Tag Archives: Keegan-Michael Key

Cinema Dispatch: Top Ten WTF Moments in The Predator

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

Directed by Shane Black

It’s been a few weeks since The Predator graced the multiplexes in all its confused glory, so I think now’s a pretty good time to really get into what exactly is SO fascinatingly wrong about this movie that I couldn’t fit into a proper review.  The last time I did something like this was all the way back when The Mummy was supposed to be the next big thing which sadly didn’t end up being the case despite making four hundred million worldwide and so The Dark Universe is more or less dead on arrival.  A shame because, despite the film’s ASTOUNDING amount of flaws, it was compelling in a way that very few terrible movies can be and I’d have loved to see a DCCU style nightmare come out of it.  Predators though still has a chance to be the next (albeit smaller) version of this with its incredibly pronounced sequel bait at the end and comparatively lower stakes, so why not give it the proper WTF treatment?  Unlike my last list however, this isn’t ranked in an ascending order of absurdity; rather it’s structured in a way to try and get across the ESCALATING sense of absurdity that builds as the movie goes along, so while one thing may not be as out there or ridiculous as the thing before it, it all adds up into this ludicrous mishmash of ideas that either should have been left on the cutting room floor or given the time it needed to not feel so inexplicably jammed into an already overly tight runtime.  Let’s get started!!

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10) Lock him up and throw away the key! – Why the heck is Quinn being railroaded!?

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So the movie begins with The Predator (at least the first one of them) crash landing on Earth basically within spitting distance a squad of army dudes out on a mission.  Our lead dude is Quinn McKenna (Boyd Holbrook) who finds the escape pod The Predator used as well as part of his armor; including his mask and one of his arm bands that both have VERY advanced computer systems in them.  His men die at the hands of The Predator, he manages to escape, and then he mails the pieces of armor to his home in the US.  Now why would he do that?  Well apparently he correctly assumed that he would be arrested by THE HIGHER UPS and sent to a mental institution as a way to keep him quiet about the alien… because reasons.  Now to be clear, this is not just ANY army dude; the mission he was on was to assassinate a drug lord on an ally’s soil (Mexico) and the US Military isn’t about to send someone on that kind of job who doesn’t know how to keep his mouth shut and play ball.  How is this guy not an ASSET to The Stargazer Project considering his sterling military record, and for that matter why are they so intent on keeping HIM out of the loop when they IMMEDIATELY bring a civilian scientist on board (Dr. Casey Bracket played by Olivia Munn) to run tests on the darn thing!?  Speaking of which…

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Cinema Dispatch: The Predator

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

Directed by Shane Black

I’m getting rather good at avoiding trailers at this point because I never saw a single one for this movie.  All I knew was that it was another Predator movie with an annoyingly similar title to the rest of them (which is still better than the sequel to Halloween being called Halloween) and it was being directed by the guy who wrote Lethal Weapon, directed Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Iron Man 3, and The Nice Guys, and even got turned into a pile of bloody organs in the first Predator movie!  I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a winning formula to me!  At least until the recent news came out about his deeply irresponsible casting decision in the movie which frankly cast a big cloud over the whole thing for me right before it came out.  Does this manage to be an entertaining film despite the problems that Shane Black managed to bring upon himself in the lead up to the film’s release, or was that the first sign that something was amiss with the latest entry in this franchise?  Let’s find out!!

