Saturday Sequel Presents Return To Halloweentown

By Paul Anthony

I know this one seems to be random considering up to this point all the films I have reviewed for this series has been part two’s and never reached part three’s yet but here I am about to review a part 4, trust me I know but I just had to. Today is Halloween and we all know that but I wanted to take a step back from hard horror films and focus on the light hearted films like this film franchise. Now this film is an interesting one because you this film would be made and excitement and ratings proved that but I think fans of the series was shocked to get the final product that we got, I know I was. Return to Halloween is fourth and final film in this Disney original movie Franchise. It started way back in 1998 and ended in 2006. I remember watching the first 2 and honestly after watching this film I do need to watch the third film but also each film was a new story so they have been indirect sequels minus part 2 which the story did continue in some ways with the first film.

In This film Marnie and her brother Dylan head off to college in Halloweentown. However Marnie soon learns that she can’t use magic which basically makes this college the same as any other college. She learns that she actually did this because of the events that took place in part 3 so basically this is her fault. At the same time there evil lurking at the school that want to use her to fulfil a prophecy which will turn people into slaves but they need her help. Which after a few basic twists they sucker her into helping them, she quickly outsmarts them to save the date. Pretty basic here but I wasn’t expecting anything crazy from a Disney Movie.

There are things that I didn’t like about this film and the major blow was the recasting of Marnie who from the first three films was played by Kimberly J. Brown, however in this film she was played by Sara Paxton. From the research I did there was never a reason given for the change though Brown stated she wanted to come back for the fourth film. With the casting change also brought character changes which made the character seem like two different people and also the youngest child Sophie was mentioned in this film but never seen. They explained this by saying she was off to train as a witch yet Marnie didn’t have any training and just went to school. The Graphics were bigger and also cheaper looking at times. I was okay with the plot, sure it could have been better but not by much. It does seem like Disney wanted to make this movie just to make it and because of this I have to say this might be the weakest of the four films. The Sara Paxton acting did make this film hard to watch. In the end, it does seem like an average Disney film which is sad to say because the series was fun up to this point. In the end this was just average or C rating Tv film. I am sorry if you were expecting better for this film.

And The Scariest Movie is??

By Paul Anthony

I think this topic was the best topic to do for a blog for this week and my title says it all! That’s right we are going to talk about the scariest movie according to science which is a interesting twist to this subject. Every generation has as scary movie that just gets to us and then there are movies that affects each person in different ways which often makes a movie regardless of the genre a debate amongst fans. Heck even here at Smash we often have debates just about one movie. However as much as we review movies based on things such as the plot or action or even jump scares we never used science to determine this. However I do want to make this clear with ever study unless they include every person out there I don’t know how much you want to believe this but the winner of the study, is still a scary movie regardless!

First let’s go ahead and talk about the winner and that is no other than Sinister a film that came out in 2012, starring Ethan Hawke who is a writer that writes true crime books and his next book basically leads to his death and if you haven’t watched it then please do. So how did science help determine this, well by measuring your heart rate of course and here is where we talk numbers. The study made 50 people of all different ages watch over 100 hours of horror movies. Now the movies were selected were the highest rated horror films, there they hooked everyone up to heart monitors and the films begin. Sure everyone’s heart was different but the increase was all the same when the film Sinister started to play the increase was all the same proving that Sinister was the film that did it to them.

Now though overall Sinister took the top spot there was another film that had the biggest one time jump and that was Insidious. The average starting heartrate was around 86 but one scene made everyone’s heartrate jump to 133 but besides that the difference stayed around 21 through the rest of the film. Sinister on the other hand stayed around 32 for the difference and its highest heartrate peaked at 13.

The study did make a few notes that should also be mention here and that is people still found the older films to be better horror films just not as scary as some of the newer titles which I don’t know how that makes sense but let’s just go with it and we might be giving James Wan the title of Horror master because he had a few films that made the top ten which was Insidious, The Conjuring and The Conjuring 2. Not to mention he did start the Saw series.

Now I have to say based on my reaction the top three films which were Sinister, Insidious and The Conjuring, to be some of the best horror films of all time but now I guess science just proves it! I would say watch all three films!!

