Go Solo or Go Home?

Solo: A Star Wars Story Poster

 

It’s been 40 years in existence, and the galaxy far away keeps expanding into the unknown territory of stories, fun, and action. Despite a rocky start, Disney has been able to finally get the precious cargo of another Star Wars movie to its destination of the theater despite all the failings it experienced.  Can such a history turn out to be valuable like an armada of Star Destroyers, or will it be as worthless as Republic Credits on Tatooine.  Robbie K here with another review on the movie:

 

Movie: Solo: A Star Wars Story

 

Director:

Ron Howard

Writers:

Jonathan Kasdan,  Lawrence Kasdan

Stars:

Alden Ehrenreich,  Woody Harrelson,  Emilia Clarke

 

 

LIKES:

 

Acting:  While certainly not the legendary volumes that the original cast brought years ago, I was impressed and happy with what the new cast was able to do.  Alden Ehrenrich as young Han Solo has a level of arrogance and mischief that is recognizable, just not to the proportions Ford brought so long ago.  Clarke, in all her splendor, is certainly fantastic, bringing her regal air to the character Qira, and with it an added complexity to try to keep you guessing.  Harrelson, still playing the cantankerous role again, has it down to an art that mixes quite well in the intergalactic crime world.  Yet the star is Donald Glover, who captured the Lando qualities perfectly and delivered it with the youthful energy so long ago.  It works on levels to form a new band of thieves and helps bring the story semi to life.

 

Fun:  Bottom line of this movie is that I had fun with it, and despite all the terrible set ups and track record that they have had, I enjoyed it. Solo’s story is definitely an adventure, with a fast pace to keep you embedded into the thief’s tale to find out who will make it unscathed through the fire.  While a slightly darker tone, the movie has plenty of comedic relief and lighter moments to offset the dark, making for an enjoyable, semi-balanced movie that will appeal to many.

 

Balanced Comedy:  Let’s face it, Disney’s movies have been working the comedic angle hard into most of their action movies to help ease the tension. Fortunately, Solo manages to keep the comedy perspective better balanced, using it at key moments to maximize the laughs and add some character to the scene.  While much is in the timing and the dialogue, but there are plenty of nostalgic moments to bring a few other guffaws out as well.  It works well with the movie and further establishes the smuggler atmosphere they were going for.

 

Action:  If you saw my video vlogs, you know that I have a thing for action sequences, and after the last Star Wars movie turned away from this, I had my doubts.  Solo’s adventure has at least three stellar action moments to bring to the table, in the form of laser shootouts and high-flying adventure.  The special effects shower in these moments, grabbing you by the shoulders and throwing you into the throngs of the dangers that await Han’s arrogant, rebel without a care attitude.  My favorite moment is certainly the flying scene shown in the trailer, but only you can decide which of the dances of destruction will wow you the most.

 

DISLIKES:

 

Character Utilization: Lots of characters means the struggle of balancing them all, and Solo does do a decent job of giving their cast a moment to shine in the CGI sun.  However, for me, it didn’t mean that they utilized them all to an equal degree. Despite the heavy emphasis on the trailers, many of the new characters are going to have disproportionate time spent on the screen.  While they all play their role in the story, I was still hoping for more integration (like Rogue One), but the group still hasn’t quite found this part down quite pat yet.

 

Paul Bettany:  None of these characters get the shaft treatment than Bettany’s crime lord character.  An antagonist usually has more involvement in the film than just casting a looming shower, and with someone as talented and complex as Bettany, I was hoping to see his talent come to full light.  Bettany’s character needed more development and time, but they dropped the ball in his development department for favor of other trinkets and gimmicks.  The former Vision star held so much potential, but sadly not delivered for me.

 

L3-37’s preachiness: I love droids and I love women, and this droid therefore held high hopes for being the best artificial intelligence to date.  Point to them for making a robot that speaks her mind, pilots a ship, and has some skills in infiltration because they nailed those components.  Yet, there rebel rousing, preach to the masses dialogue was not impressive in the grand scheme of the movie for me.  I was looking for her to really contribute to the plans concocted by the team, but instead they chose to turn her into more of a walking talk box that while passionate is semi-useless outside of merchandizing.

 

The Story/Sequel Set Up: Fans of the legend series will know the roots of this story lie in the original trilogy, which while not the best of the books certainly had its pizazz.  Solo definitely scavenged these books, took the bones and built them up to this tale.  The story works in regards to highlighting aspects of his life and sticking to the origins decently enough to merit the tale.  What I didn’t like though, was how the story was very piece meal at times, a rushed montage of various episodes from his life that had it been given a television series would have been more fleshed out.  They did a nice job of reaching a decent run time, but this movie was geared too much in setting up for what can be another movie series. Plenty of hints dropped at what lies in store, but unlike the original trilogy, the movie doesn’t feel quite complete, but instead dependent on a second movie to bring things to full circle. Not my favorite way of doing things, but Solo manages to still be a semi-complete talked… for now.

