Tag Archives: STX Entertainment

Cinema Dispatch: A Bad Moms Christmas

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A Bad Moms Christmas and all the images you see in this review are owned by STX Entertainment

Directed by Scott Moore and Jon Lucas

As glad as I was that the first film didn’t end up being an unbearable slog to sit through, I can’t say that the prospect of seeing another one fills me with much joy as I have serious doubts that STX can squeeze out another competent movie from this premise; especially when their go to idea for a sequel is to make it a freaking Christmas movie.  Seriously, aside from Christmas Vacation and A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas, has there been a holiday themed sequel that WASN’T an absolute waste of time?  Well I guess we’re about to put that theory to the test as we get ready to spend some more time with everyone’s favorite quote-unquote BAD MOMS who are actually not so bad moms.  Does this manage to rise above the low expectations set for it being both a sequel and a Christmas film in one unfortunate package?  Let’s find out!!

The movie begins with Amy (Mila Kunis) beginning her Christmas rituals of working way too hard and being utterly miserable in the process; not that anyone is REALLY asking her to do it as her two kids (Oona Laurence and Emjay Anthony) as well as her boyfriend Jesse (Jay Hernandez) and his daughter (Ariana Greenblatt) seem perfectly cool with a less intensive holiday experience.  Now Amy would like nothing more than to just sit back and actually enjoy the season, but her plans to let go of the pointless and time consuming rituals that encompass the month of December are utterly destroyed once her mother Ruth comes to visit (Christine Baranski) who’s super judgmental, extremely demanding, and wants this to be the PERFECT Christmas for everyone!  Sounds like a nightmare, right?  Well it’s not much better with Kiki and Carla (Kristen Bell and Kathryn Hahn) who ALSO have their mothers coming into town (Cheryl Hines and Susan Sarandon) and all the baggage that comes with them; the former being overbearing and invasive and the latter being… well just like her daughter.  Will the titular Bad MomsTM find a way to fight back against these unwelcome invaders and make this the best holiday ever?  Is there more to the rather sudden appearance of their mothers than what they’re claiming to be a merely innocent interest in spending time with their family?  Just how raunchy are they willing to get to stand out in the surprisingly crowded market of naughty Christmas movies!?

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Santa and his ho ho hos!     …     WHAT!?  You can’t just set me up like that and expect me NOT to go there!

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Cinema Dispatch: The Foreigner

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The Foreigner and all the images you see in this review are owned by STX Entertainment

Directed by Martin Campbell

FINALLY!  I’ve been waiting to see this movie for MONTHS considering how bad ass that first trailer was!  Jackie Chan in a gritty action film where he’s blowing stuff up and shooting people in the face!?  It’s like those Liam Neeson films only with an actor who ACTUALLY know how to fight instead of just being really good at pretending they can!  Now I’ve seen my fair share of Jackie Chan films, but the dude is so prolific outside the US (he’s a freaking POP STAR SINGER in China!) that no matter how many films they sneak onto Netflix, there’s always gonna be a lot more that flew under the radar.  That’s why I’m so glad to see him headlining a big mainstream (at least for the US) Hollywood film to remind people that he’s still the freaking man!  That’s not even getting into the solid team behind this which includes both James Bond actor Pierce Brosnan and James Bond director Martin Campbell; both of whom may not have the BEST track record but can certainly produce some solid work when the need arises!  Can this dark thriller starring the most delightful man in existence live up to the huge expectations set for it, or are we doomed to be disappointed once again like we were with Green Lantern, Mamma Mia, and Rush Hour 3?  Let’s find out!!

The movie begins with the typical overprotective dad Ngoc Minh Quan (Jackie Chan) picking up his teenage daughter from school (Katie Leung) when BOOM!!  She gets caught in a terrorist bombing from a group known as the Authentic IRA who shaking things up in the UK; especially for Liam Hennessy (Pierce Brosnan) who’s now an elected official but was a member of IRA Classic.  With little else to turn to, Quan starts to zero in on Hennessy as the one person who might have a clue as to who are behind the bombing that killed his daughter, and he’s also the target of the English government who are hell bent on stopping whatever this group has in store next.  Can Quan get the justice he seeks for the death of his daughter?  Does Liam Hennessy actually know more than he’s letting on about the recent bombings?  Seriously, why wasn’t THIS guy in those taken movies!?

