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Cinema Dispatch: Life of the Party

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Life of the Party and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures

Directed by Ben Falcone

This isn’t the most object thing to say as a film critic, but there really are times where the success of a movie or the people behind it makes me hate the end product just a little bit more.  Adam Sandler’s entire career is based around this, and absolute dreck like Fist Fight and Daddy’s Home 2 are bad enough that their success only intensifies what I found lacking in them; especially with Daddy’s Home 2 which was so bad AND so successful that it pretty much poisoned the first film for me which I thought wasn’t THAT bad and somewhat enjoyable.  I bring this up because I get the feeling that many people feel that way about Melissa MicCarthy and her movies, and yet I’ve never had anything but praise for her as a performer.  Okay, I wasn’t a fan of Bridesmaids and I still haven’t seen Identity Thief or Tammy, but her track record has been pretty strong as far as I’m concerned and even her low end efforts like The Boss are still better than plenty other comedies that don’t seem to attract as much ire; not to mention the absolute shit storm that blew up over that AMAZING Ghostbusters movie!  Now she’s back to “ruin” yet another one of your treasured eighties films as this movie seems to be an update on Old School starring Rodney Dangerfield, and I hope the next film she does has her working on a golf course or traveling back in time to meet her parents in high school; just to see how far she can piss off “passionate” fanboys who can’t stand to see their original films (THAT AREN’T GOING ANYWHERE!!) being updated for a new audience!  Does this latest effort manage to do for college frat humor what the new Ghostbusters did for comedian driven adventure films, or is this a disappointingly low effort outing from one of the most talented comedians of our time?  Let’s find out!!

The movie begins with Deanna Miles (Melissa McCarthy) dropping off her daughter Maddie (Molly Gordon) for her final year of college which SHOULD be a celebratory day… but it all goes to hell when her jerk of a husband Dan (Matt Walsh) informs her on the ride home that he’s divorcing her, he’s already seeing someone, and he’s gonna sell the house.  Well that stinks!  What the heck is she gonna do to support herself now that her husband is gone and she hasn’t worked in years; not to mention that she never finished college which closes her off from most job opportunities!  Wait a minute… COLLEGE!  THAT’S IT!!  She’ll enroll in the same college as her daughter to finish up that final year and get her degree in… Archeology!  Because the market is bursting at the seams for someone with THOSE qualifications I guess!  Oh, that’s not important!  The important thing is that Maddie’s mom is gonna be at the same place as her and will be SUPER embarrassing!  Well actually, Maddie’s sisters as the Sorority (Gillian Jacobs, Adria Arjona, and Jessie Ennis) take to her rather quickly and she soon becomes the talk of campus; even getting invited to parties and hooking up with sexy stud Jack (Luke Benward)!  Oh, and I guess she’s got to attend her archeology classes taught by Chris Parnell, but forget that!  It’s time to put the MOM back in MOMentous College Experiences as she teaches the youngsters about being responsible adults and they in turn teach her how to cut loose!  Will Deanna manage to pass her final classes to get that degree, or will the pitfalls of college life distract her from reaching her dreams?  Will Maddie gain a newfound respect for her mother now that they’re spending so much time together, and what will the divorce do to her relationship with her as well as her dad?  Will Melissa McCarthy retain her title as one of the most bankable stars in the country, even when she’s doing a cheap college film!?

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“Take a shot every time I cross a hundred million at the box office!!”

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Cinema Dispatch: Trailer Talk (Bohemian Rhapsody)

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Bohemian Rhapsody is owned by 20th Century Fox and all the images you see in this trailer talk are the property of their respective owners

Directed by Bryan Singer and Dexter Fletcher

OH MAMA MIA!  Has the day finally come for this biopic to see the light of day!?  A Queen biopic has been floating around in Hollywood for a solid decade at the least, and I remember when they were ready to go on one starring Sacha Barron Cohen as Freddie Mercury which is certainly something I would have loved to see but sadly ended up falling through like all the other attempts.  Now that we have the very first teaser trailer for this biopic, does it assuage the anxieties of eager fans as to whether Queen can be done justice on the big screen!?  Let’s find out!!

Initial impressions are… okay I guess.  You really shouldn’t expect TOO much to come out of a teaser trailer and we’ll surely get a few more before the film’s release in November, but I think they at least set the right tone to build up some hype before they start showing the meat of what this biopic will be about.  The music playing over the whole teaser is a mashup of a bunch of queen lyrics over the beat to We Will Rock You which sounds a BIT awkward at points (ESPECIALLY with the chorus to Killer Queen), but it actually works surprisingly well when layered over Bohemian Rhapsody.  We really don’t get any details on the plot other than the making of Bohemian Rhapsody will be a major subplot and that there’ll be a crap load of concert scenes throughout.  The actors look fine I guess with Rami Malek (Mr Robot) as Front Man Freddie CLEARLY getting the spotlight.  If I were to complain about one thing though, I’d say that he doesn’t quite look right as young Freddie with long hair even though he looks absolutely spot on for Mustache Freddie.

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“I can eat this microphone whole, and it’ll be the most beautiful thing you could imagine!”

