Tag Archives: Sony

Cinema Dispatch: Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween

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Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween and all the images you see in this review are owned by Sony Pictures Releasing

Directed by Ari Sandel

Was anyone asking for this!?  Look, we got off pretty easy with the first one, but the prospect of sitting through one of these WITHOUT Jack Black sounds just utterly miserable; especially since they’re still calling this a “sequel” and slapping that number two at the end of it.  You’d think that at the VERY least they’d try to distance themselves the tiniest bit from the movie they can’t even properly be a continuation of, but then I guess I’m not a Sony executive looking for something to fill an empty spot in October without spending more than a weekend allowance on it.  BUT WHO KNOWS!?  Maybe axing your most bankable star and replacing them with… nothing, is SOMEHOW a winning strategy!  Yeah… probably not, but let’s find out!!

After the events of the first film but in no way connected to them, some kids in some other city, Sonny and Sam (Jeremy Ray Taylor and Caleel Harris), are middle school students who run a trash collection service hoping to find “good junk” that they can… I don’t know, sell?  I mean it’s not the WORST idea I’ve heard of as it’s more direct and a lot cheaper than combing through flea markets, but this also runs the risk of going into a haunted house and finding a demonic book that will awaken an evil dummy that will try to destroy you and the town, BUT WHAT ARE THE ODDS OF THAT HAPPENING!?  Well sure enough, they get a mysterious call (the movie NEVER explains who called them by the way) to clean out an abandoned house that JUST SO HAPPENED to be owned by RL Stine many years ago which just so happens to contain his VERY FIRST STORY in a hidden compartment behind the fireplace.  They open it up, say some magic words from it, and good ol’ Slappy (Mick Wingert) pops into existence and wants to be a part of the family!  I don’t know about you, but an evil puppet with telekinetic powers is a PRETTY good card to have in your back pocket when the bully comes by (Peyton Wich), but I guess they way too Lawful Good to strike a bargain with him and so the two of them along with Sonny’s older sister Sarah (Madison Iseman) dispose of the dummy.  Of course they didn’t use FIRE to do it or something as equally lethal for a little wooden boy (I’d have gone with a metal crate full of termites) so NOW he’s gonna have to destroy the whole town and kidnap their mother (Wendi McLendon-Covey) just to teach them a lesson!  With Tesla’s Giant MacGuffin, Slappy uses his magic to bring all the Halloween decorations to life (i.e. NOT monsters from the Goosebumps books) and so the trio have to go to Tesla’s Giant MacGuffin to stop him; all the while fighting Styrofoam skeletons, balloon animals, and gummy bears.  Can these three youngsters do what the cops and rescue services CAN’T do by stopping a puppet with a bad attitude?  What is Slappy TRULY after, and can this all be resolved with a big discussion of each other’s feelings instead of total annihilation?  What the heck are we even doing here!?  WHY IS THIS HAPPENING!?

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“Look, we either get another movie or you let us sweep the floors for minimum wage plus benefits.  At this point we’ll take either.”

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Cinema Dispatch: Venom

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

Directed by Ruben Fleischer

FINALLY!!  I have been waiting so long for this movie to come out, especially with the last few weeks being miserable times doing these reviews.  None of this wish washy crap where I am not savvy enough to understand the BRILLIANCE of movies like Mandy, Assassination Nation, and A Star is Born!  None of the dull tedium of films like Night School or the disappointingly wasteful Hell Fest!  I’m done with those!  Give me something I can wrap my head around!  Something I can easily size up and bash with a baseball bat for some cheap laughs and maybe some a bit of insight!  Whether this is good or bad (STRONGLY leaning towards the latter if the trailers are any indication), I can’t imagine I’ll have to spend three hours hemming and hawing about the best way to describe why I’m the ONE critic out there who “doesn’t get it” because this is the kind of movie that I’m sure we’ll ALL have no problem understanding!  It’s a sad testament to the times we’re living in that a Sony Spider-Man movie (except maybe not?) is what I consider a grounding influence in my life, but I’m not the one who voted for any of these jerks, nor did I have anything to do with the September release schedule!  Anyway, does Venom actually turn out to be a fun adventure with one of Spider-Man’s most infamous foes, or did Sony WAY overestimate their ability to make another super hero movie after Disney held their hand on the last one?  Let’s find out!!

Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) is your typical movie journalist!  He’s on the streets looking for the REAL news and has an axe to grind against THE MAN!  So much so that he finds dirt on some smug billionaire jerk named Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed) who you’d THINK everyone would realize is bad just from the name, but Eddie’s got the story and springs these questions on him during an interview!  A few problems though.  First, this is the kind of billionaire who can get people fired from newspapers even if they DON’T run with the story, and second… well he got the dirt by hacking the computer of his girlfriend Anne Weying (Michelle Williams) who I THINK was a lawyer at the firm that Mr. Drake was employing, so she gets the boot too.  Well THAT certainly backfired for poor privacy invading Eddie!  Now no one will hire him because… I guess there’s NO outlet in existence that wants to hire someone who’s seemingly as competent as Eddie is (ESPECIALLY since he’s desperate and ready to work for cheap) and he’s just kind of sitting around depressed in his apartment; hoping his girlfriend will come back to him (she won’t) and hoping that his neighbor will turn down the loud music (he won’t).  Oh, and I think there’s something to do with aliens?  Yeah, apparently Mr. Drake had a spaceship that crashed but also had some alien lifeforms on it; namely The Symbiotes.  These giant piles of goo turn out to be rather dangerous as we learn when Mr. Drake starts siccing them on human subjects.  One of the scientists (Jenny Slate) doesn’t recall this being in her job description so she reaches out to Eddie who reluctantly goes to the facility with her after hours, and sure enough one of the Symbiotes escapes and attaches itself to Eddie.  Eventually it reveals itself to be known simply as Venom and the two of them need to work together; otherwise the EVIL MR. DRAKE will find them and… I guess do even MORE evil experiments on them!  Can Eddie and Venom uncover whatever it is that Drake has planned for humanity and the Symbiotes?  What exactly is Venom’s endgame here, and does it require Eddie to stay alive for that much longer?  What chances does Eddie have for reuniting with Anne now that there’s a third slimy wheel in the mix?  WHAT THE HELL IS TALKING ABOUT WHEN HE SAYS TURD IN THE WIND!?

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“Well on MY planet, turds are as light as a feather and could EASILY start rolling from a stiff breeze!  Now shut up as I eat your eyeballs!”

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Cinema Dispatch: Searching

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

Directed by Aneesh Chaganty

Okay, so I’ll admit that maybe the problem is ME as this is yet another movie I hadn’t heard about until everyone else started talking about, so maybe I just completely missed a good chunk of trailers for the month of August.  Even with that though, I STILL managed to hear SOMETHING about this movie because of how much good word of mouth it was getting which is a lot more than I can say for the completely incompetent A.X.L. or the surprisingly decent but still underexposed KIN.  The positive buzz on this film has been pretty much universal which we haven’t gotten since probably Sorry to Bother You which was easily one of the best films of the year, and I’ve been hearing similar rumblings about this film being up to that level as well; albeit with a lot less class politics and… other things that were in that movie.  Does Searching manage to live up to the hype that has been building for some time now, or will this be another overpraised mess that I’m gonna have to jump in and be the sourpuss about?  Let’s find out!!

