films this time of the year. However when you have a movie starring one of the best comedians of all time you know you have to watch it. Tim Aleen has been in countless movies and shows, now one of the first movies of his that I ever watched was The Santa Clause. The film came out in November of 1994 and the movie was a hit. The budget was only 22 million and the film grossed 189.8 million, which if you do the math the movie made a good profit which means a sequel was coming. The sequel didn’t happen in the normal 2 to 3 year window instead it took 8 year to come out and it was suppose to be called The Santa Clause 2: The Escape Clause during the first trailer but the title was later dropped before the release and saved for the third and final film. Now the budget went up from 22 million to 65 million. Part 2 ended up making 172.9 million. Which is 17 million less then the first film.

The plot is simple pretty much Scott being Santa is in full swing and life at the north pole is going well. Until Santa learns that his son Charlie made the naughty list despite everyone at the north pole loving him, there Santa learns Charlie been getting into trouble for unknow reasons which Santa is determine to find out but just then he learns of new problem. They learn there is a Clause and that is there needs to a Mrs. Claus, that is right Santa must get married in a month’s time or else he won’t be Santa anymore. So he sets out to return home to solve both issues but someone needs to run the north pole so the clone Santa, allowing Scott to return home. As Scott tries to find a wife and fix the issue with Charlie which he learns Charlie can’t stand living a lie with who his dad really is. Not too mention Scott starts to fall for Charlie’s principal. Things are getting revolved but the Clone Santa begins to form his own identity and that is an evil Santa, which he makes Nutcracker robots and put everyone on the naughty list forcing the elves to produce coal instead of toys, this forces Scott to return to stop him which after a few rounds he wins and gets married. Not only that but he saves Christmas and all ends well.

Now We know this film didn’t make as much money as the first and I do feel like this film was a step down from the first film in pretty much ever sense of the way. With that being said I didn’t feel like this was a bad film at all. The Money wasn’t well because of the step down and the amount of time but you also have to factor the movies around that time as well. In the end I am giving it an average rating of C or right at 70 percent. There was just nothing that truly stands out in my eyes.

Rise of Skywalker review and more!

By Paul Anthony

Now in this blog I am going to review the number 1 film over the weekend and that is Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker, which is now the last film in what is now known as the Skywalker Saga which basically covers three generations of Skywalker. Episode 1-3 covers Anakin Skywalker/ Darth Vader rise and fall and then you had Luke’s story in episode 4-6 then you had the story of Ben Solo/ Kylo Ren for 7-9 but now it is all over and did it end the way we all wanted to it to? Warning this blog does contain spoilers so if you haven’t seen it yet don’t read on.

If you were thinking that Kylo would be redeemed and end loving Rey and they defeat the evil Emperor once in for all and live happily ever after, well you wouldn’t be completely wrong, your just not right either. Here we have it the final episode in this saga, a lot was riding on this film and did it deliver? First let’s look at the plot, here we have the emperor returning and revealing he created Snoke and led Ben to the dark side just like he did to his grandfather years ago but the emperor has one request he wants Rey dead, who is now the last jedi and Leia is finishing her training. Here we see Kylo searching for Rey and he reveals to her she is the granddaughter of the Emperor, they battle for the last time and Leia reaches out to Kylo using the force at that point he realizes he can be Ben again but Rey impales him. After Rey feels Leia gone she heals Ben and reveals she would have taken Ben’s hand not Kylo. There Ben talks with his father Han and it becomes clear he wants to Ben. Now Rey’s story through this training and learning her family’s history goes into exile which Luke convinces her other wise, she heads off to face her grandfather, which he reveals he wanted her alive not dead but she is good and determines to defeat, Ben comes to help and the final battle begins with the two losing but then the past great jedis gives her the motivation the voices include Anakin Skywalker. There she defeats her grandfather for good but at the cost of her life and there Ben uses the force to heal her and they kiss before he becomes one with the force. Afterwards Rey buries the Skywalker light Sabers on Tatooine where Luke grew up and now she takes the Skywalker name as her own with her very own Light Saber which is yellow.

