Super Recaps: The Twilight Zone (Mr. Motivation)

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The Twilight Zone and all the images you see in this recap are owned by Warner Bros Television and based on the series created by Rod Serling

Episode directed by Deran Sarafian

We’re back with another episode of The Twilight Zone Saga: New Millennium, and boy do we have something new for you all today!  This episode is unlike any other we’ve seen so far as it is a… wait for it… COMEDY!!  That’s right!  Not an unintended comedy like that one about the guitar or watching Katherine Heigl try to kill baby Hitler!  This one wants you to chuckle right along with it instead of directly at it!  Does this series know how to loosen up and have a genuine sense of wit about itself?  Let’s find out!!

The episode begins with what might be the most attended office birthday party that wasn’t catered as everyone and their mother apparently left their stations to go to a cubicle and sing For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow.  Wait, what?  Is the birthday song copyrighted or something?  Hold on.

HOLY CRAP, IT IS!!  Apparently that song has had some sort of copyright on it since 1935 with Warner/Chappell music acquiring a company that claimed to have owned it back in 1985 and have been collecting royalties on it since!  That is until 2016 when a court ordered that their copyright was not valid for reasons that I’ve only skimmed now and will surely take up an afternoon of your time if you wish to look into it, and Warner/Chappell is required to refund the royalties they’ve collected for it.  Darn you, Warner Bros television!  If you had stuck to your guns and used the CORRECT song, you would be getting your seven hundred bucks back anyway!  Who looks like a fool now, Warner Bros Television?  Who looks like a fool now?

Did I really take this recap completely off the rails because of the Birthday Song?  Let’s see if we can somehow get back on track.  So anyway, the cubicle in question belongs to Charlie (Wallace Langham) who is one of many office drones in this building that does… stuff, and is having a rather joyous little celebration at his desk complete with trick candle on his cupcake, but all that comes to a SCREECHING halt as soon as The Boss (Christopher McDonald) comes through and tells everyone to get back to work; something they do with great gusto and more than recommend amount of abject terror.  The Boss by the way looks like a cross between Thomas Haden Church, Clancy Brown and Biff from Back to the Future, so it’s no wonder everyone is terrified of him!  Oh but he can’t be ALL bad, right?  After all, he got Charlie a gift for his birthday which is some sort of dime store talking statute called Mr. Motivation who spouts useless buzzwords and aphorisms whenever you bop it on its little bobble head.  Just the pick me up Charlie is gonna need of since The Boss follows up this magnanimous gesture with a neigh impossible task and his job security as the sword of Damocles hanging over his head.  He needs to pull up basically all documentation over the last several months (hard copies no less), and search for any that contain the name of a specific product their developing.  If he can find whatever vaguely sinister thing The Boss is looking for, he gets a promotion.  If not, well… at least the economy in 2002 is better than it is now but it would STILL be a pain in the butt.

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“I’ll tell you what I’m gonna do, sir!  I’m gonna invest in HOUSING!  There is nothing more stable in this, the greatest country on Earth, so you can take your job and shove it!”

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Jumping the Soapbox: A Banana Splitting Headache and Hanna-Barbera’s Confusing Existence

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The Banana Splits is owned by Warner Bros

All other copyrights are the property of their respective owners.

Do any of you even know who The Banana Splits are?  Of course not!  They were on the lower tier of Hanna-Barbera creations and because they were live action characters they never got that extra bump of popularity that many of their other creations did when they started randomly pairing them up on shows like Yogi’s Gang where they flew around in a giant flying ark.  Yeah, Hanna-Barbera is weird like that, but the thing about The Banana Splits is… I actually really like them!  I remember watching a marathon of episode back when you had to actually watch TV on a TV, and I thought it was a fun little slice of sixties nonsense!  A bunch of dudes in animal costumes playing bubblegum pop and doing slapstick?  What’s not to like!?  And guess what?  THEY’RE MAKING A MOVIE ABOUT THEM!!  OH BOY!  It looks like someone has finally realized how groovy these cats (and dogs and monkeys and elephants) are and are giving them the big screen treatment they deserve, right?  RIGHT!?

