We’re back with a few more movie reviews, and I’ve got to say that I’m starting to enjoy this format! I still get to watch the movies I want to, but now I can watch them on my own schedule and I keep things nice and succinct. The only problem is that I’m not getting these out in a timely manner, but relevance is overrated, am I right!? Anyway, let’s take a look at three movies that I’m sure you saw a while ago but are still interested to hear what some guy on the internet has to say about them! Let’s get started!!
Bullet Train is owned by Sony Pictures Releasing
Directed by David Leitch
A hapless assassin given the codename Ladybug (Brad Pitt) is on a very simple mission to retrieve a briefcase on a train heading to Kyoto. Naturally, these kinds of things never are that easy and he laments his bad luck while dodging other assassins on the train, and is haphazardly embroiled in a plot that is bigger than he could possibly imagine and seems to be heading in one very bloody direction.
I’m not a guy who will turn his nose up at over-the-top action spectacles or something that is intentionally cheesy and a movie like this should have been my jam by default, but even the best ingredients will go to waste if given to an untalented chef, and I just found this whole thing to be insufferable. It’s convoluted without being clever, smarmy without the charm to make up for it, and artificial to the point that nothing seems to actually matter. The only part of the movie that resonated with me was the relationship between Lemon and Tangerine as Brian Tyree Henry and Aaron Taylor-Johnson had great chemistry and added some genuine heart to an otherwise insincere story, and while I feel like this is one of the most Monkeys’ Paw wishes imaginable, I’d kind of like to see what could be done with a spinoff focusing on them specifically. Andrew Koji also stands out from everything else with a very angry and desperate performance that’s still about as one-note as everything else in the movie, but at least it’s a different note being played and does a great job playing it. Everything else though is just laden with insufferable dialogue and compounding coincidences that just drain any investment you can have in the characters or the plot itself; especially our protagonist who is just in the wrong place at the wrong time. For that kind of story to work, it has to ultimately circle back around to them actually being the right person to be there, but that would require a level of emotional investment that this movie is just unwilling to extend and so Brad Pitt feels like as distant to the story as those of us sitting in the theater watching him awkwardly stumble his way through a place he doesn’t belong; like an uninvited party guest asking everyone where the bathroom is. With the threadbare story, the quip-tastic dialogue, and the general lack of impact or weight from any of the narrative beats, it falls somewhere between a Rick and Morty episode and one of those award show skits with a bunch of celebrities are comically inserted into another movie. If we take it on these terms, as little more than entertainment fluff with a bunch of famous people in it, does it manage to work? Sort of, I guess. It’s competent in its action and the actors are fine for what they’re asked to do, but it’s also not that inspiring or clever in its shallowness and I had my fill of everything it had to offer well before it got to its big cameos at the end. At best it’s a misguided attempt from Hollywood to recapture the lightning-in-a-bottle magic of early Tarantino as well as the director’s own early success with John Wick, and at worst it’s the cinematic equivalent of Steve Buscemi in a backwards baseball cap asking his fellow kids how they are doing. It’s not without its charms, but why settle for the smoothed-over corporate version of stylized action shlock when the genuine article is easier to find than ever?
Like a Boss and all the images you see in this review are owned by Paramount Pictures
Directed by Miguel Arteta
Now that I think of it, have I really liked ANY of Tiffany Haddish’s movies? I’ve reviewed most of them by now, and outside of The Kitchen and MAYBE Keanu, her movies are mostly meh or worse which is a pattern that certainly doesn’t bode well for this film. Then again, she’s never the reason why those movies are bad and is often the complete opposite! She’s someone who can make a terrible film tolerable and a mediocre one a delight which goes to show how strong of a performer she is even if she’s not the most adept at picking scripts. In any case, is this latest entry in the Tiffany Haddish oeuvre worthy of her talents, or is she stuck shouldering the weight of another lousy movie along with every other talented person that was roped into this? Let’s find out!!
