Prey brings new life to the Predator franchise.

A skilled Comanche warrior protects her tribe from a highly evolved alien predator that hunts humans for sport, fighting against wilderness, dangerous colonisers and this mysterious creature to keep her people safe.

I can’t think of such a huge turn for a franchise in a good way more than the Predator franchise, for awhile The Predator franchise has been struggling to get a really solid film out. Outside of Predator and Predator 2 (depending on who you ask, I personally find it to be quite fun) the series is very lacking and was in dire need of another really good film. Luckily that was the case with Dan Trachtenberg’s (10 Cloverfield Lane) Installment Prey, Prey takes the series back to it’s roots and brings everything back that people loved about the series in the first place. For starters Amber Midthunder was truly brilliant here and gives a breakout performance that completely captures the spirit the film is going for, the same can be said with the rest of the cast Dakota Beavers in particular does a really fantastic job. The film itself is visually stunning and the cinematography is captivating, one of the main criticisms I’ve had with the franchise is that a lot of the films visually don’t look very great. So it’s a breath of fresh air to see Prey take advantage of it’s setting and go all out with it. Especially when you combine it with the atmosphere that Dan Trachtenberg creates, like in 10 Cloverfield Lane the atmosphere here is horrifying and suspenseful it grabs the viewer’s attention and never let’s go. Everything that Trachtenberg did masterfully in 10 Cloverfield Lane is present here and it’s just as effective. The action scenes are well shot and the kills are quite brutal and a lot of fun as well, the combination of campy like feel of the kills with a serious tone actually works quite beautifully with the film. What’s very interesting about Prey is that it’s a franchise film that has the visuals and the character’s actions tell the story which is not something you see in a lot of franchise films. It’s truly fascinating and is pretty straightforward, overall Prey is the best film of the franchise since the first movie. Amber Midthunder is truly a star that I hope to see a lot more of and I’m excited to see what Dan Trachtenberg does next.

Prey is available on Hulu!

10/10 A+

Rise Of The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie is a fun addition to the TMNT series.

The Turtles are put to the test when a mysterious stranger named Casey Jones arrives from the future to warn the mutant brothers of an impending invasion·of the most dangerous alien force in the galaxy the Krang.

Not going to spend too long talking about this one simply because I haven’t seen the series it’s based on which is Rise Of The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, it’s one of the many incarnations the TMNT franchise has had (side note I grew up with the 2003 version). I knew of this version but knew very little about it, for what the movie is it’s pretty fun and genuinely charming as well. It definitely has a bit more humor than some of the other incarnations but it’s not enough to take out of the movie, there’s some genuinely good bits between the turtles and how they care about each other plus their brotherhood. The animation is actually very well done, it takes time to get use to especially if you haven’t seen the series before but there’s a lot of attention to detail here that brings the movie itself together quite well. Krang as the villain was quite great it’s refreshing to see another TMNT movie that doesn’t have The Shredder as the main villain for a change (as much as I like him). The action scenes are very well done and the build up to the final battle is quite great and surprisingly touching as well, the final act is very satisfying as well. There’s a ton of action combined with some character moments that wrap up the film very nicely, overall Rise Of The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a very solid movie, even if you aren’t a fan on the incarnation of the show it’s based on I still recommend checking it out especially if you are a TMNT fan.

Rise Of The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie is available on Netflix.

7/10 B

They/Them is garbage.

A group of teenagers at an LGBTQ+ conversion camp endures unsettling psychological techniques while being stalked by a mysterious masked killer.

What exactly happened here? They/Them had a lot going for it to be an interesting little slasher film, the title is quite creative, the representation is actually quite great and there’s a few kills that are actually not too bad….everything else however is a complete and total disaster, for starters the movie takes way too long to get going, it doesn’t become a slasher film until an hour into the movie, instead it spends way too much time trying to tell the audience how terrible the camp counselors are….which reading the plot of the movie already tells you that. The movie takes place at a conversation camp of course the viewers already know the counselors are terrible, Owen Whistler (Kevin Bacon) pretty much spells it out right from the beginning that they are terrible, so why waste so much time on something the viewers already know? There’s one scene in particular that truly comes out of left field however and somehow manages to make the movie even worse, there’s a scene where they randomly start singing Pink’s “Fuckin’ Perfect” and it’s sung quite terribly as well. I genuinely have no idea who’s idea was it that thought it was good idea but it’s truly baffling, when the movie finally starts to become a slasher movie it does get a tad better but that’s really not saying much. Some of the kills are off screen which completely hurts the movie and the writing is still horrendous, everyone is trying with the script they are given but it’s not nearly enough to help this movie stand. Overall They/Them is terrible, a lot of the choices with this movie are truly baffling and end up giving one of the worst films of the year.

