Tag Archives: 20th Century Fox

Cinema Dispatch: Bad Times at the El Royale

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Bad Times at the El Royale and all the images you see in this review are owned by 20th Century Fox

Directed by Drew Goddard

Oh hey!  I know this guy!  Yeah, didn’t he do that movie that everyone else liked but I was pretty nonplussed about?  Okay, probably have to be more specific there.  This is the guy who made The Cabin in the Woods (no not that guy, the guy who ACTUALLY directed it) which was an interesting idea but for me it suffered from a somewhat oblivious tone and an ending that soured me from ever really enjoying the film again.  Well after a few years doing quite a bit of writing, he’s back in the director’s chair with this film that looks to be a mishmash of noir tropes as opposed to horror ones, though he managed to keep Chris Hemsworth around.  Will this be the movie that sells me on the brilliance of this director after a somewhat disappointing opening salvo, or is this another guy who I’m just not gonna get and be a sourpuss about while everyone else is enjoying themselves?  Let’s find out!!

The El Royale is a hotel on the border between Nevada and California, once a hotbed of celebrity debauchery but now a shell of its former self; handing out cheap rooms to unscrupulous and impoverished characters who aren’t really here for the ambiance.  On the fateful day that this movie starts, there JUST SO HAPPENS to be quite a few people there who may or may not have nefarious schemes in mind, including the vacuum salesman Seymour Sullivan (Jon Hamm), the kindly Father Flynn (Jeff Bridges), the singer Darlene Sweet (Cynthia Erivo), and the mystery woman who signs the guestbook with an obscenity (Dakota Johnson).  Now normally they would just go their separate ways and not bother one another no matter what bad stuff they’re into, but what the concierge Miles (Lewis Pullman) isn’t telling them is that this place isn’t simply a rundown hotel; rather it’s a rundown hotel WITH A SPYING ROOM!  As each one of them goes about their business, things start to unravel as some discover this place and see what the others are up to which inevitably causes their stories to intertwine in ways that will either lead to fair and equitable compromises or an utter bloodbath; especially with the Mystery Woman having some serious baggage in the form of another mystery woman with her (Cailee Spaeny) and some dude who just might be looking for them (Chris Hemsworth).  Will these lovely guests manage to finish what they came here to do with all their limbs still attached?  What is each one of them hiding, and how important will it be to the other people there?  How the heck did hotel stay open this long!?  They’ve got ONE guy running the darn place!!

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“This is NOT what I was promised on Yelp!”

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Cinema Dispatch: Top Ten WTF Moments in The Predator

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The Predator and all the images you see in this editorial are owned by 20th Century Fox

Directed by Shane Black

It’s been a few weeks since The Predator graced the multiplexes in all its confused glory, so I think now’s a pretty good time to really get into what exactly is SO fascinatingly wrong about this movie that I couldn’t fit into a proper review.  The last time I did something like this was all the way back when The Mummy was supposed to be the next big thing which sadly didn’t end up being the case despite making four hundred million worldwide and so The Dark Universe is more or less dead on arrival.  A shame because, despite the film’s ASTOUNDING amount of flaws, it was compelling in a way that very few terrible movies can be and I’d have loved to see a DCCU style nightmare come out of it.  Predators though still has a chance to be the next (albeit smaller) version of this with its incredibly pronounced sequel bait at the end and comparatively lower stakes, so why not give it the proper WTF treatment?  Unlike my last list however, this isn’t ranked in an ascending order of absurdity; rather it’s structured in a way to try and get across the ESCALATING sense of absurdity that builds as the movie goes along, so while one thing may not be as out there or ridiculous as the thing before it, it all adds up into this ludicrous mishmash of ideas that either should have been left on the cutting room floor or given the time it needed to not feel so inexplicably jammed into an already overly tight runtime.  Let’s get started!!

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10) Lock him up and throw away the key! – Why the heck is Quinn being railroaded!?

