Shazam! is Amazeballs!

Shazam! is Amazeballs!

Reviewed by Ozzy the Easily Amazed Critic for 

Shazam! is the perfect title for this thrill ride of movie, and not just because it’s the name of the film’s hero. First of all, you just gotta love titles that end with an exclamation point. How cool is that? You almost never see that. And then there’s the word itself: Shazam. I mean, even without the exclamation point, that is one hell of a title. And then there’s the font they chose for the title. I don’t know what that font is officially called, but it’s like—BAM! That font just screams “Hey, man, check me out. I’m a seriously cool title.” And that’s just how the movie starts.

This sucker starts to rev its engine as soon as it begins. The story is so faced paced; it’s like—POW! The story rocks so hard it melted my face within two or three minutes, and then I was, like, whoa … cool. As for the special effects. Well, it should come as no surprise that the effects were like—KAPOW! It’s like, you’ve seen other movies before, and you think you’ve seen really good effects, but then you see this, and it’s like—WHOOOOOP! There’s was one action scene where I was like, “no way!” but the film was all like, “uh-huh, dawg. Just breathe, bro. We’ll get through this together.” Thank God for Mountain Dew Code Red, ’cuz, trust me, bro, after a few of these action sequences, you’re gonna need a drink, and probably a quick nosh. Too bad movie theaters don’t make tater tots. Ah, man, this movie with tots would be like—PLADOW!

Even the acting in this movie was hella tight, dawg. It stars that dude that was Chuck on that show with the hot chick. The kid actors were also stylin’, which came as shock, bro, cuz usually dem young’uns suck it hard. There’s this one kid who’s all banged up and needs crutches and whatnot, but that kid is funny AF; there were even a few times where I was laughin’ so hard I almost squirted Mountain Dew Code Red out of my nose, bro. I laughed so hard, it was all like—BANGOW! At one point the dude sittin’ next to me was like—WHAAAAT! He turned to me, all surprised and whatnot, and I was like, “I know, right?” and then he was like, “Right?”

Basically, you can’t go wrong with this movie. The music was like—GAZANG! The girlies was poppin’. A few of dem hotties was like—KAZOW! The action was all—FLOMP! The story was like—TANG! The cinematography was downright—CARAAACK! And the production design was full-on—WHAZOW!

This movie punched me in my nuts, then mellowed me out like a breezy day on the beach with my best girl, my tunes, and some ice-cold Mountain Dew Code Red. So throw your money at the chick who works at the box office, like—Fladow! and demand your ticket to Shazam! Sure, the film may be thematically reductive, creatively bankrupt, uninspired philosophically, derivative of much more important films, lacking in voice and vision, and created solely to benefit from the ongoing popularity of superhero cinema that is completely devoid of artistic integrity in order to serve a faceless corporate master whose sinister intentions include, but are not limited to, world domination through the dumbing-down of the population through the propagation of numerous commercial entertainment properties—but it sure goes down easy with some nachos and a nice, tall Mountain Dew Code Red.

I give Shazam! a righteous fist bump, a bro hug, and 10 stars out of a possible ten.

(Shazam! is PG-13 for comic book violence, adult themes, some gun scenes where there’s lots of like—BLAM! and a few emotional scenes that make even grown men feel like—DAMN!)


Pet Sematary (2019): A Strange but Effective Adaptation

Pet Sematary (2019): A Strange but Effective Adaptation

Reviewed by Simon Johnston for 

(Editor’s note: One day before attending the screening for this film, critic Simon Johnston was kicked in the head by a rogue mule during a family farm outing. Keep this in mind when reading the following review.)

