Monthly Archives: December 2019

Cinema Dispatch: A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

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A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood and all the images you see in this review are owned by Sony Pictures Releasing

Directed by Marielle Heller

I’m trying to recall if I’ve ever actually sat through an entire episode of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood and if I had it was WAY too long ago for me to remember, so while the guy has always been a presence in my life simply by way of cultural osmosis, I never really got to experience him the way that many other people did.  The impact was always felt, especially when PBS and public television were still things before the rise of YouTube and streaming services, but what made the show work so well and what made Mr. Rogers such an enigmatic figure for many generations? Well I guess if I wanted to know the answer to those questions then there wouldn’t be a better time to do it then this brand new biopic, right?  Well actually the documentary from last year would probably be the best bet which I still need to see at some point, but this movie is a decent runner up!  Does it

You’ll be forgiven for thinking that this movie is mostly about Fred Rogers (Tom Hanks), but ACTUALLY the movie is primarily focused with Lloyd Vogel (Matthew Rhys); a writer for Esquire Magazine who’s been assigned to cover Mr. Rogers for a piece about heroes right at the time he’s dealing with some serious issues in his personal life.  You see, Lloyd has spent the better part of his life avoiding his father Jerry (Chris Cooper) who did some really awful stuff in the past that Lloyd has had no reason to forgive, and yet his sister (Tammy Blanchard) gives him an opening back into their lives at her wedding which eventually leads to Lloyd’s wife Andrea (Susan Kelechi Watson) wanting to make inroads with his as well; a movie that utterly baffles Lloyd and puts a serious strain on their relationship which was already under a great deal of stress as they just had a baby.  All this is swirling around in his head which isn’t helping his lack of enthusiasm for writing a puff piece about a children’s entertainer, and yet something about Fred Rogers intrigues Lloyd; particularly the utter sincerity with which he approaches everything and everyone around him which is either a genuine extension of himself or possibly a mask for something much darker than anyone would have assumed from such a sweet man they see on television.  Is there truly something there for Lloyd to uncover behind the kind face and the red sweaters?  Will these interviews with such a noble seeming man perhaps give him some perspective on his own issues and how he’s been handling them up to this point?  Most importantly of all, do we get any juicy behind the scene details on the set of the show!?  Probably not, but we can always dream, right?

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“I saw THREE blue M&Ms in my bowl today!  Do we need to go over my contract again!?”     “No, Fred.  It was a mistake.”     “Do you realize how many children I inspire each day!?”     “Yes, Fred.  No blue M&Ms.”

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Cinema Dispatch: Ford v Ferrari

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Ford v Ferrari and all the images you see in this review are owned by 20th Century Fox

Directed by James Mangold

With the Disney/Fox merger, there were bound to be a few films lost in the shuffle with at least one that seems to have INTENTIONALLY been shelved for the foreseeable future (*cough* New Mutants *cough*).  This film was originally scheduled for earlier in the year but instead they pushed it to Oscar season which frankly seems like a solid move considering this ticks off a lot of awards bait boxes; it being a period piece relying heavily on Americana and nostalgia for the non-hippie version of the sixties while also starring two big name actors to lend a bit of clout and respectability to the proceedings.  Does this movie about cars going fast manage to be about something much more, or is this yet another movie destined for heavy rotation on TNT and nowhere else?  Let’s find out!!

Carroll Shelby and Ken Miles (Matt Damon and Christian Bale) don’t get along all that well but they both seem to respect the other with Shelby being a great car designer and former racer and Miles being the best racer alive with a flawless instinct for driving as well as the inner workings of the car itself.  These two have been given something of a golden opportunity as Henry Ford II (Tracy Letts) is determined to have one of his cars beat Ferrari at the biggest race in the world; the La Mans.  With his vice president (Jon Berenthal) leading the charge, Shelby comes on board with the project and convinces Miles to go along with it as well despite his hot head and distrust of corporations; a mistrust that may be well founded as interference from the higher ups constantly gets in their way of doing what needs to be done in order to beat Ferrari and prove that Ford cars can be just as powerful and sexy as European models!  Can Shelby thread the needle of the Ford Company’s misguided directives with Miles’s inability to get along with others?  What kind of new tricks and technology will they need to develop in order to claim a victory that has eluded Ford for so long?  Is it just me or is a movie with Batman and Jason Borne that’s being directed by the guy who made Logan somehow as cool as that description would imply despite the film ACTUALLY being about regular cars?

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“Do you know how much weight I have to lose and then gain back between every single role I take?”     “Gee, have you tried acting?”     “Hey, watch it or else I won’t let you be in the Batman reboot they make me do in ten years.”     “Screw you, I’m technically in the MCU.”