The Kim family is living a happy and carefree life in the early to mid two thousands where the worst thing that could happen to them is another Nickelback single taking over the radio.  That is until the mother Pamela (Sara Sohn) falls ill and dies right around the time that her daughter Margot (Alex Jayne, Megan Liu, Kya Dawn Lau, and Michelle La at various ages) is starting high school which only makes things more strained between her and her father David (John Cho).  One day, Margot just up and disappears after an AP Bio study group and no one seems to know where she is.  David calls the police and is in contact with a Detective Rosemary (Debra Messing) while he checks her daughters laptop for any clues because time is of the essence when it comes to disappearances like this and everyone needs to do whatever they can to ensure her safe return, even if David slowly starts to realize that maybe he didn’t know his daughter that well in the first place.  Can David unlock whatever mystery is at the heart of her disappearance with only her laptop, browser history, and social media accounts?  What can the police uncover about her last moments before disappearing, and will David be able to accept whatever it is they find?  Wait, were they SERIOUSLY using Windows XP until 2015!?  I mean I know it had a pretty good shelf life, but even MICROSOFT was done with that by 2014!!

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It was WinRAR!  This is its revenge for never actually buying it!!

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Cinema Dispatch: Alpha

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

Directed by Albert Hughes

Wait, didn’t this movie come out like four months ago?  I feel like I’ve been seeing the poster for this for like a year now and it just passed me by somehow like The Founder, Gotti, and that Amityville thing they ended up giving away for free.  For whatever reason this was just in the background for way too long for me to reasonably expect to ACTUALLY see it (especially considering I never even got a trailer for it despite seeing posters every once in a while), but I guess Crazy Rich Asians needed SOMETHING to trounce this weekend, so we’ve got this one out there to presumably make a quick buck for a weekend or two before slinking off to be forgotten.  Okay, maybe that’s being a bit too harsh as the release schedule of a movie is hardly the best barometer for a film’s quality, and what little I know about this movie sounds… okay.  I guess.  Anyway, does this coming of age story about a boy and his wolf turn out to be the perfect blockbuster to cap off the season, or is the auspicious timing of its release a huge sign that you should stay very far away?  Let’s find out!!

The movie follows the story of the boy Keda (Kodi Smit-McPhee) and the wolf Alpha (a Czechoslovakian Vlca known as Chuck) who run into each other under… shall we say STRAINED circumstances.  You see the year is 17,982 BC (twenty thousand years ago as a subtitle informs us) and, Keda is a bit of a wussy whose dad (Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson) is the chief of his tribe and wants to get the wussy out of him before his wussiness gets the best of him.  In order to de-wuss-ify the boy, he takes him on THE HUNT where they… I don’t know, hunt animals that are VERY far away in order to drag their rotting corpses back to the village and store for winter; presumably before the flies and maggots take ALL the good meat.  Anyway, Keda The Wussy manages to get himself gored by a prehistoric buffalo and falls down to his presumed death; having never learned how to truly stop being a wussy.  A tragedy for all involved, but the good news is that Keda somehow manages to survive his near certain death; albeit a little bit worse for wear.  The bad news?  Well the hunting crew has already gone back and so Keda has to travel all by himself back to the village which SEEMS to be hundreds of miles away.  Again, seems like a pretty far way to go to get meat, but either way Keda has to find a way to get there before it starts snowing.  Then he’s REALLY in trouble!  But I know what you all are asking!  WHAT ABOUT THAT SUPER ADORABLE WOLF!?  It tries to eat Keda early on and gets injured in the process, but Keda decides to help the poor creature with sharp fangs and they eventually grow to be friends which makes it just a little bit more plausible for Keda to survive his journey.  What does the wolf get out of this?  I don’t know, table scraps?  Does Keda have what it takes to survive such a harsh environment while also learning to stop being a wussy?  Does the wolf truly care for Keda, or is it simply following him around so he can get at his precious meat when he drops dead of exposure?

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“In exchange for this half eaten rabbit, you promise not to eat me.  Deal?”     “Grr…”     “I’ll take that as a maybe!”

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Cinema Dispatch: Slender Man

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Slender Man and all the images you see in this review are owned by Sony Pictures Releasing

Directed by Sylvain White

I mean we’re already getting a Five Nights at Freddy’s movie with Christopher Columbus of all people putting their weight behind it.  Why WOULDN’T there be even more horror movies based on memes?  I fully expect someone to announce an Until Dawn or a Layers of Fear television series by the end of this week if this movie manages to make its budget back, but dubious starting points aside there are PLENTY of horror movies out there that have ridiculous premises yet still manage to be either genuinely chilling or a lot of fun to sit through.  Can the Slender Man mythos manage to make for an entertaining feature film, or was this story best left on the internet to fade into further obscurity?  Let’s find out!!

