WEEKEND BOX OFFICE ESTIMATES SEPT 22-24

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Complete estimates are in for the weekend box office

(Remember, clicking the highlighted links brings you to the reviews here at The Movie Madhouse!)

1. “Kingsman:The Golden Circle” $39 Million

2. “It” $30 Million

3. “The LEGO Ninjago Movie” $21.2 Million

4. “American Assassin” $6.25 Million

5. “Home Again” $3.3 Million

6. “Mother!” $3.2 Million

7. “Friend Request” $2.4 Million

8. “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” $1.85 Million

9. “Stronger” $1.7 Million

10. “Wind River” $1.26 Million

 

source: Box Office Mojo

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HORROR YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: THE HOUSES OCTOBER BUILT 2 (2017)

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THE HOUSES OCTOBER BUILT 2 (2017)

(Clicking the highlighted links brings you to corresponding reviews and articles here at The Movie Madhouse!)

The Houses October Built was a  fun found footage horror with a simple premise. During the Halloween season, five friends decide to take an RV road trip to seek out and find the most extreme and scary Halloween attractions they can, documenting it all on camera…of course they got more than they bargained for. The sequel picks up a year later with the group having become internet celebrities due to the broadcasting of their predicament at the hands of The Blue Skeleton on social media. Now Halloween haunts are paying them to come and promote their attractions…all but Brandy (Brandy Schaefer) who is still traumatized. Brandy…now known on the net as “coffin girl”…however, is the one the haunts all want promoting their attractions and the gang have to do a lot of convincing…and paying…to get her back in. Brandy eventually agrees, not knowing that someone is watching them and that the The Blue Skeleton group may not be done scaring them yet.

First flick was a lot of fun as it both worked both as a horror flick, yet also dove into the underground world of Halloween haunts. This sequel does the same but opens it up to include Zombie 5k’s and even an “adult” themed haunt. The script by director and actor Bobby Roe, with cast member Zack Andrews, cleverly gets the gang back out there by having them now being paid by the haunts themselves to do what they did last time. Roe keeps the found footage format somewhat, but this one plays more like a movie which works as the feel of legitimate found footage was one of the weaker aspects the first time around. The group’s use of a drone, also opens up the scale with some frequent aerial photography. This sequel does take a little while to get going and may not be as consistently Halloween spirited as the last one, but once things start to get spooky, when our group…Brandy in particular…are being stalked, it gets as fun as the last one. It also has a few surprises up it’s sleeve, especially when the group meets their intended fate at the Hellbent attraction where the familiar blue skull-ed creepers spring their trap. It provides an intense and entertaining last act and shows Bobby Roe has matured as a filmmaker, somewhat, providing some legitimate chills.

The main cast, Zack Andrews, Mike and Bobby Roe, Jeff Larson and Brandy Schaefer, all return and are certainly fine, basically playing themselves. Schaefer stands out as she has the most emoting to do with her character being a reluctant participant, who is still haunted by almost being buried alive. Brandy has a couple of strong scenes expressing her fears and concerns over returning to these underground haunts and the climax gives her some solid material to work with. She would make a good final girl in a straight up horror. Mikey Roe also has some screen charisma as lovable party animal and joker of the group.

This was an enjoyable sequel and with some clever writing they may be able to get at least one more chapter out of this franchise. This follow-up pretty much equaled the first flick, which was a fun look at extreme Halloween haunts and a sometimes spooky little horror flick, too. The sequel freshens things up by opening up it’s spectrum of interested to include other types of Halloween attractions and figures out a way to get it’s characters back out there, after being scared out of their wits the last time. It does take a while to get going and the Halloween spirit isn’t as consistent as the last time…maybe too much of it was shot in the daytime?…but it does deliver some goods, especially in the last act. If you liked the first The Houses October Built you might enjoy this second romp as well and it would make a nice double feature during the spooky season to watch both films together.

3 scary clowns…they return too!

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REVIEW: BABY DRIVER (2017)

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BABY DRIVER (2017)

Baby (Ansel Elgort) is a music loving getaway driver for crime boss Doc (Kevin Spacey). Doc caught Baby stealing his car, but was so impressed by his technique and driving that he is letting him work off his infraction by employing the orphaned young man to get his robbery teams out quick. Baby has almost worked off his dept and wants out, especially when he meets beautiful and sweet waitress Debora (Lily James), who steals his heart. But Doc isn’t about to let Baby get away that easy and when a big job brings in loose cannon Batz (Jamie Foxx), Baby might be in for the ride of his life…and maybe his last ride, too!

