By: Justin Hopkins
When The Punisher was first announced for his own solo show. Had little hope of it being any good. Sure Jon Bernthal did a tremendous job as Frank Castle in Daredevil, but was support to Matt Murdoch. With how he is, didn’t think The Punisher could be a main character, and be done with justice. Should really not doubt the Marvel machine right, as once again delivered. Going right into the dark, grungy world that is Frank Castle and stayed true to character. Displaying his ultra violent, tougher then nails, unlikable side, and his broken guilt ridden, anti hero form. While the support went through the emotional rides.
The story was raw and unforgiving. Not pulling any punches from start to finish. From Frank trying to move on after he thought he was successful and getting pulled back in when it turns out the death of his family was a far bigger conspiracy then he could ever imagine. Detective Madani desperate investigation into finding her answers. Heartbreaking journey Micro goes through to reunite with his family and them trying to adjust to his fake death and the solders in group and the painful reality of PTSD. They never pull back on the emotions no matter how bad the situation had gotten for the character in question, and always solicited a strong emotional response in watching it happen. Slowly building to an explosive conclusion.
Jon Bernthal did a tremendous job with an extremely tough character to bring to life. Had to show so much pain and guilt. Was a good man still who was still there to do right by those who needed help and never hurt an innocent person, but also closed off and cold. Would stop at nothing to exact kill those who took his family’s lives, no matter what happens to himself in the process, or at what cost. Walking the precarious line between likeable Anti-Hero and full blown villain.
Bringing Karen, played by the excellent Deborah Ann Woll, was a great way to keep him connected to the rest of the shows, but give him an emotional tie. Someone who torn up by grief over what may happen and wanting to see better for him, while he won’t show it. She represents someone he cares for in return. Which may become relevant in his return to Daredevil if Bullseye is set to premier.
The emotional turmoil showed by Micro and his family was spectacular by everyone involved. Ripley Sobo, Kobi Frumer, and Jamie Ray Newman felt like a really family breaking apart from the loss of their Father and Husband, while his sorrow leapt off the screen. Keeping you in suspense and hoping for the happy reunion this poor family deserved. Hats off to all four of them for their performance.
Lastly, have to give a round of applause to the stunt and fight choreographers. The Punisher is brutal and smash mouth, and they lived up to snuff. Especially, the fight in the first episode where he fight off the three would be murderers with the sledgehammer. Memorable fight that set the tone for things to come.
The Punisher is right up there with Jessica Jones and Daredevil in quality and execution. Staying true to his nature and great addition to the Netflix library. Hoping to see Jon Bernthal return to the character sooner rather then later and fingers crossed to see Ben Barnes rise to Jigsaw in what I’m sure will be an even more action packed Season 2.
By: Justin Hopkins
Justice League rolled into theaters with a slew of bad press behind it. From questions over the re-shoots and what was cut. The jokes about them having to CGI out Henry Cavill’s mustache. The never-ending drama over whether Ben Affleck was going to continue playing Batman or not. So much so that they might have hurt themselves a bit, which was a shame because Justice League turned out to be an entertaining movie and huge step forward.
The team forming by Bruce Wayne and Wonder Woman recruiting them to defend the Earth from Steppenwolf and the Parademons as they searched for the Mother boxes that would be used to conquer the world. Pretty standard movie that worked nicely for them. They had to introduce three of the members and resurrect Superman on top of it. Any more and the story becomes to convoluted. A simple story was needed to give them momentum and this worked perfectly.
Ben Affleck and Galbot did a terrific job once again with Bruce and Diana. Especially when it came to building chemistry between them and learning from each other. Henry Cavill may not have had much screen time but from what I took away was that they are finally getting the Man of Steel right and Ray Fischer knocked it out of the park as Cyborg.
The one I was looking forward to seeing, and believed he had the toughest role was Ezra Miller. Grant Gustin has been nothing short of phenomenal as Barry Allen in the Arrowverse. Ezra came out running on all cylinders though. Playing him as a rookie superhero with a heart of gold. Came across as whiney at times, but am looking forward to see him continue with the role for years to come.
The CGI was a bit lackluster at times, but the fight sequences were well choreographed. Allowing everyone to show off what they can do. Loved the scenes with The Flash running and the fight scene he had with Superman. One camera shot in particular was tremendous and that was at the start where Batman had trapped the parademon, and camera went crooked. Capturing the two in dark, gritty fashion that screamed comic book. Big shout out to everyone working behind the camera.
