Tag Archives: Julia Roberts

Cinema Dispatch: Flatliners

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Flatliners and all the images you see in this review are owned by Sony Pictures

Directed by Niels Arden Oplev

There are several movies a year that for whatever reason has trailers that will not stop playing in front of EVERYTHING I go to see.  I remember Our Brand is Crisis being one of them, The Fate of the Furious played pretty constantly, even Snatched was one that was hard to avoid!  This movie is certainly the latest to have that problem as I swear it was in front of every movie I’ve seen for the past three months and I’m finally happy for it to be released for no other reason than to stop seeing that trailer.  I’d never seen the original film until very recently, and while the premise itself seems strong enough to support at least too movies, the trailers didn’t fill me with much hope; not just because they played them ALL THE TIME, but because I couldn’t really wrap my head around what exactly it was that they were being haunted by.  I mean… I get it NOW since I watched the original, but with lines like “I did not know that the side effects would show up and start hunting us down”… yeah, it just felt like I was in for an uphill battle.  Still, remakes are a great opportunity to try something new (*cough* IT *cough*), so maybe there’s a chance that this will turn out just fine!  Will this manage to be just as good if not better than the original, or was this film… dead on arrival!?

Sorry.  Let’s uh… let’s find out.

The titular Flatliners of the film are a group of medical students who doing some messed up experiments in the basement in the hope of finding out the secrets of the afterlife.  The procedure which was concocted by Dr Courtney Holmes (Ellen Page) involves stopping someone’s heart (i.e. a flatline on an EKG machine) and letting them stay dead for a few minutes before reviving them.  Initially with the uncertain help of Sophia and Jamie (Kiersey Clemons and James Norton) the group eventually grows to include Marlo and Ray (Nina Dobrev and Diego Luna) and most of them end up doing it themselves as well.  At first it seems awesome as coming back from the dead apparently makes your brain SUPER strong, but eventually the SIDE EFFECTS start to kick in which complicates things for them.  They start to see things that aren’t really there (OR ARE THEY!?) and it eventually becomes nearly impossible to separate fantasy from reality.  Will the Flatliners find a way to stop whatever it is that’s haunting them?  Is there something in their past that is the key to doing so?  Seriously, why are they making it THIS easy for everyone to do the “dead on arrival” joke!?

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Cinema Dispatch: Smurfs: The Lost Village

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Smurfs: The Lost Village and all the images you see in this review are owned by Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Animation

Directed by Kelly Asbury

Considering how the LAST two Smurfs movies turned out, this really doesn’t have to do all that much to be a massive improvement, does it?  To be fair, it DOES look like the new direction their going in is the right move for this franchise as it looks much more like the original series, and we’re also not going to the real world this time around which shows some signs that Sony realized where they screwed up and are trying to make it better.  Plus, they also got Jack McBrayer which is you all need to get my ass into a theater!  Does this manage to win back the fans it lost with the last two cynical features, or did they manage to screw it up again even with two perfect examples of how NOT to make a Smurfs movie to go by?  Let’s find out!

The movie starts in Smurf village where all the little Smurfs are Smurfing about doing their Smurfy thing.  All except for Smurfette (Demi Lovato) who may have golden locks to die for but isn’t sure what else a Smurfette is supposed to do.  Oh sure, it’s easy for Police Smurf and Saxophone Smurf who’s occupations are spelled out for them like a Cutie Mark in My Little Pony, but what about her!?  Is being the one and only female Smurf the ONLY thing she’s good at!?  Well… maybe not as she soon discovers another Smurf while Smurf-boarding in the forest, but before she can ask any questions or even get a good look at them, they run off into the FORBIDDEN FOREST which I can only assume is the same one from Harry Potter.  Smurfette wants to find this new Smurf as well as the village they came from (perhaps a LOST village of Smurfs!?) but Papa Smurf (Mandy Patinkin) forbids her to go into the FORBIDDEN FOREST because… well, it’s FORBIDDEN!  Despite his warnings not to go out there, she sneaks off into the middle of the night to go searching the FORBIDDEN FOREST and ends up having a few tag-alongs who were following her in the form of Hefty Smurf (Joe Manganiello), Clumsy Smurf (Jack McBrayer) and Brainy Smurf (Danny Pudi); all of whom are sure to bring their unique brand of Smurf Shenanigans to this adventure!  Oh, and of course the evil wizard Gargamel (Rainn Wilson) gets wind of this lost village, so they have to contend with him stomping through the forest as well; hoping to find these new Smurfs and using them to become the world’s most powerful wizard by smooshing them in some sort of magic juicer!  Can the Smurfs find The Lost Village and warn them of Gargamel before it’s too late?  Will Smurfette finally find out what her true purpose is on this epic quest?  Just who are these new Smurfs that they’re looking for, and are they even blue!?  What if… WHAT IF THEY’RE SNORKS!?

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It’s the Hannah-Barbarra Cinematic Universe!  WE KNEW IT WAS COMING SOONER OR LATER!!

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Cinema Dispatch: Money Monster

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Money Monster and all the images you see in this review are owned by TriStar Pictures

Directed by Jodie Foster

Once again, George Clooney is trying to save America’s soul through his world class acting skills!  Not too long ago he directed and co-starred in The Ides of March which was a vicious take down of the electoral process and the idea of there ever being a perfect candidate and then just last year he was in Tomorrowland which, from what I understand, is damn close to a Randian take on a Save the Future kids movie where the best and brightest separated themselves from the rest of the world to form a Utopian society that is no doubt run on renewable energy and good vibes.  Now we’ve got Money Monster; a movie he didn’t direct but seems to be right in his wheelhouse as it takes the finical system and investment culture head on.  Does this movie manage to make an intelligent statement on capitalism and Wall Street, or is this simply an angry and half-thought out screed that just shows how little the filmmakers and writers know about what they’re railing against?  Let’s find out!!

