Tag Archives: Lionsgate

Cinema Dispatch: The Spy Who Dumped Me

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The Spy Who Dumped Me and all the images you see in this review are owned by Lionsgate

Directed by Susanna Fogel

Another Spy Comedy, huh?  Well I guess there are genres with even worse track records than that, but there’s clearly an uphill battle to be fought considering how bad a lot of these movies turn out; not to mention the fact that the trailer was kind of meh despite the film starring two of my favorite actors working today.  I’d rather they be doing OTHER stuff like say a Ghostbusters sequel, but until everyone realizes just how wrong they were about that movie, I guess this will do just fine.  Hopefully!  Does this movie manage to be a shining example of a genre that is notorious for underwhelming films, or will this succumb to whatever curse has made it so hard to make good Spy Comedies?  Let’s find out!!

The movie follows Audrey (Mila Kunis) and Morgan (Kate McKinnon) who are two best friends living their normal early thirties lives without a whole lot going for them; particularly Audrey who just got dumped by her boyfriend Drew (Justin Theroux).  BY TEXT!  What a jerk!  I sure hope something bad happens to him!  Well… just wait fifteen minutes.  It turns out that he’s an INTERNATIONAL MAN OF MYSTERY which comes as news to Audrey and left some Spy MacGuffin in her apartment which he tries to get but is… indisposed in the process, and it’s up to her delver whatever the heck it is to someone somewhere at a specific time!  Easy enough, especially with her best friend by her side!  Unfortunately, there are a lot of other people looking for whatever this is, including Sebastian and Duffer (Sam Heughan and Hasan Minhaj) who are working for at some sort of spy agency, a Super Assassin named Nadedja (Ivanna Sakhno) who’s been hired by someone MYSTERIOUS to take them out, and a bunch of motorcycle henchmen who are more than willing to fire live ammunition in busy streets to try and take out these two nobodies when a less blunt approach would PROBABLY work on these two.  They’re not the best when it comes to detecting threats, nor should they considering neither one of them have even used a gun, let alone protected very important MacGuffins!  Can Audrey and Morgan deliver this package before getting themselves murdered?  Will they be able to save the world by taking this where it needs to go and will there a few double crosses along the way?  Will this mission be even more impossible than making a good spy comedy!?  Even Tom Cruise isn’t necessarily gonna get THAT right all the time!

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“This mission, should you choose to accept it, is to stop a bomb.  A BOX OFFICE BOMB THAT IS!!”     “I see what you did there.”

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Cinema Dispatch: Blindspotting

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

Directed by Carlos López Estrada

I get the feeling that as long as THE SCROTUS is in power along with his horrible lackeys doing his bidding, we’ll be getting more movies like this that take social issues head on; not that these stories weren’t worth telling in the first place, rather that studios seem to have realized that capitalizing on the political zeitgeist is potentially profitable and may even earn some prestige awards as well.  Capitalism in effect I guess, and while there’s no real excuse for films like this NOT being prominent despite the problems it deals with being real and prescient for so many people, I guess it’s better that we’re NOW getting these movies in much wider releases than not getting them at all.  This by the way can easily swing in the other direction if we don’t turn things around soon and the powers that be try that much harder to silence dissent (#RehireJamesGun), so don’t give me that SUFFERING AND SOCIETAL ILLS MAKES GOOD ART crap; especially when said is often more accessible to those who aren’t suffering.  Anyway, with this movie and Sorry to Bother You coming out so close to each other, will this turn out to be the best time of the year to see thoughtful and brilliant movies about the world around us, or will this turn out to be a far less thoughtful and engaging alternative?  Let’s find out!!

