"Halloween Kills" stars Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, Andi Matichak, Will Patton, Thomas Mann, Anthony Michael Hall, Kyle Richards, Charles Cyphers, Nancy Stephens, Nick Castle, and James Jude Courtney. Released on October 15, 2021, the film has Laurie Strode and her family facing the unexpected return of Michael Myers.
The film is directed by David Gordon Green, who also directed films such as "Undertow", "Pineapple Express", "The Sitter", and "Stronger". It is the twelfth installment in the Halloween franchise. It is also a sequel to the 2018 direct continuation of "Halloween", which David Gordon Green also directed. This son of a gun doesn't know when to stay dead, does he? It's not Halloween without Michael Myers, and this latest installment in the long-running slasher franchise is finally here to prove that theory. After a disappointing amount of sequels and reboots, the classic slasher film series made a miraculous return with the 2018 installment, which wiped the previous follow-ups out of existence. That film served as a welcoming return to the formula that made the 1978 film a terrifying experience. Now, the franchise is once again returning from the dead to continue its killing spree, for better or worse. The only installments I've watched from the "Halloween" series were the 1978 original and the 2018 film, both of which were solid slasher films for different reasons. So you can quickly tell that my interest in the horror franchise wasn't as high as many others. However, that didn't stop me from checking out its latest horror sequel, especially since it's leading up to next year's conclusion. With that in mind, let's see if it has enough kills and frights to continue the franchise.
The film takes place immediately after 2018's "Halloween". Laurie Strode (Curtis), her daughter Karen Nelson (Greer), and her granddaughter Allyson Nelson (Matichak) have defeated Michael Myers (Courtney and Castle) and left him to die in a burning house…or so they thought. When Michael survives the fire and escapes, he continues his bloody rampage in Haddonfield. After hearing about Michael's killing spree, the residents, including the survivors from Laurie's past, band together to end his reign of terror for good. The potential "Halloween" trilogy resembles a horror novel, with "Halloween Kills" being the middle section of the gory story arc. Seeing that it's set after the ending of its previous installment, viewers would need to watch the 2018 film to understand the continuing story of Myers' recent return completely. If you've seen the earlier films in the slasher series, then you'll immediately know what you're getting yourself into regarding the concept. It's about people surviving against or getting murdered by a psychotic and silent serial killer with a mask, which is every slasher film in a nutshell. If you enjoy those installments because of that formula, especially 2018's "Halloween", there's plenty to endure in "Halloween Kills". It offered what audiences wanted out of a "Halloween" film, but it did come with the cost of being conventional. "Halloween Kills" didn't do much to add anything refreshing to the long-running franchise as it resorted to some genre tropes that we've experienced several times before. It also had this "middle chapter" vibe that made the film feel incomplete, which is understandable because it leads up to the upcoming final chapter. Luckily, David Gordon Green maintained the elements that worked in its predecessor to expand its tiring formula's immortality. One of those elements was its themes. "Halloween Kills" continues the representation of fear and trauma and how they affect the characters mentally. Even though the film focused on Michael Myers murdering innocent lives, it never lost sight of the people who were impacted by his actions, including the ones that Laurie babysat 40 years ago, Tommy Doyle (Hall) and Lindsey Wallace (Richards). Its storytelling couldn't capture lightning in the bottle for the second time, possibly due to its tropes. Still, I respect it for providing enough interest in the characters amid the killer's murderous rampage. There were also a couple of moments in the screenplay that may not work for everyone, including Laurie's role and the ending, which I would not spoil if you haven't watched it yet. Fortunately, those moments weren't massive enough to overshadow its entertainment values in the kills and the film's gloomy and realistic nature. Speaking of which, Michael Myers' kills weren't anything too special, but they still contain a healthy amount of realism and fright in the grisly imagery without going too over-the-top with the visuals. What made them even more creepy was Green's handling of the film's tension and its respectable set of jump scares, which freaked me out a couple of times, by the way. The entire cast worked very well together in their respective roles, especially Curtis, who continues to shine as Laurie despite her small role. Judy Greer and Andi Matichak were also solid in their roles as Karen and Allyson, respectively. The main highlight of the cast was Anthony Michael Hall as Tommy Doyle, a character who was previously portrayed by Brian Andrews in the 1978 original. The spotlight focuses a bit more on Tommy rather than Laurie, and Hall made sure that every second in that spotlight counts. Hall nearly perfected the internal pain and anger Tommy has after his encounter with Michael 40 years ago, and it was quite a treat to behold. As for both Courtney and Nick Castle as Michael Myers, all I can say about them is that they still manage to creep me out every single time.
