The Empty Man

‘The Empty Man’ is a 2020 horror movie staring James Badge Dale (The Kitchen), Stephen Root (Office Space), Sasha Frolova (Red Sparrow), and Marin Ireland ( Sneaky Pete). The Empty Man is a supernatural spirit that is basically manifested from bad thoughts. You summon the empty man by blowing into an empty bottle on a bridge. The first day you hear the empty man, the second day you see him, and the third he gets you. When a group of disappearances occur, a one time detective looks into it, only to find out he may have bitten off more than he can chew.

I went and saw this one on Halloween night and what’s a better way to spend Halloween than watching a scary movie. ‘The Empty Man’ is an interesting one, it really doesn’t fit the horror genre. It’s more of a crime/mystery movie with a splash of supernatural substance thrown into it, it reminds me a little of ‘The Grudge’. The story is great and the acting is solid, the problem is the run time. It’s just shy of being a two and a half hour movie, which is crazy for a movie labeled a horror film, I can’t think of another one with that run length. Even a really scary one, if it’s not a very solid story, it’ll lose peoples interest. This is what happens with ‘The Empty Man’, it’s a great story but not strong enough for the run time. If they trimmed the fat, it would be an amazing film, but it’s about 45 min or so too long. Because of that it’s a mixed film that makes you just kind of shrug and say ehh at the end. I give it a 6/10

Hail, Caesar!

‘Hail, Caesar!’ is a 2016 mystery/comedy currently streaming on Netflix, which is more mystery than comedy. It features a block buster cast, seriously a lot of heavy hitters in this one, including Josh Brolin (Deadpool 2, Avengers: Endgame), George Clooney, Tilda Swinton (Avengers: Endgame, Doctor Strange), Ralph Fiennes (Kubo and the Two Strings, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire), Jonah Hill (War Dogs, 21 Jump Street), Channing Tatum (Magic Mike, 21 Jump Street), Scarlett Johansson (Avengers: Endgame), and Alden Ehrenreich (Solo: A Star Wars Story). Plus a few others, it’s hard to think of another movie with this many top actors and actresses.

‘Hail, Caesar!’ is a periodic piece set in the golden age of Hollywood. It follows a studio fixer going through his daily struggles of righting what’s wrong in the Hollywood studio. I love periodic films centered around the golden age of Hollywood, I always find it as an interesting time in Hollywood and history in general. There are several mini plots in this movie and one main one with George Clooney being kidnapped on set and held for ransom. With as much fire power as this movie has it’s just an okay film. It’s interesting but that’s about it, it jumps around trying to fill in all the stars without really focusing on one direction. It reminds me of AHS when you see the star for the first time in a season and get really excited. It’s another movie with too many heavy hitters that just becomes okay at best. I give it a 6/10

Coffee and Kareem

‘Coffee and Kareem’ is an action/comedy Netflix original staring Ed Helms (The Office, The Hangover), Taraji P. Henson (Hidden Figures), Betty Gilpin (GLOW, Stuber), RonReaco Lee (The Shield), Andrew Bachelor (The Babysitter), Chance Hurstfield (Good Boys), and Terrence Little Gardenhigh.

Twelve year old Kareem (Gardenhigh) tries to hire a well know gangbanger, Orlando Johnson (Lee), to beat up his mom’s new boyfriend James Coffee (Helms). Things go south fast when Kareem witnesses Orlando and his crew murdering a cop. Now Kareem and Coffee must band together despite their differences to stay alive and get to the bottom of what’s going on.

This movie was different than what I was expecting. I like Ed Helms but outside ‘The Office’ and ‘The Hangover’ he doesn’t seem to be too good. Take ‘The Clapper’ and ‘Corporate Animals’, not the best and pretty forgettable films. ‘Coffee and Kareem’ is more vulgar than expected. The entire film is filled with F bombs and sexual jokes, which personally doesn’t bug me, but if you don’t like that sort of thing this film isn’t for you. It reminds me of ‘Good Boys’ in that aspect, a kid running around cussing the entire time. ‘Coffee and Kareem’ does have a lot of funny moments, but other than that it just flows along in predictability. It’s not bad, just okay. I give it a 6/10

Spencer Confidential

‘Spencer Confidential’ is a Netflix exclusive staring Mark Wahlberg. It’s been in the top 10 in the U.S. on Netflix since dropping last week. I’ve said more than once and I’ll say it again, I love how Netflix keeps dropping all these exclusive movies and going after big stars and who better than Marky Mark. Keep it coming Netflix.

