Tag Archives: STX Entertainment

Cinema Dispatch: The Happytime Murders

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

Directed by Brian Henson

Well the day has finally arrived!  After a decade of production hell, Brian Henson has FINALLY completed his dream project and is ready to show it to the world!  I’m excited to say the least, especially after they released the trailer and I started looking into Henson Alternative which is the offshoot of the Henson Company that’s responsible for bringing this to life, and sure some of their productions have been less than stellar, but this premise is just too great of an idea to NOT want to see get made!  I rarely get this excited for a movie as I usually try not to get too hyped for stuff that I’ll end up reviewing (I’m also VERY good at living under a rock so a lot of movie do sneak up on me), but for this one I have very high hopes that we’ll get something unique if nothing else.  Does this manage to exceed my expectations and is one of the best action comedies this year, or was this yet another pet project that should have never seen the light of day?  Let’s find out!!

Phil Phillips (Bill Barretta) is a private eye working in Los Angeles who not only used to be a cop but was the very first puppet cop in the city.  However, after… THE INCIDENT… that ousted him from the force, he’s been making ends meet digging up other people’s dirty laundry.  May not be the most noble of professions, but it keeps a roof over his head, a steady paycheck for his assistant Bubbles (Maya Rudolph), and a well-stocked shelf of booze.  Content with his sad life, Phil never expected that his latest client Sandra White (Dorien Davies) to be the one that changes it all forever.  Well sort of.  While investigating a blackmail letter that Miss White received, Phil stumbles upon a bunch of dead puppets; one of whom was a cast member of a famous puppet TV show known as The Happytime Gang.  Things get even worse for Phil once his former partner Detective Connie Edwards (Melissa McCarthy) is put on the case, and Phil eventually finds his way towards investigating it himself when more Happytime Gang bodies start piling up; especially since his brother Larry (Victor Yerrid) was one of the cast members as well as Jenny (Elizabeth Banks), the woman he loved.  Can Phil and Connie put aside their differences regarding… THE INCIDENT… in order to solve this case and save the lives of the remaining Happytime Gang?  What could possibly be motivating such killings, and could it have something to do with Phil himself?  Can we get Best Achievement in Puppets category for the Oscars?  I feel like this should win SOMETHING, and if we’re making up new awards anyway!

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“If Suicide Squad gets one, you bet your blue butt I’m gonna get one too.”     “Why are you putting your sunglasses on?  We’re going inside that building.”    “Don’t ruin this for me…”

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Cinema Dispatch: Trailer Talk (The Happytime Murders)

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The Happytime Murders is owned by STXfilms and all the images you see in this trailer talk are the property of their respective owners

Directed by Brian Henson

If you follow movie news rather closely (or did a google search after the trailer drop), you’d be aware that this is a project that has been in development hell for quite a few years; languishing at Lionsgate for many years before finally getting switched over to STX in 2015 which is who is finally getting this thing into theaters.  Apparently the story of a hardboiled detective who is ALSO a puppet wasn’t the easiest concept to produce even it sounds like THE GREATEST IDEA EVER, but now that this is ACTUALLY turning into a real film instead of a piece of strange Hollywood trivia, what do I think of what we’ve gotten in the first trailer?  I think it looks pretty good!  I’m a huge Melissa McCarthy fan, and while the joke is PRETTY obvious, there’s certainly potential for it to be really subversive of the cop genre and at the very least very interesting to watch.  I love the puppet designs here and in all honesty the incongruous nature of these goofy looking characters with a raunchy cop comedy isn’t nearly as enticing as seeing awesome puppets on the big screen again.  Sure, we had those two Muppet movies a few years back (this was in development well before those films by the way), but if it were up to me we’d be getting at least three puppet movies a year and in ALL sorts of genres for all sorts of audiences!  So the novelty will certainly be THERE and I’ll surely get a few chuckles out of it, but it needs to have more than just puppets acting crudely in order to be a GOOD film.  If that’s all they have up their sleeves, well Meet the Feebles, Crank Yankers, and TV Funhouse beat them to it.

