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Lori Loughlin Pleads Not Guilty in College Admissions Scandal

Both Lori Loughlin and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, have plead not guilty to the charges regarding their involvement in the college admissions scandal from earlier this year. On March 12, Loughlin, Giannulli, and Desperate Housewives star Felicity Huffman were among a group of individuals that were all indicted in the nation’s largest college admissions scam. It was reported that the couple paid half a million dollars to USC in order for their daughter to be granted admittance to the university.

Tacked on to the previous charge of mail fraud, a second charge for money laundering was later filed for those involved who did not enter guilty pleas. Loughlin was among those who received the second charge, and is looking at up to 20 years in prison for each charge. The second charge was part of the prosecution’s aim to put pressure on the defendants to plead guilty, termed the “carrot and stick” approach.

Related: What To Expect From Fuller House Season 5

Loughlin and Giannulli remained tight-lipped about the indictments, until now. According to Variety, both Loughlin and Giannulli are, “pleading not guilty in the college admission bribery scandal.” This is the first response that the couple has shown in regard to the case. The two were, “among 33 charged in the widespread scam,” but are of a small group that decided to plead not guilty to both charges of fraud and money laundering. Huffman and, “a dozen other parents will plead guilty in the scam,” and will be facing the low end on the sentencing range without any additional charges.

No other announcements have been made about where the courts will go from here, but the nationwide scam has already hindered Loughlin’s career. Netflix and Hallmark were quick to respond to the accusations surrounding the actress, as she was promptly fired from both networks. A few of her co-stars, surprisingly, have remained by her side through the ongoing case. One in particular was her Full House and Fuller House co-star, Candace Cameron-Bure, who stated that she views the actress as family, which makes sense since she grew up working alongside Loughlin on the family-friendly sitcom. Not only that, but Loughlin’s daughter is currently on an academic hold at USC until all students involved in the scam have been individually reviewed.

Hearing Loughlin and Giannulli’s plea is a shocking and interesting turn of events. Considering the prosecution’s decision to add additional charges as a way of convincing those accused to enter guilty pleas, it doesn’t seem like they’ll back down in regards to Loughlin’s decision anytime soon. The guilty plea means that both her and her husband are ready for a fight, even if the odds aren’t in their favor. She appears unfazed by the ripple effect of repercussions, namely what will happen to her daughter’s education. Perhaps the sudden, and immediate, loss of jobs alongside the additional charge has numbed her to the case and the possibility of jail time. Regardless, with evidence piling up against Loughlin and her husband, it’s only a matter of time before the actress ends up in deeper water… or worse, behind bars.

Next: Why Michelle Tanner Still Isn’t In Fuller House

Source: Variety


2019-04-15 12:04:41

Hannah Hoolihan

Felicity Huffman To Plead Guilty In College Admissions Scandal

Felicity Huffman is expected to plead guilty over the college admissions bribery case that broke last month. The Desperate Housewives actress was among the dozens charged by the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office for the scandal that involved the parents either faking athletic records or cheating their SAT scores to get their children to high profile universities such as Yale, Georgetown and the University of Southern California. According to the charges, Huffman allegedly paid $15,000 to a fixer, William Singer of Key Worldwide Foundation, who arranged a fake person take the SAT in lieu of her daughter, resulting to getting better scores from her Preliminary SAT.

Charged with with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services fraud, Huffman is currently out on bail amounting to $250,000. Husband Shameless actor, William H. Macy has not been indicted with the same offense, although it does seem like he’s aware of his wife’s illegal dealings to cheat on their daughter’s SAT scores and was on board for the scheme. According to documents, Huffman and Macy’s daughter got a 1420 score on the test, a 400 point increase from her PSAT. As it turns out, they also initially discussed going through the same route for their younger daughter, but didn’t push through it.

