All posts by Vince Leo

Hellboy (2019) | Neil Marshall



In this Neil Marshall reboot, we already have an established the scarlet-bodied Hellboy (David Harbour) as part of the B.P.R.D. (Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense), working for his adoptive father, Professor Trevor “Broom” Bruttenholm (Ian McShane), in corraling and eradicating malevolent supernatural menaces wherever they may arise around the world. Hellboy reunites with Alice Monaghan (Sasha Lane), a powerful medium, and a cat-beast man named Major Ben Daimio (Daniel Dae Kim), in order to prevent the Blood Queen from Arthurian times named Nimue (Milla Jovovich) from taking a mate and growing powerful enough to finally take over the world and eliminate the human presence upon it once and for all.


The Man Who Killed Don Quixote (2018) | Terry Gilliam



Film-maker Terry Gilliam has finally made it to the finish line with his seemingly quixotic quest to make a film version of Miguel de Cervantes’ “Don Quixote”, decades in the making.  Adam Driver is the main star, playing a hot-shot hothead director named Toby, who is attempting to shoot a commercial in Los Sueños (aka, “The Dreams”), Spain with elements of Miguel de Cervantes’ epic, “Don Quixote”. He’s been down this road before, a decade prior, shooting it as a low-budget student film when he was humble and first getting his taste of the movie-making business.  He had the perfect Don Quixote for his film, a show repairman named Javier (Jonathan Pryce) that he discovered and had to mold into some sort of actor.  Now, many years later, Toby sees the aftermath of what he left behind in the small village he once shot in, finding Javier now actually thinking he is the true Don Quixote.  What’s worse, he believes (and truly insists) that Toby is his squire, Sancho Panza. From there, fiction becomes fact, as Toby finds himself on a wild ride in trying to corral Don Quixote to sanity, all the while he himself begins to question his own grasp on reality with a series of adventures that may or may not be a fantasy of his own.


Pet Sematary (2019) | Kevin Kolsch & Dennis Widmyer



Pet Sematary is the second film adaptation of the Stephen King novel first published in 1983. The premise involves a family of four who relocate from the hustle and bustle of Boston to a small town in Maine called Ludlow on a wide parcel of land that includes many acres of wooded forest. It’s in that forest that their daughter Ellie (Jete Laurence) discovers a cemetery for beloved pets of people in the surrounding area, going back decades, including one belonging to their elderly neighbor Jud (John Lithgow).  Turns out they may need the use of the cemetery, as their kind kitty named Church gets run over, causing the father, Louis (Jason Clarke), to have to bury the cat, though he can’t quite bring himself to tell Ellie and break her heart. Jud doesn’t want to see that happen and suggests burying Church in a special place far deeper into the woods. Lo and behold, Church is back with the family the next day, but it’s clear he’s not quite himself anymore.


Shazam! (2019) | David Sandberg



In this lighthearted DCEU entry, Billy Batson is a trouble-making fourteen-year-old living in a foster home in Philadelphia, having been abandoned by a young mother he’s been searching for since she left him at a crowded carnival many years prior. One day, the sleuthing prankster gets transported after an act of bravery to another realms to meet a powerful and reclusive wizard, who has been on a long-term search for someone pure of heart to pass on his magical powers to. The wizard bestows upon Billy the power to turn into an muscle-bound, adult-bodied, costumed superhero by using his name of “Shazam!” Along with his superhero-loving best friend in the foster home, Freddy, the still adolescent-minded Billy has plenty of fun in discovering his new powers and all of the things he can do with them, from buying beer to giving the school bullies some comeuppance. However, things get serious with the emergence of Dr. Thaddeus Sivana, once past over as unworthy by the wizard and seeking to usurp them from Billy, along with the cabal of demon-like possessors within him, representing the Seven Deadly Sins who plan to come to power with Sivana as their vessel to the outside world.


The Dirt (2019) | Jeff Tremaine



The Dirt is a Netflix biopic featuring re-enactments of some of the wild, raunchy and tragic stories as told by the members of popular 80’s/90’s metal band Motley Crue in their autobiographical book of the same name.  Starring Douglas Booth, Machine Gun Kelly, Daniel Webber, and Iwan Rheon.  Directed by Jeff Tremaine.


