Tag Archives: Kumail Nanjiani

Cinema Dispatch: Stuber

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Stuber and all the images you see in this review are owned by 20th Century Fox

Directed by Michael Dowse

I don’t know about you, but if there’s ONE thing I’ve always wanted to see in a movie, its endless product placement for a company trying to corner the market on an industry through sheer financial force of will!  Then again, I probably shouldn’t be sitting TOO pretty on my high horse considering I still review Disney films despite their vicious takeover of 20th Century Fox (coincidentally the studio who made this film), so I guess I’ll just have to judge this movie on its own merits instead of how blatantly EVIL it’s marketing is.  Anyway!  Does this Buddy Comedy manage to be the best of both their lead actors’ filmographies, or are you much better off watching Hotel Artemis and The Big Sick instead?  Let’s find out!!

Stu (Kumail Nanjiani) is your average millennial stuck trying to make it in the gig economy and failing to earn the affections of his BFF (Betty Gilpin) who he’s been secretly in love with but decided to invest in her startup company instead of just telling her he likes her.  We’ve all been there, am I right!?  Well investing in other people’s ideas isn’t cheap, so along with his day job at a sporting goods store he drives with Uber (DOWNLOAD NOW FOR YOUR MOBILE DEVICES!!) and does his very best to be as accommodating as possible.  This is 2019 though, and apparently being a massive jerk is in vogue now so despite his best efforts he’s barely hanging onto his current user score which is dangerously close to getting him kicked off the service entirely.  Enough about that guy though!  This is a movie with a famous wrestler, so let’s talk about that famous wrestler!  Vic (Dave Bautista) is a cop who is obsessed with finding this drug trafficker named Oka Teijo (Iko Uwais) who he nearly caught a while back but managed to escape and also killed his partner in the process.  After six months though, there hasn’t been a break in the case and so he takes a bit of time off to try and reconnect with his daughter (Natalie Morales ) and finally get that laser eye surgery he’s been meaning to get.  He’s at home and waiting for his vision to return as well as running out the clock until the start of his daughter’s art show when he gets a call from one of his informants telling him that Teijo is gonna be at this big drug deal later tonight at some undisclosed location in town.  Seeing his chance but not seeing much else, Vic is determined to take Teijo down once and for all… but he needs a ride.  I THINK YOU SEE WHERE THIS IS GOING!!  Can Stu provide wonderful ride sharing service to the antsy and determined Vic and maintain his unobtrusive existence with a slightly higher star rating?  Can Vic solve this case without his vision, and can he convince Stu to help him beyond his duty of just getting him from one place to another?  Seriously, does this dude not have even ONE cop friend or a super tough bro he could have called instead!?

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“I tried to get someone else to pick me up, but he was too busy.”     “Oh really?”     “AND HIS NAME IS JOHN CENA!!”     “I don’t need your life story, pal.”

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Cinema Dispatch: Men in Black: International

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Men in Black: International and all the images you see in this review are owned by Sony Pictures Releasing

Directed by F Gary Gray

As tacky as it may seem, I kind of want to see MORE studios blatantly try to pick at the MCU’s carcass by snatching up its major talent and putting them in new scenarios with similar dynamics.  It’s kind of like the cinematic equivalent of an Elseworld’s tale or maybe even one of those bizarre crossover comics where the X-Men are on the Enterprise or Doctor Who has to fight the Cenobites or whatever.  Picking up both Chris Hemsworth in full on Thor Swagger mode and Tessa Thompson at the height of her popularity is probably the best thing this film has going for it because it certainly isn’t the name brand recognition.  The first Men in Black movie was good but is older than the target audience of this film, the sequel was utter dreck despite having my beloved Johnny Knoxville in a fun supporting role, and I never even bothered with the third movie that this thankfully doesn’t seem to be a direct sequel to.  Still, the concept is at least unique enough that you could still salvage it given the right talent which looks to be the case with its cast as well as being directed by F Gary Gray.  Can the MIB be brought back from the dead to be the next big cinematic franchise, or are we doomed to repeat the mistakes of the late nineties and early 2000s over and over again

