By: Justin Hopkins
A Co-worker lent me the original and while I enjoyed it. Thought it would make a great remake. A great story, with psychologically disturbing element to it. Just knew if they came at it from a different approach, they could do something special. When I heard about that one was indeed being made, was excited, but as quickly as I heard, it kind of vanished. Read it was coming to theaters, but it turned out to select theaters and kind of slipped by me for a bit. Now, here we are. A little late to the party, but that is okay. The only question, is was it worth the wait? So, lets travel the ladder, and breakdown Jacob’s Ladder.
The movie starts out with a soldier, being triggered into a flashback, by the sound of a can crushing under his foot. Can became a bomb, and helicopters and flashing lights. All stopping when he took a drug. Only, to have what appeared to be choked out from behind in one moment, and overdosing the next. Two people dragging his body away after he died. We jump to a military base, where Jacob is talking. Feeling is slightly uneasy. He goes to make a call home, and find out he is going to be a Father, when he has to leave, cause a wounded soldier is brought in. Turning out to be his brother, and as the sound of a flatline comes in. We see Jacob in a surgery room, in a hospital. Lost a person and the sound triggered the previous flashback. We see he has a happy life, with his Wife Samantha and son Gabriel. Except, he is having nightmares of a firefight. After he arrives at the hospital, another Soldier has an Overdose, and like the first. He too, is taking the drug. On his way to the therapist, he runs into a homeless Vet, who claims that his Brother Isaac is not only alive, but in the city and is in danger. He doesn’t believe it, nor does his therapist. On the subway he experiences his first hallucination, and when he gets home. Is attacked by two men. One of which is horribly mutilated. He tried to take the second to the police station, but he is not in the trunk. Except the same vet is there, and this time, Jacob takes him seriously. Is going to take him to Isaac, and starts to explain what H.D.A is. A drug that targets traumatic memories in those with P.T.S.D. Except, it makes them crazy, and people are hunting them down. Before he can get finish. Is pushed in front of a train. When no one believes him. Jacob takes it on himself to investigate and after a few jumpscares. He finds Isaac, except the paranoia and as the line between truth and fantasy gets even wider. We find that nothing we have seen is how it is supposed to be and I will leave it there.
(I am putting this here as a secondary warning. If you are planning on watching this movie and checking this out first to see what others think. Would suggest not going further cause I am going to talk about the twist and can ruin the experience of watching it unfold.)
This movie.. tries to pull off a wild swerve, and I didn’t see it coming till the big reveal. Which is that Jacob was the lost brother, on The Ladder all this time, and Isaac was the V.A.Doctor the whole time and The Ladder not only was wiping out the traumatic memory, but making him believe that he was his brother the whole time. Now, I think it was creative, but the process of achievement was very sloppy. There wasn’t a gradual change in the characters, but a rough and rugged one, Samantha especially, cause she was coming off more unlikeable the more we saw her. They really could have used a bit more time to show a natural shift of Samantha and Jacob being the coupe to Samantha and Isaac, but that was not the only problem. An even bigger one, was what Jacob did immediately after, by going to the red head we saw earlier.
She turned out to be a dealer of sorts, working with Hoffman. This scene felt so tact on, because they wanted to bring in more from the original Jacob’s Ladder with her demonic angel wings. The problem is that they were telling a completely different story and it no longer fit the narrative. Would have been better to skip the scene all together and go to Hoffman, or the very least, show her with the wings earlier, and not have them here.
Now, this movie wasn’t all negative. There were some good things as well, and thing I loved was the message that this was telling. They really got the Flashback scene at the beginning of the movie right. The smallest surprise of a loud sound is all it takes to trigger a flashback. Showing how many soldiers suffer from PTSD. The lengths some will go to make the memories stop and how susceptible they are to people like Hoffman. Who is using them like lab rats. A pretty powerful message to have.
Acting wise, you have Michael Ealy playing Jacob and Jesse Williams playing Isaac. I did enjoy their chemistry when they were together. About to building up the brotherly bond between the two. Each had difficult roles, because they had to pretty much switch on the fly. While they pulled it off, Nicole Beharie didn’t. Don’t want to point the finger at her. Maybe if she had more time, would work better, or might be better if I watched it again, but first opinion; she wasn’t that good. Lastly, I did enjoy Guy Burnet’s Hoffman. He seemed like a throw away character till the end, but I did enjoy his speech at the end. As twisted as it was, legitimately believed that he was the only one doing anything for the vets.
