THERE WERE SEVERAL MISSED NOTES, BUT I continued sitting there with a smile on my face. The little girl was playing a song on the piano; something that was unfamiliar to me. Her mother had asked me to sit down and listen to her daughter play, adding she believed her little girl had a gift for playing the piano. That is not how I would have described her piano playing, but I understood she was proud of her daughter. After the girl was done playing, I applauded and complimented her. She thanked me then headed out of the room. I turned my attention back to the little girl’s mother, who was sitting there with the biggest smile on her face and her hands clasped together by her heart. I hoped she was not about to do something that I find annoying, but my hope was quickly dashed. She said, “Isn’t her piano playing exceptional?” I ask you, how could I sit there and not say something complimentary about her daughter’s playing, even if it wasn’t true?” And that is exactly what I find annoying; parents bragging about their children and expecting guests to agree with them. Why put guests in an uncomfortable position by seeking out compliments from them? What guest would not say something favorable about a parent’s child? To me the whole thing is a setup. EARLY ON, I REALIZED EVERY PARENT thinks their child is special and unique. There is nothing wrong with that; I only hope they create a supportive and loving environment for their children. Bragging to me shows a sign of insecurity in a person. Fishing for compliments tells me the person does not have enough confidence to believe in themselves. That is why I find bragging about children distasteful. It puts the child in a compromising position, where they are pressured to perform. I recall the years I took piano lessons, I never asked anyone to listen to me play. In fact, I avoided going to the piano recitals my teacher would hold with all his students. It is funny, I am just remembering a few scenes from the talent reality shows I have seen. Standing on stage is a 20- year-old who is singing off key. The performance was dreadful; yet he felt he did a wonderful job. His parents encouraged him to audition because they said he was such a good singer. I am all for supporting a child’s dreams; but how far does it go when there is an obvious lack of talent. As the judges critiqued the singer, I wondered if the parents had been fair towards their child. Heck, even the parents in this dramatic, horror sci-fi film did not want to brag about their child even though their child was indeed extraordinary. AS THEIR DAUGHTER WAS HEADING TOWARD adolescence, it was only a matter of time before her special talent would get her noticed. This was something the parents were trying to avoid; no one needed to know about their daughter as far as they were concerned. With Zac Efron (The Greatest Showman, The Beach Bum) as Andy McGee, Ryan Kiera Armstrong (The Tomorrow War, Black Widow) as Charlie McGee, Sydney Lemmon (Fear the Walking Dead-TV, Helstrom-TV) as Vicky McGee, Michae Greyeyes (Kissed by Lightning, True Detective-TV) as Rainbird and Gloria Reuben (Lincoln, Who We are Now) as Captain Hollister; this updated version of the Stephen King novel started out poor and remained there. I found Zac to be an odd choice for his character. He was too young looking and his lines were dull. The script tried to freshen up the original story and truthfully there were a few scenes that worked; however, I was bored watching this picture. I liked the musical soundtrack, but obviously that was not enough to draw me into the story. With having an unusual character in the script, one would hope there would be some high exciting drama. Sadly, this flaming film shined as bright as a low ember.
