Cinema Dispatch: The Infiltrator

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The Infiltrator and all the images you see in this review are owned by Broad Green Pictures

Directed by Brad Furman

So… Bryan Cranston is going back to the well, huh?  You can hardly blame him though!  Breaking Bad is one of the most influential and critically praised shows to ever come out, so if anyone deserves to be in a movie about drugs and violence, then it’s the guy who made that shit work for five seasons!  Does Bryan Cranston come out on top once again with a movie tailor made for his particular set of skills, or will this just be an actor trying to relive their glory days before sinking back into obscurity and finding a niche in shitty comedies (*cough* Why Him? *cough*)?  Let’s find out!!

The movie which is BASED ON A TRUE STORY (ugh…) follows Robert Mazur (Bryan Cranston) who is a Federal Agent working for US Customs and primary does undercover work to bust drug dealers.  Apparently petty drug dealers work with a lot of fifty year old dudes who look like Target managers, but I guess that just makes Robert that much more of an unassuming figure.  Anyway, his colleague Emir Abreu (John Leguizamo) gives him a tip that some big players in the Columbian Cartel (at the time being led by Pablo Escobar as this movie takes place in the eighties) will be in town and are in the market for a money launderer (at least I think that’s what the tip is about) and so he starts posing as an accountant who’s more than willing to handle the Cartel’s money; hoping to bust them for the drugs and the bankers at The Bank of Credit and Commerce International who are willingly doing this for them.  Of course with any undercover work, there’s always the danger of getting himself and his fellow agents caught, especially Kathy Ertz (Diane Kruger) who is playing his pretend fiancée who’s only part of this mission because Robert fucked up at one of the meetings with the drug lords; not to mention that with any undercover work there’s always a chance of getting in too deep.  Can Robert bust these guys before getting a bullet in the back of the head or worse?  Will his real life crumble to pieces as he gets more and more engrossed in his work?  WILL HE BE THE ONE WHO KNOCKS!?

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“I mean really, what’d you expect me to do? Just simply roll over and die!?”     “So you lost ONE Oscar!  Could you at least have something more original between now and Power Rangers!?”

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Cinema Dispatch: The BFG

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

Directed by Steven Spielberg

The fact that Spielberg hasn’t made a Roald Dahl film up to now seems like either an oversight.  That or maybe the guy thought that it would have been too obvious for the reigning king of cinematic wonder to adapt a story from one of the best children’s book authors of all time.  If you think about it, the really good Dahl adaptations come from unconventional places, whether it’s Mel Stuart who’s known for Willy Wonka and basically nothing else outside of television, Henry Selick who’s only done four movies in over twenty years (one of which is James and the Giant Peach and another is Monkeybone), and even Matilda which was directed by Danny DeVito of all people; a director known for The War of the Roses where Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner kill each other over spite, and Death to Smoochy which had Ed Norton in an awful Barney suit.  The most mainstream examples I can think of would be Fantastic Mister Fox from Wes Anderson and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory from Tim Burton, the former proving my point as the most mainstream we can get for good Dahl is Wes Anderson and the latter probably being the worst Dahl adaptation pretty much BECAUSE of how Hollywood it was.  Now the biggest director of all time is stepping up to the plate to adapt one of Dahl’s books that has yet to have a major film adaptation, though there was an animated one that no one really cares about.  Can Spielberg work his magic yet again for material that seems perfectly suited for him, or will the magic of Dahl’s work be lost when adapted under the Disney umbrella?  Let’s find out!!