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“I can’t HEAR you!  Over the SOUND!  OF ME STOMPING YOUR BALLS!!”

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Cinema Dispatch: I Feel Pretty

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I Feel Pretty and all the images you see in this review are owned by STX Entertainment

Directed by Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein

You know, I should really watch Trainwreck at some point.  I mean I have it RIGHT here on blu ray, and yet I’ve never found the time to pop it in and see what it’s all about which would HOPEFULLY give me a bit of perspective on Amy Schumer because after seeing precisely one of her movies, I’m not sure if I get the appeal.   Now that’s not to say I’ve written her off yet, especially when the premise of THIS film seems rather intriguing if they can pull it off, but my rather limited track record with her has left me feeling a bit cold whenever she comes up.  Still, this does seem like a film that can play to her strengths while also having a positive message about self-esteem and body positivity, so let’s hope this is the one where I finally get it and become a fan!  Does this manage to live up to its rather clever premise without falling into the obvious pitfalls it sets up for itself, or will this fall flat on its face as it trips over its good intentions and lands smack dab into offensiveness?  Let’s find out!

Renee (Amy Schumer) is a typical middle of the road white woman in the big city.  She’s got a decent job, good friends (Aidy Bryant and Busy Phillips), a nice place, but she’s still unhappy with her life and is constantly searching for ways to fill that gnawing sense of emptiness that keeps us all up at night.  Her solution?  LOOK PRETTY!  She spends all her time trying to learn beauty tips, experimenting with her makeup, and working out to try and lose weight which I’d say are doing their job just fine, but she’s bought into the unobtainable beauty standards that society has pushed on us, and so no matter how good she looks she’s still not happy about it.  If only this were more like THE MOVIES where you could wish for a better life and POOF!  It just happened!  Well… it kind of does here!  During one of her spin classes, she falls off the bike and smacks here head which I guess isn’t the IDEAL way of initiation a body switch, but there wasn’t a Zoltar machine nearby so they had to go with plan B.  When Renee wakes up, she looks exactly the same, but every time she looks in a mirror she sees PERFECTION!  The body she’s ALWAYS wanted is staring right back at her and she couldn’t be happier!  She’s so happy in fact that she applies for the job she always wanted as a receptionist at a cosmetics company run by Avery LeClaire (Michelle Williams) and gets the job due to just how confident and pleasant she is in the interview despite not having the body type they usually hire for that position.  Things get even better from there as she starts helping Avery with her upcoming “regular folks” line of product (Renee being a FORMER normal person gives her insight into what average consumers are looking for in their makeup products) and she even meets a guy (Rory Scovel) who loves her outgoing and fearless personality!  Still, how long will she be able to keep up this momentum before society inexorably tries to knock her down a peg for not being the perfect body type?  Will she ever find out the truth and learn to accept herself for who she is rather than the fantasy she’s built up in her mind?  Who’s to say that her beauty wasn’t on the inside the whole time!?  And on the outside too!  She looks pretty great as far as I can tell!

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“I AM sexy, and I know it!”

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Cinema Dispatch: Gringo

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Gringo and all the images you see in this review are owned by Amazon Studios and STX Entertainment

Directed by Nash Edgerton

Hey, if Netflix is gonna try to produce feature films, then why not Amazon too!?  Heck, they’ve had a pretty good track record with distributing films like The Handmaiden and The Big Sick, and some of the original programming on their video service has been pretty decent too!  Hopefully they can translate that success into this wacky comedy which has a PRETTY good trailer but not a whole lot of buzz, though it’s not entirely their fault considering how much Black Panther and even A Wrinkle in Time have dominated the national discussion around film; leaving films like this to just kinda slink in wherever they can.  Does Amazon have a great film on their hands that’s unjustly falling under the radar, or should they have sent this straight to their storefront where no one will ever actually buy it?  Let’s find out!!