1 ¾ stars
I HAVE BEEN TOLD I HAVE a suspicious nature and to tell you the truth, I do not totally disagree with it. When I meet someone for the first time, I am polite and cordial as we exchange questions and comments; however, there is a part of me that is assessing the person, both in what they say and their mannerisms. I remember a company I worked for where on my first day, this employee came up and introduced himself to me. He asked me some benign questions at first, but then there seemed to be a couple of questions thrown in that were a little more personal. I answered them despite being wary of his purpose for such questions. As the weeks went by, we wound up having a decent work relationship. However, I still had my radar out trying to figure him out. I was always careful to maintain a professional attitude while settling into my place within the company. It was not too long before I started seeing some of this employee’s actions in an unfavorable light. He would leave early some days, others come in late; it seemed as if he was creating his own schedule. There were even some days where he just did not show up. For the fact he was in upper management, I did not question his actions; I just was getting a bad feeling about his motives. As it turned out, he was transitioning to a competitor and taking trade secrets with him. I was right to keep my distance because those employees who were closer to him had to be interviewed by upper management which led to this employee being terminated. MY RADAR HAS SERVED ME WELL in life. A friend of mine was dating a man I did not trust. There was something about him that set off my radar. Maybe it was the way he bragged about his personal possessions or his inflated ego; I just knew something was off about him. All of us would get together for dinner or a movie and each time around him my guard was up. Because I had such a close relationship with my friend, I shared my concerns with her; not in a confrontational way but expressing how I felt around him. She appreciated it but I do not know if it made a difference in how she felt about this guy. As it turned out several months later, he asked to borrow some money from her. Once she was satisfied with the answers she got to her questions, she lent him the funds. I was surprised but could not say anything, nor did I have to because she never heard from him again. There are some people you get a vibe from that you cannot trust them. This is how I felt about the main character in this action horror movie. AFTER EXPERIMENTING ON HIMSELF with a new treatment for his disease, a biochemist develops a side effect that could be lethal, but to who? With Jared Leto (House of Gucci, Suicide Squad) as Dr. Michael Morbius, Matt Smith (Last Night in Soho, The Forgiven) as Milo, Adria Arjona (Life of the Party, Pacific Rim: Uprising) as Martine Bancroft, Jared Harris (Poltergeist, The Crown-TV) as Dr. Emil Nicholas and Tyrese Gibson (Fast & Furious franchise, Black and Blue) as Agent Simon Stroud; this adventure movie was a confusing mess to me. I could not tell if the character Morbius was a good or bad character, which led me to a level of boredom. The special effects were poorly done, and the fight scenes were hyper fast with intermittent slow-motion movement, in other words not appealing or exciting. Any attempts at humor fell flat in the poorly constructed script. Throughout the picture, I never made a connection to any of the characters. Maybe it was due to the acting which was only adequate; but I was bored through most of the film. Sadly, the movie studio must be hoping for a sequel because there were 2 extra scenes during the credits.
1 ½ stars
GROWING UP, I HAD A FRIEND who was embarrassed of her father. Without knowing his age, all of us felt he was the oldest out of any of our dads. Not that it was a big deal to any of us, but to her she felt uncomfortable by it. He did not participate in any of the school functions that involved any physical activity. I do not think that was an issue for my friend because I knew what bothered her the most about her dad; he spoke with a heavy accent. Being the oldest of his siblings, he tried taking care of them in their war-torn country after their parents were killed. Some of the siblings did not make it out when he was planning for all of them to immigrate to the United States. Out of all the fathers I knew, he was the only one with an accent. It did not bother me at all; I thought he was a sweet, quiet man who despite the circumstances dealt to him and his family, he did a wonderful job of providing for his children. They owned the apartment building they lived in, and the dad had other real estate holdings, so there was some sense of security for all of them. I can say as we all grew older my friend learned more about her family history, which instilled in her a strong sense of pride for her father. SHE WAS NOT THE ONLY FRIEND I had who was embarrassed of their parents. There was the friend whose mother enjoyed participating in school functions. However, she would always come dressed inappropriately. Added to that was her over the top, loud personality. Many of the other parents tried to avoid her. Either she was oblivious or just did not care, because she never wavered in her choices of clothes and level of outrageous loud bantering. My friend would try to steer us in a different direction to avoid her mother anytime she showed up at our school. I remember one time at a school carnival, I spotted her manning the ball toss booth. From my spot away from her, I could see what she was wearing had to be upsetting some school officials. And sure enough, as I was walking towards her to say hello, our principal walked up to her and said she would have to cover herself up. I do not know if she expected it or not, but she bent over and took a sweater out of her bag. The principal told her to keep it buttoned up or she would have to leave the school. I never mentioned this to my friend. I am sure many of us at one time or another found something our parents were doing that was embarrassing; however, I do not think it was on the scope of what the young boy was experiencing in this dramatic, horror mystery. WHEN MIDDLE SCHOOL TEACHER JULIA MEADOWS, played by Keri Russell (Dark Skies, Free State of Jones), notices one of her students withdrawing more and more from the classroom lessons, she takes it upon herself to find out what is going on. However, she does not understand there is a reason why her student doesn’t want her to get involved. With Jesse Plemons (The Power of the Dog, The Irishman) as Paul Meadows, relative newcomer Jeremy T. Thomas as Lucas Weaver, Graham Greene (Wind River, Dances with Wolves) as Warren Stokes and Scott Haze (Venom, Child of God) as Frank Weaver; I found this film played out more like a suspense story than horror. However, there were a few gory scenes with blood. There is something about Keri that I always find believable, and in this story, she was quite good. Add in Jesse and I did not mind the slower pace because the 2 actors were excellent together. The buildup of tense suspense was well done, and I feel it helped as two story lines were vying back and forth. Compared to other movies in this genre, this one is not the greatest; but it still entertained me. There was nothing here that the writers and director would find embarrassing.