Sigh…

So it turns out that SOMEONE thought it would be brilliant and edgy to take lovable characters aimed at children… and turn them into monsters in a horror movie; straight up.  I mean yeah, they’re clearly playing up the absurdity of it but it just looks like a miserable experience outside of how senseless its UNIQUE SELLING POINT is.  Actually, even more blatant than the simple “shock” value of taking character aimed at kids and making them creepy (congratulations; you’re where Creepy Pasta was twenty years ago) is that they are only doing this to beat the Five Nights at Freddy movie to the punch.  I mean they weren’t robots in the original series either within the fiction of the show (they were anthropomorphic animals in a band) or the reality of its production which was done by people in costumes which is CLEARLY the case here as well.

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“WHAT IS MY PRIMARY DIRECTIVE!?”     “Okay, try to be like this video game, but NOT like this video game at the same time.”     “DOES NOT COMPUTE!!”

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Cinema Dispatch: The Secret Life of Pets 2

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The Secret Life of Pets 2 and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures and Illumination

Directed by Chris Renaud

I remember the first movie having one of the most aggressive ad campaigns I’d seen since I started reviewing movies, and yet this one was much more subdued.  I only saw the trailer a few times leading up to its release, but while that certainly kept me from being ANNOYED by the movie it didn’t really do much to improve my expectations.  The first one was a C grade knock off of Toy Story, and while it wasn’t ALL bad it didn’t leave much of an impression outside of Jenny Slate’s performance and a few seconds of Andrew WK music to liven things up.  Can the sequel manage to improve where the last one came up short, or will this be a lazy cash grab on the success of the first one with similarly mediocre results?  Let’s find out!!

Following the events of the first film, Max and Duke (Patton Oswalt and Eric Stonestreet) have been getting along with their owner Katie (Ellie Kemper) in their peaceful New York life.  However, things change once Katie meets the man of her dreams Chuck (Peter Holmes), and cut to about five years later where Katie and Chuck have a kid named Liam (Henry Lynch) who Max is at first hesitant about but becomes quickly attached to.  The added stress of watching over a child however is starting to give Max some unhealthy habits, but maybe an upcoming vacation in the country with Chuck’s family and their dog Rooster (Harrison Ford) will be just what Max needs to relax!  While he’s off on his trip, Gidget (Jenny Slate) has been entrusted to watch his favorite toy which she loses almost immediately, and Snowball the bunny (Kevin Hart) has become some sort of animal saving super hero who’s latest mission is to help a Shih Tzu named Daisy (Tiffany Haddish) save a tiger who’s being abused by a VERY evil looking circus run by a bunch of dudes with Russian accents and permanent sneers; one of whom is played by Nick Kroll.  Will Max get over his nervous tendencies now that he’s around nature and the stern advice of Rooster?  Can the other pets shore up their subplots before the running time exceeds ninety minutes?  Is Illumination trying to sell us four episodes of an unaired TV series as a full length movie!?

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“WHY, NETFLIX!?  WHY WOULDN’T YOU HAVE US!?”

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Super Recaps: The Twilight Zone (Hunted)

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The Twilight Zone and all the images you see in this recap are owned by Warner Bros Television and based on the series created by Rod Serling

Episode directed by Patrick Norris

We’re back with another episode of 3rd Twilight from the Zone, and boy do we have a fun one today!  Where previous episodes were about boring things like death personified, video game DLC, and killing baby Hitler, this time we get to hunt ourselves a MONSTER IN THE WOODS!  The original series had its fair share of fantasy creatures to terrorize the likes of William Shatner, so why not this series as well!?  Can they possibly match the level of quality that Rod Serling delivered with his fantastic creatures, or is hiring a guy in a rubber suit completely outside this series’ budget?  Let’s find out!!

