Title: Avengers: Endgame
Directors: Anthony & Joe Russo
Starring: Charis Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Paul Rudd, Don Cheadle, Mark Ruffalo
It is legit hard to surprise me at the cinema these days. It is even harder to surprise me with a Marvel movie these days. After 20 plus films, the MCU was starting to feel the same. I'm not as big on some of these films, as most of the world. However, I do enjoy most of them. I just don't put them on that high pedestal that some do. That said, Avengers: Endgame surprised me. I will keep this brief, so I don't slip up with a spoiler or 2. Endgame caps off this first 10 years of the MCU nicely. Kudos to the Russo Brothers, for pulling this off too. Not only is Endgame a lot of fun, it has a ton of heart to go along with it. It takes the MCU that preceded it, and treats it with respect. It goes overboard sometimes with the schmaltz and fan-service, but that's OK. Endgame feels like it can get away with it. Even some of the stuff that really didn't work for me, I was able to look the other way with. Endgame is popcorn cinema done correctly. Now, bring on the next stuff.
Title: The Curse of La Llorona
Director: Michael Chaves
Starring: Linda Cardellini, Raymond Cruz, Marisol Ramirez, Sean Patrick Thomas, Roman Christou, Jaynee-Lynne Kinchen, Tony Amendola
The biggest sin of The Curse of La Llorona, is that nothing really happens. Music swells, there are long stares into darkness, there are noises (oh, yes, there are noises), and then La Llorona jumps out and goes "boo!" Or, more accurately, she screams and reaches her arms out. That's it. That's basically her power move. And it gets repetitive. Over, and over again. However, there is a slight fun charm to the film. Linda Cardellini and Raymond Cruz, really sell this thing. The kids are also quite fun. The titular character, is designed well, and she does come across as a force. The Conjuring connection, while cool, seems like a shoehorned afterthought which is a shame. The Curse of La Llorona comes out mostly unscathed, but ultimately feels useless. It's a quick cash-grab, but there are a few nifty sequences that are quite fun to watch. You just have to slog through a lot of it.
Title: Pet Sematary
Directors: Kevin Kolsch, Dennis Widmyer
Starring: Jason Clarke, Amy Seimetz, John Lithgow, Jete' Laurence, Obssa Ahmed
A little bit of history. I first read Pet Sematary when I was nine years old. It was the first "adult" book I ever read. It fucking terrified the ever loving shit out of me. I was hooked on Stephen King from then on, and I went on a King reading binge for many years after that. Really, there has been no book since my first, that has wrecked me as badly as Pet Sematary. I was really pulling for this. We are kind of in the middle of a King renaissance, when it comes to adapting his horror. Stephen King, is very hard to translate. Only recently, have people really been able to crack that code. Unfortunately, Pet Sematary kind of falls short. I was totally cool with the "switch" that was revealed in the trailer. However, I think the film kind of went a little overboard when it comes to the liberties it takes. The ending to this film, and the sidelining of Jud Crandall as little more than a glorified stereotype, is going to piss off A LOT of people. I'm still not sure if I like ALL the changes, or absolutely hate them. I did enjoy a lot of the film though. There is some very effective sequences, and the titular place of burial, is done really well. The actors are mostly fine. John Lithgow is probably the standout here. The little girl who plays Ellie, while I found kind of annoying alive, is actually really, really, creepy as dead Ellie. And the cat does a great job. Pet Sematary is just a mixed bag overall. While some of the liberties it takes are fine, others leave you scratching your head, and it totally misses the point for the sake of just being creepy. I do think there is just enough to warrant a watch. It's better than the original, but that's not saying much.
Director: David F. Sandberg
Starring: Asher Angel, Zachary Levi, Jack Dylan Grazer, Mark Strong, Djimon Hounsou
Oh, what a treat Shazam! is. David F. Sandberg, most known for his horror films Lights Out and Annabelle: Creation, has made quite the entertaining ride here. Shazam!, is packed full of laughs, heart, and adventure. Not shying away from his horror roots, Sandberg, throws in some chills along the way too. Anchoring here, are the absolutely charismatic performances of his three leads. Zachary Levi, Asher Angel, and Jack Dylan Grazer, are wonderful here. Levi, totally embodies the titular character, while allowing his child-like wonder to flow off the screen. Levi's younger self, Asher Angel, is also great here. Angel and Levi's chemistry with Jack Dylan Grazer, make this film something truly special. The family dynamic here, is played so well, and it pays off in spades at the end. Mark Strong, is also solid as the villain. It's nice to see him get redemption for his Sinestro turn. Shazam!, is kind of unlike any superhero film we have today. It has a very throwback style feel. They don't make these kinds of superhero films anymore. And they need to make more. Shazam! is monstrously entertaining.