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Cinema Dispatch: Early Man

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Early Man and all the images you see in this review are owned by Aardman Animations and StudioCanal

Directed by Nick Park

I remember watching those Wallace and Gromit shorts many times when I was a kid on VHS tapes (none of which I still have), and while I haven’t been keeping up with Aardman TOO much in the last decade, I have always respected them as a studio and have had nothing but good things to say about their work; including that Pirates movie which seems to have had a much more mixed reception than a lot of their other work.  Now we’ve got their most auditions work to date; not because it’s a particularly out there or unexpected from the studio, but because they had the gall to open it against Black Panther!  I mean I guess it goes with the David and Goliath underdog story this movie is trying to tell, but something tells me that the forward thinking and groundbreaking black centered super hero movie is gonna do a SMIDGE more business than this silly cartoon.  Does Aardman’s latest adventure hold up to the high pedigree that they’ve set for themselves over their long and prestigious filmography, or have the masters of clay lost their touch in this latest outing?  Let’s find out!!

The movie begins with Dug (Eddie Redmayne) who is the youngest and the most wide-eyed member of a tribe of cavemen that spends their days hunting rabbits and playing primitive instruments.  Dug dreams of something more though, like possibly hunting BIGGER animals (maybe even a Mammoth), yet the leader Chief Bobnar (Timothy Spall) doesn’t feel like rocking the boat is the best thing for the tribe; especially when everyone else is so incompetent that they can manage to catch rabbits.  Still, the march of time is a cruel one and one day the tribe is uprooted from their idyllic homes by the war machines and mining equipment of Lord Nooth (Tom Hiddleston); leader of a nearby town that has advanced to the Bronze Age.  Through a series of convoluted missteps and slapstick humor, Dug ends up tripping falling into the Bronze Age city and even gets stuck right in the middle of their sacred arena where the mightiest warriors gather for the crowd’s amusement.  What exactly do they DO in the arena?  Fight to the death?  Feed Christians to lions?  NO!  They play SOCCER of course!  You know, that one game that everyone else calls football that we in the US only seem to care about once every four years!  Dug, seeing how much the people of this town crave the sport and treat as sacrosanct, challenges Lord Nooth and his best players to a match against him and his tribe!  If Lord Nooth wins, he can keep their homeland, but if Dug wins they get it back!  Can Dug and his tribe manage to learn how play just in time to beat the very best players the Bronze Age has to offer?  Will Dug’s new friend Goona (Maisie Williams) be the ringer they need to secure victory and will she finally get to live out her dreams of glory on the football pitch?  More importantly, can FIFA find a way to somehow turn this into an excuse to plunder a country of its riches and bully local governments!?

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“This game is brought to you by Bronze.  Always bet on Bronze and if we catch you with Steel, that’s twenty years in Football Jail!”

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Super Recaps: Tom Goes to the Mayor (WW Laserz)

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Tom Goes to the Mayor and all the images you see in this recap are owned Warner Bros and Adult Swim

Created by Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim

Welcome back to another episode of Tim & Eric’s Parks and Rec where we take a look at the show that gave the duo their start!  We begin the episode with good ol’ Tom Peters waiting to see The Mayor while he’s in a meeting with City Council over a web cam (The Mayor Cam if you will) to explain his plan for an education grant that the city received some time ago.  Sadly, all The Mayor could come up with is putting a monkey inside of an éclair (okay…) which City Council isn’t sold on, and they’re running out of time to use the money or else it will be returned to the federal government.  If only someone would walk through the door and give them a brilliant idea…

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“Heeeere’s Tommy!!”

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Cinema Dispatch: Peter Rabbit

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Peter Rabbit and all the images you see in this review are owned by Sony Pictures Releasing

Directed by Will Gluck

Wait, didn’t we already get this movie like three years ago?  Yeah, Russel Brand was the Easter Bunny or something, right?  I didn’t imagine that?  Ugh… anyway, it looks like after the SMASHING success of other CGI animal movies like Alvin and the Chipmunks and Woody Woodpecker, it’s time to drag this Beatrix Potter classic out of the closet and imbue it with all the stuff that out of touch executives think the KIDS OF TODAY will find totally dope!  Okay, that’s a bit unfair considering I’ve never even read the original source material, and it’s not like updates to classic properties are ALWAYS a recipe for disaster as we saw with The Peanuts Movie.  Maybe there’s a chance that this will turn out better than the trailers indicate?  Yeah… I doubt it too, but let’s find out anyway!!

