Challengers staring Zendaya from Warner Brothers


Challengers follows a tennis couple as they push to return to greatness and explore their relationship from the past.

The folks at Warner Brothers were kind enough to send us Challengers, staring Zendaya, for the purpose of our review. The film follows three tennis players that become part of a love triangle while also keeping their focus on their game. Tennis is one of those sports that I only can enjoy watching when I can watch one of my favorite players, Venus or Serena for their skill or John McEnroe with his energy and attitude. Even when watching them, it still isn’t a sport I really enjoy watching. I would rather play and I’m terrible at it.

I knew watching this film would center most of it around the game and I intentionally went into this with the plan to focus my review on the story, relationship and production itself but not on the sport. The production quality of the film was absolutely great, transitioning between decades back and forth, the characters looked perfect in their ages, so good in fact that you’d believe that there really was that much time between parts of the filming. The acting of the cast was fantastic, I expect there to be awards for this film, seriously.

Most of the story it was hard for me to engage with due to the heavy focus on the game but by the end it tied itself up cleanly and didn’t take the “logical” ending I expected, which is rare. Holy crap though, that ending was utterly fantastic, well written and brilliantly acted. Their tennis skills, as far as I could tell, were just as brilliant too. I wouldn’t be surprised if we learned that they all truly play with the level of skill and passion as they were able to display. That or the director and effects team out did themselves.

Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes

Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes

Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes is the third installment in the Planet of the Apes reboot franchise and the first we’ve seen.

The folks at 20th Century Studios were kind enough to send us a copy of Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes for the purpose of this review. Humans are nearly extinct from a virus of their creation leading to the start of the film. The film truly starts with three apes searching nests for eggs to collect, ensuring to leave at least one behind in each nest. this is for a bonding ceremony. After losing his egg, one of the apes ventures out that night to try for another, accidentally leading a group to his village, condemning them to death and giving our protagonist a reason to venture beyond his village.

The imagery of the world and the film is a more organic version of a dystopian landscape where everything that had fallen to disrepair has now been covered over or removed removed entirely by green. Reminds us that nature is just waiting for the chance to replace us and return what we’ve built to the land it could have been and it is beautiful. The dialogue is a bit disjointed through most of the film but I suspect that is intentional due to the still evolving nature of the apes and the de-evolving nature of the humans or echoes as they are referred to in the film. The story itself was well told but the voice acting and dialogue seemed to detract from the film as a whole. It felt incomplete like there were scenes cut that would have made the story much better. Now this could be because I hadn’t seen the previous films since the reboot and barely remember the classic versions but it just felt like it was missing some big pieces that would have helped made the story much stronger if they had been there.

Between King Kong teaming up with Godzilla and the latest Planet of the Apes film, 2024 may just be the year of the ape but let’s hope it would be more of the former than latter.

Check out the trailer for Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes:

Twister in 4k from Warner Brothers


Twister is the story of a group of scientists that chase tornados in the hopes of finding ways of predicting them in this classic from Warner Brothers!

The folks at Warner Brothers were kind enough to send us the 4k edition of Twister for the purpose of this review. To be clear, this edition of the film is the exact same story told in the exact same way as previously released. The only difference here is the quality of the visuals. For those that have yet to see the film, it follows a group of scientists that are attempting to send a device into the center of a tornado. This device is meant to map out the tornado itself and better study how they work, how they move and to help create a way to more effectively anticipate their arrival.

Growing up in the Pacific Northwest I was lucky enough to never see a real tornado and only ever saw the aftermath on the nightly news. Helen Hunt, Bill Paxton and Cary Elwes lead the film and are joined by a talented supporting cast full of names that went on to be big names of their own. The cast in it’s entirety are fantastic and even after 20+ years the film itself holds up. Overall the film remains a classic but just looks a hell of a lot better than the old DVD copy we had previously and will continue to get regular play in our house.

American Fiction from Warner Brothers

American Fiction

American Fiction is about a writer who decides to change his style of writing when his latest title fails to find a home with a publisher in this film from Warner Brothers.

The folks at Warner Brothers were kind enough to send us a copy of American Fiction, a tale about a writer named Monk. Monk is a published author and professor at a university in Los Angeles. After seeing the success of another writer for pandering to the market by changing the language of her book to make it more “real”, he decides to do the same in an attempt at showing the industry how idiotic they can be. His agent even argues against submitting the book only to be shocked at how quickly it has sold.

