Cinema Dispatch: Zootopia

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Zootopia and all the images you see in this review are owned by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Directed by Byron Howard and Rich Moore

With Pixar not really living up to its namesake in the last couple of years (not the biggest fan of Inside Out), it’s interesting to see their decline coincide with Disney Animation Studio’s recent output steadily increase in quality.  I didn’t see Big Hero Six, but Tangled, Frozen, and Wreck-It Ralph are all very strong features from a studio that had been relying on Pixar for some time to keep Disney’s theatrical output relevant and groundbreaking.  Not only that, but they’ve done a good job of keeping their ideas interesting and relevant, from Frozen’s LGBT undertones, to Wreck-It Ralph’s use of new(ish) media to tell a classic Disney fable about a lost princess.  Now they’re giving something that ALL internet users are at least passingly familiar with; FURRIES!  Does this anthropomorphic animal tale manage to continue Disney Animation Studio’s valiant escape from the shadow of Pixar, or are we in for another bland kid’s movie that’ll only succeed due to the brand name recognition?  Let’s find out!!

The movie follows the trials and tribulations of one Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin); the first rabbit police in… the country?  I don’t know the exact geography here, but her becoming a police officer (valedictorian at the academy) is such a big deal that she gets assigned to Zootopia; the most vibrant, diverse, and technologically advanced cities on Earth… or Animal Planet.  Whatever.  Unfortunately for our friend here, she’s relegated to menial tasks as the chief of police Bongo (Idris Elba) has no confidence in her abilities to perform in a job that is typically handled by much larger animals.  When a case involving a series of missing animals (predators specifically) gets out of hand though, she has an opportunity to prove herself by tracking down an otter who was among those missing.  However, because of the necessities of screenwriting conventions, Bongo somehow manages to turn this into an ego contest and has officer Hopps agree to quit the force if she doesn’t solve this case in forty-eight hours (I sense a reference there!) which you would think wouldn’t be something he can force her to do, but I guess she’s got something to prove and agrees to the wager.  The only lead she has is a local fox who’s already been giving her grief named Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman) who may have seen the otter and knows where he might have gone.  After some underhanded tricks of her own (hey, the fox started it!) she finally convinces him to assist her in finding this otter and find out what it is that has caused these animals to go missing.  Will they be able to solve the case within the arbitrary time limit?  What secrets are there to uncover in the dark underbelly of this supposed utopian city?  Wait, is this gonna be the most socially conscious movie about race relations this year!?

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“They keep me on board so the administration doesn’t look anti-prey, yet I’m stuck in a boiler room.  Progress, am I right?”

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Super Recaps: Sailor Moon Episode 15 (Usagi’s Panic: Rei’s First Date)

Sailor Moon and all the images you see in this recap are owned by Toei Animation and licensed by Viz Media

Episode directed by Kunihiko Ikuhara

We’re back with another episode of Scouts and the City!  For once, the focus isn’t on Usagi this time (the Carrie Bradshaw of the group) and is instead a chance for Rei to get some screen time (DEFINITELY our Miranda) as this one seems to focus on her relationship to someone else OTHER than Usagi.  Seriously, until now I’m pretty sure the only time the other Scouts got any character development was in reflection of their interactions with Usagi, so maybe this will be a chance for Rei and even Ami (Charlotte maybe?) to take a step outside of Sailor Moon’s massive shadow.  Oh, and uh… Luna is Samantha.  I guess.  Will this episode give everyone else a chance to shine, or will they be lost without their fearless leader guiding the ship?  Let’s find out!!

The episode begins with a very rare sight in this series which is the three Sailor Scouts getting along.  It probably has something to do with the beautiful park that Ami has brought them to for reasons that I’m sure many of you have already thought of and written forty pages of fan fiction about.

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“Wow, Ami!  This place is SO romantic!  I’m sure that if you brought ANYONE here, they would fall in love with you instantly!  Thanks for bringing Rei and I here by the way!”     “Uh… yeah.  The view from here is… quite nice.”

