Cinema Dispatch: Trailer Talk (My Little Pony: The Movie)

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My Little Pony: The Movie and all the images you see in this trailer talk are owned by Lionsgate and Hasbro

Directed by Jayson Thiessen

Despite being such a popular series with a fan base that is heavily invested in the creative side of the process as much as it is in the show itself, there really hasn’t been much said about the My Little Pony movie that’s been in production.  Heck, it honestly feels like Equestria Girls, which was a spin off that only got a limited theatrical release, had MUCH more fanfare and anticipation surrounding it than something Hasbro is actually risking quite a bit of money on.  Okay, there’s no way we’re talking Transformers money here, but there’s no way a feature length animated feature with celebrity voices THIS famous was less than what they invested in freaking Jem and the Holograms which had its first trailer out five months before its release compared to four months for this film.  Still, an uneven marketing campaign doesn’t always spell doom for a film (*cough* Wonder Woman *cough*), and even if it’s a sign that the studio doesn’t have faith in the final product… well go ask Newmarket Films how that worked out with Donnie Darko.  Either way, let’s find out!!

Okay, so there’s no getting around it.  The movie looks PRETTY terrible based on this trailer.  The first thing you’ll notice is that the art style is quite different from the series which isn’t ALWAYS a bad thing (watching it for the first time, I was somewhat reminded of the changes made for the Spongebob Squarepants movie), but it doesn’t come off as an IMPROVEMENT and there are clearly areas where they were cutting corners; most notably with the copious use of CG for the buildings and backgrounds.

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WHERE THE HELL ARE ALL THE TEXTURES!?  Did they just forget to render them!?

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Cinema Dispatch: The Bad Batch

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The Bad Batch and all the images you see in this review are owned by Neon

Directed by Ana Lily Amirpour

So has anyone else heard of this?  I certainly hadn’t heard of it until I was looking up movies to watch during a trip I was taking, and once I saw the cast I was IMMEDIATELY excited to see just what the hell it is!  We’ve got two actors who are quite possibly in the prime of their careers (Jason Momoa and Keanu Reeves) and they even managed to fish Jim Carrey out of obscurity who’s been one of my favorite actors since I was a kid; personal stuff and recent filmography notwithstanding.  How the hell did this movie manage to fly under the radar!?  Is it one of those weird obscurities that’ll be a treasured masterpiece to its target audience, or is this movie unsalvageable even with its all-star cast which is why it was dumped as a limited release?  Let’s find out!!

The movie begins with a woman named Arlen (Suki Waterhouse) being dropped off in some desert wasteland which appears to be the dumping ground for “societal undesirables” that this dystopian future government has set up in Texas.  I don’t know why they don’t just shoot them in the head instead of letting them wander the desert with no water, food, or supplies, but whatever.  The point is that she’s in a harsh and lawless world filled with other terrible people that want to hunt and eat everyone they come across.  That’s right, we’re dealing with cannibals in this movie that honestly probably don’t NEED to be eating people (there are scenes that confirm editable plant life exists out here) but just like the extra protein I guess.  The bad news is that she gets caught rather early and loses an arm and a leg (literally), but the good news is that she escapes and manages to make it to a cannibal free sanctuary city known as Comfort ran by what is essentially a cult leader named The Dream (Keanu Reeves).  A bit on the nose, but I guess when you don’t have TV to watch, you basically have to add theatrics to your own life just to keep things interesting.  Anyway, from there we’re basically following Arlen who’s trying to find her place in this harsh and merciless world as well as meet a colorful cast of wasteland wanders who have their own shit to deal with, such as another cannibal known as The Miami Man (Jason Momoa), a wandering hermit who’s pretty much a True Neutral in all this (Jim Carrey), and even a little girl (Jayda Fink) who winds up with Arlen after a… particularly grim confrontation.  Will Arlen lose her soul in a world that never rewards those who are Good Samaritans?  Just what does The Dream have planned for the people of Comfort, and is it any less awful than what The Miami Man does?  Is this what a Mad Max movie would be like without the cars, interesting characters, fast pace, and exceptional cinematography!?

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“Well this is another fine mess you got yourself into!”