The film was written and directed by Cord Jefferson, who was one of the writers on The Good Place. Had I known about this connection I might have expected a very different film. After watching some of the trailers I had believed this film to be a comedy of sorts and on IMDB is listed as one as well. There are some minor comedic moments but I don’t feel like this was a comedy in the slightest even when it’s being a little silly. That being said, calling it a drama doesn’t feel right either.

As someone that has written and published a book, dealing with the market and trying to build my own success, I felt like this film was written for people like me in mind. It reminds us that as a writer, the market can chase things that make absolutely no sense. I was glued to the film every step of the way. This film was spellbinding and wasn’t just good, it was utterly fucking brilliant. I sincerely hope we see more films from Jefferson.

Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire review

Godzilla x Kong

Following the events of Godzilla vs. Kong, two of the world’s favorite monster heroes are back for a new fight in Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire from Warner Brothers.

Godzilla vs Kong introduced many of us to the theory of Hollow Earth which has been around since, I believe, the 1950s. It was an absolutely fascinating subject to deep dive on and that film explained it in a way that made it actually make sense. Warner Brothers has taken us back to Hollow Earth with Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire. Kong is believed to be the last of his kind and being a social creature is very lonely. While he remains there, Godzilla protects the surface world from threats and if Kong were to return would become very territorial and unleash hell on the ape.

A spike in interference signals a request for help and some of our returning heroes from the previous film decide to travel back to Hollow Earth and look for who or what is putting out the signal that they believe is an SOS. The transition between the outer Earth and the Hollow is an interesting effect that can tear the psyche and done with some fantastic visuals.

The film is listed as an Action-Adventure story but has some heartfelt moments between some of the characters. The visual effects are absolutely stunning and if you’re watching just for the destruction, I’m happy to report there is a TON of it. Even a little monster-dental work thrown in early on. The story is well written, leaning on the lore of the previous films and tying them all together quite nicely. The characters were fun with some quality portrayals even though the dialogue is a little campy at times, as I expected with this type of film. Overall I thought it was the best of the four films in the series (including Kong Island) and had a great time watching it.

The First Omen by 20th Century Studios

The First Omen

The First Omen is the latest installment in the Omen franchise from 20th Century Studios and takes a stap at the origins of the tale.

The First Omen is a prequel to the Omen franchise from 20th Century Studios focusing on a branch of the church completing unspeakable acts to maintain control. The story centers on Margaret, a young woman with a history of hallucinations, on her path to taking her vows and assisting with work at an orphanage. There she meets a young girl named Carlita who seems to be troubled. Noticing similarities in their experiences she feels a bond with her and works to guide her to help her work through her troubles in a more productive way. Soon after a man by the name of Father Brennan approaches her to voice concerns about who Carlita really is and sets her on a path where she begins to question everything.

Having never seen The Omen or it’s many spinoffs I was still away of the general concept, the church raising the Antichrist and the evil surrounding him. Going into the film mostly blind I was unaware of the intentions the church may or may not have had and as it is explained in the first few minutes it became apparent that we were in for one hell of a ride. More often than not when a prequel is made of a horror film from the 70s or 80s it comes out a bit on the cheesy side and that’s exactly what I was expecting. I was quite impressed with the quality of the acting and more importantly the storytelling. It was surprisingly good and makes me curious to see the other films in the series.

Late Night With the Devil from IFC

Late Night With the Devil 

Late Night With the Devil is a found footage horror film from the team at IFC.

Sometimes there is a film that the trailers just resonate with you and make you really want to see it. In these instances you can’t help but have high expectations despite knowing nothing about the team behind it. Late Night With the Devil was one of those films for me. The film starts with some of the history of the late show that is the backdrop for nearly the entire story. It’s a difficult road when you want to beat the masters at their own game and that was exactly what Jack Delroy aims to do with his show with Johnny Carson as the standard to beat.

Playing the ratings game he fights for his place on the televisions of viewers every night. Due to personal tragedy he sees some spikes, presumably due to sympathy but it’s not enough. David Dastmalchian plays Jack Delroy and his performance is downright brilliant. I’ve seen many of his roles and he’s usually great but this performance is in a league of it’s own. Written and Directed by Colin and Cameron Cairnes, this film is downright fantastic. Not just as a horror film but a film in general. I was glued to the screen from start to finish, drawn in instantly and even though I expected the twists when they came it did not detract from the experience in any way. As I mentioned, my expectations were high for this film and for lack of a better phrase, this film is simply fan-fucking-tastic and not only worth the watch but worth a second and third just to look for the hidden clues throughout the production. I wanted to thank the folks at IFC for sharing this film with us and look forward to seeing what else this team comes up with.

