Werewolf By Night is a fun Universal Monster movie throwback and breath of fresh air for the MCU.

On a dark and sombre night, a secret cabal of monster hunters emerge from the shadows and gather at the Bloodstone Temple following the death of their leader; the attendees are thrust into a mysterious and deadly competition for a powerful relic.

Werewolf By Night is hands down one of the best installments to come out of Phase Four in the MCU, for starters everything from the tone, style, characters heck even writing is a night and day difference from the rest of the MCU and I mean that in a good way. The special itself is only 52 minutes long yet still manages to flesh out it’s characters pretty well, Laura Donnelly and Gael García Bernal are both highlights who give really strong performances that completely make the special shine, the use of black and white combined with the throwback elements of the Universal Monster movies is truly fantastic. There’s some quite clever style and writing tricks that the writers and Michael Giacchino use. The film is very well crafted with so much attention to detail included, it helps that the special actually feels like one of the Universal monster films. It shows that everyone involved did their homework rather than create a cheap copy of the films.

Werewolf By Night is available on Disney+

8/10 B+

Mortal Kombat Legends: Snow Blind brings new ideas to the series.

When Kano and Black Dragon mercenaries become determined to take over Earthrealm, undisciplined Kenshi seeks tutelage from retired Kuai Liang to stop Kano from decimating all of Earthrealm.

Mortal Kombat Legends: Snow Blind is the third of the new animated Mortal Kombat movies (technically there is one that came out in 1995 but that is an entirely different movie). The previous two movies Scorpion’s Revenge and Battle Of The Realms were both very solid and accomplished what they were sent out to do, Snow Blind however takes it up a notch and actually does something quite different this time around….it’s not based around the tournament itself, instead it takes this Mad Max apocalyptic type atmosphere approach while also having a lot of the elements that make the series so great. The characters are actually pretty well written particularly Kenshi, Kuai and Kano (who is a fantastic villain) the action scenes are very entertaining and the writing is surprisingly very well written, it’s by far the most in depth it’s ever been in these movies thus far. There are a few hiccups such as some of villains who kind of just serve to hype up Kano and really get the Dragonball Z movie henchmen treatment, however Kabel and Tremor are a lot of fun and actually steal a few of the scenes they are in. The highlight of the film however is Kenshi and Kuai, the student and mentor chemistry is truly strong here and the two have some really strong character moments. Overall if you liked the last two movies you are going to really like this one, especially since it steers away from the Mortal Kombat formula and does a pretty solid job of bringing something new to the series. A fourth movie is set to release next year!

Mortal Kombat Legends: Snow Blind is available on all VOD platforms.

8/10 B+

The Woman King is a breath of fresh air for blockbusters.

In the 1800s, a group of all-female warriors protects the African kingdom of Dahomey with skills and fierceness unlike anything the world has ever seen. Faced with a new threat, Gen. Nanisca trains the next generation of recruits to fight against a foreign enemy that’s determined to destroy their way of life.

The Woman King is a breath of fresh air when it comes to blockbusters, the film is a lot like Gladiator and Braveheart mainly from it’s cinematography and how the film itself is presented. One of the main parts that completely sell this movie is the cast and their tremendous performances mainly Viola Davis, Lashana Lynch, John Boyega and Thuso Mbedu all of which deliver powerful and truly fantastic performances which each of them add to the film. Viola Davis is already a powerhouse actress but here she ups it notch and delivers one of the best of her career, theres a great nuance to her performance of playing a warrior as well as someone who has a ton of past trauma. The cinematography combined with the action scenes are masterfully crafted, there’s a lot of attention to detail when it comes to the action scenes. Adding depth to the battles as well as making the different settings compliment each battle, there’s also a strong atmosphere that once again compliments and blends itself into the film beautifully. You also have Gina Prince-Bythewood’s direction which like the rest of the film compliments it really well, between the characters and the very well written script there’s so much to Bythewood’s direction that completely makes the film. Overall The Woman King is quite fantastic, it’s a huge film that is masterfully made and has some of this year’s best performances.

The Woman King is available in theaters.

10/10 A+

Lou is another forgettable Netflix action thriller.

A young girl is kidnapped during a powerful storm. Her mother joins forces with her mysterious neighbour to set off in pursuit of the kidnapper. Their journey will test their limits and expose the dark secrets of their past.

What a surprise another Netflix action thriller that’s very forgettable, it’s a shame because there is at least some decent parts about this one. Allison Janney is actually pretty great as one of the main leads, her character is quite interesting it’s just a shame there isn’t a whole lot of development until the last half. Jurnee Smollett and Logan Marshall-Green are also pretty solid here as well plus there’s some actually decent action scenes that are quite entertaining. Outside of all of that there really isn’t much else here, a lot of it is beat by beat action thriller plot lines and is way too predictable for it’s own good. The writing offers interesting ideas during the first half of the movie but never expands on them as the movie goes on, I guess Lou is a fine enough time waster but at that point why even bother when there’s better films in the genre?

Lou is available on Netflix.

4/10 D+

Samaritan is a generic superhero story.

