BARE BONES: THE BABYSITTER-KILLER QUEEN (2020)

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THE BABYSITTER: KILLER QUEEN (2020)

Netflix original movie sequel takes place two years after the events of The Babysitter with no one believing Cole (Judah Lewis) about his fight for life against his homicidal, cultist babysitter Bee (Samara Weaving). Cole’s trying to get past the trauma of that night, but his clueless parents (a returning Leslie Bibb and Ken Marino) want to send him away to a psychiatric academy and the only one who believes him, is his best friend/crush Melanie (Emily Alyn Lind). His gal pal suggests coming with her to a party at a lake, where all hell breaks loose…again…as familiar faces return for blood.

Horror/comedy is again directed with an over-the-top style by McG from a script by he, Dan Lagana, Brad Morris and Jimmy Warden. Also returning, aside from most of the cast, is the hip sense of humor, pop culture references and gallons of blood, once things get restarted. In a way, it is a bit of a retread, with virginal Cole once again thrust into danger, as new enemies and ghosts from his past conspire to make him a sacrifice once more. There are some fun betrayals and reveals and at least, this time Cole has an ally in new bad girl Phoebe (Jenna Ortega). The dialogue is again snappy and once more the flick likes to have fun with the familiar tropes and traditions, with the outdoor setting opening things up a bit. It may be more of the same, but it’s still fun and the returning cast all seem to be having a blast, as are the new faces. The formula does start to wear a little thin by it’s last act and the flick could have been a bit tighter with maybe an additional ten minutes or so trimmed. It does end satisfyingly and with a few nice twists, that sort of wrap up the story. It may not quite be an equal, but it is a fun enough second go around and an entertaining watch on the couch. As for Samara Weaving’s Bee making an appearance…you’ll have to stream this on Netflix to find out. Watch through the entire credits.

-MonsterZero NJ

3 star rating

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BARE BONES: BILL & TED FACE THE MUSIC (2020)

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BILL & TED FACE THE MUSIC (2020)

Comedy sequel takes place 29 years after Bill & Ted’s (Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves) last cinematic adventure and finds the two wannabe rockers married to their princesses and fathers of their own kids. The jobless duo are still struggling to write that one song that will fulfill their destiny and their refusal to act like responsible adults may cost them their marriages. Worst of all, Rufus’ daughter Kelly (Kristen Schaal) arrives to take them to the future where they find if they don’t write the song in a matter of hours, time and space will unravel.

Nostalgic flick is directed by Dean Parisot from a script by Cameron Burns and Ed Solomon. It has a lot of fun moments and tries hard to carry the spirit of the original flicks by having Bill & Ted decide to travel to the future and steal the song from their future selves, who have already written it. In the meantime, their daughters Thea (Samara Weaving) and Billie (Brigette Lundy-Paine) decide to travel back in time and assemble the ultimate band from famous musicians of the past, like Louis Armstrong (Jeremiah Craft) and Jimi Hendrix (DazMann Still). There is a most heinous robot assassin (Anthony Carrigan) out to stop the dudes and it wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Hell with the Grim Reaper (WIlliam Sadler), who still resents the guys for throwing him out of their band. Sure, it could have been funnier and a few of the bits fall flat, but if you are a fan of this series, there are still some good laughs and amusing new additions, such as the two daughters who are apples that haven’t fallen far from the tree. Features a really nice cameo by the late, great George Carlin as Rufus, appearing via hologram by use of previously unused footage.

-MonsterZero NJ

3 star rating

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BILL AND TED FACE THE MUSIC GETS AN EXCELLENT TRAILER and POSTER!

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It took a bogus 29 years, but we are finally getting a third Bill and Ted movie! EXCELLENT! Bill and Ted Face the Music opens 8/21/20 and is directed by Dean Parisot from a script by original series scribes Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon! Obviously, Alex WInter and Keanu Reeves return, along with William Sadler as The Grim Reaper and George Carlin’s Rufus appears via unused footage from the pervious movies. Also features Bridgette Lundy-Paine and Samara Weaving as Bill and Ted’s daughters. While it’s still a few months away, take a look at the bodacious trailer and awesome poster and get ready to “Party on Dudes!” on August 21st!