The movie begins with douche bag television personality Lee Gates (George Clooney) going about his normal everyday routine of giving financial advice on his show Money Monster with his trusty director Patty Fenn (Julia Roberts) in the booth making sure it all comes together instead of just being a big cacophony of egotistical noise radiating from the self-centered host.  Today is not going to be a normal day for anyone however as a complete stranger Kyle Budwell (Jack O’Connell) manages to sneak his way into the studio with not only a gun but a bomb vest.  He takes everyone hostage, puts the vest on Lee, and begins his own personal broadcast to spout off about the ills of Wall Street and their hype men like Lee.  Specifically, the guy lost A LOT of money when a company called IBIS suspiciously lost eight hundred million dollars in a single day due to a supposed computer glitch and he wants answers for it; especially after Lee said on national television that the company was a sure thing for any investor.  Can Lee talk his way out of a bullet in the head?  What really DID happen to the money that IBIS claims to have lost?  How amazing are the ratings gonna be for THIS show?  Maybe he can get another desperate asshole to break in during sweeps…

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“On today’s episode, we see who wants to get shot in the face!  Any takers?”     …     “Come on people!  If you can’t decide amongst yourselves, then  I’m gonna choose for you!”

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Cinema Dispatch: Mother’s Day

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Mother’s Day and all the images you see in this review are owned by Open Road Films

Directed by Garry Marshall

Seriously.  It’s not funny anymore Garry Marshall.  Whoever’s paying you to do this or whoever has your family hostage NEEDS to be stopped.  For the third time in a damn row, Garry Marshall is trying to rip off Love Actually by taking the formula and centering on other holidays that seem to be chosen at random.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the next movie is about Arbor Day and Julia Roberts plays a tree in it!  So is this one just as bad as the rest?  Yes.  Yes it is.  No point in giving you false hope.  Let’s just get this one over with…

The movie is separated into four stories.  Jennifer Aniston has to deal with the fact that her ex-husband has remarried a much younger woman and they are both dazzeling the kids with fun trips, junk food, and rock concerts while she’s at her house doing everything else for them.  Jason Sudeikis is a widower whose wife passed away about a year ago and he’s still dealing with the grief while trying to raise his two daughters.  Britt Robertson is a woman who’s raising her infant daughter with her boyfriend, but she also has her own demons to work out as she has never met her birth mother who is an HSN host played by Julia Roberts.  And finally, KKate Hudson and Sarah Chalke play sisters who have married people their parents would not approve of (an indian man played by Aasif Mandvi for the former and another woman played by Cameron Esposito for the latter) and they are no longer able to hide this fact from them since they have made a surprise visit.  Each of these stories are loosely connected by the fact that some of the characters know each other as either friends or in a professional sense, and we follow our heroes as they learn to get over their problems, make up for mistakes they’ve made, and become better people in the process.  Oh and there’s a holiday in here… I guess.

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“Holy hell!  Is… is this what the rest of my career is gonna be like!?”     “Yep.  Welcome to the old ladies club.”     “BUT I’M ONLY TWENTY SIX!!”     “Yeah, and I’m only thirty seven.  It’ll get easier after a while.”

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Cinema Dispatch: Secret in Their Eyes

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Secret in Their Eyes and all the images you see in this review are owned by STX Entertainment

Directed by Billy Ray

Does anyone even remember that this movie was supposed to come out?  I remember seeing trailers a LONG time ago but then they just stopped and I haven’t seen one for this in probably four or five months.  Did the studio lose faith in it despite its all-star cast (Chiwetel Ejiofor, Nicole Kidman, and Julia Roberts just to name a few)?  It seems that the Studio is angling for this to be an Oscar type film along the lines of Michael Clayton or LA Confidential based on the trailers we initially got, but maybe something happened between then and now that cause the studio to lose faith in this film’s ability to reach the main stream audience.  Is this a solid thriller that will generate some positive buzz through word of mouth, or are we looking at something that the studio was desperate to bury?  Let’s find out!!

The movie follows Ray (Chiwetel Ejiofor) as he tries to solve the murder of the daughter of his friend Jess (Julia Roberts).  It’s not going all that well considering he’s just getting a breakthrough after thirteen years of diligent work, but at least he has something he can bring to the district attorney Claire (Nicole Kidman).  Now this is where things start to break down so I’ll try to get this story across as best as possible.  Thirteen years ago, Ray was an FBI agent that got transferred to a Los Angeles after 9/11 with a whole bunch of other agents because everyone thought that was where the next attack would be.  One of those agents is Jess who becomes his partner and they become friends along with Bumpy Willis (Dean Norris basically reprising his role as Hank Schrader to the point that they eventually give the dude a cane) and the new Assistant District Attorney Claire.  One day, they find Jess’s daughter dead and bleached in a dumpster outside of a Mosque they’re investigating and it completely destroys Jess.  They have a suspect in some kid named Marzin (Joe Cole) that they’re DAMN sure did it but due to some extenuating circumstances, the head of the LA FBI office (Alfred Molina) doesn’t want to pursue this further.  The kid is actually an informant for the office asshole Reg Seifert (Michael Kelly who’s kind of an American Andrew Scott only less awesome) who is spilling secrets on the mosque which might be harboring a terrorist cell.  That and a general lack of hard evidence means he gets away with the murder and then just disappears soon after.

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“You guys must REALLY suck if you can’t even get ME arrested.”

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