 

The Ending:  After all the excitement and close calls, you hope the ending brings that final conflict to really tie things together.  For me, the ending to Solo was not that at all, another rushed conclusion to try to tie up one arc and open the door for the next. I’ll admit, it had some nice revelations that again hint at further movies or spin-offs to come, which gets a plus in that regards (despite still not bringing a strong antagonist back into the canon). Yet, the ending decides to go down the other skill of smugglers and tries to trick you with obvious ploys and foreshadowing to take that twist away.  Even worse, the ending “fight” is short lived and rather dull compared to the glimmer of the previous scenes mentioned.  Applause goes for the attempts at diving deeper into the character, but it still could have used some spice to pep it up.

 

Overall:

 

Solo turned out much better than anticipated, bringing a very charming and fun movie that certainly delivers on the promise of exploring a beloved character.  It’s got comedy, action, love, and darkness to drive the tale, and really makes an adventure that will take you to lightspeed.  Yet, the movie is still part of the cog of another series, limiting itself so that they can open up more films or the spin-off to tell the complete story. So, while fun, the movie still doesn’t fill complete to me and that is not my favorite formula.  Still, I recommend a weekend trip for this one for most of the family and friends who like the series.

 

My scores are:

 

Action/Adventure/Fantasy: 8.0

Movie Overall: 7.0

 

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Mark This One Up For A Theater Visit

Book Club Poster

 

Books, a medium for imagination, a collection of thoughts and ideas to motivate, and even more so, a springboard for Hollywood movies.  Tonight’s review is all about how books can certainly motivate one to do crazy things, perhaps set out on an adventure that can change your life.  With a fantastic cast, this movie hopes to appeal to the modern-day audience to perhaps bring in the bucks for some laughs.  Robbie K back with a written review to help you with your movie going purchases.  Let’s get started as we review:

 


Director:

Bill Holderman

Writers:

Bill Holderman,  Erin Simms

Stars:

Diane Keaton,  Jane Fonda,  Candice BergenMary Steenburgen

 

 

LIKES:

 

Acting:  These ladies are legends for a reason, and this movie shows off their acting talents despite the simpler roles they took on.  Each one of leading ladies brings something to the table whether it be sass, sheik, sincerity, or sarcasm.  Crafting believable characters, my friend and I certainly enjoyed getting to know these women who took center stage. The chemistry between them is great when together, and alone each of them carries the torch to light their way through the dark.  Of the four, Candice Bergen is my favorite, as her delivery on everything was quite stellar and she had the funniest dialogue to me.

 

The Lessons:  I’m a sucker for a good life lesson in a movie, and Book Club manages to do a great job bringing out some important life moments that warrant a little more thought.  Each of the ladies goes through their own struggles, mostly involving some aspect of life starting to dull, or practically fizzle out, as they age. Book Club’s cast hits the wall placed by the advancement of time, but then begins to show just how persistent sparks can be if one takes the chances.  Seeing these moments certainly in inspiring and ignites some hope as they preach the words contained within this surprisingly touching script.

 

The Run Time:  Movies like this can be very taxing when running too long, but Book Club manages to shrink the length of the novel down to a nice 100 minutes running time.  With this concise time, comes a better pace and that leads to more entertaining maneuvers and jokes being brought in.  Therefore, the boring pieces are fewer than anticipated and that means more amusement to keep me hooked into the film.

 

Realism: As romantic as chick-flicks are, they often go further into fantasy than most Medieval based films do. Book Club manages to turn down the movie magic and cheese factor to deliver a respectable tale.  Don’t get me wrong, there are some stretches of human qualities that aren’t quite believable, but still better received than a Nicholas Sparks plot.

 

Used all 4 Characters: With a cast as important as this, and the price tags to go with them, I worried that they were going to skip over some of the women to favor the more popular characters.  However, the team did a nice job of digging into each character’s life and making sure to keep their journey relevant.  The directing team kept jumping between stories, always making sure to come back at the right point to renew interests and help give the characters time to reset before jumping back into the fun at hand.  It’s a method I have enjoyed in the past and one I encourage to continue to be balanced as best as possible.

 

The Comedy: Most fans won’t find this aspect as much of a like as I have, but this is because the comedy is geared towards a particular audience.  Still, this reviewer found the writing and delivery in this movie top notch for maximizing the laughs at hand.  As mentioned above, Book Club’s comedy comes from of course the innuendos and double meanings the trailer made famous, but it also holds sarcasm, playful romance play, and other interactions that are reminiscence of friendship.  While the comedy is a bit forced at times, the cast and directing succeeded in grounding the jokes to make it feel more natural and less planned. 

