Cinema Dispatch: Dolittle

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

Directed by Stephen Gaghan

My GOODNESS have studios been putting out some high priced nonsense recently!  We are definitely stuck in the Billion Dollar Blockbuster Bubble where every studio wants nothing but the most expensive movies to maximize their profits, but as is the nature with bubbles all the money Is usually dried up by the time everyone else tries to get in on it which is why Disney is still sitting pretty on their mountain of gold and everyone else is making stuff like Cats and that awful Tarzan movie.  With this being the current trend, someone making an overpriced adventure film about Dr. Doolittle feels almost inevitable, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be bad!  I LOVE me some overpriced entertainment like Jupiter Ascending and Final Fantasy XIII, so maybe Dr. Doolittle being played by Iron Man and co-starring a wrestler as a CGI polar bear is just what I need to cleanse the palate and finally kick off the GOOD parts of 2020 which so far has been pretty plodding at the multiplex!  Is this retelling of the classic story the start of another beloved blockbuster franchise, or are we in for a disaster to rival even that of Cats!?  Let’s find out!!

Taking place AFTER what I presume is the actual Dr. Dolittle story, we find that the intrepid physician who can talk to animals (Robert Downey Jr) has gone fully Will Wonka and is holed up inside his giant wildlife preserve; refusing to see any visitors, human or otherwise.  That all changes when one day, out of PURE LUCK, he gets TWO visitors who insist on seeing him!  The first is Lady Rose (Carmel Laniado) who is on assignment from the Queen despite being all of twelve years old, and Tommy (Harry Collett) who shot a squirrel and has brought the wounded creature to Dolittle because he feels bad.  Lady Rose is there to inform him that the Queen is dying and requires his help which he reluctantly agrees to, and determines that she’s dying of McGuffin’s Disease which can only be cured by a fabled fruit on an uncharted island, so he takes some of his animals friends (Emma Thompson, Rami Malek, John Cena, Kumail Nanjiani, and Octavia Spencer just to name a few) on a boat to get the fruit and save the Queen; hoping that once this is finished he can go back to brooding in his house all day.  Oh, and Tommy is coming along too because… he loves animals too I guess?  Will the Dolittle Crew get to the magic fruit in time to save the Queen?  What challenges will they face along the way, and will some of it be intentional sabotage?  If one of the cats from Cats was in this movie, would Dolittle be the only one who could talk to it!?

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“So what you’re saying is that never was there ever a cat as clever as Magical Mister Mistoffelees?”     …     “What is that it?  I mean sure, throwing your voice is a skill but I wouldn’t call it MAGICAL.”

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Cinema Dispatch: Assassin’s Creed

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Assassin’s Creed and all the images you see in this review are owned by 20th Century Fox

Directed by Justin Kurzel

We all knew it was only a matter of time until they took a stab at making the next great video game movie, and since Warcraft turned out to be such a disaster there’s a nice big opening for Ubisoft to take the throne as the first company to get this right.  Now the trailers really don’t inspire much hope as it looks like a bunch of overqualified actors in a routine action film, but then maybe that’s enough to make this a GOOD film (a feat unto itself at this point) even if it can’t quite be a great one.  Does this manage to be the sign of things to come as studios begin to buckle down and seriously try to crack the code on adapting video games to the big screen, or will Resident Evil and Mortal Kombat still be the high bar that no one else has inexplicably been able to reach?  Let’s find out!!