Mia Carter and Mel Paige (Tiffany Haddish and Rose Byrne) are best friends and co-owners of a beauty store that they opened together; Mel & Mia’s! They have good employees like Sydney and Barett (Jennifer Coolidge and Billy Porter), they have great friends they hang out with (Ari Graynor, Natasha Rothwell and Jessica St Clair), and aside from being in quite a bit of debt at the moment, they’re their own bosses and are living the American Dream! Things couldn’t get any better for them, EXCEPT THEY DO! A big makeup conglomerate owner named Claire Luna (Salma Hayek) has taken interest in their little shop and she is offering to clear their debts AND let them retain fifty-one percent of the company once it merges with Luna’s! Sounds like a sweetheart deal to me, but Mia is skeptical of such a good deal and she turns out to be right as Luna is hatching an EVIL scheme to screw them out of their company! There’s a clause in the contract that if either one of them quit their job that Luna would be the one to take over, so as long as Luna finds a way to break these two best friends up, she will be able to cut them out; leaving them with a mere… forty-nine percent of a company that Luna hopes to make millions off of. Okay… seems like an awful long way to go to make a fraction more money and to NOT use the experience and expertise of these women who got on her radar in the first place because of their good ideas, but whatever floats her boat I suppose. Can Mia and Mel weather the storm that Luna will be putting in their path and come out he other side still friends? What will these trials reveal about these two and has their friendship always been as strong as they claim it to be. How will they survive if they fail this challenge are left with no debt and a huge amount of money anyway!?
The Angry Birds Movie 2 and all the images you see in this review are owned by Sony Pictures Releasing
Directed by Thurop Van Orman
We only got one shot at the Super Mario Bros in the last twenty five years, yet THIS manages to get a sequel? I actually LIKED that Mario movie, which just goes to show that Hollywood is out to get me specifically; though I can’t imagine why since I’m SUCH an agreeable and charming fellow! Anyway, the first movie left me feeling pretty bitter so there’s not a single part of me that is looking forward to see the further adventures of Boring Red, Danny McBoom, and Fast Olaf, but sitting here dreading the darn thing isn’t gonna get us anyway, so let’s put on a brave face and try to meet this film halfway! Can the sequel meet or perhaps even exceed the low bar that the original movie set, or is hoping for even that much just setting myself up for disappointment? Let’s find out!!
Following the events of the first film where Red (Jason Sudeikis) became a hero to Bird Island by driving away the Pigs, the two islands are at something of a standstill with each of them pulling pranks and launching food at one another in an attempt to see which island can get the most annoyed. Red is overjoyed by this since being the hero who fought the pigs is now his full time job as he along with Chuck and Boom (Danny McBride and Josh Gadd) spend every waking moment coming up with new schemes, retaliating against attacks, and giving speeches to the citizens of Bird Island. That’s all about to change however as a THIRD island starts to float into the middle of the conflict which is head up by Zeta (Leslie Jones); an Eagle on an island of ice who throws ice balls at people just because she’s angry that her island is full of ice. She could just take a vacation to one of the adjacent islands, but nope! Massive ice balls that surely crush whatever living thing ends up beneath them! The pigs are the first one to notice the threat and King Leonard (Bill Hader) offers a truce to the citizens of Bird Island who are all happy to finally be done with this prank war… except for Red who now has to get a real job I guess and find people who like him for reasons other than being the maroon messiah. Well I guess if being the brave warrior who defeated the pigs isn’t cutting it anymore, than recklessly leading the charge against the eagles is the next best thing! Along with Chuck, Boom, and King Leonard, they recruit Mighty Eagle (Peter Dinklage), Courtney the pig (Awkwafina), gadgets expert Garry (Sterling K Brown), and Chuck’s hereto unmentioned sister Silver (Rachel Bloom) to aid in their plot to destroy Zeta’s super ice weapon, but are the ready to face such a dangerous and flamboyant threat? Can they save both islands without betraying one another or just screwing up due to their own incompetence? Are we sure we can’t just let Zeta take over the islands? Maybe it’s just me, but I think we should at least give her a chance!
