Film critic Gary DeWaard shares insightful reviews of trending movies to inform his online readers of what’s worth seeing during theatrical runs. Below, he shares his thoughts on the latest rendition of Charles Addams’ beloved dark comedy The Addams Family.
Gary DeWaard is often invited to screen movies early on and share his thoughts with readers to help them determine which films to see while in theaters. Recently, he screened the family cartoon film The Addams Family and reported on the latest installment to the decades-old franchise.
“In short, it’s a film that is certainly worth taking the whole family to see, and it provides a nice change from the bright and overly-optimistic tones of family films today,” says Gary DeWaard. “However, it may not meet all the expectations for die-hard Addams Family fans if only because the characters don’t really perform outside of the box that was created in the 30s and 40s.”
The animation project was headed by MGM and is directed by the same pair behind the raunchy computer animated film Sausage Party from 2016. But Gary DeWaard says that shouldn’t scare off any parents; the Addams Family is quirky and filled with dark comedy, but it is first and foremost a family film. The star-studded cast includes some of the biggest names in Hollywood today: Oscar Isaac as Gomez Addams; Charlize Theron as Morticia; Chloe Grace Moretz as Wednesday; Bette Midler as Grandma; Snoop Dogg as Cousin It; Catherine O’Hara as Grandma Frump, and other top actors like Finn Wolfhard, Allison Janney, and Martin Short.
In the film, the immediate Addams Family members are busy preparing for Pugsley’s 13th birthday party, which is a landmark occasion in the family and is celebrated with a reunion at the famous mansion. Meanwhile, the family is running into trouble with locals from the nearby town, headed by TV personality Margaux Needler who is hoping to remodel their family mansion so she can sell more houses in the neighborhood.
“It retains a lot of the iconic creepiness and characterizations of the old stories, but overall the film fails to give any of the individuals in the story anything really new to run with,” says Gary DeWaard. “The result kind of feels like an homage to the original comics and stories––with extreme CGI likenesses of the initial character designs––that is lacking a bit of new development. To me, all the characters feel like odes to their older selves instead of refreshing and fitting for the times.”
While Gary DeWaard doesn’t feel the film lived up to his own personal expectations, he does recommend giving it a try with your family in theaters this Halloween season. The Addams Family hit theaters on October 11th and has a runtime at just under an hour and a half.
Film fanatic Gary DeWaard stays up-to-date with trending Hollywood news and keeps his online readers well-informed of exciting and upcoming releases. Below, he reports on the landmark success director Andrés Muschietti achieved through his remake of It, and the recent success of its sequel, in theaters now.
The original miniseries adaptation of Stephen King’s It connected television audiences with the infamous killer clown Pennywise during a three-hour production in 1990. While film aficionado Gary DeWaard has a soft spot for the original production, he marvels at how Andrés Muschietti successfully shared the horrific tale of Pennywise with an international audience and broadcasted Stephen King’s story like never before.
“The two films from Andrés Muschietti have already grossed more than a billion dollars between them, and the sequel is still in theaters,” says Gary DeWaard. “While he was given a much bigger budget than most horror films get––something like a hundred million dollars for both movies––the success of these films have exceeded even some Marvel films. I think the wide appeal comes mainly from Muschietti’s artsy, creative stylings.”
In the original miniseries featuring Tim Curry as the infamous clown, the practical effects were minimal, which helped capture an element of reality for the viewer. In the Muschietti films, however, the large budget made way for an epic spectacle for the eyes that’s full of abstract imagery and intense color.
“I think it’s safe to say Muschietti took the wide success of the first film and justified an even more grand depiction of the events in It: Chapter Two,” says Gary DeWaard. “The sequel looks like something on par with a Peter Jackson film and flexes all the high-quality computer graphics the budget could afford.”
Andrés Muschietti took the themes of nightmares and dreamlike elements to heart and delivered a truly unique experience for theater audiences. In addition to the abstract visuals and horrific monster effects, he invested a chunk of his budget into massive and detailed sets that transformed the small-town vibe of the original film into an epic otherworldly adventure.
