The Reviewinator: Halloween (2018)

It seems every 10 years or so, the Halloween franchise ignores a great portion of its sequels. In 1988, Halloween 4 ignored III; in 1998, Halloween H20 ignored everything after II; and 2007 saw Rob Zombie’s abysmal attempt at a remake. But here, on the 40th anniversary of the original, they haven’t just ignored every sequel and remake thus far, they’ve changed one of the most well-known details of the established lore: Michael Myers and Laurie Strode are no longer brother and sister! Imagine going back to before Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker were father and son and seeing what story paths a non-family structure could take that franchise. Even John Carpenter regretted making the two main characters related in Halloween II, and many agree that it made Michael Myers significantly less frightening. Instead of being “purely and simply evil”, he was a psychotic sibling less likely to kill non-relatives (i.e. most people). And even though this sequel shares the title of the original (the 2011 prequel to John Carpenter’s The Thing did this as well), 2018’s Halloween is very much a sequel to 1978’s Halloween.

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Castor’s Underrated Gems – Victory (1981)

John Huston was the classic example of a tour-de-force director who, in his later years, became a gun-for-hire. With films like The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, Fat City and The Man Who Would Be King, he was a burly, epic craftsman but bills and time diminished his enthusiasm. Luckily, he rebounded in the late 80’s but one of his films that been labeled a minor sidenote was actually a peerlessly far-fetched but immensely amiable sports movie – Victory.

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The Reviewinator: Fear the Walking Dead (Season 4)

How did we get here? How did a show that never stood a chance against its far-superior but still-struggling-in-the-ratings predecessor make it to four seasons? Without a single likable character, not to mention the haphazard storytelling, most shows like this one would have been cancelled long ago. But a crossover between the two shows was inevitable from the start, so let’s see where Fear’s dead walk to now.

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Castor’s Underrated Gems- The Missouri Breaks (1976)

Recently, the acid westerns Slow West and The Sisters Brothers have honored and deconstructed the oater genre but they weren’t the first examples of mixing a postmodern sensibility with a frontier setting. The master behind the epic yarn Little Big Man, Arthur Penn returned to the sublime well with the ceaselessly daft, high-wattage The Missouri Breaks which marked the only collaboration between Hollywood heavyweights Marlon Brando and Jack Nicholson.

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Reynolds Wrap (Part 1)

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With or without his trademark mustache, Burt Reynolds was a demigod on two legs and four wheels. His most crowd-pleasing sleeper was ‘Smokey & The Bandit’ but Burt was more prolific than just vehicular mayhem and Southern-fried charm. For every ‘The Longest Yard’ and ‘Deliverance’, there was a relatively minor entry in Burt’s dilating filmography. While I consider myself a Reynolds-phile, there are several titles I have neglected to see heretofore. Since his recent passing cast such a wide pallor over my fondness for his legacy, I’ve decided to hydroplane over his blockbusters and throttle through his lesser-known pictures.

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Demographic Demolition

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I understand that some movies elude my breadth of appeal. Non-Disney animated movies, Bollywood musicals, wrestling documentaries, anything by Terrence Malick. None of these are of particular interest to me or fall within my purview. Then there’s a category of movies where the demographic that they’re aimed towards is muddled, nonexistent or extremely niche. The Happytime Murders was released this past weekend and it has me musing about other movies that contain elements geared towards a select few.

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Castor’s Underrated Gems- Volunteers (1985)

Tom Hanks. The man voted to be the most trustworthy man in America. If the World War III phone was by his bedside, the country could rest easy. Finding someone who actively dislikes Tom Hanks would be like finding a needle in a haystack. Err, then again….the late Gene Siskel in his review of ‘Bachelor Party’ called him “smug” and “unfunny”. Outside of that wildly controversial opinion, most people are in consensus that Hanks is a national treasure. But his string of powerhouse award winners wasn’t the wellspring from once he spawned.

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The Reviewinator: Extinction (2018)

(I don’t usually include spoilers in my reviews, but sometimes a movie comes along that’s SUCH a waste of my time that I feel spoilers must be revealed to save others from wasting theirs. This is your first warning.)

Oh, Netflix. You may have made movie-watching easier than ever before, but that doesn’t change the fact that “Netflix Originals” are the streaming equivalent of direct-to-video: high-concept, low-budget. Take Extinction. An old-fashioned sci-fi action-adventure reminiscent of the glory days of the 80’s and 90’s. The trailer is impressive, and the actors chosen are interesting. But is the behind-the-scenes talent equally as talented?

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The Reviewinator: Mission Impossible – Fallout (2018)

After six movies, one has to wonder what’s really so impossible about these missions. Then again, 56-year-old Tom Cruise has been at this since 1996, so maybe it’s less the missions and more the person doing them. The Mission: Impossible film franchise had a bit of a rocky start, and didn’t hit its stride until the third movie. But since then, it’s been going nowhere but up. But one can only go so high until there’s Fallout.

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Castor’s Underrated Gems – Life Stinks (1991)

Life Stinks is a member of an elite group. It’s one of Mel Brooks’ final directorial efforts since his quasi-retirement into the sunset of Broadway adaptations. Although it won’t be stratified alongside such milestones as The Producers, Young Frankenstein or Blazing Saddles, Life Stinks is a daftly funny gasp of madcap warmth before the Semitic impresario would close up shop.

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