 

DISLIKES:

 

Limited Audience:  You knew this from the trailers, but Book Club’s intended viewers are much narrower in scope than other movies.  Targeted towards the female population, this story is going to speak more to them than anyone else, which will limit its ability to entertain all the masses.  In addition, some of the jokes were lost on me because I don’t have the anatomy needed to find it relevant, leading to some less stimulating jokes for me. As a reviewer, I have to take these things in, so sorry if I offend.

 

The Pacing:  I said the pacing was decent and not too mind numbing, but Book Club does have those moments where the pace seems to crawl. Character building, yes, but in terms of keeping me hooked, these slower moments did not accomplish more than extending the run time. 

 

Singled Out:  While I like jumping around to each woman’s story, the movie failed to integrate them together as much as I had expected from the trailers.  Most of the time they are on their journey of self-discovery (proving one has to find the change themselves), only convening to get the next book in the chapter. Like the show friends, or a lot of other shows, I had hoped for the girls to kind of pair up a little more, perhaps integrating into each other’s story and expanding the adventure. However, they chose to keep them well isolated up until the last third where things started to run together. 

 

The VERDICT:

 

         Overall, Book Club is cute, fun, and an adventure that I enjoyed more than expected. Perhaps due to the low expectation, or the clever writing and balance the movie is certainly one of the more enjoyable chick flicks I’ve seen in a while.  Fans of these legendary ladies, or a girls group looking for fun should totally check out this film in theaters, and have one of the more enjoyable girls night outs in a while.  As for the others who are not in the target audience… you are out of luck and best waiting for this on Redbox, if anything.  Still, given all the lessons and humor, this movie deserves the following scores in my opinion:

 

Comedy:  7.5-8.0

Movie Overall: 6.5

Dead On Sequel

Deadpool 2

 

Deadpool movies are so hard to review.  It’s not because their super complex, thought provoking, or even artistic symbolism, but it’s more due to the fact of balancing ridiculous antics with serious hero quality.  With the first movie being a breath of fresh air to the massively stuffed superhero movie genre, the sequel had a lot to live up to for pleasing the fanbase once more.  After one of the most amazing advertisement campaigns to date, did this movie break the fourth wall of entertainment once again?  Robbie K here to do his best to help you with your movie viewing pleasures. Let’s go!

 

Movie: Deadpool 2

 

Director:

David Leitch

Writers:

Rhett Reese,  Paul Wernick  | 3 more credits »

Stars:

Josh Brolin,  Ryan Reynolds,  Morena Baccarin

 

 

 

LIKES:

Acting:  Given all of Ryan Reynolds ups and downs, the young actor shines so well in the reboot version of Deadpool.  His sass from previous comedy stunts (like Two Guys and A Girl) mixed with his physique/delivery of superhero, leads to a well-developed lead who carries the movie heavily on his costume equipped shoulders.  Brolin comes in again as the villain, bringing his grit to a less CGI rendered height that works well to offset the hyper, ADHD like energy of Deadpool and with it comes great comedic banter.  Much of the supporting cast nails their roles well too, capable of dropping lines and rocking CGI stunts.

 

Domino: Of all of these though, Domino was my favorite character.  In the age of rising female heroes, Domino is a well-developed character who brings so much to the weird table this film sets.  Zazie Beetzreally shines in this movie as a female partner in crime to counter the crazy of Deadpool.  A great character who has a quirky power, this “lucky” girl brings bite to fight Deadpool’s humor, decent skills with a weapon, and surprisingly some enlightened looks at life that bring some zing to the movie. This character was a fantastic addition to the movie that should help expand the audience.

 

Story: A Deadpool comic is often not the most developed in the story department, and given the direction of the cinema… one never knows how a sequel story will end up. Happily, I can report that this sequel did a nice job in the story department, managing to bring a decent plot that helps our characters evolve yet sticking close to the humor vibe of the movie.  It’s nice to see a ridiculous character grow, but still stick to the core qualities and Deadpool 2 did a much better job than I could imagine.

 

Special Effects:  Deadpool’s ridiculous stunts means needing to find some way to make the impossible, possible on the screen. Hat’s off, or in this case masks off, to the department who made all the bouts, mutants, and futuristic technology come roaring to full force to immerse you into the action. Speaking of which,

 

Action: The action of Deadpool 2 is a mixed bag for me, but there are plenty of components that worked well with me.  At the front line, are a number of bouts that have that chaotic, adrenaline fueled themes to it, mixed with snarky comments and unrelenting jokes that keep things fun, exciting, and a great opener. Seeing the moves, they choreographed/crafted, showed promise for some epic finales to come, always a good idea to cast the net and get them caught up early right. More on that later.

