Tag Archives: Movie Review

Cinema Dispatch: IT Chapter 2

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IT Chapter Two Movie and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures

Directed by Andy Muschietti

Alright, so we’re all in agreement that the first film was amazing, right?  I mean it had a few issues here and there, but dang it if Chapter One wasn’t a horror masterpiece with great performances, a terrifying villain, and the brilliant idea of taking the GOOD parts of a Stephen King book and leaving out all the stuff that doesn’t work.  Heck, I’m pretty sure the last time that happened was when Kubrick made The Shining which Stephen King really doesn’t like for some reason.  Now we’ve got the sequel which has the neigh impossible task of capturing lightening in a bottle twice; especially since most of what made the first one so memorable will necessarily have to be either absent or pushed to the side.  Can the filmmakers pull off the impossible by making the notoriously unworkable ending to the book into something not just comprehensible but just as good as the film that came before it?  Let’s find out!!

The movie picks up twenty seven years after the events of the first film where the mysterious murders in Derry have started up once again and Michael (Isaiah Mustafa) as the only member of the Losers Club left in town has to bring the gang back together to fight the evil Pennywise (Bill Skarsgård) once again.  Bill, Richie, Beverly, Ben, Eddie, and Stanley (James McAvoy, Bill Hader, Jessica Chastain, Jay Ryan, James Ransone, and Andy Bean) have all gone their separate ways and can’t even seem to remember their time in Derry or the monster they fought all those years ago, but after a phone call from Mike they all start to remember (some take the news harder than others) and travel back home to take care of what IT is once and for all.  In the process they will have to confront their pasts, face their fears, and do all sorts of weird stuff in the vein attempt of trying to destroy a monster that has lived for hundreds of years while they’re a bunch of middle aged writers, comedians, and risk analysists, who might be able to throw a punch but not much else.  Can the monster known alternatively as IT, Pennywise, and WHAT THE HECK IS THAT THING!? be defeated by these friends brought together once again by the pact they made long ago?  What is the clown planning for them as revenge for the defeat that he suffered back in the eighties?  Maybe he can defeat them by trying to explain the ending of the book and just wait until their brains explode.

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“I WANT A FIVE HUNDRED WORD ESSAY ABOUT THE ENDING ON MY DESK TOMORROW MORNING!!”

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Cinema Dispatch: The Banana Splits Movie

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The Banana Splits Movie and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Home Entertainment

Directed by Danishka Esterhazy

Well… I guess we’re finally here.  After months of speculation and a couple of pieces by yours truly, we finally find out if this horror themed Banana Splits movie can justify its ludicrous premise.  I’ve made no bones about the fact that I’m not looking forward to this, especially when it’s so blatantly trying to jump on the Five Nights at Freddy’s bandwagon with a property that isn’t even REMOTELY applicable (a Country Bear Jamboree horror film would make WAY more sense), but maybe the filmmakers know something I don’t and have found an angle to tell this story from that will make it an interesting examination of these characters and their place in popular culture instead of just a cheap attention grabbing cash in.  Yeah, it’s probably the latter but let’s find out!!

The Williams Family wanted nothing more than for little Harley’s birthday (Finlay Wotjak-Hissong) to go perfectly and the best way to do that would be to take him to see a live taping of his FAVORITE show; The Banana Splits; a quartet of singing animals made up of Fleegle the beagle, Bingo the ape, Drooper the lion, and Snorky the elephant (voiced by Eric Bauza).  In this universe however, I guess the Banana Splits are the entire half hour instead of the bumper between cartoons and they use a retro-sixties aesthetic… ironically maybe?  Well whatever the case may be, his mother Beth (Dani Kind) managed to score five tickets to take the both of them along with his dad Mitch (Steve Lund) and his step brother Austin (Romeo Carere) along with a friend from school Zoe (Maria Nash) who’s too cool for the Splits but has to go anyway.  Once they get to the studio where it’s filmed which is located WAY in the back of the lot, we learn that The Banana Splits, while successful (somehow) is a production of many frustrations.  The stage manager Rebecca (Sara Canning) has to manage the incompetent staff as well as the overly dramatic Stevie (Richard White) who’s the only human in the cast and drinks his sorrows away on a daily basis.  Fortunately The Splits themselves aren’t as troublesome as they are LITERALLY ADVANCED ROBOTIC ENTERTAINERS that this studio can somehow afford and are regularly maintained by the overly enthusiastic programmer Karl (Lionel Newton), and most everything else is managed by the page Paige (Naledi Majola) who is way sicker of that joke than you are.  Well in case you weren’t sure what movie we were watching, the robotic Splits end up getting a crappy firmware update and start to go on a murdering rampage as soon as the taping is over and the only ones left in the studio are a few employees and the lucky few who were chosen to meet The Splits in person; including the Williams family.  Will anyone be left alive after The Splits enact whatever horrifying machinations they are dead set on enacting?  Are the true Splits still somewhere within those cold metal shells, and is there a way that Harley can reach them?   Even if he could though, who would WANT to reach them?  Bunch of dead eyed Chuck-E-Cheese rejects.  Back in my day, The Banana Splits had life and personality; not circuits and microchips con-sarn-it!

