Cinema Dispatch: Searching

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

Directed by Aneesh Chaganty

Okay, so I’ll admit that maybe the problem is ME as this is yet another movie I hadn’t heard about until everyone else started talking about, so maybe I just completely missed a good chunk of trailers for the month of August.  Even with that though, I STILL managed to hear SOMETHING about this movie because of how much good word of mouth it was getting which is a lot more than I can say for the completely incompetent A.X.L. or the surprisingly decent but still underexposed KIN.  The positive buzz on this film has been pretty much universal which we haven’t gotten since probably Sorry to Bother You which was easily one of the best films of the year, and I’ve been hearing similar rumblings about this film being up to that level as well; albeit with a lot less class politics and… other things that were in that movie.  Does Searching manage to live up to the hype that has been building for some time now, or will this be another overpraised mess that I’m gonna have to jump in and be the sourpuss about?  Let’s find out!!

The Kim family is living a happy and carefree life in the early to mid two thousands where the worst thing that could happen to them is another Nickelback single taking over the radio.  That is until the mother Pamela (Sara Sohn) falls ill and dies right around the time that her daughter Margot (Alex Jayne, Megan Liu, Kya Dawn Lau, and Michelle La at various ages) is starting high school which only makes things more strained between her and her father David (John Cho).  One day, Margot just up and disappears after an AP Bio study group and no one seems to know where she is.  David calls the police and is in contact with a Detective Rosemary (Debra Messing) while he checks her daughters laptop for any clues because time is of the essence when it comes to disappearances like this and everyone needs to do whatever they can to ensure her safe return, even if David slowly starts to realize that maybe he didn’t know his daughter that well in the first place.  Can David unlock whatever mystery is at the heart of her disappearance with only her laptop, browser history, and social media accounts?  What can the police uncover about her last moments before disappearing, and will David be able to accept whatever it is they find?  Wait, were they SERIOUSLY using Windows XP until 2015!?  I mean I know it had a pretty good shelf life, but even MICROSOFT was done with that by 2014!!

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It was WinRAR!  This is its revenge for never actually buying it!!

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Cinema Dispatch: KIN

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

Directed by Jonathan Baker and Josh Baker

Oh goody!  Another film I literally knew nothing about before I went to go see it!  It doesn’t necessarily bode well that I had never even seen a poster for it, let alone a trailer, before heading to the theater to see it, but I like being surprised by something that I have no expectations for going in.  It doesn’t ALWAYS work out as the recent Alpha and A.X.L have proven, but a kid with a space gun sounds like a great place to start; especially if this is gonna be anything like Laser Blast from 1978!  Admittedly there’s not much chance that a movie like THAT would be made nowadays (especially starring a kid) or given a wide release, but I can dream, right!?  Does this manage to be an excellent gem that no one bothered to give the time of day, or was this ultimately buried in late August for a darn good reason?  Let’s find out!!

Elijah Solinski (Myles Truitt) is your average fourteen year old boy stuck in a crappy situation.  His mom’s dead, his brother’s in jail, and he lives in Detroit with no Robocop in sight to make things better.  Well at least one of those things is about to change (no, not Robocop) as his brother Jimmy (Jack Reynor) has been released from prison and is gonna stay with him and their dad (Dennis Quaid) until he can find a stable job and get his life back on track.  This is proving to be a very difficult thing however as he apparently owes sixty thousand dollars to a local gangster (James Franco) for protecting him while in jail and he wants the money back NOW.  He doesn’t wait until Jimmy can get a decent job to garnish his salary, he doesn’t even have some dangerous job for him to do as a way of paying down the debt.  He expects Jimmy to pull 60K out of his behind right away, which I guess makes James Franco “quirky” instead of “very bad at his job”.  Despite how foolish his business model is, Jimmy DOES actually pull through for the guy as the two of them along with Franco’s brother (no, not Dave) rob the safe at his father’s construction site.  As fate would have it though, dear old dad walks in on the crime and gets killed by Franco which means that Jimmy in turn kills his brother and runs to find Elijah alone in the car.  Thinking fast, Jimmy spins a tale about a road trip where their dad will meet them later and the two of them rush off with whatever money Jimmy could scrounge up and not much more than the clothes on their backs.  Needless to say that Franco is a bit peeved about the whole “you murdered my brother” thing, and so he follows in hot pursuit looking for Jimmy and the one thing left in his life that he cares about.  Oh!  I almost forgot!  Apparently Elijah found a space rife or something and is carrying it around in secret while aliens in Space Marine armor are trying to find it.  For some reason the SPACE GUN managed to get kind of lost in the shuffle here.  ANYWAY, will Jimmy and Elijah be able to start a new life together and escape the wrath of James Franco?  How long can Jimmy keep up this ruse and what’s his plan once they DO find a place to settle down?  Seriously, HOW DO YOU MAKE A MOVIE ABOUT A SPACE GUN THAT’S ABOUT ALMOST EVERYTHING ELSE EXCEPT THE SPACE GUN!?

