The Twilight Zone and all the images you see in this recap are owned by Warner Bros Television and based on the series created by Rod Serling
Episode directed by Allison L Brown
Welcome back everyone to the long-overdue return of my Twilight Zone recaps! It’s been almost two years since we last covered this series, and while I can give you a laundry list of excuses as to why this fell so far down the priority list, the truth is that I probably shouldn’t have let it go the way that I did given how far into the series I got. Well, that’s all gonna change as I am determined to finish this series once and for all, and what better episode to start with than what is arguably one of the best episodes of the entire series? It’s the kind of high concept and dismal portrayal of a future gone wrong that has led to some of the best speculative fiction like Brave New World and The Obsolete Man, but can it hope to compare to those classic stories, or is it straining to hold all of its big ideas together? Let’s find out!!
The episode begins with the idyllic middle-class life of Donna and Ted (Bonnie Somerville and Steve Bacic), though things have been less idyllic lately as Ted’s been out of work for some time and the bills are piling up. It’s far too early for the housing market crash, but maybe he was a victim of the Dot Com Bubble. Either way, he’s going for an interview this morning that will turn it all around and get their lives back on track. Donna is cautiously optimistic as she sends her son Wylie to school and enjoys some personal time at an affordable spa, but then things come crashing down in an instant when she gets one of the worst phone calls a parent could get; her son didn’t show up for school and is missing! Without missing a beat, she rushes to the police station to report her son’s disappearance only to be accosted by some dude named Nick Dart (Wayne Knight); the host of a reality show called How Much Do You Love Your Kid, and it looks like Donna is an unwitting participant in this game of theirs. Seems legit given how clearly we’ve demonstrated how little we care about the safety of children in the last few years.
The Batman and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures
Directed by Matt Reeves
I wasn’t sure what to think about them doing yet another Batman movie when this first got announced. Say what you will about the Marvel movies, they haven’t beaten characters into the ground as thoroughly as Warner Bros have done to Batman and his crew. Multiple continuities and actors playing the same characters within years of each other, and all of them pale in comparison to The LEGO Batman Movie! Still, despite this looking like the grimdark fantasies of a nineties teen, it has an immense amount of talent that I genuinely respect behind it; particularly Robert Pattinson who has swiftly become one of my favorite actors. Is this a refreshing change of pace and a genuinely excellent interpretation of the character, or is this a whole lot of effort and prestige going to waste? Let’s find out!!
In the heart of Gotham, there is a man wearing a very strange costume attacking criminals and striking fear into the worst that the city has to offer. Unfortunately, this is not Batman doing it and it’s not the costumed bad guys who are getting their heads caved in; rather it’s some guy calling himself The Riddler who is murdering the corrupt politicians and their enablers. He’s also leaving cryptic clues for the city’s other vigilante, the one that attacks the easier to ignore bad guys, and so it’s up to Batman (Robert Pattinson) to find out who this brat is and bring him to justice! His investigation leads him to some shady figures in the underworld including Oswald Cobblepot (Colin Farrell) and Carmine Falcone (John Turturro) who are connected to this Riddler fellow in some way, and he even stumbles across a cat burglar (Zoë Kravitz) who may know more about this case and the people involved than she’s letting on. Can Batman solve the clues and find the man responsible for these killings before he gets to his grand finale? How has being the Batman affected the man beneath the cowl, and will this latest mystery push him too far into the darkness? Seriously, fanboys; what’s your beef with Robert Pattinson? Is he somehow not broody enough for you!?
The Matrix Resurrections and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures
Directed by Lana Wachowski
Making another sequel to the Matrix is simply a bad idea from the word go. Sure, it’s tempting given that the original trilogy grossed over a billion dollars and became a cultural touchstone for a generation, but there’s no way to play of it as anything than a cynical cash grab, and there’s no guarantee that the audience will come back for another one; especially since a lot of them are approaching middle age at this point and this new generation is more enamored with Marvel films than anything else. Even getting one of the original directors to come back isn’t gonna turn many heads since the stagnation of the series occurred under their watch, and they’ve been heavily involved with all the various media made the franchise since the beginning. Now all that said, perhaps this IS the right time for it to be tried again. The themes and messages of the original movie have become all the more relevant since its, and the co-opting of some of its imagery among certain reactionary circles has been one of the more unfortunate developments in the story of The Matrix as a pop-culture staple. With so many people having so many different ideas about what The Matrix should be, is there any way that this can please even a fraction of the original fans and perhaps get new fans in the process, or is this just another soulless cash grab to further cement this as the worst of all possible timelines? Let’s find out!!
