KIN and all the images you see in this review are owned by Lionsgate
Directed by Jonathan Baker and Josh Baker
Oh goody! Another film I literally knew nothing about before I went to go see it! It doesn’t necessarily bode well that I had never even seen a poster for it, let alone a trailer, before heading to the theater to see it, but I like being surprised by something that I have no expectations for going in. It doesn’t ALWAYS work out as the recent Alpha and A.X.L have proven, but a kid with a space gun sounds like a great place to start; especially if this is gonna be anything like Laser Blast from 1978! Admittedly there’s not much chance that a movie like THAT would be made nowadays (especially starring a kid) or given a wide release, but I can dream, right!? Does this manage to be an excellent gem that no one bothered to give the time of day, or was this ultimately buried in late August for a darn good reason? Let’s find out!!
Elijah Solinski (Myles Truitt) is your average fourteen year old boy stuck in a crappy situation. His mom’s dead, his brother’s in jail, and he lives in Detroit with no Robocop in sight to make things better. Well at least one of those things is about to change (no, not Robocop) as his brother Jimmy (Jack Reynor) has been released from prison and is gonna stay with him and their dad (Dennis Quaid) until he can find a stable job and get his life back on track. This is proving to be a very difficult thing however as he apparently owes sixty thousand dollars to a local gangster (James Franco) for protecting him while in jail and he wants the money back NOW. He doesn’t wait until Jimmy can get a decent job to garnish his salary, he doesn’t even have some dangerous job for him to do as a way of paying down the debt. He expects Jimmy to pull 60K out of his behind right away, which I guess makes James Franco “quirky” instead of “very bad at his job”. Despite how foolish his business model is, Jimmy DOES actually pull through for the guy as the two of them along with Franco’s brother (no, not Dave) rob the safe at his father’s construction site. As fate would have it though, dear old dad walks in on the crime and gets killed by Franco which means that Jimmy in turn kills his brother and runs to find Elijah alone in the car. Thinking fast, Jimmy spins a tale about a road trip where their dad will meet them later and the two of them rush off with whatever money Jimmy could scrounge up and not much more than the clothes on their backs. Needless to say that Franco is a bit peeved about the whole “you murdered my brother” thing, and so he follows in hot pursuit looking for Jimmy and the one thing left in his life that he cares about. Oh! I almost forgot! Apparently Elijah found a space rife or something and is carrying it around in secret while aliens in Space Marine armor are trying to find it. For some reason the SPACE GUN managed to get kind of lost in the shuffle here. ANYWAY, will Jimmy and Elijah be able to start a new life together and escape the wrath of James Franco? How long can Jimmy keep up this ruse and what’s his plan once they DO find a place to settle down? Seriously, HOW DO YOU MAKE A MOVIE ABOUT A SPACE GUN THAT’S ABOUT ALMOST EVERYTHING ELSE EXCEPT THE SPACE GUN!?
The Disaster Artist and all the images you see in this review are owned by A24
Directed by James Franco
I may not be as over the moon in love with The Room as plenty of other people are, and it has admittedly lost a bit of its charm once you realize just how misogynistic the whole thing is, but it certainly has my respect as being one of the more unique examples of a GOOD BAD MOVIE due in no small part to the auteur himself, Tommy Wiseau. Now he’s far from the only ridiculously cocky creatives out there who write, direct, and star in what they perceive to be their one true masterpiece (*cough* Old Fashioned *cough*), but with Mr Wiseau there’s a genuine sense of mystery about the guy as many details of his origin are STILL unknown to this day (HOW IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE IN THE INTERNET AGE!?) and his… shall we say UNIQUE brand of acting certainly sets him apart from many of the other low rent struggling artists out there. No doubt there is a VERY interesting story to tell about this one guy, his one movie, and his friendship with co-star Greg Sestero, which the wannabe auteur himself James Franco has opted to do by adapting Greg’s book The Disaster Artist into a motion picture; one that he directs, produces, and stars in of course. Will this examination of one of Hollywood’s biggest oddities be a worthwhile exploration of the creative process and what it truly means to be an artist, or are we just desperately trying to milk a novelty that had lost its luster many years ago? Let’s find out!!