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?
The Secret Life of Pets 2 and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures and Illumination
Directed by Chris Renaud
I remember the first movie having one of the most aggressive ad campaigns I’d seen since I started reviewing movies, and yet this one was much more subdued. I only saw the trailer a few times leading up to its release, but while that certainly kept me from being ANNOYED by the movie it didn’t really do much to improve my expectations. The first one was a C grade knock off of Toy Story, and while it wasn’t ALL bad it didn’t leave much of an impression outside of Jenny Slate’s performance and a few seconds of Andrew WK music to liven things up. Can the sequel manage to improve where the last one came up short, or will this be a lazy cash grab on the success of the first one with similarly mediocre results? Let’s find out!!
Following the events of the first film, Max and Duke (Patton Oswalt and Eric Stonestreet) have been getting along with their owner Katie (Ellie Kemper) in their peaceful New York life. However, things change once Katie meets the man of her dreams Chuck (Peter Holmes), and cut to about five years later where Katie and Chuck have a kid named Liam (Henry Lynch) who Max is at first hesitant about but becomes quickly attached to. The added stress of watching over a child however is starting to give Max some unhealthy habits, but maybe an upcoming vacation in the country with Chuck’s family and their dog Rooster (Harrison Ford) will be just what Max needs to relax! While he’s off on his trip, Gidget (Jenny Slate) has been entrusted to watch his favorite toy which she loses almost immediately, and Snowball the bunny (Kevin Hart) has become some sort of animal saving super hero who’s latest mission is to help a Shih Tzu named Daisy (Tiffany Haddish) save a tiger who’s being abused by a VERY evil looking circus run by a bunch of dudes with Russian accents and permanent sneers; one of whom is played by Nick Kroll. Will Max get over his nervous tendencies now that he’s around nature and the stern advice of Rooster? Can the other pets shore up their subplots before the running time exceeds ninety minutes? Is Illumination trying to sell us four episodes of an unaired TV series as a full length movie!?
The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros. Pictures
Directed by Mike Mitchell
Everyone loved The LEGO movie, right!? And then most people loved LEGO Batman, right!? And then LEGO Ninjago was… okay, right? Well now it’s time for the return of the one that started it all and it’ll be JUST as good as the original… right? Sigh… okay, so the trailers for this film haven’t filled me with a whole lot of confidence that it’ll be on the same level as the original film. It looks FINE if nothing else, but this is THE LEGO MOVIE! We don’t just want fine, we want PHENOMENAL! Then again, maybe that’s putting too much pressure on this film which doesn’t have the benefit of being such an out of the blue surprise, and while the trailers aren’t inspiring me with a lot of hope, maybe they’ll find a new angle to take it in that’ll make up for not being able to put the genie back in the bottle! Can this sequel be Justas good if not better than the first film, or has the LEGO phenomenon finally run its course? Let’s find out!!
Immediately following the events of the first movie, the Duplo aliens of the Systar System have waged an all-out war with the people of LEGO city for five whole years and have left it a Mad Max style barren wasteland with no more bright and shiny blocks. ONLY DARKNESS AND NO PARENTS!! Well except for Emmet (Chris Pratt) whose upbeat attitude cannot be damped even in the face of utter annihilation! That turns out to be a problem though as the nice house he built has attracted the Duplos once again and now they’ve taken all his friends from the first movie which includes Lucy AKA Wyldstyle, Batman, Benny, Princess Unikitty, and MetalBeard (Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Charlie Day, Alison Brie, and Nick Offerman) back to their home planet for their own nefarious purposes that we soon learn to be a shotgun wedding between Queen Watevra Wa-Nabi of the Systar System (Tiffany Haddish) and a very reluctant Batman. Clearly something has to be done to save them, but the only one of the LEGO people willing to take the chance is Emmet who haphazardly travels through… space I guess, to find them. Along the way he is saved from an asteroid field by the dashing rouge Rex Dangervest (also Chris Pratt) and his army of super smart velociraptors who agree to help Emmet on his journey to defeat the girly Systar invaders because being a TOUGH GUY means punching things that are pink and frilly! Can Emmet save his friends from Systar invaders who want to brainwash all of his friends and put Batman through a forced marriage!? Can Lucy escape from the Queen Watevra’s cunning grasp, and does she know something about this place that she isn’t telling the others? Is it just me, or did things get REALLY complicated for a movie about plastic toys?
