Thursday, June 30, 2016

Music Review: Black Stone Cherry - Kentucky




Black Stone Cherry is from the south and by golly, they want you to know it.  At least that is the feeling I've gotten from their last couple albums.  I've been a fan of BSC ever since their debut album came out in 2006.  When it comes to BSC, you know exactly what you are going to get with each album and that is hard southern rock.  That isn't meant to be an insult to them because they do it well and it's kept me buying all their albums - it is just their style.

Kentucky is their fifth album and it feels like an extension of what they have always done.  There isn't much new here.  The album has some strong songs like The Way of the Future, Shakin' My Cage and the soulful Soul Machine, but the problem with the album is most of it is pretty average.  Some of the songs have good riffs, but so-so melodies and other songs have so-so riffs and good melodies.  Overall, the songs feel like they should be a lot better than what they actually are.  I'm not saying these songs are bad, it is just that they could have been so much more.  This album also contains a cover of the Edwin Starr classic War and it is horrible.  On a side note, various editions offer up to five different bonus songs and I have not heard those at all.  This is review is for the standard release of the album only.  If you know this band and dig what they've done in the past, you should still get the album, just understand it is probably their weakest album so far in their career.




GRADE:  B-



Music Review: The Heavy - Hurt & The Merciless




One of my favorite bands I've gotten into in the last 10 years or so is England's The Heavy.  The Heavy got on my radar with their song How You Like Me Now when it was used in a Kia car commercial.  I loved the song so much I had to find out who did it and after I did, I bought their album and I have been hooked ever since.  What I love about this band is their throwback style which mixes rock, funk and soul. 

This past April The Heavy put out their fourth album Hurt & the Merciless and it may be my favorite album they have ever done.  Each album is great, but this one has so much groove to it, it can make even a white boy like me want to dance.  The album explodes with Since You Been Gone which features killer drums and horns.  Songs like What Happened to the Love,  The Apology and Turn Up continue that great mix of rock, funk and soul that makes this band so unique in today's music climate.  I can honestly say that this album has no filler as far as I'm concerned.  I even like the more mellow tunes like Nobody's Hero and Goodbye Baby.

I've said this before and I'll say it again, I just don't understand why this band isn't bigger than they are.  They have all the elements a band needs to achieve huge success and they should be on everyone's radar.




GRADE:  A

Monday, June 27, 2016

Summer Movies - Breakdown & Predictions Part Two



Here is my long awaited Summer Movies Breakdown & Predictions Part Two.  The movie industry has been waiting on pins and needles for this (yeah right).  If you missed Part One (shame on you) you can read it here.  Part One broke down the summer movies of May and June, so Part Two will be breaking down the movies of July and August.  Like with Part One, these are domestic predictions only.


The BFG (7.1.16)


Here is one of the more interesting movies of the summer when it comes to the box-office.  What it has going for it is Steven Spielberg directing, being based on a classic children’s novel and Disney Studios putting it out.  What it has going against it is that it doesn’t have any big stars starring in it and are young people really fans of this book?  I don’t think so.  Still, it can’t be ignored that Disney has enough faith in the movie to put it out Fourth of July weekend.  The other big movie coming out that holiday weekend is The Legend of Tarzan, but that movie looks pretty damn stupid.  I’m predicting that The BFG will win the weekend and surprise the industry by becoming a huge hit.  Most projections have this movie between 100-120 million, but this is my pick for the sleeper hit of the summer.

Prediction:  200-220 million


The Legend of Tarzan (7.1.16)


If anybody is pissed about the success of April’s The Jungle Book it has got to be the people behind this Tarzan movie.  These movies are similar in several ways and The Jungle Book set the bar really high.  The movie has a chance for a decent opening due to the Fourth of July weekend, but I’m thinking Tarzan wishes he just stayed in the jungle.

Prediction:  55-75 million


The Purge:  Election Year (7.1.16)


The first Purge movie pulled in 64 million in 2013 and the second Purge movie pulled in 71 million in 2014.  With Election Year opening the Fourth of July weekend, I expect this one to improve slightly on the previous two.  I think the election year tie in is also a great promotional tool.

Prediction:  70-80 million


The Secret Life of Pets (7.8.16)


The trailer for this movie has been playing in front of kids movies for at least a year and the response has been really good.  The fact that the makers of the Despicable Me and Minion movies are behind this one, will only benefit it more.  The movie comes out in the third week of Finding Dory and one week after The BFG, so it won’t have its audience to itself, but it is summer time and families go to a ton of movies in the summer.  I don’t think it will be Minion or Despicable Me 2 big, but I think it will be Despicable Me big.

