Cinema Dispatch: Sonic the Hedgehog

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

Directed by Jeff Fowler

Remember when that first Sonic the Hedgehog trailer came out with the horrifying monster design?  Good times!  I do wish that design stuck around a bit longer though because I REALLY wanted a plushie of that ghastly version of Sonic so he can sleep with me in my bed and devour my nightmares, but then again the redesign looks pretty good and will surely add a lot to this movie!  Yeah, it could almost be an inspirational tale of a studio realizing its mistake and actually taking proactive steps to correct it if it wasn’t for the fact that the studio that made the new design a possibility crunched to do it and closed down as soon as the work is done!  Sounds like Paramount should have gotten a visit from the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future, but in any case the story of this film has finally come to its conclusion and we’re all on pins and needles to find out how it all ends!  Was Sonic’s face lift enough hto save this movie from being a total train wreck, or is there only so much that you can polish a turd before you’re just wasting perfectly good polish?  Let’s find out!!

Sonic the Hedgehog (Ben Schwartz) is a happy go lucky blue alien that calls himself a hedgehog for some reason who was teleported to Earth to escape from bad guys when he was but a wee lad.  Now that he’s grown up to the ripe old age of… sort of teenager, he’s starting to realize that spending all his time hiding in the woods just outside the town of Green Hills is leaving him with a lot of emotional scars and abandonment issues, and one day he has a super powered moment of angst that knocks out all the power on the West Coast.  The super power blast is enough for the US government to call in Doctor Robotnik (Jim Carrey) who wants to track down whatever caused the anomaly and uses its powers for his insidious and tax payer funded ends, so now Sonic has to escape from this planet to go to ANOTHER planet where I guess he’ll be even safer.  To transport himself there he has a bag of magic rings that open ports to wherever it is he needs to go, but through wacky happenstance and poor timing his rings get lost in San Francisco which he has no idea how to get to.  Fortunately the local sheriff Tom Wachowski (James Marsden), after being somewhat responsible for Sonic losing the rings decides to take this strange creature across state lines to the city of San Francisco so he can get the rings and get the heck out of Dodge.  It shall not be a straightforward road trip however as Robotnik is hot on their heels and is ready to not only dissect Sonic in the name of Sonic but ruin Tom’s life as well in pursuit of his prey.  Can Sonic and Tom make it to San Francisco before Robotnik and the US government find a way to stop them?  Will Sonic learn valuable lessons about friendship along the way and perhaps find a true home instead of just jumping from place to place on his own?

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“AM I PRETTY ENOUGH FOR YOU NOW!?  WILL YOU FINALLY PUT A RING ON IT!?”

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Cinema Dispatch: Like a Boss

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Like a Boss and all the images you see in this review are owned by Paramount Pictures

Directed by Miguel Arteta

Now that I think of it, have I really liked ANY of Tiffany Haddish’s movies?  I’ve reviewed most of them by now, and outside of The Kitchen and MAYBE Keanu, her movies are mostly meh or worse which is a pattern that certainly doesn’t bode well for this film.  Then again, she’s never the reason why those movies are bad and is often the complete opposite!  She’s someone who can make a terrible film tolerable and a mediocre one a delight which goes to show how strong of a performer she is even if she’s not the most adept at picking scripts.  In any case, is this latest entry in the Tiffany Haddish oeuvre worthy of her talents, or is she stuck shouldering the weight of another lousy movie along with every other talented person that was roped into this?  Let’s find out!!

