Tag Archives: Movie Review

Cinema Dispatch: Tomb Raider


Tomb Raider and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros. Pictures

Directed by Roar Uthaug

ANOTHER video game movie!?  Haven’t we tried that like forty times already!?  Well that’s a bit unfair.  I’ve always maintained that a good chunk of them are actually pretty good for their respective genres such as the first Mortal Kombat, and we’ve rebooted the video game franchise since the LAST time we were making films off of this series, so an updated interpretation with brand new Lara Croft could really be something if they get the right people behind it!  Does this manage to be the first video game movie to be one that EVERYONE thinks is good instead of just me?  Let’s find out!!

Lara Croft (Alicia Vikander) is the daughter of a world renowned… business man I guess (Dominic West) considering her family is renting that building from Iron Fist, but she doesn’t hang around much anymore since her father disappeared several years ago.  Instead, she spends most of her time MMA training and working in the Gig Industry; riding her bike for fun AND profit!  However, an associate of her father (Kristin Scott Thomas) has to bail her out of trouble due to a situation that REALLY wasn’t her fault (how do you get arrested for getting hit by a car!?) and she insists that Lara give up this lifestyle to finally claim her birthright and the millions of dollars that go with it.  All she has to do is sign the documents confirming once and for all that her father is dead (is that a thing?  Does a family member have to sign those in order for a missing person to be declared dead?) which she’s been reluctant to do as she still thinks he’s out there somewhere.  She might just be right about that when she finds her father’s secret laboratory where he left a final message for Lara; telling her to burn all his research to the ground and to not look for him.  Naturally she doesn’t do that because who WOULD just give up after getting some pretty solid evidence that could lead to where he is, and so she enlists the help of a fisherman (Daniel Wu) whose father was connected to Lara’s and the two set off to some MYSTERIOUS ISLAND!  The good news is that it’s not Skull Island and teeming with giant monsters.  The bad news?  Well there are a bunch of dudes with guns looking for something on the island, and the head dude named Vogel (Walton Goggins) thinks that Lara might hold the key to finding it.  Will Lara be able to find what these men are looking for as well as finding her father in the process?  What are the sinister plans that Vogel has in store once he locates this mysterious artifact?  You know, we keep going on about her dad, but are we SURE that her mother is dead too?  All I’m saying is that if Angelina Jolie doesn’t show up in the sequel, I’m going to be VERY disappointed!


“The Colonel’s secret recipe is right behind this door.  Once I unlock it, those eleven herbs and spices will be MINE!!”

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Cinema Dispatch: Gringo


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!?


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

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Cinema Dispatch: The Hurricane Heist


The Hurricane Heist and all the images you see in this review are owned by Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures

Directed by Rob Cohen

You know… I get that everyone wants to recreate the lightening in a bottle success that has been The Fast and the Furious series, but how often does chasing a trend like that ACTUALLY work?  Heck, DC can’t even follow in Marvel’s footsteps correctly, and they already have a stable of characters just as popular!  Getting the director of the original film and touting it as if he has had anything to do with the success of the modern entries in the series seems like just the kind of half-baked and producer driven endeavors to jump on the bandwagon that you’d hope that big studios would be smart enough to avoid, and yet here we are!  Still, just because the circumstances surrounding the film are less than ideal doesn’t necessarily mean that the film itself will be bad!  A movie about a heist during bad weather could STILL be good… right?  Maybe?  Okay, probably not, but let’s find out!!