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Super Recaps: The Mandalorian – Chapter 5

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The Mandalorian is owned by Disney

Directed by Dave Filoni

The episode begins with a bang as we find ourselves in the middle of a dogfight between The Mandalorian and some random fool who thinks he can step up to the greatest bounty hunter ever like he’s just another bail jumper.  It’s the John Wick problem all over again; the only people foolish enough to try and kill him are the people least likely to get the job done.  As you’d expect (if for no other than we’ve got a bunch more episodes to go), The Mandalorian does NOT die in a massive space explosion but instead explodes the other dude with his quick reflexes, sharp wit, and awesome space ship; not to mention his little baby cheerleader who provides the best kind of support possible; moral support!  By the way, I think I’ll go with… Bob and Gene this week, and I hope we get some real names for them soon enough as the well is starting to run dry and I dread the episode where I’ll start referring to these two as Beavis and Butthead.

So anyway, Bob and Gene land on a nearby dirt planet to fix up their ride before heading to… wherever it is they’re headed, and they run into AMY FREAKING SEDARIS as a foul mouthed mechanic who will fix up the ride as Bob heads into town to run a few errands.  I choose to believe this means that Jerri Blank is now a part of the Star Wars canon which makes it all the more hilarious when she finds Gene inside and plans to “take care of them” while Bob’s away.  I can only assume this means she’ll leave them in a park or sell them on the black market, but let’s hold off on references to twenty year old Comedy Central series and find out what Bob’s up to on his day off from babysitting.  As with most parents who are free from their children for the first time in a while, he heads straight to a bar where we find out that this dirt planet is ACTUALLY Tatooine and that they use robo-bartenders complete with dirty rag wiping uselessly on the scuffed countertop.  Just to clarify, the robot isn’t actually CLEANING anything here as he’s barely covering six square inches of the gigantic counter; it’s purely for aesthetic affect and someone had to build him to do that.  Now despite my cheeky allusions to Bob doing a bit of day drinking, he’s actually there to find a quick bounty for some quick cash as he presumably burned through all their food money fixing up the spaceship and he meets a guy named Toro (Jake Cannavale) who looks super green but has a bounty he’s willing to split with Bob.  Sounds like the perfect opportunity, but the target in question is a big wig assassin who’s been on the run after the fall of the Galactic Empire, and Bob knows this will ultimately end with someone’s untimely death and he doesn’t want to deal with either himself dying or having to cradle this whipper snapper in his arms before succumbing to his fatal case of Red Shirt-itis.  Then again, Toro is kind of adorable in an utterly pathetic sort of way (and Bob could really use the cash), so against his better judgement he agrees to help this bounty hunting newbie secure his target.

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Cinema Dispatch: Queen & Slim

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Queen & Slim and all the images you see in this review are owned by

Directed by Melina Matsoukas

Seriously, how weird is it going to be when Daniel Kalula finally sells out?  True he was in that Johnny English sequel that I haven’t actually seen, but his career since 2015 has been an absolutely sterling one with great performances in Sicario, Get Out, Black Panther, and Widows.  Now he’s back with this film which looks to be one of the standout films of awards season, so we can only hope that his star continues to rise or that his inevitable cash in project is one that is utterly hilarious; like when Laura Linney showed up in that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles sequel or how Nic Cage’s first film after Leaving Las Vegas was one-two-three punch of awesome nonsense called The Rock, Con Air, and Face/Off.  ANYWAY!  With this movie taking on such a hot button subject matter with a great cast and a stylish looking presentation, does it manage to be one of the best films of the year or were we all fooled into seeing an utter train wreck?  Let’s find out!!

Ernest Hines and Angela Johnson (Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith) who I don’t recall ACTUALLY being called Slim or Queen in the movie, are out on a rather mediocre first date when the Sword of Damocles that hangs over all people of color in this country comes crashing down on their heads in the form of a traffic stop.  Within minutes of doing absolutely nothing, Ernest has a gun pointed at him and Angela is reaching for her cell phone to get this on film for both their sakes.  The racists cop (Sturgill Simpson) doesn’t take long to shoot the unarmed woman in the leg and Ernest has no choice but to tackle the cop, wrest the gun away, and in the ensuing conflict he shoots the cop dead; leaving the both of them in a dire predicament.  Know what is waiting for them if they get taken alive (which in and of itself seems like a slim possibility) Ernest and Angela get in the car and start driving as fast as they can to Angela’s uncle’s place a few hours away for shelter where they can regroup and come up with a plan.  If they can somehow get to Florida and find a plane to take them to Cuba they should be safe at least for the time being, and so Uncle Earl (Bokeem Woodbine) gives them a bit of cash, a decent car, and the address of an old army buddy (Flea) who may just be able to get them that plane.  Along the way however, they must contend with the closing in manhunt, staying under the radar, and making snap decisions on who they can trust, where they can hide, and just how much they can trust those they meet along the way.  Can Queen & Slim manage to survive this journey and avoid the corrupt system that condemned them before they did anything wrong?  What impact will their story have on the country and on those they meet along the way?  Did any of those rich old jerks from Get Out think about these realities of being black in America when they were switching brains?  I DIDN’T THINK SO!!

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“I had to kill four white people for my freedom already, and now I have to deal with THIS!?”

