Cinema Dispatch: Bloodshot

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

Directed by David SF Wilson

Is it just me, or did anyone else think this movie was about a vampire?  I mean it’s not like BLOODSHOT is some sort of household name to rival that of Iron Man and Thor, and with a name like that I’d have pegged them as a Blade knock off more than anything else!  Well whatever this movie is about (a ROBOT vampire maybe?), it’s yet another vehicle for Vin Diesel who’s really had a bad luck streak in recent years as he’s been trying so hard to escape the Fast franchise to do his own thing but to no avail, and now he has to pretend that John Cena is his brother or whatever the heck is going on in that move that we won’t be seeing for another year.  Just when he thought he was out, THEY PULL HIM RIGHT BACK IN!!  Is this the one that will be the new franchise starter that he needs to escape the shadow of the Fast and Furious franchise?  I mean… probably not, but let’s find out!!

Ray Garrison (Vin Diesel) is your typical action movie hero.  He works for a SUPER SECRET SEAL TEAM SIX type outfit for the US military, and he’s covered in all sorts of scars that his beautiful wife (Talulah Riley) lovingly caresses whenever he returns from another world saving mission.  Sounds about right for a typical action flick, but where’s the motivation for vengeance?  WHERE’S THE INCITING INCIDENT THAT CALLS OUR HERO TO VIOLENCE!?  Oh wait, there it is!  Some dude (Toby Kebbell) kidnaps him and his wife looking for information, but when Ray doesn’t have the answers he’s looking for he kills the wife and puts a bullet in Ray’s head; an act that would kill a lesser man, but Vin Diesel isn’t about to be put down by a small amount of lead to the cranium!  Instead, he manages to survive the shooting and his body Is recovered… somehow by SUPER SCIENTISTS working for Dr. Emil Harting (Guy Pearce) where it’s brought to his SUPER SCIENCE company and is fixed up good as new by basically turning him into Million Ants Man; only instead of ants it’s NANOBOTS!!  With this new power he can recover from ANY damage, can punch things REALLY hard, is able to connect to basically any computer… BUT WILL THAT HEAL THE HOLE THAT IS LEFT IN HIS HEART!?  Of course not, so almost immediately he starts to search for the man who killed his wife and plots his revenge despite the consternation of Dr. Harting and his rag tag group of cyborg buddies including Katie (Eiza González) who has a robo-lung and seems to be hiding more than just her giant chest mounted ventilation system.  Will Ray find the man responsible and bring him to justice in a very violent fashion?  Why did he kidnap Ray and his wife in the first place considering he didn’t have any information to give him, and is there more to this horrific act of violence than Ray initially suspects?  Why the heck is even called Bloodshot!?  Is it REALLY just because he has red eyes sometimes?

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“Hey buddy, do you need help or something?”     “All I need is to bath in the blood of my enemies and hear their screams as they take their last painful breath…”     “Okay… well how about some eye drops?”     “I mean… I won’t say no if you have some.”

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Cinema Dispatch: Jumanji: The Next Level

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Jumanji: The Next Level and all the images you see in this review are owned by Sony Pictures Releasing

Directed by Jake Kasdan

Two years after the Jumanji reboot and I still think it’s a pretty good movie!  I’ve had to of seen it at least twice since seeing it in theaters, and it still holds up pretty well; especially with such a fun and talented cast that could have phoned it in and let the special effects do all the work but instead elevated the material to something far more watchable than you’d expect at first glance!  Now it’s time for a sequel, and… well I don’t know about you but I’d have rather seen a sequel to Baywatch than watch them try to recreate what made that reboot so good.  Seems like a bit of a long shot that we’ll get something halfway decent out of this, but hey!  I was saying the same thing about that first movie before it came out, and look what we got!  Can we go back to the well one more time without the formula feeling stale and apathetic?  Let’s find out!!

