Just when you thought the future, past, potential futures, and sideways time shift things were all so screwed up by this point that there’s absolutely NO WAY Arnold Schwarzenegger was going to materialize out of a sphere again to hassle or help Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton), along came “Terminator: Dark Fate.” I mean the spacetime continuum must be at its breaking point by now.
After all, Sarah’s been dealing with this crap since 1984. You’d think that, by now, the robot time travelers of the future would realize that it’d be much easier to just jump back to the same time they did originally in the 1984 movie, minus a month or so to avoid dealing with Michael Biehn, and be done with this already. Without Kyle Reese, Sarah would be dead within minutes. Why they keep spacing out their attacks with so many years in between must only make sense to super-A.I.s of the future, who must have a whole lot of legacy Alexa source code hanging around.
Anyhoo, it’s the present (mostly) and a now super-grizzled Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) is terminating Terminators who apparently continually time-jump back every couple years in some attempt to do something. All of those guys, however, are clearly the “C team” because today the future decided to send back a “REV-9” terminator bot (Gabriel Luna), and he and the team collectively rack up $10 million + of property damage in the first few minutes after walking out of the hot time-sphere thingy.
Ok so here’s another question: why didn’t they just send back 200 REV-9s instead of one, all materializing within a few hundred yards of each other, and all AT THE SAME TIME. Seems to me that would make quick work of things, but again, I’m not a super future A.I. (This thing must have some of Siri’s original source code too.)
Arthur Fleck is a heavily medicated guy with Tourette's syndrome and a fulfilling fantasy life who works as a clown in Gotham City. He does typical clown stuff like spinning signs outside a store that's going out of business, murdering three Wayne Enterprises yuppies, and taking the gun into a children's hospital to cheer up the kiddies. He's also an aspiring stand up comic: "aspiring" in the sense that John Belushi aspired to cut back on the coke. His only discernable joke is a "knock-knock" joke, the punchline of which is him committing suicide. Turns out he's not doing so well on the stand-up circuit.
Meanwhile, Gotham City has become a real piece of crap. New York-style garbage heaps litter this crime infested landscape of jerks, whose singular preoccupation it seems is to beat up Arthur Fleck. Even kids take a piece of him as he just tries to live his psychotically-delusioned life among all the unsympathetic jerks that infest this horrible city. So pretty much New York.
Twenty-three years after the original, Gordon Gekko returns, fresh from prison with a new book to promote all about greed. Divorced and estranged from his only remaining child Winnie (as in "the Pooh"), this new grandfatherly Gordo hands out life-lessons and schemes to get back all his hard-stolen dough from his daughter, who doesn't want it anyway. So... umm, well he doesn't have to scheme very hard really.
Anyway, things have changed in the twenty years since Gordo was king. Speculation fever has gripped Wall Street, we're told and led to the ruin of our entire financial system. Instead of good-old-fashioned insider trading, these days odd guys like Bretton James (Josh Brolin) make billions by doing questionable things. Some sort of questionable things having to do with, umm, bad debt? Sub-prime mortgage bundling? Oil speculation? Illegal DVD sales?
Ok, I'm not exactly sure what Bretton James does in the movie, but he's a bad guy. I'm pretty sure of that anyway. Even though he does give Jake Moore (Shia LaBeouf) a great job after he loses his last one, and takes him out speed racing on awesome motorcycles. Yes, he does give Jake the motorcycle afterward too, but he's a bad guy doing questionable things. Of that I'm, like, 40% certain.
Apparently some of you are curious about what would happen if a bunch of weird aliens came to earth and got thrown into a ghetto in South Africa, huh? What, longing for apartheid already?
Wikus van der Merwe (Sharlto Copley) is a guy with a great new job. He works for a really big company, just married the boss' daughter, and thus got handed a great new promotion evicting a bunch of icky alien guys from their disease ridden hovels. Yup, things are looking bright.
Ever wonder what would happen if the U.S. Government bankrolled a hippie to figure out how the Army could take advantage of psychics? Probably not, if you're like most Americans, but nevertheless someone went ahead and made a movie about it anyway.
Bob Wilton (Ewan McGregor) is your typical Ann Arbor newspaper reporter. His wife's just left him for a guy with one arm and he feels a burning need to do something important. So it's off to Iraq (this is 2004 or so) via Kuwait, where he meets a very strange guy named Lyn Cassady (George Clooney) at a bar. It turns out Bob (McGregor) has heard the name before. See before he trundled off to the war zone, he interviewed a local whack-job named Gus (Stephen Root) who told him all about Lyn, psychic stuff, and how he learned to kill a hamster "with his mind."
When it comes to paranoid ravings, it doesn't get much better than Stephen Root.
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