Cinema Dispatch: The Devil All the Time

The Devil All the Time and all the images you see in this review are owned by Netflix

Directed by Antonio Campos

It looks like Warner Bros non-stop protestations that movies and movie theaters are back has failed to materialize as the world is still ravaged by a pandemic and studios are still shy about putting anything out to overwhelmingly empty theaters.  I guess it means we’re going back to the Netflix well once again which is perfectly fine as we ALL need to do our part to keep people safe, and they’ve been putting out a steady stream of original movies so I’m pretty much spoiled for choice until the world decides to reopen again.  So with the breadth of Netflix’s catalog in front of me, which one do I choose?  Well it was either Cuties or the new movie with Robert Pattinson, and as much as I hear good things about Cuties (and hear bad things from the absolute WORST people about it), I had to stick with my main man Robbie P and see what he’s up to!  Does this movie satiate the listless masses for another week of perpetual lockdown, or does the dour tone of this movie hit a bit TOO close to home right now?  Let’s find out!!

Arvin Russell (Tom Holland) is your typical sweet kid from the country with a definite chip on his shoulder.  He has a strong sense of right and wrong, but given enough of a push he can be convinced to take serious action against those who slighted him and his family.  Perhaps he got that mean streak in him when he was a kid (Michael Banks) and his father (Bill Skarsgård) used to do the same thing.  Perhaps it has to do with his mother (Haley Bennett) who died of cancer when he was young and the… interesting actions his father took during that time.  Still, he doesn’t have much to complain about considering he lives with his loving grandma (Kristin Griffith) and… let’s go with half-sister Lenora (Eliza Scanlen) and leave it at that.  To get into the specifics there is something I’ll leave the movie to explain, but needless to say that things are pretty good for him, and as long as they aren’t surrounded by a bunch of terrible people to set Arvin off, things will go just fine for them!  Well I hate to break it to you, but there are some bad people in this little town and Arvin is stuck right in the middle; between the devils all around him and the devils within himself.  Does the world push Arvin to take drastic measures to restore order in the face of injustice, and can one man survive in a world full of bad people?  What will Arvin lose of himself in this story of pain, loss, and vengeance, and is there any sort of light at the end of the tunnel once he’s found the justice he seeks?  This sounds like a superhero origin story, though PROBABLY not the one that Holland usually plays.

“I’M BATMAN!!”     “Wait, I thought I was Batman?”
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Cinema Dispatch: Gemini Man

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Gemini Man and all the images you see in this review are owned by Paramount Pictures

Directed by Ang Lee

So the Will Smith Renaissance hasn’t quite gone as well as say the McConaissance, but his uptick in roles in the last few years has been pretty enjoyable for the most part with him being one of the best parts of the trashy fun Suicide Squad, and as bad as Bright was he did have pretty good chemistry with Joel Edgerton.  Now he’s working with either his best or his worst co-star of all time… HIMSELF!  Does this action spectacular with Will Smith fighting Will Smith turn out to be one of the best movies of the year, or did the good parts of this movie begin and end with its sill premise?  Let’s find out!!

Henry Brogan (Will Smith) is just like every other aged government assassin who wants to retire and live the rest of his life in leisure, but of course something happens where the government decides that the one thing they should try to do to the unkillable solider is try to kill him.  The reason given here is that he stumbles upon some information that could eventually lead to him finding out about a mysterious project known as GEMINI, and the director of the project Clay (Clive Owen) doesn’t want him finding out more.  After barely escaping with his life and the life of the government agent tasked to keep an eye on him Dani (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), he starts searching for clues and calling in favors from all his contacts to get to the bottom of what it is that Clay is so desperate to hide from him.  Well at least part of the answer comes a lot sooner than he expected as he starts getting chased by another assassin called Junior (Will Smith) who bears a striking resemblance to Henry circa 1991.  Can Henry survive long enough to find out just what Clay was up to and maybe even spare Junior in the process?  What will Junior do now that he’s starting to learn the truth?  Will he stay loyal to Clay and GEMINI or are these revelations enough for him to question everything he knows and the people he has trusted his whole life?  If they could just clone people in this world, why haven’t they ACTUALLY cloned Will Smith and tried to make a GOOD version of Wild Wild West?  At least make a version of the Matrix with him!