Prediction:  240-260 million


Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates (7.8.16)


You can’t have a summer movie season without the vulgar R rated comedy and here it is.  The trailer looks like it has a few laughs, but this isn’t going to a hit like last year’s Trainwreck was.  Also, it is too soon to see Zac Efron on the big screen again.  I mean, Neighbors 2 came out in June for goodness sakes.  There should be a six month buffer zone rule for Efron movies to be released.

Prediction:  30-50 million


Ghostbusters (2016) (7.15.16)


Let’s be honest, this Ghostbusters update looks horrible, but it has a strong cast of female comedy stars led by Melissa McCarthy.  McCarthy can open a movie to 20-30 million on her own, so this will open better than that, but I expect horrible reviews and word-of-mouth to follow.  I can’t imagine anyone actually looking forward to this.

Prediction:  130-150 million


Ice Age: Collision Course (7.22.16)


Believe it or not, Collision Course is the fifth Ice Age movie.  So let’s breakdown how each movie has done.  Ice Age: 176 million, Ice Age 2: 195 million, Ice Age 3: 196 million and Ice Age 4: 161 million.  I think the love of this film series is at an all-time low and in a summer that will have animated hits like The Angry Birds, Finding Dory and The Secret Lives of Pets; this will be the lowest grossing of the series.

Prediction:  100-120 million


Star Trek Beyond (7.22.16)


Before JJ Abrams brought Star Wars back to theaters, he brought Star Trek back to theaters.  In 2009, Star Trek pulled in 257 million and Star Trek into Darkness pulled in 228 million in 2013.  Beyond is the third film in the series and the first that won’t have JJ Abrams directing.  I think the movie is coming out at a perfect time as it will have been a month since Independence Day 2 came out and that means its audience will be ready for some sci-fi action.

Prediction:  210-230 million


Lights Out (7.22.16)


From the trailer, it appears that Lights Out will be another PG-13 horror movie.  Not the type of horror movie I look forward to, but teens seem to always show up.  It is produced by James Wan (The Conjuring and Insidious movies), so maybe it will be better than it looks.

Prediction:  25-40 million


Jason Bourne (7.29.16)


The original Bourne trilogy was a series that got more popular as it went along.  The Bourne Identity pulled in 121 million, The Bourne Supremacy pulled in 176 million and The Bourne Ultimatum pulled in 227 million.  The reason for this trend is the Bourne trilogy was awesome.  It has been nine years since Matt Damon was Jason Bourne, so you have to wonder what effect that will have.  Also, Suicide Squad opens the following week and that is going to be huge.  I think Bourne pulls in good numbers, but not as good as they would have been if the movie was released in 2010 like it should have been.

Prediction:  200-220 million


Bad Moms (7.29.16)


Here is your female driven comedy that comes out every summer to pull in some decent money.  I am thinking Bad Moms will end its domestic run somewhere between 2014’s Tammy (84 million) and 2015’s Trainwreck (110 million).

Prediction:  80-100 million


Suicide Squad (8.5.16)


It seems like we get a superhero movie at least once a month and DC supplies it for August with Suicide Squad.  The hype for this movie is strong and it is easily the most anticipated film in the month of August.  The other big movies of August are Pete’s Dragon and Ben-Hur and those movies won’t hurt Suicide Squad at all.  I’m thinking a 100 million opening and a 300+ million end gross is in order.  Of course, if people hate it the way they hated Batman v Superman, that will change things.  I don’t see that happening though.

Prediction:  300-320 million


The Founder (8.5.16)


I am so happy that Michael Keaton is back to being a big star again.  He is such a great actor.  The Founder is one of those based on a true story movies that come out in August that always find an audience.  It is the movie for the movie goer who has no interest in movies like Suicide Squad, Pete’s Dragon and Ben-Hur remakes.

Prediction:  40-60 million


Nine Lives (8.5.16)


Kevin Spacey plays a man trapped in the body of a cat.  You read that right.  The movie also stars Christopher Walken and Jennifer Garner and is directed by Barry Sonnefeld (Men in Black trilogy).  The trailer looks pretty silly, but with the people involved, I can’t help but think it could be a funny movie for the family audience.

