Friday, December 31, 2021

In & Out [post]: The Matrix Resurrections

Quietly yearning for what you don't have, while dreading losing what you do.

Rating: R    Runtime: 148 minutes                                              Where: In my basement (damn you, omicron)

What's it about? *deep breath* All the events of the Matrix have a video game. Designed by Neo. Wait, what? So everyone knows what the Matrix is, but they don't realize they are living in a rebooted version of it. This updated version of the Matrix sometimes feels like the old one, and that's before Trinity 2.0 shows up. Neo unplugs and heads back to the 'real' world, and his mission is to convince Trinity to come with him. Aw.

What works: You give me Keanu and Carrie-Anne and I'm in. Always. And as hard as it is to explain (and/or understand) what happens here, I was stoked to see them regardless. There's a lot less action than you might expect, but what we get pretty kickass. 

What doesn't: I think they managed their absences as well as they could have (it actually makes perfect sense in how they explain it [I think]), but man would I have died (or lived) to see Laurence Fishburne and Hugo Weaving back in the Matrix. 

In & Out [post] Spider-Man: No Way Home

Is that a band? Are you in a band?

Rating: PG-13 Runtime: 158 minutes
Where: Regal West Manchester (with my 12 y/o son)

What's it about? Peter Parker, after unsuccessfully trying to navigate his private life being public (thanks, JJJ), asks Dr. Strange to make him unknown...ish. The whole plan backfires, portals are opened, and the multi-verse is unleashed leading to all sorts of good and bad/great things converging on the MCU version of NYC.

What works: Holy crap, you guys, it all works. Every bit of it. It's hard to describe how much fun it was being in the theater that day, but there was one moment in this one that was positively electric. Like, for a second, everything was okay. Amazing, even.

What doesn't: Okay, this is nitpicking, but whatever was going on with Sandman and Lizard was kind of distracting. If we're not going to really use them, why bother? Give me a bit more Electro and a lot more Green Goblin and we're good. Real good. Oh, and the fact that this whole thing could have been avoided if the spell was a bit more specific is kind of unintentionally hilarious.

In & Out [post]: Sing 2

It's okay, your songs will carry you.

Rating: PG    Runtime: 110 minutes    
Where: Regal West Manchester (sneak preview (!) with Violet)

What's it about? Buster Moon and his crew are doing well in their own little theater, but surprising no one, Moon wants more. They audition for a Vegas-y type show and get laughed out of the room. Moon alters the pitch and promises his show will be like nothing any one has ever seen before, and feature a music legend...who no one has seen in a long time

What works: The musical numbers are really, really well done, and the movie has energy and color to spare. Think the finale of the last Madagascar film and you're on the right track. The cast that returns all do a great job, and thank Movie God that that awful rat guy from the first one (the crooner voiced by Seth MacFarlane is nowhere to be found [I hated that bastard])

What doesn't: Nothing featuring talking animals should sniff the two-hour mark. Ever. And if I'm honest (and a jerk), some of the side-stories are less compelling than others (but nothing as bad as in the first flick).

In & Out [post]: The Mitchells vs. The Machines

I have made the metal ones pay for their crimes.

Rating: PG    Runtime: 1 hour 54 minutes    Where: a full couch

What's it about? A (very) quirky family finds themselves in the middle of the robot apocalypse during a cross-country road trip. Turns out, all-knowing machines aren't in favor of being turned obsolete. With the help of two awesomely imperfect robots, the Mitchells come together as the world is falling apart. 

What worked: Almost everything. The quirk is cranked to eleven, and the movie knows that audiences have attention spans measured in hummingbird heartbeats, yet it still manages to be tremendously warm and consistently hilarious. The voice cast is stellar, and the animation will melt your beautiful faces.

What didn't: My wife thinks Maya Rudolph voicing the Mom character has a decidedly been there, done that vibe, and she's right. But it doesn't make Rudolph any less perfect for the role.

In & Out [post]: Nobody

I hope these assholes like hospital food.

Rating: R (deserved) Runtime: 97 mins     Where: Basement

What's it about? Two moderately honorable thieves break into some forlorn dude's house, and despite having the drop on them, the homeowner lets them go. Everyone thinks he's a pussy, until he realizes his daughter's kitty cat bracelet has been, um, burgled, and all f--king Hell breaks loose. 

What works: Not gonna lie, but everything. I've never really seen Odenkirk in well, anything *ducks*, but I would run through the thickest of walls for him after this one. Hutch is cool dude, laying very low on the fact that he's an absolute killing machine. And the beast is unleashed, f--k me it's tremendous. Liam and Denzel have got some company in the ol' you done f--ked with the wrong dude genre.

What doesn't work: The lives and/or limbs of anybody rage-fueled Hutch crossed paths with. Honestly, I can't think of anything I didn't enjoy here. Quick runtime makes it, somehow, even better (typically I'd say I wanted more, but I was quite happy with the portions here).

In & Out [post]: Halloween Kills

It needs to die.

