On DVD & Blu-Ray: January 15, 2019

As much time has now passed between the original 1978 Halloween and star, original Scream Queen herself, Jamie Lee Curtis' return to the role of Laurie Strode (though she did reprise her role in the original 1981 sequel) in 1998's Halloween H2O: 20 Years Later as it now has between H2O and 2018's Halloween. That is a long way of saying it's been forty years since writer/director John Carpenter first introduced us to "The Shape" otherwise known as Michael Myers, but it is also to point out that while Curtis' twenty-year reunion with her most famous character saw Strode as a woman on the run from her past, changing her name, concealing her identity, and attempting to move on while having raised a child in as much of a captive environment as possible director David Gordon Green's (George Washington, Pineapple Express) new film sees Strode as someone who has lived with the trauma of that single night for forty years and who has been waiting for an opportunity to take back what was stolen from her. It's admittedly both a rarity and an oddity to be able to see two different, but fully fleshed out interpretations of a single character and the aftermath of dealing with such a traumatic event, but it is in considering the different ways in which Strode's life might have unraveled as a result of that Halloween night in 1978 that Green and co-writers Danny McBride and Jeff Fradley find their "in" in terms of how they can make their iteration of a Halloween sequel both different enough and justified enough for it to exist in the first place. In reality, we're dealing with a viewer's pick of alternate timelines based on preference and 2018's Halloween throws its hat in the ring by offering up the idea that everything that occurred in each of the seven sequels, including 1981's Halloween II that famously disclosed Laurie Strode was Michael Myers' long-lost baby sister, ever happened. No longer is anything canon except for what went down in the only installment Carpenter himself directed. And so, with that, Michael Myers no longer has a familial connection to Strode and thus no reason to make her his mission. This opens up the possibility for 2018's Halloween to simply be about a cold-blooded serial killer who murders at random because he's a monster following his impulses whereas Curtis' Strode is now the one who has built-up this connection between herself and Myers and sees it as her destiny that the two of them might once again come face to face. That Strode is more attached to Myers than he is her is the "in" Green needed to bring a fresh perspective to this endlessly re-made and ret-conned horror franchise, but it is with this twist on the original, principle character that not only do we get fertile new territory to explore, but we get to genuinely and sometimes gruesomely see the process of Laurie Strode truly taking back what was taken from her all those years ago. Full review here. B

"Ten-year-old you may have hopes and dreams, but he doesn't understand time like you."

It is truly a marvel how director David Lowery (Pete's Dragon, A Ghost Story) makes films that are both so straightforward and simple yet feel immensely significant.

The story of Forrest Tucker is one that could have squarely been told in the genre of your traditional heist films, but Lowery approaches the tone of the film the same way his protagonist would approach his stick-ups. Lowery emphasizes this tone further by employing filmmaking techniques of the time period to reinforce the feeling of being in that era (the film spans the length of 1981). Furthermore even, is Daniel Hart's easy-listening score comprised of soft jazz and classy riffs that, while sometimes deceiving, is never used simply as filler.

The film is constructed from the get-go in such a way that we understand Robert Redford's incarnation of Tucker is the best, most appealing "bad guy" we've ever encountered and if you think you're going to change your mind as the film goes on and reveals more of the character's notorious past Redford is here to make sure you won't. And you don't. From the uber-stylized transitions Lowery uses to capture the infinite amount of charm Redford as Tucker possesses to something as simple as the font in the title cards everything about The Old Man & the Gun is inviting, involving, and all-encompassing. Even when Lowery's films are about death, or dragons, or bank robbers they still feel like the warmest, most honest, and re-assuring of hugs.

Finally, Lowery once again helps us contemplate the fleeting and indefinable quality of time as he delivers a movie that could have been made decades ago with stars who we feel we know personally after having watched them over so much time presented as the look today. That may sound convoluted and as if it doesn't make sense, but it will register as you let the credits of this excessively charming picture wash over you. B+

Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween felt rushed into theaters at the beginning of October last year with a fresh Jack Black cameo and all on the heels of his The House with a Clock in its Walls, but while I very much enjoyed Rob Letterman's (who is at the helm of this year's sure-to-be-massive Pokémon Detective Pikachu) 2015 original I didn't get a chance to see this follow-up that felt more Disney Channel Original than wide theatrical feature, but needless to say-I'm still curious enough to check it out. Haunted Halloween follows teenager Sarah Quinn (Madison Iseman) who lives with her mother Kathy (Wendi McLendon-Covey) and younger brother Sonny (Jeremy Ray Taylor) in New York. Sarah is attempting to get into Columbia University while Kathy agrees to watch Sonny's friend, Sam (Caleel Harris), while his father goes out of town. Sonny and Sam are trying to start a garbage cleanup business and in the process are called after school to clean up an abandoned house. It is here that Sonny and Sam find a locked manuscript and open it, causing Slappy the Dummy to appear. The two friends then unknowingly bring him to life, but the book is later stolen leading Slappy to then reveals he's alive to Sonny and Sam, and gets their trust by using his magic to do the boy's chores and homework. Of course, Slappy then proceeds to sabotage Sonny's project...and hijinks no doubt ensure...

A PG-13 version of Deadpool 2 that I didn't see nor do I care to see.

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