Prediction:  30-50 million


Sausage Party (8.12.16)


Did you see that trailer?  This is an animated movie for adults and it looks pretty funny.  The two most successful animated movies geared to a more mature audience have been South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut which pulled in 52 million and Beavis and Butthead Do America which pulled in 63 million.  Of course, those movies were based on very popular TV shows, so I don’t think Sausage Party will sell as many tickets as those movies did, but it will probably end its run around those numbers.

Prediction:  45-65 million


Florence Foster Jenkins (8.12.16)


Meryl Streep in an uplifting period piece in which she sings.  It may not have a big opening, but I think its word-of-mouth regarding her performance is all it will need.  I bet she gets nominated for this one too.

Prediction:  50-70 million


Pete’s Dragon (2016) (8.12.16)


The Disney remake machine is back.  They have been incredibly success with their remakes of Cinderella and The Jungle Book, so they hope to pull it off with Pete’s Dragon.  The main problem they will have is the fact that the original Pete’s Dragon is not even remotely as loved or remembered as those other two movies were.  And for those of us who enjoyed and remember the original Pete’s Dragon, this movie doesn’t look very good at all.

Prediction:  95-115 million


Ben-Hur (2016) (8.19.16)


The original Ben-Hur is an epic classic that won 11 Academy Awards and is considered one of the best films ever made.  Remaking it is simply a tragedy.

Prediction:  60-80 million


Kubo and the Two Strings (8.19.16)


Kubo may be the coolest looking animated film of the summer, but it won’t compete with the big boys.  I also think that in a summer filled with animated blockbusters, by the time Kubo comes out, the audience will be a bit burnt out.  I’m going with Corpse Bride type of numbers on this one.

Prediction:  45-65 million


War Dogs (8.19.16)


Late summer R-rated comedy from the director of The Hangover Trilogy and starring Jonah Hill.  I don’t see much of an audience for this one, but the trailer looks pretty funny.

Prediction: 25-40 million


Blood Father (8.26.16)


Latest Mel Gibson movie that I am guessing won’t get that wide of a release.  I don’t care what anyone says, Mel Gibson is still awesome and I like watching him kick ass in movies, so I’m including it here.

Prediction: N/A


Don’t Breathe (8.26.16)


This is a horror movie that looks pretty damn good, but it is hard to predict what it will do.  A check of how horror movies have done in August the last few years would lead me to believe a 30 million max will occur, but this movie has a premise that I think will lead to more people checking it out.

Prediction:  40-60 million


Hands of Stone (8.26.16)


The very end of the summer brings the start of the movies that are hoping to make noise for the award season and Hands of Stone looks like this type of movie.  I’m looking forward to this one because it is about boxing legend Roberto Duran and it looks like we will get a good performance from Robert DeNiro.  My guess is the movie may be a smaller release, but it looks cool, so I’m putting it here.

Prediction:  20-40 million


Mechanic: Resurrection (8.26.16)


Jason Statham is back to kick ass and Jessica Alba will be there to provide the eye candy.  This is a sequel to The Mechanic which came out in 2011.  The first film only pulled in 29 million, so it is strange that they are doing a second one.  I think what they are counting on is that Statham is coming off of two of his biggest hits Furious 7 and Spy.  My guess is that the studio figures that will equal better returns. 

Prediction:  30-50 million 

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Movie Review: The Shallows




The Shallows is a movie that I totally missed when I did my Summer Movies Breakdown & Predictions Part One post.  Originally, I thought it would be one of the movies that comes and goes that nobody pays too much attention to, so I left it out of my post.  As we got closer to the movies release, I realized I made a mistake because the trailer and commercials looked like it could be an enjoyable thriller.  When the reviews started coming out last week and they were good, I figured this would be a movie worth checking out.  I mean, even if I didn't like the movie, I still will have gotten to watch Blake Lively in a bikini for an hour and half, so at least there's that. lol

With or without Lively in a bikini, this is a fun film.  The story is simple, a young woman goes to a secluded beach to go surfing, a large shark attacks her and she has to find safety on a large rock.  Now, she must figure out a way to get back to shore before the tide changes and that rock gets covered by water.  Also adding to her dire situation is that she was injured by the shark and is losing blood.

What I really enjoyed about The Shallows is that Lively's character is intelligent, strong and she doesn't make stupid decisions.  Usually in thrillers and horror movies, female characters lack the smarts and toughness to survive and are there just to be eye candy.  That is not the case in this movie.  Lively's character is calm, savvy and she makes decisions that seemed very close to what any person would make in the same situation.  While there are some supporting characters in the movie, this movie relies on Lively's performance and she gives a very strong one.  My only complaint with The Shallows is that the shark seems a little too smart for a shark, but other than that, I have no complaints.