There are plenty of things that could have been better. Aquaman could have had more, but with his movie coming up next year. Less we know the more we have to look forward to. Justice League was a good, enjoyable movie all around that the DCEU needed. Better then both Batman vs Superman and Suicide Squad, and for once. Showed hope for the future.
By: Justin Hopkins
Thor has always been the sore thumb of the MCU. The actors and actresses have always turned out good performances, Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleson leading the pact. Story wise though, have always come up short. Ragnarok turned that all around. Giving us a fun, suspenseful, action filled movie, with a surprise ending.
When utilized correctly, foreshadowing is a wonderful writing tool. Done so subtle that you hardly notice that Surtur and Odin have given hints on the ending till its over and those scenes are that much powerful for it. Big thumbs up for it.
Chris Hemsworth’s Thor comes full circle in this film. Better then anyone in the Marvel cinematic universe at this point. Introduced in the first film as a bratty, arrogant child and we’ve watched him continuously grow from there into the character we see here. One who enjoys life, humble and still maintains the heart of a warrior. If this is his final solo Thor movie. Glad it ended with him earning the title King of Asgard.
Cate Blanchett gave us a villain like we haven’t seen much of at this point. Diabolical, heinous, powerhouse Hela. Thor’s sister and Goddess of death. She held herself throughout as a woman with no fear and took down anything that got in her way. Had you hanging on to every word she said and anticipating her next move. The speech between her and Thor in the Throne room was adrenaline pounding and chilling at the same moment.
Newcomers and support cast all brought in new elements that made this movie what it was. Tessa Roberts Valkyrie was tremendous as the fallen solider working up the courage to face the cause of her downward spiral. Finally got to see Idris Elba’s show Heimdall as the tougher then nails warrior protecting the innocents. Can’t say enough about how good Mark Ruffalo and Chris Hemsworth working together. The short Hulk arc was just enough to answer some questions and leave us wanting more. Throw in the fun and charismatic Jeff Goldblum and Taika Waititiall. Making this top of the MCU Library.
The last thing I need to bring up was how well the Doctor Strange cameo was. Alot of cameos can come across as forced, but his was seemless. Showing that in the time since he took the mantle, he had become a guardian of the Earth and more powerful sorcerer.
Thor Ragnarok is an MCU must see in theaters. Great performances and story. CGI was top notch. Fun and witty. Fight scenes were exciting and heart to spare.
By: Justin Hopkins
Jeepers Creepers was terrifying when I was a kid. Presenting us with a new monster that was bone chilling and mysterious. Fed off people’s fear and ate what he liked off the ones he chose. Completely relentless, taking everything they could throw and it was the first time I watched a monster movie where the monster won, and in not some last second resurrection for the jump scare, but got exactly what he wanted. Then the second one came out giving us an even more exciting chapter, and have been patiently waiting on pins and needles ever since. The monster had so much more story to tell, and couldn’t just end there. Took 14 years but we finally got the part 3, and the wait was well worth it. Bringing the Creeper back in hellacious fashion and gave a great story to run forward as well as end the period of time that eclipsed between the three movies.
The story was pretty solid at times. Showing us a farming community who’d heard stories of The Creeper, but chalked it up to folklore and legends. Shifting between the talented Gabrielle Haugh’s character Addison Brandon who was living with her tormented Grandmother who was being haunted by the ghost and victim of the Creeper. Warning her to run. That he was coming to retrieve the hand he lost and the son had buried. Meanwhile you have Sheriff Dan Tashtego (Stan Shaw) and returning Sgt. Davis Tubbs (Brandon Smith) leading a group of men to finally put an end to the Creepers rampage before the 23 days run up.
These movie seemlessly bucked a massive horror tend, by filming primarily in the day light, in wide open areas at times. Allowing us to see the creature throughout the movie. Those on make up and prosthetics deserve all the credit in the world because it was their hard work that made that happen. Sculpting a chilling mask and got every little detail but was thin enough to allow Jonathon Breck to create facial movements at the same time.