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Cinema Dispatch: Transformers: The Last Knight

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Transformers: The Last Knight and all the images you see in this review are owned by Paramount Pictures

Directed by Michael Bay

Good ol’ Patron Saint of all things wrong with cinema, Michael “The Boom Master” Bay!  For a lot of film critics, he’s become something of a symbol for the worst that summer blockbusters have become even if that characterization is somewhat unfair.  Heck, even I’m guilty of generalizing the dude to an extent as I’ve only managed to sit all the way through two of the Transformers movies (Revenge of the Fallen and Age of Extinction; neither of which were the least bit tolerable) and I do genuinely like a few of his films such as Pain and Gain as well as The Rock.  This is gonna be the first film of his that I will review for the site, so I don’t just want to parrot my usual talking points about Transformers being THE WORST THING EVAR (even if it’s probably true) and am gonna try to go into this with an open mind as well as a critical eye.  Is there SOMETHING in this latest entry of the series that will be worth talking about and even appreciating, or are here to say the same shit for a franchise that makes too much money to ever need to change?  Let’s find out!!

The movie begins with Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen) landing back on Cybertron (I think) where he meets the creator of all Transformers (I think) known as Quintessa (Gemma Chan) who… wants to destroy Earth I think?  I don’t know, but that’s where we start and we’ll get back to that eventually.  From there, we find out that the humans no longer trust the Transformers (again) and have set up the Transformers Reaction Force (TRF) to hunt down any remaining Autobots and Decepticons which usually isn’t a great idea, but whatever.  The few remaining Autobots from the last movie (including a few Dinobots) are being protected by Cade Yeager from Age of Extinction (Mark Whalberg) who’s now a fugitive from the law despite having a very visible base of operations in a junk yard.  Anyway, he’s being chased by the humans as well as Megatron (Frank Welker) but during an admittedly decent action scene where the three factions come to a head, a strange human sized robot named Cogman (Jim Carter) informs Cade that an artifact he found holds the key to saving the world or whatever and jets him off to the UK along with Bumblebee (Erik Aadahl) to meet with his master Sir Edmund Burton (Anthony Hopkins).  The dude informs Cade that he’s got a destiny much bigger than his own, there’s a professor named Viviane Wembly (Laura Haddock) who ALSO has a destiny much bigger than her own, and there’s a Cybertron MacGuffin somewhere that they need to find in order to fight off the impending doom brought about by Quintessa and a brainwashed Optimus Prime.  Can Cade and his gang of rascally robot friend find the MacGuffin of Ultimate Destiny before it’s too late?  Can Optimus Prime be brought back to his senses before he does something he’ll truly regret?  WHY IS IT So HARD TO DESCRIBE THE PLOT TO A MOVIE ABOUT GIANT ROBOTS!?

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WHAT THE HELL AM I EVEN LOOKING AT!?

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Cinema Dispatch: All Eyez on Me

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All Eyez on Me and all the images you see in this review are owned by Summit Entertainment

Directed by Benny Boom

If there’s one thing that we know Hollywood is good at it’s driving a good idea into the ground, and with the record breaking success of Straight Outta Compton, imitators were bound to pop up to try and ride its coattails.  Now that’s not to say that piggybacking off the success of one film is necessarily a bad thing; especially when the film being made is good enough to deserve the attention it wouldn’t otherwise get by following in a successful movie’s wake.  I know nothing about Tupac Shakur, but from what I understand he’s just as influential in the world of hip hop as NWA was in their day which makes his story ripe for adaptation.  Does this movie manage to live outside the shadow of its most obvious influence and stand on its own as a great biopic, or will this fail to find an identity outside a Straight Outta Compton cash in?  Let’s find out!!

The movie follows the life of Lesane Parish Crooks, also known as Tupac Amaru Shakur (Demetrius Shipp Jr), who rose to prominence as a rapper, actor, and black liberation advocate in the early and mid-1990’s.  Starting out from a young boy, he saw the horrors that institutionalized racism inflicted on his community and his own family as his mother Afeni Shakur (Danai Gurira) and step father Mutulu Shakur (Jamie Hector) were prominent figures in The Black Panthers Party.  After growing up in Baltimore where he met Jada Pinkett (Kat Graham) who remained a lifelong friend, he was eventually forced to move to California which is where he took off as a rapper and became part of the Digital Underground which is where he started to branch out as a solo artist and make a name for himself in the wider public.  Of course, being a huge success comes with its own caveats and Tupac has to face a corrupt criminal justice system, disloyal sycophants who want to suck him dry, and even his own personal demons which are brought to the forefront once he becomes a household name and a superstar.  Does this retelling of the life of the legendary rapper manage to capture all the nuances of the man behind the headlines?  What can this man’s story tell us about how broken the system is even to this day?  If this movie is anything to go by, was the dude even a human being or simply a demi-god walking among mere mortals?

