Tag Archives: Anne Hathaway

Cinema Dispatch: The Hustle

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

Directed by Chris Addison

Whether or not it’s a particularly successful tactic (particularly when the audience for blockbusters is only growing larger and larger), counter programming is still a thing in the industry and I’d wager that it’s the main reason this movie is being sandwiched between so many big named blockbusters.  I certainly thought the trailers for this looked quite good and I like the casting quite a bit, but being put in theaters now when Avengers and Detective Pikachu are still tearing it up at the box office is either a sign of great insight for the studios to fill a gap in the viewing audience or total hubris that will spell doom for what seems to be a fun little crime film.  Is this film a big time hustler elbowing its way to the forefront against such big titans of the cinema, or is this a small time crook that’s way in over its head?  Let’s find out!!

Penny Rust (Rebel Wilson) is a con artist working in the city running scams on dating sites which are actually quite effective, but end up garnering a significant amount of heat on her and so she’s forced to take her game elsewhere.  Said elsewhere turns out to be the stomping grounds of another con artist Josephine Chesterfield (Anne Hathaway) who’s set up her base of operations in a ritzy French tourist trap which is never short of gullible dudes just itching to be separated from their valuables, but a wild card like Penny could throw a wrench her in perfectly laid out plans if left to her own devices.  Initially she tries to fool her into leaving of her own accord, but by her own wits and a bit of luck, Penny becomes wise to Josephine’s game and wants in on the action; a proposition Josephine is initially resistant towards but figures that keeping Penny happy and useful is better than risking her going to the authorities with what she now knows.  At first it seems to be going just fine as Penny trains in the arts of manipulation with the help of Josephine’s assistants Brigitte and Alfred (Ingrid Oliver and Nicholas Woodeson), and they even pull of this brilliant little scheme that’s never really come together until Penny entered the picture, but all is not sunshine and roses in the world of professional scamming, and so the student must eventually face the master in a game of wits, ingenuity, and even a bit of outright cruelty, to prove once and for all if Penny’s brash resourcefulness is truly a match for Josephine’s refined expertise.  Will Penny and Josephine’s ultimate challenge bring out the best in both of them, or will they lose everything to their overblown egos?  Can they ever come to a mutual understanding given how different their backgrounds are and how cutthroat their line of work is?  Is it just me, or is one of them at a distinct advantage considering they’ve already played a diamond thief in a previous movie, and that’s ASIDE from them already having played Catwoman!

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“This little game of ours will prove who is truly… puuurrrr-fect!”     “Oh yeah?  Well by the time we’re through, you’re gonna WHISKER lessons from me on being a better thief!”     “Wait… what?”

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Cinema Dispatch: Fishing for Answers in Serenity

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Serenity is owned by Aviron Pictures

So now that it’s been a week since Serenity graced theaters, you’ve all had a chance to go see it and get your mind blown or hear other people regale you with their stories of seeing the movie themselves!  When I went to go see it, I was coming down with a pretty nasty cold and perhaps that’s why I ended up liking the movie more than a lot of other people (it’s got a pretty abysmal score on Rotten Tomatoes), but I do think that there’s something at least INTERESTING in the movie’s ideas even if it’s not the most coherent use of a wacky twist and a high concept I’ve seen in a movie.  Well everyone else has already given their unfiltered opinions on what the movie actually means and how well it pulls of its absurd twist, so why don’t I go ahead and give you mine!  First things first…

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Just What the Heck is Going on Here?

