Monthly Archives: September 2016

Cinema Dispatch: Storks

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

Directed by Nicholas Stoller and Doug Sweetland

Is this just the year of animated bird movies!?  First we have Angry Birds, now we have Storks… okay, it’s just two movies, but that still seems like too many!  I really didn’t know anything about this movie walking in, having only hear the title and maybe seen a poster, which is odd considering that this isn’t some straight to DVD crap from an unknown studio.  Maybe Warner Bros was keeping this one close to the chest, or maybe I’ve just been living under a rock this whole time.  Anyway, is this the follow-up to the LEGO movie that they’re hoping will prove their viability as an animation studio, or will this prove the Phil Lord and Chris Miller in the director’s chair was the only reason that was a success in the first place?  Let’s find out!!

The movie is set in a world where at one time (presumably throughout all of humanity’s existence up until a few years ago) Storks would receive letters from humans and then… I guess use those letters to create a fetus in some sort of machine that grows them to term in a matter of minutes.  It’s not clear how much control the parents have when deciding what kind of baby they want (no gay kids in MY family!) but regardless, the babies that are crafted in this ungodly mechanism are then delivered by the Storks all around the world.  At some point though, I guess the humans learned how to fuck which made the Storks rather redundant, so they decided to switch their operation from baby growing and delivery to basically become Amazon.  Okay… I have several questions about all of this already, but we should probably move on from there.  So when the movie picks up (which can only be about twenty years after they stopped delivering babies), the best Stork deliverer in the business Junior (Andy Samberg) is up for a management position as the current manager Hunter (Kelsey Grammer) is apparently going to the BOARD OF DIRECTORS or something… even though we never see anyone higher than Hunter in the company structure.  For Junior to get his new job though, he has to do one thing; fire Tulip.  Who is Tulip?  Sigh… okay, rewind a bit.  Apparently right before the Storks stopped delivering babies (maybe this was an inciting incident?) one Stork lost his damn mind after seeing how CUUUUUUTE his baby was and broke the baby’s personalized tracking thingy… which is some sort of GPS device that tells them where the baby goes… and it’s the only copy of that information… so the baby is an orphan now and the stork in question flies off AND IS NEVER SEEN AGAIN!  That baby is now eighteen (i.e. they’ve only stopped delivering babies for less than a generation) and FOR SOME REASON wasn’t brought to a human orphanage, but has instead been bumming around the packing facility this entire time doing odd jobs for the company.  To make a long story short; shenanigans happen, Junior and Tulip accidently make a baby with the decommissioned baby-maker (don’t ask), and they have to deliver it before anyone finds out what the hell he did and he loses his job.  For some reason Hunter wants to stop them rather than help them cover it up (does he WANT Junior to be in charge, or not!?), and of course we have to cut back to the kid who sent the letter wishing for a little brother (he’s gonna get a little sister instead, so maybe the human’s DON’T have that much control over what baby they get) and his issues with his parents being gainfully employed.   You ever get the feeling that the writers didn’t actually think anything through when they were writing a script?

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“Hey!  Isn’t it funny how you’re a bird, but your riding in a plane!?”     “Yup.  Hysterical.”     “I know, right!?”

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Super Recaps: My Little Pony season 6 (Every Little Thing She Does)

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 back with another episode of the Unbearable Starlight-ness of Being!  It seems like the show kind of forgot about her for a while there despite her becoming Twilight’s student seemed to be the overarching theme of the season.  It’s probably a bit too late at this point to turn that into a reality, but it is always nice seeing her do something, especially with No Second Prances being such a high point for the season.  Can they recreate that magic here, or will this latest effort prove to be a non-starter for Starlight who will be relegated to the background like so many other ponies in this show?  Let’s find out!!

The episode begins with Twilight and Starlight in the Friendship Doom Fortress, seemingly having pulled an all-nighter considering how tired they look and getting ready to test their spell casting prowess against each other in what I can only assume is what Unicorns refer to as a horn measuring contest.  It’s not clear if Twilight is holding back, but Starlight has no problem keeping up with her moves which is unfortunate for the library once things start to escalate.

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“What the hell, Starlight!?”     “Oh I’m sorry.  Which one of us wanted to have a wizard duel in the middle of study hall?  Don’t you have a battle arena in here?”     “I’m pretty sure that’s in the basement next to the reanimation lab.”     “What was that?”     “I MEAN IT’S RIGHT NEXT TO THE BAKERY!”

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Cinema Dispatch: The Magnificent Seven

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

Directed by Antoine Fuqua

The original Magnificent Seven is a movie that’s on my depressingly large list of movies that I really should see at some point and unfortunately I didn’t get around to it before this remake came out.  That said, the premise isn’t all that hard to grasp and it’s definitely trying to reach a new young audience if the advertisements are anything to go on.  That and the addition of Chris Pratt doesn’t hurt either as the guy couldn’t be hotter with the younger demographics after star turning roles in Guardians of the Galaxy as well as Jurassic World.  Does this reinterpretation of one of the most classic stories of all time turn out to be a modern day classic, or is it doomed to live in the shadow of its predecessor?  Let’s find out!!

