Tag Archives: Columbia Pictures

Cinema Dispatch: The Dark Tower

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The Dark Tower and all the images you see in this review are owned by Columbia Pictures

Directed by Nikolaj Arcel

2007.  That’s when the first rumblings of this movie’s production started to surface which it’s been LANGUISHING in cinematic limbo for a decade now. Remember when Ron Howard was gonna turn the Dark Tower into a simultaneous Television/Film experience?  I sure do!  Now I love me some Stephen King, but The Dark Tower was one of those things that I just let pass me by and it seemed like for a while there that Hollywood was going to do the same, but Sony decided to take this ball and cross it over the finish line in whatever state it ultimately ended up in.  With so much going against this movie, from the hit or miss nature of Stephen King films, the troubled production which included three directors working on this over its ten year gestation, to even the fact that releasing a high concept fantasy movie in the modern cinematic landscape that ISN’T tied to a comic book, video game, or eighties cartoon is pretty much flirting with disaster at this point, is it possible that a GOOD movie managed to come out of all that strife and discord?  Let’s find out!!

Despite what the trailers may tell you, the movie is ACTUALLY about a boy named Jake (Tom Taylor) who’s waking up every morning in a cold sweat due to his recurring dream about a man in black (Matthew McConaughey) and his horrifying sciencey magical experiments on children in hopes of destroying some giant tower.  A DARK tower, if you will!  He’s drawing images of what he dreams about every day (presumably in hopes of winning an Eisner once he puts all the pieces together) which along with his less than stellar coping skills over the death of his father has made him somewhat ostracized at school and has his mother very concerned.  Too bad for them that his stories about evil wizards, rat people wearing human skins, and dead children turn out to be COMPLETELY TRUE as he finds a portal to another world where all this very odd stuff is happening.  Gee, a misunderstood creative type who gets proven right in a Stephen King story!?  WHO’D HAVE THOUGHT!?  Anyway, from there he meets up with the GOOD GUY in his graphic novel who is Roland; THE LAST GUNSLINGER (Idris Elba).  Now Roland wants to put a few right between The Man in Black’s icy blues eyes (mostly due to the whole making him THE LAST GUNSLINGER thing)and this kid with seemingly psychic powers (where have seen THAT before in a Stephen King book) might just be the key to finding the sneaky bastard once and for all!  Can these two unlikely allies manage to stop The Man in Black from his evil schemes before he destroys THE DARK TOWER and the universe along with it?  What does The Man in Black have in store for them once they find his EVIL lair?  Could Idris Elba look any more BAD ASS than he does in this movie!?

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“Good. Bad. I’m the guy with the gun made out of Excalibur. Which is a thing, apparently!”

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Cinema Dispatch: The Emoji Movie

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The Emoji Movie and all the images you see in this review are owned by Columbia Pictures

Directed by Tony Leondis

I’m not ready for this.  Seriously, why am I doing this!?  WHAT HAVE I EVER DONE TO DESERVE THIS PUNISHMENT!?  Actually, don’t answer that.  Okay… focus.  Deep Breathes.  Sigh…  So The LEGO Movie was a big hit and so was The LEGO Batman Movie which means the imitators and knock offs were sure to follow; culminating in THIS which I can only assume was the first idea that someone threw out at Sony and they just decided to run with it.  It’s got a pretty good cast, and I have liked Sony Animation films in the past, so maybe this has a shot!?  Yeah… probably not.  The best thing we can hope for is that it won’t be TOO painful…  So then!  Will this be a SLAM DUNK for the Oscars, or have we somehow managed to find a new low in cinema?  Let’s find out!!

