Okay, I typically HATE modern horror remakes because they feel like little more than soulless cash grabs. For example, the A Nightmare on Elm Street remake was basically just the same goddamn movie as the old one, but less good. There have been plenty of good horror remakes, but most of them were before the turn of the century (The Thing, The Fly, etc.). The most recent good horror remake I can think of is Zack Synder's Dawn of the Dead, and that was over a decade and a half ago.
Well, much to my surprise, I actually enjoyed the Child's Play remake. I never expected to like a Chucky remake, especially one that doesn't have Brad Dourif voicing my favorite psycho killer doll, but I found the movie to be entertaining. It has issues, but it avoids the failings of other remakes by actually doing something different. I didn't feel like I was watching a rehash of the old Chucky movies, but rather a new story and a new take on the Chucky character. In fact, it is so different, part of me wonders if this didn't start out as something completely different at the script level and they just turned it into a Child's Play remake just to get people to care.
Thankfully, Chucky is not a CGI character, but a prop on set, which enhances the creepiness of him. And I found his character this time around to be somewhat of an innocent. The old Chucky (who we all adore) was an unrepentant psychotic killer, and was great for his wisecracks and unapologetic evilness. This Chucky is a damaged smart device that learns bad behavior throughout the film, which gives him more sympathy than the previous version of the character. While my heart is always with the old Chucky, this version was different enough to stand on its own, and Mark Hamill voice's this take perfectly with the right level of kiddy cuteness, and gets his laughs throughout the movie as well.
I also liked most of the cast, especially Aubrey Plaza as the mom....its really weird seeing her play a mom in films now, but hey, lol. The actor that played Andy this time around was older than the original and good at interacting with the doll.
The movie is funny when it tries to be, creepy when it tries to be, and is genuinely fun when it tries to be. And like I said, this more innocent take on Chucky gives the film a little bit more heart than I was expecting as he is genuinely trying to be Andy's friend and doesn't understand how to do that properly, which again, I appreciate the different take.
Now it isn't perfect. Some of my issues: The kids that befriend Andy are a little annoying, and certain aspects are a little rushed like Andy's isolation and people thinking he's crazy for blaming Chucky. Also, it felt a little weird that the kid didn't try to get rid of Chucky the moment he realized he was violent. Still, the good outweighed the positives.
Overall, a good Horror remake. 7/10
Oh and that Buddi song is going to be stuck in my head forever.
Doctor Sleep (2019)
I really enjoyed this. It was like watching two different movies, comparing the first half to the second half, but I really did like the way the film was shot and the use of non diegetic sounds which was amplified, viewing it in a cinema with surround sound. It's been a while since I last saw The Shining, but it kept my interest and curiosity when they referred back to it, especially the hotel. Rebecca Ferguson is a gem and the acting isn't bad from most of the characters. 8/10
I have read that Martin Scorsese's upcoming film 'The Irishman' is 3 Hours 29 Minutes long. Here in Australia, cinemas are going to re-introduce Intermission so that cinema-goes can have a rest half-way through the film.
Glass = This movie rounds out the M Night Shyamalan's trilogy that began with Unbreakable and continued with Split. The twist that Split took place in the same universe as Unbreakable was actually an interesting one and opened the door up for this tale to be told with all three major characters from these films to be brought together. The idea of Bruce Willis' David Dunn (The Overseer), Samuel L. Jackson's Elijah Price (Mr. Glass), and James McEvoy's Kevin Wendall Crumb (The Horde) all being brought together is legitimately interesting and I'll credit Shymalan for having sort of a mini redemption with Split and managing to create a sequel that people actually wanted to see.
The end result was an interesting film as all three characters find themselves kept in an institution and treated for their "delusions" that they have special powers. Admittedly, the film has issues, and a classic MNS twist serves to head scratch rather than elevate the story. However, I found that setting most of the film in the institution was nice and allowed for Jackson and McEvoy to carry the film (Willis was lifeless as per usual in the last 15 years or so). McEvoy's performance in both Split and this is one of the most interesting I've seen in the last few years. Shymalan typically gets flack for sucking the personality out of his actors, so to see such a lively, unpredictable, off the wall performance from McEvoy is actually a rare piece of evidence to the contrary.
