This will probably be my last review of 2022. So why not finish off the year with another Christmas movie? Tis the season after all. “I Believe in Santa” is a Netflix original 2022 Christmas Rom/Com starring Christina Moore (“That 70’s Show”), John Ducey (“Wheels of Fortune”), Sachin Bhatt (“Hidden Canyons”), Violet McGraw (“The Haunting of Hill House”), and Lateefah Holder (“Other People”).
A columnist (Moore) who doesn’t believe in Christmas ends up dating a Christmas fanatic (Ducey) who still believes in Santa.
There’s a ton of Christmas movies that come out every year during the holiday season, especially the Hallmark ones. The majority of them are crap. So, it’s hard sometimes to find one worth watching. I like how original the idea of this one is. It’s like if “Elf” was dating someone. Not to the extreme of Will Ferrell’s character but going for the same ballpark. As far as new Christmas movies go, this one is pretty decent. The acting is good, and the story like I mentioned is unique. I felt it could have been funnier than it was, and they could have done more with the characters. Having a diehard Christmas fanatic and a non-believer dating, they could have done a ton of funny situations with it, but they didn’t. Also, it was a little slow in spots, but overall, it’s still worth the watch. I give it a 6.5/10.
“Gatlopp: Hell of a Game” is a 2022 comedy/horror starring Jim Mahoney (The Orville), Emmy Raver-Lampman (The Umbrella Academy), Jon Bass (Sword of Trust), Sarunas J. Jackson (Games People Play).
Four good friends get back together as adults for a fun night after one of them is going through a divorce. It’s a night filled with drinking, and they decided to play a board game that is a drinking game. The game turns out to be paranormal and they must do exactly as it says or suffer dire consequences. One of them must win the game before sunrise or they will be forced to play it for all eternity.
I wouldn’t exactly classify this one as a horror but more of a dark comedy. It doesn’t have any big names in it, but they all play a good part, and the acting is solid. It’s like a messed up adult version of Jumanji that makes them expose their deepest and darkest secrets that they’ve kept from each other. Ultimately it brings them closer, so it has a good message. True friendship can overcome and endure all. It’s a little cheesier and more lighthearted than it sounded like it would be, but it’s a good watch. You can watch it on Tubi. I give it a 6.5/10.
“Hold the Dark” is a 2018 Netflix thriller/drama starring Jeffery Wright (The Batman), Alexander Skarsgard (The Legend of Tarzan), James Badge Dale (The Departed), Riley Keough (The Lodge), and Julian Black Antelope (Debris).
An expert on wolves receives a letter from a woman in Alaska seeking his help tracking a wolf which is taking and killing local kids. Her son seems to be its latest victim. However, he soon discovers something much darker is going on.
This one was a lot different than what I was expecting, I was thinking it was going to be a man hunting a wolf in a rural Alaskan town. Instead, you have a husband hunting down his wife, and killing anyone in his way, and unfortunately the expert is caught right in the middle. I get the symbolism between wolves and humans and sometimes we’re worse than animals. Still wasn’t expecting it, it gets pretty crazy. It’s a great watch, Alexander Skarsgard plays a great crazy role. The problem with this movie is the ending, the ending sucks. It doesn’t wrap anything up, it’s just a dumb ending, again I get the symbolism behind it, but that doesn’t make it good. Overall, it’s still worth watching, I give it a 6.5/10.
“Fresh” is a 2022 horror movie exclusively on Hulu. It stars Daisy Edgar-Jones (War of the Worlds), Sebastian Stan (Pam & Tommy), Jojo T. Gibbs (Twenties), and Dayo Okeniyi (Queenpins).
A woman (Edgar-Jones) who is tired of dating and ready to give up, believes she has found the perfect man (Stan) while shopping at the grocery store. Only quickly finds out he has a very dark and deadly secret.