Adaptation is a fickle art form; delicate in its intricacies, and merciless in its ability to expose the film’s every flaw. Most adaptations fail … miserably. Adaptations of beloved best-sellers have an even lower batting average. And Stephen King adaptations almost always suck. The problem with adapting any popular work is that there are no rules, no guidelines, no lifeguards on duty to warn screenwriters away from treacherous waters. Therefore, I tend to be as openminded as possible when reviewing adaptations, particularly when considering films that already occupy exalted status in the popular culture. And for Pet Sematary this is doubly true, as the ’80s have already gifted us with a popular and beloved novel and a film adaptation whose status among horror fans continues to not only endure but flourish. So this 2019 version of Pet Sematary has to slake the thirst of moviegoers as both an adaptation of classic novel and as remake of a classic horror film. Or is this actually a reboot? A soft reboot? Don’t know, don’t care. What I do know for sure is this is one of the strangest, most liberal interpretations of known material I’ve ever seen. These filmmakers really went out on a limb with this one.

As most of you know, Pet Sematary is based on the 1983 Stephen King classic novel Christine, only this time, instead of a 1958 Plymouth Fury, Christine is a big ole 18-wheeler with an appetite for human flesh. The story begins when the Creed family leaves the hustle and bustle of Boston for the fresh air, quiet, and low-stress environment of the Maine countryside. But things aren’t as bucolic as they seem. Christine, now a massive truck, regularly terrorizes the backroads of this quaint little New England town, looking for fresh victims to run over and then somehow bring back as zombies or something … I think in this version Christine is a Native American spirit that buries dead pets (and, unfortunately, people) somewhere spooky, then they come back as killer trucks, too. Something like that. Anyway, it’s nothing like the Stephen King novel or the original film directed by John Carpenter, which took a more traditional approach to adaptation, casting Christine as a killer car and leaving the Creed family out of the story altogether.

But, as weird as it may be, Pet Sematary is still a really strong movie in its own way. Jason Clarke does a fine job in a dual role as Louis Creed and as Christine. Amy Seimetz also makes a stellar impression in her dual role as Rachel Creed (Louis’s scaredy-cat wife) and as the woman who sold me a Coke. But it’s newcomer John Lithgow who steals the show, playing the nicotine-stained denim enthusiast Jud Crandall as well as giving life to the role of Winston Churchill, the family cat (a role he’d already played to perfection on the Netflix series The Crown). There’s also a little girl who does some stuff, but her character is ultimately unimportant to the overall plot. And then there’s a little boy who just wandered onto the set by accident and for some reason they made him the Creed’s son, Gage.

Speaking of the plot: it’s a hot mess. Don’t get me wrong, there’s some really good stuff here. I was enthralled with everything concerning Winston Churchill (they call him Church, for some reason) becoming a serial killer. Every scene that focuses on Church as he selects, stalks, tortures, and eventually kills his many victims (he kills 431 people and one big-ass rat in this film) is riveting. But these scenes are also absurdly gratuitous. For example, in one sequence Church decapitates a hitchhiker with a chainsaw, then we watch as he methodically skins his victim, filets his flesh, and meticulously prepares the corpse for his dinner—which we then watch him eat. In its entirety! None of this is necessary. There are also entirely too many fart jokes. In my humble opinion, horror and fart jokes are not compatible. There’s an actual scene in which Ellie (Louis and Rachel’s daughter) farts on Church, who in turn vomits on Gage, who in turn vomits on Jud, who already has diarrhea, so he poops his pants, which make louis sick, which makes Ellie laugh so hard she farts on Church again. Is this supposed to be scary? Funny? To be honest, at this point in the film I zoned out for a while and focused my attention on an order of concessions-stand nachos. I flat-out destroyed those bitches, then hit the bathroom for some sweet relief.

When I returned to the theater, the film had undergone a serious plot twist. Louis was now a man in a red suit with a lightning bolt on it who calls himself Shazooki or something. Gage was now a paraplegic teenager who regards his father more like a friend than a parent. The whole thing was so incredibly confusing I had to consider that I may have walked into the wrong theater after leaving the bathroom. Either way, there was still just way, way too much farting.

Pet Sematary may not be the scariest movie you see this year. That is all.

I give Pet Sematary 4.683 out of 10. I would’ve rated the film higher, but there’s just so much farting. I mean, really, people. Come on.

(Pet Sematary is rate R for adult language, graphic violence, graphic depiction of surgery, fish taunting, unsupervised tire swinging, threatening weather, superfluous gasoline usage, and one fart joke after another until you just want to smack someone.)