Thomas Anderson (Keanu Reeves) finds himself in a comfortable life that he built for himself, but not much more. He made his fortune creating a trilogy of video games called The Matrix with his business partner (Jonathan Groff), but each day feels like an endless drudgery as he searches for meaning. His therapist (Neil Patrick Harris) has been helping him through these feelings, especially after he nearly jumped off of a roof a few years back, but nothing seems to get through to him until he starts seeing this woman at the coffee shop. Her name is Tiffany (Carrie-Anne Moss) and there’s something about her that seems familiar but also brings him quite a bit of peace; a peace he will need as the studio is forcing him to make a new Matrix game and it’s just not going very well. That’s when things start to really unravel as he starts seeing things that may not be there and people start talking to him like he’s someone else entirely. How did Mr. Anderson find himself in such a miserable state, and can he trust his own mind to tell him the truth? Who are these people that are showing up to tell him that reality isn’t what it seems, and are they looking out for his best interest or for their own selfish goals? Is it just me, or does this sound less like The Matrix and more like Birdman?
King Richard and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures
Directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green
Well Concussion didn’t get him an Oscar, so now it’s time for Will Smith to get back on that horse and work his butt off in a drama to try and get the Academy’s attention! To me though, his movies where he went chasing that Oscar gold are some of his least interesting. I still need to see Ali at some point so perhaps that’s the exception that proves the rule, but for my money, his best work in recent years have been in his more action-heavy features like Gemini Man and Bad Boys For Life which on the surface seem like run of the mill popcorn flicks but have quite a bit of depth to them that allow Smith to really stretch those acting muscles. Sadly this doesn’t seem to be one of those as I’m pretty sure Serena and Venus didn’t moonlight as secret agents, but the trailers look promising and Smith is definitely putting his all into the role. Is this the film to finally get Will the award he’s been seeking, or is this just another piece of Oscar Bait Pablum that we’ll all forget about by next year? Let’s find out!!
Richard Williams (Will Smith) is the proud patriarch of the Williams family in Compton California. He has a loving wife (Aunjanue Ellis) as well as five daughters; two of whom are Venus and Serena (Saniyya Sidney and Demi Singleton) who will become two of the greatest tennis players of all time. That’s not just me saying that because I know the history, that’s Richard’s plan from the day they were born; to teach them to be strong, smart, and well-rounded women, while also training them relentlessly to become tennis superstars. He has to knock on a lot of doors, ruffle a few feathers, and take on many jobs to keep this plan on track, but come hell or high water they WILL succeed and become the best there ever was! Of course, with such a narrowly focused vision, he’s bound to miss some things along the way; not just the people showing him the path to success, but his own family who are certainly behind this dream but are the last people to hear about what the next step in the plan is. Is this strong-willed approach from Richard just covering up his own insecurities about himself, or is the system so corrupt that he has to forge his own path for his girls? What will the tennis world do in response to these two out of nowhere prodigies showing up on the scene, and can Venus and Serena live up to the lofty expectations of their family? Are we sure this movie was written by Richard Williams himself? It just seems like something the character in this movie would end up writing.
Dune and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures
Directed by Denis Villeneuve
Dune is just one of those things that I’ve only ever known from the outside looking in; like modern art trends or Homestuck. I never read the book but I have seen the David Lynch movie which is… well it’s certainly in the ballpark of what I’d imagine a David Lynch space opera to be, but it still took me two or three viewings before I could even grasp what was going on; especially when the second half just sped through years of its plot in a few quick montages. Eventually though, I got the gist of it and there are things about the world that I did like even if I found quite a bit of it to be rather flawed and overly convoluted. Perhaps Warner Bros had the same idea when they greenlit this remake as I doubt they’d put as much money as they did into a project as esoteric as David Lynch’s weird little sci-fi epic. Then again, with the way Warner Bros has been acting recently, it’s hard to tell where their head is at and what we can expect from anything they put out anymore. Is this a worthwhile adaptation of one of Science Fiction’s most esoteric classics? Let’s find out!!
