Cinema Dispatch: The Matrix Resurrections

The Matrix Resurrections and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures

Directed by Lana Wachowski

Making another sequel to the Matrix is simply a bad idea from the word go.  Sure, it’s tempting given that the original trilogy grossed over a billion dollars and became a cultural touchstone for a generation, but there’s no way to play of it as anything than a cynical cash grab, and there’s no guarantee that the audience will come back for another one; especially since a lot of them are approaching middle age at this point and this new generation is more enamored with Marvel films than anything else.  Even getting one of the original directors to come back isn’t gonna turn many heads since the stagnation of the series occurred under their watch, and they’ve been heavily involved with all the various media made the franchise since the beginning.  Now all that said, perhaps this IS the right time for it to be tried again.  The themes and messages of the original movie have become all the more relevant since its, and the co-opting of some of its imagery among certain reactionary circles has been one of the more unfortunate developments in the story of The Matrix as a pop-culture staple.  With so many people having so many different ideas about what The Matrix should be, is there any way that this can please even a fraction of the original fans and perhaps get new fans in the process, or is this just another soulless cash grab to further cement this as the worst of all possible timelines?  Let’s find out!!

Thomas Anderson (Keanu Reeves) finds himself in a comfortable life that he built for himself, but not much more.  He made his fortune creating a trilogy of video games called The Matrix with his business partner (Jonathan Groff), but each day feels like an endless drudgery as he searches for meaning.  His therapist (Neil Patrick Harris) has been helping him through these feelings, especially after he nearly jumped off of a roof a few years back, but nothing seems to get through to him until he starts seeing this woman at the coffee shop.  Her name is Tiffany (Carrie-Anne Moss) and there’s something about her that seems familiar but also brings him quite a bit of peace; a peace he will need as the studio is forcing him to make a new Matrix game and it’s just not going very well.  That’s when things start to really unravel as he starts seeing things that may not be there and people start talking to him like he’s someone else entirely.  How did Mr. Anderson find himself in such a miserable state, and can he trust his own mind to tell him the truth?  Who are these people that are showing up to tell him that reality isn’t what it seems, and are they looking out for his best interest or for their own selfish goals?  Is it just me, or does this sound less like The Matrix and more like Birdman?

“So I’m the one that will save humanity?”     “If by ‘humanity’ you mean Warner Bros quarterly finical report, then yes!  Well, maybe.  Let’s see how it does overseas.”
Continue reading “Cinema Dispatch: The Matrix Resurrections”

Cinema Dispatch: Downsizing

DOWNSIZINGCD0

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

Directed by Alexander Payne

Every year, there’s usually one movie that starts off getting quite a bit of Awards buzz (mostly due to its cast and filmmakers) that eventually pivots all the way back to being an absolute train wreck once the critics get a chance to see it, and it’s usually not due to a genuine lack of talent on anyone’s part.  More often than not, it’s misguided or something happened in the production that forced corners to be cut, so the badness of these kind of movies tend to be UNIQUE compared to the drivel that usually comes out during the rest of the year.  Last year the winner of this prize was Collateral Beauty that tried SO hard to be a heartfelt and charming tale despite ostensibly being about people acting like total monsters towards someone with emotional issues, and word has been circulating that this is gonna be that film for 2017.  I thought the trailers looked good as does its interesting premise, but I’ve been burned by good trailers before (*cough* Mother *cough*), so I’m hoping for the best but will keep my guard up just in case.  Are the critics right about this film being wholly unable to live up to its lofty ambitions, or is this one of those few instances where the popular consensus will shift once it gets screened for the masses?  Let’s find out!!

The movie follows the adventures of Paul (Matt Damon) who’s a simple man with a ho-hum job living a ho-hum life with his ho-hum wife (Kristen Wiig) in his ho-hum town of Nowhere-ville.  He’s looking for something to spice up his life and to give him a renewed sense of meaning (by which I mean he wants to buy more stuff), so he starts to entertain the idea of him and his wife Downsizing.  What is Downsizing you may ask?  Well it’s a process by which a human can be permanently shrunken down to a fraction of their normal height and then move to a community of similarly shrunken people.  Since things cost less when they are smaller, that means that Paul’s meager life savings can let them live as kings for the rest of their lives in one of these communities, so he eventually makes the leap.  However, his wife doesn’t go with him (balking at the last second) and he’s basically back where he was before; miserable and looking for ways to be happy.  Through his ongoing life in Tiny Town (also known as Leisureland) he meets with a goods trader Dusan Mirkovic (Christoph Waltz) as well as a Vietnamese protestor who was Downsized against her will named Ngoc Lan Tran (Hong Chau) that seem to be much happier than him and might just hold the secrets to helping Paul find what he’s been looking for.  Can Paul find a shred of happiness in his sad pathetic life?  What doors with Dusan and even Ngoc open for Paul that will help him on his journey?  Wait, so we have this HUGE premise about people being shrunk down and living in corporate run micro-communities… and we’re focusing on some sad white dude the whole time!?

DOWNSIZINGCD1
HE’S NOT EVEN THE MATT DAMON THAT PUNCHES PEOPLE!

Continue reading “Cinema Dispatch: Downsizing”