Cut Throat City (2020)

Set after Hurricane Katrina, four boyhood friends out of options reluctantly accept an offer to pull off a dangerous heist in the heart of New Orleans.

Cut Throat City is actually quite okay, I really did not expect much going into it but I found myself enjoying it, the story is interesting and has some decent characters as well. The writing can be a mess at times especially towards the end of the film, but for the most part it works. The main criticism I have is it being 2 hours and 21 minutes plus the pacing towards the end. The last 30 minutes felt way too long, plus the last 30 minutes were not as good as the rest of the movie, with that said it is a decent crime drama that is somewhat engaging. It’s not going to break any new grounds and I’ll probably never watch it again but for a one time watch I say give it a look.

6/10 C+

Welcome To Sudden Death and Spiral (2020)

A security guard battles a group of tech-savvy terrorists after they take hostages inside a basketball arena.

Welcome To Sudden Death could have honestly been a whole lot worse, but that doesn’t mean it’s good far from it. Supposedly this is a sequel to Sudden Death (1995) but it really doesn’t feel like one, it’s more less the exact same thing only it’s worse. Michael Jai White does fine enough here and there’s a few solid action scenes otherwise this movie has nothing else going for it. The acting from everyone else is very wooden, the effects for the explosions and blood are poor, the direction is all over the place. Dallas Jackson is the director of Thriller (2018) and now this is his second movie, which like Thriller is pretty bad. My biggest problem with Welcome To Sudden Death is the pacing, it takes way too long to get to the action scenes and it goes way too slow at times where it’s not needed. I really don’t have much else to say, it’s a terrible action movie that has little to do with the original. Unless you like terrible action movies give this one a skip.

3/10 D-

A same-sex couple move to a small town to enjoy a better quality of life and raise their daughter with strong social values. But when neighbors throw a very strange party, nothing is as it seems in their picturesque neighborhood.

I do want to apologize I’m a little out of order when it comes to Shudder’s 61 days of Halloween new movies. I reviewed Verotika first which was technically the second Shudder original of the lineup and Spiral was the first. Anyway there really isn’t a whole to say about Spiral, it’s a gay version of “Get Out” and the movie makes that pretty clear. It’s just not as clever or anywhere near as good unfortunately it’s also one of those “what are the neighbors up to” movies and it follows a lot of cliches. The movie doesn’t really have anything horrendous in it but at the same time it doesn’t have anything really good in it either. It takes way too long to get going, I will say the movie is decently made and there was at least some sort of effort put into it. But it falls into the same trap a lot of Shudder original movies tend to fall in which is trying desperately to be a slow burn, the acting and writing are fine enough but again nothing worth writing home about. Spiral might be an okay movie if you have absolutely nothing else to watch, otherwise I don’t recommend it.

5/10 C

Secret Society Of Second Born Royals (2020) and Ava (2020)

It follows Sam’s adventures at a top-secret training program for a new class of second-born royals tasked with saving the world.

Secret Society Of Second Born Royals is basically X-Men for a much younger audience mixed with a ton of Disney Channel original movie elements. There really isn’t a whole lot to comment on, the acting is what you would expect…terrible outside Peyton Elizabeth Lee which is hands down the best part about this movie. The writing plays way too safe to the point where it becomes predictable and really bad. It really doesn’t do anything besides repeating plots that’s been seen in far better movies. The third act feels very rushed, it feels like they had no more ideas so they went with the most predictable third act they possibly could. While the movie is very bad and I highly recommend not watching it…for the most part for a very young audience it’s harmless enough. The biggest problem with it is it really serves no purpose, it’s outclassed by X-Men and Sky High and is overall very forgettable. This could have honestly been so much worse but that doesn’t make it anything worth looking into.

3/10 D-

Ava is a deadly assassin who works for a black ops organization, traveling the globe specializing in high profile hits. When a job goes dangerously wrong she is forced to fight for her own survival.

Tate Taylor is a very unbalanced director it’s nice that he tries several different genres but most of the time his attempts turn out terrible. Sure he’s had some success with Get On Up (which is really great) and The Help (although I am not a fan of The Help but it is one of his better movies) but then you have stuff like Girl On The Train where it’s clear that creating a thrilling atmosphere is his struggle (Ma is at least fun and does a bunch of things right) Ava is one of those movies where if you have seen at least one action movie you have already seen this one. Jessica Chastain (for whatever reason is in this) is definitely the best part about it, but honestly she isn’t even that good in it either. Ava tries to copy off of almost every action movie that has been releasing in the last 3 years have a few recognizable stars and have one of them be the badass character. The problem is the action in this movie isn’t good, it does nothing to separate it from the crowd. The score consists of mostly one song just played over and over again in different styles, trust me it gets very annoying quickly. It would be one thing if the song was you know good..but that’s not the case here, it’s a piece of music that really isn’t that exciting or interesting. Ava is also yet another action movie trying to be John Wick but completely fails at it, mostly due to the action scenes which as I said before aren’t exciting at all and have no depth. The character development is barely in there and just filled with cliche characters and the writing just isn’t there to back the movie up. Overall Ava is a terrible action movie, give this one a pass.