American Sniper in 4k

American Sniper

Bradley Cooper stars as Chris Kyle, the most lethal snipe in American history in American Sniper from Warner Brothers.

Directed by Clint Eastwood and produced by Warner Brothers, American Sniper tells the story of Chris Kyle. Chris is a member of the Navy Seals where he earned himself the nickname, “Legend” with over 150 confirmed kills. Originally released in 2014, the film is finally being released in 4k. The film follows him through one of his four tours in Iraq and the time following with his family leading until his death in 2013.

Typically war films, especially modern ones, typically don’t hold much interest for me but Eastwood’s style of storytelling keeps you glued to the screen. What he does really well is breathing life into his characters that normally would be more bland for the screen. This is done so subtly that you find yourself connecting with characters you normally wouldn’t.

Eastwood’s visual storytelling is fantastic and watching this film 10 years after it’s release proves that it holds up just as well. I was halfway through the film before I realized that this wasn’t a new biopic. The acting is believable and the story is incredibly well told.

Dune Part Two review


The team behind Dune are back with Part Two, completing the adaptation of the first book of the same name by Warner Brothers.

Paul Atreides is back and this time is no longer fighting for his place among the Fremen in Dune Part Two from Warner Brothers. Playing into the hands of his mother and the prophecy she is trying to force into reality, he begins to leads guerrilla style attacks on the Harkonnen forces stationed on the planet. The end goal is to eliminate the threat entirely and retake his place at the head of his Great House and of the planet.

Prior to this version of the story we had multiple attempts at adapting the book, first a movie that included Sting in the cast and a series produced for the Syfy network. Each adaptation more accurate than the last and the two most recent films are not an exception to that. Where these adaptations consistently miss is on the same point, the story is more than just the first book of Frank Herbert’s series. So far only time will tell if the current vision will include the rest of the films but I sincerely hope that they do. Chapterhouse Dune and Heretics of Dune were by far my favorite installments in the main series.

Visually, these two films are an absolute treat, capturing the world of Dune better than any medium outside the books have done. Sufficient time was given to developing the myths within the story that it didn’t rely on the knowledge of the books before watching and the cast did a brilliant job of bringing these characters to life. My only complaint is that the film was made as two films instead of one long epic viewing. I would have gladly sat for the 5-ish hours needed to watch in its entirety as that is the only way this story should be viewed. Would just need an intermission to hit the restroom. Doing this would have allowed the impact of the film to be better felt where coming into the second half of the story means it feels a little disjointed.

The Beekeeper from Warner Brothers

The Beekeeper

Warner Brothers have released their latest action film, The Beekeeper, staring Jason Statham, Jeremy Irons and Josh Hutcherson.

The Beekeeper is the latest action film from Warner Brothers with Jason Statham as the lead and dominating nearly every scene he is in. The film starts with him retired from his years of service and now as a Beekeeper, literally. He helps his neighbor by removing a wasp nest and is more than happy to do so as they are a threat to his hives. Shortly after he leaves, the neighbor receives an alarming message on her computer and is coerced into giving her financial data to a group of scam artists who empty all of her accounts including a charity she works for. Seeing no way to recover the funds she ends her life. Later Adam, Statham’s character, returns with a jar of honey and finds her dead. He starts a one man rampage targeting the group that caused her to end her life, first by burning the building they worked out of to the ground.

The group he worked for was also known as the Beekeepers. Their creation was to protect the society, or hive, as a whole and were given the training to complete their mission how they saw fit. In an actual hive there are designated bees that are known as the Queen Killer with the sole purpose of eliminating a queen that spawned inadequate offspring. That’s basically him. This is important for the story later on.

When I saw trailers for the film I thought it was going to be a mindless action flick without much in the way of story and really was more of a story for the sake of violence. Like most actions films these days. I was not expecting a film of this depth, looking at society as a whole, an officer having to look at their own roles and coming to terms with discovering which is more important- their own desires or their service to the job. Honestly, there are even more layers of depth to the film but I’m not going into all of the aspects. Even when on his rampage, Adam focuses on the people that are really the problem and not those that are having to work for them. Overall I thought the film was fantastic and quite impressed how well they were able to film the violence in a believable way without making it unnecessarily gory. Even when a guy had his fingers sawed off there was virtually no blood. This could be viewed as a detractor from realism but it really aided the story in allowing you to focus more on the story and action than on the blood splatter that tends to draw your attention away. I had an absolute blast watching the film and look forward to seeing what else this team is capable of.