Cinema Dispatch: The Green Inferno


The Green Inferno and the slightly edited poster in this review are owned by Universal Pictures

Directed by Eli Roth

Green Inferno may be the worst movie that I have ever seen in my life. I’m never felt so emotionally drained and damaged coming out of a movie. I don’t know who the target audience is for this movie, but I do hope that they don’t like this movie either because I just can’t see the appeal of this outside of some really cynical theories.  Is it that people just want blood and guts?  Well I like blood and guts too, but I certainly didn’t like it in here.  Is it the fact that everyone in the movie is either a terrified victim or an irredeemable monster?  I’ve seen lots of horror movies where that’s the case, and while I think the genre needs to outgrow that dynamic (it’s boring more than anything else) it was done to a level here that feels damn near pornographic or, perhaps more appropriately, sadistic.

I regret that tweet a bit.  I doubt that Eli Roth hates you or anyone else.
I regret that tweet a bit.  I doubt that Eli Roth hates you or anyone else.

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Cinema Dispatch: Hotel Transylvania 2


Hotel Transylvania 2 and all the images you see in this review are owned by Columbia Pictures

Directed by Genndy Tartakovsky

Does anyone else remember just how amazing it was that the first movie was in fact as good as it was?  The movie had been in production since 2006 and had five directors attached to it before finally settling on Genndy Tartakovsky who by all means is an accomplished animator but had never directed a feature film.  Not only that, but Adam Sandler was (and continues to be) a joke for a lot of people and his movie in the last decade or so have been absolutely abysmal.  Despite all that, Hotel Transylvania was not only good but one of the best animated films in a long time.  Now it’s time for Sony to start franchising this sucker with a sequel, but they seem to be doing it the right way by not only getting back the original director but the same writers as well.  Will this somehow manage to be one of the few animated sequels to be just as good if not better than the original, or will they throw out everything that was great about the first film just to milk a couple more dollars out of this series?  Let’s find out!!

After the events of the first movie, Mavis and Jonathan (Selena Gomez and Andy Samberg) start dating and eventually get married in the titular hotel.  Their whirlwind love affair eventually leads to her getting pregnant and giving birth to their son Dennis whom Dracula (Adam Sandler) starts to obsess over because now he has a new outlet for the overprotective behavior he struggled to overcome in the last film.  Unfortunately, like in the first movie, there comes a point where his paternal usefulness may be coming to an end with Mavis thinking that it may be too dangerous for them to stay at the hotel since young Dennis has yet to show any signs of being anything other than human, and in the Lore of this universe if he doesn’t show any signs by his fifth birthday (which is rapidly approaching), he’ll be a human forever.  Dracula, being the crafty bastard that is, enlists Jonathan’s help (who wants to stay at the hotel) to keep Mavis distracted while he and his friends try to force the vampirism into his grandson by taking him on the night of professional scaring.  I wouldn’t think that biology could be affected by cultural immersion but whatever.  So Jonathan and Mavis are off to visit his family in California for some marital R&R (and to see if the place would be a good fit for their family), while the old school monsters are trying their best to not only get this kid to grow his fangs but to recapture a bit of their youthful exuberance as they revisit their familiar haunts from when they were the scourge of humanity which may be a bit more difficult than they were expecting now the humans have learned about monsters and are (tentatively) accepting them.

Some seem to be adjusting better than others.
Some seem to be adjusting better than others.

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Cinema Dispatch: Captive


Captive and all the images you see in this review are owned by Paramount Pictures

Directed by Jerry Jameson

While the post summer doldrums is dying down, there’s still a bit more mediocrity to fill out the multiplex.  I’d never even heard of this movie until I walked into the theater for something completely different and not a peep about it since its release.  Still though, even though it’s being released with so little fanfare, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be bad, right?  Oh who am I kidding?  At this time of year it’s not a question of IF it’s bad but HOW bad.  Does this movie manage to rise above the rest of the lousy films that came out recently or does this somehow manage to be one of the worst?  Let’s find out!!

The movie is a dramatization of Brian Nichols’s escape from the Fulton County Courthouse in March of 2005.  He shot and killed three people while leaving the courthouse and another person during his run from the law who just so happened to be an FBI agent so needless to say that with four murders under his belt he’s keen not to face the music for all that.  He somehow manages to evade the authorities long enough to find a place to lay low for a bit which happens to be the apartment of Ashley Smith, a woman recovering from an addiction to meth and trying to stay clean so she can get her daughter back.  Needless to say that being held hostage in her own home by a homicidal dick bag is going to throw a wrench in those plans especially if the guy snaps and kills her.  Will Ashley (Kate Mara) be able to survive the night with this man responsible for three murders?  Will Brian (David Oyelowo) actually accept responsibility for his actions and turn himself in?  How many freaking biopic have I had to sit through this month!?

“I know this situation is a bit unorthodox and I apologize for any discomfort you may feel during our time together.  If you scream though, I’ll stab you right in the jugular.”
“I know this situation is a bit unorthodox and I apologize for any discomfort you may feel during our time together.  If you scream though, I’ll stab you right in the jugular.”