1/10 F

Cats & Dogs 3: Paws Unite (2020)

A supervillain parrot hatches a devious scheme to break the long-standing truce between cats and dogs.

There’s two big questions when it comes to Cats & Dogs 3: Paws Unite, number one how the hell is Sean McNamara still finding work? This is the same guy who did the Bratz movie and several other garbage (Soul Surfer being his best) and number two is who asked for this? The first Cats & Dogs that came out in 2001 doesn’t hold up at all but at least it knew what it wanted to be. Kitty Galore which came out 9 years later in 2010 was one of the worst movies of the 2010s is highly considered one of the worst films of all time and it’s not hard to see why. Now 10 years later we have Paws Unite, which in some cases it’s worse than Kitty Galore but the overall movie is better. Kitty Galore was actually a theater release while this was a straight to digital on a Tuesday. Anyway the movie itself is as bad as you would expect the acting and voice acting are horrendous and some of the worst of the year, the writing is god awful with way too many fart jokes. The visual effects for the animals mouth’s moving is somehow worse than Kitty Galore. That’s probably due to a budget issue but that’s not an excuse seeing how this came from Warner Brothers Home Entertainment….I’m not joking. That’s what baffles me about this trainwreck it came from a huge studio so there is absolutely no excuse. Paws Unite is a completely different story that takes place 10 years after the last movie, the characters are terrible…they are pretty much walking talking early 2000s cliches. There’s the dog who’s supposed to be an old man, the main character dog, a cat thrown into the mix and then a bunch of other useless characters who don’t do anything but make stupid jokes. As I said before the visual effects are horrendous, they feel like they are straight out of the early 2000s, which is just amazing to me because the first movie came out in 2001 and they somehow look WORSE than the effects used back then. Overall what else can I possibly say? It’s Cats & Dogs 3 nobody asked for this heck nobody asked for this to become a series, but hey if Norm Of The North, Escape Plan, Puppet Master, Amityville, Children Of The Corn and many others can get thousands of sequels so can Cats & Dog. Please skip this movie at all costs it’s not worth your time and if you have kids I can assure you there are better options out there.

Disgrace To Cinema F

Mulan (2020)

A young Chinese maiden disguises herself as a male warrior in order to save her father.

Mulan is by far one of the better live action Disney remakes especially in awhile, the last couple Lady and the Tramp, The Lion King, Kim possible (if you count it), dumbo and a few others have really ranged from terrible to below average. Mulan does introduce a few things, such as a few new characters and does cut some things out as well. What Mulan does best at is the technical aspects, such as the cinematography, the sets, the action scenes and the music. It all comes together quite nicely and accomplishes what it’s set out to do. The acting is also fairly decent, sure there are moments that could have definitely been so much better but I do feel like the cast gets the job done. I feel like my biggest issue here was the writing, it falls in the exact same trap that a lot of these Disney live action remakes fall into. Having very safe writing and not really doing anything else, the original Mulan actually took a lot of risks (one of the main reasons it’s one of my favorite films of all time) this movie however didn’t. It’s very enjoyable luckily and as I said before it’s far better than a lot of the recent live action Disney remakes, but if you are a huge fan of the original do not expect this to be just as good. I do recommend giving it a watch though as it is a very decent movie!

7/10 B

The New Mutants (2020)

Five young mutants, just discovering their abilities while held in a secret facility against their will, fight to escape their past sins and save themselves.