They/Them is available on Peacock.

1/10 F

Luck runs out of luck.

The story of Sam Greenfield, the unluckiest person in the world. Suddenly finding herself in the never-before-seen Land of Luck, she must unite with the magical creatures there to turn her luck around.

Luck is one of those unfortunate cases where the movie has a really interesting premise going on it’s just the presentation and writing that completely holds it back. The movie has a lot of Pixar inspirations (mainly due to John Lasseter being one of the producers) what the movie does get right is the voice cast and some of the animation is charming as well. It might not be anything extra special but there are some charming bits about it, keyword being some because the animation at times felt like it needed a bit of extra time to complete which is a bit baffling to see. The writing starts to fall apart quite quickly a lot of the movie is spent on a very uninteresting fetch quest that every once and awhile has a few nice moments between the main characters Sam (Eva Noblezada) and Bob (Simon Pegg) the rest of the movie attempts to try some world building completely forgets to make it compelling or interesting. The Land Of Luck comes off as just another world with a few beautiful and charming shots of animation to it, the writing unfortunately doesn’t go much deeper than “this is the land of luck where bad luck can’t enter otherwise it will be ruined” it’s a shame because there’s potential for really great idea’s here but it’s very clear this movie needed a rewrite as it felt very incomplete.

Luck is available on Apple TV+

4/10 D+

Mrs. Harris Goes To Paris is a charming little movie.

In 1950s London, a widowed cleaning lady falls madly in love with a couture Dior dress, deciding she must have one of her own. After working to raise the funds to pursue her dream, she embarks on an adventure to Paris that will change not only her own outlook — but the very future of the House of Dior.

Mrs. Harris Goes To Paris is simplistic yet still really interesting and quite great at the same time, it’s a super sweet and wholesome movie that establishes it’s goal right from the start that being to fall in love with the film. Lesley Manville in the leading role is spectacular, she’s very fitting in her role and truly knocks it out of the park as the leading role. Isabelle Huppert is also quite fantastic here as well, like Manville she completely steals every scene she’s in and truly goes all out in the role. The writing is simple yet very charming, the film really shows the beauty of being simplistic it particularly works here mainly due to the cast and the film itself coming together to create something wholesome. The costume design combined with the cinematography has a lot to look at that really captures the viewer’s eye and it’s the little details that make the film go the extra mile as well. Mrs. Harris Goes To Paris might not break any new ground but it doesn’t have to, it’s a simple and easy watch that’s genuinely charming.

Mrs. Harris Goes To Paris is available on all VOD Platforms.

7/10 B

Quick Review: I Dream Of A Psychopomp (2022)

A grieving widower, haunted by the distressed ghost of his recently deceased wife, is visited in his dreams by a psychopomp who seeks to teach him about the spirit world and soul guiding through stories of death and the supernatural.

Going to be completely honest here…I have no idea what I watched and not in a good way. All that I know is that it’s an anthology horror film that has a handful of shorts that feel more less the same. There’s some great ideas somewhere in this movie but unfortunately a lot of it just doesn’t come together, the writing is very basic and really doesn’t explore it’s ideas very well. The acting is fine enough but that’s really all the movie has going for it.

I Dream Of A Psychopomp is available on Terror Channel tomorrow and on all VOD Platforms August 19th.

3/10 D-

Minions: Rise Of Gru is surprisingly entertaining!

In the 1970s, young Gru tries to join a group of supervillains called the Vicious 6 after they oust their leader — the legendary fighter Wild Knuckles. When the interview turns disastrous, Gru and his Minions go on the run with the Vicious 6 hot on their tails. Luckily, he finds an unlikely source for guidance. Wild Knuckles himself and soon discovers that even bad guys need a little help from their friends.

