Tag Archives: reviews

Review of the new Twilight Zone


The Twilight Zone is based on the original 1959 television series created by Rod Serling. The series premiered on April 1, 2019, on CBS All Access. Jordan Peele serves as the narrator of this incarnation. I was very excited when I first saw the list of actors they had for this series like Adam Scott, John Cho, Steven Yeun, and Greg Kinnear. So, here is my review of the ten episodes first season. Overall, I give the season:

  1. The Comedian – 4/5
  2. Nightmare at 30,000 Feet – 5/5
  3. Replay – 5/5
  4. A Traveler – 4/5
  5. The Wunderkind – 2/5
  6. Six Degrees of Freedom – 4/5
  7. Not All Men – 3/5
  8. Point of Origin –
  9. The Blue Scorpion –
  10. Blurryman –








The Mist

“You got that kid killed, and I got his f***ing blood on me!” – David Drayton


David Drayton, a commercial artist is painting in his home one night in the middle of a violent thunderstorm. He leaves to take shelter with his family in the basement only to awake the next morning to find his art studio and the painting he was working on has bee completely destroyed. While surveying the damage outside he also learns his boathouse has been crushed by a neighbors tree. As he goes to exchange insurance information with him he learns his neighbor, Brent Norton he learns a tree also fell on his property and crushed his car.

The two of them, along with David’s five-year-old son Billy head into to town to get supplies and resources while the power is down. On the way there they pass several military vehicles speeding down the highway. Once they arrive at the store a strange mist starts to engulf everything outside. A local named Dan Miller comes running, in front of the mist bleeding from the nose saying “something is in the mist.”

Jeff’s Review

Based on a 1980 novella by Stephen King, the Mist might be the most frightening film based on King’s work. It was directed and written by Frank Darabont who also adapted King’s the Shawshank Redemption and the Green Mile. Both of those movies are numbers one and two on my all time favorite movie list. So I had very high expectations about this movie beforehand.

I had never read the book so I came to the story fresh with no preconceived notions of what to expect.  Sometimes it hurts when you know the story from a book seeing the movie. I probably would have enjoyed “I am Legend” better if I did not view the movie wanting to see Richard Matheson’s vampire novel on screen.

So coming in blind, what I saw shocked and scared me. Darabont succeeds in making a very terrifying monster movie. And yet at the same time, an interesting movie about people’s natural reaction to fear.

Having seen the movie, I did go out and read the book and the film was fairly faithful to the original story, changing a few things for dramatic and storytelling purposes. One major change was the ending of the movie. It is completely different then what King penned in his novella. Darabont wasn’t sure if King would like it or not and was apprehensive about showing it to him, but to his delight King loved it. King went as far as saying:

“Frank wrote a new ending I love. It is the most shocking ending ever. There should be a law passed stating that anybody who reveals the last five minutes of this film should be hung from their neck until dead.”

I, of course, will obey Mr. King and just say after viewing the movie’s ending it literally left me speechless.  It is something you did not see coming and will make you think for a long time to come about what you would do if ever faced with a similar situation.


  • Thomas Jane as David Drayton
  • Marcia Gay Harden as Mrs. Carmody
  • Laurie Holden as Amanda Dumfries
  • Andre Braugher as Brent Norton
  • Toby Jones as Ollie Weeks
  • William Sadler as Jim Grondin
  • Jeffrey DeMunn as Dan Miller
  • Frances Sternhagen as Irene
  • Alexa Davalos as Sally
  • Nathan Gamble as Billy Drayton

The cast did a magnificent job. Thomas Jane is remarkable as a David Drayton and he almost did not get the role, as the studio did not want him at first. Luckily for us, everything got straightened out.  I was also really happy to see Jeffrey DeMunn as he is one of my favorite actors. He has been in a number of Stephen King movies, including Shawshank and Green Mile. But m favorite role of his was in King’s miniseries, “Storm of the Century.” His role here in the Mist was small, but he was brilliant every moment he was on camera.