Well what did you expect…for this to be actually good? New Mutants the last X-Men movie made only by 20th Century Fox, it was originally supposed to release back in 2018. New Mutants constantly got delayed for almost 3 years when it finally came out this year. The only positive I can give New Mutants are Anya Taylor Joy, Masisie Williams and Blu Hunt’s performances were they anything groundbreaking? Absolutely not but they were far better than anything else in this gigantic mess, first off let’s talk about the writing….what a complete disaster. First off the writing feels like something straight out of some edgy fanfiction, with some racist jokes, a sexual abuse joke and tons of poorly written lines it’s enough to make you want to hit your head against a wall. The “horror” aspect in this movie is complete bull crap, it’s very clear Josh Boone or any of the writers don’t know how to write horror, this is a kindergarteners understanding of what horror is. Just because you add a few jumpscares and make the screen dark doesn’t mean it’s a horror movie. It’s one of the worst attempts I’ve seen in quite awhile. Speaking of Josh Boone let’s talk about how he whitewashed two characters in the movie, I’m sure you have heard the controversy so I won’t go on about it, but I feel like it needs to be mentioned because it goes to show that none of the writers or Josh Boone knew what they were doing. Oh yeah and they actually spelled the creator of the New Mutants comic’s name wrong too so that’s an extra slap to the face. Then there’s the pacing and the story itself which I honestly can’t believe they thought this would work. Almost all of the movie is the main characters sitting around doing nothing until the main villain (which by the way is very predictable who it is, all you need to do is watch the first couple minutes of the movie and you will know who it is) appears. That is literally the whole entire movie, nothing engaging, nothing interesting just garbage. Overall New Mutants is garbage and definitely one of the worst X-Men movies, it may not be as bad as Dark Phoenix or X-Men Origins Wolverine but that is really not saying much…

1/10 F

Peninsula (2020)

A soldier and his team battle hordes of post-apocalyptic zombies in the wastelands of the Korean Peninsula.

Peninsula is hands down the most disappointing movie I’ve seen so far this year and it’s not even close. What exactly happened here? Well a lot of things, it does everything Train To Busan much worse and really does a half ass job at it too. Train To Busan was this mostly grounded film with zombies in it, but the focus wasn’t just on the zombies it was about the characters and their relationship with one another. The character development from all the characters really sold the movie and even had some emotional moments, so when the characters do end up dying you feel sorry for them. Peninsula doesn’t have any of that, instead of a cleverly well crafted movie that has a lot of character development. It’s a very below average blockbuster action movie with very little character development and a very uninspiring plot. The acting is fine enough and some of the action scenes are pretty neat but that’s the problem it shouldn’t had been “just fine” it should have been fantastic, it almost feels like this was directed by a whole different person but that’s not the case. As I said before Peninsula feels way too much like a blockbuster, in some cases that can be okay but in this case it definitely isn’t. Especially when you look at Train To Busan which was much more grounded, Peninsula isn’t grounded at all it falls into one of those zombie movies that tries to go for an over the top feel to it. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing but it’s such a disappointment to see. Finally there just isn’t anything noteworthy about Peninsula, it’s one of those movies that’s just there and it doesn’t have much to say at all. Overall Peninsula isn’t a terrible movie, but if you were a huge fan of Train To Busan like i was prepare to be disappointed.

5/10 C

Rogue, Random Acts Of Violence and Get Duked (2020)

A battle-hardened mercenary leads a team of soldiers on a daring mission to rescue hostages in remote Africa.

Does M.J. Bassett have a talent of being a garbage director? Because my god Rogue shows more of it, if you don’t know who Bassett is she is the director behind Silent Hill Revelations. Anyway Rogue has one good thing about it…and that’s Megan Fox who definitely tries her hardest with this movie, otherwise this movie is a complete and utter trainwreck. The writing is bottom of the barrel, for whatever reason some of the characters start singing “Everybody” by The Backstreet Boys and it’s not even a one time joke they do this FOUR TIMES! If it were just a one off joke maybe I could understand but four times really shows the writers had no idea what they were doing. The CGI Lions are terrible, they feel like something straight out of a SyFy channel movie. The characters are given absolutely no character development their personalities come down to their race or looks, which that in itself is pretty problematic. This really shows the writers had no ideas, no inspiration and just did not give a crap about this movie at the slightest. When a character’s personality only comes down to their race it shows the writers have no idea how to build a character and just don’t have any creative ideas. It shows that they only know how to make stereotypes and that’s it which if you ask me is embarrassing. As for the rest of the movie it’s just ugly to look at and the overall movie is not fun at the slightest and then suddenly at the end there is this “save the lions” message which is laughable because you just showed lions killing the characters and now you want to shove a message at the end of the movie? Overall Rogue is one of the worst things I’ve seen this year, if it weren’t for Megan Fox this would have easily gotten my lowest rating…avoid this one.

1/10 F

A pair of comic book writers begin to notice scary similarities between the character they created and horrific real-life events.

This is the type of movie where they definitely had the right idea but couldn’t make it interesting. The movie is definitely not all bad, the performances for the most part are fine enough, there’s some decent camerawork and the kills are actually pretty well done. The main setback is the writing, it really feels like they threw way too many ideas into this movie and forgot scrap a large portion of the filler. Plus there really isn’t anything noteworthy in this movie that makes it standout, it’s an okay movie if you are looking to kill some time. Otherwise it’s really not worth it.

5/10 C

An anarchic, hip-hop inspired comedy that follows four city boys on a wilderness trek as they try to escape a mysterious huntsman.