2 ½ stars
I CANNOT SAY I WAS DREADING the event; let me say I was just not looking forward to it. One of the reasons was due to the time, it was during the week. I do not like doing anything but my daily routine after work. The idea of having to fight traffic during rush hour to go all the way downtown was enough reason for me not to go. However, I said I would go, and I did not want to disappoint them. The other main reason I did not want to go was because it was going to be a sit-down dinner event. During the week I eat very little for dinner and more importantly, I eat it very early because I prefer to go to sleep on an empty stomach; it is one of the things I have done to lose weight. If the event called for drinks and appetizers, I could have walked around with a glass of water, and no one would have been the wiser. Except now, I would be sitting with the other guests at large round dinner tables and being served a full-size meal. And that brings up another reason why I wasn’t too thrilled to attend; I would be sitting with people I did not know. There is nothing more awkward than sitting next to people who do not know the basics of carrying on a conversation. When it happens to me, I wind up sounding like a news reporter as I ask them question after question to fill the silence. A SUIT AND TIE WAS NOT required gratefully, so I dressed in a button-down shirt, sweater and slacks. The traffic was heavy as I expected, but it never came to a dead stop on the expressway. Because I was arriving a little after 5 pm, I was able to find a parking spot in a parking lot close to the restaurant. My friend was waiting for me in the restaurant’s waiting area when I arrived, and we immediately went into the banquet room. I won’t bore you with the details of the pre-dinner chatter and introductions; but I will tell you I was grateful when we were told to take a seat at the tables. Finding a seat, I would up sitting next to an unfamiliar guest. Once our table was full, introductions were made by each of us. The guest next to me had flown in from out of town and we hit it off immediately. We talked about my yoga and fitness classes, her trek from growing up in the Midwest to the career that took her out east. The entire time during the meal, we kept up a steady chatter that was fun and informative. After expecting to have a dull and boring time, I wound up having a good time. The same thing happened to me when I went to see this mystery, horror thriller. IT HAS BEEN 25 YEARS OF peaceful calm for the town of Woodsboro, since it was terrorized by a serial killer known as Ghostface. However, someone in the town wants to bring back the killer. With Neve Campbell (Wild Things, Skyscraper) as Sidney Prescott, Courtney Cox (3000 Miles to Graceland, Bedtime Stories) as Gale Weathers, David Arquette (Never Been Kissed, Mob Town) as Dewey Riley, Melissa Barrera (In the Heights, Vida-TV) as Sam Carpenter and Jack Quaid (The Hunger Games franchise, Logan Lucky) as Richie Kirsch; this latest installment in the franchise surprised me. I vaguely remembered the original movie and was concerned I needed to see it before this one, but that was not the case. The writers did a good job of mixing old with the new and doing it in an amusing way at times. There were several bloody scenes which as you know is not my thing, but the director did not dwell on them for long. I cannot say I believed the story entirely; however, with the steady pacing and the sense of nostalgia, I stayed engaged for the most part. Keep in mind, I was expecting the worst but wound up enjoying it.
