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MOVIE REVIEWS: Shazam! and Pet Sematary

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VVNG- Shazam! – Zachary Levi, Jack Dylan Grazer, Asher Angel

When I was a teen, I used to ask for things like baggy pants, skater shoes, and to get my portrait taken at the indoor swap meet. Boy, was I dumb! Why da heck didn’t I ask for superpowers? Imagine being a kid and all of a sudden gaining powers like super-speed, super-strength, and the ability to fly. If that would have happened, people would have stopped focusing on my acne and started admiring my glorious muscles. Well, there’s no need to imagine anymore. Instead, you can just go watch this hilarious movie about a 14-year-old who can transform into a superhero by saying…. SHAZAM! That way you can see exactly what would happen if you would have received the wisdom of Solomon, the strength of Hercules, the stamina of Atlas, the power of Zeus, the courage of Achilles, and the speed of Mercury, when you were a youngster, instead of a burnt CD containing all of the greatest Smash Mouth hits.

Even though this is a superhero flick, it is primarily a comedy. It made me and the audience laugh more than a few times. Zachary Levi is great as the magical hero, and his sidekick Fredy (played by Jack Dylan Grazer) is absolutely hilarious and probably the best part of the movie. The bad guy and his evil partners are kind of lame and don’t really wreak the havoc they promised they would wreak. However, the main story about a foster kid who has always been on his own, and now has to learn how to allow himself to be loved, while dealing with his newfound powers, is great. It also has a surprise in the third act that had a lot of people in the theater cheering. I recommend you check this out on the big screen, you are sure to have a blast watching this lighthearted flick that is not afraid to be silly or make fun of itself.

The Rating: “Checky Seal of Approval!”

Official Synopsis: We all have a superhero inside of us — it just takes a bit of magic to bring it out. In 14-year-old Billy Batson’s case, all he needs to do is shout out one word to transform into the adult superhero Shazam. Still a kid at heart, Shazam revels in the new version of himself by doing what any other teen would do — have fun while testing out his newfound powers. But he’ll need to master them quickly before the evil Dr. Thaddeus Sivana can get his hands on Shazam’s magical abilities.

Pet SemataryJason Clarke, John Lithgow, Jeté Laurence

The day either one of my dogs leaves me to go to doggo heaven, will undoubtedly be a horrible day and I will turn into a complete and utter hot mess. If someone comes along and offers me the opportunity to resurrect my doggy, I would be tempted to follow his instructions… But only for a quick second! I have seen too many zombie movies to do something as stupid as raising the dead! And that’s just what the characters did in this movie… Something stupid, something that could have and should have been avoided, and they did it in a slow and boring way too.

Besides having characters making frustrating choices, the movie also throws in a whole lot of horror movie tropes into the mix that are never fully fleshed out. There are useless ghosts, sinister hauntings, vengeful spirits, jump scares you see coming miles away, evil children, and evil animals in the flick. It is very disappointing that despite having all of these plot elements in the movie, everything still felt empty… Wait, I meant SOUL-LESS (ha). The little girl that comes out and turns evil, is great, and I didn’t mind watching her part of the story. She and the cat (that also turns evil) are the best parts of this movie. Unfortunately, it is not a good enough reason to have resurrected this story in the first place.

The Rating: “Checky Stamp of Disappointment!”

Official Synopsis: Dr. Louis Creed and his wife, Rachel, relocate from Boston to rural Maine with their two young children. The couple soon discover a mysterious burial ground hidden deep in the woods near their new home. When tragedy strikes, Louis turns to his neighbour Jud Crandall, setting off a perilous chain reaction that unleashes an unspeakable evil with horrific consequences.


Ezequiel T (a.k.a., El Checky) is a Translator with a lifelong passion for films. He has been reviewing movies for years and has been watching, discussing and sometimes even making them for as long as he can remember. When reviewing them, he has a simple way of recommending a good movie by giving it The “Checky™ Seal Of Approval!” which is due to his childhood nickname. He currently lives in Victorville, CA with his wife of 12 years, Joanna.