For some time now it seems that Predators have been stepping up their game and coming to Earth with a bit more frequency which is not just a good way to set ourselves up for some prequels, but to raise the stakes a bit as this latest invasion by a Predator seems to be a bit more than just some dude trying to add one more human spine to his collection.  He crash lands in a jungle down in Mexico where military badass Quinn McKenna (Boyd Holbrook) is on assignment to assassinate someone for something, but said crash landing makes things a bit more complicated.  A bunch of… dudes (are they military?  A private corporation?) who are part of PROJECT STARGAZER which is led by the mysterious Traeger (Sterling K Brown) capture the alien, capture most of its armor, and even captures McKenna, but not before McKenna… finds someone to mail part of The Predator’s armor back home.  Apparenlty he wants to keep it for “evidence” which I’m SURE will come in handy when he’s carted off to a mental institution so that PROJECT STARGAZER can keep a lid on the existence of aliens.  Not so much of a lid that they won’t enlist a civilian scientist Dr. Casey Bracket (Olivia Munn) to take a look at the captured creature, but enough so that the highly trained military officer who’s already involved with secret government plots like assassinations can be forcibly kept quiet before he starts blabbing to everyone.  Sounds like a foolproof plan to me!  Oh wait, the Predator escaped and is now looking for his armor, namely his helmet, that McKenna sent back home and is currently being played with by his son Rory (Jacob Temblay) who is on the autism spectrum and apparently has no problem understanding this alien technology.  So it’s a race against time as McKenna and a group of mentally ill soldiers he meets (Trevante Rhodes, Keegan-Michael Key, Thomas Jane, Alfie Allen, and Augusto Aguilera) team up with Dr. Bracket to… I guess stop the Predator, while Traeger and PROJECT STARGAZER regroup to put an end to this threat and the people who know about it once and for all! Can McKenna save his son from the murderous alien as well as the VERY dangerous technology he’s been messing around with?  What are PROJECT STARGAZERS’s true plans, and what are The Predator’s plans as well?  Does anyone else get the feeling that the editor had their spine forcibly removed by a giant monster alien when they were only halfway done putting this thing together?

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“I get my OWN spin-off or else this guy’s gut turns into a pin cushion!”

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Cinema Dispatch: Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation

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Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation and all the images you see in this review are owned by Sony Pictures Releasing

Directed by Genndy Tartakovsky

If I was reviewing films back when the first Hotel Transylvania film came out, it would have easily been in the top five films of that year.  Avengers?  Whatever!  Flight?  Forget about it!  21 Jump Street, Prometheus, Skyfall, Chronicle?  Okay, SOME of those might have made it on the list, but Hotel Transylvania was an absolute surprise that I don’t think anyone has really managed to top in regards to its animation and flat out hilarity.  Now that’s not to say that films like Coco, Wreck-It Ralph, and The LEGO Movie aren’t great in their own way, but what Tartakovsky did with Hotel Transylvania was sheer brilliance and just hasn’t been replicated since.  Except for MAYBE The Peanuts Movie which ingeniously recreated the art style in CG, no other film has felt so AUTHENTICALLY cartoonish as this series, and that certainly earns it a massive amount of respect from me even if the sequel was FINE but not up to the first one.  Now that we’re at the third film though with Tartakovsky STILL directing these (wasn’t he supposed to make a film called Can You Imagine, or that new Popeye movie?), so with this film has the spark FINALLY gone out for this franchise or did they fix the mistakes of the sequel to bring something just as fantastic as the first film?  Let’s find out!!

Following the events of Part 2, the titular Hotel Transylvania has been doing well with Count Dracula (Adam Sandler), his daughter Mavis (Selina Gomez), and his son-in-law Johnny (Andy Samberg), keeping down the fort as the place becomes a popular tourist attractions for both humans and monsters, and ESPECIALLY for monster wedding; presumably both in terms of scale and as a description of those tying the knot.  However, all this lovey-dovey stuff has made it more clear than ever that Drac himself has been alone for at least a hundred years since his wife (and Mavis’s mom) died at the hands of a torch wielding mob of humans, so maybe it’s time to get him back in the saddle.  At least you’d THINK that’s what everyone is thinking, but Mavis thinks he just needs a vacation and takes him on a cruise along with all his buddies (Kevin James as Frankenstein, David Spade as The Invisible Man, Steve Buscemi as The Werewolf, and Keegan-Michael Key as The Mummy) along with THEIR significant others (Fran Drescher, Chrissy Teigen, and Molly Shannon), as well all the monsters who have ever stayed at the Hotel so you can see them do their classic bits, and of course we cannot forget Drac’s dad Vlad (Mel Brooks)!  Oh, and don’t forget the kids Dennis and Winnie (Asher Blinkoff and Sadie Sandler) who are on this trip as well but are doing their own thing with Dennis’s giant pet dog Tinkles.  Said vacation by the way is being hosted by the adventurous and very much human Captain Ericka (Kathryn Hahn) who’s not just whisking these monsters on a fabulous journey; she’s also managed to immediately steal the heart of Drac who ZINGED the moment he caught sight of her!  Now Drac has to find a way to confess his feelings for Captain Ericka while also keeping it from Mavis who he worries might not accept him dating again after the death of her mother all those years ago.  Can Drac find love out on the open sea, or will his duties as a loving father (and grandfather!) keep him from finding love once again?  Is Captain Ericka as wonderful as she seems and the perfect match for good ol’ Drac, or is there more to her than meets the eye?  If this movie is a hit, can we finally get Tartakovsky to do that Popeye movie?  PLEASE!?

