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The Marvels Review


The Marvels (2023)

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has hit a bit of a lull over the last few years. Or at least, that's the general perception of it. But with films like Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 hitting big just this year, I have a hard time acting like Marvel has been nothing but duds lately. Hell, I'll defend Quantumania till the day I die (a series that has historically been hated, yet I've always enjoyed) but I understand the over-saturation of the product. Between Disney Plus shows and a ramping up of film production, there's been a lot of comic book movies out these last five years. And there's a sect of people that are tired of it. But I'm not one of them. Despite watching the movie nearly three weeks after release, I was very excited to see the movie. I know what a mixed message that sends but hey, people get busy. 

Many times over the last few years, I've had this sense of dread wash over me when I sit down in my theater seat. And it wasn't until recently that I figured out what it was: the runtime. We've reached a point where even the most popcorny action movies (Fast X, The Meg 2) are hitting absurd runtimes. So I went into The Marvels knowing very little of it outside of one thing: that sweet runtime of 1 hour and 45 minutes. And Marvel has some long ass credits, so we all know that actually means a helluva lot less than that. But the severe bloat of action movies has made me yearn for the days of a tight blockbuster. And The Marvels really delivers on that.

The story of The Marvels is pretty simple, with Carol Danvers, Kamala Khan, and Monica Rambeau teaming up to take down a bad guy (or girl rather). It's pretty standard fare but where the movie excels is in its character work and worldbuilding. The gimmick of each of the Marvels being bonded together through space and time, and being able to swap places instantaneously provides so many wonderful moments. And Nia DaCosta shot an absolutely gorgeous movie, with several shots being some all-timers in the landscape of Cosmic Cinema.

I've always really enjoyed the Miss Marvel character (I own several of her runs) and think that Iman Vellani is utterly brilliant in the role. She manages to standout in every single scene she's in and makes a case for her being the centerpiece for the MCU going forward. I can't wait to see what they do with her character, as she has the most potential and charisma of any of the newer superheroes. Again, Iman is absolutely phenomenal. I was also really won over by Teyonah Parris, who failed to do so in WandaVision. Here she has a little more to do, and makes a great case for why there needed to be another "Marvel."

Samuel L Jackson has been in so many of these movies that it's amazing he still manages to be such a high point in them. He's got some of the best lines here and his interactions with Kamala and her family work well.

And I'll be the first to admit that not everything works. Zawe Ashton is a decent actor, but her Dar-Benn feels like a character we've seen time and time again. And she's not exactly intimidating so this continues an old trend of Marvel having very weak villains. This wouldn't be a problem except that one of the Marvels really doesn't seem like they want to be there. Brie Larson gives a very uneven performance and feels very stiff during most of the runtime. I'm not sure if all the fan backlash has finally gotten to her or what but she comes across very uncomfortable during most of the film.

I'm still shocked at how bad The Marvels did at the box office. I never would have anticipated such a good movie failing to carry through word of mouth yet this has been setting all the wrong records for the MCU. Hopefully Kevin Feige and company aren't too reactionary and focus on the elements that truly didn't work versus just scrapping every idea presented. Because there's a lot to really like here and I could easily see this gaining esteem in the coming years. It already makes a case for being the most underrated in the entire MCU and I think that's a title it will hold for some time.


The Fall of the House of Usher Review

There are few filmmakers whose work I get more excited for than Mike Flanagan. The man is like heroin in my veins. His eye for horror is unmatched and has managed to be one of the few gems in a world of disappointments. Midnight Mass is still one of my favorite series ever and am always blown away at how much his work impacts me. But the mystery behind The Fall of the House of Usher left me at a fever pitch. I was able to talk to both Rahul Kohli and Katie Parker back in January, and they were unable to even say what the series was even about. But their excitement sent the message this was something special. And oh boy is it ever.

I love that this is essentially Mike Flanagan's version of Succession. There's more humor present than any of his past work and could definitely be considered a dark comedy. However, there's still that trademark Flanagan sense of dread and absolutely breathtaking cinematography. And I like that Flanagan was able to get away from the Haunted House motif that has followed his career. Usher showed that he can do something different while still bringing what you would expect from a Flanagan joint. And I'm not familiar with much of Poe's work outside of what's been shown on The Simpsons, so I'd be curious to see what the original House of Usher story entails.