The movie follows a young orphan named Sophie (Ruby Barnhill) who suffers from Insomnia… I think, and she stays up late enough one night to see a giant roaming the streets of her town.  Sophie tries to return to her bed but unfortunately it’s too close to the window and the giant kidnaps her to take back to his home in Giant Country which doesn’t seem too hard to get to as the secret portal or whatever is just off the northern coast of Scotland.  The giant is played by Mark Rylance (who will at some point be known as BFG which does NOT stand for what you think it does) and tells Sophie that he plans to keep her there so that she doesn’t blab to the world about the existence of giants.  Now normally this would be the setup for a horror movie, but BFG turns out to be a vegetarian which means she’s safe from being eaten, and that the giant is actually super sweet which makes this situation more like an adoption without that pesky paperwork.  Now of course the movie isn’t just about these two hanging out together as the main conflict arises when we discover that not only is BFG a rather small giant, but that the other giants are total pricks who like to eat children and bully and the kind old man for reasons that I’m sure make sense to the giants.  Can Sophie come up with a way to stop the other giants from picking on BFG?  Will the other giants discover that BFG has a human around which will set them off on a rampage?  Wait, why is BFG responsible for people having dreams?  Seriously, what does that have to do with anything!?

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“What is that dream about?”     “Eh… I’ll tell you when your older.”

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Cinema Dispatch: The Secret Life of Pets

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The Secret Life of Pets and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures

Directed by Chris Renaud and Yarrow Cheney

Is it finally out!?  OH THANK GOODNESS!!  Whether or not this movie is actually good, at least we no longer have to see those same trailers over and over and OVER again.  The marketing for this movie was absolutely insane and was in front of every damn movie I saw.  They played this so much that now I don’t like Downtown by Macklemore anymore.  THANKS A LOT ILLUMINATION ENTERTAINMENT!!  Still, it’s not always fair to judge a movie by how obnoxiously they market it, and I did see a little bit of potential here before that hope was snuffed by the sheer incessantness of the advertisements so maybe there’s light at the end of this tunnel!  Let’s find out!!

The movie is all about Max (Louis CK) who’s living a perfect life with his owner Katie (Ellie Kemper) who does her human stuff during the day but always comes back to find Max waiting for her.  One day however, she up and ruins the perfect setup they have going by bringing a new dog home with her named Duke (Eric Stonestreet) which is a shakeup that Max is not happy about for a myriad of reasons; the least of which being that this dog is HUGE and is probably not gonna be too friendly to the much smaller Max considering how territorial dogs can be.  Oh well!  They’ll learn to get along eventually, right?  Well I wouldn’t DREAM of spoiling this movie, but before anything like that can take place, they get into a huge fight in the dog park and are stuck in the middle of New York City without collars and are just unfortunate enough to keep running into either Animal Control Workers, or a bunch of Animal Revolutionaries led by the rabbit Snowball (Kevin Hart) who want the two of them dead for convoluted reasons.  While all that is going on, a bunch of pets at their apartment building band together to find Max and Duke before it’s too late!  The group is led up by a little Pomeranian named Gidget (Jenny Slate), and is made up of a cat named Chloe (Lake Bell), a few dogs in the building (Bobby Moynihan and Hannibal Buress), a small bird who I don’t recall having any lines but is apparently played by Tara Strong, a guinea pig named Norman (Chris Renaud) and a hawk named Tiberius who’s played by Albert Brooks as you would expect a vicious animal to be played by Albert Brooks.  Will Max and Duke manage to find their way home without getting murdered by humans or other animals in the process?  Will their friends manage to find those two or will they end up getting just as lost in the process?  Why do I get the feeling I’ve seen this movie already?

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Oh right!  The Producers.  Yeah, that’s what it is.

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Cinema Dispatch: Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates

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Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates and all the images you see in this review are owned by 20th Century Fox

Directed by Jake Szymanski

We all love Zac Efron, right?  Sure there was a point where everyone inexplicably hated him the same way that everyone hated DiCaprio after Titanic, but the guy is just bursting with charisma when he’s not merely bursting out of his clothes.  Still, he’s hit a bit of a rut recently where he’s either in an awful movie or he’s in a decent enough movie but isn’t asked to stretch very far, and I fear this might continue for a while considering how badly his sincere low budget drama We Are Your Friends ended up being received by everyone other than me.  This one looks to be a continuation of that trend where he’s playing yet another dumb guy with a stupidly hot bod, though maybe they can manage to do something interesting with that character rather than just regurgitate jokes we’ve seen him do for the last five years?  Yeah, I don’t have much hope either, but you never know!  Let’s find out!!