Colin (Daveed Diggs) is just three days away from probation retirement and managed to get through most of it without much complication.  Sure his friend Miles (Rafael Casal) likes to indulge every once in a while with illegal gun sales and fist fights every once in a while, but Colin has managed to keep him from getting TOO out of hand and both of them out of trouble.  Now that we’re down to the wire though, things are starting to get tense with Colin having to figure out where he stands with the people in his life as soon as he’s free, and how much Oakland is changing due to gentrification and an influx of white hipsters; something that’s been setting Miles more and more off as time has gone by.  To top things off, while driving back to the halfway house to make curfew, Colin sees a cop (Ethan Embry) shoot an unarmed black man (Travis Parker) in the back.  Naturally the cop is hailed as a hero in the media, but Colin knows the truth and the world seems to have shifted just a little bit after such a blatant act of unwarranted violence has struck his community.  Can Colin make it to the end of his probation without rocking the boat, or will he be forced to do something and risk his freedom in the process?  Will Miles learn to live with a changing world; especially since he has a wife and kid (Jasmine Cephas Jones and Ziggy Baitinger) who depend on him?  You’d think that if you’re three days away from ANYTHING ending that you’d just lock yourself in your room until it’s over; just to be on the safe side!

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“If anyone asks, just say they’re mine.”     “Even if we try that, they’re STILL gonna shoot us you know!”

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Cinema Dispatch: Uncle Drew

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

Directed by Charles Stone III

Has anyone been looking forward to this movie?  I’m not the only one who thought this was going to be a very mediocre cash grab from that awful trailer with the bobble heads and the Sugarhill Gang song, right?  Then again, I’m one of those darn Millennials who thinks that Space Jam is the height of basketball comedies, so maybe the lack of Warner Bros characters was throwing me off here but I still got a real bad feeling from this as it checks off a lot of bad comedy tropes.  Old age makeup, retro soundtrack, goofy sports premise (“There’s no rule that says a dog can’t play basketball!”), all the favorites from movies that you may have liked as a kid but really doesn’t hold up now… except for Space Jam.  Will this be a nostalgic throwback to the era of silly sports movies, or will this be more painful than if Tyler Perry did a Madea basketball movie?  Well I’m pretty sure NOTHING would be worse than seeing Tyler Perry’s A Medea March Madness, but let’s find out!!

Down on his luck Dax (Lil Rel Howery) has been training his whole life to be a basketball player but decided to go into coaching after… the incident, and has a team that might just win a basketball tournament in Harlem known as the Rucker Classic and win a boat load of money which he’ll use to… I don’t know; pay his rent I guess.  It all depends on his star player Casper (Aaron Gordon) who is PHENOMENAL on the court but kind of a douche in real life, and he’s been making eyes at fellow douche Mookie (Nick Kroll) who’s Dax’s big rival (especially after… the incident) and coached the last five teams to win the Rucker Classic.  Sure enough, after draining Dax of all his money, Casper goes to join Mookie and the rest of the team just kind of goes away as well.  Not only that but his girlfriend Jess (Tiffany Haddish) kicks him out of the house because she was banking on that prize money and has no use for the shmuck now that he doesn’t have a chance to win it.  Left with absolutely nothing but the clothes on his back and a spot in the tournament, Dax starts scouring the area for unaffiliated ball players but has no luck and is about to give up when he sees an old man school one of the young dudes in basketball; showing him the value of fundamentals over being able to show off.  The old man turns out to be Uncle Drew (Kyrie Irving) who was a legendary basketball player in Harlem that disappeared forty years ago under dubious circumstances, and he might just be the man Dax needs to avoid living on a park bench!  Uncle Drew agrees to play for him, but only if they find the rest of his old team (Shaquille O’Neal, Chris Webber, Reggie Miller, and Nate Robinson) to play as well.  And so they’re off on a road trip to find Uncle Drew’s old friends, mend some bridges, learn some lessons, and play basketball against dudes a quarter their age!  Will Uncle Drew be able to show these youngsters what it means to be a TRUE player of the game while also making up for the mistakes he made all those years ago?  What chances do these older gentlemen have against Mookie’s team, and will Dax be able to get past… the incident?  Did you know there’s a new Shaq Fu game?  I wonder if this is some sort of crossover…

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Heck, you can make a convincing argument that this is a sequel to that Super Globetrotters cartoon!

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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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