Night School and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures
Directed by Malcolm D Lee
It’s always good seeing Kevin Hart! Okay, maybe not… BUT it’s always good to see Tiffany Haddish, right!? Ehh… fine, these are two VERY talented comedians but they aren’t always in the best movies as is the case with A LOT of successful comedians. Putting them together SHOULD be a match made in heaven, but then again maybe the filmmakers thought the script was so bad that even Hart couldn’t save it by himself. In any case, we can hope that there are at least a few good jokes in here even if the premise and the trailers don’t seem to be promising all that much. Does this movie manage to rise above expectations to be one of the better comedies this year, or are we doomed to suffer yet another mediocre effort from filmmakers and comedians who should be working on WAY more ambitious projects than this? Let’s find out!!
Teddy Walker (Kevin Hart) is your average Joe who is actually doing quite well for himself despite dropping out of high school and for reasons other than he’s a genius who went off to start his own company. Instead, he’s managed to find a good job at a barbecue grill store and has set himself apart from his peers due to his world class skills in customer service! I kind of find that hard to believe though considering he ends up accidentally blowing the place up not long after the movie starts. You’d think someone as professional as he is wouldn’t have done something like that, but in any case Teddy is now without a job which is doubly a problem as he’s been living paycheck to paycheck for some time; refusing to tell his girlfriend Lisa who has a WAY more successful job (Megalyn Echikunwoke) that he’s not as well off as he lets on and that he could REALLY use a few bucks to ease the stress. Luckily for Teddy though, his buddy Marvin (Ben Schwartz) JUST SO HAPPENS to have an even BETTER job for him all lined up… but he has to get his GED first! To make matters worse, the principal of the high school (Taran Killam) is someone he had beef with in high school (for some reason…) and is not about to let old grievances die off, even if he can’t TECHNICALLY keep Teddy from going to night classes run by Professor Carrie (Tiffany Haddish) which I assume is the way she prefers to be addressed. Can Teddy get his GED and that sweet new job without having his girlfriend finds out all of his deeply held and embarrassing secrets? What wacky hijinks will he get into with a classroom full of eccentric odd balls that have their own reasons for getting their GED? Can we send all six of the scriptwriters to night school? I don’t know about you, but they could really use some brushing up if this is what they consider “professional” material.
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
Welcome back to A Single Tom where things take a decidedly dark and melancholic turn right as we’re about to end the series. In fact, many members of the show’s staff consider this to be the true finale for the series despite Tim & Eric choosing the next episode being the last one to air as they felt it would have been too depressing to end the season on such a dire note. Just how bad does it get? Let’s find out!! It starts off as you’d expect it to with Good ol’ Tom Peters visiting The Mayor, but this time he has some sad news to deliver. It turns out his eldest stepson, Brindon, has just died. No seriously, the more or less FINAL episode of this series has one of Tom’s stepson’s dying a gruesome and violent death. Now I’m not a fan of HOW he died as it’s a rather mean spirited fat joke as he ate enough food during his birthday party to eventually explode, but the point is still made. Tom Peters, the man who can never face anything in his life, has to face one of the hardest things anyone would ever have to go through.
The Predator and all the images you see in this editorial are owned by 20th Century Fox
Directed by Shane Black
It’s been a few weeks since The Predator graced the multiplexes in all its confused glory, so I think now’s a pretty good time to really get into what exactly is SO fascinatingly wrong about this movie that I couldn’t fit into a proper review. The last time I did something like this was all the way back when The Mummy was supposed to be the next big thing which sadly didn’t end up being the case despite making four hundred million worldwide and so The Dark Universe is more or less dead on arrival. A shame because, despite the film’s ASTOUNDING amount of flaws, it was compelling in a way that very few terrible movies can be and I’d have loved to see a DCCU style nightmare come out of it. Predators though still has a chance to be the next (albeit smaller) version of this with its incredibly pronounced sequel bait at the end and comparatively lower stakes, so why not give it the proper WTF treatment? Unlike my last list however, this isn’t ranked in an ascending order of absurdity; rather it’s structured in a way to try and get across the ESCALATING sense of absurdity that builds as the movie goes along, so while one thing may not be as out there or ridiculous as the thing before it, it all adds up into this ludicrous mishmash of ideas that either should have been left on the cutting room floor or given the time it needed to not feel so inexplicably jammed into an already overly tight runtime. Let’s get started!!