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-MonsterZero NJ

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BARE BONES: GUNS AKIMBO (2020)

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GUNS AKIMBO (2020)

Computer programmer Miles Lee Harris (Daniel Radcliffe) is having a very bad day. He’s broken up with his comic book artist girlfriend, Nova (Natasha Liu Bordizzo) and picked a fight with the wrong website. Miles decides to have a little fun on the website for Skizm, a live action fight club where they pit various psychopaths against each other in real life battles to the death. When he trolls the site, he finds himself knocked out by a gang of thugs and wakes up the next morning with guns bolted to his hands. The man who runs Skizm, Riktor (Ned Dennehy) informs the mild-mannered Miles that he has 24 hours to kill Skizm’s leading psycho killer Nix (Samara Weaving) or he and the kidnapped Nova will die…all part of Skizm’s latest webisode!

Flick is written and directed by Jason Lei Howden (Deathgasm) and seems more attuned to today’s gaming and web-centric audience. They would probably appreciate more all the gaming nods and references, though it’s still fun as a humor-laced, action/comedy for the pre-Xbox, pre-Youtube set, too. It has plenty of violence, action and bloodshed, as poor wimpy Miles is trying just to stay alive, much less kill his overzealous opponent. He is both cheered and booed by the audience streaming it all, as the online veiwwership takes either the side of the hapless nerd, now nicknamed Guns Akimbo, or the blood-thirsty Nix. Radcliffe is well cast as the nerdy, terrified Miles, as is Samara Weaving who is delightfully over-the-top as the tattooed, weapons loving Nix. She’s become quite the fixture in bonkers flicks like this, Mayhem and Ready or Not that delight in mixing extreme violence with a twisted sense of humor. It’s no spoiler that at some point Nix and Miles will find common ground to take on the bad guys in an amusing blood bath of a finale. Not quite as consistently fun or funny as Howden’s Death Metalheads vs zombies flick Deathgasm, but colorful and blood-spattered enough to amuse for it’s economical 95 minute length.

-MonsterZero NJ

3 star rating

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REVIEW: READY OR NOT (2019)

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READY OR NOT (2019)

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

Whether it be 1932’s The Most Dangerous Game or John Woo’s 1993 Hard Target, the concept of rich people hunting common folks for sport, or otherwise, is nothing new. Ready or Not finds pretty Grace (Samara Weaving) about to marry into the wealthy but eccentric Le Domas family, who have grown rich on games and pro sports. After taking her vows with their son Alex (Mark O’Brien), it’s revealed she must follow tradition and play a game with the family at midnight. The game, chosen from a mysterious box, is hide and seek. What Grace also soon finds out is that she must hide as the family hunts her and that she must be captured and sacrificed before dawn to appease the mysterious Mr. Le Bail, who is responsible for the family’s success. If they don’t, they will all die. Now Grace is in a fight for her very life as she is alone and pursued through the labyrinth-like mansion.

The film is directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, who helmed the fun found footage flick Devil’s Due. Ready or Not tries to have a good time with it’s premise, but also seems a bit moderately paced for a chase/hunt flick. The action stops frequently for a movie that needs a sense of urgency and what action there is could have been punchier, as could a few of it’s big moments. It felt like they were holding back from really cutting loose with the mayhem. The script is from Guy Busick and R. Christopher Murphy who take a familiar story and add some social commentary and a twisted sense of humor, but not really much new. A good deal of that twisted humor falls flat and while the directors try to give it a little spark, the familiarity of the story handcuffs it from being really suspenseful. We know what’s coming and where it’s going. That and the trailers basically featured all the best bits, so it left very little to surprise or amuse…which is not the filmmakers fault, but the marketing. There is some entertaining action and a few tense bits and the film can be amusingly gruesome at times. A few of the jokes do wear out their welcome, such as the constant killing of the help by incompetent family members. A way too convenient character turn gets Grace out of her biggest trouble only to have another character turn put her back in it a few scenes later. Both seems like plot contrivances aside from simply being repetitive. The first is an obvious plot device to get Grace out of a fix when the writers wrote themselves into a corner and the second character turn simply doesn’t make sense happening at such a late point. Occurring at such a late juncture also doesn’t give it any time to resonate and thus it appears to be just there to give the flick one more “WTF?” moment before the climactic ending.

