Cinema Dispatch: Bad Moms

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Bad Moms and all the images you see in this review are owned by STX Entertainment

Directed by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore

It’s the triumphant return of Mila Kunis who… actually didn’t really go anywhere, but then Jupiter Ascending does feel like it came out a LONG time ago.  Anyway, the trailers for this movie really didn’t inspire much hope as it looked like an unholy mashup between Mother’s Day and Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, but the cast is pretty strong which is both good for this movie and also depressing considering really great actresses like the aforementioned Mila Kunis as well as Katheryn Hahn, Kristen Bell, Christina Applegate, and Jada Pinkett Smith are stuck doing stuff like this which in all honestly looks pretty bad.  Does this movie manage to rise above expectations and turn out to be a delightful romp, or is this another failed comedy that’s trying way too hard and completely failing at being edgy?  Let’s find out!!

The movie is all about Amy (Mila Kunis) who’s a mother of two and is struggling with the worst white people problems you can imagine!  Her kids need rides to their extracurricular activities, she’s not appreciated at her high paying job, and her husband is a lazy slob who masturbates a lot.  Okay, the PTA is an overbearing monstrosity headed up by the EVIL Gwendolyn (Christina Applegate) and her cronies (Jada Pinkett Smith and Annie Mumolo) so that sucks, not to mention that her husband is masturbating with another woman which is REALLY fucked up when they’ve been hiding it from Amy for ten months, so she’s on the edge of nervous breakdown.  What could possibly put her over the edge?  THE BAKE SALE!  SCREW THAT SHIT!  She’s done with ALL of this and is about to do HORRIBLE things like… have her twelve year old kids make their own breakfast and not go to the insane PTA meetings.  Huh.  Well, she finds some compatriots in her quest to become a “Bad Mom” (quotes very intentional here) in the form of Carla (Kathryn Hahn) who really IS a bad mom and Kiki (Kristen Bell) who’s in a really unhealthy relationship and is on the verge of her own emotional collapse.  So they basically transition from being overbearing mothers to ones who demand space from their familes and for them to take on more responsibilities in their own lives.  Doesn’t sound like much of a problem, but this doesn’t go unnoticed by Gwendolyn who maintains her iron grip on the PTA through intimidation and fear, so this “Bad Mom” as it were is a threat to her little totalitarian state and she will put a stop to it by taking it out on Amy’s kids.  Oh HELL no!  Amy’s not about to take that shit lying down, so on top of spreading the gospel of “Bad Moms”, she’s also going to run for PTA president to unseat the HBIC and be the HBIC herself!  Can Amy succeed in getting the other parents on her side to stop Gwendolyn’s reign of terror?  What consequences will this new form of parenting have on her home life and her children?  Just how “BAD” are these mom’s gonna get!?

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MOTHERS!?  Imbibing of SPIRITS!?  HOW ABSURD!  I can feel my sense of moral fortitude being shat upon as we speak!

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Super Recaps: My Little Pony season 6 (Stranger Than Fan Fiction)

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and all the images you see in this recap are owned by Hasbro.

Episode directed by Denny Lu and Tim Stuby

We’re FINALLY back with another episode of The Daring Doo Chronicles!  After a month long hiatus that felt like it would go on forever (I should know; I have the view counts to prove it!), we’ve got more pony goodness to keep us all entertained in between Steven Universe, Adventure Time, and the recently concluded Wander Over Yonder!  Does the series come back in full form; rejuvenated from the break it took, or did ALL that free time make them sloppy and dispassionate about returning to the show?  Let’s find out!!

The episode begins as a dramatization of the latest Daring Doo novel, though the franchise seems to be running out of steam considering how lackluster the situation is.  How is she afraid of falling off a collapsing bridge when she can FLY?  Oh well.  The fans will eat this latest book up just like the other hundred bajillion books in this series, and we get confirmation of that as the dramatization turns out to be Twilight reading about the latest adventure to Rainbow Dash; the latter packing up for Saddle Diego PonyCon while the former is lamenting the fact that she can’t go.  Even a princess can’t get a ticket to that!  Well, not really.  I’m sure she’s already received an engraved invitation begging her to lend her star power to the convention, but she’s got work to do at some friendship summit in Griffonstone which, if I were to guess, is about five percent about actual friendship problems and ninety-five percent about stimulating their failing economy.  The worst part though is that AK Yearling who they met in Daring Don’t and is the author of Daring Doo who’s apparently ALSO the real life Daring Doo (so which one is her real name!?) is going to be there and she never goes to conventions to Twilight’s chagrin.  Basically AK Yearling is Alan Moore if the guy learned what razors are and merely let the hatred of their own work simmer inside them rather than broadcasting it to the world.  Rainbow Dash does her best to try and undersell how awesome the convention is going to be, but is doing (or should I say… DARING DOOING!?  Hee hee hee) a poor job of it, especially when we smash cut to her surrounded by all the nerds of Equestria and loving it!