Jonathon Breck has really etched himself in horror movie elite with his performance as the Creeper. Taking him to a whole other level in the film since he was on display so much. Carrying himself like the dominate force of nature he is suppose to be. While showing a surprising ammount of charisma that complement the Creeper. Breck enjoyment of playing this character again was apparent and the Creeper was that much better for it.
Minus a few poor CGI shots and a needles slow motion sequence. Thought very highly of this long awaited sequel. The twist at the end putting the events of this movie between part 1 and 2 may be a little off putting to some but I liked it. Knowledge of knowing what was going to happen next. Tying up these three and with Gina Philips cameo and closing monologue. Am ecstatic over the prospects of a part 4. Giving this movie a 3.75 out of 5.
By: Justin Hopkins
It’s that wonderful time of year again. Where one can binge watch all of the scary movies one desires without people thinking their nuts. Not that is an issue. Some of the best movies and awesome female heroes come from the horror genre. As well as some of the most passionate fan base. With eleven days remaining and so many to watch; question becomes which movies to start with. Allow me to help, with my personal to 14 horror movies to watch before Halloween.
14 Silent Hill
By Video Game to Movie standards Silent Hill is a rare gem. The change from the male to female was a brilliant move. Radha Mitchell was great as Rose and the scene where she was chasing the girl through town and surrounded by monster was ripped entirely from the game it was based off of. Monsters were scary, inhabitants were unpredictable, and savage kill from the infamous Pyramid Head. Throw in the amazing Jodelle Ferland who played the innocence and horrifying sides of Alessa and this movie earned its spot on the list.
13 Childs Play
This year marked the return of Andy Barclay to the childs play world. No better time to return to how it all began. Watch how Charles Lee Ray became the good guy doll and turn Andy’s life into a nightmare. Throw in one of the great deaths as Dinah Manoff took a two story plunge.
12 Jeepers Creepers
I remember watching this as a kid, and terrified by the fact the monster won in the end. Creeper being an unstoppable force who was relentlessly pursued his victims. Gina Phillips and Justin Long had excellent chemistry and Johnston Breck etched his name into horror movie lore.
11 The Birds
The most unsettling part of this Alfred Hitchcock Masterpiece was the lack of a score. Without the hints of sounds cues to warn you. The violence and bird attacks catch you by surprise, and by the end leaves the audience in suspense over whether they’ll truly be safe again.
10 The Exorcist
What can one say about an all time great. The possessed Linda Blair scared an entire generation senseless. Everyone brought their best and delivered.
Despite the decades and all the different displays. None have topped that first chest burster scene. Alien set the bar in Sci-fi horror and gave rise to a phenomenal female hero Ellen Ripley.
Steven Spielberg took a rather common phobia and made it a rampant one. This was a freight filled roller coaster that didn’t let up till the end.
7 Friday the 13th part 2
As good as the first was, Halloween needs its Jason and part 2 is the way to go. The old school grunge feeling gives it a good charm and seeing Jason before his Hockey mask is an interesting change of pace.
An underrated horror movie in every facet of the word, with a powerful message of the dangers of seeking vengence. Lance Hendricks brought emotional turmoil as a Father desperate to seek vengence against those he blamed for his son’s death. Yet, discovered it came with a terrible price. Meanwhile Pumpkinhead is a everything on can want in a monster. Towering over his enemies and nothing can save his targets from his wrath.
5 The Omen
Down to the top 5 and in comes a classic. Showing a royal families decent into chaos and death as Gregory Peck struggling to find out what really happened the night his son died and if the child he was raising was really the Anti-Christ.
Robin Williams showed the world a genie that was helpful, fun loving jokester. Andrew Divoff reminded us why we should fear them. Performance was up there with the best. Intimidating and suave. Using people’s desires and wants against them and all they had to do was ask. Victims list read like a whose who of legendary horror actors including Robert Englund, Kane Hodder, Tony Todd and more.
3 Nightmare on Elm Street part 3
The first Nightmare was nearly perfect and this one was even better. Freddy once again going after the kids of the parents who killed him. Heather Langenkamp return as Nancy. Helping them learn their dream powers to fight off Krueger once and for all. With Robert Englund knowing Freddy so well by this point, able to flesh him out even more. Making this nightmare the one to scare you thus year.
2 Halloween Part 4
Kind of kneeling to tradition by putting Halloween on this list. Skip the cliche of the first and enjoy Part 4 instead.
