WEEKEND BOX OFFICE ESTIMATES FEB 26-28

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WEEKEND BOX OFFICE ESTIMATES FEB 26-28

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

1. “Tom and Jerry” $13.7 Million

2. “The Croods: A New Age” $1.2 Million

3. “The Little Things” $925,000

4. “Wonder Woman 1984” $710,000

5. “The Marksman” $700,000

6. “Nomadland” $528,000

7. “Judas and the Black Messiah” $500,000

8. “Monster Hunter” $460,00

9. “Land” $355,000

10. “News of the World” $200,000

source: Box Office Mojo

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HORROR YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: THE VIGIL (2019)

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THE VIGIL (2019)

Supernatural horror steeped in Orthodox Jewish culture comes from Blumhouse Productions and is released by IFC Midnight. The story tells of Yakov (Dave Davis), an emotionally troubled young man, who has left his Orthodox Jewish background and is out of work, in therapy and on medication. He is offered much needed money to be a Shomer for the night, someone who, in Jewish tradition, watches over and prays for the recently deceased till dawn. As he watches the body of a man called Litvak, he starts to realize there may be something malevolent in the house with him.

Yes, this story does evoke the classic flick The Viy, but is most definitely it’s own thing. The film is written and directed by Keith Thomas and is a very impressive feature debut. Thomas creates tension from almost the first scene by first establishing Yakov’s emotional and financial duress, but also then the tension between he and the members of the Orthodox Jewish community that want him back. Once Yakov enters the house, he finds out the first Shomer left in fear and the widow, Mrs. Litvak (Lynn Cohen from Feast of the Seven Fishes), doesn’t want him there, either. As the spooky goings on in the house begin to escalate, Thomas lets us know that not only did Yakov witness the death of his little brother as a result of a hate crime, a death he feels responsible for, but that the recently deceased Mr. Litvak (Ronald Cohen) was obsessed with combating a demon called a Mazzik (Rob Tunstall). Thomas knows how to create an atmosphere of dread and knows how to generate chills simply with his camera. The combination of lighting, spooky sets and shot composition, go a long way in making this flick very spooky all in itself. There are some familiar tropes that come with these type of demonic haunting flicks, but Thomas knows how to use them very well and knows when to mix in some new twists, such as demonic manipulation of Yakov’s cellphone. The entity uses Yakov’s past trauma and the voices of those he trusts against him and it is scary stuff. Add to all that a really effective score by Michael Yezerski (The Devil’s Candy) and some very unsettling cinematography by Zach Kuperstein (The Eyes of My Mother) and you have a legitimately scary movie.

The small cast is also very good, with Dave Davis pulling out a very strong, emotional performance of a man already on the edge, being pushed by something unearthly. He makes Yakov sympathetic, so we connect with him and feel badly as the demonic presence really puts him through the ringer. We also are behind him when he digs deep into his abandoned faith to fight back. Solid work! Lynn Cohen can be very spooky as Mrs. Litvak, a woman suffering from loss and a touch of Alzheimer’s, but also somewhat likable as we get to know her. Menashe Lustig is also good as Reb Shulem, an Orthodox Jewish community leader who wants Yakov to return to them and gives him this job as a way of coercing him back. A very good cast.

Keith Thomas delivers what might be the first truly scary horror flick of 2021. Despite the flick playing festivals and internationally since 2019, it is only now being released here in the U.S by the awesome folks at IFC Midnight. It is simply a good, old fashioned, scary movie that uses atmosphere, tension and some super creepy camera work to scare you. Thomas builds a lot of tension before the scares even begin and gives us an emotionally troubled main character to get put through a truly hellish night. All his characters have some history and depth to them, that the telling of which is woven cleverly into his simple, but layered story. A very spooky, scary horror with some nice emotional depth behind the proceedings, a refreshingly different cultural perspective and some really effective use of the familiar tropes and trappings. Keith Thomas is definitely a filmmaker to keep an eye on. The Vigil is available to stream on Amazon Prime and other streaming outlets, while also in a limited theatrical release.

-MonsterZero NJ

Rated 3 and 1/2 (out of 4) candles.

 

 

 

 

 

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BARE BONES: SPONTANEOUS (2020)

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SPONTANEOUS (2020)

Offbeat and darkly comic flick finds students at a small town high school spontaneously exploding for an undetermined reason. In the middle of all the bloody chaos, rebellious movie nerd Mara (Katherine Langford) finds love with fellow student Dylan (Charlie Plummer), despite the looming danger that either could be next.

