Tag Archives: Jessica Chastain

Cinema Dispatch: IT Chapter 2

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IT Chapter 2 and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures

Directed by Andy Muschietti

Alright, so we’re all in agreement that the first film was amazing, right?  I mean it had a few issues here and there, but dang it if Chapter One wasn’t a horror masterpiece with great performances, a terrifying villain, and the brilliant idea of taking the GOOD parts of a Stephen King book and leaving out all the stuff that doesn’t work.  Heck, I’m pretty sure the last time that happened was when Kubrick made The Shining which Stephen King really doesn’t like for some reason.  Now we’ve got the sequel which has the neigh impossible task of capturing lightening in a bottle twice; especially since most of what made the first one so memorable will necessarily have to be either absent or pushed to the side.  Can the filmmakers pull off the impossible by making the notoriously unworkable ending to the book into something not just comprehensible but just as good as the film that came before it?  Let’s find out!!

The movie picks up twenty seven years after the events of the first film where the mysterious murders in Derry have started up once again and Michael (Isaiah Mustafa) as the only member of the Losers Club left in town has to bring the gang back together to fight the evil Pennywise (Bill Skarsgård) once again.  Bill, Richie, Beverly, Ben, Eddie, and Stanley (James McAvoy, Bill Hader, Jessica Chastain, Jay Ryan, James Ransone, and Andy Bean) have all gone their separate ways and can’t even seem to remember their time in Derry or the monster they fought all those years ago, but after a phone call from Mike they all start to remember (some take the news harder than others) and travel back home to take care of what IT is once and for all.  In the process they will have to confront their pasts, face their fears, and do all sorts of weird stuff in the vein attempt of trying to destroy a monster that has lived for hundreds of years while they’re a bunch of middle aged writers, comedians, and risk analysists, who might be able to throw a punch but not much else.  Can the monster known alternatively as IT, Pennywise, and WHAT THE HECK IS THAT THING!? be defeated by these friends brought together once again by the pact they made long ago?  What is the clown planning for them as revenge for the defeat that he suffered back in the eighties?  Maybe he can defeat them by trying to explain the ending of the book and just wait until their brains explode.

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“I WANT A FIVE HUNDRED WORD ESSAY ABOUT THE ENDING ON MY DESK TOMORROW MORNING!!”

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Cinema Dispatch: Dark Phoenix

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Dark Phoenix and all the images you see in this review are owned by 20th Century Fox and Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Directed by Simon Kinberg

I’ve probably been nicer than most about the X-Men franchise, going so far as to be somewhat positive about Apocalypse, and even I can’t be bothered to muster any enthusiasm for The Last Stand: Remastered.  I mean I GUESS I can see why Fox would want to prove that it was the other guy’s fault and not their own, and it certainly worked well enough for Dexter Fletcher, but with this franchise being so easily overshadowed by Deadpool, the MCU, and even some of the better DC films, it’s starting to feel more Quixotic than artistically advisable.  Still, I have been surprised by  movies I didn’t expect much out of before, and it’s not like they have much to lose considering this franchise is more or less done whether they make this movie or not, so hey!  Let’s see if Fox can pull it off one more time for old time’s sake!

It’s the radical nineties for the X-Men with Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and his crew of charismatic comrades more popular than ever; much like the ACTUAL nineties.  Newcomers Jean Grey, Scott Summers, Ororo Munroe, and Kurt Wagner (Sophie Turner, Tye Sheridan, Alexandra Shipp, and Kodi Smit-McPhee) are fitting in well enough, Mystique’s (Jennifer Lawrence) barely contained annoyance with all of this is about as same as usual which is greatly contrasted with Beast (Nicholas Hoult) who looks like he couldn’t be happier to be there, and Quicksilver (Even Peters) is… around.  ANYWAY!  The big difference in this film that I alluded to just now which I don’t BELIEVE was the case last time is that The X-Men have become household names and everyone wants to be them!  No more mutant discrimination, at least not outright, and all the jerk mutants went with Magneto (Michael Fassbender) to some island somewhere to keep things nice and peaceful.  Why, the only thing that could ruin this perfect existence is if one of the high profile mutants on Xavier’s team went off and started blowing stuff up, but what are the odds of THAT happening!?  Yeah, so Jean Grey gets hit by some sort of cosmic ray in the beginning of the film during an astronaut rescue, and it seems to have overcharged her system to the point that she can barely control her powers as well as her emotions; the latter of which is exacerbated by some dark secrets she’s made keenly aware of and have made things rather awkward at the academy.  With one big public relations nightmare that could lead to Mutant internment AGAIN, Xavier and his crew have to find out what’s happening to Jean and if there’s any way to save her from whatever it is that will either destroy her from the inside or give her enough power to destroy us all from the outside.  Oh, and Jessica Chastain is in this somewhere in the background.  I’m sure she can’t be up to any good though!  Will Jean Grey succumb to the power she’s been granted and become the worst enemy the X-Men have ever faced?  Will Xavier finally learn that despite his idealistic rhetoric that he’s made huge mistakes in the past that could bring the world closer to destruction than anything his more militant counterpart ever came up with?  If this is worse than X3, does Fox get like a Lifetime Achievement award for how badly they can ruin a franchise?  I mean they should have already gotten one for their Fantastic Four movies, but you know the Academy!  Give it to them when convenient; not when they deserve it!

