Category Archives: Cinema Dispatch

Cinema Dispatch: Charlie’s Angels

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Charlie’s Angels and all the images you see in this review are owned by Sony Pictures Releasing

Directed by Elizabeth Banks

I’ve never seen the Charlie’s Angels movies from the early 2000s, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen the original TV series either.  Heck, I’m pretty sure the closest thing I’ve seen to it was Totally Spies, and while that has its fans, it’s pretty much been dropped into the memory hole with dozens of other 2000s shows that you don’t remember.  So if nothing else, I can at least come into this series with a relatively fresh perspective, and I’ve got to say that I’ve been pretty interested in what we’ve been shown so far; particularly the cast which looks to be amazing and the fact that it’s being directed by Elizabeth Banks who has been gaining some momentum as a voice behind the camera as well as in front of it.  Does this reboot of the seventies classic bring the franchise into the twenty first century; at least for the second time?  Let’s find out!!

Elena (Naomi Scott) is a scientist working at some business company on some new technology that will revolutionize the power industry through… I guess computer coding?  The invention in this case is called Calisto which is a little box the size of an Echo Dot or a Google Home that can somehow power entire rooms and even buildings.  However, there is ONE itty-bitty flaw with it in that it can cause people to have brain aneurisms through some sort of bug that Elena is SURE she can fix, but her misogynistic boss (Nat Faxon) won’t let her because they have to get it to market and he wants to take all the credit for it.  If only there was an agency that understood her plight as a woman in tech and could help her stop a supervillain plot at the same time.  Oh wait!  There is!  The Townsend Agency consists primarily of Bosleys and Angels; the latter being the agents who go on missions and the former being the ones to coordinate the Angels.  The two angles who got assigned to Elena’s case are Sabina and Jane (Kristen Stewart and Ella Balinska) and it should be a straightforward Exposé of company documents, but when an assassin (Jonathan Tucker) shows up and takes out one of the Bosleys (Djimon Hounsou), things have clearly escalated to a point far more seirous than Elena had ever imagined.  With the help of a new Bosley (Elizabeth Banks), the three women team up to try and take () back from the evil company and find out just what it is they plan on doing with it in its current deadly state.  Will Elena prove herself to be a true Angel in the making despite a lifetime of being under the thumb of patriarchal and woman unfriendly industry?  What are Sabina and Jane’s story, and will they find excuses to clash with one another when they really should be working together to save the world?  Most importantly of all, does this succeed in empowering women to be in silly spy movies just like men can!?

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“Why does SHE get the gun?”     “Do you know how to use a gun?”     “I mean… it’s the principal of the matter.”     “WHAT principal!?”     “Uh… feminism?”     “Yeah… no.”     “You’re right.  My bad.”

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Cinema Dispatch: Jojo Rabbit

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Jojo Rabbit and all the images you see in this review are owned by Fox Searchlight Pictures

Directed by Taika Waititi

I don’t know if I’d classify this as Oscar Bait even though it’s set in World War II which is like half the criteria right there, but it’s certainly a film that’s been on everyone’s radars for months now; somewhat due to the controversial subject matter, but mostly because of the filmmaker behind it who’s really blown up in the last few years and for good reason.  Thor: Ragnarok was one of the most exciting films in that Phase of the Marvel franchise, and everything we’ve seen of him since then has only increased his status in the public eye.  Now we have his first directorial film since Ragnarok which is a satire of Fascism at a time that couldn’t be more relevant, so you can’t say that the guy doesn’t swing for the fences!  Is this a brutal and necessary take down of the ideology that’s been infecting global politics for a few years now, or is the film just not equipped to tackle such a heavy subject matter no matter how much talent there is behind it?  Let’s find out!!