Spontaneous is written and directed by Brian Duffield (who wrote Underwater and Love And Monsters) from a novel of the same name by Aaron Starmer. It can be very clever at times, heartfelt at others and darkly funny, without loosing sight of the very sweet love story at the core of it’s blood-spattered tale. These kids are dealing with mortality, loss and death for the first time and each of the characters reacts to the situation in their own interesting ways. Mara and Dylan press on with their relationship despite all that is happening around them. Life goes on, even when surrounded by death. It may sound very COVID centric, but the book was written in 2016, as were the initial plans to make a movie out of it. Many of the themes fit, though, as the kids are isolated, quarantined and medicated with the looming threat constantly present. They also have to deal with the sudden loss of some of those they love. The cast is really good with Katherine Langford giving Mara a buoyant personality with a nice sarcastic sense of humor. She carries the movie with a strong performance, as it is predominately Mara’s story. Charlie Plummer is sweet and a bit nerdy as the charmingly eccentric Dylan and Hayley Law does good work as Mara’s best friend Tess. The young cast have nice chemistry together. An interestingly contemporary movie that proves love can blossom in the most dire of situations and…to steal a quote from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan…”how we face death is at least as important as how we face life!A really good little movie with some surprising depth and emotional resonance.

-MonsterZero NJ

three and one half stars rating

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NEW GODZILLA vs KONG PHOTOS AND POSTER ARE STUNNING!

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NEW GODZILLA vs KONG PHOTOS AND POSTER ARE STUNNING!

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Got some new photos and poster for Godzilla vs Kong and it looks like the film is going to be a stunning visual feast!

“Legends collide in “Godzilla vs. Kong” as these mythic adversaries meet in a spectacular battle for the ages, with the fate of the world hanging in the balance. Kong and his protectors undertake a perilous journey to find his true home, and with them is Jia, a young orphaned girl with whom he has formed a unique and powerful bond. But they unexpectedly find themselves in the path of an enraged Godzilla, cutting a swath of destruction across the globe. The epic clash between the two titans—instigated by unseen forces—is only the beginning of the mystery that lies deep within the core of the Earth.”

The Adam Wingard directed film is from a script by Eric Pearson and Max Borenstein and is based on a story by Terry Rossio, Michael Dougherty and Zach Shields! It stars Godzilla, Kong, Alexander Skarsgård, Millie Bobby Brown, Rebecca Hall, Brian Tyree Henry, Shun Oguri, Eiza González, Jessica Henwick, Julian Dennison, Kyle Chandler and Demián Bichir. It will be available in theaters and streaming on HBO MAX on 3/31!

(click on photos to enlarge!)

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-MonsterZero NJ

Source: youtube

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BARE BONES: CYRUS (2010)

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CYRUS (2010)

John (John C. Reilly) has been divorced for seven years and finally meets a beautiful, single woman named Molly (Marisa Tomei). The only thing standing in the way of true romance, though, is Molly’s uncomfortably close relationship with her clingy and extremely jealous son Cyrus (Jonah Hill).

Cyrus is written and directed by Jay Duplass and Mark Duplass and is a very enjoyable indie comedy/drama for a number of reasons. It’s original, it’s funny and it also borders on brilliant in portraying those uncomfortable situations that occur when things aren’t quite right and we don’t know how to deal with them. Most of all, it’s the performances that make this so worth watching. Marisa Tomei once again proves she is a remarkable actress who deserves her every award and nomination she’s achieved. It is, though, John C. Reilly and Jonah Hill who really surprise us with strong performances as two very dysfunctional people. Reilly and Hill show they can really act when given strong material and aren’t reduced to comic sidekicks and supporting characters like they usually are. Both handle their roles with layered performances and their scenes together bristle with emotion and energy, as the two characters fight for dominance in what turns into a sort of twisted love triangle. If you like offbeat indie films this is a real treat.

-MonsterZero NJ

3 star rating

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WEEKEND BOX OFFICE ESTIMATES FEB 19-21

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WEEKEND BOX OFFICE ESTIMATES FEB 19-21

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

1. “The Croods: A New Age” $1.7 Million

2. “The Little Things” $1.15 Million

3. “Judas and the Black Messiah” $905,000

4. “Wonder Woman 1984” $805,000

5. “The Marksman” $775,000

6. “Monster Hunter” $510,00

7. “Nomadland” $503,000

8. “Land” $500,000

9. “News of the World” $245,000

10. “The War WIth Grandpa” $224,188

source: Box Office Mojo

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MONSTERZERO NJ’S 12 HORROR FLICKS FOR BLACK HISTORY MONTH!

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MONSTERZERO NJ’S 12 HORROR FLICKS FOR BLACK HISTORY MONTH!

February is the month where we mark the achievements of the black community and there have been some wonderful contributions to the world of horror films by some amazing talents. Whether it be black filmmakers like William Crain and Jordan Peele, or actors such as William Marshall, Pam Grier, Lupita Nyong’o and Duane Jones, there is much to celebrate! Here are twelve films that illustrate the sometimes groundbreaking and always entertaining achievements in the horror genre that this month so proudly commemorates!

