Category Archives: Cinema Dispatch

Cinema Dispatch: The Gentlemen

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The Gentlemen and all the images you see in this review are owned by STX Films

Directed by Guy Ritchie

So hey!  Now that we’re talked about our collective complicated relationship with Michael Bay, we might as well get to Guy Ritchie as well!  I actually haven’t seen most of his movies, even the ones that everyone else seems to like (no, I haven’t seen Snatch) but the general consensus is well known and can be seen even in the few films I’ve sat through; an over reliance of style over substance which coupled with the wrong material is utterly disastrous.  He SOMEHOW didn’t crash and burn with Aladdin even if that isn’t a great movie, but King Arthur was an absolute garbage fire of a movie; one that I’m sure we’ll all have fun laughing about for years to come.  Then again, his adaptation of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. was a surprising fun little ride, and with him returning to his comfort zone for this movie maybe he’ll get back into the groove of things and give us something truly enjoyable once again!  Can Guy Ritchie still knock it out of the park when he’s doing the one thing we know he’s good at?  Let’s find out!!

Told to us by way of Fletcher the journalist (Hugh Grant), Mickey Pearson (Matthew McConaughey) is the biggest grower and distributor of marijuana in the UK, and despite being so successful and sacrificing so much to keep his business afloat, well he’s approaching that age where there are more important things and so he decides it’s time to sell it.  His buyer to be is the much more respectable Matthew Berger (Jeremy Strong) who will need to pay a pretty penny for it as that kind of infrastructure will be primed to make BILLIONS once pot is legalized in the UK, but as it turns out there’s someone else vying for a chance to get it from Mickey; namely the Chinese-British gangster Dry Eye (Henry Golding) who’s uncle George (Tom Wu) basically controls all the other drugs in the country.  Mickey isn’t planning on selling to anyone else though and politely tells him to shove it which was probably the right move to make but still ends up causing headache for Mickey and his crew including his right hand man Raymond (Charlie Hunnam) who coincidently is the person that Fletcher is telling this story to.  Kind of seems odd that he’s telling Raymond about things that he was already there for, but Fletcher assures him that there’s a twist to this story that he won’t see coming and is one that he’s certain Raymond and Mickey will be more than willing to pay twenty MILLION dollars to find out.  With so much at stake, what will Mickey do (or perhaps have already done given the framing device) to keep his empire from crumbling right before the big sale?  What could Fletcher possibly have that Raymond and Mickey don’t already know, and is it really worth as much as he says it is?  Will this be the redemption of both Charlie Hunnam and Guy Ritchie after that disastrous King Arthur movie!?

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“Is that what I think it is?”     “Yup. Every blu ray copy of King Arthur.”     “I think I’m gonna be sick.”     “Don’t lose your nerve now; you KNOW what needs to be done.  I’ll get the hammers.”

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Cinema Dispatch: The Turning

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

Directed by Floria Sigismondi

January being the bad month for movies hasn’t ALWAYS been true as interesting stuff like has come out in years past, but it seems that aside from the ONE exception of The Boy, it’s always true for horror movie; something we’ve already seen this year with The Grudge. I certainly didn’t see much to get excited for in the trailers leading up to this, and even having a big name like Finn Wolfhard didn’t do much to capture my interest, but I’ve been blindsided by unassuming movies before and perhaps this will be the one to break the January horror film rule! Okay fine, it probably won’t be, but let’s find out anyway!!

Kate Mandell (Mackenzie Davis) has landed the job of lifetime as she’s hired by a very rich family to tutor the young daughter Flora (Brooklynn Prince) in their giant house on their giant estate. It starts off well enough as Flora is friendly and eager to learn, but the housekeeper Miss Grose (Barbara Marten) is rather cagey on the details that led to this position being open (up to and including the details on the death of the parents), and Miles the older brother (Finn Wolfhard) unexpectedly returns home from boarding school which means she has to babysit him and curb his rather disturbing attitude. While all this is going on, spooky things keep on happening that may involve a groundskeeper that died not long before Kate took the position, or maybe it has something to do with the family itself. Whatever the case may be, Kate is besieged by visions, nightmares, and that creep Miles from all sides which might just be enough to drive her mad. Can she solve the various mysterious about this house and the family that occupies it? What will she do when it becomes harder and harder to discern the spooky ghost stuff from reality? Does anyone else get the sense that Finn Wolfhard was REALLY banking on that Disney/Sony deal actually falling through?