This is the horror movie that everyone keeps talking about, I’ve seen “Creepy Catalog” put up several things about it. Thirty minutes in the movie takes off and doesn’t look back, or that’s what they’re claiming. Cool thing this movie does, is at the thirty-minute mark, the opening credits and movie title come on. Like okay here’s the real movie, buckle up. I can’t think of another movie that’s done that, so that is really cool. I also get the message of how it objectives women, and sees them as just meat. What I saw though, was just a gross dude who captures women and eats them, and sells their body parts. I didn’t find it shocking as they claim, just gross. There’s more shocking horror movies out there. I think it’s worth a watch, but be forewarned it is some dark stuff. I give it a 6.5/10.
“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.
‘Elizabeth Harvest’ is a 2018 Scifi/Horror starring Abbey Lee (Mad Max: Fury Road), Carla Gugino (Gerald’s Game), Ciaran Hinds (The Woman in Black), and Matthew Beard (The Imitation Game).
A Scientist who lost his his wife successfully creates several clones of her in order to fulfill his lost desire and love.
This is a unique movie, and I can’t really think of one to compare it to. The story is original, I thought it was predictable but after the halfway mark, it takes several turns I didn’t see coming. The acting is great from everyone. The only thing I didn’t care for is how artsy it tried to get, different colors, different angles, time lapses etc.. I’m not sure why films feel the need to do this, it doesn’t add anything in my opinion. Just stick to the movie. If you’re looking for a decent scifi/horror movie, check this one out, also bonus points for originality. It leaves Netflix July 31st, so hurry up to check it out. I give it a 6.5/10.
‘Fatherhood’ is currently the number one movie on Netflix starring Kevin Hart (Jumangi Welcome to the Jungle), Lil Rel Howery (Uncle Drew), Melody Hurd (Them), Anthony Carrigan (Gotham), Alfre Woodard (12 Years a Slave), DeWanda Wise (She’s Gotta Have It), and Paul Reiser (Mad About You).
‘Fatherhood’ is based off the true story of a father who raises his baby girl on his own after his wife dies shortly after child birth.
Netflix recently gave Kevin Hart the Adam Sandler deal, where they signed him to a series of movies for really big money. Smart move on Netflix, as Kevin Hart is one of the biggest comics in the game right now and I imagine highly sought after. This isn’t his typical role as he normally plays a goofy role, and this one is more serious, as he is playing a single father raising a daughter. He still adds his sense of humor and jokes making it not a total serious/dramatic movie. I liked the movie, it’s heartfelt, funny while touching at the same time. Kevin Hart plays a great role. My wife found it more sad than heartfelt, and cried through the majority of it, but she liked it as well. So whether you find it more funny and heartfelt like I did, or sad like she did, you’ll still enjoy it, and enjoy Hart’s performance. I give it a 6.5/10.
‘Hunted’ is a 2020 horror film by Shudder, starring Lucie Debay (LA Confession), Ciaran O’ Brien (Ripper Street), and Simone Milsdochter (Wolf). A woman is working out of town and goes to a local bar to relax, she is tricked and picked up by two men who plan to torture and rape her on film. She manages to escape into the woods with the two men in close pursuit.
This is your classic cat and mouse type horror, it’s one that’s been done over and over but yet people still love it. The scary thing is something like this could really happen, picking up a young girl and planning on doing something atrocious like this. With a movie however, we can see the victim fight back, and maybe that’s why we love these types of movies so much.
The acting and story are actually pretty good. The main bad guy plays a great part, he’s a mix between a crazy Bradley Cooper and the crazy wide smile of Joaquin Phoenix’s joker. He makes a great bad guy, where this movie goes wrong however, is towards the end. It’s almost like the writers didn’t know how to end it. I don’t like to give spoilers so I’ll try not too, but all of a sudden there’s a team of paintballer’s in the woods and she gets shot in the head and starts running around with blue paint on her face like she’s from ‘Braveheart’, which they never address by the way. A dead lady who has an arrow through her ear is brought back to life because she is accidentally tased, that was probably one of the dumbest things I’ve ever seen in a movie. The last twenty minuets or so became comical. My wife and I were literally cracking up. It didn’t necessarily make it bad, but it definitely dropped it down a little bit, up to that point it’s a pretty solid horror movie. It’s still worth a watch, I give it a 6.5/10.
