Spike Lee Chooses Hip-Hop Romeo & Juliet For Next Project

As you are probably all aware, I love BlacKkKlansman from 2018. It’s my favorite movie of last year, and while I’m not a diehard fan of Spike Lee, I cannot deny how fascinating and skilled he is as a filmmaker. So for his next project, I was a little befuddled to learn that he is adapting Prince of Cats, a graphic novel by Ron Wimberly that is a 1980s Hip-Hop version of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet.

You know the general story, and Wimberly’s graphic novel source seems interesting, but I don’t see why Spike Lee would want this project immediately following his incredible Best Picture nominee. Personally, I feel like the story of Romeo & Juliet has been told time and time again to varying degrees of success. It’s been done to death. R&J isn’t even all that great compared to his other work.

So this all boils down to Spike Lee having some sort of interesting take on this, but he better create something truly interesting because he’ll be competing with another take on R&J with Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story coming pretty soon as well.

So what do you think? Is this a good next project for Spike Lee or is this project as doomed as its star-crossed lovers? Let me know/Drop a comment below!

 

-Kyle A. Goethe

[31 Days of Horror Part VI: Jason Lives] Day 30 – Silent Night, Deadly Night 4: Initiation (1990)

Director: Brian Yuzna

Cast: Clint Howard, Neith Hunter, Tommy Hinkley, Reggie Bannister, Allyce Beasley, Maud Adams

Screenplay: Woody Keith

90 mins. Rated R.

As October comes to a close, it is perhaps time to look to the future, and after Halloween, I look straight to Christmas. Christmas is magical. Christmas is wonderful. And without a doubt, Christmas is terrifying, especially for the characters in tonight’s film, the fourth in a famous, or infamous, holiday horror franchise. That’s right, we are talking Silent Night, Deadly Night 4: Initiation.

Kim (Neith Hunter, Near Dark, Liar’s Poker) is a classified ads editor for the L.A. Eye, a newspaper run by a misogynistic boss who just won’t give her a chance to prove herself as a journalist. So when the lucky opportunity arises to investigate the death of a woman due to apparent spontaneous combustion, she leaps at the chance. As Kim uncovers layers of the mystery, she is drawn into a group of women who take an odd interest in her. What do they want? Are they conmected to the death? The answer…is yes. Yes, they are.

The films in this series are all so bad that it would be tough to actually rank them against one another. I would sa that at least the first two are laughably bad, a win in this scenario, and while I like director Brian Yuzna (Beyond Re-Animator, 60 Seconds of Solitude in Year Zero), I don’t think that this film is good at all. It’s so jumbled, as if there was a bunch of exposition that went missing and had to be hastily rewritten from memory.

The film doesn’t really have any likable characters, a trait quite common with Yuzna’s films. This isn’t a knock in some cases, as I’ve said before, as long as characters are interesting. The issue is that none of these characters are developed enough to be interesting, like Fima (Maud Adams, Octopussy, The Seekers), the most notable member of the cultish group of women, or Ricky (Clint Howard, Apollo 13, 3 From Hell), who is not the Ricky of the previous films.

There are some sweet effects in the film for any fan of the macabre, even if they are few and far between. The way Kim’s psyche goes off the rails works really well from an effects standpoint. There just aren’t enough cool moments to justify 90 minutes.

Silent Night, Deadly Night 4: Initiation is not good, but that’s to be expected. What’s most disappointing is that, unlike the previous installments, it’s not even enjoyably bad. It’s just a missed opportunity in just about every way.

1.5/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

[31 Days of Horror Part VI: Jason Lives] Day 26 – In the Tall Grass (2019)

Director: Vincenzo Natali

Cast: Patrick Wilson, Harrison Gilbertson, Rachel Wilson, Laysla De Oliveira, Avery Whitted

Screenplay: Vincenzo Natali

101 mins. Rated TV-MA.

 

Stephen King is having a hell of a year. Between It: Chapter Two, Doctor Sleep, Pet Sematary, Castle Rock, Mr. Mercedes, and the upcoming Lisey’s Story, The Stand, The Outsider, and probably more than that, he’s having a damn good year, and now, the novella he cro-wrote with son Joe Hill has been adapted into the new Netflix Original Film In the Tall Grass.