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Sir Not Appearing In This Movie.

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Cinema Dispatch: Operation Finale

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Operation Finale and all the images you see in this review are owned by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Directed by Chris Weitz

Now that I think of it, when was the last time we got a World War 2 movie that actually tackled the events and consequences of the war?  I mean we had Dunkirk which was one big battle scene more or less divorced from the ideological conflict of the war itself, and I never got around to seeing The Darkest Hour.  Heck, the last World War 2 movie I remember before that is Allied, and I’m pretty sure that comment right there makes me the only person who’s brought it up in over a year!  Needless to say that with the current political landscape being what it is, we could probably use another World War 2 movie that actually mentions The Holocaust; especially with what we’re learning about full US citizens in Texas being denied passports due to the color of their skin which is hardly a far cry from what happened to German Jews as the Nazi party was taking over.  Does this mean that we have a fantastic film on our hands right at the start of Oscar season (I’m pretty sure I’ve been saying that for like a month now), or is this a disappointing retread of far better movies that have come before?  Let’s find out!!

The movie is a dramatization of the capture of Adolf Eichmann (Ben Kingsley) in Argentina by Israeli spies, which I don’t THINK was actually named Operation Finale, but for the purposes of this film that’s what they’re going with.  If you don’t know already, Eichmann was one of Hitler’s top official who basically orchestrated The Final Solution; organizing the prisoners, making sure the trains run on time, and ensuring there’s enough gas, bullets, and graves to go around so that the genocide of millions can be done as efficiently as possible.  Needless to say he’s not a nice dude, and our head spy Peter Malkin (Oscar Isaac) can’t wait to bring him to justice, even though he’s a loose cannon that messed up his last mission, but darn it!  He’s the best they’ve got!  The mission itself is fairly simple where Peter and a few members of his team will snatch the guy, drive him back to the safe house, and have their anesthetic specialist Hanna (Mélanie Laurent) put him to sleep so they can sneak him past Argentinian airport security and put him on a plane back to Israel to stand trial for his crimes against humanity.  Things go FAIRLY well at first, but problems start to build up and they team is basically stuck with a Nazi jerk in a house located in what seems to be the epicenter of Nazi activity in Argentina, and a rather long time to wait until they get a proper escape plan in place once the initial one goes up in smoke.  Can everyone who’s stuck in that house keep their heads down long enough for them to escape with their a Nazi war criminal AND their lives?  What will Peter do when he’s finally alone with the man responsible for not just millions of deaths, but the deaths of people very close to him whose faces still haunt him to this day?  Is it just me, or has Oscar Isaac been fighting A LOT of fascists?

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“Space Nazis.  German Nazis.  They all have one thing in common; very punchable faces.”