‘Mortal Kombat’ is a 2021 action movie starring Lewis Tan (Wu Assassians), Jessica McNamee (The Meg), Josh Lawson (Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues), Joe Taslim (Fast & Furious 6), Mehcad Brooks (True Blood), and Hiroyuki Sanada (The Wolverine). So we all know Mortal Kombat is based off the popular video game from the 90’s, and was made into a popular movie from 1995 that has had a cult like following. In this version, Earths greatest warriors, the one’s with the dragon mark, are being hunted by Outworld’s best warrior, Sub-Zero, in order to ensure Outworld wins the Mortal Kombat tournament. Earth’s greatest warriors must now team up and defeat Outworld, and Sub-zero before they’re all killed off.
There is a lot of hype surrounding this movie, I’ve seen memes, video clips, posts, etc.. all hyping this movie on social media. I think the majority of it, is just the nostalgia fact of the 90s. I remember when the 1995 version came out, I saw it when I was about 8 years old, then went around the house kicking and punching and twirling around, like I was next up to compete in the tournament and fight to the death. I’ll never forget that, It wasn’t a quality movie by any means, but we all watched it for the fight scenes. Honestly, it sums up this version as well, I wouldn’t describe it as a quality movie, but the fight scenes are awesome. They did a great job nailing the nostalgia, it has a 90s feel to it the entire film. From the music, to the writing on the opening scene, to the scenery itself. If I didn’t know it was made in 2021, I would have sworn it was a 90’s movie. The acting is good, and it is filled with funny part (mostly from Kanos), the fight scenes are awesome, but overall, the story is a little cheesy and it’s more or less the nostalgia that makes it. If it wasn’t for that, not much would separate it from a fighting/action movie you could find on cable TV. I went and saw it in theaters, if that’s not an option for you, you can watch it on HBO Max. I give it a 6.5/10.
‘Tom and Jerry’ is the 2021 family/comedy adaptation of everyone’s favorite fighting cat and mouse. They finally bring them to life and give them a shot at the big screen, it stars Chloe Grace Mortez (Kick-Ass), Michael Pena (Ant-Man), Jordan Bolger (Peaky Blinders), Pallavi Sharda (Lion), Ken Jeong (The Hangover), and Colin Jost (How to Be Single). Tom and Jerry are in the big apple, and with no where to live they both try to move into a prestigious hotel. There’s a royal wedding happening that weekend and the hotel doesn’t need a mouse problem so they hire Tom to get rid of Jerry, and now we have our classic tale of the two.
As I’ve stated in previous posts, I’m in an area where theaters are still an option, which I love, so we went to see this one in theaters. However, if you don’t have the option to see it in theaters you can catch it on HBO Max. There’s a lot of mixed reviews on this movie, most ranging in the not good and okay area. I personally don’t think it’s bad movie, but starring Chloe Grace Mortez, Pena, and Jeong I was expecting it to be a lot funnier than it was, it’s pretty slow in parts. Tom and Jerry take a back seat, and are more of a secondary story in their own movie. The main story is about Chloe Grace Mortez impersonating someone else and taking a job on at the hotel and trying to pull off coordinating the perfect wedding for the royal couple. So that’s a little offsetting, that they’re not even the main part of their own movie. On top of that Tom and Jerry become friends, which yes is good, but that’s not the Tom and Jerry we all came to know and love. We love how Tom continuously comes after Jerry with his halfcocked plans that never work out in the end. Most of their fighting and craziness is in the trailer, there’s not much outside of that. I think it’s a good heartfelt family movie, but it is a little forgettable and underwhelming. I give it a 6.5/10, not bad but not great either.