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Movie Reviews: Birds of Prey and Sonic the Hedgehog

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Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn – Margot Robbie, Marie Elizabeth Winstead, Jurnee Smollet-Bell, Rosie Perez and Ewan McGregor.

Raise your hand if you have a crazy break up story. Ok, now raise your hand if you’ve ever blown up a factory (like Harley does in this movie) as a symbolic gesture of independence from your former partner. WAIT!!! You know what? Nevermind, don’t raise it. I don’t want to testify against you in court. Instead, why don’t you just go watch this flick and enjoy the absolutely bonkers aftermath of The Joker and Harley Quinn’s toxic relationship? Maybe it will help make you realize that your former flame isn’t as bad as you remember him/her when you compare them to the over-the-top events that take place in this uniquely bizarre film. 

As soon as Mr. J (literally) kicks Harley to the curb, everyone in Gotham who has beef with her finds out she’s not protected anymore and starts trying to get payback for whatever ludicrous thing she might have done to them. Good thing is that this vivacious babe is no damsel in distress. She is strong, capable, and as smart as she is adorable. So, whoever is foolish enough to try and cross the incomparable Ms. Quinn, is in for an outrageously topsy turvy world of hurt. 

This movie isn’t JUST about Harley, though, there are also other characters who appear in the movie that make up the titular “Birds”. While there’s nothing wrong with any of them, in fact, they are pretty freaking badass, they don’t really get to shine as much as they undoubtedly could. This is a bummer because they kind of end up feeling like they were an afterthought, and Harley should have just had the whole movie to herself and it would have still been great. Also, I know this movie is Rated – R, but sometimes it was TOO dark like it didn’t know where the line was or didn’t care that it crossed it a few times. I don’t mind violence, but when it’s done for no reason other than to be edgy, it just makes me uncomfortable. Aside from that, this is a very entertaining movie that is as vibrant, lively and chaotic as our favorite spunky, fun-loving and insanely violent bad girl. 

Score: “Checky™ Sticker of Tolerance!”

Official Synopsis: It’s open season on Harley Quinn when her explosive breakup with the Joker puts a big fat target on her back. Unprotected and on the run, Quinn faces the wrath of narcissistic crime boss Black Mask, his right-hand man, Victor Zsasz, and every other thug in the city. But things soon even out for Harley when she becomes unexpected allies with three deadly women — Huntress, Black Canary and Renee Montoya.

Sonic the Hedgehog – Jim Carrey, James Marsden, Ben Schwartz (as Sonic’s Voice)

One of the best memories I have of my childhood is when my parents got my brothers and me a Sega Genesis in the 90s. I still remember the first time we used it. We unboxed and connected everything, popped in the Sonic the Hedgehog video game, turned it on, got goosebumps when we heard the glorious “Segaaaaaa” jingle and were immediately blown away as soon as we started playing with the little blue blur. We spent hours and hours trying to get through all of the levels in the game, yelling when Sonic would lose his rings, stressing out when he would almost drown, and celebrating everytime we defeated Dr. Robotnick. 

I kept playing Sonic the Hedgehog games well into my adult years and have always had a special place in my heart for the charismatic speed demon, and I’m sure this is true for a lot of you as well. My expectations for this movie were super low because I never thought a movie would be good enough for a character that brought me so much joy, but I actually ended up liking it a lot.

Sometimes the jokes in the movie don’t land, there is a henchman that is pretty useless, and Jim Carrey’s performance is at times a BIT too wacky and cringey, but for the most part, this is a very delightful and surprisingly heartwarming flick. 

James Marsden is wonderful, charming and likeable. Jim Carrey is at his most Jim Carreyest ever, and the majority of his performance is hilarious and brilliant. The action sequences are top notch when they are (super) fast-paced, and dazzlingly impressive when Sonic is going so fast that everything around him slows down. Also, there’s a ton of moments that are incredibly sweet and help make this movie stand out from other video game adaptations.

