The Rhythm Section and all the images you see in this review are owned by Paramount Pictures
Directed by Reed Morano
One of the unique selling points of this movie is that it’s produced by EON productions, and this is pretty significant considering they’ve only made four other films that weren’t in the Bond Franchise since its inception way back in 1961. Now I love me a good Bond film and they have certainly been some really good ones in the recent past (Spectre notwithstanding), so seeing their logo on a film is intriguing if nothing else; but sadly the reason I can focus so much on a production company is that there’s simply not much else about this movie that’s catching my eye. It looks way too much like other films I’ve seen in the last few years like American Assassin and The Foreigner; all of which span the range from nothing particularly impressive to outright terrible. Can this latest spy thriller manage to rise above its peers with the help of the Broccoli family, or is this yet another dime a dozen spy films that won’t have even half the shelf-life of the worst Bond film? Let’s find out!!
Stephanie Patrick (Blake Lively) has gone through a rough patch in her life. She was doing alright, but then her entire family died in a plane crash that may or may not have been terrorism (pretty sure that’s the first thing the government would figure out, but whatever) and has spent the last months in a spiraling depression. No home, no job, working as a sex worker because I guess that’s what grieving people do (did she not have friends or even second cousins that didn’t die?), but an unspeakable rage has built up inside of her that must be satiated by VENGEANCE! Fortunately a reporter (Raza Jaffrey) comes along and tells her exactly who the bad guys are and where to find them, so she tries to shoot the terrorist in the face but blows the opportunity instead of his brain matter; leading her to be in even more danger and getting the reporter killed in the process. The only hope left is the reporter’s source which is an ex-MI6 agent known as B (Jude Law) who begrudgingly agrees to train her so that she can take revenge PROPERLY next time. Will she be able to train her body to be a perfect killing machine and finally exact vengeance on those who murdered her family? What twists and turns will throw her off her path as she learns more and more about the complicated network of spies, extremists, and opportunists that facilitated the attack in the first place? I mean I’m PRETTY sure she can pull this off! She already fought off a shark, so how hard could this be!?
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 Shallows and all the images you see in this review are owned by Columbia Pictures
Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra
Everyone wants a crack at that Jaws money, or I guess that Shark Week money now that THAT has become a cultural touchstone… for some reason, and this is no exception. The big innovation this time though is to make it a bottle film which makes a certain amount of sense considering that any situation other than STRANDED AT SEA means it would be hard for a shark to get you. It’s either that or you’ll have to stick them in a tornado, and that shit got old REALLY quickly. Does this manage to be a taut and exciting thriller as Blake Lively tries to outsmart a shark, or is this just a low budget imitator of much better films? Let’s find out!!
The movie follows Nancy (Blake Lively) who’s gone to Mexico to find a beach that her mother visited long ago, and the reason she’s there in the first place is to work through some problems by surfing them away. Unfortunately, a whale had died close to the beach which has attracted a shark that then proceeds to attack Nancy while she’s catching waves alone. She survives the attack and manages to climb her way onto a nearby rock, but she’s got no phone, she’s got a huge bite mark in her leg, and the rock will sink back under the water once it’s High Tide. Can Nancy manage to find a way back to the shore without getting eaten? Will someone come by to rescue her before the sea rises? What is this shark’s problem!?