Would I suggest this movie to someone? A question that has been floating back and forth since the movie ended, and even all the way through this blog. I enjoyed some of the acting and I liked the message with the P.T.S.D. In a way, it did keep the spirit of Jacob’s Ladder, but only as far as the drug is concerned. The demons were more tacked on to appease the fans of the original and used as nothing more than a jump scare than anything. And the swerve, while creative, wasn’t executed well and I am sure there are better movies that tackle the P.T.S.D. side of things. With that said, I would suggest checking it out. It’s not a movie for everyone, you can have a bit of fun with it, and I did enjoy watching it. And that is all I got. I hope you enjoyed and as always…
Thank you for reading.
By: Justin Hopkins
So, I was struggling a bit. Choosing which movie I wanted to review for this Classic 13. Would pick one, I was so sure about, only to change my mind at the last moment. Even started watching one and turned it off after a minute. Just nothing seemed to feel right, until I spotted Event Horizon. A movie a Co-Worker of mine stressed how great this was and called it, “Hellraiser in space.” Have to say, after watching it. He wasn’t that far off, except this may be in fact, better than Hellraiser. So, lets go amongst the stars, and go through the psychological horrors held within Event Horizon.
The movie opens with a bit of information on where Mankind is on space exploration. 2015 colonized the moon. By 2032 began mining on Mars and in 2040, The research Vessel went to explore the far reaches of the solar system, only to disappear beyond Neptune and we open in 2047. A rescue crew and Dr. Weirs are heading to Neptune tol address an immediate situation. Once they get closer to Neptune, Dr. Weirs makes them aware of the situation and what the Event Horizon actually was, and that was finding a way to travel ” Faster than light.” By using a gravity drive, the ship would fold time and space, so that it’s location and destination would be one in the same. Allowing it to punch through and appear where it was going in seconds. We find out later on, that it achieves this affect, by using a man made Black Hole. It all appeared to go exactly according to plan, but never returned till now and they are going to find out what happened. When they arrived, they couldn’t detect any signs off life, and a Miller, Stark, Mr. Justin, and Cooper go in to investigate, and while checking out the room the Gravity Drive. He gets sucked inside. Sending out a massive shockwave that damages the Lewis and Clark ship. Forcing everyone to evacuate onto the Event Horizon. With twenty hours of oxygen, they not only have to try and get the ship fixed, but figure out what happened on the ship, as more and more start to hallucinate and paranoia begins to sweep over, and that is where I am going to leave it.
I almost don’t even know where to begin throwing positives. Philip Eisner, seems like a good place. The Writer, who brought this psychological masterpiece together. It is one thing to scare someone, but this movie gets into your head. The way it tortures everyone with their greatest regrets, failures, and desires even. Way it haunts peters and teases her with her son and his condition. Miller is a caring leader, but strict, and the ships hurls the reason why he is so strict at him, and poor baby bear (Justin) And everything in this movie has some sort of meaning, and that is so much more powerful than just building emotion. It makes repeat watching even more fun. I am watching it while I type this and picked up to things that I overlooked the first time, because I knew more. That is just beautiful. Standing ovation for Philip Eisner.
Giant kudos goes out to Paul Anderson and everyone who worked behind the scenes as well. The shots and lighting were great. The scene where they are first inside. Flashing of lightning illuminating the gory walls waiting to be discovered. The atmosphere is intense. When you are looking at the Event Horizon, in the dark and dim lights. You see all these regular instruments, that take on an evil, and scary form. You had these floating balls of coolant that were such a fun addition to have floating around the glorious room that housed the Gravity Drive. The sets were great and shots made them that much better. The CG involved, is not bad for a nineties movie. Don’t know much about space, but they don’t do anything to outrages to the point of dumb, and the carnage candy is awesome. Especially the death of D.J and again where Justin getting sent out into space.
I don’t even think I can give a nod to one actor over another here. They were all so good. You had Laurence Fishburne, as Captain Miller, who you don’t really like, but he has a reason for being so strict and his sole reason for being is his crews safety. Than you have Sam Neill as Dr. Weir. This is the first movie I have watched of his that is not Jurassic Park, and definitely want to watch more. While he may not have started out as the bad guy, by the time he gets there. Is such a good bad guy. Could talk about the chemistry these two have been great, but that’s the truth between everyone. Kathleen Quinlan, Joely Richardson, Jack Noseworthy, Jason Isaacs, Sean Pertwee, and the “lifesaver” Richard T. Jones. Absolute All-Stars, each and everyone.
