Love Hard

It’s that time of year again when the Christmas movies begin to roll out for the holiday season. I love this time of year when new Christmas movies hit, but a lot of them aren’t worth watching. Perhaps we’re more prone to like the Christmas movies we grew up with like ” A Christmas Story” “A National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”, or even more recent like “The Santa Clause” or “Jingle All the Way”. We’ll take a look at one of the new Christmas movies to just drop, “Love Hard.”

“Love Hard” is a 2021 Netflix original Christmas Rom/Com starring Nina Dobrev (Vampire Diaries), Jimmy O. Yang (Fresh Off the Boat), Darren Barnet (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D), and James Saito (Always Be My Maybe).

A New York columnist (Dobrev) who specializes in writing about bad dates, finally thinks she found true love on a dating app. After talking to the guy (Yang) for two weeks she flies across country to spend Christmas with him. Only to find out she’s been catfished.

This is one of those things that only happens in movies, who flies across country to spend Christmas with someone they’ve never met in person and have only talked to for two weeks in pursuit of true love? It’s also always two people from different worlds, take any rom com and it’s always someone from the city falling in love with someone not in the city, classic formula. Yet even with the predictability, this movie works. I’m a big fan of Yang, he’s a very funny dude, I love his roll in “Fresh Off the Boat”, and being opposite of Dobrev, they make it work. He plays a shy nerdy dude, trying to find his way in life, and with Dobrev’s help he just may. It’s a heartfelt good watch. I give it a 8/10.

Ghostbusters: Afterlife

“Ghostbusters: Afterlife” is the 2021 comedy/adventure sequel to the original Ghostbuster franchise. This one stars Paul Rudd (Ant-Man), Finn Wolfhard (Stranger Things), Mckenna Grace (Gifted), Logan Kim (Home Movie: The Princess Bride), and Celeste O’ Connor (Freaky), and for all you Ghostbuster fans out there, they also have the original Ghostbusters who make a cameo which includes Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and Ernie Hudson.

A broke single mom and her two kids move to a deserted small town, into a run down farm house that her estranged dad left them. Strange things begin to happen in the small town, and they soon discover that her father was Dr. Egon Spengler, one of the original Ghostbusters. Now it’s up to them to save the town.

I’ve been looking forward to this one for a while, it was pushed back a couple of times due to COVID, luckily it finally came out. I originally thought this was a reboot, but it’s more of a continuation of the originals and a homage to Harold Ramis (Egon Spengler), who is the only one of the original four who isn’t alive. It’s quite touching really, they do a great job of honoring him and tying it into the originals. They pick up 30 plus years later with the ghostbusters faded into obscurity. They bring back all the original gear, car, etc. from over 30 plus years ago, all farm fresh and covered in dust, it’s pretty cool really. It is also chalked full of references to the originals, including the main ghost they are after. Casting is great, who doesn’t love Paul Rudd, and they did a great job with Mckenna Grace as the granddaughter. She even looks like Harold Ramis. Overall this is a must see movie for any Ghostbuster fan, it’s even better than I anticipated. I give it a 9/10.

Hypnotic

When I hear the word Hypnotic I automatically think of the fruity alcohol drink. However, “Hypnotic” is also a 2021 Netflix thriller starring Kate Siegel (Hush), Jason O’Mara (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), and Dule Hill (Psych). The second one is the one I’ll explore, even though the drink is pretty good.

A woman (Siegel) struggling with some issues goes and sees a hypnotherapist (O’Mara) recommended by her friend. Once she is put under his hypnosis she quickly finds out it has deadly consequences.

Kate Siegel is a great horror/thriller actress, she also plays the lead in “Hush”. Which, if you haven’t seen, you need to. So this movie is right up her alley. It’s quick paced and goes right into it, all the actors and actresses play their roles well. It felt a little shallow though, like you know why he’s doing what he’s doing, but there could have been more conflict than what there was. It felt as it gets resolved a little quick. Overall it’s still a good thriller, and worth the watch, maybe just a little forgettable down the stretch. I give it a 7.5/10.