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Hope they have a strong harassment policy!

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Cinema Dispatch: NERVEous Breakdown

 

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Nerve is owned by Lionsgate

I knew that while I was writing my review of this movie that there was no way I could fully express my utter bewilderment at what happens in the final twenty or so minutes without having a damn near incomprehensible rant right in the middle and without giving away HUGE spoilers.  Well now that the review is finished and you can find out my thoughts (essentially spoiler free) there, I think now is the time to get all this built up frustration out in a constructive and hopefully coherent manner.  Needless to say that this will contain ALL OF THE SPOILERS for the movie as so much of my problems with the logic of this (both from my understanding of technology and from the rules the movie sets for itself) is what is ultimately revealed by the end, so don’t read this before going to see the movie which I still recommend you do despite how much I HATED the ending.  Before we begin though, there’s still one very important question to answer.

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Why Do I Care So Much!?

Honestly?  I don’t really know.  I mean, one of my favorite movies of the year is The Purge Election Year, and can I honestly say that THAT movie makes any more sense than this one?  Probably not, but I think it ultimately comes down to what each movie is trying to accomplish.  The Purge: Election Year is upfront with what it wants to be and infuses every moment of screen time with that sense of purpose.  There’s no bait and switch or a drastic shifts in tone that make you questions whether or not the filmmakers want you to believe in what is going on (beyond as a scathing and blunt metaphor for the current state of US politics), so it manages to stay consistent all the way through.  This movie feels disingenuous when it eventually gets around to turning Nerve from a plot device into the main dramatic thrust of the final act as it turns out to be SUPER EVIL.  To be fair, it’s not like they aren’t dropping hints throughout the movie (and Nerve at no point doesn’t come off like the worst kind of hacktivist bro-centric garbage) but the movie doesn’t want us to focus on that until the end and when it does I don’t feel the movie earned the right to use this sloppy and barely defined entity in the way that it does.  The Purge has a backstory and mechanics.  Nerve has neither and so its constantly pulling stuff out of its ass to make it more threatening than it has any right to be in this grounded (if SLIGHTY exaggerated) world that the movie takes place in.  When shit started to hit the fan, it just didn’t feel necessary to me, and they were biting off way more than they had any hopes of chewing.  Well then, let’s get to it!  Spoilers form here on out!  Oh, and FYI, I’m not an expert (or even all that smart) in ANYTHING I’m about to discuss, so if someone out there wants to point out how stupid I am and how any of this makes sense, then go right ahead.

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Cinema Dispatch: Nerve

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Nerve and all the images you see in this review are owned by Lionsgate

Directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman

Well if they were gonna make a teenaged version of a David Fincher film, The Game is probably a good place to start.  You don’t want to go with Se7en or The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo right off the bat!  Then again, he already made his own teen movie with The Social Network.  Anyway, this new movie starring the less famous (though probably not for long) Franco brother as well as the star of Hotel for Dogs and Nancy Drew (Okay, she was also in American Horror Story and Scream Queens) seems to be trying to tell us something about social media and… I guess dumb asses on YouTube?  Whatever this movie is about, it at least has an interesting (if super spoilerific) trailer, so is it possible there’s something actually here to chew on?  Let’s find out!!

The movie begins with Vee (Emma Roberts) who’s on the cusp of graduating high school but isn’t sure what college she wants to go to.  In fact, indecision seems to be her biggest defining feature; possibly brought on by the untimely (and unexplained) death of her brother only two years earlier.  Now she’s about to leave the comfort of compulsory education while still never living that true HIGH SCHOOL EXPERIENCETM.  Luckily for her, social media and… probably a bunch of libertarian basement dwellers, have JUST the thing for her; an online service called Nerve.  Her friend Sydney (Emily Meade) turns her onto it, and it’s basically a webcam site only instead of whipping her boobs out for money, she’s given dares to complete instead.  I’m pretty sure whipping her boobs out would have been at least half the dares if this was in the REAL world, but in this movie she’s basically given Jackass style stunts instead.  Her “Just Friends” friend Tommy (Miles Heizer) is being a super wet blanket about all this which gives handsome as fuck Ian (Dave Franco) a chance to swoop in as another Nerve Player (you’re either a Player or a Watcher on Nerve) ready to take her on a city wide adventure with riskier and riskier dares for them to complete!  Will these two make it through the night of dares with their internal organs intact?  What is the true motivation of Ian who JUST SO HAPPENED to be in the same area as Vee?  Just what are the evil puppet masters of Nerve planning!?  Is it a pizza party!?

