The Kitchen and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures
Directed by Andrea Berloff
Oh, now who doesn’t love a good period crime movie? We’re over a hundred years into the medium and mobsters have outlived cowboys, pirates, and musicals which, now that I think about it, would make an interesting For Honor sequel. I’ll have to pitch that Ubisoft at some point, but which I mean send an overly enthusiastic tweet. ANYWAY! What caught my attention about this movie right off the bat is the cast which stars the one and only Melissa McCarthy alongside Tiffany Haddish who’s become one of the most recognizable names in movies, and yet despite two of the biggest names in Hollywood right now (as well as Elizabeth Moss who’s great as well), this hasn’t gotten a whole lot of advertisement from the studio or buzz from the critics. Is this a hidden gem that everyone else but me managed to overlook, or is this a disaster that everyone was desperate to hide? Let’s find out!!
Kathy, Ruby, and Claire (Melissa McCarthy, Tiffany Haddish, and Elisabeth Moss) are the wives of three members of the Irish Mob back in the late seventies who are sent to jail after a robbery gone bad and they’re left to fend for themselves despite the promises that the mob will protect them financially until their husbands get out. With nothing to fall back on, a lousy economy, and two kids to take care of, Kathy decides that they should pick up the slack that the current mob boss Little Jackie (Myk Watford) has left during his ineffectual run at the top. She, Ruby, and Claire start to collect protection money, solves problems for local businesses, and even starts to recruit a few of the guys to their side including Gabriel (Domhnall Gleeson) who has just returned to New York after a seemingly shady departure and is looking to sow himself back into the community. Seems like they were just what this organization needed to thrive, but with every opportunity they grab and every inch of power they accrue, it only paints a bigger target on their back as more and more people start to get jealous of how much these house wives have managed to show them up. Not only that, but their husbands will only be in prison for so long, so what’s gonna happen when they get out and try to reassert themselves as the head of their respective families as well as the organization itself? Can this trio survive in a world full of death, violence, and hard decisions? What kind of attention will they attract from outside interests, and will they see an opportunity to destroy the Irish mob or worthy foes to make peace with? Anyone else not surprised that Melissa McCarthy is great as a cold blooded killer?
Hunter Killer and all the images you see in this review are owned by Summit Entertainment
Directed by Donovan Marsh
Ugh… you know what’s worse than being sick for two weeks? Being sick for two weeks and then getting better JUST IN TIME to see Hunter Killer. I didn’t get to catch Can You Ever Forgive Me while it was at the nearby theater! Oh no, I have to drive out of town to see it now if I’m lucky, but the latest Gerard Butler vehicle? Why that’s just a hop skip and a jump away! I’m sure I’ll be cursing my recent good heath by the time this is over, but I guess you never know until you see the movie itself, do you!? I mean sure it LOOKS like a generic submarine thriller starring America’s Fifth Favorite Action Figure, but… I guess it could be a FUN version of that! Let’s find out!!
As the movie begins we see an American sub is following a Russian sub before getting blown away by a third sub, and so The Pentagon needs to send a second sub of their own to find out what happened. Not just anyone can pull this mission off however! Oh no, they need a PROFESSIONAL hard ass with a heart of gold and a bladder of titanium! They need… JOE GLASS (Gerard Butler)! Joe takes the USS Arkansas along with a crew of very professional character actors to see if they can find the original US sub, and after a rather intense skirmish with a Russian sub (presumably the one that shot down the first American sub), they manage to find our sub… as well as their sub. Yes, it seems that the original Russian sub had been sunk somehow and JOE GLASS needs some answers! While all this is going on, Admieral Donnegan (Gary Oldman), Rear Admiral Fisk (Common), and NSA analyst Norquist (Linda Cardellini) are coordinating an effort to get a squad of US soliders on Russian soil to find out if President Zakarin (Alexander Diachenko) is up to no good! Said team is led by Lieutenant Beaman (Toby Stephens) along with the rookie Martinelli (Zane Holtz) and two other guys who find that things may not be as simple as we initially thought and that Zarkarin might be in danger himself. Will JOE GLASS find the answers he’s looking for on that mysteriously sunk submarine? What can Lieutenant Beaman and his crew do now that they know that something is up and they are the only ones in position to do anything about it? With so much danger under the sea, will this sub sink faster than Gerard Butler’s career!?
Girls Trip and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures
Directed by Malcolm D Lee
I am so not looking forward to this one. They just kept playing that trailer over and OVER again in front of everything I saw, and I never once found it funny; especially that joke (and I use the term loosely) about infectious diseases NOT being spread through the rectum. Are we supposed to laugh because it’s ignorant? I don’t know, but all that said it’s got a decent enough looking cast and trailers don’t ALWAYS accurately reflect the finished product. Maybe there’s a chance this will turn out fine! That’s possible, right!? Well let’s find out!!