2 ½ stars
ZOMBIES WALK AMONG US; I HAVE seen them. No really, I have encountered them, and I will show you how to spot them. Like me, I assume when you hear the word “zombie” you immediately think about a decaying corpse like body that is alive and roaming about, usually with some difficulty. This is the image that usually comes to mind for me. I ask you, what is the one thing on a zombie’s “mind?” Or put another way, what is a zombie’s main drive that keeps them searching and searching everywhere they go? I will tell you; they are constantly hungry for human flesh. All they want essentially is to eat human beings. They are not interested in striking up a conversation; they do not care if you are dressed in your finest or your grubbiest clothing; they simply want to take a bite out of you. Think about it; have you ever met someone who only has one thing on their mind? I know I have and that is why I refer to such individuals as zombies. Another label that might help, but is not as effective in my opinion, is the term “energy vampire.” This was a term that was used to describe a person who sucks out all the energy in a room whenever they are in it. In other words, they keep any and everyone’s focus directed on them to the point where one just feels exhausted being in the same room as the “energy vampire.” I HAD AN ACQUAINTANCE WHO I considered to be a zombie. This person’s entire being was devoted to acquiring and keeping money. Do not laugh, I am being serious here. Anytime a group of us would go out to dinner, this person would always order the most expensive item on the menu. The reason being, we always would just split the bill among us. They used to order alcoholic drinks with their meal but stopped after I told the waitress to put the alcohol on a separate bill. No matter what the venue or retail place, this person would spend an exorbitant amount of time trying to figure out how to get something free or cheaper than anyone else. To me, they were a money zombie. I used to work with a person who had no scruples; they would do anything to get ahead at the company. From bad mouthing fellow employees, to stealing customers by purposely discarding items and emails meant for other employees, to make them look like they were not doing their job; this horrible employee was appalling. This person was a work zombie and hateful; all they thought about was how they could advance in their position. I could have really used one of the main stars in this action, crime horror film by my side when I used to work at that company. THE OFFER WAS TOO GOOD TO believe from the billionaire casino owner, except for the part about infiltrating a city filled with zombies. With Dave Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy franchise, My Spy) as Scott Ward, Ella Purnell (Never Let Me Go, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children) as Kate Ward, Ana de la Reguera (Collisions, The Popcorn Chronicles) as Maria Cruz, Omari Hardwick (American Skin, Sorry to Bother You) as Vanderohe and Theo Rossi (Ghosts of War, Luke Cage-TV) as Burt Cummings; I admired the concept for the zombies in this film, along with the idea behind the story. The action scenes were big and graphic which played well in the locale that was the setting for this story. The characters were your typical type in a zombie film, but I enjoyed them, nonetheless. There were a couple of predicaments that were predictable, to the point where I wondered why the other characters could not see it as well. The other issue I had was the length of the film; it was too long. With some editing, I think this picture would have been more exciting and quicker to play out. For a zombie movie, this one had some good points and some not so good ones.
2 ½ stars
NOT KNOWING WHERE SHE LIVED ONLY added more fear about what she could do to us. My friends and I were afraid of her to the point if we saw her walking on the sidewalk towards us, we would cross the street to the other side to avoid making eye contact with her. She would be spotted around the neighborhood, always pulling a shopping cart behind her that usually had a bag or two in it. I never saw her around my elementary school, but I would see her sometimes walking down my street which always scared me. If I was alone, I would run back inside our home; if a couple of friends were with me, we would hide and watch as she made her way down the street. Her gray hair was usually piled high on top of her head, always covered with some type of hat. Even with keeping my distance away from her, I could see that her eyeballs looked too big for their sockets; they always looked like they were about to fall out, which only added an extra level of creepiness to her. There were a few large moles on her face and neck that were dark, giving the appearance of attached leeches that were sucking the blood out of her skin. Another distinctive feature was her short, bowed legs. She looked like she could easily roll off her legs. THE FIRST TIME I SAW HER, I did not immediately think she was a terror. To a very young me, she looked quite different from other women, but I did not have any opinion about her. It was the older kids of the neighborhood who told me and my friends to stay away from her because she was a mean witch. Being as young as we were, we believed them and started to follow their lead. I remember one winter when I was walking home from school, I saw a couple of older boys hiding behind a parked car. The woman was walking across the street from them and as she passed them the boys stood up, threw snowballs at her then ran down the alley away from her. I did not know what to do; however, I was grateful that I was ahead of her; so, she knew the snowballs did not come from me. Based on what I was told, I was afraid she might kidnap and torture me. The entire time I lived in the neighborhood, every kid knew about her. It was not until my high school reunion where I found out she was a friend’s grandmother. How in the world did such a story about her come to fruition? I had to wonder if it got started the same way as the story did in this horror thriller. THOUGH A POOR AREA OF CHICAGO was recently gentrified, there still was lingering a story about a horrific event and what was created from it. No one in the neighborhood was safe. With Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (The Matrix Resurrections, The Trial of the Chicago 7) as Anthony McCoy, Teyonah Parris (If Beale Street Could Talk, Dear White People) as Brianna Cartwright, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett (The Kid Who Would be King, Misfits-TV) as Troy Cartwright, Colman Domingo (Selma, Lincoln) as William Burke and Kyle Kaminsky (DriverX) as Grady Greenburg; this sequel presented a fresh, new approach to the franchise. I thought the filming and the style of the film was a great contrast to the story line. Due to the years that have passed, I did not have a good memory of the original film; so, I am not sure if I missed any inside story/event in this movie. There were several scenes of blood, but they were brief and not in too much detail, which I appreciated. I enjoyed the suspense aspect with its steady buildup. Based on the things I saw in this film; I much prefer sticking to my old neighborhood than a re-gentrified one, like the one depicted in this picture.
