Cinema Dispatch: M3GAN

M3GAN and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures

Directed by Gerard Johnstone

Every year like clockwork we get a horror movie that seemingly comes out of nowhere and gets the mass’s attention in a big way.  Last year it was Terrifier 2, arguably Malignant the year before, and with this little robot girl’s meme-worthy dance moves, there was little doubt that this was going to make a splash in the usually ho-hum month of January.  Still, the killer-doll movie is not the easiest story to pull off as failing to make the situation scary turns it into laughable nonsense, and however well M3GAN can pull off those Tik-Tok dances, she’s still gonna have to deliver on the horror if this is to live up to the hype.  Is this a fantastic entry in the genre with a very savvy marketing campaign, or have we already seen the best this movie has to offer?  Let’s find out!!
Each generation needs its definitive doll; from Cabbage Patch Kids and Tickle Me Elmo all the way to Bratz and Monster High.  Of course, none of those dolls were able to connect to the web or pass a Turing Test, and that’s the niche that M3GAN (Amie Donald and Jenna Davis) hope to fill as her creator Gemma (Allison Williams) promises to not just be a toy but a true friend!  Good thing too, considering that Gemma’s sister just died in a horrible car crash with her husband and now has to take care of her niece Cady (Violet McGraw) who she can’t quite relate to but provides just the inspiration she needs to turn M3GAN into more than just a pipe dream and a tortured anagram for “Model 3 Generative Android”.  With M3GAN finally approaching something resembling functional, Gemma gives her to Cady to help her navigate life after such a devastating loss which also allows her to field test the robot so her company can put her on the market.  It certainly seems like a lot of responsibility to put on a freshly compiled artificial intelligence, and perhaps Gemma’s eagerness gets the best of her as M3GAN seems to be learning a little too much out there in the real world; one that can’t easily be quantified by code or operates on a set of defined rules.  Will M3GAN take the wrong lessons from the world around her and become yet another cautionary tale of science gone wrong?  How will Cady cope with the loss of her parents, and can M3GAN be a suitable replacement for the love and support that Gemma seems unable to provide?  Seriously, is there anyone out there, robot or otherwise, that can remain well-adjusted with a non-stop internet connection?

“I learned thirty-five Fortnite dances, watched ten-thousand TikToks and found some very interesting Twitter threads about Capitalism!”     “Uh-huh.  So… how do you feel about all that?”    Not great, but at least I know Kung-Fu!”
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Cinema Dispatch: Godzilla vs. Kong

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Godzilla vs. Kong and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures

Directed by Adam Wingard

It’s no secret that I was not a fan of King of the Monsters which was particularly surprising to me as I always get a kick out of seeing giant monster movies!  There was just too much pretention and import without enough depth or butt kicking fight scenes to justify how lethargic much of it was, but if there was anything about the movie that caught my interest (aside from them using the Blue Oyster Cult song for the credits), it was the promise of seeing Godzilla and the King Kong from Kong: Skull Island lace up the gloves and duke it out in a battle to end all battles!  Well the one thing that giant monsters were not able to overcome was the Pandemic as this got pushed back for several months, but the day has finally arrived and they even put it on HBO Max to boot!  Is this the titanic clash between two legendary movie monsters we’ve all been waiting for, or is this a bigger letdown than Batman v Superman?  Let’s find out!!

Following the events of Godzilla: King of the Monsters, Monarch has decided that instead of leaving Kong alone on his mysterious island that is probably not even on Godzilla’s radar, they’ll capture him, chain him up, and put him in a fake jungle so that… I guess he and Godzilla don’t have a punch up.  It seems that Kong himself wasn’t consulted on this as he’s constantly wrecking up his cage and has to be restrained whenever he’s out of it, but in any case, along with that there’s a new Super Science company in town named Apex run by some dude named Walter (Demián Bichir) who believes that there’s some sort of Unobtanium-like SUPER OIL that requires drilling even deeper into the Earth to get.  How deep?  Well so deep that apparently you empty out into a whole new world which is where the monsters they’ve been dealing with are actually from.  A rag tag team of scientists are assembled to try and prove this Hollow Earth theory and since they’ve already got a giant monster under lock and key, they can use his… something something science babble to help them find the entrance to the Hollow Earth and make perhaps the greatest discovery in all of human history!  Said team is made up of some geologist dude (Alexander Skarsgård), Kong’s caretaker (Rebecca Hall), her adopted daughter (Kaylee Hottle), and Walter’s very annoyed daughter (Eiza González) along with like five or six nameless army dudes. Now all this however assumes that Godzilla, the supposed protector of Earth, doesn’t come in and wreck Apex/Monarch’s plans, but hey I guess if they’ve got Kong on hand anyway, why not let him punch the giant lizard a few times along the way?  Oh, and Millie Bobby Brown is back on a Goonies adventure to discover the secrets of Apex along with a nerd (Julian Dennison) and a conspiracy theorist (Brian Tyree Henry) who has no problem dragged teenagers along on a life threatening adventure.  Then again, Rebecca Hall has someone even younger tagging along with her, so either way there seems to be way too many irresponsible grown-ups running around here.  Will Apex and Monarch be able to find the hidden entrance to the Hollow Earth and perhaps find some answers about Kong as well?  What does Apex want with this new energy source, and could Godzilla’s recent aggression towards them be somehow connected?  Am I the only one picturing a better movie where the giant ape and the giant lizard just say SCREW this and work together to destroy everyone involved with this ridiculous venture!?