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“It’s actually a lot colder in here than I thought.  Can someone get me my shirt?”

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Super Recaps: My Little Pony season 7 (Honest Apple)

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 Mike Myhre

We’re back with another episode of Next Top Equestria Model, and if that title didn’t make it clear enough we’ll be focusing on Rarity and her love of fashion once again!  Now Rarity is easily my favorite of the Mane 6 as her episodes tend to have a lot more range than anyone else’s and she’s a genuinely interesting character to watch with highlight such as Sisterhooves Social,  Sweet and Elite and of course the eponymous Rarity Investigates!  Will this be another great example of why Rarity is the best, or is this one we’ll want to bury away with other better off forgotten episodes like The Mysterious Mare Do Well or even Just for Sidekicks?  Let’s find out!!

The episode begins with Rarity and Spike handing out flyers for a fashion contest that the former will be hosting at the Carousel Boutique in an effort to give aspiring young fashion designers an avenue to express themselves as well as an invaluable networking opportunity!  With any good fashion contest though, you need a collection of colorful and sardonic judges to make it all come together and fortunately Rarity has such a group of characters in mind!  Hoity Toity will serve as our Tim Gunn, Photo Finish will be the wacky and unpredictable one that’ll generate the drama, and the anchor will be… Applejack!  Wait, WHAT!?

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Good thing she was passing by just as you made that announcement!

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Cinema Dispatch: Rough Night

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

Directed by Lucia Aniello

Out of all the movies to come out this year… this is certainly one of them.  Honestly, I think I only saw one trailer for this thing and it seemed just fine, but nothing all that inspired.  Sure, the cast is REALLY solid with a bunch of extremely talented comedians, but we just go through Baywatch which no one but me liked and honestly Raunchy comedies WITHOUT such a high concept as a beach movie starring God’s Gift to Humanity (we mortals have deemed him THE ROCK) aren’t usually my cup of tea as they tend to prefer pushing buttons than be genuinely funny.  Does this movie manage to be an exception to the rule when it comes to telling dirty jokes, or are we in for a long night of sub par genital jokes and bottom of the barrel toilet humor?  Let’s find out!!

The movie follows the exploits of five friends who are Jess (Scarlett Johnansson), Alice (Jillian Bell), Frankie (Ilana Glazer), Blair (Zoë Kravitz), and the relative newcomer to the group Pippa (Kate McKinnon).  The first four were all friends in college but have started to drift apart now that life and responsibilities keep getting in the way and are off to reconnect in Miami, along with Pippa who met Jess in Australia, for a bachelorette party.  Jess, the bride to be, is hesitant at first but gets into the spirt of things… right at the point where a stripper they hired (a SUSPICIOUS looking stripper!) is accidently murdered by Alice.  With so much going on in their lives none of them can afford to go to jail, so they start coming up with increasingly ridiculous and desperate ways to get rid of the body and try to forget this whole thing ever happened.  Will these five friends find some way to heal the rift that has built up between them despite there being a dead body in the room?  What will Jess’s soon to be husband Peter (Paul W Downs) think when he gets a panicked phone call that doesn’t explain what’s going on?  Will this AT LEAST be better than the Hangover sequels!?

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“With this shot, we agree to never speak of this night again.”     “Sounds good to me!”

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Cinema Dispatch: It Comes at Night

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It Comes at Night and all the images you see in this review are owned by A24

Directed by Trey Edward Shults

I have to see movies ALL the time which means I see a lot of trailers over and over again, and while it doesn’t really affect my opinion of a film once I see it, it does make the movie going experience a bit more tiresome.  That’s why I love it when there’s a trailer that genuinely intrigues me and does something different from everything else I have to sit through when waiting for the movie to start.  That was the case with this film which was very minimal in its approach and yet EXTREMELY effective as it was mostly a long slow shot as we got closer and closer to a red door.  WHAT’S BEHIND THE DOOR!?  Well the day has come for us all to find out!  Will this be a new benchmark for the horror genre, or was it a REALLY great trailer for a mediocre movie?  Let’s find out!!

