Everything Old is New Again, Vol. 9 - May and June 2019

by Hunter Bush

Welcome, welcome, to another installment of Everything Old is New Again, the column where I write, sometimes at length, about the Remakes, Adaptations, and Legacy Sequels coming to screens great and small in the months ahead. I also occasionally throw in stuff that only tangentially fits just because I kinda wanna talk about it for whatever reason? I dunno, I just follow my gut.

This is a bi-monthly column (the kind that means “every two months”, not “twice a month”; I'm not a machine) and hoo-boy! This latest installment is a doozy! Don't hold me to this, but I *think* this is the most flicks I've had to cover in a two-month period? Though to be fair, I do include a pair of direct-to-streaming mini-series, but they seemed definitely worth mentioning.

Warning: Get ready to read a LOT of titles so long it will seem like I'm joking but I assure you I am not. Mostly they're book titles, but still! It's like a Fall Out Boy tracklist down there sometimes!

Also: If you like dolls walking around, talking, maybe questioning their existence or killing some hapless nobodies, THIS is the EOINA for you.

So here we go with all the applicable entertainments brought to you, for fun and profit, this coming MAY and JUNE.

MAY 2019:

Out now

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UGLYDOLLS - Based on the toy line (created by David Horvath & Sun-Min Kim in 2001) popular with the Hot Topic set, this animated feature honestly looks like the same old same old message about being yourself, wrapped in an ever-so-slightly different package purely by dint of there not already being an Uglydolls movie. I have basically every problem possible with this. The Uglydolls (voiced by the likes of Kelly Clarkson, Blake Shelton, Gabriel Iglesias, Wanda Sykes, Leehom Wang, & Emma Roberts, as well as Pitbull making his long-anticipated and requested, nay, demanded animated voice debut) live in Uglytown and all's well until they go exploring and find the nearby...settlement (?) or perhaps parallel universe (?) of Perfection (which may or may not have a hashtag at the front of it) where the dolls (voiced by Nick Jonas, Janelle Monáe, Charli XCX, & Lizzo, among others) are all humanoid, Bratz-like and, you guessed it: perfect. So then the Uglys have to learn and/or teach the Perfect Dolls that beauty is only skin deep and there's no such thing as perfect and being different or damaged can be beautiful, etc. My issue comes with the visuals. Uglytown is kind of pastel blah and Perfection is a kind of grey blah. There's nothing inherently appealing about either side of this issue, visually. It's just a big ol' mess. There do appear to be, maybe, dream sequences to break up the eyeball-numbing monotony, but then there's the world. Obviously this is a trailer and doesn't showcase every detail but I thought this was a LEGO Movie-like world where these toys all just lived, but there's a subplot about having to be paired up with the right human? This feels confusingly under-baked to me. Finally, conceptually, the Uglydolls stand out when compared to other brightly-colored stuffies, but that distinction is lost when you contrast them with a completely different type of toy. So, the choice of having regular-degular human-looking toys be the "bad guys" seems a weak one to me. I'm gonna skip this 'un, gang. But lest you think think this is some macho posturing, like I'm too macho to get down with a stuffed animal-based kid's movie, I'd like you to meet my bud Velvet Elvis.

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EXTREMELY WICKED, SHOCKINGLY EVIL AND VILE - From Joe Berlinger the man behind Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes which debuted on Netflix earlier this year, this also-Ted-Bundy feature is based on the book The Phantom Prince: My Life with Ted Bundy by one-time Bundy flame Elizabeth Kloepfer. I found the tone of The Ted Bundy Tapes to be a little too...admiring of Bundy and that's kind of the same vibe that comes across in these trailers. "Look at how handsome Ted was! Isn't it crazy that he was a killer? He could have had anything he wanted!" and I don't personally ascribe to that view. Also the cock-rock guitar riff in the initial trailer would be much better-suited to a Richard Ramirez biopic anyway (Bundy was kind of a square). All that being said, the main draw in Wicked, Evil and Vile for me is Zac Efron as Bundy. He looks the part, sure, but really seems to be throwing himself into the performance. The cast also features Lily Collins & John Malkovich as well as (*scans IMDb*) Haley Joel Osment and Metallica vocalist James Hetfield!?!? What? Check it out on Netflix. Also: Definitely read the Old Sport's review for, if nothing else, a very interesting near-death experience anecdote.