 

ComedyIn truth, the strongest weapon in Deadpool’s arsenal is the comedy that this film is drenched in, and by drenched I mean caught in a deluge.  This sequel picks up where the last left off and with it comes a cornucopia of styles all hectically crashing together in a giant abstract masterpiece. Nothing is safe from Deadpool’s adulteration, as the red garmented maniac brings vulgarity, ridiculous finishes, pokes at stories, comics, movies (including the franchise itself), and of course slapstick that transitions to so much more.  I kept laughing my head off in this movie and loved the writing, cleverness, and of course mid-credit scene that victoriously finishes the movie off and delivers the answer to the wishes and prayers of the fan base.  So, so good.

 

DISLIKES:

 

Over the top moments: Deadpool I know is all about breaking the 4thwall on just about everything he can.  And certainly, in this installment, the writers did their best to break that mold as often and intense as possible.  Given the laxer ratings, Deadpool 2 shows no qualms with crossing the line. Primarily the cursing, Deadpool 2 doesn’t know when to quit in terms of vulgar cursing and certainly goes down inappropriate avenues I didn’t particularly enjoy.  A minor one at best, be warned that anything is possible with a mad mercenary.

 

Comedic Stints Go on and on: Like this review, Deadpool’s comedic banter sometimes treks on for too long.  Those liking to see two smart alecks duke it out in a battle of insults, fake outs, and sarcasm for minutes on end will be delighted with the writing of this movie.  I admit I did like it at first, but near the end this ploy had soon started to wrinkle like Wade’s face.

 

Action: While I certainly liked the action for much of the movie, I can’t help but admit I was a little disappointed as well.  Sure, the humor is awesome, the inappropriate battle moves fit well, and it felt like a Deadpool sequence come to life with little to no punches pulled.  Yet, I’m still spoiled on some of Marvel’s glorious cinema wars and had hoped we’d get some match ups to give them a run for its money.  The epic climactic fight didn’t quite have the on the edge, clap in your seat, scream in excitement epic fights that the trailers had hinted at. Those moments were fly-overs in an extended montage.

 

Predictable:  My buddy is right in saying that the movie certainly goes a different route than presented in the trailers.  However,… the movie (perhaps as a stunt itself), dropped too many hints to lead you down the path to the answers that awaited.  I was able to figure out all the twists with ease, and not have my mind blown as I thought it would.  Another small dislike, but hey got to be honest at times.

 

Character use:  The trailers promoted the heck out of X-Force, making sure that we got our eye fill on just about every angle of Deadpool’s own team to rival the goody two shoes X-men.  And while the characters got their time to shine in comedy moves, their overall contribution to the film was cheated out in my opinion.  Maybe that’s what the comics have done, or perhaps it was a brilliant comedic ploy.  However, don’t promote characters so heavily if you are going to dilute them so much. Even his fellow mutants from Xavier’s got a bit of underplay, another example of too many pieces leading to sacrifices being required to not make the film too long.

 

The Verdict:

 

            Truth is… I loved Deadpool 2 and while I had some issues, (which are pickiness of course), the movie accomplishes the goals of being a comedic spoof of superhumans that brings that bite to eat we hungered for.  It’s fast paced, it’s witty, and it still keeps the story going on a level I didn’t expect and this provides the breath of fresh air again that the first one did. Still, it’s not a perfect movie for me and I still hope to get some more action and character usage in the next installment should Disney not limit Fox’s creativity on it.  Worth a trip to the theater?  Absolutely, though be warned that the movie is not designed for younger audience members, those with weak constitutions to blood, violence, and vulgarity, or those not ready to step over the abyss into craziness.

 

My scores are:

 

Action/Adventure/Comedy: 9.0

Movie Overall: 8.5

 

Breaking Into Drama More Than Thriller

Breaking In Poster

 

It’s Mother’s Day, a time for celebrating your maternal parental figure who cooked meals, did chores, and saved you from thieves.  Okay, maybe not that last one, but it is the theme of our movie review tonight.  In an attempt to capitalize on the holiday, tonight’s review hopes to bring the drama and thrills to entertain the masses, and potentially bring a new meaning to the Mama Bear title.  Robbie K here with another analysis on film, attempting to guide your movie viewing pleasures.  So, let’s get started on the review of:

 

Movie: Breaking In

 

Director:

James McTeigue

Writer:

Ryan Engle

Stars:

Gabrielle Union,  Billy Burke,  Richard Cabral

 

LIKES:

 

Acting:  The movie is a very character centric tale, primarily attempting to portray a mother caught in a dire situation. Gabrielle Union accomplished this goal, managing to bring the heat and fire of a mother scorned, who is refusing to let these thieves harm her babies by any means.  The balance of emotion with deadly edge and vulnerability, led to a well-designed character who holds much of the movie on her shoulders.  The thieves led by Billy Burke, all play their roles well, each with a certain quirk to lean heavily on, as this modernized Harry and Marv attempt to claim their goals.  As for the kids, they do a decent job, just not the most integrated roles outside of crying and a few clever moves.