Suggestions and Ratings

The movie is rated R for violence, terror, gore, and language. At just over two hours long this movie is a perfect movie to watch with all the lights off and a big bag of popcorn on your lap. Seriously, you are doing yourself a disservice if you watch this movie with the lights on. So turn them off and prepare yourself for a terrifying night! Four out of four stars.


Shutter was almost universally trashed by critics and moviegoers alike. The movie is nothing more than a ghost story sat in Japan. The tension builds as Ben and Jane start to realize they are being haunted and followed by a ghostly image that appears in all their photos. Shutter is decently scary, however, the script could have used a few more rewrites. We have good actors in Joshua Jackson and Rachael Taylor but the characters are so one dimensional.

The film falls apart in the final acts where the standard ghost story cliches make their appearance. I saw the ending coming halfway through the movie and I was dreading it like a child dreads taking a bath. I so wanted something to happen to divert us from what was sure to be a dreadful final 10 minutes of the movie, but nothing happened.

This movie would have worked brilliantly as an hour-long X-Files episode, but it fails as an hour and a half major motion picture. One positive note was the cinematography. It was shot on location in Japan and that definitely gave the film an authentic and beautiful look.

The movie is rated PG-13 for intense terror, disturbing images, sexual content and language. I am giving it one and a half stars because despite it’s poor screenplay, the actors were good and there are enough scary moments not to make the film a total wash. It could have been so much better.

2/4 stars



Toward the end of 2007, I started to hear the buzz about a movie called Juno, it wasn’t in a lot of theaters and in very few cities, but it sounded like a movie I would want to see. So after putting my detective shoes on, I got a copy of the movie and was amazed at the depth, warmth, and humor this movie throws your way in 96 minutes.

Juno, without a doubt, was the best movie of 2007! Everything from the acting, writing, soundtrack, the pieces of the puzzle come together and fit wonderfully! Young actress Ellen Page steals the show with her incredible acting abilities. This young woman was nominated for an Oscar for her portal of Juno, and I was shocked when she didn’t win. And with a supporting cast including of Michael Cera, Allison Janney, Jennifer Gardner and Jason Bateman you are sure to have a good time!

But the star of this film is Juno, from the moment you see her on the screen, she wins you over. At the young age of 16, she becomes pregnant and is faced with the ultimate question, of whether or not to keep the baby.  She calls a local abortion mill to make an appointment, however, when she gets there, she sees a friend from school protesting. After a small conversation, Juno heads into the mill. As she goes toward the door, her friend makes a plea to keep the baby, and yells out to Juno, that her baby has fingernails! As Juno is waiting for the abortionist, she notices the fingernails of everyone around her and finally understands she must have the baby.

Obviously realizing she can’t raise a baby, she looks in the local paper for couples wanting to adopt. She comes across a picture of what looks like the perfect couple and decides to give them a call.

The rest of the film unfolds like a beautiful piece of music. It’s often cliché for a critic to call a movie, an emotional rollercoaster, but this is the essence of one. You are guaranteed to laugh, cry, be upset and angry with all the twists and turns this movie will throw at you! Four out of four stars.

The Prince of Egypt

“You who I called brother. How could you have come to hate me so? Is this what you wanted? Then let my heart be hardened and never mind how high the cost may grow. This will still be so. I will never let your people go.” – Pharaoh Ramesses II

An ambitious account of the life of Moses and the great Exodus. The Prince of Egypt was DreamWorks first full-length animated film and while based on the biblical story, the film does take many dramatic liberties. However, it still stays true to the book of Exodus. The filmmakers actually place a disclaimer up front which points the viewers to the Bible to find out what actually happened (which impressed me).

The film starts in the middle of the persecution of the Hebrew people by the King of Egypt. He has ordered the execution of the first born male child of all the Hebrew people. The Pharaoh was afraid that if the male numbers grew, one day they the slaves would have enough men to overpower him and flee for freedom.

