Capone and all the images you see in this review are owned by Vertical Entertainment
Directed by Josh Trank
Well that’s a name I didn’t expect to see! It’s been a while since Josh Trank’s last film Fant-Four-Stick which was by all accounts a misguided mess, but I never thought he was a BAD director; just someone who’s reach exceeded his grasp much like Colin “Book of Henry” Trevorrow who was dropped from Star Wars but at least is getting another swing at Jurassic Park at some point. Honestly, I hadn’t even heard about this movie until the reviews started pouring in on my YouTube feed, and since there’s not a whole lot else going on right now, why not give it a shot? Is this a solid film and a notable return for the director of Chronicle, or has Trank somehow declined even further after Fantastic Four was such a nightmare to work on? Let’s find out!!
Notorious mobster Alfonse Capone (Tom Hardy) was released from jail seven years after he was sentenced for Tax Evasion due to his failing health. He then spent several years under the care of his wife (Linda Cardellini) and some of his old friends in Florida whiling away the days while his condition got worse and his mind began to deteriorate. With not much time left, some of the people in his life start to wonder if there’s one last bit of cash stashed away somewhere, most notably the FBI who have been keeping him under surveillance since his release, but ultimately this is a story of a man slowly dying and reflecting on his life; trying to find some peace in his final years and lamenting the continued loss of his faculties as the paresis ravages his mind. Will we learn what makes this legendary gangster tick as we watch him struggle through the final years of his life? Will the people around him get what they’re looking for, and how far are they willing to go to get it? Will Tom Hardy get that Oscar gold with this mumbling performance of a man who craps the bed and yells at things!? I mean we gave Jeff Bridges an Oscar for that, so why not him?
The Twilight Zone and all the images you see in this recap are owned by Warner Bros Television and based on the series created by Rod Serling
Episode directed by Jerry Levine
This series claims to have two remakes of classic Twilight Zone episodes which we’ll get to soon enough, but I’m calling bull pucky on that because this episode we’re discussing today is ABSOLUTELY based on one of the classics from that original series. Now that’s not necessarily a BAD thing as the whole reason this show exists is because of how good the original series was, and using some of those ideas in a modern context can certainly produce some interesting results! Heck, the Jordan Peele version of Nightmare at 20,000 Feet was a BRILLIANT reworking of the fear and paranoia that was the true essence of that original episode even WITHOUT the creepy (and yet somehow adorable) gremlin dude! Is this a similarly great remix of a classic episode, or is this a worse cover than Limp Bizkit’s version of Faith? Let’s find out!!
The episode follows Ali (Linda Cardellini); a writer for a lousy knock off Enquirer rag where she writes stories about dying celebrities or hobbits living in Jersey, and while it’s certainly fun to write about that kind of nonsense it’s not the most noble or fulfilling career you could have as a writer. While getting her caffeine fix at a local coffee shop, she overhears a man giving a woman advice regarding “her path” and some vague platitudes on how she should follow it. Her interest piqued, Ali goes over to meet the man named Kanayo (played here by Method Man) and finds out that an opportunity awaits her, but she must seek it out first. Sounds like your standard Cold Reading nonsense, but she goes back to the office and decides to call about a resume she submitted and as it turns out they were having trouble reaching her! Her coworker and best friend Seth (Colin Cunningham of Falling Skies fame) thinks it’s all a big coincidence, but Ali is not so sure and she goes back to Kanayo several times hoping to get more advice and perhaps find the clearest way to follower her “path”. Now if you’re ever seen more than a handful of episodes of the original Twilight Zone, this should all sound very familiar as it’s more or less a remake of the Nick of Time; a story where William Shatner and Patricia Breslin have to contend with a fortune telling napkin holder that seems to accurately predict the future. Now the thing is, the more I think about this episode the closer I think it gets to working… without ever actually getting there. It’s SO close and it has a few ideas that work for an update to this story, but where Nick of Time was tight and well thought out, this one fumbles with its weighty topics and never finds the right balance.
Avengers: Endgame and all the images you see in this review are owned by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Directed by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo
My displeasure of Infinity War is well documented in both my review and the follow up piece I did, so I was frankly not looking forward to this one. Still, the two films they’ve done since then, Ant-Man and The Wasp as well as Captain Marvel, were really great entries in the genre and confirmed that Marvel could still make a great film if they wanted to, and if nothing else it’ll be worth ripping off this Band-Aid once and for all and letting things get back on track before Thanos butting his ugly purple head in. So hey, if I HAVE to be here I might as well try and find something to enjoy about it! Is this the perfect conclusion to not just Infinity War but to the Marvel Cinematic Universe as it currently exists, or does the first iteration of this franchise and these characters continue the utter disappointment from the LAST time we saw them? Let’s find out!!