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“NOT PROGRAMMED FOR AFFECTION!  HUG PROTOCOLS ARE IN BETA!!”     “Aww… I love you to Bingo!”

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Cinema Dispatch: Angel Has Fallen

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Angel Has Fallen and all the images you see in this review are owned by Lionsgate

Directed by Ric Roman Waugh

I didn’t want to see this movie.  Did ANYONE want to see this movie after that horrendous sequel?  If anything worthwhile had come out this week I would have seen that instead, but for some reason things are just drying up between now and IT Chapter 2, so I guess I’ll take what I can get even if it’s… this thing.  Frankly I would have preferred a sequel to that submarine movie he did with the dude from Black Flag, but no one went to see that one and EVERYONE went to see the one where Muslims destroy London, so once again I find myself at the mercy of mainstream taste when entering the multiplex.  Hey, at least it got us the MCU and WAY more Purge movies than anyone could have expected, so it might be worth taking the bad along with the good.  Does this movie manage to redeem a franchise after such an abysmal second outing, or will the trend continue downward with such velocity that it buries straight down into the center of the Earth?  No I’m not sure what that means, but let’s find out!!

Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) is the unstoppable badass of the Secret Service who kicks butt and takes names like nobody’s business in service of the President who is now Allan Trumbull (Morgan Freeman) taking over for Benjamin Asher.  I don’t THINK he died in the last movie so that would mean Trumbull got elected or President Asher died of some other means that Banning couldn’t punch his way out of.  ANYWAY!  What you may not have expected is that despite this being movie three it’s actually a Rocky 5 because all the damage that Banning has accrued over the movies we saw and the missions we didn’t have started to catch up to him as he has to take pain pills to manage his headaches and insomnia which have only gotten progressively worse.  Maybe it’s time to think about a desk job like his friend Wade Jennings (Danny Huston) who runs a PMC that I’m sure will have NOTHING to do with what’s about to happen!  While on a fishing trip, President Trumbull is attacked by a swarm of exploding drones that kills EVERYONE there except for Trumbull who is in a coma and Mike Banning who just barely escaped with his life.  That’s the good news, but the bad news he’s about to hear is PRETTY bad as FBI agent Helen Thompson (Jada Pinkett Smith) has found enough evidence to convict Banning of trying to assassinate the president!  Apparently he couldn’t knock him into the water and say he slipped, he had to send out EXPLODING DRONES to cause MASSIVE explosions that he could have easily been caught in and managed to kill everyone EXCEPT his target.  Sure.  Okay then.  Well it’s hardly a surprise that Banning manages to escape custody and finds out that he’s being set up by the only new character introduced in this movie; namely his PMC buddy Wade who is using the full force of his company to try and kill him and any other American citizen in the way so he can cover up this frame job.  Mike is gonna need to recall all his skills, his wits, and even enlist the help of his estranged father Clay (Nick Nolte) to clear his name, stop the PMC and save the President if there’s time for that too.  Can Mike Banning save the world once again, even if his buddy is the one pulling the strings?  What do they have planned once Mike is dead, and are there greater forces at play in this grand scheme of theirs?  Out of ALL the people to put the frame on, why would they do it to the ONE person who managed to save the White House AND all of London already?  Couldn’t they pin it on Agent Bob or something?  I doubt he’s stabbed even HALF as many people as Banning has!

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“This is the LAST time I cover for you, Bob!  SO not worth the overtime!”

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Cinema Dispatch: Ready or Not

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Ready or Not and all the images you see in this review are owned by Fox Searchlight and Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett

Has it been a bad year for horror films?  There have certainly been quite a few misses like the Child’s Play remake, Ma, and whatever the heck Brightburn was supposed to be, but we also had fun stuff like The Intruder and even a genuinely great horror film like Us, so the year isn’t a TOTAL miss as far for these kinds of films.  Still, we could always use a few more quality flicks here and there since it’s becoming one of the few reliably bankable genres now that Disney Remake has become its own ginormous slice of the pie and pretty much everything else is heading towards the streaming model to stay afloat.  Wait a minute… this is a Fox Searchlight movie which means it’s STILL DISNEY!  HORROR SHOCK!!  Anyway!  Does this grotesque spin on the children’s game of Hide and Seek end up being a new classic for the genre, or will we regret ever looking for it in the first place?  Let’s find out!!

