Cinema Dispatch: Willy’s Wonderland

Willy’s Wonderland and all the images you see in this review are owned by Screen Media Films

Directed by Kevin Lewis

You know, Nicolas cage may not be in big Hollywood movies anymore but he’s got a decent eye for the VOD and Indie markets.  He’s worked with guys like Panos Cosmatos, he was in probably the best HP Lovecraft movie in I don’t know how long, and that Brian Taylor movie Parents was an absolute trip and frankly should have gotten much more attention than it did.  Now he’s starring in an unofficial Five Nights at Freddy’s movie which would otherwise looks like an Asylum knock off.  Say what you will about Cage, at least he hasn’t gotten to Carmen Electra, C Thomas Howell, and Danny Trejo levels yet!  Does Nicolas Cage prove once again prove his savviness at picking low budget projects, or was this just an easy paycheck for all involved?  Let’s find out!!

The movie begins with a mysterious stranger (Nicolas Cage) getting the tires on his car ripped apart on a random country road near a dead end country town.  How much of a dead end is this town?  They don’t just lack any sort of internet service here, they don’t even have the infrastructure to support ATMs which means that Cage can’t just pay for the tires; he has to do this the old fashioned way with a favor and a handshake.  The town Business Guy (Ric Reitz) offers to pay for Cage’s new tires if he spends the night cleaning his janky as heck pizza place called Willy’s Wonderland; a children’s pizzeria with a cast of animatronic characters that love nothing more than to sing their happy songs for the children.  Unfortunately the little pizza shop has a VERY sordid past but that’s about to change as our local Business Guy is hoping to fix it up and get it running again which is all going to start with a little bit of elbow grease and a lots of window cleaner!  Cage silently agrees and is locked inside for some reason, but he doesn’t mind because he’s got a job to do and a bag full of PUNCH COLA to keep him nice and hydrated!  All is not as it seems however as some local kids led by Liv Hawthorne (Emily Tosta) are trying to burn the place to the ground but decide to try and convince Cage to come out first before they do it.  And why would they want to do that?  Well if the creepy animatronics and shady deal with the Business Guy wasn’t enough of a clue, it turns out this place is haunted for some reason and that she has some very grisly experiences with the place, so turning it to ashes will bring some degree of closure for her.  Still, seems like a bad idea to just run into the pizzeria full of haunted and murderous robots no matter how fluffy their fur is and it turns into a fight for survival as the teens try to escape the death trap and Cage continues to clean up stains wherever he finds them!  Will the horrors of this place finally be put to bed with the help of our mysterious stranger?  What exactly is keeping this place standing all these years, and why is Business Guy so gung ho to reopen in the first place?  Will Nicolas Cage clean the floors so well that you could eat off of them!?

“Is there an ostrich behind me?”     “Yes.”     “Is he tracking in mud?”     “Uh… maybe?”     “I hate it when they do that…”
Continue reading “Cinema Dispatch: Willy’s Wonderland”

Cinema Dispatch: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

SMITSVCD0

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and all the images you see in this review are owned by Sony Pictures Releasing

Directed by Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, and Rodney Rothman

Honestly this whole “Oscar Season” thing has felt rather muted this year as I really haven’t seen that many movies that would fit the archetype we often associate with them.  Other than Welcome to Marwen, the holiday season has been just an extension of summer with huge blockbusters coming out back to back with three presumed major money makers (Bumblebee, Mary Poppins Returns, and Aquaman) fighting over a single weekend right before Christmas.  However out of all those movies that we’re getting right now, the one that really caught my attention was this film; not because I had any particular reason to think it would be great (though I do certainly hope that’s the case!) but because it looked so much different than everything else.  An animated film with a unique art style about Spider-Man characters other than Spider-Man?  Heck, that’s PRACTICALLY Venom considering how much CG they used, and that wasn’t TOO bad!  Can the cinematic debut of Miles Morales, Spider-Gwen, and… others I guess, manage to be up there with the best that Disney can put out, or is this only gonna look good in comparison to Sony’s other recent Spider-Man efforts?  Let’s find out!!

Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) is your typical Marvel nobody; slightly smarter than everyone else, painfully insecure, and doesn’t realize how good his life is until some tragedy will inevitably strike it after they get super powers!  For now though, he’s just bummed about having to go to a fancy new school that his parents (Brian Tyree Henry and Luna Lauren Velez) want him to attend while all he wants to do is be with his friends and hang out with his uncle (Mahershala Ali) who understands him a heck of a lot more than his parents do.  During one such hang out session where he and his uncle tag a wall in an abandoned subway tunnel, Miles gets bit by a radioactive spider and goes through the typical Spider-Man first day of school; make a fool of yourself, stick to things, and eventually realize how awesome these powers are!  Then again, there’s already a Spider-Man roaming the streets (Chris Pine) so it’s not like he needs to get himself involved in Super Hero shenanigans, right?  Oh wait, Spider-Man’s dead.  Huh.  Didn’t see that coming (especially if you don’t know anything about Miles Morales already) and not only that, the big Super Villain plot he failed to stop is some sort of interdimensional portal gun thingy that The Kingpin (Liev Schreiber) is making and is merging alternate realties into this one.  It makes a lot more sense when you see in the movie.  Trust me on that.  ANYWAY!  One of the alternate dimensions has spout out Peter B Parker (Jake Johnson) who is like this universe’s Peter only a lot less dead and a lot less competent, and he and Miles end up crossing paths through even more convoluted shenanigans.  So now that we’re up to TWO only somewhat competent Spider-People, they can do what the actually GOOD Spider-Man couldn’t, right?  Eh… maybe, but let’s see if we can find a few more Else Worlds Spiders like Spider-Gwen (Hailee Steinfeld), Spider-Noir (Nicolas Cage), Spider-Bot (Kimiko Gleen), and Spider-Pig (John Mulaney) before storming The Kingpin’s castle.  I’m sure they’re around here somewhere!  Will Miles learn how to use his powers for good and accept the responsibility that comes with them?  Can the other Spider-People not only show him what it means to be a hero, but stop The Kingpin before their universe’s become endangered as well?  Can we somehow find a way to go to an alternate dimension where this film is ALSO part of the MCU!?

SMITSVCD1
“In our universe Venom was released in 2007.”     “WOW!  Your world really IS superior!”

Continue reading “Cinema Dispatch: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”

Cinema Dispatch: Mandy

MANDYCD0

Mandy and all the images you see in this review are owned by RLJE Films

Directed by Panos Cosmatos

I had no idea this movie existed until about four days ago and I knew precisely two things about it; Nic Cage and chainsaws.  I don’t know about you, but you can usually get me to see a movie if you have one of those things, let alone both!  Nicolas Cage has had a REALLY rough go of it lately with mostly direct to video fare that even die-hard fans like myself find tedious, and while this isn’t really a BLOCKBUSTER or even a STUDIO film, the fact that he’s in theaters again and is in a movie that’s getting a lot of positive buzz makes more oh so very happy even if he’s STILL probably not gonna get that Superman role now that () is most likely stepping down.  The movie itself though, well I still have to SEE it before I can proclaim it to be as good as everyone says it is even if I want it to be the first step to the greatest coming story in Hollywood history!  Or at the very least the first step towards getting a Face/Off 2.

Back in the early eighties, a guy named Red (Nicolas Cage and a lady named Mandy (Andrea Riseborough) are living in a pretty nice house out in the woods, surviving off of odd jobs as a lumberjack for him and as a convenience store cashier for her, and generally enjoying the isolation from the rest of the world.  Both are into old school rock and roll (though I guess back then it wouldn’t have been THAT old) and so are the filmmakers because everything in the film’s aesthetic is pumped all the way up to eleven; form the color pallets to the visual tableaus, to that thing where we focus in really close on something while intense music plays.  Anyway, the two of them are just minding their own business when Mandy is spotted by a passing van full of drugged up killer hippies led by the “charismatic” leader Jeremiah Sand (Linus Roach)  who makes it their mission to recruit her for their cause.  Things spiral out of control from there which leads to Mandy being captured, OTHER stuff happening, and Red having more than enough reason to find these bastards and met out some woodland vengeance on them for what they’ve done.  Along the way he’ll meet old friends who help him on his journey, he’ll create the perfect weapon to exact his unholy and metal as heck revenge, and even fight some… interesting fellows who I’m not sure are supposed to be REAL or not, but in a movie like this that hardly matters.  Will Red find this roving gang of murders before they leave the forest for good and move on to their next victims?  Just how far will Red go to get what he’s after, and what will he give up along the way?  Is it just me, or is this a Ghost Rider movie that forgot to include Ghost Rider?

MANDYCD1
“You think the rider is so tough?  THAT PUNK’S GOT NOTHING ON ME!!”