Related: Fuller House Star Stands by Lori Loughlin Despite College Scandal

In an official statement obtained by Variety, Huffman admitted to partaking on the cheating scheme and says she’s shameful of her actions. She also claims that her daughter was not aware of the deal she made with Singer. With this, she, alongside 13 other people who are in on the ploy are set to plead guilty. Read her statement below:

“I am in full acceptance of my guilt, and with deep regret and shame over what I have done, I accept full responsibility for my actions and will accept the consequences that stem from those actions. I am ashamed of the pain I have caused my daughter, my family, my friends, my colleagues and the educational community. I want to apologize to them and, especially, I want to apologize to the students who work hard every day to get into college, and to their parents who make tremendous sacrifices to support their children and do so honestly.

“My daughter knew absolutely nothing about my actions, and in my misguided and profoundly wrong way, I have betrayed her. This transgression toward her and the public I will carry for the rest of my life. My desire to help my daughter is no excuse to break the law or engage in dishonesty.”

Considering Huffman’s admission, prosecutors agreed to recommend a prison term at the lower end of the bracket, lasting from four to 10 months under federal sentencing guidelines as part of the plea deal. She has also agreed to pay a $20,000 fine and restitution. For context, those who were charged could be looking at a potential maximum sentence of five years behind bars, but their time in prison and probation primarily hinge on their cooperation in the ongoing case. And since Huffman’s expected to plead guilty, her proposed jail time is more likely plausible.

While Huffman is making steps to ensure that she’ll get a lighter sentencing regarding her involvement in this scandal, former Fuller House actress Lori Loughlin’s camp remains silent on the matter. The Hallmark Channel staple and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, reportedly paid half a million dollars to get their two kids into USC. Basing on amount of money the Gianullis paid to get in on the scheme, not to mention the fact that they used the illegal process for both of their daughters, it’s curious if that will make any difference with regard to their sentence. As fans wait for any any development from their end, Aunt Becky, unfortunately, won’t appear in the fifth and final season of the Full House spinoff after Netlfix fired her.

More: Fuller House’s Lori Loughlin Expected to Do Prison Time Over College Scandal

Source: Variety


2019-04-09 06:04:48

Ana Dumaraog

Fuller House’s Lori Loughlin Expected to Do Prison Time Over College Scandal

Lori Loughlin may serve jail time over her involvement in the massive college admissions bribery case that broke last month. The former Fuller House star and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli reportedly paid half a million dollars to get their two kids into USC either by faking athletic records or cheating their SAT scores. Desperate Housewives actress Felicity Huffman is also embroiled in the cast with William H. Macy’s wife supposedly doling out $250,000 to get in on the same scheme.

A staple of the Hallmark Channel’s annual Christmas TV movies, Loughlin was also starring in its ongoing series, When Calls the Heart. But the actress first shot to fame playing the love interest of John Stamos’ Uncle Jesse in the ’80s/’90s classic family sitcom Full House, Aunt Becky. When the spinoff was officially ordered by Netflix followed by its debut on 2016, she reprised the role in its past four seasons. But since this scandal broke out, both Hallmark and Netflix dropped her in their respective shows. This means that Fuller House‘s upcoming fifth and final season will not see the return of Aunt Becky.

Related: What To Expect From Fuller House Season 5

Now, things seems to only get worse for Loughlin as she may need to serve time in prison. According to a new report from Deadline, “the actors are more than likely looking at a penalty of somewhere around six months to just under two years behind bars.” The actress and others who are in on the scam are being charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services fraud with a potential maximum sentence of five years. Their time behind bars, as well as probation and fines however, will be based on their cooperation in the ongoing litigation.

Despite no longer a part of the cast of Fuller House, Loughlin’s castmates, particularly Candace Cameron-Bure (DJ) and Jodie Sweeting (Stephanie) stand by the actress as they revealed in a recent interview. While they refused to comment further on the matter, they made it clear that they’re “family, and we stand by each other.” Considering that they’ve known Loughlin since they’re kids, it’s understandable that it would be difficult for them to simply write her off. Whether or not they were aware about Loughlin’s wrongdoings is a different conversation, however. At this point, the best they can do is be mum about the specifics of the case.

