Cinema Dispatch: The Bye Bye Man

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The Bye Bye Man and all the images you see in this review are owned by STX Entertainment

Directed by Stacy Title

See, I thought I wouldn’t have to talk about STX Entertainment again until that damn Mars YA movie finally came out (ENOUGH WITH THE TRAILER ALREADY!) but it looks like they’re here to fill the January Horror Movie quota which was met in previous years by gems such as The Forest, The Devil Inside, and Texas Chainsaw 3D.  Then again, The Boy came out in January of last year, and that was ALSO a film from STX Entertainment, so maybe there’s just a TINY bit of hope here.  Can STX pull off the impossible yet again and give us a January horror film that won’t embarrass the genre, or is this movie just as stupid as its title suggests?  Let’s find out!!

The movie begins in the late sixties where a guy (Jonathan Penner) shoots a bunch of people because they had heard of THE BYE BYE MAN, which I’m sure was the most sensible solution to that problem.  Jump ahead five decades and we find ourselves in modern times where three college students, Elliot, John, and Sasha (Douglas Smith, Lucien Laviscount, and Cressida Bonas), just moved into a new house off of campus and are cleaning up all the crappy furniture that the landlord left them.  Of course, one of the tables has something crudely etched on it that Elliot ends up reading.  Of course it’s the words THE BYE BYE MAN, and in doing so he… I guess invites The Bye Bye man to take permanent residence in his brain.  You know, at least when they summoned the deadites in Evil Dead, they had to read a WHOLE passage from an ancient Sumerian text instead of just a dumb name!  Anyway, the name eventually reaches his two roommates as well as some sort of psychic who is obvious slasher fodder (Jenna Kanell) and so The Bye Bye Man just starts messing with all their heads; making them see things that aren’t there and driving them more and more insane in the process.  Will the three of them find a way to get past this monster’s illusions before it makes them do something they’ll regret?  Why did that dude in the sixties end up shooting everyone who had heard of this… ghost, I guess?  Did anyone stop to read the script before filming this, or were they winging it the whole time?

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“Just watch it, don’t question it.  I wonder what that means…”

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Cinema Dispatch: Miss Sloane

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Miss Sloane and all the images you see in this review are owned by EuropaCorp

Directed by John Madden

If you really take a look at Jessica Chastain’s acting career, it becomes clear that she’s truly one of the most versatile actors working today.  Not only has she been in high caliber Oscar fare of multiple genres including The Martian, Zero Dark Thirty, and Tree of Life, but she’s also been fantastic in other places like The Huntsman: Winter’s War, Crimson Peak, and Lawless.  Now she’s headlining a political thriller at right about the time that EVERYONE is not in the mood to even be thinking about politics.  Well, I guess we can’t blame her or the director for that, and just because the world is going straight to hell doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy movies like this anymore, right?  Can this new vehicle for Jessica Chastain turn out to be another high point in her illustrious career, or will her role in that Frozen knockoff with Chris Hemsworth turn out to be her highlight this year?  I mean… that WAS a really solid movie that no one but me seems to appreciate, but even so!  Let’s find out!!

The movie follows the greatest lobbyist ever, Elizabeth Sloane (Jessica Chastain) who’s faced with a crisis of… conscious maybe?  Either conscious or competitive zeal; one of those two.  Anyway, the crisis is that the lobbying firm she works for wants her to campaign against a bill that would restrict gun sales to criminals, those on the terror watch list, etc, and her boss (Sam Waterson) is being a REAL overbearing jerk about it.  Not one to suffer fools lightly, Miss Sloane packs up her desks, grabs the best millennial interns under her command, and goes to work for Rodolfo Schmidt (Mark Strong) who is heading the Pro-Gun restriction effort.  Of course, when you bargain with the devil (or in this case someone know what it takes to win) you get exactly what you pay for and Miss Sloane proves to be INCREDIBLY effective despite how uneasy some of her methods make some of her allies, particularly Esme Manucharian (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) who experiences firsthand just how far Miss Sloane is willing to go to get what she needs.  Will the best of the best be able to stand up against the most funded lobby to ever exist?  What can all these starry-eyed liberal babies learn by watching Miss Sloane in action?  What exactly led her to being like this?  Personal tragedy?  A drive to succeed?  Rich relatives that changed her life for the better?

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“Now this is the story all about how my life got flipped, turned upside down.”

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