Tag Archives: Anthony Mackie

Cinema Dispatch: Infinite Patience – Has Marvel Gone Too Far!?

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Avengers: Infinity War and all the images you see in this editorial are owned by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Directed by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo

So if you read my review of Avengers: Infinity War, you’d know that I had a few problems with it and that I couldn’t really discuss them in detail due to everything I found wrong with this movie containing MASSIVE SPOILERS!  Well now that it’s very likely everyone and their mom has already seen the movie (SIX HUNDRED AND FORTY MILLION IN ONE WEEKEND!?), I figured it’d be a good idea to get my thoughts written down about not just this movie but what it represents for the MCU as a whole and how they’ve run their business up to this point.  For the most part they’ve been enormously successful with even their minor missteps like Thor 2, Iron Man 2, and (the not so minor misstep) Iron Fist doing little to tarnish their sterling reputation.  There are places to improve in each film to be sure, and their overwhelming success has made it easy to take it all for granted, but when your last few films included Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Thor Ragnarok, and Black Panther, clearly they’re doing something right and should be celebrated for it.  With Infinity War however, something has changed and I am now worried about the future of the MCU; not financially as these will make money regardless, but that they might have gotten a bit too big for their own good and are taking the wrong kind of risks that could sour public opinion over time instead of the GOOD kind like hiring visionary directors such as Ryan Coogler to create memorable cinematic experiences instead of cheap popcorn fare.  So what exactly has changed?  Well let’s take an in depth look at where I felt this movie started going down the wrong path.

From here on out, we are in full on spoiler territory!

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Cinema Dispatch: Avengers: Infinity War

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Avengers: Infinity War and all the images you see in this review are owned by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Directed by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo

You know, for a while there I COMPLETELY forgot that this was supposed to be a two parter, and I don’t think I’m ENTIRELY at fault on that because PART ONE is never mentioned anywhere on the poster, on IMDb, not even on the Wikipedia page!  I don’t know, that just seems kind of curious considering they ARE for sure planning on doing another one of these (unlike what happened with Justice League PART 2), and yet they seem to want you to forget that little fact.  Either way, whether they put Part One, Part Three, or Part Sixty-Five on the poster, people will still come out to see it in droves because the brand is just THAT powerful at this point.  However, as was once said by a dude who presumably lived in this universe and died a horrible death, WITH GREAT POWER COMES GREAT RESPONSIBILITY, and with so many characters to juggle at once it is surely a responsibility not to be taken lightly.  Can Marvel pull it off once again like they’ve done pretty much every time they’ve stepped up to the plate, or is the build up to Thanos and the Infinity Stones a challenge even they aren’t truly prepared to face?  Let’s find out!!

The movie is, well basically everything we knew it was going to be leading up to it.  Thanos (Josh Brolin) is a purple alien who wants to destroy at least half of all life in the universe, and he’s finally making his big move to collect the Infinity Stones which is the only power source in existence strong enough to complete such a heinous act, and now The Avengers (as well as Avenger adjacent characters) are finally aware of what he’s up to and try to stop him from obtaining further gems.  Primarily, we’ve got three groups working together to try and stop him; The Guardians of the Galaxy (Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, and Pom Kiementieff) as well as Thor (Chris Hemsworth) in space who are trying to stop him from getting that one Stone from Thor The Dark World, Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr), Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Spider-Man (Tom Holland) are stuck on a spaceship heading to his home world after attempt by one of Thanos’s minions to steal the Time Stone from the Sorcerer Supreme, and basically everyone else back on Earth which includes Captain America (Chris Evans), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), The Falcon (Anthony Mackie), War Machine (Don Cheadle) The Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), and Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) trying to find a way to protect The Infinity Stone lodged in The Vision’s head (Paul Bettany) which involves a trip to Wakanda and everyone we remember from that movie a few months ago (Chadwick Boseman, Danai Gurira, and Letitia Wright) minus Nakia who I’m guessing was off fighting crime elsewhere.  Oh, and as much as I KNOW it will break your heart… Hawkeye is not in this.  I’m sure Jeremy Renner will find a way to cope.  ANYWAY, that’s about it.  We’ve got three stories running parallel to each other with a giant purple jerk wad right in the center of it; tearing through anyone foolish enough to get in his way!  Can The Avengers (and its loose affiliates) manage to put up enough of a resistance to stop Thanos from causing mass genocide across the MCU?  What is he truly after, and will his backstory reveal any possible weaknesses that can be used to stop the evil tyrant once and for all?  Thanos may be strong, but can he defeat the one entity stronger than himself?  Disney’s reliance on BRAND NAME RECOGNITION!?

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“All your sequels have been canceled.  I made sure to it myself.”     “The HELL did he just say!?”