Grace (Samara Weaving), who I can only assume plays a professional Margot Robbie impersonator in this movie, is getting married to Alex Le Domas (Mark O’Brien) who is an heir to the VAST Le Domas fortune which was made through board games and other such ventures.  The family seems pleasant enough despite being a collection of old money weirdos, but things take an… interesting turn when on their wedding night at the gigantic Le Domas estate, the family requests that Grace take part in a tradition of their where the newest member of the family has to play a game at the stroke of midnight.  The head of the family Tony (Henry Czerny) explains that this MYSTERIOUS box given to his great grandfather by their original benefactor will spit out a card with a game printed on it, and they will play that game which will officially bring her into the family.  Will it be chess?  Parcheesi?  Do the Urkel?  No, the game turns out to be Hide and Seek which seems a bit childish, but Grace is up for it if it means getting along with her new family who mysteriously went quiet just now.  Anyway, she runs and hides, gets bored and starts wandering the halls, and then Alex brings her into a room to explain that the rest of those mo-fos are going to kill her if they find her because of reasons that… well he doesn’t quite explain there and I’m not about to spoil it here.  The point is that she’s got to find a way to avoid detection and even fight back if the need arises while Alex tries to find a way for them to escape, and as the night goes on the family starts to get more and more desperate as there seems to be quite a bit at stake here.  Can Grace manage to escape this house with her internal organs, as well as her marriage, intact?  What is the family hiding that could possibly explain why a game of hide and seek has turned into the home version of The Most Dangerous Game?  Is it just me, or do these rich jerks seem WOEFULLY unprepared for this?

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Cinema Dispatch: Blinded by the Light

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

Directed by Gurinder Chadha

See, I was confused about this movie when I first heard about it because of the title.  Blinded by the Light is a Manfred Mann song, right?  I’m not the only one who thought this?  Well apparently it WAS a Springsteen song first which either goes to show my utter lack of musical knowledge or just how much THE BETTER VERSION has overshadowed the original.  Seriously, they play the Springsteen version at one point, and I was pretty much meh on it.  The song NEEDS those chopsticks!  ANYWAY!  Since Boomer Music is all the rage these days we were surely going to get the Springsteen movie at some point, and for someone like me who barely knows anything about the guy (Baby We Were Born to Run, Born in the USA, and… well that’s about it), this might be the perfect way to educate me about his place is musical history while also telling a compelling narrative about an immigrant family in Thatcher’s Britain since this is apparently based on a true story about a guy I’ve never heard of.  A movie about a musician I know nothing about told through the life story of a person I know nothing about.  Probably should have done some homework ahead of time, but regardless of all that; is this a good movie about the music that inspired a man to live out his dreams?  Let’s find out!

Javed Khan (Viveik Kalra) is your typical Pakistani teenager living in Britain in the late 1980s; facing discrimination from skinheads in the neighborhood and barely getting along with his family at home.  His father expects him to get a high paying (and very boring) job once he graduates from college and until then he studies, he works lousy jobs, and he stays away from all the white kids having parties and premarital sex; the only solace from the drudgery being the poems and essays he writes every day.  Not for mass consumption of course since his father would never approve, but it’s at least SOMETHING that makes him a little bit happier.  If only there was someone out there who can open his eyes to the world he’s missing out on!  If only there was a… musical artist let’s say, who understands his plight and can reach him on an emotional level that nothing else has before!  Well luckily for Javed, he meets someone at school named Roops (Aaron Phagura) who tells him about… The Boss.  Have you heard the good word about The Boss?  Well in case you hadn’t heard, The Boss is Bruce Springsteen and he writes music that transcends generation, nationality, and race; so much so that this sad Pakistani teenager gets a new lease on life after two cassettes worth of rock and roll goodness!  Can Javed turn his life around and start to follow his dreams instead of living up to the expectations of his father?  How will his family react to his new taste in music and the rebellious attitude that comes along with it?  Can he REALLY pull off the sleeveless flannel look?  Then again, can any of us?

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“Look at my hair, and know that I am judging you.”     “Whatevs.  I look GOOD!”

