Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins and all the images you see in this review are owned by Paramount Pictures
Directed by Robert Schwentke
How many people have seriously sat down and watched that GI Joe movie in the last few years? Heck, I’m pretty sure Obama was barely into his second term the last time this franchise was the least bit relevant! GI Joe is just not a franchise I ever had any affection for even if the more ludicrous aspects of it seem right up my alley, and roping a guy like Henry Golding into the franchise when even The Rock couldn’t salvage it seemed like a lot of wasted time and effort. Still, it was a movie that Paramount had enough faith in to move out of its original October timeslot to wait until crowds can enjoy it on the big screen which is either true confidence in a unique vision or panicked desperation to try and turn a profit on a hundred million dollar ninja movie. Does this manage to elevate the franchise and generate enough good will to get a few more sequels out, or (much like the movie’s namesake) this was a really bad bet to go all in on? Let’s find out!!
A lone drifter known only by his fighting name Snake Eyes (Henry Golding) is searching for his father’s killer but hasn’t had much luck of it and spends most of his time punching things and being alone. He’s eventually recruited by the Yakuza with promises of finding the man he’s been hunting, but it doesn’t take long for that to go sideways as the boss Kenta (Takehiro Hira) wants him to prove his loyalty by killing a traitor. Now Snake Eyes is a lot of things, most notably a guy with a silly name, but he is not a killer so he and the supposed traitor fight their way out and escape; only for Snake Eyes to learn that he hit the motherlode as the traitor Tommy (Andrew Koji) is actually the heir to the most powerful ninja family in Japan and is offering Snake Eyes a place among them. This decision doesn’t sit well with everyone in Tommy’s clan, especially their head of security Akiko (Haruka Abe), but with the bad blood between Tommy and Kenta as well as the ever rising tide of terrorism and weapons in Japan (no doubt provided by an organization that likes to brand everything with snakes), Snake Eyes may just be the man they need to save the clan from the ever encroaching threats that wish to bring them to their knees. Is Snake Eyes really willing to dedicate himself to such a cause; especially with his father’s murderer still out there? What does Tommy see in this guy that has convinced him to make such a bold move, and is this a decision he will end up regretting once all the dice have been rolled? Is it just me or is this WAY more interesting than it has any right to be?
The Gentlemen and all the images you see in this review are owned by STX Films
Directed by Guy Ritchie
So hey! Now that we’re talked about our collective complicated relationship with Michael Bay, we might as well get to Guy Ritchie as well! I actually haven’t seen most of his movies, even the ones that everyone else seems to like (no, I haven’t seen Snatch) but the general consensus is well known and can be seen even in the few films I’ve sat through; an over reliance of style over substance which coupled with the wrong material is utterly disastrous. He SOMEHOW didn’t crash and burn with Aladdin even if that isn’t a great movie, but King Arthur was an absolute garbage fire of a movie; one that I’m sure we’ll all have fun laughing about for years to come. Then again, his adaptation of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. was a surprising fun little ride, and with him returning to his comfort zone for this movie maybe he’ll get back into the groove of things and give us something truly enjoyable once again! Can Guy Ritchie still knock it out of the park when he’s doing the one thing we know he’s good at? Let’s find out!!
Told to us by way of Fletcher the journalist (Hugh Grant), Mickey Pearson (Matthew McConaughey) is the biggest grower and distributor of marijuana in the UK, and despite being so successful and sacrificing so much to keep his business afloat, well he’s approaching that age where there are more important things and so he decides it’s time to sell it. His buyer to be is the much more respectable Matthew Berger (Jeremy Strong) who will need to pay a pretty penny for it as that kind of infrastructure will be primed to make BILLIONS once pot is legalized in the UK, but as it turns out there’s someone else vying for a chance to get it from Mickey; namely the Chinese-British gangster Dry Eye (Henry Golding) who’s uncle George (Tom Wu) basically controls all the other drugs in the country. Mickey isn’t planning on selling to anyone else though and politely tells him to shove it which was probably the right move to make but still ends up causing headache for Mickey and his crew including his right hand man Raymond (Charlie Hunnam) who coincidently is the person that Fletcher is telling this story to. Kind of seems odd that he’s telling Raymond about things that he was already there for, but Fletcher assures him that there’s a twist to this story that he won’t see coming and is one that he’s certain Raymond and Mickey will be more than willing to pay twenty MILLION dollars to find out. With so much at stake, what will Mickey do (or perhaps have already done given the framing device) to keep his empire from crumbling right before the big sale? What could Fletcher possibly have that Raymond and Mickey don’t already know, and is it really worth as much as he says it is? Will this be the redemption of both Charlie Hunnam and Guy Ritchie after that disastrous King Arthur movie!?
It’s not always easy to look past a REALLY blatant issue in a movie to see everything else that’s great about it, but this might be a case where that effort is warranted. It’s such an oddly paced and weirdly structured film that about an hour into the movie I legitimately thought we were still in the first act, and yet almost every individual scene works in its own isolated little bubble. It’s almost like a sketch comedy movie, like if Monty Python and the Holy Grail’s framing device was a guy reading the book out of order, and if you can look past how bizarrely this whole thing is paced (and a few moments where the crudeness and violence sail right past good taste) then you’ll find a really fun and interesting gangster film here. If only Guy Ritchie wouldn’t get in his own way the whole time, then we could have had something great, but at least he’s back in his element and isn’t trying to turn King Arthur into… I don’t even know; Robin Hood crossed with Dragon Ball Z and Dark Souls? Now that I think about it that does sound amazing, but trust me; he DID indeed find a way to screw that up.
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!?
Crazy Rich Asians and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures
Directed by Jon M Chu
Do you remember the last time an Asian man or an Asian women were the protagonist or even the romantic interest in a Romantic Comedy? The last one I can think of was Hayden Szeto in The Edge of Seventeen, and even then the role was rather tertiary. Thankfully we have the director of Jem and the Holograms (ugh…) making a movie that not only centers Asian actors in the leading roles, but is filled to the brim with Asian actors the same way… well ninety-four percent of films are with white actors. Does this Romantic Comedy turn out to be one of the better examples of the genre on top of being a huge boon for representation in Hollywood, or is this a great opportunity that is ultimately squandered by a less than stellar outing from Jon M Chu? Let’s find out!!
Rachel and Nick (Constance Wu and Henry Golding) have been going out for some time now and are enjoying their pretty average life in New York City with her being a College Professor of Economics and him… actually I’m not sure what he does, but they’re just great together and Rachel couldn’t be happier! All that changes however when Nick tells her that his best friend Colin (Chris Pang) is getting married in Singapore, which is where his family JUST SO HAPPENS to live, and that it’d be great if she would go with him. On top of that, Rachel’s college friend Goh Peik Lin (Awkwafina) lives in Singapore too and she’s been meaning to visit, so why the heck not? It’d be nice to meet his family, right? WRONG!! As it turns out, Nick is SUPER rich and comes from a wealthy as heck family which comes as a surprise for Rachel, so now she has to deal with Rich People Problems and being looking down upon for being a lowly… professor. Hey, when you’re as rich as Nick’s family is, being a professor might as well earn you minimum wage! And so Rachel’s vacation/torture begins as she gets to experience the opulence of Nick’s life while also fending off his controlling mother (Michelle Yeoh), a jealous ex-girlfriend (Jing Lusi), and anything else this new world wants to throw at her! Will she be able to make it through the weekend with her mental health and dignity in tact? What does it mean for her relationship with Nick if this is the family that she’d be a part of? How the heck did the guy behind Jem and the Holograms turn out to be THIS talented!? Why did that even happen if he’s capable of doing something like this!?