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‘Before I Wake’: Do you know the Canker Man?

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A grieving couple who recently lost their only son decide to adopt a young boy with extraordinary, and incredibly dangerous, powers!

What you have to understand, keep it forefront in your mind because the Hobsons sure did, is that Sean’s death was an accident. Dad Mark (Thomas Jane) wasn’t there, Mom Jessie (Kate Bosworth) stepped away for just a minute or two, tops, and Sean drowned in only a few inches of water in the bathtub. It as an accident, yes, group therapy understands this and all that guilt and everything else Mom and Dad deal with, but they’ve chosen to attempt to fill that awful void now. By adopting a young orphan boy of similar approximate age to Sean (Antonio Romero) named Cody.

We know Cody (Jacob Tremblay) was the poor soul with a gun pointed at him from the opening blip of the film, so we gather the kid has something unique about him that potentially inspires murder, but what it turns out to be is far better, and terrifyingly much worse, than anyone could have guessed.

Yes, I am going to spoil it for everyone; deal. Cody is extraordinarily gifted in that, wait for it, his dreams can literally come true. We know Cody loves butterflies; the Hobsons encounter a cross between a firefly and a Monarch, lighting up their living room like fairies. We know Cody wants to please the Hobsons, they certainly seem like gentle, caring souls; what could possibly make grieving parents the happiest?

From this question, as Jessie begins to clutch at Cody like an addict, we learn at least some of the extent of Cody’s powers – he had to have heard Sean’s voice to make his dream complete, so Jessie played him a video of the Hobson family previous Christmas, complete with Sean in his jammies everywhere, laughing and giggling and being alive. And next thing you know, the addict and her husband have both had a fix, a drug in the form of a little sad, scared boy who genuinely only wants to be good, but just can’t help getting scared sometimes. That’s when shit gets hairy.

Cody is a bright child, very bright as it turns out, and his desires when awake to be helpful and good everywhere are noble, absolutely. But he is still a child, and when he sleeps and can’t help but fear, this malevolent force Cody named the Canker Man, manifests in all its shuddersome glory. The Canker Man comes, and he/it is without mercy or pity, there is no stopping the Canker Man at all, he/it usually pops out and carts off the main person Cody has come to love, and ultimately, fear for too. They just poof, disappear, into utter nothingness – there is NO stopping the Canker Man.

After Mark gets effectively eaten by the Canker Man, Jessie decides to do some investigating of her own. A visit to the orphanage Cody came from and some talk with his caretaker Natalie (Annabeth Gish), fraught discussion with Cody’s former foster father in a nuthouse too, and Jessie believes she knows what needs to be done to save that poor abandoned boy, finally.

No child should be chided for their fears, but they do need to be taught how to deal with them as a proper civilized person would, and Cody, way more so than your average kid, because he simply isn’t your average kid. Most, not all but most, children need a caring mother, and not all families are born from blood. Jessie clearly demonstrates that a mothers love can embrace all monsters, show courage in the face of nebulous black fears, and forgive damn near anything you might have done as an utterly terrified child.

Before I Wake does an excellent job at showcasing the wonders and terrors imminent in raising a child, regardless of whether that child came from your own loins or not. Children are often presented in horror films as the only ones who can see the monsters, and therefore think they have to deal with them all alone, never believed, always condemned for events they honestly did not do. While ‘Before I Wake’ takes a fun twist on this kiddie-Horror concept, the handling of raising gifted children and parental grief is something we can all appreciate, and Netflix approached the story with grace and love.

Don’t let the Canker Man get you, catch his nasty truth in Before I Wake on Netflix now!

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Caesar’s Reign Comes To The Big Screen With New Trailer For Kingdom Of The Planet Of The Apes

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Director Wes Ball breathes new life into the global, epic franchise set several generations in the future following Caesar’s reign, in which apes are the dominant species living harmoniously and humans have been reduced to living in the shadows. As a new tyrannical ape leader builds his empire, one young ape undertakes a harrowing journey that will cause him to question all that he has known about the past and to make choices that will define a future for apes and humans alike. “Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes” is directed by Wes Ball (the “Maze Runner” trilogy) and stars Owen Teague (“IT”), Freya Allan (“The Witcher”), Kevin Durand (“Locke & Key”), Peter Macon (“Shameless”), and William H. Macy (“Fargo”). The screenplay is by Josh Friedman (“War of the Worlds”) and Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver (“Avatar: The Way of Water”) and Patrick Aison (“Prey”), based on characters created by Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver, and the producers are Wes Ball, Joe Hartwick, Jr., p.g.a. (“The Maze Runner”), Rick Jaffa, p.g.a., Amanda Silver, p.g.a., Jason Reed, p.g.a. (“Mulan”), with Peter Chernin (the “Planet of the Apes” trilogy) and Jenno Topping (“Ford v. Ferrari”) serving as executive producers.