Jochebed, a Hebrew woman is afraid for her new baby boy. With her daughter Miriam she sets her son afloat inside a whicker basket in the Nile river in hopes for a better life – free from the slaughter that would find him if he were to stay.

Miriam follows the basket until it arrives at of all places the palace of the King and Queen of Egypt. The Queen finds the baby and names him Moses. She adopts him as her own. The film cuts to twenty years later and we see Moses and his adopted brother Rameses playing and causing trouble. They are the Prices of Egypt and are having a grand time. One night, Moses runs into his slave sister Miriam. She confronts Moses and tells him that he is her brother. He is upset and angry at such an accusation, until she starts to sing a lullaby that he remembers.

Moses runs away in search for answers. The Pharaoh, tells Moses it’s the truth, but that matters not because he a Prince of Egypt now. He says not to feel upset, they were only Hebrew children that were killed. Moses is taken back at the callousness in his father’s voice.

This eventually leads to Moses running away and fleeing Egypt into the desert. Here is here’s the voice of God in the Burning Bush telling him to return to Egypt and free the slaves and lead them to freedom. When Moses does finally return to confront the king, he realizes the new Pharaoh is his brother Rameses!

The filmmakers had daunting task ahead of them when they set out to make this film. The story is cherished by billions of people. Christians, Jews and Muslims all hold this story is sacred. It was banned in several Arab countries and caused a lot of controversy at the time of it’s release. The film was all most universally praised but it still contains several very dark themes. The murder of children for instance is confronted head on in the film.

The story of Moses and the great Exodus comes alive in this animated film. It’s very close to a musical, but I don’t think it’s actually classified as one. The music in the film is remarkable is probably my favorite soundtrack of all time. This is a powerful and uplifting story that will show you how miracles can happen if you believe. The scenes of Moses parting the Red Sea are worth the price of admission alone.


  • Val Kilmer as Moses
  • Ralph Fiennes as Ramesses II
  • Patrick Stewart as Pharaoh Seti I
  • Michelle Pfeiffer as Zipporah
  • Helen Mirrem as Queen Tuya
  • Jeff Goldblum as Aaron
  • Sandra Bullock as Miriam
  • Danny Glover as Jethro
  • Steve Martin as Hotep
  • Martin Short as Huy
  • Ofra Haza as Yocheved

The cast is incredible. You can see from the names above, this is nothing but top notch talent. Jeff Goldbulm was great as Aaron, the brother of Moses. Val Kilmer, the voice of Moses was also the voice used for God. He was extremely reverent and there is nothing sacrilegious at all about his portal. Steve Martin and Martin Short steal many scenes in the film as the two head priests for the Pharaoh.

Ratings and Suggestions

The Prince of Egypt is rated PG for intense depiction of thematic elements. I would recommend this film for the whole family. Even with the darker themes in the movie, it’s nothing graphic and should not stop you from showing your younger children the movie. I strong recommend the film however to adults who want a fresh (or new even) perspective on the story. This is one amazing film, which I happy give four out of four stars.

A Stir of Echoes by Richard Matheson

My Library, Book Reviews – 6AM Reviews

Title: A Stir of Echoes
Pages: 234
Author: Richard Matheson
Rating: 4/5 – A terrifying ghost story

One evening at a dinner party Tom Wallace is hypnotized by his wife’s brother. After which he gains some psychic abilities. He can read people’s mind and as the unfortunate experience of knowing what everyone is thinking. He is horrified at what is happening to him, but worst of all he keeps seeing something at night. He sees a spirit that won’t leave him alone. She has unfinished business in his house and needs Tom to help her find justice from the grave. You’ll never want to be hypnotized after reading this classic from the 1950’s!

Check back tomorrow morning, for another 6AM Review.

The Man in the Black Suite: 4 Dark Tales

My Library, Book Reviews – 6AM Reviews

Title: The Man in the Black Suite: 4 Dark Tales
Pages: Audiobook
Author: Stephen King
Rating: 3/5 – Good King, Not Great King

This audiobook features four stories from Stephen King’s “Everything’s Eventual.”

