Tag Archives: Jennifer Jason Leigh

Cinema Dispatch: Annihilation


Annihilation and all the images you see in this review are owned by Paramount Pictures

Directed by Alex Garland

So apparently Paramount wanted to bury this thing for some reason?  I mean… I guess it WORKED considered I never heard of this until the week before it came out.  I go to movies all the time, and I never saw ONE trailer for this thing despite starring some PRETTY big names right now!  Now this is hardly the first time that a studio had lost complete faith in the movie they had made, and it’s not always a sign that the movie is bad (*cough* Brazil *cough*), but it STILL is a bit worrying as studios are loath to just throw money away; especially on projects that seem to have had THIS much star power both in front of and behind the camera.  Does this offbeat science fiction film manage to shine through despite the studio doing everything it could to keep it out of the public eye, or was Paramount trying to save us from something that we were better off just forgetting it even existed?  Let’s find out!!

The movie follows the story of Lena (Natalie Portman), told slightly out of order, where she went head first into a unique biome of alien origin that I like to call The Rainbow World and tried to reach its center to destroy it from within!  Okay, now that I’m writing this down, it’s possible that a bit more context is needed.  To rewind a bit here, about three years before the movie starts a meteorite smashes into a small coastal town and starts doing… something.  It basically creates its own isolated environment with a clear delineation between EARTH WORLD and ALIEN WORLD in the form of a shimmer; almost like an opaque curtain in the shape of a dome.  The US government seems to have gotten there right away and have been sending people into the strange place to find out what is going on, but no one has ever returned… until now!  Lena’s husband Kane (Oscar Isaac) is a military Black Ops guy (I think) and was sent on a MYSTERIOUS mission about a year ago and suddenly returns home right as the movie starts; albeit looking rather disheveled and coughing up a worrisome amount of blood.  The government weren’t too far behind him though and put him in a quarantine to study what’s happened to his physiology after being exposed to the alien biome, but they’re probably gonna have to work fast; lest this become an autopsy because his condition is getting worse.  Lena is brought into the loop at this point and is told about THE SHIMMER (I still think it looks more like a Rainbow World); promting her to suit up, grab a gun, and join the next expedition which is in less than a week.  Now if that sounds a bit silly, don’t worry!  She was in the military as well, so she knows how to handle herself and use a gun.  In fact, compared to the rest of the crew which includes a paramedic (Gina Rodriguez), a geologist (Tuva Novotny), a physicist (Tessa Thompson), and a psychologist (Jennifer Jason Leigh), she’s practically a god send as I doubt the rest of them would last a full day in there without her.  So the day is set, the inexplicable rag tag crew gathers their courage, and they walk into THE SHIMMER with one goal in mind; get to the center and destroy whatever it is that’s causing this.  Will Lena survive the harsh environment that nearly took her husband’s life, and will the secret to his illness lie within?  What is motivating the rest of these women to go into this place that even trained soldiers couldn’t manage to overcome?  Was this really the best we could muster after three years of failed attempts?  They couldn’t even be given gas masks or motor bikes?


“Before we go in, does anyone need to use the bathroom?  Speak now or forever hold your pee.”

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Cinema Dispatch: Good Time


Good Time and all the images you see in this review are owned by A24

Directed by Ben Safdie and Josh Safdie

Oh boy!  Is this another movie that I walked into with no idea what it’s about or even what kind of movie it is?  IT SURE IS!  It’s called Good Time, so how could it be anything but a barrel of laughs!?  Then again Robert Pattinson isn’t known for his comedy work, unless we’re talking UNINTENTIONAL ones.  Who knows?  It’s certainly been getting a lot of praise and was even one of the big hits from Cannes this year, so maybe it’s at least worth a shot!  Is this the kind of film that we’ll be talking about at the end of the year come award season, or is this yet another example of a festival darling being overhyped and underperforming once it takes a shot at mainstream audiences?  Let’s find out!!

The movie begins with Brothers Connie and Nick (Robert Pattinson and Ben Safdie) leaving the office where Nick sees a social worker that is assisting with his situation (he has a mental disability) and going to rob a crappy bank in Queens.  Sadly their skills at robbing the bank are even crappier and Nick ends up getting pinched by the cops while Connie just barely escapes with very little money to show for it.  From there it’s a series of blunders as Connie tries to find a way to get Nick out of jail; either through scrounging up enough money to post bail or through more creative means.  Each plan he comes up with is somehow worse than the last and the number of victims he leaves in his wake starts to build up as his methods become more and more desperate the longer he goes on without a legitimate solution to his problem.  Can Connie survive this night long enough to get his brother out of the big house, and will his freedom be enough to justify the ever increasing cost Connie is paying to get it?  What colorful and wacky characters will he meet along the way, and will any of them turn out to be the answer he’s been seeking?  Is there a chance that he can LITERALLY run away from his problems!?  Hey, when all else fails it’s worth a shot!



“Running, Running, Running, RUNNING!!”

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Cinema Dispatch: Morgan


Morgan and all the images you see in this review are owned by 20th Century Fox

Directed by Luke Scott

I think I actually managed to avoid every trailer for this movie (if I did catch one, then I quickly forgot it) because I know next to nothing about this movie other than there’s some woman who’s got powers or something.  Frankly, it looks like something right up Fox’s alley to the point that I wouldn’t be surprised if the big twist at the end is that Morgan gets enrolled in the Xavier School for Gifted Children, though there might be a bit of awkwardness considering where this movie looks like it’s gonna go.  Then again, they gave Wolverine a pass and that dude’s only power is to kill people and not get hurt doing so.  Anyway, will the latest Fox sci-fi thriller be something to keep the company relevant and afloat until they can rush out the Deadpool sequel, or does this science gone wrong escapade turn out to be just as bad as Fantastic Four?  Let’s find out!!

