Tag Archives: Forest Whitaker

Cinema Dispatch: Sorry to Bother You

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Sorry to Bother You and all the images you see in this review are owned by Annapurna Pictures

Directed by Boots Riley

This is a great time of year because once the summer blockbuster season starts to wind down we start to get some really great stuff from the indie scene right before the Prestige Films and the Oscar Bait start to take over the multiplex.  Sure, August is normally considered a dumping ground for mediocre movies (I’m wary about Slenderman to say the least) but that’s more to do with the BIG releases rather than the harder to find stuff in the fancier theaters which is pretty much exactly what we have here today as I had to make a bit of a drive to catch this on the big screen.  Now I’ve been keeping my eye on this film since the trailers started to pop up due to its interesting style and oddly relatable premise, at least from what they were selling us on, and most importantly I could really use something other than super hero flicks and The Rock to fill out my GOOD MOVIES list for this year!  Does this bizarre little story manage to be just as good as I hoped it would be, or was I just too eager to find something new that there was no way it would live up to my expectations?  Wouldn’t be the first time this year (*cough* Thoroughbreds *cough*)!  Anyway, let’s find out!!

Cassius Green (Lakeith Stanfield) is a man just trying to survive day by day and constantly wondering if anything he does will ultimately matter in the grand scheme of things.  After all, once he dies and his theoretical children die and then THEIR theoretical children die, will there be ANYONE left to remember him or the fact that he just barely managed to get a job working as a telemarketer?  His girlfriend Detroit (Tessa Thompson) thinks he’s worrying too much about all that and she’s content to work on her art projects in between gigs as a sign flipper, but with the world slowly going to hell in a handbasket (a new company called WorryFree is basically reintroducing slavery by praying on the impoverished) it all just seems pointless unless he can REALLY start to make some money and find what it is that he’s good at.  As it turns out though, he has a knack for this telemarketing thing once he finds his “white voice” (David Cross) and is on the fast track to being a POWER CALLER which is basically doing the same thing only for more money and selling stuff other than encyclopedias.  However, his rise to the top has some roadblocks along the way as his fellow workers are staging a strike just as he’s about to make it as a POWER CALLER, and said promotion doesn’t come without its own problems and indignities that slowly start to tear at Cassius’s soul and creates a divide between him and Detroit.  Throw in some colorful characters like Squeeze the leader of the telemarketer’s strike (Steven Yeun), Steve Lift the CEO of WorryFree (Armie Hammer) who’s about as big of a douche bag as you’d imagine, and the mysterious Mr. ******* (Omari Hardwick) who represents the future that Cassius has waiting for him if he sticks it out at his new job for just a little bit longer.  Can Cassius find a way to use his talents for massive financial gain without losing his soul in the process?  Just what is WorryFree up to, and how does it connect to this Telemarketing Company as well as Cassius himself?  Is there like a hotline I can call that’ll explain this movie to me, because I feel like I STILL don’t have a clear grasp on what the heck was going on!

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“For plot summary and cast list, press 1.  For thematic elements and symbolism, press 2.  If you still haven’t come to terms with the horrors of Late Stage Capitalism, please stay on the line.”

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Super Recaps: The Twilight Zone (Dead Man’s Eyes)

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The Twilight Zone and all the images you see in this recap are owned by Warner Bros Television and based on the series created by Rod Serling

Episode directed by Jerry Levine

We’re back with another episode of The Twilight Zone from the early two-thousands; a show that was sadly too late to do a Y2K episode but at least took a few good shots at the Bush Administration in the second season, so stay tuned for that!  Before we get to THAT though, we’ve got a classic Whodunit story that has all the supernatural twist and turns you’d expect from a show that’s at least TRYING to imitate the majesty of Rod Serling’s creation!  Let’s get started!!

The episode begins with recent widow Laurel Janus (Portia de Rossi) watching as some dude named Stanley (Dion Luther) who killed her husband is being properly convicted for the crime and being sentenced to jail.  The good news is that the dude is definitely going to serve time, but the bad news (at least for Laurel) is that he won’t NECESSARILY get life and will CERTAINLY not get a needle in the arm; an unacceptable arrangement as her thirst for vengeance cannot be quenched with such a lightweight punishment!  She makes a ruckus about this, but the judge starts banging her gavel which means that no further discussion will be had and she storms out of the courtroom in a huff; clearly not finding the closure she was hoping for once the man who killed her husband was held responsible for such.  At the very least she gets the clothes her husband wore the night he died (I don’t know if the court DOES provide those, but if they did wouldn’t they provide them WAY before the trial?) and while sadly looking over her husband’s possessions, she ends up putting on his glasses when something WEIRD starts to happen!  Something that would only happen in a particular ZONE that we are all quite familiar with!  It turns out that when she puts on the glasses (and then after about ten seconds of load time), she starts to see the world through the eyes of her husband Nick (William DeVry)!  How intriguing!!

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“AVENGE ME!!”     “But the guy’s already in jail!”     “oh.  Don’t forget to return my videos to Blockbuster!!”

