The season 1 finale of Westworld was shockingly badass to say the very least, and while there were certain payoffs to various storylines that had been building throughout the first 10 episodes, it also raised a bunch of questions as to just where exactly the story will be heading in season 2. So, in anticipation of this weekend’s premiere episode on HBO, here’s a look at what we know so far about Westworld and what we’re hoping to see during this new season, which kicks off Sunday night at 9:00pm EST.
Over the years, I’ve been pretty vocal about how much I adore horror comedies, and considering how challenging the world at large has been over the last few years, it’s truly my favorite subsection of the genre to disappear into as of late. There have been numerous brilliant humorous horror movies over the years, but I thought now would be the perfect time to celebrate 10 films from the modern landscape of genre cinema that have not only been largely under-appreciated by fans, but also do a killer job of finding new ways to merge the funnies with the frights.
One of my favorite characters in season 1 of Westworld was Clementine Pennyfeather (played by Angela Sarafyan), an android prostitute who works under the supervision of the park’s madam, Maeve (Thandie Newton), who ends up becoming self-aware, throwing the high-tech attraction into a state of chaos.
If you happened to miss the first season finale of HBO’s hit series Westworld, the most succinct way to summarize all of the goings-on would be to say that the proverbial poop has hit the fan, leaving the eponymous park in a state of uproar, completely changing the landscape of the show heading into season 2, which begins on April 22nd at 9:00pm EST.
For Truth or Dare, Jeff Wadlow infuses the titular game for youngins with something of a supernatural bent that often ventures into a territory that is often borderline goofy, but I still couldn’t help but admire the film’s total commitment to its rather audacious concept. It’s really not a cinematic experience intended for those of us who happen to be born before 1995, so for all intents and purposes, I think Truth or Dare mostly hits its mark for those it was made for. And yes, even though the film does have a few silly moments, it also has two truly inspired set pieces that were downright brilliantly conceived that I enjoyed immensely.
Arriving in theaters this weekend is director/co-writer Jeff Wadlow’s Truth or Dare, which puts a supernatural spin on the popular game of the same name after a group of friends traveling in Mexico for spring break end up trapped in a deadly game where the stakes are life or death. Truth or Dare was produced by Blumhouse, and co-stars Lucy Hale, Tyler Posey, Violett Beane, Sophia Taylor Ali, Landon Liboiron, and Nolan Gerard Funk.
As someone who has been closely following Dwayne Johnson (we still call him “The Rock” in our household, but I’ll keep it professional here and use his given name) and his media-transcending career for about two full decades now, I’ll go ahead and admit my bias up front: I adore him endlessly and can (and will) watch him in anything. The reason I’m mentioning all of this now is because going into Brad Peyton’s Rampage, I was purely into it simply to watch The People’s Champ layeth the smacketh down on some oversized monsters, and for the most part, the film delivers just that. Sure, it has a handful of script and logic issues, but overall Rampage delivers a gargantuan amount of fun and is perpetually saved by Johnson and his engaging and heartfelt relationship with his primate co-star, George (performed by Jason Liles via mo-cap), who somehow find an emotional core to an otherwise thinly plotted film.
Stomping its way into theaters this weekend is Brad Peyton’s Rampage, which adapts the popular ’80s video game (of the same name) and brings a trio of oversized monstrosities into the real world, with our only hope of survival coming via Davis Okoye (Dwayne Johnson) and his ability to handle an oversized gorilla by the name of George. Rampage also co-stars Naomie Harris, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Malin Akerman, and Joe Manganiello, and during the recent press day for the film, we heard from Peyton and the film’s stars about their experiences collaborating on Rampage and much more.
On Friday the 13th (of April), Fritz Böhm’s lycanthropic fairy tale Wildling will arrive in theaters in both Los Angeles and New York, and it will also be available on VOD nationwide. The film is centered on Anna (Bel Powley), a teenage girl raised in isolation by “Daddy” and taught to fear the “Wildlings” (vicious creatures that eat children). After being rescued by a local sheriff (Liv Tyler), Anna is introduced to the outside world for the very first time, but as Anna begins her journey of discovery, things spiral out of control, as she suspects that her “Daddy” wasn’t telling her everything about her true nature and how it relates to the folklore she grew up fearing.
Screenwriter Sergio G. Sánchez (The Orphanage, The Impossible) makes the leap to feature film director with Marrowbone, a gorgeously crafted supernatural drama centered on a group of siblings (played by George MacKay, Mia Goth, Charlie Heaton, and Matthew Stagg) who must contend with an unseen force that tortures them endlessly while they live tucked away from the world at their deceased mother’s family estate.
This weekend, Truth or Dare is looking to play a wicked game of survival with audiences everywhere. Directed and co-written by Jeff Wadlow, the story follows a group of twenty-somethings who end up playing the eponymous contest while on spring break in Mexico, only to find out that what should have been a harmless square-off between best buds is really a demonic competition that will challenge all their friendships in unimaginable ways.
Audiences everywhere finally had a chance to experience John Krasinski’s outstanding A Quiet Place this weekend, as the film celebrated its release in theaters nationwide. There are a lot of elements that make this creature feature such a standout endeavor, but for me, it’s the film’s emotional punch of an ending that really stuck with me, particularly because of how it pertains to a certain character and the performer behind it all.
Before I go any further, though, I must warn readers that I’m about to dive into SPOILER TERRITORY, so if you haven’t seen A Quiet Place yet, I’d recommend coming back to this article just as soon as you catch up (and trust me, it’s a movie experience that is well worth your time).
One of the most impressive directorial debuts I’ve seen so far in 2018 is Ryan Prows’ Lowlife, the viciously entertaining comedic caper that follows a variety of eclectic characters over the course of one day in Los Angeles, including a famed luchador with a temper (Ricardo Adam Zarate), his pregnant wife (Santana Dempsey), a motel owner (Nicki Micheaux) desperate to save her ailing husband, ana a pair of friends (Jon Oswald and Shaye Ogbonna) who see their friendship tested in unusual ways, with mob boss Teddy “Bear” Haynes (Mark Burnham) squarely at the center of it all.
As a huge fan of Resolution (it’s a film this writer cannot recommend enough when it comes to low-budget/high-ambition indie horror), I was more than pleased when I discovered that co-writers and co-directors Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead's latest collaboration, The Endless, revisited that universe. The film stars Moorhead and Benson as brothers who managed to escape a UFO death cult as children, but who decide to return in search for answers as they struggle to keep their lives afloat. And what they encounter is something neither of their characters could ever anticipate: a force that will have them questioning everything about themselves and what they had believed to be true about the past.
With a pulpy, non-linear approach to his narrative, co-writer/director Ryan Prows weaves a felonious web with Lowlife, his pitch-black crime comedy that brings together an eclectic crop of characters for an unexpected ride through the sun-drenched streets of Los Angeles through the course of one day. While the film may garner a few Quentin Tarantino comparisons, rest assured that Lowlife confidently marches to the beat of its own unique drum, making this debut feature from Prows one of the most surprising films I’ve seen so far this year.