The movie follows the journey of two men; aspiring actor Greg Sestero (Dave Franco) and… I guess aspiring actor as well Tommy Wiseau (James Franco). The two meet in an acting class where Greg finds the eccentric weirdo with bad hair and a worse accent rather endearing for his utter fearlessness and ability to throw himself out there in ways that Greg is still struggling to do despite his hopes of becoming an actor. Because of Greg’s admiration for Tommy and Tommy’s love of being admired, the two move in together and work their way through Hollywood; getting small gigs here and there but nothing that will truly set them apart from the thousands of other working actors cluttering the streets of LA. After a particularly rough string of bad luck, Tommy eventually starts writing his own movie and wants none other than Greg himself to be the co-star. The Room is what he titles his masterpiece and he funds it himself with his seemingly unlimited supply of money but things go from awkward to unsustainable as Tommy’s ego and complete inexperience with the process starts escalating tensions with the cast and crew and even with his best friend Greg who’s trying to stick by him but is finding it hard and harder to deal with Tommy’s unpredictable behavior. Can Tommy find it within himself to get past his issues and foster a good working environment for the only people in the world who are helping him achieve his dreams? Will Greg stand by his best friend, or will he realize just how much Tommy is holding him back? WILL THE WORLD EVER UNDERSTAND THE BRILLIANCE OF THIS ONE MAN’S VISION!?
Alien: Covenant and all the images you see in this review are owned by 20th Century Fox
Directed by Ridley Scott
Before I get into the review proper, I feel it might be worth discussing my thoughts on the series as a whole in order to provide the proper context for everything else I’m about to say. Ridley Scott’s original film from 1979 probably holds up the best; even more so than James Cameron’s Aliens from 1986 which is still a VERY fun action film and one of the few BIGGER IS BETTER sequels out there (matched only by his own Terminator 2 in 1991). I give the edge to the original because it’s a straight up horror film and those tend to hold up better than shoot-em-action flicks (the quality of special effects changes rather quickly while what scares us transcends generations), but both are damn near the pinnacles of their respective genres. Alien 3… not so much. Oh sure, there’s PLENTY of aspects in it that are outright brilliant and awe inspiring (as well as bone chilling and utterly haunting), but they’re all wasted on a portentous and sluggish script that’s too impressed with its own sense of self-importance to pace itself properly, and yes I’m referring to the Assembly Cut which has most of the stuff that David Fincher wanted in it. The one thing this movie DIDN’T need was to be over two freaking hours (also, killing the most interesting new character off halfway through didn’t help things either). That said I would watch that movie TWICE if it meant I never had to watch Resurrection again. Good GRIEF is that a monstrous product of its time! I don’t think I’ve seen a franchise so thoroughly 90s-ified in the worst ways imaginable outside of that Roland Emmerich Godzilla movie! Needless to say that the franchise needed a fresh start in order to get things back on track; and it wasn’t gonna be with those FREAKING Alien vs Predator movies! I REALLY enjoyed Prometheus which seems to be a minority opinion for some reason, and I’m not sure why. No matter how “scientifically minded” you are, there is always gonna be things you didn’t expect when traveling to ANOTHER FREAKING PLANET and people are gonna make mistakes! Honestly, it seems less like a true critical consensus (film stands at a solid 72% on Rotten Tomatoes) than some inexplicable backlash due to it… not being completely scientifically accurate I guess? What was your first clue? Was it the giant humanoid albino dudes or the baby alien growing in that one person’s stomach? Now I didn’t know ANYTHING about Alien: Covenant walking into it other than it was Ridley Scott directing and that it will indeed have Xenomorphs throughout, but considering how much I liked Prometheus I was hopeful that some of the cool stuff Ridley was working with in that movie would find its way into this seemingly straightforward Alien creature feature. Does Ridley Scott succeed in his true return to the franchise he started all those years ago, or it time to end this bug hunt once and for all? Let’s find out!!