If you’re still in the dark as to what this whole DUNE thing is about, then brace yourselves as this will be a bit much to take in and yet still only scratching the surface! At its core, it’s the story of two great houses IN SPACE; The Harkonnens and the Atreides. The Harkonnens have been running a Spice plant on the planet Arrakis for generations on behalf of the Galactic Empire, but since Galactic Empires can’t help themselves from stirring the pot now and again, they’ve decreed that the Harkonnens will no longer run Arrakis and that Atreides will run the Spice plant instead; a task that involves managing very tense relationships with the native people of the planet known as the Fremen. Spice by the way is… a lot to get into; just imagine that it’s Space Oil and also Peyote as it allows ships to fly across the galaxy while ALSO getting you super high! What it ultimately serves as is for the plot is a resource that the two families are fighting over that they only partially understand, and the young prince of the Atreides family Paul (Timothée Chalamet) is your typical sci-fi and Fantasy hero who bears the burden of his family’s name and has a greater destiny that he is not truly aware of yet. To go much further than that would be getting into the second half of Dune while this movie only covers the first half, so essentially it’s a power dispute between two great houses over control of this planet that ends up being the starting point for a greater journey that Paul has to take that could shake the Galactic Empire to its core! Will the Atreides, led by Duke Leto (Oscar Isaac), be able to fill in the shoes left by Baron Vladimir Harkonnen (Stellan Skarsgård) and produce enough Spice on the harsh desert planet of Arrakis? What threats must they face on the planet, and are some of them coming from much closer than they expect? I know it’s a different sci-fi universe, but do you think we can just call Paul a Jedi and be done with it? I mean we can beat around the bush with names like Kwisatz Haderach and groups like the Bene Gesserit, but frankly, I’m giving Lucas a point here for keeping his sci-fi buzzwords short and punchy.
Cry Macho and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures
Directed by Clint Eastwood
It seems that another Marvel movie hitting theaters to an already dwindling audience of movie-goers has left a bit of a lull in the release schedule which has mostly been filled with mid-tier filler and straight to streaming releases. Thankfully October looks to be pretty well stacked with big ticket releases, but until then I’ll appreciate the slower pace which gives me more time to craft my reviews; which is just another way of saying it doesn’t matter as much how late I am in getting these up. ANYWAY! Clint Eastwood’s latest film is another attempt by Warner Bros to draw people to their streaming service with same day theater and streaming release which admittedly have been a mixed bag. Some of it’s been good with Suicide Squad and Malignant, but I still remember when they tried to pass The Little Things as a selling point. Is this another step towards Warner Bros staking a sizable claim in the streaming market, or does Clint’s latest feature fail to escape the shadow of his more well-known movies? Let’s find out!!
Mike Milo (Clint Eastwood) spent his life in the rodeo riding bulls and winning awards all over the country. That’s not the movie we’re here to see though as that’s far back in the past, as is his family drama his alcoholism, and his post-career as a horse trainer (wrangler?) that was unceremoniously cut short by his boss and best friend Howard (Dwight Yoakam). Seems like a jerk move from Howard, but when he comes to him a year later with a big favor to ask… well Mike’s not the kind of guy to refuse to help a supposed friend; even if they did stab them in the back. It turns out that Howard has a son in Mexico named Rafael (Eduardo Minett) who’s been having a rough time with his mother and Howard thinks it’s in the kid’s best interests to drag him up here to live with him instead. Pretty sure that’s a kidnapping which Mike points out, but hey, what’s a felony between friends? Mike makes his way to Mexico and after meeting Rafael’s bizarre cartel-adjacent mother (Fernanda Urrejola) he manages to locate the kid and starts his journey back to the US border. It’s not quite as easy as it seems however as the roads can be treacherous to old cars like the one that Mike has, and Rafael’s mother didn’t seem to like Mike all that much and is sending some dudes with nothing better to do to try and find an octogenarian white guy with young kid carrying a rooster. The rooster’s name is Macho by the way, though I’m not sure if he actually cries in the movie. Does Mike manage to get Rafael to his father in one piece, and does he learn something about himself along the way? Why is Howard trying to get Rafael now, and is it really the best for either of them to go back to America? Was anyone else secretly hoping for a wacky road trip movie with Clint Eastwood pulling all sorts of shenanigans?
