Category Archives: Cinema Dispatch

Cinema Dispatch: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

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Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and all the images you see in this review are owned by Sony Pictures Releasing

Directed by Quentin Tarantino

I really didn’t want to see this movie.  In fact, if ANYTHING else had bothered to come out this weekend I would have seen that instead, but nope!  Everyone had to make way for this film so I guess I have to try and be professional!  I don’t know, with everything we’ve heard about Tarantino recently it’s just hard for me to get excited to see his movie’s again; let alone support a new one.  Cancelled or not, I just personally feel very much deflated thinking about him and going to see his latest movie just felt like even more of a somber experience.  Still, while acknowledging the very real and very important context of the artist behind the art, is there a good movie to be found here?  I guess we might as well find out…

Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) is an actor struggling to find steady work in the hectic world of late sixties Hollywood after a rather unsuccessful string of movies following a decent television career playing the lead role on a western.  His stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) has stuck with Rick all this time since he’s had trouble finding work elsewhere and seems to have accepted his lot in life even if he’s basically Rick’s assistant at this point.  Fortunately for Rick, he’s got a decent gig lined up playing the bad guy in some TV pilot which will hopefully get him some attention (otherwise he’ll end up doing Spaghetti Westerns which I guess weren’t good things to be in at the time) and this also means that Cliff has the day to himself which he uses to pick up a hitchhiker (Margaret Qualley) who wants to introduce him to her buddy Charlie who’s got a bunch of followers out in the desert.  Oh, and on top of that Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie) is Rick’s next door neighbor, and she’s doing stuff as well like… seeing movies and dancing around the house.  Can Rick nail this latest role that may be his last chance to stay relevant?  What will Cliff find at the compound the hitchhiker is taking him too, and will he be able to leave if things get out of hand?  Is it just me, or is Tarantino trying a bit too hard here?  Or perhaps not hard enough?

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“Do you want me to say ‘Nazi scalps’ yet?”     “No, we’re not doing that again.”     “Really?”     “…Okay, let’s not rule it out completely.”

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Cinema Dispatch: The Lion King

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

Directed by Jon Favreau

Didn’t I just do this a month ago?  Seriously Disney, I know you own basically all of entertainment now, but can you at least change it up a bit from month to month?  We JUST got done making fun of the genie in Aladdin; we don’t need another remake this soon!  Seriously, if they keep burning through their renaissance films like this they’re gonna have to take another stab at Treasure Planet before 2030, and if they thought that one sunk like a lead balloon LAST TIME… oh who am I kidding?  We’ll give it a billion dollars at the box office without a second thought!  So until those bleak times are upon us, does this latest remake of a beloved nineties classic live up to the original, or is this a worse idea than Lion King 1.5?  Let’s find out!!

Now stop me if you’ve heard this one before!  Simba (Donald Glover) is the son of Mustafa (James Earl Jones); king of the Pride Lands and brother of Scar (Chiwetel Ejiofor) who conveniently has a scar on his face to go with the name.  Now if the name wasn’t enough to convince you, scar is one EVIL lion that wants the throne for himself but now has to wait behind the little brat for his shot.  That is unless he pulls a Hamlet and MURDERS THE KING IN COLD BLOOD, albeit with a stampede instead of a jug of ear poison.  Convincing young Simba that he is responsible, he runs off to live in exile while Scar takes the Pride Lands for himself, and the young prince runs into two free spirited do nothings called Timon and Pumbaa (Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen).  While Simba is living his carefree life as a slacker, things are not going so well in the Pride Lands under Scar’s quasi fascist rule with the help of the hyenas and so Simba’s childhood friend Nala (Beyoncé Knowles-Carter) runs off to find help, and believing Simba to be dead this whole time… well let’s just say there’s an awkward conversation very soon in their future.  Can Simba find the courage to face his fear and his guilt that have defined him for so long?  Just how far will Scar go to stay seated on his throne, and does Simba have a chance of defeating him after all this time?   Did Disney listen to that “everything the light touches” line again recently and consider that a challenge?

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“Everything the light touches is our Kingdom.”     “Yeah, but the Earth revolves around the sun, so pretty much everywhere gets hit by sunlight at SOME point throughout the day.”     “Look, we’re lions, alright!?  We can’t draw border maps!  WE DON’T HAVE OPPOSABLE THUMBS!!”

