Cinema Dispatch: Scoob!

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Scoob! and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros. Pictures

Directed by Tony Cervone

With releases being what they are and LIFE being what it is, I’ve certainly fallen into a bit of a funk lately which is perhaps the biggest reason I was really looking forward to this movie; something that I can put on my calendar and look forward to instead of just the endless pile of stuff that’s already here but I couldn’t muster up the energy to work on.  Now Warner Bros’ recent output of the Hanna-Barbara licenses has certainly been interesting to see, particularly those comic books they released a few years back, and so bringing Scooby-Doo back to the big screen in the midst of all this… shall we say CREATIVITY, does have a certain amount of appeal.  I don’t know how popular it is right now, but the Scooby franchise has proven to be remarkably resilient and is in constant flux with new and drastically different series coming out every few years, so perhaps with such a rock-solid property to work with, Warner Bros can do something truly unique!  Is this the start of Scooby-Doo’s resurgence to the peak of popular culture, or will the concepts prove to outdated for modern audiences to latch onto outside of Saturday morning cartoon reruns?  Let’s find out!!

Shaggy Rogers (Iain Armitage and Will Forte) is a lonely kid with no friends… for some reason, until he finds a stray dog who can talk but no one seems to have much of a problem with.  He names the dog Scooby (Frank Welker) and eventually meets three other kids named Fred, Daphne, and Velma (Pierce Gagnon and Zac Efron, Mckenna Grace and Amanda Seyfried, and Ariana Greenblatt and Gina Rodriguez) who by happenstance they end up solving a mystery with.  And thus the origin story has been told, in less than ten minutes!  What do they fill the remaining eighty with?  Well it turns out that The Blue Falcon, or at least his son Brian (Mark Wahlberg) is trying to stop the evil Dick Dastardly (Jason Isaacs) from doing… something, and it somehow involves Scooby (presumably because he’s SUCH a good boy) which means he snatches Shaggy and Scooby away from whatever it was they were doing and are now sidekicks on a superhero adventure!  Blue Falcon is helped by his female pilot Dee Dee (Kiersey Clemons) and his dad’s robot dog Dynomutt (Ken Jeong) who are basically the two keeping this operation afloat while Brian stumbles his way through the adventure, and with the help of Scooby being… so very important I guess, they will race Dick Dastardly across the globe from collecting the Magical MacGuffins that will spell doom for the world!  Meanwhile, Fred, Daphne, and Velma are wondering why they aren’t a part of this movie and so try to “solve the mystery” of where Scooby and Shaggy went, only to wind up in a larger than life adventure far beyond investigating a ghost who’ll end up being a guy in a Halloween mask!  Will our heroes overcome the pure malevolent evil of a man named Dick with a beautiful mustache?  Will Scooby’s new status as BEST DOG EVER make Shaggy into a jealous jerk for half the movie for extremely petty reasons?  If we’re gonna do this cinematic universe stuff with Hanna-Barbera, can we at least put Harvey Birdman into it?  Better yet, Phil Ken Sebben!  At least that would be SOMETHING about this movie worth talking about!

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“He’s my best friend Scooby, and he likes fried Scooby snacks on a stick!”     “HA HA!  Treats on dowels…”     “Was… was that a joke or something?”     “You’ll understand when you’re older, sport.”     “Okay, boomer.”

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Cinema Dispatch: A Cure for Wellness

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A Cure for Wellness and all the images you see in this review are owned by 20th Century Fox

Directed by Gore Verbinski

You know, Gore Verbinski is a much more versatile director than I think he gets credit for.  Sure, he made three Pirates movies and then that Pirates movie in the old west, but he’s also got The Ring, The Weatherman, and Rango under his belt too; all really solid movies.  Hell, even his big blockbuster films are at least interesting if not always good!  Okay, The Lone Ranger isn’t even that much, but I’ll give credit to those Pirates movies for being fantastically well-crafted even if the story wasn’t always there to back up the designs.  Now he seems to be going back to his roots in a way as this is the lowest budget he’s had to work with since The Weatherman, and he’s also heading back to the horror genre which seems like a pretty good idea considering how well that Ring remake turned out.  Is this a new benchmark in horror that all others will be compared to, or will this be a catastrophic failure the likes of which we haven’t seen since The Lone Ranger?  Or you know, it COULD be somewhere in between those two.  Anyway, let’s find out!!

The movie follows an up and coming… business man of some sort named Lockhart (Dane DeHaan) who’s sent to some faraway Wellness Center somewhere in the Swiss Alps to retrieve the owner of the company he works for.  You see, the board of directors got a strange letter from their boss Mr. Pembroke (Harry Groener) that he’s found the cure for what ails him at this facility and that he’s never coming back.  Of course, if he REALLY didn’t want to be bothered anymore, he would have included official documents removing himself from the company to go along with that letter, but if he did that then Lockhart wouldn’t have a reason to go and we wouldn’t have a movie, now would we?  It also helps that Lockhart did some illegal… business stuff I guess that he thought he had kept secret but the board knows ALL about it and is holding that over his head to get him to go to Switzerland.  Once Lockhart gets there, its IMMEDIATELY clear that something just isn’t right about this place.  Is it the creepy staff that acts like condescending zombie vampires?  Is it the strange girl named Hannah (Mia Goth) who’s comes and goes with seemingly little understanding about the world around her?  Maybe it’s the fact that the head of the facility is named Dr. Heinreich Volmer (Jason Isaacs) which is probably in the top ten villain names of all time!  I’m guessing it’s that.  Well any normal person would just bolt it to the airport at this point, but Lockhart JUST SO HAPPENS to get in a nasty car accident on the way back from the Wellness Center and wakes up back at the facility a few days later with a cast on his leg.  Well since he isn’t GOING anywhere for now, he might as well try to find Pembroke and see if there’s some shady shit going down in this Wellness Center that puts a little too much emphasis on water and for some reason uses REALLY outdated medical equipment.  Will Lockhart get what he needs from Pembroke and save his job?  Just what is going on in this creepy facility with so many creepy people and creepy equipment?  Is the cure that everyone is looking for… love!?

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“I don’t remember them covering THIS is sex ed!”     “Hey, which one of us is the doctor here?”

Continue reading “Cinema Dispatch: A Cure for Wellness”