The movie follows the wacky adventures of our roguish hero Peter Rabbit (James Corden) who finds an endless deal of fulfillment in stealing other people’s stuff!  In particular he just LOVES stealing vegetables from the garden Old Man McGregor (Sam Neill) and does it with such frequency that the man becomes obsessed with hunting down these rascally rabbits; by which I mean chopping their heads off, stripping the meat from their bones and baking them into a pie so that he can consume his most hated of enemies.  CLEARLY this is a healthy relationship that Peter and his family of similarly roguish rabbits (Daisy Ridley, Margot Robbie, Elizabeth Debicki, and Colin Moody) had developed with the guy, but it all becomes moot when the dude keels over and dies right as he’s about to snap Peter’s neck.  In case you were wondering, yes; this is indeed a kid’s movie.  So now that the old man is dead, the rabbits as well as the other woodland critters can finally take his garden for themselves, sleep in his bed, and poop on his dining room table, right?  Well… kind of.  At least for a little bit.  See, what the animals don’t know is that there is another McGregor who’s the one that ACTUALLY gets the house and he’s coming by to fix the place up and sell it for tidy little profit.  This new McGregor named Thomas (Domhnall Gleeson) may not be as blood thirsty (at least at first), but is much faster and much cleverer than his great uncle was, and this means that Peter is gonna have to work TWICE as hard to get those vegetables and may have to go so far as to risk everything he holds dear in this battle of wills; one of which is McGregor’s neighbor Bea who is nice to the rabbits but also gets caught right in the middle of this feud between man and rabbit!  Will Peter be able to claim what he CLEARLY feels is rightfully his?  Will Thomas completely lose his mind trying to stop a few measly rabbits from somehow destroying his life?  How did they manage to fit THIS much violence in a movie about talking rabbits that doesn’t have Bugs Bunny in it!?

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“Eh… what’s up, Dead Man?”

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Super Recaps: Tom Goes to the Mayor (Bear Traps)

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Tom Goes to the Mayor and all the images you see in this recap are owned Warner Bros and Adult Swim

Created by Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim

We’re back with another recap of Tom Goes to the Mayor!  Okay, TECHINCALLY this is the first one as the one we did before was for the online shorts they did prior to getting an ACTUAL show, but whatever!  This is the TRUE pilot for the show which begins with good ol’ Tom Peters, having just moved to Jefferton with his wife Joy and his three stepchildren, going to see The Mayor of Jefferton to run some ideas by him.  The best way to describe the pilot is that it’s rather blunt with what it’s about; essentially the blueprint from which most of the episodes of this series will be built upon.  You have some minor crisis in Jefferton (usually made up), Tom comes to the Mayor with an idea on how to fix it, the Mayor exploits Tom’s desire to be successful by twisting his ideas into something horrific, and Tom ultimately goes along with it until it all comes crashing down on his head.  We’ll be seeing this kind of story throughout this recap series, but most episodes tend to throw a bit more conflict or motivation than what we get here which leads to an episode that lacks any real subtly or ambiguity, but at the very least it does lay the groundwork for character dynamics and several of the running gags.  Speaking of which, Bob Odenkirk has a cameo in almost every episode and the one he has here helps to set up the primary conflict.  The Mayor is watching an infomercial on his computer starring Mike Foxx (Odenkirk) who has a Scared Safe program to raise awareness for all the things that could kill children including Wind Poisoning, Sand Rash, and Deadly Crickets.

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“Eye Poking, also known as Giving the Moe, is the fourteenth number one killer behind Communism and Electric Swirlies!”

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Cinema Dispatch: Winchester

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Winchester and all the images you see in this review are owned by Lionsgate and CBS Films

Directed by Peter Spierig and Michael Spierig

SERIOUSLY!?  We managed to go through ALL of January without a single notable horror movie!?  Okay, I mean there was that INSIDIOUS movie but that one doesn’t count because… I didn’t see the other films.  MY POINT IS that it’s been PRETTY light so far for a month known almost EXCLUSIVELY for terrible horror films, and for me this is the first one of the new year so I’m STILL gonna consider it a January horror film!  Besides, that’s not even a particularly hard rule of thumb considering last year’s worst horror abomination Rings didn’t make it out the gate until the first week of February either.  Will this be another entry in the never ending list of terrible first of the year horror movies, or are the people behind this just too darn talented to make the same mistakes that everyone else did?  Let’s find out!!

