REVIEW: Top Gun: Maverick (2022)

Tom Cruise as Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell in Joseph Kosinski’s TOP GUN: MAVERICK — Photo: Skydance Media / Paramount Pictures.

Directed by Joseph Kosinski — Screenplay by Ehren Kruger, Eric Warren Singer, and Christopher McQuarrie.

If there is one thing that the release of Top Gun: Maverick has already proven, it is that Tom Cruise is still a real movie star capable of drawing a crowd even in the Post-COVID lockdown world. Although the 1986 original Tony Scott film, Top Gun, did leave a cultural imprint and is an iconic 1980s film, it isn’t like most people have been crying out for a sequel to the original film that, way back when, received mixed reviews. And yet, when I saw its sequel, people of all ages — including several people over the age of fifty — had such a need for speed that they had flocked to the theater to watch Tom Cruise as “Maverick” take another ride into the danger zone. I’m happy to tell you that — yes, it’s true — Top Gun: Maverick is every bit as awesome as you may have hoped. In fact, I think it’s a much better film than the 1980s classic.

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REVIEW: Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2022)

Leatherface is back in 2022’s TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE — Photo: Netflix.

Directed by David Blue Garcia — Screenplay by Chris Thomas Devlin.

There are so many legacy sequels out there today, and this industry trend has also hit the horror genre in a big way with Halloween (2018) and Scream (2022) being two of the most notable examples, but whereas the latter film is a continuation of all of the Scream films, David Gordon Green’s Halloween ignores the existence of every other Halloween sequel. David Blue Garcia’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre ignores seven ‘Leatherface-films’ and is instead a direct sequel to Tobe Hooper’s 1974 iconic horror picture.

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REVIEW: The Matrix Resurrections (2021)

Keanu Reeves is back as ‘Thomas Anderson’ in THE MATRIX RESURRECTIONS — Photo: Warner Bros.

Directed by Lana Wachowski — Screenplay by Lana Wachowski, David Mitchell, and Aleksandar Hemon.

After the events of The Matrix Revolutions, in The Matrix Resurrections, Thomas Anderson (still played by Keanu Reeves) is somehow still alive. However, something is off about him. He is now a video game developer, and the creator of The Matrix, which the people around him claim to be a video game. But he has these dreams, and every time he crosses paths with a woman named Tiffany, she looks just like Trinity (played by Carrie-Anne Moss). He is prescribed blue pills by his therapist (played by Neil Patric Harris) to keep his dreams and visions in check. However, right as his business partner (played by Jonathan Groff) tells him that they have to make a new Matrix game, he encounters a young and different-looking Morpheus (played by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II), who asks him to take the red pill.

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REVIEW: Scream (2022)

The Ghostface mask is back on the big screen alongside members of the original cast in 2022’s SCREAM — Photo: Paramount Pictures.

Directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett (also known as ‘Radio Silence’) — Screenplay by James Vanderbilt and Guy Busick.

What’s your favorite scary movie? That question instantly makes me think of Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson’s 1996 horror movie modern classic Scream, which revitalized the horror slasher genre while commenting on tropes in a really clever and funny way. The so-called Ghostface killer, dressed in black from head-to-toe except for his white mask that appears to be inspired by Edvard Munch’s unforgettable painting (The Scream), asked that exact question to a nervous teen back in the 1996 picture, and the question has since become quite iconic. And, just for the record, my favorite scary movie franchise has, in fact, always been Craven and Williamson’s Scream meta-slasher series of films.

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REVIEW: Candyman (2021)

Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as Anthony McCoy in Nia DaCosta’s CANDYMAN (2021) — Photo: Universal Pictures.

Directed by Nia DaCosta — Screenplay by Nia DaCosta, Win Rosenfeld, & Jordan Peele (Get Out; Us).

Horror remakes, reimaginings, or sequels decades after a popular antagonist’s inception are inevitable. This movie studio trend was especially prevalent in the 2010s, when it was emphasized just how profitable decent-to-good horror films can be. One of the more stylized attempts was Luca Guadagnino’s Suspiria remake, while one of the more disappointing attempts was Kölsch & Widmyer’s Pet Sematary remake. Horror remakes are a dime a dozen these days, but the current horror movie trend is the legacyquel — a portmanteau of legacy and sequel — which is a continuation of a previous film but one that takes place a long time after the events of the original film and often with entirely new characters. Another trend is that of ignoring some films in the franchise, for the purpose of taking the franchise in another direction. Such is the case with a legacyquel like David Gordon Green’s Halloween. Another legacyquel that ignores certain chapters in its own cinematic mythology, Nia DaCosta’s Candyman, which really ought to have a different title for simplicity’s sake, follows many horror movie trends, but perhaps most notably those kickstarted by her producer and co-writer Jordan Peele.

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