In It: Chapter 2, the Losers return to their home town to battle the returned evil clown and face all the new terrors it creates for them. They venture deep into his home in the sewers and encounter its alien origins with plenty of trippy supporting visuals throughout.
“It’s a powerful film that ranges in effect from drama and romance to comedy and adventure in addition to all the expected horror,” Gary DeWaard says. “It’s a fun ride for audiences, and the nearly three-hour runtime is buried in an exciting tale with lots of highs and lows to keep audience members on the edge of their seats.”
It: Chapter 2 premiered at the beginning of September and has already amassed more than $400 million.
Film aficionado Gary DeWaard covers a range of movies in his online reviews and blurbs but especially focuses on independent productions with limited releases in America. Below, he explains how a Naples resident scored an LA production chronicling his adventures as a creepy clown who’s paid to scare children in Florida.
Gary DeWaard is a big fan of the horror film genre, so when he heard the news that Wrinkles the Clown was getting a theatrical release later this fall, he started researching.
“The story about Wrinkles is unlike anything you’ve ever heard of before,” says Gary DeWaard. “Wrinkles made a few headlines a few years back, but it’s not until earlier this year that the press really started talking up the documentary about him. And now, the movie has a release date set for next month in a limited amount of theaters.”
Wrinkles is unlike the clowns you’d normally hire for your kids’ birthday parties: he sports a polka dot onesie, black rubber gloves, and a grotesque mask with elaborate features, but he does carry around a bunch of colorful balloons wherever he goes. He has a slight paunch and a habit of staring, fueling nightmares in his home town of Naples, Florida.
In 2015, the Washington Post interviewed Wrinkles the Clown (who refused to share his true name with the press) and claimed to be a 65-year-old veteran who made the move to Naples a few years back. He told the interviewer he moved south to escape the cold New England winters and to settle into a more relaxed life, but that retirement quickly became too boring. He purchased a clown mask online and created business cards and stickers with his phone number so locals could hire him for events, claiming to finally indulge in a life-long appreciation for clowning.
Wrinkles told the Washington Post that he is available for hire to show up at parties and gatherings or to prank your friends. Eventually, he expanded his services to scaring misbehaving kids straight, which quickly got people’s attention.
“Parents were actually paying him to scare their kids when behaving badly, which seemed to work out for a lot of them,” says Gary DeWaard. “He became a local legend––kind of like the Boogeyman––and was used as a threat against bad kids.”
Video clips of his scares began showing up online and attracting a lot of attention in 2015. A Kickstarter was formed in 2016 by Naples filmmaker Cary Longchamps who was trying to raise $45,000 for a documentary movie about the clown’s adventures, but the campaign ended with less than $4,000 in pledges.
However, Wrinkles caught the eyes of Hollywood filmmakers, which was made apparent earlier this year when news was released of an upcoming documentary about the clown. Just last month, Variety reported that Magnet Releasing, a subsidiary of Magnolia Pictures specializing in foreign and genre films, had purchased the rights to the clown documentary.
“Wrinkles is finally getting his theatrical release, and audiences will get to see first-hand how the clown interacts with the people of Naples and what crazy appearances he’s been paid to make around town,” says Gary DeWaard.
The documentary, entitled Wrinkles the Clown, is scheduled for a limited release in the United States on October 4, 2019.
Gary DeWaard is an avid moviegoer and film critic who shares personal reviews and trending news on upcoming releases and entertainment with his online audience. In anticipation of Rian Johnson’s latest directorial project, DeWaard discusses the star-studded film Knives Out below, which is set to release later this fall from Lionsgate.
For years, Gary DeWaard has worked in the entertainment industry where he’s served in a number of creative roles including taking on the position of manager for a production studio. In his professional career, he’s launched music-streaming services and produced a large-scale stadium concert. He’s been called a creative innovator who represents a forward-thinking, entrepreneurial spirit, and he has become a connoisseur on all things entertainment over time.
He’s always been an avid fan of film and today keeps up with industry news to share with his online readers. In anticipation of Rian Johnson’s Upcoming Film Knives Out, Gary DeWaard discusses why the film is making big headlines and what people should know before they see the film.