Negative wise… Guess you can say some of the space CGI is a bit dated, but I have seen so much worse in recent years than what we get here. So, minor nitpick I can see someone might have. Doesn’t really bother me to much, but one big one, is something we don’t have, and that is the full 130 minute cut of the film. It was cut down due to how gruesome some of it was and whatnot, but when they went back and wanted to use it. It was not well achieved, and most of which is simply lost. Obviously, this isn’t going toward my final thought on the film, and I don’t have anything negative to say about the film itself. Just something depressing I found out about the movie.
In closing, if you haven’t had a chance to check out this classic film. I couldn’t suggest it enough. Mastercraft in Psychological Horror, and shows that you don’t need jumpscares to scare your audience. Just a showcase of talented people, crafting a story, with some talented actors bringing it all to life. Final Grade – S
Hope you enjoyed and as always…
Thank you for reading.
By: Justin Hopkins
So, I decided to mix things up, just a little bit. Up until this point, have mostly kept this series to B movie horror, but the action genre has some gems just waiting to be stumbled upon. Checking through the list, 88 jumped out to me right away. Mostly, because I am a big fan of Katharine Isabelle. The synopsis sounded promising and was sure this would be perfect. Wow, this movie was really something else. Let’s jump right into this one and I will do my best to make heads and tails of this rather interesting film.
88, starts out by giving some information on what Fuge States are (In a very brief explanation, they are a mental disorder where one loses memory and self identity for periods of time. Mostly due to a traumatic event) and that is where Gwen is when the movie starts. In a trance like state when she is broken of it has no idea where she is, how she got there or anything. Her hand is bloody and wrapped up, and her bag is full of gumballs and a gun. When one of the waitresses sees it, screams and alerts the cops in the diner. After an old man taps her, and she flinches, causing her to shot another waitress, and she flees the scene, with the police right behind her. Then we jump to another version of Gwen, passed out on the side of the road in a red dress. This is not the Gwen we see at the diner, but one who almost runs off pure impulse. She attacks the man who pulls over to help her, and steals his car and cigarettes, and goes by the name Flamingo, and this is how the movie plays out. Hoping back and forth, with the Gwen version trying to find out what has happened to her and the Flamingo one, going about things almost randomly, till she learns that her boyfriend was killed by a man named Cyrus, and that is honestly, about as close to the story that I could easily describe in the way I normally would.
Have to give a round of applause to the Director April Mullen and writer Tim Doiron. The way they brought these two stories together was simply incredible. Nothing is ever just a wasted moment. Even a simple sentence in the Gwen half ends up being something massive in the Flamingo story and vice-versa. A little sentence about the situation between Vinnie and Cyrus becomes a big part of what set everything off. The milk and gumballs and the number 88. It’s a movie that makes you sit and pay attention to everything and can be a slight issue at times, cause it’s so easy to miss something. That said, they did a fantastic job at connecting all the dots though.
Between watching and doing this, did a bit of research on Fuge states. Out of curiosity, wanting to see how much of what we see from Gwen\Flamingo is coming from the real deal, and yeah they did a good job at that. Flamingo is a character who doesn’t really ever seem to be in reality. She just goes about her day from one thing to the next. Often experiencing hallucination and blackouts. Now, she may or may not be to an extreme exaggerated form. I don’t know that much about the condition, only read a few articles, but the fact they obvious took time to take the condition seriously is a nice touch.
Acting wise, Katharine Isabelle was fantastic. Playing the more sweet and caring Gwen, who didn’t want to hurt anyone and just wanted to know what happened and why her love was killed. Than turn it around to the mentally broken and violent prone Flamingo. Both roles were so important. Each of them had to carry the narrative and couldn’t imagine anyone other than Katharine Isabelle did. On the villain side, we have Cyrus, played by the extremely talented Christopher Lloyd. He plays such a great bad guy, because it always comes as such a surprise. It shouldn’t really at this point, but he was really sadistic in this, and I think they may have ruined it a bit with the ending. Which we will get into now.
