Tag Archives: Rosario Dawson

Sorry To Bother You (2018) Blu-ray Movie Review By D.M. Anderson

Sorry to Bother You

Director: Boots Riley
Writer: Boots Riley
Stars: Lakeith Stanfield, Tessa Thompson, Jermaine Flower, Omari Hardwick, Terry Crews, Danny Glover, Steven Yeun, Armie Hammer and the voices of David Cross, Lily James, Patton Oswalt, Forest Whitaker & Rosario Dawson.

Sorry to Bother You is full of surprises, never once unfolding like we expect it to. That alone make it at-least interesting, whether you end up liking the film or not (I suspect many viewers definitely won’t). That it’s also wickedly funny, completely original and features a charming, relatable protagonist makes it one of the best films of the year.

I know from personal experience that telemarketing is a shitty way to make a living, so I empathised with Cassius Green (Lakeith Stanfield) almost immediately. Living in his uncle’s garage and desperate for cash, he lands a job at RegalView, a telemarketing company that pretty-much hires anybody who walks in the door. And why not? Telemarketers aren’t paid unless they make make sales. Despite rallying staff pep-talks by overly enthusiastic managers – “Stick to the script!” – telemarketing appears to be yet-another job he sucks at.

All that changes when co-worker Langston (Danny Glover) shows him how to use his “white voice.” In almost no time, he’s the star of the office and promoted to be one of the company’s Power Callers, who make huge deals with mega-corporations. I knew guys like this during my brief tenure as a telemarketer. They were usually the most overbearing assholes in the room. Cassius’ sudden success soon alienates those close to him, including co-workers Salvador (Jermaine Fowler) and Squeeze (Steven Yeun), who lead a strike against RegalView over unliveable wages.

Meanwhile, people everywhere are protesting WorryFree, a corporation that provides slave labor – working for basic necessities, but no wages – to other companies. When Cassius crosses the RegalView picket line, he becomes a national punchline when struck by a soda can. Still, he’s aggressively courted by obnoxious WorryFree founder Steve Lift to come work for him. It’s when Cassius learns how Lift wants to use him that Sorry to Bother You takes one of the most unexpected narrative turns I’ve ever seen, resulting in a final act that’s completely bonkers…in the best way possible.

Not that the film wasn’t already a little strange up to that point. Taking place in what can be described as an alternate universe, Sorry to Bother You presents a slightly dystopian society where labourers are commodities who are easily placated by mundane rewards and idiotic entertainment. The film itself is quirky and occasionally surreal, with a sense of humour that sometimes reminded me of  Idiocracy filtered through Wes Anderson. Along the way, writer/director Boots Riley aims satiric daggers at a variety of targets. And most of the time, he hits bullseyes. 

But all the self-assured cleverness in the world would mean nothing without engaging characters. As Cassius, Lakeith Stanfield is note-perfect, displaying a vulnerable likability, perplexed by his circumstances while simultaneously going with the flow…for awhile, anyway. Tessa Thompson is also effective as Detroit, his activist girlfriend who serves as his moral compass. Most of the secondary characters and antagonists are painted in broader strokes, but amusing nevertheless (Armie Hammer is an absolute riot). Certain characters’ “white voices” are hilariously rendered by a variety of well-known actors and comedians.

Despite RegalView’s company mantra, Sorry to Bother You definitely does not “stick to the script.” The result is a unique, offbeat satire that’s destined to polarise audiences for years to come. Those not on-board with its concept and ideas will want to get off this train before the first Equisapien even shows up. Everyone else will want to revisit the film again and again. This is an outstanding great directorial debut and I look forward to Boots Riley’s next.

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Wonder Woman (2009) Movie Review By Stephen McLaughlin

Wonder Woman 2009

Director: Lauren Montgomery
Writers: William Moulton Marston (creator: Wonder Woman), Gail Simone (story)
Stars: Keri Russell, Nathan Fillion, Alfred Molina, Rosario Dawson, Marg Helgenberger, Oliver Platt, Virginia Madsen

I think it’s fair to say that Wonder Woman (2009) was possibly a little overshadowed by the higher profile Batman: Gotham Knight due to its release in the midst of the Christopher Nolan Dark Knight Trilogy and although the more prominent live action film from 2017 grabbed all the headlines, I think it’s clearly obvious that the Warner Premiere produced animated Wonder Woman aided the plot and Patty Jenkins would be able to cherry pick the best of this 2009 release. If it were me, I would be using the animated version as my story board if this wasn’t already done as many of the sequences from the 2017 movie are here to see 8 years previously. That isn’t a dig at the 2017 filmmakers in anyway, just my opinion and observations.

Wonder Woman (2009) is about a modern man’s trespass (Steve Trevor) who survives a frantic mid air battle and crashes on the island of the Amazons and enables an imprisoned war god (ares) to escape and Princess Diana wins the responsibility to recapture him. Not surprising Wonder Woman (2009) is a well made film that is both energetic and thought provoking and personally I felt it deserved more recognition on it’s release. Those opening sequences drew me in from the beginning. I was intrigued how Diana came to be and her backstory. The bloody war from ancient times is won by the amazon women and as a reward from the gods the Queen Hippolyta is granted a child fashioned from clay. The amazons flourish in isolation on paradise island where Diana grows up into a fine young warrior. But a part of her seeks greater adventure outside the boundaries of the island. (Sounds bit like Moana here doesn’t it)

The Amazons hold a contest to decide who will escort Trevor back to the USA after discovering he is of no threat to them and during the contest we flit back and forth as an amazon traitor releases Ares from capture as Diana wins the contest and now as well as seeing Trevor off the island her main mission is to track down Ares who has a far more sinister plan in the work, one that could spell the doom of the world and the extinction of the amazons before it is too late with the help of Steve Trevor. 