Jojo Betzler (Roman Griffin Davis) is a young boy growing up in Nazi Germany who wants nothing more than to become a true fighter for the cause and even has Hitler as his imaginary friend that gives him pep talks and dubious advice.  He hopes that the camp he’s about to attend for the Hitler Youth will be the turning point in his life as he becomes a TRUE man and uses the skills he will learn to not only fight for the Aryan race, but become Hitler’s right hand man as they exterminate the dastardly Jews off the face of the Earth!  Yeah… Jojo is kind of a messed up kid all things considered, but he’s also seemingly too sensitive to REALLY become the monster that the rest of the Nazis around him have become, and he gets the nickname Jojo Rabbit when he refuses to kill a rabbit to prove his manhood.  Instead he tries to throw a grenade which goes horribly wrong and leaves him with a bunch of scars on his face and a leg that doesn’t work as well as it used to.  Because of this he has to spend more time at home with his mother (Scarlett Johansson) who he suspects may not be fully on board with this whole “Nazi” thing; a suspicion confirmed when he finds out that she’s been protecting a Jewish girl named Elsa (Thomasin McKenzie) who’s been living in a secret room within the walls of the house; specifically the walls in the room of Jojo’s sister who seems to have died at some point during the war.  With his own family seeming to turn against the ideology he loves and the man he believes to be a hero, will Jojo come to terms with the failings of the Nazi ideology and join his mother in resisting their influences?  The allied powers seem to be advancing on his village, so will he have to fight against them at some point despite his bad leg and lack of a killer instinct?  If Hitler is such a good leader, then why hasn’t he fixed all this kid’s problems and made him a true blue Nazi solider?  Checkmate, ten year old kid!!

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“Jojo, it’s just not gonna work out.”     “What are you saying?”     “Look, it’s not you; it’s me!  We can still be pen pals though!”

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Cinema Dispatch: The Lighthouse

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The Lighthouse and all the images you see in this review are owned by A24

Directed by Robert Eggers

The director’s last film The Witch was a PHENOMENAL film that is easily one of the best horror films in the last decade (certainly better than Hereditary), so I was excited to see what he was going to do next.  Lo and behold, his next movie starts two of the best character actors working today, is presented in Black and White, and is about something relatively mundane but will no doubt lead to horror and intrigue!  Jeez, you might as well have wrapped it up, put a nice bow on it, and put it on a drone to crash into my house!  Does Robert Eggers’s second film exceed the high bar he set with his first outing, or is a talent as great as his still not immune to the dread Sophomore Slump?  Let’s find out!!

Ephraim Winslow (Robert Pattison) is the new assistant lighthouse keeper watching over a crappy little light house on a crappy little rock not too far from shore but far enough that you wouldn’t survive an attempt to swim towards it.  His supervisor Thomas Wake (Willem Dafoe) is an old sea captain with the accent, peg leg, and pipe to back it up, and his task is to whip this young whipper snapper into ship shape if he’s to one day maintain a lighthouse of his very own.  Seems simple enough, and they certainly have more than enough work to do maintaining this house and the light therein, but over time it starts to become clear that maybe Captain Wake isn’t all he claims to be and that maybe Winslow isn’t as cut out for this work as he initially thought.  Oh well, it’s not like he’s gonna be there FOREVER, right?  He’s only there for a month before being moved somewhere else… oh what’s that?  There’s a big storm coming that’ll make it impossible for his ship to come anytime soon?  Well then!  That’s… unfortunate for everyone involved.  So Ephraim is stuck there for a while and with each passing day it seems that little bit of his sanity has gone with it as things get weirder and weirder around here; not the least of which being Captain Wake who REALLY seems to like the light at the top of the tower.  I mean… he REALLY likes that light!  So much so that Ephraim hasn’t had a chance to maintain it despite that being part of his training because Wake wants to keep it all to himself… for some reason.  Can Ephraim keep his head down, focus on his work, and stay out of trouble long enough for the lighthouse company to send him another boat?  What is going on up there at the top of the tower, and is that just the tip of the iceberg as far as strange happenings on this unassuming island?  After seeing Pattinson brood his way through this, is there anyone else who COULD be Batman!?

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People are starring miserably at the camera.  Of COURSE it’s yours!

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Cinema Dispatch: Doctor Sleep

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Doctor Sleep and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures

Directed by Mike Flanagan

Now that we’re a good few years into the Stephen King revival that was kicked off by IT (actually Stranger Things if we’re being honest) it was about time we start calling back to OTHER Stephen King adaptations, and not just that brief shot of the original Pennywise in IT or the numerous random callbacks in The Dark Tower.  This is a sequel not only to Stephen King’s original Shining novel, but is the sequel to Stanley Kubrick’s film adaptation, so describing the making of this movie as Quixotic is not that much of a stretch.  Then again, there’s no reason not to swing for the fences if you’ve got the chance, and the director has proven time and time again with films like Gerald’s Game and Ouija: Origin of Evil that he’s capable of making very good horror films, so perhaps the untouchable triumph that was The Shining is not so out of reach after all!  Is this a worthy sequel to the original film and a great movie in its own right?  Let’s find out!!