  1. The Man in the Black Suit, read by John Cullum. The story is one hour and seven minutes long. And is the weakest of the four tales.
  2. All That You Love Will Be Carried Away, read by Peter Gerety
  3. That Feeling, You Can Only Say What It Is in French, read by Becky Ann Baker
  4. The Death of Jack Hamilton, read by Arliss Howard

My favorite of the four stories is the final one. Jack Hamilton is a member of the infamous John Dillinger gang. We follow his life and death is told to us by his friend Homer. Stephen King said he wrote the novella after six months of researching the actual events.

Check back tomorrow morning, for another 6AM Review.

The Killing of a President

My Library, Book Reviews – 6AM Reviews

  • Title: The Killing of a President – Amazon
  • Pages: 233
  • Author: Robert Groden
  • Rating: 5/5 – Perfect

One of my high school teachers first showed me this book when we talked about the assassination in class. I ended up buying it the following week. It presents complete photographic evidence for those who believe President Kennedy was killed by more than one person.

Robert Groden makes a pretty convincing case for the multi-shooter theory. It shows frame by frame footage of the infamous Zapruder film. As well as dozens of photos from the actual autopsy which show what looks like different entry wounds on the President.

The book is strong enough to make anyone question the Warren Commission. I thought it was much better than the questionable Oliver Stone movie, “JFK” which also presented the same theory. This book, however, deals with facts, not innuendo, and that was something I appreciated.

Check back tomorrow morning, for another 6AM Review. 

What Dreams May Come

My Library, Book Reviews – 6AM Reviews

  • Title: What Dreams May Come – B&N, Amazon, PBS, Google
  • Pages: 288
  • Author: Richard Matheson
  • Rating: 5/5 – Perfect

What Dreams May Come is one of my favorite books (one of my top five). When Chris Nielsen dies he has a hard time adjusting to his afterlife. His journey to Heaven and through Hell is something every reader should experience.

Matheson spent hours researching near-death experiences and includes all of his work in a detailed bibliography at the end of the book. While he says his book is fictional, he only means the characters and the plot. Everything else he believes is based on facts and hard evidence.

I was going through the death of a loved one when I first read this book, and it helped me beyond measure. Death is not the end, only a new beginning.

Check back tomorrow morning, for another 6AM Review. 

Michael W. Smith’s 10 Best Songs

I’ve been a fan of Michael W. Smith for a long time. I discovered his music one night at a church lock-in. Laying down in a pew very early in the morning, I pulled out my walkman. My cousin gave me a couple tapes she thought I would enjoy.

The first one was Smith’s “The First Decade.” From the first song, I was hooked. Since then I have acquired every Michael W. Smith CD and have been one of his biggest fans.

I have reviewed all of his songs, (250+) and have compiled his ten best. How did I do? Did I miss your favorite MWS song?

1) I’ll Lead You Home. Picking the number one song was hard. When I had all of his top songs in front of me, this one just stands out. Its simple and powerful message of God’s love is lasting. The slow build up musically is something I really like as well.

2) Kentucky Rose. When I said it was hard to pick a number one song, Kentucky Rose was the reason. And as I sit and listen to the song I realize I may have made a mistake. The song tells the story of a southern preacher who sacrifices his life to save a little boy. Besides telling an amazing story in the five-minute song, it tells of a man who loves God and would do anything to save His children. This may not be as good as I’ll Lead You home, but it’s my personal favorite song.

3) I’ll Be Around. Also from the I’ll Lead You Home CD, this song let’s you know God is always there. Don’t give up on him, because he’ll be around.

4) How to Say Goodbye. A simple, yet powerful song. The utter helplessness of your daughter getting married and moving out I’m sure is overwhelming. The song just pleads and begs for understanding.

5) There She Stands. The song was inspired by President George W. Bush asking MWS to write a song about the tragedy of 9/11. The song is about the American flag and one of the most patriotic songs ever written.

