Ma and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures and Blumhouse Productions
Directed by Tate Taylor
The only reason this movie has gotten on anyone’s radar is because of Octavia Spencer, and frankly it did its job quite well. Sure, sometimes a horror film will pick up some serious talent like the new IT movie coming up or when Helen Mirren was in that crappy Winchester movie, but somehow this feels even MORE of a surprise and a genuine selling point. IT’s gonna sell itself no matter what, but by having one of the most popular actors of the moment (and in the prime of their career) showing up and starring in your crappy horror movie is a coup that very few films can boast, and yet somehow there she is; on all the posters, in all the trailers, and even having an Executive Producer credit to boot! What was it about this movie that convinced such a great actor to whole heartedly come on board, and was worth her immense talent and valuable time to do so? Let’s find out!!
Sue Ann Ellington (Octavia Spencer) is just your typical small town citizen. She works as a vet, she walks her dog, and on occasion it seems that she can be convinced to buy alcohol for the local high school kids. At least that’s what Maggie (Diana Silvers) finds out when she asks her to do it as she walks by the liquor store, and being the new kid in town she needs to deliver on the goods if she wants to get in with the popular kids. One of the popular kids is Andy (Corey Fogelmanis) who Sue Ann seems to recognize, and after a moment’s consideration decides to get them the booze they need. Not only that, she ends up opening her basement to them and other kids in the neighborhood as a safe and secluded area to drink where they won’t have to worry about cops and where Sue Ann will make sure no one gets their keys back if they can’t drive. In fact, everyone seems to be so enamored with her that they start to call her Ma and everyone wants to hang out at her house! However, things are not as rosy as they seem which Maggie picks up on after a while and she seems to have a dark side to her that’s just barely hidden beneath the surface. Perhaps it has to do with Andy’s dad (Luke Evans) who she knows from years ago? Maybe even Maggie’s mom (Juliette Lewis) who used to live here but moved away many years ago before returning? Well they’re all gonna find out eventually because Ma’s house seems to slowly turned from party central to a house of horrors! Will these kids learn of the terrible secrets lurking in Ma’s house as well as her tragic backstory? What is Ma planning now that she has the children of this town wrapped around her finger, and can she somehow realize what she’s doing is wrong before it’s too late? Okay, seriously. Did Octavia Spencer lose a bet or something to be in this movie?
Professor Marston and the Wonder Women and all the images you see in this review are owned by Annapurna Pictures
Directed by Angela Robinson
You know, if we’re gonna get biopics like that upcoming one about Charles Dickens that looks like a Monty Python sketch, we might as well start doing them about comic book creators too! The early years of Marvel with Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, watching Batman evolve from comic book hero to Hollywood star through the eyes of Bob Kane, heck The Alan Moore story could be a freaking twelve hour Netflix series considering how much comic book controversy he’s managed to find himself in over his career! What we’ve got NOW though is probably the most interesting story of them all which is about Wonder Woman creator Professor William Marston and his unorthodox relationship with his wife Elizabeth Holloway and a former student of his Olive Byrne. Heck, it’s not only a great story to tell about queer women (though there is some contention of that) in a time where that wasn’t even legal, it also has incorporates radical feminism, BDSM, and comic book scare mongering that eventually led to the Comics Code Authority in the 1950s. With such fascinating material to work with, can it be turned into an engaging and interesting biopic, or is this a whole lot of scintillating window dressing for yet another rote history lesson? Let’s find out!!
Our story begins in Radcliffe University (a women’s only branch of Harvard) where the brilliant psychology professor William Marston (Luke Evans) and his much more brilliant wife Elizabeth (Rebecca Hall) are teaching psychology while working together on some other projects such as a lie detecting machine which is actually true. They did invent the polygraph which is a significant event in this film. Anyway, William is teaching a course on DISC theory (Dominance, Inducement, Submission, and Compliance) when one of the students catches his eye. Her name is Olive Byrne and soon becomes a TA for the Marstons; helping them with their legitimate experiments and some that may just be for fun. Eventually, this precarious situation between the three of them has to come to a head at some point and… well that’s where things get kind of awesome but also REALLY stressful. Oh, and at some point the dude creates Wonder Woman off based on the experiences and he has with the two women in his life as well as his own theories on feminism and even some of his sexual hang-ups which are REALLY noticeable if you read the earliest issues of the book. Will this trio of likeminded misfits find a place in the world that is openly hostile to them and their way of life? What will happen when puritanical busy bodies get start to understand the radical subtext within the pages of the comic book that are becoming more and more popular with children across the country? Wait, is THAT why Wonder Woman has a lasso!?