We start the movie with someone clearly dying of a horrific disease and their family surrounding them; wearing gas masks and saying their final goodbyes.  The head of the household Paul (Joel Edgerton) and his teenage son Travis (Kelvin Harrison Jr) take the sick man who turns out to be Travis’s grandfather (David Pendleton) out into the woods, put him out of his misery with a bullet to the head, and set the body on fire before burying it.  Clearly something bad has happened to the world and this family which also includes Travi’s mother Sarah (Carmen Ejogo) is trying to survive.  The modicum of stability they built up however is disrupted when a man named Will (Christopher Abbott) breaks into their house looking for food for his family, and after an intense interrogation scene Paul decides to let him and his family which includes his wife Kim and their little son Stanley (Riley Keough and a child actor known simply as Mikey with no other acting credits) stay in the house that’s been fortified to withstand… whatever it is that’s out there.  Of course, this being a post-apocalyptic film, things start to go wrong rather quickly as the greatest threat is not the virus, or zombies, or whatever could possibly be happening… its MAN HIMSELF!  Will everyone in this house learn to chillax and survive with one another, or are they all too paranoid to let the other’s live?  What is Travis hiding from everyone else and what is the cause of these dreams he keeps having that are keeping him up at night?  Is this gonna turn out to be a sequel to The Village!?

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Honestly, that would have been a MUCH better movie…

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Cinema Dispatch: Top Ten WTF Moments in The Mummy

So if you read my review of the movie, you’ll know that I consider this one of the rare films that you can legitimately classify as So Bad It’s Good, but what does that even mean?  First of all, it’s one of the hardest things for any filmmaker to do as these kinds of movies live on a precarious balance of context that informs whether the flaws in place are enjoyable or not.  For example, The Room is one of the gold standards when it comes to this kind of movie due to the inexplicable nature of… well, EVERYTHING in the film.  HOWEVER, that context only works when you’re under the assumption that Tommy Wiseau had no understanding of what he was doing which, if you watch the movie again, isn’t really the case.  I don’t know the guy personally, but if you take another look at the movie from the perspective of a misogynist, what with the story being about a man scorned by an inexplicably evil woman who’s ruined his life to the point of him committing suicide (the movie even makes a point of putting ALL blame for the affair on Johnny’s girlfriend while framing Mark as sympathetic)… yeah, it kind of loses a lot of its charm; throwing off that perfect balance between being awful and being delightfully so about it.  Now on the other side of the coin, is it possible for this kind of balance to be reverse engineered?  Eh… I wouldn’t say it’s IMPOSSIBLE but other than MAYBE Werner Herzog’s Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, I’m hard pressed to think of one that didn’t happen NATURALLY.  It’s lightening in a bottle plain and simple, and while there’s the rare filmmaker out there who can wrangle it themselves (I truly believe Werner Herzog to be a deity among mere mortals), we’ve gotten enough failed attempts from the likes of Robert Rodriguez and Quinten Tarantino (though Grindhouse is still a pretty high bar for intentional attempts at bad movies) to realize that trying to force this kind of movie isn’t something worth attempting and why it’s so great whenever we get another one to enjoy.  Now to celebrate this movie being added to the pantheon of Horribly Watchable Films, I’m gonna give you the top ten WTF moments in this utter disaster that’s landed in theaters!  Needless to say that I will be spoiling EVERYTHING about the movie so be wary if you want to experience it yourself.

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10) Necronomicon Ex Mortis – A random reference to the Brenden Fraser film

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When Tom Cruise’s character Nick is brought to Prodigium for the first time, there are a few quick references to other monster movies such as Dracula and The Creature from the Black Lagoon, as well as one reference to the 1999 Mummy film.  The big MacGuffin of that one was the Book of the Dead that ended up reviving Imhotep after Evelyn opens it up and reads from it, and in THIS movie the book is at Prodigum and gets a nice long close up before being forgotten about completely.  Fair enough I guess as it serves its purpose of being a cute little call back, but doesn’t it seem like kind of a waste?  I mean, I don’t remember EVERYTHING that it did in that first movie, but surely they could have at least cracked it open to see if there’s a BANISH EVIL MUMMY LADY spell or something; ESPECIALLY considering they don’t really have a plan to stop her in the first place!  I don’t know, maybe they lost that weird key thing or something!