Becky (Laysla De Oliveira, Acquainted, One by One) and her brother Cal (Avery Whitted, The Vanishing of Sidney Hall) are on their way to San Diego when they, upon stopping to rest near an old church, hear the voice of a child coming from the tall grass near them. The voice claims to be lost and scared, and Becky and Cal go in to find the young boy, but upon entering the grass, they discover that it is far more difficult to find an exit, and there is something sinister buried deep within the grass.

Writer/director Vincenzo Natali (Cube, ABCs of Death 2) does the most that he can possibly do to make a boring background like standing in grass. Seriously, there are so many impressive shots in the film that elevate a simple setting into an elaborate one. The difficult in a film like In the Tall Grass is that you have limited characters and limited settings and you have to create a dynamic film where it actually feels like the characters are going somewhere. It doesn’t always work in the film, but when it does, it works very well.

The cast is fine, but Patrick Wilson (The Phantom of the Opera, Annabelle Comes Home) steals every scene he’s in as Ross Humboldt, a man who went into the tall grass with his wife and son and thinks he knows a way out. There are sequences in the film that feel like they will just be sequences of people yelling for help and yet Patrick Wilson’s Ross is such a unique and interesting fella to throw into the mix.

In the Tall Grass gets really weird and wild as he film goes on, and it becomes a lot more crazy near the end, but I was all in for it. There’s a lot more happening in this film than just a bunch of people lost in a field, but I won’t get into it here. This is a Netflix Original well worth your time. It’s fun and eerie and weird and confusing. I had a lot of fun even though the film is about 10 minutes too long. Still, In the Tall Grass is a lot of fun this Halloween season.

 

4/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

 

For more 31 Days of Horror, click here.

For my review of the anthology film ABCs of Death 2, click here.

[31 Days of Horror 3] Day 9 – 1408 (2007)

Director: Mikael Hafstrom

Cast: John Cusack, Samuel L. Jackson, Mary McCormack, Tony Shalhoub

Screenplay: Matt Greenberg, Scott Alexander, Larry Karaszewski

104 mins. Rated PG-13 for

 

Hey folks, not much time tonight, so I’m going to cover one of my favorite Stephen King adaptations in 1408, a near-perfect small horror story.

Mike Enslin (John Cusack, Being John Malkovitch, Cell) is a horror writer, a reviewer of haunted places. And now, while writing his next book on haunted hotels, he sets his sights on the Dolphin Hotel, and its infamous room, 1408. The hotel manager Gerald Olin (Samuel L. Jackson, Pulp Fiction, Avengers: Age of Ultron) wishes to stop him from ever getting in, but when Mike is in the room, he discovers that the 56 people who have died in 1408 haven’t all left, and they are looking to make Mike Number 57.

1408 is small, and that isn’t a bad thing. I regularly cite 1408 and its impressive use of its small setting and focus on its lead with a powerful performance from Cusack. The movie wouldn’t work without someone strong at the forefront, and Cusack proves his worth here.

He is matched by a small supporting role from Jackson, who may not appear in the film often, but does offer opposition whenever given the opportunity. There’s some nice albeit miniscule work from Mary McCormack (K-Pax, Scooby Doo! WrestleMania Mystery) and Tony Shalhoub (TV’s Monk, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows) here, but again, the stars of 1408 are John Cusack and Room 1408.

Director Mikael Hafstrom (Escape Plan, The Rite) may not be a big name, but he certainly wields a big vision with 1408, a small movie which is the biggest compliment I can give in a world where movies feel like they have to get bigger and bigger. The source material from Stephen King is great, it is adapted very well, performed extremely well, and tied up nicely. There is a fault. Oh yes. The ending. I won’t dicsuss it, but I will say, watch the Director’s Cut. The ending there feels more in line with the foreshadowing the film constantly throws out. The film is great nonetheless, but the ending of the Theatrical Cut could have hit better.

 

4.5/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

400 Posts! This is Why I Love You!

 

So we just passed my 400th Post earlier this month, and I’m so happy to tell you that I’m having the time of my life. I cannot thank you all for reading. 2016 is looking to be the best year yet for this site, and there’s so much more to come! Thanks again! I thought that, today, we could look at my top ten posts so far! Check it out!