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Cinema Dispatch: Trailer Talk (Ghostbusters)

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Ghostbusters and all the images you see in this trailer talk are owned by Columbia Pictures

Directed by Paul Feig

If the internet wasn’t already bad enough for you, the announcement of a Ghostbusters movie with a female cast should have been enough to put it over the edge.  For reasons that are bafflingly petty, there are still a number of dumbasses who hated this movie just on principal.  The principal that… what, women suck?  I don’t know and frankly I don’t want to know.  This trailer though is the first chance that many of us will have to form an ACTUAL opinion on it rather than get blindly angry at it for no good god damn reason.  Does the trailers assuage the fears of those who legitimately had some hesitations for this, or will this be a complete mess of a reboot like… eighty percent of other reboots are?  Let’s find out!!

The trailer begins with that most sacred of reboot traditions; softly playing the original film’s theme over establishing shots that are accompanied by trailer text.  The text by the way is somewhat misleading as it references the original film (thirty years ago, four scientists saved New York) despite nothing else in here indicating that the Ghostbusters existed prior to the events depicted here (an actual reboot instead of a pseudo sequel).  The trailer proper is all about the origin of these four people coming together and as well as creating their equipment, though this could all just be some VERY creative editing on the marketing department’s part to hide anything that indicate them not being the first crew to carry the name.  I really hope that this IS a full on reboot though because having the original movie or the original cast be a presence here is just going to overshadow who the real stars of the movie are.  Speaking of which…

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“Here we come to save the DAY!!!”

 

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Cinema Dispatch: Triple 9

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Triple 9 and all the images you see in this review are owned by Open Road Films

Directed by John Hillcoat

I had not even heard of this movie until I saw a poster for it at the theater.  Hell, I don’t even think I saw a trailer for it before the movie came out!  That seems kind of odd considering some of the actors they have in here such as Chiwetel Ejiofor, Anthony Mackie, and Kate Winslet.  Then again, the movie also has Casey Affleck, Aaron Paul, and Clifton Collins Jr, so maybe it’s not so much an under the radar hit and more of a lower tier movie that happened to luck out in the casting department.  Still, with so little to go on as to what this movie was about, it definitely had the chance to surprise me and offer something unexpected.  Is this a hidden gem that got sprung on us just as we were leaving February, or is this the just one more subpar mess that we have to deal with before ending one of the worst months for movies?  Let’s find out!!

The movie follows way too many characters, but I’ll try to make it as clear as possible (definitely clearer than the movie makes it).  You’ve got the leader Michael (Chiwetel Ejifor), the fuck up Gabe (Aaron Paul), the fuck up’s brother Russell (Norman Reedus), the bad cop Marcus (Anthony Mackie) and the even worse cop Franco (Clifton Collins Jr) who make up a team of five criminals that pull of heists I guess.  In fact, the movie starts right as they begin their latest scheme which is to knock over a bank looking for something specific for their employers who I believe are Israeli mobsters led by Irina (Kate Winslet).  Now the Israeli mobsters need this crew to pull of another job, but the job is neigh impossible in the time they would normally have to do it (three minutes before the cops come).  Their plan is to cause a Triple 9 which is the nickname for killing a cop (radio code 999) at which point all the police in the city (the ENTIRE city) will converge on that location, and it JUST SO HAPPENS that Marcus has a new partner in the form of Chris (Casey Affleck) who would be perfect to kill because… reasons.  Why would someone kill a cop that is so directly tied to them?  Anyway, what the bad guys here aren’t aware of (or aren’t all the concerned about) is Chris’s uncle Jeffrey (Woody Harrelson) who’s investigating the bank robbery and is starting to pick up some clues.  Not only that, but things begin to deteriorate between the bad guys and after something PARTICULARLY heinous happens to them, the fuck up starts to… well, fuck up.  There’s also a subplot about a Mexican gang causing trouble in the city, something about Chiwetel Ejiofor’s son, and then Gal Gadot shows up a couple times to remind us that she can act even if Batman v Superman turns out to be a giant bomb.  Can these guys pull off the heist without killing each other or getting themselves killed first?  Will Casey Affleck survive to the end of the movie?  Can someone get me flow chart for all this?  I’m already confused…

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“Can you get me the finger print analysis from that bank robbery?”     “um…”     “You’re gonna ask about the wolf mask, aren’t you?”     “What!?  No!”

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