Night School and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures
Directed by Malcolm D Lee
It’s always good seeing Kevin Hart! Okay, maybe not… BUT it’s always good to see Tiffany Haddish, right!? Ehh… fine, these are two VERY talented comedians but they aren’t always in the best movies as is the case with A LOT of successful comedians. Putting them together SHOULD be a match made in heaven, but then again maybe the filmmakers thought the script was so bad that even Hart couldn’t save it by himself. In any case, we can hope that there are at least a few good jokes in here even if the premise and the trailers don’t seem to be promising all that much. Does this movie manage to rise above expectations to be one of the better comedies this year, or are we doomed to suffer yet another mediocre effort from filmmakers and comedians who should be working on WAY more ambitious projects than this? Let’s find out!!
Teddy Walker (Kevin Hart) is your average Joe who is actually doing quite well for himself despite dropping out of high school and for reasons other than he’s a genius who went off to start his own company. Instead, he’s managed to find a good job at a barbecue grill store and has set himself apart from his peers due to his world class skills in customer service! I kind of find that hard to believe though considering he ends up accidentally blowing the place up not long after the movie starts. You’d think someone as professional as he is wouldn’t have done something like that, but in any case Teddy is now without a job which is doubly a problem as he’s been living paycheck to paycheck for some time; refusing to tell his girlfriend Lisa who has a WAY more successful job (Megalyn Echikunwoke) that he’s not as well off as he lets on and that he could REALLY use a few bucks to ease the stress. Luckily for Teddy though, his buddy Marvin (Ben Schwartz) JUST SO HAPPENS to have an even BETTER job for him all lined up… but he has to get his GED first! To make matters worse, the principal of the high school (Taran Killam) is someone he had beef with in high school (for some reason…) and is not about to let old grievances die off, even if he can’t TECHNICALLY keep Teddy from going to night classes run by Professor Carrie (Tiffany Haddish) which I assume is the way she prefers to be addressed. Can Teddy get his GED and that sweet new job without having his girlfriend finds out all of his deeply held and embarrassing secrets? What wacky hijinks will he get into with a classroom full of eccentric odd balls that have their own reasons for getting their GED? Can we send all six of the scriptwriters to night school? I don’t know about you, but they could really use some brushing up if this is what they consider “professional” material.
Uncle Drew and all the images you see in this review are owned by Lionsgate
Directed by Charles Stone III
Has anyone been looking forward to this movie? I’m not the only one who thought this was going to be a very mediocre cash grab from that awful trailer with the bobble heads and the Sugarhill Gang song, right? Then again, I’m one of those darn Millennials who thinks that Space Jam is the height of basketball comedies, so maybe the lack of Warner Bros characters was throwing me off here but I still got a real bad feeling from this as it checks off a lot of bad comedy tropes. Old age makeup, retro soundtrack, goofy sports premise (“There’s no rule that says a dog can’t play basketball!”), all the favorites from movies that you may have liked as a kid but really doesn’t hold up now… except for Space Jam. Will this be a nostalgic throwback to the era of silly sports movies, or will this be more painful than if Tyler Perry did a Madea basketball movie? Well I’m pretty sure NOTHING would be worse than seeing Tyler Perry’s A Medea March Madness, but let’s find out!!
