Good afternoon! Spring is turning out to be a hugely busy time for movies. In fact, I think the spring season will be more crowded than summer. That’s insane! April rolled out three major releases: Pet Sematary, Shazam!, and Hellboy. Did these films impress me or were they simply disappointing? I’ll tell you all about it.
Pet Sematary is my first entry in this post. It’s a horror film that’s based on the novel by Stephen King. The Creed family moves to a rural town in Maine called Ludlow. Everything seems peaceful, even though their environment has eerie qualities. Sadly, a tragic accident creates a chain reaction that will ruin many lives.
I was pleasantly surprised with this film. It’s really scary and atmospheric. The characters are haunted by psychological and literal demons. Pet Sematary comes together really well because the directing by Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer is very strong. They bring a lot tension, dread, and unexpected twists to a familiar story. The movie doesn’t rely on jokes or stock characters to keep the audience interested. It’s just a fierce horror film that keeps the viewer on edge until the end. This movie also has a slow burn, but it doesn’t seem boring. It just unfolds one element at a time and brings a lot of intrigue to the story. In a way, Pet Sematary seems like a small, contained project. That’s good because it traps the characters in a nightmare. Strong production design and visual elements make the film seem creepier too.
All of the characters are great. The actors had strong performances and everyone seemed like a good fit for their roles. Jason Clarke plays Louis Creed, a doctor and the family’s patriarch. Clarke usually excels in the horror genre, so he works well for the part. He becomes increasingly darker as the story progresses. Creed’s intentions might seem innocent, but there will always be consequences along the way. Amy Seimetz brought a great performance to Rachel, the Creed family’s matriarch. Eventually, she becomes unglued and loses her sanity. She’s a complex character and who hides her personal demons. Rachel is very compassionate and it’s easy for the audience to feel empathy for her. John Lithgow was really creepy as Jud Crandall, the Creed family’s neighbor and close friend. He’s actually a decent guy, but Jud made serious mistakes in the past that haunt him today. It’s hard to tell where he stands. Is Jud a harmless and eccentric old man or is he hiding something darker? Jeté Laurence was fine as Ellie Creed, but I feel like things went sideways when her character dove into more sinister territory. Can I give the cat some credit? Church, the family pet, is played by four cats. He’s so cute at first, but many of us know what happens next. I really like cats, but this one was terrifying.
This film only has a couple of issues. Most importantly, Pet Sematary will be too dark and depressing for some viewers. That’s the way horror works, but it’s still a niche film to a certain extent. It’s not uplifting in any way, shape, or form. I still believe it’s a great movie, but a lot of people want a happy ending with plenty of hope in the darkness. If that’s what you want, this movie will be disappointing.
I should mention the marketing and spoilers. Basically, the trailers give away major parts of the plot. In fact, it gives away significant changes from the novel and original film. For example, we know Ellie is the one who dies in an accident, not Gage, her baby brother. Then she’s the one who returns as a zombie or demonic entity. Yeah, I’m spoiling an important part of the movie, but it’s in the marketing anyway.
Should you see Pet Sematary in theaters? I would only recommend it for major horror fans. It’s not a campy horror film. I definitely wouldn’t recommend it for children or people who scare easily. Keep in mind, it’s a great experience in theaters if you love the genre. I suppose it would be a good viewing for Stephen King fans, but it deviates from the novel. You should also buy the movie on Blu-Ray at some point and watch it in the dark. That would be a creepy experience.
Shazam! is the next film on my list. It features a troubled teenager named Billy Batson. He continually runs away from foster families, searching for his missing biological mother. After saving one of his foster brothers from school bullies, Billy is transported to a mysterious lair. An ancient wizard gives Billy his power for being pure of heart and brave. The young boy becomes a superhero called Shazam and goes through a rambunctious journey to discover his powers, identity, and the true meaning of family.
Truthfully, I was quite impressed with this film. I didn’t have very high expectations. Shazam! is a very warm and substantial movie that’s fun, whimsical, and a little bit thought provoking. Usually, films tend to be either more serious or comical. This one tackles both sides effectively. Don’t expect this film to be overly silly. It definitely has humor, but the trailers make the film seem ultra silly and that’s not the case. Everything is also comic book accurate, including the costumes. This movie has a lot of heart and I felt surprised with that element.