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No.  It’s… probably not a pizza party…

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Cinema Dispatch: Star Trek Beyond

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Star Trek Beyond and all the images you see in this review are owned by Paramount Pictures

Directed by Justin Lin

We’re once again invited to visit this new Star Trek universe, though it doesn’t quite have the same shine that it used to now that we saw the bafflingly mishandled Into Darkness, and even that really crappy video game that came out.  Remember that?  While we all may fondly remember the first reboot film in this series that kicked off this new universe, there’s no doubt that some damage has been done in the intervening years that it’s now up to this movie to start correcting.  Do they manage to steer the ship back on course, or should we all start heading for the lifeboats before this whole franchise crashes and burns?  Let’s find out!!

The movie follows the crew of the USS Enterprise who are in the middle of their five year mission to explore strange new worlds, seek out new life and civilizations, and to boldly go where no one has gone before.  Of course, for some reason there’s a Federation space station in the middle of this supposed unknown, but whatever.  They need to fuel up the tank every once in a while.  Anyway, during their pit stop at the space station Yorktown, Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) is getting ready to give up his command of the Enterprise… for some reason, but can’t do it just yet as a distress ship manages to make it to Yorktown with an alien who’s begging Starfleet to help them out.  Kirk agrees to get everyone back on board the Enterprise (probably pissing off a lot of the crew in the process) and heads to wherever this planet is which honestly doesn’t seem to be too far but there’s a giant nebula between Yorktown and this mystery planet so maybe it’s just that no one wanted to fly straight through that.  Kirk does however, but once they make it to just outside the planet’s orbit, a fleet of a bajillion tiny ships tears the enterprise to shreds and the bad guy of this movie simply known as Krall (Idris Elba) JUST SO HAPPENS to find that the Enterprise is carrying the ONE piece of a superweapon that he’s been searching for all this time that’s only on the ship due to a fluke peace mission from some point during their five year mission.  Luckily Kirk manages to hide it before the ship goes down in flames, but now the crew is completely separated and needs to find a way to get back together, defeat Krall, and get the hell off this planet.  Spock and Bones McCoy (Zachary Quinto) are together constantly kvetching at each other, Scotty (Simon Pegg) ends up meeting a local alien trying to get herself off the planet too named Jaylah (Sofia Boutella), Uhura and Sulu (Zoe Saldana and John Cho) are captured by the enemy along with most of the remaining crew, and Kirk and Chekov (Anton Yelchin) are left with the alien who initially sent them to this planet and are working together to find what remains of the enterprise.  Can these heroes set aside their differences and work together so they can survive this mission?  What is Krall planning to blow up with the super weapon once he finally gets the pieces together?  Most importantly, just how grumpy can Bones get!?

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“So what’s the plan again?”     “You forgot already?”     “Damn it Spock!  I’m a doctor, not a-”     “Alright fine!  I’ll explain it again!”     “Is he always like this?”     “All the time.”

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Cinema Dispatch: Lights Out

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Lights Out and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros

Directed by David F Sandberg

This movie managed to fly COMPLETLEY under the radar for me.  I think I saw one poster and one trailer for this movie before I went to go see it, and frankly it looked no better than your typical Blumhouse sequel or even The Forest from earlier this year.  Still, there have been a few damn good horror movies this year (at least three are eligible for my top ten list) so maybe there’ll be something to this as everyone seems to have stepped up their game this year.  Can this manage to be yet another great horror movie in the Post Paranormal Activity era, or is this another cheap cash grab to make a few bucks off undiscerning teenagers?  Lets’ find out!!