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Super Recaps: Tom Goes to the Mayor (Glass Eyes)

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Tom Goes to the Mayor and all the images you see in this recap are owned Warner Bros and Adult Swim

Created by Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim

We’re back with Toodle Day Part 2 as Tim & Eric have come up with ANOTHER wacky local holiday for the denizens of Jefferton to distract themselves with between the constant onslaught of disasters that Tom and The Mayor cause on a near weekly basis!  The episode begins with Tom going to The Mayor with yet another as per usual, and yet something seems different this time.  The Mayor picks up on it on it to and starts jabbing Tom in the eye with a giant stick; presumably because he sees Tom as some sort of threat that must be stopped, but luckily for Tom the SOMETHING DIFFERENT turns out to be one of his eyes which has been replace with one made of glass.  Apparently he lost it while playing with his step-children which I can absolutely see happening considering this guy’s luck, but I am surprised that his terrible insurance policy seems to have scrounged up enough money to put something into the socket, especially considering prosthetic eyes nowadays cost about two grand.  Who knows, maybe he bought it used or found it lying in the parking lot.

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“It’s just me.  Tom Peters.”     “I know exactly who you are, Tom.”     *JAB*  *JAB*  *JAB*

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Cinema Dispatch: The Happytime Murders

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The Happytime Murders and all the images you see in this review are owned by STX Entertainment

Directed by Brian Henson

Well the day has finally arrived!  After a decade of production hell, Brian Henson has FINALLY completed his dream project and is ready to show it to the world!  I’m excited to say the least, especially after they released the trailer and I started looking into Henson Alternative which is the offshoot of the Henson Company that’s responsible for bringing this to life, and sure some of their productions have been less than stellar, but this premise is just too great of an idea to NOT want to see get made!  I rarely get this excited for a movie as I usually try not to get too hyped for stuff that I’ll end up reviewing (I’m also VERY good at living under a rock so a lot of movie do sneak up on me), but for this one I have very high hopes that we’ll get something unique if nothing else.  Does this manage to exceed my expectations and is one of the best action comedies this year, or was this yet another pet project that should have never seen the light of day?  Let’s find out!!

Phil Phillips (Bill Barretta) is a private eye working in Los Angeles who not only used to be a cop but was the very first puppet cop in the city.  However, after… THE INCIDENT… that ousted him from the force, he’s been making ends meet digging up other people’s dirty laundry.  May not be the most noble of professions, but it keeps a roof over his head, a steady paycheck for his assistant Bubbles (Maya Rudolph), and a well-stocked shelf of booze.  Content with his sad life, Phil never expected that his latest client Sandra White (Dorien Davies) to be the one that changes it all forever.  Well sort of.  While investigating a blackmail letter that Miss White received, Phil stumbles upon a bunch of dead puppets; one of whom was a cast member of a famous puppet TV show known as The Happytime Gang.  Things get even worse for Phil once his former partner Detective Connie Edwards (Melissa McCarthy) is put on the case, and Phil eventually finds his way towards investigating it himself when more Happytime Gang bodies start piling up; especially since his brother Larry (Victor Yerrid) was one of the cast members as well as Jenny (Elizabeth Banks), the woman he loved.  Can Phil and Connie put aside their differences regarding… THE INCIDENT… in order to solve this case and save the lives of the remaining Happytime Gang?  What could possibly be motivating such killings, and could it have something to do with Phil himself?  Can we get Best Achievement in Puppets category for the Oscars?  I feel like this should win SOMETHING, and if we’re making up new awards anyway!

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“If Suicide Squad gets one, you bet your blue butt I’m gonna get one too.”     “Why are you putting your sunglasses on?  We’re going inside that building.”    “Don’t ruin this for me…”

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Cinema Dispatch: A.X.L.

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A.X.L. and all the images you see in this review are owned by Global Road Entertainment

Directed by Oliver Daly

So I guess we somehow needed more than one A BOY AND HIS DOG movie this month?  I mean after the monotony we got with Alpha, I guess we could use one that’s ACTUALLY good all the way through, but I get the feeling that this one isn’t gonna be it.  Like Alpha, I remember seeing this here and there for the past few months, but there’s been almost no marketing push for it and what little we see in the trailers isn’t really doing much to sell me or seemingly most people on this movie.  That said, a film’s marketing is not ultimately a determination on how good the movie will be (Alpha had a HORRENDOUS trailer with awful voice over), so maybe this one will be a surprise!  Yeah, probably not considering we’re getting this in late August, but let’s find out!!