The movie begins with the crew of the Covenant, a spaceship with thousands of cryogenically frozen humans and almost as many frozen embryos, being violently woken up due to some sort of science catastrophe. Now normally the crew is left to sleep with the passengers, all of whom are headed to a new planet to colonize it, while their Synthetic buddy Walter (Michael Fassbender) takes care of everything, but with this… solar flare or something? I don’t know, let’s just go with that. With this solar flare causing havoc on the ship, all of them need to be woken up and at their posts to avert disaster. Most of them are fine, but sadly enough the captain (James Franco in a very brief and crispy cameo) gets burned alive in the chaos; leaving the second in command Chris Oram (Billy Crudup) in charge. So already things are going pear shaped on this trip that’s gonna take another seven years to complete, but they just so happen to pick up a strange signal that might be the answer to their problems. The signal traces back to a rather close planet which they scan and find to be very hospitable to their needs, even more so than the planet they were heading to in the first place! Despite the protestations of one the scientists Danny Branson (Katherine Waterston), Chris decides to at least investigate the place and see if they can locate the source of the strange signal as well as check if the planet really is as good as their scans indicate it to be. Of course it’s not. You KNOW it’s not. This movie isn’t called Pleasant Space Cruise; it’s called ALIEN COVENANT! The question isn’t IF they’re gonna get killed by monsters; it’s HOW MANY of them will! Aside from the obvious revelations, does the crew of the Covenant find something unexpected on this seemingly perfect planet? What was the source of that strange signal to begin with? Maybe it’s someone from one of the other films who’s playing someone new in this movie!?
Why Him? and all the images you see in this review are owned by 20th Century Fox
Directed by John Hamburg
Ugh… so just because Daddy’s Home was a decent movie means we’ll be getting raunchy sitcom movies every Christmas? I’ve been dreading this movie since the first trailer came out; not just because of how bad it looks, but because it has two REALLY talented leads in it who both can be doing so much more than… whatever the this is supposed to be. Oh well, I could be wrong. After all, Daddy’s Home looked almost as bad as this film, and I ended up enjoying that quite a bit! Can this be the surprise hit of the holiday season; even with Rouge One and Sing looing large over the multiplexes!? I kinda doubt it, but let’s find out!!
The movie is all about the Fleming family; headed up by Ned (Bryan Cranston) and consisting of wife Barb (Megan Mullally), teenage son Scotty (Griffin Gluck) and grown up daddy’s girl Stephanie (Zoey Deutch). Without much warning, the family finds out that Stephanie has managed to land a boyfriend while at college and that she hadn’t bothered to tell them about him for months now, so OBVIOUSLY she has to drag them out to California just so they can meet him and of course this happens during the holidays so we can add that bit of tension on top of things. When the family arrives they find that the man of Stephanie’s dreams is some dude nearly forty named Laird Mayhew (James Franco) who acts like he’s still in college and is never called out on his shit because he is LOADED. Yeah, something about a monkey war game app which has to be Candy Crush levels of popular for him to be THIS rich, but it doesn’t matter. The important thing is that this overzealous bohemian stoner has ensnared the heart of Ned’s baby girl, and while there’s not much he can do to stop this, he’ll be damned if he enables this. That attitude comes to a head when Laird confides that he is going to ask Stephanie to marry him on Christmas Day and wants Ned’s blessing which he doesn’t get. Not one to give up though, Laird promises to make this the best weekend ever and try to convince Ned that he’ll be a good husband for Stephanie and the best son in law ever! Will Ned warm up to Laird’s unique ways of expressing himself and accept him for who he is? Will the rest of the family fall in line with Ned, or will they be enticed by Laird’s limitless supply of money and video games? Is anyone else finding this just the TINIEST bit creepy?
Sausage Party and all the images you see in this review are owned by Columbia Pictures
Directed by Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon
I’m pretty sure I’ve been hearing this movie for at least five years and Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg have been trying to get this made for even longer than that. I’m not sure how it took so much work to get this movie made as both of them are bankable stars and this movie ended up costing next to nothing (ten million is nothing in terms of Hollywood features), but regardless of whatever strife they had to work through, the day has finally come for us to see a movie about dicks, vaginas, and assholes being played by hotdogs, buns, and bagels. Does this movie end up being a classy as fuck masterpiece for the ages, or was all that effort for naught and this is just a giant steaming load of lameness? Let’s find out!!