Ahem.  IN THE YEAR NEW-THOUSAND, we see a couple of joggers running in a forest with the utmost of horrifying expressions (that cable TV will allow) etched across their faces as they try to escape from some unseen threat; one that likes to use that Evil Dead vision thing to maximize its victims horror before turning their skulls into another trophy for its collection.  Now given that this is far into the future where we somehow learned to be more civilized towards each other (snark), the Nu-National Guard are being called into the woods to find whatever this creature is and fill it with more hot lead than Murphy at the beginning of RoboCop!  Our main Terrestrial Marine is Jeffrey Freed (Scott Bairstow) which is actually quite lucky for him as he’s got a wife and a newborn child, which means if he WASN’T our protagonist then he’d be first on the chopping block when the squad gets to the forest.  His wife Kelly (Michelle Harrison) doesn’t see it that way however (I guess she hasn’t seen enough movies), and makes sure to give us quite a bit of exposition while making her trepidation known.  It turns out that Jeff is a doctor in his day job which I bet will come in handy later when they need someone to fill out the death certificates, and the monster in question appears to be some sort of creature known as a Kreetor which was a species that got wiped out over fifty years ago.  Now you’d think that with so few of them around that we would have PROTECTED them and put them on the endangered species list, but I guess even THESE jerks are scarier than Lion and Tigers and Panda Bears, especially if they hunt their prey like a freaking Slasher!  The wife also refers to them as “Genetically Mutated Beasts” which is probably what ignorant people fear that GMOs will morph into, and it seems that Jeff’s grandfather was MURDERED by one of them back before they were all wiped out, so he’s got a bit of skin in the game as well.

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“My grandfather was SLAUGHTED by one of these creatures!  Was he lost in the woods or did he get hurt when the Kreetor was looking for food?”     “No, the monster poisoned his morning coffee!”     Oh.  Um… who told you this story?”     “My grandma.  She also told that to the police.”     “Uh… huh.”

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Cinema Dispatch: Dark Phoenix

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Dark Phoenix and all the images you see in this review are owned by 20th Century Fox and Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Directed by Simon Kinberg

I’ve probably been nicer than most about the X-Men franchise, going so far as to be somewhat positive about Apocalypse, and even I can’t be bothered to muster any enthusiasm for The Last Stand: Remastered.  I mean I GUESS I can see why Fox would want to prove that it was the other guy’s fault and not their own, and it certainly worked well enough for Dexter Fletcher, but with this franchise being so easily overshadowed by Deadpool, the MCU, and even some of the better DC films, it’s starting to feel more Quixotic than artistically advisable.  Still, I have been surprised by  movies I didn’t expect much out of before, and it’s not like they have much to lose considering this franchise is more or less done whether they make this movie or not, so hey!  Let’s see if Fox can pull it off one more time for old time’s sake!

It’s the radical nineties for the X-Men with Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and his crew of charismatic comrades more popular than ever; much like the ACTUAL nineties.  Newcomers Jean Grey, Scott Summers, Ororo Munroe, and Kurt Wagner (Sophie Turner, Tye Sheridan, Alexandra Shipp, and Kodi Smit-McPhee) are fitting in well enough, Mystique’s (Jennifer Lawrence) barely contained annoyance with all of this is about as same as usual which is greatly contrasted with Beast (Nicholas Hoult) who looks like he couldn’t be happier to be there, and Quicksilver (Even Peters) is… around.  ANYWAY!  The big difference in this film that I alluded to just now which I don’t BELIEVE was the case last time is that The X-Men have become household names and everyone wants to be them!  No more mutant discrimination, at least not outright, and all the jerk mutants went with Magneto (Michael Fassbender) to some island somewhere to keep things nice and peaceful.  Why, the only thing that could ruin this perfect existence is if one of the high profile mutants on Xavier’s team went off and started blowing stuff up, but what are the odds of THAT happening!?  Yeah, so Jean Grey gets hit by some sort of cosmic ray in the beginning of the film during an astronaut rescue, and it seems to have overcharged her system to the point that she can barely control her powers as well as her emotions; the latter of which is exacerbated by some dark secrets she’s made keenly aware of and have made things rather awkward at the academy.  With one big public relations nightmare that could lead to Mutant internment AGAIN, Xavier and his crew have to find out what’s happening to Jean and if there’s any way to save her from whatever it is that will either destroy her from the inside or give her enough power to destroy us all from the outside.  Oh, and Jessica Chastain is in this somewhere in the background.  I’m sure she can’t be up to any good though!  Will Jean Grey succumb to the power she’s been granted and become the worst enemy the X-Men have ever faced?  Will Xavier finally learn that despite his idealistic rhetoric that he’s made huge mistakes in the past that could bring the world closer to destruction than anything his more militant counterpart ever came up with?  If this is worse than X3, does Fox get like a Lifetime Achievement award for how badly they can ruin a franchise?  I mean they should have already gotten one for their Fantastic Four movies, but you know the Academy!  Give it to them when convenient; not when they deserve it!

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“Here’s to the end of an era!”     “Here’s to the end of my liver functioning properly…”

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