Ranking the Tremors Movies

By: Justin Hopkins

Going off the release of Shrieker Island. Now seemed like a good as time as any to do pull out a ranking list. I know, I know, it is cliché, but it is that special time of year and any reason to marathon my way through the seven, is a good enough reason for me. So, lets dive in all the good and bad of a franchise that have had so tremendous highs and some rock bottom lows.

Tremors 5 – BLOODLINES

Where do I even begin with this movie. Pretty hyped for it. Was eleven years since we got the The Legends Begins and the thought of Burt returning to fight Graboids was a delightful thought and was woefully disappointed. Jaime Kennedy wasn’t bad, but having him be Burt’s Son was not the best use of his time we will say, like I said. He didn’t do bad. A better script would have helped way more than a surprise Dad reveal. The changes they made to the Graboid and the Ass Blaster look terrible. Especially the Ass Blaster. Having the Graboids leaping out of the ground was another bad move. Just nothing about this movie was appealing.

Tremors 6 – Cold Day In Hell

This was a lot better on second viewing then it was my first go around. Still not that good, but better and at least watchable. Taking it up to the artic was an interesting touch. The poison was a bit if a stretch. A lot of characters have been caught up by their tongues and soaked in their blood and guts. Burt being the only one poisoned is a big stretch, but did allow a much needed change of pace from the simple kill them at all cost to catch one alive. Still say the son angle was unnecessary but Jaime did better with it here. Wish they would have one more with Val and Rhonda’s Daughter. Bring someone like that in and she just seemed to have such a bit part. She does some things, but mostly just there to name drop Val and having to see the terrible looking Ass Blasters did no favors, but still a fun watch.

Tremors 4 – The Legend Begins

I probably have the least amount to say about this film. It’s just okay. Taking the film to the old west was a fun move. Limited the guns and then some, by add Michael Gross as Hirm Gummer, his ancestor who was not big on guns in the first place. It was fine. Nothing much to say.

Tremors 7 – Shrieker Island

The newest to the franchise, which may very well mark the end and was such a vast turn around from 5 and 6. Have already raved enough in my review so I will keep it short. For everything I thought Jon Heder was going to be, he proved to be the exact opposite and was a great addition to the story. Fun characters and the Shriekers looked great. It had some fun kills and if it was good bye to Burt, it was a good way to say good bye.

Tremors 3 – Back To Perfection

From here out it gets real tough. On any given day, including as I am typing this. Still questioning my own ranking of the top three. Personally, three is my favorite of the bunch, but even I am not going to say it should be top of the list. The Ass Blasters look amazing and is an exciting final stage for the Graboid to take. The idea of them taking the eggs far out to lay and spread the Graboids to various spots around the world. Heading back to Perfection, along with returns from Charlotte Stewart, Ariana Richards, Tony Genaro and of course, Michael Gross. Desert Jack and Susan Chang were good, but it was also the third love story that played out the same exact way and kind of hurt it a bit, but Back To Perfection is still a great, fun monster movie.

Tremors

Thirty years and the first still stands up so well today. It is just a classic movie. Everyone brought their A game and made Perfection seem like a real place. With their own eccentricities and personalities all coming together to Everyone in the town all working in unison to try and overcome the underground menace that Walter Chang christens, Graboids. The monsters are great. The Underground worms with snake like tongues are amazing. The learning curve making them an ever growing threat. If someone was to tell me that this should be number 1. Wouldn’t argue. It is a classic for a reason. Just couldn’t put it there myself.

Tremors 2 – Aftershocks

I love everything about this movie. They build on the ground work they made in the first and ran with it here. Return of Earl and how creative the remote control cars were. Add a life cycle to the graboids with the introduction of the Shriekers. We get to see the start of who Burt Gummer was really going to become. The chemistry between Michael Gross and Fred Ward was tremendous. Grady’s humor has never been duplicated. Chris Gartin didn’t try to redo what Kevin Bacon did, but made it his own and the movie was better for it. Put it all together and Tremors 2 Aftershocks takes the crown for the best Tremors film in the franchise.

As always, I hope you enjoyed and….

Thank You For Reading.