The movie is about four friends who were besties in college, but then life happened and they started to drift away as they found love, careers, and other things that kept them busy. We’ve got Ryan Pierce (Regina Hall) who’s a self-help celebrity married to some dude named Stewart (Mike Colter), Lisa Cooper (Jada Pinkett Smith) who’s a divorcee as well as a helicopter mom, Sasha Franklin (Queen Latifah) who was going to be a great journalist but is stuck writing about celebrity gossip on her blog, Dina (Tiffany Haddish) who’s… well THE WILD CARD I guess. Anyway, the titular trip of the movie happens when Ryan has an opportunity to get a TV show and is meeting up with the TV executives in New Orleans while she’s ALSO giving a speech at a women’s conference of some kind; both of which by the way are happening over the same weekend as the Essence Music Festival. Given this once in a lifetime opportunity, she decides to call up her friends and invite them for a wild weekend which will surely be filled with shenanigans and wine coolers! Of course, things don’t go as planned as all four of them have issues that bubble up to the surface during the trip and Ryan is at risk of losing that TV show deal if things get too far out of hand. Can Ryan keep things under control between her wild friends and even her husband long enough to get what she’s always wanted? Will Sasha betray her best friend once she gets her hands on some juicy gossip about her and her love life? Will the other two resolve… whatever story arcs THEY have!?
John Wick: Chapter 2 and all the images you see in this review are owned by Summit Entertainment
Directed by Chad Stahelski
WOO!!! JOHN WICK IS BACK!! Now I wasn’t as over the moon as some people were with that first movie (), but I am never the less EXTREMELY excited to see what Keanu Reeves has up his sleeve in the sequel! True, sequels to unexpected hits are almost universally terrible (*cough* Highlander 2, The Hangover 2, Taken 2 *cough*), but there’s not a whole lot of ways to screw up a formula like this; especially when what made it work the first time around was well choreographed and expertly shot action scenes; two things that Keanu Reeves and the returning director seem to prize above all else. Can this manage to be as exceptional as the man himself and ACTUALLY be a good sequel, or has the air gone out of this series the same way the Matrix did when we got ITS sequels? Let’s find out!!
The movie picks up RIGHT where the last one left off, namely with John Wick (Keanu Reeves) finishing off what remains of the Russian mob (his injuries have healed rather nicely considering how close he was to dying at the end of the last film) and getting his car back. Of course, because of how much noise he made doing so, he gets a visit from a former associate who wants him to do a favor despite his insistence that he’s FINALLY going to retire. This turns out to be a VERY bad move as the associate Santino D’Antonio (Riccardo Scamarcio) then blows up his fucking house because of this. Doesn’t kill the dog though! No, he makes to the end! Anyway, apparently Santino has a Marker with John which supposedly makes all of this make sense (spoiler alert: it doesn’t) as a Marker is essentially a blood oath where one party owes the other a one-time request that they MUST do or else… I don’t know, they die? I mean, good luck finding someone to kill John Wick! Hell, if that was even an option, why don’t you send THAT person to do the job for you!? Well no one was asking for my opinion when they were writing this, so John takes the job, executes his target, and THAT’S when things go to hell as the target’s bodyguard Cassian (Common) was an old friend but now a SWORN MORTAL ENEMY, and Santino betrays John and tries to have him killed. I totally didn’t see that coming, especially when HIS bodyguard Ares is played by Ruby Rose and was giving John dirty looks throughout the first act (angry dirty; not sexy dirty). So now he’s got Cassian on his ass, Santino trying to kill him, and oh yeah A SHIT TON OF OTHER ASSASSINS as Santino has ALSO put a hit on him just for good measure. Will John be able to kill his way to Santino and finally get his retirement once and for all? Well… PROBABLY considering how good he is at head shots, but does Santino plan to keep John JUST out of arm’s reach? Who can John trust now that there’s a huge bounty on his head and hit men are coming out the wood work for his very valuable head? How many suits does this guy go through on a daily basis!?
Barbershop: The Next Cut and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures
Directed by Malcolm D Lee
I tend not to review movies if I haven’t seen the original films first; even if the connection between them is tenuous at best. Mostly it’s an excuse to keep my own sanity (*cough* Allegiant *cough*) but I think it’s fair to say that those who go see sequels without seeing the previous films are gonna be hard pressed to review it in the context of the series as well as in the context of itself as a singular film. That said, I made an exception here; primarily because this is one of those years later sequels which means they’ll likely have a refresher of sorts at the beginning to catch everyone up to speed, and also because I thought the trailers looked pretty good with a solid cast and genuinely funny moments; That and the added bonus of seeing Nikki Minaj onscreen. ANYWAY! Does this manage to bring in a new audience while also pleasing the longtime fans of the series, or will this be a disaster borne from the cast and crew’s desire to just cash in on their previous success? Let’s find out!!
The movie primarily follows the misadventures of Calvin (Ice Cube) who runs a joint barber shop/beauty shop where many of his friends work, including his wife Angie (Regina Hall). Going to work every day with the people you love, shooting the shit, cutting hair; sounds like the perfect life, right? Well it WOULD be if the shop wasn’t right smack dab in the middle of one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Chicago! Calvin has to worry about gangsters shooting guns outside the shop, customers shooting them INSIDE the shop, and even his own son Jalen (Michael Rainey Jr) get suckered and seduced into the thug life. Can this little barber shop prove to be the catalyst for real change in the neighborhood once they decide to take direct action? Will Calvin sell the shop so that he and his family can get out of the bad neighborhood while leaving all his friends twisting in the wind? Is Cedric the Entertainer going to live up to his name for once!?