Tag Archives: Brie Larson

Cinema Dispatch: The Glass Castle

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The Glass Castle and all the images you see in this review are owned by Lionsgate

Directed by Destin Daniel Cretton

Based… on a True Story.  Ugh… is there any other phrase in the English language (other than Starring Jai Courtney) that sends a bigger chill down my spine?  Trying to parse out which decisions a film makes that are due to the source material is not an easy task (especially when you don’t KNOW the true story to begin with) and it makes judging a movie with a well-rounded opinion THAT much harder to pull off since it works on different levels.  Sure, ANY adaptation is gonna have some changes when going from one medium to another, but adapting something that ACTUALLY happened by its very nature practically begs to be judged on merits that are different from any other movie.  So does this family drama manage to be enjoyable in its own right, or am I gonna have to read the book and do a whole bunch of research after the fact to TRULY understand what it’s going for?  Let’s find out!!

The movie is an adaptation of Jeannette Wall’s memoir of the same name and we follow her as an adult (Brie Larson) as well as a child (Ella Anderson and Chandler Head); discovering how the latter is informing the former and learning about the pleasant as well as not so pleasant aspects of growing up with an abusive alcoholic father Rex (Woody Harrelson) with big ideas but too many personal demons to follow through on any of them.  Along for the ride are her siblings Lori, Brian, and Bridgette (Sarah Snook, Olivia Kate Rice, Sadie Sink, Josh Caras, Iain Armitage, Charlie Stowell, Bridgette Lundy-Paine, Eden Grace Redfield, and Shree Crooks) as well as their mother Rose Mary (Naomi Watts) who all deal with their father in their own ways; though none of them come out of their life with him unscathed.  Still, they all turned out well enough I guess, especially Jeannette who’s working for a big New York magazine and is engaged to a super-rich guy!  Everything’s going great, right!?  Well… maybe not, especially when Mom and Dad show up in New York and start squatting in an abandoned building.  Will Jeannette be able to make peace with the way her father behaved when she was growing up?  What exactly are her parents even doing in New York in the first place?  Is Woody Harrelson able to NOT be likable, even when playing a total jerk!?  Heck, he managed to stay at least SOMEWHAT charming in Natural Born Killers!

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“The demon lives in here.  It feeds on your hate.”     “Oh daddy!  You’re so funny!!”

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Cinema Dispatch: Free Fire

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Free Fire and all the images you see in this review are owned by StudioCanal UK

Directed by Ben Wheatley

I honestly don’t get excited to see movies all that often.  For one, I’m gonna see the damn movies whether or not they’re any good, and on top of that the only movies that seem to get a big marketing push nowadays are big franchise pictures like the MCU, the DCCU, and even The Fast and the Furious.  This movie however was the exception to that rule as I caught the trailer a few times and fell in love with the concept right away.  A real time gun fight set in the seventies with Sharlto Freaking Copley in it!?  Damn!  That’s almost too good to even show up in my local theater, which… spoiler alert: it didn’t and I had to drive to the one forty minutes away.  See, while everyone was gushing over The Nice Guys last year, it just didn’t quite do it for me as much as it did for everyone else, and this seems like the kind of thing that was not only going for that kind of look and feel but was much more in my wheelhouse as far as the overall tone and the central conceit.  Needless to say that this has been a long day coming and I’m hoping for the best while bracing myself for… well not the WORST as the trailers showed way too much promise for THAT to be the case, but at the very least I hope it’s better than mediocre.  Does this manage to live up to my rarely lifted expectations, or am I doomed to be disappointed by a film that showed a whole lot of promise?  Let’s find out!!

The movie begins with essentially two groups of colorful people in the gaudiest seventies fashion meeting in a warehouse to broker a gun deal.  One side is led by Chris (Cillian Murphy) and a few Irish gangsters (Michael Smiley, Sam Riley, and Enzo Cilenti) while the other side is led by Vernon (Sharlto Copley) and his associates (Babou Ceesay, Jack Reynor, and Noah Taylor).  In the middle are Justine and Ord (Brie Larson and Armie Hammer) who seem to have brokered the deal between the two sides and therefore probably have the most investment in everything going smoothly.  Of course, we wouldn’t have a movie if everything was hunky dory, and eventually bullets start flying after a few altercations and outburst from some of the less professional individuals on each side.  That’s it.  The rest of the movie is watching to see who gets killed next as they trade bullets and yell insults at each other for the next eighty minutes, and it’s pretty damn awesome!  Does anyone manage to make it out of this factory alive?  Was there a more sinister plot in play than anyone on either side realized before they started shooting at each other?  Can we please get Sharlto Copley a Marvel movie or something!?  He’s like the new Nicolas Cage and I want to see him in everything!!

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“If you see some motherfucking producer carrying a script around for another Wicker Man remake, you blow his bloody head up!”

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Cinema Dispatch: Kong: Skull Island

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Kong: Skull Island and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures

Directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts

Truth be told I’ve always been more of a Godzilla fan, and while the recent Shin Godzilla was pretty good (if a bit disjointed and tonally uneven) the American film with Gareth Edwards wasn’t so much.  Now Warner Bros is trying to create yet another Expanded Cinematic Universe (because the DCCU is working out SO well for them) and this is in some ways a sequel… or prequel I guess… to the 2014 Godzilla film.  Does this manage to make up for the mistakes of that film while setting the groundwork for future monster movies to come, or are we much better off watching that 1962 film where the two of them duked it out and threw rocks at each other?  Admittedly that wouldn’t be the WORST thing to do as it’s still pretty freaking awesome, but let’s find out!!

The movie starts by introducing us to Bill Randa (John Goodman) who is the head of Monarch; an organization that is hell bent on proving the existence of monsters.  They’ve hit a rough patch, mostly due to them never finding any monsters, but 1973 just might be the year they turn things around!  They have some satellite images of a heretofore unknown island which may or may not contain resources that the government can use in their fight against the Russians, and Monarch wants to tag along with another organization already headed there for some basic geological research.  Actually, all Bill wants to do is find monsters, but the US government gives them the go ahead to tag along and to also bring a military squadron who JUST SO HAPPEN to be one day away from heading back home from Vietnam.  Of course the commander Lieutenant Colonel Preston Packard (Samuel L Jackson) is thrilled at the opportunity as he doesn’t seem too interested in leaving the war, but those under his command which includes Jack Chapman (Toby Kebbell) are less so.  Still, they follow the orders that are given to them and they are even joined by former British SAS bad ass James Conrad (Tom Hiddleston) who’s supposed to be an expert tracker and photojournalist Mason Weaver (Brie Larson) who somehow manages to be a part of this expedition as well.  The crew packs up, they fly to the mysterious island that is colorfully known as Skull Island, and IMMEDIATLEY get their asses kicked by Kong who mows down all their helicopters; leaving all of the name actors but only a handful of army and scientist extras.  Along their travels, they run into even MORE monsters, find a World War 2 fighter pilot who’s been trapped on the island for almost two decades (John C Reilly), and ultimately have to come up with a way to escape the island before their one chance of rescue passes them by.  Can the remaining survivors make it off the island before they become monster food, or will some of them refuse to leave until Kong is dead?  Just what is Kong fighting on this island when he’s not swatting down humans?  Most importantly, WHEN ARE WE GONNA GET A NEW GODZILLA VS KING KONG MOVIE!?

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“This guy doesn’t have thermonuclear breath, right?”     “No, but he can still throw stuff at us.”

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