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  1. Turbo Charged Prelude (2003)
  2. Poltergeist (1982)
  3. Star Wars – Episode IV: A New Hope (1977)
  4. 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)
  5. Leprechaun (1993)
  6. Frankenstein (1994)
  7. The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
  8. The Fast and the Furious (2001)
  9. Horror Express (1972)
  10. Independence Day (1996)

 

Check them out, and thanks again! See you at 500!

 

-Kyle A. Goethe

[Friday the 13th] Friday the 13th Part III (1982)

 

Director: Steve Miner

Cast: Dana Kimmell, Tracie Savage, Richard Brooker, Paul Kratka

Screenplay: Martin Kitrosser, Carol Watson

95 mins. Rated R.

 

Happy Friday the 13th. Today, we’ll look back on the third film in the horror franchise, Friday the 13th Part III. You may recall this entry being the first major film in its time to be shot in 3D. The previous major release 3D film from Paramount had been 1954’s Ulysses, so the gimmick had pretty much run its course (funny for me to say as it appears to be happening again right now). Heck, even the opening credits are in 3D, a trippy and very 1980s sequence of reds and blues.

Technically taking place on Saturday the 14th, the film picks up just following the horrific events of the previous film as Jason (Richard Brooker, Deathstalker, Deep Sea Conspiracy) continues his weekend long trek of vengeance over the death of his mother. Today, he comes across Chris (Dana Kimmell, Lone Wolf McQuade, By Dawn’s Early Light) who has had a run-in with the slasher before. In fact, Chris has come back out to her family’s cabin to get over the horrific memories of what happened. Her estranged boyfriend Rick (Paul Kratka, Blood Was Everywhere) tries to comfort her, but he is left unable to understand her pain. As Jason begins picking off Chris’s friends one by one, the young woman is left to her own devices to defeat the masked monster.

The problem with this sequel from Steve Miner (Halloween H20: 20 Years Later, Day of the Dead) is that his and his production team’s focus is all on the gimmick, and it is used rather poorly. Instead of focusing on using the 3D to enhance the story, the filmmaker chooses to employ the gimmick to show yo-yos and juggling…

Because of the 3D, the film doesn’t get to focus on the character development, and the movie suffers. Many performers acknowledged that other factors were more important than…acting.

This film is iconic for one major moment in the creation of Jason’s most important look: the hockey mask. There are several versions of the story of how it was found and used, so I won’t go into any of that.

The film has several callbacks to the original two films as it was seen as the closing chapter of the trilogy. For example, the character of Abel was created to envoke Crazy Ralph. There are murders in the film that callback those from the other films. In many ways, the film was created to close the trilogy. In fact, it’s almost become the middle of a trilogy consisting of Part 2 and The Final Chapter. All three films exist on the same weekend and create an interesting Jason trilogy that stand out from the other entries.

Friday the 13th Part III is a fun movie because it doesn’t take itself seriously. This movie by no means is good, but this is the first installment that really knows what it wants to be, embracing the campiness and being equal parts scary and fun, a formula that would later be perfected in Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives. It also began the tradition of filming sequels under the title of a David Bowie song (this one being Crystal Japan). Friday the 13th Part III is fun. Stupid fun. But fun nonetheless.

 

2.5/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

 

For my review of Sean S. Cunningham’s Friday the 13th, click here.

For my review of Steve Miner’s Friday the 13th Part 2, click here.

Series Trailer for Outcast is Quick and Strange!

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Okay, quick piece of news today, I just spotted the Season 1 trailer for Outcast, the new Cinemax series from the creator of The Walking Dead comic book series, Robert Kirkman.

The trailer is rather quick, and really teases a lot of the strange and dark moments from the series. It doesn’t give away much in terms of the story, which follows a young man plagued with possession all his life and trying to find answers. Pretty slim details have emerged, and I think the crew knows this. The mystery is what I find so intriguing about it.

Not much else to say, but there is a link available below. I’m still up in the air on my interest level of Outcast, so what do you think? Will you be tuning in for Episode 1? And what’s your favorite possession story? Let me know!

 

-Kyle A. Goethe

[Oscar Madness] Shaun the Sheep Movie (2015)

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Director: Mark Burton, Richard Starzak

Cast: Justin Fletcher, John Sparkles, Omid Djalili

Screenplay: Mark Burton, Richard Starzak

85 mins. Rated PG for rude humor.

