Brittany Runs a Marathon and all the images you see in this review are owned by Amazon Studios
Directed by Paul Downs Colaizzo
Me and Amazon Studios? We have an understanding. Well… not so much an understanding as me having an opinion about them that the multi-billion dollar Mega Corporation doesn’t know or care about. Their movies that come to theaters are often mid-range fare that almost affects the impression of a small studio like STX or a less ambitious NEON, but other than outright disasters like Gringo, they are reliably enjoyable if not particularly stunning achievements. Does their latest outing that will surely be on a streaming box near you measure up to those ho-hum standards, or are we in for another feature more unbearable than their anti-union practices!? Let’s find out!!
Brittany Forglar (Jillian Bell) is your typical millennial washout. She’s living in New York City… somehow supporting herself with a part time job as an usher at a theater I think, but she’s not happy with herself and uses drugs, meaningless sex, and comedy to get her through the days. However, after a visit from the doctor where she tries to get a prescription for uppers, the doctor delivers the harsh truth that her health isn’t all that great and she should probably lose a few pounds; not that weight loss in and of itself is healthy, but a lot of her REAL symptoms instead of the fake ones she’s trying to use to get the drugs can be alleviated or even eliminated entirely if she ate better and exercised more. After some trepidation she does manage to start losing weight which builds up her confidence and she starts improving other aspects of her life including her relationships, her career path, and even plans on running the New York City Marathon as a benchmark for her achievement. However, all this change is coming with a fair bit of resistance; not just form her but her friends as well as she has to look at the reality of her situation and come to terms that maybe some people in her life aren’t good for her and she’ll have to move on to greener pastures no matter how hard it may be. Can Brittany get her life back on track and fulfill her newfound dream of finishing the marathon? What pitfalls will she run into as she starts to make weight loss itself the goal instead of it being a side effect of taking care of herself? Is her ultimate goal to hone her skills like a ninja and become Batman? I mean… that’s the reason we ALL try to get in shape, right?
“First question; do you have a tragic backstory?” “I mean… the US economy?” “Okay, that’s a good start.”
Late Night and all the images you see in this review are owned by Amazon Studios
Directed by Nisha Ganatra
I’m fairly certain that my usual theater had a poster for this and then just decided not to actually screen it so this is yet another trip to the far away theater (i.e. thirty minutes away) which honestly is usually a good sign. Not always, in fact this is the exact same story that preceded The Green Inferno, but the movies that aren’t wide enough for my local theater to get are usually have a lot more going for them; for good or ill. I hadn’t heard much about this movie and only have a vague idea of the premise, but the cast is very talented and I’m always intrigued by entertainment that’s ABOUT the making of entertainment which is always a journey in its own right. Does this glimpse into the world of late night television give us a funny and insightful look at the behind the scenes action, or will this end up being as boring as… I don’t know whichever one of those shows is the worst? Let’s find out!!
Katherine Newbury (Emma Thompson) is the host of a late night show that has been running for over twenty years, yet despite such a phenomenal legacy and a small army of Emmy awards behind her, the new network President Caroline Morton (Amy Ryan) tells her that the show will be cancelled in a few months and that she’ll be replaced with a hip young talent that gets those pesky millennials! With basically nothing left to lose, she starts to do the one thing she has come to fear in the last ten years; actually try. I know, truly a fate worse than death. Part of her initiate to revitalize the show includes hiring someone in the writers room whose only qualification is to NOT BE A WHITE GUY, and as luck would have it Molly (Mindy Kaling) is interviewing that day and meets those very stringent qualifications! Sure, she’s never written for a comedy show ever, but why should that stop her from filling up space and shielding the show from further criticisms of being too old and too white? AH HA! It’s not as simple as that however! For you see, Molly is not JUST a blatant diversity hire! She actually has good ideas, some decent writing chops, and may just be what this crusty old talk show needs in order to genuinely appeal to today’s audience instead of whatever crap Katherine and the other writers were gonna try to fake their way into relevance! Can Molly learn to thrive in this dinosaur of a work place and find the right balance between respecting its legacy and changing it for the better? Will Katherine realize what she’s been doing wrong all this time and genuinely change for the better before losing the best thing she has in her life? Well I mean she has her husband (John Lithgow), but is he paying the bills around here!? I DON’T THINK SO!!
Suspiria and all the images you see in this review are owned by Amazon Studios
Directed by Luca Guadagnino
Look if the choice is between an Argento film getting a remake or Argento making another movie, let’s just say I know better than to ask for the latter. Yes, in our never ending quest to make sure every movie gets remade every thirty years (*cough* Pet Sematary *cough*), the Dario Argento classic is getting its chance at nice and shiny new version that if nothing else seems to have some serious talent backing it; not just with actors Dakota Johnson and Tilda Swinton as the leads, but the guy who directed Call Me By Your Name (a film I still haven’t gotten around to seeing) heading up this reinterpretation. Will this be even HALF as scary as the original film’s trailer with that super creepy skull reveal, or will all the talent in the world fail to capture what Argento did all those years ago? Let’s find out!!