6) Trilogy: Angels Unaware; Breathe In Me; Other Side of Me. The Other Side of Me was the song I dedicated to my wife at our wedding. While technically these are three songs, but really they are just party 1, 2 & 3 of one big song.

7) Grace. With Gods grace, we can do all things.

8) This is Your Time. The song tells the story of Cassie Bernell. She was killed in 1999 school shootings at Columbine High School. Reports say, one of the gun men asked Cassie if she believed in God. When she said yes, she was shot and killed. Would you have the power, the strength to say “yes?”

9) Above All. Probably my favorite praise and worship song. Look at the chorus and MWS shows that while Christ was on the cross, we were on his mind.

10) Agnus Dei. Perhaps it the Catholic in me, but I love this song. Angus Dei is Latin for “Worthy is the Lamb.” This was one of the first songs I learned in sign language. The song seems a perfect fit for Mass, I wonder if any parish has ever used it? It sounds very liturgical when you listen to it.

Bridge to Terabithia

I watched Bridge to Terabithia with great excitement. It came highly recommended from my good friend and fellow critic, Heather. But even in her praise for the movie, I was not ready for what I saw. I watched in stunned silence as the film ended. As I wiped away tears from my eyes, I thought about my own childhood. There’s something magical about an elementary school that’s hard to explain. However, the friendships you make, while they may not last, are almost sure to have an impact on your life for years to come.

The story revolves around a young boy named Jess Aarons (Josh Hutcherson) and his little sister May Belle (Bailee Madson). The movie begins as we see Jess getting ready for a big race at school. Unfortunately, his mom threw his lucky sneakers out with the trash and since he comes from a poor family he’s is forced to wear his older sisters pink tennis shoes instead. Mortified at the thought, he quickly grabs a black marker and colors them in.

Later that day, as the race is set to begin the new girl in class Leslie (AnnaSophia Robb) decides to run as well (much to the chagrin of the others, who thought this was a “boy’s only” race). The contest is a close one between Leslie and Jess with Leslie taking the lead and beating him at the last minute. May Belle runs over to her big brother Jess, but he is sour because he was beaten by Leslie who offers to shake hands after the race. He’s embarrassed and walks away from her. His bitterness fades away and eventually, the two of them develop a close friendship help by the fact that Leslie moved into the empty house next door to Jess.

While playing in the woods one day, the two of them create a magical world called Terabithia. Filled with magic and wonder, their world is full of prisoners being held captive by the evil, Dark Master. Jess and Leslie, with the help of dragonfly warriors, have come to set them free. As their imagination sores, so do the adventures they have in Terabithia.

In a film full of remarkable moments and scenes, I have to say I was impressed at a very potent conversation Leslie, Jess and May Belle have on their way home from church one Sunday about God and the Bible. Leslie tells them she doesn’t believe God would ever damn anyone to hell because he’s to busy making “all of this” as she points to the picturesque countryside around her.

The Bridge to Terabithia is an extraordinary movie that should be remembered as one of the best coming of age movies ever created. The amazing thing to me is how the movie so carefully focuses on the different kinds of friendships and how important those can be. You see the frustration and anger Jess can feel have towards his little sister May Belle, but at the same time how much he loves and cares about her. And then the relationship between Jess and Leslie is incredible because you feel the connection these two have towards each other is so genuine and beautiful words fail to aptly describe it.

Another thing that sets the movie apart from the rest is the music. Throughout the film, the director so wisely uses the music to set the tone and feel of the movie. Every film tries to do this, and it rarely works as wonderful as it does in Bridge to Terabithia.

One of the best movies ever made, this should be required viewing or all students in junior high or high school. Based on the award-winning novel by Katherine Paterson, the Bridge to Terabithia is a movie for all ages who cherish friendship. Turn on your imagination and be sure to keep your mind wide open, this movie gets Four out of four stars.

