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Cinema Dispatch: The Lion King

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The Lion King and all the images you see in this review are owned by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Directed by Jon Favreau

Didn’t I just do this a month ago?  Seriously Disney, I know you own basically all of entertainment now, but can you at least change it up a bit from month to month?  We JUST got done making fun of the genie in Aladdin; we don’t need another remake this soon!  Seriously, if they keep burning through their renaissance films like this they’re gonna have to take another stab at Treasure Planet before 2030, and if they thought that one sunk like a lead balloon LAST TIME… oh who am I kidding?  We’ll give it a billion dollars at the box office without a second thought!  So until those bleak times are upon us, does this latest remake of a beloved nineties classic live up to the original, or is this a worse idea than Lion King 1.5?  Let’s find out!!

Now stop me if you’ve heard this one before!  Simba (Donald Glover) is the son of Mustafa (James Earl Jones); king of the Pride Lands and brother of Scar (Chiwetel Ejiofor) who conveniently has a scar on his face to go with the name.  Now if the name wasn’t enough to convince you, scar is one EVIL lion that wants the throne for himself but now has to wait behind the little brat for his shot.  That is unless he pulls a Hamlet and MURDERS THE KING IN COLD BLOOD, albeit with a stampede instead of a jug of ear poison.  Convincing young Simba that he is responsible, he runs off to live in exile while Scar takes the Pride Lands for himself, and the young prince runs into two free spirited do nothings called Timon and Pumbaa (Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen).  While Simba is living his carefree life as a slacker, things are not going so well in the Pride Lands under Scar’s quasi fascist rule with the help of the hyenas and so Simba’s childhood friend Nala (Beyoncé Knowles-Carter) runs off to find help, and believing Simba to be dead this whole time… well let’s just say there’s an awkward conversation very soon in their future.  Can Simba find the courage to face his fear and his guilt that have defined him for so long?  Just how far will Scar go to stay seated on his throne, and does Simba have a chance of defeating him after all this time?   Did Disney listen to that “everything the light touches” line again recently and consider that a challenge?

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“Everything the light touches is our Kingdom.”     “Yeah, but the Earth revolves around the sun, so pretty much everywhere gets hit by sunlight at SOME point throughout the day.”     “Look, we’re lions, alright!?  We can’t draw border maps!  WE DON’T HAVE OPPOSABLE THUMBS!!”

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Cinema Dispatch: Us

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

Directed by Jordan Peele

After Get Out, it was almost a certainty that Jordan Peele would become one of the predominate voices in the industry, but as is the case with any director who comes out the gate that strongly there’s always the question of how they’re gonna follow it up; hence the term Sophomore Slump.  Michael Cimino, Richard Kelly, Joe Cornish, they’ve all had underwhelming second films and it’s not that hard to see why.  Bigger budgets and more creative freedom means that a lot of filmmakers will pursue their passion project which may or may not appeal to as many people (or let’s be honest, aren’t as good ideas as they think they are) which rubs up against the very high expectations to follow up their first film with something even better.  Will that be the fate of Jordan Peele’s follow up to Get Out, or is he destined to buck the trend and give us a new experience that’s just as fantastic?  Let’s find out!!

Adelaide Wilson (Lupita Nyong’o) is your average middle class woman with the perfect family consisting of her husband Gabe (Winston Duke) and her children Zora and Jason (Shahadi Wright and Evan Alex) who head to their summer home for a much needed vacation.  Said vacation however is somewhat bittersweet as it used to belong to Adelaide’s mother before she died and on top of that Adelaide has some less than perfect memories of the place.  You see, back when she was a child she and her parents took a visit to the boardwalk where she wandered off and ran into a little girl who looked EXACTLY like her.  What happened next is something of a mystery, but the point is that it was a very traumatizing moment and the memory of it has put her on edge the entire time they’re there.  It turns out she was RIGHT to be fearful however because in the middle of the night a family of four who look just like them (played by the same actors) and refer to themselves as THE TETHERED break in and start being SUPER creepy around the family with some sort of deadly scheme in mind.  I think it goes Step 1: Murder, Step 2: … , and Step 3: Profit, but whatever the end goal may be the Wilson family is gonna need to find a way to fight back and survive this horrid night by any means necessary.  Can Adelaide and face her greatest fear in the form of the doppelganger she saw so long ago?  What exactly are THE TETHERED after, and do their ambitions extend beyond just torturing this one family for funsies?  What if Thanos’s plan wasn’t just to wipe out half of humanity, but to replace them with evil versions of the other half!?  JORDAN PEELE IS NOW CONFIRMED FOR THE MCU!!

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“I didn’t survive the attack on Wakanda just for this crap!  Wait, did I survive?”

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