The Black Phone

“The Black Phone” is a 2022 horror movie based off Joe Hill’s short story. It stars Ethane Hawke (Training Day), Mason Thames (For All Mankind), Madeleine McGraw (American Sniper), and Jeremy Davies (Twister).

Denver 1978, a man known as the grabber is going around and abducting kids. 13-year-old Finney Shaw is his latest victim. An old disconnected black phone and a small mattress is the only things in the soundproof basement he is kept in. The victims before him who were taken and killed by the grabber call Finney through the black phone to try and help Finney survive and escape.

I’ve been excited to see this one since I saw the first trailer for it. It was different than I was expecting. It was more of a crime thriller mixed with some paranormal element’s vs a horror movie. Don’t get me wrong, it is filled with its fair share of creepy parts and jump scares though. It does a great job of keeping you on the edge of your seat and your heart pounding, just a little different than I was expecting. Hawke, Thames, and McGraw all play wonderful roles. It’s scary, creepy, nail biting, and heart felt all rolled into one. It’s definitely worth seeing. I give it a 9/10.

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The Outfit

“The Outfit” is a 2022 crime drama/thriller starring Zoey Deutch (Why Him?), Dylan O’Brien (Teen Wolf), Mark Rylance (The BFG), and Johnny Flynn (Emma.).

An expert cutter gets dragged into a dangerous situation when a mobster stumbles into his shop after being a shot. He must now tread carefully and try to outsmart the mob in order to survive the night before things spiral out of control.

This is a great period film, it takes place in 1956 in Chicago, in a cutter’s shop. Which before this film I would have called him a tailor, but he makes it very clear anyone can be a tailor, a tailor only sews buttons. He’s a cutter. The whole hour and 45-minute movie takes place in one spot, the cutter’s shop. So not a whole lot of action, so the movie has to rely on one thing, it’s writing. If it doesn’t have strong writing it would be unbearable, because it only takes place in one spot, it’s almost all dialogue. This one is brilliantly written. It keeps you guessing the entire time with twists and turns, and after the 20 minute mark it will have you hanging on the edge of your seat. It has a real “The Usual Suspects” feel to it where the answer is in front of you the whole time but you don’t realize it. For the writing alone I give it a solid 9/10. If you didn’t catch it in theaters, it’s streaming exclusively right now on Peacock.

Scream (2022)

“Scream” is the fifth installment in the horror film series “Scream”. This is one is a sequel/remake, or as I learned the term from this movie a requel. They bring back some of the original cast from the first one which includes Neve Campbell (Wild Things), Courteney Cox (Friends), and David Arquette (Never Been Kissed). Outside the originals it also stars Melissa Barrera (In the Heights), Jack Quaid (The Hunger Games), Mikey Madison (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood), Jenna Ortega (You), and Dylan Minnette (The Open House).

Twenty-Five Years after the original killings in Woodsboro, Billy Loomis’s daughter is drawn back to Woodsboro after a new Ghostface attacks her sister. Now she must find out who the killer is before it’s too late.

This is about a movie, in a movie, while trying to make a new movie, a little inception, right? Ghostface is from the Stab movies which is based off the Woodsboro murders, and the new Ghostface emerges to fix the last stab movie with a series of murders. Sounds a little confusing, but the writing is very solid, and it’s not as confusing as it sounds. It is full of twists and turns, that keeps you guessing who the killer is. The classic characters also come back and serve a purpose, just not put in for money purposes. Also, Jenna Ortega plays a great part as one of the leads, she’s a great actress. I was actually surprised at how good and well done, this one was. It’s been ten years since the last Scream, and this is the best one in the franchise. I give it a solid 9/10.

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.

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.

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.

The Suicide Squad (2021)

‘The Suicide Squad’ is the second, or even the remake of the 2016 version ‘Suicide Squad’. This one is James Gunn’s version, it stars Margot Robbie (Suicide Squad), Idris Elba (Luther), John Cena (Blockers), Joel Kinnaman (Suicide Squad), Viola Davis (Suicide Squad), Daniela Melchior (Parque Mayer), David Dastmalchian (Prisoners), Sylvester Stallone (Rocky), and Pete Davidson (The King of Staten Island).

Just like the first Suicide Squad, a group of rag tag villains are brought together in order to save the world.