Harold Soyinka (David Oyelowo) is a well to do middle management corporate drone who is incredibly content with his current life living with his wife Bonnie (Thandie Newton) and working for Richard and Elaine (Joel Edgerton and Charlize Theron) at a pharmaceutical company he very much likes.  The problem is that at every turn, the people in his life continually disrespect him and see him less as a valuable asset and friend, and more of an errand boy that also functions as a doormat.  Eventually Harold gets wise to this during a trip that he along with Richard and Elaine take to Mexico in order to inspect one of the facilities, and the straw that breaks the camel’s back comes when Bonnie decides to divorce him; something that she tells him over skype.  Having something of a nervous breakdown, Harold takes a bus to a small town in Mexico and fakes his own kidnapping once Richard and Elaine are back in Chicago.  Little does Harold know however that the Cartel is after him due to his connection to the pharmaceutical company, so his little ruse might turn out to be more of a prophecy!  On top of that, we’ve got a couple trying to sneak drugs from Mexico back to the US (Amanda Seyfried and Harry Treadaway), a mercenary who may be able to get Harold out of the jam he’s in (Sharlto Copley), and like four other subplots that are going on at the same time as Harold’s misadventures in Mexico.  Will Harold be able to bilk his employers out of a crap load of money before he gets captured by the Cartel?  What was Richard and Elaine doing that got the eye of the Cartel in the first place, and what will they do to get Harold out of the mess he’s in?  Most importantly, HOW DID THEY MANAGE TO MAKE A STORY LIKE THIS SO BORING!?

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“Hello?  Has anyone seen the plot?  I can’t find it anywhere!”

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Cinema Dispatch: Den of Thieves

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Den of Thieves and all the images you see in this review are owned by STX Entertainment

Directed by Christian Gudegast

You know, after The Commuter turned out to be a giant pile of nonsense, I don’t know if I’m up to getting even more of it shoved directly into my face with yet another gritty Cops and Robbers story that looks about as good as a January dump job would.  Maybe I’m wrong though!  Maybe my expectations are so low after seeing Liam Neeson fight The Illuminati on a train that something much more grounded will be a welcomed change of pace!  I highly doubt it, but if last year taught us ANYTHING, it’s to not give up hope even if everything is telling you that THINGS ARE ONLY GONNA GET WORSE FROM HERE!!  Does this manage to be the cinematic oasis in the crappy wasteland known as January Releases, or is this sucker yet another mirage that crush our spirits and keep them crushed until around March?  Let’s find out!!

The movie begins with the theft of an armored car by a bunch of BAD ASS criminals led up by Ray Merrimen (Pablo Schreiber) whose crew of Merry men includes Levi (Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson), Bosco (Evan Jones), Mack (Cooper Andrews), and the new guy Donnie (O’Shea Jackson Jr) .  The crime is investigated by a crew of BAD ASS sheriffs led u by Nick Flanagan (Gerard Butler) whose posse of shitty lawmen includes… uh, okay I don’t think any of them other than Gus (Mo McRae) got a name, BUT THEY’RE BAD ASS!!  They’re so BAD ASS in fact that they break a WHOLE lot of civil liberties in the process of tracking down Ray’s crew and finding out what they’re up to.  It turns out that Ray wants to rob the Federal Reserve of all its discarded money that is set to be shredded, but with BIG NICK breathing down his neck, the plan becomes that much more dangerous; even if they’ve got an armored truck to work with.  Can this den of thieves pull off a scam that no one has ever been able to pull off, especially if they’re being watched the whole time?  Will Nick and his pals put their dicks back in their pants long enough to do some ACTUAL police work and arrest these guys at some point?  You know, come to think of it… why should I care about ANY of them!?  They’re all bad!  Wait… what if… the title of the movie… IS REFERRING TO BOTH GROUPS!?  MOVIE SHOCK!!

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WHAT A TWIST!!

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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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