I genuinely didn’t see the Gwen ending coming and still don’t know if I liked it. Felt like a shock that was right there for you to see, and that was how Aster died. All this time, was about avenging his death, and then you see what happens. That while Cyrus and his men were coming to kill them. It was Gwen who shot him by mistake, and that was what triggered the Fuge State, and she gets arrested after Cyrus kills himself. I liked the surprise. Did something different, and not so much the surprise swerve that causes my dislike, but the suicide. I cared about both Gwen and Flamingo and this just seemed to make everything the two have been through for nothing, but maybe that was the point and they want you to think about it long after it’s over, and ask me a week from now. May end up really liking this, but for now. Was such a depressing way for Gwen’s story to end, but not the final shot. Once, again we jump back to Flamingo, going into the Diner. She starts to hallucinate again, as she takes the spot in the diner, we start with, and her and Aster’s song begins to play, and we zoom in on her face. Recreating the exact shot that the movie begins on. While I don’t quite like where the story ends. I did like how the movie comes to an end, by circling back to where we start with.
This movie can be a chore to watch at times. At an hour and twenty eight minutes, it doesn’t seem like all that long, but with how much that is happening and how much you have to pay attention. It can fell much longer, but would absolutely suggest 88 to anyone who wants a mind bender of a movie to watch. It’s a fun movie that is well worth the watch. Hope you enjoyed the review and as always…
Thank you for reading.
By: Justin Hopkins
I found myself more excited for this movie than I originally thought I would be. I enjoyed the trailers. The little bit of what we have seen of the monsters, I liked. Really made me think about what they were. To a point, was was excited to see Kristen Stewart. Outside of one of the Twilight Movies, have never seen one of her movies, and she is a big name and excited to finally see one of her movies that I wanted to see. So, I went in with a fair amount of hype… and they cleared all expectation by leaps and bounds. Lets go in and explain what I love so much about Underwater.
They start things off with some rapid fire news clips about an incident that shows an explosion had taken place and that drilling would continue. It was kind of hard to read, but you get enough to know that something bad had happened. Then you go to Norah, who has a bit of monolog as she is in the showers, brushing her teeth. She goes to investigate a sound and you get an idea of how big the place is, before everything goes crazy as an explosion rings out, and she races down the hall. Trying to make everyone aware that they have to go now. Her and Rodrigo manage to make it, but before anyone else can make it. They have to close the doors, before the pressure takes down the entire rig. After checking on the terminal. Seeing the damage was extensive and they have to get to the pods immediately. They start through the falling apart rig and ever enclosing claustrophobia. Managing to save crew member Paul along the way, and find the pods have all been taken and only Captain Lucien and a handful of survivors and the only way they are going to make it out alive, is to go further down, and walk across the sea floor, and get to the pods on the drilling facility itself. Stressing the amount of danger that is alone, but an even more dangerous entity awaits and that is where I stop, because you should go and watch this movie as soon as possible, and don’t let the incoming spoilers ruin it for you. So, if you haven’t come back when you have before reading on.
This movie did several things that I loved, and one was way they build tension, and used everything they could to achieve that. That the monsters were not the only danger that the survivors had to content with, but the crushing pressure, lack of oxygen, low lights. All of which played into the monster attacks as well, because when they did come for them. There was so little that any of them could do and the monsters seemed to even use those elements to their advantage. A way a predator in its natural environment would.
Love the way this film was shot. Making you feel just so claustrophobic at times. All the sounds of the rig falling apart and later the monsters scratching and slapping off the metal. The muffled sounds from underwater sounded great. Underwater scenes looked great. Only showing little bits at a time, and the monsters seemingly coming from nowhere because of how dark the ocean is. Goes into what I said earlier and how well they used everything they had to their advantage.
Than we get to the monsters, and wow they really knocked it out of the park. Looked like a bizarre mixture of squids and humans and then you get a massive creature that comes out of the drilled hole in the ground. They show them, but never fully, nor do they tell you much. They make the excellent choice of leaving them unexplained and let your imagination come up with what these things were, but all of them, looked great.
Than there was the humanity that is in play here. Normally, when you get a group, in a dire situation. You get one who is either hiding information to save themselves, or sabotaging someone else. Not here, you don’t quite the opposite. Most of their demises, came because of them making the ultimate sacrifice, so, the others could live. From Rodrigo not telling anyone his helmet was defective, The Captain cutting the cord. All leading up to the finale. It was the ultimate display of humanity, making sure they could get as many out as they can.
