Cinema Dispatch: King Richard

King Richard and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures

Directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green

Well Concussion didn’t get him an Oscar, so now it’s time for Will Smith to get back on that horse and work his butt off in a drama to try and get the Academy’s attention!  To me though, his movies where he went chasing that Oscar gold are some of his least interesting.  I still need to see Ali at some point so perhaps that’s the exception that proves the rule, but for my money, his best work in recent years have been in his more action-heavy features like Gemini Man and Bad Boys For Life which on the surface seem like run of the mill popcorn flicks but have quite a bit of depth to them that allow Smith to really stretch those acting muscles.  Sadly this doesn’t seem to be one of those as I’m pretty sure Serena and Venus didn’t moonlight as secret agents, but the trailers look promising and Smith is definitely putting his all into the role.  Is this the film to finally get Will the award he’s been seeking, or is this just another piece of Oscar Bait Pablum that we’ll all forget about by next year?  Let’s find out!!

Richard Williams (Will Smith) is the proud patriarch of the Williams family in Compton California.  He has a loving wife (Aunjanue Ellis) as well as five daughters; two of whom are Venus and Serena (Saniyya Sidney and Demi Singleton) who will become two of the greatest tennis players of all time.  That’s not just me saying that because I know the history, that’s Richard’s plan from the day they were born; to teach them to be strong, smart, and well-rounded women, while also training them relentlessly to become tennis superstars.  He has to knock on a lot of doors, ruffle a few feathers, and take on many jobs to keep this plan on track, but come hell or high water they WILL succeed and become the best there ever was!  Of course, with such a narrowly focused vision, he’s bound to miss some things along the way; not just the people showing him the path to success, but his own family who are certainly behind this dream but are the last people to hear about what the next step in the plan is.  Is this strong-willed approach from Richard just covering up his own insecurities about himself, or is the system so corrupt that he has to forge his own path for his girls?  What will the tennis world do in response to these two out of nowhere prodigies showing up on the scene, and can Venus and Serena live up to the lofty expectations of their family?  Are we sure this movie was written by Richard Williams himself?  It just seems like something the character in this movie would end up writing.

“I even planned the biopic and guess who’s gonna play me?” “Is it Will-” “WILL SMITH! WOO!”
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Cinema Dispatch: Malignant

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

Directed by James Wan

I’m pretty sure I saw exactly one trailer for this before it was dropped on HBO Max, so I guess we’re getting to the point where Warner Bros isn’t pushing their SAME DAY RELEASE stunt as hard; at least until Dune finally comes out.  Still, I’ll take almost any chance Warner Bros wants to give me to not spend fifteen bucks to see one of their movies and James Wan has a pretty good track record across several different genres (ESPECIALLY horror), so hey!  It’s right in my wheelhouse… and I guess technically my ACTUAL house as well.  Is it a fun horror film to pad out HBO Max’s already impressive library of movies, or are they just doing a favor for the guy who brought over a BILLION dollars to the studio with a DC movie NOT starring Batman?  Let’s find out!!

Madison Lake (Annabelle Wallis) is not in a particularly good place right now with her abusive husband (Jake Abel) who is constantly belittling her despite going through a rough pregnancy and even smashes her head against the wall after an argument over nothing.  She locks herself in the room to deal with her splitting headache and her unborn child, but something goes bump in the night and she dreams of a dark figure that has killed her husband and chases her up the stairs.  It turns out a lot more of that was real than she expected as she wakes up in the hospital to find her husband dead and sadly suffering from the after-effects of a miscarriage.  Her sister Sydney (Maddie Hasson) tries to help her though this, but Madison prefers to be alone to deal with her grief.  A few days after returning home however, she starts to see visions of a mysterious figure killing people, and every vision turns out to be true which catches the attention of the officers assigned to investigate her husband’s death (George Young and Regina Moss), and questions just keep piling up as to where these visions are coming from and what connection Madison may have to the dark figure committing these crimes.  Is there something (or someone) in Madison’s past that connects her to the recent string of victims?  Just what is this dark figure that Madison is seeing, and does it have a terrifying plan for her as well?  Do those terrifying plans involve a make-over; because whatever it is, its idea of fashion died in the late nineties.

Nice duster, dork.
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Cinema Dispatch: IT Chapter 2

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IT Chapter 2 and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures

Directed by Andy Muschietti

Alright, so we’re all in agreement that the first film was amazing, right?  I mean it had a few issues here and there, but dang it if Chapter One wasn’t a horror masterpiece with great performances, a terrifying villain, and the brilliant idea of taking the GOOD parts of a Stephen King book and leaving out all the stuff that doesn’t work.  Heck, I’m pretty sure the last time that happened was when Kubrick made The Shining which Stephen King really doesn’t like for some reason.  Now we’ve got the sequel which has the neigh impossible task of capturing lightening in a bottle twice; especially since most of what made the first one so memorable will necessarily have to be either absent or pushed to the side.  Can the filmmakers pull off the impossible by making the notoriously unworkable ending to the book into something not just comprehensible but just as good as the film that came before it?  Let’s find out!!

The movie picks up twenty seven years after the events of the first film where the mysterious murders in Derry have started up once again and Michael (Isaiah Mustafa) as the only member of the Losers Club left in town has to bring the gang back together to fight the evil Pennywise (Bill Skarsgård) once again.  Bill, Richie, Beverly, Ben, Eddie, and Stanley (James McAvoy, Bill Hader, Jessica Chastain, Jay Ryan, James Ransone, and Andy Bean) have all gone their separate ways and can’t even seem to remember their time in Derry or the monster they fought all those years ago, but after a phone call from Mike they all start to remember (some take the news harder than others) and travel back home to take care of what IT is once and for all.  In the process they will have to confront their pasts, face their fears, and do all sorts of weird stuff in the vein attempt of trying to destroy a monster that has lived for hundreds of years while they’re a bunch of middle aged writers, comedians, and risk analysists, who might be able to throw a punch but not much else.  Can the monster known alternatively as IT, Pennywise, and WHAT THE HECK IS THAT THING!? be defeated by these friends brought together once again by the pact they made long ago?  What is the clown planning for them as revenge for the defeat that he suffered back in the eighties?  Maybe he can defeat them by trying to explain the ending of the book and just wait until their brains explode.

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“I WANT A FIVE HUNDRED WORD ESSAY ABOUT THE ENDING ON MY DESK TOMORROW MORNING!!”

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