Zone 414

“Zone 414” is a 2021 Sci-Fi Mystery/Thriller starring Guy Pearce (L.A. Confidential), Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz (A Classic Horror Story), and Jonathan Aris (The End of the F***ing World).

In a dystopian future people pay good money to spend time in Zone 414. Zone 414 is the only place where robots are allowed to interact with humans. When the creator of Zone 414’s daughter is missing, he hires a private detective (Pearce) to go into Zone 414 and find her. He enlists the help of an A.I. (Lutz) to be his tour guide. They soon find out Zone 414 is darker, and seedier than thought.

So, two Sci-Fi movie reviews in a row, not on purpose though, purely coincidental. This one is pretty dark, the A.I.’s are basically sex workers forced to do whatever humans pay for. You have your brooding mysterious detective, a robot who thinks and wants to be human, and plenty of grimy characters along the way. It actually makes for a good story; however, it feels half baked. It has the elements to be really good, but it feels like it’s lacking something. It jumps to the big conclusion out of nowhere and doesn’t have any lead up to it. I give it a 6.5/10. You can currently catch this one on Netflix.

Mother/Android

“Mother/Android” is a 2021 Sci-fi/Thriller starring Chloe Grace Mortez (Kick-Ass), Algee Smith (Judas and the Black Messiah), and Raul Castillo (Night Teeth).

Somewhere in the future, possibly the near future, Androids are programmed to wait on, and serve man. They are programmed with a function that won’t allow them to hurt humas. When something disrupts a signal, Androids lose this function, and now seek to kill off all human life. A mother who is 9 months pregnant, and her boyfriend must make it from central MA to Boston in hopes of safety. They must cross “no mans land” in order to get to Boston, an area that is filled with Androids.

This one reminds me of ” I Am Legend” mixed with “Mother.” Instead of zombies and Will Smith, you get robots, Chloe Grace Mortez, and Algee Smith. The “Mother” part comes in, with the way it transitions between scenes, when it gets to a climax of a scene it suddenly ends and is in the future in the next scene. “Mother” does the same thing. This is one of the only things I didn’t like about this film. “Mother” was just garbage all the way around.

Another thing I didn’t like, it has a few cheesy parts, like for instance when Chloe Grace Mortez is in a wheelchair holding off a flood of Androids with one hand holding back a chain link gate, I mean come on. Other than those couple of things this movie is a very solid film. It doesn’t have much love on IMDb, but it is very good. It hooks you in and will have you on the edge of your seat the whole time, and throws in some twists you won’t see coming. I also promise the ending will have you all in your feelings. Solid acting from Chloe Grace Mortez, and Algee Smith. Raul Castillo is one of the cheesy parts. I give it a 9/10, you can catch this one on Hulu.

Nightmare Alley

Here we go, first review for 2022. Going to start it off right with “Nightmare Alley”. It’s a 2021 mystery from the mind of Guillermo Del Toro, it has a fantastic cast starring Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook), Cate Blanchett (The Lord of the Rings: the Fellowship of the Ring), Toni Collette (The Sixth Sense), Willem Dafoe (Spider-Man), Richard Jenkins (Burn After Reading), Rooney Mara (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), Ron Perlman (Hellboy), and Holt McCallany (Mindhunter).

This film takes place is the 1930’s and early 1940’s and follows the story of Stanton Carlisle (Cooper), a man with a troubled past who joins up with the circus as a laborer. He works his way up in the circus and learns the ins and outs of a mentalist, and soon becomes the hottest act around. He’s playing the best clubs, and hotels around, doing two shows a day. He ends up getting greedy and biting off more than he can chew when a rich and powerful man hires his services to have him contact his dead wife. Playing with fire, Stanton starts believing his own con.

I’m a big fan of Del Toro, I love his directing style. A dark gothic type feel that relies heavily on visuals. Same thing could be said about this film, you see his style throughout. It’s a slow burn, a 2.5 hour movie, but it keeps you glued to the screen the entire time. Everyone plays a great role, especially Cooper. As he gets consumed by greed and the darkness inside him continues to grow, it will keep you guessing what is going to happen. Cooper deserves an Oscar for this role, start your new year out right by seeing this one. I give it a 10/10.

