Cinema Dispatch: Top Gun: Maverick

Top Gun: Maverick and all the images you see in this review are owned by Paramount Pictures

Directed by Joseph Kosinski

It’s true that I’m getting to this one pretty late, but it’s also true that the darn thing is still the biggest movie at the moment so I guess I can still call this review somewhat relevant. I guess it’s no surprise that one of the most enduring classics of the eighties finally getting the sequel everyone always wanted would hit like a meteor full of money, but it’s still pretty surprising just how much this has eclipsed everything else around it. Even MCU movies which are supposedly so ubiquitous that we should all be sick of them don’t manage to have the kind of staying power that this movie has! So what is the secret formula that turned this into a license to print money? Is it actually as good as its box office would suggest, or has nostalgia once again suckered us all into giving money to a movie that was better off being remembered than revived? Let’s find out!!

Captain Pete Mitchell, better known as Maverick (Tom Cruise), has been bumming around the Navy since the glory days of Eddie Money and Leisure suits, and it’s landed him a gig as a test pilot for experimental aircraft. Of course, Maverick being Maverick, he manages to screw that up by ticking off Admiral Ed Harris and is only saved from a dishonorable discharge by his old friend Admiral Tom Kazansky who was once known as Iceman (Val Kilmer). Instead, he gets sent to teach the next generation of hot shot pilots which just so happens to include Lt. Bradley Bradshaw (Miles Teller), the son of Goose who died while flying with Maverick back in the first movie. His assignment, should he choose to accept it, is to get these Millennials in tip-top fighting shape for a ridiculously complicated and ludicrously dangerous bombing run to destroy a uranium enrichment facility, and there’s no one better than Maverick for making the impossible merely improbable! Can Maverick finally put his ego in check and be the teacher that these pilots need? What happened between him and Bradley that left him feeling so bitter, and is this Maverick’s last chance to make things right? Was waiting nearly forty years to make a sequel just a flex on Tom Cruise’s part to show how little he’s aged since then?

“Just hang tight and we’ll be done before you know it.”     “How long until we’re over Macho Grande?”     “Son, I don’t think we’ll ever get over Macho Grande…”     “Was than an Airplane 2 reference? Seriously, how old is this guy!?”
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Cinema Dispatch: Sicario: Day of the Soldado

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Sicario: Day of the Soldado and all the images you see in this review are owned by Columbia Pictures

Directed by Stefano Sollima

You know what I thought when I got out of the first movie?  This is PRIME material for a franchise!  Yeah, the first Sicario was a dark journey through the worst aspects of the War on Drugs which felt REALLY complete as a story, but after it made a boat load at the box office the studio couldn’t help itself from squeezing as much money out of this cash cow as they could which HOPEFULLY means we’ll get a crossover with The Fast and the Furious franchise, but until then we’ll have to get stuck with more straightforward entries of vastly diminishing returns.  Okay, that’s a little unfair.  After all, it’s not like you COULDN’T make another movie with this cast, and the premise seems like a great starting point to bring up issues surrounding immigration and border patrol that have only become more exacerbated since the last film came out!  Wishful thinking I suppose, but you’ve gotta have SOME amount of hope, right!?  Will this be a great and topical sequel to an already fantastic movie, or was this project doomed long before it had a chance to say something important about our current political climate?  Let’s find out!!

Following the events of the first film, Matt Graver and Alejandro Gillick (Josh Brolin and Bencio del Toro) seem to have parted ways at least for the time being as the former is still running operations at the border while the latter is waiting for another chance to hit hard against the Cartel.  The good news is that such an opportunity has presented itself and will lead to their most drastic and bloody mission yet!  The bad news though is that said chance only happened because terrorist blew up a grocery store in Kansas City where at least one of them seems to have gotten into the country illegally from the border (ugh…) and might have even gotten a bit of help from the Cartel.  With a blank check from the government to mess things up in Mexico, Matt decides to kidnap the daughter of one of the Cartel bosses down there (Isabela Moner)  and then blame it on one of the other Cartel bosses; causing a civil war within the country that will decimate their stranglehold on the area.  Things SORT of go off without a hitch, but once it’s time for them to return the girl under the guise of “finding her” across the border, things go sideways as Matt and Alejandro’s crew is ambushed and the girl runs off into the desert.  Alejandro goes for the girl while Matt and the rest head back to base in Texas, but all is well as the ambush has made things more complicated than they should be and it’ll be that much harder for Matt and Alejandro to find a way to resolve this without stabbing each other, the US government, or anyone else, directly in the back.  Can Alejandro not only find this girl but find a way to keep her safe from those who wish her harm?  Just how far will Matt go for Alejandro, and will he be forced to choose between his friend and his duty?  Wait, how are we supposed to be rooting for these guys now!?  You SAW what they did in the last film, right!?

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“BANG-BANG-BANG-BANG-BANG-BANG-BANG-BANG-BANG!!”

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Cinema Dispatch: Blockers

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

Directed by Kay Cannon

Blockers?  Seriously?  We’re all PRETENDING that’s what the movie is called!?  IT’S COCK BLOCKERS!  They’re not even being subtle about it considering THEY PUT A ROOSTER ON THE POSTER!!  I don’t know why, but the first time I saw the trailer and the subsequent poster for it, this one aspect REALLY annoyed me and I ended up feeling rather down on the trailer overall.  What, John Cena’s gonna try to sell us on him being a comedy star by shoving stuff up his butt?  Been there, done that!  Sure they had Leslie Mann and Ike Barinholtz on hand to steady the ship and keep things on track, but I didn’t really see much to this movie that I hadn’t seen in a hundred other comedies before it.  In the last week or so however, the early buzz for this movie started to get REALLY strong and people were praising it all over the place!  Is there a chance that I was WRONG about this movie!?  BUT THAT’S IMPOSSIBLE!!  You all come to read this because I’m ALWAYS RIGHT ABOUT EVERYTHING, right!?  Well I guess we’ll have to see if my skills at predicting movies based on trailers are top notch or if Universal was merely doing a bad job of selling a gem they had on their hands.  Does this film live up to the hype, or was I right all along!?  Let’s find out!!

Kayla, Julie, and Sam (Geraldine Viswanathan, Kathryn Newton, and Gideon Adlon) are the high school seniors who are ready to finally graduate but not before going to their prom which is the biggest day in a young teenager’s life, at least according to this movie.  I don’t know about you, but I brought a book to my prom instead of a date, so I guess I have trouble relating to that, but it’s made clear that this is a special night to THEM and they even decided that that will be the night they’ll lose their virginity!  One wants to do it then so that it would be a perfect night, another figures it’s as good a time as any to get it over with, and the last one is a closeted lesbian or wants to get in on the bonding experience and at least TRY to see if she’s maybe into the opposite sex before committing to the queer identity.  Too bad that their parents get wind of this idea and have decided to… block them from getting laid that night!  The parents in question include Kayla’s dad Mitchell (John Cena) as the super serious and incredibly dorky one, Julie’s mother Lisa (Leslie Mann) who’s a single parent and is afraid that her daughter is making a terrible mistake, and Sam’s father Hunter (Ike Barinholtz) who has his own reasons for going along with this that include wanting to reconnect with his daughter since he’s been more or less absent since he divorced her mother.  Will they be successful in stopping their daughters from having either the best night or the worst night of their lives?  What other issues have they all been hiding from that will be forced to the forefront in this wacky adventure?  Can John Cena properly atone for being in the god awful Mel Gibson movie!?

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“This is MUCH better than doing Daddy’s Home 3!!”

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