Category Archives: Cinema Dispatch

Cinema Dispatch: Hellboy

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

Directed by Neil Marshall

So… we’re NOT gonna get a Hellboy 3?  Okay, just wanted to make sure!  Well there’s certainly no reason to just STOP making Hellboy movies just because he’s not gonna make one, so let’s get ready to reboot!  I mean when you’ve got a setup as good as DUDE WHO LOOKS LIKE THE DEVIL PUNCHES MONSTERS, there’s no WAY you can go wrong even if you don’t have Del Toro helming it, right!?  Is this the next best thing to getting a conclusion to the previous Hellboy movies, or is this a sad remind of what could have been?  Let’s find out!!

Hellboy (David Harbour) is your average guy with a decent job and perhaps the beginings of a drinking problem.  Okay, he’s also a red demon with a giant arm and horns growing out of his head, but looks are only skin deep, and this guy is just like you and me on the inside; suffering silently in this living nightmare we call life while putting on a tough face to try and cope!  Hellboy’s latest reason to cope is that one his pals at the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense was turned into a vampire and Hellboy (most likely accidently) had to finish him off before he started ripping out other people’s throats.  Not a great way to start the work week if you ask me, but he must solider on as a crisis in London sends him to Europe where coincidentally a legendary monster known as Nimue the Blood Queen (Milla Jovovich) is being brought back to life so as to wreak unholy havoc on the world.  Well I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a job for Hellboy and his cast of wacky sidekicks including Alice (Sasha Lane) who can talk to ghosts and Ben (Daniel Dae Kim) who’s basically a living GI Joe action figure who seems to be harboring a secret of his own.  Can the BPRD and its leader Ian McShane) who also considers himself Hellboy’s father manage to stop The Blood Queen before it’s too late?  Can Hellboy focus on the task at hand when things continually get in his way and remind him of just how unwanted he is in the world of humans?  Can someone teach this boy how to comb his hair?  It just looks sloppy when you’re supposed to be at work!

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“You know we have a dress code.”     “Does it look like I care?”

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Cinema Dispatch: Little

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

Directed by Tina Gordon

I don’t know about this one.  I got this trailer a few times and while it did have a few funny gags here and there, it seemed like only a step or two above Night School which I would conclusively say is damning with faint praise considering how I’m guessing only half of you even remember what that was.  Still!  It’s always a good idea to give a comedy NOT from a straight male perspective a chance because if nothing else it’s unlikely to be as toxic and mean spirited as say Daddy’s Home 2 or Fist Fight, and the LAST time we got a female centered update on a well-known comedy (this being a clear inversion of Tom Hank’s Big) was the eminently enjoyable What Men Want, so perhaps there’s something here that’s not shining through in the trailers!  Could this be a comedy classic in the making, or am I expecting too much from yet another cash grab to soak up a few bucks between Shazam and Avengers?  Let’s find out!!

Jordan Sanders (Regina Hall) is a hard as nails (i.e. abusive) owner of a tech company that believes time not spent crunching is time wasted, and no one at the office likes her; least of all her assistant April (Issa Rae) who puts up with it because… well that’s what we ALL have to do when we have crappy jobs.  Jordan however messes with the wrong person one day as a young girl at the office calls her out for her attitude and uses her magic wand to put a curse on her.  Now I’d have preferred if she went up to her face and whispered the word “littler” to her, but in any case the magic seems to have taken effect as she wakes up the next day as her thirteen year old self (Marsai Martin).  Now fortunately for Jordan, April takes this whole situation rather well and agrees to help cover for her at work until they can get this fixed, but through a rather convoluted set of circumstances, Jordan has to be enrolled in school THAT VERY DAY OR ELSE APRIL WILL GET ARRESTED… for reasons.  Oh, and on top of that there’s a big pitch scheduled at the office in two days to try and keep the company’s most valuable client and April is SO not ready for that which means she has to learn to be a leader as Jordan learns to be… less of a jerk I guess?  Anyway, will Jordan find a way to return to her normal self before and even learn a valuable less at the same time?  Will April become the active go getter who can get things done in an economy that will otherwise chew her up and spit her out?  Wait, why does she need glasses when she’s little but not when she’s an adult?  Does she have contacts that no longer fit, or did the laser eye surgery somehow reverse itself?  DID HER BABY TEETH GROW BACK!?

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I mean there’s no reason this CAN’T also be a live action Detective Conan movie, right?