10) Lock him up and throw away the key! – Why the heck is Quinn being railroaded!?
So the movie begins with The Predator (at least the first one of them) crash landing on Earth basically within spitting distance a squad of army dudes out on a mission. Our lead dude is Quinn McKenna (Boyd Holbrook) who finds the escape pod The Predator used as well as part of his armor; including his mask and one of his arm bands that both have VERY advanced computer systems in them. His men die at the hands of The Predator, he manages to escape, and then he mails the pieces of armor to his home in the US. Now why would he do that? Well apparently he correctly assumed that he would be arrested by THE HIGHER UPS and sent to a mental institution as a way to keep him quiet about the alien… because reasons. Now to be clear, this is not just ANY army dude; the mission he was on was to assassinate a drug lord on an ally’s soil (Mexico) and the US Military isn’t about to send someone on that kind of job who doesn’t know how to keep his mouth shut and play ball. How is this guy not an ASSET to The Stargazer Project considering his sterling military record, and for that matter why are they so intent on keeping HIM out of the loop when they IMMEDIATELY bring a civilian scientist on board (Dr. Casey Bracket played by Olivia Munn) to run tests on the darn thing!? Speaking of which…
Assassination Nation and all the images you see in this review are owned by NEON
Directed by Sam Levinson
Wow, people are really liking this, aren’t they? Unlike Mandy or The Predators, I actually did catch a trailer for this at some point so I knew it was something like The Purge but also about divulging personal information, so basically that episode of The Simpsons where the kids reveal all their parents secrets, only with a MUCH darker ending. Still, The Purge films are a pretty high bar to reach even if NEON has a pretty solid track record with their movies. Can this latest effort from a much smaller studio hope to compete with the franchise that got to the party way earlier and with a much bigger studio behind it? Let’s find out!!
Lilly, Sarah, Bex, and Em (Odessa Young, Suki Waterhouse, Hari Nef, and Abra) are four teenage girls in the town of Salem; living out there days being the baddest crew in school who appreciate the little things in life; such as gossip, boys, and tearing down the patriarchy! One day a hacker starts leaking personal information of Salem’s citizens; starting with the corrupt mayor, but then moving on to the kind principal and then eventually everyone else. The secrets being revealed are causing some… stress you could say with some people opting to wear masks, others starting violent militias, and everyone just going all in on showing the worst sides of themselves. Homophobia, transphobia, racism, misogyny, all of the above and more, just starts running rampant once the façade has been stripped away by the leaked data. One of the more prominent victims turns out to be Lilly who has her own secrets she was trying to hide and makes her a pariah to basically everyone except her friends who are standing with her, at least for now. What more could be revealed that could make the situation even worse than it is? Just how far will these people go to inflict pain on others for dubiously justifiable reasons as well as to cover up what secrets they may have themselves? Is it just me, or do things seem REALLY tense lately!?
Sonic the Hedgehog (the comic book series) and all the images you see in this recap are owned by IDW and SEGA of America
We’re back with another issue of The Mobius Dozen where our heroes now know what they heck they need to do but may not be fully aware of what they’re up against! Does Neo Metal Sonic have something up his robo-sleeve that even our heroes won’t’ be able to overcome? Let’s find out!! The issue begins on a slightly different note than usual as we start with Neo Metal Sonic giving his expositional villain speech (to no one in particular) which catches us up to speed on what he’s been up to while Sonic and The Resistance (I’m CERTAIN they’re gonna call themselves Sonic’s Forces at some point) were off trying to uncover the most obvious evil plot imaginable. In case you didn’t know already, Neo Metal Sonic flew his ship to Angel Island… and that’s it. No one was guarding the Master Emerald that resides on there, and he just… took it and put it in a giant cage that he now sits on. Kinda dropped the ball there, didn’t you Knuckles? I’ll give the book credit for changing things up a bit here as this early scene gives Neo Metal Sonic a modicum of presence and a slight amount of menace, but then I also question how perfect of an artificial being he is considering he starts four sentences IN A ROW with “I have”. Sure I’m barely a writer myself, but at least I know enough to check for that kind of repetition!
