Super Recaps: The Twilight Zone (To Protect and Serve)

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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 Joe Chappelle

We’re back with another episode of The Twilight Groan, and boy do we have a rough one here today!  So last time around we got a GOOD example of the show taking a chance on darker subject matter and I definitely appreciate the show’s attempt to put a bit of edge back into the series.  Today’s episode however is NOT a good example of them using dark subject matter, at least in my opinion, and it’s not even in a particularly compelling way as so much of it is just a total downer.  But we’re not here to feel sorry for ourselves and lament the difficulty of recapping something so unabashedly sad, now are we!?  We are here to show appreciation for a series that passed a lot of people over and make a few cheap jokes along the way, so let’s get started!!

The episode begins on a rather dark note for such a lightweight series, but whatever tension is built here is somewhat undercut by just how cheesy it all is.  Okay, watching a dude emotionally berate and physically threaten a woman isn’t a breeze to sit through, but the dude doing the threatening is the most clichéd pimp imaginable with a leather duster, a crushed velvet shirt, and a spring loaded knife to intimidate his top earner with.  The guy playing him (Dione Johnstone) is doing a darn fine job and looks almost EXACTLY like Denzel Washington which is fun in its own right, but there’s a bit of a disparity here in terms of tone.  Luckily this tension is cut, not with a knife, but with HOT LEAD as super cop Eric Boggs (Usher; yes THAT Usher) comes onto the scene and shoots A Pimp Named Throwback right in the heart; proving that his proclamations of being The Power, The Glory, The Darkness, The Hyperbolic, were perhaps somewhat overstated.  OR WERE THEY!?  In the aftermath, while the EMTs are carting the body away, Office Boggs gets a call from The Pimp mocking him for not finishing the job and promising a swift return from the land of the dead!  TWILIGHT SHOCK!!

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“SEVEN DAYS, SUCKA!!”     “Until what, you blow hot air while I fill you full of buckshot?”

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Cinema Dispatch: The Hustle

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The Hustle and all the images you see in this review are owned by United Artists Releasing and MGM

Directed by Chris Addison

Whether or not it’s a particularly successful tactic (particularly when the audience for blockbusters is only growing larger and larger), counter programming is still a thing in the industry and I’d wager that it’s the main reason this movie is being sandwiched between so many big named blockbusters.  I certainly thought the trailers for this looked quite good and I like the casting quite a bit, but being put in theaters now when Avengers and Detective Pikachu are still tearing it up at the box office is either a sign of great insight for the studios to fill a gap in the viewing audience or total hubris that will spell doom for what seems to be a fun little crime film.  Is this film a big time hustler elbowing its way to the forefront against such big titans of the cinema, or is this a small time crook that’s way in over its head?  Let’s find out!!

Penny Rust (Rebel Wilson) is a con artist working in the city running scams on dating sites which are actually quite effective, but end up garnering a significant amount of heat on her and so she’s forced to take her game elsewhere.  Said elsewhere turns out to be the stomping grounds of another con artist Josephine Chesterfield (Anne Hathaway) who’s set up her base of operations in a ritzy French tourist trap which is never short of gullible dudes just itching to be separated from their valuables, but a wild card like Penny could throw a wrench her in perfectly laid out plans if left to her own devices.  Initially she tries to fool her into leaving of her own accord, but by her own wits and a bit of luck, Penny becomes wise to Josephine’s game and wants in on the action; a proposition Josephine is initially resistant towards but figures that keeping Penny happy and useful is better than risking her going to the authorities with what she now knows.  At first it seems to be going just fine as Penny trains in the arts of manipulation with the help of Josephine’s assistants Brigitte and Alfred (Ingrid Oliver and Nicholas Woodeson), and they even pull of this brilliant little scheme that’s never really come together until Penny entered the picture, but all is not sunshine and roses in the world of professional scamming, and so the student must eventually face the master in a game of wits, ingenuity, and even a bit of outright cruelty, to prove once and for all if Penny’s brash resourcefulness is truly a match for Josephine’s refined expertise.  Will Penny and Josephine’s ultimate challenge bring out the best in both of them, or will they lose everything to their overblown egos?  Can they ever come to a mutual understanding given how different their backgrounds are and how cutthroat their line of work is?  Is it just me, or is one of them at a distinct advantage considering they’ve already played a diamond thief in a previous movie, and that’s ASIDE from them already having played Catwoman!

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“This little game of ours will prove who is truly… puuurrrr-fect!”     “Oh yeah?  Well by the time we’re through, you’re gonna WHISKER lessons from me on being a better thief!”     “Wait… what?”

