Super Recaps: The Twilight Zone (The Pool Guy)

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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 Paul Shapiro and Brad Turner

We’re back with another episode of The Twilight Zone, and not the one you were searching for on Google!  While the last episode seemed to have been ripping off or was heavily inspired by a recently released movie, this one has a bit of an older influence to it at first glance; bringing to mind the cyber punk oddities of the early to mid-nineties more than anything else.  Sure, it doesn’t have the budget of Johnny Mnemonic or The Lawnmower Man (the latter almost certainly being an influence down to the title of the episode), but can they still capture the essence of that weird and stretch of sci-fi film making into a solid twenty minute fable? Let’s find out!!

Ritchie (Lou Diamond Phillips; no seriously) is some dude who cleans pools for a living which is kind of sad considering said living has been going on for two decades now, but then again in a just economic system he’d be making a living wage instead of merely scraping by so I guess the sad part is once again a product of Capitalism.  Sadly that’s not the focus of the episode, but things do get off to a strange start as Some GuyTM straight out of a Hitchcock movie starts chatting him up about how awesome it is being a pool guy.  Getting out in the sun, visiting awesome houses, banging the lonely housewives!  Seems like an odd thing to start with when “hi” and “my name is so and so, what’s yours?” is right there on the table, but maybe he’s going somewhere with this!

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“These chicks are just WAITING for you to make a move!”     “Yeah… I’m trying to balance the Ph here…”     “Dude, you gotta start worrying about your Dh!!”     “Is that…?  You know what; I choose not to get it.”

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Cinema Dispatch: Shazam!

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Shazam! and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures

Directed by David F Sandberg

The slow course correction of the DCCU is perhaps not the most surprising thing in the world (you fail at something long enough, you might start to learn from those mistakes), but with Aquaman being a critical hit along with the… let’s say INTERESTING reactions to the Joker trailer, DCCU might just be on the upswing with this movie being the big test to see if this whole experiment can work now that we’re more or less in Phase Two.  Not only is this a fresh start in terms of being the first one more or less completely separate from the Snyder version of the universe, it’s also the first one to FEEL different from all the other ones; same way that Guardians of the Galaxy was a shot in the arm for Marvel after a somewhat serious phase for them.  Does this left turn into sunshine and happiness work turn out to fix many of the problems with the DCCU, or is Warner Bros beating a dead horse at this point?  Let’s find out!!

Billy Batson (Asher Angel) is your typical teenager who loves to roam the streets of Philly looking for his mother who disappeared many years ago and is willing to any length to find her!  Okay, maybe that’s not the typical teenage experience, but it’s Billy’s whole deal and the state is getting real tired of him running away from foster homes to search for a person that clearly doesn’t want to be found.  Now they don’t want to just toss his butt into juvy just yet, so they’ve found ONE more family willing to take him in which includes Rosa and Victor as the parents (Marta Milans and Cooper Andrews), a bunch of other kids (Faithe Herman, Grace Fulton, Ian Chen, and Pedro Peña), and his new roommate Freddy (Jack Dylan Grazer) who’s sassy, handicapable, and REALLY into superheroes.  That last one wouldn’t be TOO bad if it weren’t for the fact that he likes Henry Cavell’s superman, but I guess those are the only toys he can get on clearance, so what are you gonna do?  ANYWAY, while all this is going on (and for several decades prior) a wizard by the name of Shazam (Dijmon Hounsou) has been scouring the Earth for decades to find SOMEONE worthy of taking his power and being the new protector of the planet which depressingly is a much harder task than you’d imagine.  Even with that caveat, I can’t say I’m too fond of his methods as he just pulls kids out of nowhere to give them a test and then send them back to reality when they fail to disappoint; especially when of these candidates is a young Thaddeus Sivanna (Ethan Pugitotto) who will one day grow up to be the ADULT (and doctor) Thaddeus Sivanna (Mark Strong) and is still obsessed with finding that weird dude who told him he wasn’t good enough to be a super hero.  Thaddeus does get his… revenge I guess (perhaps more of a make-up test?) when he finds the secret to accessing this magic realm and steals the EVIL version of Shazam’s power for himself.  Well darn it!  Now that Shazam has plum run out of options, it’s time to just pick one before it’s too late, so Billy?  It’s your lucky day!  The wizard scoops him up, gives him his powers, and then kicks him back to reality as well only now he’s in the rockin’ bod of the superhero Shazam (Zachary Levi).  Can Billy learn how to use his powers and be the best superhero on Instagram, or was the wizard’s desperate Hail Mary ultimately a bad move?  Will he be ready by the time Dr. Sivanna realizes the wizard’s champion has been chosen and goes after him to take his power as well?  Be honest!  If you got super powers, you’d be an obnoxious attention seeker as well!

