Tag Archives: Allison Janney

Cinema Dispatch: The Addams Family

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The Addams Family and all the images you see in this review are owned by United Artists Releasing

Directed by Conrad Vernon and Greg Tiernan

I’ve actually been looking forward to this movie for quite some time.  Not in a BIG way, but everything I saw at first was very promising.  The new designs were quite good and the initial teaser seemed to have the right tone that retained what worked about these characters in the first place while making something that worked in a modern context.  After that though, once we got the trailers with more of the plot (and those terrifying human characters), the skepticism started to creep in and my enthusiasm waned as my attention turned elsewhere (*cough* Maleficient 2 *cough*) in the last month or so.  Still, a mediocre trailer is hardly a good barometer to how a movie will ultimately turn out (especially with so much of the marketing knocking it out of the preceding months), so were my negative feelings ultimately unfounded or did something go horribly wrong (and not in the good way) with this latest Addams Family venture?  Let’s find out!!

The Addams Family are a bunch of wealthy eccentrics who basically act like spooky monsters year round instead of just on Halloween.  The family consists of Patriarch Gomez (Oscar Isaac), possible vampire queen Mortitia (Charlize Theron), their daughter Wednesday  (Chloë Grace Moretz), their son Pugsley (Finn Wolfhard), Uncle Fester (Nick Kroll), Gomez’s mother (Bette Midler), the zombie butler who is IN NO WAY of any actionable resemblance to Boris Karloff known as Lurch (Conrad Vernon), and… I guess their OTHER butler who is just a hand called Thing.  Are they goths?  Murderous blue bloods?  If they were made in the mid nineties, would they all be Juggalos?  These are questions we may never get the answer to, but rest assured that whatever box they would most comfortably fit in, it’s one that will freak out the normies of the world whenever they happen to come in contact with them.  Said normies by the way are a bunch of nameless and nearly faceless upper middle class yuppies that built a community around the Addams family mansion and are just now realizing that there’s a spooky castle full of weirdos on top of the conspicuously nearby hill, and the head of the yuppies named Margaux Needler (Allison Janney) is none to please about it.  While this little pot of… I don’t know, spooky-phobia I guess, is brewing outside of the house, the Addams family itself is having a bit of tension as well as Gomez is trying to teach Pugsly a sacred family ritual known as The Mazurka but Puglsy seems to have no gift for it, and Morticia is trying to keep young Wednesday from falling into the wrong crowd; the kind that embraces unicorns, the color pink, and young pop stars.  Can the family stick together through these trying times both inside and out of the house?  Just how far will Margaux go to keep her little community nice and conformed now that this family has thrown a wrench in those plans?  Will The Addams family adjust to their new surrounds and join the rest of us in the living nightmare we all must suffer through under late stage Capitalism, or is that the wrong kind of terrifying for them?

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“A Panera Bread!?  AND a Chipotle!?”     “Ugh… it’s so GHASTLY commercial…”     “So is that GOOD ghastly, or BAD ghastly?”     “Well it’s BAD of course… but that’s actually good.  Because it’s bad…”

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Cinema Dispatch: Ma

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Ma and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures and Blumhouse Productions

Directed by Tate Taylor

The only reason this movie has gotten on anyone’s radar is because of Octavia Spencer, and frankly it did its job quite well.  Sure, sometimes a horror film will pick up some serious talent like the new IT movie coming up or when Helen Mirren was in that crappy Winchester movie, but somehow this feels even MORE of a surprise and a genuine selling point.  IT’s gonna sell itself no matter what, but by having one of the most popular actors of the moment (and in the prime of their career) showing up and starring in your crappy horror movie is a coup that very few films can boast, and yet somehow there she is; on all the posters, in all the trailers, and even having an Executive Producer credit to boot! What was it about this movie that convinced such a great actor to whole heartedly come on board, and was worth her immense talent and valuable time to do so?  Let’s find out!!