Assuming that Loughlin and her co-conspirators are proven guilty, the most important thing here is to not let them get away scot-free, and that doesn’t include paying fines, regardless of the amount. These people are obviously very wealthy that they can buy their kids’ way into prestigious schools, any monetary penalty wouldn’t matter that much. Regardless of the time she potentially serves in prison, what matters most is that they’re accounted for their wrongdoings so as to also serve an example for those who may be thinking of doing the same thing.

More: John Stamos Gets Angry At Netflix For Fuller House “Cancellation” On April Fools

Fuller House fifth and final season will premiere on Netflix this fall.

Source: Deadline


2019-04-05 05:04:06

Ana Dumaraog

18 Best Sequels, According To Rotten Tomatoes (And 8 Stuck With 0%)

We live in an age where sequels are all the rage. Every major studio is chasing those franchises that can keep their cash flow healthy for years to come. Sometimes, they’re exhausting. Other times, they can be our most anticipated movies. Maybe we could do without more Transformers movies, but Marvel and Mission: Impossible sequels are event movies that drive us to the theater in droves.

Sequels are tricky and unpredictable, though. On one hand, they’re often necessary for expanding stories and the good ones continue sagas we want to see progress. On the other, some are soulless cash grabs that shouldn’t exist. In the worst cases, some of them completely derail promising franchises by failing to deliver the goods. Then again, in some instances, sequels can get a series back up and running after they’ve experienced setbacks.

This list will look at those rare sequels that are considered worthy — and even superior — follow-ups. Those rare beasts that make us grateful for multiple movies in a series. Furthermore, we’ll also be discussing the most maligned sequels that brought no critical good will to their respective franchises whatsoever. It’s more fun this way. In order to fully appreciate the best of the best, we also must acknowledge the worst of the worst. Without evil, we wouldn’t be able to understand all that’s good and pure. Without terrible movies, we wouldn’t be grateful for the good ones.

With this in mind, here are 18 Best Sequels According To Rotten Tomatoes (And 8 Stuck With 0%).

26 Best: Captain America: Civil War (91%)

The decision to keep the same team of writers for all three Captain America films paid off in the end. The trilogy just went from strength to strength with each passing entry, though some would argue that The Winter Soldier is equally as good — if not better — than Civil War. Either way, they’re both prime examples of how to do sequels right.

Civil War tackles the same themes you’d expect from a movie about a do-gooder like Cap, but where the film truly soars is during its wild third act. The airport showdown is the best action showdown in the MCU, and that’s saying something.

25 Worst: The Bad News Bears Go To Japan (0%)

If you didn’t know that sequels to The Bad News Bears exist then no one would think any less of you. While the first movie is a cult classic about an underdog baseball team, the sequels have faded from the collective memory with the passing of time, lost like tears in the rain. That’s for good reason.

None of the sequels are good, but The Bad News Bears Go To Japan is especially bad.

While the idea to relocate to Japan for a big game is good on paper, the sequel is just bland, forgettable, and was made to cash in on the brand name.

24 Best: Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (93%)

Some fans argue that The Force Awakens is essentially a retread of A New Hope in many ways. However, clearly the critics and audiences didn’t necessarily agree, given its stellar Rotten Tomatoes score and its audience score of 87%, not to mention its impressive box office haul.

As far as Star Wars movies go, it hits the spot. The new characters are great, the return of some old faces is a trip down memory lane, and the story still made significant effort to push the franchise forward. In those regards, the film definitely succeeded.

23 Best: War for the Planet of the Apes (93%)

Anyone who has a problem with classics being rebooted needs to watch the most recent Planet of the Apes trilogy.  The finale pits the apes in a brutal battle against the humans, which leads to an epic confrontation between the Caesar the Ape and humanity’s ruthless colonel (played by an utterly wicked Woody Harrelson). As far as concluding trilogies goes, War for the Planet of the Apes has everything.

By no means is this a pleasant movie, but it is rewarding. And not only does it wrap up an epic story, but the film boasts some of the great CGI wizardry out there. The action is also ridiculously impressive and compelling, which is crazy considering it’s a movie about people versus monkeys.

