Tag Archives: Ben Schwartz

Cinema Dispatch: Night School

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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.

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“Oh well.  I’m sure this will all make sense in the editing room!”

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Cinema Dispatch: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

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Star Wars: The Last Jedi and all the images you see in this review are owned by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Directed by Rian Johnson

And we’re back for our yearly song and dance to the empire George Lucas created and Disney is rebuilding!  Not that Star Wars ever really went away (nor did its fans who were perfectly willing to still spend money on it), but the last few years have been just the shot in the arm the franchise needed in order to make it more than a nostalgia artifact that won’t go away into something that will resonate with audiences today and maintain its throne as KING OF THE BLOCKBUSTERS.  Now that we’re at the second installment of the new trilogy, will it be yet another example of Disney getting this formula right, or have we already started hurtling head long into the dark side… by which I mean the movie is not very good?  Let’s find out!!

The movie picks up not long after the events of the first film where The First Order is understandably peeved over the destruction of the Star Killer Base and are on a warpath to hunt down the remnants of The Rebellion; more or less whittling them down to a single flagship desperately trying to find a place to hole up until the heat dies down.  Unfortunately for them, Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis) along with his own flagship are right on their tails and are blasting away at the Rebel ship’s shields until they can get a shot in and blow the whole thing up; effectively killing the resistance and all the loveable characters onboard.  Said characters include Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) who’s having trouble ceding to the Rebel Leadership which is primarily General Leia and Admiral Holdo (Carrie Fisher and Laura Dern), Finn (John Boyega) who’s all fixed up after the fight against Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and the engineer Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran) who’s sister recently died in an attack and wants to help Finn in saving everyone who’s left on the flagship.  While Finn, Pie, and Rose are working out a way to save the ship while subverting the Rebel Leadership, Rey (Daisy Ridley) is off on Planet Nowhere with Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) trying to coax the latter into going back to The Rebels and giving her Jedi lessons, while Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo)… well he’s keeping the Millennium Falcon warm in case either of them needs it.  Need it they might though considering how dire the situation is with The Rebels and Rey can’t exactly wait around for Luke to stop being a grumpy pants; especially with Kylo Ren growing more and more desperate to prove himself which only makes him that much more dangerous of a blunt tool for Snoke’s greater ambitions.  Will The Rebels find a way to survive this unceasing onslaught by The First Order?  Will Rey find her place in this conflict and become the Jedi Master that everyone can look up to in these trying times?  Will Luke teach her all those lessons he kinda sorta learned from Yoda and Obi-Wan!?

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“Do, or do not.  There is no try.”     “What do you mean there’s no try!?”     “Huh. You know, I never really understood that part either.”

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Cinema Dispatch: The Walk

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The Walk and all the images you see in this review are owned by TriStar Pictures

Directed by Robert Zemeckis

I thought I was done with the biopics!  HOW MANY MORE MUST I SIT THROUGH THIS YEAR!?  Oh wait.  This is based off the story that they did a really cool documentary of already?  Wait, it’s also directed by Robert Zemeckis and stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt?  Well when you put it that way, this might end up being one of the better ones this year!  Right up there with Straight Outta Compton if we’re lucky!  If nothing else, every resource you can imagine to make this into a great film is there (great story, great director, great actor) and all they need to do is put it together into a strong and compelling narrative that gets across what made this story so fascinating to begin with.  Can Zemeckis work his magic to give us yet another masterpiece to put alongside his other great films, or will this end up being a lesser version of the great documentary that we got less than a decade ago?  Let’s find out!!

The movie is a dramatization of the events that led up to Philippe Petite and his friends tying a wire between the two towers of the World Trade Center that he walked on for forty-five minutes in August of 1974.  Along with the recreation of the night leading up to it and the day of the walk, we also get some backstory for Philippe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who started tightrope walking at a young age and eventually became a street performer in Paris.  There’s not much of a revelation for this guy that led to him decoding to walk between the towers.  He saw an article about its construction in a magazine (while waiting to see a dentist) and just decided that that would be a worthy challenge for his skills and would be a great artistic statement.  This is no small endeavor mind you and Philippe doesn’t waste what time he has before the towers are complete.  He goes back to his mentor Papa Rudy (Ben Kingsley) and learns as much as he can to perfect his craft as well as gathering accomplices to assist him in setting up the tightrope on the day they set the plan into motion.  Will the group be able to get to the top of the tower and set everything up before they get caught by police?  Will Philippe accomplish his dream which boarders on madness?  Well this IS a true story so you may already know what happens… but can Robert Zemeckis make you care anyway!?

“Don’t look down.  Don’t look down.  Don’t look down…”

“Don’t look down.  Don’t look down.  Don’t look down…”

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