Malignant and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures
Directed by James Wan
I’m pretty sure I saw exactly one trailer for this before it was dropped on HBO Max, so I guess we’re getting to the point where Warner Bros isn’t pushing their SAME DAY RELEASE stunt as hard; at least until Dune finally comes out. Still, I’ll take almost any chance Warner Bros wants to give me to not spend fifteen bucks to see one of their movies and James Wan has a pretty good track record across several different genres (ESPECIALLY horror), so hey! It’s right in my wheelhouse… and I guess technically my ACTUAL house as well. Is it a fun horror film to pad out HBO Max’s already impressive library of movies, or are they just doing a favor for the guy who brought over a BILLION dollars to the studio with a DC movie NOT starring Batman? Let’s find out!!
Madison Lake (Annabelle Wallis) is not in a particularly good place right now with her abusive husband (Jake Abel) who is constantly belittling her despite going through a rough pregnancy and even smashes her head against the wall after an argument over nothing. She locks herself in the room to deal with her splitting headache and her unborn child, but something goes bump in the night and she dreams of a dark figure that has killed her husband and chases her up the stairs. It turns out a lot more of that was real than she expected as she wakes up in the hospital to find her husband dead and sadly suffering from the after-effects of a miscarriage. Her sister Sydney (Maddie Hasson) tries to help her though this, but Madison prefers to be alone to deal with her grief. A few days after returning home however, she starts to see visions of a mysterious figure killing people, and every vision turns out to be true which catches the attention of the officers assigned to investigate her husband’s death (George Young and Regina Moss), and questions just keep piling up as to where these visions are coming from and what connection Madison may have to the dark figure committing these crimes. Is there something (or someone) in Madison’s past that connects her to the recent string of victims? Just what is this dark figure that Madison is seeing, and does it have a terrifying plan for her as well? Do those terrifying plans involve a make-over; because whatever it is, its idea of fashion died in the late nineties.
The Suicide Squad and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros
Directed by James Gunn
I was more positive than not about the first Suicide Squad movie, but there was absolutely a ceiling to how much I could appreciate it and frankly, I don’t think David Ayers getting his own AYERS CUT would end up improving things. It was a lot of good ideas and solid performances wrapped up in a script that felt half-baked at best and an editing job that struggled mightily to wrangle it all into something coherent. Fortunately, Warner Bros and the DCEU are in a much better position now as they’ve toned down the excessive budgets and improved the overall quality and tone of the films. Best of all, they got James Gunn to direct it who’s made some of the best movies in the genre with his Guardians of the Galaxy films! Sounds like the makings of a darn good movie to me, but are we looking at a perfect storm of awesomeness or are we just setting ourselves up for disappointment? Let’s find out!!
Task Force X is a secret government program that is the brainchild of Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) and uses dangerous criminals to take on missions that are too dangerous for anyone else. When there’s a regime change in a South American country to a government that is not so US friendly, Waller needs a crack team of weirdos to go in there and destroy a secret project known only as Starfish that is hidden below a research facility in the center of the country’s capital, and while some of them like Bloodsport Peacemaker, and arguably even Harley Quinn (Idris Elba, John Cena, and Margot Robbie), some of the others just seem to be there to either be cannon fodder or to just get them out of the prison system’s hair. I mean seriously what are you supposed to do with a guy like King Shark (Sylvester Stallone) and some dude named THE POLKA-DOT MAN (Davis Dastmalchian)? There are several others assigned to this mission such as Ratcatcher 2 (Daniela Melchior) and the always dependable Rick Flag as the leader (Joel Kinnaman), but it doesn’t take long for things to go sideways and for the team to have to more or less wing it as they try to find a way into the city undetected so they can kidnap the country’s super-scientist known as The Thinker (Peter Capaldi) to get them inside the research base and just figure it out from there. Can this rag-tag group of super-losers save America from whatever this Project Starfish is and secure their freedom in the process? What isn’t Amanda Waller telling them about the mission and just how much is at stake if they end up failing? I mean whatever happens it can’t be as bad as having one of your own team members take over a city and turn everyone into her zombie servants. Sure it’s a low bar to clear, but you’ve got to start somewhere!