Tremors: Shrieker Island Movie Review

By: Justin Hopkins

**SPOILER WARNING**

It seems only fitting that we get the seventh entry into the Tremor Movie Franchise, being that we had the Thirtieth Anniversary of the first Tremors back in January of this year. Wish I could say I went in with any kind of hope. I love the Tremors series and hold the first three close to my heart and didn’t think 4 was all that bad either, but five really drove things to the ground. Six was a little better but as more and more came out about the seventh. My hope was dwindling. Still, wasn’t going to turn it away. Any series is one away from getting new life. Lets dive in and see if Shrieker Island was the shot it needed to be.

SYNOPSYS

The movie kicks off with a kid racing his way through the jungle. Leading something back to a group of waiting Hunters, Lead by a Biotech Executive named Billy on his Island and assistant Anna and a group of rich guys on a trophy hunt. Going after a Graboid. One of four that Billy had brought to the island in an egg. That he had genetically enhanced to be peak killers to heighten the thrill of the hunt. They managed to take it down with poison darts. Planning on finishing it off despite concerns from Anna. Meanwhile on another island, we go to Jas and a group of scientists electronically tagging elephants. Lead by Jimmy, who is hungover from a night of light drinking. When Jas, already on edge from an Earthquake, sees Bill’s boat, she gets curious about what is going on over there and with Jimmy and Ishimon, goes to investigate. Finding the half buried Graboid with three holes inside it. Surrounded by suspicious noises, they try to escape but not before Ishimon is killed. Jas and Jimmy manage to make it back to the boat. She is going to confront Billy, but sends him to go and get Burt Gummer who is in isolation Papua New Guinea. While she learns that Billy is not going to call off the hunt, but has jammed the communications grid and she can’t call out for help. Luckily, Jimmy had a bit of success convincing a reluctant Burt to come and help. Which almost comes undone when he comes face to face with Jas, who turns out to be the Mother of Burt’s Son. They manage to get him to stay, but he has to go it with no weapons and an already tense stand-off with Billy. Finally getting over to the island, where they learn that the shriekers are even more dangerous due to the genetic changes have allowed them to weaponize their screeches and on top of that, the remaining graboids have made it off the island and that is where I will leave it for now

REVIEW

Shrieker Island was a vast improvement on the last two.. three even. Taking it back to more darker, horror centric roots. Playing up the suspense of never knowing when a Graboid or Shrieker would show up. Especially, the Shriekers. Treating them like expert pact hunters and expertly picking people off at opportune moments. You had some jokes here or there, but seemed more based around Jimmy being nervous and trying to keep face then trying to force a joke for the sake of having a joke. Stripping him of his weapons. Forcing him to go back to basics was a nice touch as well. Even adding the line about finger print scanners on all Bill’s guns to explain why he couldn’t raid his supply for guns. Could tell a lot went into putting together a good story and for the most part, works really well.

I have not not been the biggest fan of how the Graboids have looked since five. Kind of deal where too much detail has hurt them. As opposed to the simple designers from the earlier ones, but the Queen actually looks decent and they nailed it with the look of the Shriekers. Making them slimmer and more compact. Able to camouflage and hide themselves to the forest. While still keeping the icon look at the same time.

I can go on and on about how great Michael Gross has been as Burt Gummer. Has stepped into a role and got more out of it than nearly anyone else. So, lets talk about some others instead, like Jon Heder. One of the biggest concerns about this movie. Getting flashbacks of Jaime Kennedy being signed, but was pleasantly surprised by his performance. He came across as earnest. Peaceful guy who wanted the best for everyone and loved his repeated leadership tips. Acting as a guide for him to continue to try his best when he is scared. Jackie Cruz was delightful as the hard edged Freddy. She was really the standout in quite a few scenes she was in. If the series goes on, which we’ll get into a bit, would love to see her and Jon Heder take up the reigns. Richard Brake is excellent as the creepy villain as he is.

Negative wise, is that as good as some of the things were. It could have been better with a bit more time and focus. Burt bringing up that the Queen is targeting it’s victims and at the end, is only interested in Burt. Which is an interest prospect, but didn’t do enough to build on that dynamic then a line or two. Things were just put on pause while Burt and Jimmy went to seal with the Shriekers when they could have had a team up scene between Freddie and Anna. Which could have been amazing. Could have done more if they would have shot for the two hour marker, without losing momentum.

