Happiest Season and all the images you see in this review are owned by Hulu
Directed by Clea DuVall
It’s been a while since I’ve sat down and watched a new movie, hasn’t it? Okay, at THIS point it’s not exactly a new movie as it’s been out for over a week now, but it’s been harder to keep up with what’s coming out and which films are worth seeking which is a far cry from the very structured way I used to do them when they came out in theaters, but we ten months into this nightmare and we all need to find new ways to work with the new normal. In any case, I heard murmurings about this about a week before it came out which is usually a good sign to check it out, and the premise at least looked like it had SOMETHING worth talking about to separate it from all the other Christmas movies that come out each year. Now that I’ve finally seen it, does it live up to the modicum of hype it built for itself, or did Hulu trick me into watching something that otherwise should have been on the Hallmark channel sandwiched between A Shoe Addict’s Christmas and Fir Crazy? Let’s find out!!
Abbey Holland (Kristen Stewart) is in a wonderful relationship with her girlfriend Harper Caldwell (Mackenzie Davis) and after spending the better part of a year together she thinks she’s ready to ask her to marry her! Fate has other ideas in mind however as it’s Christmas time and on a whim Harper asks her to join her family for Christmas which SEEMS innocuous enough… but just as they’re about to pull into the drive way Harper tells Abbey that her family has NO IDEA she’s a lesbian and that they have to pretend to just be friends. Seems like a red flag big enough to see from space, but Harper assures her that she’ll tell her parents AFTER Christmas and so Abbey begrudgingly goes along with it. From there it’s what you’d expect as the family members each have their own eccentricities and barely concealed hatreds for one another which Abbey just sits back and enjoys, but keeping this secret proves to be harder than it looks; especially when Harper’s mom (Mary Steenburgen) tries to set her up with an old boyfriend (Jake McDorman), and her dad (Victor Garber) is a politician which means they are under a microscope whenever they leave the house. Fortunately there’s a ray of light in this town in the form of Riley (Aubrey Plaza) who was Harper’s first girlfriend and seems to know what Abbey is going through, and if all else fails Abbey’s got a Gay Best FriendTM back home named John (Dan Levy) who’s watching her pets and is always ready to dispense sassy advise when needed! Can Abbey survive being in this awkward situation, and will her relationship with Harper fall apart in the process? What is it about her family that has made Harper so paranoid about them finding out she’s a lesbian, and can any of justify what she’s having her girlfriend go through? Then again, if it’s THIS easy to fool her parents, maybe this is just a warm up to some big heist or something!
Child’s Play and all the images you see in this review are owned by United Artists Releasing
Directed by Lars Klevberg
I’m gonna say it right now. Even though the movie gets quite a bit of praise, Child’s Play is still underrated. It’s one of those series where the later films defined the look and tone that stuck in the popular consciousness to the point that the merits of the original can still be somewhat overlooked. It’s a lot like with the first Friday the 13th which is mostly known for the non-Jason killer and the sorta-Jason jump scare. The first Child’s Play really does have a lot going for it even if the more recognizable elements like the campiness and Jennifer Tilly’s Tiffany are absent. In a way that kind of makes it perfect for a remake as the finer points of the original can feel fresh to newer audiences who only know of the franchise in the broadest of terms. Then again, turning Chucky from a possessed doll to a bad robot doesn’t feel particularly inspired, but I guess we can’t begrudge a remake for trying something new, right? Does this manage to capture the spirit of the original film while telling it in a new and interesting way, or is this yet another mess of a movie to throw on the pile with The Nightmare on Elm Street remake, The Black Christmas remake, and whatever the heck that Rings movie was supposed to be? Let’s find out!!