Fate of the Furious and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures
Directed by F Gary Gray
I hope all of you out there appreciate what I do for you! A week ago, I had never even SEEN a Fast and the Furious movie, and yet I managed to binge watch ALL SEVEN OF THEM so that I can properly review this new one as the series now has a continuity more dense than the freaking Terminator, and that’s SUPPOSED to be convoluted! I HAD TO WATCH TOKYO DRIFT FOR YOU PEOPLE!! Sigh… alright, well it’s not like I even HATED any of the movies (other than Tokyo Drift) as most of them are at least DECENT if not all that engaging. For me though, they didn’t pick up until part six when the BUDGET finally started to match the VISION that was always there, because let’s face it; Fast and the Furious was NEVER a serious series. It was ALWAYS balls to the wall insanity, just at different degrees depending on what they could afford (except for Tokyo Drift which was just garbage). So with the last two films finally managing to reach the potential this series was always capable of, does that trend continue with this film? Let’s find out!!
The movie begins in Cuba where Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and Letty Ortiz (Michelle Rodriguez) have settled down since the last movie where their house got blown up, and they’re doing their typical first act shtick of racing cars, talking about family, and forging new friendships! That is until a super hacker hilariously named CIPHER (Charlize Theron) corners Dom at one point and shows him something that will CHANGE EVERYTHING FOREVER!! Cut to a few days later where good ol’ Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) calls him and the rest of the crew up (Tyrese Gibson, Chirs Bridges, and Nathalie Emmanuel) to do another mission. Everything goes according to plan except… DOM BETRAYS THEM!! Their mission was to take an EMP from someplace in German (for reasons that I’m sure make sense) but he crashes Hobbs’s car right at the end and takes it for himself; leaving Hobbs to get thrown in jail back in America which JUST SO HAPPENS to be the same jail that Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) is locked in as well… and they get cells right across from each other because reasons. So now it’s up to our favorite crew of street racers along with Frank Petty (Kurt Russel) from the last movie who’s the leader of some sort of spy organization as well as his new protégé of sorts Eric Reisner (Scott Eastwood) to find out what Dom is doing, what CIPHER wants from him, and hopefully how to solve all this without taking him out as well. Just what is the reason that Dom betrayed the one thing he cares about more than anything which is FAMILY? Just what is CIPHER planning, and is it bad enough that the crew may have no other choice than to take Dom out? Will Vin Diesel FINALLY give that Oscar performance he’s been hoping for!?
Beauty and the Beast and all the images you see in this review are owned by Walt Disney Studios
Directed by Bill Condon
So Maleficent was good, as were the two Alice in Wonderland movies (WHAT!? THEY ARE!!), but what exactly is Disney’s end goal in trying to burn through their entire catalog in search of reigniting nostalgic fans to spend money on these stories once again? Sure, Mulan seems like a good idea, but they’ve got plans for live action adaptations of The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, and even a Dumbo movie that’s been in development for almost three years now! Before all that though, we’ve got this remake of the classic 1991 film which seems to be the most… shall we say FAITHFUL, of the bunch so far as the trailers seem to imply that it’s basically shot for shot. Then again, they did bring Bill Condon on hand to direct who’s work includes Dream Girls and Chicago, as well as the ONE decent Twilight movie (*cough* Breaking Dawn Part 2 *cough*), so maybe there’s a bit more inspiration and creative flourish on hand than what we’ve been lead to believe from the marketing. Is this the yet another success for the Mouse House and the new direction they’re taking with their non-Marvel and Non-Star Wars films, or is this just a lazy cash grab for a studio that can do much better? Let’s find out!!