I do believe this was good way of ending this saga because had Ben lived you knew they would have to go on with this saga, pretty much everything was on par but they really didn’t explain how Emperor survived and stood hidden for nearly 30 plus years which means there was some pretty lazy writing at times. This series kept ignoring the fact that Vader became a force ghost, this film would have been a good time to bring him back instead they just does a voice over, clearly this was a big disappointment to me because he was such an important character, having Rey take the name made sense after all the Skywalkers were the people she truly loved. One last thing I did enjoy was the fact that they were introducing more people that had the force ability like Finn who was a weak force user but continues to get strong. In the end I am giving this a good B or right around 80 percent and like I stated in the podcast I am excited to see what happens next!

Box office Rundown! 12/23/19

By Paul Anthony

Welcome to this week’s edition and I am super excited to give out the numbers and the reason why is because it is Star Wars week, yes that is right the release of episode 9 A.K.A Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker which as predicted debuted at number 1 which was a no brainer but we had another wide release in the movie called Cats that just looked horrible. Cats had a 95 million dollar budget and opening weekend in the states where it made just a little over 6 million and just think it will only get worse and it forced the studio to do reshoots while the film is in it’s opening week. Now I am predicting it to fall to number 10 next week and it even do worse then that. Here are the numbers for the current top 10 domestic movies.

  1. Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker, 175.500 million
  2.  Jumanji: The next Level, 26.126 million
  3.  Frozen 2, 12.3 million
  4.  Cats, 6.5 million
  5.  Knives Out, 6.125 million
  6.  Bombshell, 5.075 million
  7.  Richard Jewell, 2.565 million
  8.  Queen and Slim, 1.850 million
  9.  Black Christmas, 1.800 million
  10.  Ford V Ferrari, 1.800 million

Now the biggest winning in the sense of moving up spots goes to Bombshell which was at number 19 and moved to number 6. The Biggest losers dropped each four spots and that was Black Christmas and Ford V Ferrari. Now we have 4 shows coming this weekend, none that I think will take the number 1 spot. We have Uncut Gems, Little Women, Spies in Disguise and I don’t know why but 4 episodes of friends titled Friendsgiving Day 2. So here what I am predicting for the next box office weekend!

  1. Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker
  2.  Jumanji: The next level
  3.  Frozen 2
  4.  Spies in Disguise
  5.  Uncut Gems
  6. Little Women
  7.  Knives Out
  8.  Richard Jewell
  9.  Knives Out
  10.  Cats

Slay Belles Movie Review

By: Justin Hopkins

And here we are. The holiday season drawing closer to the end. Busy last minute Christmas shopping getting done (Or started if you are like me) While Jack Frost and Santa Slays were movies I were looking forward to watching and reviewing. This movie jumped ahead of the line at first glance. Seemed bizarre and strange and after watching; certainly lived up to that, and I may have just saved the weirdest one for last. Was it in a good or bad way though? Lets peel back the layers and take a look.

This movie starts out in complete chaos. With a Cop handcuffed in a chair, with three blood covered women and a Santa Claus standing around him. Demanding to know what was going on. At gunpoint, the story takes us back twelve hours earlier, to the woman, Alexi, Dahlia, and Sadie coming out of a store. Laughing and swearing up a storm about stiff they just shoplifted, except Alexi who chickened out and bought something. They are youtubers, known as Adventure Girls. Who basically film themselves breaking into abandoned places and film themselves running about and looking at stuff and taking stuff left behind, and this is Alexi’s first time out with them. Since it is Christmas Eve and all. They decide to go to a rundown place called Santa Land. Stopping off at a bar along the way. Everyone makes it clear how little they care for Christmas here, and they learn that bad things have been happening to the kids. Belief that a bear is responsible, and after a little conversation. Decide to push on. They show up to Santa Land, and they are shooting their Youtube show. Oblivious to the hidden camera around the trees. Being watched by an old, biker guy. About to leave, when they spot one more place they haven’t checked. While inside, a monster shows up. They watch as he loads these hairy things into christmas boxes. When one of their phones go off. Causing them to run and saved by the old man. Forced to hide in the cottage, due to their van being towed. Barricading the door as the old man comes through the chimney. Turns out, the old man is Santa Claus, and the monster outside, is Krampus. With people slowly forgetting or banning the old ways. Santa seeing a world quickly not needing him. He froze Krampus in the snow and opened Santa Land, which was around for a long while, but slowly went out of business. Now, somehow, Krampus escaped the ice, and has something dark planned, and it is up to Santa and the three woman to stop him. All the while, Krampus is taking out kids and people all around the world.

