Cinema Dispatch: The Peanuts Movie

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The Peanuts Movie and all the images you see in this review are owned by 20th Century Fox

Directed by Steve Martino

At the very least, this movie couldn’t have asked for a better time to come out.  Jem and the Holograms bombed both financially and critically only a month ago, so this being the next adaptation of a beloved franchise aimed at children is going to have some favorable comparisons.  Still, even early on there was a lot to look forward to here.  Once they revealed the artwork and animation style that would be used to bring this classic series to life, it got people very excited at the prospect of another Peanuts movie.  Does this manage to live up to the expectations that the trailers gave us, or will this be yet another failed attempt to capitalize on a well-known brand?  Let’s find out!!

The movie is about that eternally put upon optimist, Charlie “Good Grief” Brown!  It’s not an origin story so this is taking place at pretty much any time in the continuity where everyone is well aware of Charlie Brown and what a boob he is.  In fact, it’s being going on so long that the prospect of a new kid moving to town fills him with joy due to the fact that he finally has a chance to make a good impression on someone before they find out what a loser he is.  The new kid in question is the Little Red-Haired Girl who he ends up falling head of heels in love with immediately but this also adds much more anxiety to his already anxious and downtrodden existence.  He’s certain that the moment he opens his mouth to her that he’ll reveal himself as a dud so he resolves to make himself a better person beforehand!  Can Charlie Brown reach his self-improvement goals before the end of the school year?  Will he ever build up the confidence to talk to the girl of his dreams?  Wait, isn’t this the same plot as The 40-Year-Old Virgin?

“You know when you feel it, and it feels like a bag of sand…”     “That’s not sand you block head!  They fill hacky sacks with rice or plastic beads!  NOT SAND!!”
“You know when you feel it, and it feels like a bag of sand…”     “That’s not sand you block head!  They fill hacky sacks with rice or plastic beads!  NOT SAND!!”

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Cinema Dispatch: Spectre

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Spectre and all the images you see in this review are owned by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures and Columbia Pictures

Directed by Sam Mendes

Has it really been three years since Skyfall!?  That movie was absolutely fantastic, wasn’t it?  Well now the same crew (minus Roger Deakins) is back to give us the next entry in the James Bond franchise!  Will they be able to make another fantastic entry in the long running franchise, or will this fail to live up to the massive expectations that Skyfall left us with?  Let’s find out!!

As expected, the movie is about the lovable spy James Bond (Daniel Craig) and his latest efforts to find the mysterious organization that’s been hunting him and causing chaos from behind the shadows!  I though they already figured out it was Quantum, but whatever.  After a VERY explosive mission in Mexico, he’s one step closer to finding this evil organization but problems arise when it turns out he went out on his own without MI6 approval.  This is particularly troubling for the organization (and M played by Ralph Fiennes) due to the government still wanting to shut them down which you may recall being a subplot in the previous film.  In its place, the government wants to establish a worldwide surveillance program that’s being headed up by Max Denbigh (Andrew Scott) who seems just a bit too eager to get Bond out the way.  Bond once again goes out on his own (has he listened to anyone since maybe Casino Royale?) to follow up on his leads to find whoever it is that’s pulling the strings behind recent events and is probably controlling Quantum, though that’s still a bit unclear.  Will Bond discover what this organization is that they spoil in the title?  Will he find the mastermind behind this (Christoph Waltz) who we’ve been told is NOT Blowfeld but who the hell else would be the head of Spectre?  Will James Bond finally get to the bottom of something without having to kill every lead he has!?  It’s probably gonna be a no on that last one.

“RUNNING!  RUNNING!  RUNNING!  RUNNING!!!!!!!!”
“RUNNING!  RUNNING!  RUNNING!  RUNNING!!!!!!!!”

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Super Recaps: My Little Pony season 5 (What About Discord?)

We’re back with another episode of The Twilight Sparkle Show!  After the two back to back holiday episodes, it’s time to get the series back into the swing of things, and what better way to do that than with another Discord episode?  John de Lancie’s preeminent performance as the god of all chaos is definitely a highlight of the series, but his presence can occasionally be a bit underwhelming, especially when he’s being overly needy instead of a rascally force of destruction.  Will this end up being another classic Discord episode, or will we finally tire with his never ending antics and codependency?  Let’s find out!!

