Cinema Dispatch: Ready Player One

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Ready Player One and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures

Directed by Steven Spielberg

Oh!  Do I finally get a chance to see this darn movie!?  I swear; it feels like EVERY OTHER CRITIC IN THE WORLD got an invite to an early premiere of this while I’m sitting over here waiting for its ACTUAL release date like a total chump!  Now I haven’t read the book so I won’t be going into this with much in terms of expectations, but the premise is on that could really get out of hand quickly if it’s not in the hands of the right director.  Just imagine how bad Scott Pilgrim would have been if it wasn’t in the hands of Edgar Wright, or if say Adam Sandler somehow managed to make a movie about classic video games attacking us in the real world.  GOOD THING THAT NEVER HAPPENED, AM I RIGHT!?  Was Steven Spielberg the right one to adapt this material, or will this be a larger misstep for the venerable director than The Lost World: Jurassic Park?  Let’s find out!!

The movie takes place in the year 2045 where society hasn’t really COLLAPSED, so much as it’s gotten really apathetic and there’s a whole bunch of trash everywhere.  For most people, they’re way of dealing with it is to go into the most EXPANSIVE AND BAD ASS online video game ever made (right after Second Life) called THE OASIS!  One such denizen of this virtual world is Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) who lives in one of the slums of Columbus Ohio (they literally just started stacking trailer homes on top of each other) but he has big dreams for the future that will get him out of his boring miserable life!  Okay, it mostly involves playing games in THE OASIS as his in-game character Parzival, but that’s proving to be more and more of a viable career path; provided he doesn’t start shouting racial slurs.  Like in real life though, he’s kind of stuck at the lower tier of THE OASIS hierarchy and spends most of his time either hanging out with his friend Aech (Lena Waithe) or re-reading the history of the inventor of THE OASIS James Halliday (Mark Rylance) who died about a decade ago.  Said creator by the way has stuck three hidden keys within the game that if found will get TOTAL control of his Chocolate Factory… I mean software company, but no one has been able to find even one of them so far; not even the EVIL corporation called Innovative Online Industries (IOI) which is head up by the EVIL Nolan Sorrento (Ben Mendelsohn) that plan to do EVIL things if they get control of the company!  So Wade/Parzival is just going along his day to day routine… that is until he meets Art3mis (Olivia Cooke) who is one of the top players in the game, and their chance encounter ALSO leads to him figuring out the first clue that James Halliday left behind which leads him directly to the first key!  Now the guy is on EVERYONE’S radar!  Art3mis is trying to find the keys for herself and wants Parzival’s help doing it, Aech is stoked that they get all the cool gear that comes with finding that first key, and of course the EVIL IOI is after him to either convince him to join them or DESTROY HIM UTTERLY!  Will Wade be able to resist the allures of corporate culture and embark on this noble quest to honor the memory of the greatest game developer of all time?  What reasons could Art3mis have for needing to find the keys, and does it have anything to do with IOI’s EVIL schemes?  Will Wade get the validation in the virtual world that he so desperate craves in his own life!?  THAT’S HOW THIS WORKS, RIGHT!?

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“You are the one!”     “YEAH!!“     “Now just pay $4.99 to see the TRUE ending.”     “WHAT!?”

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Cinema Dispatch: Thoroughbreds

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Thoroughbreds and all the images you see in this review are owned by Focus Features

Directed by Cory Finley

Well they haven’t announced a sequel to Ingrid Goes West yet which is PROBABLY a good thing all things considered, but it also means that I’ll have to start looking to the imitators if I want to re-experience that magic that made that film so special.  Not EXACTLY the case with this film as it was actually made BEFORE Ingrid Goes west (back in 2016), but considering both films are about emotionally unstable young women (this time there’s TWO of them!) and the ways that society can exacerbate their worst tendencies, it seems like a good place to start if I want to find another great movie that’s right up my alley.  Does this manage to succeed not just in terms of being LIKE a movie I really loved but as its own unique story?  Let’s find out!!

The movie begins with Amanda (Olivia Cooke) who feels nothing being tutored by Lily (Anya Taylor-Joy) who feels everything, and the two of them are sort of rekindling their friendship after certain life events (the death of Lily’s father as well as some really disturbing activities Amanda got up to) had driven them apart.  Now normally this would be a cause for celebration as two friends getting back together is usually a recipe for good times and wholesome nostalgia, but when it becomes clear that Lily REALLY hates her new step-father (Paul Sparks), Amanda floats the idea of just murdering the dude… because that’s what people who don’t feel anything naturally jump to… I guess?  Lily is skeptical at first, but it doesn’t take long for her to warm up to the idea which they start hastily putting together in between watching old movies on TV and sitting around in Lily’s fancy house.  Clearly they aren’t criminal masterminds, but it does seem that they know enough to try and get someone who’s ACTUALLY a criminal (not necessarily a mastermind) to try and help them with this plan, so the duo enlists Tim (Anton Yelchin) who Lily saw selling drugs at a party once, and things start to spiral out of control from there.  Will Lily and Amanda come up with the PERFECT plan to kill the douchebag step dad without getting caught themselves?  What can Tim really bring to the table now that he’s sucked into these girls’ outlandish scheme, and how far will he go to find a way out of it?  Is it just me, or do these girls watch just as much TV as I do?

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“So you want to start picking locations to dump the body?”     “Shh.  After this episode.”

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