Dan Torrance (Ewan McGregor) has had a rough time of it since he and his mother managed to escape from the Overlook Hotel where his dad tried to murder the two of them before dying in the snow.  It seems that he took after his father in the second worst way possible as he may not be an axe murderer, but he is an alcoholic who’s using his addiction to avoid dealing with his own problems as well as the powers that seem to have done nothing but cause him trouble as the ghosts from the Overlook Hotel try to haunt him to this day.  He manages to find a bit of stability though in the town of True Knot where he meets a friend named Billy (Cliff Curtis), manages to give up the booze, and even gets a job as an orderly in a hospice care facility where he uses his power to sooth those who are about to die with those gifts that have given him nothing but heartache for the past thirty years.  He also seems to have made a connection with another psychic user as they communicate with each other anonymously, but circumstances are about to change that will force them to finally meet one another.  It turns out that there is a cult of other psychic users who have found out that eating the souls of psychically powerful people will give them everlasting life and so they roam the country looking for people to eat (mostly children as they are the most potent) and are ostensibly led by Rose the Hat (Rebecca Ferguson) who’s powers are among the strongest out there.  Our mysterious pen pal to Dan whose a young girl named Abra (Kyliegh Curran) catches psychic wind of these monsters as they feast upon a child, and Rose the Hat catches a glimpse of her as well, so now that both parties know of the other’s existence there will surely be some serious X-Men like conflict coming soon and Abra could use all the help she can get to bring these fiends to justice.  Will Dan be willing to help his friend Abra with her little problem of cannibal psychics trying to hunt her down?  Who exactly are these murderous psychics, and why is one of them wearing such a distinctive hat?  Will they find an excuse for going back to the Outlook Hotel so they can sell this movie on Shining nostalgia?  Well of course they will, but will it be a GOOD excuse!?

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“Look, I know it’s haunted as well as the birthplace of most of my trauma, but I’ve got a forty percent discount from Hotels.com and it’s the ONLY place in the area it applies to.”

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Cinema Dispatch: Terminator: Dark Fate

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Terminator: Dark Fate and all the images you see in this review are owned by Paramount Pictures

Directed by Tim Miller

Terminator Genisys came out right when I started reviewing movies for this website and BOY was I being thrown into the deep end as far as having to write about wretched movies!  The fact that someone is actually trying to come back from that disaster is either a show of great arrogance or of great faith in the material because you couldn’t possibly have salted the Earth in a worse way than with that piece of self-aware trash; even if you get James Cameron back as a producer.  Dude produces a lot of thing is what I’m saying!  Do you remember Sanctum?  Of course not.  ANYWAY!  Does this new attempt to breathe life into this franchise produce at least one more fun adventure, or would we have had a better chance getting this to work again if we stuck it in a bag of rice?  Let’s find out!!

Decades after Doomsday was avoided and Skynet was destroyed, the world seems to be at… well I wouldn’t call the current situation PEACE, but we’re staving off the techno-apocalypse for the time being if nothing else.  Dani Ramos (Natalia Reyes) is just going through her day to day life of helping her brother with his music, taking care of her sick dad, and working at a car factory (that’s what those things are called, right?) when things start to get a bit strange.  Her dad shows up out of nowhere at her job, some giant blonde lady shoots him in the face right in front of her, and then it turns out dear old dad was a robot.  This seems bad even by Monday standards, but she goes along with the gun toting woman named Grace (Mackenzie Davis) who informs her that her chances of living are contingent upon her ability to be depart with her post  haste!  It doesn’t take long for Dani to learn (and even less time to accept) that she is in fact being hunted down by future robots who want her dead for some very important reason, and that Grace is a cybernetically enhanced human from the future as well who was sent to protect her.  She certainly makes a game effort of outrunning the robot (Gabriel Luna), but this dude is a K-Reve unit which is basically a SUPER T-800 combined with a SUPER T-1000 and it doesn’t take long for their backs to be at the wall.  If ONLY there was a character from this franchise that could save them before it’s too late!  Oh that’s right!  They threw a bunch of money at Linda Hamilton so Sarah Connor comes in JUST at the right moment to save the two of them and buy them all some time to regroup, figure out what’s going, on and how they can stop this latest threat to the future.  Can Grace fulfill her duty of protecting Dani from this mechanical menace, and why was she chosen for such an important mission?  What is Sarah Connor’s role in all of this, and what has she been up to since the events of T2?   Is Schwarzenegger’s role in this a cleverly explained bit of time travel trickery, or is the will of the producers of Paramount Pictures the most powerful force in this Terminator universe?