“Knives Out revives the murder-mystery franchise with one of the most solid and impressive casts ever to appear in the genre,” says Gary DeWaard. “Besides fulfilling the must-haves for a quintessential mystery film, director Rian Johnson has packed his movie with comedy, action, and true-to-life drama.”
Rian Johnson is best known for creating iconic Hollywood films like The Brothers Bloom (2008), Looper (2012), and last year’s second Star Wars installment, The Last Jedi. This will be his first film since helming the internationally-popular Star Wars franchise, and people are expecting his work to reinvigorate the murder-mystery genre. Besides directing it, he also wrote the script for the film.
A lot of the talk around Knives Out is due to it having one of the most impressive ensemble casts in years. The film stars Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Don Johnson, Toni Collette, Lakeith Stanfield, Katherine Langford, Jaeden Martell, and Christopher Plummer.
It has been described as a modern take on the whodunit murder mystery, following the family of a famous mystery writer gather at his mansion to honor the family patriarch’s death, which then leads a master detective to investigate the culprit among them.
“Few films today–even superhero summer blockbusters–carry all the fun and exciting aspects that Johnson has crammed into his murder-mystery tale,” says Gary DeWaard. “It’s an unusual project for the director who seems to appreciate action and epic-scale stories more than anything. However, I think these elements will suit Knives Out well, and will help reel in audiences who normally wouldn’t see this type of film on their own.”
The film had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 7, 2019 and is scheduled to be theatrically released in the United States on November 27, 2019, by Lionsgate.
Entertainment professional and film aficionado Gary DeWaard shares insight into production studio news with online readers and details of movies-in-the-works. Here, he helps readers understand the hype around A24’s wide release of Robert Eggers’ film The Lighthouse later this fall.
“Few independent film production studios have made as much noise in the last few years as A24 has, and they’ve gained a reputation for being a horror movie powerhouse,” says Gary DeWaard.
While A24 isn’t strictly a horror movie studio––they’re the producers behind award-winning Lady Bird from 2017––they have contributed over a dozen buzz-worthy films to the horror industry since 2016 alone.
Next up on their list of genre-bending horror features is Robert Eggers’ The Lighthouse starring Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe.
“Robert Eggers is fairly new to Hollywood, he’s only made one other feature film,” says Gary DeWaard. “However, his first movie The Witch is still one of the most talked about horror films of the decade.”
In The Witch, Robert Eggers painted a bleak picture of family life in New England during the 17th century. The film is grounded in harsh realism and a lingering sense of dread as an isolated family encounters a tribe of witches deep in their woods. While serving as a respected period piece, Eggers’ film was most praised for its true-to-life portrait of an unraveling family facing the elements and its depiction of old-world evil.
His second movie, The Lighthouse, is set to release this October and takes a far departure from the stylings and choices Eggers made in The Witch.
“Everything is different in The Lighthouse,” says Gary DeWaard. “The movie is shot entirely in black-and-white film, giving a whole new feel to the approach on horror. The camera angles are different, the lenses are different, and the Lovecraftian themes running through it are starkly different from the creepiness and mythology of Colonial New England.”
In The Lighthouse, a pair of lighthouse keepers weather harsh storms atop their rocky perch overlooking the ocean. Over the course of the film, each of the men are faced with solitude and the loss of sanity, and they’re threatened by dark and mysterious forces surrounding the lighthouse.
It premiered at the Cannes Film Festival on May 19, 2019 where it received critical acclaim. Eggers was highly praised for his direction and his choice of technical aspects as were Dafoe and Pattinson for their performances.
“With as much talk surrounding the follow up to The Witch, this isn’t going to be one of those films that slides under the radar,” says Gary DeWaard. “Without anyone seeing it, the film is already expected to shake up the horror industry and possibly nab a few awards when the season rolls around.”
A24 has scheduled to release The Lighthouse on October 18th.
One of the most beloved superheroes of all time, Spider-Man has helped move studios gross billions of dollars in recent years, especially during the character’s latest run in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Gary DeWaard explains why the character is again in the media and what the disagreement over studio ownership means for fans.
