Tag Archives: Focus Features

Cinema Dispatch: Phantom Thread


Phantom Thread and all the images you see in this review are owned by Focus Features

Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson

Is this it?  Are we done playing catch up with 2017?  I just absolutely LOVE IT when studios hold back on releasing Oscar Caliber Films to the general public until weeks after they’ve already been reviewed, examined, and voted on!  VERY helpful for the small time outlets who don’t get critic screenings or screener discs sent to us!  Oh well.  It’s certainly too late for films like this and I, Tonya to be considered for my best of 2017 list (which I’m SURE Neon and Focus Features absolutely CRUSHED about, but I must stay firm!), but that doesn’t keep them from potentially being good movies that you should check out!  Better late than never I suppose, though it’d be nice if Hollywood would stop releasing EVERYTHING awards worthy in a two month period to only VERY selective markets; ESPECIALLY when half the time they don’t even get the awards they’re looking for!  Does this movie deserve the countless accolades it has accrued in the tail end of Oscar Season, or is this the latest victim of a hype machine that severely overestimates its actual quality as a film?  Let’s find out!!

The movie follows the story of Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis) who unfortunately shares the name of a crappy Billy Bob Thornton comedy, but aside from that he’s a meticulously detail oriented dress maker who extends his obsession with perfection to his personal wife as well as his work life.  His schedule is quite regimented, his appearance is consistently maintained, and his relationships to others are carefully filtered through his sister Cyril (Lesley Manville) who’s basically the only person keeping him on track and able to focus his eccentricities on something that’ll keep the lights on.  One day, Reynolds goes off to the countryside and finds a waitress named Alma (Vicky Krieps) that he is immediately smitten with.  He asks her on a date, they have a lovely dinner, and by the end she’s half naked while he’s dictating measurements to his sister who’s writing them all down for future reference.  Whether or not Reynolds is TRULY attracted to Alma rather than the shape of her body is not entirely clear, but she goes away with him back to the big city to be his protégé of sorts and to help him model the dresses he makes.  However, because neither one of them are all that great at communicating, the expectations they put on each other that neither of them are able to meet start to put a strain on the relationship and could potential be volatile enough to destroy his life, her life, and even his sister’s life as everything could come crashing down upon them if they can’t sit the hell down and decide what they really mean to one another.  Will these two act like grownups and get their issues resolved before they explode in a fiery maelstrom of passive aggressive horror?  Will either one of them start contemplating drastic actions that will certainly not solve their underlying issues?  Wait, isn’t this the plot to like… every romantic comedy ever?


Look!  There’s a beach!  This is TOTALLY a Nicholas Sparks movie!

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Cinema Dispatch: Atomic Blonde


Atomic Blonde and all the images you see in this review are owned by Focus Features

Directed by David Leitch

Holy crap!  The day has FINALLY come, hasn’t it!?  There are usually a handful of movies that I genuinely look forward to each year and for most of 2017 the big one was this Charlize Theron spy thriller with a lot of bloodshed and a lot more attitude!  The trailers looked phenomenal with Theron putting her heart into this John Wick knock off (it even has one of that movie’s directors) and James McAvoy being… well James McAvoy, but that’s why we go to see him in movies!  Still, a trailer isn’t always true to what a movie will ultimately be about and while I certainly have high hopes for this, I should PROBABLY temper them lest my expectations get too astronomical and I end up setting myself up for disappointment.  But still!  CHARLIZE THERON PUNCHING DUDES IN THE FACE!  How COULD it go wrong!?  Well if it does, we’ll certainly find out!!

The movie begins with the death of an MI6 agent (Sam Hargrave) in East Germany right at the tail end of the Cold War, and the British Government are in desperate need of someone to clean up the mess the poor bastard left behind.  Enter Lorraine Broughton (Charlize Theron) who given two objectives to complete once she gets there; find THE LIST that the MI6 agent had secured before getting a bullet in the head (you know, that list of EVERY SPY EVER that’s in EVERY SPY MOVIE EVER) and find a double agent known simple as Satchel who is more than likely responsible for this whole mess.  Her only contact in the country is MI6 agent David Percival (James McAvoy) who’s gone DEEP undercover in the Berlin punk scene but has more knowledge of the country’s inner workings than anyone else.  Of course, nothing is as simple as it seems as there’s a French agent rather conspicuously following them around (Sofia Boutella), there’s like five different German/Nazi dudes who hate punk music trying to find her, and she keeps getting stymied at every turn presumably to the machinations of that darn double agent!  Will Lorraine find this list that could CHANGE THE TIDE OF THE WAR before it falls into the wrong hands?  Who is this mysterious double agent, and could they be closer than she dares to believe?  How is it that all the hired goons keep finding her so easily!?  Is it the hair?  It’s probably the hair.


“All natural.”     “Oh you are SO full of crap!”

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Cinema Dispatch: Kubo and the Two Strings


Kubo and the Two Strings and all the images you see in this review are owned by Focus Features

Directed by Travis Knight

While Disney and Dreamworks are constantly fighting over dominance for CG animated features, studios like Aardman and Laika are still making an argument for more traditional forms of animation with films like Paranorman and The Pirates.  Now we’ve got this movie which hopes to stand alongside some of the bigger hits this summer like Finding Dory and The Secret Life of Pets while also finding a spot in theaters just as the latter is starting to leave and Pete’s Dragon is under performing.  Can the latest Laika creation not only manage to be an excellent film but be the big hit to end the summer with, or is this movie all style and no substance?  Let’s find out!!

The movie follows young Kubo (Art Parkinson) who’s living with his mother in a cave that’s within walking distance of a nearby village.  Why are they living there?  Well apparently Kubo’s mother is the daughter of some super powerful dude known as the Moon King (Ralph Fiennes) who can do… stuff.  Okay, I’m not sure what his powers are, but he ripped out one of Kubo’s eyes when he was an infant, and his mother just barely managed to get away with him; though at a severe price as she was injured during the escape and now suffers from memory loss.  That only leaves Kubo to take care of her (though I’m not sure how they survived long enough for him to be able to do that) and he makes money by using his magic powers to put on fantastic origami shows for the people of the village.  Seriously, Kubo’s got some badass magic powers that he’s able to conjure up with his Shamisen which can put on very elaborate stop-motion performances by Origami dolls, and you’d think that powers like this would either earn him enough to move his mom into a nice home or would brand him as a witch.  Still, things seems to be going well as Kubo goes about his day to day life busking for coins on the sidewalk, when he stays out too late one night which gives the Moon King a chance to find him (I guess that guy can see everything at night) and sends out his daughters, who are also Kubo’s aunts (Rooney Mara), to find him.  Kubo’s mother however manages to find him first and uses her remaining magic to send him off somewhere else while also bringing a charm to life in the form of a monkey (Charlize Theron) because apparently Kubo’s mother can do that.  From there, we’ve got a whole lot more exposition as apparently the monkey knows what Kubo needs to do next and the end up finding a Beetle Samurai (Matthew McConaughey) to tag along on their adventure.  Can Kubo stop his evil grandfather and save his mother?  How exactly does this monkey know all this stuff if it’s only been alive for like a day or so? Most importantly, how many MacGuffins do they plan to stick in this movie!?


“We have to find the sacred armor that was created by your father that can protect you from the Moon King so that-“     “YOU’RE A TALKING MONKEY!!”     “…yes.  Did you hear what I said?”     “We need to find some stuff?”     “Good enough.  Let’s go.”

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