Before I move on, have to talk about the cast. Like, I said, don’t know much about Kristen Stewart. Hear a lot of negative things about her, but I think she was stellar as Norah. Norah was a character already rocked by death, from losing her fiance, and haunted by her decision to close the door on the rig that was blowing up, and you see her carrying the weight of every loss, and when it was her time to make the sacrifice. You really cared and was awesome to see her take out the creature at the same time, and Kristen Stewart brought her to life in the best possible way and really shined. Right behind her was Jessica Henwick as Emily. Really rooting for her, and had me on the edge of my seat when it looked like she was going to die. Evolving from someone so scared to even step into the water, to saving both Norah and Liam. At first, I thought I was going to put T.J. Miller in the negatives. Every other word out of his mouth, was some sort of a joke. Some hitting and some missing by a wide margin, but I got to thinking more about his character, and what happened to him, and most importantly, when he died, and it all clicked in one big positive for me. His jokes, despite being a little to many. Makes you really care about his character and he dies before the tension from the monsters kicks into high gear and doesn’t slow down the pace when it really starts going.
Negative wise…. I got nothing. I explained the issue I had with T.J’s jokes, and there are times where you struggle to see what is going on, but that is not a negative as far as I am concerned. It represents what is going on to the characters at that moment and you do get to see the creatures and everything you want to see anyways. The actors were all spot on and loved the story.
The highest grade we give on these, is S, and this is an easy S grade movie. I had so much fun and strongly suggest watching this in the theaters, and that is all I got. I hope you enjoyed. As always…
Thank you for reading.
By: Justin Hopkins
It is a sad way to kick-off a new year, when you realize that a game you love, is just not for you anymore, but that is the way this year is starting for me. A game that I have loved for the best part of a year and a half, has finally pushed my last nerve and have to walk away. It is sad, but as I look into the new year. There is a lot to be excited for. So, one game may have come to an end for me, I have six more to look forward too. Before I start, got to say, I play on Playstation, so with the exception of my Honorable Mention. We will focus on Sony. Not that there’s anything wrong with PC or Xbox, just going with what I got. Cool, let’s get started than.
HONORABLE MENTION – HELLBLADE 2: SENUA SAGA
The only reason that this is sitting at Honorable Mention and not number 1, is that it is not confirmed for 2020. I haven’t bought an Xbox since the 360. The moment that trailer dropped, I knew I would be getting an Xbox X-Series to continue Senua’s Journey. I loved the first game. Such an intense, beautifully made game, with a gripping story that sucked you in the game with everything they did and can only imagine what they have store for the second game.
6. PREDATOR: HUNTING GROUNDS
It seems that I am in need of a new online multiplayer game and what better, than Predator Hunting Grounds. Seems like a very basic idea. You either play as your choice of Yautja and hunting a team of marines. The Marines are working together to complete their mission and escape alive. The concept art looks fantastic, especially for the Yautja and am really excited to use the bow and you get the skin from the first movie if you Pre-Order. As always, go into it with a bit of caution. Online multiplayers can fall apart quickly, but still willing to give this one a chance all the same.
5. Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2
This game is probably the one game I know the least about, but am strangely being pulled towards it. It action roleplay game, that sees you playing a young vampire in Seattle, and that was all it really needed to be said to win me over. As you play through, you learn new abilities through factions engaged in a civil war, and I just like it. Wish I could say why. Didn’t even play the first one. Just has a certain vibe that has really won me over, and if they have a fair amount of creative character, would be that much more happy for it.
4. MARVEL AVENGERS
Alright, so the first trailer did not do this a whole lot of justice. The Kamala Khan one though, did a lot better, and with test players hyping it up even more. Don’t know if this was announced, but curious on how many heroes will be involved, and the story looks interesting, and I have a weakness for Superhero games. Have even enjoyed the bad ones, so this one should be a blast. Especially, if we get to play as our choice of characters, or focus a bit more on the lesser known heroes.
3. RESIDENT EVIL 3: NEMESIS
Resident Evil 2 Remake was fantastic and set the bar for how a video game remake should work. They stayed true to what made it great. Tweaked a few things to change it up and gave side stories and than the original versions. We might not get all of that this time around, but with them saying they took what they learned in 2 and carried it over to 3 has me confident going in, and as a bonus, you get the online multiplayer that they have been talking about for some time now, Project Resistance. Capcom has a successful track with their remakes, and have no doubt they can make it at a hat trick with Nemesis.
2. Doom Eternal
I love the Doom Series. They are so much fun. The adrenaline filled carnage of playing Doom Guy. Running around killing everything in your wake. Game literally knows exactly what it is. Oh, this rocket launcher, isn’t enough. Well how about if it shoots multiple locked on rockets? Still want more, how about a movable turret? No, here is a gun that will wipe out everyone in a bloody paste and you get to carry them all around at your ready. Low on ammo. Get up and close for more, or use this chainsaw, and god yes, give me more. Can play these game all the time, and a pre-order for Doom 64. A big yes to even more Doom, and just misses out on the number one slot.