The films location is gorgeous, the thrills are fun and the score is very good.  Put all that together with Lively's performance and The Shallows is worth watching.

GRADE:  B+

Friday, June 24, 2016

Boxing: Thurman vs. Porter



Occasionally, I like to write about things other than music and movies.  From time to time you can expect me to write about sports, Donald Trump being a piece of shit and people who vote for Trump being racists, bigots and sexist.  This Saturday night, there is a killer fight that is going to be shown on CBS that is a much watch.  The main event features two Welterweight fighters that are both in their prime going at it.  Keith "One Time" Thurman and "Showtime" Shawn Porter are both young, extremely talented and both see themselves as being the next superstar of the sport.  It is rare to get to see young boxers at this level fighting each other on free TV, so I highly recommend you taking advantage of that.

Thurman is 26-0 with 22 KO's and Porter is 26-1 with 16 KO's.  Both of these guys are not only good boxers, but they both are not afraid to go to war and battle it out.  This should be a very good match.  I favor Thurman to win the fight by decision or possibly a late TKO, but it will be competitive no matter what the ending is.

New Movies Friday: 6.24.16


Quick Note:  It has been a busy week for me, being the end of the work quarter and all, so I didn't do much updating.  I do plan to have some good updates coming next week including My Summer Movie Breakdowns & Predictions Part II.  This will cover the months of July and August.  I'm thinking Monday for that post.

Last weekend Finding Dory shattered all animated records and made a ton of money all week long.  At its current pace, Dory could end its domestic run at 500 million, which would easily make it the biggest film of the summer.  Fellow Pixar movie Toy Story 3 also had a huge opening weekend when it came out and it fell 46% its second weekend, so that is what I'm predicting for Dory.  That would put Dory at around 73 million this weekend, which will easily make it the box office champ again.

I can still remember the summer of 1996 like it was just a few years ago.  Everyone was doing the Macarena (though nobody knew why) , grunge music was starting to die out and Independence Day was the film everyone wanted to see.  I remember standing in line (in the hot sun) waiting to get in the theater to see this movie.  The movie ruled the summer, made Will Smith a superstar and demonstrated that Jeff Goldblum is a national treasure.  The movie opened to 50 million and ended its run with 306 million.  Adjusted for inflation, that is a 97 million opening and a 594 million domestic total.  That is how big this movie was.  I would have loved a sequel to this flick 15-18 years ago, but don't really care too much about it now.  In the late 90's a second ID4 would have broke records, today, it will pull in modest numbers compared to today's blockbusters.  A check over at Rotten Tomatoes shows the movie is getting poor reviews with a 37% fresh rating.  While that won't matter with the die hard ID4 fans, the casual fan may be put off by it.  I expect Independence Day: Resurgence to pull in 50-55 million its opening weekend, which is around what the original did in 1996; equaling roughly a 50% drop in number of tickets sold.

Coming into this summer I thought Free State of Jones was going to be one of those Academy Award level films that gets released in the summer.  They have them every year and I figured that is what this one would be.  The full trailer just had that look and feel to it.  Imagine my surprise when the reviews started coming out and they were really bad.  The movie is pulling in a poor 40% fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes and that will only hurt a movie like this.  Look for Jones to only pull in 8-10 million this weekend.

If you would have told me a few weeks ago that the best reviewed new movie of this weekend was going to be The Shallows, I would have laughed at you, farted in your face and stolen your wallet.  I think we are both glad you never had the chance to tell me that.  A check over at Rotten Tomatoes shows the movie is getting a solid 74% fresh rating and these good reviews aren't just because Blake Lively is in a bikini the entire film.  These good reviews are stating this movie is actually suspenseful and thrilling.  Who would have guessed that?  I expect The Shallows to pull in around 15 million this weekend, which would be a good start for a low budget movie like this.



Friday, June 17, 2016

RIP Attrell Cordes aka Prince Be of PM Dawn




I was very sad today to hear of the passing of Prince Be of PM Dawn.  If you have paid any attention at all to this blog, you know that my taste in music pretty much revolves around rock music.  I really don't like hip-hop and rap, but every once in a great while, I connect to something in that genre of music.  One of those artists is PM Dawn.