Written and directed by Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead), this is a routine crime thriller energized by having the action synced up with the film’s awesome soundtrack of classic tunes. In this aspect the film is impressive, especially on a technical level and does have some really energetic chase sequences when the law are in hot pursuit. The romance is also very hip and sweet between Baby and the captivating Debora and we believe these two kids are in love. The film is, overall, fun from start to finish, but does falter once the soundtrack syncing starts to wear out it’s novelty and we realize that underneath Wright’s showmanship is just another crime thriller about a good man in with some bad people. It follows the formula very closely, so it’s no spoiler to know that Baby’s plans to go away with Debbie are going to be thwarted by Doc, the last big job will go awry and we know Baby will be forced to go up against his former “friends” when Debbie gets caught in the middle. Even while very predictable, this is still an enjoyable thriller and Wright’s style of telling the familiar tale does freshen things up for a while. Edgar Wright may not always be the most original filmmaker in terms of his stories, but he is one of the more innovative ones when it comes to how he tells them.

The cast is really on target with Ansel Elgort being a handsome and charming young rogue with the beautiful Lily James being quite captivating as the sassy and sweet apple of his eye. They have chemistry and their scenes together are engaging, as they should be. Kevin Spacey is having a blast as the eccentric Doc and even manages to give the crime boss a little bit of heart underneath the bad guy veneer. Jon Hamm and Eiza González also sizzle as a married couple who are a modern day Bonnie and Clyde with González being a suitably sexy bad girl and Hamm being a likable bad-ass who becomes a real beast when things go wrong. Jamie Foxx is fine as Batz, though the character sometimes seemed a little too reckless to have lived this long in this business. Jon Bernthal also appears briefly as another member of Doc’s rotating crime team who doesn’t like that Baby never gets his hands dirty. A good cast who get the tone of the material and has a good time with their characters.

In conclusion this was a fun movie with a great soundtrack and some top notch action and editing. The romance elements were hip and sweet and the film only falters when it’s soundtrack syncing gimmick looses steam and we realize we’ve seen this movie many, many times before…thus making it predictable. It’s still worth watching, though, especially for the hip cast, fast action and awesome tunes, but by the end we do realize that this car is actually an old model, just one with shiny new rims.

-MonsterZero NJ

3 bullets.

 

 

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FAREWELL AND RIP BERNIE CASEY!

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Bernard Terry Casey 1939-2017

It is with a very heavy heart that MonsterZero NJ’s Movie Madhouse reports the passing of the talented Bernie Casey. Casey started his acting career in 1969 and had a prolific career in films and TV from classics like Boxcar Bertha and Cornbread, Earl and Me to action films like Never Say Never Again and Under Siege. The former football player was also known to horror fans by appearing as the lead gargoyle in the classic TV movie Gargoyles, in William Crain’s blaxploitation classic Dr. Black, Mr. Hyde and an appearance in John Carpenter’s In The Mouth Of  Madness. A talented actor who has left a diverse legacy of film and TV roles to remember him by.

-MonsterZero NJ

Source: internet

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NETFLIX’S “THE PUNISHER” GETS A TRAILER!

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Netflix may be keeping the release date for it’s new series The Punisher a secret for now, but they have finally released a trailer for the upcoming Marvel adaptation. Jon Bernthal stars as vigilante Frank Castle aka “The Punisher” who is avenging the death of his family.

Source: Youtube

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THE TOMB RAIDER REBOOT GETS A TRAILER!

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Warner Bros and MGM are rebooting the Tomb Raider film series and the new flick is due 3/16/18. We are getting our first look with a new trailer which shows lots of action as fans will expect. The real draw here is that this new version is directed by Roar Uthaug (The Wave) and stars sexy Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina) as a young Lara Croft. Will it be better than the Angelina Jolie vehicles? Only time will tell. Screenplay is by Geneva Robertson-Dworet who is also writing the upcoming Captain Marvel film.

Source: Youtube

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BARE BONES: A GHOST STORY (2017)

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A GHOST STORY (2017)

Supernatural drama tells the story of a young couple (Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara) whose lives are shattered when the husband is killed in a car accident right outside their home. His spirit returns to the house and watches as his wife grieves, heals, moves on and eventually moves out. Now it is his spirit that needs to learn to move on as he haunts the house and anyone that comes to live in it.

Written and directed by David Lowery, this is a somber yet effective story of grief and healing told interestingly from the perspective of the deceased. Lowery also has the audacity to have his silent, brooding ghost portrayed simply by having his actor wear a sheet with the eyes cut out and it works. It is definitely not a movie for everyone as Lowery lets scenes linger for a very long time, but these scenes have resonance and Lowery achieves a lot with silence in terms of telling his story. It is only in the last act when things get a little trippy that the film looses it’s grip a little bit. Here the ghost seems to be reliving the history of the house, up to his living there with his wife, though reliving the couple’s time there does help us understand his reluctance to leave…and maybe helps him understand too. A very unusual but effective and original indie flick from David Lowery, with very good performances from his small cast.

-MonsterZero NJ

3 star rating

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HORROR YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: IT (2017)

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IT (2017)

New adaptation of Stephen King’s classic novel basically covers the first half of his book by focusing on the characters as kids. The children of Derry, Maine have something to be afraid of as someone…or something…is stalking them and taking them, including Bill Denbrough’s little brother Georgie (Jackson Robert Scott). Bill (Jaeden Lieberher) gathers his band of misfit friends to investigate and finds that a number of children die or go missing in Derry every twenty-seven years. They also find that an evil entity is involved that takes the form of a clown named Pennywise (Bill Skarsgård) and worst of all, the group of friends now have the fiendish clown’s attention.