1. DESTROY ALL HUMANS
I don’t think there is any game series that brings back more fond memories than Destroy All Human. A friend of mine way, back in high school gave me a game he swore I could not beat without cheats, it was Destroy All Humans, and I did beat it without cheating. Bought a Wii for the lone purpose to play, Destroy All Humans: Big Willy Unleashed. Watched another friend fail for over 4 hours to get any points in human plink-o in Destroy All Humans: Path Of The Furon. I even have the Original on PS4 due to a charity giveaway, but when this game finally comes out, am going to be getting a copy and just getting lost in the world of Cryptosporidium 137 all over again. Graphics look spectacular and hope for some new content, but one way or another. Destroy All Humans is the game I am most looking forward to the most, in 2020
I know, I didn’t say Cyberpunk 2077. I am going to play it, but is a game I know less about than Vampires. I know they have been working on it for a long time and don’t want to look into it at all. Want to go in blind, and because of that. It did not make the list, but I am sure there is plenty more that didn’t make the list. Feel free to drop any in the comments. In the meantime, hope you enjoyed and as always…
Thank you for reading.
By: Justin Hopkins
Hello and welcome to another roundabout. Hope you all had a great week. As always, bringing my thought on rumors and news from around the entertainment world in the past week, and a little longer to touch on one rumor. With all of that said, let’s jump right in with the big Marvel story from the week, in Doctor Strange and the loss of the director.
It is a shame to see Scott Derrickson dropping out of the Multiverse Of Madness, sequel to Dr. Strange, especially due to creative differences. Was a big fan of the first movie, and felt Benedict Cumberbatch’s performance in Infinity War and the climax of Endgame definitely hyped up the urge to see his return. At the same time, not going to panic over it at the same time. Marvel has been a consistent machine at pumping out solid movies and with them having similar issues with the first Antman, they have some experience in righting the ship from creative differences with Directors. Hope that they can find a way to reconcile with Scott, but if not. Still hyped for this sequel.
Going from the big screen to the smaller one and movement on a remake of the classic 1981 Werewolf movie, The Howling, coming to Netflix. The announcement came in the form of Director Andy Muschietti working on an adaption for Netflix, which I find really exciting. Andy has said before that The Howling was a dream project for him to work on, and The Howling does have a rich story with some room to grow and take into different directions, and like all remakes, even if they don’t live up to expectations. Still have the classic to enjoy.
From there we go to the world of Video Games, and before I go into this one, need to stress that this is just a rumor. I tried to find something official but at this point, all I can find is speculation, but as a Sony player. Feel the need to give my two cents on this one. It has to do with various sites reporting that the PS5 will be backward compatible. Going all the way back to Playstation 1. If this is true, I would be elated. Would be satisfied with PS3 and over the moon to access PS2, but getting them all would be fantastic, and they really need that feature to compete with Xbox, who has announced that the X Series will do just that. With the PS5 due up later this year, really wish Sony would put out some official statements to curb some of the rumor trains. In the meantime, I have my fingers crossed that this rumor carries weight.
Speaking of games, we got a bit of what to expect from Resident Evil Nemesis. This is such a small thing to be excited for a game that I am pretty much Pre-Ordering the first chance I get, but they were talking about Nemesis himself, and to not expect what you remember. Learning from their time working on Mr. X in the remake of Resident Evil 2, and he will not work in scripted terms, but as he sees fit. Making him unpredictable and increase the horror factor. Also, Carlos will have a playable section, which will add even more new content. Truth be told, I am super excited for this game and any reason I can find to talk about it; I jump. Releases on April 13th, barring any delays and please, don’t let there be any delays. Need a new game to play.
There is a few trailers that have dropped. New Mutants and Birds of Prey seem to be the big ones, but have given up trailers for New Year Resolutions. Going to do my best to avoid trailers, after the first ones, because I am tired of them spoiling aspects of the movie after the first trailer drops, and encourage everyone to follow my example. #Nomorespoilersintrailers.
In close, want to congratulate Frozen 2 on becoming the highest grossing animated movie of all time, and hope you all enjoyed this week’s edition of the roundabout. As always…
Thanks for reading.
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.
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.
By: Justin Hopkins
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.