If you told me back when Minions: Rise Of Gru was announced that I would end up liking this movie, I would look at you like you have five heads. But as I’ve said multiple times in the past I like surprises and Minions: Rise Of Gru definitely surprised me, the first Minions I did not like at the slightest outside of the soundtrack it was a prime example of illumination just wanting to sell merchandise with no soul in the movie. This one however while it does have a paper thin plot at times, there’s actually a lot more care put into trying to tell a story and make the characters actually have personalities. Sure the characters aren’t great but at least there’s something being told here, what keeps the movie afloat is that it’s entertaining there’s a number of memorable scenes that take full advantage of the soundtrack (which has no business being this good) to create some genuinely fun moments. The movie also doesn’t overstay it’s welcome either, the pacing is fast and the film itself is quite energetic as well. The animation is quite great with a lot of attention to detail and there’s some genuinely funny moments as well, not every joke lands but there’s a lot more comedic timing this time around. Overall Minions: Rise Of Gru isn’t anything groundbreaking but it is a genuinely fun film that’s great for kids and adults.

Minions: Rise Of Gru is available on all VOD Platforms.

7/10 B

Paws Of Fury: The Legend Of Hank is a dull attempt at being Blazing Saddles for kids.

A down-on-his-luck hound finds himself in a town full of cats who need a hero to defend them from a ruthless villain’s evil plot to wipe their village off the map. With help from a reluctant trainer, the underdog must assume the role of fearsome samurai and team up with the felines to save the day. The only problem is they all hate dogs.

This is one of these scenarios where the production history of a movie is far more interesting than the movie itself. Because when you get down to it Paws Of Fury: The Legend Of Hank is basically Blazing Saddles for kids and with cats and dogs, to sum up the history of this movie it was originally supposed to release all the way back in April 14th 2017. The major reason why it was delayed so many times was changes in the distributors, Nickelodeon Movies was eventually the one who released it and here we are today. The movie itself as I said before is basically Blazing Saddles, the only thing that makes this movie at least tolerable is the cast Samuel L. Jackson is decent despite some really bad jokes he’s given, Ricky Gervais as the villain is actually not terrible, Michelle Yeoh is also fine enough (although she doesn’t get a whole lot to do) and Mel Brooks is always nice to see as well. Everything else falls under the “typical bad animated movie” category, very outdated jokes (there’s a Gangnam Style joke in here) and animation that really gives the vibe of $5 Walmart bin. There’s also some fourth wall breaking jokes that are just not funny there’s even one where one character talks about the running time, overall Paws Of Fury: The Legend Of Hank is terrible and just does not have a whole lot to it.

Paws Of Fury: The Legend Of Hank is available on all VOD Platforms.

3/10 D-

Emergency Declaration misses it’s mark.

While investigating a terrorist threat that goes online, Korean authorities discover that a suspect has recently boarded a flight bound for the United States. When a healthy passenger on the same plane suddenly dies, panic erupts both in-flight and on the ground. With steadily decreasing fuel and international refusals to offer aid, the captain and crew take unprecedented emergency measures to save the lives of all on board.

Emergency Declaration is definitely one of the more disappointing films so far this year, while it does have some very solid acting all around and there’s some very well captured shots, plus the first half of the movie does a pretty good job of establishing and introducing it’s characters quite well (really reminded me a lot of Train To Busan). The major problem here is the second half of the movie when the plot quicks in, the writing becomes very bare bones which is huge problem since this is actually based on a true story in which an airplane declared high alert and demanded unconditional landing. The script is very surface level and while does have a few strong moments during the last half of the movie, outside of those moments there’s really nothing there to standout from a lot of other disaster movies. The running time doesn’t do the movie any favors either being 2 hours and 18 minutes combined with dreadfully slow pacing really makes the movie a chore to watch. Overall Emergency Declaration is well made and has it’s moments but it’s very disappointing.

Emergency Declaration releases in theaters August 12th

5/10 C

Quick Review: Dawn (2022)

An unsuspecting couple gets into a ride share only to find out that they may have to fight for their lives as the deranged driver puts them through life and death situations…

Dawn offers very little despite an interesting premise, I like the idea of an Uber/taxi driver holding the main characters hostage this was done very well in Spree (although very different with it’s topic) and Ride (which isn’t anything spectacular but it’s at least fun and uses it’s premise decently well). Outside of a few moments here and there Dawn is a very dull movie with very little going on to bring the viewer into the movie, the acting and writing are simply bad and really don’t lead to very much. Plus it ends exactly how you think it’s going to.

Dawn is available on all VOD Platforms.

2/10 F