Continue reading “Cinema Dispatch: Mandy”

Cinema Dispatch: Teen Titans Go! To the Movies

TTGTTMCD0

Teen Titans Go! To the Movies and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures

Directed by Peter Rida Michail and Aaron Horvath

I’ll admit that I, like many fans of the first show (i.e. OLD PEOPLE), tended to be rather dismissive of Go for amping up the comedy and more or less abandoning the action and drama in doing so; but that said I also didn’t outright hate it or ever have the urge to complain loudly and publicly about it.  Still, now that the Titans trailer has given me a bit of perspective, I feel kind of bad about not really giving it the time of day and plan on rectifying that soon.  Before that though, we’ve got a movie to see which couldn’t be further in terms of tone and style than its TV-MA counterpart and frankly that’s about all I need to more or less give this movie a pass.  Hopefully it’s good movie as well, but considering I didn’t see Robin snapping necks and covered in blood in the trailers for this, I think it clearly has the upper hand.  Will the jump to from television to feature films silence the haters once and for all who complained that this interpretation of the characters wasn’t just like the one they had when THEY were kids, or is this yet another show that didn’t need the big screen treatment and will be yet another cudgel to be wielded by rather obnoxious fanboys?  Let’s find out!!

The movie begins with the Teen Titans, made up of Robin, Cyborg, Starfire, Raven, and Beast Boy (Scott Menville, Khary Payton, Hynden Walch, Tara Strong, and Greg Cipes), putting bad guys on the run and not stopping until the job gets done… at least until they find an excuse to dance at which point the Justice League has to come in and clean up after them.  Well that’s not TOO bad!  They got a few hits in before getting distracted by their own theme song, and it means they get a chance to chat it up with Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, and even Superman (Lil Yachty, Ashley “Halsey” Frangipane, and Nicolas Cage)!  Not Batman though (Jimmy Kimmel) as he’s attending the premier of his latest movie which is NOT directed by Matt Reeves; rather by an up and coming star director named Jade Wilson (Kristen Bell).  Wait a minute, movie premiere!?  Why didn’t anyone tell the Teen Titans!?  Furthermore, why haven’t THEY gotten their own movie!?  These are questions that Robin in particular doesn’t like being raised, and so he vows to get his own movie by any means necessary!  Up to and including finding an arch villain for the Teen Titans to face which will surely get Jade Wilson’s attention and convince her to give them a shot at the silver screen!  Good thing it just so happens that a villain known simply as SLADE (Will Arnett) who is most assuredly NOT Deathstroke (that name is FAR too scary!) is cooking up some scheme and can only be stopped by this group of teenagers with attitude!  Can the Titans find a way to stop Slade AND get their own movie in the process?  Just how far will Robin go to get his chance, and will his friends be the ones to suffer in the process?   Can I just say that SLADE is a better bad guy name than Deathstroke?  SLADE!!  SLLAAAAAADDDDEEE!!

TTGTTMCD1
This guy gets it!

Continue reading “Cinema Dispatch: Teen Titans Go! To the Movies”

Cinema Dispatch: Snowden

snowdencd0

Snowden and all the images you see in this review are owned by Open Road Films

Directed by Oliver Stone

So first we got the Sully movie, and now THIS!?  What’s other movies are we gonna get about things that just freaking happened?  Has someone already polished off a treatment for the Charles Ramsey story!?  Well at least as far as these recent OF THE MOMENT BIOPICS go, this one has some relevance outside of the one event it’s focused on; namely the current state of US (and global) surveillance programs.  Does this manage to be an interesting and nuanced take on how all this information came to light, or is it a thinly veiled propaganda piece that no one bothered to make into a compelling film?  Let’s find out!!

The movie follows the career of Edward Snowden (Joseph-Gordon Levitt).  Some guy you MIGHT have heard about a few years ago.  Spoiler Alert!  He stole documents from the NSA and revealed to the public the existence of certain programs they were using such as PRISM and XKeyscore.  That’s towards the end of the story though.  Where we start is with him being discharged from the army (broke both his legs) and instead choosing to serve his country by applying to the CIA and doing computer stuff for them.  He barely manages to get the job and ends up soaring above his peers, going from job to job and always being at the best wherever he was (or at least that’s how the movie tells it).  Unfortunately, he finds out the US security agencies are doing a bunch of shady shit, and he’s not only having to deal with the guilt of spying on US citizens in an unconstitutional manner, he’s also having to keep this secret from his girlfriend Lindsay Mills (Shailene Woodley).  Will his sense of obligation to his fellow man be too strong for him to keep his head down!?  Well we all know the answer to that, but how’s it gonna play out when ACADEMY AWARD WINNING DIRECTOR OLIVER STONE shows it to us!?

snowdencd1
Chances are he’ll lose his freaking mind at some point.

Continue reading “Cinema Dispatch: Snowden”