A young boy learns that a superhero who was thought to have gone missing after an epic battle twenty years ago may in fact still be around.

I was actually pretty excited for Samaritan despite the plot reading exactly like a generic superhero story, I wanted to see how Julius Avery (director of Overlord and Son Of A Gun) would tackle the superhero genre. Unfortunately the movie itself is a very generic one, the story of a kid unexpectedly meeting a superhero has been done numerous times before and it’s not any different here. Javon Walton at least gives a fun performance that gives the movie spirit and Sylvester Stallone is really solid here as he usually is, the few action scenes that there are not bad but not anything to write home about. Had this movie come out several years ago like in the 90s there would be a lot more leeway, the main issues here are mostly the villains who are very one note and for half the movie barely do anything. Then you have the writing which I’ve said before is written in the most generic way possible, the movie hits a lot of the typical superhero movie beats that have been done far better elsewhere. There’s some decent moments with Stallone and Walton who bond over the course of the movie which leads to some great moments, but a lot Samaritan is very forgettable and sort of sits among such a crowded genre. Overall Samaritan isn’t bad, there’s definitely some heart and the acting is at least solid. But it’s not enough to really standout.

Samaritan is available on Amazon Prime Video.

5/10 C

DC League Of Super-Pets is a fun kids superhero movie.

Krypto the Super-Dog and Superman are inseparable best friends, sharing the same superpowers and fighting crime in Metropolis side by side. When Superman and the rest of the Justice League are kidnapped, Krypto must convince a rag-tag shelter pack–Ace the hound, PB the potbellied pig, Merton the turtle and Chip the squirrel–to master their own newfound powers and help him rescue the superheroes.

DC League Of Super Pets definitely surprised me in a few ways, this could have easily been a very unfunny and forgettable kids movie but there’s actually a decent amount to enjoy here. The voice cast is overall great Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Kate McKinnon, John Krasinski, Keanu Reeves and a few others do a fantastic job here. There’s a few jokes here that land pretty well and there are some that fall flat but they aren’t terrible or anything to complain over, the animation is fun and colorful plus it gives some of the characters a decent amount of detail. What’s the most surprising about the movie is there’s some genuine heart in it, there’s a few heartfelt moments that actually give the movie some strength when it comes to storytelling during those scenes. The movie mainly suffers from a lot of beat by beat plot points that really don’t add anything new and the animal characters outside of Krypto, Lulu and Ace just sort of exist, the three I mentioned get character development at least and are fun characters but the same can’t be said for the others. The others mainly serve to be this movie’s “silly sidekicks” but for a movie called League Of Super-Pets you would think they would get a tad more development right? Overall DC League Of Super-Pets is a serviceable kids movie that definitely had a surprising amount of effort put into it, what could have been a forgettable cashgrab ends up being a decent enough kids movie.

DC League Of Super-Pets is available on all VOD platforms.

6/10 C+

Day Shift is a genuinely fun B horror action film.

A hardworking dad out to provide for his daughter uses a boring pool-cleaning job as a front for his real gig: hunting and killing vampires.

It’s honestly amazing to me how Day Shift a silly action horror B movie which has a scene where Snoop Dogg carries a machine gun and blasts a handful of vampires, ends up being far more better visually and far more fun than The Gray Man and Red Notice which are overly expensive and terrible. Day Shift definitely has this rental store type feel too it which is part of the charm, you don’t know what to expect and most of the results are a lot of fun. There’s some really solid action scenes combined with some gore that is solid as well, Jamie Foxx is really solid here as the leading role. The guy has so much charm and definitely knows how to put on entertaining ride from beginning to end and that’s definitely shown here, Snoop Dogg is also pretty great as well and fits quite well in the movie. Day Shift does have it’s writing flaws such as the villain in particular not being very memorable, however that doesn’t stop the movie from being genuinely fun. It’s not anything ground breaking and it’s most definitely not going to add anything new to the genre. But if you are missing the types of films Netflix use to put out back when they first started I recommend checking this one out.

Day Shift is available on Netflix.

7/10 B

Secret Headquarters is a harmless kids movie but not much else.

A kid discovers the secret headquarters of a powerful superhero hidden beneath his home and must defend it with his group of friends when villains attack.

Secret Headquarters is basically if you took Spy Kids and Sky High then made it forgettable. I can easily see why this movie didn’t end up releasing in theaters like it was originally going to, there are some good bits here such as Walker Scobell, Owen Wilson (even though he wasn’t in it all that much), Keith L. Williams and Abby James Witherspoon were great and they all genuinely seemed like they were having a blast with this movie. So at least the passion was there it’s mostly the writing that hurts this movie, I will say that it is a completely harmless movie for kids there’s some jokes in here that actually worked quite well and reminded me of the type of humor that Spy Kids had. However the plot is a bit too predictable and the villains are very one note characters that feel like they teleported from a very early 2000s family movie, Secret Headquarters is at least not as bad as it could have been. I’m sure there will be an audience for this movie I’m just not one of them.

Secret Headquarters is available on Paramount+

4/10 D+

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