The movie follows the misadventures of several food items in this one grocery store known as Shopwell’s, but for the most part our focus is on Frank the Sausage (Seth Rogen). He’s living the perfect sausage life; namely staying fresh inside his package and praising the Gods every day in the hopes that he will be chosen to leave the store and enter the great beyond! Well he’s also praying that he can nail that hot little number in the bun package, Brenda Bunson (Kristen Wiig), but he’s got to keep those urges in check. After all, the Gods only want FRESH food that isn’t tainted with sin! Now all the food in this store (and presumably all the other stores in the world) seem to all follow this belief system where the humans are Gods taking them to a promised land, but as we all know humans tend to be to total assholes and will end up eating them instead which is SUPER fucked up! The day finally comes for Frank, his other sausage buddies (Carl and Barry played by Jonah Hill and Michael Cera), and Brenda as one of the Gods chooses them and they’re put in its holy shopping cart. Of course, things don’t go quite as planned as the shopping cart runs into another one; splattering a lot of the food in a very gruesome manner and knocking both Frank and Brenda (along with a few other items) out of the cart and into the store… OUT OF THEIR PACKAGES!! Now you may have assumed that the shopping carts collided due to bad luck. Not quite so, as a jar of Honey Mustard (Danny McBride) had seen some shit and jumped out of the cart after telling the rest of the food how fucked they are, and that was the cause of the crash. Why is this important? Well there was one person listening the entire time, and that was Frank! So on top of getting back inside a sausage package (along with Brenda who needs to find a bun package) Frank is on a journey to find out the truth and if what Honey Mustard was saying had any merit to it! Can Frank discover the dark secrets that the world outside the grocery store holds? Will this inevitably create a schism between him and Brenda, the latter of which still has faith in the Gods and their divine plan? And what about Carl and Barry!? WHAT THE FUCK IS GONNA HAPPEN TO THEM!?
The Night Before and all the images you see in this review are owned by Columbia Pictures
Directed by Jonathan Levine
Is it too late to declare a war on Christmas? I don’t mind the holidays, but I’ve also worked in retail so I got a firsthand look at the Christmas calendar creep and how NO ONE likes to push this shit in October, let alone November. Thankfully they ALMOST waited until December to start throwing out holiday films with last week’s Love the Coopers and now The Night Before. Unlike that other film though, I was REALLY looking forward to seeing this because I love Seth Rogen and his particular brand of comedy. Not everything he’s been a part of has been great (I thought The Interview was pretty underwhelming), but I always like to see what he does next which this time seems to be pretending he’s in the same age group as Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Anthony Mackie. Wait a minute. HE’S THE YOUNGEST ONE OF THEM!? Huh. Learn something new every day. So will this be the kind of movie to bring out the holiday cheer and break out the eggnog, or will this make everyone feel even Grinch-ier than they already are at this time of the year? Let’s find out!!
The movie follows the adventures of Ethan, Isaac, and Chris (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen, and Anthony Mackie) on their last big Christmas Eve together before ending their tradition. You see, about fifteen years ago Ethan’s parents were killed by a drunk driver right around Christmas time and so his friends decided that they will spend the holidays with him which soon became a tradition. What also became a tradition is that they would party their ASSES off because they were young when they started it so of course that’s what they ended up doing. However, it’s been going on for way too long and Isaac and Chris have their own things going on while Ethan is still stuck in place, unable to get his life going. Still, he agrees to this being the last time they make this a big party event and even has a surprise for his friends that will make this the best one of them all. There’s a super-secret party that takes place every year (the Nutcracker Ball) that they’ve never had a chance to go to because they could never find out where it was or how to get invitations. Through sheer luck, Ethan finds three tickets for the damn thing at his shitty job and steals them without a second thought so that he and his friends can have the greatest night of their lives! Will this final night be all it’s cracked up to be, or are they just too damn old to keep going the way they’ve been going even for one more night? Will they be able to salvage their friendship despite the changes in their lives that makes it harder for them to find the time? Wait, how fucking deep is this movie about taking drugs and Christmas shenanigans!?
Starring Jason “fist with an accent” Statham, written by Sylvester “I wrote Rocky a long time ago” Stallone, and has James “I’m James Franco” Franco as an evil redneck. This sounds like the recipe for a down and dirty southern classic right? Well there’s only one way to find out, and that’s to keep reading!