Argentina, 1985 (2022) Review


Argentina, 1985

Time: 140 Minutes
Ricardo Darín as Julio César Strassera
Peter Lanzani as Luis Moreno Ocampo
Alejandra Flechner as Silvia Strassera
Norman Briski as “Ruso”
Director: Santiago Mitre

The true story of how a public prosecutor, a young lawyer, and their inexperienced legal team dared to prosecute the heads of Argentina’s bloody military dictatorship.

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I didn’t know much about Argentina, 1985 before going into it. All I knew was that it is one of the movies nominated for Best International Feature, and it won that award at the more recent Golden Globes. It turned out to be a riveting historical courtroom drama which was great.


I didn’t know much about the events that Argentina, 1985 is based on, so naturally I found this very interesting and informative to watch. For those wondering about whether they can get into this, it’s a very accessible movie. It’s a good courtroom drama, conventionally told and straightforward, with a fairly simple story. It is gripping, told with a lot of weight, and you really feel the high stakes. It can be a heavy movie at times, mainly when we hear accounts from survivors. Still, there are little moments of humour which lighten up the tension, but don’t feel out of place. Despite the length of 2 hours and 20 minutes, it doesn’t feel that it’s too long, helped by the somewhat fast pace.


The performances from everyone were really good. Ricardo Darin is in the lead role of the main prosecutor and he’s great and convincing. The rest of the cast including Pedro Lanzini are also good. The actors playing the victims make an impression in their scenes too, especially Laura Paredes.


The direction is fairly simplistic from Santiago Mitre, but overall, his work is solid. The cinematography is slick, and the production design and editing are good.


Argentina, 1985 is a great historical drama, well acted and directed, and has a compelling story which I was engaged with from beginning to end. I highly recommend checking it out.


John Wick: Chapter 4 (2023) Review

Time: 169 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Bloody violence, cruelty & offensive language
Keanu Reeves as John Wick
Donnie Yen as Caine
Bill Skarsgård as the Marquis Vincent de Gramont
Laurence Fishburne as the Bowery King
Hiroyuki Sanada as Shimazu Koji
Shamier Anderson as Mr. Nobody/The Tracker
Lance Reddick as Charon
Rina Sawayama as Akira
Scott Adkins as Killa Harkan
Ian McShane as Winston Scott
Director: Chad Stahelski

With the price on his head ever increasing, legendary hit man John Wick takes his fight against the High Table global as he seeks out the most powerful players in the underworld, from New York to Paris to Japan to Berlin.

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John Wick: Chapter 4 was one of my most anticipated movies of 2023. John Wick franchise really had an interesting journey. The first film released back in 2014, and people at the time didn’t really expect it to be good, but it became something of a cult hit. With its next sequels it quickly became one of the most notable action franchises of recent years, with each entry somewhat surpassing the previous movie in some way. As someone who loves the John Wick movies, I was really looking forward to how the fourth movie would be, and I have to say that John Wick Chapter 4 isn’t only the best movie in the series, but also one of the best action movies of recent years.

Chapter 4 is unsurprisingly even larger than the previous three films. There’s even more worldbuilding, the scope and scale expands with more locations, a large array of memorable supporting characters, and also a higher body count. It is also a very long movie at 2 hours and 50 minutes, and while I know this will be a turn off for people, I thought it worked really well. In spite of the many action set pieces, the plot takes its time, which helps considering a lot happens across its runtime. It doesn’t wear out its welcome and it never felt boring to me. It’s also the funniest John Wick movie, from the one-liners, to Charlie Chaplin levels of physical comedy. At the same time the story is pretty good and one that I was invested in, even if much of it is stringing one action set piece to another. It is a personal story for John Wick, and touches on themes of loss, regret, and vengeance. It is enjoyably campy and silly without getting self-conscious or snarky, but also is told with a sincerity which helped me get on board with it from beginning to end. There are even some moments that particularly bring the emotions. Then it all builds to a giant climax which is just action perfection, one of the best third acts I’ve ever seen for an action film.  