22 Best: Logan (93%)

James Mangold’s Logan, the gloriously violent and heartbreaking farewell to Patrick Stewart’s Professor X and Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine, is an all-timer. Taking cues from the Old Man Logan comics, the movie has just as much in common with neo-westerns as it does with superhero yarns, which makes for a gritty, character-driven elegy to characters many of us grew up with.

Logan deserves praise for going R-rated and taking some stylistic risks.

The movie is proof that audiences will still flock to see superhero movies with some edge. If you’re going to send off some icons, this is the way to do it.

21 Worst: Return to the Blue Lagoon (0%)

Considering that no one liked The Blue Lagoon (it currently holds a 9% rating on RT), why anyone would want to return to the franchise is beyond comprehension. Of course, every sequel is a perfect opportunity to right some old wrongs if handled with care. Unfortunately, this was not. The story follows two children who are marooned on a tropical island as the grow up and fall in love, etc. The characters don’t wear enough clothes either, which makes for some weird, uncomfortable viewing.

There are some unintentional laughs to be had at the poor script and performances.

Otherwise the Blue Lagoon isn’t a scenic cinematic paradise worth spending time in unless you want to punish yourself for some reason.

20 Best: The Dark Knight (94%)

Few superhero movies are ever regarded as anything more than popcorn fare. However, if there were ever a superhero movie that proved the genre could be prestige cinema, it would be The Dark Knight. Christopher Nolan’s take on Batman is an exploration of chaos and just how far people are willing to go to achieve their goal.

The Dark Knight — for better or worse when you consider how devoid of fun some DC movies have been since — also brought a gritty, realistic touch to the genre. The movie feels more like a Michael Mann crime saga than it does a story about superheroes versus their outlandishly evil counterparts.

19 Best: Finding Dory (94%)

In recent times, Pixar has been criticized for relying too heavily on sequels, but if it ain’t broke… Finding Dory was released 13 years after Finding Nemo, and it was a smash with critics and audiences alike.

Its 94% on Rotten Tomatoes is complemented by an 84% audience score.

Upon release Finding Dory was praised for being as funny and thought-provoking as the first movie, while also adding a new dimension to the story. As with any Pixar movie, Finding Dory can be appreciated by audiences of all ages. 

18 Worst: Staying Alive (0%)

No other actor on the planet has experienced a career of ups and downs like John Travolta has. When he broke out he had the world at his dancing feet. After that, his career experienced a downturn until it was resurrected briefly following Pulp Fiction until it ultimately plummeted when he started starring in movies like Battlefield Earth. Staying Alive was released in 1983 when Travolta was experiencing his first fall from grace. Following up a classic like Saturday Night Fever was never going to be easy, but it shouldn’t have been this difficult, either.

The sequel lacks the gritty realism of its predecessor, and instead tries to get by on dance sequences. What’s the point in dancing when we don’t care about who’s doing it?

17 Best: Creed (95%)

No franchise tends to remain compelling seven sequels in, but Creed is proof that the Rocky franchise is the rare exception. Granted, some Rocky movies aren’t exactly knockouts, but Creed got things back on track and showed that it’s game for a few more rounds.

By serving as both a sequel and a spin-off/soft reboot, Creed gave the franchise a breath of new life.

It passed the gloves on to Michael B. Jordan as the eponymous character.  Creed 2 is right around the corner. Let’s see if it can do what the original saga failed to do and deliver a second outing that’s as good as the inaugural entry.

16 Worst: Leprechaun 2 (0%)

The first Leprechaun movie doesn’t come close to being certified fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, so it should come as no surprise that the sequels didn’t receive any critical acclaim. Especially not the second movie, which no critic seemed to enjoy at all.

Here, the infamous critter resurfaces in Los Angeles to find a bride, which leads to him abducting a young woman and trying to claim her as his own. This isn’t high art by any means, nor does it try to be.

15 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (96%)

The Harry Potter books were an emotional roller coaster that affected millions of readers worldwide. Reliving those adventures on the big screen was also a great time to be alive, and the grand finale lived up to expectations. In the final installment of the saga about the Boy Who Lived and his fight against the forces of darkness, the ultimate showdown finally happens as our hero and his pals face off against Voldemort in Hogwarts castle.