Overall, "Halloween Kills" delivered enough blood and chills to continue the franchise's killing spree. This is another entertaining installment in the iconic horror series despite its lack of fresh ideas, genre tropes, and average screenplay. With its solid cast, Green's direction, and good execution towards the kills and tension, the film is a suitable setup for next year's haunting conclusion. In my eyes, it's a small step down from 2018's "Halloween", but it should satisfy plenty of slasher genre fans regardless.
"No Time to Die" stars Daniel Craig, Rami Malek, Léa Seydoux, Lashana Lynch, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris, Jeffrey Wright, Christoph Waltz, and Ralph Fiennes. Releasing on October 8, 2021, the film has James Bond searching for a missing scientist and facing off against a new threat.
The film is directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga, who also directed "Sin Nombre", "Jane Eyre", and "Beasts of No Nation". It is the 25th installment in the James Bond film series. It has been one heck of a journey for Daniel Craig when it comes to 007. It has its share of highs and its share of lows, but in the end, it helped put Craig on the Hollywood map, similar to what the franchise has done for the other actors like Pierce Brosnan and Sean Connery. But like all of the other journeys, all things must come to an end. The Daniel Craig era of James Bond has brought a side that no one has expected to see from the famous character. Not only that, but it also formed an interconnected story arc that explores Bond's early days as an MI6 agent. This year, that arc is finally reaching its conclusion with the latest installment that could prove to be Bond's biggest mission yet. I hadn't gotten into the long-running franchise until I watched "Skyfall" almost a decade ago. That film is still one of the best installments in the Daniel Craig era, in my opinion. Since then, I have been following the recent installments in James Bond's cinematic series of adventures. If you're wondering why I haven't watched the older ones, that's the story for another time. Right now, let's enjoy the fact that Daniel Craig's swan song is finally here after so many delays due to the pandemic. Was the film able to cap off the story arc that started with 2006's "Casino Royale", or was it a bloated mess that tarnishes the famous spy's reputation? Let's find out.
The story is set after the events of 2015's "Spectre", where James Bond (Craig) left active service with MI6 and broke up with Madeleine Swann (Seydoux) following her betrayal. Now retired in Jamaica, Bond is approached by CIA agent Felix Leiter (Wright) to help him track down Valdo Obruchev (David Dencik), a scientist who is kidnapped from an MI6 laboratory. Obruchev is responsible for developing "Project Heracles", a bioweapon full of nanobots that can lethally affect a target's specific DNA. Knowing how deadly this bioweapon can be in the wrong hands, Bond springs back into action, reunites with his old MI6 allies, including Q (Whishaw) and M (Fiennes), and finds a new partner in the form of a new 007 agent, Nomi (Lynch). He'll have to use every gadget and skill he's got to save the world while also going toe-to-toe with Lyutsifer Safin (Malek), a terrorist leader from Madeleine's past. The most crucial thing to know about "No Time to Die" is that it contains plenty of elements that relate to the previous installments in the Daniel Craig era, mainly 2006's "Casino Royale" and "Spectre". If you choose this film as your first James Bond experience, there's a good chance that you'll be easily confused as to what's going on. So I would highly recommend you watch the other Daniel Craig/James Bond films before you dive into this one. As I mentioned before, the film is designed to be an "epic" conclusion to Bond's journey that began with "Casino Royale", so it makes sense that it raised the stakes not just for the main character but also for those around him, especially Madeleine. However, like many other final chapters, it needed a solid and emotional narrative to earn those stakes. Was it able to accomplish that mission? Yes, but not without a scratch or two. It couldn't quite reach the same heights as "Skyfall" regarding the story and emotional depth. Still, it did deliver an entertaining and well-crafted conclusion that understood what made the previous Bond films spectacular experiences. Cary Joji Fukunaga took over directing duties for the franchise after the departure of Sam Mendes, who helmed the last two installments. This was my first time seeing the director in action as I haven't seen his other works before "No Time to Die". After