TELL IT TO THE BEES - Based on the book by Fiona Shaw, this 50's-set romance drama stars Anna Paquin and Holliday Grainger as two women who fall in love. This is all well and good except that the residents of the neighboring village aren't down with ladies lovin' ladies, which leads to a lot of tension and that's before Jean's (Paquin's) son spills the beans to his deadbeat dad who comes around causing trouble. The trailers have a lot of tender piano and breathy dialogue as well as, you guessed it, bees. Seems Grainger's character keeps bees on the property for fun and profit! This looks pretty good actually, but it's only getting limited release, at least initially, so you might have to wait for VOD.

DEAD TRIGGER - Based on *checks notes* a cell phone app I never heard of, Dead Trigger takes place in a world where zombies have taken over. In that world, the government released a cell phone app that kept track of players' scores and abilities, looking for potential inductees to their (in that world) real-life zombie-hunting special-forces team called (yuuuup) "Dead Triggers". Y'know, like The Last Starfighter, but somehow infinitely worse. The flick, which was completed in 2017 but held from wide release until juuuust the right moment, which is apparently now, stars Dolph Lundgren (who has a masters degree in chemical engineering, but still inexplicably chooses to do movies like this one) alongside a bunch of dead-meats, one of whom goes by the mononym Bleona.

10th

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TOLKIEN - Though not based on any one source as far as I can tell, it is based on the life of J.R.R. Tolkien, author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and equally based on a desire to cash in on the tons of money adapting his works has raked in. That might seem a bit cynical, but after the Tolkien estate disavowed the flick's continued existence, I think it feels right. Exploring every author's favorite question "Where do you get your ideas?" by dipping into fantasy sequences filled with legally-distinct versions of the Hobbit & LotR characters. Nicholas Hoult stars as John Ronald Reuel himself, with Lily Collins as Tolkien's future-wife Edith Bratt. If you consider yourself a die-hard Tolkien fan, this could be right up your alley, but it really seems just rude to make a movie about the man without the blessings of anyone involved in continuing his legacy, so I'm'a skip it.

POKÉMON: DETECTIVE PIKACHU - We are all, as a people, familiar with "the Pokémans" at this point, yes? They've conquered the worlds of trading cards, video games, cartoon series, comic books, animated films, nightmares, cosplay, mobile gaming, clothing and illicit XXX fan art; well now they're coming to live-action films! I have no problem with Pokémon really, beyond not recognizing any that were introduced post-Mewtwo, and I think this looks fun. When I heard that Ryan Reynolds would be voicing famous yellow-electric-bunny-thing Pikachu, I had a bunch of questions about how exactly they'd accomplish that. Famously, mostly all Pokémon only really say their own names over and over with different inflections (kinda like Groot), so would Reynolds just be saying "Pika-pika! Pika-Pi! Pika-chuuuu..." in his delectable Canadian baritone? Or would he just be narrating Detective Pikachu's inner monologue, Sam Spade-like? Turns out, Reynolds' Pikachu runs into Tim (Justice Smith), a boy who can inexplicably understand what he's really saying. Turns out this particular Pikachu was previously owned by Tim's missing father, so the two team up to locate him. Like I said, this looks fun and I think I'm in the sweet spot of being just familiar enough with Pokémon to enjoy it without caring so much that inconsistencies will bother me.

THE HUSTLE - This gender-swapped remake, apparently, of 1988's Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (itself a remake of 1964's Bedtime Story) stars Anne Hathaway (and her delish, over-the-top, posh, British accent) and Rebel Wilson as two con-women who bump into each other while out conning and decide to partner up, y'know for fun and profit. Wilson's character is introduced scamming a dude for snacks, before meeting Hathaway who encourages her to dream bigger. There are some solid gags in the trailers alone, which gives me hope for the film (like Wilson wearing a dress that allows her to take camouflage in a stack of garbage bags) (it's funnier in execution than description, I wager) and while the cast doesn't boast a lot of recognizable names to me, I did spot Tim Blake Nelson on there, so: Yay! I loved last year's The Spy Who Dumped Me based almost entirely on the chemistry between leads Mila Kunis & Kate McKinnon, so if Hathaway & Wilson bring the goods, The Hustle (originally known as Nasty Women but changed to a toothless yet bipartisan alternate title) could be a sleeper hit.

