Movie Review – Ghostbusters II

Ghostbusters II (1989)
Written by Harold Ramis and Dan Akroyd
Directed by Ivan Reitman

Ghostbusters was always meant to be a standalone movie, but financial success in the 1980s meant you had to make a sequel, which remains true today. But something weird happened where a new chairman of Columbia Pictures took control in 1986. David Putnam liked smaller movies that garnered critical acclaim, even greenlighting a handful of foreign directors’ transitions into American films. So as big as the hype around Ghostbusters even years out from its release, everything seemed to point to the franchise being dead. The main actors were also obstacles as many of them were booked up or simply weren’t keen on revisiting the world of Ghostbusters. Putnam was eventually removed as chair in 1987 after making some incendiary comments about Bill Murray and others. Dawn Steel was put in charge, and after numerous box office failures for the studio, she saw Ghostbusters II as a way to redeem Columbia financially.

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Movie Review – Ghostbusters (1984)

Ghostbusters (1984)
Written by Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, and Rick Moranis
Directed by Ivan Reitman

Ghostbusters is a film that has firmly placed itself in the memory of many an older Millennial. For myself, I can remember my family renting a VCR (that was a thing at one point) and this movie for the weekend when I must have been four years old. I vividly remember sitting in that living room and being scared by the opening library scene. I think that’s one of the things that’s key to why Ghostbusters stuck with so many people. It was as much a comedy as it was a horror movie. That balance of genres helps soften the more frightening moments, but it’s still very much a creepy, scary film. This is something every sequel fails to understand and explains why they’ve done so poorly.

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Comic Book Review – The Eternals: Cosmic Origins

The Eternals: Cosmic Origins (2021)
Reprints material from Eternals v1 #1-4, Avengers Spotlight #35, Avengers #361, and What If? #25-38
Written by Jack Kirby, Mark Gruenwald, Ralph Macchio, Danny Fingeroth, and Bob Harras
Art by Jack Kirby, Ron Wilson, Rich Buckler, Jim Valentino, and Steve Epting

This is probably not the best place for a newbie to start with The Eternals. The collection is an odd mishmash of pieces that often end with a directive to go to another collection where the story continues. Here you get a sampling of the ways Jack Kirby’s Eternals have been presented from their debut in the 1970s to the mid-90s when Marvel had sort of gone off the rails. The Neil Gaiman/John Romita Jr. Eternals mini-series was not included here, which would probably be the best place for one unfamiliar with this branch of the Marvel family to go to first. All that said, The Eternals is an interesting property in the Marvel Universe as it is one of the most purely Kirby things ever dreamed up and has a parallel in DC Comics during Kirby’s exile there.

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Movie Review – Dune (1984)

Dune (1984)
Written & Directed by David Lynch

In the early 1980s, David Lynch was a hot commodity. His cult film Eraserhead had gotten the attention of producers in Hollywood. This led to a life-changing opportunity with Mel Brooks to make The Elephant Man. The critical acclaim from that movie made sure to cement Lynch’s name, and he was afforded more significant offers. In the early 1970s, there had already been efforts to make a Dune adaptation, directed by Alejandro Jodorwosky. That famously fell through, but a lot of pre-production work was done that would find its way to this 1984 release. Lynch was chosen to helm what producers thought could be the next Star Wars. George Lucas had just wrapped his monumentally successful film series with 1983’s Return of the Jedi. Dune was all set to take the mantle. And then audiences saw the movie…

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Movie Review – Halloween V: The Revenge of Michael Myers

Halloween V: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)
Written by Michael Jacobs, Dominique Othenin-Girard, and Shem Bitterman
Directed by Dominique Othenin-Girard

So after leaving audiences hanging with a pretty great cliffhanger in Halloween IV, the producers decided to retcon it immediately and handwave it away as a dream. I wish I could say I was joking. Jamie Lloyd kills her foster mother in the final scene of Halloween IV, wearing a clown costume similar to her uncle’s. It was a daring, shocking frame to close the movie on, hinting at the hereditary nature of the evil within Michael. But then this movie opens by showing where Michael ended up after being riddled with bullets and proceeds to show that the whole foster mommy stabbing was a bad dream Jamie had. It was a clear sign we were bullshit territory.