The movie follows the story of Sarah Winchester (Helen Mirren) who is the widow of William Winchester; the man who started the Winchester Repeating Arms company and got SUPER rich doing so.  Now she has all this money, but she’s been using it to build and rebuild and rebuild and add on and then do some MORE rebuilding on here house.  Why is she doing this?  Well she believes that the ghosts of the victims of Winchester rifles, instead of haunting say… their murderers, are haunting her house and I guess the multiple rooms and weird architecture confuses them or something.  Anyway, Dr. Price (Jason Clarke) has been sent by the Winchester Repeating Arms company to assess the mental fitness of Sarah in an attempt to oust her from the company, but he’s not interested in being their lap dog and seems to genuinely want to help her; not like he’d get away with being so duplicitous what with her niece Marion (Sarah Snook) watching his every move.  Of course, things start to get strange almost immediately as Eric starts to see creepy things of his own and Marian’s son Henry (Finn Scicluna-O’Prey) is “sleepwalking” all over the place.  Is Miss Winchester correct in believing that there are ghosts in her house and that they’re after her for what her company’s weapons did to them?  Does Dr. Price have a much deeper connection to this place than either he or Sarah initially thought?  Why does it matter if the house is a confusing maze of dead ends and random staircases!?  GHOSTS ARE NON-CORPOREAL!!

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“BOO!!”     …     “What?  Ah, damn it!  She’s not in this room either.  WHERE THE HECK IS SHE!?”

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Cinema Dispatch: Hostiles

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Hostiles and all the images you see in this review are owned by Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures

Directed by Scott Cooper

Okay, so MAYBE I jumped the gun a bit when I declared Phantom Thread to be the last of the 2017  hold overs as apparently THIS film (as well as Molly’s Game apparently) is was similarly hoping for some award buzz before reaching the general public.  The difference HERE though (and probably why I hadn’t heard about it until 2018) is that it DIDN’T get the recognition it was looking for as it hasn’t been nominated for any Oscar, nor is it really showing up on critic associations’ BEST OF lists.  Still, that doesn’t mean it’s BAD, right?  I mean did Wonder Woman or Ingrid Goes West get any Oscar nods?  Did Happy Death Day even get a Teen Choice Award!?  There are never enough awards to go around for all the great films that come out in a year, so MAYBE this one will turn out to be the sleeper hit of the season!  We can only hope, right?  Let’s find out!!

The movie follows Captain Joseph J Blocker (Christina Bale) who is not just any US solider at the turn of the nineteenth century, but one who seems to SPECIALIZE in  hunting down Indigenous people.  His job description is starting to go out of style however as the US government is starting to make token efforts to give back to the people they’ve committed genocide against, and their latest effort is to take one of Blocker’s prisoners, Chief Yellow Hawk (Wes Studi), along with his family (Adam Beach, Q’orianka Kilcher, Tanaya Beatty, and Xavier Horsechief) back to their tribal lands in Montana.  Now you’d think that a long trek from his holding cell in New Mexico ALL the way to Montana would benefit from an escort that ISN’T led up by not only the guy who has killed SO many Indigenous people but ALSO the guy who put Yellow Hawk there in the first place, but I guess it only adds to the symbolic nature of this token gesture.  So with only a handful of soldiers (Jonathan Majors, Jesse Plemons, and Timothée Chalamet) and his best buddy Thomas (Rory Cochrane), the party sets off to deliver these people back to their homeland and will hopefully everyone won’t kill each other in the process!  Things get messy right away though as they come across a home decimated by a band of Indigenous Bandits where the only survivor is Rosalie (Rosamund Pike) whose entire family was slaughtered in the massacre by the bandits who are still out there somewhere.  Will the soldiers have to put aside their prejudices just to survive against this new threat?  Will Captain Blocker learn the error of his ways and come to respect his former enemies?  What hardships will they be forced to endure before they reach their destination!?

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“Captain!  We have to pee again!”     “WE JUST STOPPED AN HOUR AGO!  HOLD IT IN!!”

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Super Recaps: Tom Goes to the Mayor (PROLOGUE)

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Tom Goes to the Mayor and all the images you see in this recap are owned Warner Bros and Adult Swim

Created by Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim

For every generation of comedians out there, more often than not you can trace their roots back to a specific cultural touchstone that they all seemed to grow out of.  In the seventies, we had National Lampoon which gave us Harold Ramis, John Hughes, Al Jean and Mike Reiss (two of the most influential voices on The Simpsons), John Belushi, Chevy Chase, and even Bill Murray.  Saturday Night Live has been around for decades, but in the eighties we got Eddie Murphy, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Norm Macdonald, Jan Hooks and several others.  Hell, half of the most beloved animated shows of the nineties were created by people who started out on Ralph Bakshi’s Mighty Mouse cartoon from 1987, including John K, Bruce Timm, Jim Reardon, Rich Moore, and Andrew Stanton!  I think we’re still waiting to see how this will work in the age of YouTube (The Smosh guys and FRED are probably the biggest breakout stars and yet they haven’t really penetrated the mainstream, though the Homestar Runner dudes have done well for themselves), but in the decade awkwardly referred to as THE AUGHTS we had our own generation touchstone in the form of Adult Swim.

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Those cheeky bastards!

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