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Cinema Dispatch: Crawl

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

Directed by Alexandre Aja

You know, I don’t think I’ve ever seen an alligator (or crocodile movie) before.  Heck, we can probably throw snakes in there too now that I think about it.  Not even Snakes on a plane!  It’s an entire sub genre of horror that just kind of passed me by, but I guess now is as good a time as any; especially considering how lackluster my year for horror has been.  What; were expecting a review from ANOTHER film by the guy who made Hereditary?  Yeah, I’m good actually!  Don’t need any more of… whatever that is in my life, but you all enjoy!  I’ve got a movie about a crocodile in a basement to watch instead!  Does this horror film manage to bring the scares and the fun with its nifty little premise while ALSO giving me a valid excuse to avoid Midsommar?  Let’s find out!!

Haley (Kaya Scodelario) is a swimmer in college who’s been having trouble outperforming here peers which is bad news for her scholarship, but even WORSE is the fact that she now has to drive to the south of Florida to check on her dad (Barry Pepper) who for whatever reason isn’t answering his phone and is right in the path of a category 5 hurricane.  She just barely manages to get to her childhood home before the storm kicks into high gear and also manages to find her father, but it turns out that he’s stuck in the basement with a bite mark on his leg and at least one alligator that’s feeling rather smug about it.  So now they’re BOTH stuck in the basement in a small area where the pipes make it impossible for the gators to get to them, but the rain keeps on pouring and the basement keeps on filling which means they have to find a way out before they both drown; and even THEN they’re in the middle of a hurricane that could knock the house over given enough time so they have to find a way to make it through that as well!  Can Haley save her dad and use her amazing swimming skills to outsmart these vicious predators who seem particularly cross with them for some reason?  Why are there alligators in the basement in the first place, and could this basement situation just be the tip of the ice burg?  Is this all just an elaborate adaptation of that app game Where’s My Water!?

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Darn you, Swampy!  You have all the water now, what more do you want!?

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Cinema Dispatch: Stuber

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

Directed by Michael Dowse

I don’t know about you, but if there’s ONE thing I’ve always wanted to see in a movie, its endless product placement for a company trying to corner the market on an industry through sheer financial force of will!  Then again, I probably shouldn’t be sitting TOO pretty on my high horse considering I still review Disney films despite their vicious takeover of 20th Century Fox (coincidentally the studio who made this film), so I guess I’ll just have to judge this movie on its own merits instead of how blatantly EVIL it’s marketing is.  Anyway!  Does this Buddy Comedy manage to be the best of both their lead actors’ filmographies, or are you much better off watching Hotel Artemis and The Big Sick instead?  Let’s find out!!

Stu (Kumail Nanjiani) is your average millennial stuck trying to make it in the gig economy and failing to earn the affections of his BFF (Betty Gilpin) who he’s been secretly in love with but decided to invest in her startup company instead of just telling her he likes her.  We’ve all been there, am I right!?  Well investing in other people’s ideas isn’t cheap, so along with his day job at a sporting goods store he drives with Uber (DOWNLOAD NOW FOR YOUR MOBILE DEVICES!!) and does his very best to be as accommodating as possible.  This is 2019 though, and apparently being a massive jerk is in vogue now so despite his best efforts he’s barely hanging onto his current user score which is dangerously close to getting him kicked off the service entirely.  Enough about that guy though!  This is a movie with a famous wrestler, so let’s talk about that famous wrestler!  Vic (Dave Bautista) is a cop who is obsessed with finding this drug trafficker named Oka Teijo (Iko Uwais) who he nearly caught a while back but managed to escape and also killed his partner in the process.  After six months though, there hasn’t been a break in the case and so he takes a bit of time off to try and reconnect with his daughter (Natalie Morales ) and finally get that laser eye surgery he’s been meaning to get.  He’s at home and waiting for his vision to return as well as running out the clock until the start of his daughter’s art show when he gets a call from one of his informants telling him that Teijo is gonna be at this big drug deal later tonight at some undisclosed location in town.  Seeing his chance but not seeing much else, Vic is determined to take Teijo down once and for all… but he needs a ride.  I THINK YOU SEE WHERE THIS IS GOING!!  Can Stu provide wonderful ride sharing service to the antsy and determined Vic and maintain his unobtrusive existence with a slightly higher star rating?  Can Vic solve this case without his vision, and can he convince Stu to help him beyond his duty of just getting him from one place to another?  Seriously, does this dude not have even ONE cop friend or a super tough bro he could have called instead!?

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“I tried to get someone else to pick me up, but he was too busy.”     “Oh really?”     “AND HIS NAME IS JOHN CENA!!”     “I don’t need your life story, pal.”