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“We’ve made Sony a BILLION dollars!  You’d think they’d throw him a bone at some point!!”

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Cinema Dispatch: The Disaster Artist

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The Disaster Artist and all the images you see in this review are owned by A24

Directed by James Franco

I may not be as over the moon in love with The Room as plenty of other people are, and it has admittedly lost a bit of its charm once you realize just how misogynistic the whole thing is, but it certainly has my respect as being one of the more unique examples of a GOOD BAD MOVIE due in no small part to the auteur himself, Tommy Wiseau.  Now he’s far from the only ridiculously cocky creatives out there who write, direct, and star in what they perceive to be their one true masterpiece (*cough* Old Fashioned *cough*), but with Mr Wiseau there’s a genuine sense of mystery about the guy as many details of his origin are STILL unknown to this day (HOW IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE IN THE INTERNET AGE!?) and his… shall we say UNIQUE brand of acting certainly sets him apart from many of the other low rent struggling artists out there.  No doubt there is a VERY interesting story to tell about this one guy, his one movie, and his friendship with co-star Greg Sestero, which the wannabe auteur himself James Franco has opted to do by adapting Greg’s book The Disaster Artist into a motion picture; one that he directs, produces, and stars in of course.  Will this examination of one of Hollywood’s biggest oddities be a worthwhile exploration of the creative process and what it truly means to be an artist, or are we just desperately trying to milk a novelty that had lost its luster many years ago?  Let’s find out!!

The movie follows the journey of two men; aspiring actor Greg Sestero (Dave Franco) and… I guess aspiring actor as well Tommy Wiseau (James Franco).  The two meet in an acting class where Greg finds the eccentric weirdo with bad hair and a worse accent rather endearing for his utter fearlessness and ability to throw himself out there in ways that Greg is still struggling to do despite his hopes of becoming an actor.  Because of Greg’s admiration for Tommy and Tommy’s love of being admired, the two move in together and work their way through Hollywood; getting small gigs here and there but nothing that will truly set them apart from the thousands of other working actors cluttering the streets of LA.  After a particularly rough string of bad luck, Tommy eventually starts writing his own movie and wants none other than Greg himself to be the co-star.  The Room is what he titles his masterpiece and he funds it himself with his seemingly unlimited supply of money but things go from awkward to unsustainable as Tommy’s ego and complete inexperience with the process starts escalating tensions with the cast and crew and even with his best friend Greg who’s trying to stick by him but is finding it hard and harder to deal with Tommy’s unpredictable behavior.  Can Tommy find it within himself to get past his issues and foster a good working environment for the only people in the world who are helping him achieve his dreams?  Will Greg stand by his best friend, or will he realize just how much Tommy is holding him back?  WILL THE WORLD EVER UNDERSTAND THE BRILLIANCE OF THIS ONE MAN’S VISION!?

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GENIUS!!