A big fan of the latest wave of superhero films, Gary DeWaard tracks the progress of upcoming movies, stays current on casting and crew roles, and keeps readers informed of any emerging obstacles. Recently, DeWaard has followed the subject of Spider-Man closely in the media after the huge success of Far From Home and the subsequent battle over film rights to the character.
“Spider-Man is one of those age-old superhero characters that everyone knew growing up either from comic books, cartoon TV shows, or films like Sam Raimi’s trilogy,” says Gary DeWaard. “The problem is that Spider-Man is clearly a Marvel product since he came from the Marvel comic universe, but his films right have belonged to Sony Studios for decades.”
Spider-Man first appeared in comic form in 1962 as a collaborative effort between Stan Lee and writer-artist Steve Ditko, but it took decades for him to appear in film. Sony Studios is responsible for the three Sam Raimi Spider-Man movies (2002-2007) that brought the web-slinger to the big screen for the first time. Each of these movies was a tremendous box office success and earned hundreds of millions of dollars for Sony Studios.
In 2012, Marc Webb tried his hand at a new Spider-Man reboot with a brand-new cast and the title of the Amazing Spider-Man, focusing on less-explored villains and characters. While not as big of a hit as Raimi’s depiction, Webb’s reboot and the subsequent sequel still earned hundreds of millions of dollars for Sony once again.
“Flash forward a few years to Disney’s various mergers and the studio leasing the rights to a series of Spider-Man appearances in their MCU films, and you’ll see where things get iffy,” says Gary DeWaard.
Once Disney purchased Marvel studios, it seemed clear that they would own the film rights to the entire Marvel pantheon of characters. However, because Sony still owned certain film rights whereas Marvel owned only character rights, it required Disney to broker a unique deal to allow him to appear in their latest superhero movies. That deal lasted for five appearances (two solo films, three Avenger appearances) with both production studios collaborating on the work and with Disney earning only a very small percentage of profit from the character.
Recently, ongoing talks to allow Disney more ownership rights to Spider-Man have fallen through, with the character’s film rights returning to Sony though his latest and greatest run has been with Disney. Marvel Studios (a Disney-owned property) is hopeful that they will one day be able to broker a more efficient deal with Sony, but for now, many fans are worried that their beloved Tom Holland depiction of Spidey may disappear from future films.
“Fans should rest easier knowing that both Sony and Marvel want to keep up Spider-Man’s wild success in theaters, meaning they will work hard to satisfy moviegoers,” says Gary DeWaard. “If he won’t appear in the next MCU film, he will almost certainly make an appearance in the sequel to Sony’s recent smash hit Venom, which is focused on Spider-Man’s iconic nemesis anyways.”
Gary DeWaard, Manager of Horizons Events Center, is pleased to finally open the doors of the new venue and host a kickoff concert series for the people of Clive, IA. Among other notable performances, Horizons will host world-famous reggae-pop group UB40 during the concert series.
Entertainment fanatic Gary DeWaard has held a passion for music, film, and performance since childhood, and has worked diligently since to get his own productions off the ground. Today he’s proud to be an instrumental component of the opening of a new entertainment venue, Horizons Events Center, that will be available to the people of Clive, IA and visitors beginning this September.
The Horizon Events Center will serve as Central Iowa’s premier year-round event space. By functioning as a versatile venue, it will host everything from large concerts and scheduled public events to family, social, and corporate experiences of all sizes. Gary DeWaard and others involved are proud to support a reliable community resource for Central Iowa and beyond.
“We’re bringing a world of experiences to the citizens of Clive and the larger Central Iowa,” says Gary DeWaard. “By opening a venue of this size and caliber, we’re connecting people with a variety of acts and artful performances, and we’re giving them a beautiful event space to use for all their venue needs.”
To start off on the right foot, Horizons will bring in reggae and pop group UB40 on September 17th, marking the venue’s first in-house booking and performance following its hosting of Clint Black as a backup space. UB40 are based out of Birmingham, England and boasts two Billboard chart toppers with “Red Red Wine” and “Can’t Help Falling in Love”.
“We’re all stoked to have UB40 headline our first concert series at Horizon Events Center,”
DeWaard said. “What better way to start than with a world-famous band with over 40 years of touring experience?”