Space Jam: A New Legacy and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros
Directed by Malcolm D Lee
Nostalgia is a heck of a drug, isn’t it? The original Space Jam is certainly a fondly remembered time capsule and it has some highlights to it like its strong animation and some bizarre asides that gave it a bit of flavor despite being such an obvious marketing tool. It’s been over twenty years though and what worked for us back then may not capture the imagination of the “Youth” today, and frankly I couldn’t tell you if any of them have seen or even HEARD of that first movie unless it was shoved on them by their Millennial parents. It seems the question that this movie seeks to answer (along with how to make your budget back with a simultaneous streaming and theater release) is whether you can both reheat old nostalgia while giving something new for next generation to attach themselves to. Does this succeed in giving us the best of both worlds, or will spreading itself too thin leave nobody happy? Let’s find out!!
LeBron James may be a worldwide superstar and really good basketball player, but his parenting skills leave something to be desired as his son Dom (Cedric Joe) isn’t really into basketball despite his dad insisting that he go to Basketball Camp this summer. He’d much rather go to Video Game Camp which I think is what people started calling Computer Camp to trick youngsters into going, but he’s worried about telling his dad that he’d rather make games than play ball. While all this tension is in the air, Warner Bros has called LeBron James over so that their algorithm named Al-G-Rhythm (Don Cheadle) can pitch… some sort of multimedia deal? LeBron seems as confused as I am so he turns it down which OF COURSE makes good ol’ Al go full on Skynet and kidnap him and his son, and drag them both into cyberspace. Since Al-G-Rhythm is a WB program, I guess he’s aware of what a success the original Space Jam movie was and so challenges him to a basketball game while he mentors Dom and nourishes his desire to make video games. It’s up to LeBron to find the most suitable characters owned by WB to join his basketball team, or failing that the Looney Tunes characters led by Bugs Bunny (Jeff Bergman), and get his son back by winning a game of basketball! Can LeBron bring the Toons back together who’ve long been separated while also bridging the gap between him and his son? What is Al-G-Rhythm’s plans for Dom once he’s done making his game, and will it spell doom for his family? Wait, why do they call it Space Jam when no one in this is from Space? Shouldn’t it be Cyber Jam?
In The Heights and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures
Directed by Jon M Chu
Things are finally opening back up and I’m so glad that we finally get to see movies in theaters again (remember to get vaccinated before you go!), but I’ll admit that I’m also still glad that Warner Bros is still releasing movies on HBO Max the same day as theaters. I don’t know if I’ll ever truly return to my old routine of going to the theater two to three times a week, but if I’m going to get ANYWHERE close to that I’ll need to make the transition slowly, so being able to sit on my couch and catch up on the latest releases without having to worry about show times or theater prices is a genuine relief to me. Perhaps a big lavish musical like this is something that SHOULD be seen in the theater, but I saw Hamilton for the first time on a TV and it blew me away then so hopefully Lin-Manuel Miranda’s earlier musical can hit home the same way whether it’s seen in the most ideal conditions or not. Is this adaptation of the Broadway show as magical as you would hope from the names behind it, or was it a stretch to hope that Hamilton’s success would mean all of Miranda’s works were worth bringing into people’s homes? Let’s find out!!
Washington Heights is a predominantly Latino community in New York City where Usnavi (Anthony Ramos) whiles away the days working in his bodega and fondly remembering of his childhood in the Dominican Republic. He has always dreamed of returning there one day and when an opportunity to leave all of this behind and return to his home country, he seizes upon it and plans to leave the community in just a few days’ time. While trying to tie up his loose ends, we learn more about the people of Washington Heights, their struggles, and the many characters who fill out the rest of the story including Nina (Leslie Grace) who’s back from her first year at Stanford but may not be able to return, Melissa (Vanessa Morales) an aspiring fashion designer who can’t catch a break, Claudia (Olga Merediz) who everyone in the community loves but has some deep pain that she’s pushing deep down to try and be the matriarch of the community that everyone needs, and even good ol’ Benny (Corey Hawkins) who dreams of pulling himself up by his boot straps and making something of himself in the world of business. As these stories interweave and Usnavi’s flight out of the country gets closer and closer, more secrets are revealed, more heartbreak is had, and more than enough excuses to dance are made to make the days go by with a smile on everyone’s faces and joy in their hearts! Will Usnavi’s final days in Washington Heights change the way he sees himself, his dreams, and the people around him? What hardships will the people in this community face, and will they be able to overcome them with strength and pride? Is there any other neighborhood with THIS density of amazing dancers, because I’m pretty sure Time Square’s got NOTHING on this!