And now we got to talk about the end. So, if you haven’t seen it, skip this paragraph. I didn’t really believe it at first. Expecting to see Burt come up out of the rubble or post credit scene explaining how he faked it to finally buy his privacy. Couldn’t believe that they actually killed Burt. Such an iconic character who has kept the torch going on the series for so long. Reason why I love these movies so much in the first place. No matter how bad the script was, always brought a hundred percent and going to miss him.

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I would suggest checking out Tremors Shrieker Island. Especially if you have been a fan of the series. Really shakes off the stench of the last two and gives potentially a fitting end to the series in general. As always, I hope you enjoyed and…

Thank You For Reading.

Thank You Doc

By Paul Anthony

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There are so many sports announcers in this country and word that it is not funny. There must be at least a million and I am just taking a guess there might be more. But here is the thing in a area where there are so many it hard to be a stand out and if you manage to stand out then you become an legend and Michael “Doc” Emrick. On October 19th 2020 Doc announced his retirement from sports announcing. I didn’t want to believe it at first but it is real and one of the greatest hockey voice you’ll ever hear won’t be calling the great games anymore and things will never be the same.

Doc started back in 1973 calling games for the Port Huron Flags which was a hockey team in Michigan the International Hockey League (IHL). By 1977 he moved on to broadcast games for the American Hockey League (AHL) team The Maine Mariners from 1977 to 1979. Doc moved on once again and became the first voice of the New Jersey Devils which he was the voice from 1982 to 1986 season. At the same time he was also spot announcer for the Philadelphia Flyers from 83 to 86. He also became a studio analyst from 86 to 88. By 1988 he was promoted to be the lead announcer for the Flyers which he stayed there until the end of 1992-1993 season when he went back to New Jersey and served as the Devils lead announcer from 1993 to 2011. make no mistake about Doc was busy even on the national level, he announced games for all the big time networks including CBS, NBC, ABC, TNT, ESPN, Fox, Prism, Fox Sports Net and more of course.

Doc was no rookie to big games, he called 22 Stanley Cup games which is more than any other American Broadcaster in history, 14 NHL All-Star games then 2 World Cup of Hockey games ( 1996 and 2004) and 5 Olympic games (Water Polo games in 2004 and 2012, Hockey games 2006, 2010 and 2014. We know the 2020 season has been annoying because of the Coronavirus he had to do all of his games from home in Michigan. When he did make his announcement he did it on a video and his parting words were ” Things change over 50 years, but much of what I love is unchanged from then to now and into the years ahead. I still get chills seeing the Stanley Cup. I especially love when the horn sounds, and one team has won and another team hasn’t, all hostility can dissolve into the timeless great display of sportsmanship – the handshake line…. I leave you with sincere thanks”.

Now I can say this much I will miss hearing his voice, he was a Pittsburgh Pirate fan and he would help call games from time to time, everybody loved him. I can assume that from time to time he will stop by and call a game or two and when he does, I am sure we will all tune in to hear him call a game. Thank You Doc!!

Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines Review and Discussion

By: Justin Hopkins

**SPOILER WARNING**

It is that special time of year. The best time in fact. Scary movies abound and might as well throw in a few Horror Themed Games while I am at it. With the sequel due out next year and desperately needing a break from Pokemon. No better time to go back and check out Vampire The Masquerade The Bloodline. I didn’t play it when it came out. Never heard of it in fact, till I saw the sequel, but they had me the moment it said, Vampire RPG. So, I picked it up on Steam and played through and now am here to talk a bit about my playthrough and how nine yards. Lets dive in shall we.

