Cinema Dispatch: Sing 2

Sing 2 and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures

Directed by Garth Jennings

Was anyone expecting the first Sing to be anything more than cloying and treacly?  I mean it’s not like Illumination has a great track record for this kind of thing, especially with those toothless Seuss adaptations, but they somehow pulled it off with that movie which was sweet, sincere, and my favorite animated movie the year it came out!  The moment that it was over though, I knew that a sequel was coming and that it was probably going to be a bad idea.  The first one worked as its own story, so trying to fit another one on top of it seemed like typical sequel folly and an obvious attempt at a cash grab.  Then again, it’s not like I was expecting anything out of the first one and it managed to surprise me, so why not the sequel as well?  Can this movie capture the magic of the first film and give us the rare animated sequel that is just as satisfying as the first one, or should we just be glad that we got a good movie in the first place and write this one off as a mere victory lap from Illumination?  Let’s find out!!

Following the events of the first film, the Moon Theater is back and better than ever!  The all-star cast of Meena, Johnny, Rosita, and Gunter (Tori Kelly, Taron Egerton, Reese Witherspoon, and Nick Kroll) are living their dreams and selling out shows every night; all of which should make Buster (Matthew McConaughey) who owns the theater very happy, right?  I mean that’s kind of the dream that they were all striving for in the first one!  Well… no.  Apparently, they all want to go to the Sing universe equivalent of Las Vegas and perform shows there; presumably next to furry versions of Blue Man Group and Carrot Top.  After a talent scout (Chelsea Peretti) brushes them off, Buster drags his cast as well as Ash (Scarlett Johansson) to the big city to prove that scout wrong and appeal to the biggest producer in the city; Jimmy Crystal (Bobby Carnavale).  Through some high-level schmoozing and a white lie here and there, he agrees to give them a shot; albeit it with quite a few strings attached.  They have three weeks to throw together a lavish Broadway-style show from scratch, they have to include Crystal’s daughter Porsha (Halsey) in some way, and they need to find rock legend Clay Calloway (Bono) so he can be a part of the show.  That last one, in particular, is going to be difficult as no one has seen or heard from him in fifteen years, but if Buster says he can get him, then by Jove, he’s gonna get him!  Can the crew pull off yet another amazing show, even with the added pressures of a bigger production and an overbearing executive?  What new challenges will our heroes face on their latest venture, and is this perhaps the end of the road for them?  I mean it’s not like Buster has a habit of getting in over his head, right?  Surely he knows what he’s doing!

“I don’t know, can we make it ten percent more heartfelt?  Which one of these dials adds more heart?”
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Cinema Dispatch: Baby Driver

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Baby Driver and all the images you see in this review are owned by TriStar Pictures

Directed by Edgar Wright

Summer is in full swing and they’re bringing out the big guns!  No, not Transformers surprisingly enough which is floundering at the box office.  We’re talking about this latest Edgar Wright feature that every film critic has been waiting for!  Everything about this movie looks great, from the trailers and casting all the way down to the soundtrack that brings to mind Scott Pilgrim in how it’s integrated into the narrative.  Does this manage to be yet another entry in Wright’s sterling career, or is this car chase film a huge wreck waiting to happen?  Let’s find out!!

The movie begins with the titular Baby (Ansel Elgort) waiting in a car and listening to his music while three bandits named Buddy, Griff, and Darling (Jon Hamm, Jon Bernthal, and Eiza González) are robbing a bank.  Once the trio get back to the car, Baby proceeds to put The Transporter to shame by driving with as much skill and wacky collateral damage as the Blues Brothers could in their heyday; somehow managing to avoid the cops and get away scot free!  It turns out that Baby’s been doing these kind of jobs for a while now as he’s under the thumb of a local mobster named Doc (Kevin Spacey) who recognized the kid’s skills and has been putting them to good use for some time now.  Luckily for Baby, he’s just about to pay off whatever debt he owes to Doc and is ready to start his new life that will be free of crime and will hopefully involve a waitress at a local diner named Debora (Lily James) who he’s had his eye on for a while.  Of course, nothing goes as well as Baby hopes it does and his chance to get out ends up digging himself even further in doing more jobs with even more erratic and dangerous criminals such as Bats (Jamie Foxx) who has it out for Baby right from the start.  Can Baby find a way to break free whatever it is that Doc is continuing to hold over him?  Will this next heist be the one that breaks his perfect driving record?  Wait, did I just hear Handsome Boy Modeling School!?

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Sure he’s a good driver, but he’s also a radio hog!  Will you let someone else pick a song for once!?

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Cinema Dispatch: Ant-Man

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Ant-Man and all the images you see in this review are owned by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Directed by Peyton Reed

Marvel films have gotten quite a bit of criticism recently which is to be expected with a studio that has become so omnipresent in popular culture.  When something gets this big, it’s only natural that a lot more voices enter the conversation which means that the overall discussion turns into a diverse mix of varying opinions, and not all of them are going to be positive.  Still, it seems that with Ant-Man, Marvel is trying to expand what these movies can be with this one primarily being a heist film rather than what we usually get from this studio, though it hasn’t been a smooth ride what with the original director (Edgar Wright) leaving production partway through.  Does this movie succeed in tweaking the formula that made the other films a success, or has the shaky production surrounding this film led to a sub-par outing for a studio trying desperately to convince us that they’re totally going to keep up this track record of excellence for the next decade?  Let’s find out!!

The movie begins with a flashback to that most infamous of decades, the eighties.  Hank Pym (played by Michael Douglas) is at the height of his career and is respected by all his peers.  Unfortunately, it turns out to be 1889 and just like Michael Douglas, Hank’s career is about to take a turn for the worse.  He’s working for Shield (which is actually Hydra but whatever) and is the discoverer of what is known as the Pym Particle.  Essentially, he made super science goo that makes things shrink which makes aid goo super valuable.  Valuable enough that Shield is going behind his back and trying to recreate the formula which is enough for him to quit his job and he vows to let the secret formula die with him.

Michael Douglas’s secret to his success on the other hand is something he’s willing to tell everyone.  Spoiler alert:  It’s his dick.
Michael Douglas’s secret to his success on the other hand is something he’s willing to tell everyone.  Spoiler alert:  It’s his dick.

Continue reading “Cinema Dispatch: Ant-Man”