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Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (12-04-19)

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AEW Dynamite is owned by All Elite Wrestling, Shahid Khan, and TNT

So apparently last week’s show had some frighteningly low ratings which kind of surprised me. No, not that the ratings were low but that anyone besides me DID watch it last Wednesday as I myself, watching the show for this recap series as much as for its own sake, couldn’t dedicate the full two hours to just watching it as I had about a dozen other things to do that night before Thanksgiving. Look, I’m a millennial and TV as a thing you had to make time for on a fixed schedule is about as outdated to me as landline phones, so I’m surprised the ratings have been as good as they are; especially with TNT initially projecting about half a million viewers per episode which last week’s show still managed to clear easily despite being such a big dip. To me, that’s not as important as the quality of the show itself which has been pretty solid the last few weeks even if the last one felt like they were phoning it in a bit considering they were basically working on a holiday. Now that we’re back on a regular schedule with nothing else to get in the way, does AEW come back stronger than ever? Let’s find out!!

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The Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson) & Dustin Rhodes Vs. Proud and Powerful (Santana & Ortiz) & Sammy Guevara

The show begins with a six man tag match which had a bunch of wrestlers we haven’t seen in the ring for quite some time. The Young Bucks as well as Dustin Rhodes have been showing up here and there for brawls and what not, but it’s been close to a month since they’ve actually had a match and maybe even longer for Dustin. Yeah, maybe getting your arm slammed in the door by the muscle bound mo-fo in a polo known as Jake Hager was NOT the best idea since the dude still has a cast on now, but regardless of that how was the match? Actually pretty good! Despite being more or less the “old man” of the promotion (even though he’s only a year older than Jericho) Dustin is still a superstar who the crowd will put over at the drop of a hat. He manages to land a tandem Super Kick on Sammy with The Young Bucks, he does that worn out gimmick he’s been trying out that’s actually pretty endearing, and he is still fast, tough, and agile with some impressive snap suplexes and some sort of front flip dive from the apron. The other standout however is Sammy who takes SO much abuse in this match but makes it all look easy. He may not have the mic skills of MJF, but he may be the second most talented “new guy” in the promotion after him; especially after landing some very impressive moves. Dude does this AMAZING 630 splash from the top ropes, looking like Sonic the Hedgehog doing a Spin Dash, which was amazing to see but still not enough to put Dustin away who only gets more and more love from the crowd because of it. Now this isn’t to say that The Bucks and Proud and Powerful didn’t hold their own as Dustin and Sammy wouldn’t have looked quite as good with them, and they certainly do have the more refined tag team repertoire to fill in the gaps of the match. The finishing move was utterly ridiculous where Dustin and Nick were holding Santana and Ortiz upside down with Sammy on the mat. Matt then jumps from the top rope, kicks Proud N Powerful on his way down, and then lands on Sammy. Excessive to be sure since they didn’t NEED to damage Santana and Ortiz to get the win, but if you CAN show off you might as well do it. I really did enjoy this match quite a bit and everyone in it looked REALLY good, but I always prefer the opening matches to be a bit shorter and this one could have ended during the comeback following Dustin kicking out of the 630 instead of going on for another five to ten minutes or so. It also advances the storyline a bit as THE ELITE Vs. THE INNER CIRCLE is definitely an angle they’re building up steam towards, but I was really hoping Dustin would grab the mic after the match and challenge Jake Hager (the guy who fractured his arm) right then and there like when Darby Allin accepted Jon Moxley’s challenge. A few tweaks here and there might have improved it, but still a good way to start the show.

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Super Recaps: The Mandalorian – Chapter 4

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The Mandalorian is owned by Disney

Directed by Bryce Dallas Howard

The episode begins with an idyllic looking village on an unknown planet where villagers are catching fish, weaving things, and hoping that nothing bad or “Empire” like will come out of the forest to destroy their lives.  Well the good news is that the Empire does not in fact attack the village!  The bad news… some other dudes with lasers and pointy sticks do, who look suspiciously like Lord of the Rings Orcs, and we see that one mother and her child just barely survive the attack by hiding under water.  From there we cut back to… let’s go with Homer as the Mandalorian and Bart as Baby Yoda, who are still flying in the middle of nowhere space; the little green hellion continuing to touch things and nearly kill them all while Homer is keeping his eyes on the space road.  Sensing a bit of pent up energy within the little bugger’s attempts to destroy the ship by flipping levers, Homer decides it’d be a good idea to land on the nearest planet and let Bart run around a bit while he plans their next move.  As it turns out, the planet they land on is the same one we just saw and it’s a planet so idyllic and peaceful that their skeevy space saloon is about as threatening as an Applebee’s.  The best part is when Homer and Bart take a seat and they notice a mercenary sitting in a corner and they try to get information on her from the waitress, but she legitimately knows nothing and after Homer tosses her some cash to spill what she knows, she literally thinks it’s just a big tip for doing so well at her job.  That was pretty funny and you can even tell the frustration that Homer is feeling from underneath the helmet for having to deal with people who AREN’T backstabbing jerks.

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