I was somewhat shocked at how violent the series is. I went into this knowing very little, so as soon as the first episode establishes that all of Roderick's children have died tragically, I knew I was in for a violent journey. But I'm not sure I was expecting it to go as hard as it did. Prospero and countless orgy-goers being melted into this weird Society-like blob, Camille getting mauled by an ape, or Victorine who had the most violent and least expected death of them all. They're all absolutely brutal. It doesn't hurt that there's not a single weak performance in the cast.

One of the biggest surprises came from Willa Fitzgerald, who plays the young Madeline Usher. There were times where I thought I was hearing Mary McDonnell, her performance is so in line with her older muse. In fact, I'd say Madeline is the most intriguing character in the whole series, made even more interesting with the ending. Carla Gugino is absolutely phenomenal as Verna and gets to wear so many different faces here. She manages to be absolutely terrifying while still being empathetic when needed. It was so satisfying to see her finally get a chance to shine. Usher is a showcase for strong female performances. 

I will say that the series does lose a little steam at different points. Looking at the split between Flanagan and Fimognari, I found myself liking Flanagan's episodes more. There's an energy there that doesn't feel ever-present in the Fimognari helmed eps. Though, oddly enough, my least favorite episode actually came from Flanagan, Goldbug. So clearly the difference isn't THAT big of a deal. And I also have to bring up the fact that Frank Langella was let go for inappropriate onset behavior. I'm further confused by this because I was under the impression it happened during a sex scene with Mary McDonnell, which clearly isn't the case as they play brother and sister here. I'm just further confused and wanted to bring it up here on the off chance that someone reading this has an answer.

Overall, I really loved The Fall of the House of Usher. It's dark but has a twisted sense of humor that really aligns with my own. I enjoyed watching these people get what was coming to them and the brutal ways in which they departed this earth. I'll watch anything that Flanagan does and this just further cements that.


Killers of the Flower Moon Review


There are few filmmakers these days where anything they release is an event. Christopher Nolan, Quentin Tarantino, and Martin Scorsese are really some of the only filmmaker's you can pin this label on. Yet of these three, only Marty has a resume that has stretched into 7 decades of cinema and the quality of work has been astounding in each. Whether he's redefining the gangster film (Goodfellas, Casino, The Departed) or trying to push technology further (and someone would argue too soon) with The Irishman, Scorsese never rests on his laurels. So it shouldn't be a shocker that his latest, Killers of the Flower Moon, feels familiar while providing a riveting and heartbreaking story.

The story here is one I'd read up on when the film was announced but, after learning the atrocities, seemed like a story I'd rather not dive deep into. Because there's no denying how difficult the subject matter is here. The Osage people were murdered--entire families wiped out--all for oil and money. And even knowing that, it's still completely riveting during the near three-and-a-half hour runtime. In fact, most of the story seemed fairly obvious from the onset, yet it's all about the journey getting there. There's a great message of right and wrong and what you're willing to do against those you love.

The performances in Killers of the Flower Moon are top tier and are sure to be getting attention come Oscar season. Ernest Burkhart may just be DiCaprio's greatest performance ever as he is just complication on top of complication. The man is an absolute mess and his characters goes places that I wasn't expecting. I was frustrated and yet completely enthralled with Ernest's thought process. Then there's Robert De Niro who plays one of the most despicable humans ever shown on screen, William Hale. Nearly every word out of Hale's mouth is a manipulation and it makes him the moments when he's alone, the most intriguing as it's the one time where his true colors are shown. I love the small moments between both of these actors. It was great to see these all time greats (and Marty's primary muses) interacting on the big screen.

Lily Gladstone better clear a spot on her shelf because that Oscar is as good as hers. The things that Mollie Burkhart goes through will make your blood boil. She's so strong and doesn't deserve any of the terrible things that happen to her. What makes Gladstone's performance so great is how much she's able to convey in silence. She brings so much power to every line reading and presence to every scene she's in. She's a force of nature.