The episode begins with Twilight playing the library equivalent of fifty-two pick up, in that she took ALL the books off the shelves and is going to put them back on (with Spike’s help obviously).  Look, I’ve had jobs where the best thing to do when bored was alphabetize the DVD bins, but she’s using up a three day weekend (what holiday is it, Celestia Day?) to re-alphabetize the library which I’m PRETTY sure is already alphabetized!  Is it just me, or is Twilight becoming less and less relatable as the series goes on?  She started off as an introverted bookworm who had her moments of wackiness, but was definitely an audience avatar when compared to the vibrant and specific personalities of the other characters.  They’ve since added to her character and given her defining traits, but I think they’ve gone a bit too far and are approaching Big Bang Theory levels of cartoonish nerdiness.

“After alphabetizing these books, we can follow that up with a rousing series of calculus problems followed by three dimensional chess!”     “Can I just go outside?”     “NO!!  WE’RE BONDING!!!”
“After alphabetizing these books, we can follow that up with a rousing series of calculus problems followed by three dimensional chess!”     “Can I just go outside?”     “NO!!  WE’RE BONDING!!!”

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Cinema Dispatch: Our Brand Is Crisis

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Our Brand Is Crisis and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures

Directed by David Gordon Green

I’m pretty sure I saw a trailer for this before every single movie in the last four or five months.  Now that we finally get a chance to see this political dramedy about campaign management, does it actually turn out to be any good?  Well this is basically a hodgepodge of people we like but who don’t always make the best career choices, such as Sandra Bullock, Billy Bob Thornton, David Gordon Green as the director, and even George Clooney who’s producing this and will sometimes have a misstep.  Will this be another great film from people we know can make great movies, or is this gonna be one big disaster that we only sometimes expect from them?  Let’s find out!!

The movie follows Sandra Bullock as Jane (colloquially known as Calamity Jane) who was at one time the best campaign manager in the United States.  She won many elections in her career but along the way she developed a drug habit and became an alcoholic to the point that she started to become a laughing stock in her field and eventually checked into the Betty Ford clinic.  The movie picks up several years later and she’s spent the intervening time alone in the woods in exile or something until two campaign managers Ben and Nell (Anthony Mackie and Ann Dowd) who are working on a campaign in Bolivia and are so far behind that they’re desperate enough to try and call Jane out of retirement.  When she finds out that their opponent is being managed by her rival Pat Candy (Billy Bob Thornton) she agrees to go there and help out, but is quickly unimpressed by what she finds.  A candidate who seems checked out and disinterested, a staff composed of idiots who can’t even speak Spanish, and polls that put the guy over twenty points behind their opposition.  Can Jane get back into the swing of things and whip this campaign into shape, or will she end up losing herself again throughout this whole ordeal!?

“What do you think our chances are?”     “Honestly?  I think Rick Santorum had a better chance of winning the presidency.”     “2012 Santorum, or 2016 Santorum?”     “Does it matter?”     “I guess not.”
“What do you think our chances are?”     “Honestly?  I think Rick Santorum had a better chance of winning the presidency.”     “2012 Santorum, or 2016 Santorum?”     “Does it matter?”     “I guess not.”

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Cinema Dispatch: Burnt

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Burnt and all the images you see in this review are owned by The Weinstein Company

Directed by John Wells

Is Bradley Cooper going to be the next Leonardo DiCaprio?  Seriously, the guy has been nominated THRICE for best actor, and lost it every time!  Well after the overwhelming success that was American Sniper, the man is back to star in a movie about a guy who’s probably just as intense!  Will Mr. Cooper’s foray into food porn and Gordon Ramsey mimicry be just what he needs to clench that Oscar gold that he has been denied for the last three years, or is this yet another missed opportunity for one of Hollywood’s most prominent actors?  Let’s find out!!