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Super Recaps: Tom Goes to the Mayor (Bass Fest)

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Tom Goes to the Mayor and all the images you see in this recap are owned Warner Bros and Adult Swim

Created by Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim

We’re back with another episode of The Day After TOMorrow, as this is basically a Roland Emmerich film told in a mere eleven minutes.  Maybe a bit TOO short, but I’d honestly take it over his usually bloated runtimes.  The episode begins with Good Ol’ Tom Peters on a fieldtrip for his Night School course which is PRESUMABLY on Jefferton History (all thirty years of it) because their trip is to the one and only Jefferton dam (or as Tom calls it, a darn; because he’s a pedantically squeamish jackass) which was built by Papa Richardson many years ago!  Well you might be wondering if this is a science field trip where they learn how a darn works, but that would be a very silly notion as the darn they’re at is absolutely awful; essentially made out of rotten wood scraps and Elmer’s glue.  Before we can ruminate much longer on this though, Tom interrupts the FASCINATING lecturer (Sean Hayes) by getting a phone call from Joy who demands that he buy three bass guitars for their sons, something he’s more than willing to do after the field trip is over, but Joy still yells at him anyway for being a joke of a human being.  Not the most UNREASONABLE stances to take if you spent five minutes with the guy, but SERIOUSLY!?  The broke bastard doesn’t even have a job!  How the hell is he supposed to afford THREE instruments that even on the low end go for hundreds of dollars!?  Heck, I’m not even sure how he can afford these night classes!

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“Okay, here’s an idea.  What if, instead of bass guitars… we get them recorders?”     …     “No, I wouldn’t really like to know how well they’d fit up there, but you DO make an excellent point otherwise!”

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Cinema Dispatch: Breaking In

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Breaking In and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures

Directed by James McTeigue

I mean if nothing else, this can’t be a worse Mother’s Day film than Mother’s Day.  Well that’s a bit unfair as I DID like what I saw in the trailers which involved Gabriel Union kicking the crap out of a bunch of home invaders, and a basic premise like that is almost foolproof in how easy it is to at least make a COMPETENT thriller with it.  Does this latest entry in the genre prove to be a breath of fresh air and something wholly original, or is this yet another run of the mill action film that doesn’t live up to its marketing campaign?  Let’s find out!!

Shaun Russell (Gabrielle Union) is a mother of two (Seth Carr and Ajiona Alexus) whose father (Damien Leake) had recently died and she’s in charge with handling the estate.  She drives out with her kids to the dude’s summer home which is a giant fortress of a place with an extremely elaborate security system and a whole lot of bad memories if Shaun’s reactions are anything to go by.  Sadly the unpleasant memories are the least of her problems as she soon finds out that three criminals (Billy Burke, Levi Meaden, and Richard Cabal) were already there searching for the old man’s secret stash of cash.  Now that Shaun and her kids are there though, they have to readjust their plans and start taking hostages.  The good news is that they manage to get the kids.  The bad news?  Shaun slips right out of their hands and is now SUPER pissed!  Can Shaun save her family before the bad guys get desperate?  What secrets were her father hiding in the house, and are they worth killing for?  Will Shaun tap into her inner Liam Neeson and teach these bastards a lesson in who NOT to fuck with!?

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“If you let my children go now, that’ll be the end of it.  I will not pursue you, but if you don’t, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you.”     “Oh crap!  She saw that movie too!!”

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Cinema Dispatch: Bad Samaritan

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Bad Samaritan and all the images you see in this review are owned by Electric Entertainment

Directed by Dean Devlin

Admitedly this took a bit longer than I was expecting, but I guess there’s no escape from the gaping maw of Hollywood whenever an actor gives a surprisingly unique and interesting performance.  Like Schwarzenegger, Christopher Lee, Samuel L Jackson, and many others, David Tennant is on his way to being typecast as a creepy mo-fo after his star turning performance as The Purple Man in Jessica Jones.  Yes he was already famous to a lot of us after he did Doctor Who, but I’m willing to bet that Jessica Jones put his face in front of more people than all three seasons he did of that show combined.  Now he’s cashing in on that new reputation with this latest thriller by… the guy who did Geostorm?  SERIOUSLY!?  Okay… well is this going to be a fun exploration of yet another off-kilter David Tennant role, or are you better off watching that awful animated Doctor Who special where he goes to Roswell?  Ugh… I still have nightmares about the character designs in that.  Anyway, LET’S FIND OUT!!