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“Here’s to the end of an era!”     “Here’s to the end of my liver functioning properly…”

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Cinema Dispatch: Miss Sloane

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Miss Sloane and all the images you see in this review are owned by EuropaCorp

Directed by John Madden

If you really take a look at Jessica Chastain’s acting career, it becomes clear that she’s truly one of the most versatile actors working today.  Not only has she been in high caliber Oscar fare of multiple genres including The Martian, Zero Dark Thirty, and Tree of Life, but she’s also been fantastic in other places like The Huntsman: Winter’s War, Crimson Peak, and Lawless.  Now she’s headlining a political thriller at right about the time that EVERYONE is not in the mood to even be thinking about politics.  Well, I guess we can’t blame her or the director for that, and just because the world is going straight to hell doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy movies like this anymore, right?  Can this new vehicle for Jessica Chastain turn out to be another high point in her illustrious career, or will her role in that Frozen knockoff with Chris Hemsworth turn out to be her highlight this year?  I mean… that WAS a really solid movie that no one but me seems to appreciate, but even so!  Let’s find out!!

The movie follows the greatest lobbyist ever, Elizabeth Sloane (Jessica Chastain) who’s faced with a crisis of… conscious maybe?  Either conscious or competitive zeal; one of those two.  Anyway, the crisis is that the lobbying firm she works for wants her to campaign against a bill that would restrict gun sales to criminals, those on the terror watch list, etc, and her boss (Sam Waterson) is being a REAL overbearing jerk about it.  Not one to suffer fools lightly, Miss Sloane packs up her desks, grabs the best millennial interns under her command, and goes to work for Rodolfo Schmidt (Mark Strong) who is heading the Pro-Gun restriction effort.  Of course, when you bargain with the devil (or in this case someone know what it takes to win) you get exactly what you pay for and Miss Sloane proves to be INCREDIBLY effective despite how uneasy some of her methods make some of her allies, particularly Esme Manucharian (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) who experiences firsthand just how far Miss Sloane is willing to go to get what she needs.  Will the best of the best be able to stand up against the most funded lobby to ever exist?  What can all these starry-eyed liberal babies learn by watching Miss Sloane in action?  What exactly led her to being like this?  Personal tragedy?  A drive to succeed?  Rich relatives that changed her life for the better?

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“Now this is the story all about how my life got flipped, turned upside down.”

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Cinema Dispatch: The Huntsman: Winter’s War

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The Huntsman: Winter’s War and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures

Directed by Cedric Nicolas-Troyan

I really haven’t been looking forward to this.  Cutting Snow White out of a sequel to Snow White?  Yeah… no.  This exists simply because Chris Hemsworth had a weekend free between Captain America and In the Heart of the Sea.  Still, the first movie was a pretty solid fantasy film that had drop dead gorgeous designs and if nothing else that seems to have carried over here.  Not only that, but they managed to somehow get Charlize Theron back, and while the explanation will probably be dumb as hell, she WAS one of the best aspects of the first film.  Can they manage to squeeze out ONE decent sequel before driving this franchise into the dirt, or is it too late to even hope for that much?  Let’s find out!!

First of all, this movie is very much a sequel despite the advertising that states otherwise.  It STARTS as a prequel, but only to fill in the backstories for the characters who weren’t around for the first movie.  Queen Ravenna (Charlize Theron) was murdering her way through the fantasy kingdom’s royal families when her sister Freya (Emily Blunt) reveals that she is not only in love, but pregnant as well.  Despite the careful warnings of her sister, Freya goes all in on love and gets seriously burned.  Okay, well maybe SHE doesn’t get burned, but her baby does as she finds her one true love has torched the nursey with the baby inside.  Ouch.  This traumatic incident is enough to not only awaken Freya’s hidden ice powers, but to essentially make her emotionally dead and disdainful of love.  Since grief council apparently doesn’t exist in this world, she instead takes out her pain on the Northern part of the country (it’s ALWAYS in the North where things we don’t know about until later happened) where she creates her icy doom fortress and raids villages for children to raise as her Huntsmen.  Two such huntsmen are Eric (Chris Hemsworth) and Sara (Jessica Chastain) who fall in love which is strictly forbidden in the snow palace, so Sara’s killed and Eric is left for dead.  Got it?  Good.  We THEN cut to the present time (not too long after the first movie) where Snow White (who apparently is still in this except not really) has ordered the mirror mirror on the wall to be sent away where its wicked powers cannot hurt anyone.  Unfortunately, the convoy delivering it to some vaguely defined sacred place never reached their destination so she requests the huntsman to go out there, find the damn thing, and finish delivering it before it can fall into the wrong hands.  Say… those of the Ice Queen?  He heads out on the journey with Nion and Gryff (Nick Frost and Rob Brydon) who are two dwarves (one of whom is from the first movie) and try to figure out just what the hell happened to the mirror and the convey.   But wait!  Not all is as it seems as Eric is soon confronted with Sara who somehow is still alive and super pissed!  How did she manage to recover from being murdered?  Will this little posse of fantasy bad asses be able to find the mirror before it’s too late?  Just how blatantly are they ripping off Frozen in this!?