The movie follows the world renowned chef Adam Jones (Bradley Cooper) who is getting back into the game after completely flaming out a couple of years back.  The movie isn’t too specific about how he lost everything other than it involved drugs, but he’s been clean for quite some time now and is ready to claw his way back up the ladder.  Well… by climb his way up, I mean he bullies a friend of his Tony (Daniel Bruhl) into making him head chef of his already prestigious restaurant, but that’s beside the point!  He’s getting back some old friends like Michel (Omar Sy) who he screwed over in the past and wants to make amends with and Max (Riccardo Scamarcio) who just got out of jail for… something.  It probably involved beating someone up over food.  On top of his old friends who he’s getting to work in his new kitchen, he also has some new talent like David (Sam Keeley) who’s about as naïve as he is talented and Helene (Sienna Miller) who’s as stubborn as she is talented.  With this ragtag group of super chefs, Adam plans to prove himself as one of the world’s greatest chefs by winning a prestigious award (three stars in the Michelin Guide book) which has already been won by his rival Reece (Matthew Rhys).  Will Adam achieve his goal and finally find redemption for his past transgressions, or has he made too many mistakes that he needs to make up for first?  What else must he struggle to learn on the road to recovery?  Will Bradley Cooper finally get that Oscar he’s been looking for!?

“If this doesn’t work, I’m doing like five World War two films in a row.”
“If this doesn’t work, I’m doing like five World War two films in a row.”

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Super Recaps: My Little Pony season 5 (Scare Master)

Get your nerves pre-rattled because this weeks’ episode is gonna be ultra-spooky!  After three season, we finally get another episode based on the best holiday in the show due to it being an analogue for what really is the best holiday (Halloween) but also because it’s a celebration all about Luna!!  Sadly, it looks like this won’t be another one of her episodes but that doesn’t mean they won’t find SOME way to have lots of fun with the fantastic setting they’ve got here, right?  Will this be another classic that lives up to the original Nightmare Night episode which was also the first Luna centric one, or will this continue to be less than stellar like the last two episodes in the wake of Crusaders of the Lost Mark?  Let’s find out!!

The episode begins with Fluttershy battening down the hatches for whatever is terrifying her this time.  Zombie apocalypse?  Alien invasion?  Were-rabbits?  Nope, it’s simply because it’s Nightmare Night and that alone is enough to send her into full on survivalist mode.  Then again, I’d be a bit hesitant to go outside if I saw ponies wearing those… questionable outfits.

“What are you?”     “Sexy changeling.  And you?”     “Sexy dragon.”     “Wait, isn’t that offensive?”     “I don’t know.  Should we ask Spike?”
“What are you?”     “Sexy changeling.  And you?”     “Sexy dragon.”     “Wait, isn’t that offensive?”     “I don’t know.  Should we ask Spike?”

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Cinema Dispatch: Bridge of Spies

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Bridge of Spies and all the images you see in this review are owned by Walt Disney Studios and 20th Century Fox

Directed by Steven Spielberg

We’re well into the Oscar season by this point, but now it’s time for the BIG guns to strut their stuff, and you can’t get any bigger the Steven Spielberg!!  It also seems that he’s found a niche that he’s starting to get comfortable with considering this is his second historical film based on a bunch of lawyers and politicians arguing during a very contentious time in our country’s history.  Does Spielberg remind us once again why he’s one of Hollywood’s greatest living directors, or will this be one of those lesser films he makes that we’ll all forget about as soon as his next film is made?  Let’s find out!!

The movie begins in 1957 with the arrest of Soviet Spy Rudolf Abel (Mark Rylance) and the media storm that surrounded it.  When it comes time to actually try the bastard, the US government hires a law firm to represent Rudolf so that at least it can APPEAR to be a legit trial instead of a kangaroo court.  Unfortunately for everyone, the man the law firm assigns to the case is James B Donovan (Tom Hanks) who actually believes in the constitution and won’t just let the legal system run all over this guy.  For doing the right thing, he ends up drawing unwanted attention from hot heads looking to see some Soviet scumbag hang as well as the ire of the FBI who want him to tell them everything that Rudolph has said in their meetings which would obviously be a breach of attorney client privilege.  While this is going on, we occasionally cut to Francis Gary Powers (Austin Stonewall) who is a US solider training to be a spy and will one day fly a stealth plane of USSR territories to take covert pictures.  Will fate conspire to put him in a similar situation as Rudolph Abel finds himself now?  What kinds of consequences will James incur for himself, his law firm, and his family for simply believing in and fighting for what the constitution guarantees?  Just how many awards will Spielberg win for directing a period piece political thriller starring Tom Hanks!?  Like… fifty?

“I’m willing to talk Mr. Spielberg down to forty-eight, but you need to guarantee us best picture first.”
“I’m willing to talk Mr. Spielberg down to forty-eight, but you need to guarantee us best picture first.”

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