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Super Recaps: The Twilight Zone (Shades of Guilt)

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The Twilight Zone and all the images you see in this recap are owned by Warner Bros Television and based on the series created by Rod Serling

Episode directed by Perry Lang

You know, it’s kind of funny that Jordan Peele is gonna be doing a new Twilight Zone series considering todays episode is like a really crappy version of Get Out made by SEEMINGLY well-meaning white people who didn’t know what the heck they were doing. Yes, this is gonna be less of a modern classic or even a genuinely good piece of early 2000s fluff; rather, we’re dealing with one of the more dated episodes in the series that fall somewhere between hilariously misguided and utterly cringe worthy. Strap in folks, because things are about to get uncomfortable!

The episode begins with exceeding average white dude Matt McGreevey (Vincent Ventresca) driving home from work in the pouring rain… on the emptiest street imaginable… when all of a sudden a black man (Hill Harper) starts banging on his window begging for help. Matt IMMEDIATELY locks the door and guns the engine to get away from the guy, and in his rear view mirror he sees a bunch of racist (and murderous) assholes beat the dude to death while he just keeps on driving! Oh, but he didn’t get away as clean as he thought, because Forest Whitaker saw his ass drive off like a Jabroni, and I’m sure he’s got a REAL sweet ironic fate waiting for him… IN THE TWILIGHT ZONE!!

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“I’m sure there’s a side to this that I’m not seeing. It’s best not to get involved…” “THEY’RE GONNA KILL ME!!” “That could be metaphorical…” “IT’S NOT!!”

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Cinema Dispatch: Black Panther

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Black Panther and all the images you see in this review are owned by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Directed by Ryan Coogler

It’s time once again for the Marvel Money Machine to give us all yet another excuse to give Disney ten more dollars of our hard earned cash to people with super powers in profoundly silly costumes punch each other between humorous quips and callbacks to previous films!  The sooner we declare Marvel release dates to be national holidays the better off we’ll all be (who DOESN’T like getting a Friday off!?), but until then the film critics must continue to go to the multiplexes, sit for two and a half hours as the lights and sounds dazzle our senses, and then tell you what you already know; namely that these are still good and that you’ll spend your money on it no matter what!  Now as cynical as this never ending cycle of unimaginable profits can seem, it STILL manages to keep its head above water at least with critics by having that one thing that many other blockbuster franchises DON’T have.  What was it?  Oh right!  Talent.  With pretty much every one of these films, Disney went the extra mile of hiring talented and sought after filmmakers to play around with their billion dollar toys, and so far we’ve had a near perfect success rate!  Okay, Jon Favreau didn’t QUITE capture lightening in a bottle twice with Iron Man 2 and there was the whole Ant-Man debacle with Edgar Wright, but for the most part they’ve had a good eye for picking out talent; especially considering they got Ryan Coogler of Fruitvale Station and Creed fame to start his blockbuster career with them.  Will this be a monumental addition to an already astronomically successful franchise, or… well okay, there’s no chance this is gonna be BAD, but will it be… MEDIOCRE!?  Let’s find out!!

The movie begins not long after Captain America: Civil War (so… presumably BEFORE Spider-Man Homecoming?) where T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) is returning home to Wakanda to be crowned king after the death of his father T’Chaka (John Kani).  Here, we all the important people in his life including his mother (Angela Bassett), his sister Shuri (Letitia Wright), his top general and most dependable ass kicker Okoye (Danai Gurira), and an accomplished spy for the Wakandan military Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) who also happens to be his ex-girlfriend.  Anyway, we spend some time with T’Challa as he’s getting used to the heavy burden bestowed upon him, but he doesn’t have much time to adjust as Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis) from all the way back in Age of Ultron has resurfaced and is still on Wakanda’s shit list for stealing Vibranium like twenty years ago.  With this chance at capturing one of Wakanda’s greatest enemies, T’Challa suits up to take the mantel of Black Panther once more and even takes Okoye and Nakia for backup.  Things don’t go quite as planned however as the CIA operative from Civil War, Everett Ross (Martin Freeman) is onto Klaue as well, and Klaue seems to be working with a guy that REALLY has a grudge against Wakanda and is known simply as Killmonger  (Michael B Jordan).  Can T’Challa unravel the mysteries before him, and will he like the answers that he finds?  What are these ruthless villains planning that could endanger Wakanda and the rest of the world with it?  How exactly does he breathe in that thing if it doesn’t even have a mouth hole!?

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“IT’S SO MUGGY IN HERE!!”

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Cinema Dispatch: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and all the images you see in this review are owned by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Directed by Gareth Edwards

In what will surely be a yearly tradition until the day we all die, Disney has given us our holiday present in the form of another Star Wars movie.  We’re only at two so far which means they PROBABLY aren’t gonna start half-assing these just yet, and in fact this one seems to be willing to take a few more risks than what we would normally expect from franchise features like this.  Okay, the fact that it’s a one-time spin off means that they’re only so much damage this can do if it blows up in their faces, but the tone of the trailers and the nature of the story they’re telling at least inspires some hope that the franchise has gotten so big that they’re willing to let it take some chances.  Does this experiment in growing the series turn out to be a total success, or will this somehow be the worst prequel yet?  Okay, I kind of doubt that’s even possible, but you never know!