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Since we’re going to be analyzing some of the film’s themes, we might as well start with a spoiler filled recap of the entire narrative.  For the first half of the movie, we’re following Matthew McConaughey who’s on a small island named Plymouth and he’s obsessed with catching a tuna fish that he calls Justice.  During his meaningless existence of waking up, not catching the fish, and drinking himself to sleep at night, he gets visited by his ex-wife played by Anne Hathaway who offers him ten million to kill her utter scumbag of a husband played by Jason Clarke, and also he had a son named Patrick with Anne Hathaway and the two of them have been viciously abused by Jason Clarke.  This back and forth goes on for some time as McConaughey keeps hemming and hawing over whether he should do it, but the whole time something seems off.  Anne Hathaway seems to have jumped out of a noir thriller and Jason Clarke is an absurdly exaggerated caricature of a bad person; not to mention that there’s this one dude in a dorky suit trying to find McConaughey the whole time but always just misses him.  Is there something else going on here?  Well yes there is!  When the mystery man played by Jeremy Strong finally catches up to McConaughey, he offers him a super duper fish finding device to use that will hopefully catch him that tuna once and for all which would be a good way to spend an afternoon instead of maybe sort of killing a guy.  Not that Jeremy Strong somehow KNOWS anything about that!  Okay fine, he does.  McConaughey ends up getting him to spill some of the beans (the rest of the puzzle he puts together himself) and we find out that what we’ve been seeing up to this point has NOT been a charming little island, but instead a simulation.  That’s right!  We’re in the Matrix!  Okay, more specifically we are inside a video game.  Which video game pray tell?  Well it turns out that IN THE REAL WORLD McConaughey’s character is actually a dead army veteran who left behind a wife (Anne Hathaway) and a son (Patrick).  His wife remarried an abusive construction worker (Jason Clarke) and so he spends all his time programming this video game where his dad is still alive, his new dad is a dangerous mob connected monster instead of some abusive loser, and his mother is a wealthy femme fatale instead of… well we don’t really get an idea of what Real World Anne Hathaway is like, but I’m sure that Patrick put just as much exaggeration into her character as he did everything else.  Now things are starting to come together as the somewhat unbalanced way that the characters were drawn start to make sense from the perspective of a confused and angry teenager who is finding a way to escape the horrors of his real life.  This does raise a few questions however about whether Patrick is directly controlling McConaughey and whether or not he truly has any free will, but if we’re gonna let Wreck-it-Ralph slide on that stuff, I think we can let it slide here!  Anyway, McConaughey starts to question everything around him and begins to see where the “seams” are in the programming which starts to react in a rather hostile manner to his break in the routine.  His “role” in the game as it were is to catch the fish, and entertaining the idea of murdering someone is clearly going against the programming at which is why he’s getting the ire of the NPCs that populate the town who keep telling him he should just catch the fish, and he even runs into a few… let’s call them “traps” that are intended to keep him on the right path.  This is also a rather confusing point in the narrative as it’s clear that Patrick is the one programming all of this… but it’s also clear that the scenario here about McConaughey killing Jason Clarke is what he wants… so did he add this scenario to the game?  If so, why is the rest of the game telling McConaughey not to do it?  That is something I wish the movie had a better grasp on, but in any case, despite ALL the resistance he gets from the other NPCs and whatnot, he does manage to kill Jason Clarke in the most symbolically ridiculous way possible.  He takes him out on the boat, manages to get the Tuna called Justice onto one of his poles, and hands the pole to Jason Clarke without strapping him in properly which causes him to be pulled overboard and dragged down to the bottom of the sea… by Justice.  GET IT!?  This is where things take a dark turn as while this is going on, Patrick has taken a knife that his father once owned (a knife we see Virtual McConaughey use frequently in the movie) and stabs the REAL WORLD Jason Clarke to death off screen.  Now this raises questions as to whether or not these things were happening simultaneously, if McConaughey was being directly “controlled” by Patrick as he simulated killing his own step-dad or if this may have been some bug Patrick witnessed that inspired him to do it, but I won’t get diegetically nit-picky here because the thematic thru-line itself is rather consistent.  Patrick feels that he needs to TAKE JUSTICE by killing Jason Clarke, and that attitude is reflected in the game as well as this specific scenario he either intentionally made or just somehow managed to work its way into the code he already wrote.  The movie ends with Virtual McConaughey getting a phone call from Patrick who says he’s gonna rewrite the game, and moments later a Virtual Patrick shows up.  The two reunite, the credits roll, and the house lights turn on before anyone has a chance to really grasp just what the heck it is they witnessed!  Now as I said in my review, I did enjoy this movie before the big twist when it was just a run of the mill Cohen Brothers knock off, and I enjoyed it after the reveal in terms of understanding the metaphor and what they were trying to do with the concept.  Maybe it’s not particularly deep, but I did find at least a few neat ideas about video games and how we can relate to them with the text of the film, so let’s go over some of those now!