Two Reasons I wanted to see this movie, 1. James Gunn. James Gunn directed both Guardian of the Galaxy films, which both are amazing. 2. John Cena, John Cena is hilarious in everything he is in, Blocker’s is one of the funniest movies I’ve seen. So with these two involved it was a must see for me. This one is a mix between ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ and ‘Deadpool’, you have your rag team and comedic relief, mixed with gore and cursing. Not sure what I was expecting but not really this, I didn’t expect all the gore and swearing. Honestly it worked though, it was a perfect blend of action and comedy. Sylvester Stallone’s character and John Cena were hilarious. Forget the first film, that one is garbage, this is the true Suicide Squad. Like I said it’s hilarious, the characters mesh perfectly together, it’s full of action, it’s a great superhero movie. It hasn’t done well in theaters, and there’s talks that Margot Robbie is to blame, that they are looking to move on from her. Which is stupid because, Margot Robbie is awesome as Harley Quinn, she brings the character to life. Leave Margot alone, she’s not the issue. It’s probably the release to HBO Maxx, and the first one being garbage, why ticket sales have sucked. I do find it funny though, the DCU had to bring in a MCU director to put out a good movie, but hey whatever works. James Gunn and ‘The Suicide Squad’ lived up to their potential, I give it a 9/10.

The Paper Tigers

‘The Paper Tigers’ is a 2021 Action/Comedy starring Alain Uy (The Morning Show), Ron Yuan (Mulan), Mykel Shannon Jenkins (The Gods), and Matthew Page (Whiskey Tango Foxtrot).

Three martial art prodigies who are called the three tigers go their separate ways, only to be reunited years later when their sifu (master) is killed. They’re now middle aged, out of shape, and working regular jobs, they must come together to avenge their sifu’s death.

I don’t know any of the actors, and it appears to be low budget, but I figured I would watch it. This movie surprised me, it’s not a mediocre film by any means. The acting, and story is really good. It is filled with a perfect amount of action and comedy. It’s not your typical martial arts movie where it’s filled with non stop cheesiness, where they would come back middle aged and not miss a beat. This is not that film, they come back and they’re about as good as you think they would be after years of not training. You can’t help but cheering for the three tigers in this. I give it a 9/10.

Old

‘Old’ is a 2021 thriller by M. Night Shyamalan starring Gael Garcia Bernal (Mozart in the Jungle), Rufus Sewell (A Knight’s Tale), Vicky Krieps (Phantom Thread), Alex Wolff (Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle), Thomasin Mckenzie (Jojo Rabbit), Ken Leung (Lost), Aaron Pierre (The Underground Railroad), Francesca Eastwood (Awake), and Abbey Lee (Elizabeth Harvest).

A family, and different couples go to a secluded beach arranged by a resort. However time moves differently on the beach, every thirty minutes is equivalent to one year, and they soon find out they can’t leave.

M. Night Shyamalan is known for his supernatural elements, and his twist endings, especially his twist endings. He does it every film. I love M. Night Shyamalan movies, so when I saw he had a new one coming out, I had to go see it. I saw a few mixed reviews before seeing it, some said it was a bore fest, while others claimed it was great movie. Honestly it didn’t disappoint, from start to finish it’s a great thrill ride. The entire movie I felt it had a good message and that enjoy the time we have and don’t look towards the future or back at the past, but after the twist ending it’s more of does the needs of the many outweigh the few? This movie will keep you guessing and coming up with your own theory the entire time, it’s a great watch. I give it a 9/10.

Concrete Cowboy

‘Concrete Cowboy’ is a 2021 Netflix original drama based off the book ‘Ghetto Cowboy’, it stars Idris Elba (Luther), Lorraine Toussaint (Orange is the New Black), Caleb McLaughlin (Stranger Things), Jharrel Jerome (Mr. Mercedes), and Method Man (How High). A troubled youth (McLaughlin) from Detroit is sent to live with his estranged dad in Philly, who is a black cowboy, living in a community of black cowboys. He soon learns to love his dad’s lifestyle, but starts to fall in with the wrong crowd in Philly. He now must choose which path to go down.

The cool thing about this movie is, it’s based on a true story. When you think of Philadelphia, you probably think of Freedom, Rocky, the Philadelphia Eagles, and cheese steaks. One thing you probably don’t think about is horses. Apparently there use to be several communities of black cowboys and horses, and one by one they got shut down, and developed over, until only one remained, the Fletcher Street Stables. This by itself makes the movie worth watching, plus they actually have a couple of the cowboys star in the movie, and you get to hear them talk about it in the credits. Really cool stuff, now let’s talk about the movie itself. McLaughlin is a great up and coming actor, it’s good to see him in stuff, and who doesn’t love Idris Elba? The man is awesome in everything he plays. So much in fact, he’s being casted as the next James Bond. They do a good job starring side by side in this film. Outside of them, Jerome plays a great job as the troubled friend, Smush, who has already ventured down the wrong path. Method Man plays a great part as well, as a cop, which I always find comical when a rapper plays some sort of legal job in a movie or show. It’s a heart touching movie, and isn’t a tear jerker like most dramas. I tend to not like the real sad movies. Overall it’s a must watch. I give it a 9/10.