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Cinema Dispatch: The Star

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The Star and all the images you see in this review are owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment

Directed by Timothy Reckart

Man, Coco was such a good movie.  Too good in fact!  I need to find a way to bring myself down to Earth again if I want to be fair to any other movie coming out this year.  Wait, is that what I think it is!?  A POORLY ANIMATED RELIGIOUS FILM… WITH TYLER PERRY!?  JACKPOT!!  It seems that movie going audiences had the good sense to ignore this film to go see Coco instead which seems like an INCREDIBLY obvious move given how uninspired the trailers look, but let it never be said that I am not a fair critic and will try to give everything at least a CHANCE to try and impress me!  Okay, I know better than to hope much from ANY religious film not made by Darren Aronofsky (and even THAT is a bit of a crapshoot), but compared to some of the OTHER films in that category, there’s no way it could be THAT bad… right?  Let’s find out!!

The movie follows the misadventures of one Bo the Donkey (Steven Yeun) who remained aimless and nameless for most of his life working in a mill and only getting brief glimpses of the outside world.  His one dream though is to be part of the Royal Procession which… I guess is like a super lame parade or something?  Anyway, he’s given a chance to escape with his wise cracking friend Dave the Dove (Keegan-Michael Key) and he winds up hiding out with a newly married couple; one of whom seems to have gotten to the whole pregnancy thing a little early.  Yes, this hapless donkey winds up in the possession of Mary and Joseph (Gina Rodriguez and Zachary Levi) with the former giving him the name Bo and the latter being a total throwback to goofy nineties sitcom guys; as if the entire male cast of Friends was fused together into one not especially charming homunculus.  While this is going on, a trio of camels (Tyler Perry, Oprah Winfrey, and Tracy Morgan) are carrying the Wise Men across the desert in search of the new king who’s due in just a few months and end up running into King Herod (Christopher Plummer) who doesn’t take too kindly to there being another king out there and sends his scariest brick shit house of a guard with two mix-matched attack dogs (Ving Rhames and Gabriel Iglesias) to go hunt down the happy couple and murder them to bloody chunky bits.  Bo the Donkey gets wind of this and decides to help these two out before running off to join the Royal Procession and even meet a friendly sheep along the way named Ruth (Aidy Bryant) who left her flock to follow the titular star to… whatever’s at the end of it (spoiler alert: it’s Jesus).  Will Bo the Donkey keep these two safe and deliver the savior unto us so that we all may be saved from the burning fires of Hell?  Will King Herod realize that sending only ONE dude to stop the only person who could challenge his throne was a really half assed approach to this problem?  Can animals be saved and accept Jesus Christ as their lord and savior?  I’m just curious what’s gonna happen to Bo once he dies considering how much he busted his ass (nyuk-nyuk-nyuk) to help Jesus out in the first place!

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“Companions before transubstantiation, AM I RIGHT!?”     “I’m pretty sure that’s not even a rhyme…”

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Cinema Dispatch: Why Him?

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

Directed by John Hamburg

Ugh… so just because Daddy’s Home was a decent movie means we’ll be getting raunchy sitcom movies every Christmas?  I’ve been dreading this movie since the first trailer came out; not just because of how bad it looks, but because it has two REALLY talented leads in it who both can be doing so much more than… whatever the this is supposed to be.  Oh well, I could be wrong.  After all, Daddy’s Home looked almost as bad as this film, and I ended up enjoying that quite a bit!  Can this be the surprise hit of the holiday season; even with Rouge One and Sing looing large over the multiplexes!?  I kinda doubt it, but let’s find out!!

The movie is all about the Fleming family; headed up by Ned (Bryan Cranston) and consisting of wife Barb (Megan Mullally), teenage son Scotty (Griffin Gluck) and grown up daddy’s girl Stephanie (Zoey Deutch). Without much warning, the family finds out that Stephanie has managed to land a boyfriend while at college and that she hadn’t bothered to tell them about him for months now, so OBVIOUSLY she has to drag them out to California just so they can meet him and of course this happens during the holidays so we can add that bit of tension on top of things.  When the family arrives they find that the man of Stephanie’s dreams is some dude nearly forty named Laird Mayhew (James Franco) who acts like he’s still in college and is never called out on his shit because he is LOADED.  Yeah, something about a monkey war game app which has to be Candy Crush levels of popular for him to be THIS rich, but it doesn’t matter.  The important thing is that this overzealous bohemian stoner has ensnared the heart of Ned’s baby girl, and while there’s not much he can do to stop this, he’ll be damned if he enables this.  That attitude comes to a head when Laird confides that he is going to ask Stephanie to marry him on Christmas Day and wants Ned’s blessing which he doesn’t get.  Not one to give up though, Laird promises to make this the best weekend ever and try to convince Ned that he’ll be a good husband for Stephanie and the best son in law ever!  Will Ned warm up to Laird’s unique ways of expressing himself and accept him for who he is?  Will the rest of the family fall in line with Ned, or will they be enticed by Laird’s limitless supply of money and video games?  Is anyone else finding this just the TINIEST bit creepy?