After Spencer, Fridge, Martha, and Bethany (Alex Wolff, Ser’Darius Blain, Morgan Turner, and Madison Iseman) had defeated the mysterious Jumanji video game and smashed it to bits with a bowling ball, we pick up on their lives a year or so later where everyone is off doing their own thing but still manage to stay in touch as they even plan on meeting up during the winter break.  However, only three of them show up to the meeting spot so they go to check on Spencer and find that his grandfather Eddie (Danny DeVito) hasn’t seen him since last night, though he hasn’t been paying much attention this morning as he has an unexpected house guest in the form of his former business partner Milo (Danny Glover) who Eddie’s been avoiding for over a decade now due to some conflict that broke them apart and I’m sure will be resolved before the end of the movie.  Anyway, Fridge, Martha, and Bethany go to the basement to find that Spencer not only took the Jumanji pieces home with them but repaired them to the best of his abilities (I don’t know how many MAGIC retro console repair tutorial are on YouTube but I’m pretty sure it’s more than zero) and has managed to get himself back into the game.  With their friend’s life (as well as contractual obligations) hanging over our heroes’ heads, they head back into the game once more time.  However, things don’t go as planned as only Fridge and Martha wake up inside, and while Martha is still in the body of Karen Gillan, Fridge is now in the body of Jack Black.  The ones filling the Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart shaped meat sacks turn out to be Eddie and Milo respectively who have no idea what’s going on but don’t seem to disturbed by it; assuming they just died or something.  With only half their team, a brand new game scenario involving some dude named JURGEN THE BRUTAL (Rory McCann), and even some new mechanics including magic fruit and a body switching liquid, can this rag tag group of tired pros and retired noobs find Spencer and beat the game before everyone dies a miserable and painful death?  What will Spencer have to say for himself once they find him and start demanding answers as to why he’s here in the first place?  Will Eddie and Milo be able to resolve their decade’s long rivalry, and will it be half as compelling as the Sunny episode Frank’s Brother!?

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“I’ve got a human meat guy, and if you’re not careful I’ll take you right to him with these giant muscular arms!”     “Yeah, well with this tiny body I’m sure he won’t give you much for me, so ha!”     “What in the heck are they even talking about!?”

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Cinema Dispatch: Yesterday

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

Directed by Danny Boyle

This may be a movie about music from fifty years ago, yet the premise is even older than that as the idea of a hapless someone getting a shortcut to fame and fortune is one of the most basic cornerstones of literature.  When you take that premise and make it about something other than say measurable wealth and status (i.e. Aladdin) to instead focus on some sort of perceived skill or art form (i.e. music), you can run into a few issues; namely that you have to sell the audience on the perceived greatness of something that is rather subjective.  You either have to play into the impossibility of someone ACTUALLY making the greatest music ever like with Tenacious D’s Tribute or even Fish Story, or your stuck trying to write it yourself and just ignore the disconnect (*cough* Harsh Mistress *cough*).  The workaround for all that though is what we’ve got here which is a jukebox musical of sorts where the songs being played are widely considered (at least somewhat) to be the greatest of all time, and in this era where Musical Biopics are now in vogue, it was probably the best way for yet another Beatles tribute to stand out among the crowd.  So then!  Does this movie manage to capture the magic of that one band from Liverpool, or will this be a bigger stain on their legacy than Magical Mystery Tour THE MOVIE?  Let’s find out!!

Jack Malik (Himesh Patel) is the typical struggling artist who spends his time stocking store shelves between gigs that no one bothers to see.  His manager and best friend Ellie (Lily James) still believes in him and his amazing songwriting skills, but if it hasn’t happened yet then it probably isn’t going to happen and so he decides that now is the time to hang it up.  The universe on the other hand has other plans for him because as he’s riding home on his bike that night, there’s a global power outage that no one ever finds an explanation for but did lead to Jack getting hit with a bus; breaking his guitar, his front teeth, and his spirit even more.  After a lengthy recovery though, he soon realizes that no one remembers who The Beatles or any of their amazing songs.  You know, songs like Yesterday, A Hard Day’s Night, and… others.  Okay, so there were A LOT of songs, but Jack can surely remember enough of them to finally have a chance to be the musical star he’s always wanted to be!  I mean these songs are culturally important and should exist in some form for the betterment of mankind, so Jack is practically doing a public service here, right!?  So that’s what Jack does as he starts recording classic tracks like I Want to Hold Your Hand and Let it Be (seemingly unconcerned with the arc the band took in their music) as well as songs like Back in the USSR which sounds a bit retro now, but still jams!  It takes a bit of time, but he does eventually start to get a following and it seems like all that success is just around the corner if he can just stick it out through the hardships and machinations of the music industry, but with so much changing so quickly and his loved ones seeming to get further and further away from him, is this truly what Jack wants now?  On top of that, if HE remembers who The Beatles are then there has to be other’s out there too, right?  Can he keep up the lies before this house of cards comes crumbling down, or will everyone be cool with it since no one knows who the fudge John Paul George and Ringo are anyway?  Most importantly, is he gonna get a mediocre Hanna-Barbera cartoon as well!?

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“Thank you everyone, and make sure to watch my web series!  We are sponsored by Audible!!”