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Cinema Dispatch: 90 Minutes in Heaven


90 Minutes in Heaven and all the images you see in this review are owned by Samuel Goldwyn Films

Directed by Michael Polish

Do we really need another one these?  I mean War Room came out less than a month ago!   How much must I suffer for my work!?  Ugh, well at least this one has actual actors in it what with Hayden Christensen, Kate Bosworth, and even Fred “not President” Thompson being present and accounted for.  Is it possible that this movie is better than the last overly Christian movie I had to sit through?  Well probably yes considering how unforgivably awful War Room was, but then again we should never believe that we’ve hit the bottom of the barrel.  Anyway, let’s find out!!

The movie is about Don Piper (Hayden Christensen) who is a small town pastor in 1989 Texas with the perfect kids, the perfect wife, and the perfect life.   On his way home from a seminar, God shows the wholesome bastard what he thinks about his oh so idyllic life and sends a fucking semi to teach his sorry ass a lesson.  The pastor is pronounced dead once the paramedics take a single look at the metal heap (I think they check his pulse, but they’re doing so from outside a crushed car and they only check his carotid), but this one dude just roles up on the scene and decides to pray for the man who just died which apparently involves him climbing into the car, putting his hand on his shoulder, and singing a hymn on top of whatever prayer he felt appropriate for the situation.  The dulcet tones of the passerby seem to rouse the dead man from his eternal slumber as he starts to very weakly sing along.  Now that it’s clear that the man is not as dead as he could be, can he still be saved despite the massive injuries he incurred?  How will his family cope with the tragedy thrust upon them as well as the inevitable financial fallout?  Did something happen to Don while he was dead that’s probably spoiled in the title!?

“In Heaven, they were going to let me star in Star Wars episode seven.  In fact, we can ALL star in Star Wars episode seven!”
“In Heaven, they were going to let me star in Star Wars episode seven.  In fact, we can ALL star in Star Wars episode seven!”

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Super Recaps: My Little Pony season 5 (Rarity Investigates!)

What is this?  TWO Rarity episodes in a row?  Has Hasbro been getting my letters!?  Well we’ll find out if that’s true if the next episode has Luna and Celestia teaming up with Fiona and Cake to take down Sephiroth.  ANYWAY, with last week’s episode being a mild disappointment for me, I’m happy that they’re giving Rarity another chance so soon to make up for it and this one might just do so what with its premise being that Rarity is going to play the part of the detective in some sort of crime or mystery!  Will this be a return to form for everyone’s favorite fashionable unicorn, or are the writers still having trouble getting back into the swing of things after the mid-season hiatus?  Let’s find out!!

The episode begins as Rarity is introducing her new line of clothing to the shop which is based on a fictional bad ass female spy named Peggy Carter.  No wait, I got that wrong.  What was it?  Shadow Spade?  Okay, let’s go with that.

“This is from the day she went to the experiments that turned Steve Withers into Captain Canterlot, and this is from when she went to see him at the bar during their campaign in Griffonstone, and this is from her spin-off miniseries!!”
“This is from the day she went to the experiments that turned Steve Withers into Captain Canterlot, and this is from when she went to see him at the bar during their campaign in Griffonstone, and this is from her spin-off miniseries!!”

Continue reading “Super Recaps: My Little Pony season 5 (Rarity Investigates!)”

Cinema Dispatch: Black Mass


Black Mass and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros. Pictures

Directed by Scott Cooper

We’re finally in Oscar season, right?  I mean Straight Outta Compton was a huge hit, but this is the first one that Hollywood studios are actually pushing for some Academy nods.  We’ve got a big name actor playing a dark character in an organized crime biopic!  Hell, the only way it could have more Oscar appeal is if it was set in World War 2!  Still, Hollywood doesn’t always get it right when the make big Oscar films (look no further than The Judge from last year) and Johnny Depp has had a PRETTY hard time of it lately (again, look no further than Transcendence from last year).  Will this movie be the critical hit that Johnny Deep needs at this point in his career, or will this biopic get lost in the shuffle once the other big films of the season start coming out in earnest?  Let’s find out!!

The movie is about James “Whitey” Bulger (Johnny Depp) who rose to the top of the Boston crime world due to the fact that was an FBI informant and was getting protection from them as he helped them take down the Italian mob.  Once the Italian’s were out the way though, Whitey became just as big a nuisance for the city, only HE had a federal organization who was at least somewhat hesitant to reveal their own involvement with him so he ran pretty much rampant for a good twenty years (1975-1995).  Presumably the story is a lot more complex with a lot more people involved, but for this movie the main players are Whitey himself, his brother Billy (Benedict Cumberbatch) who was the President of the Massachusetts senate at the time, and John Connolly (Joel Edgerton) who grew up with Whitey and became the FBI agent that got him involved as an informant.  Needless to say that having these three working together (to some capacity) creates a neigh unstoppable force as each party is protecting the other to some extent and the trio (John less so than the rest who seems to be a SOMEWHAT legitimate politician) make a WHOLE lot of money.  The gravy train can’t ride forever though as the rest of the world starts to close in and Whitey’s actions become more erratic over time.  Will these men get the comeuppance they deserve, or will they be able to escape whatever’s coming after to them once they take things too far?  Well it’s a biopic so you can look up the answers right now, but then why would you want to spoil the fun?