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So the movie begins with The Predator (at least the first one of them) crash landing on Earth basically within spitting distance a squad of army dudes out on a mission.  Our lead dude is Quinn McKenna (Boyd Holbrook) who finds the escape pod The Predator used as well as part of his armor; including his mask and one of his arm bands that both have VERY advanced computer systems in them.  His men die at the hands of The Predator, he manages to escape, and then he mails the pieces of armor to his home in the US.  Now why would he do that?  Well apparently he correctly assumed that he would be arrested by THE HIGHER UPS and sent to a mental institution as a way to keep him quiet about the alien… because reasons.  Now to be clear, this is not just ANY army dude; the mission he was on was to assassinate a drug lord on an ally’s soil (Mexico) and the US Military isn’t about to send someone on that kind of job who doesn’t know how to keep his mouth shut and play ball.  How is this guy not an ASSET to The Stargazer Project considering his sterling military record, and for that matter why are they so intent on keeping HIM out of the loop when they IMMEDIATELY bring a civilian scientist on board (Dr. Casey Bracket played by Olivia Munn) to run tests on the darn thing!?  Speaking of which…

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Cinema Dispatch: The Predator

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

Directed by Shane Black

I’m getting rather good at avoiding trailers at this point because I never saw a single one for this movie.  All I knew was that it was another Predator movie with an annoyingly similar title to the rest of them (which is still better than the sequel to Halloween being called Halloween) and it was being directed by the guy who wrote Lethal Weapon, directed Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Iron Man 3, and The Nice Guys, and even got turned into a pile of bloody organs in the first Predator movie!  I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a winning formula to me!  At least until the recent news came out about his deeply irresponsible casting decision in the movie which frankly cast a big cloud over the whole thing for me right before it came out.  Does this manage to be an entertaining film despite the problems that Shane Black managed to bring upon himself in the lead up to the film’s release, or was that the first sign that something was amiss with the latest entry in this franchise?  Let’s find out!!

For some time now it seems that Predators have been stepping up their game and coming to Earth with a bit more frequency which is not just a good way to set ourselves up for some prequels, but to raise the stakes a bit as this latest invasion by a Predator seems to be a bit more than just some dude trying to add one more human spine to his collection.  He crash lands in a jungle down in Mexico where military badass Quinn McKenna (Boyd Holbrook) is on assignment to assassinate someone for something, but said crash landing makes things a bit more complicated.  A bunch of… dudes (are they military?  A private corporation?) who are part of PROJECT STARGAZER which is led by the mysterious Traeger (Sterling K Brown) capture the alien, capture most of its armor, and even captures McKenna, but not before McKenna… finds someone to mail part of The Predator’s armor back home.  Apparenlty he wants to keep it for “evidence” which I’m SURE will come in handy when he’s carted off to a mental institution so that PROJECT STARGAZER can keep a lid on the existence of aliens.  Not so much of a lid that they won’t enlist a civilian scientist Dr. Casey Bracket (Olivia Munn) to take a look at the captured creature, but enough so that the highly trained military officer who’s already involved with secret government plots like assassinations can be forcibly kept quiet before he starts blabbing to everyone.  Sounds like a foolproof plan to me!  Oh wait, the Predator escaped and is now looking for his armor, namely his helmet, that McKenna sent back home and is currently being played with by his son Rory (Jacob Temblay) who is on the autism spectrum and apparently has no problem understanding this alien technology.  So it’s a race against time as McKenna and a group of mentally ill soldiers he meets (Trevante Rhodes, Keegan-Michael Key, Thomas Jane, Alfie Allen, and Augusto Aguilera) team up with Dr. Bracket to… I guess stop the Predator, while Traeger and PROJECT STARGAZER regroup to put an end to this threat and the people who know about it once and for all! Can McKenna save his son from the murderous alien as well as the VERY dangerous technology he’s been messing around with?  What are PROJECT STARGAZERS’s true plans, and what are The Predator’s plans as well?  Does anyone else get the feeling that the editor had their spine forcibly removed by a giant monster alien when they were only halfway done putting this thing together?

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“I get my OWN spin-off or else this guy’s gut turns into a pin cushion!”

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Cinema Dispatch: The Darkest Minds

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

Directed by Jennifer Yuh Nelson

Can we just take a moment and remind ourselves that YA adaptations (and even movies aimed at a YA audience) are NOT the worst thing to happen to the world of cinema?  That would be Eli Roth, but in any case, I think we’re well past the days of Twilight Hate (at least we SHOULD be and anyone still carrying that torch would be kind of sad) and we even got some bug critical success stories like The Hunger Games; none of which I’ve ever seen but I hear are supposed to be good!  In the last few years though, things haven’t really looked great for the genre as they still make money, but none of them have had much critical success or frankly leave much of an impact despite earning so much money.  Even GOOD ones like A Wrinkle in Time still languished with critics and didn’t really find the audience it needed to.  Now we have this movie which stepping up to the plate to take its swing at the box office.  Does this manage to be another high point for a genre that should get a bit more respect, or is this the kind of poorly made tripe that (along with misogyny if we’re being frank) made these films such an easy target in the first place?  Let’s find out!!

