Good Luck

May 28th, 2023

black adam spotlight pageCourtesy photoELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times


This past weekend saw some extra excitement for me as my brother came to visit me Saturday, and after hanging out for most of the day, we decided to take in a movie that night. Since my brother was the guest, he got to pick the movie and he decided on seeing “Black Adam.” The only exposure I’d had to the character before actually seeing the movie was when I saw the trailer before another movie I had gone to, so I went in rather blind. And for the most part, I was pretty glad I did. 

The movie is your typical superhero story and follows the titular hero (played by Dwayne Johnson) as he is released from his prison nearly 5,000 years after last using his powers for vengeance against his enemies. Now free, his unique form of justice, born out of rage, is challenged by the Justice Society: Hawkman (Aldis Hodge), Dr. Fate (Pierce Brosnan), Atom Smasher (Noah Centineo) and Cyclone (Quintessa Swindell). 

The movie as a whole is a visual feast, and the visual effects are very pleasing to the eye for the movie’s entire runtime. There’s so much color and energy and life seen in all the heroes’ different powers, and it all helps keep viewers interested in what’s going on onscreen, if a bit too frenetic at times. My favorite effects were with Cyclone’s powers, and it truly looked and felt like an absolute whirlwind of color and power whenever she used her powers. It felt like there was more time given to the artists in charge of the visual effects, and they used that time to really get everything right, so my hat’s off to them. Like with my recent “Werewolf By Night” review, I must add a word of caution to those with photosensitivity issues, because there are multiple scenes with heavily flashing lights, so I would advise taking some precautions with that aspect. 

smile spotlight onlineSosie Bacon, left, and Kyle Gallner in a scene from “Smile.” Courtesy photoELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times


As October continues, so too does my search for spooky media in order to get myself ready for Halloween. My most recent foray into this frightening expedition took me to the movie theater this past weekend when I decided to see “Smile.” The only real exposure I’d had to the movie beforehand was one or two ads for it I’d seen on YouTube, so I was going into it rather blind. 

The movie follows Dr. Rose Cotter (Sosie Bacon), who, after witnessing a bizarre and horrifying incident involving a patient, starts experiencing rather frightening and inexplicable occurrences herself. As it begins taking over her life, Rose must also eventually confront her past in order to try to survive and escape this horrifying new evil.

One aspect of the movie that deserves a big shoutout is the overall visuals, which are done really well. The effects seen throughout the movie are mostly practical (which I’ve mentioned before I am a big proponent of when it comes to horror movies) and they serve the movie in a good way. Almost every creepy thing seen throughout the movie legitimately gave me some goosebumps and I remember shuddering later on when recalling them. And while a little much at some points, I felt the more gory parts actually added some texture to the story and served a purpose, compared to a lot of horror movies where there’s gore simply for gore’s sake. Overall, massive props to the crew in charge of the visuals for the movie. 

werewolf by nightELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times


With October in full swing, I have been on the hunt for some spooky viewing to get me in the Halloween mood. This past weekend, I found something that not only fit that bill, but will probably become standard viewing in future Octobers with Marvel’s foray into the horror genre, “Werewolf By Night.”

Billed on Disney+ as a Marvel Special Presentation, “Werewolf By Night” takes place on a dark and stormy night (to quote the great author Snoopy), during which a group of monster hunters gather at the Bloodstone Temple following the death of their leader, Ulysses. To memorialize their leader's life, the attendees are thrust into a mysterious and deadly competition for the powerful Bloodstone relic, a hunt that will ultimately bring them face to face with a dangerous monster.

The overall atmosphere of the film is very foreboding and creepy, beginning with the rolling of the opening credits, and it does not let up for the show’s entire 54-minute runtime. The opening narration from Rick Wasserman immediately sets the scene, and the opening sequence artwork is done extremely creatively and well, and I remember saying out loud to myself “Oh we are in for a GREAT time, aren’t we!” In some ways, the mood of the special is almost like an episode of “The Twilight Zone,” and director Michael Giacchino did an excellent job capturing the perfect horror vibe without going too far. Giacchino definitely had a vision for how he wanted everything to look and feel, and he nailed it all.