Tag Archives: Max Casella

Cinema Dispatch: The Rhythm Section

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The Rhythm Section and all the images you see in this review are owned by Paramount Pictures

Directed by Reed Morano

One of the unique selling points of this movie is that it’s produced by EON productions, and this is pretty significant considering they’ve only made four other films that weren’t in the Bond Franchise since its inception way back in 1961.  Now I love me a good Bond film and they have certainly been some really good ones in the recent past (Spectre notwithstanding), so seeing their logo on a film is intriguing if nothing else; but sadly the reason I can focus so much on a production company is that there’s simply not much else about this movie that’s catching my eye.  It looks way too much like other films I’ve seen in the last few years like American Assassin and The Foreigner; all of which span the range from nothing particularly impressive to outright terrible.  Can this latest spy thriller manage to rise above its peers with the help of the Broccoli family, or is this yet another dime a dozen spy films that won’t have even half the shelf-life of the worst Bond film?  Let’s find out!!

Stephanie Patrick (Blake Lively) has gone through a rough patch in her life.  She was doing alright, but then her entire family died in a plane crash that may or may not have been terrorism (pretty sure that’s the first thing the government would figure out, but whatever) and has spent the last months in a spiraling depression.  No home, no job, working as a sex worker because I guess that’s what grieving people do (did she not have friends or even second cousins that didn’t die?), but an unspeakable rage has built up inside of her that must be satiated by VENGEANCE!  Fortunately a reporter (Raza Jaffrey) comes along and tells her exactly who the bad guys are and where to find them, so she tries to shoot the terrorist in the face but blows the opportunity instead of his brain matter; leading her to be in even more danger and getting the reporter killed in the process.  The only hope left is the reporter’s source which is an ex-MI6 agent known as B (Jude Law) who begrudgingly agrees to train her so that she can take revenge PROPERLY next time.  Will she be able to train her body to be a perfect killing machine and finally exact vengeance on those who murdered her family?  What twists and turns will throw her off her path as she learns more and more about the complicated network of spies, extremists, and opportunists that facilitated the attack in the first place?  I mean I’m PRETTY sure she can pull this off!  She already fought off a shark, so how hard could this be!?

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“Wow!  This is SO much easier with a gun!”

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Cinema Dispatch: Late Night

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Late Night and all the images you see in this review are owned by Amazon Studios

Directed by Nisha Ganatra

I’m fairly certain that my usual theater had a poster for this and then just decided not to actually screen it so this is yet another trip to the far away theater (i.e. thirty minutes away) which honestly is usually a good sign.  Not always, in fact this is the exact same story that preceded The Green Inferno, but the movies that aren’t wide enough for my local theater to get are usually have a lot more going for them; for good or ill.  I hadn’t heard much about this movie and only have a vague idea of the premise, but the cast is very talented and I’m always intrigued by entertainment that’s ABOUT the making of entertainment which is always a journey in its own right.  Does this glimpse into the world of late night television give us a funny and insightful look at the behind the scenes action, or will this end up being as boring as… I don’t know whichever one of those shows is the worst?  Let’s find out!!

Katherine Newbury (Emma Thompson) is the host of a late night show that has been running for over twenty years, yet despite such a phenomenal legacy and a small army of Emmy awards behind her, the new network President Caroline Morton (Amy Ryan) tells her that the show will be cancelled in a few months and that she’ll be replaced with a hip young talent that gets those pesky millennials!  With basically nothing left to lose, she starts to do the one thing she has come to fear in the last ten years; actually try.  I know, truly a fate worse than death.  Part of her initiate to revitalize the show includes hiring someone in the writers room whose only qualification is to NOT BE A WHITE GUY, and as luck would have it Molly (Mindy Kaling) is interviewing that day and meets those very stringent qualifications!  Sure, she’s never written for a comedy show ever, but why should that stop her from filling up space and shielding the show from further criticisms of being too old and too white?  AH HA!  It’s not as simple as that however!  For you see, Molly is not JUST a blatant diversity hire!  She actually has good ideas, some decent writing chops, and may just be what this crusty old talk show needs in order to genuinely appeal to today’s audience instead of whatever crap Katherine and the other writers were gonna try to fake their way into relevance!  Can Molly learn to thrive in this dinosaur of a work place and find the right balance between respecting its legacy and changing it for the better?  Will Katherine realize what she’s been doing wrong all this time and genuinely change for the better before losing the best thing she has in her life?  Well I mean she has her husband (John Lithgow), but is he paying the bills around here!?  I DON’T THINK SO!!

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Not EVERYONE can go to TBS, alright!?

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Cinema Dispatch: Live by Night

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

Directed by Ben Affleck

Look, we’ve ALL had a rough year, but let’s a take a moment to remember the less fortunate among us.  Ben Affleck somehow managed to be in a WORSE super hero movie than Daredevil; a movie made EVEN WORSE when compared to the brilliantly done Netflix series.  Not only that, but he’s roped himself into what SHOULD have been a sure bet franchise (how could they fuck up with characters like BATMAN!?) for the next decade or so which is probably gonna be longer than the current administration, provided he doesn’t change the rules and have to start calling him King or Führer.  I kid of course, but for someone who clawed his way back from obscurity the way Ben Affleck did, it’s kinda disheartening to watch him get stuck in the middle of that mess.  Oh well, at least he gets to make his own movies while Warner Bros tries to get its shit together.  Does this gangster flick that is MUCH more in the Affleck wheelhouse the kind of film we need right now, or is this the huge let down we all deserve?  Let’s find out!!

The movie follows affable rogue Joe Coughlin (Ben Affleck) who’s some bank robbing punk in Boston that plays by his own rules and answers to no one!  Not even the two major mobs in the city, the Irish led by Albert White (Robert Glenister) and the Italians led by Maso Pescatore (Remo Girone), can seem to tame this wild beast!  Well… there is ONE person who’s thumb he’s under, and that’s his lady love Emma Gould (Sienna Miller) who JUST SO HAPPENS to also be one of Albert White’s mistresses.  Needless to say that shit goes down with Albert, and Joe is left for dead as is Emma who the movie ASSURES us is dead despite not bothering to show it (hm…) which means this movie is about one thing.  REVENGA!!  As soon as Joe is out of jail, he goes straight to Maso to work for him (giving up on his play by his own rules principals) to see if he can deliver Robert White on a silver platter.  Maso agrees, but in return Joe has to run his operation all the way in Florida for the foreseeable future which is where the majority of this movie takes place as the Boston stuff is pretty much an extended set up for the rest of the movie.  While there, he has to wrestle with the Cubans, the Klan, and religious nuts just to name a few in his hopes of keeping Maso happy enough to eventually deliver on his promise of dragging Albert White back out into the open.  During his stay in Florida, he’ll come across many friends like Dion Bartolo (Chris Messina) and Graciela Corrales (Zoe Saldana), as well as just as many enemies like scumbag klansman (but I repeat myself) RD Pruitt (Matthew Maher) or the really annoying preacher girl Loretta Figgis (Elle Fanning) who came to Jesus SUPER hard after getting off heroin.  Will Joe eventually get the REVENGA he’s so desperate for?  Will any of that even matter now that he’s building up this new life for himself?  Is this AT LEAST more cohesive than Batman v Superman?

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“So we buy this grocery on Fifth Street, and that will cut down on transportation since we would have an interim distribution center for our products.”     “And that’s gonna get me closer to Robert White, right?”     “What?  Oh right!  You’re still on about that?”

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