The movie follows Sean (Robert Sheehan) who’s a run of the mill THIEF WITH A HEART OF GOLDTM who runs a clever little scam with his buddie Derek (Carlito Olivero) where they work as valets but rob their customers’ homes while they’re eating if they live close enough.  The hauls may be pretty small as they only steal odds and ends, but it manages to keep them safe and out of crappy nine to five jobs.  Sean’s an ARTIST after all and can’t compromise his integrity by taking pictures for CORPORATIONS and getting PAID A SALARY to do it!  He’s got better plans; or at least he DID until he went into the wrong house.  While rich asshole Cale (David Tennant) is enjoying a nice meal, Sean breaks into his house and finds a veritable cavalcade of loot but also finds a woman named Katie (Kerry Condon) strapped to a chair and with bruises all over her body.  Not only that, but Cale seems to have cameras all over the house including one pointed directly at the girl so instead of trying to free her and risk getting caught, Sean just bolts and makes an anonymous tip to the cops.  What Sean doesn’t realize is that Cale is not just a murderer, but is also a CLEVER one and above all VERY rich, so it doesn’t take long for him to piece together who it is that’s onto him and start enacting revenge against the starving artist.  Honestly though, he doesn’t even need to bother because Sean is already beating himself up constantly over failing to save the girl and even tries to turn himself in to try and get the cops to listen, but to no avail.  So Sean’s distracted by his own sense of misery while Cale is making things worse by ruining his life and even ruining the lives of those around him.  Will Sean find a way to save Katie before Cale finally grows bored and stabs her in the face?  What else does Cale have up his sleeve to keep Sean occupied, and it could it lead to even MORE murder?  Who the heck thought that making David Tennant play The Master was a good idea!?

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See, this is what happens when he doesn’t have a companion to keep him in check!

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Super Recaps: Tom Goes to the Mayor (My Big Cups)

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Tom Goes to the Mayor and all the images you see in this recap are owned Warner Bros and Adult Swim

Created by Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim

We’re back with another episode of Tom Peters in the Jungle where our lovable loser tries his hand at the unforgiving world of local art!  I’m SURE he’s got at least ONE creative bone in his body!  Have you seen the way he dresses!?  Only a utter fool or a total GENIUS would try to pull off a poorly fitting vest like that!  The episode begins with Good ol’ Tom Peters visiting his best buddy The Mayor who’s a bit more distracted than usual due to the fact that Jefferton will be celebrating its thirtieth anniversary and he’s having trouble choosing an artist to make the official town painting.  Now normally Tom would jump on an opportunity like this despite his utter lack of talent, but the episode throws us a curveball as Tom seems to have an ACTUAL job this time around!  He seems to have opened up a franchise in the mall for a place called My Big Cups, and he was hoping The Mayor could stop by to give the place a bit of publicity which will hopefully drum up a few sales.  I’m not sure why his store needs it though because they already have AMAZING commercials with the one and only Sir Mix-A-Lot doing their jingle!

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“I like big CUPS, and I cannot lie!!”

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Cinema Dispatch: Tully

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Tully and all the images you see in this review are owned by Focus Features

Directed by Jason Reitman

So hey!  Remember when Jason Reitman was the big rising star in Hollywood?  It doesn’t seem like THAT long ago, and yet here we are with a film that has gotten very little buzz despite being directed by him as well as being written by Diablo Cody and starring Charlize Theron.  You’d think there’d be a LITTLE more buzz considering how much talent is behind it, but for some reason it was left to languish in the wake of Avengers: Infinity Wars where it will surely remain in obscurity until it’s dumped on Netflix or Amazon Prime.   Still, a lot of really excellent films have suffered similar fates against the might of big blockbusters, and since when has box office success been in any way an indicator of a film’s overall worth?  Does this manage to be a great film to cleanse the palate after the latest Marvel feature, or are you better off rewatching that in hopes of getting a better ending?  Let’s find out!!

The movie follows the day to day life of Marlo (Charlize Theron) who’s just about to have a third child and is honestly not handling things as well as she claims to be.  Sure her other two kids Jonah and Sarah (Asher Miles Fallica and Lia Frankland) are doing… fine, and her husband Drew (Ron Livingston) is doing… fine, but things are only gonna get more difficult with a third mouth to feed; especially one that’s gonna be screaming and pooping itself for at least a couple of years.  That’s why Marlo’s brother (Mark Duplass) and his wive (Elaine Tan) have gotten her a PERFECT baby shower gift which is the services of a Night Nanny.  What’s a Night Nanny you may ask?  Well she’s a nanny, and follow me here… who comes at night.  Basically, she’ll take care of the baby when you’re trying to get some sleep so that you can start the day fully rested and ready to be the best mom you can be!  Well to me that sounds like a brilliant idea, but Marlo is skeptical at first.  Let’s see how long it takes… okay about two weeks before she gets desperate on a particularly bad day and calls them in.  Said nanny is named Tully (Mackenzie Davis) who is ABSOLUTELY PERFECT!  She’s brilliant, she’s loving, and sure she MAY be a little over eager, but she’s everything Marlo needs to get her life back on track which has been noticeably hollow since she became a mother.  She’s got no interests of her own, no particular hobbies, and doesn’t even seem to have the energy to stick up for herself which is PROBABLY some red flags to much deeper issues, but Tully manages to be at least a good influence if not an outright cure for her woes.  Will Marlo find her zest for life again now that she can rely on someone else to help her out?  Where did this MYSTERIOUS Tully come from, and how can one person be so awesome at taking care of babies?  Is parenthood the one challenge that ultra-badass Charlize Theron is incapable of overcoming!?

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“ZZZ… stop… or I’ll shoot…  ZZZ… where’s the guzzolene?… ZZZ…”

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