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“You think THAT guy had a particular set of skills!?”

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Cinema Dispatch: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

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Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets and all the images you see in this review are owned by STX Entertainment and EuropaCorp

Directed by Luc Besson

As much as I would like a new Sci-Fi franchise to bring a bit of variety and challenge the Disney Monolith, I just couldn’t see this movie as anything more than a REALLY expensive mistake.  Maybe that’s more of a commentary on the current state of Blockbuster Cinema than an observation of the movie itself (though the ho-hum trailers certainly didn’t help), but a movie THIS expensive looking based around a series of graphic novels that (as far as I can tell) didn’t end up having THAT much reach outside of its native France looked like the kind of disaster that can only be made by people REALLY passionate about what they’re doing.  Now sometimes China can pick up the slack like it did with Pacific Rim which was a GOOD movie, but then other times not even they can save a doomed production like John Carter.  Still, that’s all secondary when talking about whether a movie is good or not, and while the trailers didn’t really impressive me, there were certainly glimpses of something that could be great if the filmmaker knew how to take advantage of it.  Does this movie manage to be a science fiction classic despite its box office prospects, or was everyone asleep at the wheel while Luc Besson spent an untold fortune bringing this comic book to life?  Let’s find out!!

Major Valerian and Sergeant Laureline (Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne) are two space agents working for the Human government who are basically paid to be bad asses across the galaxy and supposedly have the ability to travel through time which I guess we’ll have to wait to see in the sequel.  Anyway, Valerian is having dreams about some lost civilization whose planet was destroyed but he has no idea if these are premonitions of the future or something that happened long ago.  Either way, his latest mission with Laureline JUST SO HAPPENS to converge with these mysterious dreams as there are a band of terrorists of sorts from an unknown race (I BET VALERIAN KNOWS WHO THEY ARE!) that are trying to get their hands on a rare MacGuffin Creature that Laureline is protecting as well as the current military leader of the Human government General Arün Filitt (Clive Owen).  They manage to get the latter, but the former is still safely tucked away and both Valerian and Laureline, despite the protestations of their new commanding officer (Sam Spruell) try to chase them down.  Valerian gets lost in the chase as do the terrorists, and so Laureline has to find him and then the both of them can these aliens who kidnapped the general… unless of course shenanigans with other aliens happen along the way, but that could NEVER happen in the city of a thousand planets, right!?  Will Valerian and Laureline stop this new threat before it’s too late!?  What is their ultimate goal once they have both the general and the MacGuffin Creature?  Will Valerian be the next ACTION STAR to dominate the silver screen!?  Well… probably not, but can he and Laureline STILL save the City of a Thousand Planets!?

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“Before I pull this trigger, you’ve gotta ask yourself one thing.  ‘Does this guy look silly in these glasses?’  Well?  DOES he, punk!?”

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Cinema Dispatch: The Circle

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Unforgettable and all the images you see in this review are owned by STX Entertainment and EuropaCorp

Directed by James Ponsoldt

So you’re telling me that there’s a movie with Emma Watson, John Boyega, Tom Hanks, AND Patton Oswalt!?  This is either gonna be the greatest movie of all time, or a HUGE disaster if they managed to rope in THAT kind of cast for an EVIL GOOGLE movie!  Now techno-thrillers aren’t always the easiest idea to sell considering how hard it is to truly capture something that the world interacts with on a very intrinsic level on a daily basis which runs the risk of not fully understanding the material that is being explored (*cough* The Lawnmower Man *cough*) and even ones that succeed in that still tend to have a rather short shelf life considering how quickly technology changes and therefore what we fear about them does to.  Does The Circle manage to surpass expectations to become that one rare techno-thriller that ISN’T completely laughable, or is it yet another failed entry in the genre?  Let’s find out!!