  • Academy Award Nominee: Best Animated Feature Film of the Year

 

It seems like every year, I’m stuck watching an animated film with stop motion techniques. To be honest, I’ve rarely enjoyed this form of the media. There are a few winners out there, but overall, it just hasn’t hit with me.

Shaun the Sheep the Movie

Well, here’s my review of Shaun the Sheep Movie

Shaun (Justin Fletcher, TV’s Gigglebiz) is up to his old shenanigans again. He and his flock are up to no good as they try to escape from the farm. In the process of this latest attempt, Shaun accidentally injures the Farmer (John Sparkles, TV’s Peppa Pig, Calendar Girls) and gives him amnesia. Now, it’s up to Shaun and the flock to return the Farmer back home and elude the animal control worker Trumper (Omid Djalili, Gladiator, Sex and the City 2) in the process.

I’m going to try and keep this one short as I really don’t like these types of films. That being said…

I actually enjoyed Shaun the Sheep Movie more than I had planned to. The film is cute, and makes great use of its absence of dialogue by offering a visual feast for the entirety of its runtime. I found Shaun to be a capable lead, Trumper to be a capable villain, and the Farmer to be a capable damsel.

The runtime does run on a bit too long, and one has to ask the question of why make this story a feature. The subplot involving the amnesiac Farmer is a little sillier than it needed to be and could’ve explored other storytelling avenues.

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Shaun the Sheep Movie is an imperfect family film, but definitely one of the better and smarter ones. Adults may not enjoy the loss of language in the film, but the test of a dialogue-less story makes for a more interesting one. It isn’t deserving of walking away with the statue this year, but it is very deserving of recognition nonetheless.

 

3.5/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

[#2016oscardeathrace]

Well, here we are again. The 2016 Academy Award Nominations. As many of you know, I came across a fun little cinephile idea online several years back called the Oscar Death Race. It’s an enjoyable excursion and test to see how many Oscar nominees you can see before the big night. Below you will find the nominees and links to any reviews I had previously done. Join me on this little adventure by using #2016oscardeathrace and let’s enjoy 2015’s best in film.

 

Best Picture

  • The Big Short
  • Bridge of Spies
  • Brooklyn
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Martian
  • The Revenant
  • Room
  • Spotlight

 

Best Director

  • Lenny Abrahamson, Room
  • Alejandro G. Inarritu, The Revenant
  • Tom McCarthy, Spotlight
  • Adam McKay, The Big Short
  • George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road

 

Best Actor

  • Bryan Cranston, Trumbo
  • Matt Damon, The Martian
  • Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
  • Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
  • Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl

 

Best Actress

  • Cate Blanchett, Carol
  • Brie Larson, Room
  • Jennifer Lawrence, Joy
  • Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years
  • Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn

 

Best Supporting Actor

  • Christian Bale, The Big Short
  • Tom Hardy, The Revenant
  • Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight
  • Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
  • Sylvester Stallone, Creed

 

Best Supporting Actress

  • Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight
  • Rooney Mara, Carol
  • Rachel McAdams, Spotlight
  • Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl
  • Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs

 

Best Original Screenplay

  • Bridge of Spies
  • Ex Machina
  • Inside Out
  • Spotlight
  • Straight Outta Compton

 

Best Adapted Screenplay

  • The Big Short
  • Brooklyn
  • Carol
  • The Martian
  • Room

 

Best Animated Feature

  • Anomalisa
  • Boy & the World
  • Inside Out
  • Shaun the Sheep Movie
  • When Marnie Was There

 

Best Foreign Language Film

  • Embrace of the Serpent
  • Mustang
  • Son of Saul
  • Theeb
  • A War

 

Best Documentary

  • Amy
  • Cartel Land
  • The Look of Silence
  • What Happened, Miss Simone?
  • Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom

 

Best Original Score

  • Bridge of Spies
  • Carol
  • The Hateful Eight
  • Sicario
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens

 

Best Original Song

  • “Earned It” from Fifty Shades of Grey
  • “Manta Ray” from Racing Extinction
  • “Simple Song #3” from Youth
  • “Til It Happens to You” from The Hunting Ground
  • “Writing’s on the Wall” from Spectre

 

Best Sound Editing

 

Best Sound Mixing

  • Bridge of Spies
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Martian
  • The Revenant
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens

 

Best Production Design

 

Best Cinematography

 

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

  • The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Revenant

 

Best Costume Design

 

Best Film Editing

 

Best Visual Effects

 

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