Rating: R Runtime: 105 minutes 
Where: Regal West Manchester (masked up, joint was empty)

What's it about? Get this, you know how you thought they finally killed Michael Myers? Nope. Turns out, they did not. Not only was he saved by some do-gooding firefighters (more on them in a bit), but uh, were just finally gonna own up to the fact that this mfer can never, ever die (maybe they've said this before, this series ain't my jam)

What works: Jamie Lee Curtis (again, looking like my old neighbor) not only kicks ass, but she also jams a needle into one. Her own. And then proceeds to lead a town full of misfits and has-beens into an epic ass-stomping of Michael Myers. Not a killing, mind you, but that ass was most certainly stomped.

What doesn't: Once it's revealed that killing makes Michael even stronger, everything feels...pointless? I know, we're not here to see Michael die, but um, I liked more it when I thought there was a chance he might. Maybe in the next one they'll jam nuke up his pee-hole...

In & Out [post] Venom: Let There Be Carnage

You are a cancer to everyone who ever loved you, Eddie.

Rating: PG-13 Runtime: 97 minutes (appreciated)  Where: Regal West Manchester (masked up, with my son)

What's it about? Who the Hell knows? Eddie Brock inadvertently gives some of his space goo to Kletus the Slack-jawed yokel and chaos, er, Carnage ensues. Venom, the fairly shitty 'good' guy, must save San Francisco from the red version of himself and his ear-piercing girlfriend (as in volume, not someone who works at Claire's). 

What works: Woody Harrelson is great in everything, and when he's on screen, good times are sure to follow. Tom Hardy is reliable as always, though he seems more irritated that usual.

What doesn't: The action is basically an endless about of CGI tentacles vigorously dry-humping each other in mid-air...

Because everyone is lying.

With both my kids playing youth sports, it should surprise no one that, as a family, we frequently find ourselves wandering the aisles of Dick's. And yes, that is the unfortunate name of the largest sporting goods store in our area. Nine times out of ten, the kids and I end up in the hunting section, and ten times out of ten you'd find us collectively wearing permanent WTF faces. Camouflaged everything is bad enough, but hides? Deer calls? Frickin' treats!?? All of this seems like a way unfair advantage, and honestly, the ultimate dick move.

But then again, outside of a bargain, I don't hunt shit. I'm not a f--king hillbilly redneck. *scoffs*

Lift your plates a-holes, as The Hunt, seemingly released a decade and a half ago in the shit-soaked darkness known as 2020, fully turns the tables on the ol' murderous prey for play genre. But this time, it's the right-wing red-staters who are running from the liberal elites. Wait, what?

It's true, but not because of a freedom-crushing infringement on their lives, with like, a mask mandate or a children's book by an African American author, no. Instead these likely card-carrying Trump fans are ducking and covering from high-powered rifles, landmines and a general sense of absolute f--king chaos. I'm not sure why the game turns out to be so crudely elaborate, but I'm nine-hundred percent positive I had a good time watching it. When I wasn't looking away.

Honestly, The Hunt is a lot like other flicks in this weird sub-genre, as rich people hunting for sport is, sing it with me, a tale as old as time. It's bloody, it's over-the-top, and of course, wickedly subversive. I'm thinking The Deadliest Game and Ready or Not, with a dash of Battle Royale and The Hunger Games for good measure. And like with any (and all, if we're honest) of those movies, with the selection of the participants? Well, Someone done f--ked up. But it's not Ben Richards or the lady survivalist from You're Next [review] that the hunters should be nervous about, no - it's first ballot random movie Hall of Famer, Betty Gilpin. Believe the hype, as she's an absolute champ in this motherf--ker, start to finish.

I fear I'm not meant for greatness.

As this may be my final feature-length posts for awhile/ever, I really wanted to open strong one last time. You may have noticed over the last ten years or so (or not, it's fine) that I tend to kick things off with a vague personal connection to the film at hand (like, super-vague), but this time...I've really got nothing. Like, really really.

I thought about just writing WTF once for every minute of the film's run-time, but nine hundred what the f--k's seemed excessive.

I thought about the curse of talking foxes striking again, but that's a pretty obscure personal reference, as half the attendees to the OG event are currently/presumably in (dog) heaven.

So, uh...I guess I'm just going to all, really. Maybe I'll come back in a year or so...when I've actually got a story to tell.

It's been a long and lonely time since I caught an August showing of The Green Knight with my sister, so frankly, this review is going to beyond f--king worthless. But between you and me, if one of the ushers had thrust a working laptop into my sternum immediately upon exiting the theater that day, well, that's probably what I would have typed over and over: beyond f--king worthless.