The movie begins with Mae Holland (Emma Watson) getting the chance to work in the Customer Service department of The Circle.  What is The Circle?  Well, it’s basically a social media account a la Facebook, but with a lot more functionalities tied to it… so basically a Google+ account if anyone actually gave a shit about those.  The Circle is ALSO the gigantic facility where all the employees work and most of them end up sleeping, eating, socializing, and partying for months on end; barely getting a glimpse of the outside world from their little techno-paradise.  They’re all led by their charismatic leader Steve Jobs… I mean Eamon Bailey (Tom Hanks), who drags them all into an auditorium every damn week to tell them what crazy idea they’ll be working on next with his second in command Tom Stenton (Patton Oswalt) standing off to the side and making sure everything goes according to plan.  Now the longer Mae stays there, the more obvious that these people are acting just the TINIEST bit silly what with their undying devotion to the idea of THE CIRCLE (whatever the hell it’s supposed to represent) and them being one big interconnected community with no secrets.  After all, if you know something, then why not post it for the world to see?  She’s not the only one slightly skeptical about all this as some dude who just likes to hang out on the outskirts of the cool parties (John Boyega) also doesn’t trust what The Circle is up to, but then he doesn’t seem to be doing anything to stop it.  Anyway, The Circle’s plans for world domination… I mean effective social media services, gets creepier and more invasive as time goes on; eventually sweeping Mae right in the middle of it as she soon becomes a spokesperson for The Circle and what it represents.  Can Mae put an end to… whatever the hell The Circle is planning before it’s too late, or has she already drunken the Kool-Aid?  Will John Boyega get to do anything in the movie, or is he basically just a cameo?  Is there anyone less threatening than Tom Hanks, even when he’s trying to be a bad guy?

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Oh, he can’t be THAT bad, right?  Wait a minute… that’s what they WANT you to think!

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Cinema Dispatch: The Bye Bye Man

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The Bye Bye Man and all the images you see in this review are owned by STX Entertainment

Directed by Stacy Title

See, I thought I wouldn’t have to talk about STX Entertainment again until that damn Mars YA movie finally came out (ENOUGH WITH THE TRAILER ALREADY!) but it looks like they’re here to fill the January Horror Movie quota which was met in previous years by gems such as The Forest, The Devil Inside, and Texas Chainsaw 3D.  Then again, The Boy came out in January of last year, and that was ALSO a film from STX Entertainment, so maybe there’s just a TINY bit of hope here.  Can STX pull off the impossible yet again and give us a January horror film that won’t embarrass the genre, or is this movie just as stupid as its title suggests?  Let’s find out!!

The movie begins in the late sixties where a guy (Jonathan Penner) shoots a bunch of people because they had heard of THE BYE BYE MAN, which I’m sure was the most sensible solution to that problem.  Jump ahead five decades and we find ourselves in modern times where three college students, Elliot, John, and Sasha (Douglas Smith, Lucien Laviscount, and Cressida Bonas), just moved into a new house off of campus and are cleaning up all the crappy furniture that the landlord left them.  Of course, one of the tables has something crudely etched on it that Elliot ends up reading.  Of course it’s the words THE BYE BYE MAN, and in doing so he… I guess invites The Bye Bye man to take permanent residence in his brain.  You know, at least when they summoned the deadites in Evil Dead, they had to read a WHOLE passage from an ancient Sumerian text instead of just a dumb name!  Anyway, the name eventually reaches his two roommates as well as some sort of psychic who is obvious slasher fodder (Jenna Kanell) and so The Bye Bye Man just starts messing with all their heads; making them see things that aren’t there and driving them more and more insane in the process.  Will the three of them find a way to get past this monster’s illusions before it makes them do something they’ll regret?  Why did that dude in the sixties end up shooting everyone who had heard of this… ghost, I guess?  Did anyone stop to read the script before filming this, or were they winging it the whole time?

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“Just watch it, don’t question it.  I wonder what that means…”

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Cinema Dispatch: The Edge of Seventeen

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The Edge of Seventeen and all the images you see in this review are owned by STX Entertainment

Directed by Kelly Fremon Craig

Oh hey!  It’s our good ol’ friends at STX entertainment once again!  They’ve only been around for just over a year now, yet they’ve responsible for five of the films I’ve had to review this year; all of which have been to surprisingly polarizing results with The Boy being one of the biggest surprises of the year and Free State of Jones turning out to be a major snooze fest.  Still, they are sitting pretty after Bad Moms managed to rake in almost two hundred million dollars (and I get the feeling The Space Between Us is gonna make quite a few bucks as well), so they’re gonna stick around for some time; especially if their latest film manages to find a similar audience the way Bad Moms did.  Does The Edge of Seventeen fill a niche for teenage moviegoers while also being a great film in its own right, or is this yet another lazy attempt to get the John Hughes formula to work one more time?  Let’s find out!!