The movie begins with a group of friends Wren, Hallie, Chloe, and Katie (Joey King, Julia Goldani Telles, Jaz Sinclair, and Annalise Basso) who have a sleepover one night and decide to look up this whole “Slender Man” thing, whatever that is!  They manage to find their way to a video (presumably right next to the one from The Ring) where they follow the instructions in it and then… nothing happens.  Well nothing happens at first, but they start to have nightmares about the dapper monster and Katie even seems to be engaging with the mythos on their own until they eventually disappear during a school field trip.  Wren, Hallie, and Chloe, eventually find her laptop and see all the Slender Man related things she was looking into including some sort of ritual that should supposedly bring her back if they follow the steps correctly.  Of course they mess it up and under Demon/Human contract law, if you make a mistake, that’s your ass!  And so the three of them are slowly but surely either driven mad by the creature or just taken away as he seems to have the ability to do whatever he wants with no real way for them to stop him, and he even starts to look towards some new victims that only makes it that much more urgent that they find a way to either stop him or at least appease him enough to have him decide to stop on his own.  Can the girls survive this onslaught of psychological horror and monster attacks to discover the secrets of what this creature really is?  What is it that Slender Man is after, and is there a way to give him what he wants before he takes everything from him?  Did anyone check to see if he was just mad about the script?  If I was him, I’d be doing this just because of how awful the script is.

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“WHO THE HECK TOOK ALL OF MY SCREEN TIME!?”

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Cinema Dispatch: Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation

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Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation and all the images you see in this review are owned by Sony Pictures Releasing

Directed by Genndy Tartakovsky

If I was reviewing films back when the first Hotel Transylvania film came out, it would have easily been in the top five films of that year.  Avengers?  Whatever!  Flight?  Forget about it!  21 Jump Street, Prometheus, Skyfall, Chronicle?  Okay, SOME of those might have made it on the list, but Hotel Transylvania was an absolute surprise that I don’t think anyone has really managed to top in regards to its animation and flat out hilarity.  Now that’s not to say that films like Coco, Wreck-It Ralph, and The LEGO Movie aren’t great in their own way, but what Tartakovsky did with Hotel Transylvania was sheer brilliance and just hasn’t been replicated since.  Except for MAYBE The Peanuts Movie which ingeniously recreated the art style in CG, no other film has felt so AUTHENTICALLY cartoonish as this series, and that certainly earns it a massive amount of respect from me even if the sequel was FINE but not up to the first one.  Now that we’re at the third film though with Tartakovsky STILL directing these (wasn’t he supposed to make a film called Can You Imagine, or that new Popeye movie?), so with this film has the spark FINALLY gone out for this franchise or did they fix the mistakes of the sequel to bring something just as fantastic as the first film?  Let’s find out!!

