Cinema Dispatch: Everything Everywhere All at Once

Everything Everywhere All at Once and all the images you see in this review are owned by A24

Directed by Dan Kwan & Daniel Scheinert

I heard a lot of good things about this movie going into it, but what really grabbed my attention was finding out that this was directed by The Daniels. Their previous film, Swiss Army Man, was a pretty fantastic little indie film (that I did a pretty poor job reviewing despite giving it a good score) and I’d always wondered what they had been up to since then. You probably don’t need me to tell you if this movie is good given how far-reaching the praise has been for it (and the fact that I’m reviewing it almost a month after its release), but maybe my little voice out there in the universe will ultimately make a difference for someone! Is this as great as everyone says it is, or will I be the bearer of bad news that’s about to rain on everyone’s parade? Let’s find out!!

Evelyn Wang (Michelle Yeoh) is not very happy with her life. She runs a laundromat with her husband Waymond (Ke Huy Quan), her father (James Hong) has health issues and needs to be taken care of, and her daughter Joy (Stephanie Hsu) is bugging her about something when all she wants to do is keep everything from falling into chaos. Throwing a wrench into her plan is the IRS who is auditing her business, and the agent assigned to her case (Jamie Lee Curtis) is not exactly the most amenable to her stressful situation. Sometimes you just have to wonder where things went wrong and if there’s a better version of you out there. Fortunately for Evelyn though, she gets an answer to that question when her husband starts acting very weird and tells her to wear these wireless earpieces that end up sending her to alternate dimensions. It turns out that Evelyn may just be the key to solving some sort of inter-dimensional timey-wimey nonsense and that her husband is being controlled by a parallel version of him from the Alpha-verse that is able to hop dimensions and is searching for a way to stop a terrible threat that is about to shatter all of existence. Sort of a lot to drop on someone already struggling to make it through the day, but when the alternative is talking to someone at the IRS, it’s pretty easy to figure out which is the better option! Evelyn has to find the strength within her and put everything she holds dear on the line in order to save the future (or something like that), but can she juggle the problems of multiple versions of her life when she’s struggling just to deal with the one she’s got? What is this all-powerful threat that Evelyn needs to face, and is Alpha Waymond keeping some very important secrets from her? Can you apply deductions from businesses in an alternate reality, or do you need separate filings for each parallel universe?

“This may be a bit hard to believe.” “Let me guess. You’re from the planet Mars and the stream deck you tried to write off was for parts to rebuild your spaceship?” “I mean, you’re not TOO far off.”
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Cinema Dispatch: Halloween Kills

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

Directed by David Gordon Green

It looks like the only thing that could stop Michael Myers was a global Pandemic as this was supposed to come out last Halloween, but I guess any October is a good time to release a new installment of this series.  The 2018 film was a breath of fresh air in a franchise that went off the rails in several different ways, but the ending left me rather cold as it was clearly there to make room for a sequel instead of giving us a definitive end to the story.  Now that sequel is here so it’s time to find out if it was worth undercutting the dramatic conclusion to the last film to get one more story out of this new continuity.  Is this the proper conclusion we were hoping to get in the last movie, or should they have ended the series then and there?  Lets’ find out!!

Continuing where the last movie left off, Laurie Strode along with her daughter and granddaughter Karen and Allyson (Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, and Andi Matichak) are speeding away from her burning house with Michael Myers (James Judy Courtney and Nick Castle) trapped inside; a plan that seemed dubious when we saw it three years ago and now we can see exactly why as Michael manages to survive the fire and kills a bunch of firefighters in the process.  Over the course of the evening, it becomes clear to the whole town of Haddonfield that Michael Myers is still on the loose and wreaking havoc wherever he goes, so it’s up to the people of that town including a fully grown Tommy Doyle (Anthony Michael Hall) to lead the charge and put an end to this murder once and for all!  While all this is going on, Laurie is in the hospital recovering from Michael’s attack and Karen is doing what she can to keep her family together despite Allyson being in the throes of grief and seeking revenge wherever she can find it.  Can this town put an end to this shadow that has been hanging over them since that fateful night in 1978?  What will it take to put Michael down once and for all, and is it something that can be done without losing more lives and perhaps even the soul of this town?  Seriously, Laurie.  You couldn’t put two in the head for good measure before lighting the house on fire?  Heck, you could have at least thrown a bit of gasoline on him!

If we don’t learn that Michael is actually a Highlander, I’m gonna start questioning the seriousness of this series!
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Cinema Dispatch: Trailer Talk (Halloween Kills)

Halloween Kills is owned by Universal Pictures and all the images you see in this trailer talk are the property of their respective owners

The Halloween sequel from 2018 (which was actually the THIRD sequel to the original  movie; fourth if you count the sequel to the Rob Zombie reboot) had a VERY clear path to a sequel which I thought was to its detriment.  For me, finishing off the series, at least as far as Jamie Lee Curtis’s involvement with it, in one final definitive perfect movie would have been preferable to… well pretty much what they did the LAST time they brought Jamie Lee Curtis back.  In H20, she definitively killed Michael Myers and ended the nightmare, but then they made a sequel to bring him back and it was the worst Halloween film; yes, even worse than either cut of Curse.  Well despite my protestations, Universal and Blum House are going ahead with the sequel and we have our first trailer to check out.  Let’s see what they’ve got for us aside from a very awkward title!

