Michael Cavacini

An award-winning arts and culture blog.

Archive for the category “Review”

Movie Review: Doctor Sleep

Doctor Sleep, the new movie directed by Mike Flanagan, is coming out November 8. Based on the Stephen King novel of the same name, this is a sequel to The Shining. I was invited to attend an advance screening of this movie last night, so I jumped at the chance to see it.

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Audible Review: Cabal by Clive Barker

Originally released in 1988, Cabal is one of Clive Barker’s most well known stories because it was the basis for the cult classic film Nightbreed. The protagonist Boon is “a tortured soul haunted by the conviction that he has committed atrocious crimes.” According to the synopsis, “In a necropolis in the wilds of Canada, he seeks refuge and finds the last great creatures of the world – the shape-shifters known as the Nightbreed. They are possessed of unearthly powers-and so is Boone. In the hunt for Boone, they too will be hunted. Now only the courage of this strange human can save them from extinction. And only the undying passion of a woman can save Boone from his own corrupting hell…” Cabal is an inventive story, featuring wildly imaginative characters, and it has some of the most exquisite and poetic writing I’ve ever encountered.

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Movie Review: Holiday Hell

Just when I thought I had my fill of horror anthologies, Holiday Hell comes along. This Christmas-themed film stars the wonderful Jeffrey Combs as a shopkeeper who entertains a curious customer with the terrifying tales behind specific items he has for sale. Collectively, these stories comprise this entertaining movie. Aside from Combs, Joel Murray steals the show with his incredible performance as an alcoholic who is down on his luck in a variety of ways. I was completely enthralled by his performance, which was nuanced and emotive. Murray is an exceptional actor who deserves much more attention for his stellar work.

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Dionne Warwick Releases New Christmas Album

Dionne Warwick, my favorite female vocalist, is back with her second Christmas album, which is appropriately titled Dionne Warwick & The Voices of Christmas. This collection of 12 songs is comprised of 10 duets and two solo tracks by Dionne that begin and conclude the album. I positively adored Dionne’s first Christmas album, My Favorite Time of The Year, when it was released in 2004 and it was a day-one purchase for me. Dionne Warwick & The Voices of Christmas is an excellent follow-up holiday album that features Dionne tackling songs she’s never recorded before, as well as approaching ones she has from a new angle. As for those she sings with, you can expect to hear Johnny Mathis, Aloe Blacc, Michael McDonald, and others. All of the arrangements are slickly produced with the vocalists front-and-center in the mix, as they should be, making for a highly enjoyable early Christmas present.

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Movie Review: Nightmare Cinema

I’ve watched many horror anthologies over the past month or so, including Creepshow (the movies and the new Shudder series), American Horror Story: 1984, All Hallows’ Eve, and Nightmare Cinema, which is coming to Shudder on October 29.

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Movie Review: Haunt

Debuting on Shudder on October 24, Haunt is written and directed by the team that brought us A Quiet Place and it was produced by Eli Roth. This 90-minute horror film is a Shudder exclusive, and it’s not for the faint of heart. This movie is about a group of young people trapped in a frightening haunted house, and it is replete with disturbing and gory imagery. It is a genuinely scary scenario, and the tension is so thick you could cut it with a knife. If you can handle the SAW movies or anything Eli Roth has done, then you’ll do fine with Haunt. The acting is solid, and the score is foreboding. The editing doesn’t hold anything back, so get ready to say to yourself or a friend, “What did I just see happen?” numerous times, as the deaths in Haunt are a punch to the gut. For big-time horror fans like myself, this is an enjoyable, pulse-pounding adventure that is worth watching.

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Review: Untitled Goose Game

When I heard about and saw a video of Untitled Goose Game for Nintendo Switch, I knew I had to check it out. First off, the name is great. Second, you get to play as a goose that causes all kinds of trouble for humans. What’s not to love?! Think of it like Hitman but with a goose, and you’re not killing people – you’re just driving them crazy! You get to pull pranks, steal people’s items, honk at them, and much more. The art style is beautiful, and the music is a character all its own. Untitled Goose Game is a charming experience that everyone should play. Whether you’re playing alone or laughing along with a friend as one of you causes havoc, Untitled Goose Game is a unique breath of fresh air that will stay with you for a long time.

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Ghostbusters: The Video Game Remastered

It’s October and there’s no better way to celebrate the Halloween season than by firing up Ghostbusters: The Video Game Remastered for Nintendo Switch, which is an updated version of the original game that was released 10 years ago. One thing to keep in mind is this is a remaster, not a remake. So, the only major improvement is that the graphics have been given a facelift. Everything looks great in HD, and the developers continue to work on updates to improve the experience. Since Harold Ramis passed away in 2014, fans won’t get a true Ghostbusters 3 movie featuring the original cast. However, this game is just as good as Ghostbusters 3 because it was written by Harold Ramis and Dan Aykroyd. Better yet, it’s set in the early 1990s and it features all of the original Ghostbusters, as well as some memorable supporting characters voiced by the original actors, including Annie Potts and Max von Sydow. When you start the game, you’ll see that it’s dedicated to the memory of Harold Ramis, which is a nice touch, and it is filled from start to finish with fan service. If you love the Ghostbusters, you need to get this game. We’re not going to get Ghostbusters 3 with the original cast, but this is an excellent substitute.

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RENT Celebrates 20th Anniversary In Philly

Following a sold-out March 2019 engagement, RENT is back by popular demand in Philadelphia to celebrate its 20th anniversary. I attended the opening night, and it was my first time seeing this show. The Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning musical is taking place at the Merriam Theater October 18-20, and it’s absolutely worth seeing. RENT is an unconventional, frenetic show that gave me chills and made me cry, smile, and laugh multiple times. Unlike Hamilton, which I found to be underwhelming because of its grating music, shallow characters, and limp ending, RENT blew me away with its unique musical compositions, incredible cast, and emotionally moving story. Add to this a hot crowd full of people who had seen the show before and loved it, and I felt like I was at a rock concert more than a musical. This high-energy atmosphere made this excellent production even more enjoyable, and I now understand why people choose to see RENT more than once.

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Movie Review: Portal

Released just a couple days ago on digital and on demand, Portal is an award-winning supernatural horror film with an all-start cast. It features a rare appearance by iconic scream queen Heather Langenkamp, best known for her stellar work in the A Nightmare on Elm Street film franchise. When an ambitious ghost hunter performs a risky ritual, opening a portal to “the other side,” he and his team quickly find themselves way over their heads in a fight for survival against an ancient demonic force. Read more…

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