After the events of Infinity War which (SPOILER ALERT) ended with Thanos (Josh Brolin snapping his fingers and wiping out half of all living creatures in the universe, the remaining Avengers are stuck in a world on the brink of collapsing and with no real way to fix things. I mean, they could go after Thanos and kick his head around a bit, especially now that Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) is here to provide some cosmic backup, but would that even fix anything at this point? The real question is whether or not those people can be brought back, Thanos or not, and after some time with no ideas they get a visit from one of the lesser known among them Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) who might just have the answer they’re looking for what with his experiences in the Quantum Realm and all that entails. The remaining Avengers which include Captain America (Chris Evans), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), uh… whatever name Rhodes is going under now (Don Cheadle), as well as honorary members Rocket (Bradly Cooper and Sean Gunn) and Nebula (Karen Gillan), and a barely held together Hawkeye (Jeremey Renner), now have a mission in place (and a rather odd one at that) to bring things back to the way they were before, but it’s incredibly risky and could actually make things worse if they DON’T succeed. At even less than half their usual strength since everyone is still dealing with the trauma of what happened can The Avengers manage to pull off one more spectacular feat of heroism against the one foe they couldn’t overcome? What dangers will they have to face along the way, and are all of them able to confront them with steadfast determination and the will necessary to succeed? If this IS gonna be the last one of THIS specific kind of Marvel movie… maybe we could get a Star Wars crossover? I mean it’s now or never, right?
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!?
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!?
Daddy’s Home 2 and all the images you see in this review are owned by Paramount Pictures
Directed by Sean Anders
I don’t know about the rest of you, but the only thing I was wondering when I first heard about this movie was why they didn’t cast John Lithgow as the TOUGH dad. Seriously, the dude’s got Cliffhanger, Ricochet, and even Dexter under his belt to show us all how despicably evil he can when the role calls for it, and it’d certainly be much better casting for Marky Mark’s mean deadbeat dad than the guy they got; though I’m pretty sure ANYONE in Hollywood who’s not currently being ostracized for inexcusable behavior would have been a much more palatable choice than Raging Mel. I don’t know about this one. I certainly didn’t expect much out of the first film and it managed to be a bit better than I was expecting, but what are the chances that we’ll get a half-way decent sequel out of that; especially as it’s a Holiday film which are almost always a bad idea for sequels. Wait, didn’t I just say that like a week ago about A Bad Mom’s Christmas? Now that I think about it… two unexpectedly solid comedies about parenting that made a HUGE amount of money at the box office get Holiday sequels about the parents of the characters in the first film… that are released within a week of each other. Huh. Well that’s… coincidental. Anyway, does THIS Holiday sequel manage to AT LEAST be as good as the OTHER Holiday sequel we just got, or am I in for one HELL of a crappy movie going experience? Well… Let’s find out…
The movie begins about a year after the events of the first film where Brad and Dusty (Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg) have put aside their differences and are the best co-dads of all time; sharing responsibilities with the kids and working together as a cohesive family unit! Well… ALMOST perfect. Dusty’s biological daughter Megan (Scarlett Estevez) reveals during the school’s Christmas Recital that she’s not happy about having the holidays split between two households, so the two families band together and decide to have just one Christmas together which seems like a great idea… until Dusty gets a call from his dad Kurt (Mel Gibson) who’s decided to come down for the holidays. This is bad because Dusty’s dad is just like he was in the first film and will surely be nagging on him the entire time for not being MANLY enough whatever the hell toxic dinosaurs like him are always on about. In addition to that, we’ve got Brad’s dad Don (John Lithgow) coming to town who is ACTUALLY a really nice grandpa but seems to be hiding something from Brad, an increasingly tense standoff between Brad’s wife Sara and Dusty’s wife Karen (Linda Cardellini and Alessandra Ambrosio) about how to raise the kids they share (Dusty’s biological kids and Karen’s daughter from another marriage), and to top it all off, Dusty’s biological son Dylan (Owen Vaccaro) is about at the age where he needs to have THE TALK which throws EVERYTHING into chaos as the four dads on hand have their own idea of how it should go and who should give it. Will any of these plot threads come together into something resembling a cohesive whole? Is there a single point in this movie where it’s NOT uncomfortable watching Mel Gibson on screen? Can someone explain to me what I POSSIBLY could have done to deserve this!?
Daddy’s Home and all the images you see in this review are owned by Paramount Pictures
Directed by Sean Anders
While Adam McKay is trying to branch out with The Big Short, his longtime collaborator Will Ferrell seems to be doing the same thing he’s been doing since Bush was in the White House. You could make the comparisons between him and Adam Sandler, but honestly I still find the guy funny and despite always going back to the man-child well, he’s still willing to branch out every once in a while with films Like Everything Must Go and even The LEGO Movie where he actually got to make an honest statement about the people he has so often portrayed in film. This one though doesn’t look to be all that challenging for him or his audience, but it can still be funny, right? They’ve got Mark Wahlberg in there, and he’s proven himself to be hilarious in other movies. Will this be the perfect comedy to end 2015 on, or is this going to be one more reason we can’t wait to see the year end? Let’s find out!!
The movie is about Will Ferrell playing some guy who’s a step dad and Marky Mark from the Funky Bunch playing the biological father of the family Will Ferrell married into. Will Ferrell has spent the last year or so trying desperately to connect with his new step children and it finally seems like they’re starting to accept him when Marky Mark calls up and says he’s coming over to visit. Misunderstands and double talk then ensue which somehow leads to Marky Mark staying in the garage of their new house and he spends most of the film trying to undercut Will Ferrell and win back his family that he abandoned many years ago. Seems like a tough sell, but it turns out that the kids have mythologized him and he’s also a real MAN’S MAN so who couldn’t fall in love with that, am I right? Can Will Ferrell prove his manly dad-ness enough to convince his wife to NOT abandon him (which really seems like an unlikely scenario), or will Marky Mark get his way long enough to get bored with his family again and leave them twisting in the wind? Can this AT LEAST be better than The Other Guys? Please?