Cinema Dispatch: My Spy

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My Spy and all the images you see in this review are owned by Amazon Studios & STXfilms

Directed by Peter Segal

The New Mutants is STILL the reigning champ of movies repeatedly missing their release dates (perhaps only being outdone by Amityville: The Awakening), but this film just kept getting pushed further and further back, so much so that I remember seeing posters for this in probably APRIL of last year; back when movie theaters were still open and the world only had a hundred things bringing us to the brink of destruction instead of a hundred and one.  As much as I love Dave Bautista as a character actor (GO SEE HOTEL ARTEMIS ALREADY), he hasn’t quite found his groove as far as starring roles with him threatening to make the same KID-FRIENDLY mistakes The Rock did early on in his career and that John Cena is already kicking butt at right now.  Is this a surprisingly fun take on a tired formula fueled by another great performance from Dave Bautista, or will this be yet another movie to put on WORST MOVIES STARRING A WRESTLER lists that I’m sure are all over YouTube already?  Let’s find out!!

JJ (Dave Bautista) is a hotshot young (I guess?) CIA agent who has the kind of special forces background they’re looking for but doesn’t have the finesse or spycraft to make the most out of his role there.  When a mission in Russia goes bad where JJ has to kill everyone in a very clichéd action scene, his boss (Ken Jeong) sends him and one of the techies Bobbi (Kristen Schaal) on a do-nothing assignment as his last chance to prove that he’s cut out for this.  All they need to do is keep an eye on A young girl named Sophie (Chloe Coleman) and her mother Kate (Parisa Fitz-Henley) who recently moved to the States after Sophie’s father was murdered under suspicious circumstances that could be connected to an arms dealer in the region, but no sooner have they set up shop do they get found out by the girl and so to keep his job JJ has to do whatever the girl wants him to do so she’ll keep quiet about all this; including teaching her how to be a spy which seems like a dubious prospect considering how bad JJ clearly is at it.  Can JJ keep this house of cards from falling over by keeping Sophie entertained and keeping an eye on the family?  Will JJ be the kind of spy his government needs him to be, or will he get to close to the targets and endanger their lives in the process?  If you got made by a nine-year-old, shouldn’t that be a sign that you should be looking for a new career path?

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“I was thinking about becoming a wrestler.”     “They won’t pay for your health insurance.”     “Dang.  You’re right.”

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Cinema Dispatch: Fantasy Island

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Fantasy Island and all the images you see in this review are owned by Sony Pictures Releasing

Directed by Jeff Wadlow

The only thing I know about the TV show is that it had Khan from Star Trek and Nick Nack from The Man with the Golden Gun, but even still turning it into a horror film seems like a dubious prospect at best.  What, there weren’t enough Twilight Zone episodes to adapt or Creepshow sequels to pump out that we have to now start reaching for non-horror properties to try and squeeze out yet another February horror film?  I mean I guess it COULD be good!  Stranger things have happened, certainly.  Is this brilliant reinterpretation of a classic seventies television show, or were we better off with Wild Wild West being the most embarrassing remake of a TV series from that era?  Let’s find out!!

Gwen, Patrick, JD, Brax, and Melanie (Maggie Q, Austin Stowell, Ryan Hansen, Jimmy O Yang, and Lucy Hale) have all won a free trip to the mysterious FANTASY ISLAND which is run by the equally mysterious Mr. Roarke (Michael Peña) who is known for his also equally mysterious ability to grant your greatest fantasy while visiting the island!  For JD and Brax, they want to party like rock stars, for Gwen she wants to get back what she’s lost, for Patrick he wants to be a solider, and for Melanie she wants to get revenge on her school bully.  All of which are simple enough to fulfill for the enigmatic Mr. Roarke, but as the fantasies come to fruition there are monkey paw style twists and turns that make their visit not quite as spectacular as they had hoped they would be; particularly when spooky and outright dangerous stuff begins to happen.  They must somehow work through their own turbulent fantasies and eventually with each other to stop whatever dark fate is expected to befall them and to find out the secret of the island as well as Mr. Roarke’s uncanny power.  Can this rag tag group of nobodies who may or may not have some sort of dark past figure out a way to escape the island in one piece?  What exactly is Mr. Roarke’s end goal here, and are there some dark secrets in his closet as well?  If my fantasy was to have unlimited fantasies, would he have to find a way to make that work?

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“What is your greatest wish today?”     “I want to see you get your suit dirty.”     “…”     “DO IT!  CHOP CHOP!!”     “Oh, it’s going to be one of these days…”

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