It’s a true epic in every sense of the word.

As far as wrapping up the story goes, Death Hallows: Part 2 delivered the goods and gave us cinematic closure in style.

14 Worst: Looking Who’s Talking Now (0%)

Look Who’s Talking is a perfectly serviceable comedy that should never have received any sequels. In a bid to end to the trilogy on a high following the disappointing previous sequel, Look Who’s Talking Too, someone thought it would be a good idea to introduce talking dogs to the mix for the series’ swan song. 

Needless to say, Look Who’s Talking Now wasn’t the glorious goodbye the series was looking for, but at least the film did cast some cute dogs.

13 Best: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (97%)

The third installment of Sergio Leone’s influential Dollars trilogy, The Good, The Bad and the Ugly is the creme de la creme of spaghetti westerns. 

The story centers around two men who form an uneasy alliance following a scam.

This leads them on a quest as it turns out there’s money buried in the desert and they want to find it. However, they have to compete against another who won’t hesitate to put a bullet in them to claim the prize. On top of being one of the most acclaimed movies out there, the film has been hailed as a major influence on directors like Quentin Tarantino.

12 Best: The Godfather: Part II (97%)

The continuation of Francis Ford Coppola’s Best Picture-winning 1972 crime saga, The Godfather: Part II chronicles Michael Corleone’s further ascendency in organized crime while simultaneously taking us back to the past to explore his dad’s humble beginnings.

Like its predecessor, the sequel also won Best Picture and is hailed by many a critic and film buff as one of the best movies ever made. Whether it’s better than the original is up for debate, but they’re like two sides of the same coin. These movies set the bar for mob pictures, and to this day, other directors are still trying to recreate the formula.

11 Mad Max: Fury Road (97%)

Director George Miller was in his seventies when he unleashed Mad Max: Fury Road, but the energy and madness imbued in every frame of this extravaganza suggest a man half his age.

Maybe we’ll never see another Mad Max movie, but the world needs a Furiosa spin-off eventually.

Fury Road is essentially one non-stop chase that barely lets up from the get-go all the way to the climactic ending. Furthermore, it’s a movie that defied expectation by taking the focus away from the titular character and making Charlize Theron’s Furiosa the real hero of the adventure. 

10 Worst: Jaws: The Revenge (0%)

Is Jaws: the Revenge a good movie? Definitely not. Is it an entertaining movie, though? Definitely yes.

How many other movies have sharks that make a conscious decision to get revenge on the humans that wronged them? Not only that, but the shark here followed its target to the Bahamas from Massachusetts. And why would someone who wants to avoid sharks go to an island surrounded by ocean? The movie is illogical, silly, nonsense, but it does offer sheer entertainment value for bad movie buffs.

9 Best: Aliens (98%)

Alien and Aliens are quite different in some regards, but they complement each other perfectly. The first is an exercise in pure suspense and terror. The sequel, on the other hand, retains the horror elements but adds a lot more action to proceedings.

Aliens shows how to make a successful sequel: acknowledge what came before but don’t be afraid to bring some fresh ideas to the table.

James Cameron was on fire in the ’80s and he wasn’t afraid to make Ridley Scott’s baby his own.

8 Best: Mad Max 2: Road Warrior (98%)

While George Miller’s inaugural Mad Max caper is a cult classic, most film buffs would agree that a couple of the sequels are slightly superior. Taking nothing away from the first movie, Road Warrior is a vast improvement when it comes to world building and sheer action spectacle. The story follows the eponymous character as he helps a group of people steal oil from a tyrannical madman and his band of goons.

As far as cinematic thrill rides go, few movies are on par with Road Warrior. Here, Miller turned up the volume significantly by making the post-apocalyptic terrains feel more dangerous and the action sequences more gung-ho and grander in scale.

7 Best: Evil Dead 2 (98%)

Sam Raimi’s first Evil Dead movie was a huge achievement for independent filmmaking when it was released back in 1981. The movie still holds up to this day with its innovative camera work, effective scares, and excellent cast as well.

