Tag Archives: 20th Century Fox

WW-DE-cember: Santa’s Little Helper

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Santa’s Little Helper and all the images you see in this review are owned by WWE Studios and    20th Century Fox

Directed by Gil Junger

We’re back with another Christmas Tale brought to us by the WWE and oddly enough it not only stars The Miz once again but has the same director from Christmas Bounty!  Apparently someone saw that first movie and thought that these two should ABSOLUTELY work together again which is certainly not the call that I would have made (mine would have involved an iron maiden to start with), but I guess that’s why I’m not making creative decisions for everyone’s favorite supporter of the Saudi Arabian Royal Family!  Will they be able to pull off something halfway decent this time around, or was Christmas Bounty just the warning shot for something even far worse to come!?  Let’s find out!!

Right off the bat, this movie is LEAGUES better than Christmas Bounty, and not just because they have a slightly improved font!  First, The Miz is the star and not playing a supporting part which means we get to see him right away and all throughout the movie.  Second, he is ACTUALLY really good in the role here which is basically yet another riff on the Scrooge archetype and fits in perfectly with his in-ring persona as a guy so smug you want to punch him in the face.  He’s some dude who I GUESS works at a mortgage company and is working on this Rec Center the company wants to foreclose on for… reasons.   Apparently the director of the Rec Center ran off with all their money and The Miz, who is called Dax Hardwick in this, is personally visiting the place to rub it in everyone’s faces that they’re gonna take it out from under them and bulldoze it to the ground!  Damn!  We’re up to Grinch levels of evil already!

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“There’s certainly no termites in THAT smile!

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Cinema Dispatch: Widows

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

Directed by Steve McQueen

Is it time for another cinematic confession?  Alright, so I’ve never actually seen a Steve McQueen movie all the way through.  I’ve seen bits and pieces of Shame and I haven’t seen 12 Years a Slave, but based on those films and what we’ve been shown of this one I get the feeling that I’m not gonna be the biggest fan of his work.  What can I say?  I’m not the biggest fan of overly oppressive mood pieces even if the subject matter justifies that tone, but unlike other kinds of movies of filmmakers that I’m not too fond of I’m rather open to what this guy has to say here because even if I don’t like what I see on screen at least I’m fairly confident that the director is trying to ENGAGE with their audience instead of completely alienating them (*cough* Eli Roth *cough*).  Will this film be the perfect introduction to the director’s body of work, or did he already reach his peak and nothing else will quite measure up to it?  Let’s find out!!

Veronica Rawlings (Viola Davis) is just having a TERRIBLE week!  Not only did her husband (Liam Neeson) die in a horrible fiery explosion, two million dollars went completely up in smoke which she is now being held responsible for since said two million was STOLEN by Liam Neeson and his crew of crooks (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Jon Bernthal, and Coburn Goss) from a local gangster who’s the slightest bit miffed about all this.  It’s made especially bad because said gangster Jamal Manning (Brian Tyree Henry) is also running for local office against the golden boy Jack Mulligan (Colin Farrell) and could have used all that ill-gotten gain to fund his campaign; presumably through shady 501(c) groups considering where the money came from.  Thanks, Citizens United!  Anyway, him and his brother Jatemme (Daniel Kaluuya) have given Veronica a week to pay him back which is PROBABLY not all that feasible, but as luck would have it her husband left her a notebook that had detailed plans for their next heist; one that could not only pay back Jamal but will give her a nice payday to keep her afloat while she figures out what to do next with her life.  She enlists the help of two of the widows, Linda and Alice (Michelle Rodriguez and Elizabeth Debicki) as well as Bell who is another person in need of some fast cash (Cynthia Erivo) to hopefully pull off this heist, though without any actual experience committing crimes, pulling guns, and breaking into places, their success seems dubious at best.  Will Veronica and her slapdash crew of desperate widows manage to pull off such a dangerous heist?  What exactly happened the night their husbands died, and could it have had anything to do with this plan that was left behind?  Is it just me, or could this easily be an Amanda Waller prequel?

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“If I can get these women to pull off this heist, imagine what I can do with super villains!”     “I don’t know, that STILL seems like a bad idea.”

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Cinema Dispatch: Bohemian Rhapsody

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

Directed by Bryan Singer and Dexter Fletcher

The day has finally come, hasn’t it?  Over thirty years since his death, several failed attempts, and this one being mired in controversy because of who Fox decided to helm the damn thing, we FINALLY have ourselves a Queen and Freddie Mercury biopic.  Like I said in my trailer talk, I’m probably in the majority of Queen fans in that I know the songs and see them as one of the biggest and most influential bands out there, but know very little about them outside of that.  I know a little bit about Freddie and that they did the soundtracks for Flash Gordon and Highlander, but anything else (including who the other bandmates are) is a total mystery to me.  Therefore, this is the kind of movie that’s PERFECT for me as well as millions of other people!  Hook us with the great music and the solid performances, and then tell us all the details we should know about them and let us leave the theater a little bit smarter and with a renewed interest to buy any number of those CD collections or to splurge on iTunes!  However, with a rather ho-hum trailer followed by similarly ho-hum reviews, is this truly the Queen biopic we’ve been waiting for, or was something missing (other than the director) to make this a true masterpiece?  Let’s find out!!

If you don’t know already, Farrokh Bulsara, i.e. Freddie Mercury (Rami Malek) was your typical young adult in the seventies.  Work a crappy job, write a few songs on the bus, and drink the night away listening to the local talent.  One night however, he manages to convince one of the bands into letting him join and soon enough they form the band Queen; composed of Mercury, Brian May (Gwilym Lee), Roger Taylor (Ben Hardy), and John Deacon (Joseph Mazzello).  From there, we watch Mercury’s relationship to Mary Austin (Lucy Boynton), fights with record executives (Mike Myers), and his burgeoning bisexuality as well as relationship with his handler Paul Prenter (Allen Leech).  However, with individual egos, crushing discrimination against homosexuality, and the looming AIDS crisis, will Freddy manage to keep it all together or will he succumb to his worst tendencies to find some measure of fulfillment and happiness?  Oh, and I’m sure the other guys have their own thing going on.

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“Play it again, uh… you!”     “What the heck!?”     “No time for talking!  Just keep playing… Buddy?  Is it Buddy?  No wait, Steve!”

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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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