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“I CAN BE SPIDER-MAN! LOOK!!” “That’s… not quite what we’re looking for, but we’ll keep your head shot on file.”

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Cinema Dispatch: Bad Boys for Life

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Bad Boys for Life and all the images you see in this review are owned by Sony Pictures Releasing

Directed by Adil El Arbi & Bilall Fallah

As I’m sure is true for many film fans out there, Michael Bay and I have a complicated relationship.  On the one hand, being upset at the Michael Bay Aesthetic and the crappy Transformers movies has become kind of passé and is better left to the Cinema Sins and Razzie hacks of the world.  Not only that, he’s more than capable of making REALLY great movies that are unique to his sensibilities; particularly Pain and Gain which is clearly his best film by a wide margin.  Then again, he’s also the guy who indulges in racist and sexist caricatures in the service of crass humor, and his disdain for the audience and basically all of humanity may be an asset in some films but is also reflected in just how shoddily some of them are put together; incoherent plotting, choppy editing, and an oblivious tone on top of being unfunny and tasteless.  I had never seen the Bad Boys movies until very recently and solely in preparation for this new one, and sure enough they contain everything I don’t like about the guy even if they are somewhat more tolerable than some of his later work; presumably due to Bruckheimer being the bigger name at the time which meant he could reign in some of Bay’s worst tendencies.  Now all that said, we are going Bayless for this one as he doesn’t even have a producing credit on here, so at least there’s hope that these filmmakers with a fresh perspective can take what elements DID work in the originals while taking out some of their more pernicious aspects to send this franchise off right.  Can we close this trilogy on a high note instead of get more of the same nonsense?  Let’s find out!!

Marcus Burnett and Mike Lowrey (Martin Lawrence and Will Smith) are still Miami cops doing their Bad Boys shtick, and while it’s been a fun ride for both of them, Marcus is starting to look towards the back half of his life and doesn’t want it to be filled with more violence, rough schedules, and close calls.  Mike on the other hand isn’t even SEEING this as the back half of his life and is trying harder than ever to stay fit, stay alert, and stay young despite the gray hairs showing in his beard.  One fateful night while partying with the other cops including good ol’ Captain Howard (Joe Pantoliano, a.k.a. JOEY PANTS!) Mike gets the biggest reality check of his life as some masked assassin tries to shoot him to death and almost succeeds.  Marcus takes this as a sign to finally retire while Mike can only think of vengeance and wants his help in finding the person who did this to him, but perhaps Mike will have to go it alone.  Even worse, he may have to try and find this person with the help of the youngsters at the station who are in some sort of advanced CSI crew named AMMO led up by Mike’s ex-girlfriend Rita (Paola Núñez) who isn’t thrilled about working with the guy either given his history of blowing things up and how personal this case is to him.  Will Mike’s quest for vengeance end in him triumphing once again like he did so many times in the old days?  Will Marcus stay true to his retirement and be there for his family, or is his bond with his best friend enough to get him on board for one last ride?  Is it just me or is this like ten times more interesting than whatever was going on in the other films?

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“Dang, Mike!  It’s almost like we have competent writers now!”     “How does it feel?”     “It… sort of tickles.”

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Cinema Dispatch: Dolittle

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

Directed by Stephen Gaghan

My GOODNESS have studios been putting out some high priced nonsense recently!  We are definitely stuck in the Billion Dollar Blockbuster Bubble where every studio wants nothing but the most expensive movies to maximize their profits, but as is the nature with bubbles all the money Is usually dried up by the time everyone else tries to get in on it which is why Disney is still sitting pretty on their mountain of gold and everyone else is making stuff like Cats and that awful Tarzan movie.  With this being the current trend, someone making an overpriced adventure film about Dr. Doolittle feels almost inevitable, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be bad!  I LOVE me some overpriced entertainment like Jupiter Ascending and Final Fantasy XIII, so maybe Dr. Doolittle being played by Iron Man and co-starring a wrestler as a CGI polar bear is just what I need to cleanse the palate and finally kick off the GOOD parts of 2020 which so far has been pretty plodding at the multiplex!  Is this retelling of the classic story the start of another beloved blockbuster franchise, or are we in for a disaster to rival even that of Cats!?  Let’s find out!!