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Masterchef Is Back! For Halo Season 2

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A quick recap – Halo is set in a war-torn 26th century, where humanity led by the United Nations Space Command or UNSC and their supersoldiers known as Spartans, fights against the onslaught of the alien conglomerate known as the Covenant. The full dust-up of Halo Season 1, can be found here. Onward into the introduction of Halo Season 2!

It’s been six months since the forced separation of Spartan Masterchief John (Pablo Schreiber) and Cortana (Jen Taylor), and the Silver Team has been sent on a mission to evacuate residents of the planet Sanctuary before the Covenant glasses the whole thing. This comes with its own set of challenges, given the resistance of the planet’s inhabitants, and it doesn’t help that Masterchef starts seeing things right in the middle of trying to save some marines. Or is he? Those energy swords the squad of Elites were carrying looked worryingly real.

Back on Reach, the Silver Team is entirely dismayed to learn they have a brand new Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) representative come in as the new boss, to finally replace the traitorous Halsey, James Ackerson (Joseph Morgan). And of course, Ackerson manages to immediately get under Masterchief’s skin, by not only expressing far too much interest in John’s relationship with Cortana but also apparently disbelieving of John’s report of his encounters on Sanctuary. That just means Masterchief has to go around, if not entirely over, Ackerson’s head.

Elsewhere, Soren (Bokeem Woodbine) is trolling the slave markets in his boredom, only to stumble across a soon-to-be indentured servant who claims he knows the whereabouts of the UNSC’s most hunted human, Catherine Halsey (Natascha McElhone). That should bring a huge bounty, but really, Soren should’ve known better by now.

Halo Season 2 premieres Thursday, February 8th, 2024, and will continue to air every Thursday, only on Paramount+!

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Reborn as a Vending Machine I Now Wander the Dungeon’: I look forward to your next use!  

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If the title of this delightful little isekai anime entry didn’t give it all away, our nameless protagonist is a vending machine fanatic who, after being killed by a vending machine, gets reincarnated in another fantasy-style world as one! 

Japan has a tendency to give birth to all sorts of crazed fads that can last for decades, and no one does better when it comes to the vending machine industry, too. These days there are vending machines that will serve you sushi you can actually eat, hot pizza in the box, wagyu steaks, freshly popped popcorn, and a whole mind-boggling array of tasty treats, and other non-edible but still useful items! Umbrellas! Condoms! Oxygen masks, sterile bandages, shoes, and emergency clothing! Actually, far more things that we use on an everyday basis, could be considered as technically a vending machine, and the anime explores that beautifully. Into the world of vending machine fanaticism, we dive! 

So our poor protagonist never gave a name, and inevitably when he’s discovered by his first official friend the starving hunter Lammis, she dubs him “Boxxo”. Like many isekai that seem to take inspiration from video games and RPGs, Boxxo discovers he ways he can communicate, level up his existence, and even evince magic-like powers and attack and defend against monsters and enemies. Though in the beginning, and as an underlying theme throughout the show, Boxxo is primarily concerned with providing unique never-before-tasted-in-this-world food and drink to the amazed folk, human and otherwise. 

Boxxo’s prices are entirely reasonable and hey, he can even choose to give out his wares for free on occasion, so his popularity immediately skyrockets. Lammis with her awkward charm and prodigious strength blessing, introduces Boxxo to other friends of Clearflow Lake Village and associates along the way – Director Bear, an actual bear-monster who’s the head of the Hunters Association; Lammis’ friend Hulemy, the insane genius magic item engineer; the Bearcats Suco, Pell, Short and Mikenne, cheerful hunters with astronomic appetites; even suspicious Kerioyl, leader of the Menagerie of Fools party. 

The show approaches the practicality and versatility of the true vending machine with amusement, but also with the love true fans display for things they’re passionate about. Certainly, things like a brothel needing a condom vending machine exist in our world, but to toss them into a potentially more innocent other-world isekai is a welcome and often hilarious treat. The show celebrates the cheerful idiocy and devotion of the fans to their chosen fandom, in this case, yes vending machines, but also the spirit of the lonely otaku finally finding their Tribe! 

Pay your coins to watch ‘Reborn as a Vending Machine’ on Crunchyroll now! 

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