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 another episode of 21 Jefferton Street where it seems that Tim & Eric beat Phil Lord and Chris Miller to the punch by a good six years, albeit with a much smaller budget and a tenth of the run time. The episode begins with yet another public service announcement for the citizens of Jefferton, though this time they couldn’t afford Janeane Garofalo and had to settle for Jan and Wayne Skyler; Jefferton’s own married news team. The lack of A-List celebrities on hand however should NOT lessen their grave message as it seems that the greatest menace currently facing the town is the abundance of starch in people’s diet. Now to their credit, starch IS something you should watch out for in your diet as it’s a common staple in some really bad foods and can even cause blood sugar issues if you’re already susceptible to those kind of issues (starch is a form of glucose), but like with basically ANYTHING you eat it’s all about moderation and finding out what works best for your system. Now obviously this PSA isn’t about that as it’s paid for by the Jefferton Starch League, and the goal was clearly to scare people into looking at ridiculous (and pricey) alternatives to simply cutting back on the mashed potatoes. Case in point, Jan and Wayne’s guest on the program is a wacky inventor named Sandy Winfield (Bob Odenkirk) who has devised a Starch Testing Machine that looks like a ColecoVision with a desktop calculator from the same era glued on top. Now sure, it CAN be a pain in the ass to measure starch content in all the food you eat (subtract the total grams of carbohydrates from the grams of sugar and fiber), but since Mr. Winfield’s method LITERALLY involves your ass as you have to have to test your own stool with it, I think doing a little bit of math is the much more convenient option.
The Predator and all the images you see in this review are owned by 20th Century Fox
Directed by Shane Black
I’m getting rather good at avoiding trailers at this point because I never saw a single one for this movie. All I knew was that it was another Predator movie with an annoyingly similar title to the rest of them (which is still better than the sequel to Halloween being called Halloween) and it was being directed by the guy who wrote Lethal Weapon, directed Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Iron Man 3, and The Nice Guys, and even got turned into a pile of bloody organs in the first Predator movie! I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a winning formula to me! At least until the recent news came out about his deeply irresponsible casting decision in the movie which frankly cast a big cloud over the whole thing for me right before it came out. Does this manage to be an entertaining film despite the problems that Shane Black managed to bring upon himself in the lead up to the film’s release, or was that the first sign that something was amiss with the latest entry in this franchise? Let’s find out!!