The movie follows Rebecca (Teresa Palmer) who’s living her life as… a tattoo artist I think, with her sort of boyfriend Bret (Alexander DiPersia) but it all gets turned upside down when Child Protective Services calls her up as an emergency contact for her younger half-brother Martin (Gabriel Bateman) who’s been falling asleep in class lately and seems to be having very intense nightmares.  Unfortunately this is nothing new for Rebecca as her mother is known to go through manic depressive episodes which she was subject to several times as a young girl, especially considering that Martin’s father (Billy Burke) recently died under… suspicious circumstances, which parallels with Rebecca’s own father ran off when she was a kid (*cough* bullshit *cough*) and her mother is going through the same motions.  The thing is though that it’s not just her mom being unbalanced that’s causing Martin nightmares.  There seems to be a monster lurking in the dark that his mother is acting all buddy-buddy with which is freaky as hell in its own right before it starts banging on his door at night!  What is this monster that their mother has invited into the house?  Has it ALWAYS been there… hiding in the background… sneaking in the shadows?  Is this gonna turn into a gritty reboot of The Funky Phantom!?

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I don’t think it’s funky time for this phantom…

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Super Recaps: The Twilight Zone (One Night at Mercy)

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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 Peter O’Fallon

We’re back with another episode of Story Time with Forest Whitaker!  Now the last episode we looked at was a pretty boring example of this show barely even trying and merely going through the motions, but I hear that a lot of people really like this episode so maybe the show has already figured out what it wants to do and is now heading in the right direction.  Are the people right and is this one of the better episodes of the series, or is this just another disappointment from a show that probably has no right to exist in the first place?  Let’s find out!!

The episode begins with a whole bunch of SUPER SURGERY where there’s blood splatter, sawn open rib cages, and some bad ass doctor sticking his hand inside some dude’s chest cavity!  SWEET!  I don’t know what the fuck he’s trying to do (something to do with the aorta), but whatever it is it ends up saving the poor bastard on the table.  Oh I’m sorry, did I say table?  They aren’t actually in an operating theater; they’re in the fucking emergency room with the guy on a gurney!  Television execs being cheap or the hospital has budget cuts?  YOU DECIDE!!

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“Can you grab me a bottle of hand sanitizer?”     “WE’RE IN THE MIDDLE OF SOMETHING!  JUST GRAB IT YOURSELF!”     “The supplies are right behind you.  All you have to do is turn around and grab me a bottle.”     “WHY IS THERE HAND SANITIZER IN THE OPERATING ROOM!?”     “You can keep calling it that all you want, but that won’t make it any less false.”

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Super Recaps: Sailor Moon Episode 28 (The Painting of Love: Usagi and Mamoru Get Closer)

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

Episode directed by Yuji Endo

We’re back with another episode of Reading Rainbow Crystals!  When we last left our heroes, it was on a particularly weak note as the show had REALLY botched an Ami episode which is a shame because she doesn’t get as much of the spotlight as she should.  Now it looks like we’re already going back to focusing on the destined romance of Usagi and Mamoru which isn’t completely devoid of intrigue, but doesn’t feel as necessary as making sure the other Scouts remain a prominent part of the series rather than becoming background objects.  Still, does the show manage to give us another really strong episode in the Rainbow Crystal arc, or was the last episode a warning of mediocrity to come?  Let’s find out!!

The episode begins in the bowels of Hell Corp where Queen Beryl is giving her usual speech about the incompetence of her underlings, and frankly it’s becoming clear that she’s starting to phone these in.  She’s gotten so used to failure that she can barely muster the energy to destroy Zoisite’s self-confidence with her expert tongue lashing, yet doesn’t seem all that interested in taking direct action or to come up with a plan that’s at least SOMEWHAT different from the last twenty or so that have failed.  At least with Jadeite, there was a bit of variety in the schemes!  Here, they’re just throwing goons at the Scouts and getting surprised when yet another one gets its ass handed to them!

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“Oh do whatever you like.  I’m sure you’ll fail once again and we’ll be right back in the same place next week.”     “I hate to see you so dejected, but then I also like how you’re not threatening to rip my large Intestine out and then choke me with it.”     “Oh it’s all about YOU isn’t it?”

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Cinema Dispatch: Ghostbusters v Ghostbusters

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Ghostbusters (2016) and Ghostbusters (1984) are both owned by Columbia Pictures

The new movie has finally come out we can all confirm that the world has not plunged into forty years of darkness, but while there have yet to be any reports of rivers and seas boiling or dogs and cats living together, there’s denying that we indeed saw some mass hysteria .  Hopefully all that will subside soon enough, but those people have already gotten more attention than they deserve and it’s been difficult to keep everything in perspective as some people decided that the success or failure of this movie was going to be the crescendo in some childhood ruining man hating agenda, so trying to have a measured conversation about the strengths of both this new film and the original it’s based off of has not been an easy task.  Thankfully we can hopefully start taking a measured look at both films’ individual merits and how one movie might have done somethings better than the other without having the more obnoxious among us either use it as proof that we are biased or evidence that the new movie is horrible.  To kick that discussion off, here’s my own examination of both films and how one stacks up to the other based on important aspects that are in both films!