The movie begins with the town of Rock Ridge… I mean Rose Creek, being under siege from the EVIL rich guy Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard) who wants to drive everyone out of there so he can mine the shit out of the place for gold and other valuable resources.  After burning down the local church and killing a few of the locals, they realize they can’t handle this on their own and they need some help.  After all, they worked too damn hard killing off all the Native Americans to build this town on their land for some rich asshole to take it all away from them!  Emma Cullen (Haley Bennett) who is the widow of one of the dead guys goes to a nearby town with her friend Teddy (Luke Grimes) to find some tough guys to chase Bart’s friends out of town!  For their efforts, they find the bounty hunter Sam Chisolm (Denzel Washington) who then helps them gather the rest of the crew which includes the Chris Pratt archetype Josh Faraday (Chris Pratt), an old-timey sniper Goodnight Robicheux (Ethan Hawke), his best buddy with the kick ass name Billy Rocks (Byung-hun Lee), a wild mountain man Jack Horne (Vincent D’Onofrio), some random outlaw Vasquez (Manuel Garcia-Ruflo), and a Comache hunter Red Harvest (Martin Sensmeier).  Now all of them have their own reason for taking on such an impossible task (some less plausible than others as I still have no idea what Red Harvest is after), but it’s not going to be an easy fight as they’ve got an army to go up against and they have maybe a few dozen farmers to train up and give them support once the shit hits the fan.  Can this town be saved from the onslaught of Bart’s men?  Why exactly did Sam accept this job in the first place, and could he have ulterior motives?  Who thinks they’re gonna accurately predict which ones will die?  Think you can do better than me!?

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For the record, two of my guesses were right!

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Cinema Dispatch: Snowden

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

Directed by Oliver Stone

So first we got the Sully movie, and now THIS!?  What’s other movies are we gonna get about things that just freaking happened?  Has someone already polished off a treatment for the Charles Ramsey story!?  Well at least as far as these recent OF THE MOMENT BIOPICS go, this one has some relevance outside of the one event it’s focused on; namely the current state of US (and global) surveillance programs.  Does this manage to be an interesting and nuanced take on how all this information came to light, or is it a thinly veiled propaganda piece that no one bothered to make into a compelling film?  Let’s find out!!

The movie follows the career of Edward Snowden (Joseph-Gordon Levitt).  Some guy you MIGHT have heard about a few years ago.  Spoiler Alert!  He stole documents from the NSA and revealed to the public the existence of certain programs they were using such as PRISM and XKeyscore.  That’s towards the end of the story though.  Where we start is with him being discharged from the army (broke both his legs) and instead choosing to serve his country by applying to the CIA and doing computer stuff for them.  He barely manages to get the job and ends up soaring above his peers, going from job to job and always being at the best wherever he was (or at least that’s how the movie tells it).  Unfortunately, he finds out the US security agencies are doing a bunch of shady shit, and he’s not only having to deal with the guilt of spying on US citizens in an unconstitutional manner, he’s also having to keep this secret from his girlfriend Lindsay Mills (Shailene Woodley).  Will his sense of obligation to his fellow man be too strong for him to keep his head down!?  Well we all know the answer to that, but how’s it gonna play out when ACADEMY AWARD WINNING DIRECTOR OLIVER STONE shows it to us!?

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Chances are he’ll lose his freaking mind at some point.

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Super Recaps: My Little Pony season 6 (Viva Las Pegasus)

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

Well it took them long enough to jump on the Hangover craze!  Every show needs their road trip to Las Vegas (worked for Homer and Flanders), so I guess we’ll have to get the kidified version here.  Personally, I would have gone with Fear and Loathing in Las Pegasus route on this, but then again I doubt that Hasbro would go for something like that, amazing as it would be.  Can the ponies’ trip to the city of gambling and substance abuse be entertaining even with all the edges smoothed out, or will this be a painful exercise in sugarcoating something to protect the kids’ (and their overprotective parents’) delicate sensibilities?  Let’s find out!!

The episode begins with the Cutie Map (oh hey!  That’s still a thing!) ordering Applejack and Fluttershy to go to the infamous Las Pegasus; EXACTLY the kind of place you’d want to send the two… shall we say prudish members of the group, what with Applejack’s small town farm values and Fluttershy’s inclination towards panic attacks at the slightest provocation.  Oh, it can’t be THAT bad, right?

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“Wow!  It’s so shiny!”     “Things have certainly been looking up since they kidnapped all the homeless ponies and left them in Moo-tah.”

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Cinema Dispatch: Blair Witch

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

Directed by Adam Wingard

Normally I don’t review movies if I haven’t seen the original, but oddly enough I DID see Blair Witch 2 on TV once, so I at least have that going for me.  Honestly though, this being a years later sequel to a movie that’s not all that complex (some people get lost in the woods and are killed by a witch or something) means that I’m probably not gonna get lost trying to decipher whatever mythology or legacy this movie is cashing in on.  So does this turn out to be a true Blair Witch movie for a new generation (whatever that would entail), or is this another pointless reboot of a series that was firmly a product of its time?  Let’s find out!!

The movie takes place almost two decades after the original where a few teenagers went missing in a nearby forest and the only thing found was fragments of video that seemed to imply something spooky must have happened.  Now that the brother of one of those teenagers is all grown up, James (James Allen McCune) along with his friends Peter and Ashley (Brandon Scott and Corbin Reid) are going into the forest to see if they can find anything and are taking along a local filmmaker Lisa (Callie Hernandez) to document the expedition.  Things get a bit off track right away though as some local Blair Witch nuts Lane and Talia (Wes Robinson and Valorie Curry) ,who ALSO discovered some of the original footage, insist on going along with them.  It doesn’t take too long for things to get spooky though, and now there’s a studio backing this, there’s a chance we might be able to see whatever it is that’s fucking with them!  Can these campers manage to survive whatever curse or magic spell or whatever the hell it is that’s trapped them in the woods?  Will James find that his sister is still alive after all these years?  Just what is the true source of all this weird stuff that’s going on!?

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It was aliens the whole time!  I freaking knew it!!

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