The movie begins on the day of a SUPER Hurricane that’s gonna hit a small town in Alabama where SUPER METEOROLOGIST Will (Toby Kebbell) is getting a bad feeling about this storm and is trying to convince Washington to send out the National Guard.  I mean… I’m not sure why considering the town has already been evacuated and it would only put those service men in danger to have them awkwardly stand around an empty town while it gets rampaged by a super storm, but considering what’s about to happen elsewhere in the city it might have proven to be a good idea.  You see, the small town is ALSO home to US mint facility where they take old bills out of circulation and then shred them.  The delivery people this time around are Casey and Perkins (Maggie Grace and Ralph Ineson) who have trucks full of the crappy bills and they REALLY need to get a move on if they want to deliver them and get them shredded before the storm hits.  However, it’s all one big set up!  See, Perkins along with two sexy hackers (Melissa Bolona and Ed Birch) sabotage the security within the facility so that a truck full of MORE bandits (Jamie Andrew Cutler, Jimmy Walker, and Moyo Akandé) can smash through the gate, take out ALL the soldiers patrolling the area, and lock them in the basement while they get the vault door unlocked and rob the treasury blind of dollar bills that were set to be shredded anyway.  Of course, they weren’t counting on Casey who JUST SO HAPPENED to be away from the facility at the time and had changed the password to the vault right before she did so.  She went off to find Will’s brother Breeze (Ryan Kwanten) to who is a mechanic I think and she needed him to fix something for her, but needless to say that the reception upon her return is less than stellar and she barely manages to escape in the process.  Breeze however is much less lucky and HE gets caught by the baddies which prompts will to join forces with Casey to take down the bad guys and save all the hostages; all while the storm of the century rages on around them!  Can Will and Casey save this soon to be destroyed money, even if it means killing all the crooks in the process?  Will they be able to fight off the savage wind and rain from the hurricane long enough to kill a bunch of thieves for trying to steal money that was going to be destroyed anyway?  Is it just me, or is there a BIT too much bloodshed in a movie where the only bad outcome is whether or not money gets stolen; especially when the bad guys can retaliate at ANY time by killing the hostages?  At least in Die Hard, Hans Grubber was planning to kill the hostages anyway!


“I say we kill them all and let the hurricane sort them out!”     “American heroes, right here!”     “You know it, BRO!!”

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Cinema Dispatch: A Wrinkle in Time


A Wrinkle in Time and all the images you see in this review are owned by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Directed by Ava DuVernay

I actually have read the book that this movie is based on, and what I remember about it is… that I read the book.  Yeah, the big concern that I had with this film after seeing the trailers is that this material is NOT gonna be easy to adapt as the source material is pretty abstract and kinda confusing from what I recall which can work for a book that you’re supposed to sit there and absorb at your own pace, but is less likely to come together as well when put on the big screen.  Still, while the trailers were very vague and didn’t give much of an indication of what the story would be about, the imagery was striking and the director behind it is someone who is coming up in a big way in Hollywood, so maybe there’s a chance to pull this adaptation off given the resources behind it.  Will this be the next touchstone for all ages cinema like ET, The Neverending Story, or about eighty percent of Pixar’s output, or is this one of those films that goes big and then fails hard?  Let’s find out!!

The movie follows the story of Meg Murry (Storm Reid) who is the daughter of Dr. Kate Murray and Dr. Alex Murry (Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Chris Pine); the latter of whom just up and disappeared four years ago and leaving his family to wonder what the heck happened to him and if he will ever return.  Naturally this doesn’t sit well with Meg who’s been having trouble in school lately due to bullying from kids who… I guess think it’s funny to make fun of a girl for her dad disappearing, and really only confides in her little brother Charles Wallace (Deric McCabe) who’s surprisingly smart for his age and has started making friends with three mysterious women who just randomly show up every once in a while.  After a particularly rough stretch at school where Meg bashes a girl’s face in with a basketball (TOTALLY deserved by the way), she makes a new friend in the form of Calvin (Levi Miller) who seems to be at least a tertiary part of the three mysterious women’s plans, and said mystery women finally confirm for Meg that her dad is STILL alive somewhere.  The only catch is that he’s halfway across the universe, BUT that won’t prove to be much of a problem because it turns out that humans can ACTUALLY travel across time and space using only the power of their minds; something that the three mystery ladies demonstrate by taking her, Calvin, and Christopher Wallace to the last known location of their dad which is some planet very far away.  We learn that the three mystery ladies are in fact Miss Who, Miss Whatsit, and Miss Which (Mindy Kaling, Reese Witherspoon, and Oprah Winfrey) and they’re some sort of cosmic entities that exist to help people across space and time fight injustices across the universe; and THEY manage to do it WITHOUT a blue police box!  So now that Meg and Christopher Wallace have a solid lead on where to find their dad, what will they (along with Calvin) have to face in order to find him?  Well, PROBABLY the black mystery ooze floating through space known as The Darkness as well as The It (no, not THAT It) which is growing and expanding at an alarming rate and will surely make it to Earth before too long.  Will Meg, Charles Wallace manage to save their father from whatever it is that has kept him under lock and key for the last four years?  What can The Misses teach this trio of children about the universe that will prepare them for the fight ahead?  Did Ava DuVernay manage to make a more psychedelic and drug fueled film on Disney’s dime than Doctor Strange!?  One SPECIFICALLY aimed at young kids!?