Incident in a Ghostland

“Incident in a Ghostland” is a 2018 horror/drama starring Crystal Reed (Gotham), Mylene Farmer (A Good Year), Anastasia Phillips (Bomb Girls), Emilia Jones (Locke and Key), and Taylor Hickson (Deadpool).

A famous writer returns to her childhood home years later, when she was a kid a pair of murderers break into their home.

This is a very dark film, it’s clever, but fair warning it’s basically two young girls being dressed up as dolls and being played with and tortured by a giant simple minded man, and a cross dresser. So yes, pretty heavy stuff, but overall it’s a good movie. the acting is good, and it keeps you watching. It’s just pretty dark. I give it a 7/10.

Trick

What better way to send off Halloween, and October than doing a review on a Halloween themed movie. Let’s take a look at “Trick”. “Trick” is a 2019 horror movie starring Tom Atkins (Halloween 3: Season of the Witch), Omar Epps (House), Vanessa Aspillaga (Morning Glory), Kristina Reyes (The Naked Brothers Band), and Thom Niemann (The Deuce).

Halloween night at a Halloween party Patrick “Trick” Weaver (Niemann) brutally murders several of his classmates. He manages to escape cops after being shot, and falling through a two story window. Now every Halloween he comes back wreaking havoc and killing more, all while taunting Detective Mike Denver (Epps).

A lot to unpack here, if the description reminds you of a certain film. You guessed it, “Halloween”. I feel like they basically ripped off the plot of “Halloween”, then just added a few different touches, the main difference being a teenager, instead of Michael, and they add a nice twist in the end. They even reference evil, and a supernatural force over and over, just like “Halloween.” If it wasn’t for the twist ending, the movie would be almost unwatchable. The acting is poor, the dialogue is cheesy, some of the camera shots look like it’s done with home video. It’s just another low budget bad slasher film. If cheesy Halloween movies are your thing though, you can watch this one on Hulu. I give it a 3/10, and that’s only because of the ending.

Halloween Kills

“Halloween Kills” is the sequel to the 2018 horror movie “Halloween”. This one brings back Jamie Lee Curtis (Halloween 1978), Judy Greer (Jurassic World), and Andi Matichak (Orange is the New Black). It adds Will Patton (Yellowstone), Dylan Arnold (You), and Anthony Michael Hall (The Goldbergs).

This one picks off right where “Halloween” left off, Michael Myers burning in Laurie Strode’s basement. The fire crews come to put out the fire, and evil is unleashed when he is spared. He goes on a city wide killing spree, while the town tries to rally together to finally kill evil once and for all.

Like all of the Halloween movies, there’s not a lot of quality too it. It’s entertaining though, a silent killer walks around just stabbing and slamming heads to murder people. This one does a great job of picking up where the 2018 one left off, and has several nods to the other films in the franchise. My personal favorite Easter egg, is the nod to “Halloween Three Season of the Witch” by having some kids where the Shamrock masks. This one always tends to get overlooked, since it doesn’t have anything to do with Michael Myers but it’s my personal favorite. This one is a little long running, close to two hours, but my biggest issue is with Michael Myers himself. According to the movies he started killing in the 60’s and it’s now 2018. So being generous he’s in his mid 70’s but he’s being shot, stabbed, caught on fire, beaten, etc.. but it doesn’t even phase him. What’s next he’s going to be going after people with his walker? It sets itself up for another one but, come on guys it’s time to let evil die. So overall it’s entertaining and it flows well with the series, I give it a 7/10, but it’s time to let Michael Myers ride off into the sunset.

No Man of God

“No Man of God” is a 2021 crime movie starring Elijah Wood (Lord of the Rings), Luke Kirby (A Dog’s Purpose), Aleksa Palladino (Boardwalk Empire), and Robert Patrick (The X-Files). This is based on the true story of FBI agent Bill Hagmaier (Wood), and infamous serial killer Ted Bundy (Kirby).

Bill Hagmaier was one of the first analysists whose job was to profile serial killers in hopes to better understand how killers think and to help create a profile. Hagmaier was the only one Bundy would talk to while in prison, this movie focuses on their interviews and relationship built over the last four years before Bundy was executed.