1 John Carpenter’s The Thing
Hands down, The Thing is perfect for Halloween movie. Kurt Russell and Keith David at their finest. Claustrophobic, psychological, gory, jump scares and everything else included. The shocking finale leaving you in wonder and awe of the horror you watched. Making it the best horror movie of all time.
As with any list, this is purely opinionated, and that’s the best part. Hope my list can lead you to movies you haven’t seen yet. By all means comment your favorites in the comments. On that note, going to wrap it up with honorable mentions. All great picks, but borderline other genes to much to be included in this list.
Honorable Mentions: Predator – Aliens – Resident Evil Vendetta
By: Justin Hopkins
This past week was a great week for TV, as the Arrowverse has returned. Supergirl kicked things off Monday. Flash and DC Legends of Tomorrow followed on Tuesday, with Arrow premiering last night. Proving once again that the Arrowverse is DCs best. In each show you see actors actresses who give their all for their characters. Getting emotions, laughs, and awesome action sequences. This may be a ranked list, but even the show in last was still pretty good. That said, coming in at number 4
4. The Flash
Grant Gustion has been spectacular as Barry Allen. Everyone has been stellar, but this episode was kind of generic. Presenting an enemy that Cisco and Wally can’t stop. Who is demanding The Flash or hell destroy the city. Leaving them to have to bring Caitlin back to save Barry from the speed force prison. Who comes back crazed from his time there and the only thing to snap him out was when Iris was in jeopardy. By the numbers right up to the final fifteen minutes.
By showing Caitlin having trouble keeping Killer Frost persona under check and introducing The Thinker as the one behind the Samari and it was his goal to bring back The Flash. Having just with to save the episode from irrelevance.
This show had it all going for it. Supergirl in a dark depression over having sent away Mon El. Superman telling her how strong she was for making a choice he couldn’t have actually tore her down more then it helped. Doing everything in her power to live only as supergirl. No longer wanting to be Kara. Going all the way to quitting her job as reporter. Meanwhile her friends were tying to give her space. Alex growing nervous over her wedding, and learning it’s her Dad can’t walk her down the aisle. Creating a heartwarming moment when she asked J’onn J’onzz to do so.
The story was so well handled. Really believed National City was in trouble for a moment. Loved J’onn being the one to get through to Kara. With villain Edge and the newest Kryptonian starting to gain power. Set up to be remarkable season of Supergirl.
2. DC Legends of Tomorrow
This is hands down my personal favorite show in the Arrowverse. Great ensemble of characters that are fun and deep. Feeling like a family. Masterful turn for Rory from villain to Anti-hero. Coming off a great cliffhanger and promise of Constantine to appear later. Was definetly hyped and loved episode one.
Turning Rip into a bit of an adversary was a stroke of genius. Appearing as head of the Time Bureau to clean up the anarchism. Disbanding the legends entirely. The split showed them failing at moving on, and when Rory bumps into Julius Caesar in Aruba. They jumped at the chance to reunite and show Rip they deserve their jobs back. Stealing the Waverider and set out to put Caesar back. Making one slip that proved costly. Yet when the Time Bureau walked into a trap. They were quick to jump in and save the day.
This show keeps improving. The team keeps improving with laughs and emotions. Lining up to perhaps build up more chemistry between Sara and Rory. With Rip and Agent Sharp proving to be more of a roadblock. Holding back important information on an impeding danger. This may well outshine the rest, and missed out the number one slot by an eyelash.
The patriarch of the Arrowverse has seen it’s fair share of lows and highs throughout its run. Coming off a finale that showed helplessly watching the island blow up with his team on it. Season six had to hit on an emotionally charged one. Giving us just that and a shocker of an end.
Opening with Oliver taking down Faust, back in Star City. Using their flash back method to tell who died and who survived. Oliver’s grief and desperate search of the devastated island. Deathstroke leading him to his comatose sister. Samantha stumbling over. Surviving just long enough for him to promise to be a Father to his son. Everyone else survived, but Diggle is so shaken up he unable to hold his gun, William blaming Ollie for his Mother’s Death, and Ollie torn up by grief of his Sister. Also alive and gunning for vengence is the Black Siren after being shot and left for dead by Quentin. Show lining up to end on a happy note of hope between Oliver and William when they dropped a bomb, in the form of the news showing a picture of Oliver dressed as the Green Arrow.