The cast here are great, in fact it’s probably the best collection of actors in all the four movies. Over the past near decade, Keanu Reeves has made John Wick one of his al- time iconic roles. There has been a real natural progression to Wick’s story during these four movies; his journey is well thought out and I particularly like the places that it goes in this movie. This character may be a man of few words, but Reeves conveys so many feelings and emotions in small subtle ways and through his line deliveries. Laurence Fishburne, Ian McShane, and the late Lance Reddick reprise their respective roles and reliably deliver strong performances. The new cast and characters are great and memorable too. Hiroyuki Sanada as usual is a great presence whenever he’s on screen, and Rina Sawayama is really good in her debut performance, especially with the action. Bill Skarsgard is entertaining and effortlessly hateable as the central villain, one of the better antagonists in the series. This movie has many people after John Wick, but there’s a couple that get the most attention; as a mysterious tracker with a dog, Shamier Anderson is really good and adds a unique presence, and Donnie Yen is amazing and might’ve been the standout to me. As blind assassin Caine, Yen’s action scenes are very entertaining, and I loved the scenes, dynamic and interactions between him and Wick. Scott Adkins dons a fat suit and prosthetics to deliver an unrecognisable and scene scenestealing performance, he’s very entertaining in his scenes. Other supporting actors like Clancy Brown and Natalia Tena also bring it to their scenes.

Chad Stahelski has been showing himself as one of the best action directors working today with the John Wick movies, and with every film, he somehow tops what he did before. Everything feels grand and epic, and its fantastically put together. The cinematography is outstanding, with fantastic lighting and composition, and the production design is excellent as always. The highlights of these movies however are the action, and they did not disappoint here. There are some incredible set pieces, the fights are so well choreographed and have excellent stuntwork. The action ranges from silly and slapstick to absolutely brutal (unsurprisingly). I don’t want to spoil the sequences as they are best experienced for yourself, but there’s plenty of variety to make each one feel fresh. It also does a good job avoiding making Wick feel invincible and easily plowing through enemies, as he is put up against harder odds. The third act is just pure masterful action, with stellar set piece after stellar action set piece, all of them thrilling, intense and entertaining. The score from Tyler Bates and Joel J. Richard is solid and adds to the action scene, and even to the quieter moments.

John Wick: Chapter 4 is highly satisfying and entertaining, beautifully directed with fantastic set pieces, and with memorable characters and performances. It’s impressive on all fronts, one of the best action movies of recent years, and already my favourite movie of the year.

Skinamarink (2023) Review

Time: 100 Minutes
Lucas Paul as Kevin
Dali Rose Tetreault as Kaylee
Ross Paul as Kevin and Kaylee’s father
Jaime Hill as Kevin and Kaylee’s mother
Director: Kyle Edward Bell

Two children wake up in the middle of the night to find their father is missing, and all the windows and doors in their home have vanished.

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I had been hearing about Skinamarink for a little. It was a much talked about new horror movie with a unique directing style, which has received mixed responses from audiences. I definitely like the movie but I’m not quite loving it. 

There’s a lot with the movie which will prevent people from really getting into it. The plot is relatively small and simple; two young children find that they are in the house alone without their parents and there may be some sort of presence inside the house. That’s it. That being said, the approach to the storytelling isn’t for everyone. First of all, much of the movie largely consists of static and minimalist shots of mostly nothing happening. It’s very abstract and there’s not much setup or resolution to the plot. The pacing is very slow, and the movie demands your complete patience and immersion. If you find yourself wanting to tap out in the first 15 minutes, the rest of the movie will be a chore for you. However, I do think much of the movie is effective. It really taps into the fear of the unknown and preys on that really well, putting you in the perspectives of the main characters. After watching the movie, I looked up some other reactions, and people have found some deeper interpretations (deeper than the initial premise would suggest anyways). I found that there might be some more to it than I thought at first, suggesting something more sinister with some unsettling implications, especially about the main characters’ family life. However, the movie doesn’t entirely work for me. Skinamarink is a fairly short movie at an hour and 40 minutes long, and yet I think that runtime was too long for the film. As unique, creative and unsettling as the movie is, the novelty of its style does wear thin, and much of it gets repetitive and samey. It is also very slowly paced, and I was on board with it until a certain point. While it sets the tone at the beginning and it does have some stand out moments near the end, I think it’s the middle act where it really drags the most. So when it arrived at the end of the first hour, it felt like it was wearing out its welcome. The tension that I felt went away as I was just waiting for the movie to wrap up. A much shorter runtime would’ve held the tension and kept me locked in from beginning to end. I looked at the director’s previous work and he has made some short films, many of which are recreating people’s nightmares, which ranged from 5 minutes to half an hour in length. I haven’t watched them, but they seem to have the same approach and approach as his feature film debut. Again, I admire this, but it definitely lends itself to a runtime no longer than an hour.

This is Kyle Edward Ball’s feature film debut, and he definitely showed himself as a unique and creative director. The low budget adds a lot to the feel of the movie. The cinematography mostly consists of changing shots between different places around the house, mostly of nothingness or darkness that’s hard to interpret. I liked the look of it, it’s very grainy, dark and distorted, and has lots of shots of dark hallways which keep you on edge. There is some creepy and ambiguous imagery too. The audio is very unsettling, and never allows a moment for you to feel comfortable. The technical elements all come together to make a movie that feels cursed, unsettling and reminiscent of a nightmare that you would have. It really captures the feeling of being a child and looking into the darkness of your house and seeing things that may or may not be there. The effectiveness of the movie really depends on how immersed you are; you need to watch this in a dark room, a movie theatre would be best.