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Movie Review – Halloween IV: The Return of Michael Myers

Halloween IV: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)
Written by Alan B. McElroy
Directed by Dwight H. Little

After the box office failure of Halloween III, likely because audiences weren’t keen on the anthology angle, the producers decided to pivot back to Michael Myers. The franchise would be centered around him, causing the slasher to join the ranks of the constantly returning killers like Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhies. John Carpenter was pulled back in along with Debra Hill, but they wrote with horror author Dennis Etchison this time. Whatever was in that script was rejected as “too cerebral,” and the desire to just have a meat & potatoes slasher movie was reiterated. Finally, Carpenter & Hill were done with the series and sold away all their rights. They didn’t see anywhere else you could go with Myers other than a cheap by-the-numbers slasher. And that’s basically what the franchise became.

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Movie Review – Halloween III: Season of the Witch

Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)
Written & Directed by Tommy Lee Wallace

After 1982, John Carpenter and Debra Hill honestly had zero interest in making more movies about Michael Meyers. The producers, however, saw there was still money to get out of the Halloween brand. The compromise was that Halloween III not be a direct sequel to the preceding two films; this meant zero Michael. Instead, they proposed that Halloween movies could become an annual horror anthology. Each film would be set on the holiday but feature original characters in a plot divorced from previous entries. To start this off, writer Nigel Keane penned a script but was so displeased with changes that he asked for his name to be removed. Director Tommy Lee Wallace did a rewrite; therefore, he receives the story credit.

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Movie Review – Halloween II (1981)

Halloween II (1981)
Written by John Carpenter and Debra Hill
Directed by Rick Rosenthal

Little did John Carpenter and Debra Hill know that their low-budget indie slasher flick would spawn so many sequels and reboots, creating a veritable multiverse of Michael Meyers. Timelines branch hither and thither so that the casual viewer will immediately be confused by which reality the story takes place in. Is this the Thorns Trilogy, or is it the Rob Zombie reboot, or is it the one where they bring back Jamie Lee Curtis or the other one where they bring back Jamie Lee Curtis? This October, we will be watching every single Halloween movie post the original 1978 feature. Will we be making sense of it? Hell no. But it should be an interesting journey through one of the most confounding horror franchises of our time.

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Comic Book Review – Superman: Man of Steel Volume 3 (2021)

Superman: The Man of Steel Volume 3 (2021)
Reprints Superman v2 #12-15, Superman v2 Annual #1, Action Comics #594-597, Action Comics Annual #1, Adventures of Superman #436-438, Adventures of Superman Annual #1, Booster Gold #23, and Superman: The Earth Stealers
Written by John Byrne, Jerry Ordway, Ron Frenz, Dan Jurgens, and Jim Starlin
Art by John Byrne, Jerry Ordway, Arthur Adams, Ron Frenz, Dan Jurgens, and Curt Swan

The post-Crisis Superman is such an interesting bridge between the Silver Age Superman and the contemporary image of the character now. The writers and artists on this reboot period were tasked with reimagining the very stories they grew up with and revered. So it’s to be expected that some elements harken back to those classic tales while other aspects of Superman’s mythos are injected with new life. This collection opens with a trio of one-shot annuals and concludes with an original graphic novel drawn by the legendary Curt Swan. The result is the feel of a reboot wherein the creative forces weren’t exactly sure how willing they were to drift away from the original.

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Comic Book Review – Crisis on Infinite Earths Part 9 (of 9)

Crisis on Infinite Earths Part 9 (of 9)
Reviewing stories found in Crisis on Infinite Earths #12, Green Lantern #198, Infinity Inc #25, All-Star Squadron #57-60, and DC Comic Presents #94
Written by Marv Wolfman, Steve Englehart, Roy Thomas, Dann Thomas, Robert Greenberger, and Barbara Kesel
Art by George Perez, Joe Staton, Todd McFarlane, Mike Clark, Rick Hoberg, Arvell Jones, Richard Howell, and Tom Mandrake

Throughout Crisis issue 11 and continuing into #12, there is a subplot where the Forgotten Heroes stumble across Brainiac’s ship. The Forgotten Heroes were a group of C-tier characters put together in the pages of Action Comics and DC Comics Presents. Their roster consisted of Animal Man, Atomic Knight, Dolphin, and more. When Brainiac wakes, it’s another sign of the effects of the Crisis, with the robot having no memory of the pre-Crisis timeline. However, he does detect that Earth is in the Antimatter Universe and rushes off to Apokalips to seek aid from Darkseid.

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