You should definitely go watch this movie if you want to relive your childhood, hear your kiddos laugh, and/or just enjoy an amusing and splendid family flick. Just make sure you aren’t too hyped up after it’s over that you get a speeding ticket on the way home.

Score: “Checky™ Sticker of Tolerance!”

Official Synopsis: Sonic tries to navigate the complexities of life on Earth with his newfound best friend — a human named Tom Wachowski. They must soon join forces to prevent the evil Dr. Robotnik from capturing Sonic and using his powers for world domination.

What did you think of Harley and/or Sonic? Do you agree or disagree with me? Which flick are you checking out this week? Let me know in the comments below. Have a great day at the movies, and don’t forget to save me some popcorn.

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Swedish artist Tove Lo films latest video “Bikini Porn” in Victorville and Hesperia

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tove lo instagram victorville

VICTORVILLE, Calif. (VVNG.com) — Swedish singer-songwriter Tove Lo, premiered her latest music video today titled “Bikini Porn” and if you recognize some of the scenes, that’s because it was filmed in the cities of Victorville and Hesperia.

Ebba Tove Elsa Nilsson or better known by her fans as Tove Lo was born on October 29, 1987, and is referred to as “Sweden’s darkest pop export” by Rolling Stone. She is known for her raw, grunge-influenced take on pop music.

The singer who has 1.8 million followers on Instagram shared her latest video with the world on Friday, January 17, 2020, and said, “anyone shocked it’s basically me running around in a bikini? Didn’t think so.”

The nearly 3-minute long video shows the dancer dressed in various different colored bikinis as she dances around the desert, a bar, elevator, hotel pool, gym, and even on the back of a flat-bed trailer.

In one scene, the barefooted singer is dressed in a leopard print one-piece bikini as she’s dancing around the inside of a CD shop before she’s removed and taken to the parking lot.

During a recent interview with Rolling Stone, the singer told the magazine this video was very fun and very bizarre to shoot. “There were only seven of us in a van as the crew driving around Victorville. Been a while since I did a run and gun shoot; I loved it!”

Tove Lo ended her Instagram post by thanking the good people of Victorville and Hesperia. “Thank you for being so nice and for not calling the cops on me. Time to drink champagne all day xx.”

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Mandatory Credit: Photo by Ibl/Shutterstock (9369274c) Tove Lo Grammis Awards, Grand Hotel, Stockholm, Sweden – 08 Feb 2018
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Santa Fe Trading Co. hosting holiday fair in Old Town Victorville

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VICTORVILLE, Calif. (VVNG.com) — With the holidays quickly approaching and the malls busier than ever, Santa Fe Trading Co is hosting a holiday art and craft fair and a chance at more unique gifts.

The fair is boasting over 80+ vendors offering hand-crafted items, gifts, and novelties. The hours for the event are 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. this Saturday, Dec. 21. 

Some of the items that will be offered include crochet items, metal work, paintings, jewelry, clothing, homemade dog treats, shabby chic furniture and more. 

In addition to vendors, there will also be Christmas carolers,  performances by “Harmonology,” and the Country Crossroads band throughout the event. Artist Sydney Encarnacion will also be singing from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Coleen Quinn from Y102 will also be in attendance doing a live remote show from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

The event is for all ages and Santa Claus will also be in attendance and available for visits and pictures during the event. 

Refreshments will be provided by D’vine wine bar and include wine and beer for $5.00 and hot chocolate for $2.00. Food will also be offered and choices include tacos, burgers, bbq, and hot dogs. 

Santa Fe Trading Co. is located at 15464 7th St in “Old Town,” Victorville. Parking is limited on-site but street parking is available as well. 

Though this is not classified as a cash-only event it is recommended to bring cash as some vendors do not accept cards.

To follow updates to this article and more, Join our newsgroup on Facebook with over 140,000 members, Like our Facebook page, and Follow us on Instagram and Twitter.

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