 

The Realism: Thrillers can sometimes bend reality too much, but Breaking In keeps its feet on the ground pretty well in the realism department.  While there are slight stretches at times, the writers managed to keep the superhuman feats to a minimum, and all injuries rather debilitating.  In addition, it’s very similar to the home team advantage, allowing knowledge of the property to contribute to her strengths of outwitting these dangerous men.  Say what you want about the mercy of the characters, but give it a round of applause for avoiding the super human magic movies love to cast.

 

The Time:  Not much to say here, other than the movie is around 90 minutes long so as not to be too long in your Mother’s Day plans.  So, hooray for condense story telling.

 

The Setting:  The coolest like for me in this film, is by far the setting this game of cat and mouse plays.  This house in the middle of the country is gorgeous and elaborate, lulling your sense of envy out to admire just how much one can do with real estate, interior design, and amazing technology and landscaping.  Yet, to use that house as a massive chess board weapon is even cooler in my opinion.  Breaking In is all about exploring the house and surrounding terrain, utilizing the knowledge of the manor to outwit the opponents and obtain the riches within.  It’s the shadows and interconnected twists that really bring the suspense out, and open up the possibilities of what can happen next.

 

DISLIKES:

 

Pacing:  The movie has issues with keeping a consistent pace for me in this movie, resulting in at times a sluggish speed that was difficult to stay awake for.  These moments are not entertaining, thrilling, and add little in terms of character development, which means it’s more a waste of time and editing than anything else.  And even when things are supposed to speed up, they only ramp up slightly and quickly fizzle out.

 

Lack of Character Development:  If its character centric, it needs to be character developing and this movie fails on that aspect for me.  While Union’s character (Shaun) is able to get some new levels of strength and love for family, the rest of the characters advance very little from their already limited group.  While the kids were most likely not going anywhere, the thieves really could have used some better backstory, deeper qualities, and perhaps a little more reasoning behind their actions. These shallow qualities reign supreme though and lead to one-dimensional characters that are flat, boring, and only creepy at times.

 

Predictable/Unmotivated Story:  Such hope filled me from the trailers, the small drops at a potential deeper story that could end up providing some twists and surprises that could be hiding in the dark halls.  Indeed, they dropped these lines in the movie, however they did not elaborate on them at all.  No more explanations about the dad outside a few cheap lines, no backstabbing politics that you couldn’t see coming.  And most notable, no real build up to make an attempt to wow.  The story is just so linear and simplified that it just left me feeling robbed of my money for an incomplete script.  If you want this safe route, you’ll love this plot the, but if those looking for edge… don’t hold your breath.

 

Thrilling?: This dislike is questionable depending on what you consider thrills.  If you like the straight up, low key threats, and mild running and hiding, this movie is for you Yet if you were expecting holding your breath moments, intense stand offs, close calls, and manners similar to Don’t Breathe… then you’ll be bummed like me. Breaking In is more an elaborate drama that feels like a heated, soap opera moment, and while things can get a little tense, it fizzles out at the empty threats of the thieves at hands.  While mothers will be ready to claw the guys eyes out and worry for the kids, other fans may just be waiting for the movie to end when they realize how low key the thrills are. 

 

The VERDICT:

 

            Breaking In held such potential, but like many films it just didn’t deliver on those promises that well edited trailer brought. While the setting is good, the acting is decent, and everything is presented concisely… the movie just could not deliver the thrills for me it wanted.  Much has to do with one-dimensional characters and an unmotivated pace, which makes it difficult to see this movie thriving outside of Lifetime or another local cable channel/streaming service.  Can’t say it’s worth a trip to the theater for me, so hold out for now and get ready for the bigger blockbusters to come into play next week. 

 

My scores are:

 

Thriller:  6.0

Movie Overall:  4.5

It’s My Party And I’ll Cry If I Want To

Life Of The Party

 

She started out as Sooki St. James cooking up a storm, she stole the show and puppies on Bridesmaids, and she joked her way into our hearts with Mike and Molly.  Yes, she is Melissa McCarthy, and she is the star of tonight’s film.  With mediocre advertising and unfortunate timing, this movie is going to try to rake a few scraps of the box office to hopefully survive another weekend of run time.  Was it worth a trip to the theater?  Did it deliver what was promised?  Robbie K here to help guide you with a written review to expand on his thoughts and help spend your money wisely.  Let’s get started as we look over:

 

Movie: Life of The Party

 

Director:

Ben Falcone

Writers:

Ben Falcone,  Melissa McCarthy

Stars:

Melissa McCarthy,  Gillian Jacobs,  Debby Ryan

 

 

LIKES:

 

Cute:  The movie is unfortunately timed near some of the biggest Disney movies of the year, but it is also nicely timed on the weekend of Mother’s Day.  As such, this film goes alongside this theme, capturing the essence of the mother-daughter bond among McCarthy and her brood of eager college seniors.  Like a remake of Troop Beverly Hills and the House Bunny, Life of The Party has that adorable energy packed inside, attempting to captivate the target audience.