The sequel is a triumph in its own right.

While the first movie contained moments of dark comedy, the sequel amps up the zaniness to become what is essentially the splatter flick equivalent of a Laurel and Hardy flick. For 90 minutes, Bruce Campbell is tormented by laughing ornaments and his own severed hand. As silly as that sounds, Evil Dead 2 still manages to pack more punch than your average MMA fighter.

6 Worst: Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol (0%)

In the third installment of the Police Academy franchise, the cops are understaffed and in need of some help. Naturally, the force turns to America’s civilians to help aid in their mission. Things don’t go smoothly, for the characters in the film and the movie itself.

Rotten Tomatoes describes Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol as “Utterly, completely, thoroughly and astonishingly unfunny” and  a movie which sent “a once-innocuous franchise plummeting to agonizing new depths.” That sounds about right.

5 Toy Story 3 (99%)

Few franchises manage to strike three home runs in a row. Even The Godfather stuttered when it came to the third outing. Toy Story, on the other hand, never ceases to replicate the magic time and time again.

This emotional installment sees Andy get ready to leave for college and neglect his old toys.

He’s all grown up and has no use for them anymore, and what ensues is what is by far the most heartfelt movie in the series.

4 Worst: Highlander II: The Quickening (0%)

As far as pure entertaining action-fantasy goes, the first Highlander movie is a fun slice of popcorn entertainment that aficionados of cult cinema lose their head over. The sequel, meanwhile, is an incomprehensible mess.

Highlander II is too overplotted to explain, but the cusp of the story revolves around the hero from the first movie taking on a corporation after being led to believe that they don’t have the world’s best interests in mind. In this one, our hero is a defender of the ozone as well. What makes Highlander II so awful is that it completely retcons everything good about the original film and the mythology it introduced.

3 Best: The Bride of Frankenstein (100%)

We all desire to be loved by someone special– even bolt-head monsters made up of the remains of other people. But to find them a mate, one must dig up some more corpses and create a suitable partner that’s similar in genetic make-up. This is also the storyline behind James Whale’s 1935 masterpiece, Bride of Frankenstein.

There are too many Frankenstein movies to keep track of at this point, but this sequel remains the pinnacle of the original series.

The movie is a masterpiece that successfully blends campy fun with Gothic beauty and genuine chills that’s stood the test of time as a result.

2 Paddington 2 (100%)

No one expected the the first Paddington to be as good as it is. That movie is a bona fide classic in the making in its own right, but the sequel is some next-next level brilliance.

Paddington 2 sees the lovable bear go to prison and, unsurprisingly, all the mean criminals fall in love with him as well. Critics, like the fictional convicts, were also full of praise for the titular bear and his second big onscreen adventure as well. At one point, Paddington 2 was even the best reviewed movie in history.

1 Best: Toy Story 2 (100%)

Following up a movie like Toy Story was never going to be easy, but that didn’t stop Pixar from trying and succeeding. In this one, we find out that Woody is a collectible when he’s discovered and stolen by a greedy museum owner. Naturally this prompts Buzz Lightyear, Mr. Potato, and the rest of the gang into action and they set out to save their friend.

General consensus on Rotten Tomatoes states that Toy Story 2 is that rare sequel that improves upon its predecessor.

The sequel raises the stakes and ups the element of adventure while retaining the humor and heart that made audiences fall in love with the franchise in the first place.

What’s your favorite sequel? Let us know in the comments!



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2018-10-10 04:10:39 – Kieran Fisher

Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween Review – A Pretty Slappy Sequel

Goosebumps 2 lacks the charm and inventiveness of its predecessor, but still has a reasonable amount of spoopy entertainment value to offer.

R.L. Stine’s beloved 1990s children’s horror book series makes its way back to the big screen in Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween, a sequel to the live-action film adaptation of Stine’s novels that came out in 2015. While Jack Black starred as a fictional version of Stine in that movie, Sony didn’t even confirm the actor’s return for the followup until a few weeks before its release. Similarly, neither the director, writer, nor supporting cast of the (generally well-received) first Goosebumps film worked on the second installment. While Haunted Halloween certainly suffers for it, the sequel isn’t an entirely hollow continuation of the franchise either. Goosebumps 2 lacks the charm and inventiveness of its predecessor, but still has a reasonable amount of spoopy entertainment value to offer.