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Cinema Dispatch: Red Sparrow


Red Sparrow and all the images you see in this review are owned by 20th Century Fox

Directed by Francis Lawrence

What, were you expecting a review for Death Wish?  Yeah… no.  Eli Roth isn’t about to get another cent from me after the crap I went through with his LAST film, and seeing him remake an already tonally uneven film with the ham handedness that he makes all his other films is an experience I am VERY much willing to overlook and stuff down the memory hole along with everything else I’d like to forget; like Devilman Crybaby or that guy who’s occupying in the Oval Office right now where an ACTUAL President should be sitting.  So that left me with this Jennifer Lawrence starring spy thriller which… I don’t know.  The trailers didn’t really do enough to get me interested in the story, and I still have nightmares over the LAST time I saw Jennifer Lawrence star with uneasiness into a camera while contending with impending doom.  At the very least though, it won’t be as bad as Death Wish… right?  Let’s find out!!


“Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to shoot these puppies out of a canon and straight into the sun.”     “I have a choice?”     “Sure you do!  Either follow all of my orders or I’ll burn your house down!”     “I think that’s called an ultimatum.”

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Cinema Dispatch: Game Night


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

Directed by John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein

It’s not easy trying to release a movie in the wake of an overwhelming success like Black Panther or really ANY Disney movie nowadays, and the idea of Counter Programming (releasing a movie that targets an audience vastly different from whatever else is in theaters) is becoming an increasingly less viable route to go when success is as massive as these year round tent poles have become.  With that said, it’s ALSO a common time to dump movies that the studio has little faith in as wasting a BETTER time slot in the year is the year would only make things that much worse for them.  For me, seeing this trailer quite frequently in the last month or so, it looks to fall into the latter as the premise of the film and the gags they showed us wasn’t inspiring much hope in me that this was going to be much of a comedy classic, but I have been wrong before about movies and I’m like the ONLY guy who’s like Billy Magnussen in everything I’ve seen him in; and that’s including Birth of the Dragon!  Does this action comedy bring the same fun and excitement you always hope to have whenever you have your own game night, or is this as exciting as playing Monopoly for two hours past the point everyone stopped caring?  Let’s find out!!

Max and Anne (Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams) are the picture perfect mid-thirties couple that LOVES playing board games on their weekly Game Night along with their friends Kevin and Michelle (Lamorne Morris and Kylie Bunbury) as well as good ol’ Ryan (Billy Magnussen) who frequently brings new dates to Game Name with the latest being Sarah (Sharon Horgan) .  OH, and uh… they used to invite the neighbor Gary (Jesse Plemons) over to play with them, but no one likes to talk about Gary; especially after the divorce.  ANYWAY, Game Night is the one thing that they all look forward to every week, but things start to run afoul this time around as Max’s brother Brooks (Kyle Chandler) shows up out of the blue with his badass car and super smooth swagger to take over Game Night and make it an evening they will NEVER forget; something that gets Max rather pissy right off the bat.  Oh, you know how brother are!  Always trying to one up each other even when it comes to something as trivial as Trivial Pursuit!  Brooks invites everyone over to his house to play one of those INTERACTIVE MURDER MYSTERY deals with actors pretending to be cops and robbers, but the party is crashed by ACTUAL robbers right off the bat; something that they REALLY should have realized was the case even if they were told this was going to be a big game.  They don’t realize that these are REAL crooks invading the party and kidnapping Brooks though, but they will soon enough as they find out more and more about Brooks and just how much trouble he’s really in.  Can Max, Anne, and their best buddies find a way to save Brooks before he gets two in the head?  What will Max learn about his brother during this absurd quest, and what will he learn about… HIMSELF!?  Anyone else feel like playing a game right now?  King of Tokyo?  Drop Mix?  Yu-Gi-Oh?