New version of King’s best selling book is a well enough made film by Mama director Andy Muschietti from a script by Cary Fukunaga, Chase Palmer and Gary Dauberman. Like his first film this flick has some wonderfully creepy visuals, but isn’t really all that scary. There are certainly some effective moments in It, but the film never really gets intense or digs it’s nails in to really frighten you. It works and entertains, but is obviously a horror made to appeal to the mainstream audience who doesn’t venture too far from the generic PG-13 horror fair that is all too common lately. The film is R-rated and has a few gruesome moments, but never gets too intense or brutal, so it doesn’t alienate the average movie goer who is only going due to the Stephen King name being attached or having read the book. Folks who watch everything horror will probably find it entertaining enough, yet leave wishing it had really turned the screws instead of mildly twisting them. In It‘s favor, there are also some very well done coming of age story elements, such as dealing with bullies (Nicholas Hamilton), being perceived as different and first love, as between Bill and Bev (Sophia Lillis). They work well enough to endear us to the characters, so we do care when things start to really pick up. The film is moderately paced and takes time to tell it’s story…technically, it’s half of the story…and it’s only in the second act when the horror elements become steady and as such, it’s delivers some fun stuff, just nothing truly frightening. Much like with Mama, one leaves feeling it could have been more had Muschietti really went for the throat. He seems to be a director who likes to play it safe and when wanting to appeal to a mainstream audience with a horror…even an R-rated one…studios generally like to play it safe.

The cast are strong and that helps even if the horror elements felt like pulled punches at times. The young cast members are all good in their roles with Jaeden Lieberher and Sophia Lillis being standouts. Lieberher conveys well a boy not willing to give up hope that his lost little brother will someday come home and Lillis is very strong as a young girl becoming a young woman and catching her widowed father’s attention in the worst way. The rest of the kids play their fairly stereotypical roles well with the fat kid (Jeremy Ray Taylor), the Jewish kid (Wyatt Oleff ), the wise-ass (Finn Wolfhard), the black kid (Chosen Jacobs) and the sickly kid (Jack Dylan Grazer) all present and accounted for. As the main villain, Bill Skarsgård is certainly effective as Pennywise, but his performance is enhanced with a lot of state-of-the-art SPFX whereas Tim Curry achieved more with simply his performance in the modestly budgeted 1990 TV movie version. Curry was creepier without being surrounded by CGI, though Skarsgård certainly has his moments.

Overall, this was an entertaining flick, but clearly a horror flick made for mainstream audiences that don’t regularly choose horror. It’s made for the folks that flock to big name adaptations or the works of A-list directors, but avoid the more intense stuff that usually premiers on VOD or in limited runs. Mama director Andy Muschietti directs well and the film looks great, though plays it safe scare-wise with not getting too intense or brutal as to scare away the wider audience for which this was made. Either way, the success of It means studios will green-light more R-rated horror flicks, which isn’t a bad thing for a genre drowning in PG-13 teen-centric chillers as of late.

-MonsterZero NJ

3 red ballons.

 

 

 

 

 

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WEEKEND BOX OFFICE ESTIMATES SEPT 15-17

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Complete estimates are in for the weekend box office

(Remember, clicking the highlighted links brings you to the reviews here at The Movie Madhouse!)

1. “It” $60 Million

2. “American Assassin” $14.8 Million

3. “Mother!” $7.5 Million

4. “Home Again” $5.3 Million

5. “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” $3.55 Million

6. “Annabelle: Creation” $2.6 Million

7. “Wind River” $2.55 Million

8. “Leap!” $2.1 Million

9. “Spider-Man: Homecoming” $1.8 Million

10. “Dunkirk” $1.3 Million

 

 

source: Box Office Mojo

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BARE BONES: DEAD AWAKE (2016)

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DEAD AWAKE (2016)

House of the Devil star Jocelin Donahue plays twin sisters Kate and Beth in this routine tale of supernatural horror. Beth claims to be pursued in her sleep by something sinister. No one believes her until she dies mysteriously. Now sister Kate investigates the unthinkable, as there may have been a supernatural entity involved. But unknown to Kate, she may be it’s next target.

Flick is directed with little style or originality by Phillip Guzman from Jeffrey Reddick’s routine script. The uninspired story tries to explain the sleep paralysis phenomena by attaching a generic boogie man called the sleep hag, which is responsible for people dying as they slumber. It all comes across as very dull and lazy and wastes the efforts of Donahue who tries hard to overcome the by-the-numbers material in both roles and makes a good heroine in spite of what little she has to work with. A dull cookie cutter horror that wastes a talented leading lady. Also stars Lori Petty in the role of Dr. Sykes.

-MonsterZero NJ

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