Whoa, whoa, whoa...before you cut off my head with little to no effort in front of a room full of unimpressed cosplayers, let me explain myself a bit. First, let me blame the registrar's office, because whatever prerequisite course I should have taken prior, I did not, and the whole time felt like this f--ker was in a language I was only passingly familiar with (like English). We're talking string theory and I just conquered mixed numbers. Second, my sister, of f--king course, f--king loved it, and comes out of the theater bellowing that was so f--king awesome a split-second before I got out who just shit in both my eyes for seventeen hours? Oh, so now I'm the asshole here? Yes, and for the people in the back, YES. Third, you know what else I did (months) after this movie? I fucking bought a 4K copy on Black Friday. To watch. Again. Like a goddamn moron.

Thursday, December 30, 2021

Somebody will figure this out.

I used to have a dog named Dodger. I loved this dog more than anything. Sure, he would do bad dog things sometimes, but nothing unforgivable.

One time, though, on our daily walk, he shit ten times. Read that again. Ten times. Now Pups would occasionally drop a bonus deuce, but ten? Double digits? Unheard of. And with only two grocery bags in hand, I found myself dealing with way more shit that one could responsibly be responsible for. I started out making the best of it, but by the end, I just had to ignore all the crap, shrug my shoulders like an a-hole, and get the Hell outta there, you know?

It was an awfully shitty afternoon, but no matter what, I still loved that dog. Nothing was ever going to change that.

Maybe M. Night also ate something he wasn't supposed to, as that's the only logical existence for the Target bag full of crap that is his latest flick, Old. An unhealthy mix of clunky and ridiculous, this f--ker was a crushing disappointment. Not only because it was so consistently stupid, but I also because I brought (and paid for) my family with me, inadvertently vouching for it in the process. Don't worry everybody, M. Night, he's a friend of ours.

Not even really sure if I'm getting this correct (nor does it even matter), but Old kicks things off with a fairly silly set up. A family of four arrives at a luxurious resort to have one last go-round of happy times before the parents announce their divorce. But that may be a little White Lotus cross mojination happening here (blame Alexandria Daddario - always), forgive me, as it's been a minute, but let's go with that as the premise. Oh, and the circumstances about the whole thing (minus the impending divorce) are fairly mysterious (aw, jeez...I might be thinking about  Nine Perfect Strangers now...[blame Nicole Kidman's accent - always).

While you may be able to forgive me for mashing all of these stories together (I saw this movie the day it came out [as one does with M. Night films]), it's going to be a lot harder to forgive just about everything that happens outside of the exposition. The family and some other (seemingly) random jerk-offs from the hotel are whisked away to the beach and immediately abandoned, literally, by M. Night himself. I'd tell you what happens next but you already know/I don't hate you (that much). 

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

This is all just...not me.

[Note: I believe this is the movie that officially broke Two Dollar Cinema. This post has been in my drafts since September (for a movie I watched in July). I'm going to leave whatever dated nonsense in here. I want to revive/reinvent this site, but I must exorcise some demons first, apparently]

Playoff time, I'd say hockey, likely through a crooked beard. In the Brady days, I might have considered the NFL (honestly, I loved Drew Bledsoe more...*ducks*), though when the Sox finally reversed the curse, I may or may not have considered getting a tattoo of their logo. On my face.

But gun-to-head/junk, basketball has always been the game I love the most, and when someone thought of combining it with the Looney Tunes in 1996, at the time I was convinced that magic had truly happened. Well, not Magic-magic, but you know what I mean, movie magic. And when I heard they were finally making a sequel - twenty years later - with LeBron James no less, only two words came to mind:

F--k thatNo thanks.

And that'll about do it, honestly, as I loathed just about every single thing, top-to-bottom, in the Warner Bros. flavored diarrhea known as Space Jam 2: A New Legacy. Hell, even my kids didn't like it, and they're not middle-aged douche canoes like the rest of us. Er, me. Just me.

Fine, maybe it's not that bad (oh it most certainly is), but everything about it feels...forced at best, soul-crushingly stupid at worst. The first flick is by no means a masterpiece, obviously, but it's charming and has its heart in the right place. And, uh, seemingly understood the basic tenets of basketball (and coherence).

This time around, someone who just double-featured The Lego Movie and Ready Player One thought, you know what this needs? A sleepy LeBron James, an absolutely manic Don Cheadle, and a pouty kid permanently stuck doing whatever he wants to do, gosh! Oh, I'm sorry, is that a dated reference that no one under the age of thirty-five gets? Hmm. Lot of that going around lately...

On a tour of the Warner Bros. studios, Lebron and his kids are shown some new thing that's entire angle is to make movies worse. Much worse. While LeBron ain't exactly feeling it, his son Dom is, as this kid is way more interested in AI than say, A.I. Yeah, turns out even LeBron's kid doesn't like basketball all that much, and would much rather be a videogame designer. Fine, that's not the worst outline ....

Speaking of forced inclusion for no apparent reason, here are the Yays and Boos. For the record, this was one of those 'we're going to watch this as a family' movies (why that always sounds like a threat, I'll never know), and it took us four shots to make it to the end. Four. And that only applies to three of us. Mom, shockingly, went 0-4 and never made it further than halfway.