Tag Archives: Melonie Diaz

Cinema Dispatch: The First Purge

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The First Purge and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures

Directed by Gerard McMurray

Do you realize that it’s ONLY been two years since the last Purge movie?  It feels like an ETERNITY since then, and that’s mostly due to the way that reality deviated in much worse way than Election Year had predicted, and we’re gonna be suffering through this waking nightmare for quite a bit longer; especially with the inevitable ideological shift of the Supreme Court.  Now the last movie managed to be my favorite movie of 2016 which puts me in a rather exclusive category of people who liked it more than La La Land, Arrival, and Moonlight, and I still stand by that decision no matter WHAT Rotten Tomatoes gave it!  The franchise has only gotten better with each movie, a feat that I a franchise has rarely if EVER pulled off, and the reason why is because the filmmakers BELIEVE in their premise and build upon it each time; expanding the lore, coming up with creative ways to murder, and most importantly hammering down and fine tuning its message that is stronger than most “respectable” movies that try to do the same thing.  With this one though, they’re not only going for their most radically political yet, but also make it a successful prequel which is rarely a good idea for ANY horror franchise.  Heck, do you even REMEMBER they did a prequel to The Thing or that Leatherface prequel from last year?  If there’s one franchise that has a chance of pulling it off though, it’s this one.  Does this movie manage to elevate the bar once again for smart and brazen horror films, or have they finally managed to bite off more than they can chew in a political climate that may be too hot for even THIS series to handle?  Let’s find out!!

With unemployment on the rise and an ineffective response from the government to fix it, the United States is breaking out in protests across the country which may SOUND like a reflection of our own time, but hold your horses!  We haven’t gotten to the takeover of the government by a Fascist political party!  Yes, in all this turmoil (much of it I assume is manufactured as a way to justify racist, classist, and nationalist policies), the New Founding Fathers of America gain enough popularity as a political party that they win the White House and presumably the other branches of government; paving the way for them to come up with a plan to fix everything by which I mean killing off poor people.  No wait!  We can’t be THAT blatant right away.  Let’s just call it… an experiment!  Yeah, that’ll work!  Using some rather sketchy science from a doctor of… something (Marisa Tomei), the NFFA has sectioned off Staten Island as the site of a sociological test to see if it’ll be the solution to increased crime rates which is, you guessed it, THE PURGE.  For twelve hours, paid volunteers who offered to stay on the island (and those who couldn’t afford to get off) will be able to commit ANY crime they wish, up to and including murder, and our tour guides for this night of horror Nya (Lex Scott Davis) who’s been organizing protests for this event from the beginning, her brother Isaiah (Joivan Wade) who’s considering partaking in the violence, and a local gangster named Dmitri (Y’Lan Noel) who has a history with Nya and is just as skeptical as she is of what’s REALLY gonna happen on this fateful night.  Will our heroes survive a night of unmitigated horrors doled out by fascist politicians and easy led fools?  Just how far will the government go to make this experiment the new law of the land, and will justice ever find its way back to them?  How is it that THIS franchise has never gotten an Oscar nomination, but everyone tripped over themselves to heap praise on Three Billboards when it’s message was a weak sauce version of the one in these films!?

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Now if Frances McDormand was IN the movie, THEN it might have a shot!

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Cinema Dispatch: Gringo

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Gringo and all the images you see in this review are owned by Amazon Studios and STX Entertainment

Directed by Nash Edgerton

Hey, if Netflix is gonna try to produce feature films, then why not Amazon too!?  Heck, they’ve had a pretty good track record with distributing films like The Handmaiden and The Big Sick, and some of the original programming on their video service has been pretty decent too!  Hopefully they can translate that success into this wacky comedy which has a PRETTY good trailer but not a whole lot of buzz, though it’s not entirely their fault considering how much Black Panther and even A Wrinkle in Time have dominated the national discussion around film; leaving films like this to just kinda slink in wherever they can.  Does Amazon have a great film on their hands that’s unjustly falling under the radar, or should they have sent this straight to their storefront where no one will ever actually buy it?  Let’s find out!!

Harold Soyinka (David Oyelowo) is a well to do middle management corporate drone who is incredibly content with his current life living with his wife Bonnie (Thandie Newton) and working for Richard and Elaine (Joel Edgerton and Charlize Theron) at a pharmaceutical company he very much likes.  The problem is that at every turn, the people in his life continually disrespect him and see him less as a valuable asset and friend, and more of an errand boy that also functions as a doormat.  Eventually Harold gets wise to this during a trip that he along with Richard and Elaine take to Mexico in order to inspect one of the facilities, and the straw that breaks the camel’s back comes when Bonnie decides to divorce him; something that she tells him over skype.  Having something of a nervous breakdown, Harold takes a bus to a small town in Mexico and fakes his own kidnapping once Richard and Elaine are back in Chicago.  Little does Harold know however that the Cartel is after him due to his connection to the pharmaceutical company, so his little ruse might turn out to be more of a prophecy!  On top of that, we’ve got a couple trying to sneak drugs from Mexico back to the US (Amanda Seyfried and Harry Treadaway), a mercenary who may be able to get Harold out of the jam he’s in (Sharlto Copley), and like four other subplots that are going on at the same time as Harold’s misadventures in Mexico.  Will Harold be able to bilk his employers out of a crap load of money before he gets captured by the Cartel?  What was Richard and Elaine doing that got the eye of the Cartel in the first place, and what will they do to get Harold out of the mess he’s in?  Most importantly, HOW DID THEY MANAGE TO MAKE A STORY LIKE THIS SO BORING!?

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“Hello?  Has anyone seen the plot?  I can’t find it anywhere!”

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