Taking place AFTER what I presume is the actual Dr. Dolittle story, we find that the intrepid physician who can talk to animals (Robert Downey Jr) has gone fully Will Wonka and is holed up inside his giant wildlife preserve; refusing to see any visitors, human or otherwise.  That all changes when one day, out of PURE LUCK, he gets TWO visitors who insist on seeing him!  The first is Lady Rose (Carmel Laniado) who is on assignment from the Queen despite being all of twelve years old, and Tommy (Harry Collett) who shot a squirrel and has brought the wounded creature to Dolittle because he feels bad.  Lady Rose is there to inform him that the Queen is dying and requires his help which he reluctantly agrees to, and determines that she’s dying of McGuffin’s Disease which can only be cured by a fabled fruit on an uncharted island, so he takes some of his animals friends (Emma Thompson, Rami Malek, John Cena, Kumail Nanjiani, and Octavia Spencer just to name a few) on a boat to get the fruit and save the Queen; hoping that once this is finished he can go back to brooding in his house all day.  Oh, and Tommy is coming along too because… he loves animals too I guess?  Will the Dolittle Crew get to the magic fruit in time to save the Queen?  What challenges will they face along the way, and will some of it be intentional sabotage?  If one of the cats from Cats was in this movie, would Dolittle be the only one who could talk to it!?

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“So what you’re saying is that never was there ever a cat as clever as Magical Mister Mistoffelees?”     …     “What is that it?  I mean sure, throwing your voice is a skill but I wouldn’t call it MAGICAL.”

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Cinema Dispatch: Like a Boss

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Like a Boss and all the images you see in this review are owned by Paramount Pictures

Directed by Miguel Arteta

Now that I think of it, have I really liked ANY of Tiffany Haddish’s movies?  I’ve reviewed most of them by now, and outside of The Kitchen and MAYBE Keanu, her movies are mostly meh or worse which is a pattern that certainly doesn’t bode well for this film.  Then again, she’s never the reason why those movies are bad and is often the complete opposite!  She’s someone who can make a terrible film tolerable and a mediocre one a delight which goes to show how strong of a performer she is even if she’s not the most adept at picking scripts.  In any case, is this latest entry in the Tiffany Haddish oeuvre worthy of her talents, or is she stuck shouldering the weight of another lousy movie along with every other talented person that was roped into this?  Let’s find out!!

Mia Carter and Mel Paige (Tiffany Haddish and Rose Byrne) are best friends and co-owners of a beauty store that they opened together; Mel & Mia’s!  They have good employees like Sydney and Barett (Jennifer Coolidge and Billy Porter), they have great friends they hang out with (Ari Graynor, Natasha Rothwell and Jessica St Clair), and aside from being in quite a bit of debt at the moment, they’re their own bosses and are living the American Dream!  Things couldn’t get any better for them, EXCEPT THEY DO!  A big makeup conglomerate owner named Claire Luna (Salma Hayek) has taken interest in their little shop and she is offering to clear their debts AND let them retain fifty-one percent of the company once it merges with Luna’s!  Sounds like a sweetheart deal to me, but Mia is skeptical of such a good deal and she turns out to be right as Luna is hatching an EVIL scheme to screw them out of their company!  There’s a clause in the contract that if either one of them quit their job that Luna would be the one to take over, so as long as Luna finds a way to break these two best friends up, she will be able to cut them out; leaving them with a mere… forty-nine percent of a company that Luna hopes to make millions off of.  Okay… seems like an awful long way to go to make a fraction more money and to NOT use the experience and expertise of these women who got on her radar in the first place because of their good ideas, but whatever floats her boat I suppose.  Can Mia and Mel weather the storm that Luna will be putting in their path and come out he other side still friends?  What will these trials reveal about these two and has their friendship always been as strong as they claim it to be.  How will they survive if they fail this challenge are left with no debt and a huge amount of money anyway!?

