Cinema Dispatch: Captain America: Civil War

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Captain America: Civil War and all the images you see in this review are owned by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Directed by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo

The Marvel money machine has deigned to appease the masses with the next chapter in their long running story about people in tights (or robo-tights) that STILL manages to be more character driven and exquisitely crafted than any number of big blockbusters that have tried to challenge Marvel to their title as king of the cinematic landscape (*cough* Batman v Superman *cough*).  Now we have another entry in the Captain America series which actually looks like an Avengers movie more than anything else.  Does Marvel once again show us what makes the Captain America movies so unique within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or has the whole enterprise gotten too massive to tell a simple story about one man throwing his mighty shield?  Let’s find out!!

The main thrust of the narrative in this movie is the Avengers having the whole “collateral damage” thing come back to bite them in the ass.  It’s been building up for a while, but when an operation in Nigeria goes south after the bad guy blows himself up and the blast is redirected by Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) into a nearby building and killing eleven people in the process, it seems that the world powers have no choice but to step in.  Of course, the guy had stolen a biological weapon that could have killed THOUSANDS but no one wants to bring that up apparently.  Anyway, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) seems to be in a bad place right now and the guilt over his actions in the last ten or so movies are starting to eat away at him, so when the US government and the UN come to the Avengers with some international regulations, he jumps at the opportunity to get them all on board.  The biggest opponent to this new form of oversight though is Captain America (Chris Evans) who sees the writing on the wall and the possibility of those checking their power using that for nefarious ends.  Things only get worse when a UN meeting in Vienna about the new Avenger regulations (known as the Sokovia Accords) gets bombed as part of a terrorist attack and the only suspect is Bucky Barnes The Winter Solider (Sebastian Stan) who if you recall from the second Captain America movie escaped his captors and has been laying low ever since.  Not only is everyone and their grandma after this guy, but Captain America is the only one convinced that he could not have done it which makes it that much harder to keep the government, the other Avengers, and a new super hero Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) off of his back.  Can he clear Bucky’s name before the world leaders put a bullet in both their heads?  Who really DID bomb the UN meeting?  Will he be able to convince his fellow Avengers as well as Tony that the Sokovia Accords will lead to more harm than good?  Most importantly, how many cameos are they gonna squeeze into this!?

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“Did you guys kidnap me?”     “Yup.”     “That’s AWESOME!”

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Cinema Dispatch: The Jungle Book

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The Jungle Book and all the images you see in this review are owned by Walt Disney Studios

Directed by Jon Favreau

In the early and mid-2000s, we got a deluge of straight to video sequels to classic animated features in the Disney catalog.  Almost NONE of them were any good, and they thankfully died off by 2007.  Now we’re in a new age of cannibalizing those cartoons by making them into live action, albeit with better results.  These include Alice in Wonderland, Maleficent, Cinderella, and now this with PLENTY more on the horizon.  Can Disney continue to successfully rehash their older properties, or are we getting to the point of diminishing returns?  Let’s find out!!

The movie follows the adventures of Mowgli (Neel Sethi); a young child who was abandoned in the jungle and raised by wolves.  Most of the animals don’t have any real beef with him, so they coexist without much strife to speak of until the fierce (and apparently ONLY) tiger Shere Khan (Idris Elba) shows up and declares that the boy must be turned over to him for death, else he will wage war on the other animals; particularly the wolf pack Mowgli’s a part of that also seems to be the highest ranking species here… or something.  Rather than have his pack go to war over him, he leaves them behind and goes with his panther friend Bagheera (Ben Kingsley) who’s gonna lead him back to the human village which is the one place he’ll be safe from Shere Khan’s anti-human wrath.  Unfortunately, the two get separated along the way and Mowgli instead finds himself moving in with a bear named Baloo (Bill Murray) who will teach him about chillaxing and eating honey.  Will Mowgli truly be safe in his new home?  What will Shere Khan do once he learns that Mowgli is not dead?  Does this have at least the Bare Necessities to make it a good film!?

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“What have I told you TIME and TIME again?”     “Don’t forget to take that left turn at Albuquerque?”     “And did you?”     “No.  I’ll do better next time.”

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Cinema Dispatch: Hail, Caesar!

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Hail, Caesar! and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures

Directed by Joel & Ethan Coen

Now that January is finally out of the way, we can get to the GOOD movies, right? Well… February isn’t exactly the best month for movies EITHER what with Valentine’s day being an invitation to release terrible rom coms, but then we ARE dealing with the Coen Brothers who have a pretty damn good track record when it comes to movies. Is this going to be another classic film in their catalogue, or is way below their usual standard of excellence and just be a decent film? Let’s find out!!
The movie follows around Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin) who is the head of Capitol Pictures and an all-around problem solver for everyone who works there. He makes sure the bills get paid and that the movies stay under budget, but he also pulls actors out of embarrassing situations, pays police to stay quiet, and that Capitol Pictures keeps a respectable image despite the chaos that is brought before him each and every day. The day that the film takes place on turns out to be an eventful one as Baird Whitlock (George Clooney) who is the star of the studio’s biggest film, Hail Caesar, has been kidnapped. Not only that, but another big star at the studio DeeAnna Moran (Scarlett Johansson) is having a baby out of wedlock which Eddie needs to find a way to cover up, and another one of the movies on the lot needs a lead actor but the only guy available is Hobie Doyle (Alden Ehrenreich) who has only starred in cowboy pictures and they need him to somehow act in a classy movie about New York socialites. Will Eddie be able to deal with these problems and more as the day goes on? Will the world finally get an idea of just how mad the movie business is, or can Eddie keep everything on the down low despite several reports prying into the studio’s affairs? Do we get to see Josh Brolin slap the shit out of George Clooney!?

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To answer one of those questions… yes.

Continue reading “Cinema Dispatch: Hail, Caesar!”