Sue Ann Ellington (Octavia Spencer) is just your typical small town citizen.  She works as a vet, she walks her dog, and on occasion it seems that she can be convinced to buy alcohol for the local high school kids.  At least that’s what Maggie (Diana Silvers) finds out when she asks her to do it as she walks by the liquor store, and being the new kid in town she needs to deliver on the goods if she wants to get in with the popular kids.  One of the popular kids is Andy (Corey Fogelmanis) who Sue Ann seems to recognize, and after a moment’s consideration decides to get them the booze they need.  Not only that, she ends up opening her basement to them and other kids in the neighborhood as a safe and secluded area to drink where they won’t have to worry about cops and where Sue Ann will make sure no one gets their keys back if they can’t drive.  In fact, everyone seems to be so enamored with her that they start to call her Ma and everyone wants to hang out at her house!  However, things are not as rosy as they seem which Maggie picks up on after a while and she seems to have a dark side to her that’s just barely hidden beneath the surface.  Perhaps it has to do with Andy’s dad (Luke Evans) who she knows from years ago?  Maybe even Maggie’s mom (Juliette Lewis) who used to live here but moved away many years ago before returning?  Well they’re all gonna find out eventually because Ma’s house seems to slowly turned from party central to a house of horrors!  Will these kids learn of the terrible secrets lurking in Ma’s house as well as her tragic backstory?  What is Ma planning now that she has the children of this town wrapped around her finger, and can she somehow realize what she’s doing is wrong before it’s too late?  Okay, seriously.  Did Octavia Spencer lose a bet or something to be in this movie?

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“RELEASE ME!!”     “Not until we make thirty million on opening weekend.”

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Cinema Dispatch: I, Tonya

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I, Tonya and all the images you see in this review are owned by Neon

Directed by Craig Gillespie

We can’t have an Oscar Season without at least ONE off the wall biopic, right!?  Sure, you’ve got the more straightforward historical dramas like The Post and Darkest Hour, but despite Scorsese striking out with The Wolf of Wall Street at The Oscars, it still made a huge impact and many have tried to recreate its success since then.  Not only that, but the fact we’re starting to look back at the nineties in a historical context with at least two recent OJ Simpson projects getting a huge amount of critical praise, it’s no wonder that right after him we get to the other big crime story of that decade; the assault on Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding’s possible involvement with it.  Does this reexamination of one of the biggest names in nineties pop culture end up being a phenomenal look at her life and the decade around it, or is this a cynical cash grab trying to get a jump start on Gen X and Millennial nostalgia?  Let’s find out!!

Back in the early nineties, Tonya Harding (Margot Robbie) was one of the most prominent names in Women’s Figure Skating; having come from a very poor background and taking a lot of her social upbringing into her performances.  Despite Figure Skating being a sport that prizes tradition and perfection in its (none of that uncouth “rock and roll” music!), they could not ignore Harding who was a natural on the ice and the first American female figure skater to land a triple axel (a feat accomplished by Midori Ito and Mao Asada from Japan a few years earlier).  Still, it wasn’t an easy road as she had to deal with her abusive mother LaVona Fay Golden (Allison Janney) and her just as abusive husband Jeff Gillooly (Sebastian Stan); both of whom seemed hell bent on making her life miserable despite swearing they were only looking out for her best interests.  Things get complicated though when Tonya’s anxiety and even paranoia start to get to her as the weight of her modest celebrity as well as the skills of other skaters made her quite distressed.  From here, we start to get speculative about what happened, but the general idea is that one of Jeff’s friends Shawn Eckhardt (Paul Walter Hauser) has a friend of his attack one of Tonya’s rivals Nancy Kerrigan (Caitlin Carver) and the big mystery surrounding it is just how much did Tonya know about what was happening.  Did she orchestrate the attack herself?  Was she aware that it was going to happen but said nothing to stop it?  The movie addresses these questions and more as this dramatized retelling of her story gives us not only a look at the facts as we know them of the case, but the media circus that built up around it and the… interesting characters that were involved.  Oh, and there are a few skate numbers as well!

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“TA-DAAAAAAAA!!”

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Cinema Dispatch: The Girl on the Train

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The Girl on the Train and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures

Directed by Tate Taylor

The only thing I knew about this movie before walking in was that the trailer had probably the most baffling musical choice imaginable.  Seriously, who the hell puts Kanye West in the trailer for a movie that we’re supposed to take SERIOUSLY!?  If you can somehow tune out the poor choice of music (how is the WOMAN heartless when she’s the one who gets MURDERED!?) there is something intriguing about the premise and it’s the perfect time to release these kind of dark murder mysteries now that Oscar Season is upon is.  Is this an early contender for best of the year status, or is this a wannabe Gone Girl knockoff that’s simply jumping on the bandwagon?  Let’s find out!!