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Cinema Dispatch: Crimson Peak

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

Directed by Guillermo del Toro

Well at least SOMEONE decided to release a horror movie in October!  Seriously, why don’t we get horror movies during Spooky Month anymore?  Is it too obvious or something?  Well NOTHING’S too obvious for good old Guillermo Del Toro who’s bringing us a good old late Victorian era Haunted House feature that might as well come straight from Hammer Studios!  Can his Spook House thriller bring some life back to the genre which has been surviving off of found footage scraps for years now, or is he going to indulge way too much in what he loves to see to the point that he ends up only appealing to a niche audience with his big budget feature?  Let’s find out!!

The movie is about Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska), an aspiring writer of ghost stories who’s having trouble getting her magnum opus published.  Despite being the daughter of a rather wealthy contractor in New York city with plenty of connections, no one seems interested in selling a ghost story written by a female and would rather have her write some tween love story.  I guess ghosts are next on the list for Twilight-ification (if they haven’t been already) but Edith is not willing to compromise on her vision, especially because it comes from a very personal place.  Edith’s mother died when she was fairly young and a couple of days later she was visited by her ghosts.  Now it doesn’t seem like Edith has seen a ghost since then, but that night has stuck with her since then, especially considering that her Ghost Mom could see the future and warned her to be wary of CRIMSON PEAK!!  While struggling with this, her father is visited by a British Baronet named Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston) who’s trying to get her father to invest in his clay extraction machine while also getting moon eyes for the lovely Edith.  He’s not alone on his journey however and has come to America with his sister Lucille (Jessica Chastain) but all she seems interested in is standing off to the side and giving off bad vibes.  This doesn’t deter the budding romance between Edith and Thomas however and after some horrifying event befalls the young Edith, she leaves the United States and is whisked away by her knight in shining armor to be his bride.  Once at the family home though, it’s clear that there’s MUCH more going on than Thomas led on during their courtship which I think was about a month.  What secrets does the rickety manor have that Thomas and Lucille are trying to hide?  Will Edith’s power to see ghosts come in handy or be a curse that slowly drives her mad?  If we can’t have Silent Hills, is this at least a decent replacement!?

“THE POWER OF CHRIST COMPELS YOU!!”     “Yeah, that ain’t gonna work.”     “Ah hell…”

“THE POWER OF CHRIST COMPELS YOU!!”     “Yeah, that ain’t gonna work.”     “Ah hell…”

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Cinema Dispatch: The Martian

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

Directed by Ridley Scott

Oh yay!  Another Ridley Scott film, because the last one was so good.  Well despite his shaky track record as of late, there’s no denying that the man is one of our greatest living directors and a movie like this is right in his wheelhouse while also being an original science fiction property as opposed to going back to the Alien well.  Can he manage to make a great movie with so many excellent resources at his disposal, or will he still manage to screw it up like he did with Exodus and Robin Hood?  Let’s find out!!

The movie is about astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) who is part of the Ares III manned mission to Mars.  While on the planet’s surface, the crew gets word of a big ass storm coming their way so they have to leave the mission early, and by early I mean RIGHT THE FRAK NOW!!  Apparently they didn’t see it coming until five minutes before it hits.  The astronauts on the planet (including Mark) try to make it to their recon ship in the midst of the downpour of… whatever the hell it is Mars starts raining down in a storm (rocks I think).

“I think I’ve got a rock in my shoe.”     “DEAL WITH IT!!!”

“I think I’ve got a rock in my shoe.”     “DEAL WITH IT!!!”

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Living on Netflix: Lawless

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Wow.  It must be a stretch for Shia LaBeouf to play a dumbass kid who gets in way over his head, right?  Lawless stars him as one of three brothers who run a moonshining trade in rural Virgina during Prohibition, and it was the last mainstream film he’s been associated with.  Sure, he’s in a Lars Von Trier movie that’s coming out soon, but I doubt that’s gonna be in your local multiplex if you see what I’m getting at.  Despite his toxic public persona, he has been able to prove himself as an actor on a few occasions, but it’s gone far past the point where anyone want to give him the benefit of the doubt anymore.  All that said; is Lawless another example of him showing off his acting chops, or is it yet another chance for him to make a complete ass of himself?  There’s only one way to find out, and that’s to KEEP ON READING!!!

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