Tag Archives: Jason Blum

Cinema Dispatch: Upgrade

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Upgrade and all the images you see in this review are owned by OTL Releasing and BH Tilt

Directed by Leigh Whannell

Well if it isn’t my good friend Blumhouse Tilt!  How’ve you been, buddy!?  Sure, you’ve released two of the WORST movies I’ve seen in the past few years, but let’s let bygones be bygones; especially now that you’re teaming up with Neon who’ve made one of the BEST movies I’ve seen in the past few years!  Your newest movie is certainly getting a lot of buzz recently with great word of mouth and a kick ass trailer, so maybe there’s some hope for you yet, as long as you don’t work with Eli Roth ever again!  Can Blumhouse’s latest film turn out to be an under the radar smash hit from a studio that’s VERY hit and miss?  Let’s find out!!

The movie follows the sad tale of Grey Trace (Logan Marshall-Green) who’s living his average Cyberpunk protagonist life in a slightly cyberpunk future with his soon to be a cliché wife Asha (Melanie Vellejo) and everything is going about as well as you could expect for the first ten minutes of one of these movies!  Grey fixes up old cars for rich people, Asha works at a cyber prosthetic company, and they couldn’t be happier if they tried!  That is until their automatic car goes haywire, drops them off on the wrong side of the tracks, and they’re immediately assaulted by a few punks who kill her off (wow, what a surprise…) and leave poor Grey for dead!  He somehow manages to survive however, though not without losing the use of his arms and legs, and he’s ready to give up on life when one of his wealthy customers Eron (Harrison Gilbertson) offers him a chance to test a medical miracle called STEM which is basically a small computer they insert into the spine that still hasn’t gone through OFFICIAL testing, but will surely give him back the use of his limbs along with a few other bells and whistles.  After some initial hesitance (Grey isn’t one for all this new-fangled technology stuff), he agrees to do it and sure enough starts walking again almost immediately.  Slight side effect though, there’s an AI inside the chip starts talking to him and STEM (Simon Maiden) seems more than eager to help Grey find the men who killed his wife and bring them to some sort of justice.  Well Grey is certainly up for that, especially since the cop on the case (Betty Gabriel) hasn’t turned up many leads, but they have to be careful because not only does Grey need to keep the rest of the world from knowing he can walk again (he even signs a NDA about the procedure), he also has to keep his activities hidden from Eron who’s more than likely following his every move and wouldn’t be too pleased if his next step in medical science was used to rip people’s hearts out.  Will Grey and STEM find the people who killed his wife and get him that sweet sweet vengeance he so desperately craves?  What other side effects besides hearing voices and kicking extra amounts of ass will Grey have to deal with now that he’s got STEM sharing brain space with him?  I mean, it’s not THAT bad, right?  Who WOULDN’T want your operation system constantly reminding you to install critical updates right into your auditory cortex!?

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“I think we should do like a flying back flip and kick him in the head!”     “I’m sorry Dave, I’m afraid I can’t do that.”     “FOR THE LAST TIME!  MY NAME IS GREY!!”

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Cinema Dispatch: Happy Death Day

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Happy Death Day and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures

Directed by Christopher B. Landon

There are very few premises that will get more on board with a film than “like Groundhog’s Day, but…” and honestly I’m not even sure why.  That movie is certainly a phenomenally crafted comedy that I revisit from time to time, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s one of my favorite films of all time.  I guess it really is just how great of an idea that premise really is as I see it as basically THE perfect interpretation of a Bottle Film (it allows limitless possibilities while also having an enormous constraint) and its one of the few ideas that gets me to eagerly start putting together scenarios of what I would do in that situation.  Throw a murder mystery in the middle of it, and you have something that could be not just a GREAT film, but an absolute classic for the genre!  Can this movie POSSIBLY reach the lofty goals that it sets for itself, or will this be a bigger waste of time than Before I Fall?  Let’s find out!!

The movie begins with Tree (Jessica Rothe) waking up in an unknown dorm room with a guy she doesn’t really know named Carter (Israel Broussard) and heads back to her sorority so she can ignore the fact that today is her birthday.  She ignores calls from her dad (Jason Bayle), brushes off her roommate Lori (Ruby Modine) who’s at least making an attempt to make her birthday a little bit nicer, and just goes through her usual routine as if there’s nothing special about today; even going to see the married professor she’s sleeping with (Charles Aitken).  At the end of the day, when she’s heading to her own surprise party, it turns out today is NOT going to be a normal day because someone in a crappy baby mask (the school’s mascot… for some reason) stabs her and she… wakes up in the same dorm room she did that morning.  Same guy, same day, same ignored phone calls from dad.  Oh, and also the same murder.  Clearly she’s doomed to repeat the same day over and over again until she finds out just who it is that’s killing her each night which may not be an easy thing to do considering how many people she manages to piss off on a regular basis, though murder DOES seem to be a bit extreme to be just anyone she knows so she’ll need to narrow down the suspects as each night (and each death) brings her closer to the truth.  Will Tree be able to put an end to this endless cycle of misery and stabbings by unmasking the one person on campus who wants her dead?  Is every day TRULY a repeat of the last, or does something linger every time the clock goes backwards?  Just how many absurd and hilarious ways will Tree have to experience the ice cold hand of death before this is all over!?

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“OH MY GOD!  THEY KILLED TREE!!”     “YOU BASTARDS!!”

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