The movie is all about the MAGICAL world of living apps that live inside all of our phones and in particular the messaging app that contains those ADORABLE and MARKETABLE Emojis we all love so very much!  One such Emoji is a Meh in training named Gene (TJ Miller) who’s ready to start his first day as an… OFFICIAL Emoji… I guess.  See, how it works is that these Emoji creatures wait around all day in vertical cubicles (basically a thirty by six Hollywood Squares setup) and are scanned whenever their MASTER USER wishes to use one of them.  Why they couldn’t just have their pictures taken and then scan THOSE when the user needs them is beyond me, but asking questions like that only breaks the immersion!  So anyway, Meh’s first day ends in utter disaster as he PANICS and makes the wrong face; leading to the user thinking the phone is malfunctioning and will therefore take it to be replaced.  Now all the Emojis are ready to hang him in the middle of the street because he’s bringing about Armageddon with the good ol’ Smiley Emoji named… wait for it… SMILER (Maya Rudolph) leading the charge!  He manages to escape with another Emoji named HI-5 (James Corden) who used to be one of the user’s favorites, but has fallen on hard times and needs to find a way to force himself back into their good graces and thinks that helping Gene find a way to… fix his bad Meh face I guess… will also lead to a solution to HIS problem.  The answer comes in the form of a hacker named Jailbreak (Anna Faris) who agrees to rewrite their code or whatever if they can help her get to THE CLOUD!  Okay then.  Will Gene find a way to be more meh, or is his less meh qualities really a gift instead of curse?  Will the three of them manage to save the phone and live for another few months before their owner switches out his current one for the latest model?  What sick and twisted God is responsible for giving such miserable creatures any degree of sentience AND WHY AM I SITTING THROUGH THIS NIGHTMARE!?

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“Kill… Meee…”

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Cinema Dispatch: Rough Night

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

Directed by Lucia Aniello

Out of all the movies to come out this year… this is certainly one of them.  Honestly, I think I only saw one trailer for this thing and it seemed just fine, but nothing all that inspired.  Sure, the cast is REALLY solid with a bunch of extremely talented comedians, but we just go through Baywatch which no one but me liked and honestly Raunchy comedies WITHOUT such a high concept as a beach movie starring God’s Gift to Humanity (we mortals have deemed him THE ROCK) aren’t usually my cup of tea as they tend to prefer pushing buttons than be genuinely funny.  Does this movie manage to be an exception to the rule when it comes to telling dirty jokes, or are we in for a long night of sub par genital jokes and bottom of the barrel toilet humor?  Let’s find out!!

The movie follows the exploits of five friends who are Jess (Scarlett Johnansson), Alice (Jillian Bell), Frankie (Ilana Glazer), Blair (Zoë Kravitz), and the relative newcomer to the group Pippa (Kate McKinnon).  The first four were all friends in college but have started to drift apart now that life and responsibilities keep getting in the way and are off to reconnect in Miami, along with Pippa who met Jess in Australia, for a bachelorette party.  Jess, the bride to be, is hesitant at first but gets into the spirt of things… right at the point where a stripper they hired (a SUSPICIOUS looking stripper!) is accidently murdered by Alice.  With so much going on in their lives none of them can afford to go to jail, so they start coming up with increasingly ridiculous and desperate ways to get rid of the body and try to forget this whole thing ever happened.  Will these five friends find some way to heal the rift that has built up between them despite there being a dead body in the room?  What will Jess’s soon to be husband Peter (Paul W Downs) think when he gets a panicked phone call that doesn’t explain what’s going on?  Will this AT LEAST be better than the Hangover sequels!?

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“With this shot, we agree to never speak of this night again.”     “Sounds good to me!”

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Cinema Dispatch: Smurfs: The Lost Village

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Smurfs: The Lost Village and all the images you see in this review are owned by Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Animation

Directed by Kelly Asbury

Considering how the LAST two Smurfs movies turned out, this really doesn’t have to do all that much to be a massive improvement, does it?  To be fair, it DOES look like the new direction their going in is the right move for this franchise as it looks much more like the original series, and we’re also not going to the real world this time around which shows some signs that Sony realized where they screwed up and are trying to make it better.  Plus, they also got Jack McBrayer which is you all need to get my ass into a theater!  Does this manage to win back the fans it lost with the last two cynical features, or did they manage to screw it up again even with two perfect examples of how NOT to make a Smurfs movie to go by?  Let’s find out!

