OLD Review

M. Night Shyamalan Returns to the Big Screen with a Psychological Thriller that is Equal Parts Fascinating and Baffling.

SNAKE EYES Review

Paramount Pictures Once Again Attempts to Jump Start a G.I. Joe Series of Films with what is the Most Generic of Summer Popcorn Flicks.

BLACK WIDOW Review

The First Marvel Cinematic Universe Film in Nearly Two Years Delivers a Rousing Spy Thriller that Should Have Happened Years Ago.

SPACE JAM: A NEW LEGACY Review

LeBron James Takes up Michael Jordan's Mantle as he Joins the Looney Tunes for an Out of this World Basketball Game that is More Commercial than Entertaining Endeavor.

F9: THE FAST SAGA Review

Vin Diesel's Dominic Toretto and his "Family" Return as does Director Justin Lin for a Ninth Outing that Feels More Pompous than Pleasant.

Tavern Talk: Video Review - SPIRAL: FROM THE BOOK OF SAW


In the second week of being back at the theater we saw what was the ninth entry in the Saw franchise though it functions more as a re-boot and/or spin-off as Spiral: From the Book of Saw was produced by and stars comedy legend Chris Rock. Not exactly the personality you expect to re-boot a major gorror franchise, but here we are. The film, which was originally scheduled to be released first in October of 2020 before being moved up to a summer 2020 release, was then of course delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic yet somehow retained its "summer movie" status by helping to usher movie-goers back to the theaters in these early weeks of the new normal. Directed by Saw veteran Darren Lynn Bousman (Saw II, Saw III, and Saw IV) the new film follows a copycat Jigsaw killer and Detective Ezekiel "Zeke" Banks (Rock), working in the shadow of his father (Samuel L. Jackson), along with a new, rookie partner (Max Minghella) as they are tasked with investigating a series of grisly murders that utilize traps eerily reminiscent to that of John Kramer's. Zeke naturally finds himself at the center of the killer's game with plenty of twists and turns along the way. Scripted by Josh Stolberg and Pete Goldfinger who also wrote the previous Saw film, Jigsaw, which was - to put it lightly - pretty terrible made for low expectations going in, but much to my surprise Spiral was a pleasant diversion if nothing else; a movie that felt oddly rewarding given the big screen context in which I saw it. As for the rest of the country, enough horror fans showed up to make Spiral the number one movie at the box office with an $8.7 million debut, easily beating fellow new release, Those Who Wish Me Dead, a survival thriller from writer/director Taylor Sheridan (Yellowstone) starring Angelina Jolie that premiered both in theaters and on HBO Max. The Saw franchise has collectively grossed just shy of $1 billion and while Spiral had the lowest debut of the series thus far I have to imagine that might not have been the case were it not one of the first major releases of post-vaccination life. Most theaters in the U.S. are still operating at a reduced capacity and the film has yet to open internationally so there is certainly room to grow. With higher profile releases beginning over Memorial Day weekend though, and the theatrical window only continuing to shrink it will be interesting to see what type of long-term business Spiral will do given the horror genre doesn't generally have the longest of box office legs. As always, time will tell, but for now be sure to follow the official TAVERN TALK by Initial Reaction YouTube channel as well as on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter where you can find a new review (or reviews) each week!

Tavern Talk: Video Review - WRATH OF MAN


WE'RE BACK! After what was over fourteen months of no theater visits given the random Tenet or Freaky screening here and there we are back at the Movie Tavern with what we hope will be consistent reviews of the biggest releases from here on out as studios begin to release bigger movies exclusively in theaters. The first of these releases on what is typically the weekend that kicks off the summer movie season is the reunion of star Jason Statham and director Guy Ritchie after Snatch fifteen years ago. Wrath of Man is a hard boiled, R-rated, action thriller/heist film that debuted at No. 1 in North America with $8.1 million. That's not exactly the type of numbers we're accustomed to discussing when talking about summer blockbusters and it's certainly a long way off from the $45.4 million domestic opening of Statham’s most recent leading-man vehicle, 2018’s The Meg, which honestly feels like a lifetime ago at this point. And yes, Hobbs & Shaw debuted with $60.8 million in August of 2019, but Statham had a little bit of help headlining that one. As for Wrath of Man, it debuted in 2,875 theaters equating to what is a $2,817 per-screen average. The film did better overseas, pulling in $17.6 million, bringing its combined worldwide total to $25.7 million on what is, as far as I can tell, an unknown budget though I would guess it lands somewhere around the $30-$40 million mark. While the box office may not be as robust as your typical "summer kick-off" movie the good news is that Wrath of Man actually performed on par with what is expected of a dark and dour Statham actioner that doesn't have the broad appeal of something like The Meg, The Expendables franchise, or anything in the Fast & Furious universe. For instance, Statham's 2016 film - released in late-August - Mechanic: Resurrection, earned $7.6 million in it opening weekend which was on par with every non-franchise, non-ensemble Statham actioner you can think of. With Wrath of Man being a big-studio release that was not simultaneously released on a streaming service or via premium VOD it would seem we may just be on our way back to some kind of "normal". As always, be sure to follow the official TAVERN TALK by Initial Reaction YouTube channel as well as on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter where you can find a new review (or reviews) each week!

Official Trailer for David Lowery's THE GREEN KNIGHT


David Lowery is a director who, from a generational perspective, I feel is all my own. Though he made his feature debut in 2009 with St. Nick it was 2013's Ain't Them Bodies Saints that put him on the map and the one I remember seeking out at my small, local arthouse theater to see if this was yet another imitator of Malick or if this was someone who would be building on his aesthetic with a fresh set of sensibilities. While Ain't Them Bodies Saints didn't knock me out with the emotional gut punch I recall hoping it would, Lowery would show everyone what he was made of a few years later with 2017's A Ghost Story which he'd been afforded the opportunity to make by hitching his wagon to the Disney train and re-imaging Pete's Dragon for them the year before. Pete's Dragon was a pleasant surprise - both in that Lowery had made it and that he'd been able to turn the campy 1977 film into something of a love letter to the innocence of childhood - which is all to say that A Ghost Story absolutely felt like Lowey making the kind of movie he'd always wanted to make and that he could finally afford to take a chance on. For me, that risk paid off as I absolutely adored A Ghost Story with Lowery's follow-up, The Old Man and the Gun, surprising me even more in 2018. While Lowery is now hard at work on another Disney adaptation which is yet another take on the J.M. Barrie novel, though this time it is titled Peter Pan & Wendy, Lowery first will deliver us The Green Knight or what is his take on the Arthurian story titled Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Dev Patel portrays Sir Gawain while Ralph Ineson's titular charater is certain to steal the show as his presence in this trailer alone is undeniable. I love how perfectly Lowery seems to have balanced his more introspective and challenging ideals he likes to base movies around with that of large scale, almost blockbuster-like visuals that he's employed the scope of here. The tone of the trailer is downright chilling and those aforementioned visuals are not only striking, but rather provocative in many ways; certain shots bringing with them immense amounts of weight regardless of dialogue or context. With the film originally set to premiere last May this feels as if it has been a long time coming. Needless to say, July can't come soon enough. The Green Knight also stars Joel Edgerton, Alicia Vikander, Sean Harris, Kate Dickie, Erin Kellyman, Barry Keoghan, and opens on July 21st, 2021.