It’s a tremendous occasion for Clive as UB40 are one of the most commercially successful reggae acts of all time. To date, the band has sold over 70 million records across a career spanning decades. Since forming, they have toured sold-out shows around the world as well as headlining the Reggae Sunsplash music festival in Jamaica. They helped share reggae with foreign countries like Russia and others in South America where the music had never found a footing before.
UB40 have performed twice at the Night of the Proms, the first in 2000 and again in 2006. They have also been nominated four times for a Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album and were nominated for a Brit Award for Best British Group in 1984. Their show at Horizons will take place during their ‘For the Many’ 40th anniversary tour.
“We’re equipped with state-of-the-art production equipment and flexible seating arrangements so that we can provide Clive and our surrounding communities with the ultimate viewing experience for any event,” says Gary DeWaard. “And we’re very excited to kick things off with UB40!”
Independent production studio A24 has recently purchased the North American distribution rights for Peter Strickland’s horror film In Fabric after it debuted at the Cannes festival this year. The movie is expected to add another worthy addition to the studio’s already impressive lineup of artistic modern horror and thriller films.
While A24 isn’t primarily a horror-production studio, Gary DeWaard notes that it’s created some of the most masterful horror films in the last decade that have redefined how audiences experience the genre. Apart from their drama-centric films such as Room, Lady Bird, and Moonlight, A24 is responsible for the American distribution of new horror classics like Hereditary, It Comes at Night, The Witch, Midsommar, and Green Room.
“They’re pushing out some of the most iconic horror films of the decade and creating a library of future cult classics that will stick around for years,” says Gary DeWaard. “In addition, they’ve produced debut directors like Ari Aster that is changing the game for the entire horror genre.”
Ari Aster gained national acclaim with his debut feature film Hereditary last fall, which has been called the greatest horror film since the Exorcist by many. The movie was praised for Aster’s visionary approach to old horror tropes and the powerful and dramatic performances he drew from actors such as Toni Collette and Ann Dowd. His sophomore horror film, released just a year later, was a stark contrast from his first in terms of tone and visuals. The bright, fairytale imagery of Midsommar is one of the main reasons the movie so impressed horror fans and critics alike.
Next up on the trailblazing production house’s list of horror films is Peter Strickland’s In Fabric, which is set to release later this fall. At first glance, In Fabric seems to be one of A24’s riskiest investments yet, as the horror film centers around a killer dress that was purchased in a high-end British retail store.
“When you see the trailer and you get your first impression that this movie is about a killer dress, you don’t know what to think,” says Gary DeWaard. “But when you see [Strickland’s] take on Argento and Lynch approaches horror, it becomes a beautiful arthouse film and the quirky horror elements are just added bonuses.”
A24 bought the North American rights to the horror film following its premiere at the Toronto Film Festival and plans a theatrical release this fall. It’s already gaining buzz as the next great horror installment thanks to the director’s visionary style and the knockout performance from lead actress Marianne Jean-Baptiste. In Fabric follows a lonely woman who has unknowingly purchased a cursed dress from a sinister department store in London.
“Whether they’ve intended to or not, A24 has gained an international reputation for modern horror masterpieces, and In Fabric is expected to make as big a mark on the genre as any film they’ve released so far,” says Gary DeWaard.
In less than two years, director Ari Aster went from having an inexistent film career to identifying himself as one of the most iconic horror film creators of the 21st-century. Below, Gary DeWaard discusses Aster’s nearly-overnight rise to fame between the release of his two A24 produced films Hereditary and Midsommar.
Gary DeWaard is a film fanatic who spends his free time at theaters, streaming films at home, reading scripts, analyzing movies and providing in-depth reviews of trending Hollywood topics. Having recently viewed director Ari Aster’s latest film Midsommar, he helps readers understand how the director achieved his fame and why many consider him such a standout film creator.
“Ari Aster is just into his 30s and already he’s made a major name for himself in Hollywood and has risen to the very top of his genre,” says Gary DeWaard. “In just two films, he’s presented audiences with a pair of the most nuanced and truly horrifying stories told in the past two decades.”