You do NOT want to spoil this guy’s fun.
You do NOT want to spoil this guy’s fun.

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Cinema Dispatch: The Perfect Guy


The Perfect Guy and all the images you see in this review are owned by Screen Gems

Directed by David M Rosenthal

When a movie comes out the same week as another possible Shyamalan disaster and another Christian film to add to the catalog of faith based cinema, it’s pretty easy to get lost in the shuffle.  Yet somehow, The Perfect Guy managed to not only bump the new releases out of the top spot but also overcame the smash hit of the season (Straight Outta Compton) and the flash in the pan garbage of the moment (War Room).  Is this movie a surprise gem in a very uneven post summer season, or will this turn out to be another inexplicable hit that everyone forgets about once it drops away in a week or two?  Let’s find out!!

The movie is about a highly successfully lobbyist named Leah (Sanaa Lathan) who’s got the perfect life with the perfect guy (though not the titular Perfect Guy) in the form of David (Morris Chestnut).  Despite outward appearance though, the couple are having difficulties behind the scenes because David just isn’t ready to get married and have kids while Leah getting more and more nervous about waiting until he’s ready which seems less and less likely to happen as the days go buy.  The couple end up splitting because of this and Leah is completely distraught and just throws herself in her work to try and forget the [breakup].  Will she ever find love again?  Well yes, because this one guy named Malcolm (Michael Ealy) swoops into her life and is just too good to be true!  I mean, anyone else wouldn’t have picked up on a whole lot of warning sign beforehand, but she’s just happy to have someone [be nice to her] and she goes along with it.  Bad call because once she does see the creeps true nature (he mercilessly beats the shit out of some guy for dubious reasons), she tries to end it and Malcom just isn’t hearing it.  Things continue to escalate as he begins stalking her and taking more and more drastic actions to get or attention which is throwing everything in her life into disarray.  Can the police and her own support network shield her from his attempts to sabotage her life?  Will she be forced to take matters into her own hands to stop this creep?  Isn’t this just a gender swapped version of that Idris Elba and Beyoncé movie!?

“Is it too late to be a villain on Dexter?”
“Is it too late to be a villain on Dexter?”

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Super Recaps: My Little Pony season 5 (Canterlot Boutique)

Well it took them long enough!!  After a mid-season hiatus that felt like an eternity, My Little Pony Friendship is Magic is finally back to finish out its fifth season.  With all that extra time to work on the season (that or they had to allocate resources for Friendship Games) do they bring us something special to start off the second half, or are we going to get another example of the fifth season being somewhat uneven in terms of quality?  Let’s find out!!

The episode begins with Rarity waiting patiently for the mail to arrive which is expected to bring her some very good news.  It’s well past when the Mail Pony is supposed to show up at her address though, so she’s wondering what malevolent force has been keeping them from fulfilling their sacred duty.

“You rang?”
“You rang?”

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Cinema Dispatch: The Visit


The Visit and all the images you see in this review are owned byUniversal Pictures

Directed by M Night Shyamalan

Oh good god, we have another M Night Shyamalan movie!  After the travesty of… well everything after Signs, you’d think that he’d no longer be a big name director in Hollywood.  Still, people kept giving him projects and he kept making terrible movies, culminating with the utter disaster that was After Earth.  It seems though that he’s finally had to step down somewhat and has now released a low budget film with barely any recognizable actors and found footage gimmick.  Will getting back to basics be exactly what this filmmaker needs to get his directing chops back, or is it too late for the man who could have been one the great auteurs of our time?  Let’s find out!!

The movie is about Becca and Tyler (played by Olivia DeJonge and Ed Oxenbould), who are on a trip to see their grandparents.  Their mother (Kathryn Hahn) had left things on pretty bad terms when she ran away to be with the man who would end up being the kids’ father, and she hasn’t spoken to them since then.  Only recently did they get back in contact with their daughter and would like to have their grandchildren come visit them some time.  An opportunity presents itself where the mother would need someone to look after the kids for a week, so she decides to let the kids go see them.  The reason for the found footage approach with this film is that Becca is a filmmaker in her own right and wants to make a documentary of their trip to their grandparents house to not only go for an Oscar, but to show the footage to her mother to help her get over whatever it was that kept her away from her parents for so long.  Of course, once they get to the grandparents’ house, things slowly start to get out of hand as both of them seem to exhibit strange and occasionally dangerous behaviors.  Are these two the victims of some sort of degenerative neurological disease, or is there something more sinister at play?

“Oh don’t mind Granny.  She just get possessed by Pazuzu everyone once in a while.”
“Oh don’t mind Granny.  She just get possessed by Pazuzu everyone once in a while.”

Continue reading “Cinema Dispatch: The Visit”