“The Upside” Review

I partially knew what I was in for with a film like The Upside. Prepared for the most milquetoast of melodrama, I grabbed a coffee and sat back hoping to be won over by the chemistry of Kevin Hart and Bryan Cranston. The coffee was a mistake as I found myself so baffled by the poor filmmaking layered on top of banal laughs and hokey drama that I wondered why the rest of the audiences seemed to be rolling with laughter. I wish I had whatever they were drinking. Continue reading ““The Upside” Review”

“Stan & Ollie” Review

Both Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly certainly have the look of the iconic comedic duo Laurel and Hardy down pat. Stan & Ollie is a film that doesn’t waste that look, taking care to make something worthy of their makeup but not merely turn in a somber tale of how the two faded from the silent vaudeville days into the frustrating 1950s. It’s a love letter to the pair which takes a fonder approach to their twilight years and gives them a gracious send-off rather than a golden glory day retrospective. Continue reading ““Stan & Ollie” Review”

“Ralph Breaks The Internet” Review

While the video game character Ralph expands his personality for breaking and wrecking into the vast landscape of the internet, his new journey comes off as more of a spiffy new coat of adventure than a major bug fix. It still has the same lingering issues of getting a little lost in its references and kicking subplots aside but the heart has been increased two sizes this sequel. It’s also really fun to watch this Disney Animation Studio film once more take jabs at their old tropes. Continue reading ““Ralph Breaks The Internet” Review”

“The Happytime Murders” Review

The Happytime Murders is all about subversion and relies on it to carry through with a raunchy comedy. We’ve become used to seeing Jim Henson productions of colorful puppets have a wholesome tone that I’m sure it was a delightful shock to advertise that Brian Henson, son of Jim Henson and director of The Muppet Christmas Carol, would make something so filthy. Indeed, the movie does feature felt figures having sex, taking drugs, and pushing the profanity. And, unfortunately, that’s all it has to offer. No engaging story, no interesting characters; just puppets cursing and ejaculating silly-string.
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“Crazy Rich Asians” Review

If modern romantic comedies seem cheaply assembled with contorted premises for laughs and kisses, Crazy Rich Asians is a classic return to the most decadent of rom-com cinema. No expense has been spared to present one of the most lavish, sweet, and memorable films, past a breezy and beautiful date night experience. You don’t need to be Asian, rich, or even crazy to appreciate this modern fairytale.
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“Christopher Robin” Review

There’s an enduring spirit to the characters of the Hundred Acre Wood that has made Disney’s many iterations of Winnie the Pooh enjoyable if not as clever. While the stuffed creatures of the classic books may have been slung in everything from direct-to-video specials and TV puppets, Pooh still has an adorable wisdom to his silly nature of misunderstandings and curiosity. This point is best proven in Christopher Robin, a film that tries to place Pooh and company in a CGI/live-action hybrid. The antics of the honey-craving bear and his iconic cohorts hold up far better than a beat-you-over-the-head story about growing up.
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“Deadpool 2” Review

It’s time to make the chimichangas once more, but Deadpool 2 doesn’t exactly bring a new recipe to the table, more or less reheating his fourth-wall breaking insanity with discerning splashes of new characters to ally and assault. Is it still as funny and biting as the previous film was with savaging the unstoppable superhero cinema franchises? Absolutely, but between the laughs is a lingering element of sequel-itis and overstuffing, a common trait of most superhero sequels that could use a good ribbing. The film may be knowing enough to mock Fox’s lack of character licensing and their poor decisions with previous Marvel movies, but it could stand to defy convention a little more as it defies just about all other expectations of the genre.
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“Life of the Party” Review

Color me impressed that Ben Falcone has managed to conceive a film for his talented wife Melissa McCarthy that gives her a platform to be funny AND likable. She plays a woman so full of charm and pep that it’s easy enough to pull for her plight while she saunters through with silly. She’s perhaps too adorable in her Back to School style narrative, but after suffering through her most unlikable of characters in Tammy and The Boss, a comedy this light in premise and whimsical in humor is a breath of fresh air. The third time is most definitely a charm.
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“The Week Of” Review

It was so refreshing to see Adam Sandler in a capable comedy of The Meyrowitz Stories that something as tedious as The Week Of is a depressing return to form. It’s back to basics for Sandler’s Happy Madison production template, pursuing family-centric comedy that outdoes itself to be as obnoxious as possible for replicating Father of the Bride. The shift in stories that an older Sandler can relate to proves that the aged comedian is maturing in premise but still stuck in the low-brow mud.
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“Super Troopers 2” Review

The return for the raunchy highway patrolmen that functioned more like a fraternity doesn’t come roaring back with a timely new story to tell. It doesn’t even return with an original premise, adopting the same simple staging of a drug conspiracy to keep the boys busy. Clearly, the Broken Lizard troupe wanted to return to their most notable theatrical comedy because they had a new batch of Canadian and sex jokes they wanted to sling on the big screen. Despite a handful of duds, there’s some clever comedy of mustaches and Canadians that hits high enough to improve the troupe’s laugh average.
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