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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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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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Cinema Dispatch: The Beach Bum

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The Beach Bum and all the images you see in this review are owned by Neon

Directed by Harmony Korine

Did you know that I once asked John Waters a question at one of his shows?  Yeah, unlike people who actually do this for a living, I don’t have any celebrity stories to speak of, but I saw him at a show once and he picked me during the Q and A.  Anyway, my question was whether I thought his work had been a major influence on modern filmmakers and if anyone in particular came to mind.  He said that he doesn’t really see himself DIRECTLY influencing people, but that he did break down barriers for others who would come later… and he also said that Todd Solondz as Harmony Korine have PROBABLY seen his films.  I don’t know if that means much in relationship to the latter’s most recent film, but I figured this is probably the best chance I had to tell that story, so there it is!  As far as Mr. Korine himself, I’ve only ever seen Spring Breakers which I actually liked quite a lot, though I haven’t seen it in years and I get the feeling that it’s more uncomfortable moments don’t hold up all that well, but that’s why directors solider on and film NEW movies such as this one here!  Is The Beach Bum another success for this unique voice in Hollywood, or has his worst tendencies come to the forefront even more so than usual?  Let’s find out!!

Moondog (Matthew McConaughey) is just some dude who spends his time in the Florida Keys bumming drinks off of people, sleeping on the beach, and finding joy in life wherever he can find it.  Oh, and he’s also a famous writer, super rich, and has a loving family who he can go back to any time he needs to dry out from his latest binge.  His wife Minnie (Isla Fisher) adores his free spirited attitude towards life, love, and the law, but that last one kind of gets them in trouble as the two end up drinking and driving on the night of their daughter’s wedding (Stefania LaVie Owens) and Minnie ends up dying in the crash.  In her will, she tells Moondog that he won’t inherit her vast fortune until he finishes his latest novel which he’s been procrastinating on for some time, so he decides to do just that.  Of course he’ll be getting drunk, having sex, and… well doing what he’s always been doing as well, but he’ll find time to write a few lines here and there!  With adventure, drugs, friends including his buddy Lingerie (Snoop Dogg), is there anything that can keep Moondog down?  Will he eventually finish his book before he runs out of whatever money he has left as well as the goodwill of the people he’s met throughout his wild and bombastic life?  You know how some movies are clearly made so the filmmakers can take a vacation?  Why do I get the feeling that was the case here but less luxury hotels and more drinking tequila under a bridge and calling it “research”?

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Academy Award Winner Matthew McConaughey, seen here hoping to God he didn’t crap his pants last night.

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Cinema Dispatch: Us

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

Directed by Jordan Peele

After Get Out, it was almost a certainty that Jordan Peele would become one of the predominate voices in the industry, but as is the case with any director who comes out the gate that strongly there’s always the question of how they’re gonna follow it up; hence the term Sophomore Slump.  Michael Cimino, Richard Kelly, Joe Cornish, they’ve all had underwhelming second films and it’s not that hard to see why.  Bigger budgets and more creative freedom means that a lot of filmmakers will pursue their passion project which may or may not appeal to as many people (or let’s be honest, aren’t as good ideas as they think they are) which rubs up against the very high expectations to follow up their first film with something even better.  Will that be the fate of Jordan Peele’s follow up to Get Out, or is he destined to buck the trend and give us a new experience that’s just as fantastic?  Let’s find out!!

Adelaide Wilson (Lupita Nyong’o) is your average middle class woman with the perfect family consisting of her husband Gabe (Winston Duke) and her children Zora and Jason (Shahadi Wright and Evan Alex) who head to their summer home for a much needed vacation.  Said vacation however is somewhat bittersweet as it used to belong to Adelaide’s mother before she died and on top of that Adelaide has some less than perfect memories of the place.  You see, back when she was a child she and her parents took a visit to the boardwalk where she wandered off and ran into a little girl who looked EXACTLY like her.  What happened next is something of a mystery, but the point is that it was a very traumatizing moment and the memory of it has put her on edge the entire time they’re there.  It turns out she was RIGHT to be fearful however because in the middle of the night a family of four who look just like them (played by the same actors) and refer to themselves as THE TETHERED break in and start being SUPER creepy around the family with some sort of deadly scheme in mind.  I think it goes Step 1: Murder, Step 2: … , and Step 3: Profit, but whatever the end goal may be the Wilson family is gonna need to find a way to fight back and survive this horrid night by any means necessary.  Can Adelaide and face her greatest fear in the form of the doppelganger she saw so long ago?  What exactly are THE TETHERED after, and do their ambitions extend beyond just torturing this one family for funsies?  What if Thanos’s plan wasn’t just to wipe out half of humanity, but to replace them with evil versions of the other half!?  JORDAN PEELE IS NOW CONFIRMED FOR THE MCU!!

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“I didn’t survive the attack on Wakanda just for this crap!  Wait, did I survive?”

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