Down on his luck Dax (Lil Rel Howery) has been training his whole life to be a basketball player but decided to go into coaching after… the incident, and has a team that might just win a basketball tournament in Harlem known as the Rucker Classic and win a boat load of money which he’ll use to… I don’t know; pay his rent I guess. It all depends on his star player Casper (Aaron Gordon) who is PHENOMENAL on the court but kind of a douche in real life, and he’s been making eyes at fellow douche Mookie (Nick Kroll) who’s Dax’s big rival (especially after… the incident) and coached the last five teams to win the Rucker Classic. Sure enough, after draining Dax of all his money, Casper goes to join Mookie and the rest of the team just kind of goes away as well. Not only that but his girlfriend Jess (Tiffany Haddish) kicks him out of the house because she was banking on that prize money and has no use for the shmuck now that he doesn’t have a chance to win it. Left with absolutely nothing but the clothes on his back and a spot in the tournament, Dax starts scouring the area for unaffiliated ball players but has no luck and is about to give up when he sees an old man school one of the young dudes in basketball; showing him the value of fundamentals over being able to show off. The old man turns out to be Uncle Drew (Kyrie Irving) who was a legendary basketball player in Harlem that disappeared forty years ago under dubious circumstances, and he might just be the man Dax needs to avoid living on a park bench! Uncle Drew agrees to play for him, but only if they find the rest of his old team (Shaquille O’Neal, Chris Webber, Reggie Miller, and Nate Robinson) to play as well. And so they’re off on a road trip to find Uncle Drew’s old friends, mend some bridges, learn some lessons, and play basketball against dudes a quarter their age! Will Uncle Drew be able to show these youngsters what it means to be a TRUE player of the game while also making up for the mistakes he made all those years ago? What chances do these older gentlemen have against Mookie’s team, and will Dax be able to get past… the incident? Did you know there’s a new Shaq Fu game? I wonder if this is some sort of crossover…
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!?
Keanu and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures
Directed by Peter Atencio
The day has finally come for these two titans of TV comedy to make the leap to the silver screen! That’s ALWAYS a great idea, right? Okay, so sometimes the transition from small screen to big screen can be a bit awkward, but the trailers for this movie have inspired a lot of hope in me and many others that this will turn out to be the exception rather than the rule for sketch comedians turned movie stars! Can the duo pull it off, or is it back to Comedy Central to beg for another season of their show? Let’s find out!!
The movie follows the misadventures of Rell (Jordan Peele) and Clarence (Keegan-Michael Key); cousins and best friends who must retrieve Rell’s cat Keanu from the clutches of villainy! You see, Rell had just had a pretty bad break up and was spiraling into depression without much hope for a brighter future. That is until a small kitten that’s as cute as a button wanders up to his doorstep; bringing with him a glimmer of light and new chapter in Rell’s life. But where exactly did this cat come from? Well, what Rell doesn’t know is that this cat belonged to a local drug dealer who’s entire gang was killed right before he himself was murdered; all done by two tough as nails, long haired, mute mother fuckers who did this… for some reason, and are now hell bent on finding that cat… for some reason. Not only that, but while Rell and Clarence are out seeing a movie, Rell’s place gets broken into and Keanu is kidnapped by the Seventeenth Street Blips (a crew too badass for the Bloods or the Crips)… for some reason. Honestly, don’t question why people want Keanu; just assume he’s too cute to NOT steal. Anyway, Rell and Clarence now must go undercover as tough guys and gang bangers (two things they are quite far from being) if they have any hopes of infiltrating the Blips and getting the cat back. Will they be able to fool the members of this crew and pretend to be hard long enough to get their cat back? What about the two crazy-ass murderers looking for the cat? How are they gonna fit into all this? Wait, so this ISN’T a parody of John Wick!?