What I always like about PM Dawn is that they were not afraid to march to their own drum.  At a time in the early 90's when most hip-hop and rap artists were only sampling music from Motown and funk artists, PM Dawn didn't.  PM Dawn sampled everything from The Beatles to Deep Purple to George Michael to 80's new wave to Prince.  On top of that, they were talented enough to write their own music without sampling anything at all.  Another rule they broke was they were rap artists who could sing, so they did.  Prince Be had a good voice and he would sing entire songs without rapping at all.  Nowadays, a lot of these things are commonplace, but back then they weren't.  In fact, many of the top hip-hop/rap artists were mad with PM Dawn at the time and outcast them because of that.  It is funny to see that time has proven that PM Dawn were right and were way ahead of their time.

Prince Be has battled with diabetes for years and the pain from this disease has prevented PM Dawn from doing much over the years and today, complications from that disease led to his life ending at only 46 years old.

RIP Prince Be of the Nocturnal.

Here are some of my favorites from PM Dawn:




















New Movies Friday: 6-17-16



Last weekend I nailed my predictions which was a nice change from the previous few weeks.   The Conjuring 2 won last weekend as it debuted with 40 million.  With the word-of-mouth it is receiving, a drop just just under 50% should occur (which is a great hold for a horror movie).  Weekend number two should come in around 21-22 million.

The big new movie opening this weekend is Finding Dory which is the long awaited sequel to the 2003 hit, Finding Nemo.  In 2003 Nemo opened to 70 million and ended up grossing 340 million in its original domestic run.  Adjusted for inflation, Finding Nemo numbers are a 100 million opening and it would have ended its original run 483 million.  Those are huge numbers.  With the hype, it is very possible that Dory could break animated opening weekend records this weekend.

Here are the Top 5 animated openings:

05. Inside Out - 90 million
04. Shrek 2 - 108 million
03. Toy Story 3 - 110 million
02. Minions - 115 million
01. Shrek the Third - 121 million

Finding Dory passing 100 million this weekend is a lock, the question is, how high will it go?  I've seen projections from as low as 104 million and as high as high as 131 million.  A check over at Rotten Tomatoes shows the movie has 95% fresh rating, so audiences are going to love it.  I think the Dory will open somewhere between 115-120 million.


The other major release opening this weekend is Central Intelligence which stars Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart.  Both of these guys are strong box-office draws and together they should make for a hit movie.  These are two guys who have opened movies on their own to the 30-45 million range and it only makes sense that CI will do the same.  Working against the movie is the buzz for it has been pretty average and reviews over at Rotten Tomatoes are a so-so 61% fresh.  I think an opening around 35 million will occur.




Thursday, June 16, 2016

Music Review: The Temperance Movement - White Bear




Last year I came across The Temperance Movement when their debut album was released in the United States.  The self titled album was released in Britain in 2013, but it didn't find its way Stateside until 2015.  I can't remember how I heard about the band, but i ended up getting it and it is a damn good album.  Their sophomore album, White Bear, came out earlier this year and it is just as good as the first one.

What I liked about The Temperance Movement immediately is that they reminded me of bands from the 70's British blues rock scene which included bands like Free, Bad Company and The Faces.  There is a grit and attitude to their songs that works really well with this style.  The album features strong hooks and lead vocalist Phil Campell has the perfect soulful voice for this style of music.  Highlights of the album include rock jams like Modern Massacre, Battle Lines and Three Bulleits.  These songs rock hard, but have hints of a blues rock groove that works really well.  The album also contains the song Get Yourself Free which has 'hit song' written all over it.  I really think that is the song the band should do a video for and send out to rock to radio stations because it will capture the ear of any rock music fan.  They also have strong mellow songs as well as evident with the title track below.  The band has already opened for The Rolling Stones and Blackberry Smoke; so you know positive word-of-mouth is getting around about them.  You can download this new album for only $7.99 at Amazon, so what are you waiting for?



GRADE:  B+



Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Music Review: Stonerider - Hologram



I discovered Stonerider back when they released their debut album in 2008 which impressed me with their 70's style rock which was reminiscent of classic AerosmithNazareth and bands like that.  I'm not sure how I originally discovered them, but they fit right into the style of rock I always have enjoyed.  To be honest, after that, I sort of lost track of the band.  It wasn't until a couple months ago that I read they were coming out with a new album that I was reminded of their debut album.  I then discovered they released their sophmore album in 2012 and their 2016 release was their third album.  I went ahead and got the second and third albums and I've been listening to them pretty much on a weekly basis since then.  This is especially true with the new album Hologram, which is just excellent.