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Cinema Dispatch: Captain America: Civil War

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Captain America: Civil War and all the images you see in this review are owned by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Directed by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo

The Marvel money machine has deigned to appease the masses with the next chapter in their long running story about people in tights (or robo-tights) that STILL manages to be more character driven and exquisitely crafted than any number of big blockbusters that have tried to challenge Marvel to their title as king of the cinematic landscape (*cough* Batman v Superman *cough*).  Now we have another entry in the Captain America series which actually looks like an Avengers movie more than anything else.  Does Marvel once again show us what makes the Captain America movies so unique within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or has the whole enterprise gotten too massive to tell a simple story about one man throwing his mighty shield?  Let’s find out!!

The main thrust of the narrative in this movie is the Avengers having the whole “collateral damage” thing come back to bite them in the ass.  It’s been building up for a while, but when an operation in Nigeria goes south after the bad guy blows himself up and the blast is redirected by Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) into a nearby building and killing eleven people in the process, it seems that the world powers have no choice but to step in.  Of course, the guy had stolen a biological weapon that could have killed THOUSANDS but no one wants to bring that up apparently.  Anyway, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) seems to be in a bad place right now and the guilt over his actions in the last ten or so movies are starting to eat away at him, so when the US government and the UN come to the Avengers with some international regulations, he jumps at the opportunity to get them all on board.  The biggest opponent to this new form of oversight though is Captain America (Chris Evans) who sees the writing on the wall and the possibility of those checking their power using that for nefarious ends.  Things only get worse when a UN meeting in Vienna about the new Avenger regulations (known as the Sokovia Accords) gets bombed as part of a terrorist attack and the only suspect is Bucky Barnes The Winter Solider (Sebastian Stan) who if you recall from the second Captain America movie escaped his captors and has been laying low ever since.  Not only is everyone and their grandma after this guy, but Captain America is the only one convinced that he could not have done it which makes it that much harder to keep the government, the other Avengers, and a new super hero Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) off of his back.  Can he clear Bucky’s name before the world leaders put a bullet in both their heads?  Who really DID bomb the UN meeting?  Will he be able to convince his fellow Avengers as well as Tony that the Sokovia Accords will lead to more harm than good?  Most importantly, how many cameos are they gonna squeeze into this!?

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“Did you guys kidnap me?”     “Yup.”     “That’s AWESOME!”

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Cinema Dispatch: Triple 9

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Triple 9 and all the images you see in this review are owned by Open Road Films

Directed by John Hillcoat

I had not even heard of this movie until I saw a poster for it at the theater.  Hell, I don’t even think I saw a trailer for it before the movie came out!  That seems kind of odd considering some of the actors they have in here such as Chiwetel Ejiofor, Anthony Mackie, and Kate Winslet.  Then again, the movie also has Casey Affleck, Aaron Paul, and Clifton Collins Jr, so maybe it’s not so much an under the radar hit and more of a lower tier movie that happened to luck out in the casting department.  Still, with so little to go on as to what this movie was about, it definitely had the chance to surprise me and offer something unexpected.  Is this a hidden gem that got sprung on us just as we were leaving February, or is this the just one more subpar mess that we have to deal with before ending one of the worst months for movies?  Let’s find out!!

The movie follows way too many characters, but I’ll try to make it as clear as possible (definitely clearer than the movie makes it).  You’ve got the leader Michael (Chiwetel Ejifor), the fuck up Gabe (Aaron Paul), the fuck up’s brother Russell (Norman Reedus), the bad cop Marcus (Anthony Mackie) and the even worse cop Franco (Clifton Collins Jr) who make up a team of five criminals that pull of heists I guess.  In fact, the movie starts right as they begin their latest scheme which is to knock over a bank looking for something specific for their employers who I believe are Israeli mobsters led by Irina (Kate Winslet).  Now the Israeli mobsters need this crew to pull of another job, but the job is neigh impossible in the time they would normally have to do it (three minutes before the cops come).  Their plan is to cause a Triple 9 which is the nickname for killing a cop (radio code 999) at which point all the police in the city (the ENTIRE city) will converge on that location, and it JUST SO HAPPENS that Marcus has a new partner in the form of Chris (Casey Affleck) who would be perfect to kill because… reasons.  Why would someone kill a cop that is so directly tied to them?  Anyway, what the bad guys here aren’t aware of (or aren’t all the concerned about) is Chris’s uncle Jeffrey (Woody Harrelson) who’s investigating the bank robbery and is starting to pick up some clues.  Not only that, but things begin to deteriorate between the bad guys and after something PARTICULARLY heinous happens to them, the fuck up starts to… well, fuck up.  There’s also a subplot about a Mexican gang causing trouble in the city, something about Chiwetel Ejiofor’s son, and then Gal Gadot shows up a couple times to remind us that she can act even if Batman v Superman turns out to be a giant bomb.  Can these guys pull off the heist without killing each other or getting themselves killed first?  Will Casey Affleck survive to the end of the movie?  Can someone get me flow chart for all this?  I’m already confused…

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“Can you get me the finger print analysis from that bank robbery?”     “um…”     “You’re gonna ask about the wolf mask, aren’t you?”     “What!?  No!”