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Who Ya Gonna Call? (The Crew)

This new movie made two fantastic decisions right off the bat.  It was a reboot instead of a sequel, and they didn’t try to make these new characters analogues for the original crew.  No one in this movie is a recreation of someone from the last film which means that we don’t have to play the WHO DID IT BETTER game on individual actors (a decision also wisely made by the Evil Dead reboot), and similarly I’m so glad that this new Ghostbusters team is not the trainees, or even worse THE DAUGHTERS, of the original crew which would have completely ruined what makes these new characters so interesting.  Look, I’m well aware that this is a movie starring women that FIRST had to be done by men, but the fact that it’s not the case in the movie itself is an inspiring message to young girls to be proactive and forge their own paths.  A lot of people who are upset about this movie seem to think it would have been better if this was a passing of the torch story which is a concept that worked pretty well for Star Wars, but there’s no way it would have worked here.  At least in that movie there’s a whole universe to explore and the new people wouldn’t necessarily be in the shadows of the original cast allows them to do their own thing; something that would be infinitely harder here if the new Ghostbusters were still using the same logos, firehouse, equipment, jumpsuits, what have you that the original cast were wearing twenty years ago and everyone in the movie knew that.  It wouldn’t be able to be its own thing as it would constantly be in the shadows of the original members who are still hanging around the background and would take attention away from the brilliant actors that are the real stars here.

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Cinema Dispatch: Ghostbusters

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

Directed by Paul Feig

No other movie this year, save MAYBE Batman v Superman, had as much drama and passion as this reboot of a classic eighties comedy.  A very vocal minority of people were deadest on hating this from the word go with nothing more to go on than the idea that it would star women instead of men, and they haven’t shut the hell up about it since then; effectively drowning out any legitimate criticism that was levied against the movie.  It’s true that this is a reboot and that Ghostbusters was a very much a movie of its time (not only in concept but also the fact that comedies just don’t have the same clout and reverence they did back in the eighties), but I was still genuinely interested in seeing this based on who they ended up casting and some of the better moments in the trailer.  Does this manage to live up to the hype as a patriarch smashing masterpiece, or will it live up to the OTHER hype of being the worst possible thing to ever happen to anyone at any time in history?  Probably neither, but is it at least good?  Let’s find out!!

The movie begins with Columbia Physics professor Dr Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) being forced to confront an old colleague of hers, namely Dr Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) over a book they wrote years ago on the paranormal which she has since disowned but has recently resurfaced and may pose a threat to her bid for tenure at the university.  Abbey never stopped her research and is angry at Erin for abandoning her those many years ago so she’s not too keen to help her out and has even gotten a new partner in crime in the form of super engineer Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon) and they’re both trying to get evidence that ghosts really do exist.  Opportunity comes a-knocking for all three of them however as Abby and Holtzmann (with Erin along for the ride trying to get Abby to take her name off the book) actually do run into a ghost and get footage of it on camera.  Unfortunately, the video goes viral, Erin gets fired from the University, and all three of them can’t get anyone to believe the story.  Still, this is some groundbreaking stuff they’ve uncovered, so they pool all their money together to begin a start-up company and relocate to the attic of a Chinese restaurant (a firehouse looked promising, but was WAY too expensive).  As they perfect their craft and Holtzmann works on the weapons, they eventually meet Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones) who saw a ghost at the subway station she works at and enlists the Ghostbusters to bust it before eventually joining the team, as does Kevin Beckman (chris Hemsworth) who becomes their secretary because no one else bothered to apply for the job.  While all this is going on by the way, there’s some creepy dude named Rowan (Neil Casey) who seems to be setting up devices that amply the strength of ghosts that are already haunting various places in NYC and is clearly planning something much bigger.  Can the Ghostbusters find out Rowan’s evil plan before it’s too late?  Will the world even accept them as anything more than frauds and Ghost Hunter knock offs?  Is there ANY chance that those determined to hate this movie will feel any different by actually watching it?  I’m gonna guess no on that last one.

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“Is THAT what people have been saying about us!?”     “Yup.”     “Wow…”

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