I can't say enough good things about this film. It's an emotional, heartwrenching experience that will really make you think about all the terrible atrocities committed in this country. Whether it's showing the aftermath of the Tulsa Massacre, or the complete lack of empathy when any Native shows up dead, it's hard not to see the parallels between these times and modern day society. Scorsese made the right decision to focus on the Osage People as they're really the core of the story.


Totally Killer Review

I love me a good time travel story. I'm sure a lot of it has to do with my love and adoration for Back to the Future but it's really anything that utilizes it in an intriguing way. Heck, it was one of my favorite parts of Avengers: Endgame. But with any kind of story like this comes the trick of not getting too convoluted. And I think that Totally Killer solves a problem I often have in these kinds of movies: the butterfly effect. While it's certainly not perfect, I appreciate when any kind of fantastical science is introduced and followed through with. You give me rules, just make sure you follow them and I'm hunky dory. And they do a good job of following through with anything they set up.

A Sweet Sixteen killer is already right up my alley, but then adding the method of repeated stabbing (16 to be exact) adds a dimension to the killer that I really like. Slashers have been getting away from the knife so it feels like a return to form. It also showed there was a personal vendetta at play, which made everything mean a little more. Even if it may have made the killer easier to identify. I just wish they'd been a little more imaginative with his look. The mask is a little too Max Headroom for me.

Kiernan Shipka's Jamie was relatable as all hell and one of the better audience surrogates I can remember. She's so damn intriguing every time she's on screen but here she's also saying everything I want a character to be saying in a slasher movie. She's meta while not being in your face and is able to pick out some of the absurdities of the 80's. I could see this as not working with a different approach, but thankfully she has just the right amount of contempt. I also enjoyed Olivia Holt's Pam, as she could have easily been overly unlikable. 

The killer reveal is rather weak and if you're paying any attention, you'll catch onto it fairly quickly. But thankfully the movie doesn't treat it like it's some genius thing. If anything, the characters even kind of make fun of it at first. Not taking itself too seriously was the right move because otherwise its easy to pick apart the smallest of problems. This is a shut your brain off kind of movie and sometimes you need that on a Friday night.

Overall I really enjoyed Totally Killer and am glad to see Kiernan Shipka in something that's up my alley. There are some really boneheaded decisions but the main thing to remember is that this is more of a comedy. And it's truly got some funny moments. But the horror is lacking and for a movie that has multiple reveals, none of them are really any good. Fortunately, Jamie (or should I say Collette?) is a fun person to watch interact with the 80's. If anything, I thought it was over too soon.


31 Days of Halloween 2023 (Tik Tok Edition?)


I have done it. After years of resisting I have joined Tik Tok.

Apparently I'm easily convinced because all it took was a bunch of horror creators telling me I should get on it and that there's a vibrant horror community on the app. I was sold. And I've been wanting to get back into my 31 Days of Halloween venture for a while now and this seemed like the best way in order to accomplish that. So join me on my TikTok journey (lol I'm 33) as I hopefully meet some likeminded people. Because I just like talking about nerdy stuff, whatever the platform. 

So join me as I go through 31 horror movies over the month and maybe show off some other horror items that I have. I'm already having really fun with the platform.

Make sure to follow me @horrorobsesseddummy

@horrorobsesseddummy Make sure you go check out #TheExorcist for its 50th anniversary screenings! The remaster is absolutely beautiful. #WilliamFriedkin #31DaysofHalloween #Halloweeen #Day2 ♬ The Exorcist: Main Theme: Tubular Bells - Geek Music

Random Thoughts for July 2022


I've been neglecting this website for far too long. Well, I guess that pretty much goes for all of my websites. I've been busy. As many of you know, I work for JoBlo.com and I've just been doing more and more stuff with them over the past two years. And most of the stuff that I do for them, is similar to what I would be doing (free) for my blog. Obviously, given that I need money to live, I've shifted most of those creative outlets to my work. It's incredibly satisfying and if you haven't checked out my worked at JoBlo Horror Originals and JoBlo Originals, then what are you even doing with your life? (heh)

I am no longer on social media. Because it just doesn't seem to be worth the mental toll of constantly having your life online. I understand the irony in saying this. This was about getting away. I don't need strangers to feel like they know my day-to-day in the same way that my best friend does. It's weird. I wish more people would come to that conclusion but that just doesn't seem to be the case. I don't do this blog for you. I do it for me--the connection that comes from others reading it is an added bonus.