Skinamarink is an experimental, atmospheric and unnerving horror movie that’s uniquely directed, even if it’s a bit overlong and loses its effect after the first hour. I respect and appreciate the movie more than I liked it. It’s not for everyone but if you like horror movies and keep your expectations in check, I recommend trying it out.

Luther: The Fallen Sun (2023) Review

Time: 129 Minutes
Age Rating: R16 – Violence, cruelty & offensive language
Idris Elba as John Luther
Cynthia Erivo as DCI Odette Raine
Dermot Crowley as Martin Schenk
Andy Serkis as David Robey
Director: Jamie Payne

A serial killer terrorizes London while disgraced detective John Luther sits behind bars. Haunted by his failure to capture the cyber psychopath who now taunts him, Luther decides to break out of prison to finish the job by any means necessary.

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I watched the tv series Luther starring Idris Elba, a dark and gritty detective show about a police detective who solves crimes (usually serial killers). I really liked it and I was disappointed when it was cancelled, especially after its cliff-hanger ending. So I was intrigued when it turned out that it was getting a sequel in the form of a Netflix movie. While it doesn’t reach the heights of the series, I still liked The Fallen Sun.

Neil Cross, creator of the Luther show, returns to write the script for the movie. The story and writing are fine. The biggest question that some will have is whether people can watch the movie if they haven’t seen the series. And the answer is yes, there are only two characters who return from the series, and the story doesn’t require you to know the events of the show beforehand. At the end of the tv series, Luther is arrested and while that’s how the movie starts, there are some retcons surrounding that aspect to link it with the movie’s story. Overall, I found The Fallen Sun to be entertaining, it works as an isolated crime thriller, and is very dark and unsettling, much like the show. People who watched the show probably know that it started out grounded but became silly in the later seasons, and the movie is definitely on the far-fetched side of things. It can get outlandishly silly at times, mainly with how absurdly powerful and well connected the villain is. The movie moves at a fast pace despite the long runtime, but in some ways it feels like a season of Luther crammed into a 2 hour long movie, and some aspects like the villain don’t get enough build up. It might’ve worked better as a tv mini series.

The acting is pretty good. Idris Elba as usual is great as John Luther and slips back into arguably his most iconic role with ease. He has a strong screen presence which elevates every scene he’s in. The rest of the cast is pretty good, including Cynthia Erivo. It was also great to see Dermot Crowley reprise his role as ex DSI Martin Schenk, it was good that they were able to bring back at least one of the supporting characters from the show. Andy Serkis however is the standout as the main villain and serial killer. The character is over the top and absurd (down to even his hair) but is depraved and dark. Serkis is fantastic and clearly having fun chewing up the scenery. This part is only relevant to those who watched the series, but Alice Morgan played by Ruth Wilson doesn’t appear in the movie. Considering the end of the show, it makes sense why she’s not here. Still, it doesn’t feel the same without her.

Jamie Payne directs the movie, his work here is fine. It does well to translate the Luther show to a movie and gives it a more cinematic feeling, despite looking like a Netflix movie. There are some good and memorable sequences, if over the top. 

Luther: The Fallen Sun is not one of the best stories in the Luther series but I still really liked it. The story was intriguing enough and the performances were great, especially Elba and Serkis. If you liked the show, I think you’ll find some enjoyment in the movie. If you haven’t seen the show, I think you’ll find a decent enough crime thriller.

Living (2022) Review

Time: 102 Minutes
Age Rating: PG – Coarse language & sexualised imagery
Bill Nighy as Mr. Rodney Williams
Aimee Lou Wood as Miss Margaret Harris
Alex Sharp as Mr. Peter Wakeling
Tom Burke as Mr. Sutherland
Director: Oliver Hermanus

Overwhelmed at work and lonely at home, a civil servant’s life takes a heartbreaking turn when a medical diagnosis tells him his time is short. Influenced by a local decadent and a vibrant woman, he continues to search for meaning until a simple revelation gives him a purpose to create a legacy for the next generation.

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Living was one of the remaining movies I was waiting to watch. The main reason was that in a lot of this year’s awards circuits, Bill Nighy’s performance in this movie was frequently nominated for Best Actor. I was then intrigued when I learned that this was a British remake of Akira Kurosawa’s Ikiru. Eventually it did get a nomination for Best Actor at the Academy Awards, along with Adapted Screenplay, and so I watched it first chance I could. Living ended up being much better than I thought it would be.