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“Free drinks are part of the superhero tax!  I don’t make up the rules!”

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Cinema Dispatch: Pet Sematary

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Pet Sematary and all the images you see in this review are owned by Paramount Pictures

Directed by Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer

I don’t know about this one.  I mean I liked the original Pet Sematary and Stephen King adaptations in general, but the trailers are just not doing it for me.  For the most part I think I’m turned off by JUST how big of a tonal shift it is from a bright and colorful yet creepy tale of magic and grief into something that looks to be aping Hereditary which is doubly worrying considering the ONE BIG similarity between the two.  I have a certain limit when it comes to horror (mainly when you replace creepiness and suspense with misery and suffering), and I am not prepared to see a beloved classic from the eighties go down that same route just to chase a trend.  Still, even if the LOOK of the thing may be drastically different there’s still the original story which is quite well thought of for a reason, and I could just be looking at the original through rose tinted glasses.  I remember the movie in the broad strokes, but a lot of the nuance for me has been lost to time (it’s had to of been a decade at least since I saw it) and perhaps this one will do a great job of recreating all that I’ve forgotten about the original!  Wishful thinking perhaps, but there’s only one way to find out!!

The Creed family has just moved to a little out of the way country town in the middle of Maine (because nothing spooky ever happens THERE!) so that the father Louis (Jason Clarke) could take a less demanding job at a University hospital which will allow him to spend more time with his kids Ellie and Gage (Jeté Laurence and Hugo Lavoie/Lucas Lavoie) as well as his wife Rachel (Amy Seimetz) who’s already getting some bad vibes from this place right off the bat.  Eh, maybe it’s just nerves from her TRAGIC BACKSTORY that I’m sure will come into play later in the movie!  Anyway, Ellie learns about a place in the woods behind their house called the Pet Sematary where children (who don’t know how to spell) bury their dead pets in some sort of local ritual.  This is all well-known and expanded upon by the Creed family’s neighbor Jud (John Lithgow) who’s lived here all his life and may know even more about this place than he’s letting on.  Now as the family seems to finally be settling in, tragedy strikes as Ellie’s cat Churchill is hit by a truck on the road RIGHT outside the house (SEEMS A LITTLE BIT DANGEROUS IF YOU ASK ME!) and now Louis has to break the bad news to her which is not going to be pleasant, but Jud has an idea on maybe fixing this problem which may be more than just him being neighborly.  What kind secrets does this little town have that Jud can show Louis, and what will it end up costing the both of them in the process?  Will Louis be able to live with the knowledge that Jed is about to reveal, and what will happen in his own life to temp him to abuse this mysterious power?  Seriously, is that cat gonna get its own spinoff!?  The filmmakers are just in LOVE with that thing!

 

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“I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. HIIIIISSSSSSS!!”

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Super Recaps: The Twilight Zone (Harsh Mistress)

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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 Brad Turner

We’re back with another episode of That Twilight Zone series no one remembers! I PROBABLY should have finished a lot more of these before the NEW Twilight Zone show came out, but better late than never! It also would help if TV shows stuck around for more than a week now that everything is put on streaming services in all at once, but that’s beside the point as we’ve got MORE than enough episodes to go through right here and frankly at my pace we’ll probably loop back around to season two before I even get halfway through this series. ANYWAY! Today’s episode is one of jealousy, obsession, and Rock and Roll, so let’s get ready for some heavy handed commentary on the music industry and the wild lifestyles of musicians!