watching how well the film blends with his vision, it made me wish I had. Fukunaga provided plenty of majesty and thrills in its locations and action regarding the stellar cinematography and production design. More importantly, he made the slow and dramatic scenes as riveting as the shootouts themselves. "No Time to Die" proved to be the longest installment in the franchise with a whopping two hours and 43 minutes, which is just as long as any other action blockbuster to date. Here's hoping you don't drink too much while watching it as I did—worst mistake of my life. The runtime alone can bother those who've grown tired of action films that are as long as waiting at the DMV. However, its decent pacing and Fukunaga's direction managed to compensate for its excessive length. Daniel Craig once again brought life into the unique side of James Bond, both physically and mentally. We've seen Bond struggle with his trauma since "Casino Royale", and seeing him come full circle with his experience was both satisfying and thoughtful. All of that was due to Craig's magnetic performance. Rami Malek also did a swell job with his role as Lyutsifer Safin, proving himself yet again to be one of the most remarkable and talented actors working in Hollywood today. It's hard for me to say if he's better or worse than the other Bond villains since I haven't watched all of the films before "No Time to Die". However, I will say that I was impressed with how formidable he was in terms of his connections to Swann and his motivations. Lashana Lynch made a solid impression for herself as Nomi, and Christoph Waltz was deviously enjoyable as Blofeld. I also thought Ana de Armas was one of my favorite parts of the film. She plays Paloma, A CIA agent who assists Bond in Cuba. While she's not in the movie that much, she did provide some delightful moments in the action and humor. Aside from its runtime and some tiny narrative issues, the only flaw I had with "No Time to Die" was how it ended. Without spoiling anything, I thought the ending was quite fitting and bold considering that it's Craig's last hurrah as the iconic character. Unfortunately, the way it was handled onscreen wasn't as memorable as I thought it would be. It worked in generating some emotion in the characters and the scenario. It's just that I was hoping for it to go all out with this special occasion regarding the main character. It's not a horrible ending, but it is a surprisingly subtle way to conclude this story arc.
Overall, "No Time to Die" has enough gadgets in its pockets to deliver a well-shot and diverting conclusion to Daniel Craig's 007 journey. Its bloated runtime and flawed ending kept it from reaching the same level of quality as "Skyfall" or the other epic finales to specific franchises like "Lord of the Rings" and "Avengers: Endgame". Other than that, this is another suitable chapter in the long-running spy franchise thanks to its cast, Fukunaga's direction, cinematography, and engaging story. It may not be a perfect conclusion, but I can at least say that the six-year wait was worth it, especially for James Bond fans.
"The Addams Family 2" stars Oscar Isaac, Charlize Theron, Chloë Grace Moretz, Javon Walton, Nick Kroll, Snoop Dogg, Bette Midler, Bill Hader, and Wallace Shawn. Released on October 1, 2021, the film has the Addams going on a family road trip.
The film was directed by Conrad Vernon and Greg Tiernan, who also directed "Sausage Party", and it is a sequel to the 2019 film, "The Addams Family", which was also directed by Vernon and Tiernan. It is based on the characters of the same name created by Charles Addams. Summer vacation may be over, but that doesn't mean we can't squeeze in one more road trip before the fall weather kicks in. It's always delightful to get away from home and see the amazing sights with the family…unless your family happens to be kooky and loves things that are spooky. Last weekend brought us another sequel that's sure to scare and delight its audience. Unlike "Venom", however, this one appeals to the young kids who aren't ready to witness Carnage's wrath on the big screen. I mean, do you see how terrifying he looks? For those who don't know, my experience with "The Addams Family" came from just the 1990s live-action films. That alone was the main reason why I went to check out the 2019 animated version with my family. While it wasn't the best thing I've seen from the macabre family, I enjoyed it enough to give its follow-up a shot. It is the month of October, after all. So was the sequel goofily creepy enough to justify its existence, or was this vacation a disastrous piece of gloom, but not in a good way? Let's find out.