An explosive, emotional roller coaster of a way to kickstart the sixth season. Leaving us to wonder who saved Laurel and what will happen now that his secret has been exposed.
The Arrowverse is alive and exciting as ever. Plenty of room to grow. Can’t wait to see how they all play out.
By: Justin Hopkins
Four years removed from an actual successful trip to straight-to- dvd Curse of Chucky. Cult of Chucky follows in its footsteps. Picking up four years later. Bringing back not only Fiona Dourif’s Nica Pierce, but also Child’s Play alumni Alex Vincent’s Andy Barclay. Was a little worried sitting down to watch. Thinking Curse may have been a fluke. Proving me wrong in a hurry though. Sticking to its horror roots, with graphic murders and dark humor. Adding an immense psychological thriller edge. Leaving you holding your breath. Trying to piece together what was going on, but stayed ahead until the stunning conclusion.
Beginning with Andy. Showing his date failing due to his dark past. Seeing him return home, where he was living in seclusion, with Chucky’s mutilated head, still alive, to torture. Meanwhile, after years of intense and electro therapy. Nica is transferred to a medium security institution. Caving to the belief that she had killed her family. Kind of cliche that the shrink would bring in a Good Guy Doll, but then Tiffany brings one in, and another shows up. Bodies begin to mount up quickly, and Nica starts to question everyone and everything around her. Whether she’s crazy or not, and if she’s not, then which doll, is a doll, and which is Chucky. With Andy racing to the rescue and more and more questions piling up. Blossoming into a shocking conclusion. With a Cameo from Summer H. Howell’s Alice and the Tiffany Doll from Bride and Seed of Chucky.
The settings were perfect in their simplicity. Majority taking place withing the institution. The pristine white wall and sanitary surfaces. Creating a sense of claustrophobia and distortion, despite being bigger then what it appeared. Subtly adding to the psychological aspect of how alone and outnumbered Nica was. To the confinement and tense atmosphere of the Psychiatrist’s Office and Patient’s Rooms.
The supporting cast did a wondeful job in the back. Zak Santiago, Elisabeth Rosen, Grace Lynn Kung, and the rest of the patients made you care enough to feel for them when their deaths come up. While you enjoyed seeing the Psychiatrist Michael Therriault get what was coming to him. Alec Vincent seemlessly stepped back into the role of Andy, and Brad Dourif added another awesome addition to voicing Chucky. Jennifer Tilly was fun to see. The real star of this movie was Fiona Dourif.
She nailed it as Nica in Curse and leapt leaps and bounds in Cult. Sucking you in to her world and made the audience feel every once of emotions she went through. Cheering her on when she got into trouble and despite the circumstances behind it; was delighted to see her get her vengence on her perverted, villainous Doctor. Showing she was a great addition and fully capable of carrying the film with her into the future.
Hats off to Don Mancini and everyone involved. The plot could have been a circus and ended in disaster and phoned it in, but produced a fantastic sequel, with plenty of room to keep going into the future. Check it out now on Netflix or Dvd.
By: Justin Hopkins
And that is the end of the 2017 MLB regular season, and what a second half we had. From thrilling finishes, records falling, and heartbreaking losses. An exciting way to cap an epic season, and no better way to start this blog, then with the records.
For the sixth time since 1942, three teams have finished with over a hundred wins; Cleveland Indians 102-60, L.A. Dodgers 104-58, and Houston Astros 101-61. While Houston seeks it’s first ever World Series win and the Cleveland Indians 22 undefeated streak well documented. The L.A. Dodgers hit a few roadblocks after the all-star game. Becoming the first team to not only win 15 out of 16, but lose 15 of 16. While we’re on the topic of 100. The Minnesota Twins are the first team to make the playoffs a year after losing over a hundred (59-103)
Homeruns were leaving the park at an all time high. Aaron Judge setting the Rookie marker with 52 homeruns and in the process took Babe Ruth’s record in Yankee Stadium with 33. If he can get his strikeouts down, 208, they won’t be the only homerun records he takes in his bright future.