‘Spencer Confidential features a great cast staring Mark Wahlberg, Winston Duke (Black Panther, US), Alan Arkin (Going in Style), Iliza Shlesinger (Instant Family), Bokeem Woodbine (Queen & Slim), Mark Maron (GLOW), and even Post Malone.

The story follows Spencer (Mark Wahlberg) an ex-cop who just got of prison for assaulting a dirty cop. When the dirty cop turns up dead the same day Spencer gets out of prison, him and his no nonsense roommate get roped into finding out who did it and taking the bad guys down.

This action comedy looked really good in the trailer, but Netflix has a tendency to overplay their trailers and give away too much. Plus Mark Wahlberg is not in a bad film. All the action scenes that happen in the movie appear in the trailer, from the trailer I was expecting more but there just wasn’t. It’s almost a two hour movie and the first 30/45 minutes really drag. After that though the movie gets pretty good and the plot really comes together. I was just expecting a little more out of it, if they shortened it by half an hour I think it would be a fantastic film. They ended it with hints of a second film, which I really don’t think they need. Just leave it one and done. I have to give this one a 6/10.

Gretel & Hansel

Everyone knows the story of Hansel and Gretel. A brother and sister are taken and left in the woods by their evil stepmother when famine strikes their land. They stumble upon a house made of sweets, and being hungry they begin to eat the house. A witch lives in the house who catches the kids, and plans on eating them. The kids push the witch in the fire oven and escape. ‘Gretel & Hansel’ pretty much follows the same premise, but a little bit darker. Which the original fairy tale is pretty dark in its own right.

There’s not a real big cast for this movie. It’s pretty much Gretel, Hansel, and the witch the entire film. Alice Krige (A Christmas Prince) stars as the witch, Sophia Lillis (IT. IT: Chapter Two.) as Gretel, and Samuel Leakey as Hansel. I was pretty happy to see Sophia Lillis in this, she does a great job in ‘IT’ and she seems like she may become a new leading face in horror after this.

I’ve heard a lot of mixed reviews about this film, most being negative. Which I can see that. The story is well known and has been redone more than once, so how do you make it exciting where people enjoy it? Also there isn’t a lot of action, especially considering the movie has pretty much three characters. It reminds me of the film ‘The Witch’ where not a lot is happening and just kind of drags on. I actually enjoyed this movie though, it was different than what I was expecting although, it had a couple of plot holes in it. Like I mentioned earlier I was happy to see Sophia Lillis in it, she played an excellent role, and is the main reason why it is a decent movie. Also Alice Krige did a great job as the witch. Overall I thought it was a good film, just don’t go in expecting to see a lot of action because this is not your type of movie. I give it a 6/10

The Grudge (2020)

The original Grudge movie is a 2003 Japanese horror film that was remade in the U.S. staring Sarah Michelle Gellar in 2004. I never watched any of the original Grudge movies, which is surprising considering horror is one of my favorite genres, but it didn’t really look good to me. So do we need another remake of ‘The Grudge’? Probably not, all the reviews I’ve seen suggest not. 4.1/10 on IMD, 17% on Rotten Tomatoes, and 22% on Fandango, but the cast lured me in to see this one. ‘The Grudge’ has a pretty decent cast staring Andrea Riseborough (Oblivion), Lin Shaye (Insidious), John Cho (Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle), and Betty Gilpin (GLOW, Stuber).

The plot boiled down is simple, a house is cursed by a vengeful ghost that curses those who enter it with a violent death. The story line is really good, it keeps you on the edge of your seat and glued to the screen. It relies heavily on on gore and jump scares for the scare factor, although the jump scares are slow and easily predictable. Also it is pretty gory but it’s not scary because of it. So i wouldn’t call this movie scary more of a mystery/ suspense. I can see why it has low ratings, the story is very good and keeps you intrigued, but it is jumbled and jumps around a lot. The first murders take place in 2004 and it is now 2006 in the story, so it constantly jumps between 2004, 2005, and 2006 without any real timeline. It leaves a tangled yarn of a mess, but once you get it all untangled it’s pretty good. The acting is also solid, Andrea Riseborough does a great job as the leading role of the detective. Due to the good acting, great story line, but being jumbled up. I give it a 6/10. Now if it followed more of a straight line in the story it would have been a great movie, and probably an 8. It is worth the watch though, and is a good kickoff for horror in 2020.