REVIEW LINKS: click to read the corresponding review!

  1. Blacula
  2. Scream Blacula Scream
  3. Abby
  4. Dr. Black and Mr. Hyde
  5. Sugar Hill
  6. The House On Skull Mountain
  7. Candyman
  8. Tales from the Hood
  9. Night of the Living Dead
  10. Get Out
  11. Us
  12. His House

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To all these talented men and women in front of and behind the camera…CHEERS!

-MonsterZero NJ

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BARE BONES: SHOOK (2021)

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SHOOK (2021)

Shudder original finds internet beauty and make-up personality Mia (Daisye Tutor) dog sitting for her sister Nicole (Emily Goss). While at Nicole’s house, Mia comes under attack from a mysterious individual who taunts her and makes her play sadistic games with her friends’ lives in the balance.

Newest addition to the internet/cellphone stalker sub-genre is written and directed by Jennifer Harrington from a story by Alesia Glidewell. It’s fairly routine story-wise, as this recent trend of horror flicks go. Jennifer Harrington does direct effectively and there are some chilling moments. It doesn’t really get interesting till the last act reveal of who is stalking Mia and why. It is a nasty revelation and a bit unexpected, but works well in being fairly disturbing, as it makes things unsettlingly even more personal. Mia’s selfish behavior may have come back to haunt her. The commentary on our online social lives, especially in these COVID isolation times, is becoming commonplace in these flicks as of late, but when Shook does it’s own thing with it’s familiar tale, is when Harrington most shows she has some potential. The cast is also solid with Tutor doing good work as our initially shallow heroine and at under 90 minutes, it is also short and to the point. Far from perfect, but still worth a look if you are into the recent spate of social media based thrillers. Available to stream on Shudder.

-MonsterZero NJ

2 and 1-2 star rating

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BARE BONES: MONSTER HUNTER (2020)

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MONSTER HUNTER (2020)

Video game based flick tells of parallel worlds, our own and one ruled by monsters. U.S. Army Captain Natalie Artemis (Milla Jovovich) and her squad of soldiers are on maneuvers in the desert, when a mysterious storm throws them into that other world. There, her team is quickly decimated by the monstrous inhabitants and she is left wounded and alone. To survive, Natalie must form a reluctant partnership with a local warrior (Tony Jaa) while trying to find out how to get home alive.

Adaptation is written and directed by Paul W. S. Anderson in his usual competent but by-the-numbers style. There really isn’t much of a story here, but when you go to see a movie called Monster Hunter, you don’t go looking for Shakespeare. There are plenty of interestingly designed monsters, their havoc and carnage is abundant and there are enough battles to keep one entertained during the 103 minute run time. The SPFX are well done, especially the CGI critters and Jovovich makes for a satisfactory heroine, as she learns to fight the local wild life. When all is said and done, not much is accomplished and the film has an annoyingly open ending, but there are enough fun monster skirmishes to pass the time and a nice variety of beasties to gawk at. The film is also visually engaging, with an effective production design and there is a cool score by Paul Haslinger. Fun, but forgettable. Also stars Ron Perlman in a small role as a warrior chieftain of this lost world.

-MonsterZero NJ

3 star rating

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NEW GODZILLA vs KONG TRAILER SHOWS GODZILLA KICKING MONKEY BUTT!

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NEW GODZILLA vs KONG TRAILER SHOWS GODZILLA KICKING MONKEY BUTT!

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A new trailer for Godzilla vs Kong has surfaced and, unlike the first all-Kong trailer, this one shows Godzilla getting some good shots in on his equally famous opponent!

“Legends collide in “Godzilla vs. Kong” as these mythic adversaries meet in a spectacular battle for the ages, with the fate of the world hanging in the balance. Kong and his protectors undertake a perilous journey to find his true home, and with them is Jia, a young orphaned girl with whom he has formed a unique and powerful bond. But they unexpectedly find themselves in the path of an enraged Godzilla, cutting a swath of destruction across the globe. The epic clash between the two titans—instigated by unseen forces—is only the beginning of the mystery that lies deep within the core of the Earth.”

The Adam Wingard directed film is from a script by Eric Pearson and Max Borenstein and is based on a story by Terry Rossio, Michael Dougherty and Zach Shields! It stars Godzilla, Kong, Alexander Skarsgård, Millie Bobby Brown, Rebecca Hall, Brian Tyree Henry, Shun Oguri, Eiza González, Jessica Henwick, Julian Dennison, Kyle Chandler and Demián Bichir. It will be available in theaters and streaming on HBO MAX on 3/31!

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-MonsterZero NJ

Source: youtube

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