Tag Archives: Ann Dowd

Cinema Dispatch: Hereditary

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Hereditary and all the images you see in this review are owned by A24

Directed by Ari Aster

You know… I’m starting to feel like the old man yelling at clouds.  For whatever reason, THIS kind of horror film (mostly put out by A24) is the new hotness in horror and I just can’t understand it.  I’ve sat through far too many weighty and slow paced exercises in excessive cruelty that still manage to get critical acclaim, and I just can’t understand it.  Now they had to make one of these with one of my favorite actresses which means I HAVE to go see it even if it’s probably gonna be more of the same.  GREAT!  I LOVE sitting through things that ruin my day, don’t you!?  Anyway, will this be the one that manages to be thoughtful, interesting, and GOOD instead of just provocative for the sake of pretension, or will this be yet another film I’ll want to bury in the backyard with cement so that even if it comes back as a zombie it’s not going anywhere?  Let’s find out!!

Annie Graham (Toni Collette) is a mother of two who just lost her own mother and is having trouble coping with the loss; mostly by repressing her feelings, but also because her mother was a… shall we say COMPLICATED person, and whatever secrets Annie is dealing with are not something she’s ready to share with everyone else.  Unfortunately her daughter Charlie (Milly Shapiro) had a particular attachment to her and is lashing out in her own way which is only bringing more and stress onto the family.  Her husband’s pretty cool with it though (Gabriel Byrne) as he’s a PEACE KEEPER who really just floats in and out of situations trying to cause as little fuss as possible, and their son Peter (Alex Wolff) is well on his way to being an emotionally repressed mess of his own, though that might just be the teenage angst talking.  Anyway… let’s just say that things get PRETTY bad from there as the death of Annie’s mother turns out to be the LEAST of their problems as… things get pretty bad from there.  Annie’s slowly unraveling from the stress and the guilt of… whatever happens, and it’s tearing the entire family apart; especially Peter who… let’s just say isn’t quite equipped to deal with all this.  With so much chaos at home and very little support outside of it other than Annie’s friend Joan (Ann Dowd), will this family manage to get past this… very bad thing that happened, and come together as a functional family?  How much hardships, horror, and emotional scarring will they have to go through for even a hope of surviving… whatever this is?  Why… you know what, just why.  WHY!?

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Do YOU know what the heck is going on here!?

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Cinema Dispatch: Collateral Beauty

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

Directed by David Frankel

Is it that time again for Will Smith to try and win that Oscar he’s been so desperately seeking for some time now!?  Hey, since DiCaprio got his we need another underdog to root for, and Will Smith is as good a candidate as any.  Well… except that HIS Oscar bait films tend to be stuff like Concussion where he’s a boring scientist while Leo jumped off mountains and did massive amounts of drugs trying to get his.  This movie, just from the awkward title, doesn’t inspire much hope that The Fresh Prince is ready to put himself out there in something fun and risky to win his Academy Award, but then maybe this movie doesn’t need any of that and is a truly moving film in its own right.  We can only hope…

The movie begins with Howard (Will Smith) and Whit (Edward Norton) as two best buddies as the heads of some advertising company that seems to get motivational Howard Speeches on a daily basis.  That is… until the tragedy.  We jump straight to three years later where Howard has gone from The Fresh to Hancock (well… Hancock without the fun) and is now spending his days building up elaborate domino sets instead of working.  Not only that, but he’s so preoccupied with the grief of what happened (it doesn’t take long before we find out his daughter died) that he’s letting the company gone down the tubes financially and can’t even be bothered to sign the company over to Whit as well as Simon (Michael Peña) and Claire (Kate Winslet) who could save the company if Howard would just give them the authority to do so, though I’m not sure what the law is about letting someone literally sit on his ass all day while all his employees are left to watch things crumble.  Eventually, our trio of good buddies decide that Howard needs to either lose his fucking mind or get better (it’s never quite clear which one they’re going for) and decide to Christmas Carol his ass using actors (Keira Knightley, Jacob Latimore, and Helen Mirren) who will play Love, Time, and Death; all three of which are concepts that Howard has been writing letters to as a way of expressing his internal frustration and rage.  Will this strange plan to convince Howard he’s seeing his delusions come to life make him deal with his problems, or drive him further into his unhealthy state of mind?  Will he eventually seek help from a local support group led by Madeleine (Naomie Harris) which seems like a less risky way for him to deal with his daughter’s death?  Seriously, isn’t there like a MILLION ways this plan could go horribly wrong!?

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“Without love in your life, you couldn’t even appreciate the time you had with her, and-”     “Oh!  I see you have a guest!  What will she have?”     “Wait, you can see her!?  She can see you!?”     “Uh…”

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Cinema Dispatch: Our Brand Is Crisis

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Our Brand Is Crisis and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures

Directed by David Gordon Green

I’m pretty sure I saw a trailer for this before every single movie in the last four or five months.  Now that we finally get a chance to see this political dramedy about campaign management, does it actually turn out to be any good?  Well this is basically a hodgepodge of people we like but who don’t always make the best career choices, such as Sandra Bullock, Billy Bob Thornton, David Gordon Green as the director, and even George Clooney who’s producing this and will sometimes have a misstep.  Will this be another great film from people we know can make great movies, or is this gonna be one big disaster that we only sometimes expect from them?  Let’s find out!!

The movie follows Sandra Bullock as Jane (colloquially known as Calamity Jane) who was at one time the best campaign manager in the United States.  She won many elections in her career but along the way she developed a drug habit and became an alcoholic to the point that she started to become a laughing stock in her field and eventually checked into the Betty Ford clinic.  The movie picks up several years later and she’s spent the intervening time alone in the woods in exile or something until two campaign managers Ben and Nell (Anthony Mackie and Ann Dowd) who are working on a campaign in Bolivia and are so far behind that they’re desperate enough to try and call Jane out of retirement.  When she finds out that their opponent is being managed by her rival Pat Candy (Billy Bob Thornton) she agrees to go there and help out, but is quickly unimpressed by what she finds.  A candidate who seems checked out and disinterested, a staff composed of idiots who can’t even speak Spanish, and polls that put the guy over twenty points behind their opposition.  Can Jane get back into the swing of things and whip this campaign into shape, or will she end up losing herself again throughout this whole ordeal!?

“What do you think our chances are?”     “Honestly?  I think Rick Santorum had a better chance of winning the presidency.”     “2012 Santorum, or 2016 Santorum?”     “Does it matter?”     “I guess not.”

“What do you think our chances are?”     “Honestly?  I think Rick Santorum had a better chance of winning the presidency.”     “2012 Santorum, or 2016 Santorum?”     “Does it matter?”     “I guess not.”

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