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“Whoa… My life is getting flipped; turned upside down!”     “No, that will be when you make Collateral Beauty.”

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Cinema Dispatch: Joker

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Joker and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros. Pictures

Directed by Todd Phillips

Are we ready to do this?  Alright, let’s do this.  So Joker always seemed like an odd choice for a movie as his defining moments have always been in relation to Batman.  Take him away, and what are you left with?  Well if the trailers are any indication, you get something akin to Travis Bickel in Taxi Driver by way of Krusty the Clown.  I mean I was at least interested to see where they were GOING with it since the trailers did a solid job of obscuring what the actual plot was, but the last few weeks of bad press have really drained any enthusiasm I could muster for what was already seeming to be a novelty at best.  Does this manage to rise above the controversy surrounding it, especially the controversies cynically generated by those who have an active stake in the film’s success, or will this all be for a movie that ultimately isn’t worth the time and effort?  Let’s find out!!

Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix) is one of many residents in the city of Gotham who is barely getting by and can feels that life has given him a rather crappy lot.  All he wanted to do was be a comedian and make people smile, but street punks keep beating him up at his job, the rich politicians and lobbyist keep cutting social services that he needs, and on top of all that he has to take care of his elderly mother Frances Conroy) who’s unshaking belief that Thomas Wayne (Brett Cullen) will help her and her son has only become more and more obnoxious as the years have gone by.  Why… it’s almost enough to drive someone MAD isn’t it!?  Like say… if someone got so tired of this that they started wearing clown makeup and robbed banks!  Well leave those fantasies at home as this is the REAL Joker for the modern age in that he’s really angry all the time but doesn’t do a heck of a whole lot about it and what he DOES do about it isn’t as… let’s say FLAMBOYANT as his comic book persona would have you believe.  Still, the walls are closing in more and more as Arthur’s life goes further and further into chaos to the point that he may just be forced to fight back in a way that no one could possibly expect; least of all himself.  Will Arthur’s miserable life come to some sort of hilarious denouement that gets all the squares to pop their monocles?  What effect will his actions have on the rest of the city, and is he really so different from all the normal people out there?  Seriously, is this REALLY the guy Warner Bros wants to be spouting his manifesto on the big screen right when they’re getting the DCCU back on track?

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“I call it… MY JOKE BOOK!”     “…”     “Seriously?  Nothing?”     “Oh, uh… no, that’s clever!”

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Cinema Dispatch: Red Sparrow

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Red Sparrow and all the images you see in this review are owned by 20th Century Fox

Directed by Francis Lawrence

What, were you expecting a review for Death Wish?  Yeah… no.  Eli Roth isn’t about to get another cent from me after the crap I went through with his LAST film, and seeing him remake an already tonally uneven film with the ham handedness that he makes all his other films is an experience I am VERY much willing to overlook and stuff down the memory hole along with everything else I’d like to forget; like Devilman Crybaby or that guy who’s occupying in the Oval Office right now where an ACTUAL President should be sitting.  So that left me with this Jennifer Lawrence starring spy thriller which… I don’t know.  The trailers didn’t really do enough to get me interested in the story, and I still have nightmares over the LAST time I saw Jennifer Lawrence star with uneasiness into a camera while contending with impending doom.  At the very least though, it won’t be as bad as Death Wish… right?  Let’s find out!!

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“Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to shoot these puppies out of a canon and straight into the sun.”     “I have a choice?”     “Sure you do!  Either follow all of my orders or I’ll burn your house down!”     “I think that’s called an ultimatum.”

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