This was a rather interesting tale. On paper, it sounds crazy and out their, but they pull it off really well. To have Santa and Krampus, connected together, to the point where if one gets hurt the other feels it, and they have to use it to kill Krampus was a nice way to go and the ending was just crazy. I didn’t see the twist coming, with Mrs. Claus being Cherri the bartender, and she was behind letting Krampus out, because she is angry over how Santa has treated her, and how the world views her as a fat, old woman who only existed to be by his side and laughed so hard when it came out that they ate the reindeer.

The action throughout was a lot of fun and carnage candy was pretty decent. Especially the Brian kill, where Krampus gored him with his horn, and you see the flesh still hanging off his horn in the next scene. Using the decapitated head of one of the kids Mothers to taunt him was a nice addition. Although, some of the kills came with this weird vision blur. The gore was good, but don’t understand the blur, cause it wasn’t from his point of which, which maybe it should have been, because when it was his POV, it came with this red and green hue, which I thought would have made those kills in particular more interesting. Also, the prosthetics used to Krampus was spectacular. He looked scary and intimidating. Going practical on him was the smartest move they could have done.

On a small note, they had a scene that kind of threw me through a loop. We have all seen movies, where the police bring in a suspect they are all so sure could have committed the crimes. No matter how insane it seems. They had that here when the one cop brought in a drunk. Police Chief looked at him called him an idiot and how he couldn’t possible have done it and cut him loose.  A smart decision you never really see and was surprised to see it in this movie of all things.

Casting wise, was so important for a movie like this, and they did a solid job at that. The three women especially. Could have been easy to just be eye candy. Standing around not doing much else, but Kristina Klebe, Susan Slaughter, and Hannah Minx made them a lot more than just that. Chemistry was good and they made this film so much more enjoyable. Barry Bostwick was a decent enough Santa. Kind of tell where they were going with him and Krampus being connected and still made you feel a bit, when he got his head cut off.

As much as I would like to say that this didn’t have any negatives. It most certainly did have a few.  Starting with the musical montages throughout. They not only hit you with some cringe worthy song, which might just be me being around Christmas songs all the time, but wish they were over faster. They mix it with their Youtube footage, which is as worse as any found footage jerky cam motion. Would have been fun, if they were quick scenes, but they really drag them out. Than, there was the scene where Krampus has mounted Sadie, and when they knock him out and flip him over, they show everything going on with him, and did not ever need Krampus junk in my life. Just didn’t. A big negative for that.

With all of that said, Slay Belles was a crazy, bizarre, yet fun ride. Had a lot of fun watching this film and would gladly suggest this to anyone fans of the genre. With that, wish you all a happy holiday and…

Thanks for reading.

Sequel Saturday Presents Home Alone 2

By Paul Anthony

Once again sorry about the delay there is no doubt the holiday season has been rough on our schedule here at Smash Writing but no worries 2020 will be a fun year but anyway let’s get to the movie shall we! Okay so one of the all time classics when it comes to a Christmas movie is Home Alone 2, now it is a movie we as saw maybe a billion times by now but I never got to review it, so as we march to Christmas I figured hey why not. Now we know these movies pretty much made Macaulay Culkin a household name. In 1990 he starred in Home Alone part 1. Culkin played an 8 year old boy who in a large family was forgotten at home when the family woke up late to catch their plane. The family was heading to Paris for their Christmas vacation. Here Kevin played by Culkin must protect his home from the Wet Bandits played by Joe Pesci and David Stern. Needless to say he did protect his house and didn’t get into too much trouble from his family. Now The movie made nearly 480 million and is regarded as one of the best Christmas movies with all tat being said you know there needed to be a follow up and 2 years later we got Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.

Trying to follow up one of the best Christmas movies is tough because you can’t do the same thing twice can you? The events of the movie take place just one year later this time the family wants to travel to Florida for Christmas and of course Kevin does not, like the first film the family wakes up late and rushes out the house this time they make sure they have Kevin, which they do until a little mistake by Kevin leads him to the wrong gate which takes him to New York. The family doesn’t realize this until they land in Miami which is raining. Mean while Kevin with his dad’s wallets which includes a credit card and cash checks into a hotel and is enjoying a vacation to himself but it is short lived when he runs into the Wet bandits who now go by the Sticky bandits, this time they planned on robbing a big time toy store which Kevin finds out and uses his uncles house as his torture chamber for the bandits and well the plot plays out like the first film.

