Cinema Dispatch: La La Land

lalalandcd0

La La Land and all the images you see in this review are owned by Summit Entertainment

Directed by Damien Chazelle

Well this certainly jumped to everyone’s best of the year list, didn’t it?  Too bad I didn’t get to see it in 2016 as the wide release wasn’t until January, but hey, at least I get to see it AT ALL.  I mean who DOESN’T love song and dance numbers interwoven into a classic Hollywood love story, especially when it’s done as well as this one is supposed to be?  Does this manage to be a film for the ages like those it takes its greatest inspiration from, or is this a mere copycat that doesn’t have a true identity of its own?  Let’s find out!!

The movie takes place in present day Hollywood where we follow the struggling actress Mia (Emma Stone) and the struggling Jazz pianist Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) as they struggle their hearts out for their dreams and manage to find each other in the process.  While Emma wants to simply get her big break, Sebastian has much more specific aspirations as he wants to open his own Jazz club right in the heart of the city, which is gonna be difficult because he’s flat broke and can’t even keep a steady gig going because he doesn’t want to play the set list provided… because he’s an artist I guess.  Still, they manage to scrape by as they keep working towards their dreams while also putting on elaborate and non-diegetic song and dance numbers for our entertainment!  Will the realities of the business crush their spirits and drive them apart as more and more chances start to slip away?  Can a movie this unabashedly old fashion manage to work in a modern day context?  Did they manage to outdo Tarantino as far as movie references!?

lalalandcd1
“What do you think?”     “It’s alright I guess.  Kinda derivative.”

Continue reading “Cinema Dispatch: La La Land”

Cinema Dispatch: The Accountant

theaccountantcd0

The Accountant and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures

Directed by Gavin O’Connor

Who is the Accountant?  More importantly, why should I care?  On the list of movies that I was looking forward to this year, this certainly isn’t one of them; not because the trailers looked BAD but because we’ve already got enough spy movies out there and we’re getting a Jack Reacher sequel next week that’s probably gonna be the best we can hope for this year.  Still, there could be something here if Ben Affleck signed on for it, and I guess it’s POSSIBLE the premise of someone with high functioning Autism being a super solider could be done gracefully, though I kind of doubt it.  Is this a fun and engaging action film to add to Ben Affleck’s increasing impressive résumé, or is he just desperate for something to get people to forget Batman v Superman, and he took the first crappy project that landed on his desk?  Let’s find out!!

The movie is all about Christian Wolff (Ben Affleck) who is the enigmatic ACCOUNTANT!  Who is THE ACCOUNTANT!?  Well according to Treasury Agent Raymond King (JK Simmons) who will serve as our exposition-bot for this movie, he cooks the books for the most dangerous men on the planet and he needs to be stopped!  What Agent King doesn’t know though is that he’s ALSO Batman with a much more lax murder policy and can certainly hold his own if he ever gets betrayed by one of his shady business partners.  That doesn’t happen in the movie though.  Instead, he’s hired as an accountant instead of THE ACCOUNTANT by Lamar Blackburn (John Lithgow) who has NO IDEA who he just hired, and has him look over his company’s book since a low level employee Dana Cummings (Anna Kendrick) found some irregularities.  These irregularities by the way are enough for the person who CAUSED the irregularities (i.e. stole a few bucks) to start sending out murder squads against everyone because of reasons.  Okay… well I guess THE ACCOUNTANT now has to fend off the bad guy’s henchmen (which include Jon Bernthal) and save Dana from being murdered… for looking at finical statements.  Whatever.  So just who is stealing money from the company and feels the need to send The Punisher to kill everyone who has ever looked at the company’s finances?  Will THE ACCOUNTANT go out on too far a limb to save this woman he just met a few days ago and give Agent King the lead he needs to find him?  Can someone please explain to me what the hell is going on here?

theaccountantcd1
The dude’s writing all this shit on the windows!  Isn’t it a bit late to try covering it up!?

Continue reading “Cinema Dispatch: The Accountant”

Cinema Dispatch: Zootopia

ZOOCD0

Zootopia and all the images you see in this review are owned by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Directed by Byron Howard and Rich Moore

With Pixar not really living up to its namesake in the last couple of years (not the biggest fan of Inside Out), it’s interesting to see their decline coincide with Disney Animation Studio’s recent output steadily increase in quality.  I didn’t see Big Hero Six, but Tangled, Frozen, and Wreck-It Ralph are all very strong features from a studio that had been relying on Pixar for some time to keep Disney’s theatrical output relevant and groundbreaking.  Not only that, but they’ve done a good job of keeping their ideas interesting and relevant, from Frozen’s LGBT undertones, to Wreck-It Ralph’s use of new(ish) media to tell a classic Disney fable about a lost princess.  Now they’re giving something that ALL internet users are at least passingly familiar with; FURRIES!  Does this anthropomorphic animal tale manage to continue Disney Animation Studio’s valiant escape from the shadow of Pixar, or are we in for another bland kid’s movie that’ll only succeed due to the brand name recognition?  Let’s find out!!

The movie follows the trials and tribulations of one Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin); the first rabbit police in… the country?  I don’t know the exact geography here, but her becoming a police officer (valedictorian at the academy) is such a big deal that she gets assigned to Zootopia; the most vibrant, diverse, and technologically advanced cities on Earth… or Animal Planet.  Whatever.  Unfortunately for our friend here, she’s relegated to menial tasks as the chief of police Bongo (Idris Elba) has no confidence in her abilities to perform in a job that is typically handled by much larger animals.  When a case involving a series of missing animals (predators specifically) gets out of hand though, she has an opportunity to prove herself by tracking down an otter who was among those missing.  However, because of the necessities of screenwriting conventions, Bongo somehow manages to turn this into an ego contest and has officer Hopps agree to quit the force if she doesn’t solve this case in forty-eight hours (I sense a reference there!) which you would think wouldn’t be something he can force her to do, but I guess she’s got something to prove and agrees to the wager.  The only lead she has is a local fox who’s already been giving her grief named Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman) who may have seen the otter and knows where he might have gone.  After some underhanded tricks of her own (hey, the fox started it!) she finally convinces him to assist her in finding this otter and find out what it is that has caused these animals to go missing.  Will they be able to solve the case within the arbitrary time limit?  What secrets are there to uncover in the dark underbelly of this supposed utopian city?  Wait, is this gonna be the most socially conscious movie about race relations this year!?

ZOOCD1
“They keep me on board so the administration doesn’t look anti-prey, yet I’m stuck in a boiler room.  Progress, am I right?”

Continue reading “Cinema Dispatch: Zootopia”