Tag Archives: Lionsgate

Cinema Dispatch: Acrimony

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Acrimony and all the images you see in this review are owned by Lionsgate

Directed by Tyler Perry

Oh great!  We’re back here again!  It wasn’t bad enough that we got a new Pure Flix movie, but we have to get another Tyler Perry one too!?  At least that’s what I’d NORMALLY be saying, but there are a few things surrounding this particular feature that have slightly altered my expectations; including the fact that God’s Not Dead 3 is actually not all that terrible (even if it is still woefully problematic).  Tyler Perry isn’t the MOST incompetent filmmaker out there, but his middling skills are not helped by the very low expectations he puts on himself and on what he expects the audience to lap up, hence why Boo 2 was shot a mere five months before it was released and is an utter retread of the previous film.  This one though?  It could be just wishful thinking, but the darker tone along with the R rating and the casting of Taraji P Henson as the lead… well it could mean something.  Maybe not much as this is STILL a rather unimpressive director (as well as writer and producer), but if Pure Flix can manage to vastly improve their output every once in a blue moon, then why not Perry?  Does this film rise above the low expectations of yet another Tyler Perry production, or are we in for another obnoxiously moralizing tale in lieu of a well-made movie?  Let’s find out!!

The movie begins with Melinda (Taraji P Henson and Ajiona Alexus) being sent to a court mandated therapy session to deal with her anger issues which presumably landed her in a courtroom in the first place, but she’s not just angry!  She has a pitch black white hot fury more powerful than that of a collapsing star!  What could POSSIBLY have happened to make her so unbelievably pissed!?  Well her therapist would certainly like to know, so Melinda proceeds to regale us with her life story; starting with the day she met… HIM!  Who is HIM!?  Just some dude named Robert (Lyriq Bent and Antonio Madison) she met in college.  Okay, he’s a BIT more important than that because it seems that his charisma was SO magnetic that the two ended up marrying and living a rather unspectacular life together for the last twenty years, and she is NOT happy about him wasting all those years of her life being a lazy and irresponsible man child that tinkered away in his workshop on a new-fangled battery that’s never gonna freaking work; all the while supporting this obsession with unfulfilling jobs and assuming massive amounts of debt.  Now there’s more going on here than just a crappy marriage, especially what happens after she works up the nerve to leave his sorry ass, but to go much further would venture into spoilers and it’s better that you hear it from Melinda in her own words rather than through the grape vine.  What unspeakable crimes could have happened that justifies her ceaseless rage and thirst for vengeance?  Just how far will she go to get to the man who did her wrong?  Hey, um… is Tyler Perry alright?  He seems like he’s working through some things here…

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You all should have supported Proud Mary when you had the chance!  IT’S TOO LATE NOW!!

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Cinema Dispatch: Winchester

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Winchester and all the images you see in this review are owned by Lionsgate and CBS Films

Directed by Peter Spierig and Michael Spierig

SERIOUSLY!?  We managed to go through ALL of January without a single notable horror movie!?  Okay, I mean there was that INSIDIOUS movie but that one doesn’t count because… I didn’t see the other films.  MY POINT IS that it’s been PRETTY light so far for a month known almost EXCLUSIVELY for terrible horror films, and for me this is the first one of the new year so I’m STILL gonna consider it a January horror film!  Besides, that’s not even a particularly hard rule of thumb considering last year’s worst horror abomination Rings didn’t make it out the gate until the first week of February either.  Will this be another entry in the never ending list of terrible first of the year horror movies, or are the people behind this just too darn talented to make the same mistakes that everyone else did?  Let’s find out!!

