REVIEW: HALLOWEEN (2018)

Starring

Jamie Lee Curtis (Scream Queens)
Judy Greer (Jurassic World)
Andi Matichak (Miles)
James Jude Courtney (Far and Away)
Nick Castle (Dark Star)
Will Patton (American Honey)
Virginia Gardner (Runaways)
Haluk Bilginer (Ben-Hur)
Jefferson Hall (Sherlock Holmes)
Toby Huss (R.I.P.D.)
Omar Dorsey (Selma)
P.J. Soles (Carrie)

Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween (2018)On October 29, 2018, Michael Myers, who has been in Warren County Smith’s Grove Sanitarium for forty years since his killing spree in Haddonfield, is being prepared to be transferred to a new facility. True-crime podcasters Aaron Korey and Dana Haines interview Michael’s psychiatrist Dr. Ranbir Sartain, a former student of Dr. Samuel Loomis until he died, before meeting with Michael in hopes of gaining some insight into his past actions. Aaron brandishes the mask that Michael wore in 1978, at him, to no effect.Jamie Lee Curtis and Judy Greer in Halloween (2018)In Haddonfield, Illinois, Laurie Strode is living an isolated life, in her heavily fortified house. She has been divorced twice, has a strained relationship with her daughter Karen, and has turned to alcohol. Laurie is far from happy, as the tragic events from 1978 still haunt her; she has prepared for Michael’s potential return through combat training. The following night, Michael’s transport crashes, and he escapes, killing a father and his son for their car, and returns home to Haddonfield. The following day, on Halloween, Michael spots Aaron and Dana visiting his sister Judith’s grave in the local cemetery, and follows them to a gas station, where he kills them, as well as a mechanic for his coveralls, and recovering his mask. Police officer Hawkins, who arrested Michael in 1978, learns of Michael’s getaway, and tries to convince Sheriff Barker about the danger Michael poses. Laurie discovers Michael’s getaway after overhearing a news broadcast and attempts to warn Karen and her husband Ray, but they dismiss her concerns.Halloween (2018)Later that night, Allyson, Karen’s daughter, finds her boyfriend Cameron cheating on her, and leaves with his best friend, Oscar. Michael steals a kitchen knife, and kills two women. Allyson’s best friend Vicky babysits Julian Morrisey, when Michael fatally stabs Vicky, when she sacrifices herself to protect Julian. Laurie finds Michael, and he and Laurie come face-to-face for the first time in forty years. Laurie shoots Michael, who flees, and she persuades Karen and Ray to seek protection in her house. Michael comes across Allyson and Oscar, killing the latter. Both Hawkins and Sartain, who is now working with the police, arrive just in time to save Allyson. Hawkins subdues Michael, but Sartain – obsessed with Michael’s enigmatic motivations – kills Hawkins before he can kill Michael. Sartain reveals to Allyson that he arranged for Michael’s escape to reinforce his perceived role as an ‘apex predator’ who needs to finish what he started and kill Laurie to reassert himself. Hoping to see his patient in action, Sartain is instead killed by Michael. Allyson flees to Laurie’s house, where Michael appears and kills Ray.Halloween (2018)Laurie manages to get Karen to safety, before she engages in a showdown with Michael. Laurie severely injures Michael and severs two of his fingers, but he pushes her over a balcony; when Michael goes to check Laurie’s body, he finds it missing. Karen shoots Michael in the jaw. Stunned, Michael stumbles in the hallway, when Laurie suddenly appears and attacks him, trapping him inside the basement safe room. Laurie, Karen and Allyson set the house ablaze, and then hitchhike to the back of a passing pickup truck to take the passed out Laurie to the Hospital as the house burns to the ground.Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween (2018)I don’t think it is the best film I’ve seen from that year or the best in the series, but it is still one of the better ones from it. The story is interesting enough and helps to clear up issues that were created by all of the sequels. I still like them, don’t get me wrong. I thought the acting was really good, aside from a couple of hiccups. There were some issues with some of the dialogue, but it doesn’t ruin the film for me. The effects are the same way. The score of the film was amazing. This one isn’t like the original in that it’s not stalking the people, but it is more for the body count, which a sequel normally does. I would recommend giving this film a viewing as I thought it was good.