The movie begins a long time ago in a galaxy far far away where little Jyn Erso (Beau Gadsdon) has her life completely uprooted when her family is found by Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn) who is a high ranking member of the galactic empire.  Why did this guy hunt halfway around the galaxy for them?  Well it turns out that Jyn’s father Galen (Mads Mikkelsen) is an Empire scientist who defected and they need him back to finish some super weapon they’re working on.  The good news is that Jyn manages to escape the Empire with the help of a family friend Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker).  The bad news is that her mother (Valene Kane) got killed in the process and dear old dad got kidnapped.  Flash forward to sometime later where we meet grown up Jyn (Felicity Jones) who’s been rebellious youth-ing all around the galaxy and winds up at Rebel headquarters where they have a proposition for her.  Go with the rebel agent Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) to find her father and stop him from finishing the Death Star as he seems to be looking for a way out once again.  Okay, it’s not QUITE that simple, but that’s the basic idea of what they’re trying to do!  Anyway, they’ll point her in the right direction in the hopes that her skills and connections will kill two birds with one stone; she gets her dad back and they get to stop the Space Nuke from being completed.  Of course, nothing is as easy as it seems and there’s plenty of treachery to go around as the mission becomes only more difficult once the Empire get wind of what they might be up to.  Can Jyn save her farther before the Empire find out if he’s been undercutting their progress on the super weapon this entire time?  Does Cassian have a hidden agenda that he’s not telling Jyn about?  On a scale of one to Vader, how screwed are they?

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I think she’s got this!

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Cinema Dispatch: Arrival

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

Directed by Denis Villeneuve

Well this is another movie that just kind of snuck up on me.  Apparently we’re not supposed to know movies are coming out unless they’re part of a franchise or have talking animals in it.  The thing is that had I known about this more than a week before it came out, I probably would have gotten really excited to see it as it’s directed by the same guy who did Sicario which was one of my favorite movies of last year.  That, and hard sci-fi is usually an easy sell for me, so maybe it wouldn’t have hurt to throw this trailer in front of that new Independence Day movie or something.  Anyway, does this in-depth examination on the problems with communicating not only work as a scientific procedural but as a badass alien flick, or is all the moody imagery and themes about humanity’s inability to effectively talk to one another just a cover for a mediocre slog?  Let’s find out!!

The movie begins with a montage as we see Dr. Louise Banks (Amy Adams) give birth to her daughter Hannah and watch her grow up and die due to some sort of illness.  After that uplifting introduction, we see Dr. Banks go back to work (presumably some time has passed since the funeral) where she’s a professor of Linguistics at… some college.  Unfortunately, it JUST SO HAPPENS that aliens have started landing all over the planet in these giant spaceships that are referred to as Shells, but always looked like black contact lenses to me.  Because she’s so good at what she does, Colonel Weber (Forest Whitaker) brings her to one of the landing sites to see if she can help them understand the alien creatures inside.  Those two, along with Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner) who is a theoretical physicists need to work together to get these aliens talking or else the world governments, especially a Military leader in China General Shang (Tzi Ma), get too antsy about the shells just hanging around and start firing at them.  Can this rag tag group of smart people unlock the secrets inside of these spaceships and prevent humanity from destroying them and possibly themselves in the process?  Just what exactly do these aliens want, and why are they just hanging around instead of doing something productive?  Seriously, they mastered light speed travel, but they couldn’t figure out a way to communicate with the primitive species BEFORE parking their giant spaceships!?

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“So wait, we’ve only been able to access THIS part of the ship which is basically a stage for the aliens to walk past?”     “Yup.”     “Are you sure we’re not on some intergalactic prank show?”

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Super Recaps: The Twilight Zone (Evergreen)

The Twilight Zone and all the images you see in this recap are owned by Warner Bros Television and based on the series created by Rod Serling

Episode directed by Allen Kroeker

We’re back with another episode of Night Gallery.  Wait… that doesn’t sound right.  Oh well!  Now this episode we have right here, while being the sixth produced, was ACTUALLY the first one to air on television as opposed to the one hour pilot that got cut in half and pushed back.  Did this end up being the best episode for them to have started with, or was this just a mediocre filler episode that inexplicably got to be the first one out the door?  Let’s find out!!

The episode begins with the perfect middle class white family who are ironically called The Winslows (two parents and two daughters) as they drive up to the gates of the community they just moved into!  Right away it’s clear that something is up at Evergreen Estates considering how creepily friendly the gate man is, and the icy stare he gives to the older Winslow daughter (Amber Tamblyn) whose ambivalence towards everything is crystal clear.

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“I don’t play by society’s rules!  I shop at Hot Topic!”

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