ASAKO I & II - This adaptation of Tomoka Shibasaki's novel (which translates from Japanese to) At All Hours, stars Erika Karata as Asako, who lives in Osaka and loves a man named Baku (Masahiro Higashide) until he one day just disappears. Asako eventually moves to Tokyo, where she meets Ryôhei who looks exactly like Baku, but acts totally opposite (also Higashide). Are they somehow the same person? Are they even related? Would any explanation change how Asako feels towards them / him? This looks very interesting, though to be honest the trailer was more confusing than anything. A lot of the plot description above was gained by digging around a bit. Still, I am intrigued. I also *in love* with the song in the trailer, ("Hageshiku" by À la Folie) which has production that reminds me of Berlin's "Take My Breath Away" and works alongside the visuals beautifully.

CHARLIE SAYS - Inspired by TWO books on Charles Manson and his infamous family (The Family: The Story of Charles Manson's Dune Buggy Attack Battalion by Ed Sanders, and The Long Prison Journey of Leslie Van Houten by Karlene Faith), Charlie Says seems like it will actually tell the stories of the women involved as opposed to just using them as framing devices (though as always, trailers can be deceiving). The trailer begins with the Manson Family girls in prison and a grad student attempting to get them to open up about their experiences and implies that we'll be seeing events from their slightly different perspectives. Is this a Roshomon take on Charles Manson? I have no idea, but what a fucking wild idea that is! Also, former Dr. Who star Matt Smith plays Manson here, fresh off of his turn as Mapplethorpe, so I guess Smith is just heavily in biopic mode? For what it's worth, his American accent seems pretty good. Always a plus. The cast features Hannah Murray, Suki Waterhouse, Grace Van Dien, Marianne Rendón, Merritt Wever, & Annabeth Gish.

THE PROFESSOR AND THE MADMAN - Oh yeah! This one sounds great! I bet it's about something really super duper exciting! Like *checks notes* the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary. Based on the book (deep breath) The Surgeon of Crawthorne: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary by Simon Winchester, here we have the story of Sir James Murray (Mel Gibson) and the 10,000 submissions he received from Dr. William Chester Minor (Sean Penn) while the Dr. was a patient at Broadmoor asylum. It seems the not-so-good doctor had done himself some crimes in the past and ended up good and committed to that asylum life. A good portion of the trailer has Sir Murray defending his pen pal-turned-friend to a court, arguing for an early release and, to me, having Gibson say the line "you think a bad man cannot change?" feels gross. I could write a whole other article about how I feel like casting Gibson & Penn in this specific redemptive tale seems like a particularly obvious plea to the court of public opinion for two of Hollywood's aging "Bad Boys" but why waste the time? This wouldn't really be my cup of tea anyway, so why bother? I'll just read the book.

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A DOG'S JOURNEY - From W. Bruce Cameron, the author behind both A Dog's Purpose (from 2017) and A Dog's Way Home (from earlier this year!) comes yet another dog movie to yank on your heart strings until you find yourself red-eyed and exhausted standing in front of a pet shop just waiting to add a puppy pal to your life. Remember: Adopt, don't shop. Anyway, A Dog's Journey looks...kinda fucked up? It implies that we each, I guess, have a dog bonded to us that keeps dying and reincarnating and finding its way back to us just to be there for us (which would be sweet if it wasn't spiritual enslavement). Luckily Dennis Quaid (recently of The Intruder) has found a way to at least change things up for his indentured-dog-soul-servant, Bailey (voiced by Josh Gad) by assigning him to watch over Quaid's granddaughter. What the fuck is even happening? We truly live in the darkest timeline when W. Bruce Cameron's writings earn him a shit-ton of writing gigs and an apparently never-ending movie greenlight streak instead of a padded room. The concept of "eternal spiritual servitude" should never be attached to the concept of "man's best friend". That's bonkers. I can't even.