The movie is all about Mike and Dave (Zac Efron and Adam Devine); two brothers who may as well be spin-off characters from the Neighbors movies as both are in total broski mode as they are PROBABLY in their thirties by now (their age isn’t specified) yet are still trying to live life like they’re college douche bags.  They’re liquor salesmen but as far as I can tell they only have one client who buys their whiskey out of pity, and their apartment looks like the jock-pocalypse took place, what with the empty pizza boxes and indoor basketball hoop.  Their bubble is about to burst though, at least somewhat, they are confronted by their parents and younger sister Jeanie (Sugar Lyn Beard) who’s wedding is coming up and all of them, including the fiancé Eric (Sam Richardson), want them to shape up and act like adults rather than party animals.  How exactly do they expect these two knuckleheads to pull this off?  By getting dates of course!  Through a whole bunch of convoluted means, they end up meeting Alice and Tatiana (Anna Kendrick and Aubrey Plaza), who are pretending to be nice and stable girls so they can bum a free vacation off of these two as the wedding will take place in Hawaii; a destination I’m sure was chosen for its natural beauty and rich culture and wasn’t an excuse for the actors to take a vacation (a well-known Hollywood scam known as An Adam Sandler Movie).  Of course, the bad girls can’t keep up the act for long which only leads to Mike and Dave getting all riled up and chaos eventually ensues!  Can everyone manage to keep their shit together, at least until after the two get married?  Will these four people thrown together through luck and manipulation manage to find… true love?  Why would the supposedly reasonable people ever think that this plan would work out?

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“We managed to find two people who wanted to go to Hawaii for free!”     “And we’ve only known them for a couple of days!”     “This was an AWESOME idea!”     “Pound it bro!”

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Super Recaps: Sailor Moon Episode 27 (Crushing On Ami: The Boy Who Can See the Future)

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

Episode directed by Takao Yoshizawa

We’re back with another episode of Japanese Rainbow Brite!  So far the Rainbow Crystal arc has actually been pretty solid with stories that focus more on characters and the other Scouts rather than only Usagi fighting whatever overly designed punching bag the bad guys see fit to throw at her.  It really seems to be what the Nephrite era SHOULD have been but didn’t really manage to live up to.  Can the show continue to make the most out of what can be accomplished with the new arc they’ve set up?  Let’s find out!!

The episode begins with a meeting in the bowels of Hell Corp as Queen Beryl is demanding a progress report from Zoisite and Kunzite; neither of whom have much to show for their efforts as Zoisite managed to lose one of the Rainbow Crystals and Kunzite hasn’t done shit.

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“I assure you my queen that we are doing everything in our power to get the Rainbow Crystals.”     “Do I look like an idiot to you?”     “I beg your pardon.”     “It’s a simple question.  When you look at my face, do you think that it belongs to that of an idiot?”     “…No?”     “Then why are you lying to me as if I don’t know how often you update your Facebook page?”     “…Well, I mean…”     “SEVENTEEN UPDATES IN ONE HOUR, KUNZITE!!”

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Super Recaps: The Twilight Zone (Night Route)

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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 Jean de Segonzac

We’re back with another episode of The Forest Whitaker Monologues!  Now that we’ve made it through the pilot, it’s time for this series to start in earnest!  Is this going to be one of the good episodes, or will this be one of the FUN episodes?  Let’s find out!!

The episode begins with a woman named Melina Kroner (Ione Skye) walking her dog at night when she’s nearly hit by a car.  Presumably this event will NOT go unnoticed by THE TWILIGHT ZONE and sure enough she’s immediately sidled up to by a creepy ass bus whose driver (Art Kitching from Supernatural) is practically begging her to step aboard.  The dog seems to want to get on, but she just holds the leash firm and turns away from it.  When she looks back… the bus is GONE!  So she’s dead, right?  That’s the twist.  I’m putting my money down RIGHT NOW that that is gonna be the twist.