Mia Carter and Mel Paige (Tiffany Haddish and Rose Byrne) are best friends and co-owners of a beauty store that they opened together; Mel & Mia’s!  They have good employees like Sydney and Barett (Jennifer Coolidge and Billy Porter), they have great friends they hang out with (Ari Graynor, Natasha Rothwell and Jessica St Clair), and aside from being in quite a bit of debt at the moment, they’re their own bosses and are living the American Dream!  Things couldn’t get any better for them, EXCEPT THEY DO!  A big makeup conglomerate owner named Claire Luna (Salma Hayek) has taken interest in their little shop and she is offering to clear their debts AND let them retain fifty-one percent of the company once it merges with Luna’s!  Sounds like a sweetheart deal to me, but Mia is skeptical of such a good deal and she turns out to be right as Luna is hatching an EVIL scheme to screw them out of their company!  There’s a clause in the contract that if either one of them quit their job that Luna would be the one to take over, so as long as Luna finds a way to break these two best friends up, she will be able to cut them out; leaving them with a mere… forty-nine percent of a company that Luna hopes to make millions off of.  Okay… seems like an awful long way to go to make a fraction more money and to NOT use the experience and expertise of these women who got on her radar in the first place because of their good ideas, but whatever floats her boat I suppose.  Can Mia and Mel weather the storm that Luna will be putting in their path and come out he other side still friends?  What will these trials reveal about these two and has their friendship always been as strong as they claim it to be.  How will they survive if they fail this challenge are left with no debt and a huge amount of money anyway!?

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“We’ve got to stop wasting the caviar!  When you’re done with it, put it in the fridge!”     “You’re not my mom!”

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Cinema Dispatch: Love, Simon

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

Directed by Greg Berlanti

Does anyone else think we’re at the point where we need to come up with a better way of describing movies like this one other than “Like a John Hughes movie”?  As much as those movies are a touchstone in popular culture, the phrase a bit played out at this point, and on top that movies such as this one, despite being quite faithful to the overall formula and tone that he developed, feels like something that couldn’t have (even if it SHOULD have) been made in his time.  I mean I GUESS we could go with “teenage coming of age story”, but that still doesn’t feel like it fully encapsulates the specific high school angst and post puberty struggles of self-discovery that made us develop the term in the first place.  Anyway, I’m just rambling here as I honestly had no idea of this movie’s existence until it showed up at my local theater, but I am happy that we’re getting an ACTUAL LGBTQIA+ teen comedy as that kind of movie is a lot more in my wheelhouse than the super serious LGBTQIA+ films like Moonlight or even Carol.  Does this manage to succeed in being just as good if not better than its straight peers in the genre, or is its good intentions just not enough to carry this film all the way through its run time?  Let’s find out!!

Simon Spier (Nick Robinson) is your typical teenager, in that he’s not quite sure about his place in the world and has secrets that he doesn’t feel like sharing with the rest of the world.  As the audience though, we’re privy to ALL that information and we find out right away that Simon is in fact gay but hasn’t come out yet; not to his friends Leah, Abby, and Nick (Katherine Langford, Alexandra Shipp, and Jorge Lendeborg Jr), nor to his parents (Josh Duhmael and Jennifer Garner) and little sister (Talitha Bateman).  He has his reasons for doing so and it’s not like there’s a LAW that says you have to do it as soon as you know, so his plan is to just continue pining after hot dudes while hiding any trace that he’s actually doing so!  Simple enough, right!?  Well… not necessarily.  It turns out that there’s ANOTHER closeted gay dude in school who posts an anonymous letter on the school’s blog under the pseudonym Blue and leaves an e-mail address for people to contact him at.  Simon on a whim decides to reach out to him (using a pseudonym as well) which leads to a flurry of back and forth e-mails as Simon starts to develop feelings for this unknown “Blue” person.  However, since this IS a movie about teenagers, there has to be SOME sort of disaster and in this case it’s the nerdy kid Martin (Logan Miller) who finds Simon’s letters and tries to set up an “arrangement” (*cough* Blackmail *cough*) where Simon will help him clean up his act, take better care of himself, and become a much more attractive and emotionally available person which will help him meet awesome women who think he’s awesome and they can have awesome dates together.  At least that’s what I’m sure is going through MARTIN’S head to make this sound so much more innocent, but what it breaks down to is Simon (under threat of being forcibly outed) having to arrange dates between Martin and Abby who the former has a crush on.  Yeah, not the BEST situation to be in all things considered, and worse yet he might end up losing his chances with Blue who might get scared off if Simon is forcibly outed; thinking he might be next if he keeps contacting him.  Can Simon juggle this rough situation with his everyday duties of being the typical American teenager?  Will Martin make good on his threats and just how far will Simon have to go to keep that from happening?  How is it that EVERYONE’S teenage years suck!?  You’d think at least ONE person would luck out at some point!

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“Not only is my life over, it’s also a cliché…”

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