The movie begins with typical… teenager?  Twenty something?  I don’t know, YOUNG ADULT Miles (Alex Neustaedter) who is an amateur motocross rider hoping to make it to the big leagues so he doesn’t have to go to school and can live off sponsorship bucks!  Okay… well he certainly has the talent but he’s lacking the equipment to REALLY give him the edge (and by edge I mean his bike will stop falling apart while he’s riding it) unlike a fellow… biker?  Yeah, let’s go with biker, named Sam (Alex MacNicoll) who’s got a rich dad and seems to take a liking to Miles.  On top of that he has a… friend?  Yeah, let’s go with friend, named Sara (Becky G) who basically HAS to keep in Sam’s good graces considering her mother is their housekeeper and they live in the pool house out back.  All this seems rather awkward to be sure, but somehow Miles manages to get the attention of Sara which doesn’t sit well with Sam, and so he “pranks” miles by… having him crash his bike and leaving him for dead.  Okay… well this turns out to be a GREAT thing because Sam manages to find a robot dog in the… junkyard?  Yeah, let’s go with junkyard, that’s right next to where Sam left him.  Not just ANY robot dog though!  A giant military grade beauty named A-X-L who escaped from the SCIENCE LAB where he was being developed.  The two start to build a bond and Sara gets caught up in this as well, but the EVIL SCIENTISTS (Dominic Rains and Lou Taylor Pucci) are determined to get their dog back by any means necessary, and if Miles has forged such a close connection to A-X-L so that he functions better now than he ever has before, well I guess they’ll just have to take him too!  Can Miles and Sara find a way to not only protect A-X-L from the EVIL SCIENTISTS, but also teach him to be a good dog instead of a military grade MURDER MACHINE?  Will anyone be able to understand this mechanical monstrosity with razor sharp teeth, or is he too dangerous to be kept in polite company?  Is there any chance that there are BETTER movies loaded onto its hard drive that we could watch instead?

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“WHOA!  Infinity War Part 2!?  Good dog!!”

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Super Comics: Sonic the Hedgehog (IDW) – #8

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Sonic the Hedgehog (the comic book series) and all the images you see in this recap are owned by IDW and SEGA of America

We’re back with another episode of Inglourious Hedgehogs, and now that Sonic knows who’s been behind the revival of the Eggman Army, can he and his fellow resistance fighters stop him before it’s too late?  More importantly, will Sonic get his robot scalps!?  Let’s find out!!  The issue begins with Sonic infiltrating yet another abandoned Eggman facility in the hopes of stealing some of the Not So Good Doctor’s old plans to hopefully get an insight into what Neo Metal Sonic is planning since it was revealed in the last issue that not only is he in control of the Eggman Army, he is also trying to carry on with this as if he was Eggman; going so far as to imitate his appearance from time to time.  Well I guess this is a decent plan at first glance, but haven’t these facilities been raided like a dozen times already?  Heck, I’m pretty sure The Chaotix swept through them all like three issues ago!  You’re telling me NO ONE thought to back up the hard drives while they were there!?  These are questions I’m sure will be answered at some point (snark), but for now Sonic is making his way through whichever facility this is and manages to meet another classic Sonic Character along the way (snark); namely Silver the Hedgehog!  Now if you don’t know, this guy is from the LEAST GOOD Sonic Game, Sonic 06, and was an irritating little twerp from THE FUTURE who took himself WAY too seriously and really screwed up Blaze’s continuity in the process.  The writers seem to be aware of this however because he’s actually got a much more relaxed and even jolly demeanor in this issue than he ever had doing his Trunks from DBZ impression back in Sonic 06; especially when it becomes clear that the duo are not alone and are being helped by someone that Silver might just know about.

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“YOU THINK SHE’LL GIVE ME AN AUTOGRAPH!?”     “If you’re lucky, she might write it in the blood of our enemies.”     “WOW, REALLY!?”

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