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“Night Bus to Mundo Fine!  Night Bus to the end!!”

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Cinema Dispatch: Swiss Army Man

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Swiss Army Man and all the images you see in this review are owned by A24

Directed by Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert

From the guys who brought us Dogboarding and the Turn Down for What music video, we now have the feature film debut of the duo simply known as DANIELS (Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert).  A lot of great filmmakers started out with shorts and music videos before becoming household names, just look at Spike Jones, David Fincher, and Michel Gondry.  True, that list also includes Michael Bay, but you can’t peg a winner EVERY time, and it’s not like he’s never made ANY good movies!  Can these green filmmakers prove themselves to be the next big thing with their movie about a farting Daniel Radcliffe corpse?  Let’s find out!!

The movie begins with Hank (Paul Dano) who’s been stuck on a very small island for some time and is ready to kill himself when something washes up on the shore.  It’s not Wilson from Castaway, but instead is a dead body (Daniel Radcliffe) who seems to have the uncanny ability to fart continuously and forcefully enough for Hank to ride his ass back to civilization!  Well sort of.  He hops aboard the Daniel Radcliffe express and washes up on a new shore, but there’s a forest between him and presumably other people, so he starts hiking his ass through the woods carrying the dead body with him in case he needs anything else from it.  At one point though, it’s clear that this is more than a magical farting corpse, but is instead a LIVING magical farting corpse who actually has all sorts of wacky powers that are discovered along the way.  Hank gives him the name Manny and they quickly become friends because… well there isn’t anyone else around, now is there?  Manny by the way has a whole lot of questions about what it’s like to be human and about life itself, so Hank has to keep answering these annoying and probing inquires while he uses the body to get whatever he needs to survive.  Is the body actually alive which would mean Hank isn’t as crazy as he thinks he is?  What is the story behind Manny in the first place and are there memories to be uncovered?  Were the filmmakers dared to see how many fart jokes they can put in a movie and STILL get it to be an indie darling?

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“Fart you magnificent bastard!  Fart us all the way to FREEDOM!!”

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Cinema Dispatch: The Legend of Tarzan

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The Legend of Tarzan and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures

Directed by David Yates

I had no idea this movie was even coming out until maybe a month or two ago, and it seems like the studio wants it that way.  They’ve been trying to get a live action Tarzan movie out since AT LEAST 2003 (probably to capitalize on the Disney film) and you can really tell that this shit was cobbled together from a production that’s been willed into existence by sheer stubbornness at the refusal to let a bad idea (or at least a good idea with no good way to bring it to life) just go away and to work on something else.  Still, the Disney movie WAS pretty good and he’s a character that’s endured for over a hundred years now as he was a creation of Edgar Rice Burroughs; the king of badass genre stories.  Do they manage to eke out an enjoyable action flick from this timeless source material, or will this suffer the same fate as the Conan remake and John Carter which were the last two Burroughs adaptations?  Let’s find out!!