I know that many who have watched Ikiru are probably concerned with the fact that there’s a remake of it at all. But for what it’s worth, Living adapts the story to Britain quite well. You can see similarities between the two movies, the story beats are the same and even some of the imagery of the original movie is recreated here (including the iconic image of the lead character on a swing). At the same time, they feel thoughtfully and deliberately placed in. It doesn’t feel derivative, there is some clear passion for this story. I was invested enough in the movie that I wasn’t thinking about the similarities, and it manages to be its own thing. It probably helps that its central message is universal. Both films are about mortality and living life to the fullest, even in the face of inevitable death and the relatable fear of not having much time left. So while much of the story is bittersweet, the end message is optimistic. It is a very heartfelt, sensitive, and gentle story, and a politely restrained character study. There was clearly a lot of care taken in crafting the film; it takes its time and is a slow burn, but I was invested throughout. Perhaps the third act did have a bit too much of characters flat out stating the themes, but that’s what Ikiru did too. The movie is relatively short at an hour and 40 minutes, but I think it could’ve afforded to be a little longer. There are some aspects in the second half that I wish had more fleshing out.

Bill Nighy is in the lead role and while I haven’t seen a ton of his work, he gives possibly his best performance here. He’s so nuanced and subtle with so many powerfully quiet moments, and he fits the Takashi Shimura role in the original so well. His change over the course of the movie is so genuine and convincing. So much of the film relies on Nighy, and he had me so emotionally invested. The rest of the cast do some great work too, with Aimee Lou Wood and Tom Burke especially leaving strong impressions.

Oliver Hermanus’s direction is quite good. The technical elements aren’t anything too special but aren’t a slouch either. Right from the beginning, it seems like efforts were taken to make it look like the movie came from the 1950s, but isn’t so overt that it becomes overbearing or feels like its trying too hard. The cinematography is vivid and captures the time period and setting excellently. One of the stand out aspects of the movie is the elegant piano centric score from Emilie Levienaise-Farrouch. It’s incredible and pleasantly melodic music which carries so much emotion, accompanying the rest of the movie excellently.

Living is an understated, melancholic and existential drama with fantastic performances, especially from a phenomenal Bill Nighy. Whether you’ve watched Ikiru before or not, I highly recommend checking it out.

Shazam! Fury of the Gods (2023) Review

Time: 130 Minutes
Age Rating: M Violence
Zachary Levi and Asher Angel as Billy Batson/Shazam
Jack Dylan Grazer and Adam Brody as Frederick “Freddy” Freeman
Rachel Zegler as Anthea/Anne
Grace Caroline Currey as Mary Bromfield
Ross Butler and Ian Chen as Eugene Choi
D. J. Cotrona and Jovan Armand as Pedro Peña
Meagan Good and Faithe Herman as Darla Dudley
Lucy Liu as Kalypso
Djimon Hounsou as Shazam
Helen Mirren as Hespera
Director: David F. Sandberg

Bestowed with the powers of the gods, Billy Batson and his fellow foster kids are still learning how to juggle teenage life with their adult superhero alter egos. When a vengeful trio of ancient gods arrives on Earth in search of the magic stolen from them long ago, Shazam and his allies get thrust into a battle for their superpowers, their lives, and the fate of the world.

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I remember liking the first Shazam when it released back in 2019, yet I felt rather reluctant to watch its upcoming sequel. The trailers looked fairly average, and certain other elements didn’t help, like the looming James Gunn DCU reboot on the horizon. Still, I decided to watch it in the cinema, and for what it’s worth, I enjoyed it more than I expected to.  

The plot is very average and formulaic, just another average superhero plot. It’s very safe, and nothing much of consequence happens. There are some bland mythology and worldbuilding and that’s it. Much of the story feels rushed, like this was a first draft, and the conflict, stakes and emotional beats feel off. While the overall plot of the first movie wasn’t special, there was a family dynamic aspect which made it work. However, its sequel doesn’t take advantage of this, and there’s no development or change whatsoever. Any potential emotional beats here are just obligatory, and the big heart and emotions in the first movie doesn’t feel genuine. While the comedy in the first movie mostly worked, it is really mixed here. It is funnier than most MCU movies nowadays, but for every joke that hits, there’s another joke that misses (usually ones involving Shazam himself). There is an appearance of a notable DCEU character, and all I can say is that I hope the actor was paid well for it because it’s the worst appearance of that character in the DCEU, even worse than the Joss Whedon Justice League from 2017. The mid credits scene is absolutely terrible, and the end credits scene felt almost like a parody of credits scenes, so I liked the last one at least.