Overall, Shazam! is a well rounded film. It has action, humor, character development, uplifting moments, and even some darker elements. Unfortunately, it’s hard to give a lot of detail without spoilers. The trailers hide quite a bit of material from the movie. Even though the film is two hours and fifteen minutes long, it doesn’t have any pacing issues. It covers significant back stories without feeling slow. I’m not sure if any of the actors blew me away, but they were a good ensemble cast. Even the main villain, Dr. Sivana, was fine. He’s in the middle of the pack. Sivana is neither the best nor worst supervillain. This film also seems smaller than the typical DC blockbuster, but that’s okay. It focuses more on the characters and story than huge explosions with tons of CGI.
Here are my primary concerns. Zachary Levi (Shazam) and Asher Angel (Billy Batson) don’t seem like the same characters at all. They act like completely different people. Billy Batson seems more like a cool, broody kid who doesn’t want to be labeled geeky. Shazam is like a huge nerd who loves being a superhero. They’re supposed to be the same character with different bodies, but I didn’t believe the connection. It’s a little bit distracting. But it didn’t ruin the movie for me. It was still a nice experience.
I have to admit, the visual effects are pretty bad. The CGI seems cartoonish, fake, and unfinished. However, poor VFX are a recurring issue for the DC films in general. At this point, I’m expecting better visual effects. It’s a superhero movie! The visual elements should be great! Luckily, CGI isn’t the main focus of this project amyway.
Ultimately, I highly recommend seeing Shazam! in theaters. However, you don’t need to spend the extra money on IMAX or other deluxe showings. It should be a terrific family outing for many people. But it will be too scary for really small children. You probably don’t believe me, but it’s true. It would also be a great viewing for superhero fans and people who are looking for something different.
Hellboy is the final movie in this post. It’s a comic adaptation and monster flick that features our titular antihero. Hellboy is a reformed demon who works for the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense or B.P.R.D. Nimue, a Medieval witch, reemerges and raises an army of dark creatures to storm the world. Meanwhile, Hellboy must defeat evil, build a team of heroes, and fix a broken relationship with his adoptive father named Trevor Bruttenholm. Mankind’s last hopes are in the hands of supernatural misfits.
This film is definitely the least impressive example on today’s post, but it has some positive elements. It’s a surprisingly faithful adaptation of the current Hellboy comics. The characters, tone, action, and humor were ripped from the pages. Keep in mind, unfaithful adaptations can be catastrophic, including Batman and Robin, Cat Woman, the latest Fantastic Four movie (spelled Fant4stic), and Venom. At this least Hellboy respects the source material.
I was also pleasantly surprised with David Harbour’s performance as our leading man (or demon?). He’s a worthy successor to Ron Perlman with snarky humor, quirkiness, and raw masculinity. This version of Hellboy is tough as nails and still oddly human. Ron Perlman is a tricky act to follow, but David Harbour did a really good job.
The practical effects are high quality as well. Hellboy’s makeup effects have great detail and he seems like a living monstrosity instead of an actor who’s wearing prosthetics. Many of the other creatures had good practical effects too. It compensated for the poor VFX that I’ll address later.
This movie isn’t boring either. It moves along quickly, features a lot of monsters, includes strong action scenes, and gives pretty decent entertainment value. Hellboy runs for approximately two hours and twelve minutes, but it actually feels much shorter. That’s not typical in today’s cinema.
Unfortunately, this film is plagued is problems. The plot is very weak and thin. Some critics find the plot confusing, but I would say it’s overly simplistic. It’s about a witch who’s planning to destroy the world with her evil minions. Don’t overcomplicate the story. Overall, the plot doesn’t have very good direction and it lacks substance. The story also expects audiences to have a strong understanding about dark folklore and its creatures. That might contribute to the confusion. The majority of mainstream audiences are unfamiliar with creatures of ancient folklore and the film doesn’t explain these elements with enough detail.
This movie also goes way too far with the blood and gore. It’s a standard part of the Hellboy comics and some of the violence is quite entertaining. But it can also be gratuitous and unnecessary. Film makers hurt the integrity of their products when they heave blood and gore simply for the sake of making people uncomfortable. Hellboy isn’t the type of film that should make audiences feel squeamish or nauseated. Think of it this way. This movie should have gruesome violence that will make the audience giggle instead of scream or vomit. The comics are more of a dark comedy adventure than a horror serial.
Beyond David Harbour, the other characters and performances are disappointing. Milla Jovovich plays Nimue and she remains the queen of B movies. At first, I thought she was an odd casting choice. But she actually fits right into Hellboy’s messy situation. I've seen a lot of films with Jovovich and she doesn't bring anything new to this character. Ian McShane plays Bruttenholm and he’s the same character in every movie or tv show. McShane doesn’t have any range. He’s only capable of playing untrustworthy older men with a sarcastic sense of humor. Daniel Dae Kim plays Ben Daimio, a werejaguar and B.P.R.D. agent. Kim is uninteresting and flat with very little personality. I’m a big fan of cats, but this character didn’t maintain my attention. Regardless of the role, everyone except David Harbour underperformed.