The movie follows the story of Sarah Winchester (Helen Mirren) who is the widow of William Winchester; the man who started the Winchester Repeating Arms company and got SUPER rich doing so.  Now she has all this money, but she’s been using it to build and rebuild and rebuild and add on and then do some MORE rebuilding on here house.  Why is she doing this?  Well she believes that the ghosts of the victims of Winchester rifles, instead of haunting say… their murderers, are haunting her house and I guess the multiple rooms and weird architecture confuses them or something.  Anyway, Dr. Price (Jason Clarke) has been sent by the Winchester Repeating Arms company to assess the mental fitness of Sarah in an attempt to oust her from the company, but he’s not interested in being their lap dog and seems to genuinely want to help her; not like he’d get away with being so duplicitous what with her niece Marion (Sarah Snook) watching his every move.  Of course, things start to get strange almost immediately as Eric starts to see creepy things of his own and Marian’s son Henry (Finn Scicluna-O’Prey) is “sleepwalking” all over the place.  Is Miss Winchester correct in believing that there are ghosts in her house and that they’re after her for what her company’s weapons did to them?  Does Dr. Price have a much deeper connection to this place than either he or Sarah initially thought?  Why does it matter if the house is a confusing maze of dead ends and random staircases!?  GHOSTS ARE NON-CORPOREAL!!

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“BOO!!”     …     “What?  Ah, damn it!  She’s not in this room either.  WHERE THE HECK IS SHE!?”

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Cinema Dispatch: A Total Breakdown in COMMUTER-cation

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The Commuter is owned by Lionsgate

Sometimes you see a movie that will just not leave your brain as questions keep running through your head about what it all meant and what it was trying to say.  I guess this is TECHNICALLY one of those movies, but certainly not for the reasons the filmmakers hoped for because I have nothing but contempt for the asinine questions that I’m left with after watching the damn thing which is made even worse because there ARE no answers.  This was just a super sloppy movie PRETENDING it knew what the hell it was doing and it utterly failed to convince me otherwise.  Since keeping things bottled up is not a particularly healthy way to deal with something, I decided to let YOU all know what questions I was pondering while watching this silly film and how the movie fails to address them in any adequate or satisfying way!  Before that though, let’s have a full rundown of the plot so that you all have a better idea of where I’m coming from if you haven’t seen the movie.  Trust me, I’d rather spend my time recounting it here than make ANYONE feel like they’d have to sit through this drivel just to understand what the heck I’m talking about!  FULL SPOILERS AHEAD!!

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Cinema Dispatch: The Commuter

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The Commuter and all the images you see in this review are owned by Lionsgate

Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra

Now that the end of year hold overs are finishing up their rounds at the box office, it’s time for the TRUE January releases to show themselves which are becoming less associated with absolutely dreadful movies with each successive year, but can still be considered a dumping ground for stuff the studios felt couldn’t hack it in more competitive months.  I guess a Liam Neeson action flick isn’t the WORST way to herald in the New Year, but then I’m pretty sure there are people who still wake up in a cold sweat thinking about Taken 3 and the infamous fourteen cut fence jump.  Will this movie be another strike against the increasingly fragile belief that January films tend to be terrible, or will this only reinforce those notions for yet another year?  Let’s find out!!

The movie begins with exceedingly average older white dude Michael MacCauley (Liam Neeson) going about his daily routine and living the exceedingly average older white dude life.  That is until he gets fired from his exceedingly average older white dude job for lousy capitalist reasons, and is now facing the prospect of financial ruin; right before his son heads off to college too!  Things seem rather for the guy as he boards the train with nothing to look forward to other than telling his family the devastating news, but fortune seems to be in his favor as a mysterious woman (Vera Farmiga) offers him twenty-five grand now and seventy-five grand later if he can just do one small insignificant thing.  Find a person on this train that has something of value in their bag, is traveling to Cold Spring, and goes by the name “Prynne”.  The woman gets off at the next stop and while Michael is more than happy to hold onto that twenty-five grand she gave him up front, he feels a bit hesitant about finding this person to claim the other seventy-five.  Fortunately for THE BAD GUYSTM that the mysterious woman is forking for, as well as the audience I guess, they kidnapped his family anyway so he has no choice but to find the passenger known as “Prynne” before anything happens to them!  Will Michael not only find “Prynne” but figure out what THE BAD GUYSTM are planning to do once they find them?  What can Michael do when every move he makes is being watched by THE BAD GUYSTM… somehow?  How many non-Taken Taken movies is Liam Neeson gonna have to make before they give him one that doesn’t suck!?

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“I have a particular set of skills, but stopping a freaking train isn’t one of them!”