Dragged Across Concrete (2018) | S. Craig Zahler



Dragged Across Concrete is writer-director S. Craig Zahler’s further exploration of the seamy underbelly of American society, particularly through the prism of how that experience causes ripple effects that throw even innocent people into the wake of the criminals.  Most of the action follows the exploits of two cops in the fictional city of Bulwark, the older burnout Brett Ridgeman (Mel Gibson) and his younger partner Anthony Lurasetti (Vince Vaughn), who get suspended from the force after they are caught on camera going a little too far in roughing up a suspect in the current environment that frowns on the perception of racial profiling. The other major story arc in the film involves Henry Johns, just released from prison, going back to a life of crime in order to provide for his mother (a drug user who has been prostituting herself for needed cash) and disabled younger brother, who has aspirations of becoming a video game developer. The two stories converge when the cops decide they’re going to snatch money from a secretive drug dealer named Vogelmann, while Henry, working for that guy, becomes the wheel-man in a bank heist.


Us (2019) | Jordan Peele



As a young girl living in the coastal California town of Santa Cruz in 1986, Adelaide walked away from her parents while at  the beach boardwalk amusement park, into a seemingly empty fun house, and saw something that would negatively affect her the rest of her life.  Flash forward to today, and Adelaide is now married with two kids, and her husband, Gabe Wilson, has a yen to visit Santa Cruz for a family vacation, not knowing about her deep-seated fear of her experience there.  Despite her qualms, she consents to go, and while things appear harmless, she has a bad feeling about it. Her feeling would turn out to have merit, as they are soon visited in their rental by another family of four that looks just like them, except they mostly can’t speak well, and they’re dressed all in red.  The house soon becomes under siege by the doppelgangers, resulting in a battle for survival – a battle for continued existence, really – between the Wilsons and the Others. Stars Lupita Nyong’o and Winston Duke. Written and directed by Jordan Peele.


Triple Frontier (2019) | J.C. Chandor



After a nearly five-year hiatus from writing and directing films, J.C. Chandor re-emerges with Triple Frontier (for Netflix), in which five ex-military special ops soldiers reunite in order to stage a heist of a murderous major South American drug lord.  Oscar Isaac is the de facto leader of the quintet, playing Santiago, who decides to “get the band back together” for one last mission for reconnaissance for the government to take down the elusive drug lord he’s spent years trying to take down, Lorea, but changes the mission once he discovers that they could do the bust themselves, take out the human vermin the world is better off without, and score the millions of dollars in cash within his jungle-hidden, well-guarded mansion.  Each of the men find that their service for the country hasn’t exactly resulted in the country taking care of them financially, so they figure they should get what’s fair for their years of sacrifice, making it worth their salt to commit to. Ben Affleck, Charlie Hunnam, Garrett Hedlund and Pedro Pascal co-star in this action/adventure/thriller.


Greta (2018) | Neil Jordan



Although the film is called Greta, Chloe Grace Moretz’s character, a young waitress named Frances McCullen, is the one we follow most, newly relocated to New York City from Boston after losing her beloved mother.  Frances is perhaps a little too nice and accommodating for her roommate Erica’s (Maika Monroe) tastes to not get taken advantage of by the worst the Big Apple has to offer. That niceness comes into play when Frances finds a lost purse sitting on a seat in her subway car, prompting her to return it its rightful owner, a mature Parisian widow living in Brooklyn named Greta Hideg (Isabelle Huppert).  The two become friends, filling a niche in each other’s lives, with Frances finding a surrogate for her mother in her time of grief, and Greta a surrogate daughter for the one that is no longer in her vicinity. Frances says she’s like chewing gum – she tends to stick around – which is music to Greta’s ears.  However, something feels amiss in the relationship that causes Frances to try to end it, and the less-than-stable Greta doesn’t seem to be taking the separation well. Neil Jordan directs this off-kilter thriller.


Captain Marvel (2019) | Anna Boden & Ryan FLeck



Brie Larson stars as Carol Danvers, aka Vers, aka Captain Marvel, an ultra-powerful warrior for an alien race called the Kree, from the capital planet Hala, part of an elite group of warriors called Starforce, who are doing battle with the fearsome, shape-shifting Skrulls, who have the power to impersonate other living beings, with a notable limitation in memories. She is haunted by her own memories of a strange time and place, when she was a pilot in the United States Air Force, which she ends up learning more about when she ends up jettisoned on Earth in 1995. After an explosive skirmish and her high-powered suit catches the interest of the agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., she meets the initially skeptical Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), and begins her search for the light-speed engine, another object in Vers’s memories, that both civilizations want to get their hands on first.  It is on Earth that she begins to put the pieces of her memory and former life there back together, reuniting with old friends in her old stomping grounds.  She also begins to discover more about her mission, what is being fought for, and the nature of the vicious Kree-Skrull war that she never knew about.  Unfortunately, the Skrulls, led by Talos, are in hot pursuit on a planet completely unaware and unprepared for the arrival of such high-powered beings.