It is a flawed film for sure, but thankfully, the actors are able to elevate it far above the worst of M Night's catalog of films. It might be a disappointment to fans of the first two films (BTW, the film relies heavily on the audience having seen the first two films) but I found it to be engaging enough to be worth a watch. 6.5/10
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World = From one trilogy conclusion to another, the third and apparently final film of Dreamworks' How to Train Your Dragon trilogy was solidly entertaining. For most of the film's run time, it is beautifully animated and the characters that were so charming and likable in the first two films are so once again here. I guess if I had to knock it for anything, it is some of the side characters having little or nothing to do but provide weird running gags that hardly go anyway, but everything else kind of fits with the other two films. As is, it is a perfectly entertaining sequel that didn't really break much new ground. HOWEVER, the ending was just about perfect and was the right way to close out the series. The ending felt just right and capped off and overall entertaining flick. If you are a fan of the earlier movies, there is no reason you wouldn't like this one too, and if you like Toothless being adorable, you are going to love it every time he is on screen. Also, it is nice to see an animated film for kids that isn't just loaded with pop culture references, and isn't loud and crazy to keep their attention the whole time. 7.5/10
Toy Story 4 = I dreaded seeing this film as like most others that were critical of the film before it was released, I didn't see much reason to continue the Toy Story, uh, story. The third installment was about as close to perfect as an ending could be, and anything that gets released after it would only feel like a cash grab. After finally seeing the movie, I can say that for the first 30-40 minutes or so, I was actually kind of digging the movie. The set up for the story and Woody's development seemed to be going in a good direction and Forky seemed like an interesting character as well. Unfortunately, the movie seems to go downhill once they reach the antique shop. There are so many new characters introduced and character arcs for them, that it almost becomes too much to keep track of. The Key and Peele characters were a little annoying (though not as bad as the initial teaser suggested), Gabby Gabby (voiced quite well by Christina Hendricks) is given a sympathetic arc, but it also the villain and she never redeems herself though the movie gives her a happy ending anyway, and Buzz is unfortunately hindered by a bizarre "inner voice" running gag that got annoying after repeated usage. The focus of the story keeps changing back and forth and it all just got messy towards the end of the film.
I don't think the movie is a disaster. It still has charming moments, the characters are (mostly) fun, and it is beautifully animated. However, if this is the best they could do after Toy Story 3, then they probably would have been better served to leave the series alone. Before, there was some debate over which one was the weakest Toy Story film, but I think Toy Story 4 puts that debate to rest forever (until they make more of them...) 5.5/10
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark = I grew up with the original books with those all too awesome illustrations by Stephen Gammell. That said, I wasn't sure how these stories would work as a movie. I always felt the best way to do these would have been to do animated adaptations of the tales with a visual style that mimicked the illustrations. What they did instead was basically borrow elements from the stories and sort of piece together a narrative to tie them altogether in a Stranger Things style tale involving a bunch of kids...and it does not work.
I guess they set the story in 1968 just so they could get around not having cell phones and instant communication, while also not setting it in the 80s to draw even more comparisons to Stranger Things and other shows and movies trying to jump on the 80s nostalgia train. However, it hardly ever feels like 1968 except for force references to Nixon and the Vietnam War. As for the scary parts, those are mostly executed poorly and don't invoke real any real scares, nor do they feel like the illustrations come to life. My biggest fear with this film was that they were just using the title to get people to go see a run of the mill horror movie and...yeah that's pretty much what it is. Its nothing you haven't seen before, and if you remember the old books, best to just dust off your old copies and re-read those than sit through this film, which I found to be dull, uninteresting, and forgettable. The nicest thing I can say about this movie is that the acting isn't atrocious, so credit to the mostly unknown actors, but the material gives them little to work with. 2/10