THE SUN IS ALSO A STAR - Based on the YA novel by Nicola Yoon, this doomed-romance flick at least takes an unusual tack as the big unavoidable Sword of Damocles dangling above our lovers' heads isn't some terminal disease or another, it's deportation. When Natasha (Yara Shahidi) meet-cutes Daniel (Charles Melton) they instantly have chemistry, plus she owes him a Wookiee Life Debt, but she's hesitant to succumb to his charms (or cheekbones, my lord!) because her family may be deported back to Jamaica in less than a day. I enjoy the more realistic obstacles this story presents while still completely giving the opportunity for "teachable moments" about living life to the fullest and/or taking chances and/or destiny of whatever exact brand of spiritual tonic Yoon's novel is peddling. Plus, the photography in the trailer is gorgeous! This is directed by Ry Russo-Young, who directed 2017's Before I Fall which had similar best-of-a-bad-lot vibes (as The Simpsons said: "Making teenagers depressed is like shooting fish in a barrel") and gorgeous cinematography but wrapped in a Groundhog Day time-loop package. Not a great movie, but not as bad as it could've been.

TRIAL BY FIRE - This one looks intense. Based off of the New Yorker article of the same title by David Grann, Trial By Fire is about capital punishment and the justice system specifically in regards to the (SPOILERS?) controversial execution of Cameron Todd Willingham (played here by Jack O'Connell) who had been sentenced to death row for burning down his house with his children inside. The trailer makes it pretty clear that either Willingham didn't do it or that at the very least the defense didn't do their fair share of investigating to prove his innocence. Laura Dern stars as Elizabeth Gilbert, an expert tasked with attempting to prove Willingham's claims.

ANIARA - Based on an epic poem by Harry Martinson from 1965, Aniara tells the story of a massive spaceship knocked off course between a decimated Earth and the new colonies of Mars and sent drifting into both uninhabited space and multiple existential dilemmas. Martinson's poem consists of 103 cantos (by comparison, Dante's Divine Comedy has 100) of concepts both sci-fi and spiritual and he seemed particularly interested in exploring where those two things overlapped. The trailers, though medium budget, showcase a lot of not only excellent visuals but compelling concepts, again of both the sci-fi variety (sunning rooms, where multiple passengers can lay under a simulated sun) and spiritual (characters seem to start a death cult?). A Swedish production, this one will be subtitled but I absolutely wouldn't let that deter you.

CATCH-22 - Based on the famous (and famously frustrating) novel by Joseph Heller about, among other topics, the inherent pointless and frustrating nature of the military and warfare in general, this Hulu mini series boasts a huge cast including Kyle Chandler, Giancarlo Giannini, Hugh Laurie, and George Clooney (who directed two episodes as well as executive produced). The tone in the trailers reminds me a lot of The Men Who Stare at Goats, which isn't a bad thing. Christopher Abbott stars as author surrogate Yossarian who we're introduced to in the trailer explaining the origin of the title: a Catch-22 is when you think you're cracking up, so you ask to be relieved of military duty, which in the mind of the military proves you're still sane enough to serve. Only a truly crazy person would willingly serve with no complaint. Catch-22. I'm intrigued to see how the lighter tone will translate to the small screen.

24th

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ALADDIN - A near exact copy of Disney's 1992 animated blockbuster (itself based on the fable from The Book of The One Thousand and One Nights) but this time with human actors. I guess this is what Disney does now. This and buying smaller companies and eating them. Y'know what? I can't even get super angry at Aladdin because the "live action" remake of The Lion King drops in July and that is just SO MUCH STUPIDER. I guess this is what Disney on cruise control looks like: remaking their own shit over and over like a Human Centipede ouroboros. While this is clearly not my thing, there are some positives. They cast representationally appropriate actors as the main characters, for one: Mena Massoud as Aladdin, Naomi Scott as Jasmin, and Marwan Kenzari as Jafar (plus Alan Tudyk as the voice of Iago and Billy Magnussen as Prince Anders) and of course Will Smith plays the Genie! It's hard to dislike Will Smith, right? I'm sure he'll do fine. So there's some positivity. Oh but also the visuals look like washed out garbage and I hate the color palette, but whatever: Will Smith! Listen, if he writes a fire dance track for the closing credits, Aladdin will be worth something. If not though...