The episode begins with Corey (Lukas Haas; yes THAT Lukas Haas) who informs us through very awkward narration that he’s a wannabe rocker with no talent but a whole lot of heart; something we could have grasped by looking at the guy fail to bust out even the most basic of riffs on a store guitar, but why SHOW something when you can pedantically TELL it? Seriously, this is not a situation so subtle and nuanced that you need someone to hold the audience’s hand; especially when his playing is so bad that his friend Ricky (Sticky Fingaz; no, seriously) calls him out on it right then and there in the guitar shop! Corey however is undeterred in his quest to somehow be a rock star without having any talent which frankly wasn’t THAT unbelievable since this was came out in the year of Nickelback (ZING!), and he ends up buying the guitar with whatever cash he was able to scrape up. Maybe this is the turning point though where he’ll FINALLY learn how to play and apply his craft! Heck, the guitar looks just like the one of his idol Bobby McCain who was a MASTERFUL musician before dying tragically of a suicide, so maybe it’ll bring him good luck! In fact, now that he REALLY looks at it… it’s almost exactly like the one he had! It even changed color, and… I don’t remember the guitar being covered in blood when he bought it, do you? Wait a minute… HOLY CRAP!!

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“Oh you know EXACTLY where this is going!”

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Cinema Dispatch: Dumbo

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

Directed by Tim Burton

Dumbo wasn’t really one of my favorites in the Disney cannon growing up.  I was always more of an Aladdin guy myself, so the prospect of getting a Dumbo movie from Tim Burton of all people seemed like the perfect mix of baffling and uninteresting, BUT once the trailers started coming out and I realized Danny DeVito was gonna DeVito it up in there, it at least managed to get my attention even if not for all the right reasons.  Sure, I’ll go to bat for DeVito almost every time (except The Lorax.  Ugh…), but what exactly are they trying to do with this movie!?  Is this the kind of remake that’ll make people even more cynical of Disney than they already should be, or is there some bold unique vision to all of this that I’m just not seeing?  Let’s find out!!

Holt Farrier (Colin Farrell) has just returned from the war to the circus he worked for prior, and finds things a bit worse for wear.  Granted he lost an arm, but the circus is losing profits, animals, and oh yeah his wife died as well.  His kids seem fine if nothing else (Nico Parker and Finley Hobbins) and the circus’s ringmaster Max Medici (Danny DeVito) has some work already lined up for him.  Okay he’s not gonna be riding horses and shooting guns like he used to, but being the elephant handler is almost as good, right?  It’s a particularly sweet deal since Medici’s new elephant is about to have a baby which will bring in the crowds from all over!  Unless of course the elephant is a freak with big ears or something, but what are the chances of THAT happening!?  Okay, so the baby happens to be a big eared freak (because elephants don’t have big ears already?) but Medici gives him a shot at the spotlight which ends up going pretty badly for all involved as the rowdy crowd starts jeering and calling him Dumbo which sets off his mother who then gets sold to another circus; leaving Dumbo all alone to be mocked and ridiculed by the masses.  Sounds a bit heavy, but fear not!  The children have found out that he has a USEFUL gift which is the ability to fly, so now instead of being a laughingstock to make money for his capitalist overlords, he can be an inspiration wonder for his capitalist overlords!  Speaking of capitalists, Dumbo’s ability to soar through the air with the greatest of ease gets the attention of VA Vandevere (Michael Keaton) who has a MUCH bigger circus in New York (you could call it some sort of park for the purposes of amusement) and convinces Medici to move his operation there with absolutely NO catch whatsoever!  PINKIE SWEAR!  He just wants Dumbo to perform with his trapeze artist Colette (Eva Green) because… I don’t know, I guess a flying elephant wasn’t enough to appease the masses?  With Dumbo’s new found fame and spectacular abilities, will he be able to one day reunite with his mother as the kids have promised him over and over again?  What is Vandevere REALLY up to, and is there any chance that a guy with that kind of hair ISN’T a bad guy?  Was anyone really asking for this?  Like… at ANY point did someone out there even suggest that Dumbo should be made into a live action movie?

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“ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED!?  IS THIS NOT WHAT YOU ASKED FOR IN A DUMBO REMAKE!?”

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