Andy Barclay and his mother Karen (Gabriel Bateman and Aubrey Plaza) have just moved to the city and are trying to start fresh with a new life, yet neither one of them seem to be doing a great job of it. Karen is in a relationship with a huge jerk named Shane (David Lewis), Andy isn’t making any friends with the kids in his building, and to make matters worse Karen has to work the return desk at a department store which means she has to deal with angry jerks ALL day long. You’d think she’d recognize the jerk-gene in her boyfriend considering how many of them visit her on a daily basis, but regardless of that, Andy’s birthday is coming up and she’s got nothing for him. I mean I guess she COULD buy him a Cabbage Patch knockoff doll, but considering it’s not the late eighties and he’s thirteen, it doesn’t seem like a good fit. Maybe she’ll “procure” one of those Buddi Dolls that one of the customers returned which I GUESS is supposed to be an A.I. assistant only MORE anthropomorphic since it’s housed inside a creepy looking robot doll. Hey, it’s cheaper than a new phone! Karen takes it home and Andy, while initially resistant, ends up finding a soft spot for the little bugger named Chucky (Mark Hamill), but not everything is as it should be because Chucky is not just an A.I.; it’s a LEARNING A.I. who observes things around it and jumps to the conclusion that murder might just might be the best way to solve Andy’s problems, and unfortunately for Andy this isn’t a problem that can be solved by turning it off and turning it back on again. Can Andy teach Chucky the ways of peace before he starts leaving a lot of bloody messes in his wake? Just how far will Chucky’s programming go to ensure Andy’s “happiness” at the exclusion of everything else? Couldn’t we let Mark Hamill use his Joker voice and just say Andy downloaded a custom speech pack from the cloud!?
Ingrid Goes West and all the images you see in this review are owned by Neon
Directed by Matt Spicer
Everyone likes Aubrey Plaza, right? I mean sure, she played Grumpy Cat that one time… and she was in Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates… but even those can’t take away from her amazing work in Scott Pilgrim vs the World, Parks and Recreation, even stuff like Legion which I haven’t seen yet but have heard good things about. Though, she doesn’t have to push it with stuff like Dirty Grandpa. Anyway, this film seems to be quite a departure for her, at least as far as the stuff I’ve seen, and seems reminiscent of stuff like The Cable Guy or One Hour Photo where you take a famous comedian and have them go SO far against type that it’s practically the key selling point of the movie. It’s not ALWAYS a winning formula, but it can at least make for an interesting movie which this certainly looks to be at the very least! Does Aubrey Plaza have what it takes to branch out of her comfort zone and blow us all away in a completely different genre, or are we stuck watching the same old shtick over and over again to diminishing results? Let’s find out!!
Ingrid Thorburn (Aubrey Plaza) has had it rough as of late. Not only did her mother just die, but her best friend had a wedding and didn’t even bother to invite her! Okay, TECHNICALLY they were FACEBOOK friends and her way of handling the situation wasn’t the BEST show judgement (mace is usually not the best tool when trying to express your disappointment in someone), but hey! She got some help at a nearby hospital and she even got a decent amount of money from her mother’s insurance policy! This is the perfect chance for her to start fresh and find someone NEW to stalk! But the million dollar question is… who!? Well, she finds out about a photographer named Taylor (Elizabeth Olsen) while reading a magazine and follows her on Instagram; immediately falling in love with the life that Taylor leads and decides that she wants a piece of that. She ends up going to California (oh NOW I get it!) and rents a pool house from some dude name Dan (O’Shea Jackson Jr) who’s writing an unsolicited spec script for the new Batman movie, and proceeds to find a way to ingratiate herself into Taylor’s life. She manages to do so (I won’t spoil how here!) and soon becomes close friends with both Taylor and her husband Ezra (Wyatt Russell), but how long can this charade go on before the two find out just how obsessive Ingrid is or are on the receiving end of her wrath? Well Taylor’s brother Nicky (Billy Magnussen) might just have something to do with it who seems to be able to see through Ingrid’s bullshit. Probably because he’s manipulative and evil in just the same ways that she is; or perhaps even worse! Will Ingrid find the connection with people she’s so desperately seeking, or will she find a way to ruin everything once her façade starts to crack? Will Dan realize that Ingrid is up to no good before he gets sucked into her world of lies and impulsive violence? Is it just me, or is this an unnecessarily dark turn to take a Parks and Recreation spin-off!?
Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates and all the images you see in this review are owned by 20th Century Fox
Directed by Jake Szymanski
We all love Zac Efron, right? Sure there was a point where everyone inexplicably hated him the same way that everyone hated DiCaprio after Titanic, but the guy is just bursting with charisma when he’s not merely bursting out of his clothes. Still, he’s hit a bit of a rut recently where he’s either in an awful movie or he’s in a decent enough movie but isn’t asked to stretch very far, and I fear this might continue for a while considering how badly his sincere low budget drama We Are Your Friends ended up being received by everyone other than me. This one looks to be a continuation of that trend where he’s playing yet another dumb guy with a stupidly hot bod, though maybe they can manage to do something interesting with that character rather than just regurgitate jokes we’ve seen him do for the last five years? Yeah, I don’t have much hope either, but you never know! Let’s find out!!
The movie is all about Mike and Dave (Zac Efron and Adam Devine); two brothers who may as well be spin-off characters from the Neighbors movies as both are in total broski mode as they are PROBABLY in their thirties by now (their age isn’t specified) yet are still trying to live life like they’re college douche bags. They’re liquor salesmen but as far as I can tell they only have one client who buys their whiskey out of pity, and their apartment looks like the jock-pocalypse took place, what with the empty pizza boxes and indoor basketball hoop. Their bubble is about to burst though, at least somewhat, they are confronted by their parents and younger sister Jeanie (Sugar Lyn Beard) who’s wedding is coming up and all of them, including the fiancé Eric (Sam Richardson), want them to shape up and act like adults rather than party animals. How exactly do they expect these two knuckleheads to pull this off? By getting dates of course! Through a whole bunch of convoluted means, they end up meeting Alice and Tatiana (Anna Kendrick and Aubrey Plaza), who are pretending to be nice and stable girls so they can bum a free vacation off of these two as the wedding will take place in Hawaii; a destination I’m sure was chosen for its natural beauty and rich culture and wasn’t an excuse for the actors to take a vacation (a well-known Hollywood scam known as An Adam Sandler Movie). Of course, the bad girls can’t keep up the act for long which only leads to Mike and Dave getting all riled up and chaos eventually ensues! Can everyone manage to keep their shit together, at least until after the two get married? Will these four people thrown together through luck and manipulation manage to find… true love? Why would the supposedly reasonable people ever think that this plan would work out?
Dirty Grandpa and all the images you see in this review are owned by Lionsgate
Directed by Dan Mazer
Oh look! A January comedy! THOSE ARE ALWAYS GREAT, RIGHT? Okay fine, we are definitely in the dumping ground season so anything that comes out now is either a piece of crap that got pushed back or an earnest effort trying to make a name for itself but wasn’t confident it could hack it any other time of the year. Still, we all love Robert De Niro, right? It’s not like he’s been in a bad comedy before… oh wait. Boy, there is not a lot going for this movie. How bad can it be? Let’s find out!!
The movie follows the misadventures of Jason Kelly (Zac Efron) and his grandfather Dick (Robert De Niro) whose wife had just died and he plans to honor her memory by going to Florida as they had already planned to do before her death. He needs someone to drive him because his driver’s license has been revoked, and the only one with a big enough heart to help the guy in his time of need is the aforementioned grandson. Despite having his wedding only a week away (as well as an important meeting at the law firm coming up soon), he takes the old man on this trip from George to Florida but finds out very quickly that the man’s switch has flipped so hard that now he’s masturbating without warning, drinking constantly, and trying to stick his finger up the dresses of any girl he comes across. Will the very uptight and nervous Jason be able to handle this brand new grandpa that has entered his life? Will Robert De Niro get to fuck at least one more time before he dies? What obvious revelations will the both of them make over this bonding experience which involves massive amounts of drugs, multiple arrests, and swastika dicks? Does anyone else get the sense that this movie is trying WAY too hard?