Super Recaps: The Twilight Zone (How Much Do You Love Your Kid?)

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.

“Isn’t it great to live in a country where you have the FREEDOM to save your kid from a certain death?” “HOW ABOUT YOU DON’T TAKE MY KID IN THE FIRST PLACE!?” “Wow, okay. Looks like someone here doesn’t believe in personal responsibility!”
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Cinema Dispatch: Blindspotting

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Blindspotting and all the images you see in this review are owned by Lionsgate

Directed by Carlos López Estrada

I get the feeling that as long as THE SCROTUS is in power along with his horrible lackeys doing his bidding, we’ll be getting more movies like this that take social issues head on; not that these stories weren’t worth telling in the first place, rather that studios seem to have realized that capitalizing on the political zeitgeist is potentially profitable and may even earn some prestige awards as well.  Capitalism in effect I guess, and while there’s no real excuse for films like this NOT being prominent despite the problems it deals with being real and prescient for so many people, I guess it’s better that we’re NOW getting these movies in much wider releases than not getting them at all.  This by the way can easily swing in the other direction if we don’t turn things around soon and the powers that be try that much harder to silence dissent (#RehireJamesGun), so don’t give me that SUFFERING AND SOCIETAL ILLS MAKES GOOD ART crap; especially when said is often more accessible to those who aren’t suffering.  Anyway, with this movie and Sorry to Bother You coming out so close to each other, will this turn out to be the best time of the year to see thoughtful and brilliant movies about the world around us, or will this turn out to be a far less thoughtful and engaging alternative?  Let’s find out!!

Colin (Daveed Diggs) is just three days away from probation retirement and managed to get through most of it without much complication.  Sure his friend Miles (Rafael Casal) likes to indulge every once in a while with illegal gun sales and fist fights every once in a while, but Colin has managed to keep him from getting TOO out of hand and both of them out of trouble.  Now that we’re down to the wire though, things are starting to get tense with Colin having to figure out where he stands with the people in his life as soon as he’s free, and how much Oakland is changing due to gentrification and an influx of white hipsters; something that’s been setting Miles more and more off as time has gone by.  To top things off, while driving back to the halfway house to make curfew, Colin sees a cop (Ethan Embry) shoot an unarmed black man (Travis Parker) in the back.  Naturally the cop is hailed as a hero in the media, but Colin knows the truth and the world seems to have shifted just a little bit after such a blatant act of unwarranted violence has struck his community.  Can Colin make it to the end of his probation without rocking the boat, or will he be forced to do something and risk his freedom in the process?  Will Miles learn to live with a changing world; especially since he has a wife and kid (Jasmine Cephas Jones and Ziggy Baitinger) who depend on him?  You’d think that if you’re three days away from ANYTHING ending that you’d just lock yourself in your room until it’s over; just to be on the safe side!

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“If anyone asks, just say they’re mine.”     “Even if we try that, they’re STILL gonna shoot us you know!”

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Cinema Dispatch: Hail, Caesar!

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Hail, Caesar! and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures

Directed by Joel & Ethan Coen

Now that January is finally out of the way, we can get to the GOOD movies, right? Well… February isn’t exactly the best month for movies EITHER what with Valentine’s day being an invitation to release terrible rom coms, but then we ARE dealing with the Coen Brothers who have a pretty damn good track record when it comes to movies. Is this going to be another classic film in their catalogue, or is way below their usual standard of excellence and just be a decent film? Let’s find out!!
The movie follows around Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin) who is the head of Capitol Pictures and an all-around problem solver for everyone who works there. He makes sure the bills get paid and that the movies stay under budget, but he also pulls actors out of embarrassing situations, pays police to stay quiet, and that Capitol Pictures keeps a respectable image despite the chaos that is brought before him each and every day. The day that the film takes place on turns out to be an eventful one as Baird Whitlock (George Clooney) who is the star of the studio’s biggest film, Hail Caesar, has been kidnapped. Not only that, but another big star at the studio DeeAnna Moran (Scarlett Johansson) is having a baby out of wedlock which Eddie needs to find a way to cover up, and another one of the movies on the lot needs a lead actor but the only guy available is Hobie Doyle (Alden Ehrenreich) who has only starred in cowboy pictures and they need him to somehow act in a classy movie about New York socialites. Will Eddie be able to deal with these problems and more as the day goes on? Will the world finally get an idea of just how mad the movie business is, or can Eddie keep everything on the down low despite several reports prying into the studio’s affairs? Do we get to see Josh Brolin slap the shit out of George Clooney!?

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To answer one of those questions… yes.

Continue reading “Cinema Dispatch: Hail, Caesar!”