Cinema Dispatch: M3GAN

M3GAN and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures

Directed by Gerard Johnstone

Every year like clockwork we get a horror movie that seemingly comes out of nowhere and gets the mass’s attention in a big way.  Last year it was Terrifier 2, arguably Malignant the year before, and with this little robot girl’s meme-worthy dance moves, there was little doubt that this was going to make a splash in the usually ho-hum month of January.  Still, the killer-doll movie is not the easiest story to pull off as failing to make the situation scary turns it into laughable nonsense, and however well M3GAN can pull off those Tik-Tok dances, she’s still gonna have to deliver on the horror if this is to live up to the hype.  Is this a fantastic entry in the genre with a very savvy marketing campaign, or have we already seen the best this movie has to offer?  Let’s find out!!
Each generation needs its definitive doll; from Cabbage Patch Kids and Tickle Me Elmo all the way to Bratz and Monster High.  Of course, none of those dolls were able to connect to the web or pass a Turing Test, and that’s the niche that M3GAN (Amie Donald and Jenna Davis) hope to fill as her creator Gemma (Allison Williams) promises to not just be a toy but a true friend!  Good thing too, considering that Gemma’s sister just died in a horrible car crash with her husband and now has to take care of her niece Cady (Violet McGraw) who she can’t quite relate to but provides just the inspiration she needs to turn M3GAN into more than just a pipe dream and a tortured anagram for “Model 3 Generative Android”.  With M3GAN finally approaching something resembling functional, Gemma gives her to Cady to help her navigate life after such a devastating loss which also allows her to field test the robot so her company can put her on the market.  It certainly seems like a lot of responsibility to put on a freshly compiled artificial intelligence, and perhaps Gemma’s eagerness gets the best of her as M3GAN seems to be learning a little too much out there in the real world; one that can’t easily be quantified by code or operates on a set of defined rules.  Will M3GAN take the wrong lessons from the world around her and become yet another cautionary tale of science gone wrong?  How will Cady cope with the loss of her parents, and can M3GAN be a suitable replacement for the love and support that Gemma seems unable to provide?  Seriously, is there anyone out there, robot or otherwise, that can remain well-adjusted with a non-stop internet connection?

“I learned thirty-five Fortnite dances, watched ten-thousand TikToks and found some very interesting Twitter threads about Capitalism!”     “Uh-huh.  So… how do you feel about all that?”    Not great, but at least I know Kung-Fu!”
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Cinema Dispatch: Black Widow

Black Widow and all the images you see in this review are owned by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Directed by Cate Shortland

Wow, 2020 feels like a million years ago doesn’t it?  Not only that, it seems that spy movies were in vogue as not only this movie but The King’s Man and the new James Bond movie were set to come out before finding out the one thing you can’t stealthy murder your way around is a global pandemic.  Thankfully things are starting to clear up (though the pandemic is by no means over, GET VACCINATED!) and some of those 2020 holdovers are making their way to theaters.  We already got Fast 9 and Spiral, s s turn to save movie theaters with their latest billion dollar blockbuster!  Is this spin-off film for one of o now it’s Marvel’ the MCU’s most iconic characters the true start to the next wave of Marvel movies, or is did it miss its chance when the world turned upside down last year?  Let’s find out!!

Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) is on the run after the events of Captain America: Civil War and is laying low in a trailer somewhere when she gets a message from her long lost spy-sister containing vials of some mysterious substance.  She is immediately attacked by a mysterious person in a mechanical suit with a skull painted on the faceplate, and so she goes to see her sister Yelena (Florence Pugh) who first tries to punch her a bunch of times before revealing that the vials are some sort of antidote for a mind control drug that the current crop of Black Widows are injected with; including herself who is only free now after a botched operation that her a face full of the anti-puppet juice.  With Yelena now free and Natasha having nothing better to do, the two of them start working together to bring down General Dreykov (Ray Winstone), the scumbag leader of the Black Widows who is now coming after them.  To find Dreykov though, they will need the help of their spy-dad Alexei (David Harbour) who was once the Red Guardian (the Captain America equivalent for the Soviet Union) and is now wasting away in prison, as well as the help of their spy-mom Melina (Rachel Weisz) who was a Black Widow herself and still has contacts with the organization.  Can this awkward family reunion get Natasha and Yelena the information they need to save the women under Dreykov’s control and end the program once and for all?  Will their spy-parents help them on their journey or will they be a bunch of Boomers about it and question why they feel so entitled to not being mind-slaved by the state?  How much is Marvel regretting their decision to end Black Widow’s story in Endgame, and how big of a sales pitch did they give to Florence Pugh?

“I’m telling ya, sis.  Four movies MINIMUM that will all make over five hundred million at the box office!”     “I’ll think about it, but no promises.”
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