WE WERE SITTING IN THE RESTAURANT that we had not been to in three years. I was the one who remembered where they were located. When we made the reservations, I asked my friend if he was going to get the same entree, he got last time; he said he could not remember what he had eaten there three years ago. Now you may be wondering what is wrong with me that I could remember what he had ordered. Here is the thing; there are certain events or things where I can remember them down to the littlest details. At this restaurant three years ago, I had ordered the Salmon Rice Bowl and my friend had ordered Egg Noodle Spaghetti with Meatballs. He could not stop raving about his meal, saying it was one of the best spaghetti and meatballs meals he had ever eaten. I thought for sure he would have remembered it since I could, and I did not even taste his meal. Because I have always had this ability to remember things in detail, my friends had to point out that I was not the “norm.” I can remember what guests wore at a party I attended 30 years ago. The mind certainly can-do extraordinary things is all I can say about it. The weird thing is there are times where I cannot remember what I did a couple of days ago, yet I can recall something from decades ago. ANOTHER FRIEND OF MINE REREADS THE same books and watches the same movies over because she cannot remember them. I find this puzzling. With all the movies I have seen in my lifetime, I may not be able to tell you every detail about it; but I can tell you whether I liked it or not and roughly what it was about. The same goes for the books I have read; I cannot understand how she cannot remember seeing or reading them. And I want to state she does not have a medical issue that would be the cause of her forgetfulness. I am not placing judgement here; I just find it a fascinating situation. For example, back in the late 70’s I saw a horror film that frightened me. I had a hard time afterwards looking at louvered closet doors without feeling a chill go up my spine. The movie was tense and scary, just what one wants in a horror film. Having that memory still of the first of what became a film franchise, I wanted to see this movie, which I am reviewing today, to experience that scare factor once again. HAVING THOUGHT THE KILLER MICHAEL WAS dead, the childhood town of his begins to experience the same type of terror that was all too familiar. With Jamie Lee Curtis (Freaky Friday, Knives Out) as Laurie Strode, Judy Greer (13 Going on 30, Ant-Man franchise) as Karen, Andi Matichak (Assimilate, Miles) as Allyson, Will Patton (No Way Out, The Postman) as Officer Hawkins and Anthony Michael Hall (The Dark Knight, Foxcatcher) as Tommy Doyle; this horror thriller made it a point to share the original story clips within its plot. As for the scare factor, I felt nothing like I did with the original movie. It seemed to me as if the writers relied on scene after scene of gruesome killings. It became quite predictable; so, there was nothing I found surprising. I disliked the ending of the film, finding it ridiculous. The only character I had interest in was the one portrayed by Jamie Lee Curtis. If you have never seen a movie out of this franchise, you might find parts you like in this picture. I on the other hand was bored most of the time. There was an extra scene in the middle of the ending credits.