Following the events of Part 2, the titular Hotel Transylvania has been doing well with Count Dracula (Adam Sandler), his daughter Mavis (Selina Gomez), and his son-in-law Johnny (Andy Samberg), keeping down the fort as the place becomes a popular tourist attractions for both humans and monsters, and ESPECIALLY for monster wedding; presumably both in terms of scale and as a description of those tying the knot.  However, all this lovey-dovey stuff has made it more clear than ever that Drac himself has been alone for at least a hundred years since his wife (and Mavis’s mom) died at the hands of a torch wielding mob of humans, so maybe it’s time to get him back in the saddle.  At least you’d THINK that’s what everyone is thinking, but Mavis thinks he just needs a vacation and takes him on a cruise along with all his buddies (Kevin James as Frankenstein, David Spade as The Invisible Man, Steve Buscemi as The Werewolf, and Keegan-Michael Key as The Mummy) along with THEIR significant others (Fran Drescher, Chrissy Teigen, and Molly Shannon), as well all the monsters who have ever stayed at the Hotel so you can see them do their classic bits, and of course we cannot forget Drac’s dad Vlad (Mel Brooks)!  Oh, and don’t forget the kids Dennis and Winnie (Asher Blinkoff and Sadie Sandler) who are on this trip as well but are doing their own thing with Dennis’s giant pet dog Tinkles.  Said vacation by the way is being hosted by the adventurous and very much human Captain Ericka (Kathryn Hahn) who’s not just whisking these monsters on a fabulous journey; she’s also managed to immediately steal the heart of Drac who ZINGED the moment he caught sight of her!  Now Drac has to find a way to confess his feelings for Captain Ericka while also keeping it from Mavis who he worries might not accept him dating again after the death of her mother all those years ago.  Can Drac find love out on the open sea, or will his duties as a loving father (and grandfather!) keep him from finding love once again?  Is Captain Ericka as wonderful as she seems and the perfect match for good ol’ Drac, or is there more to her than meets the eye?  If this movie is a hit, can we finally get Tartakovsky to do that Popeye movie?  PLEASE!?

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“We’ve made Sony a BILLION dollars!  You’d think they’d throw him a bone at some point!!”

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Cinema Dispatch: Peter Rabbit

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Peter Rabbit and all the images you see in this review are owned by Sony Pictures Releasing

Directed by Will Gluck

Wait, didn’t we already get this movie like three years ago?  Yeah, Russel Brand was the Easter Bunny or something, right?  I didn’t imagine that?  Ugh… anyway, it looks like after the SMASHING success of other CGI animal movies like Alvin and the Chipmunks and Woody Woodpecker, it’s time to drag this Beatrix Potter classic out of the closet and imbue it with all the stuff that out of touch executives think the KIDS OF TODAY will find totally dope!  Okay, that’s a bit unfair considering I’ve never even read the original source material, and it’s not like updates to classic properties are ALWAYS a recipe for disaster as we saw with The Peanuts Movie.  Maybe there’s a chance that this will turn out better than the trailers indicate?  Yeah… I doubt it too, but let’s find out anyway!!

The movie follows the wacky adventures of our roguish hero Peter Rabbit (James Corden) who finds an endless deal of fulfillment in stealing other people’s stuff!  In particular he just LOVES stealing vegetables from the garden Old Man McGregor (Sam Neill) and does it with such frequency that the man becomes obsessed with hunting down these rascally rabbits; by which I mean chopping their heads off, stripping the meat from their bones and baking them into a pie so that he can consume his most hated of enemies.  CLEARLY this is a healthy relationship that Peter and his family of similarly roguish rabbits (Daisy Ridley, Margot Robbie, Elizabeth Debicki, and Colin Moody) had developed with the guy, but it all becomes moot when the dude keels over and dies right as he’s about to snap Peter’s neck.  In case you were wondering, yes; this is indeed a kid’s movie.  So now that the old man is dead, the rabbits as well as the other woodland critters can finally take his garden for themselves, sleep in his bed, and poop on his dining room table, right?  Well… kind of.  At least for a little bit.  See, what the animals don’t know is that there is another McGregor who’s the one that ACTUALLY gets the house and he’s coming by to fix the place up and sell it for tidy little profit.  This new McGregor named Thomas (Domhnall Gleeson) may not be as blood thirsty (at least at first), but is much faster and much cleverer than his great uncle was, and this means that Peter is gonna have to work TWICE as hard to get those vegetables and may have to go so far as to risk everything he holds dear in this battle of wills; one of which is McGregor’s neighbor Bea who is nice to the rabbits but also gets caught right in the middle of this feud between man and rabbit!  Will Peter be able to claim what he CLEARLY feels is rightfully his?  Will Thomas completely lose his mind trying to stop a few measly rabbits from somehow destroying his life?  How did they manage to fit THIS much violence in a movie about talking rabbits that doesn’t have Bugs Bunny in it!?

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“Eh… what’s up, Dead Man?”

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