Hereditary is Aster’s directorial debut and premiered in 2018 as a supernatural psychological horror drama that he also wrote the script for. It stars Toni Collette as an artist recently haunted after the death of her mother who slowly unveils a sinister cult scheme with her family at its center. The film also stars Alex Wolff, Milly Shapiro, and Gabriel Byrne who each play significant parts in what has been called the most horrifying series of events since The Exorcist.
Immediately, the film was lauded for its beautiful camera shots, its eerie cinematography, it’s an intricate story and horrific true-to-life depiction of a family tragedy.
“Before Hereditary, Aster had only created and produced a handful of short films,” says Gary DeWaard. “All his work centers on drama––but in highly distinctive and terrifying ways. This first film showed the world what he was capable of and will certainly go down in history as one of the great horror classics.”
Quickly following up his debut film, Aster released Midsommar with A24 this past summer to varying reviews. The most standout detail of this film, separating it starkly from Hereditary, is the bright, dizzying cinematography which has never been featured so prominently in a horror film before.
The story follows a couple with a troubled relationship who are accompanying friends on a trip to a fabled Swedish midsummer festival. The bright atmosphere and beautiful setting juxtapose the evil going on within the ring of locals preying slowly on the visitors.
“Never before have we seen such bright colors in a horror film, and they provide such a stark contrast to the intense drama on screen,” says Gary DeWaard. “Aster has reinvented his own genre after first proving his worth in more traditional horror storytelling.”
Hereditary remains A24’s top earner at the box office, and with Midsommar still in theaters, Gary DeWaard hopes the director will get all the support from horror and non-horror theater-goers that he deserves.
Hollywood fanatic Gary DeWaard keeps his readers informed of all the latest industry news as well as provides them insightful film reviews. An avid fan of the Warner Bros. (WB) DC Universe, he discusses the latest news surrounding the infamous director’s cut from 2017’s Justice League film below.
Zack Snyder helmed a handful of beloved comic book films such as Watchmen and 300 before taking on the DC universe for WB. It began with his 2013 movie Man of Steel which shed new light and a fresh perspective on the decades-old Superman storyline.
The film was a critical and commercial success, and Snyder was praised for his work on the classic superhero’s backstory. His choice as the lead filmmaker behind the expanding DC universe was considered an ideal pairing by many.
“Snyder, who was already known for his visionary filmmaking, brought a fresh take on the Superman origin story,” says Gary DeWaard. “His casting was spot on and people were genuinely excited to see where he would lead the heroes of the DC universe to next.”
In 2016, Zack Snyder released Batman vs. Superman, his follow up film to Man of Steel, which saw the two superheroes face off against each other and against some of DC’s most notorious villains. The movie also introduced the world to Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman who currently sits on top of the throne of female superheroes.
2017’s Justice League was meant to simultaneously conclude the original trilogy origin story of the superheroes’ uniting and begin the next trilogy that would continue with Justice League 2 and a mysterious follow-up film.
“However, the mixed critical reception around BvS made the production studio uneasy with Snyder’s filmmaking decisions,” says Gary DeWaard. “He supposedly only made it so far into the production of Justice League before being forced to step away because of a family tragedy.”
Others speculated that he was let go from the project due to disagreements behind the scenes. Regardless, Avengers director Joss Whedon stepped in to finish up the film, and while early reports mentioned only small changes, the 3.5 hour runtime was immediately trimmed down to a measly two hours. When the film released, it was clear the tone and characteristics from Snyder’s worked were replaced with a more washed out and bland vision. Snyder was dismissed from future movies and Justice League went on to be the DC Universe’s biggest flop to date.
Since it released, many team members behind Snyder’s film have come forward with screenshots, drawings, and new details about what was meant to be. Besides a longer background story for Cyborg and a lot less CGI on Superman’s face (a massive post-production problem), it was recently revealed the main antagonist of the overarching story, Darkseid, played a much larger role in Snyder’s Justice League to many fans intense excitement.
“I still believe there’s hope that audiences may get to see Snyder’s original version of Justice League one day,” says Gary DeWaard, “especially now with WB’s recent transition to a new CEO and HBO’s release of their Max streaming service which highlights the film.”