Movie Review – 10 Thoughts About Pet Sematary (2019)

SPOILER WARNING – THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR Paramount PICTURES’ NEW FILM PET SEMATARY

Stephen King is pretty hot stuff right now.

Or at least, adaptations of his work are hot stuff.

Heck, even re-adaptations of his work generate a lot of buzz, as was the case with this new Pet Sematary.

I think that it’s generally agreed upon by Stephen King fans that Pet Sematary is his darkest, most unsettling novel. I read it when I was too young to read it and no matter how effective any on-screen portrayal of Zelda is, it will never equal the horror of King’s written words. Nor will any actor ever be able to sufficiently capture the torture that Louis Creed feels, if only because we’ll never experience the character’s thoughts the same way in a film.

1989 saw the release of the first film adaptation of Pet Sematary. It was a blockbuster. Back then I loved it and so did pretty much everybody else. I think we all sort of knew that the acting wasn’t great, but something about it seemed very mature and cool – it was a kind of darkness that we weren’t seeing too often. I also seem to remember it being everywhere. Paramount might have put a little extra push into the marketing, possibly because we were entering into the Summer of the Bat, a phenomenon that would conquer movie theaters and public consciousness for basically the rest of the year.

I was disappointed a few years ago when I realized that the 1989 Pet Sematary isn’t very good. It’s fine by 80s-era mid-grade horror standards and is even a standout among King adaptations, but the acting is bad almost across the board and the direction is clunky.

This made me excited for a new adaptation made to today’s standards.

People often parrot the terms “Is this necessary?” and “Who asked for this?” as an empty-headed way of dismissing remakes, prequels, sequels, and basically anything that they think they can get internet credibility out of criticizing. These are simple-minded, myopic queries that require more thought to answer than to pose (as is the intent), but in the case of 2019’s Pet Sematary the easy answers are “Yes” and “People who love that book and recognize the failure of the 1989 movie”.

Did directors Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer and their cast and crew succeed in delivering a worthy horror experience or will we be waiting thirty more years for a satisfying adaptation of the Creed family tragedy? Read on and find out! Continue reading “Movie Review – 10 Thoughts About Pet Sematary (2019)”

Movie Review – 7 Thoughts About Shazam!

SPOILER WARNING – THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR WARNER BROS. PICTURES’ NEW FILM SHAZAM!

Plenty has been said about Warner Bros.’ DC movies over the past six years since Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel kicked off a planned connected universe of films. I’m not going to rehash any of it here other than to say most of the movies were not done the way I would have done them, but that I have enjoyed all of them to one degree or another.

Shazam! is part of a new initiative to release movies that aren’t quite so grim and miserable and visually oppressive. As a matter of fact, the trailers for Shazam! made it look like a straight-up comedy. After the swashbuckling action of Aquaman it looked like WB was really trying to do different things with their beloved and potentially lucrative DC Comics characters.

The superhero now known as Shazam was called Captain Marvel for years. I don’t know the whole story behind this, but I’m sure you can Google it. I spent most of my life thinking he was called Shazam. Given that, you can probably guess that he isn’t really one of my guys.

Regardless of my level of familiarity with Captain Shazamvel, I do have a tendency to get excited about superhero movies. And because of what’s been going on with the DC movies I have a particular interest in seeing just what the heck they’re doing at any given time. Switching gears and producing what seemed to be a superhero version of Big was a bold move, and possibly a brilliant one.

Last Thursday night I took the family to the local Regal RPX – which, by the way, is now my favorite format for seeing movies – to see this newest entry into the DC Extended Universe. Was it what we expected and will it carry on the successful trend set by Aquaman? Read on and find out! Continue reading “Movie Review – 7 Thoughts About Shazam!”

Movie Review – 11 Thoughts About Us

SPOILER WARNING – THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR UNIVERSAL PICTURES’ NEW FILM US

This is much later than I like to post written movie reviews. My original intent was to record a conversation with our friend Chad J. Shonk because this movie deserves not only a deep conversation but the insight of a professional. It made me think and feel a lot of things and I knew Chad would be the perfect guy to hash it out with.

Unfortunately I just found out that I have to work on the day that I had scheduled to talk to Chad. So now I’m writing my thoughts and hoping to record at a later date. Unfortunately the further I get from the movie, the less clarity I’ll have regarding it and the more other things will crowd in to take my attention, so that conversation may never happen.

Thanks, day job. You ruin my dreams but pay for my Ser Davos costume.

Jordan Peele is a badass. He’s brilliant, he’s funny, he’s a pop culture/genre sponge; but most importantly, he can focus those qualities into creating things that are unique, yet wear their influences proudly on their sleeves. His sleeves. Whatever.

I’m a huge fan of Key & Peele, less so a fan of Get Out. I thought the movie was extremely well done and had a fantastic cast, but had some story and pacing issues that kept me from becoming as engaged as I wanted. Jordan Peele’s work still impressed and excited me, though, and I couldn’t wait to see what he would do next. All signs seemed to be pointing to the fact that he was becoming a powerful force in Hollywood and one of the few that  might have the potential to enact sweeping changes in not only the processes but the entire mentality of the movie industry.