Goosebumps 2 picks up in the small town of Wardenclyffe, New York, as its residents prepare for the fast-approaching Halloween Night festivities. Meanwhile, in the Quinn household, high school senior Sarah (Madison Iseman) is trying to finish her college application and her younger brother Sonny (Jeremy Ray Taylor) is struggling with his science class project – a miniature replica of an experimental wireless transmission station in Wardenclyffe that was built and designed by Nikola Tesla, but never finished (aka. the Tesla Tower). The Quinns are joined by Sonny’s best friend Sam Carter (Caleel Harris), who is staying over at their house while his parents are away for the Halloween holiday.

After some prodding from Sam, Sonny agrees to take a break from his project and clear out an abandoned local house, as part of the duo’s ongoing efforts to launch a (successful) junk cleanup business. While there, however, the pair stumble upon an incomplete manuscript for a Goosebumps novel, unaware that the building was once owned by R.L. Stine himself. Not knowing any better, Sam and Sonny unlock the book and inadvertently unleash the Goosebumps villain Slappy the Dummy back into the real world. While the living ventriloquist dummy seems (sorta) friendly at first, it’s not long before he reveals his true evil plan, with only Sam, Sonny and Sarah to stand in his way.

If the original Goosebumps movie was a throwback to the popular family-friendly spooky adventures of the 1990s (think Hocus Pocus), then Haunted Halloween is closer to being the 2018 equivalent of a direct-to cable scary movie for kids from the ’90s – that is, noticeably cheaper and more generic, yet otherwise harmless and playful in its own right. The Goosebumps 2 script by Rob Lieber (Peter Rabbit) likewise carries over the first movie’s imaginative premise and conceit (e.g. Stine’s Goosebumps novel manuscripts are really enchanted objects which contain and prevent his “demons” from entering the real world) and includes references to its story, yet never really tries to build on its concepts, much less its themes and lore. Instead, Haunted Halloween offers helpful, if unchallenging, life lessons for kids and a serviceable narrative that doesn’t exactly push the envelope for the larger Goosebumps brand.

At the same time, Goosebumps 2 is perhaps more successful than its predecessor when it comes to being genuinely menacing and scary for the juice box crowd, yet still light-hearted enough to avoid traumatizing them (hence, “spoopy”). Much of the credit for that goes to director Ari Sandel (The DUFF), who does a commendable job of combining suspenseful and creepy storytelling with comedic moments here, much like Stine did so well in his original Goosebumps novels. Haunted Halloween, as indicated earlier, feels like a lower-budgeted affair than the first Goosebumps, yet Sandel and his creative team – including, DP Barry Peterson (Game Night) and production designer Rusty Smith (Get Out) – still manage to deliver a movie that’s a proper cut above a comparable TV film, in terms of overall craftsmanship. That also goes for the CGI and creature effects in the sequel’s first half (more on the second half later).

The actual setting of Haunted Halloween is mostly populated by stock types, be they the film’s young heroes or the local bullies that Sonny and Sam have to deal with (not to mention, Sarah’s dishonest would-be boyfriend). While their characters are fairly two-dimensional in the Goosebumps sequel, Harris, Iseman and Ray nevertheless have the same affable screen presence that’s allowed them to stand out in films and TV shows past and, thus, make their protagonists all the easier to root for. That also goes for the adult supporting players here, as Wendi McLendon-Covey (The Goldbergs) and Ken Jeong (Community) mostly channel their famous small screen personas as Sarah and Sonny’s adorkable mother Kathy and their eccentric neighbor Mr. Chu, respectively. As for Black as R.L. Stine: his own role in Goosebumps 2 is pretty superfluous, which is disappointing considering the energy that he brought to the proceedings as the first Goosebumps‘ co-protagonist (not to mention, his vocal performance as Slappy, which Black didn’t reprise in the sequel).