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Cinema Dispatch: Serenity

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Serenity and all the images you see in this review are owned by Aviron Pictures

Directed by Steven Knight

Independent of the movie itself, I’d just like to say that this is PROBABLY the worst January I’ve had in quite a few years.  Not only did I get the flu which knocked me out of commotion for about a week, I THEN got a really nasty cold that I’m dealing with right now as I try to push through the fog and sinus congestion to try and create cogent points about this movie which certainly could use a much clearer head to talk about.  Seriously, we started the month off right with a crappy horror film and a Shyamalan Greatest Hits piece, but now we’re getting THIS utterly absurd art piece!?  It’s way too early in the year and I’m way too sick to stay all that coherent, but maybe that’s the best way to truly experience this movie which, after all feels like a total fever dream!  Is this movie as good as everyone says and its qualities can shine through even if I saw it under less than ideal conditions, or was this the last thing I should have gone out to see when I barely had my wits about me?  Let’s find out!!

Baker Dill (Matthew McConaughey) is a fisherman on the small island of Plymouth who works with his friend Duke (Djimon Hounsou) to take rich jerks out on the ocean so they can catch big fish to brag about on Instagram or whatever.  Mostly he does this so that he can pay for the OTHER days he’s on the ocean looking for… HIM.  You know who I’m talking about!  That ONE FISH that has eluded our hero and has occupied all his thoughts since… THE INCIDENT.  After yet another unsuccessful chase for his Great White Whale, which is actually just a big Tuna Fish, he is greeted by his ex-wife Karen (Anne Hathaway) who has somehow tracked him down to this nowhere island and wants to make him an offer.  You see, Karen has since married this total monster named Frank (Jason Clarke) who abuses her as well as the son she had with Baker before they split up (Rafael Sayegh), but she can’t simply divorce him or run away because the guy has some serious mob connections.  For ten million dollars as well as ensuring that his son no longer grows up in an abusive household, she wants him to take Frank out on a fishing trip and throw him overboard.  Seems simple enough, but there’s a whole lot of grey area for things to go wrong and Baker is quite hesitant to carry out his ex-wife’s dirty work.  However, there might be more going on than meets the eye as this latest bit of drama seems to have stirred up something on the island of Plymouth that Baker either never noticed or chose to ignore before now; not to mention the sudden appearance of some dude in a suit (Jeremy Strong) who REALLY wants to get a sit down meeting with Baker about something urgent.  Is Karen being completely truthful about what is that she wants Baker to do, and can Baker pull off such a scheme if he needs to?  What is it that’s suddenly so off putting about the island, and is it in some way connected to the sudden reappearance of his ex-wife?  Just how many video essays will be made about the DEEP MEANING of this movie, and how many will actually make sense!?

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“ALL WE ARE IS DUST IN THE WIND!!”

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Cinema Dispatch: Ocean’s 8

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Ocean’s 8 and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures

Directed by Gary Ross

I’ve never had much interest in the Ocean’s movies and even though I’m PRETTY sure I saw the first one, the only things I remember is George Clooney on a payphone in the beginning and everyone looking at a fountain at the end.  Needless to say that had they gotten the gang back together for Ocean’s 14, I’d have easily checked out and just went to whatever else was playing that week.  Recasting the entire thing with AMAZING actors in a sort of soft reboot though?  NOW you’ve got my attention!  Don’t always discount reboots, kids!  You’ll find one someday that’s right up your alley!  Does this latest entry in the franchise prove to be a necessary and extraordinary fresh start, or is the title the only thing worth remembering about this movie?  Let’s find out!!