The movie for the most part follows Susie Bannion (Dakota Johnson) who is a rather gifted dancer from the far off lands of the US Midwest and has moved to the Markos Dance Academy in 1977 West Berlin. It was rather fortuitous by the way that there was even an opening for her because one of the other dancers (Chloë Grace Moretz) JUST SO HAPPENED to “leave” the school and has “gone back home” despite none of her friends having no idea that she was doing that or even getting a phone number to reach her at. Yeah, it doesn’t take long to realize that suspicious things are going on behind the scenes, and while the movie is coy with details and specifics it definitely seems to be a bunch of witches running this school; not figuratively even though some of them can be quite unbearable, but in a very literal sense. It seems that the coven is in need of… a sacrifice I think and that Susie might just be the one they’re looking for; assuming they can manage not to screw this whole scheme up before she’s ready. Easier said than done I’m afraid because despite the presumed head witch Madame Blanc (Tilda Swinton) knowing just what is at stake if they act recklessly, the rest of them seem to have their own agendas that might just conflict with Blanc’s as well as the secretive Miss Markos (Tilda Swinton again) who we hear is quite eager to get this sacrifice ready to go. None of this is helped by the missing girl’s therapist Dr. Josef Klemperer (wait, that’s Tilda Swinton too!?) who is looking into the school to see if any of the girl’s claims about secret cults and magic powers might prove to have at least a shred of truth to them and if there was some foul play involved with her disappearance. Will Susie uncover the horrifying plot against her and find a way to escape such an unfortunate fate? Just what are the witches hoping to achieve with her, and is it in all of their best interests to play along with the scheme? No seriously, that’s Tilda Swinton as the old guy!? Why didn’t anyone tell me before I saw the movie!?
Gringo and all the images you see in this review are owned by Amazon Studios and STX Entertainment
Directed by Nash Edgerton
Hey, if Netflix is gonna try to produce feature films, then why not Amazon too!? Heck, they’ve had a pretty good track record with distributing films like The Handmaiden and The Big Sick, and some of the original programming on their video service has been pretty decent too! Hopefully they can translate that success into this wacky comedy which has a PRETTY good trailer but not a whole lot of buzz, though it’s not entirely their fault considering how much Black Panther and even A Wrinkle in Time have dominated the national discussion around film; leaving films like this to just kinda slink in wherever they can. Does Amazon have a great film on their hands that’s unjustly falling under the radar, or should they have sent this straight to their storefront where no one will ever actually buy it? Let’s find out!!
Harold Soyinka (David Oyelowo) is a well to do middle management corporate drone who is incredibly content with his current life living with his wife Bonnie (Thandie Newton) and working for Richard and Elaine (Joel Edgerton and Charlize Theron) at a pharmaceutical company he very much likes. The problem is that at every turn, the people in his life continually disrespect him and see him less as a valuable asset and friend, and more of an errand boy that also functions as a doormat. Eventually Harold gets wise to this during a trip that he along with Richard and Elaine take to Mexico in order to inspect one of the facilities, and the straw that breaks the camel’s back comes when Bonnie decides to divorce him; something that she tells him over skype. Having something of a nervous breakdown, Harold takes a bus to a small town in Mexico and fakes his own kidnapping once Richard and Elaine are back in Chicago. Little does Harold know however that the Cartel is after him due to his connection to the pharmaceutical company, so his little ruse might turn out to be more of a prophecy! On top of that, we’ve got a couple trying to sneak drugs from Mexico back to the US (Amanda Seyfried and Harry Treadaway), a mercenary who may be able to get Harold out of the jam he’s in (Sharlto Copley), and like four other subplots that are going on at the same time as Harold’s misadventures in Mexico. Will Harold be able to bilk his employers out of a crap load of money before he gets captured by the Cartel? What was Richard and Elaine doing that got the eye of the Cartel in the first place, and what will they do to get Harold out of the mess he’s in? Most importantly, HOW DID THEY MANAGE TO MAKE A STORY LIKE THIS SO BORING!?
“Hello? Has anyone seen the plot? I can’t find it anywhere!”
The Big Sick and all the images you see in this review are owned by Amazon Studios and Lionsgate
Directed by Michael Showalter
I try to keep up with who the big up and coming comedians are, but I often find myself under a giant rock when something like this comes out starring a guy who I’ve CERTAINLY seen in other movies like Fist Fight and Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, but wasn’t aware of his output beyond that. I’ve never seen Silicon Valley which seems to be Kumail Nanjiani’s biggest role to date (though he DID play Prismo in Adventure Time) so this is gonna be the first time that I’ve seen him in a starring role as opposed to a funny secondary character in REALLY mediocre or outright awful comedies, and apparently it’s somewhat autobiographical which makes it even MORE representative of what this guy is all about. Does Kumail’s big debut as a leading man in his own life story manage to hit the mark and hopefully launch him into super stardom, or is this just a failed vanity project whose only purpose will be as a piece of trivia for Silicon Valley fans? Let’s find out!
The movie is based on the real story about Kumail Nanjiani’s relationship with Emily V Gordon (played by Zoe Kazan but Emily V Gordon is the co-writer here) and the hardships they had to endure along the way. Kumail is living the Stand-Up Comedy dream of a crappy apartment and shitty comedy club gigs while Emily is working towards her masters in Psychology when the two of them meet and quickly fall for each other. Sadly, life keeps getting in the way of their happiness as Kumail’s mother and father (Zenobia Shroff and Anupam Kher) still expect him to marry a Pakistani woman and he doesn’t have the heart to either confront his parents about this or to tell Emily about their plans for him. Things eventually come to a head, I won’t spoil too much here, but there’s a tragedy that happens where Emily is in the hospital and Kumail has no idea what to do; especially when her parents (Holly Hunter and Ray Romano) enter the picture and are immediately skeptical of Kumail. Now Kumail is stuck in the worst of all cases; trying to coddle two sets of parents who are looking out for their kids and making terrible mistakes, and also trying to figure out exactly what he wants and how hard he’s willing to fight for it. Will Emily overcome whatever illness has struck her so severely? Will the two of them manage to overcome whatever issues they may have and properly fight for each other’s happiness? Does anyone else think this might be a new benchmark for romantic comedies!? Maybe not one of the BEST, but it sure feels like it’s gonna have an impact, right!?
“This is a lot like Annie Hall!” “Hmm… let’s not.” “Yeah, you’re right. Uh… Groundhog Day?”