Ruby Daly (Lidya Jewett) is your typical elementary school student in a run of the mill suburb living her normal life when tragedy strikes as the world basically turns into an even MORE proactive version of Children of Men.  Not only are people not having babies anymore, but children start to drop like flies from some mysterious disease, and worse yet the ones who survive get super powers.  Now sure there’s a certain amount of… let’s say VOLATILITY in kids having the ability to move things with their mind and conduct electricity (as well as have super smarts and fire bending powers because… reasons), but things go a BIT further than some updated Health and PE classes to straight up generational genocide as ANY child exhibiting any sort of powers (I couldn’t quite tell if it was ALL children or just some of them) are brought to military run internment camps for classification, separation, and manual labor.  Ruby ends up getting sent to one of them as she apparently has the ability to read minds I think which makes her the MOST DANGEROUS AND SPECIAL ONE EVER, but she manages to somehow keep it under wraps by mind wiping the doctor (you’d think they’d check for that) and getting classified as a lower tiered super person.  Years go by and Ruby goes from a young girl to a teenager (Amandla Stenberg) but things come to a head as she seemingly gets discovered as one of the SUPER SPECIAL AWESOME kids and subsequently whisked away from the camp by a mysterious freedom fighter of sorts (Mandy Moore) who then wants her to join her group known as the Children’s League which seems like a good idea considering she’s got nowhere else to go and they’re for the liberation of children from government persecution… but then she gets a weird vibe from the dude she’s with (Mark O’Brien) and she manages to run away from them to find a van full of super powered teens (Harris Dickinson, Skylan Brooks, and Miya Cech) who agree to take her in as they travel to some sort of children haven known as East River where they can… I guess live free?  Of course it won’t be an easy trip as there are children hunting bounty hunters (Gwendoline Christie) roaming the streets as well as the military who aren’t about to let one of their kids go; especially if they’re one of the SUPER SPECIAL AWESOME kids!  Will Ruby find a new home with her fellow super powered misfits?  Just what does the Children League want from her, and are they truly fighting to save these persecuted children?  Okay, seriously Fox?  Did you just dust off an old X-Men script to make this movie?

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#MagnetoWasRight

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Jumping the Soapbox: Let’s Look At the Trailers from Comic Con 2018!

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The images in this editorial are the property of their respective owners

For ninety-nine percent of people out there who don’t get to go to Comic Con in person, our experience is basically a giant pile of news being dumped about upcoming movies and television shows, and while the coverage this year was overshadowed by the senseless firing of James Gunn (#RehireJamesGunn), there was still quite a bit of news worth paying attention to; especially some of the trailers that got released, and I’m not just talking about that crappy Titans one!  So let’s go ahead and take a look at some (certainly not all) of the trailers that we saw for the first time this weekend!

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SHAZAM!

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Directed by David F Sandberg; Owned by Warner Bros Pictures

Billy Batson (Asher Angel) is your typical moody teenager who’s been placed in yet another foster home, but everything changes when the mystical space wizard SHAZAM (Djimon Hounsou) chooses him to inherit his spectacular powers.

I like what I see here, but what I’m seeing isn’t much.  Granted this is the first trailer and we’ll surely see more as we get closer to the release date, but the UNIQUE SELLING POINT of this movie needs to be more than it NOT being like the last few DCCU movies.  It’s brighter, it has genuine humor, and it focuses on the HERO part of being a Superhero.  That’s all great, but it still feels REALLY lacking.  The film looks VERY small in scale which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but a lack of spectacle needs to be compensated in other areas and I’m not really seeing much beyond DECENT in this trailer.  I like Zachary Levi in the role and he seems very natural playing a boy in a super hero’s form, but his dialogue is far from sterling, and the cinematography seems kind of flat for the most part.  I’m sure I’ll like this more than the overly ambitious Batman v Superman or the bloated but safe Justice League, but being light and family friendly doesn’t mean it has to be trivial and yet that’s a lot of what I’m getting out of this trailer.  If nothing else though, they’ve got a GREAT director behind it as the guy made two of the better horror films of the last few years (Lights Out and Annabelle: Creation), so hopefully he’ll bring some of that creativity to this film even if this first trailer doesn’t quite get it across.

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“I know we’re taking this, but we stopped the bad guys in the process so let’s just call it a wash, alright?”