SYNOPSYS

When you select new game, you are given two questions. One, can skip to your create a character option or go to a short questionnaire, in which your answers will dictate your clan. Which is what I did and the powers to be placed my in the Brujah Clan. Dished out various points. Leaning heavy into the Melee and intimidation and away we went. Getting a cut scene where it shows you becoming a vampire and are attacked and the two of you are taken to a committee. Seems that turning someone without permission is against their laws and they kill the guy who turned me. Before my verdict is said, a man interrupts. Getting everyone worked up and Lacroix decides to take you in and sends you on a mission to Santa Monica, but not before getting to know a Vampire named Jack through the voluntary tutorial. As well as the Sabbat. A clan of more viscous vampires. Once you get set loose on Santa Monica, tasked with helping your contact who got beaten down, get a bomb to use on a Sabbat warehouse, but once you get the bomb. You have to find a Vampire who is in hiding from another vampire named Therese and she isn’t going to call off the vendetta till you help with a ghost issue and all made worse due to her issues with her split personality Jenette bubbling to a boiling point and you get caught in between. Once one of them wins out, you get to find the Vampire who can help, blow up the warehouse and off to downtown you go. To report in with Lacroix, only to be attacked by Sabbat and saved by Nines. The same man who intervened during the opening scene and the leader of The Anarch Clan. Wanting you to meet him at the Last Round for the real story. Before though, we got to report in with Lacroix, who will give you a job of checking out a ship called the Elizabeth Dane. Which has a sarcophagus which may house an Antediluvian. An Elder Vampire who will kick of Gehenna, The end of time. After checking it out, he wants you to steal it from the museum. Only it is stolen before you can get to it and now you have to track down the Nosferatu to find out who else knew and get it back. Along the way, you meet various other groups and colorful characters and try to decide which group you want to side with at the end or if you want to make a run at the end, solo.

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REVIEW

This game has got so much going for it. The Main Story arch was enticing. Wondering just how far down the well you have to go. Wondering what group you want to side with and is this all real. Is Gehenna really upon you or is it all just a superstition. My first playthrough I sided with the Anarchs, but there are so many different avenues you can go that I hyped to play again and see all the various endings for myself and the main story is only part of why I want to play again. The side quests and various clans all play heavily on replay value.

Clan wise, you got the Brujah, who are the Anarch rebels. Gangrel are your brooding loners who get a bonus for frenzy. Nosferatu is your hardcore mode. They are mutated to the point where you can’t be seen and stealth is a must. Torredors are all about sticking close to human as you can an being more class while Ventures are your high society type who will vomit if you drink from Prostitutes or homeless. Tremer are magic and Malkavians are your wild ride. They are schizophrenic and minds are broken. Can see bits of the future and have the craziest dialogue options because of it. If you want a crazy ride, Malkavians are defiantly the way to go, but regardless of which. They will change up how you want to go at things. Making each run something a little different.

The side quests are abundant and highly enjoyable throughout. Mostly due to the charismatic characters and just how much detail and time they put into them and kind of entwinning them together. In Santa Monica, you meet a group of Thin Bloods, who want to know who they are and see his Lily again, but can’t find her. So you set off to find her and takes you to a Bail Bondsman, who needs help finding his Bounty Hunter. After finding him, you are asked to check to see if Muddy skipped town and he has and that ties in with a serial killer story down the line. You can become a silent partner in the club Confessions, by helping Venus and get an 250 every once in a while. Fight off zombies, a Plaguebearer, and deal with a Werewolf, and the best man, Jack. So much you can do besides the main story and your choices, humanity and deciphering the insanity that is the Malkavian.

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Now this game does have some flaws and I made it a lot harder on myself then it probably should have been by making a full blown melee character. Waves of enemies towards the end starts to become a bit daunting and Ming Xiao fight towards the end was nightmare fuel because of how difficult she was for me. I didn’t have a lot of ammo due to the fact that wasn’t the style I was going for, my fault, but the fact you have the option to build up melee characters and drop a boss fight like that on you is almost a bit uncalled for. All for difficulty but Ming Xiao is on another level. So make sure to drop a few points into ranged and have some ammo.

It is a bit rough around the edges fighting wise. Playing very much like a game from 2004. I read a lot in the comment section of game breaking bugs in this game if you don’t download the unofficial patch to fix some of it. I never had anything like that. Had one bug that was more entertaining then frustrating. I died in the maze at the FU Building, but during the Final Death animation I was teleported to where they were keeping the vampire prisoner and succeeded the quest, but when I still had to go through the level anyway. Bringing up the patch, because I do suggest picking this game up.

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This game has some deep extricate stories, even some of the side quests and everything is really up to how you want to play. Mix all of that with Vampires and various monsters running around. Makes just the perfect game to play, especially during this, the best time of the year. Looking forward so much to the sequel. Final Grade – S

As always, I hope you enjoyed, and….

Thank You For Reading.