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Cinema Dispatch: See Saw – A Franchise Retrospective

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The Saw films and all the images you see in this retrospective are owned by Lionsgate Films

As mentioned in my Jigsaw review, I’ve had a somewhat complicated relationship with Saw franchise as I’m sure is the case with a lot of fans who somehow stuck with this series to the bloody end despite it inarguably getting worse and worse as it went along.  Now this is hardly new for horror franchises (just look at the startling sharp drop the Halloween movies took) but to me Saw wasn’t just a series that got BAD or CHEESY as it went along; it got actively toxic.  What do I mean by that?  Well if you read the review I’ve now referenced twice already (SHARE IT WITH YOUR FRIENDS!!) you probably already know what that is, but let’s go ahead and take a look at this series from the beginning to see just how it managed to change and pervert its core concepts over time.  Oh, and we’re going into TOTAL SPOILERS on these films, so only read if you’ve already binged watched them on Netflix or cannot be bothered to ever do so.  Let’s get started!!

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Saw (2004)

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Two men (Cary Elwes and Leigh Whannell) find themselves locked in a room and chained to opposite sides of it with a dead guy right in the middle; presumably having shot his brains out given the blood on the floor and the gun in his hand.  Eventually they find a few tapes left for them by the serial killer who locked them up there in the first place known only as Jigsaw.  They only have so much time to get out of this trap before the killer starts looking towards their loved ones, and this means they may have to make some really tough decisions; ones that involve the titular saw of the movie.

I haven’t watched this movie in about a decade so going back to where it all started, ESPECIALLY after seeing what the series would ultimately turn into, was quite a shock as the original film has much more in common with Se7en than any of the other movies.  To a certain extent it’s a bit unfair to compare this initial entry to the rest of the series as it ends up feeling like an outlier (similar to how the first Friday the 13th doesn’t even have Jason as the killer) but there are qualities to this that are sorely missed in the sequels.  For one, Jigsaw isn’t the overwhelming and unstoppable force that he would become in later films and is also a downright sadistic mother fucker with no redeeming qualities.  Later films went all in on the cult of Jigsaw which is one of the biggest failings of the entire series; not only because it puts forth a reprehensible world view, but it takes so much menace and danger away from Jigsaw as a character.  The Jigsaw in this film (working through a character named Zep) isn’t given a platform to spout his faux-populist agenda and the film takes time to show just how horrific and unjustifiable his actions are; mostly through the extended sequences of Zep having to terrorize a mother and child while the game is going on.  Compare this to the later films where even the INNOCENT victims barely get a semblance of humanity before becoming props in a giant shit show of moving parts and sharp metal, and you can see why things got so monotonous and smug as the series went along.  Now I’m not about to tell you that this is a perfect movie by any stretch as the editing is rather poor and the performance by Danny Glover is surprisingly awful, but you can see why this first film managed to garner the reputation it did and why Lionsgate was so eager to turn it into a franchise.  The only question is, now that we know who the killer is (the guy on the floor played by Tobin Bell was playing dead the whole time) where else could they really go?

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Cinema Dispatch: Boo 2! A Madea Halloween

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Boo 2! A Madea Halloween and all the images you see in this review are owned by Lionsgate

Directed by Tyler Perry

Oh great.  We’re back here again, and I have the feeling we’ll be back her again AGAIN come next October because if there are two things Tyler Perry is good at, its making movies quick and beating a dead horse.  I didn’t outright HATE the first film, but it’s pretty terrible and showcases pretty much all the weaknesses in the Tyler Perry formula that somehow has captured the hearts and minds of millions of people.  Does this movie improve upon the last film to make something tolerable for the rest of us who aren’t in the Madea loop?  Of course not; you knew that BEFORE this movie was even made.  Is it at least TOLERABLE though?  Well… let’s find out.