The movie is all about Nadine Byrd (Hailee Steinfeld) who’s life as a middle class white girl REALLY sucks as she’s at the point in her life where nothing makes sense and everyone seems to be against her; especially when that’s compounded by the tragic loss of her father a few years back which drove a wedge between her and her mother (Kyra Sedgwick) to this very day.  Not only that, but she’s ALSO got to deal with her brother Darian (Blake Jenner) being so perfect at everything so she gets to compare her own lousy existence to a better one every single day. What could POSSIBLY make things worse!?  Her best friend Krista (Haley Lu Richardson) sleeping with her brother?  Okay, that will do it.  Clearly Nadine is on the verge of a nervous breakdown and needs to find a way to become more comfortable with her own life and the ways in which it is changing; whether it’s by hanging out with a guy who TOTALLY loves her but she’s not all that into (Hayden Szeto) or working up the nerve to talk to the dude she’s been crushing on for quite some time now (Alexander Calvert).  Will Nadine finally get her life on track after getting through this rough patch in her life?  Will the hot bad boy who works in a pet shop FINALLY notice her?  Maybe her teacher (Woody Harelson) can help sort this all out for her.

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“My professional advice to as a school teacher is to shut the hell up about this until after you graduate.”     “WHY!?”     “Because then you’re the state’s problem.  Not mine.”

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Cinema Dispatch: Bad Moms

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Bad Moms and all the images you see in this review are owned by STX Entertainment

Directed by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore

It’s the triumphant return of Mila Kunis who… actually didn’t really go anywhere, but then Jupiter Ascending does feel like it came out a LONG time ago.  Anyway, the trailers for this movie really didn’t inspire much hope as it looked like an unholy mashup between Mother’s Day and Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, but the cast is pretty strong which is both good for this movie and also depressing considering really great actresses like the aforementioned Mila Kunis as well as Katheryn Hahn, Kristen Bell, Christina Applegate, and Jada Pinkett Smith are stuck doing stuff like this which in all honestly looks pretty bad.  Does this movie manage to rise above expectations and turn out to be a delightful romp, or is this another failed comedy that’s trying way too hard and completely failing at being edgy?  Let’s find out!!

The movie is all about Amy (Mila Kunis) who’s a mother of two and is struggling with the worst white people problems you can imagine!  Her kids need rides to their extracurricular activities, she’s not appreciated at her high paying job, and her husband is a lazy slob who masturbates a lot.  Okay, the PTA is an overbearing monstrosity headed up by the EVIL Gwendolyn (Christina Applegate) and her cronies (Jada Pinkett Smith and Annie Mumolo) so that sucks, not to mention that her husband is masturbating with another woman which is REALLY fucked up when they’ve been hiding it from Amy for ten months, so she’s on the edge of nervous breakdown.  What could possibly put her over the edge?  THE BAKE SALE!  SCREW THAT SHIT!  She’s done with ALL of this and is about to do HORRIBLE things like… have her twelve year old kids make their own breakfast and not go to the insane PTA meetings.  Huh.  Well, she finds some compatriots in her quest to become a “Bad Mom” (quotes very intentional here) in the form of Carla (Kathryn Hahn) who really IS a bad mom and Kiki (Kristen Bell) who’s in a really unhealthy relationship and is on the verge of her own emotional collapse.  So they basically transition from being overbearing mothers to ones who demand space from their familes and for them to take on more responsibilities in their own lives.  Doesn’t sound like much of a problem, but this doesn’t go unnoticed by Gwendolyn who maintains her iron grip on the PTA through intimidation and fear, so this “Bad Mom” as it were is a threat to her little totalitarian state and she will put a stop to it by taking it out on Amy’s kids.  Oh HELL no!  Amy’s not about to take that shit lying down, so on top of spreading the gospel of “Bad Moms”, she’s also going to run for PTA president to unseat the HBIC and be the HBIC herself!  Can Amy succeed in getting the other parents on her side to stop Gwendolyn’s reign of terror?  What consequences will this new form of parenting have on her home life and her children?  Just how “BAD” are these mom’s gonna get!?

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MOTHERS!?  Imbibing of SPIRITS!?  HOW ABSURD!  I can feel my sense of moral fortitude being shat upon as we speak!

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