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Cinema Dispatch: John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum

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John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum and all the images you see in this review are owned by Summit Entertainment

Directed by Chad Stahelski

So here we are once again.  Now I wasn’t the biggest fan of the second movie, but the John Wick movies have their own sense of style and craftsmanship that’s hard to ignore even when the story begins to fall apart, at least as far as I’m concerned regarding that sequel.  Now the time has come for them to hopefully right the ship and bring this franchise back to what made it great instead of the convoluted mess that we got last time.  Will we be getting the conclusion to John’s story that will make this whole wild trip worth taking, or is this franchise already too far into the rabbit hole for us to reasonably expect them to dig their way out of?  Let’s find out!!

The movie picks up mere minutes after the end of the last one where John (Keanu Reeves) has just been ex-communicated from The Continental for (SPOILER ALERT FOR JOHN WICK 2) killing what’s his face in the last film (Riccardo Scamarcio).  Now obviously no one expects John Wick to go down quietly, especially not the owner of The Continental (Ian McShane), and yet a bunch of assassins take a swipe at the guy with about as much luck as you’d expect.  However, John’s plan isn’t JUST to kill enough people to clog up the Hudson River; he needs to go and appease The High Table who I guess is in charge of The Continental and all the other Assassin Hotels which apparently was a THING in the last movie that I just forgot about.  Now what’s his face that no one liked from the last movie was apparently a member of this table (can’t be THAT great if he got a seat) and so John’s up to his eyeballs in not just hot shots trying to make a quick buck, but basically everyone within the orbit of The High Table.  This includes The Adjudicator (Asia Kate Dillon) who is there to clean up (i.e. kill) everyone with even a vague connection to John’s recent activities, and Zero the Assassin (Mark Dacascos) who’s band of ninjas have been hired to help The Adjudicator do his dirty work.  So while that’s all going down in New York, John is trying to get a meeting with a member of The High Table which is no easy task as he has to cash in whatever chips he has left to get help from his former trainer (Anjelica Huston) and a former colleague who owes him one (Halle Berry); both risking a lot even if whatever assistance they offer is through official channels because The High Table is having none of that crap anymore.  Will John find what he needs to in order to spare his life from the wrath of The High Table?  What will those back in New York do now that they’ve gotten the ire of the people at the very top of the food chain?  Just how many dudes do BOTH sides have to spare over this rather small dispute between the one guy none of them can kill and a dead dude who only got the job like a week ago?  Is there REALLY no other way they can solve this!?

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I propose a cutest dog competition!  I mean really, there’s no other reasonable way to solve this.

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Super Recaps: The Twilight Zone (Chosen)

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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 Winrich Kolbe

We’re back with another episode of The Milquetoast Zone!  Now as much as I enjoy this series for all its goofy early 2000s charm, the big problem with this iteration, and perhaps why it doesn’t stick in the public consciousness, is that it feels rather sanitized with most episodes lacking a lot of bite.  Unintentionally stumbling into problematic territory?  Absurd premises with just as absurd resolutions?  Sure, but aside from Azoth and perhaps One Night at Mercy, none of the episodes I’ve covered so far have had a strong point to make or Rod Serling’s righteous fury behind it.  That’s about to change however as for the first time in this series we are getting something genuinely dark with an ending that does justice to the original series’ sense of cosmic justice!  I’m certainly excited to see it again, so let’s not waste anymore time and dive right in!

Our hero this time around is Vince played by Jake Busey (yes, son of Gary and he does indeed looks distressingly like his father) is… THAT GUY.  We all know a THAT GUY.  Dude who’s in his late twenties or early thirties who never really grew up, always has a chip on his shoulder, and whose plight MIGHT be sympathetic if he wasn’t such a raging a-hole about everything.  Nowadays we see this kind of guy on Reddit and Incel forums, but back before THE INTERNET was what it is today, they just hung around the neighborhood and you always avoided eye contact when they came by.  While raging on the phone about his credit card being cut off, Vince gets a visit from two people wearing dorky leather jackets (Kim Hawthorne and Andrew Moxham) and telling him that he’s been chosen for some very vague form of salvation and that there’s still good within him that makes him worthy of a second chance at life.  Now we know that in The Twilight Zone there’s more to it than just some hucksters selling happiness in exchange for bank account numbers, but Vince is sadly lacking that knowledge and naturally tells them to get off his yard.  They agree to leave but offer him a free gift, and since Vince is not one to pass up such a sweet bargain, he takes it and rushes back inside.  The gift turns out to be a DVD with his name printed on it which he decides to put in on a lark and some dude with a bad haircut (Ken Tremblett) and even worse production values reminds Vince of how much his life sucks and how his girlfriend left him, but that there’s hope if he just opens himself up to it.

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“Be your better you, with the power of Shrim!”     “Huh.  Kinda sounds like Shrimp.”

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