 

Flashback Syndrome: The movie tries to hit on a few big aspects of college life, doing a fair job to take you back in time to those glorious, or perhaps not so glorious college days. Life of The Party touching on awkward roommates, fraternity rituals, class studying, and parties makes for some dynamic opportunities for fun and adventure to rope you in.

 

Good Music:  A movie like this is always an opportunity to introduce, or reintroduce, some hits that are often in theme of the movie scenes. With partying displays in this movie, the music director did a nice job selecting a track list that works so well with the ups and downs of the film.  And given the trends of the songs these days, you can expect some comedic antics to be heavily reliant on the song for setup (see 80’s dance off).

 

Messages:  I’m a sucker for good morals being displayed in a movie, and fortunately a movie about the wilder sides of college life has some kernels of wisdom deep beneath the partying service.  D-Rock’s journey back to college involves copious amounts of work, striving to face her own demons, and more importantly the importance of empathy winning out in the day.  Yeah, there are some juvenile and rambunctious aspects that heavily coat these core values in a greasy layer of slime, but the writers eventually accomplish delivering these valued lessons.

 

DISLIKES:

 

Shallower Aspects Take Precedence: While there are solid core values, the shallower aspects are heavily emphasized in this movie.  Life of The Party’s title is no lie and the film is a big budget advertisement for wine, beer, and frat parties that state this is the real core of college.  In addition, many of the other girls have highly mocking flaws that get little evolution, further highlighting the “important” aspects of higher learning.

 

The Lack of Story:  As said in my pre-review vlog, movies with McCarthy can be fantastic if there is a purpose to ground the humor.  Life of The Party is not one of those movies, going more for the how many jokes can we throw into a 2-hour run time.  While I didn’t expect much from the trailers, I had hoped the plot would not be as paper thin as this movie held within it. For one thing the movie tried too hard to put so many aspects in the movie, making much of D-Rock’s problems disjointed and uninteresting.  The other girls get hints of getting more development, but most get dunce caps in character development, merely being comedic props/ploys for more jokes.  Even McCarthy’s character has inconsistent development, a roller coaster ride with sharp rises and falls that rapidly solve everything.

 

Drags:  The movie did not have a good pace for me, feeling very sluggish for most of the films.  Primarily at the first part of the movie, Life of The Party makes minutes feel like hours as one hopes we can arrive at the fun times, but only get paper thin qualities that are chuckle worthy at best.  It was not the most entertaining movie, and therefore left me feeling bored at times, which brings me to the next dislike.

 

Forced Comedy:  The movie’s primary dislike, is that the comedy is very forced for me for much of the movie.  For one thing, the writing was not as clever as I had hoped, designed to relentlessly drown you in cheap laughs, meme worthy one-liners, and girl drama that is more eye-rolling than comedicSecond, the delivery of the movie is okay for the most part but seemed to be directed at overdramatic presentation that was geared to characters’ stupidity or ignorance.  Finally, the tactics lacked any real diversity, leading to a tidal wave of blandness that diminished with every telling.  So, fans of the theory if it isn’t broke don’t fix it will get their money’s worth with this rigidly stiff presentation.

 

The VERDICT: 

 

In regards to this film, Life of The Party does not deceive you with the trailer, delivering what was expected as shallow laughs, loads of silly humor, with a nice cute center. Sadly, the movie really needed a touch of creativity to lighten it up, bring some wit to the deluge of low key jokes, and most importantly expand upon the characters that are the key selling point. It’s not the worst film of hers to come out, but it is also not her best and I can’t recommend this one for the theater viewing and to hold until Redbox.  Still, a mother-daughter bonding experience can be an exception if you are looking for that opportunity this weekend. 