Spider-Man: No Way Home

“Spider-Man: No Way Home” (2021) is the newest installment in the Marvel Spider-Man series. This is easily the most hyped up Marvel movie since End Game and Infinity War, and is staying sold out everywhere. They bring out the big guns with this one starring Tom Holland (Spider-Man: Homecoming), Zendaya (Spider-Man: Homecoming), Jacob Batalon (Spider-Man: Homecoming), Benedict Cumberbatch (Doctor Strange), John Favreau (Iron Man), Jamie Foxx (Django Unchained), Willem Dafoe (Spider-Man), Alfred Molina (Spider-Man 2), Andrew Garfield (The Amazing Spider-Man), and Tobey Maguire (Spider-Man).

Like I said earlier, huge cast, and the biggest Spiderman to date. In case you didn’t know what it’s about, it picks up where the last one left off where everyone knows Spider-Man’s true identity. Peter Parker (Holland) turns to Doctor Strange (Cumberbatch) to come up with a spell to make everyone forget his identity, Peter won’t quit talking and messes up Doctor Strange’s spell, which accidentally rips a tear into reality and opens up the multiverse. Meaning it opens up different realities bringing the majority of the Spider-Man villains from all the Spider-Man movies into this one. Also allowing the two other Spider-Man’s (Garfield, and Maguire) to enter this one and help. Can the three of them save this universe and send the villains back to their own realities?

This is huge for Spider-Man and MCU fans, this is the biggest same movie crossover to date, and is opening doors for the other superhero movies to follow suit. So, like any Marvel movie I review it’s not a question of is it good but how good is it? As I’ve already mentioned, it’s huge for Spider-Man fans. It’s a little different than what I was thinking, but it’s still great. I was expecting a little more mayham than what was delievered, but the Nostalgia factor alone is worth seeing it. The entire theater started clapping when Garfield and Maguire entered the movie. It was really cool to see all the villains together and their respected superhero, and like I said it opens the door for the rest of the MCU and the multiverse, so be on the lookout for that. *cough Doctor Strange cough*. Plus, the big fight scene was pretty epic. I give it a 10/10.

Happiest Season

“Happiest Season” is a 2020 Christmas Rom/Com starring Kristen Stewart (Twilight), Mackenzie Davis (Black Mirror), Mary Steenburgen (Step Brothers), Victor Garber (Titanic), Alison Brie (GLOW), Dan Levy (Schitt’s Creek), and Aubrey Plaza (Parks and Recreation).

Abby (Stewart) isn’t a fan of Christmas but decides to try to get into the Christmas spirit by going to her girlfriend’s (Davis) family for the holiday. Abby plans on asking her girlfriend to marry her while spending the holiday with her family, but she soon finds out her girlfriend hasn’t come out and her family and friends don’t know about Abby.

It’s about Christmas time, so time to fit in one more Christmas movie review of one you may or may not have seen. It’s a Hulu exclusive, and as you can see it’s star studded. I love Dan Levy, Aubrey Plaza, and Alison Brie, all are great and funny in their own ways. This is not your typical Rom/Com it’s a LGBTQ one, and it delivers on how some are confident in who they are, while some are still struggling to find themselves. It has a good blend of dry humor mixed in with heartfelt moments. Overall it’s worth checking out, I give it a 7/10.

Coming Home in the Dark

‘Coming Home in the Dark’ is a 2021 thriller/horror starring Daniel Gillies (The Vampire Diaries), Erik Thomson (All Saints), Miriami McDowell (This is Not My Life), and Matthias Luafutu (Cowboy Bepop).

A teacher must face his dark past when two armed men take him, his wife, and two kids at gun point while they’re hiking in the mountains.

This one’s from New Zealand so the accents are a little thick, so I recommend putting on the subtitles for the first little bit anyway until you get used to it. It’s a solid film and draws you in pretty close to the beginning of the movie, once the main bad guys show up. It does lose some of its scariness, I guess you would call it, once you find out the abduction and killing isn’t random. The randomness makes it scarier, because you can relate to it more. It could just as easily happen to you, and your family, and it makes you stop and think. Still, it’s good, the act for revenge is a little iffy, but as much of a cold-blooded killer as the main bad guy is, I guess it stands up. It’s a gritty, everyone must face their past thriller movie, it’s worth the watch. You can catch it currently on Netflix, I give it an 8/10.

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.