Crimson High. Yes, I know. I get asked about it all the time. And yes, it will get done. I just genuinely do not know when. Crimson High could very well be the last book I ever write (books are hard), but I can promise that it will release before I'm done on this earth. I just have very high expectations for myself and have gone through a lot, both as a person and as a writer. I have about 35% written but could easily see myself throwing all of that out. We'll see. But I make no promises for its release anytime soon. Maybe once things slow down in other parts of my life. I just prefer writing screenplays to books, so I feel most of my efforts will be in that department. Plus, I write a ton of scripts for my current job during any given month. So it's not like I'm not writing.

I've really been enjoying The Offer. I've never been a fan of The Godfather but I've always wanted to be. It's so culturally significant but it just never really connected with me. But I've always been saving a rewatch for when I can actually potentially care about it. And I did exactly that. I watched the film again and I finally understand the hype. It's a beautiful film.

Halloween Ends is looking shockingly good. I've had some "behind the scenes" info and it hasn't been pretty, so the fact that they were able to pull together an intriguing trailer makes me quite relieved. I don't need high cinema. I consider the first Halloween to be one of the greatest films of all time but the rest of the series isn't exactly lighting up any awards lists. But I still love them. So I'm glad that this appears to still have the same vibe as the other Halloween films as that contradicts what I had heard prior. The trailer looks awesome and everyone should check it out. Let's hope the film lives up to it.

Best of 2021

Hello friends. Every year...errr okay, MOST years I come here and spew out some of my favorites from the year. So let's get started.


  1. The Beatles: Get Back
  2. Dune
  3. Spider-man: No Way Home
  4. Val
  5. Bo Burnham's Inside
  6. Pig
  7. The Matrix: Resurrections
  8. A Quiet Place: Part Two
  9. Last Night in Soho
  10. The French Dispatch

Honorable Mentions: Ghostbuster: Afterlife, No Time To Die, Black Widow, The Suicide Squad


  1. Squid Game
  2. Midnight Mass
  3. Cowboy Bebop
  4. Wandavision
  5. Loki
  6. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier
  7. Cobra Kai

 Video Games

  1. Halo Infinite
  2. Hades
  3. Far Cry 6


31 Days of Halloween 2021

I finally decided to edit this and put what I was originally going to post. The night of Halloween I was just too tired to elaborate. So here it goes:

My Halloween video

I took a rather simple approach to my 31 Days of Halloween this year and it honestly went the best it ever has. I started off doing strictly TV shows but Halloween Kills kind of spurred some more movie watching. I dove into the Leprechaun series for the first time (I had only ever seen the first one). I still have two more left to go there, but I'm sure I'll finish it off shortly, it just didn't make it this month. And I didn't manage to see Last Night in Soho. It's just damn near impossible to get my ass to a theater these days.

My list:

1. Midnight Mass - Proverbs

2. Midnight Mass - Lamentations

3. Midnight Mass - Gospel

4. Midnight Mass - Acts of the Apostles

5. Midnight Mass - Revelation

6. Squid Game - Red Light, Green Light

7. Squid Game - Hell

8. Squid Game - The Man With The Umbrella

9. Squid Game - Stick to the Team

10. Squid Game - A Fair World

11. Squid Game - Gganbu

12. Squid Game - VIPs

13. Squid Game - Front Man

14. Squid Game - One Lucky Day

15. Halloween Kills

16. Jujutsu Kaisen - Curse Womb Must Die

17. Chucky - Death By Misadventure

18. Batman: The Long Halloween (part two)

19. Videodrome 

20. Raising Cain

21. Chucky - Give Me Something Good To Eat

22. Titane

23. Green Knight

24. Leprechaun 2

25. Leprechaun 3

26. Leprechaun 4: In Space

27. Chucky - I Like To Be Hugged

28. Leprechaun in the Hood

29. Squid Game - Red Light, Green Light (again, with parents)

30. Candyman

31. Halloween (annual tradition)

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