Asher Angel and Zachary Levi return, with Angel reprising his role as Billy Batson, and Levi playing the grown-up superhero version of him, Shazam. As I was watching the movie, I wondered why I liked Zachary Levi in the first movie at all. I’m not being hyperbolic when I say that so much of my enjoyment of the sequel was taken away by Shazam’s characterisation and Levi’s performance. There is such a disconnect between the two actors its weird, you can hardly buy that they are meant to be the same person. It’s especially a shame because Asher Angel does seem the better actor but has less than 5 minutes of screentime. The strangest thing is that the other kids in the Shazam family are more mature, and at the very least their older actors are believable as the superhero versions of their younger selves. Billy is around 17 years old, but it’s like his brain reverts to that of a 10-year-old whenever he becomes Shazam. I can only conclude that Zachary Levi worked as Shazam in the first movie because there they divided the screentime between him and his younger version decently, and it is easier to buy into his childish behaviour because its believable that a kid who suddenly gained superpowers would act like that. The first movie is about Billy Batson, but the second movie leans into Shazam, and unfortunately we have to sit through many of his childish antics. Supposedly he went through some sort of arc in this movie, but I didn’t really see that at all. Compared to the first movie, he just doesn’t go through any sort of progression, terminally stuck in default goofy mode.  

The rest of the cast are pretty good. Jack Dylan Grazer is again a standout actor reprising his role of Freddie Freeman, and Adam Brody is believable as an older superhero version of Grazer. A surprise returning actor is Djimon Hounsou as the wizard, who had an important but small role in the first movie as he granted Billy Batson superpowers. He gets to do a lot more in this movie and was one of the highlights. The villains are played by Helen Mirren and Lucy Liu, good casting let down by their bland characters. At the very least though, they seem to be having fun in their roles; Mirren especially hams it up and is fun to watch.

David F. Sandberg returns to direct after the first movie. The visuals are a very mixed bag and the quality of the CGI changes depending on whether the scene was set at night or at day. The CGI is pretty good when the lighting is darker or it takes place at night, but whenever it looks terrible at daytime. It is quite lurching watching a dragon initially look decent and straight out of a fantasy movie with a good budget, to looking like its from a CW show. The action is passable, same as the first movie, but its nothing that impressive. It is entertaining enough, especially the last act.

As far as “bland and generic superhero movies that don’t do anything special” go, Shazam 2 is one of them but its not one of the all time worst. There is more enjoyment to find here than in say Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. It is entertaining enough, and there are some good performances (aside from Levi). Regardless of the coming change in the DCEU, Shazam 2 just isn’t that special, and is pretty much just a worse version of the first Shazam. Still, if you liked the first Shazam, Fury of the Gods might have enough for you to enjoy it.

Scream VI (2023) Review

Time: 122 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] graphic violence & content that may disturb
Melissa Barrera as Sam Carpenter
Jasmin Savoy Brown as Mindy Meeks-Martin
Jack Champion as Ethan Landry
Henry Czerny as Christopher Stone
Mason Gooding as Chad Meeks-Martin
Liana Liberato as Quinn Bailey
Dermot Mulroney as Wayne Bailey
Devyn Nekoda as Anika Kayoko
Jenna Ortega as Tara Carpenter
Tony Revolori as Jason Carvey
Josh Segarra as Danny Brackett
Samara Weaving as Laura Crane
Hayden Panettiere as Kirby Reed
Courteney Cox as Gale Weathers
Director: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett

Four survivors of the Ghostface murders leave Woodsboro behind for a fresh start in New York City. However, they soon find themselves in a fight for their lives when a new killer embarks on a bloody rampage.

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Recently I watched through all the Scream movies and was finally prepared to check out Scream 5. While not one of the better movies in the franchise, I did enjoy it, and it was pretty good as far as legacy sequels go. The Ready or Not directors would also be returning to direct the sixth movie, and I was ready to watch my first Scream movie in the cinemas. Scream VI ended up pretty good, and a notable improvement over the last movie.