Saturday Sequel Presents The Lost World: Jurassic Park

By Paul Anthony

Let’s go back to 1993 and realize Jurassic Park was a instant classic, people loved the idea of dinosaurs. the movie made a lot money and though it made sense in both ways to leave it alone and make a sequel .The only problem was with a sequel was that there wasn’t any material to use, the studio and fan base reached out to Michael Crichton to write a sequel novel, so they could make a sequel film. Four years later we got The Lost World. the biggest question we were facing was could this film live up to the first film and the answer was yes they could despite the fact that only only character had more than a cameo role and that was Jeff Goldblum’s Malcolm. We didn’t have Sam Neil and Laura Dern. The film did in fact prove to be a big hit and made 618.6 million from a budget of 73 million and even earned an Academy award nomination for Best Visual Effects only losing to Titanic though that can be a debate for another time.

The plot picks up four years after the events of the first film. John Hammond has lost control of the company due to the disaster from the first film and now he’s greedy nephew wants to build arena in San Diego and house the animals there instead of leaving them to roam on an island and he can do this because he is now the CEO of InGen. We learn through a conversation between Hammond and Malcolm and also the opening of the film that, there are two islands, the first was the park itself and the second one was where the dinosaurs were bred and raised at which was called Isla Nublar. once the dinosaurs were grown then they would transfer them to the park which never happened since they abandon the park. Hammond wants Malcolm and a few others that he trust to go to the island and document the dinosaurs in their natural habitat so they can make these islands a nature preserve so the dinosaurs can live. The team is Malcolm, Harding which is Malcolm’s girlfriend and Owen. Once they are on the island things go from good to worse because they see the other team who rounds up the dinosaurs to take them to the states and also saving a baby T-rex only to piss of the parents. Chaos breaks out and then the two teams have to work together to get off the island but not until the Peter Ludlow’s team takes the baby and one of the parent T-Rex’s. Which we all knew was a bad idea because at some point on the ship ride back the dinosaur wakes up killing the crew then soon starts to attack people in San Diego. Once they put the dinosaur to sleep it is agreed to send the dinosaurs back in which they do and John Hammond wins his case.

This film did have a darker tone to it which did make sense. We knew people weren’t going to let this situation from the first film just be left alone, since it cost the company billions of dollars, adding a second island a good touch as well because we saw in the first film only a portion of what the scientist do. This film may not have had the same magic as the first film but in my eyes it was still just as good!! In the end I am giving this film a good A or 90 percent. This was truly a good follow up!

Hubie Halloween Movie Review

By Paul Anthony

Okay where do I start with this honestly, I am trying to wonder why Netflix keeps making movies with Adam Sandler because at first they were but funny. I mean you could watch them and have a laugh or two but then over time the films have gone down hill, all the way down to this film Hubie Halloween. Now if you thought Jack and Jill was bad, then I have news for you that was good movie compared to this. I almost want to break my normal review format and just say don’t watch this because it is that bad but I still have a job to do and I am going to do it.

In this film we meet Adam Sandler who plays Hubie Dubois who is a lonely Deli worker that lives at home with his mother. Hubie is a nice shy person but gets picked on by everyone in the neighborhood. now at some point his mother now gets tired of telling him to defend himself because he just lets people get way with it. When the bullies start to go missing Hubie sets out after the police who are tired of hum and makes him an official member of a fake unit. he sets out to find out what is going on and of course even when he is trying to help people the other people still make fun of it until they even disappear. All of the events leads Hubie home and there he sees the bullies tied up and finds out that his mother is behind it all and wanted Hubie just to stick up for himself, though he some does the bullies still find a way to make fun of him until they are about to die and then they say they are sorry and find the error of their ways and then just at that point Hubie’s mother disappears making it seem like she was a witch. A year later he moves on with his life and even gets married and becomes the mayor of Salem.

I seriously couldn’t wait to finish this film. The cameos and callbacks to Adams hit movies were a good touch but that is all I can say. The movie barely had a plot and Adam Sandler plays the same character that he has always played and it is getting boring to be honest. Honestly there was brief period where I just stop following the movie because it was beyond stupid to me and I have watched stupid movies but this is the worse one. The sad thing is that this film was dedicated to Cameron Boyce, who starred in Grown Ups one and 2 . In the end I am giving this film an D for a rating and that is being nice. I thought this would be a family movie at least but it wasn’t if your bored then give it a try other than that you’ll be wasting your time watching this.