While the debut album reminded me of classic Aerosmith, with this new album they went in a different 70's style direction.  If classic Deep Purple and classic Pink Floyd had a baby, Hologram would be that baby.  The album has a sophistication to it that their other albums didn't have.  The music and the arrangements are more developed, the lyrics are smarter and there are some great melodies on this disc.  The best example of this is the epic 11 minute song Your Chains which just blows me away.  That song, like so many on this album, have so many elements to them it is truly an experience to listen to it.  Now, before you start thinking this is some pretentious prog rock album, the album also features three minutes songs like Dayrunner which sounds like it is should already be played on classic rock stations.  There is no doubt this will be one of my Top 10 albums of the year.

You can get this album digitally on Amazon, iTunes, etc. and you can get it on CD or on vinyl from the band's website.






GRADE:  A

Friday, June 10, 2016

New Movies Friday: 6-10-16




This weekend there are three major releases hitting theaters which includes two sequels and one movie based on a video game.  After the last two weeks saw new movies open below most projections, I think this weekend we should see the movies open as expected.

In 2013 The Conjuring shocked the industry by opening to 41 million and ending its domestic run at 137 million.  For a horror movie, these are great numbers.  This weekend The Conjuring 2 is expected to win the weekend and should open just below its predecessor.  A check over at Rotten Tomatoes shows the movie is get very strong reviews (especially for a horror movie) with a 75% fresh rating.  I saw the movie last night, enjoyed it and reviewed it here.  An opening somewhere between 35-40 million should occur which will be enough to win the weekend.

Also shocking the industry in 2013 was Now You See Me which opened to 29 million and ended its domestic run at 117 million.  Unlike The Conjuring 2, I don't believe Now You See Me 2 is a sequel anybody was asking for.  I think the movie will follow the pattern of The Huntsman and Alice 2 by not living up to the original in anyway.  A check over at Rotten Tomatoes shows the movie is getting a poor 38% fresh rating, so that will hurt the box-office potential as well.  An opening in the 20-22 million range is what I expect.

The hardest new movie of the weekend to predict is also the worst reviewed.  Warcraft is pulling in a poor 26% fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes, but for fans of the game, they won't care.  A movie adaption of Warcraft is a long time coming and the fans will see it despite the bad reviews.  The question is, will people who don't know the game see the movie?  With bad reviews and a poor trailer/commercials, I don't think so.  The other question is, how big is this fan base?  The game is popular, but it is not as popular as it once was.  I've seen projections all over the place for Warcraft, but I'm going with 24-26 million.  By the way, this movie is shattering records in China and has made more money in two days there than it will make in entire run here in the US. - so there will be a Warcraft 2.

Movie Review: The Conjuring 2





The original The Conjuring came out in 2013 and it was not only a surprise hit at the box-office, but it was also a critical hit.  Being the main characters of the film are Ed and Lorraine Warren, who had many paranormal investigations, it only makes sense to tell more of their stories.  The first Conjuring is one of my favorite horror films in recent years; so its sequel has a lot to live up to for me.

Being I am such a fan of the movie, I decided to go to a double feature Thursday night that showed The Conjuring and then The Conjuring 2.  It was over four hours of paranormal evil bliss and it was great to get a refresher on the original before seeing the new one.  I highly recommend watching the first film again before going to the theater to see this one.

The Conjuring 2 tells the story of a paranormal investigation the Warrens did in England in 1977 that is known as the Enfield Poltergeist.  The story is exactly what you expect it to be: a family is being tormented by a spirit and the Warrens do what they can to save the family.  There are a couple different twists to the story, but those shouldn't be given away in a review.

So, how is the movie?  It is a very good follow-up to the original.  Like with the original film, the acting is great.  This is an important key to a movie like this and they nailed it with the casting.  I especially liked the acting performance by Madison Wolfe who plays the young girl who is being tormented by the spirit.  She does an awesome job.  As for the plots mystery, which is of the highest importance to a ghost story, it is also satisfying.  Director James Wan does a job keeping things unpredictable and like I wrote earlier, it makes for a nice twist to the usual ghost story.  As for the scares and special effects, the movie looks great and has some nice scary moments.  Fans of the original are going to get what they want with this one.  While the movie is not as good as the original, it is a solid sequel and I'd love to see a third Warren based movie.


GRADE:  B+