Weaving gives it her all and makes for a solid heroine for us to root for. Grace’s got fire and resilience and becomes a survivor pretty quick. She makes this a lot more worth watching. O’Brien is fairly generic as her conflicted new husband, Alex, while Adam Brody is amusing as his bitter and also conflicted, alcoholic brother, Daniel. Andie MacDowell gives her performance some malice as the one who really wears the pants in the family, Becky with Henry Czerny being fun as her husband, the easily panicked family patriarch Tony. The cast, main and supporting, get the satirical nature of the script and that helps give this some fun.

In conclusion, Ready or Not has it’s moments, but overall is nothing new and could have used a bit more spark and energy. There are some fun bits and it is quite giddy with the bloodshed, but also wasn’t as quite action packed as one expects and some of the big moments lacked the impact they needed. The social satire and twisted humor fall flat more often than they should have and only a plucky Samara Weaving makes it as watchable as it is. Amusing, but not the real blast one hoped for.

-MonsterZero NJ

Rated 2 and 1/2 (out of 4) arrow heads.

 

 

 

 

 

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Be warned! Trailer gives away some of the best moments…

 

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BARE BONES: THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI (2017)

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THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI (2017)

Intense drama tells the story of angry mother, Mildred Hayes (an amazing Frances McDormand), who sees, what she believes, to be a lack of effort on her local sheriff’s (Woody Harrelson) part in catching the man who raped and murdered her daughter, Angela (Kathryn Newton). In response, she puts up three billboards on the outskirts of her small town calling the police force out on their failings. This not only sets the town against her, as they sympathize with a sheriff dying of cancer, but also puts her, and those affiliated, in the cross hairs of his ignorant and hateful second in command, Dixon (Sam Rockwell).

Written and directed by Martin McDonagh, this is a powerful film, that not only illustrates what anger and hatred causes folks to do, but the consequences of those actions. The film is not really about Angela’s murder, but the effect it has had on her family and the town they live in, mostly on the rage coming from mother Mildred. The film also delivers some surprising transformations as the effects of all this anger and hatred changes people, some for the better, others for worse. McDonagh gets some fantastic performances out of his cast, especially McDormand and Rockwell and his script gives some intense dialogue and material for the cast to work from. Maybe the film isn’t perfect, one wonders if this town arrests anyone for anything at times, but it is a film that will stay with you long after the credits roll. Also stars Peter Dinklage, John Hawkes, Samara Weaving and Abbie Cornish.

-MonsterZero NJ

three and one half stars rating

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BARE BONES: THE BABYSITTER (2017)

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THE BABYSITTER (2017)

Netflix original movie finds nerdy twelve year-old Cole (Judah Lewis) spending the weekend with his hot babysitter Bee (Samara Weaving from Ash vs Evil Dead season 1) when his parents go away. The much picked-on tween thinks his got it made, until he wakes up one night to find Bee and her friends murdering another teen for some satanic ceremony. Now Cole has to somehow survive the night as his once beloved babysitter and her friends find out he knows too much.

Horror/comedy is directed with an over-the-top style by McG (Charlie’s Angels, Terminator: Salvation) from a script by Brian Duffield and is a lot of fun. It’s got a hip sense of humor and has a good time with some of the clichés of the horror genre, while spilling quite a lot of blood in giddy fashion. Cole and Bee actually have a very sweet friendship, especially considering how Cole is treated by his peers and it makes it much more effective when she turns all “big bad” on the kid. It’s fun to watch Cole uses his cleverness to evade and sometimes unintentionally off Bee’s fellow cultists and even if it’s not the most original story, it has fun with it’s oft told premise. The cast are having a good time here and Weaving makes a solid femme fatale, as much as, Lewis a charming young hero. A fun 90 minutes of blood, pop culture references and playfully poking the horror genre in the ribs. Also stars Leslie Bibb and Ken Marino as Cole’s oblivious parents and Robbie Amell and Bella Thorne as two of Bee’s sinister group.

-MonsterZero NJ

3 star rating

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