TedStixon

1st Dec 2019

Firefly (2002)

Though it's almost become a cliche to say, it's the truth... Joss Whedon's "Firefly" is by and large one of the best television series to emerge over the past twenty years, and the fact it was cancelled after only one season is a genuine tragedy. The series' blend of science fiction and western sensibilities is refreshing and unique, making each one of its fourteen episodes a complete blast from start to finish. Add to that one of the best ensemble casts ever put to screen, and witty writing that expertly combines both humor and drama, and you have a recipe for success that unfortunately just never got the chance to flourish. If you haven't seen the show and are worried the hype may have ruined it for you, do yourself a favor and give a chance. It doesn't just meet expectations... it shatters them. "Firefly" easily earns a perfect 5 out of 5.

TedStixon

Oh look, another 2010's-era 3D sequel to a series that doesn't support the format. And it also purports to be the "final chapter" in the series! That's two lame gimmicks rolled into one lame film! "Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension" is not only without doubt the worst film in the franchise... but it's also one of the worst "final chapters" to a series I've ever seen. Not only are the characters simply unlikable... not only are the scares bland and boring... not only does the film lack adequate pay-off... but the movie even seems to go out of its way to ignore and contradict what came before. It's like they tried their hardest to make it as unsatisfying as possible. It's to the point, I don't even count this film as canonical. For me, the series ends with "The Marked Ones, " and "The Ghost Dimension" is just bad fan-faction. 1 out of 5.

TedStixon

A definite improvement over the underwhelming "Paranormal Activity 4, " "The Marked Ones" is a mildly enjoyable one-off side-story in the series that manages to entertain and enthrall, even if it doesn't have that much impact on the main narrative. The characters are charming, the scares are eerie enough, and I enjoyed some of the unexpected twists and turns. (Well, at least outside of the head-scratching conclusion that I won't spoil.) It's a decent effort, and I'd give it a mild recommendation for series fans. 3 out of 5.

TedStixon

The start of a noticeable downward trend in the series, "Paranormal Activity 4" just lacks in all departments in comparison to the slick and solid first three outings. While the characters are likable, they are underdeveloped. While the scares come fast and furious, they lack impact. And while the mythology is once again expanded, the new revelations feel contrived and even sloppy. And it only manages to muster up an underwhelming 2 out of 5 for me.

TedStixon

Perhaps the last genuinely good entry in the popular "Paranormal Activity" franchise, "Paranormal Activity 3" ratchets up the fear-factor with this eerie prequel story that boasts some of the best jumps and most ghoulish atmosphere of the bunch! It also successfully expands the mythology of the series even more, giving us more answers to the riddle... while also providing more questions to be answered in the future. I'd give it a good 4 out of 5.

TedStixon

"Paranormal Activity 2" never quite measures up to the original when it comes to the "creeps" department, but it's a solid effort and is worth seeing for fans of the original. With a larger and generally likable cast, and a few good jumps thrown in, it's a lot of fun. It also has some interesting expansions to the mythology that I quite liked as an admirer of the first film. I'd give a 3.5 out of 5, rounding up to 4 for the MovieMistakes.com rating system.

TedStixon

Despite its legacy having been somewhat tarnished by five sequels of varying quality, Oren Peli's original "Paranormal Activity" is to this day one of the best examples of the "found footage" sub-genre done right. Genuinely spooky fun, it's perfect fodder for late-night viewing, and it's one of my go-to's for the Halloween season. I'd give it a good 4 out of 5.

TedStixon

"Ghost in the Shell (2017) " attracted so much controversy during production that most audiences just wouldn't give it a chance. And it's a shame, because as far as adaptations go, this is a pretty darned solid and entertaining effort. It successfully reworks the heady and complex original into an accessible sci-fi thriller, and a lot of effort was put into its production. I also enjoyed the fact that it did at least touch on many of the themes of prior adaptations. Sure, it may not be quite as "smart" as the 1995 film or the original manga... but it's still a slick, exciting film. And I'm glad I gave it a chance and saw it on the big screen! I loved the original anime film. I love its follow-up "Innocence." And I pretty much loved this film, too.

