Tag Archives: Guillermo del Toro

Cinema Dispatch: Pacific Rim Uprising

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Pacific Rim Uprising and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures

Directed by Steven S DeKnight

Hey, remember when Pacific Rim was a thing?  Yeah, it REALLY feels like a long time ago at this point, doesn’t it?  I mean, it DID come out five years ago, but with The Shape of Water showing us what Guillermo del Toro is really capable of when he puts everything he’s got into a movie (and not just special effects),Pacific Rim is feeling more and more like an afterthought in his career.  That being said, it WAS a really well made movie with a great turn by Charlie Day as a befuddled super science, and it led to him and his co-star Burn Gorman teaming up again for one of the best episodes of It’s Always Sunny; Flowers for Charlie!  Now we’ve got a sequel that doesn’t have del Toro in the director’s chair and looks to be more of a big budgeted Transformers competitor instead of the more methodical and intense vibe of the first film which certainly isn’t a BAD direction to take the series in, but will they be able to pull it off?  Let’s find out!!

The movie takes place ten years after the events of the first film where Jake (John Boyega) who is the son of Idris Elba’s General Stacker Pentecost is NOT living up to his father’s legacy and is instead bumming around one of the many cities that were more or less abandoned after being hit by a Kaiju attack.  Jake doesn’t like to play by the rules and would rather spending his time ripping parts out of retired giant robots known as Jaegers than to join the Pan Pacific Defense Corps (PPDC) and continue his father’s legacy while also preparing for the next inevitable Kaiju attack.  Too bad for Jake though because he runs into a fellow street hustler named Amara (Cailee Spaeny) who’s made her own mini-Jaeger but is soon busted along with Jake for having an illegal robot which is a thing now I guess.  Anyway, Jake is faced with some serious jail time if he the cops throw the book at him, but his sister Mako (Rinko Kikuchi) who is a General in the PPDC offers him one more chance to set his life straight.  Join back up with the PPDC and train some new recruits which will include Amara whose impressive robot making skills has caught the PPDC’s attention.  So that’s it, right?  It’s basically Top Gun but with robots!  Well… not quite.  While this is going on, we ALSO have to worry about the PPDC losing their favor with the rest of the world as a tech company led up by Liwen Shao (Jing Tian) has developed Jaeger drones that can be piloted by ONE person instead of two, and can do so remotely which will pilots from having to climb into the robots themselves.  Seems like a good idea, but if you know ANYTHING about sci-fi movies, there’s always some unforeseen consequences to overly mechanizing jobs that humans are also doing; ESPECIALLY jobs which involve deadly weapons!  Not only that, but while this squabble is taking place, there are hints here and there that the Kaiju may be returning sooner than they all think!  Can the PPDC and the Shao Corporation come to an understanding before even bigger threats will tear them both apart?  Will Jake be able to finally stop running from his TORTURED BACKSTORY PAST (mostly involving Daddy Issues) in order to succeed in the one place where he truly belongs?  Any chance we can just forget about that Power Rangers movie and just let the filmmakers behind this make one that’s ACTUALLY good?

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“IT’S MORPHING TIME!!”     “The heck it is!  No way I’m wearing spandex in this thing!”

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Cinema Dispatch: The Shape of Water

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The Shape of Water and all the images you see in this review are owned by Fox Searchlight Pictures

Directed by Guillermo del Toro

Did it REALLY have to take this long for the darn film to show up in a theater remotely close to me!?  While EVERY OTHER film critic in the world got to check this out a few weeks ago, I’ve been sitting here on pins and needles; waiting for the studio to begrudgingly bring this film to the wider masses.  There have been a few movies that I’ve been looking forward to quite a bit as we were heading into Award Season, and at the top of the list was this freaky looking cross between Beauty and the Beast and The Creature from the Black Lagoon from one of the best genre filmmakers out there.  With only slightly waned excitement due to its slow rollout to general audiences, does this manage to live up to the high expectations set up not only by the wonderful looking trailers but by the ceaseless buzz from every other film critic on the planet BESIDES me, or was this a huge misstep that we’re all gonna look back on with less than favorable feelings once the hype has settled down?  Let’s find out!!