1 ¾ stars
I USED TO SIT QUIETLY BACK and watch his buddies try to emulate him. There were three of them who would follow him all around the school. I will admit he had a certain swagger that made the other students in the school move out of his way. To me, he was just a big bully. His friends knew better than to ever contradict anything he said or did; they went along like sheep following a shepherd. I came close to becoming one of their prime “victims” for abuse and entertainment. One of the friends for a short time did focus on me, hoping to start a fight to impress his friend. I knew better than to get involved when any of them were together; it would have been a lose situation for me all around. Until I built up the courage to fight back, I would daydream about the different ways I could hurt this one friend. I wanted to be someone else who could intimidate a person just by my looks, meaning muscular and tall. When I saw who was getting picked on from this group, I noticed it was usually a more introverted student who did not necessarily look like most of the student population. Let us face it, if someone was wearing something considered unusual, that could not be found in any current fashion magazines or commercial advertisements, they usually would become an easy target. THERE WAS ONE STUDENT IN PARTICULAR who was this group’s favorite prey. The poor student did not have a chance; he was short with a slight build, who had unruly hair and wore what looked like hand me down clothes. The level of abuse that was inflicted on him ranged from a single shove into a locker door to punching him in the stomach followed by spitting on him. No boy ever came to his defense, only a couple of girls would try to defuse the abusive acts. One day we were sitting together in the bleachers and talked about our similar experiences with bullies. He said he wished he could have one day where he could take revenge on all those who attack him. I asked what type of revenge, curious to know if it was like my own thoughts on how I could get even. Throughout the class period we joked about the things we would do, each time getting more and more outrageous with the means we would use to get even with our abusers. I would be lying if I did not say one of us wished we could do what the high school student found herself doing in this comedic, horror thriller. AFTER BEING THE TARGET FOR SEVERAL fellow students, a mystical dagger transforms Millie, played by Kathryn Newton (Blockers, Big Little Lies-TV), into a different person, who only has one thing on their mind. With Vince Vaughn (Fighting with My Family, Term Life) as The Butcher, Celeste O’Connor (Wetlands, Selah and the Spades) as Nyla Chones, Misha Osherovich (The Goldfinch, History-TV) as Josh Detmer and relative newcomer Emily Holder as Sandra; this movie had more entertainment value than I would have imagined. I thought Vince and Kathryn had great screen presence and really dug into their characters in a campy and fun way. Vince especially did a good job to stay on the edge of being a real character instead of a caricature of one. The script was part satire and part homage to slasher films. Now there were a few bloody scenes, but they were quick to pass. For those who wished they had fought back the bullies in their life, this film may tickle your past fantasies of fighting back in a very dark way. The one part that doesn’t seem to have been addressed in reviews is the fun way the writers showed attraction goes beyond the surface.
FOR THE PAST COUPLE OF MONTHS, I have been keeping track of my friends’ and family members’ experiences inside a movie theater. I wasn’t interested in hearing about the movie as much as hearing if everyone in the theater was following the safety protocols. Though I have been fully vaccinated for a few months, my comfort level was low for sitting inside a movie theater with a bunch of strangers. From the comments I received, the movie theaters were sticking to their policy of blocking out the seats around the one the patron picked. In every hallway there was a little stand set up that had sanitizing wipes for people to take to wipe down their seat. My friends also told me all the employees were masked and the water fountains were blocked off from use. Since there was no way to know who was vaccinated, I heard there was a mix of masked and unmasked people sitting in the theater. I knew I would not be comfortable going into a crowded theater; so, I ruled out Friday and Saturday as an option to go to the theater. I also knew there would be no way I could go to an opening weekend release of a film that had gotten a lot of positive buzz and/or was being labeled as a blockbuster. After accumulating this information, the past several weeks, I decided to look for a movie I could go to on a weeknight. IT TOOK ME A COUPLE OF weeks to find a film time that would fit my schedule, but it finally happened last week. The movie was playing right after work; I knew I would be able to get there in time if that theater chain was still showing 20-22 minutes of previews like they were doing pre-pandemic. I had chosen a seat on the aisle in the last row. When I purchased the ticket online, I was the only person scheduled to see the film at the time; I was feeling better about the whole movie going experience. The fact that it has been 16 months since I have