All in all, Haunted Halloween is a passable if derivative sequel – but not because the Goosebumps books themselves are incapable of sustaining multiple films. Rather, the problem is that the sequel recycles too much from the first movie and struggles to make creative use of the fresh elements (like the real-world Tesla Tower) that it brings into the mix here. It’s too bad, seeing as Goosebumps 2 had a wealth of different monsters and horror genres in Stine’s source novels to draw from, yet elected to continue simplifying the author’s mythology by making Slappy the big bad (again) and skimping on giving the other creatures much in the way of personality. As a result, the second half of the movie plays out as a watered down version of what happened in the original Goosebumps, albeit with lower production values and emotional impact.

Still, Goosebumps 2 should go over best with its young target demographic and provide them with enough silly scares and fun adventure to keep them engaged for its brisk runtime. Moreover, much like your average comic book movie these days, Haunted Halloween delivers its fair share of Goosebumps easter eggs and nods to the real Stine’s source material (right down to a Stan Lee-esque cameo from Stine himself), to further serve the property’s youngest fans. As for those who prefer their family-friendly fantasies with Jack Black starring front and center – The House with a Clock in Its Walls is still playing in theaters and ought to fulfill your own needs for some spoopy entertainment this Halloween season.

TRAILER

Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween begins playing in U.S. theaters on Thursday evening, October 11. It is 90 minutes long and is rated PG for scary creature action and images, some thematic elements, rude humor and language.

Let us know what you thought of the film in the comments section!



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2018-10-10 01:10:58 – Sandy Schaefer

Star Wars 9 Filming Change Forces Adam Driver to Cancel College Appearance

Star Wars: Episode IX actor Adam Driver is forced to postpone a university appearance due to a scheduling change on the film. Director J.J. Abrams began production on the Skywalker saga’s grand finale earlier this year, after the project had gone through substantial behind-the-scenes changes. Abrams, of course, came in to replace Colin Trevorrow as helmsman, penning an all-new script alongside Chris Terrio after numerous stabs at the screenplay failed to impress Lucasfilm higher-ups.

Abrams’ arrival late in development meant things needed to be moved around. Originally, Episode IX was supposed to start principal photography this January in order to meet a May 2019 release date. However, it was pushed back to December 2019, meaning filming started later in the year. This caused some of the cast members to cancel previously arranged obligations, and now Driver is the latest to do so.

Related: What We Know About Star Wars 9’s New Cast Members

The user Riri19911 shared a statement from Driver’s management on the Star Wars Leaks subreddit, where the actor’s team announced Driver needed to postpone an appearance at a university. You can read it in full below:

Star Wars has just had a massive schedule change, and given what they need to shoot next week they need Adam to rehearse all day tomorrow. He feels terrible letting everyone down and doing this last minute, but has been left with no choice. This will be rescheduled at a later date.

It’s unknown exactly what circumstances led to the change, but right now, fans shouldn’t be too concerned. There are always a lot of moving pieces on something as massive as Star Wars, and it’s possible Abrams saw a window to shoot a specific sequence – which obviously involves Kylo Ren. It’s possible this is some kind of action set piece, given that it’s required Driver rehearses for an entire day. Lightsaber battles always involve high-end choreography that the actors need to learn. On the Last Jedi director commentary, Rian Johnson noted how Daisy Ridley and Driver performed their own stunts during the throne room fight, and odds are someone as method and committed as Driver wants to handle the action bits himself for Episode IX.

The Star Wars films of the Disney era haven’t always had the smoothest productions, with Solo being an obvious example. Fortunately, it doesn’t sound like this situation on Episode IX is nearly as dire. While it’s certainly an inconvenience to have to switch things around at the eleventh hour, it sounds like it’s a matter of scheduled shoots getting moved around and won’t be a major setback. And fortunately for the university students, they’ll still have an opportunity to see Driver another time, once Star Wars 9 is all taken care of.

More: When We Think Lucasfilm Will Announce The Star Wars 9 Title

Source: Riri19911



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2018-10-08 07:10:22 – Chris Agar