Cinema Dispatch: The Magnificent Seven

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The Magnificent Seven and all the images you see in this review are owned by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Columbia Pictures

Directed by Antoine Fuqua

The original Magnificent Seven is a movie that’s on my depressingly large list of movies that I really should see at some point and unfortunately I didn’t get around to it before this remake came out.  That said, the premise isn’t all that hard to grasp and it’s definitely trying to reach a new young audience if the advertisements are anything to go on.  That and the addition of Chris Pratt doesn’t hurt either as the guy couldn’t be hotter with the younger demographics after star turning roles in Guardians of the Galaxy as well as Jurassic World.  Does this reinterpretation of one of the most classic stories of all time turn out to be a modern day classic, or is it doomed to live in the shadow of its predecessor?  Let’s find out!!

The movie begins with the town of Rock Ridge… I mean Rose Creek, being under siege from the EVIL rich guy Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard) who wants to drive everyone out of there so he can mine the shit out of the place for gold and other valuable resources.  After burning down the local church and killing a few of the locals, they realize they can’t handle this on their own and they need some help.  After all, they worked too damn hard killing off all the Native Americans to build this town on their land for some rich asshole to take it all away from them!  Emma Cullen (Haley Bennett) who is the widow of one of the dead guys goes to a nearby town with her friend Teddy (Luke Grimes) to find some tough guys to chase Bart’s friends out of town!  For their efforts, they find the bounty hunter Sam Chisolm (Denzel Washington) who then helps them gather the rest of the crew which includes the Chris Pratt archetype Josh Faraday (Chris Pratt), an old-timey sniper Goodnight Robicheux (Ethan Hawke), his best buddy with the kick ass name Billy Rocks (Byung-hun Lee), a wild mountain man Jack Horne (Vincent D’Onofrio), some random outlaw Vasquez (Manuel Garcia-Ruflo), and a Comache hunter Red Harvest (Martin Sensmeier).  Now all of them have their own reason for taking on such an impossible task (some less plausible than others as I still have no idea what Red Harvest is after), but it’s not going to be an easy fight as they’ve got an army to go up against and they have maybe a few dozen farmers to train up and give them support once the shit hits the fan.  Can this town be saved from the onslaught of Bart’s men?  Why exactly did Sam accept this job in the first place, and could he have ulterior motives?  Who thinks they’re gonna accurately predict which ones will die?  Think you can do better than me!?

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For the record, two of my guesses were right!

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Cinema Dispatch: Black Mass

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Black Mass and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros. Pictures

Directed by Scott Cooper

We’re finally in Oscar season, right?  I mean Straight Outta Compton was a huge hit, but this is the first one that Hollywood studios are actually pushing for some Academy nods.  We’ve got a big name actor playing a dark character in an organized crime biopic!  Hell, the only way it could have more Oscar appeal is if it was set in World War 2!  Still, Hollywood doesn’t always get it right when the make big Oscar films (look no further than The Judge from last year) and Johnny Depp has had a PRETTY hard time of it lately (again, look no further than Transcendence from last year).  Will this movie be the critical hit that Johnny Deep needs at this point in his career, or will this biopic get lost in the shuffle once the other big films of the season start coming out in earnest?  Let’s find out!!

The movie is about James “Whitey” Bulger (Johnny Depp) who rose to the top of the Boston crime world due to the fact that was an FBI informant and was getting protection from them as he helped them take down the Italian mob.  Once the Italian’s were out the way though, Whitey became just as big a nuisance for the city, only HE had a federal organization who was at least somewhat hesitant to reveal their own involvement with him so he ran pretty much rampant for a good twenty years (1975-1995).  Presumably the story is a lot more complex with a lot more people involved, but for this movie the main players are Whitey himself, his brother Billy (Benedict Cumberbatch) who was the President of the Massachusetts senate at the time, and John Connolly (Joel Edgerton) who grew up with Whitey and became the FBI agent that got him involved as an informant.  Needless to say that having these three working together (to some capacity) creates a neigh unstoppable force as each party is protecting the other to some extent and the trio (John less so than the rest who seems to be a SOMEWHAT legitimate politician) make a WHOLE lot of money.  The gravy train can’t ride forever though as the rest of the world starts to close in and Whitey’s actions become more erratic over time.  Will these men get the comeuppance they deserve, or will they be able to escape whatever’s coming after to them once they take things too far?  Well it’s a biopic so you can look up the answers right now, but then why would you want to spoil the fun?

You do NOT want to spoil this guy’s fun.
You do NOT want to spoil this guy’s fun.

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