The movie starts in Smurf village where all the little Smurfs are Smurfing about doing their Smurfy thing.  All except for Smurfette (Demi Lovato) who may have golden locks to die for but isn’t sure what else a Smurfette is supposed to do.  Oh sure, it’s easy for Police Smurf and Saxophone Smurf who’s occupations are spelled out for them like a Cutie Mark in My Little Pony, but what about her!?  Is being the one and only female Smurf the ONLY thing she’s good at!?  Well… maybe not as she soon discovers another Smurf while Smurf-boarding in the forest, but before she can ask any questions or even get a good look at them, they run off into the FORBIDDEN FOREST which I can only assume is the same one from Harry Potter.  Smurfette wants to find this new Smurf as well as the village they came from (perhaps a LOST village of Smurfs!?) but Papa Smurf (Mandy Patinkin) forbids her to go into the FORBIDDEN FOREST because… well, it’s FORBIDDEN!  Despite his warnings not to go out there, she sneaks off into the middle of the night to go searching the FORBIDDEN FOREST and ends up having a few tag-alongs who were following her in the form of Hefty Smurf (Joe Manganiello), Clumsy Smurf (Jack McBrayer) and Brainy Smurf (Danny Pudi); all of whom are sure to bring their unique brand of Smurf Shenanigans to this adventure!  Oh, and of course the evil wizard Gargamel (Rainn Wilson) gets wind of this lost village, so they have to contend with him stomping through the forest as well; hoping to find these new Smurfs and using them to become the world’s most powerful wizard by smooshing them in some sort of magic juicer!  Can the Smurfs find The Lost Village and warn them of Gargamel before it’s too late?  Will Smurfette finally find out what her true purpose is on this epic quest?  Just who are these new Smurfs that they’re looking for, and are they even blue!?  What if… WHAT IF THEY’RE SNORKS!?

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It’s the Hannah-Barbarra Cinematic Universe!  WE KNEW IT WAS COMING SOONER OR LATER!!

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Cinema Dispatch: Life

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Life and all the images you see in this review are owned by Columbia Pictures

Directed by Daniel Espinosa

What’s with movies trying to tell us that Space is totally scary!?  I LIKE space!  That’s where all the Star Trek stuff happens!  I mean, between Ridley Scott’s Alien, Gravity from a few years ago, and now THIS movie, it’s like Hollywood has a grudge against NASA or something!  This may be the most overt example though considering it’s literally called LIFE which is about the FIRST FORM OF LIFE WE’VE DISCOVERED OUTSIDE OF EARTH (from freaking MARS of all places) is apparently a serial killing jellyfish monster.  Anyway, does this latest entry into the horror sci-fi genre turn out to be another classic, or is this yet another uninspired snooze fest trying to grasp onto ideas that have already been done in much better movies?  Let’s find out!!

The movie begins IN SPAAAAAAACE on what I believe is supposed to be the International Space Station, but it could just be a unique space station for this movie.  The six member crew of this station (Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson, Ryan Reynolds, Hiroyuki Sanada, Ariyon Bakare, and Olga Dihovichnaya) receive a package from a probe that was sent to Mars which has some dirt samples for them to analyze, and of course they find a single living cell tucked away inside; confirming once and for all that there is life outside of Earth.  Of course, the cell turns out to be PURE EVIL as it grows SUPER fast and eventually turns into some white squid/bat looking thingy which starts to wreak havoc on the crew members and on the integrity of the station itself.  Can our fearless astronauts stop this space menace from killing them all and destroying the station?  Failing that, can they keep the monster from making it back to Earth and presumably destroying all life on it!?  WHY DIDN’T THEY BRING SOME SPACE MARINES ABOARD IN CASE SOMETHING LIKE THIS HAPPENED!?  Master Chief could have solved this in minute!!

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HOLY SHIT!  How did a space squid manage to do THAT!?

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Cinema Dispatch: Passengers

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Passengers and all the images you see in this review are owned by Columbia Pictures

Directed by Morten Tyldum

I’ve started watching Parks and Recreations recently and seeing Chris Pratt in that film has started to color my perceptions of him as a leading man.  Sure, Guardians of the Galaxy still holds up as he’s still playing up to his comedic strengths, but every time I see the poster for this movie with him and Jennifer Lawrence blandly starring back with their chiseled Hollywood looks, it’s just gotten harder to take that seriously when all I can think of Burt Macklin: The best FBI agent ever!  Still, the guy does have a HUGE amount of talent and more than enough charisma to carry a movie, so maybe he’s the right fit to bring some humanity to this kind of science fiction story and can hold his own against an actress of Jennifer Lawrence’s caliber.  Does Passengers manage to give us a compelling story anchored by two great performances from some of the most bankable names in the business right now, or is this a giant misstep that will be stain on their relatively strong careers up to this point?  Let’s find out!!