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“Hold on a minute pops.  I’m feeling a little frisky!”     “You do know you’re closer to MY age than HERS, right?”

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Cinema Dispatch: Storks

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Storks and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros

Directed by Nicholas Stoller and Doug Sweetland

Is this just the year of animated bird movies!?  First we have Angry Birds, now we have Storks… okay, it’s just two movies, but that still seems like too many!  I really didn’t know anything about this movie walking in, having only hear the title and maybe seen a poster, which is odd considering that this isn’t some straight to DVD crap from an unknown studio.  Maybe Warner Bros was keeping this one close to the chest, or maybe I’ve just been living under a rock this whole time.  Anyway, is this the follow-up to the LEGO movie that they’re hoping will prove their viability as an animation studio, or will this prove the Phil Lord and Chris Miller in the director’s chair was the only reason that was a success in the first place?  Let’s find out!!

The movie is set in a world where at one time (presumably throughout all of humanity’s existence up until a few years ago) Storks would receive letters from humans and then… I guess use those letters to create a fetus in some sort of machine that grows them to term in a matter of minutes.  It’s not clear how much control the parents have when deciding what kind of baby they want (no gay kids in MY family!) but regardless, the babies that are crafted in this ungodly mechanism are then delivered by the Storks all around the world.  At some point though, I guess the humans learned how to fuck which made the Storks rather redundant, so they decided to switch their operation from baby growing and delivery to basically become Amazon.  Okay… I have several questions about all of this already, but we should probably move on from there.  So when the movie picks up (which can only be about twenty years after they stopped delivering babies), the best Stork deliverer in the business Junior (Andy Samberg) is up for a management position as the current manager Hunter (Kelsey Grammer) is apparently going to the BOARD OF DIRECTORS or something… even though we never see anyone higher than Hunter in the company structure.  For Junior to get his new job though, he has to do one thing; fire Tulip.  Who is Tulip?  Sigh… okay, rewind a bit.  Apparently right before the Storks stopped delivering babies (maybe this was an inciting incident?) one Stork lost his damn mind after seeing how CUUUUUUTE his baby was and broke the baby’s personalized tracking thingy… which is some sort of GPS device that tells them where the baby goes… and it’s the only copy of that information… so the baby is an orphan now and the stork in question flies off AND IS NEVER SEEN AGAIN!  That baby is now eighteen (i.e. they’ve only stopped delivering babies for less than a generation) and FOR SOME REASON wasn’t brought to a human orphanage, but has instead been bumming around the packing facility this entire time doing odd jobs for the company.  To make a long story short; shenanigans happen, Junior and Tulip accidently make a baby with the decommissioned baby-maker (don’t ask), and they have to deliver it before anyone finds out what the hell he did and he loses his job.  For some reason Hunter wants to stop them rather than help them cover it up (does he WANT Junior to be in charge, or not!?), and of course we have to cut back to the kid who sent the letter wishing for a little brother (he’s gonna get a little sister instead, so maybe the human’s DON’T have that much control over what baby they get) and his issues with his parents being gainfully employed.   You ever get the feeling that the writers didn’t actually think anything through when they were writing a script?

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“Hey!  Isn’t it funny how you’re a bird, but your riding in a plane!?”     “Yup.  Hysterical.”     “I know, right!?”

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