The film follows the Addams family as they are still adapting to life in the modern world. One day, Gomez (Isaac) and Morticia (Theron) noticed that their family was drifting apart, especially their daughter Wednesday (Moretz). They then decided to reclaim their bond by going on one last family vacation with the entire crew in tow. Their vacation quickly turns into an adventure as they see (and disrupt) the sights and are pursued by Cyrus Strange (Hader), a scientist who has his eyes set on Wednesday. If you grew up with "The Addams Family", you would already know what to expect from the animated sequel. There's a family who adores all things grim and plenty of dark humor to fill your gruesome soul with joy. Those elements alone should be enough to captivate and frighten the younger fans of the 2019 adaptation. Sadly, it may not do any favors for those who didn't like its predecessor. While the first film was a pleasing and welcoming cartoon that depicts the importance of acceptance, "The Addams Family 2" is a heavily cliched and bland road trip comedy that only served as a cash grab and nothing else. Thankfully, it's not the worse animated film I've seen this year since it contained the stuff I enjoyed from its predecessor. Plus, I happened to like how it placed its focus on Wednesday's journey of self-discovery amid the family's road trip antics. Unfortunately, the direction it took for those ideas was so uninspired and painfully formulaic that the viewers would wish that they should've stayed home instead. Remember the direct-to-video animated sequels that provided below-average quality in their storytelling compared to their counterparts? That's how I describe "The Addams Family 2". A mediocre direct-to-video-like sequel that couldn't quite match the macabre charm of its predecessor and the live-action films. It's no wonder why the studio decided to release it both in theaters and at home. The comedy was also one of the weakest parts of the film. It did provide the spooky and weird humor we've come to expect from an "Addams Family" film. Sadly, they were quickly overshadowed by the overabundance of eye-rolling puns and pop culture references. This is another film that throws a lot of kid-friendly jokes at the wall to see what sticks. Spoiler alert: Almost all of them didn't stick. Once again, the live-action "Addams Family" films knew precisely how to do dark comedy justice. The way the comedy was handled here was more like any other average animated film in existence, but with the Addams slapped in there. The only two things that got me through this road trip were the voice cast and the animation. The main cast from its predecessor returned to reprise their roles as the Addams Family, except Finn Wolfhard, who was replaced by "Euphoria" star Javon Walton for Pugsley. Once again, they did a marvelous job bringing the kookiness into the Addams, with Oscar Isaac and Chloë Grace Moretz being the highlights as Gomez and Wednesday, respectively. Javon Walton was a suitable replacement for Pugsley since he sounded much younger here than in the 2019 film. It's too bad that the writers couldn't do anything else with Pugsley besides being a comedic target for Wednesday's torturous ideas. Bill Hader and Wallace Shawn were also acceptable as Cyrus Strange and Mr. Mustela (a lawyer who chases the Addams), respectively. Although, those new characters were about as one-dimensional as a villain from a corny spy film. As for the animation, it's pretty decent in capturing the accurate designs of the original cartoons they're based on and the slapstick, but not enough to provide anything too spectacular outside of that. It's another ordinary CGI cartoon that's more on the silliness and less on the frights. It's similar to the 2019 film but much more irredeemable.
Overall, "The Addams Family 2" is a narratively bland road trip that's about as fun as putting your head inside the Addams' pet lion. The voice cast and animation still succeed in portraying the Addams and their macabre characteristics. However, everything else was massively inferior to not just the 2019 film but also the 1990 live-action adaptations. With its overly formulaic story, mediocre characters, tedious humor, and poor direction, the animated sequel lacks the "ooky" in "spooky". It's okay for young kids who enjoyed its predecessor, but this is by far the worst thing to ever happen to the franchise and directors Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon. Maybe they should rethink the idea of making it more animated and light-hearted than the live-action films?
"The Eyes of Tammy Faye" stars Jessica Chastain, Andrew Garfield, Cherry Jones, and Vincent D'Onofrio. Released on September 17, 2021, the film depicts the rise and fall of Tammy Faye Bakker and Jim Bakker.
The film was directed by Michael Showalter, who also directed films such as "The Baxter", "The Big Sick", and "The Lovebirds". It is based on the 2000 documentary of the same name by Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato. Well, this is something that's worth preaching about. How could something that brought joy and belief to the Christian audience wound up falling from the clouds and ruining the original hosts' careers? With a scandal or two, of course. What else would it be? This latest biographical drama sees Michael Showalter heading into fact-based filmmaking territory as he explores the controversy that ended Tammy Faye's career as a televangelist. You're probably wondering why it took me this long to review this film. Well, when I had so much stuff on my plate and plenty of other movies to check out, things like that tend to happen. But all that matters is that I found the right time to watch this latest awards contender. Was this scandal engaging enough to compete against the other upcoming Oscar potential films? Let's find out.