The movie begins with everyone’s favorite member of Mouse Rat in a giant space mall that’s hurtling through the galaxy at a preposterous rate but still too slow for anyone to if they had to manually control the damn thing.  That’s why the ship is on autopilot and presumptive hero Jim Preston (Chris Pratt) along with the other five thousand people on this ship are in hibernation pods and riding out this long journey to the new space colony on Homestead II.  Unfortunately for Starlord, there’s some malfunction that wakes his ass, and ONLY his ass, before everyone else with no way to go back to sleep and is trapped alone on this space ship for the next ninety years.  At first it’s not all bad considering he sort of has the run of the place which is full of video games, movies, and sushi, and he even has a friendly robotic bartender (Michael Sheen) to air his grievances at.  Eventually though, he manages to taste every variation on the tuna roll, got the high score in the latest instalment of Just Dance, and manages to drink half the ship’s wine cellar within about a year, so doing this for another 89 of them isn’t all that appealing.  He basically has two options at this point; kill himself or wake someone else up to keep him company.  Well we wouldn’t really have a movie if they went with the former (that actually would be a pretty awesome short film) so he JUST SO HAPPENS to fixate on a writer named Aurora (Jennifer Lawrence) and eventually cracks open her hibernation pod and pretends it was an accident just like his was.  Will she be able to fill the silence that has driven him to the brink of madness and give a reason to live once again?  What could he possibly do to make up for essentially kidnapping her and ruining her life as she’s doomed to suffer the same fate as him, and what will happen when she finds out the truth?  Well there IS an airlock.  I’m pretty sure she could have some fun with that.

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“WAS IT SOMETHING I SAID!?”

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Cinema Dispatch: The Magnificent Seven

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The Magnificent Seven and all the images you see in this review are owned by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Columbia Pictures

Directed by Antoine Fuqua

The original Magnificent Seven is a movie that’s on my depressingly large list of movies that I really should see at some point and unfortunately I didn’t get around to it before this remake came out.  That said, the premise isn’t all that hard to grasp and it’s definitely trying to reach a new young audience if the advertisements are anything to go on.  That and the addition of Chris Pratt doesn’t hurt either as the guy couldn’t be hotter with the younger demographics after star turning roles in Guardians of the Galaxy as well as Jurassic World.  Does this reinterpretation of one of the most classic stories of all time turn out to be a modern day classic, or is it doomed to live in the shadow of its predecessor?  Let’s find out!!

The movie begins with the town of Rock Ridge… I mean Rose Creek, being under siege from the EVIL rich guy Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard) who wants to drive everyone out of there so he can mine the shit out of the place for gold and other valuable resources.  After burning down the local church and killing a few of the locals, they realize they can’t handle this on their own and they need some help.  After all, they worked too damn hard killing off all the Native Americans to build this town on their land for some rich asshole to take it all away from them!  Emma Cullen (Haley Bennett) who is the widow of one of the dead guys goes to a nearby town with her friend Teddy (Luke Grimes) to find some tough guys to chase Bart’s friends out of town!  For their efforts, they find the bounty hunter Sam Chisolm (Denzel Washington) who then helps them gather the rest of the crew which includes the Chris Pratt archetype Josh Faraday (Chris Pratt), an old-timey sniper Goodnight Robicheux (Ethan Hawke), his best buddy with the kick ass name Billy Rocks (Byung-hun Lee), a wild mountain man Jack Horne (Vincent D’Onofrio), some random outlaw Vasquez (Manuel Garcia-Ruflo), and a Comache hunter Red Harvest (Martin Sensmeier).  Now all of them have their own reason for taking on such an impossible task (some less plausible than others as I still have no idea what Red Harvest is after), but it’s not going to be an easy fight as they’ve got an army to go up against and they have maybe a few dozen farmers to train up and give them support once the shit hits the fan.  Can this town be saved from the onslaught of Bart’s men?  Why exactly did Sam accept this job in the first place, and could he have ulterior motives?  Who thinks they’re gonna accurately predict which ones will die?  Think you can do better than me!?

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For the record, two of my guesses were right!

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