The movie is… well it’s Beauty and the Beast. Do you NEED me to tell you what it’s about? Ugh… fine. There once was a prince (Dan Stevens) who was total jerk. He rejected a beggar woman at his door which seems to be standard protocol in the Aristocracy, but this beggar was the one in ten thousand that you do not mess with as she turns out to be an Enchantress who puts a curse on the prince, his castle, and all of his servants. The prince, who is now a furry, has to find true love before time runs out which is determined by a magic rose slowly dying in his room or else the curse will be permanent and he will have to live as his fursona for all time! Now I wouldn’t think that would be TOO bad of an outcome (buff as all hell, no summer heat because the castle is in a perpetual winter, you don’t have to pay your servants anymore), but I guess it’ll do for a redemption arc. More important than that though is the story of Belle (Emma Watson) herself who is a bright young woman from the local village that can’t wait to live a life of excitement, adventure, and proper bathing habits; none of which she can find as long as she stays there. The village thinks she’s strange because she can read and stuff which makes her a bit of an outcast, but that doesn’t avert the local hottie Gaston (Luke Evans) from pursuing her with all his M’lady charms; backed up of course by his friend LeFou (Josh Gad) who’s just happy to be spending time with the big lug the same way Smithers finds working with Mr. Burns to be so rewarding! When disaster strikes and Belle’s father (Kevin Kline) is locked up by The Beast for trespassing on his land, Belle agrees to take his place and stay in the castle… FOREVER!! Admittedly not the BEST way to start a relationship, but maybe he can learn to stop acting like an uncouth animal from her example and maybe she can finally experience some of that adventure and wonder that has eluded her for so long. I mean… she’s STILL a prisoner, but it is at least a really nice prison! Will The Beast learn his lesson about giving poor people food (or was it finding love?) before it’s too late? What will Belle do now that she’s trapped in a magical castle with talking furniture, and will she find a way to escape her captor? Does anyone else think Ron Perlman should have been cast in this? Thirty years later, and he can STILL pull it off!
The Girl on the Train and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures
Directed by Tate Taylor
The only thing I knew about this movie before walking in was that the trailer had probably the most baffling musical choice imaginable. Seriously, who the hell puts Kanye West in the trailer for a movie that we’re supposed to take SERIOUSLY!? If you can somehow tune out the poor choice of music (how is the WOMAN heartless when she’s the one who gets MURDERED!?) there is something intriguing about the premise and it’s the perfect time to release these kind of dark murder mysteries now that Oscar Season is upon is. Is this an early contender for best of the year status, or is this a wannabe Gone Girl knockoff that’s simply jumping on the bandwagon? Let’s find out!!
The movie begins with Rachel (Emily Blunt) as the titular girl on the train as she passes by the same sight she sees every time she rides it. Every day, the train stops right in front of these two houses; one has her ex-husband Tom (Justin Theroux) and his new family, and the other has this couple who from all outward appearances looks perfectly happy. This routine goes on for some time until one day she notices a new man in the house with the woman Megan (Haley Bennett) which shatters Rachel’s already fragile mental state (for various reasons, she’s crawled inside a bottle for the last few years) and she gets even MORE drunk than usual that night and gets off at the stop that’s close to their house. Jump to the next morning and Rachel wakes up in her room; covered in mud, blood, and booze with no explanation of what happened the night before. Eventually, it turns out that Megan has disappeared (which means she’s dead but they haven’t found the body yet) and no one knows what happened. Rachel seems to have an idea, but the memories of that night are so fried that she can’t piece them together and feels compelled to save this woman who she’s been watching all this time… and if she can also throw some shade at her ex-husband’s new wife Anna (Rebecca Ferguson) in the process, well then that’s just brownie points. Can Rachel find out what happened to Megan and find some sense of self-worth, even in her completely debilitated state? Who was this woman that’s gone missing, and can her past lead us to the reason she was murdered? Can we all just agree to give Emily Blunt the Oscar now!? It’s basically Leaving Las Vegas 2!!