Genwhunner plays Pokemon Black

By: Justin Hopkins

I went into this generation a little more nervously and a little more cautiously. Going into Pokemon Platinum blind ended up making my run more difficult than it probably should have been and in this generation, it is all new Pokemon to the table, till after you beat the Pokemon League. Which as much as I like the idea of. Was kind of nerve racking at the same time, so this time I looked up the Pokedex and skimmed through it. Nothing about Gym Leaders or story. Wanting to experience all of that as blindly as possible. Scouting out potential Pokemon to keep an eye out for and after a few minutes, it was time for Mui to leave her Villa behind and begin a new. Lets dive in and chat a bit shall we.

The game kicks off with Professor Jupiter going through the normal spill but some little differences. This time we get two pals, Bianca and Cheren ( One friend and one rival, looking at you Cheren) and the Pokemon are delivered to Mui’s House and the game’s biggest question is upon us… okay, so it wasn’t really hard, it was Snivy. I know I just used a Grass type in Turtwig, but really didn’t like the evolutions for Tepig or Oshawott. Bianca got Oshawott and Tepig went to Cheren. After wrecking them and the bedroom. We go to leave, but make pitstop to pick up Bianca where we learn her Dad is arguing with her. Vehemently against her going on an adventure at her age. We keep it a secret and after Jupiter sends us on the usual got to catch them all quest, the three of us take our first steps out of town and into what feels like an endless wave of tutorials and a walkthrough of the Pokecenter. When we are introduced to Team Plasma. The villainous group that runs off the idea that Pokemon are slaves to their trainers and shouldn’t be forced to battle and demands their release. Even if it means stealing them. We encounter a trainer named N, who can speak to Pokemon and get the feeling we will be seeing him a lot. After the battle the game starts to open up to the normal routine. Fighting gym leaders and traveling around. Encountering Team Plasma, who are some evil people. At one point, one of their grunts are kicking a Pokemon. When things change at Niambasa City. While chasing Team Plasma through a theme Park. We board a Ferris Wheel with N to get a better viewpoint of the city. To find out that he is the King of Team Plasma. Telling us that he plans on defeating the Pokemon Champion and using the pull they have, to make everyone release their Pokemon. Making it so much more important for us to get the badges to stop him.

I really love a lot of what they did with this game. Giving you the two friends who are each trying to find their way in the world. At odds with her family. So badly wanting to find her way in the world and being overwhelmed with it all. Cheren was not as interesting, kind of a weaker Gary. Kid who they were forced to hangout with because there were only three kids in town and it would be rude not to include him. Wanting to be the very best, but having no idea what that means or what to do is he became the best. They were effect as friends though and having them meet up and taking their first steps together was a rather sweet touch.

Everything about the Gym Leaders were great. First, they were all charismatic. Every encounter I had with them was a blast. Their gyms had great aesthetics and designs. Between getting shot out of cannons at Mistraltron and the coaster at Nimbasa. The honeycombs of Castelia and the museums of Nacrene. Was genuineuly hyped any time I got to go to a new gym, but then they were actively apart of the story. They are hunting down Team Plasma and marked out when they arrived at the Mansion at the end to fight the sages so I could go forward and by having them being involved to this extent. Heightened the danger Team Plasma were. The Élite Four were a little underwhelming, but being four of my favorite types. Ghost, Psychic, Dark and Fighting. Can’t be to upset over it.

Team Plasma stole the show. They were shown just how ruthless they were. Attacking weaker Pokemon and stealing Bianca’s Pokemon. Build a relation between N and your character that hasn’t been seen. Recognizing that you are the threat instead of scoffing or playing it off. Ghelsis little about face was a little dumb, but after everything that you got to go through is nothing really. In a way, there argument for releasing your Pokemon is kind of better than the one against them. We do force them to fight till they feint. Getting poisoned and paralyzed. Forcing them into a small ball to wait till they have to do it all over again for money and our own pride. Not to mention dress them up and actually dance for our entertainment. While the counter argument is.. love. They do all this for love. Which is fine, but trainers could treat them a little better. Try not cramming them into a ball and take them on the Ferris Wheel… I really loved Nimbasa City.