It’s Halloween again in whatever town this is and the events of last year are still somewhat fresh in the memories of all the characters they bothered to bring back for this one.  I say SOMEWHAT because Tiffany (Diamond White) still has very little respect for her father Brian (Tyler Perry) despite learning that lesson last year, and the situation is worse now because she is OFFICIALLY EIGHTEEN!!  Apparently her birthday is on the thirtieth of October which I don’t recall them mentioning in the first film, but that’s the case here which means its PERFECTLY LEGAL now for her to tell her dad to piss off and go get laid by the broiest bro in the frat Johnathan (Yousef Erakat) who has an even BETTER party planned this time around!  This time, the party will be at the Ye Old lake where apparently a dozen people were murdered back in the seventies and I GUESS has been closed ever sense which makes it the perfect place to set up a rockin’ Halloween PAR-TAY!  Of course Brian has a problem with this, but since his ex-wife () () gave Tiffany permission (which she didn’t even NEED because she’s an adult now), there’s very little he can do.  BULLSHIT, I SAY!  There must be SOMEONE willing to stop this girl from having fun!  I guess this is a job for Madea, Uncle Joe (both Tyler Perry), Aunt Bam (Cassi Davis), and Hattie (Patrice Lovely) who all return from the last film and are apparently haven’t moved an inch as they start this movie in the same damn chairs they spent most of the LAST movie sitting in.  When they get up there though, things aren’t what they appear to be as they start running into mysterious characters with dangerous weapons and ill intent that seem just as hell bent on stopping this party as the Madea crew are; though admittedly with much more violent means.  Will Brian ever find a way to get through to Tiffany’s rebellious streak and stop her from making poor decisions?  What else is up at the lake other than the horrors of sex, drugs, and pop music?  How much longer can Tyler Perry POSSIBLY milk this character while still making a crap load of money EVERY SINGLE TIME!?

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We meet again, old friend.  Sigh…

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Cinema Dispatch: My Little Pony: The Movie

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My Little Pony: The Movie and all the images you see in this review are owned by Lionsgate and Hasbro

Directed by Jayson Thiessen

It took them seven years to do this?  We’ve had at least four equestrian girl movies, not to mention a slew of Hasbro properties making it to the big screen, but one of the most successful reboots of all time was put on the back burner until now!?  Well better late than never I guess, though the trailers leading up to its release have certainly strained my credulity on that expression.  Still, trailers aren’t always accurate and I’m certainly a big enough fan of this series that it wouldn’t be THAT hard to keep me at least mildly entertained.  Can the team behind such a successful television series make a successful leap to the big screen, or was this as ill-fated a project as… well pretty much all the OTHER Hasbro films that we’ve gotten so far?  Let’s find out!!

The movie begins with yet another friendship festival that’s hosted by the Princess of Friendship (how much of Canterlot’s tax revenue is straight up pork for Twilight’s pet projects?) and they’ve even managed to get the one and only Sapphire Shores… I mean Countess Coloratura… I mean Songbird Serenade (Sia), to make an appearance!  Twilight Sparkle (Tara Strong) along with her assistant Spike (Cathy Weseluck) and her friends Rarity, Pinkie Pie, Fluttershy, Rainbow Dash, and Applejack (Tabitha St Germain, Andrea Libman, and Ashleigh Ball), seem to have everything under control and are ready to set everything in motion, but then a fleet of very intimidating airships descend upon the capital of Equestria and start demanding their complete and utter surrender!  It turns out that this is the opening salvo for a maniacal dictator known as The Storm King (Live Schreiber) and is being led by a mysterious pegasus with a broken horn named Tempest Shadow (Emily Blunt) who somehow manages to take out the three other princesses, Celestia, Luna, and Cadence (Nicole Oliver, Tabitha St Germain (again), and Britt McKillip) without the slightest bit of resistance!  Either this is one bad mother of a pony or the Princesses need better security!  In any case, the Twilight and her friends manage to escape but don’t have much to go on other than a mysterious message that Celestia shouted out before she was defeated and captured by Tempest Shadow; seek the queen of the hippos who lives beyond the badlands.  Not sure how hippos will help in this situation unless you dropped them on Tempest, but with nothing else to go on they begin their journey outside of The Shire… I mean Equestria, hoping to find a way to stop The Storm King and Tempest before it’s too late.  What will our little ponies find outside of the comforting boarders of Equestria, and will they know how to deal with such strange and frightening environments?  What is Tempest REALLY after in all this, and what does the Storm King have in store for all of them once he arrives in Canterlot?  Is the answer to all these questions Friendship?  I bet it’s gonna be Friendship.

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“See, THIS place could use a WHOLE lot of friendship!”

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