I know Kevin being only 9 years can’t fight these guys but using the same tricks basically over again then having the family forget their youngest kid yet again to me this hurt this film from living up to the first film. With that being said everything else was on par and I didn’t think overall this was bad follow up. If they were just little more creative with this film it could have been better. Now with that being said overall I am giving this film an B plus or 85 percent and will always continue to enjoy the film!

Star Wars Episode IX The Rise Of Skywalker Movie Review

By: Justin Hopkins

**SPOILER WARNING**

  I should start by saying I am not the biggest Star Wars fan. Outside of the Clone Wars Cartoon, The Mandalorian, and I had a lot of interest in whose Rey’s parents were. I haven’t had much interest in the series in general. Why am I saying all this you might ask? Two reason, to heighten just how much I enjoyed this entry in the Star Wars Library, and to keep any potential spoilers out of the intro paragraph on social media. Like some pages gleefully ignore. With that out of the way, lets jump in and take a closer look at the end of the Skywalker Saga.

The movie opens with it’s usual crawl explaining what is happening, with Palpatine returning. Sending out a mysterious radio message. General Leia has sent out spies to try and find out what is going on and The Supreme Leader Kylo Ren is killing anyone who gets in his way, and that is who we jump to. Kylo is manhandling and killing everyone in his way to retrieve this triangle devise. That leads him to the Sith Homeworld and the Emperor Palpatine was waiting. Offering him everything he wants, including a massive fleet and idea of succeeding where Vader failed, but he has to kill the scavenger (Rey). We go from there to Chewbacca, Poe, and Finn. Going to get intel from a spy, and just as they are getting it. Are attacked by Tie Fighters and a crazy space chase breaks out where Poe is Lightspeed skipping the Falcon and amassing a lot of damage in the process. Meanwhile, Rey is training with her new Master General Leia. Trying to draw in the Jedi of old, but can’t, and in her frustration goes to run the training course. Where she has a Force vision of her taking Palpatine’s throne, and it obviously jolts her.  When talking to Leia about not feeling worthy of Luke’s Lightsaber and giving it back. When the crew returns, gets into an argument with Poe. It starts off small, but it’s really over the fact that she is their best fighter and not on the field. They finally hold the meeting over what the spy gave them, which is not only confirmation of Palpatine being alive, but plans on executing what is being called, ” The Final Order.” Rey recognizes the name of the planet from Luke’s notes and along with Poe, Fin, Chewy, and C3PO. Go out to start where he left off and find the planet before the Final Order begins and while I am going to talk way way more about what happens. Going to back of the story for those who really need to go and watch, but I will go in depth from here out, so if you haven’t watched it. Come back after.

I really enjoyed the story that they were telling here. How they had to go directly to the source of the dark side of the force and deal with the biggest threat they had ever had to face in Palpatine, who in my opinion, never looked stronger than he does here. The amount the resistance had to go against felt like the stakes were at their highest. Important to have for a final fight of this magnitude. To even get to that point though was captivating, especially when it came to Rey and Kylo. Kylo coming off like the powerhouse enemy, that he has only shown glimpses of so far. Rey not only having her powers growing at an alarming rate, but getting more and more scared as they start to turn toward more darkside. Unaware of what her lineage to Palpatine, which I got wrong, my money was on Kenobi till they announced the return of Palpatine. Even still, they did a good job conveying. Gave her another dynamic then simply good fighting dark, but someone who could easily access the dark side, but resists because that is not who she is and together, they were amazing. The fight scenes they had felt unique and different. Their connection through the force was so well done. Switching from her location to his was seamless. Even passing stuff off to one another. All of which succeeded due to the talented Daisy Ridley and Adam Driver.