Molly (Tessa Thompson) has spent the last twenty years looking for the mysterious Men in Black organization which tried to capture an alien in her childhood home but failed to do so and also failed to neuralyse her like they did her parents.  It was a pretty serendipitous event as well because Molly is a bit of a loner and cares more about unlocking the mysteries of the universe than having friends or forming genuine human relationships; a trait prided in members of the MIB!  Because of this as well as her ability to eventually find them, the current head of the New York branch Agent O (Emma Thompson) gives her a shot with the new moniker Agent M and sends her to London for training where she runs into Agent H (Chris Hemsworth) who is a big shot hero from a few years ago but seems to be in a bit of a slump.  He and the head of the London branch High T (Liam Neeson) once stopped an alien invasion with nothing but a couple of weapons and their wits, but when a protection operation H takes M along on goes completely awry, it could spell the end of not just their careers but the Earth itself.  They must solve the mystery of who wanted to kill H’s alien buddy Vungus the Ugly (Kayvan Novak) and whether or not there’s some greater conspiracy happening with the MIB that this is just a small part of.  Oh yeah, and there’s a comic relief alien (Kumail Nanjiani) that does cute things and spouts sarcasm.  Can M and H learn to work together and solve the mystery before MIB or something more dangerous catches up to them?  Will the organization that prides itself on being secretive collapse into ruin due to the duplicitous nature of one of its own?  Is it just me, or is it becoming increasingly hard to believe that THIS many people and THIS much equipment are STILL a complete mystery to the undiscerning masses; all of whom have smart phones and social media accounts?

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“Is this the place?”     “Yup.  XxVegetaAlphaxX won’t be uploading Men in Black and nutshot complications any time soon.”     “Freaking Reddit.”

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Cinema Dispatch: The Big Sick

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The Big Sick and all the images you see in this review are owned by Amazon Studios and Lionsgate

Directed by Michael Showalter

I try to keep up with who the big up and coming comedians are, but I often find myself under a giant rock when something like this comes out starring a guy who I’ve CERTAINLY seen in other movies like Fist Fight and Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, but wasn’t aware of his output beyond that.  I’ve never seen Silicon Valley which seems to be Kumail Nanjiani’s biggest role to date (though he DID play Prismo in Adventure Time) so this is gonna be the first time that I’ve seen him in a starring role as opposed to a funny secondary character in REALLY mediocre or outright awful comedies, and apparently it’s somewhat autobiographical which makes it even MORE representative of what this guy is all about.  Does Kumail’s big debut as a leading man in his own life story manage to hit the mark and hopefully launch him into super stardom, or is this just a failed vanity project whose only purpose will be as a piece of trivia for Silicon Valley fans?  Let’s find out!

The movie is based on the real story about Kumail Nanjiani’s relationship with Emily V Gordon (played by Zoe Kazan but Emily V Gordon is the co-writer here) and the hardships they had to endure along the way.  Kumail is living the Stand-Up Comedy dream of a crappy apartment and shitty comedy club gigs while Emily is working towards her masters in Psychology when the two of them meet and quickly fall for each other.   Sadly, life keeps getting in the way of their happiness as Kumail’s mother and father (Zenobia Shroff and Anupam Kher) still expect him to marry a Pakistani woman and he doesn’t have the heart to either confront his parents about this or to tell Emily about their plans for him.  Things eventually come to a head, I won’t spoil too much here, but there’s a tragedy that happens where Emily is in the hospital and Kumail has no idea what to do; especially when her parents (Holly Hunter and Ray Romano) enter the picture and are immediately skeptical of Kumail.  Now Kumail is stuck in the worst of all cases; trying to coddle two sets of parents who are looking out for their kids and making terrible mistakes, and also trying to figure out exactly what he wants and how hard he’s willing to fight for it.  Will Emily overcome whatever illness has struck her so severely?  Will the two of them manage to overcome whatever issues they may have and properly fight for each other’s happiness?   Does anyone else think this might be a new benchmark for romantic comedies!?  Maybe not one of the BEST, but it sure feels like it’s gonna have an impact, right!?