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Cinema Dispatch: Spider-Man: Far From Home

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Spider-Man: Far From Home and all the images you see in this review are owned by Sony Pictures Releasing

Directed by Jon Watts

Well now that we’re FINALLY done with Thanos (and James Gunn is back on Guardians 3), we can finally get things back on track, right? I mean sure, we needed a nice big climatic sendoff for the big stars that helped bring this franchise to life, but now that the party’s over things have got to keep going without them and the MCU, if they’ve done NOTHING else, have managed to create something that can go on even after closing the book on some of its biggest characters. Still, there’s a big ol’ elephant in the room (or perhaps SPIDER-PIG in the room!) called Into the Spider-Verse that came out between the last Tom Holland film and this one which frankly blew Homecoming out of the water. Homecoming is still great, but Into the Spider-Verse? Woo boy is that a hard act to follow! Can this Post Thanos and Post Spider-Verse entry into the MCU cement itself as the first step to the future of this franchise, or have we already seen the best this version of the hero has to offer and will be left wanting for something more? Let’s find out!!

So hey! That whole… dead for five years thing was pretty rough, wasn’t it? Well the world keeps on turning I suppose and that’s definitely true for Peter Parker (Tom Holland) as well as the entire cast from the first Spider-Man movie who JUST SO HAPPENED to be blinked out of existence as well which makes sense to me because this is a movie and everyone liked the cast from the first film. This includes Ned (Jacob Batalon), Mary Jane (Zendaya), and even Flash Thompson (Tony Revolori); all of whom as well as a couple of other students from Peter’s school are going on a European field trip. Frankly, Peter could use the time off considering how much he’s had to go through in the past… I guess it’s only been a few months for him, and after… well ENDGAME SPOILERS WILL BE IN THE REST OF THIS REVIEW SO LOOK AWAY NOW, Tony died saving the universe, he’s been having trouble coping with this whole “superhero” thing which has gotten a lot more real than just being a dude doing back flips on roofs and stopping two bit muggers. Of course nothing can be that easy for good ol’ Peter Parker because Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) along with Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) are trying to pull him into this “save the world” situation where elemental monsters from another dimension are tearing up cities all over the world, and with the Avengers kinda doing their own thing (the ones who aren’t dead at least) all they’ve got to work with is this kid and some dude named Quentin Beck (Jake Gyllenhaal) who claims to have come from the same alternate dimension as the elementals and wants to help us stop them. Oh, and at some point people start calling him “Mysterio” for some reason, but I’m sure that’s fine. This is all WAY more than Peter was ready to handle so soon, but then again if he’s not ready to drop everything at a moment’s notice and save the world, was he ever truly worth of being Tony’s protégé and a possible future Avenger? Can the world possibly get along fine with the new guys out there like the square jawed and overly capable Mysterio fellow to let Peter just be a kid for once? Seriously, considering where he ends up in Into the Spider-Verse, he might as well quit now. Yes, EITHER version of Peter in that movie!

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“So what’s it like having already done this already? When you look back on what you’ve accomplished, was it worth the years of sacrifice?” “What? No, that wasn’t… I’M NOT TOBEY MAGUIRE!!”

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Cinema Dispatch: Toy Story 4

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Toy Story 4 and all the images you see in this review are owned by Pixar and Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Directed by Josh Cooley

Sigh… I THOUGHT I WAS DONE!!  I thought that after the third film we’d reached the perfect end point for this series, but instead of coming up with a new idea or even rebooting the franchise entirely, here we are again with the same cast, the same toys, and even more Randy Newman.  I’ve been pretty down on Pixar recently with Incredibles 2 being a HUGE disappointment for me and being rather lukewarm on Inside Out, but they can still do great films like Coco when they put their mind to it and that fact only makes me even more tired that we’re dipping into the same well one more time.  Who knows though, right?  I mean, they managed to make Toy Story 2 one of the best sequels of all time and even made the third film a perfect closure for these characters and this world!  Can they somehow pull it off a third time by making this beating of a dead horse not nearly as horrific as that metaphor implies?  Let’s find out!!