The Day After Tomorrow

The world is ending, global warming is real and you have 24 hours to get to Mexico!  Dennis Quaid and Jake Gyllenhaal star in the script that could have been written by Al Gore. And while the movie is pure fantasy, I did, however, find myself enjoying it.

Quaid plays Jack Hall, a climatologist who has been trying to sound the alarm of global climate change with no luck. Suddenly massive storms hit the planet, sending Earth into a second Ice Age. Hall then must race to New York, where his son is trapped in the library.

The movie is fun, and ludicrous at the same time. It’s nice eye candy and if you have some time to kill, with no other movies to watch, you should enjoy yourself with this one. One and a half stars out of four.

The Bee Movie

“What is the deal with Bees? I mean come on, why are they so small? And why… do the like honey?”

Okay, now just picture me saying that in a Seinfeld accent. Still not amused? Okay, let’s get to this review. I promise not to use too many bee jokes or one-liners, but I admit it will be hard to resist.  As every hardcore Seinfeld fan knows, most of the titles of his episodes were very simple and followed the same formula: The Contest, The Junior Mint, The Virgin, The Bubble Boy. So it was no surprise to me, that his movie was called, “The Bee Movie.”

Jerry Seinfeld plays a bumblebee named Barry Bee Benson (notice the clever alliteration) who has just finished college and is ready to head out in the bee world as a honey worker.  However, he flies outside with the other worker bees whose job it is to pollinate flowers and discovers the magic that is the human race.

Once out there his life is saved by a sweet woman named Vanessa Bloome (Renee Zellweger). He breaks a cardinal bee rule and speaks to her, and surprisingly enough, she’s not that freaked out by it. Bloome shows him all about the outside world and makes a startling discovery! Humans are making honey and selling it without prior bee permission! This enrages Barry and with the help of his new friend, decided the sue the whole human race. A hilarious courtroom drama ensues and Barry must deal with the consequences of the court’s verdict.

The Bee Movie is not for everyone. I wonder how many kids will really enjoy the movie. I know I have tried to get my three-year-old daughter to watch it a few times, and she lost interest rather quickly. I on the other hand really enjoyed the movie and I suspect many other fans of Jerry Senfiend’s comedy will enjoy the movie as well. Zellweger’s very sweet voice is soothing to listen too, and Patrick Warburton just has to speak and he makes me laugh. Three out of four stars.

The Green Mile

Based on a serial novella by Stephen King, the Green Mile is the best adaption of King’s work. The film faithfully follows the book, by using flashbacks to tell the story of John Coffee and the miraculous year of 1935. It was directed by Frank Darabont, who previously teamed with King on the Shawshank Redemption. Darabont also wrote the screenplay for the Green Mile, turning the 400 pages, six-volume tome into the brilliant three-hour movie we have today.

We are introduced to Paul Edgecombe as he awakes from a nightmare. Presumably the same nightmare he’s been having for decades. He’s haunted by his past, and the things he’s seen and done. One afternoon while watching television in the family room of the retirement home he is living in, and the old show brings back a flood of memories he wishes he could forget. He leaves the room in tears and his close friend, Elaine Connelly follows. They withdraw to a private room where he precedes to tell her the story of John Coffee and the two dead girls.

Stephen King is often labeled a “horror” writer. And sure, it’s with good reason as he is the man who brought us the Shinning and Storm of the Century. However, he has quite a knack for dramatic storytelling. Sure, the Green Mile has plenty of supernatural elements in it, however, it’s much more of a story about the men who come into contact with Coffee.

King and Darabont make several allusions to Coffee as a Christ-like figure. His name is John Coffee (J.C.). He is sacrificed for crimes he did not commit. He has an incredible ability to heal and to raise the dead. Despite all these obvious implications, the movie does not push this view on anyone, it’s only something you would notice from watching it closely.

Unfortunately for the Green Mile, 1999 was a remarkable year for films. It was nominated for several Oscars, including best picture. But as a result of the daunting competition, it lost to American Beauty.