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Cinema Dispatch: Deadpool 2

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Deadpool 2 and all the images you see in this review are owned by 20th Century Fox

Directed by David Leitch

The first Deadpool was really solid for what it was, and I know that sounds like a backhanded compliment, but it only SORT of is!  It was not so much a movie in its own right as it was a proof of concept for a character to show how something this dark, comedic, and off the wall can be done in the super hero genre.  It makes sense considering this character had pretty much been struggling to prove itself for years as a cinematically viable presence what with the awfulness that was Origins Wolverine (there was an even a stinger for him to return in later X-Men films) or even that CG rendered test footage that became the big car action scene in the real film.  I wasn’t THE MOST thrilled with the end result as a movie, but I was glad that Ryan Reynolds found a character perfectly suited for his capabilities as an actor and that a studio was finally ready to back him up on that.  Now that EVERYONE knows who Deadpool is and are ready to see him in action outside of an origin story, is there enough left to work with to make the amazing film he truly deserves, or was he just a gimmick the whole time and lightening won’t be striking twice for this one?  Let’s find out!!

After getting his revenge, resolving his character arc, and making a boat load at the box office, Deadpool AKA Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) is living his Merc with a Mouth life full of blood, snappy quips, and awesome days with his lady love Vanessa (Morena Baccarin).  Sadly the good times won’t last forever and Wade is basically left to his own devices which can only spell doom and gloom for those foolish enough to get in his way… unless of course you’re made entirely out of metal.  Oh hey!  His best buddy Colossus (Stefan Kapičić) is made of metal!  Maybe he can get Wade out of his funk and FINALLY get him to join the X-Men!  Thing is, that’s KIND of a monkey’s paw wish as he DOES indeed join the team (as a trainee) but right away screws things up when a young mutant named Russell (Julian Dennsion) gets himself into trouble and Deadpool comes to his aid in a manner that doesn’t QUITE meet the X-Men code… or the law, and winds up going to Mutant Jail which is apparently a thing.  If that wasn’t bad enough, there’s ALSO a half cyborg dude named Cable (Josh Brolin) pulling a Terminator by coming back to the past to save the future and it SEEMS to involve both Wade AND death, so Deadpool certainly has his work cut out for him in order to escape prison, keep the kid from ending up a reprobate like himself, and stopping the Future Cop from whatever the hell it is he plans on doing.  Will Wade learn how to not just be an irreverent jackass, but an irreverent jackass with a HEART?  Just how far will Cable go to complete his mission, and how much collateral damage will Wade have to suffer because of it?  He may not be the best man for the job, but is he at least the FUNNIEST one!?

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“This isn’t really going as I planned.”     “Do you want to take a break?”     “No no no!  I’m good!”

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Cinema Dispatch: Trailer Talk (Bohemian Rhapsody)

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Bohemian Rhapsody is owned by 20th Century Fox and all the images you see in this trailer talk are the property of their respective owners

Directed by Bryan Singer and Dexter Fletcher

OH MAMA MIA!  Has the day finally come for this biopic to see the light of day!?  A Queen biopic has been floating around in Hollywood for a solid decade at the least, and I remember when they were ready to go on one starring Sacha Barron Cohen as Freddie Mercury which is certainly something I would have loved to see but sadly ended up falling through like all the other attempts.  Now that we have the very first teaser trailer for this biopic, does it assuage the anxieties of eager fans as to whether Queen can be done justice on the big screen!?  Let’s find out!!

Initial impressions are… okay I guess.  You really shouldn’t expect TOO much to come out of a teaser trailer and we’ll surely get a few more before the film’s release in November, but I think they at least set the right tone to build up some hype before they start showing the meat of what this biopic will be about.  The music playing over the whole teaser is a mashup of a bunch of queen lyrics over the beat to We Will Rock You which sounds a BIT awkward at points (ESPECIALLY with the chorus to Killer Queen), but it actually works surprisingly well when layered over Bohemian Rhapsody.  We really don’t get any details on the plot other than the making of Bohemian Rhapsody will be a major subplot and that there’ll be a crap load of concert scenes throughout.  The actors look fine I guess with Rami Malek (Mr Robot) as Front Man Freddie CLEARLY getting the spotlight.  If I were to complain about one thing though, I’d say that he doesn’t quite look right as young Freddie with long hair even though he looks absolutely spot on for Mustache Freddie.

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“I can eat this microphone whole, and it’ll be the most beautiful thing you could imagine!”

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