The story chronicles the life and career of Tammy Faye Bakker (Chastain). Along with her husband Jim Bakker (Garfield), she found "The PTL Club", a televangelist news program that combines entertainment with Christianity. It proved to be a success for its target audience, but Tammy's struggling relationship with Jim and financial issues threatened to shut the program down for good. This is one of those stories that I was unfamiliar with until they made films about them. I've never watched "The PTL Club", and I've certainly never heard of its hosts, Tammy Faye and Jim Bakker. Well, not until I did some research and watched the film, of course. There's nothing more absorbing than discovering celebrities and events that never caught people's eyes, whether it's by looking it up online or watching it on the screen. It's a trend that allows the audience to learn more about these subjects, and "The Eyes of Tammy Faye" easily fits into that description. But does that make the film worth everyone's time and money? Well, almost. Michael Showalter provided an enjoyably engaging biopic drama that's as glitzy and peppy as its charismatic host. However, compared to the director's other works, this one was a bit too preachy for its own good. The film easily took several pages right out of similar rise-and-fall biopics, and the emotional core of the scenario was effortful yet disappointingly tame. It also suffered a bit from its two-hour-plus runtime, which made it feel a bit longer than it should. It's a far cry from the other films that handled these elements better. Fortunately, it compensated by offering a stellar showcase for the talented people onscreen and an intriguing depiction of Christianity and beliefs in the television business. Jessica Chastain proved herself to be one of the actresses worth rooting for this awards season. She brilliantly manifested the glamorous personality traits of Tammy Faye, both physically and mentally. More importantly, she didn't hold back on displaying a more personal side to the famous televangelist. Andrew Garfield also did an outstanding job with his appealing performance as Jim Bakker. I haven't watched this actor in anything since "Hacksaw Ridge" five years ago, and seeing him in "The Eyes of Tammy Faye" showed that I hadn't missed much. Cherry Jones and Vincent D'Onofrio were also solid in their roles as Rachel LaValley and Jerry Falwell, respectively. I would also give this film credit for the makeup and hair design, which should get more attention this year. The artists behind those designs deserve a round of applause and plenty of blessings for transforming Chastain and Garfield into the real-life Tammy Faye and Jim Bakker. The perfect casting for the main leads also helped create an illusion that makes them look like the actual people they're portraying. It goes to show how important each role is in delivering movie magic, especially the makeup department.
Overall, "The Eyes of Tammy Faye" means well, but it falls short of preaching to the choir. While it answered our prayers with its superb cast and makeup design, its formulaic script and troubling execution towards the emotion kept it from making a believer out of itself. It's one of the films that had good intentions regarding their topics yet struggled to make them worthwhile. If you're highly familiar with Tammy Faye and enjoyed the two main leads in their other works, I would say the film is worth a watch for their performances and its subject matter alone.
"Venom: Let There Be Carnage" stars Tom Hardy, Woody Harrelson, Michelle Williams, Reid Scott, Stephen Graham, and Naomie Harris. Released on October 1, 2021, the film has Eddie Brock and Venom facing off against Carnage.
The film is directed by Andy Serkis, who also directed "Breathe" and "Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle", and it is a sequel to the 2018 superhero film, "Venom". Are you still hungry for more Marvel goodness after chowing down on Shang-Chi so many times? Don't worry. The lethal protector has you covered. It's the beginning of October, which means it's time for Spider-Man's greatest foe to take charge in frightening (and entertaining) his audience. The anti-hero made his first standalone movie in 2018 after his disappointing debut in "Spider-Man 3". Despite receiving some harsh reviews, it became a box office beast, earning over $800 million worldwide. Keep in mind that that's without the presence of your friendly neighborhood web-crawler. This resulted in Sony fast-tracking a follow-up and an expansion of its own Marvel Cinematic Universe. While I can admit that the first "Venom" film was pretty rough regarding its story and direction, I was able to get some enjoyment out of it due to Tom Hardy's performance, the humor, and the designs for the symbiotes. So it's no surprise that I was looking forward to its sequel, especially since they got mo-cap master Andy Serkis to direct it, along with Mr. Nightmare Fuel himself, Carnage. Were they able to help this superhero sequel improve on the original, or is it time for us to send the symbiotes back into space? Let's find out.