The movie begins with Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock), who is the sister of the PRESUMABLY deceased Danny Ocean, getting out of jail on parole and IMMEDIATELY starting up her life of crime once again; scamming stores, sneaking into other people’s hotel rooms, and of course getting ready for her BIG score.  Yes, the one she’s been planning ever since she went inside and is chomping at the bit to get started on.  After all, who wants to ENJOY their freedom when they can just risk it all on a foolhardy heist!?  Speaking of hardy fools, she also reaches out to her old crime buddy Lou (Cate Blanchett) who’s been holding her own but clearly anticipating Debbie’s next big score, and the duo start to lay down the groundwork as well as scope out some new talent who can pull this whole thing off.  So what is the heist you may ask?  There’s this SUPER expensive necklace valued at about one hundred and fifty MILLION dollars that’s sitting in a vault somewhere which is such a shame because it could be going to better use, like enriching a bunch of thieves who are smart enough to figure out how to steal it!  For this to work they’ll first need a patsy to get their hands on the necklace so that they can steal it from HER, and who better to use than one of the most famous actors on Earth, Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway)?  To convince Miss Kluger to use the necklace for her ensemble that evening AND THEN to steal it right off of her neck, Debbie and Lou will need a crack team made up of expert jewelery forger Amita (Mindy Kaling), street hustler Constance (Awkwafina), desperate fashion designer Rose Weil (Helena Bonham Carter), MOVIE HACKERTM Nine Ball (Rihanna) and retired fencer Tammy (Sarah Paulson).  Wait, that’s only seven.  Hmm… maybe there’s more to this plan than even WE know!  Can Debbie and her crew pull off this heist without a hitch?  What could Debbie be hiding from the rest of the team, and could the secrecy cost them everything?  Is this yet another awesome and well-made movie for the internet man-babies to cry about because there are too many ladies in it!?  Well I sure hope so!!

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“Hashtag Feminism, BRO!!”

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Super Recaps: My Little Pony season 7 (Honest Apple)

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and all the images you see in this recap are owned by Hasbro

Episode directed by Denny Lu and Mike Myhre

We’re back with another episode of Next Top Equestria Model, and if that title didn’t make it clear enough we’ll be focusing on Rarity and her love of fashion once again!  Now Rarity is easily my favorite of the Mane 6 as her episodes tend to have a lot more range than anyone else’s and she’s a genuinely interesting character to watch with highlight such as Sisterhooves Social,  Sweet and Elite and of course the eponymous Rarity Investigates!  Will this be another great example of why Rarity is the best, or is this one we’ll want to bury away with other better off forgotten episodes like The Mysterious Mare Do Well or even Just for Sidekicks?  Let’s find out!!

The episode begins with Rarity and Spike handing out flyers for a fashion contest that the former will be hosting at the Carousel Boutique in an effort to give aspiring young fashion designers an avenue to express themselves as well as an invaluable networking opportunity!  With any good fashion contest though, you need a collection of colorful and sardonic judges to make it all come together and fortunately Rarity has such a group of characters in mind!  Hoity Toity will serve as our Tim Gunn, Photo Finish will be the wacky and unpredictable one that’ll generate the drama, and the anchor will be… Applejack!  Wait, WHAT!?

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Good thing she was passing by just as you made that announcement!