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“I’ll give you ‘Put that cookie down’, ‘It’s not a tumor’, and ‘My body, my choice’, but ‘Hasta la vista baby’?  THAT’S gonna cost you.”

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Cinema Dispatch: Jexi

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

Directed by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore

We are still VERY much in catch up mode right now and it’s starting to get a bit distressing as more and more movies I wanted to see close to leaving theaters, but at least I managed to catch THIS one which somehow got to my second run theater a good three to four weeks before I would have expected it to!  You know how I found out that they had it?  I USED MY PHONE!!  It all connects if you look hard enough!  Anyway, does this story about a phone with a heart of gold and the mouth of a sailor manage to be a biting and hilarious critique of how we interact and even bond with our electronic devices, or is it just a silly movie about the kids these days and their addition to screens?  Let’s find out!!

This is the story of a man named Phil (Adam DeVine) who spends all his time on his phone and has no connections with anyone else; especially at his job where he writes top ten lists for a website run by the maniacal Kai (Michael Peña).  I’m not sure why he has to go to an office to do that, especially since he doesn’t seem to get anything out of being around other people like his coworkers Craig and Elaine (Ron Funches and Charlyne Yi), but that’s his life and he seems to be content with it.  Until of course his phone breaks after a run in with a local bike shop owner named Cate (Alexndra Shipp) and he has to go buy a new one which seems simple enough but turns into madcap hilarity when the AI assistant turns out to be a wise cracking, truth telling, emotionally berating, hard ass named Jexi who doesn’t put up with ANY of Phil’s crap and tries to get his life in order if for no other reason than how embarrassing it is to be around him.  At first it seems to work as her tough love advice leads to him making friends at work, expanding his horizons a bit, and even landing a date with Cate, but once the job of fixing him comes closer and closer to being finished what is left for Jexi to do?  Can Phil put his life back on track and learn to be the kind of person those MILLENNIALS ARE RUINING EVERYTHING articles wants us to be?  What will Jexi do once she’s no longer needed and Cate starts to horn in on her territory?  Is this what the AI in HER would have acted like if she was the star of that Joker movie?

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“You wanna know how I got these scars?  YOU DROPPED ME WHILE EATING THAT CANDY BAR!!“     “Oh come on baby!  I got you that protective case, didn’t I?”

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Cinema Dispatch: Judy

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Judy and all the images you see in this review are owned by LD Entertainment

Directed by Rupert Goold

Yeah, I know I’m late on this one and on a LOT of things!  October was busy for me, alright!?  Well it’s time to get back on track and we’re starting with this movie I saw SEVERAL weeks ago and can hopefully give a worthwhile critique on; at least the parts that I can remember!  It probably doesn’t help either that I know absolutely nothing about the person in question as the only movie I’ve seen of hers is the one we’ve ALL seen, and I had no idea what her story was before and after that famous role.  Will this be the movie that’ll teach me everything I should have known and turn me into a Judy Stan, or will this biopic get lost in the shuffle; right next to those Tupac and Mötley Crüe biopics that you’ve already forgotten about?  Let’s find out!!

Judy Garland (Renée Zellweger) has had a rough go of it throughout the sixties with all her money drying up and her two young kids living out of hotel rooms and working nights with her mother on small stages for peanuts.  With no money, no house, and two kids who need stability and an education, she makes a very difficult decision to have them stay with her ex-husband while she goes to London for an extended stint at a nightclub where she’ll make a strong stable income as long as she can keep her demons in check.  Said demons by the way were born in flashbacks that we see throughout the movie as a young Judy (Darci Shaw) struggles in a terrifyingly oppressive Hollywood system that controls her every move and doesn’t bat an eye at giving her various drugs to keep her awake and focused.  Will Miss Garland be able to give the performances of a lifetime and finally secure a bit of stability for herself as well as her family back home?  Will her handlers in London be able to curb her more destructive behaviors, and are they doing it for her sake or just because the show must go on?  Is she gonna do that song about Rainbows?  Man, what was that one called…

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Why ARE there so many songs about rainbows?

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