A quick refresher on the story of Tarzan that we all know (as told by Phil Collins).  AHEM!  A paradise untouched by man; a simple life, the apes lived in peace.  But dangers are in fact no stranger here!  The son of man known as Tarzan is taken in by the apes after his parents are killed, but in this version it’s actually the apes that killed his dad… so I guess that makes things a bit awkward here.  Despite that; the power to be strong, the wisdom to be wise, all these things came to him in time during his journey from boy to man!  But in time he ALSO wanted to know about these strangers like him.  One stranger in particular was Jane Porter whose every gesture and every move she made in turn made Tarzan feel like never before, and soon he had this growing need to be beside her.  Now if you only know the story from the Disney Movie (pretty much anyone born after 1990 and are HOPEFULLY getting all these clever jokes I’m making), you all know that his story ends with Jane staying with him in the jungle.  Not true here (and in pretty much every other version of the story from my understanding) as he goes to some other world far beyond that place; namely England.  Thankfully this brings me to the ACTUAL movie I’m talking about (also meaning I can stop quoting Phil Collins lyrics) which involves a domesticated Tarzan (Alexander Skarsgård) who’s being asked by the British government to go to back to his home (The Congo) for… some reason.  Actually, I’m not sure why Jim Broadbent (playing A British PersonTM) wants him there so badly, but I do get why Samuel L Jackson wants him there who’s playing George Washington Williams; an ambassador for the US who wants to see if the rumors about the Belgians enslaving people in their colony is actually true so he can report it back to his government.  Tarzan (also known as John Clayton) begrudgingly accepts the assignment and also begrudgingly accepts that Jane (Margot Robbie) is gonna go along with him.  Waiting for him in The Congo though is Christoph Waltz playing Captain Léon Rom who is assigned by the King of Belgium to get some damn diamonds out of that colony by any means necessary, and Tarzan is the key to getting them.  How?  Well there’s a tribe there whose leader is SUPER pissed at Tarzan and has agreed to help Waltz get the diamonds if he will deliver Tarzan.  Needless to say that Rom goes about this in the most dickish way possible which includes kidnapping Jane, and so Tarzan must go after them to save his wife and stop them from doing any more evil shit in his home country; all of this with the help of Samuel L Jackson of course.  Can the two find out what Léon Rom is up to and save Jane before it’s too late?  Just what is Christoph Waltz up to other than to pillage the country of all its natural resources?  Wait, this movie is somehow less than two hours!?  Well it certainly FEELS a lot longer, that’s for sure.

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“We’ll get to the gorillas and vine swinging soon enough, but NOT before our morning tea!  What kind of barbarian do you take me for?”

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Cinema Dispatch: The Purge: Election Year

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The Purge: Election Year and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures

Directed by James DeMonaco

For the past few months, there hasn’t been a movie I was more excited to see than this one.  I still haven’t seen the first movie, but the SECOND one is a really great B-Movie in the vein of John Carpenter or even modern day directors like Gareth Evans.  It was more than just an action shlock-fest though as it really wanted to say something about its premise in between the outrageous violence.  This one though?  This looks like they’re going full-tilt on having something to say about society, politics, and violence in our culture!  In between the brutal murders and silly costumes of course.  Does this manage to be yet another sequel this year that ends up better than the previous film, or have they run out of genuine ideas and are now just parroting hot button issues?  Let’s find out!!

The movie takes place two years after the events of The Purge: Anarchy where Frank Grillo’s character from the that film FINALLY has a name (Leo Barnes) and has somehow found his way to being the head of security for Senator Charlie Roan (Elizabeth Mitchell) who is poised to win the Presidential Election that year and will hopefully end the purge.  Unfortunately for her, the ruling party in the US Government (the New Founding Fathers of America, or NFFA) would very much like to keep their jobs and to keep the purge going so they can kill lots more poor people, so their plan to stop the senator is to change the rules of the purge so as to lift the ban on killing government officials; leaving them free to send a whole bunch of mercs (neo-Nazi ones of course) to take her out.  Well not if Frank Grillo has anything to say about it!  He manages to get her away from the assassins after their initial assault on the Senator’s home and they end up finding a few people trying to survive the night and more than willing to help the senator who will bring an end the purge once and for all.  These include Joe Dixon (Mykelit Williamson) who owns a small convenience store that is being threatened that night, his employee Marcos (Joseph Julian Soria) who wants to help his boss, and Laney Rucker (Betty Gabriel) who is one of the volunteers that helps people get medical treatment during purge night.  Can this rag tag group of badasses manage to outrun the NFFA?  Will Senator Roan be able to win the election, or should they find a way to ensure her victory this very night?  There have been what, fifteen purges already?  You’d think some of these people would find it all passé at this point.

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“We’re hardcore bro!”     “You’re all a bunch of posers!”

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