The movie is about some sort of science project by THE CORPORATION (*COUGH* Tyrell Corp *COUGH*), that seems to have gone off the rails when one of the scientist (Jennifer Jason Leigh) was stabbed in the face by their test subject known as Morgan (Anya Taylor-Joy) who is a… synthetic human I guess?  After the incident, a Risk Assessment officer (Kate Mara) is sent by THE CORPORATION to find out what the hell happened and if the project should be terminated.  I would have terminated the project when it turned out they were KEEPING HER IN A LOCKED CELL UNDERGROUND, but what the fuck do I know?  Things seem to be going okay for the most part as the scientists are still very enthusiastic about keeping the project going (including Jennifer Jason Leigh) and Morgan seems to be no more harmful than anyone else who you’d keep under a microscope twenty four hours a day.  Still, this wouldn’t be a movie if things didn’t go horribly wrong and needless to say that bringing Paul Giamatti into a situation never ends very well; especially when you get a guy that hammy to assess someone else’s current mental state.  Will Morgan turn out to be the monster that Kate Mara thinks she is?  Was she actually sent there to see if the project is on track, or were the more nefarious motivations at play?  Most importantly, who the hell keeps dressing Morgan up in those awful hoodies!?


“So do you like that color or do they just not give you anything else?  Don’t mind that they’re staring right at you by the way.  You can tell me.”

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Cinema Dispatch: The Hateful Eight


The Hateful Eight and all the images you see in this review are owned by The Weinstein Company

Directed by Quentin Tarantino

Like the rising of the tides, the phases of the moon, and the DiCaprio Oscar denial, Tarantino comes back once again to give us a well written update of one his favorite films as a kid.  Now Django Unchained was a REALLY good movie, but it was weighed down by some less than stellar decisions throughout like the excessive use of… that one word, and how little Django got to do in his own movie before the third act.  Oh, and let’s not forget the baffling inclusion of horse tricks at the end and the terrible acting chops of Quintin himself.  Still, this movie seems to be much smaller in scope and looks to be much more focused on being an ensemble piece than any one person’s movie which gives Tarantino plenty of opportunities to fill his scenes with his trademark dialogue (and fill these bodies with his trademark amounts of excess blood and gore).  Is this going to be a step up for the iconic director, or is this the sign of a trend towards being an ALMOST amazing director instead of an amazing one?  Let’s find out!!

The movie begins with the bounty hunter Major Marquis Warren (Samuel L Jackson) being begrudgingly picked up of the side of the road by John Ruth (Kurt Russel) who’s also a bounty hunter and is taking Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh) to hang in a nearby town of Red Rock for her crimes.  Unfortunately, there’s a blizzard coming and the driver O.B. Jackson (James Parks) isn’t inclined to risk it, so they head to a nearby waystation that’s delightfully called Minnie’s Haberdashery, though they find another straggler in the snowy wasteland along the way in the form of Chris Mannix (Walton Goggins) who claims to be the new sheriff of Red Rock.  Once they arrive, they find Oswald Mobray (Tim Roth), Joe Gag (Michael Madsen), former Confederate General Sandy Smithers (Bruce Dern) as well as Bob (Demián Bichir) who’s running the place in Minnie’s absence.  Now John Ruth doesn’t trust any of these mother fuckers and none of them seem to be good wholesome people in the first place, but there’s nothing John can do with the blizzard blocking all means of travel, so they have to share this tiny space until it clears up.  Will this be a peaceful affair as these nine strangers (yes, there’s nine instead of eight of them) get to know each other, or will things erupt into a cacophony of violence, blood, and racial epithets?  Well I’m sure you can guess which route this movie takes, but is it at least super captivating to watch, right!?


“If you turn out to be the death of me, I’m gonna fucking kill you…”

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Cinema Dispatch: Trailer Talk (The Hateful Eight)


Oh goody!  We’re getting another Quinten Tarantino film!  Who wants to bet that it’ll be a very well made throwback to films from his youth that will get half the critics to praise him unendingly and the other half to dismiss him as a stunted artist that’s gotten quite long in the tooth?  Personally, I tend to fall into the former category, but I can understand the latter’s frustration with the guy’s output recently.  I wouldn’t mind if he goes ahead and does something RADICALLY different from what he’s been doing so far but even if he sticks to the same old tricks, he’s still the undisputed champ of these kinds of films.  So with that said, what can we gleam from the first trailer of his latest magnum opus?  Let’s find out!!

The trailer begins with Samuel L Jackson sitting on a pile of bodies in the middle of a snowy road as Kurt Russel’s stagecoach approaches, and I guess he joins Kurt Russel for… some reason.  They’re both bounty hunters and Kurt Russell has his latest perp handcuffed to him in the form of Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh) who’s charged with murder and will hang once she’s delivered.  From there, the plot isn’t TOO hard to guess, but the trailer makes it kind of hard to understand what is going on.  I’m assuming the hateful eight will consist of Kurt Russell (playing John ‘The Hangman’ Ruth), Samuel L Jackson (playing Major Marquis Warren), and the remaining character actors who show up in the trailer, and they’ll all be waiting out a terrible blizzard in this one building.  However, Kurt Russell knows for sure that one of them is actually a traitor and is after something (most likely Daisy), so the film will be about praying on one’s paranoia with the characters constantly checking over their shoulders and looking for the rat in the midst.

“Wait, so my character’s gonna get killed?”     “You’re the youngest one here.  Of course you’re not going to make it out of the movie alive.”  “Do I at least get a heroic death?”     “Nope.”

“Wait, so my character’s gonna get killed?”     “You’re the youngest one here.  Of course you’re not going to make it out of the movie alive.”  “Do I at least get a heroic death?”     “Nope.”

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