TedStixon

30th Jul 2019

Hellboy (2019)

Part of the great tragedy of the new "Hellboy" is that it had so much potential. And on the surface, the elements are all there. Director Neil Marshall has a great track record, the cast is serviceable and the visuals are frequently interesting. But as a film... it just doesn't work. The writing is dreadful and completely aimless. The pacing is a complete mess. The characters are under-developed. And the visual direction is patchy and inconsistent at best. Fans can fall back on the "well, it looks more like the comic than the other movies" argument all they want... but minor aesthetic similarities to the source material can't fix a film that is fundamentally broken at its core. 2019's "Hellboy" is an unlikable slog, and it's among the worst mainstream films I've seen in recent memory.

TedStixon

26th Jun 2019

Child's Play (2019)

2019's "Child's Play" reboot tries its hardest, and indeed has a handful of fun moments that set it apart from the 1988 classic of the same name. Mark Hamill in particular makes a stellar turn as our new Chucky, and is easily the highlight of the film. But on the whole, the film pales in comparison to the riskier, creepier original, and it often fails to deliver on its own premise. Many of the new concepts introduced feel poorly developed, and several major sub-plots go absolutely nowhere. Combined with a strangely dull pace, and it's just not as much fun as it ought be. In the end, it's just another mediocre reboot that will likely be forgotten within a year. 2 out of 5.

TedStixon

"Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween" tries its hardest, but is never quite able to recapture the thrills (or heart) that made the original a surprise success. This is in no small part due to it being noticeably lower-budget than the 2015 film, and suffering a rushed, patchy narrative. Although it does thankfully benefit from Jack Black in another scene-stealing turn as R.L. Stine and a few engaging sequences.

As it stands, "Haunted Halloween" serves best as a weekend rental for families with young children... but it's not really worth rushing out to buy. I give it a middle-of-the-road 2.5 out of 5. (Rounding up to 3 for the rating system on this website).

TedStixon

Who'd have thought such an unnecessary and belated sequel could not only be good... but also be better than the original? "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle" benefits from a playful and creative storyline, sharp direction and an excellent cast who have a grand time hamming it up for the camera. It's fast, funny and filled with plenty of eye-popping action set-pieces that will delight the whole family.

TedStixon

24th Nov 2018

Mimic (1997)

A novel and entertaining monster flick, "Mimic" is an early sign of director Guillermo del Toro's talent and charisma as a filmmaker. While it lacks the nuance of his later work, it is nonetheless fun, stylish and oft-effective. A splendid creature-feature through and though.

TedStixon

One of the most criminally underrated series of the past decade, Diablo Cody's "United States of Tara" mixes thoughtful character development with genuinely hilarious humor to tell the tale of a woman suffering multiple-personality disorder. Series star Toni Collette gives a remarkable, career-defining performance, and the supporting cast (including Brie Larson and Patton Oswalt) absolutely shine in their roles.

TedStixon

22nd Oct 2018

Halloween (2018)

From a wonderfully kitschy opening title sequence that hearkens back to the iconic original, through a slew of subversive twists and turns that took me by surprise, David Gordon Green's "Halloween" proves to be the definitive continuation of John Carpenter's classic. Boasting intense scares, buckets of blood and a surprisingly effective sense of self-aware humor, "Halloween" 2018 is not only the best of the "Halloween" sequels - it's arguably one of year's best horror movies, period.

TedStixon

2nd Oct 2018

Rings (2017)

While it benefits from some slick direction courtesy the usually reliable F. Javier Gutierrez, "Rings" ultimately falls flat thanks to uneven performances, an oddly confusing narrative and bizarre editing choices. It's a frustrating film, because there's potential... but it's all squandered and lost thanks to obvious studio-enforced re-shoots and re-edits, which leave the film feeling disjointed and without focus.

TedStixon

30th Sep 2018

The Open House (2018)

Starts off fantastic, with great performances and thoughtful handling of character and theme... then throws it all away with one of the worst third acts I've ever seen. A wholly pointless and unlikable film that might just be 2018's worst.

TedStixon

A Saturday morning cartoon for grown-ups, "Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets" is pure cinematic spectacle.

A dizzying display of constant special effects and non-stop action, the film's aim is to entertain first and foremost. And that it does on a consistent basis. If you desire a deep story or compelling characters, you won't get that here. The main characters are blank slates and the plot is a paper-thin series of excuses to set up the next big effects set-piece. However, if you want a wild thrill-ride like nothing you've seen before, you'll get your money's worth. It's one of the most rampantly creative films I've seen in years.

And so, I'm giving it a 4 out of 5 - "Valerian" is great, shallow, spellbinding, escapist fun.

TedStixon

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