It’s a very slow burn, it’s basically Elijah Wood and Luke Kirby sitting in an interrogation room for an hour and forty minutes talking. So keep that in mind going in, if you’re looking for a movie with a lot of action in it, this is not it. I have to say this, Luke Kirby plays the best Bundy, I’ve seen. He has his look, mannerisms, speech, everything down. Almost to the point you forget he’s not the real Bundy. Even though there isn’t much action, it’s a great movie, and an interesting watch. I give it an 8/10.

Escape Room: Tournament of Champions

“Escape Room: Tournament of Champions” is a 2021 Horror/Adventure movie that is the sequel to the 2019 movie “Escape Room.” It picks up where the first one left off bringing back Taylor Russell (Lost in Space), Logan Miller (The Walking Dead), and Deborah Ann Woll (True Blood), while adding Holland Roden (Teen Wolf), and Indya Moore (Queen & Slim).

Zoey (Russell), and Ben (Miller) are back and determined to find out who’s responsible for the escape rooms and get the proof they need to shut them down for good. They track down their headquarters in New York, while investigating they get roped into another escape room with a group of others who have also survived the ordeal once.

“Escape Room” is one of the best movies to come out of 2019, it was almost perfect if it wasn’t for the ending. It’s almost like they didn’t know how to end it so they dragged it out and added an additional ending scene. If it wasn’t for that I would give it a 10/10, but it’s still a very solid movie, so I was super excited to see the second one. Just like the first one this one is fast paced from the start and doesn’t slow down. They come back with bigger and more elaborate rooms. It glues you to the TV and the hour and a half run time feels like thirty minutes. It didn’t disappoint, but just like the first one the only issue is about the last twenty minutes. Once they reveal what their intentions for having Zoey there are, it’s just a little underwhelming to me. Still a fantastic film, if it was for that part, just like the first it would be a perfect 10. I’m giving it a 9/10. Also it sets its self up for a third installment, so I’ll be keeping a lookout for that.

There’s Someone Inside Your House

‘There’s Someone Inside Your House’ is a 2021 Netflix original horror starring Sydney Park (The Walking Dead), Theodore Pellerin (Genesis), Asjha Cooper (Everybody Wants Some!!), Dale Whibley (Ice), and Diego Josef (The Ballad of Lefty Brown).

There’s a masked killer going around and killing off teens all awhile exposing their darkest secrets.

This is your teen slasher style flick, it reminds me of a “Friday the 13th”, mixed with “I Know What You Did Last Summer”. You have your masked killer going around killing teens, mixed with knowing their darkest secrets. Horror movies are a hit or miss, there’s isn’t too many just okay ones. Either they’re great or they’re terrible. I have to admit, this one is really good. It has good characters that draw you in, and it does a really good job of keeping you guessing. Several times I thought I had the killer figured out, then changed my mind. This is a great slasher flick, and just in time for Halloween. I give it a 10/10.

Venom: Let There be Carnage

‘Venom: Let There be Carnage’ is the sequel to the 2018 Marvel superhero movie ‘Venom’. This one brings back Tom Hardy (Lawless), and Michelle Williams (Dawson’s Creek). While adding Woody Harrelson (Zombieland), Naomie Harris (28 Days Later…), and Stephen Graham (This is England).

Cletus Kasady (Harrleson) is a notorious serial killer who wants to give Eddie Brock an exclusive interview before he is put to death. Eddie and Venom accidentally infect Cletus with a symbiote named Carnage. Now Eddie and Venom must stop Carnage, all while they are feuding amongst themselves.

There’s not many sequels to originals that I like better, but this is one. The first one I thought was a little bit of a let down for a movie about Venom. This one is the bigger, badder movie that we deserve. This one focuses more on venom himself, he even separates himself from Eddie for part of the film and we get just Venom. This one also ups more action and bigger final fight scene. In the first movie, the “boss” fight is a little underwhelming and is maybe a couple minutes long. This one is a solid ten minutes long of two symbiote’s battling it out, pretty awesome. It still brings the funniness of Venom, while adding Harrelson’s comedy. I highly recommend this one. I give it a 10/10.