For some time now it seems that Predators have been stepping up their game and coming to Earth with a bit more frequency which is not just a good way to set ourselves up for some prequels, but to raise the stakes a bit as this latest invasion by a Predator seems to be a bit more than just some dude trying to add one more human spine to his collection. He crash lands in a jungle down in Mexico where military badass Quinn McKenna (Boyd Holbrook) is on assignment to assassinate someone for something, but said crash landing makes things a bit more complicated. A bunch of… dudes (are they military? A private corporation?) who are part of PROJECT STARGAZER which is led by the mysterious Traeger (Sterling K Brown) capture the alien, capture most of its armor, and even captures McKenna, but not before McKenna… finds someone to mail part of The Predator’s armor back home. Apparenlty he wants to keep it for “evidence” which I’m SURE will come in handy when he’s carted off to a mental institution so that PROJECT STARGAZER can keep a lid on the existence of aliens. Not so much of a lid that they won’t enlist a civilian scientist Dr. Casey Bracket (Olivia Munn) to take a look at the captured creature, but enough so that the highly trained military officer who’s already involved with secret government plots like assassinations can be forcibly kept quiet before he starts blabbing to everyone. Sounds like a foolproof plan to me! Oh wait, the Predator escaped and is now looking for his armor, namely his helmet, that McKenna sent back home and is currently being played with by his son Rory (Jacob Temblay) who is on the autism spectrum and apparently has no problem understanding this alien technology. So it’s a race against time as McKenna and a group of mentally ill soldiers he meets (Trevante Rhodes, Keegan-Michael Key, Thomas Jane, Alfie Allen, and Augusto Aguilera) team up with Dr. Bracket to… I guess stop the Predator, while Traeger and PROJECT STARGAZER regroup to put an end to this threat and the people who know about it once and for all! Can McKenna save his son from the murderous alien as well as the VERY dangerous technology he’s been messing around with? What are PROJECT STARGAZERS’s true plans, and what are The Predator’s plans as well? Does anyone else get the feeling that the editor had their spine forcibly removed by a giant monster alien when they were only halfway done putting this thing together?
Mandy and all the images you see in this review are owned by RLJE Films
Directed by Panos Cosmatos
I had no idea this movie existed until about four days ago and I knew precisely two things about it; Nic Cage and chainsaws. I don’t know about you, but you can usually get me to see a movie if you have one of those things, let alone both! Nicolas Cage has had a REALLY rough go of it lately with mostly direct to video fare that even die-hard fans like myself find tedious, and while this isn’t really a BLOCKBUSTER or even a STUDIO film, the fact that he’s in theaters again and is in a movie that’s getting a lot of positive buzz makes more oh so very happy even if he’s STILL probably not gonna get that Superman role now that () is most likely stepping down. The movie itself though, well I still have to SEE it before I can proclaim it to be as good as everyone says it is even if I want it to be the first step to the greatest coming story in Hollywood history! Or at the very least the first step towards getting a Face/Off 2.
Back in the early eighties, a guy named Red (Nicolas Cage and a lady named Mandy (Andrea Riseborough) are living in a pretty nice house out in the woods, surviving off of odd jobs as a lumberjack for him and as a convenience store cashier for her, and generally enjoying the isolation from the rest of the world. Both are into old school rock and roll (though I guess back then it wouldn’t have been THAT old) and so are the filmmakers because everything in the film’s aesthetic is pumped all the way up to eleven; form the color pallets to the visual tableaus, to that thing where we focus in really close on something while intense music plays. Anyway, the two of them are just minding their own business when Mandy is spotted by a passing van full of drugged up killer hippies led by the “charismatic” leader Jeremiah Sand (Linus Roach) who makes it their mission to recruit her for their cause. Things spiral out of control from there which leads to Mandy being captured, OTHER stuff happening, and Red having more than enough reason to find these bastards and met out some woodland vengeance on them for what they’ve done. Along the way he’ll meet old friends who help him on his journey, he’ll create the perfect weapon to exact his unholy and metal as heck revenge, and even fight some… interesting fellows who I’m not sure are supposed to be REAL or not, but in a movie like this that hardly matters. Will Red find this roving gang of murders before they leave the forest for good and move on to their next victims? Just how far will Red go to get what he’s after, and what will he give up along the way? Is it just me, or is this a Ghost Rider movie that forgot to include Ghost Rider?
A Simple Favor and all the images you see in this review are owned by Lionsgate
Directed by Paul Feig
I only got the trailer for this movie once and I was honestly not sure if it was a joke. Not in the sense that I thought the trailer was FAKE, but more that I wasn’t sure if there was supposed to be some kind of ‘gotcha’ in this; like with A Deadly Adoption explicitly being an April Fool’s joke despite the film itself being rather straight faced about the whole thing. To me it looked like a Tyler Perry thriller along the lines of Temptation or Acrimony, and the fact that it was directed by noted comedy director Paul Feig seemed like an indication that this was in some way a satire of that kind of movie, but it never really clued me on the punchline. I guess that’s as good a way as any to go into a movie as I know it exists but have absolutely no clear sense of expectations for it which gives it a chance to truly surprise me. Will it surprise me in the right way and turn out to be either a fun metatextual examination of the genre or just another great entry in it? Alternatively, it could be an utterly confused mess of a movie with no clear idea of what it wants to be, but in any case, let’s find out!!