Does Us continue Peele’s upward trajectory or does it represent a stalling point in the creator’s career? Read on and find out! Continue reading “Movie Review – 11 Thoughts About Us”

Repost: Movie Review – STONE COLD STEVE AUSTIN In Hunt to Kill

Originally posted on the old Needless Things in August of 2011

I want to tell you about this amazing movie I watched Monday morning. But I’m going to have to resort to spoilers to do it justice, so don’t read this if you don’t want the magic of STONE COLD STEVE AUSTIN in Hunt To Kill ruined for you. Just go to Comcast’s OnDemand service and watch it right now. Continue reading “Repost: Movie Review – STONE COLD STEVE AUSTIN In Hunt to Kill”

Movie Review – 14 Thoughts About The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part

SPOILER WARNING – THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR WARNER BROS. PICTURES’ NEW FILM THE LEGO MOVIE 2: THE SECOND PART

My whole family loved The LEGO Movie.

It looked amazing, the story was fantastic, and all of those pop culture icons crossing over with each other was mind-blowing. We’ve watched it several times, we bought the sets, and we played the video game. That movie wildly exceeded our expectations, but it wasn’t just because it was better than it had any right to be, it was because it’s a legitimately great movie.

That was five years ago.

My son is eleven now and, like many formerly favorite toy lines (RIP Imaginext), LEGO isn’t on his radar like it used to be. He was still excited about the movie and the tie-in video game, but our level of immersion into the worlds of LEGO just isn’t what it was in 2014. As a result I haven’t really been as excited about this sequel. Watching your children grow up is wonderful but also brutal, and each passing day brings more reminders that things will never be the way they were.

In short, everything is not awesome.

Another factor in my lack of excitement for The LEGO Movie 2 is that sequels to family films tend to not be very good. The decline in quality is typically pretty severe, even more so than other types of films. On top of that I didn’t particularly love The LEGO  Batman Movie and I thought The LEGO Ninjago Movie was absolutely terrible.

I still had hope for this sequel – after all, the writers of the original movie were back where they belonged – but I can’t say I was genuinely excited beyond the fact that I knew we were going to see it as a family. And family events are always something I look forward to.

Did Phil Lord and Christopher Miller bring it once again? Was it even possible for this sequel to live up to the excellent standard set by the original? Read on and find out! Continue reading “Movie Review – 14 Thoughts About The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part”

Movie Review – 13 Thoughts About Bumblebee

SPOILER WARNING – THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR Paramount PICTURES’ NEW FILM BUMBLEBEE

The Transformers have had quite a rollercoaster ride at the cinema. That seemed to have peaked in 1986.

I’m not, of course, talking about box office. Regardless of their quality of lack thereof, Michael Bay’s Transformers films have been ridiculously successful. Altogether the movies – often referred to as “Bayformers” with no small amount of derision – have grossed nearly five billion dollars.

Whatever form it took, this mega-successful franchise was not going away.

I like some of the movies more than others – with Revenge of the Fallen being a low point not just for the franchise, but for the history of film in general – but could never make the argument that they are doing a good job at representing the property. At best they’re jam-packed but forgettable action flicks, at worst they’re racist, hard to follow, and utterly lacking in charm.

In a move that shocked everyone, Paramount announced a soft reboot starring the most popular Transformer – Bumblebee – that would scale the franchise back, represent the fan-favorite 80s era, and be in the hands of a filmmaker who could hardly be considered experienced as far as blockbusters go. Director Travis Knight has worked in animation for years and helmed the excellent Kubo and the Two Strings, but had no live action on his resume. Putting the next Transformers film in his hands was a huge leap of faith.

Did it pay off or is the franchise in the same sorry shape The Last Knight left it in? Read on and find out! Continue reading “Movie Review – 13 Thoughts About Bumblebee”

Movie Review – 16 Thoughts About Aquaman

SPOILER WARNING – THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR WARNER BROS.’ NEW FILM AQUAMAN

Whatever people may think about the DC movies so far, it’s almost universally agreed upon that Jason Momoa is a sexy hunk of man beef.

Oh, and that he’s been pretty fun on screen as Arthur Curry, aka Aquaman.

To say I’m surprised to be writing about a big-screen Aquaman movie would be an understatement. And just a few years ago the idea that Aquaman would have a brighter cinematic future than Superman or even Batman would have seemed absurd. But thanks to severe mishandling by Warner Bros. and fans’ taste for derision bandwagons, that’s where we are.

The first trailer for this movie was nothing short of breathtaking, promising huge action, bright colors, and sexy leads. Everyone here at Needless Things was absolutely delighted and immediately granted Momoa permission to come aboard.

Were we too hasty or did the charming fish man earn his entry into our hearts? Read on and find out! Continue reading “Movie Review – 16 Thoughts About Aquaman”