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Cinema Dispatch: Alice Through the Looking Glass

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Alice Through the Looking Glass and all the images you see in this review are owned by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Directed by James Bobin

A sequel to a movie six years after everyone stopped caring about it!  THAT’S never gone wrong, am I right?  To be fair to Disney, the original film did make an astonishing amount of money (one BILLION worldwide) but this feels way too late to capitalize on whatever moment that first movie had.  Not only that, but it was also one of the early 3D films which I’m sure boosted the ticket sales, yet now we’re at a point where people are just sick of the gimmick, so it doesn’t even have THAT going for it.  Still, the first movie did manage to be pretty decent and the trailers for this looked very creative to say the least.  Can this manage to be a damn fine sequel that just needed a little extra time to fully come together, or is this a naked cash grab for everyone involved?  Let’s find out!!

The movie picks up three years after the first movie where Alice (Mia Wasikowska) has spent the intervening time traveling the world as a sea captain for Ascot family’s trading company (I think).  She returns to England at the start of the movie to see her mother (Lindsay Duncan) and plan the next trip with the company.  Unfortunately, the Ascot patriarch has died since she last returned and the one in charge of the company is his son Hamish (Leo Bill) who you may recall was set to be Alice’s husband in the first movie which didn’t end up panning out.  Now that this new guy is in charge (and he has a wounded ego) Alice is not only no longer employed as a sea captain, but for some reason is given an ultimatum to either sell her father’s boat or risk losing her mother’s house.  It gets worse when you find out that the mother has been working behind her back to make sure she gets fired so that she would have no choice but to “settle down” as all proper ladies do.  Well I’d say THAT’S enough stuff to stress over to make a trip to Wonderland seem like a wondrous vacation, right?  She gets led to the titular looking glass by the butterfly Absolem (Alan Rickman) and eventually finds the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) on the other side who is slowly dying and not quite so delightfully mad.  Apparently he found a modicum of proof that his family is still alive but no one else believes him so he’s going to slowly die of depression… I guess.  Alice has no choice but to go back in time to save the Hatter’s family from the Jaberwacki and has to face off against Time himself (Sacha Baron Cohen) to get that ability.  Will she be able to save the Hatter from his battle with depression?  What will she learn as she travels back to the glory days of Wonderland, and what must she risk in order to get the opportunity to do so?  Does anyone else notice that its’ a lot brighter this time around?

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“Did you bring the sunscreen?”     “The hell do you need sunscreen for?  YOU HAVE A HAT!!”

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Cinema Dispatch: The Intern

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

Directed by Nancy Meyers

Oh hey!  Robert DeNiro is in yet another a wacky comedy because THAT always works out, right!?  Sure, he was funny in… um… Brazil I think, but for every GOOD comedy he does, he makes a Focker trilogy or Rocky and Bullwinkle to remind you that he CAN be funny but tends not to pick good projects to show it.  Still, there’s no denying that the man is a brilliant actor and he has a strong costar here in the form of Anne Hathaway who’s so good that she managed to be the most memorable aspect of a Batman movie.  Will this be an enjoyable romp with two venerable actors, or will this be yet another embarrassing comedy for two people who you’d think would be above this kind of material?  Let’s find out!!

The movie is about 70 year old Ben Whittaker (Robert De Niro) who’s been retired for quite some time now and is sick to death of it, especially since his wife has recently passed away.  He really doesn’t have anything else that he wants to do with his time and would rather find a way to be useful once again than spend the rest of his life going on vacations and learning Mandarin.  Hope seems to come his way when he finds a flyer for a company that’s looking to bring retired people bring into the workforce as interns.  The company in question, About the Fit, is run by Jules Ostin (Anne Hathaway) and the little startup has skyrocketed beyond her wildest dreams in a very short amount of time.  All is not well though as some people at the company are wondering if she can handle everything now that the company has become such a hit.  Will Ben finally find a passion for life again now that he has something to challenge him? Will Jules be able to manage her life as the CEO of this fashion retailer while still making time for her family?  Will these two get into all sorts of hijinks because old people and young people working together is apparently a GOLD MINE for comedy!?

Fist bumps?  But that’s what young people do!!

Fist bumps?  But that’s what young people do!!

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