The story takes place three years after the events of its predecessor. Eddie Brock (Hardy) struggles to put his life back together while keeping the alien symbiote Venom under control. He sees an opportunity to reignite his investigative journalism career by interviewing Cletus Kasady (Harrelson), a psychotic serial killer who's held in prison and awaiting his execution. When Kasady bit Eddie's hand and ingested a part of Venom, he became the host of a symbiote spawn known as Carnage, who proved to be just as dangerous as Kasady is. A personality fit for a lunatic. When Cletus and Carnage escape to wreak havoc and rescue Kasady's love interest Frances Barrison (Harris), Eddie and Venom will have to cooperate once again to save the city from their murderous rampage. "Venom" offered a balance between brooding, creepiness, and humor that's suitably fitting for the anti-hero's personality. However, because of Ruben Fleischer's direction and its restrictive PG-13 rating, it failed to go all out with that balance. You know, for the sake of the young Venom fans. "Let There Be Carnage" maintained the same tone and rating as the original but with more emphasis on the humor. You know, for the Marvel kids. With Andy Serkis on board as director and the appearance of Carnage, you would think that this could be one of the few sequels that rise above their predecessors, especially the ones in the superhero genre. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case. The sequel recaptured the elements that audiences loved from "Venom", such as its amusing humor, the action scenes, and the symbiote designs. However, it also maintained the stuff that people did not like from the first film, including its storytelling and direction towards the character moments. To my slight surprise, they happened to be a tad weaker than the flaws in the original. This was primarily due to its inconsistent pacing and choppy editing. When it comes to the pacing, "Let There Be Carnage" was as chaotic as two CGI blobs mashing themselves together onscreen. There was barely any time for me to catch my breath and bask in the character-driven scenes in-between the action. While it does help in keeping the audience's attention, it can also cause them to lose interest in the characters, whether they're in battle or not. Its story expanded the "odd couple" relationship between Eddie and Venom, which was one of the best parts of the film, in my opinion. But the execution towards this direction and its tone felt pretty rough around the edges. Not to mention laughable in a not-so-good way. These flaws kept this superhero sequel from reaching the potential of getting a freshly cooked meal after a tasteless appetizer. However, I will admit that I had a fun time watching this muddled and frantic mess of a film. It's not something that's going to change the superhero film industry or anything like that. Still, it did provide some enjoyment in seeing Eddie and Venom bicker at one another like a married couple. Once again, Tom Hardy managed to save the film from becoming symbiote food thanks to his committed performance as Eddie and Venom. The jittery essence in Brock's personality and some of Venom's funniest dialogue in the franchise so far still proved to be a match made in heaven regarding the superhero genre and Hardy himself. Woody Harrelson followed suit with his crazy yet unsettling portrayal of Kasady and Carnage, and Naomie Harris proved to be a decent addition to the cast as Frances (also known as "Shriek" by Marvel fans). The action scenes involving the symbiotes were what you expect from a "Venom" sequel: intense, absurd, fun, and heavy on CGI. The only difference is that the action in "Let There Be Carnage" was better than the first film. The final battle in "Venom" was cool and all, but the darkly lit setting made it difficult to see what was going on. Here, they managed to fix the lighting for the audience to see the chaos surrounding the two symbiotes clearly. Thank goodness. Yes, they're silly and full of mayhem, but hey, so are the rest of the superhero films.
Overall, "Venom: Let There Be Carnage" has enough fun and carnage to keep its host alive, but it also lacks a stronger narrative to satisfy its hunger. It'll surely impress people who enjoyed its predecessor due to its cast, humor, and action. Unfortunately, it didn't provide anything else beyond its psychotic and energetic state for those hoping for it to be better than the original. With its average storytelling, pacing issues, and middling direction from Andy Serkis, this superhero sequel is far from lethal. Also, make sure you stay for its mid-credit scene. It'll blow your mind like how it did to mine.