I must commend the writing on this fine animated film. The Dialogue between the characters by Gail Simone, brings to life the story with it’s clever and witty lines that keeps with the spirit of the comic books but also has a level of maturity that you will almost forget you aren’t watching a live action movie. I’m nitpicking here but the one thing that I was a little let down with was the visuals and the animation. I’m not familiar with Moi Animation, the Korean studio who worked on many critically acclaimed works that I have to admit not nothing enough about. What struck me was that some of the fight scenes weren’t that dynamic as I felt there were too many cuts leaving the audience member dazzled and sometimes confused.

I was particularly impressed with the cast once more in my DC Animated Universe Marathon and I felt Keri Russell (Wonder Woman), Alfred Molina (Ares), Nathan Fillion (Steve Trevor) Rosario Dawson (Artemis), Oliver Platt (Hades) and Virginia Madsen (Hippolyta) were a strong ensemble of talent. These actors really just absorbs their characters and you forget the voices behind them are established live action actors who are so familiar. Nathan Fillon fits into his role perfectly and his delivery in the most natural way, sharing a tremendous chemistry with Russell. 

Overall I enjoyed Wonder Woman (2009) very much and I was satisfied with the work that went into bringing this character to life. My only gripe would be the animation at times and some of the characters looked too similar and in particular on the Island of the Amazons. Ironically, the best part of the film was set here at the beginning of the film and I loved the origins part of the tale. It wasn’t forced or drawn out and felt enough to understand what the amazons were and how Diana’s story of a more innocent nature contrasting with the ways of the modern world  and this works to develop her character from a naive and contained princess into a true warrior and finally a hero. Wonder Woman (2009) is a typically 75 minute film by DC and if you are enjoying it, it feels too short. But in this instance I think the storyline was simple and it worked just well.

Recommendable.

The LEGO Batman Movie (2017) Movie Review by Kevan McLaughlin

LEGO BATMAN MOVIE

Director: Chris McKay
Writers: Seth Grahame-Smith, Chris McKenna
Stars: Will Arnett, Michael Cera, Zach Galifianakis, Jenny Slate, Ralph Fiennes, Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Rosario Dawson

A DC movie that’s clear, fun and knows what it wants to be. Let’s hope someone’s taking notes.

But that may be slightly unfair. There are going to be massive comparisons between this blocky-Batman adventure and the forthcoming DC movies scheduled for release over the next few years. The fact that this movie can poke fun at previous incarnations of the Batman franchise (including those Joel Schumacher ones) and include cameos from Gremlins and Daleks speaks volumes. This is Warner Bros. ONLY opportunity to be so light-hearted when dealing with such revered characters as Superman, Batman et al.

The plot is… ridiculous. It’s a roaring laugh-fest with Batman/Bruce Wayne (Arnett) as a self-indulgent, brooding loner who’s one Fall Out Boy song away from becoming a full-blown Emo. The Joker (Galifianakis) is the hammiest embodiment of the character we’ve probably ever seen. He should come with a ‘Strictly-Not-Kosher’ warning. Robin (Cera) is a wide-eyed (literally in this case) needy kid who’s only missing the empty bowl when drawing comparisons with other famous orphans. And it’s all so terribly wonderful.

Bruce Wayne is doing his usual thing of obsessing about his dead parents. Understandable. But here we get to poke fun at the fact we’re quite bored of this back story. He’s living in his mansion, obsessively eating lobster thermidors and spends his free time watching romance movies. There’s a reason we don’t see him doing much else the un-Batman things in other movies. It’d be like watching James Bond assemble an IKEA flatpack. Too weird.

The Joker is devastated that Batman DOESN’T hate him. That alone is an amazing observation. Batman, in every format ever released, has never actually expressed that emotion for his enemy. He’s only ever reacted to the Clown Prince’s need for chaos. So, the Joker gives himself up for good. Seriously, he hands himself in and retires from the life of crime, accepting that without Batman as his enemy he might as well hang up his novelty BANG-flag guns.

But Batman doesn’t buy it. He’s convinced that the Joker is up to his most devious scheme yet and sets about trying to capture Superman’s Phantom Zone generator to trap him for good, reasoning that Arkham will never be able to hold him. Sound plan. Until it goes wrong.

In the meantime, Bruce accidentally adopts Dick Grayson who’s puppy dog display borders on the hilariously moronic. Dick can’t even work out that Batman and Bruce are the same person, believing that he’s been adopted by both of them.

Barbara Gordon (Dawson) along with Alfred (Fiennes) are the only two level-headed characters in Gotham, both trying to persuade the Caped Crusader that he needs help fighting crime.

The Joker is tremendous fun to watch as a homicidal maniac clown, standing in front a vigilante dressed as a bat, asking him to hate him. Credit goes to Galifianakis for his slightly whiny and desperate portrayal of the Joker, whilst retaining his lunatic dimensions.

This is the most selfish and inconsiderate version of Batman we’re ever likely to see. Will Arnett, in his funniest role since Arrested Development, is hysterical as the sulky Dark Knight.

Michael Cera is perfect as this version of Robin. Why would a teenage kid dress like a total dork, have a tiny bird as his pseudonym and live with an insane billionaire crime-fighter if he wasn’t a complete half-wit?

This is the light relief we need from all the gossip, on-set leaks, baffling announcements and horror stories we’re constantly hearing from the DCEU. Superhero movies should be fun, right?