Cinema Dispatch: The Matrix Resurrections

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

Directed by Lana Wachowski

Making another sequel to the Matrix is simply a bad idea from the word go.  Sure, it’s tempting given that the original trilogy grossed over a billion dollars and became a cultural touchstone for a generation, but there’s no way to play of it as anything than a cynical cash grab, and there’s no guarantee that the audience will come back for another one; especially since a lot of them are approaching middle age at this point and this new generation is more enamored with Marvel films than anything else.  Even getting one of the original directors to come back isn’t gonna turn many heads since the stagnation of the series occurred under their watch, and they’ve been heavily involved with all the various media made the franchise since the beginning.  Now all that said, perhaps this IS the right time for it to be tried again.  The themes and messages of the original movie have become all the more relevant since its, and the co-opting of some of its imagery among certain reactionary circles has been one of the more unfortunate developments in the story of The Matrix as a pop-culture staple.  With so many people having so many different ideas about what The Matrix should be, is there any way that this can please even a fraction of the original fans and perhaps get new fans in the process, or is this just another soulless cash grab to further cement this as the worst of all possible timelines?  Let’s find out!!

Thomas Anderson (Keanu Reeves) finds himself in a comfortable life that he built for himself, but not much more.  He made his fortune creating a trilogy of video games called The Matrix with his business partner (Jonathan Groff), but each day feels like an endless drudgery as he searches for meaning.  His therapist (Neil Patrick Harris) has been helping him through these feelings, especially after he nearly jumped off of a roof a few years back, but nothing seems to get through to him until he starts seeing this woman at the coffee shop.  Her name is Tiffany (Carrie-Anne Moss) and there’s something about her that seems familiar but also brings him quite a bit of peace; a peace he will need as the studio is forcing him to make a new Matrix game and it’s just not going very well.  That’s when things start to really unravel as he starts seeing things that may not be there and people start talking to him like he’s someone else entirely.  How did Mr. Anderson find himself in such a miserable state, and can he trust his own mind to tell him the truth?  Who are these people that are showing up to tell him that reality isn’t what it seems, and are they looking out for his best interest or for their own selfish goals?  Is it just me, or does this sound less like The Matrix and more like Birdman?

“So I’m the one that will save humanity?”     “If by ‘humanity’ you mean Warner Bros quarterly finical report, then yes!  Well, maybe.  Let’s see how it does overseas.”
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Cinema Dispatch: Downhill

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Downhill and all the images you see in this review are owned by Searchlight Pictures

Directed by Nat Faxon & Jim Rash

Let’s see… I don’t remember seeing any trailers for this, I didn’t know it was coming out until the day before I saw it, and I haven’t even seen Veep yet.  Yeah, not sure what to say about this one going into it, especially since Sonic The Hedgehog took up all my attention last weekend.  But hey, I’m sure SOMEONE out there is excited for this film, right?  It made it to Sundance!  Did SONIC make it to Sundance?  I think NOT!  Yeah okay, it’s got a good cast but Will Ferrell hasn’t been on the best of streaks lately so I’m giving this about a fifty-fifty shot at being any good.  Does it manage to beat the odds and be the surprise hit of the weekend, or will the only thing people remember about this is that it’s the film that tried to take on the Blue Furball on his opening weekend?  Let’s find out!!

Pete and Billie Staunton (Will Ferrell and Julia Louis-Dreyfus) have taken their sons Finn and Emerson (Julian Grey and Ammon Jacob Ford) to the Alps for a family vacation which frankly Pete really needed as his father died a mere eight months ago and he’s been shaken up about it ever since.  You know how these things go however; the kids would rather just be on their screens all day, the busy schedule means everyone is tired, and all this extra effort and tension is bubbling up repressed negativity in unexpected ways.  Perhaps the MOST unexpected way though is what Pete ends up doing that puts a huge damper on things for the rest of the trip!  At one point the family is enjoying their lunch on the patio when an avalanche starts to approach, and like what any of us would do (what, you WOULDN’T do this?) Pete grabs his phone and skedaddles while Billie clings to the kids and hopes that they don’t all die in the snowfall.  They don’t of course, but darn it if Pete running away didn’t become the biggest buzzkill of this entire trip, and it calls into question quite a lot about their lives, their relationships, and where this family is headed.  Will Billie and Pete find a way to come back together after this bizarre event has torn them apart?  Will their kids be able to cope with the fact that their dad left them for dead and is barely even acknowledging this fact?  Seriously, what kind of excuse could Pete POSSIBLY come up with to explain that?  At that point you might as well just drop a smoke bomb and disappear for the rest of your life.

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“Hey, where were you guys?”     “WHAT!?”     “Yeah, I was over there waiting for you.  What, you didn’t get my text?”

Continue reading “Cinema Dispatch: Downhill”