The visual effects were also very weak. In general, the VFX seemed unfinished and sloppy. The film includes a lot of obvious green screen moments. Most of the monsters aren’t scary enough because they look like cheap CGI. The world building also suffers to a certain extent because the visual effects aren’t impressive. I realize Hellboy’s budget was only fifty million dollars, but the CGI needed to be better anyway.
Who should see this movie? I think Hellboy works for a niche audience. Some people really enjoy campy action films with gratuitous violence. This film fits in the mold with the Evil Dead, the Resident Evil movies, and the Underworld series. If you appreciate those films, then the Hellboy reboot might be a good choice. In fact, it will probably develop a cult following over time.
That’s the end of my triple feature. I hope you enjoyed it. Have you seen any of these movies yet? What did you think? Leave a comment, so we can have a discussion. Keep watching for more reviews, news, and photo galleries. You can always find something weird, fun, and interesting here. I’m wishing all of you a great Easter weekend. For those of you who don’t celebrate Easter, enjoy your spring season. Thanks again and I’ll see you guys next week.
Good evening! I have a pretty big game library and it's useful to review popular releases periodically. This post is going to cover Assassin's Creed: Unity, Street Fighter V, and Batman: The Telltale Series. All three of these games have very different gameplay styles, strengths, weaknesses, stories, and more. We live in a world where games are becoming more like movies and vice versa. Keep reading to see what I thought about these particular games.
Assassin's Creed: Unity is an action-adventure game that takes place during the French Revolution in 18th-century France. It features a young assassin named Arno Dorian who's trying to find out who murdered his father. During his journey, Arno reconnects with his childhood sweetheart, Elise de la Serre. Unfortunately, she's a member of the Templar Knights, the Assassin order's arch nemesis organization. The story includes espionage, political intrigue, romance, and background elements for the French Revolution. Only one side can win and that means either Arno or Elise will fail to have a happy ending.
Sadly, this game doesn't have many positive elements. However, it has a gorgeous open world environment. The player can explore 18th-century France for hours, weeks, or even months. It's a beautiful and authentic landscape with amazing detail. You can explore palaces, cities, pastoral regions, and more. This game's strongest elements are probably the graphics and map's depth.
I have a lot of criticism for this game. Unity is shockingly boring for this series. I spent half of the game hiding, following people, climbing buildings, walking through crowds, and running away. Where's the action? Assassin's Creed is supposed to have a lot of fighting and killing! I'm sorry if that sounds barbaric, but it's an essential part of the franchise. Who wants to spend several hours wandering through crowds to hide from military soldiers? I certainly don't!
More importantly, the controls and gameplay elements in general are super clunky. There's very little fluidity in the combat system and it's really easy to make mistakes. I ran into many issues, such as shooting or stabbing people by accident, climbing up walls for no reason, running in the wrong direction, and jumping off buildings to my death. It's difficult to fight quickly and efficiently. Overall, the gameplay is a mess.
I'm not impressed with the plot either. It's primarily a soap opera. Furthermore, the characters are dull and speak with English accents. I couldn't tell you why the characters have English accents in 18th-century France. There might be a strange backstory to this phenomenon, but it's moot. The characters had Italian accents in Assassin's Creed II because it took place in 16th-century Italy. If the game takes place in 18th-century France, the characters should have French accents.
Unity also has tons of glitches. I think the developers needed to spend more time on this game. The screen freezes frequently, Arno gets stuck in the scenery all the time, dead characters come back to life, and saved progress randomly disappears sometimes. It's really frustrating to repeat a chapter that was already completed. Most games have some glitches, but this is unacceptable.
I truly believe this game was a missed opportunity. This should have a been a great addition to the Assassin's Creed series. Don't bother spending money on Unity because it's such a mess. Play better games, like Black Flag, Syndicate, Odyssey, etc. There are plenty of terrific games in this franchise.
Let's move on to Street Fighter V. It's worth mentioning that Street Fighter V is only available on the PC and PlayStation 4. For some reason, it wasn't released on the Xbox One. The story vaguely follows the life of Charlie Nash, an old friend and colleague of Guile. However, it's mostly a collision between popular characters in the series. It's a battle of skill, grit, and perseverance. Bascially, it's an arcade game.