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“This is a lot like Annie Hall!”     “Hmm… let’s not.”     “Yeah, you’re right.  Uh… Groundhog Day?”

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Cinema Dispatch: Fist Fight

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Fist Fight and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures

Directed by Richie Keen

First rule of Fist Fight?  Make as many references as possible!  Hey, I’m not the one who said FUCK THE POLICE in the red band trailer, alright?  That’s ALL on Ice Cube!  Corny lines aside though, I’ve been cautiously optimistic about this film; mostly because of the cast as I LOVE Charlie Day from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and Ice Cube can be pretty compelling when given the right material.  I mean sure, it IS February which usually doesn’t fare much better than January as far as movies, and while it’s been pretty mediocre since the start of 2017, there have been a few bright spots here and there.  Can this movie about two dudes beating the crap out of each other for contrived reasons be one of the exceptions?  Hell, we let John Wick get away with that, right?  Let’s find out!!

The movie takes place on the last day of high school where all the seniors are pulling hilarious pranks like hanging vulgar signs on the building, stealing the principal’s car, and mowing a penis into the track field.  Needless to say that none of the teachers are too thrilled to be here (and yet for some reason aren’t calling the cops) which includes English teacher Andy Campbell (Charlie Day) and History teacher Ron Strickland (Ice Cube).  Well… maybe less so Mr. Strickland who seems to come at today with the same FUCK YOU attitude that he would every other day as he’s the only teacher who can SORT OF keep the kids in line; mainly by threatening to beat the shit out of them.  Of course, a guy with these kinds of anger management issues is bound to do something stupid, and that happens on this fateful day where one kid pisses him of and he takes a fucking fire axe to his desk; in full view of the class as well as Mr. Campbell who just so happened to be around during the incident.  Under threat of both of them being fired by Principal Tyler (Dean Norris), Mr. Campbell rats on Mr. Strickland who in all fairness endangered the lives of SEVERAL people and probably shouldn’t be in a god damn school in the first place if this is how he’s gonna act.  Mr. Strickland doesn’t quite see things that way however, and like a REAL man decides that he’s gonna punch his way out of this, so he challenges Mr. Campbell to a fight after school which the entire town hears about in a matter of minutes.  Hashtag Teacher Fight!  Can Mr. Campbell find a way out of this ass beating, or is he gonna get his face smooshed in by a guy twice as big as him?  Does Mr. Strickland have ulterior motives for starting this fight in the first place?  Can… can someone tell who thought this was a good idea in 2017?  Please?

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Don’t pin this on him!  It was YOUR buddy who directed this damn thing!

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Cinema Dispatch: Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates

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Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates and all the images you see in this review are owned by 20th Century Fox

Directed by Jake Szymanski

We all love Zac Efron, right?  Sure there was a point where everyone inexplicably hated him the same way that everyone hated DiCaprio after Titanic, but the guy is just bursting with charisma when he’s not merely bursting out of his clothes.  Still, he’s hit a bit of a rut recently where he’s either in an awful movie or he’s in a decent enough movie but isn’t asked to stretch very far, and I fear this might continue for a while considering how badly his sincere low budget drama We Are Your Friends ended up being received by everyone other than me.  This one looks to be a continuation of that trend where he’s playing yet another dumb guy with a stupidly hot bod, though maybe they can manage to do something interesting with that character rather than just regurgitate jokes we’ve seen him do for the last five years?  Yeah, I don’t have much hope either, but you never know!  Let’s find out!!