The movie begins with Eliza Esposito (Sally Hawkins) who’s one of many janitors in a SUPER SECRET SCIENCE FACILITY that’s somewhere in Baltimore which presumably has REALLY specific NDA agreements as the place has been known to house strange and unusual specimens.  The latest of said specimens turns out to be some sort of Freaky Fish Guy (Doug Jones) who was captured and dragged out of the Amazon Forest by Colonel Richard Strickland (Michael Shannon).  Said Colonel is now head of security in the SUPER SECRET SCIENCE FACILITY, at least until the government can figure out what to do with the Freaky Fish Guy, and both Eliza and her friend Zelda (Octavia Spencer) are stuck cleaning the room that the creature is housed in.  Eliza immediately takes a liking to said creature and the two of them begin an unlikely friendship as Eliza’s mastery of American Sign Language (which she learned due to her being mute) as well as her awesome record collection give the two of them a way to communicate and something to bond over.  Colonel Strickland on the other hand is less inclined to get friendly with the Freaky Fish Guy, preferring to use a cattle prod to get the creature in line, and eventually is dead set on dissecting it before it gets any funny ideas.  Eliza, along with her neighbor Giles (Richard Jenkins) hatch a plan to try and save him as does the mysterious Dr Hoffstetler (Michael Stuhlbarg) who has his own reasons for wanting the creature to be kept alive.  Will Elisa be able to protect the Freaky Fish Guy from having his internal organs removed and put into labeled jars?  What is Dr Hoffstetler REALLY up to, and how will Colonel Strickland react once he finds out that his own staff is working against him?  Seriously, who can look at that Freaky Fish Guy and NOT immediately fall in love with him!?

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Cinema Dispatch: Crimson Peak

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Crimson Peak and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures

Directed by Guillermo del Toro

Well at least SOMEONE decided to release a horror movie in October!  Seriously, why don’t we get horror movies during Spooky Month anymore?  Is it too obvious or something?  Well NOTHING’S too obvious for good old Guillermo Del Toro who’s bringing us a good old late Victorian era Haunted House feature that might as well come straight from Hammer Studios!  Can his Spook House thriller bring some life back to the genre which has been surviving off of found footage scraps for years now, or is he going to indulge way too much in what he loves to see to the point that he ends up only appealing to a niche audience with his big budget feature?  Let’s find out!!

The movie is about Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska), an aspiring writer of ghost stories who’s having trouble getting her magnum opus published.  Despite being the daughter of a rather wealthy contractor in New York city with plenty of connections, no one seems interested in selling a ghost story written by a female and would rather have her write some tween love story.  I guess ghosts are next on the list for Twilight-ification (if they haven’t been already) but Edith is not willing to compromise on her vision, especially because it comes from a very personal place.  Edith’s mother died when she was fairly young and a couple of days later she was visited by her ghosts.  Now it doesn’t seem like Edith has seen a ghost since then, but that night has stuck with her since then, especially considering that her Ghost Mom could see the future and warned her to be wary of CRIMSON PEAK!!  While struggling with this, her father is visited by a British Baronet named Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston) who’s trying to get her father to invest in his clay extraction machine while also getting moon eyes for the lovely Edith.  He’s not alone on his journey however and has come to America with his sister Lucille (Jessica Chastain) but all she seems interested in is standing off to the side and giving off bad vibes.  This doesn’t deter the budding romance between Edith and Thomas however and after some horrifying event befalls the young Edith, she leaves the United States and is whisked away by her knight in shining armor to be his bride.  Once at the family home though, it’s clear that there’s MUCH more going on than Thomas led on during their courtship which I think was about a month.  What secrets does the rickety manor have that Thomas and Lucille are trying to hide?  Will Edith’s power to see ghosts come in handy or be a curse that slowly drives her mad?  If we can’t have Silent Hills, is this at least a decent replacement!?

“THE POWER OF CHRIST COMPELS YOU!!”     “Yeah, that ain’t gonna work.”     “Ah hell…”

“THE POWER OF CHRIST COMPELS YOU!!”     “Yeah, that ain’t gonna work.”     “Ah hell…”

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