The movie follows Stephanie Smothers (Anna Kendrick); a single mom who has more energy every single day than I could muster in a lifetime as she constantly finds something to do for her son or for his school despite it making all the other parents look bad. One such parent is Emily Nelson (Blake Lively), though she has the advantage of not actually caring what other people think of her and actually finds something endearing about Stephanie after the two are forced to spend some time together as both of their sons are best friends. She’s a bit caustic, maybe likes to use people a bit too much, and certainly has no problem deflecting all of her problems onto everyone else, but there’s something that Stephanie finds fascinating about her and they become best (if slightly unhealthy) friends! That is until Emily calls Stephanie one day asking her to watch her son as she’s got an emergency at work and then just disappears. No one knows where she went, not even her husband Sean (Henry Golding), and it seems that the authorities aren’t taking the case all that seriously. I guess it’s up to Stephanie The Fixer to not only try to find Emily but to keep her family together in her absence which starts to make things a bit awkward between her and Sean and ESPECIALLY between her and Emily’s son. Twists and turns are the name of the game here as more and more information is uncovered about Emily as well as Sean, which points to possible foul play or something equally sinister! Will Stephanie uncover the truth of just who Emily is and will she like what she ends up finding out? How much is she willing to put her neck out for this woman, and will she have to pay some serious consequences for her incessant snooping? Most importantly, WHAT WILL THIS MEAN FOR HER COOKING BLOG!?
The Nun and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures
Directed by Corin Hardy
I wasn’t even planning on seeing this film as my utter apathy to the Conjuring Universe knows no bounds; despite Annabelle: Creation being a pretty solid horror film which I ascribe entirely to roping in a very talented director. Then the weekend came up and there was literally no other movie I was going to see, so this one won by default; take a step forward to volunteer and everyone else took a step back. Does this latest entry in probably my least favorite expanded universe (at least on a conceptual level as The Warrens were in fact a bunch of fraudsters and I HATE that we’re making movies that pretend they weren’t) manage to rise above its lousy origins to give us something entertaining, or will I be forced to be reminded once again why I didn’t like that initial film in the first place? Let’s find out!!
Back in the 1950s, there was a castle in Romania where some spooky stuff was always going on. What kind of spooky stuff? Voices in the hallway, a fake demon nun appearing and disappearing in an instant, and oh yeah, A NUN THROWING HERSELF OUT OF A WINDOW WITH A NOOSE AROUND HER NECK!! Now my first guess it that she did it all for Damian but he wouldn’t be born for another twenty years, and instead it’s probably that demon nun that’s walking around the place. In The Vatican’s effort to be real life Ghostbusters, they send the disgraced Father Burke (Demián Bichir) out to solve this bizarre mystery; like a renegade cop getting his badge and his gun back. He takes along a Soon To Be Sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga) because… I don’t remember; she has psychic powers or something? Anyway, the two of them head to Romania and are led to the castle by the man who discovered the nun’s body, and his name is… wait for it… Frenchie (Jona Bloquet). When this unlikely trio gets there, well you can imagine what happens! Lots of spooky ghost tricks, hidden dark rituals, and a horrifying history that will no doubt ensure at least a dozen more THE CONJURING UNIVERSE films! Can Father Burke and Sorta Sister Irene discover the true reason that the nun threw herself out a window in this dark and spooky castle? When they find what they are looking for, are they prepared to do what is necessary to stop that evil once and for all? Wait, why does a demon have to hide as a nun? It’s not like it does a good job of hiding how obviously evil they are and they can disappear at any time, so why even bother with the costume!?