With the exception of Scream 3 and 4, most of the Scream openings are great. However, the beginning of Scream VI rivals the original for the best beginning scene. A notable part of the movie which has been hyped up is the fact that it doesn’t take place in Woodsboro, but instead in New York City. This really isn’t the first time a Scream movie has taken place outside of Woodsboro, since they did that for its second and third movies. However, you do feel a greater scale in Scream VI, and you get environments and set pieces not seen in previous movies. Scream VI benefits from its strong focus on the story and its main characters. The story itself is fast paced enough, but spends enough time with its characters. An aspect present throughout the movies was the meta commentary, but there doesn’t appear to be much of it here. Most of it is relegated to Mindy (Jasmin Savoy-Brown) talking about horror movie tropes in a few scenes, otherwise its not present much. Scream VI is really more a commentary of its own franchise and I was actually fine with it. The third act here isn’t as crazy as 2022’s but is more controlled and character motivated, and I enjoyed it. I think that a lot of people will have problems with the Ghostface reveals. While I admit my predictions weren’t entirely correct (compared to most people online who apparently figured it out quickly), it did feel somewhat underwhelming. Still, it does make sense in the story and is better fleshed out than most other Ghostface reveals. It doesn’t just pull a Scream 3 and introduce a long-lost secret brother of the protagonist and just expect the audience to roll with it. Something that’s always been a thing in the Scream movies is the high number of close calls during Ghostface attacks. Despite it being more grounded in realism compared to other modern slashers, there’s many instances of characters being attacked in ways that should kill them, yet they somehow survive. While this isn’t exactly a new thing, with the increased brutality over the first four movies, it really makes it harder to take seriously. Scream VI takes this to new levels of ridiculousness, and it can take you out of the movie a little. On a larger problem though, it does feel very safe for all its increased violence and a Ghostface who’s apparently “one like you’ve never seen before”, especially looking at the death. While some of these movies opt to move in bold directions, Scream VI aims to honour the series instead. While my instinct is usually to go against this, it still works for what it is.  

There are some returning actors from the original 4 Scream movies, but not many. Of the main trio, it’s just Courteney Cox as Gale Weathers who appears here, playing a very small supporting role in the plot. The more prominent returning actor would be Hayden Panettiere as Kirby Reed who was assumed dead at the end of Scream 4. However, she was brought back for this movie, and it was great seeing her again; she plays off the other characters really well. The four surviving characters from Scream 5 return as the leads, and if there’s one thing that Scream VI gets right, it’s that it shows that even though the movie doesn’t have Dewey or Sidney and not a whole lot of Gale, these four can carry a film themselves. They have such great chemistry together and felt convincing as friends. Melissa Barrera is much better here as protagonist Sam Carpenter, and the movie fully takes advantage of the darker aspects with her being the daughter of Billy Loomis, which does well at setting her apart from Sidney Prescott as a protagonist. The only bad thing I can say about her character is that the film keeps adding in hallucination scenes with her dead father, which the movies really could’ve done without. The other three characters also get expanded on more. Jenna Ortega continues to give one of the best performances in the Scream movies (especially during the horror scenes), and the twins Mindy and Chad played by Jasmin Savoy-Brown and Mason Gooding also get to do a lot more here. Other actors like Dermot Mulroney, Jack Champion, Josh Segarra and Samara Weaving work in their parts too.

The Ready or Not directors (Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett) are back, and their work in Scream VI is a notable improvement over Scream 5, even though that was already a well-made movie. It has some great camerawork and cinematography with really good uses of colour. There are some strong set pieces, sequences and locations, and the setting change certainly allowed them to do a lot more. While Scream 5’s tension wasn’t that great, Scream VI is much better at this, with some genuinely suspenseful scenes. Brian Tyler returns to compose the score after his work in Scream 5, and again it’s pretty solid.

Even if it’s a little safe, Scream VI is another entertaining and strong entry in the franchise, with some memorable horror set pieces, and a great cast and direction. With 6 entries in the franchise, Scream seems to be one of the only horror franchises that remains strong on the whole. While I do wonder how long it’ll sustain this streak, I’m definitely open to watching even more of them.

Scream (2022) Review

Time: 114 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Violence and offensive language
Neve Campbell as Sidney Prescott
Courteney Cox as Gale Weathers
David Arquette as Dewey Riley
Melissa Barrera as Sam Carpenter
Jack Quaid as Richie Kirsch
Mikey Madison as Amber Freeman
Jenna Ortega as Tara Carpenter
Dylan Minnette as Wes Hicks
Jasmin Savoy Brown as Mindy Meeks-Martin
Mason Gooding as Chad Meeks-Martin
Sonia Ammar as Liv McKenzie
Marley Shelton as Judy Hicks
Director: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett

Sam Carpenter returns to Woodsboro after her sister gets attacked by the Ghostface. She approaches Dewey Riley to help catch the killer, who warns Sidney and Gale.

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11 years after the last movie, Scream gets its fifth installement with the confusingly titled Scream. While I have some issues with it, I liked it overall, and did pretty well considering its task of following up on Wes Craven’s movies.