On the National side, Giancarlo Stanton lead the league with 59 homers. Sparking the conversation over whether he should get the NL MVP, but in my opinion, that honor should go to Charlie Blackmon. Capturing the record for leadoff RBIs. Without his massive contribution the Rockies may not have been able to hold off the charging Brewers. He is a major reason Colorado is going to the post season for the first time since 2009, and that’s the sole definition of Most Valuable Player.
The hungry Chicago Cubs out to prove they are not a flash in the pan, pulled it together to win the National League Central, and the Boston Red Sox beat the New York Yankees in a highly contested America League East. First time Boston won back-to-back Division titles since Divisional Era began in 1969.
The season may be over, but the most exciting part is set to begin. Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, Minnesota Twins, Cleveland Indians, Houston Astros, Washington Nationals, Chicago Cubs, L.A. Dodgers, Arizona Diamondbacks, and the Colorado Rookies have all punched their tickets to the post season. Minnesota visiting New York gets us started tomorrow night. Where anything can happen and only one can take home the glory. This post season has lined up the a highly competitive, explosive post season.
By: Justin Hopkins
This past Sunday, we saw the monster of men, Braun Strowman fall short of defeating the beast incarnate, Brock Lesnar at No Mercy. In a decent back and forward match, that coulr have been much better, but what is more pressing, is what happens next.
As we saw on Monday Night Raw. He’s still rampaging his way through the locker room, and he shouldn’t be. Over with the crowd and immensely talented in-ring performer, but unless they are going to pull the trigger, no reason for him to keep chasing Brock. Especially since the Intercontinental Title may be a better suit.
First look at the current Champion. The Miz has just been a top tier talent on both Smackdown and Raw. Ability to talk has been second to none and in ring matches have all been good. Miztourage adding more to the conniving heel, whose been aiding him every step of the way, but that wouldn’t work against Braun. Rendering them helpless to stop The Monster of Men. The match would be easily 4 stars or higher, that would see Braun leave victorious.
The Intercontinental Belt has slowly regaining its once prestigious status as workhorse title. A title that was used to test the potential behind a superstar’s ability to carry a title on a main event level. Everything that he needs.
He’s never held a title. At one point he is going to make a dominate Universal Champion. Perhaps not a good first title reign. Make sure he can handle the responsibilities added by a title, and continue to draw the crowds.
Braun Strowman is too talented to carry on without a belt. Does things in the ring half his size do, can last forever in the ring, and the moment his entrance song his. People are on their feet knowing someone is going to get a beating. The Intercontinental Belt is almost screaming to be put on him.
By: Justin Hopkins
The much hyped for sequel for the surprise 2014 hit, The kingsman The Golden Circle hit theaters this past Friday. Taron Egerton, Colin Firth, Mark Strong, and plenty more returned. To avenge the attack on them and save the world, from the villainous Julianne Moore, with the help of newcomers Channing Tatum, Jeff Bridges, Halle Berry, and Pedro Pascal, and have to say. Wasn’t to impressed.
Movie started out with Eggsy getting attacked by Charlie and hired guns. Resulting in an exciting fight and car chase. Which was actually a rouse to get his robotic arm in place and find everyone’s address. Allowing drug kingpin, Poppy, to fire missiles at them. Clearing the way for her to taint her drugs with a virus and hold the world hostage till the president legalized drugs and allow her to rejoin society. Which brought up the question should it matter if drug addicts die. While Eggsy and Merlin go to the US and get help from The Statesman.
This was all fine and would have made a great movie, but then they brought in the resurrected Harry. This not only overloaded an already full story, but spit in the face of his emotional demise in the first movie. Instead of focusing on the other characters they gave us a stupid explanation for his survival, but a pointless side story that went nowhere, and stole screen time from the others, and Channing Tatum was barely there. Which made his use in the trailer a waste.
Besides that, there was a lot of fun moments. Pedro Pascal’s fight scenes were excellent. Taron Egerton was on par, and when Merlin was singing Country Road, while he stood on the land mine, before sacrificing himself will live with us for years to come, and my god I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but Elton John was straight up epic. Was so unbelievably funny. Every time you think he’s done, he’d come right back in true style, and his music was perfectly used.
Went in expecting more then what I got. Just to much going on and bogged down the flow at times. I don’t suggest seeing this in theaters, but definetly catch it on DVD. Has some good action and fight sequences. Plus plenty of laughs to boot.