The movie is all about Mike and Dave (Zac Efron and Adam Devine); two brothers who may as well be spin-off characters from the Neighbors movies as both are in total broski mode as they are PROBABLY in their thirties by now (their age isn’t specified) yet are still trying to live life like they’re college douche bags.  They’re liquor salesmen but as far as I can tell they only have one client who buys their whiskey out of pity, and their apartment looks like the jock-pocalypse took place, what with the empty pizza boxes and indoor basketball hoop.  Their bubble is about to burst though, at least somewhat, they are confronted by their parents and younger sister Jeanie (Sugar Lyn Beard) who’s wedding is coming up and all of them, including the fiancé Eric (Sam Richardson), want them to shape up and act like adults rather than party animals.  How exactly do they expect these two knuckleheads to pull this off?  By getting dates of course!  Through a whole bunch of convoluted means, they end up meeting Alice and Tatiana (Anna Kendrick and Aubrey Plaza), who are pretending to be nice and stable girls so they can bum a free vacation off of these two as the wedding will take place in Hawaii; a destination I’m sure was chosen for its natural beauty and rich culture and wasn’t an excuse for the actors to take a vacation (a well-known Hollywood scam known as An Adam Sandler Movie).  Of course, the bad girls can’t keep up the act for long which only leads to Mike and Dave getting all riled up and chaos eventually ensues!  Can everyone manage to keep their shit together, at least until after the two get married?  Will these four people thrown together through luck and manipulation manage to find… true love?  Why would the supposedly reasonable people ever think that this plan would work out?

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“We managed to find two people who wanted to go to Hawaii for free!”     “And we’ve only known them for a couple of days!”     “This was an AWESOME idea!”     “Pound it bro!”

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Cinema Dispatch: Central Intelligence

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Central Intelligence and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures

Directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber

That HAS to be the greatest tagline of all time, am I right?  For months now, I’m been cautiously optimistic of this buddy film starring Kevin Hart as an everyday business man and Dwayne Johnson as… what can only be described as a puppy operated meat robot.  Seriously, is there anyone more adorable than The Rock?  Honestly, that’s the main reason WHY I was interested at all.  The story looked average and the spy stuff looked simplistic, but damn do I love this guy and pairing him up with Kevin Hart seemed like a brilliant move.  Well the movie is finally here, so does it live up to those expectations, or is this yet another non-starter for two actors who are absolutely fantastic but don’t always know how to pick a decent script?  Let’s find out!!

The movie follows Calvin Joyner (Kevin Hart) who’s been coasting through life for the last two decades now without any real vision or goals.  Now it’s not like his life is terrible because he is married to his high school sweetheart and he did land a good job as an accountant, but in high school he was the most popular kid in school and was voted most likely to succeed by his peers, and now he’s looking down the barrel of a twenty year reunion with nothing much to show for it.  The day before the reunion though, things take a very odd turn as one of his fellow classmates Bobby (Dwayne Johnson) gets in touch with him on Facebook and convinces him to hang out that night which he agrees to and is surprised to see the fat kid everyone made fun of has turned into… well Dwayne Johnson.  Things seem to go well that night as Bob pours his heart out about how Calvin was the only guy in school to ever treat him with kindness and respect, and they end up having a great time.  That is until Bob starts asking Calvin to look into some files for him which inadvertently pulls his ass into one big terrorism plot where an ALL POWERFUL COMPUTER CHIP is gonna get sold to the highest bidder and Bobby’s the only one who can stop them.  OR IS HE!?  The CIA get involved as one their agents (Amy Ryan) gets in touch with Calvin and lets him know that Bob is bug-fuck nuts and is probably gonna kill everyone.  Not an unreasonable assumption to make considering how much shit he fucks up and how much he REALLY idolizes Calvin, so now it’s a race against time as Calvin has to find out who to trust, how to not get killed, and possibly save America in the process!

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“I have a plan.”     “Does it involve surrendering?”     “No.”     “I don’t like it then.”

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