31st

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GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS - I mean, this looks incredible, right? Based on the Toho character, yes character, created in 1954, though King of the Monsters is the sequel to 2014's Godzilla directed by Gareth Edwards. In it we find a world on the brink of total chaos as "17 and counting" different kaiju (giant monsters; referred to as "Titans" here) have recently become active across the globe. They all seem to be searching for their place in kaiju hierarchy (the "kaierarchy", if you will), looking for the Alpha. That, my friends, is Ghidorah the three headed space dragon and one bad monster (shut your mouth!). I'm a little fuzzy on the why and how but only Godzilla is powerful enough to challenge King Ghidorah, but as I said I'm not sure why having one kaiju in charge is any better or worse than another? I guess we'll find out in the theater and I AM FINE WITH THAT. This is like the kaiju Avengers! Besides Godzilla and King Ghidorah, Rodan (a huge lava-bird) and Mothra (a big...moth) both definitely make appearances in addition to Titans referred to as Baphomet, Abaddon, Bunyip, Typhoon, and Methuselah. On top of that, this film is set to bridge between the Godzilla and Kong: Skull Island franchises to set up a Godzilla vs Kong movie for 2020. Even with Kong, that's still not 17 Titans, so I'm very excited to see who or what else shows up. Oh, also there are people in this movie, people with names like Millie Bobby Brown, Charles Dance, Vera Farmiga, Sally Hawkins, Bradley Whitford, Ziyi Zhang, O'Shea Jackson Jr., Kyle Chandler (again), David Strathairn, Ken Watanabe, and CCH Pounder! That's a great cast, but I literally cannot believe any of them will be left alive at the end. The most recent trailer is almost wall-to-wall devastation, so I'm curious and excited to see how the franchise moves forward after seemingly the entire world has been stomped to rubble! Go Go Godzilla!

GOOD OMENS - Aziraphale (Michael Sheen) is an angel, and Crowley (David Tennant) is a demon and though they're meant to be steadily guiding the world toward Armageddon, they've gotten kind of comfortable here, so they decide to make sure that Armageddon doesn't happen. They'll have to keep tabs on the still young Antichrist and stay at least a step ahead of the new Four Horsemen in this Amazon Prime original mini-series. Based on the excellent, irreverent and silly novel by Neil Gaiman and the late, great Terry Pratchett from 1990. Good Omens has a lot of big concepts in it (all sorts of biblical supernaturalia) and the special effects in these trailers look up to the task, but of course the main hook will be the relationship and chemistry between the leads and (call me biased, but) I think David Tennant & Michael Sheen are both The Best and Perfectly Cast. I can't wait for this!

JUNE 2019:

7th

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X-MEN: DARK PHOENIX - This project has been shuffled from one EOINA column to the next for a WHILE now but I guess it's finally coming out? Based on the Phoenix Saga storyline written by Chris Claremont (with art by John Byrne) that ran in X-Men comics #101-108 and concluded in #129-138 which finds the X-Men going to space for superhero shenanigans only to have their spacecraft bombarded with unknown space energies! This kinda thing happens all the time in Marvel comics. Returning home to Earth, Jean Grey (Sophie Turner in this flick) finds she has not only survived the bombardment but thrived, developing new powers and abilities that eventually make her go kinda, what's the word...totally batshit insane, becoming dangerous on a global scale. After that, it's up to the X-Men to stop and hopefully save her. Speaking in movie-centric terms, this story has already been covered in 2006's X-Men: The Last Stand, but only kind of. It's a very involved story with a lot of crazy comics stuff coming out of almost nowhere, the results of which would (no joke) ripple throughout the X-Universe for decades, so it's treatment as a B-plot in Last Stand didn't really do it justice. Having said that: a lot of the trailers for Dark Phoenix looked a TON like what we covered in Last Stand but with newer effects and younger stars. The most recent trailer changed that, showcasing a lot more footage that seems to hew closer to the original comics plot. Apparently, after the first trailers were released it was viewed 44 million times in China within the first 24 hours, as opposed to a paltry (?) 8 million in the U.S. So Chinese audiences have become a much larger part of the release plans now that the studios have finally chosen a final release date.