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Cinema Dispatch: Game Night

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Game Night and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures

Directed by John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein

It’s not easy trying to release a movie in the wake of an overwhelming success like Black Panther or really ANY Disney movie nowadays, and the idea of Counter Programming (releasing a movie that targets an audience vastly different from whatever else is in theaters) is becoming an increasingly less viable route to go when success is as massive as these year round tent poles have become.  With that said, it’s ALSO a common time to dump movies that the studio has little faith in as wasting a BETTER time slot in the year is the year would only make things that much worse for them.  For me, seeing this trailer quite frequently in the last month or so, it looks to fall into the latter as the premise of the film and the gags they showed us wasn’t inspiring much hope in me that this was going to be much of a comedy classic, but I have been wrong before about movies and I’m like the ONLY guy who’s like Billy Magnussen in everything I’ve seen him in; and that’s including Birth of the Dragon!  Does this action comedy bring the same fun and excitement you always hope to have whenever you have your own game night, or is this as exciting as playing Monopoly for two hours past the point everyone stopped caring?  Let’s find out!!

Max and Anne (Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams) are the picture perfect mid-thirties couple that LOVES playing board games on their weekly Game Night along with their friends Kevin and Michelle (Lamorne Morris and Kylie Bunbury) as well as good ol’ Ryan (Billy Magnussen) who frequently brings new dates to Game Name with the latest being Sarah (Sharon Horgan) .  OH, and uh… they used to invite the neighbor Gary (Jesse Plemons) over to play with them, but no one likes to talk about Gary; especially after the divorce.  ANYWAY, Game Night is the one thing that they all look forward to every week, but things start to run afoul this time around as Max’s brother Brooks (Kyle Chandler) shows up out of the blue with his badass car and super smooth swagger to take over Game Night and make it an evening they will NEVER forget; something that gets Max rather pissy right off the bat.  Oh, you know how brother are!  Always trying to one up each other even when it comes to something as trivial as Trivial Pursuit!  Brooks invites everyone over to his house to play one of those INTERACTIVE MURDER MYSTERY deals with actors pretending to be cops and robbers, but the party is crashed by ACTUAL robbers right off the bat; something that they REALLY should have realized was the case even if they were told this was going to be a big game.  They don’t realize that these are REAL crooks invading the party and kidnapping Brooks though, but they will soon enough as they find out more and more about Brooks and just how much trouble he’s really in.  Can Max, Anne, and their best buddies find a way to save Brooks before he gets two in the head?  What will Max learn about his brother during this absurd quest, and what will he learn about… HIMSELF!?  Anyone else feel like playing a game right now?  King of Tokyo?  Drop Mix?  Yu-Gi-Oh?

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“Who wants to play… PAR-CHEESE-I!?”     “Max, if you tell that joke ONE more time, I will personally shove this knife right through your eye socket.”     “Well then… I hope that after doing that… you’d feel SORRY!”

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Cinema Dispatch: Barbershop: The Next Cut

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Barbershop: The Next Cut and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures

Directed by Malcolm D Lee

I tend not to review movies if I haven’t seen the original films first; even if the connection between them is tenuous at best.  Mostly it’s an excuse to keep my own sanity (*cough* Allegiant *cough*) but I think it’s fair to say that those who go see sequels without seeing the previous films are gonna be hard pressed to review it in the context of the series as well as in the context of itself as a singular film.  That said, I made an exception here; primarily because this is one of those years later sequels which means they’ll likely have a refresher of sorts at the beginning to catch everyone up to speed, and also because I thought the trailers looked pretty good with a solid cast and genuinely funny moments; That and the added bonus of seeing Nikki Minaj onscreen.  ANYWAY!  Does this manage to bring in a new audience while also pleasing the longtime fans of the series, or will this be a disaster borne from the cast and crew’s desire to just cash in on their previous success?  Let’s find out!!

The movie primarily follows the misadventures of Calvin (Ice Cube) who runs a joint barber shop/beauty shop where many of his friends work, including his wife Angie (Regina Hall).  Going to work every day with the people you love, shooting the shit, cutting hair; sounds like the perfect life, right?  Well it WOULD be if the shop wasn’t right smack dab in the middle of one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Chicago!  Calvin has to worry about gangsters shooting guns outside the shop, customers shooting them INSIDE the shop, and even his own son Jalen (Michael Rainey Jr) get suckered and seduced into the thug life.  Can this little barber shop prove to be the catalyst for real change in the neighborhood once they decide to take direct action?  Will Calvin sell the shop so that he and his family can get out of the bad neighborhood while leaving all his friends twisting in the wind?  Is Cedric the Entertainer going to live up to his name for once!?

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“What all this?  Where the hell am I!?”     “Relax.  You’re in a good movie.”     “… Say what?”     “YOU’RE IN A GOOD MOVIE!!”     Okay, you’re saying words, but they just sound all jumbled together and don’t make any sense.”

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