been in a movie theater, I was hoping to see a recently released summer picture. However, that was not the case; I was going to see a sequel that had been out for a couple of months. Luckily, I enjoyed the first movie enormously; so, chances were good that I would enjoy the sequel. I look at sequels like baked desserts. One can make the same dish several times and either one time the item doesn’t taste as good as the others made before or something unknown happens that alters the outcome of the dessert. It is a mystery to me. Regarding this dramatic, horror science fiction sequel; it did not disappoint me in the least. FORCED FROM THEIR HOME, THE ABBOTT family discovers there are other horrors taking place in the world besides alien creatures. With Emily Blunt (Mary Poppins Returns, Into the Woods) as Evelyn Abbott, Millicent Simmonds (Wonderstruck, Andi Mack-TV) as Regan Abbott, Cillian Murphy (The Dark Knight, In the Heart of the Sea) as Emmett, John Krasinski (The Hollars, 13 Hours) as Lee Abbott and Noah Jupe (Honey Boy, Ford v. Ferrari) as Marcus Abbott; this sequel matched the intensity of the first film. Kudos to John in his directing because I enjoyed the way the tension got built up, along with the incredible acting with extra credit for Emily and Millicent. Like the original movie, the dialog was sparse in this one; yet, I did not find myself ever getting disengaged from the story. The only difference to tell you the truth, was the fact that there was no element of surprise in the discovery of the aliens. Having said that, I feel viewers who did not see the first movie would still enjoy this one just as much as I did. For all my nervousness about going to the theater, this was the perfect picture to welcome me back to my former home away from home.
3 ½ stars
EVERY TIME I WALKED INTO THEIR house; I was always hit with a mix of different smells. One time it could be cedar, vanilla and dust; well at least I thought it smelled like dust. Another time I would smell a combination of wet grass, sawdust and sandalwood. I always wanted to know where these scents were coming from, but it was impossible to narrow it down to a specific spot in their house. You see, there was so much stuff packed into their house, it was hard to decipher which one item or more were emitting the aroma. Not that their house was messy, it was not. Everything had a place; it was just their house had more places than any other house I had visited. I liked visiting this couple because there was always something new to find whenever I would be allowed to play in one of their children’s rooms, when I was a small boy. One time, when I was playing in their basement, I found a stack of old newspapers that were brittle and yellow. Looking at the dates, I realized they had been keeping these papers for over 30 years. I asked them why and they said that it was proof of the historical events that happened in our lifetime. It did not make too much sense to me, since the newspapers were disintegrating from age. AS THE COUPLE GOT OLDER, MORE types of different smells floated through the house. For some reason the inside of the house did not look as bright as it did when I was younger. Maybe the paint had dulled over the years or the lights and lamps were dimmed with age. Or maybe, the house was darker because there was more stuff in it; I really wasn’t sure. Not that it stopped me from visiting the two; I still enjoyed my visits with them. Though I have to say their cooking skills diminished greatly. Whenever we were having a meal with them, there was always some food dish that was either not cooked long enough or burnt. I remember one time there was a plate of my favorite, chocolate chip cookies. The bottoms were nearly black from overcooking and when I tried to bite into one, my teeth could barely break the cookie apart. All I could taste was the overcooked parts; they were so bitter and strong that I could not taste any chocolate. Now despite these, let us say, inconveniences; I still enjoyed spending time with them and listening to their stories. They had such interesting things to talk about and I was always a willing participant to hear what they had to say. I felt the same way about the married couple in this horror, mystery thriller. FOR THE MANY YEARS LORRAINE AND Ed Warren, played by Vera Farming (The Departed, Bates Motel-TV) and Patrick Wilson (Young Adult, The Phantom of the Opera) had experienced demonic forces, the possession of a young man would unleash a force they had never seen before. With Ruairi O’Connor (Teen Spirit, Handsome Devil) as Arne Cheyenne Johnson, Sarah Catherine Hook (Monsterland-TV, The Valley-TV) as Debbie Glatzel and John Noble (The Lord of the Rings franchise, Running Scared) as Kastner; this latest installment of the franchise started out with an interesting story line. I thought Vera and Patrick really sold this film because the script was too blurred in its message. At times I found myself being confused with what timeline I was watching, and the scary thrills were just not there for me. Then suddenly a scene would start that grabbed my attention because it was frightfully intense. If Patrick and Vera were not in this movie, it would have received a lower rating; it already had a tired feeling to it. Hopefully the next installment will go back to its roots where it made a name for itself.