“Who wants to play… PAR-CHEESE-I!?”     “Max, if you tell that joke ONE more time, I will personally shove this knife right through your eye socket.”     “Well then… I hope that after doing that… you’d feel SORRY!”

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Cinema Dispatch: Annihilation


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

Directed by Alex Garland

So apparently Paramount wanted to bury this thing for some reason?  I mean… I guess it WORKED considered I never heard of this until the week before it came out.  I go to movies all the time, and I never saw ONE trailer for this thing despite starring some PRETTY big names right now!  Now this is hardly the first time that a studio had lost complete faith in the movie they had made, and it’s not always a sign that the movie is bad (*cough* Brazil *cough*), but it STILL is a bit worrying as studios are loath to just throw money away; especially on projects that seem to have had THIS much star power both in front of and behind the camera.  Does this offbeat science fiction film manage to shine through despite the studio doing everything it could to keep it out of the public eye, or was Paramount trying to save us from something that we were better off just forgetting it even existed?  Let’s find out!!

The movie follows the story of Lena (Natalie Portman), told slightly out of order, where she went head first into a unique biome of alien origin that I like to call The Rainbow World and tried to reach its center to destroy it from within!  Okay, now that I’m writing this down, it’s possible that a bit more context is needed.  To rewind a bit here, about three years before the movie starts a meteorite smashes into a small coastal town and starts doing… something.  It basically creates its own isolated environment with a clear delineation between EARTH WORLD and ALIEN WORLD in the form of a shimmer; almost like an opaque curtain in the shape of a dome.  The US government seems to have gotten there right away and have been sending people into the strange place to find out what is going on, but no one has ever returned… until now!  Lena’s husband Kane (Oscar Isaac) is a military Black Ops guy (I think) and was sent on a MYSTERIOUS mission about a year ago and suddenly returns home right as the movie starts; albeit looking rather disheveled and coughing up a worrisome amount of blood.  The government weren’t too far behind him though and put him in a quarantine to study what’s happened to his physiology after being exposed to the alien biome, but they’re probably gonna have to work fast; lest this become an autopsy because his condition is getting worse.  Lena is brought into the loop at this point and is told about THE SHIMMER (I still think it looks more like a Rainbow World); promting her to suit up, grab a gun, and join the next expedition which is in less than a week.  Now if that sounds a bit silly, don’t worry!  She was in the military as well, so she knows how to handle herself and use a gun.  In fact, compared to the rest of the crew which includes a paramedic (Gina Rodriguez), a geologist (Tuva Novotny), a physicist (Tessa Thompson), and a psychologist (Jennifer Jason Leigh), she’s practically a god send as I doubt the rest of them would last a full day in there without her.  So the day is set, the inexplicable rag tag crew gathers their courage, and they walk into THE SHIMMER with one goal in mind; get to the center and destroy whatever it is that’s causing this.  Will Lena survive the harsh environment that nearly took her husband’s life, and will the secret to his illness lie within?  What is motivating the rest of these women to go into this place that even trained soldiers couldn’t manage to overcome?  Was this really the best we could muster after three years of failed attempts?  They couldn’t even be given gas masks or motor bikes?


“Before we go in, does anyone need to use the bathroom?  Speak now or forever hold your pee.”

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