The movie begins with Cal Lynch as a young boy (Angus Brown) walking in on his mother (Essie Davis) with a stab wound in her neck and his dad (Brian Gleeson in the flashbacks and Brendan Gleeson in the present) with a bloody Assassin’s blade and wearing a very uncomfortable looking coat considering the scene seems to be set in New Mexico or something.  Little Cal doesn’t have long to contemplate this as a whole bunch of black vans with hired goons rolls up on the house and tries to kill the both of him, but Cal manages to escape.  Well, not for TOO long as we jump to present day where Little Cal is now Handsome Cal (Michael Fassbender) and is on death row for… some reason.  Except not really!  Apparently a super science corporation named Abstergo arranged it so that the state would PRETEND to kill him and then hand the poor sap over to Sofia and Alan Rikkin (Marion Cotillard and Jeremy Irons) who want him for their nefarious ends… I think.  Apparently Cal is the Great Great Great Great Great Great (and so on) grandson of some Assassin from the fifteenth century and was ALSO the last known person to have the McGuffin of ultimate power… I mean the Apple of Eden.  Using this giant crane device which is supposed to the Animus, they’re gonna send his brain back in time to live out the memories of his ancestor Aguilar de Nerha and find where he left the damn thing so they can find it and use it for whatever the hell it is they want to use it for.  This of course is assuming that NO ONE MOVED IT OR FOUND IT IN FIVE HUNDRE YEARS, but I’m sure This all makes sense if I played Brotherhood or something.  Will Cal be able to locate the Apple and gain his freedom in the process?  What about all these OTHER assassins that Abstergo has collected and are housing in this Science Gulag?  Are they gonna be all that happy that Cal is working to help find this artifact?  Is there ANY reason this fucking thing had to be so damn complicated!?

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The guy jumps around and stabs people.  It’s not that hard!!

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Cinema Dispatch: Allied

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Allied and all the images you see in this review are owned by Paramount Pictures

Directed by Robert Zemeckis

Oh hey!  I remember that guy!  Didn’t he do that one movie no one saw last year?  Sure, Zemeckis hasn’t had the best track record since Cast Away (mostly due to his obsession with CG animated films for a while there), but The Walk was a pretty solid film that just didn’t get much attention for some reason.  Sure, it wasn’t full of explosions or even A list actors (Joseph Gordon Levitt still has a ways to go), but it still a really well made little caper that kept things light and fun.  Now it seems that Zemeckis is going in the opposite direction with this sizably budgeted war thriller with two super stars in the cast and a much more intense feel to it.  Not to say that any of that is a BAD thing; it’s just interesting that his new film seems to be so diametrically opposed to what he did just last year.  Is this movie not only another stellar outing for Zemeckis but the big hit that The Walk just couldn’t manage to be, or will we be wishing to see Philippe Petit walk across another tightrope before this film is over?  Let’s find out!!

The movie begins with Canadian Super Spy Max Vatan (Brad Pitt) arriving in Casablanca Morocco to meet up with French Resistance Fighter Marianne Beausejour (Marion Cotillard) to do the one thing you’re supposed to do Casablanca during World War 2; kill some damn Nazis!  Say what you will about the greatest generation; at least they knew not to VOTE for them!  Of course, during the course of this mission they end up falling in love and Max manages to get Marianne passage to England so that they can get married and he can take a desk job in British Intelligence.  Things seem to be going well for some time (they even have a kid together), but then one day some dude who’s like fifty pay grades above Max that they suspect Marianne to be a German Spy.  Not only that, but if they find OUT she’s a spy then he’ll have to kill her with his own hands; lest he get charged with treason hang from a noose.  Okay… I’m pretty sure that’s still murder even if some dude in the government tells you to do it, but whatever.  Needless to say that Max doesn’t buy this for a second and then proceeds to break every rule in the book to try and prove his wife’s innocence despite the evidence this government dude is laying out for him.  Will Max find the truth and is it the truth he’s hoping for?  Where exactly did the higher ups get all this evidence, and why are they coming to Max like this while they’re still investigating?  If she’s REALLY a Nazi what the hell could she POSSIBLY hope to get by going THIS deep under cover for THIS long when she’s hooking up with THIS pencil pusher!?

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“Did you get that promotion yet?”     “No, I’m still in Human Resources.”     “Oh well.  Let’s play Show Me What’s In Your Briefcase!”     “Again!?”

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