Meta satire is a present aspect through all these Scream movies, but I found it to be a mixed bag in this one. Instead of poking fun as cliches of horror movies, sequels, threequels and remakes, it’s about toxic fandom, and somewhat about legacy sequels and modern horror, including “elevated horror”. Some of the dialogue about that can be very on the nose and grating. I still like the satire, but it’s not done nearly as well compared to what Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson did with the previous movies. That’s especially the case when it comes to the commentary on modern horror, since Scream 4 back in 2011 executed this a lot better. Scream 5 does work a little better outside of the meta aspects, even if the plot is kind of predictable, beginning with another great Scream opening. The mystery is maintained well, and it does play with your expectations for a new Scream movie. The twists aren’t as surprising as previous movies, but it doesn’t feel like there as much of an emphasis on surprising you, so I was fine with that. It does well at introducing some new characters to the franchise (even if some of them are underdeveloped), and it does nicely handle the legacy characters for the most part. Humour usually plays a key role in the Scream movies, even with Scream 4. However, Scream 5 does feel distinctly darker despite some comedy. Not that this choice is bad, it just felt  like an interesting change. There’s a particular backstory for the main character which I’m not certain about yet, but at least it’s revealed early on instead of being a twist halfway through. For whatever reason though, they felt the need to give her these random hallucinations, which I just found to be a little silly. Finally, while it is mostly well paced, it does slow down a bit during the second act.

The cast are generally good and have great chemistry together. Melissa Barrera plays the protagonist and I thought she was alright, unfortunately she wasn’t quite on the level of some of the other actors. Jenna Ortega fares a lot better and is great, particularly in the horror scenes. The supporting cast is good with Jasmin Savoy-Brown and Mason Gooding being convincing as twins, and Jack Quaid and Mikey Madison being among the standouts. Some of the original characters from the first four movies return, however for the first time they serve as notable supporting roles instead of leading roles like in the last four movies. The trio of Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox and David Arquette are great in their respective parts, with Arquette particularly giving his best performance as Dewey.

Scream 5 is directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett and the one thing I knew about them is that they made Ready or Not, which I liked. They did some good work with Scream 5. I really like the cinematography and it does have a better ‘modern’ look than Scream 4 did. The attack scenes are thrilling, and the kills are the bloodiest, goriest and most brutal in the franchise up to this point. Along with the kills, this Ghostface with the personality and dialogue is probably the most vicious version of the killer yet. The movie is helped by a solid score from Brian Tyler. If there’s issues with the direction, it’s mainly with the obvious jump scares. More annoying is the amount of fake out jump scares, where it looks like a character is about to turn around and walk into the killer, but this doesn’t happen, and this is repeated a lot. While it wasn’t as tensionless as Scream 3, Scream 5 just wasn’t that scary to me.

Scream 5 isn’t one of the best Scream movies, but it’s definitely not the worst. While some aspects of the meta commentary, the plot and the scares are flawed, there’s still a lot to like, with the performances, the humour, much of the direction, and some great sequences. As far as legacy sequels in horror franchises, Scream 5 does its job pretty well.

Scream 4 (2011) Review

Time: 111 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] contains violence, offensive language & horror
David Arquette as Dewey Riley
Neve Campbell as Sidney Prescott
Courteney Cox as Gale Weathers
Emma Roberts as Jill Roberts
Hayden Panettiere as Kirby Reed
Rory Culkin as Charlie Walker
Director: Wes Craven

At the end of her book tour, Sidney visits her home town after ten long years. As she catches up with old friends, her return not only brings back memories but also beckons the return of Ghostface.

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I didn’t remember too much about Scream 4 going into my rewatch of it, I just knew that it was made 11 years after the franchise’s original intended ending with Scream 3, and it is Wes Craven’s final movie. I liked it way better than I expected, in fact it’s my second favourite in the series.

Kevin Williamson has returned to writing for the franchise after his absence from Scream 3, and gives another witty and sharp script, which manages to be the most interesting of the Scream movies. The one thing I can say I really didn’t like was the opening, with a number of fake outs. Everything else is good though. Craven and Williamson keeps the charm of the previous movies, while reinventing itself as it moves into more modern times. The fun meta humour is back and has the sharp dialogue you’d expect. The satire has actually aged very well, and it probably has the most thought provoking themes and commentary of the franchise. Scream 1 focused on horror movies generally, Scream 2 was about sequels, Scream 3 was about trilogies, and Scream 4 satirises the cliches of modern horror movies, and with focus on horror remakes and reboots. But it doesn’t stop there, as it pokes fun at modern pop culture, fan culture and social media. It was particularly ahead of its time with that last one, and how people will do anything to get famous. I was entertained and engaged with the plot, and the twists worked well. It also has a bitter of a meaner edge to it, with a darker tone and more brutal kills. Additionally, Scream 4 probably has the best suspense of the franchise, and also has my favourite version of Ghostface.