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“We’ve got to stop wasting the caviar!  When you’re done with it, put it in the fridge!”     “You’re not my mom!”

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Cinema Dispatch: 1917

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1917 and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures

Directed by Sam Mendes

Is it a 2019 movie or a 2020 movie?  I mean I guess it’s the former as I doubt Universal wants to wait until NEXT February for it to win a bunch of Oscars, but while some critics may have gotten to see it back in December I only have the chance to see it now right alongside other sterling January releases like The Grudge and the upcoming Dolittle.  Well now that they finally let the general public see this, does it live up to the hype it’s been building up over the last few weeks, or is there a reason they held it off until the dumping ground month despite the pedigree behind it?  Let’s find out!!

Will Schofield and Tom Blake (George MacKay and Dean-Charles Chapman) are just two dudes in the British Army milling around France during World War I with the rest of their unit as they try to wait out the German army who are on the other side of No Man’s Land on whatever battlefield they’re on.  That’s all about to change however as the general Colin Firth has given them a critical mission to deliver new battlefield orders to a company several miles away that as it turns out has Blake’s brother serving in it.  It seems that recent changes in the German Army’s movements have given the impression that the company can secure victory with one final push that they’ve scheduled for the morning, but new information has confirmed this to be a trap that will no doubt lead to most if not all of the sixteen hundred men in that company to their untimely deaths.  If these two can get this information to the commanding officer in time, the attack will be stooped and all those men will be saved (or at least die a much more timely death), but it is not an easy undertaking as German soldiers are still scattered across the region; not to mention the environmental hazards like traps, rain, mud, and both sunlight AND darkness coming with their own troubles as well.  Can they makes it in time so that these soldiers can live to fight another day?  What hardships will they encounter on this journey, and are both of them ultimately up to the task?  Did Sam Mendes actually make a 007 prequel without telling us!?  I mean they’re making a Kingsman prequel, so why not?

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Considering how much this dude runs, maybe it’s a Mission Impossible prequel.

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Cinema Dispatch: The Grudge

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The Grudge and all the images you see in this review are owned by Sony Pictures Releasing

Directed by Nicolas Pesce

In the great debate that I ASSUME exists, I was always more of a The Ring guy than a Grudge fellow; mostly because I’ve actually SEEN the Ring movies (at least the Western ones) and haven’t seen any of the Grudge movies (not even the Western ones).  Things might change however as The Ring had its chance to reassert its relevance, but instead completely missed the mark with the awful Rings, and if nothing else this one looks to be trying to build a stronger and more intense atmosphere than the cheap cash in nature of Sadako’s most recent Western adventure.  Is this the movie that will finally get those of us to jump on the Grudge train, or is this the perfect illustration of why we never bothered with it in the first place?  Let’s find out!!

Detective Muldoon (Andrea Riseborough) has just arrived in town and is still reeling from the death of her husband, but is managing to eek out a somewhat stable life with her son Burk (John J Hansen) with her new job at the local police station.  Her partner Detective Goodman (Demián Bichir) has some clear baggage from something that Muldoon hasn’t sussed out yet, but when a body shows up with an address to the nearby spooky house, it’s time for her to uncover whatever secrets are being hidden from her.  It turns out that the first owners of the House, The Landers (Tara Westwood, David Lawrence, and Zoe Fish), were all murdered by the wife.  The realtors who were trying to sell the house for them (John Cho and Betty Gilpin) ALSO wound up dead under similarly grim circumstances.  There were other occupants who arrived after them, you can probably guess how they ended up, and now Muldoon is sniffing around the place which will no doubt attract the attention of whatever ghost, curse, or GRUDGE as it were, that is affecting the people who get near this place.  Will Muldoon not only uncover the secret of all these mysterious deaths but also stop the bloodshed once and for all?  What is the entity that is behind all of this, and what is after aside from endless slaughter and mayhem?  Is it just me or did they seriously oversell John Cho’s presence in the trailers?  I’m getting flashbacks to that Godzilla movie that had Bryan Cranston in it for like twenty minutes!

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Sir Barely Appearing In This Movie

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