REVIEW: THE PUNISHER (2004)

 CAST

Thomas Jane (Deep Blue Sea)
John Travolta (The Taking of Pelham 123)
Will Patton (November Man)
Roy Schneider (Seaquest)
Laura Harring (Exit To Eden)
Ben Foster (X-Men 3)
Rebecca Romijn (Ugly Betty)
John Pinette (Alf)
Samantha Mathis (Little Women)
Eddie Jemison (Izombie)
Kevin Nash (John Wick)
Marc Macauley (Swamp Thing: The Series)

MV5BMTc0NjA3NDcxMV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNTg5ODkwNQ@@._V1_SX1535_CR0,0,1535,999_AL_Way back when a character named Frank Castle made his first appearance in the pages of The Amazing Spider-Man #129. Castle’s family was mowed down by the mob in New York City and he took it upon himself to ‘punish’ all criminals from then on and he became…insert dramatic pause here… The Punisher. The character developed a solid cult following with guest appearances in later issues of Spider-Man as well as Daredevil and he was eventually given his own five issue mini series by Steven Grant and Mike Zeck in the eighties. A regular series followed a few years after that as well as a spin off series or two and a goofy straight to video film starring Dolph Lundgren. Since then series’ have been cancelled, then rejuvenated and since injecting the character with some much needed fresh blood in the form of Preacher team Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon, the comics seem to be back on track and thus, a new R-Rated big screen adaptation is born.MV5BMjI5MDkxNDA1M15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMTk5ODkwNQ@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1475,1000_AL_In this incarnation, Frank Castle (Thomas Jane – no relation to yours truly) is an undercover agent finishing his last job before he and his lovely wife and son are to go off to London to live happily ever after. When one of the hoods gets shot up and dies in the sting, he Castle finds out the hard way that he was the son of a prominent businessman, Howard Saint (John Travolta). Saint doesn’t take too kindly to the death of his son and decides to pay Castle back in spades by having his entire family killed during a party on the beach at his parent’s house.MV5BMTM1NTI0MzU4NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNzk5ODkwNQ@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1510,1000_AL_His family’s death sends Castle into a downward spiral – he starts drinking heavily and becomes a man obsessed with vengeance. He uses his special forces training to trick out some weapons and build himself a small arsenal, which will come in handy when he begins to wage his one-man war on crime. He moves into a run down apartment and befriends three of the tenants there, then proceeds to take Saint and his small army of thugs down a few pegs, proving that revenge truly is a dish best served cold.MV5BMTMxNzY0MzI2MV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNzg5ODkwNQ@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1486,1000_AL_There aren’t a whole lot of plot twists or deep, original characters in The Punisher. There aren’t any intricate, meaningful discussions on the reasons we’re all on this Earth and it doesn’t really break any new ground in any way whatsoever. What it is though, is pure, unabashed entertainment.MV5BMTQ5NDM0MTUxN15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMDk5ODkwNQ@@._V1_SX1535_CR0,0,1535,999_AL_Despite some very obvious moments where the comic strays from the source material  the character does stay reasonably true to his comic book roots. Jane does a great job as a tough man of few words – playing the strong and silent type with a bit of style and a whole lot of cool. Travolta does a nice job as the heavy, going over the top as he’s prone to do in a few scenes that make him look and sound like a walking talking comic book villain. Throw in some fun cameos and bit parts for the lovely and talented Rebecca Romijn-Stamos (X-Men), Roy Scheider (Jaws), and even professional wrestler Kevin Nash and you’ve got a good cast that do a good job with the unashamedly popcorn material they have to work with.MV5BOTg4ODc2ODU3MF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwOTg5ODkwNQ@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1529,1000_AL_Castle’s mission of vengeance is more or less a way to tie together a few different action set pieces in the film, giving the character a reason to kill. Director John Hensleigh ensures that the movie trucks along at a quick pace and that the action scenes are the focal point of the film, but still manages to work a simple but effective story into the shoot-outs and explosions we all want to see.