Following the events of the third film, Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz (Tim Allen), and all their pals (Joan Cusack, Wallace Shawn, John Ratzenberger, Blake Clark, Don Rickles and Estelle Harris) are living with Bonnie and her toys (Kristen Schaal, Timothy Dalton, and Jeff Garlin); enjoying their new lease on life having avoided both the garbage dump and the day care of infinite horrors.  Still, Woody isn’t quite as happy as the ending of the last movie would have indicated because he is no longer the top toy in the room which is led up by Dolly (Bonnie Hunt) instead.  Feeling out of place and probably more than a little bored, he sneaks into Bonnie’s backpack for her first day of kindergarten orientation where he slyly helps Bonnie through the emotionally turmoil and even gets her to make a new toy out of trash and craft materials.  The new toy named Forky (Tony Hale) does indeed come to life which comes to a surprise to Woody and everyone else, and what’s even MORE surprising for a kids movie is that this little bugger is determined to throw himself in the garbage because he’s aware he’s an unholy abomination unto the world and needs to return to the trash from whence he came!  So the good news for Woody is that he now has a new lease on life being Bonnie’s protector by way of protecting Forky, but the bad news is that Forky turns out to be a HUGE handful and he manages to escape out the window during the family road trip.  Woody goes after him, slowly trudges to the town the family is staying at, but as it would JUST SO HAPPEN, Bo Peep (Annie Potts) who went missing between Toy Story 2 and 3 is in this town as a lost toy; helping other lost toys find kids to play with in the park and living her life to the fullest as a STRONG INDEPENDENT badass!  Seems like a perfect little reunion if it wasn’t for the fact that Forky is kidnapped by the EVIL Gabby Gabby (Christina Hendricks) who is a doll in an antique store looking to replace her broken voice box and wants the one embedded in Woody’s toy guts.  Can Woody and Bo save Forky from whatever maniacal machinations Gabby has in store for him?  Will the rest of the toys be able to distract the family long enough so that Woody and Forky can return in one piece?  Seriously, how has a porcelain doll managed to last this long out in the wilderness?  Is she ACTUALLY made out of Adamantium!?

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“When you’re out in the world, you either get chipped or you do the chipping…”     “Okay…”     “HAVE YOU EVER SEEN YOURSELF IN FOUR DIFFERENT PIECES!?”     “Well my arm came off that one time…”

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Cinema Dispatch: Yesterday

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

Directed by Danny Boyle

This may be a movie about music from fifty years ago, yet the premise is even older than that as the idea of a hapless someone getting a shortcut to fame and fortune is one of the most basic cornerstones of literature.  When you take that premise and make it about something other than say measurable wealth and status (i.e. Aladdin) to instead focus on some sort of perceived skill or art form (i.e. music), you can run into a few issues; namely that you have to sell the audience on the perceived greatness of something that is rather subjective.  You either have to play into the impossibility of someone ACTUALLY making the greatest music ever like with Tenacious D’s Tribute or even Fish Story, or your stuck trying to write it yourself and just ignore the disconnect (*cough* Harsh Mistress *cough*).  The workaround for all that though is what we’ve got here which is a jukebox musical of sorts where the songs being played are widely considered (at least somewhat) to be the greatest of all time, and in this era where Musical Biopics are now in vogue, it was probably the best way for yet another Beatles tribute to stand out among the crowd.  So then!  Does this movie manage to capture the magic of that one band from Liverpool, or will this be a bigger stain on their legacy than Magical Mystery Tour THE MOVIE?  Let’s find out!!

Jack Malik (Himesh Patel) is the typical struggling artist who spends his time stocking store shelves between gigs that no one bothers to see.  His manager and best friend Ellie (Lily James) still believes in him and his amazing songwriting skills, but if it hasn’t happened yet then it probably isn’t going to happen and so he decides that now is the time to hang it up.  The universe on the other hand has other plans for him because as he’s riding home on his bike that night, there’s a global power outage that no one ever finds an explanation for but did lead to Jack getting hit with a bus; breaking his guitar, his front teeth, and his spirit even more.  After a lengthy recovery though, he soon realizes that no one remembers who The Beatles or any of their amazing songs.  You know, songs like Yesterday, A Hard Day’s Night, and… others.  Okay, so there were A LOT of songs, but Jack can surely remember enough of them to finally have a chance to be the musical star he’s always wanted to be!  I mean these songs are culturally important and should exist in some form for the betterment of mankind, so Jack is practically doing a public service here, right!?  So that’s what Jack does as he starts recording classic tracks like I Want to Hold Your Hand and Let it Be (seemingly unconcerned with the arc the band took in their music) as well as songs like Back in the USSR which sounds a bit retro now, but still jams!  It takes a bit of time, but he does eventually start to get a following and it seems like all that success is just around the corner if he can just stick it out through the hardships and machinations of the music industry, but with so much changing so quickly and his loved ones seeming to get further and further away from him, is this truly what Jack wants now?  On top of that, if HE remembers who The Beatles are then there has to be other’s out there too, right?  Can he keep up the lies before this house of cards comes crumbling down, or will everyone be cool with it since no one knows who the fudge John Paul George and Ringo are anyway?  Most importantly, is he gonna get a mediocre Hanna-Barbera cartoon as well!?

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“Thank you everyone, and make sure to watch my web series!  We are sponsored by Audible!!”

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