I really enjoyed a fair amount of the Pokemon designs. My favorites obviously are the one’s in my party. Gothitelle, Krookodile (My MVP during the Elite Four and against N), Gurdurr, Chandelure and Serperior. Purrloin almost had a spot, but was being a little too annoying in the early going to level up. Loved the beautiful colors of Archeops. Were there some that I didn’t like, sure. Didn’t care for the Ice Cream Cone and really hated Cofagrigus. Seriously, it was a Sarcophagus with ghost limbs and looks ridiculous, but they had way more hit then misses and that is fine. Not going to bat a thousand and they tried hard.

Pokemon Black honestly rivals generation one for me. Had such a blast playing through this game. Had a fun group to be traveling with, charismatic Gym Leaders that are actively trying to face the threat instead of being blind to it, or only care about their town. Fun Pokemon designs and loved the city backdrops and settings. Team Plasma were great to square off against and a massive Post Game. Genuinely look forward to my next playthrough of this game. Final Grade – S

As always, I hope you enjoyed and…

Thank You For Reading.

Wendigo (2001) Movie Review

By: Justin Hopkins

**SPOILER WARNING**

A friend of mine suggested this 2001 movie for me to checkout and it was an easy enough sell. I like B Movies and Wendigos have a ton of interesting Mythology behind them. Making them prime for horror movies in general, but was eager to see what kind of B Movie someone came up with. Lets dive in and see if the suggestion was worthwhile shall we.

We open with a family of three, Husband George, Wife Kim, and young son Miles, were traveling up a winding Mountain Road when they hit a deer. As the Dad got out to check on the damage. A group of three hunters came rushing up in search of said deer. Being that they had been chasing it for eighteen hours and end up Mercy Killing the deer. Much to Kim chagrin. Not liking it happening so close to her already shaken up son. Getting her calmed and back in the car. George calls a tow truck which will take a half hour, but the lead hunter Otis is upset because they broke the deer’s antlers. Which will cost him money because of it. His buddies calm him down, but they wait with the dead deer facing them ion their truck till the tow truck gets their and then they quickly help them. Despite George telling them not to, but they get on their way to the cabin. Where George finds a bullet in the wall, but plays it off to not worry Miles. Who is really shaken up by the deer dying. After an altercation where Otis drives by them cutting firewood. They finally get Miles calmed enough to go to bed, but we see Otis hadn’t gone anywhere and is watching them from the window. The next day, Miles gets a small wooden figure from a Native American man who tells him a tale of the Wendigo. A spirt that can move and fly like a storm. That eats because of it’s insatiable appetite and will only get bigger and hungrier the more it eats and this is about a good place to leave it for now.

This was a slow burn of a movie with several flaws. First you spend a lot of time with the family to build up emotional ties to them, but George is largely unlikeable. Miles is fine I guess, but is lackluster during the climax. Kim would have been a better character to work with but never really gets to do anything noteworthy. You get a meaningful twist with Otis, but it isn’t handled right in the least and than you get to the biggest issue with the story and the fact that what they present as a Wendigo, isn’t a Wendigo.

Wendigo are humans that have turned into monsters through cannibalism. What they got here, is a spirit that seeks revenge on Otis through the totem Miles has. If presented like that, this would have been something a lot better. Could have found Native American Lore on avenging spirits and tailored the story better to that then manipulating a creature to fit a story that it doesn’t belong in. Costume didn’t even really look good. It might be a nitpick, but it is more than that. Would be like going into a movie where they tell you all about vampires, tell you it is a vampire, but it is really a zombie.

I try not to bash low budget movies for special affects or camera work, but it is especially bad here. You get so many images flashing and flipping through in front of you that a feel like they are just trying to increase the run time. Get random shaky cam shots of trees or just bizarre sequences that fail at building suspense in an way.

Patricia Clarkson was pretty good as Kim. She brought out the strengths of being a shrink who is a loving Mother and wife. Doesn’t really does much in the climax beside be handed George’s shoes after he died. Which didn’t make much sense and made even less by the fact she just leaves them in the middle of the hall for Miles to find, but there had to be some positives here and Patricia is the closest you are going to get.

What is funny is Larry Fessenden, who wrote and directed this, would go on to work on the screenplay for Until Dawn. A much better Wendigo story that does have similarities to this. If you really want to experience a Wendigo story. Skip this and play that and there are far better slow burn B Movies. So save your time and check out something else.

Sorry for the negativity. I hope you enjoyed all the same and…

Thank You for reading.

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