 

My Scores are:

 

Comedy:  6.0

Movie Overall:  4.0

 

 

Wasn’t Board With This One, But Not The Original

Overboard

 

Another weekend, another remake, and this one is a doozy as Hollywood goes back to the 80s in the terms of its inspiration.  The movie to be copied this time is that classic starring Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell, involving amnesia, backwater families, and of course a lot of stereotypical humor.  And surely from that (or reading the title) you can guess what I’m reviewing.  So let us cut the chit chat and get started as yours truly reviews:

 

Title: Overboard (2018)

 

Director:

Rob Greenberg

Writers:

Leslie Dixon (story),  Bob Fisher (screenplay)

Stars:

Anna Faris,  Eugenio Derbez,  John Hannah

 

 

LIKES:

 

Chemistry:  Let’s face it, this isn’t going to be the next award winning performance, and you aren’t going to see realistic portrayals of emotional turmoil, so don’t expect that.  While the comedy acting is forced, the thing I enjoyed of this movie is the chemistry between the whole cast.  Fans of Overboard know about the plot of a character getting amnesia and being made to believe they live in a drastic change to their world.  The convoluted lie requires coordination and the cast I felt did a nice job selling as if they too believed in this lie.  Each actor/actress felt like they knew each other well, and made this bizarre, extended family/community that was involved in the adventure.  As for the leads, well they played the ridiculous characters quite well, but there is only so much you can do with a ridiculous script.

 

The Pace:  Remakes can sometimes feel like a drag depending on the direction they take, but surprisingly Overboard makes a nice go at keeping things entertaining.  There is enough energy in the film to help make the adventure fun, and I myself was surprised when I looked down and realized an hour had passed.  So despite how rushed and out of sorts things may be, the movie at least doesn’t feel like a slug in molasses in terms of pacing.

 

Cute and Fun:  Perhaps the biggest selling point for the movie is just how family friendly this movie is.  My showing alone spanned all ages and ethnicities, each enjoying the fun the film brought and the lessons it can of course teach us.  Numerous coos and awwwws of adornment filled the theaters, and I admit I found myself loving the charming nature of the movie.  This is definitely one for a group or family outing, because it’s just a fun movie to watch if you’re open to ridiculous antics that don’t involve too much vulgarity or over the top stupidity.

 

Comedy:  Again, Overboard is a bit forced, but a major strength of the writing is the blending of comedic genres to help get things going. While the slapstick and forced meme worthy comments are a bit much, the writing actually has its clever moments in regards to comedic delivery, movie references (and not just the first overboard) and poking fun at cultural/ethnic trends that are actually respectable and classy. Making fun of over the top telenovelas, or about the inability for people to work are just some of the pokes in store for this movie, and it’s quite entertaining to watch.   Overboard has a little something for most in is execution and that dignified comedy gets an A+ in my book.

 

The Music:  Finally, the energy of the movie is also attributed to the music that is pumped through the max amplitude speakers of the theater. It’s not that diverse, primarily international electronic music, with a little Latin salsa flair thrown in as well. Still, the infectious beat and high energy nature of the tracks adds a little pizazz to the movie and may have you dancing in your seat.

 

DISLIKES:

 

The Over Top Moments: The over the top comedy is cool at points and entertaining to most, but it gets a tad old after a while. Overboard’s antics got a bit stale, and the forced moments, primarily the delivery, soon become appealing only to the extreme kids at heart and kids.  They start to back off near the end when the morals and story develop, but at the beginning it is a little difficult to stomach the torrent of grossly delivered lines.  Sorry, if you are a fan of this comedy, no means to insult.

 

Story Not Quite As Put Together:  In the original, the story was still ridiculous, but they were able to flesh out and develop the characters and relationships to an astounding degree to tightly wrap things up in a nice bow.  While this telling is complete, the integration of everyone into the story is just not quite as complete as the original, nor was there as much as resistance to the integration into the new life.  I missed that gradual development and felt while this one was more fun, it wasn’t quite as complete as the other movie.

 

Not unique:  The only other thing I can say is that movie is still missing that unique theater experience.  It’s a comedy that tries to hit a little bit of everyone’s needs, but the result is a broad, generic comedy that doesn’t quite live up to what it aspired to be.  While fun and entertaining at times, the comedy didn’t have all that bite it wanted, so that toio loses points, but hey it is a remake.

 

The VERDICT:

 

            Overboard is not a movie that is worth the extreme hate it is getting, which is mostly due to the comparison with the original. True… it’s not as well put together as its predecessor, but within this remake is a fun, entertaining moral filled fest for the whole family.  It’s a great family movie that will hit the funny bones for a lot of people, and it has that energy to keep you engaged for the nearly 2 hour run time.  Still, this movie isn’t the most unique film in the whole arsenal of comedy, which makes recommending it in theaters difficult.  I suggest going for a fun family night out, and a definite rent in the future, but definitely don’t hate on it without giving it a try.