Yeah Get Duked really did not do it for me, I completely understand why one would enjoy this movie, heck I wouldn’t say it’s all bad. The performances are actually decent and there’s a few jokes in there that do hit. My major problem with this movie however is most of the humor, if you don’t find the humor funny you are not going to like this movie. A lot of it just really feels try hard at times and comes off as forced. The plot is very similar to The Hunt which came out earlier this year. But this movie does do it’s premise a bit better, my other main issue is the characters are just not likable at all. I really did not care for anyone in the movie at all…it’s a shame because I do feel like this could have been good if it was fixed up a bit.

5/10 C

Chemical Hearts, The Sleepover and Tesla (2020)

A high school transfer student finds a new passion when she begins to work on the school’s newspaper.

Chemical Hearts is another high school romance movie, sure it’s better than some of the other ones that have been coming out recently. But that is really not saying much at all, I will say the acting is not too bad Lili Reinhart isn’t too bad and everyone else does a fairly decent job. But everything else just ranges from bad to below average, it feels like the people who worked on this movie just copied off of every other high school romance movie and didn’t do anything to change it up at all. Chemical Hearts really does not have much to say at all, sure there’s a few good moments that are supposed to give the characters some development, but a lot of it is elements that you have already seen several times before. I really don’t know what else to say, if your a fan of high school romance movies you will probably like this…otherwise skip this one.

4/10 D+

When two siblings discover their seemingly normal mom is a former thief in witness protection who has been forced to pull one last job, they team up to rescue her over the course of an action-packed night.

It can’t be a coincidence that Scott Speer who directed Endless also directed Step Up 4, but then one week later The Sleepover comes out and that’s directed by Trish Sie director of Step Up All In! Anyway The Sleepover is terrible (surprising!) it’s your classic example of movies Netflix knew was awful so they did everything in their power to not advertise it at all, The Sleepover also has a trend I’ve been noticing a lot more and more with a lot of family “action” movies. It has barely any action in it, they throw on the action label hoping it will get clicks. Which is a very cheap tactic and not an honest one either. As for the movie itself it’s garbage, the acting is terrible, the writing is a complete trainwreck. Speaking of the writing the very first joke and line in this movie is a poop joke…that is pretty much a foreshadowing of how the rest of the movie will be, there’s tons more bathroom jokes as well. The “action” feels lazily put into the movie, no thought or care was put into it. It pretty much comes down to “oh kids love action let’s do the bare minimum and put a few action scenes into the movie!” Look I’m not expecting the next John Wick, but good god it feels forced. I really don’t know what else to say? The Sleepover feels like something The Disney Channel would put on if it were the 90s, except where as some of the Disney Channel movies had charm this movie doesn’t have that.

2/10 F

A freewheeling take on visionary inventor Nikola Tesla, his interactions with Thomas Edison and J.P. Morgan’s daughter Anne, and his breakthroughs in transmitting electrical power and light.

Why does Ethan Hawks sing “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” in a movie about Nikola Tesla? I swear if someone asked me what is one of the most uninteresting and just downright terrible movies so far this year. I would say it’s Tesla, I mean sure in concept the movie sounds pretty okay a biopic about Nikola Tesla how could you possibly mess that up? Unfortunately the writers wanted something different and then came up with whatever this was, it’s actually really hard to explain because I still don’t know what they were trying to do. The only good thing I can give this movie is Ethan Hawks’s performance, he definitely tries his best in such a terribly written movie. I feel like the worst part about this whole movie is how it is just not interesting at the slightest, it quickly loses the viewer’s interest by not doing anything really. It’s biopic that honestly felt like it did not need to be made, sitting through this movie is like doing chores around the house. You don’t want to do them but if you want to be done you have to do it, just give this one a skip..

1/10 F

Project Power (2020)

When a pill that gives its users unpredictable superpowers for five minutes hits the streets of New Orleans, a teenage dealer and a local cop must team with an ex-soldier to take down the group responsible for its creation.

Project Power isn’t exactly terrible but it is certainly not good either, take away the superhero element from this movie and you are left with a very generic action movie. Jamie Foxx and Joseph Gordon-Levitt were standouts and definitely the best thing this movie has going for it. Both of them are truly giving it their all with a very weak script… Everything else ranged from bad to below average, which is a shame because this movie could have actually worked if it were written better. As a lot of people have pointed out Project Power is mostly a “seen but done better” type movie and that’s honestly the best way to describe it. The movie really does not bring anything new to the table and feels like it just does the bare minimum and calls it a day, Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman’s style just did not work here (to be fair a lot of their other films aren’t much better) overall Project Power is really nothing noteworthy it’s definitely not terrible but not something I would ever recommend.

5/10 C