CHARLES - When a young couple (I *think* played by Makayla Moore and Travis Wiggins, but details online are thin at best) move into a new apartment they start noticing strange supernatural happenings and begin to suspect it has something to do with their Good Guy doll, Charles. Yeah, that's right this is a Chucky movie, EXCEPT IT'S NOT! So there's a lot to unpack about the legalities of who owns what with regards to these flicks, but in general, creator Don Mancini is viewed as the franchise's champion, having kept Chucky alive (so-to-speak) in films since 1988's original Child's Play. Mancini has no involvement with Charles, and to be honest the likelihood of this making any actual impact seems dubious. There isn't, as of yet, any kind of real trailer and I would imagine this has to be a lawsuit magnet what with a proper remake of Child's Play dropping just two weeks after! This seems like an attempt from writer/director/producer Luis "Tony Bizz" Serrano to muscle his way into cultural awareness via the concept that "all press is good press". Sounds about right for someone who describes themself in their own IMDb bio saying "(Luis)...in time became known locally for his style of creativity he created".

14th

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MEN IN BLACK: INTERNATIONAL - A reboot of the MIB film franchise begun with 1997's Men In Black (itself based on some comics created & written by Lowell Cunningham and illustrated by Sandy Carruthers), this time the secret global organization that monitors alien activity on Earth gets truly global. Chris "Thor" Hemsworth and Tessa "Valkyrie" Thompson are MIB agents, with Thompson's character having spent years tracking the organization down because she actively wanted to join. The plot seems like the usual "global alien threat" type thing you'd expect but with globe-hopping flair, with the London MIB branch as the focal point. I also saw a new alien sidekick character named Pawny voiced by Kumail Nanjiani that looks kinda like a Funko POP! toy so I'd imagine that's a given as far as merchandising goes. There's also an apparent mole in the MIB organization but I'm not super clear as to what ends and for whom they'd be working. Either way, this looks like it might be the most fun MIB since the first, though I doubt it will feature as solid a banger as Will Smith's titular dance track. The cast is rounded out by Liam Neeson, Emma Thompson, Rafe Spall among many others.

SHAFT - Samuel L. Jackson returns to the roll of John Shaft, a bad mother (shut your mouth!) detective who he had previous played in 2000's Shaft, which was of course a reboot of the character made famous by Richard Roundtree in 1971's Shaft. So, to be clear: Shaft is a long-gap sequel to Shaft, based on Shaft. Got it? THIS Shaft (a.k.a. Sam Jackson in Still Shaftin') adds yet another wrinkle to the many many many uses of the name Shaft: a son, John Shaft Jr. played by Jessie T. Usher. The most interesting thing about all these Shafts is that they're all actually part of the same universe. Roundtree's Shaft is Jackson's Shaft's uncle. Y'know: Uncle Shaft. And now Jessie T. Usher's John Jr., a tech securities expert, gets added to the mix when he needs to enlist the aid of his pops and grunkle in investigating the death of his best friend. There's a lot of action, some solid comedy and hopefully just the right amount of corny dialogue to make this a fun watch.

21st

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CHILD'S PLAY - The other, better, though still Mancini-less Child's Play entry, this has the same historical context as Charles, above, but with a much higher budget, recognizable actors, actual trailers and...that other thing... oh yeah! A Fresh Take! While in the original Child's Play franchise, the doll was possessed (via actual voodoo y'all; the 80's was a wild time) by the soul of serial killer Charles Lee Ray, this new Child's Play seems to be going more a technology run amok angle with the doll (known as a Buddi doll) going all H.A.L. 9000 / killer A.I. on an unsuspecting mother & son played by Aubrey Plaza and Gabriel Bateman respectively. This technological angle is a really interesting new wrinkle, as the Buddi doll syncs wirelessly to your home's security system, your cellphones, your car's onboard computer and etc., giving it unprecedented access to your life and safety. The available footage shows a bunch of unknown characters being killed in some very interesting ways (one involving Christmas lights, so maybe this is a stealth Christmas flick?) and a fun-looking shot of Andy (Bateman) and some of his friends armed with sledgehammers and baseball bats ready to whoop all kinds of killer doll ass presumably. That ass, btw? Voiced by Mark Hamill!