Now it’s hard to say how any of it will work until we see the movie, but what’s interesting is that they are pretty much following the ORIGINAL sequel formula which is to have it take place on the same night after Laurie is taken to the hospital and have most of the action take place there.  They sort of did that at the start of Rob Zombie’s Halloween II as a misdirection before jumping ahead to several months later, but here they seem to be playing it fairly straight which COULD work I suppose, but so much of this trailer feels like retreading what we saw in the last movie.  Laurie is determined to kill Michael Myers, the cops are completely ineffectual, and somehow Michael manages to find the rest of Laurie’s family.  There also seems to be a shift in Laurie’s character based on the dialogue in this trailer which is raising some red flags for me as well.  In the last movie she was the only one who REALLY understood Michael, not as a fascinating glimpse into the human psyche like the podcasters or Dr. Sartain and not as a mere annoyance to be dealt with like the Sherriff, but as a mere mortal who is capable of great evil.  Her references to him being THE BOOGEYMAN as a coy put down of the myth people want to build up around him is also a defense mechanism to try and keep herself above everyone else and therefore justify her survivalist lifestyle.  Here, she’s talking about how each kill makes Michael grow stronger; like he’s a freaking Highlander.  Perhaps the lines are worded differently in the final film, but it feels like we’re going down the same road that the latter sequels did in making Michael more than he actually is.

“You ever see his eyes? They’re black eyes… soulless eyes, like a doll’s eyes…” “I mean he does wear a mask.” “THAT’S NOT THE POINT!!”
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Cinema Dispatch: Knives Out

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Knives Out and all the images you see in this review are owned by Lionsgate

Directed by Rian Johnson

I gotta tell you, I was in LOVE with this movie from the very first trailer!  Seeing great actors like Michale Shannon, Toni Collette, and Daniel Craig, on screen with Captain America in a movie from the Last Jedi guy, AND it’s a juicy as heck murder mystery?  What more could one person ask for!?  Even with the best of trailers however, there’s always a possibility that what we saw was a cleaned up version of the best bits while the finished product is a compromised and messy waste of time; the Suicide Squad approach if you will.  Can Rian Johnson prove once again how great of a filmmaker he is despite how… “controversial” his last film was, or is this just more fuel to the fire for the more obnoxious anti-fans of The Last Jedi?  Let’s find out!!

The morning after the eighty-fifth birthday of famed mystery novelist Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer), he is found dead by his nurse Marta Cabrera (Ana De Anmas) with this throat slashed open by a knife, and because of his massive wealth and greedy family members it only makes sense to investigate things a bit further despite it looking like a suicide.  Not only that, famed detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) with his rich southern accent was brought in to investigate by a mysterious correspondent who sent him no identifying information but a wad of cash to find out if there was foul play or not.  His entire family was in attendance the night before and most of them stayed the night in the giant and ridiculously furnished mansion complete with a giant display of knives that looks like a rejected Game of Thrones prop, so there was plenty of opportunity for someone to get the drop on him and possibly make it look like a suicide.  The suspects include his children Linda and Walt (Jamie Lee Curtis and Michael Shannon), his children in-law Richard and Joni (Don Johnson and Toni Collette), and his grandchildren Hugh, Meg, and Jacob (Chirs Evans, Katherine Langford, and Jaeden Martell); all of whom are bizarre in their own way, but hardly seem to be the types to kill unless VERY highly motivated.  The key here is not finding the right method or the most capable suspect, but who had the most REASON to kill, and chance are it has to do with money as Harlan seems to have upset quite a few people at the party last night, though everyone is staying rather tight lipped about it.  Can Detective Blanc find the truth among all the lies, misdirection, and self-serving half-truths?  Which member of this eclectic family has the most to gain now that Harlan is gone, and who has the most to hide?  Is the big twist at the end that Detective Blanc was ACTUALLY Joe Bang in disguise this entire time!?

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“There was a time where I thought cracking bank vaults would solve all my problems.  Then I realized that my true passion was in cracking cases.  And also cracking bank vaults.  That’s just fun!”