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Cinema Dispatch: The Mummy

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The Mummy and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures

Directed by Alex Kurtzman

For every good idea out there, we’ll inevitably get a bucket load of copy cats and knock offs to try and cash in on what made the original incarnation so successful.  True, Universal Monster movies were in SOME way connected (mostly because they were all done by the same people) and they eventually did a few versus movies that are fondly remembered, but those weren’t the films they were looking at when they decided to move ahead with their Dark Universe.  Marvel’s got it in the bag, DC’s been fumbling like crazy, and it’s still a bit too early to tell if the Kaiju Universe is gonna pay off.  Now with Universal’s attempt to do the same for its catalog of legendary monsters hitting theaters, will it manage to pull off what Marvel’s imitators have failed to do thus far, or is Universal just not equipped to take the crown back Disney and Captain America?  Let’s find out!!

The movie begins with a prologue letting us know that the titular mummy this time around is NOT Imhotep as it was in the other Universal Mummy movies but is instead a new character named Princess Ahmanet (Sofia Boultella) who sold her soul to Set (wasn’t that the dude Gerard Butler played n Gods of Egypt?) in order to wrest control of the throne from her father and her baby brother.  Oh, and I guess she also wanted to release Set into this world by… cutting someone open while having sex with them?  I don’t know, but either way she’s captured soon after her murder spree and is mummified alive before being dropped off in some tomb.  Cut to modern day and we meet Nick and Chris (Tom Cruise and Jake Johnson) who are two fun loving soldiers who are ALSO grave robbers and stumble upon the lost tomb of Princess Ahmanet which they explore along with an archeologist… I think, called Jennifer (Annabelle Wallis).  Needless to say that the mummy resurrects, she starts hunting people down, and our heroes have to find a way to stop her.  Oh right!  But before we can get through that story, we ALSO have to get Prodigium involved!  What is Prodigium?  It’s basically S.H.I.E.L.D. for monsters and it’s head up by Dr. Henry Jekyll (Russell Crowe).  They don’t DO much, but the movie wants you to be VERY aware that these people are around and might just be fighting other monsters in the future!  Anyway, the Mummy plans to take over the world by finding a MacGuffin (a special knife) and cutting open Tom Cruise who is her NEW Chosen One so that she can release Set upon the world!  Will Tom Cruise manage to save the day once again by running really fast at things?  Is Universal satisfied with the amount of world building that was shoved into this thing?  CAN WE PLEASE GET BRENDAN FRASER BACK!?  I know that last mummy movie wasn’t very good, but still!

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I heard the movie was dead on arrival, but I didn’t think they meant LITERALLY!

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Super Recaps: Dragon Ball Super Episode 5 (Showdown on King Kai’s World! Goku vs. Beerus the Destroyer!)

Dragon Ball Super and all the images you see in this recap are owned by Toei Animation and licensed by Funimation

We’re back with another episode of Everybody Fears Beerus, and while this one may not be filler… it’s not all that interesting either.  Oh sure, it’s the first big punch up we’ve gotten in the series, but we already saw it like five years ago.  Well who knows!  Maybe I’m being unfair and they’ll do something interesting with it instead of just needlessly recreate it almost scene for scene!  Toei not cheap enough to do that… right?  Okay they probably are, but maybe they’ll throw in a bit of Vegeta and Bulma to make up for it!  Let’s find out!!

The episode begins where the last one left off; namely with King Kai shitting bricks over Lord Beerus landing on his planet and hoping that Goku can keep his head down long enough for the God of Destruction to lose interest and be on his way.  That’s either a great deal of optimism on King Kai’s part or more likely a desperate prayer out of desperation that the guy can for ONCE in his life listen to someone else when they tell him to stay out of it.  Credit where it’s due; Goku DOES manage to maintain a modicum of self-control by staying out of sight, but considering that Beerus can sense power levels… yeah, it was kinda pointless to try and hide behind a brick wall.  Goku comes out and tries to be affable, but King Kai is not impressed and starts to… “correct” his behavior.

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Seriously, can I get a show where it’s just King Kai trying to teach Goku some manners?  They could call it My Fair Saiyan!!  That, or The Taming of the Goku.

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