This is a wonderful game for hardcore Street Fighter fans. It has many classic characters with their skill sets from earlier games. This is like an old school arcade game with modern graphics. It's very nostalgic, fun, and appropriate for the fighting game genre. Plus, the original Street Fighter games are included on the disc. It's a great bonus.
Fortunately, everyone should be able to find a character who matches their fighting style. This game has a variety of characters and all of them are different. I tend to play well with Ryu, Ken, and other characters who use projectiles. On the other hand, I'm much weaker with larger characters who rely on grapples, like Zangief and Birdie. If you struggle with a specific character, try someone else.
It's a fun way to kill an hour or two. Street Fighter V is a nice break from role-playing games, first person shooters, open world environments, and long campaigns. It's just an old fashioned fighting game without complications. I realize complexity is becoming standardized in modern games, but simplicity can be amazing sometimes.
This game has some catches. You'll have to purchase a lot of content to unlock everything. Some of the best characters have to be purchased from the PlayStation store, including Guile and Sagat. The complete story mode is also a purchase. This will seriously bother many gamers because they want all of the content without spending extra money.
It's not a particularly impressive game either. Don't expect a complex story, a lengthy campaign, or an awe inspiring open world environment. Street Fighter V isn't the type of game you'll play every day. It's a game that some people will play periodically because it doesn't have significant variety.
Also, the dialogue is comically bad. It sounds robotic and cheesy. Honestly, it sounds like the voice actors don't care. It's probably just a paycheck for them. This game seems to have a lot of lazy writing. Even the individual story modes are limited, short, and underdeveloped.
Overall, Street Fighter V is a great game for certain individuals. It's terrific for people who love fighting games, especially the Street Fighter series. This game won't be a good choice for players who prefer first person shooters, role-playing games, or a lot of complexity. If you enjoy arcade games, give it a shot. You'll probably like it.
Batman: The Telltale Series is the final game on this post. It's a storytelling game that's told through the eyes of Bruce Wayne, aka Batman. He's a millionaire business tycoon during the day and a vigilante superhero at night. During Harvey Dent's campaign for the mayor of Gotham City, Batman has a strange encounter with a thief named Cat Woman. A long chain of disastrous events follows, including a vendetta with the Penguin, the emergence of Harvey's dual personality called Two-Face, and a terrorist uprising from the Children of Arkham. Batman has to conquer all of these enemies to keep Gotham safe.
This game has a few decent elements. It's a solid mystery with unpredictable and intriguing plot points. Even though this game struggles in some ways, the story is good enough to keep the player interested. It has quite a bit of substance for a video game.
Batman has really solid action scenes for a Telltale game. I was impressed. It's not like a first person shooter, but still cool. The player needs to press the right buttons in a particular sequence. It's fun and a little bit challenging. This game is almost like a live action comic book.
I saw a lot of Batman characters in this game, including allies and villains. It includes Alfred, Lucius Fox, Vickie Vale, Cat Woman, Harvey Dent, the Penguin, Falcone, Gordon, and other popular characters. This game should appeal to Batman fans and their love for the source material.
Unfortunately, this game suffers from a lot of pacing issues. Certain parts of the story are very slow and dull. Luckily, more exciting segments usually follow the boring ones. Telltale games can have a hard time retaining a player's attention even without pacing issues. This particular game might be a real struggle to complete for some people.
I noticed several bugs and glitches. White blotches appear on the screen, the character's hesitate, and the dialogue can be out of sync. It didn't ruin the experience for me, but I definitely noticed a lot of glitches. The situation is unusual because I don't typically see many glitches in Telltale games.
The animation seems a little bit weird as well. It's kind of like the animation from the Borderlands games. That style of animation looks fine for Borderlands, but it's an odd choice for Batman. It looks somewhat cartoonish. Although, it might be the standard animation style for the Telltale games anyway.
The characters and their backstories underwent drastic changes. Major characters die early in the game and important figures have completely different identities. Some of the changes are jarring. I appreciate the effort to make the game less predictable, but it should have been more faithful to the source material.
Here's my verdict for this Batman game. It's not a bad choice for people who love the Telltale games in general and people who want a different Batman story. Don't play this game if you have a short attention span. It's more about storytelling than bloody violence. I also wouldn't recommend it for people who primarily play first person shooters and similar genres. This game might seem pretty dull for certain individuals.
You made it to the end of this week's post! I hope these reviews will be helpful for your gaming experience. Have you played any of these games yet? Leave your thoughts in the comment section. Keep watching for more posts in the near future. You can always come back here for pop culture news and discussions. Thanks for visiting and have a good night.
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