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Jumping the Soapbox: The Lost Adventures of Michael Myers

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With the release of a new Halloween movie that’s getting everyone reinvested in the franchise, it seems like the right time for me to really dive into something I’ve always been curious about but never found much information on; namely the Halloween Novels!  Yes, there were three books written about Michael Meyers that weren’t adaptations of the movies, and what’s probably the most interesting thing about them is that, outside of co-creator Debra Hill, they are the only official Halloween media I can find that was created by a woman.  Now I don’t this to come off as diminishing Debra Hill’s SIGNIFICANT contributions to the franchise (not to mention Jamie Lee Curtis as well as Danielle Harris who played Jamie Lloyd) but the director’s chair as well as writing duties outside of the first two films have ALL been held by men, so it feels at least SOMEWHAT significant that between 1997 and 1998 Kelly O’Rourke was tapped to write The Scream Factory, The Old Myers Place, and The Mad House; all three starring the one and only original slasher villain and all three are EXTREMELY hard to find!  No seriously, if you want to read these you’re gonna have to drop some serious cash as listings go in the hundreds and none of them are available in any digital format.

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Sadly this means that actually READING them is pretty much a no go, but we at can gleam a few details from a few sources out there with the best I’ve managed to find being Lair of Horror which has a really good amount of information about each of the books, so let’s look at them one by one!

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Cinema Dispatch: Halloween

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

Directed by David Gordon Green

It’s finally judgement day for the movie that certainly has a lot of hype behind it, but has left me rather skeptical.  I mean look, I love the franchise but the last three movies were two wild as heck romps through the mind of Rob Zombie and a karate match with Busta Rhymes, so even if this isn’t all that great it still has a PRETTY low bar to clear as far as making a faithful return to the original formual.  That’s not what we want though, right?  That’s not what’s been promised to us!  John Carpenter is producing, Jamie Lee Curtis is back, and they even managed to get one of the original Michael Myers actors to return to the role!  This isn’t just A Halloween sequel, this is going to be THE Halloween sequel; even more so than the one Carpenter and Debra Hill wrote!  The expectations surrounding this movie is absurdly high which means we’re either gonna see something just as great as everyone promised it would be… or we’ll have another Texas Chainsaw 3D situation where it was all hype and zero payoff.  Can Jamie Lee Curtis and company give this franchise the proper sendoff it deserves, or were we better off just letting H20 be the final entry in her story and just pretending that Resurrection didn’t exist?  Let’s find out!!

Nearly forty years after that fateful Halloween night where Michael Myers (Nick Castle and James Jude Courtney) escaped and murdered five teenagers, Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) is still dealing with the scars that Michael left and has spent her whole life preparing for his return.  She got a place out in the woods to turn into a survivalist fortress, learned how to use all sorts of weapons, and just sat there waiting which she proceeded to do for four decades.  Admittedly a good idea if we want to see a badass battle to the death, but not so much when it comes to her daughter Karen (Judy Greer) who spent a good chunk of her childhood with Alternate Sarah Connor and just like John she got her ass hauled off by the state to be left with parents who will help her with her homework instead of teaching her thirty ways to sever a juggler.  All that’s in the past though, right?  Well Karen is certainly STILL in Haddonfield, but despite living within a short commute of her mother she still refuses to get involved with her, and now her own daughter Allyson (Andi Matichak) is in high school… just like Laurie was when Michael Myers came to town!  Well that CAN’T just be a coincidence, now can it!?  Sure enough, Michael escapes from Smith’s Grove Sanitarium just like he did in the first one and it just so happens to be Halloween night.  You’d think that if they were gonna transport him to another sanitarium that they wouldn’t do it on the anniversary of his TWO murder sprees (remember, he killed his sister on Halloween night when he was just a little boy), but I guess that wouldn’t fit in with their schedule and there was no room in the budget for another trip!  Now with Michael out in the streets of Haddonfield one more time, Laurie is determined to see him put in the ground once and for all and can finally rid herself of this nightmare that has plagued her for the last forty years!  Will Laurie be able to survive one more night against the silent killer in a goofy mask?  Was all this preparation worth the effort, or has she already lost more trying to protect everyone than she may lose tonight?  How many bad ass one liners do you think she came up with while training for this night?

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“Merry Christmas, Michael.  Wait… DAMN IT!  Forty years of practice and I STILL screwed it up!”

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Cinema Dispatch: Trailer Talk (Halloween)

HALLOWEENTTCD0Halloween is owned by Universal Pictures and all the images you see in this trailer talk are the property of their respective owners

Directed by David Gordon Green

So it’s no surprise that we were gonna get another Halloween movie at some point.  In fact, last time I heard at least, it was going to be a sequel with Michael in jail on the day of his execution and running wild in the prison which would have been an INTERESTING idea I guess, it was eventually scrapped once Dimension lost the rights to the franchise in 2015.  Instead, we’re going back to basics with one last tale of Michael and Laurie resolving their differences with extreme acts of violence, and they even got Jamie Lee Curtis to take up the mantle one last time.  So now that we have a trailer, what do I think of it?  I guess I LIKE it, but I’m not in love with it.  Jamie Lee Curtis is always great, and David Gordon Green is an… interesting choice for director (this is the dude who did the stoner trifecta of Pineapple Express, Your Highness, and The Sitter), and yet it doesn’t seems suspiciously safe for a movie about a guy who commits vicious knife murders.

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“Hey, how’s it going?  Having a fun Halloween?”

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