The cast are great, with Neve Campbell, David Arquette and Courteney Cox slipping back into their roles seamlessly, and as usual the continuation of their stories being one of the highlights of the first four movies. The newer cast are also good, with the standouts being Hayden Panettiere and Emma Roberts.

Wes Craven directs Scream 4 incredibly well. The chase and attack scenes are really well done with a lot of suspense. The kill scenes are also a lot more gnarly and creative, definitely in line with the darker tone. Marco Beltrami also delivers another reliable score. One criticism that people had was of the bright look and the weirdly shiny and glossy cinematography. I can’t tell if it was a deliberate choice to mimic the lighting of other horror movies of the day, but it didn’t bother me too much.

Scream 4 was a real surprise, it has some great suspenseful set pieces combined with sharp and biting writing and solid meta satire. I found this to be the best of the Scream sequels, and likely the most fun I’ve had with the franchise. The series wouldn’t receive another sequel until 11 more years but if they decided to not make any more, Scream 4 would’ve been a good place to end it.

Scream 3 (2000) Review

Time: 117 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Horror scenes
David Arquette as Dewey Riley
Neve Campbell as Sidney Prescott
Courteney Cox as Gale Weathers
Patrick Dempsey as Mark Kincaid
Scott Foley as Roman Bridger
Lance Henriksen as John Milton
Matt Keeslar as Tom Prinze
Jenny McCarthy as Sarah Darling
Emily Mortimer as Angelina Tyler
Parker Posey as Jennifer Jolie
Deon Richmond as Tyson Fox
Kelly Rutherford as Christine
Liev Schreiber as Cotton Weary
Patrick Warburton as Steven Stone
Director: Wes Craven

As bodies begin dropping around the set of STAB 3, a movie sequel based on the gruesome Woodsboro killings, Sidney and other survivors are once again drawn into a game of horror movie mayhem.

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Scream 3 is widely regarded as the worst instalment in the franchise, however in terms of worst entries in horror franchises, Scream 3 is better than most. There are definitely some issues, but I had a lot of fun with it.

For a first in the series, Ethan Kreuger is writing the script instead of Kevin Williamson, and you really do feel his absence. The meta commentary is a little mixed, it’s not as smart as the last couple of movies. It takes on certain things like the abusive system and politics of Hollywood. The Stab movies were introduced in Scream 2 but I think Scream 3 utilizes them a lot better in the plot given that it’s set in Hollywood. However, sometimes the commentary is a bit too on the nose and silly at points. There is also a certain subplot that has either aged well or aged poorly in the movie, considering that Scream 3 is a Harvey Weinstein movie. At the very least, it makes the plotline a little more awkward and uncomfortable now. The plot is still entertaining and has good humour, even if they lean into that a little too much at times. The main trio with Sidney, Gale and Dewey as usual were the highlights and I liked how it continued their stories. However the movie does lack the wittiness and cleverness of the movies that came before, and is a very generic affair. It falls into the tropes that it tries to parody, which is never a good sign. There are some questionable story decisions too, particularly with some reveals at the end of the film. However the biggest criticism I have is for a particular aspect that bugged me for the whole film. I can buy that each Ghostface wears the same costume, mask and voice changer that gives them the voice of Roger L. Jackson. However, this Ghostface also has another magical voice changer that makes them sound like literally any character that they want, and I really didn’t like that. With all that being said, I really like how Scream 3 ended the movie with its last scene.

There are some solid performances and enjoyable characters. The main trio in Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox and David Arquette deliver as always, Gale and Dewey are front and center, but I also think this movie really rounds out Sidney as a character too. As for the newcomers, they weren’t really the best, just sort of okay. However, Parker Posey was one of the highlights of the whole movie, playing an actor who was cast as a fictional version of Gale in the newest installment of the Stab franchise.

Wes Craven directs this well, though in terms of direction and technical elements, Scream 3 is probably the worst in the franchise. There are some good set pieces, even if they aren’t on the level of the first two movies. But really, there weren’t many standout scenes, and none of them really bordered on being scary or suspenseful. The music is reliable as ever, with Marco Beltrami again doing well with the score. 

So unsurprisingly, Scream 3 is the worst of the franchise but is still pretty decent. While the meta commentary was very hit or miss and some of the story decisions didn’t work out, the cast and some of the set pieces were solid, and I still enjoyed watching it. Plus it ended on a note that would’ve been a fitting conclusion for the franchise if they didn’t continue it nearly a decade later. At the very least, there’s some enough good stuff here to make it worth watching.