Cinema Dispatch: Like a Boss

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Like a Boss and all the images you see in this review are owned by Paramount Pictures

Directed by Miguel Arteta

Now that I think of it, have I really liked ANY of Tiffany Haddish’s movies?  I’ve reviewed most of them by now, and outside of The Kitchen and MAYBE Keanu, her movies are mostly meh or worse which is a pattern that certainly doesn’t bode well for this film.  Then again, she’s never the reason why those movies are bad and is often the complete opposite!  She’s someone who can make a terrible film tolerable and a mediocre one a delight which goes to show how strong of a performer she is even if she’s not the most adept at picking scripts.  In any case, is this latest entry in the Tiffany Haddish oeuvre worthy of her talents, or is she stuck shouldering the weight of another lousy movie along with every other talented person that was roped into this?  Let’s find out!!

Mia Carter and Mel Paige (Tiffany Haddish and Rose Byrne) are best friends and co-owners of a beauty store that they opened together; Mel & Mia’s!  They have good employees like Sydney and Barett (Jennifer Coolidge and Billy Porter), they have great friends they hang out with (Ari Graynor, Natasha Rothwell and Jessica St Clair), and aside from being in quite a bit of debt at the moment, they’re their own bosses and are living the American Dream!  Things couldn’t get any better for them, EXCEPT THEY DO!  A big makeup conglomerate owner named Claire Luna (Salma Hayek) has taken interest in their little shop and she is offering to clear their debts AND let them retain fifty-one percent of the company once it merges with Luna’s!  Sounds like a sweetheart deal to me, but Mia is skeptical of such a good deal and she turns out to be right as Luna is hatching an EVIL scheme to screw them out of their company!  There’s a clause in the contract that if either one of them quit their job that Luna would be the one to take over, so as long as Luna finds a way to break these two best friends up, she will be able to cut them out; leaving them with a mere… forty-nine percent of a company that Luna hopes to make millions off of.  Okay… seems like an awful long way to go to make a fraction more money and to NOT use the experience and expertise of these women who got on her radar in the first place because of their good ideas, but whatever floats her boat I suppose.  Can Mia and Mel weather the storm that Luna will be putting in their path and come out he other side still friends?  What will these trials reveal about these two and has their friendship always been as strong as they claim it to be.  How will they survive if they fail this challenge are left with no debt and a huge amount of money anyway!?

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“We’ve got to stop wasting the caviar!  When you’re done with it, put it in the fridge!”     “You’re not my mom!”

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Cinema Dispatch: Sleight

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Sleight and all the images you see in this review are owned by WWE Studios, BH Tilt, High Top Releasing, and Universal Pictures

Directed by JD Dillard

If I ever decide to write a screenplay, I have two ideas.  One of them I’m still gonna keep to myself, but the other was a fake-documentary about a street magician who ACTUALLY had magic powers.  I hadn’t really thought of it past that point (no idea what the conflict would be), but when I saw the trailer to Sleight it looked like someone had made a much better version of my idea and I couldn’t wait to see it.  That kind of magic (or should I say MAGIC!) has always been of great interest to me, whether it’s Penn & Teller’s unique brand of magic comedy, the soft spot I have for at least the second Now You See Me movie, or even Zatanna from DC Comics who is one of my favorite super heroes of all time.  Mixing that with a sort of low key X-Men origin story seemed like the kind of movie that would easily be one of my favorites of the year, and that’s saying something considering how good the movies have been so far!  Does this manage to exceed my expectations as a pseudo-superhero movie with card tricks and drug dealers, or does this all devolve into a mess of poorly thought out ideas and wasted potential?  Let’s find out!!

The movie follows the adventures of Bo (Jacob Latimore); a mild mannered young man with a little sister Tina (Storm Reid), a penchant for magic tricks, and a side job selling drugs to keep a roof over their heads.  Now that last thing might sound rather risky to be doing, even if he doesn’t have much of a choice (both his parents are dead), but then again… who else would be better at hiding drugs than a master of sleight of hand!?  Well I can think of at least ONE kind of person who’d be better!  A master of sleight of hand who ALSO has super powers!  Now he doesn’t make his powers obvious, but he clearly is using some sort of subtle manipulation of objects around him that no actual magician would have, so on top of being bad ass with a deck of cards he can ALSO avoid police suspicion with the way he can hide his products.  This has led to him being a rather good dealer which is good news for his supplier Angelo (Dulé Hill) who wants to bring Bo deeper into his organization.  On top of dealing with that and his kid sister, he also manages to meet a nice girl named Holly (Seychelle Gabriel) who he wants to be there for as well but Angelo pulling him closer keeps pushing him further away from them.  Eventually things come to a head with Angelo and Bo has to find a way to get out from under his thumb once and for all, even if it means doing something he’s never wanted to do with the gifts he’s been given.  Will BO be able to protect everyone he loves before Angelo takes everything away from him?  What exactly is the nature of his powers and how did he get them?  I wonder what his magician name would be.  Bo the Benevolent?

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“With great power comes great responsibility.  Now what Spider-Man never got is that that responsibility can take many forms!  He chose to save people, which is nice, but not for me.  Instead, I’ve decided to BLOW THEIR MINDS!!”

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Cinema Dispatch: Collateral Beauty

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Collateral Beauty and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures

Directed by David Frankel

Is it that time again for Will Smith to try and win that Oscar he’s been so desperately seeking for some time now!?  Hey, since DiCaprio got his we need another underdog to root for, and Will Smith is as good a candidate as any.  Well… except that HIS Oscar bait films tend to be stuff like Concussion where he’s a boring scientist while Leo jumped off mountains and did massive amounts of drugs trying to get his.  This movie, just from the awkward title, doesn’t inspire much hope that The Fresh Prince is ready to put himself out there in something fun and risky to win his Academy Award, but then maybe this movie doesn’t need any of that and is a truly moving film in its own right.  We can only hope…

The movie begins with Howard (Will Smith) and Whit (Edward Norton) as two best buddies as the heads of some advertising company that seems to get motivational Howard Speeches on a daily basis.  That is… until the tragedy.  We jump straight to three years later where Howard has gone from The Fresh to Hancock (well… Hancock without the fun) and is now spending his days building up elaborate domino sets instead of working.  Not only that, but he’s so preoccupied with the grief of what happened (it doesn’t take long before we find out his daughter died) that he’s letting the company gone down the tubes financially and can’t even be bothered to sign the company over to Whit as well as Simon (Michael Peña) and Claire (Kate Winslet) who could save the company if Howard would just give them the authority to do so, though I’m not sure what the law is about letting someone literally sit on his ass all day while all his employees are left to watch things crumble.  Eventually, our trio of good buddies decide that Howard needs to either lose his fucking mind or get better (it’s never quite clear which one they’re going for) and decide to Christmas Carol his ass using actors (Keira Knightley, Jacob Latimore, and Helen Mirren) who will play Love, Time, and Death; all three of which are concepts that Howard has been writing letters to as a way of expressing his internal frustration and rage.  Will this strange plan to convince Howard he’s seeing his delusions come to life make him deal with his problems, or drive him further into his unhealthy state of mind?  Will he eventually seek help from a local support group led by Madeleine (Naomie Harris) which seems like a less risky way for him to deal with his daughter’s death?  Seriously, isn’t there like a MILLION ways this plan could go horribly wrong!?

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“Without love in your life, you couldn’t even appreciate the time you had with her, and-”     “Oh!  I see you have a guest!  What will she have?”     “Wait, you can see her!?  She can see you!?”     “Uh…”

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