The movie begins with Rachel (Emily Blunt) as the titular girl on the train as she passes by the same sight she sees every time she rides it.  Every day, the train stops right in front of these two houses; one has her ex-husband Tom (Justin Theroux) and his new family, and the other has this couple who from all outward appearances looks perfectly happy.  This routine goes on for some time until one day she notices a new man in the house with the woman Megan (Haley Bennett) which shatters Rachel’s already fragile mental state (for various reasons, she’s crawled inside a bottle for the last few years) and she gets even MORE drunk than usual that night and gets off at the stop that’s close to their house.  Jump to the next morning and Rachel wakes up in her room; covered in mud, blood, and booze with no explanation of what happened the night before.  Eventually, it turns out that Megan has disappeared (which means she’s dead but they haven’t found the body yet) and no one knows what happened.  Rachel seems to have an idea, but the memories of that night are so fried that she can’t piece them together and feels compelled to save this woman who she’s been watching all this time… and if she can also throw some shade at her ex-husband’s new wife Anna (Rebecca Ferguson) in the process, well then that’s just brownie points.  Can Rachel find out what happened to Megan and find some sense of self-worth, even in her completely debilitated state?  Who was this woman that’s gone missing, and can her past lead us to the reason she was murdered?  Can we all just agree to give Emily Blunt the Oscar now!?  It’s basically Leaving Las Vegas 2!!

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“Maybe I shouldn’t breathe so much, Terri!  Ha HAAAA!!”     “The fuck does that even mean!?”

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Cinema Dispatch: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

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Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and all the images you see in this review are owned by 20th Century Fox

Directed by Tim Burton

I mean… if we’re still gonna get YA films THIS late into the game; at least we’ve got an ACTUAL director behind it unlike say… The 5th Wave which, as far as I can tell, was directed by the Film-O-Tron 9000.  Still, the real life director they got here happens to be one that’s been on a downward slide for quite some time now, so while this looks like the perfect film for him to make, the circumstances don’t inspire a lot of confidence.  Does Burton manage to shake off his slump with this adaptation of a book that apparently a lot of people have read, or will this come and go like so many other films in this over saturated genre?  Let’s find out!!

The movie is all about Jake (Asa Butterfield) who’s living his boring everyday life in boring everyday Florida where things that are boring happen every day.  That is… until the incident!  One day he arrives at his Grandpa’s place and finds that he’s been dragged out into the woods and had his eyes gouged out by something.  The police think it was dogs, but Jake saw something out there in those woods, and it wasn’t a dog!  Not even Cujo is THAT precise with his killings!  Anyway, Jake finds some information in a book his grandfather gave him that points to a bunch of stories he was told as a kid about peculiar children living in a home in some English village, and he feels that he should go there to see if the stories were true.  If nothing else, it might give a bit of closure for him which convinces his dad to begrudgingly take him, out there.  Naturally his dad is a bit of dip shit and loses track of Jake almost immediately.  Well… it’s not ENTIRELY his fault considering the island has some sort of dimensional time portal or something… I don’t know.  Just think of it like that scene in James and the Giant Peach where he crawls into the peach and turns into a stop motion character.  On the other side of this portal thingy, he finds the children from his grandfather’s stories as well as Miss Peregrine (Eva Green) who watches over them and is chock full of information that she’ll doll out to Jake throughout the course of the film involving his grandfather, their time portal thingy, and the bad guys chasing them led by Mr. Barron (Samuel L Jackson).  Will Jake find a new lease on life and be able to work through the grief of his grandfather’s death by spending time with these Peculiar kids?  What does Mr. Barron plan to do if he ever finds out where Miss Peregrine is hiding all these kids?  What the heck do they do all day in this little pocket dimension anyway?

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“After dinner, we’ll play charades!”     “We’ve been doing that for the last seventy fucking years!”     “Hey!  Watch your language!”     “WHY SHOULD I!?  I’M AN OCTOGENARIAN FOR CHRIST’S SAKE!!”     “Huh.  Was Jesus a Peculiar like us?  I mean, he COULD walk on water.”

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