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Cinema Dispatch: Good Boys

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

Directed by Gene Stupnitsky

Okay, hear me out.  What if we took a movie… but remade it with kids!?  WHY HASN’T ANYONE THOUGHT OF THIS BEFORE!?  Heck, let’s go ahead and add a baby to a sitcom!  THAT’LL blow some people’s minds, I tell you what!  Okay, so a bunch of kids doing things they shouldn’t be doing on screen isn’t the MOST unique premise out there, but then neither is the whole COMING OF AGE narrative that this film along with plenty of other films I love revolve their entire plot around.  Plus, it’s being produced by Seth Rogen which is a good sign in my book as he has a good eye for comedy even when he doesn’t star in the films themselves.  Is this yet another fun raunchy comedy from a creative team that has turned the genre into an art form, or is this a worse idea than Another Bad Creation?  Let’s find out!!

The Beanbag Boys consisting of Max, Thor, and Lucas (Jacob Tremblay, Brady Noon, and Keith L Williams) are a trio of friends who are about to enter the scary world of… MIDDLE SCHOOL!  BUM-BUM-BUUUUUUUMM!  Truly the testing ground for all men who will either face the challenge head on or crash and burn in spectacular fashion ; becoming a pariah for all time.  Well at least that’s what they think as their plan is to get in with the COOL kids by sipping beer, NOT auditioning for the school play which Thor was really looking forward to, and going to the KISSING PARTY.  They get the invite at least, but none of them ACTUALLY know how to kiss so they decide the BEST option would to take Max’s dad’s drone and use it to spy on the neighbors Hannah and Lilly (Molly Gordon and Midori Francis) who are college kids and therefore must be making out all the time.  Well circumstances get out of control very quickly as the kids lose the drone which gets destroyed, they end up stealing Hannah and Lilly’s drugs, and they have to make it to the mall to buy a new drone before Max’s dad gets home; all the while STILL not prepared for the KISSING PARTY happening that night!  Can the Beanbag Boys put their heads together and get everything fixed before bedtime?  What toll will this adventure take on them, and can their friendship survive it?  Will they unlock the mysteries of the universe on this treacherous journey!?

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“Oh!  I know this one!  If it bleeds, we can kill it!”     “If WHAT bleeds?”

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Cinema Dispatch: The Angry Birds Movie 2

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The Angry Birds Movie 2 and all the images you see in this review are owned by Sony Pictures Releasing

Directed by Thurop Van Orman

We only got one shot at the Super Mario Bros in the last twenty five years, yet THIS manages to get a sequel?  I actually LIKED that Mario movie, which just goes to show that Hollywood is out to get me specifically; though I can’t imagine why since I’m SUCH an agreeable and charming fellow!  Anyway, the first movie left me feeling pretty bitter so there’s not a single part of me that is looking forward to see the further adventures of Boring Red, Danny McBoom, and Fast Olaf, but sitting here dreading the darn thing isn’t gonna get us anyway, so let’s put on a brave face and try to meet this film halfway!  Can the sequel meet or perhaps even exceed the low bar that the original movie set, or is hoping for even that much just setting myself up for disappointment?  Let’s find out!!

Following the events of the first film where Red (Jason Sudeikis) became a hero to Bird Island by driving away the Pigs, the two islands are at something of a standstill with each of them pulling pranks and launching food at one another in an attempt to see which island can get the most annoyed.  Red is overjoyed by this since being the hero who fought the pigs is now his full time job as he along with Chuck and Boom (Danny McBride and Josh Gadd) spend every waking moment coming up with new schemes, retaliating against attacks, and giving speeches to the citizens of Bird Island.  That’s all about to change however as a THIRD island starts to float into the middle of the conflict which is head up by Zeta (Leslie Jones); an Eagle on an island of ice who throws ice balls at people just because she’s angry that her island is full of ice.  She could just take a vacation to one of the adjacent islands, but nope!  Massive ice balls that surely crush whatever living thing ends up beneath them!  The pigs are the first one to notice the threat and King Leonard (Bill Hader) offers a truce to the citizens of Bird Island who are all happy to finally be done with this prank war… except for Red who now has to get a real job I guess and find people who like him for reasons other than being the maroon messiah.  Well I guess if being the brave warrior who defeated the pigs isn’t cutting it anymore, than recklessly leading the charge against the eagles is the next best thing!  Along with Chuck, Boom, and King Leonard, they recruit Mighty Eagle (Peter Dinklage), Courtney the pig (Awkwafina), gadgets expert Garry (Sterling K Brown), and Chuck’s hereto unmentioned sister Silver (Rachel Bloom) to aid in their plot to destroy Zeta’s super ice weapon, but are the ready to face such a dangerous and flamboyant threat?  Can they save both islands without betraying one another or just screwing up due to their own incompetence?  Are we sure we can’t just let Zeta take over the islands?  Maybe it’s just me, but I think we should at least give her a chance!

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Say what you will about her weapons of mass refrigeration; at least she likes dogs!

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