 

My scores:

 

Comedy/Romance:  7.0 (more family than romance)

Movie Overall:  5.5

Tully, Or Not Tully? That Is The Question

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The artistic movie is one that makes one think, makes a bold statement, and often pushes the boundaries on the normal cinematography.  Some of the movies that fall in this category are Juno and Young Adult, two movies that are all about pushing one to address morale and social issues that are becoming ever abundant in this world. This weekend, the studio continues its trend, with another film that looks to address some social quirk in hopes of shedding the light on the topic.  Robbie K is back with a written review on the latest movie called:

 

Movie: Tully

 

Director:

Jason Reitman

Writer:

Diablo Cody

Stars:

Charlize Theron,  Mackenzie Davis,  Mark Duplass

 

 

LIKES:

The Acting:  Charlize Theron continues the fantastic work of bringing characters to life, curbing her usual sullen mood and silky-smooth voice and transforming it to something truly wonderful.  She brings the suffering of postpartum depression out in full fold and crushes it with her amazing talent, and for once the extreme characters she normally plays are gone, replaced with someone you can grip on to.  Then bring in Mackenzie Davis as Tully, who brings vibrant energy, rational thought, and a new outlook to mix things up and brighten the mood.  The chemistry between the two leads is a defining strength of this movie, which keeps the conversation going and the pace moving.

 

Good Pace:  Most of the movies by this directing/writing combo is often slow and too drawn out for me.  This was the opposite case for me in this film, as Tully managed to tell the tale in a very concise manner, at a speed that was engaging to watch.  A nice crafted story to make things work, this movie shouldn’t induce any sleep for most.

 

Beautiful Makeup:  I don’t know if Theron had to put on weight, or a there were good prosthetics, but the work-up is beautiful in this movie. Theron looks pregnant for the whole 20 minutes she is carrying her baby, and the after body goes through a metamorphosis reflecting the post-partum body.  It’s impressive, accurate, and quite well done to immerse you further into the character’s life. 

 

Realism: The thing about these movies, is that they tend to be on the more realistic side than most blockbusters. Tully continues this trend and does a swell job of crafting a tale related around a serious disease, collecting various struggles, hazards, and emotional torrents of this delicate time.  While there are still some movie magic moments, the film I think hits the highlights to exemplify the suffering these women have after birth, and more so in the valuable lessons life has to offer.

 

Morals:  There are plenty of scenes to entertain and show off Theron’s talent.  However, this reviewer loves the three powerful moments where lessons are taught. Tully’s story drops some beautiful dialogue down to address the imbalances that modern society manages to look over.  Keeping your ears open, Tully will attempt to break your glass ceilings on issue such as parenting, happiness, and marriage, providing some sound advice to help balance the numerous responsibilities involved in these parts of life.  I for one loved how casual it felt and hope to see such natural dialogue in the future installments of this universe.

 

Twist:  The movie has a nice “twist” to help get some responses out of the audience.  While this reviewer called it at about forty-five minutes into the film, most will like what Cody’s writing has in store.  Get ready for a nice symbolic mix-up that mostly fits into the film, because you’re going to appreciate the integration it has to offer.

 

DISLIKES:

 

Hasty Conclusions: Tully is filled with analytical moments in an attempt to dissect all aspects of motherhood.  While these components are relative and essential, the film fails to decently tie up some of the problems her family has.  True, it’s about her growth and taking steps to improve on herself and family, there were a few solutions that came too easily or were left as only a glimmer of hope.  I’ll agree the ending is wrapped up, but it’s just not as wrapped up as I had hoped.

 

Limited Audience: These movies may be artistic, but they are also very limited in who will get the most out of this movie.  Tully’s audience is going to be for those who have experienced the hardships of motherhood, battled the grasp of post-partum depression, or have lost their way in marriage/life.  Outside of that, the general audience is going to close themselves off to the artistic approach of this movie

 

Twist Offsets Energy: For once, Cody’s writing managed to actually excite me in its education about life and unique approach to tackling it head on.  As Tully and Theron go on their adventures to clear the clouds of distress, I started to feel better and enjoyed watching the nanny piece life back together.  Then the twist comes in and offsets that journey, an accurate representation of life, the surprise disheveled the great pace and approach for a predictable tangent that hastily wraps it up.  I applaud creativity, but after enjoying such a good pace, it stunk to see it ripped out and offset the vibes it put out.

 

The VERDICT:

 

            Tully turned out to be better than I had expected. The script is strong, pushing for change in a natural way and fostering growth along a number of important life lesson battlegrounds.  A great chemistry makes for engaging characters and the twist is there to mix things up.  However, Tully still suffers from hitting a limited audience group and outside of still being an exhausting movie, the ray of hope in the gradual solving of problems gets offset by the twist and leads to a rather hasty conclusion.  Still, the movie is much better than expected, though you might be better off waiting for this movie to hit home viewing unless you are going as a focus group. 

 

My scores are

 

Comedy/Drama:  7.0

Movie Overall: 7.0