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Cinema Dispatch: The Night Before

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The Night Before and all the images you see in this review are owned by Columbia Pictures

Directed by Jonathan Levine

Is it too late to declare a war on Christmas?  I don’t mind the holidays, but I’ve also worked in retail so I got a firsthand look at the Christmas calendar creep and how NO ONE likes to push this shit in October, let alone November.  Thankfully they ALMOST waited until December to start throwing out holiday films with last week’s Love the Coopers and now The Night Before.  Unlike that other film though, I was REALLY looking forward to seeing this because I love Seth Rogen and his particular brand of comedy.  Not everything he’s been a part of has been great (I thought The Interview was pretty underwhelming), but I always like to see what he does next which this time seems to be pretending he’s in the same age group as Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Anthony Mackie.  Wait a minute.  HE’S THE YOUNGEST ONE OF THEM!?  Huh.  Learn something new every day.  So will this be the kind of movie to bring out the holiday cheer and break out the eggnog, or will this make everyone feel even Grinch-ier than they already are at this time of the year?  Let’s find out!!

The movie follows the adventures of Ethan, Isaac, and Chris (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen, and Anthony Mackie) on their last big Christmas Eve together before ending their tradition.  You see, about fifteen years ago Ethan’s parents were killed by a drunk driver right around Christmas time and so his friends decided that they will spend the holidays with him which soon became a tradition.  What also became a tradition is that they would party their ASSES off because they were young when they started it so of course that’s what they ended up doing.  However, it’s been going on for way too long and Isaac and Chris have their own things going on while Ethan is still stuck in place, unable to get his life going.  Still, he agrees to this being the last time they make this a big party event and even has a surprise for his friends that will make this the best one of them all.  There’s a super-secret party that takes place every year (the Nutcracker Ball) that they’ve never had a chance to go to because they could never find out where it was or how to get invitations.  Through sheer luck, Ethan finds three tickets for the damn thing at his shitty job and steals them without a second thought so that he and his friends can have the greatest night of their lives!  Will this final night be all it’s cracked up to be, or are they just too damn old to keep going the way they’ve been going even for one more night?  Will they be able to salvage their friendship despite the changes in their lives that makes it harder for them to find the time?  Wait, how fucking deep is this movie about taking drugs and Christmas shenanigans!?

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WHY ARE THERE FEELS!?!?!?

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Cinema Dispatch: Love the Coopers

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Love the Coopers and all the images you see in this review are owned by CBS Films and Lionsgate

Directed by Jessie Nelson

‘Tis the season for the bold and foolhardy to try and make films that will enter into the catalog of class Christmas movies!  Probably the last one to make the leap to big leagues in regard to enduring Christmas Classics is Love Actually from 2003, but that hasn’t stopped film makers from trying to break into that market which brings us to today’s feature.  Will this movie face this challenge head on and make it through the neigh impossible glass ceiling of beloved Christmas films, or will this be yet another failed attempt to recreate that Christmas magic and will be doomed to the same fate as Four Christmases, Deck the Halls, or god forbid Christmas with the Cranks?  Let’s find out!!

The movie follows the misadventures of several members of the Cooper family on Christmas Eve as everyone is trying to get ready for the family dinner that is to take place later that night.  At the head of the family is Sam and Charlotte Cooper (John Goodman and Diane Keaton) who are trying to keep it together long enough for them to have a happy holiday with the family despite the fact that they plan to get divorced soon after the season ends.  We also have Charlotte’s sister Emma (Marisa Tomei) who’s just a bitter jerk during the holidays (think Marie Schrader from Breaking Bad) and gets caught shoplifting which means she has to get out of it while being driven to the police station by a cop played by Anthony Mackie.  Charlotte and Sam’s kids  are Hank and Eleanor (Ed Helms and Olivia Wilde) who have their own problems to deal with as the former just recently got divorced and then fired from his job while the later… just doesn’t like coming home for the holidays and is procrastinating in an airport with a solider she just met (Jake Lacy).  There are other members of the family such as, Bucky Cooper (Alan Arkin) who’s hanging around the fringe of everyone’s story but also has his own thing going on with a waitress in a diner played by Amanda Seyfried, and Aunt Fishy (June Squibb) who’s basically playing a female version of Grandpa Simpson.  With all these characters dealing with their problems during the most stressful time of the year, will they somehow manage to have a happy Christmas, or will this end in total disaster?  Can this movie manage to juggle all these subplots without feeling like a poorly paced mess?  Okay, seriously.  Can’t we just watch Love Actually instead?

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“We’re gonna get through this. Just grin and bear it for a little bit longer.”

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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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