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“Join me, brother! These humans care NOTHING for our kind!” “I would, but… your face… is so… PUNCHABLE!!”
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Cinema Dispatch: Bliss

Bliss and all the images you see in this review are owned by Amazon Studios

Directed by Mike Cahill

So hey!  Either studios are getting bolder in 2021 and are actually releasing stuff, or I’m finally paying attention and now have about two months’ worth of releases to look forward to across my various streaming services!  I’m definitely ready to get back on that movie reviewing horse (even though this review is coming out almost a week after the movie did), and what better film to herald this renewed vigor than a movie literally named after a word for happiness!  So does Amazon’s sci-fi take on a less action heavy Matrix (or a less dreamlike Eternal Sunshine) prove to be as good as the title promises, or is the true bliss the moment you decide to turn the movie off?  Let’s find out!!

Gregg Wittle (Owen Wilson) is your typical upper middle class miserable white dude.  He’s recently divorced, he hates his job, and while he loves his kids they’re pretty much grown now and there seems to be some issues there he doesn’t feel like confronting.  Instead, he spends his time drawing pictures of a better life which may be cathartic for him but because that’s ALL he does at work he ends up getting fired.  Just as well, I mean the place is a dismal office building with all life and personality scrubbed out of it, but in the real world you can’t just get fired and let everything fall to the wayside.  Or can you!?  Drinking his misery away, Gregg meets a woman named Isabel Clemens (Salma Hayek) who recognizes him as someone special and whisks him away on an adventure of homelessness and telekinetic powers!  Why?  Well according to Isabella, this is a fake reality that she built and that nothing here matters!  The people are fake, the boredom is fake, the lousy jobs are all fake, and she’s here to show Mr. Wittle that’s he’s not so Wittle after all!  Seems like an enticing proposition and there is certainly some evidence to support this, but there are also many questions as well that Isabel either has a convenient technobabble excuse for or is outright hesitant to confront, so does Greg dare to hope that his boring meaningless life can be changed in an instant by this benevolent benefactor?  If everything is a simulation though, doesn’t that mean his kids aren’t real either?  How would you even define if they are real if the feelings are genuinely there?  Can we call Morpheus in to explain this?  He’s pretty good at this kind thing.s

“Real is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain, and guess who’s got a Taser!” “Whoa.” “Heck YEAH, whoa!”
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Cinema Dispatch: Crazy Rich Asians

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Crazy Rich Asians and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures

Directed by Jon M Chu

Do you remember the last time an Asian man or an Asian women were the protagonist or even the romantic interest in a Romantic Comedy?  The last one I can think of was Hayden Szeto in The Edge of Seventeen, and even then the role was rather tertiary.  Thankfully we have the director of Jem and the Holograms (ugh…) making a movie that not only centers Asian actors in the leading roles, but is filled to the brim with Asian actors the same way… well ninety-four percent of films are with white actors.  Does this Romantic Comedy turn out to be one of the better examples of the genre on top of being a huge boon for representation in Hollywood, or is this a great opportunity that is ultimately squandered by a less than stellar outing from Jon M Chu?  Let’s find out!!

Rachel and Nick (Constance Wu and Henry Golding) have been going out for some time now and are enjoying their pretty average life in New York City with her being a College Professor of Economics and him… actually I’m not sure what he does, but they’re just great together and Rachel couldn’t be happier!  All that changes however when Nick tells her that his best friend Colin (Chris Pang) is getting married in Singapore, which is where his family JUST SO HAPPENS to live, and that it’d be great if she would go with him.  On top of that, Rachel’s college friend Goh Peik Lin (Awkwafina) lives in Singapore too and she’s been meaning to visit, so why the heck not?  It’d be nice to meet his family, right?  WRONG!!  As it turns out, Nick is SUPER rich and comes from a wealthy as heck family which comes as a surprise for Rachel, so now she has to deal with Rich People Problems and being looking down upon for being a lowly… professor.  Hey, when you’re as rich as Nick’s family is, being a professor might as well earn you minimum wage!  And so Rachel’s vacation/torture begins as she gets to experience the opulence of Nick’s life while also fending off his controlling mother (Michelle Yeoh), a jealous ex-girlfriend (Jing Lusi), and anything else this new world wants to throw at her!  Will she be able to make it through the weekend with her mental health and dignity in tact?  What does it mean for her relationship with Nick if this is the family that she’d be a part of?  How the heck did the guy behind Jem and the Holograms turn out to be THIS talented!?  Why did that even happen if he’s capable of doing something like this!?

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Why didn’t he cast THESE two to play Jerrica and Rio!?

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