TOY STORY 4 - Boy, I never expected another Toy Story, but this actually looks interesting. Starting with the fact that the newest addition to the Toy club is a little plastic spork with pipe-cleaner limbs & googly-eyes glued on named Forky (voiced by Tony Hale). That might not sound interesting, but it really is as it brings into question what it means to be a toy, and thus the nature of existence. Could Toy Story 4 get really, weirdly existential? Why not? The LEGO Movie did it! I am not kidding, The LEGO Movie dips its toe into Lovecraftian existential dread and the concept of hyper realities! Watch it! but we're not here to talk about that, we're here about Forky & co. The plot seems to be that Forky falls out of the back of the family camper and Woody (Tom Hanks) goes to the rescue, only to also be left behind. Luckily, they find their way to a local fair where Woody reunites with Bo Peep (Annie Potts) who, despite having been lost for a while, is thriving. There seems to be undercurrent of "learn to live your life for yourself" through the trailers, at least the interactions between Woody & Bo, and that's pretty intriguing. There are also some nightmarish sequences of Woody & Forky being chased by ventriloquist dummies! Genuinely chilling! The voice cast here is stacked like delicious vocal pancakes, featuring the return of Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, Wallace Shawn, John Ratzenberger, Bonnie Hunt, Don Rickles, Estelle Harris, Blake Clark, Timothy Dalton, Kristen Schaal, & Jeff Garlin as well as new characters voiced by Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele, Christina Hendricks, Patricia Arquette and... KEANU REEVES!!!!!

28th

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ANNABELLE COMES HOME - The third film in the Annabelle franchise, spun off from The Conjuring (2013), I've chosen to cover this here for two reasons. First - the fact that the extended Conjuring universe has already spawned six films since 2013 (two Conjurings, with another due next year, three Annabelles, The Nun, and The Curse of La Llorona) and show no real signs of stopping with a Nun sequel and something called The Crooked Man both forthcoming. Secondly - I super duper loved the last Annabelle (Creation) a LOT. It was one of the most enjoyable, diverse and satisfying horror movies I've seen in a while. So, the backstory. Annabelle the doll first appeared in the original Conjuring but mostly as background worldbuilding, what could be called "flavor text" if you're a tabletop gamer, where it's explained that she has a terrible and violent history due to demonic possession and now the Warrens (played by Vera Farmiga & Patrick Wilson) keep her locked up safe in a special room in their home where they keep that kind of thing. A Spookum Vault if you will. She then spun off into her own franchise where we learned of the events that brought her to the Warrens' attentions (Annabelle {2014}) and then go back further to learn her origins (Annabelle: Creation (2017)) which brings us to now. Though I'm not sure when exactly Comes Home takes place relative to any other Conjuring films, we're shown a young girl, a friend of the Warrens' daughter, foolishly messing around in that Spookum Vault, awakening not only Annabelle but, by the looks of it, many other seemingly haunted, deadly, and terrifying artifacts (that could be spun off into their own franchises, no doubt) like some samurai armor, a sinister monkey toy and a rocking chair! Listen, none of these Conjuring flicks are exactly dense, they're just a fun plot that allows for all kinds of spooky action to happen. What makes them good is the quality of the filmmaking. There are good jump scares and bad jump scares and for my money, which I happily paid, Annabelle: Creation had some of the most diverse and well-crafted scares I've seen recently. Creation screenwriter Gary Daubermann (who also wrote IT) not only returns to write Comes Home but also makes his directorial debut. I'm excited for this one, gang!

Well that's it! We're done with the ludicrously long book titles and spookily animated dolls for another month. I hope I shed a little light on why you might or might not wanna catch certain of these at your earliest convenience. But, if there's anything on here you're especially psyched for, I hope you'll drop a comment down below and we can maybe start a dialogue.

Thanks as always for visiting Moviejawn, and reading EOINA and if you like my style maybe check out Hate Watch / Great Watch, which you can find under the podcasts tab up top. Until next time, Long Live the Movies!