Ever since this trilogy started, Daisy Ridley’s Rey has been the only real highlight, in my opinion. Watching her come up from a lowly scavenger to being a powerhouse force user in such a rapid time. Believing in the good when there was nothing else their and Daisy really ramped it up in this. Her emotional distress over the idea that she might end up turning to the dark side visibly shaking her. To the point where she was ready to isolate herself to an island to make sure it didn’t happen and Daisy did a wonderful job portraying all of it and her Lightsaber battles were great. On the other side of that, Adam Driver at long last, got to play the cool, powerful villain I thought he could be. So, sure that he could turn Rey and take out the Emperor to start his own reign. And I will be the first to admit, after him killing Han, didn’t believe there was any good way to turn him back to the good side, but Adam pulled it off. The pain he experienced losing his Mother and Rey saving his life. The heartfelt reunion he had with Han. As his swan song with the character. Adam definitely delivered.

There is so much more that I can go into here, but for one last positive, as I said at the beginning, I enjoyed the Clone Wars and while Cad Bane and Maul were big reasons. Ahsoka Tano was the biggest and was thrilled that her voice was part of the Jedi Voices, pushing Rey on at the end. To see one of my favorites get some recognition was a real joy. Glad we got all of them involved, but Ahsoka the most.

Now, as much as I have praised this movie so far. There were certainly some negatives.  That being Poe and Finn particularly at the start. Finn just came off as dumb at times. They all recognize Rey as the strongest, stop trying to charge into her fights. It got really annoying real fast. It got much worse than that and it revolves around C3PO. When you have a beloved character, who is essentially wiping his memory, in a a big emotional moment (That was ruined by the trailers, thanks for that.) it does not help when Poe and Finn has been blatantly ignorant to C3PO. The entire thing just means nothing to them, even when he is giving his heartfelt speech. The only one to show anything, was Rey, and it lead to me not caring at all about Poe or Finn the rest of the way through. Know it lead to him being more of a joke than before, but C3PO has been here since the start and in nearly every version of Star Wars. If they weren’t going to show this mattered. Than it may have been better to not even have them there.

I know there is a lot of reviews saying otherwise, but in my opinion, this was a stellar way to bring about the end of the Skywalker Saga. It’ll probably land as my favorite among the movies. You have a lot of callbacks and fanservice to go along with the Rey storyline. I strongly suggest checking this out in theaters as soon as possible. Final Grade: A+

Thank you for reading.

 

Friday Roundabout 12/20/19

By Paul Anthony

Jackass 4 is happening! I couldn’t contain myself and had to start with this news. Jackass three was released ten years ago now and people craved for their return to the big screen but we know a lot has changed since the last film and that has caused a problem. Part was rumored for a few years now but Bam who is the biggest star behind Johnny Knoxville, got into drugs and fell on hard times, this occurred because what many believed was from the lost of his best friend Ryan Dunn who died in a car crash. the Lost of Dunn had the team wondering if it was time to quit and honor Dunn but the team decided part 4 would be called Not Dunn Yet in honor Dunn, this might not be the title anymore but we shall see in two years!

Sometimes we know social media can be a bad thing and when you are famous anything you say will comeback and haunt you and now one of the most famous Arthurs of our time and that writer is none other than J.K. Rowling the creator of the Harry Potter world. This week she tweeted this “Dress however you please. Call yourself whatever you like. Sleep with any consenting adult who’ll have you. Live your best life in peace and security. But force women out of their jobs for stating that sex is real? #IStandWithMaya #ThisIsNotADrill” Now I don’t know why she tweeted this or what it means but it has LGBTQ up in arms and Rowling has yet to explain the tweet either way this isn’t looking good for her.

James Cameron won’t stop running his mouth about how Endgame ruin his movie at being number 1 at the box office for all time. Instead he had to reassure people that when Avatar is re-released for the billionth time it will become number 1 once again. Sadly he could be right which is a shame Endgame is only ten million ahead of Avatar and I am sure it will make more then ten million because there will be enough stupid people to flock to the film instead of just buying the blu ray for 5.99.

One thing I am sick and tired of hearing about is people including Zach Snyder himself talking about his version of the film Justice league and many people believed it would have been better then what we saw. Here is the real facts here, Zach Snyder blew it with the DCEU, Man of Steel underperformed and Batman v Superman bombed both were Synder’s films and if you looked at his films he only had a few good ones, so when you think about it was his film any better I would say no, so please let it die already and move on!

Before we finished up I wanted to save this sad news for the last and on December 18th Coach Herman Boone passed away He was the coach who united not just a school but a town and made people change their ways with the help of Football, I would recommend watching Remember The Titans to fully explain what the man did was greater than any game ever played R.IP Coach Herman Boone.