A Rough Night For This Reviewer

Rough Night

 

Bachelorette parties, a sacred ritual to help a young woman transition from single life into the world of marriage.  Of course, like most things, modern traditions have adulterated with new traditions and rituals that leads for a rather “exciting” night. So why not make another movie about it.  Tonight, my friend and I hit the theater to cover the latest comedy to “grace” the big screen entitled Rough Night!  What does this obviously titled film have in store for us?  As always, please read on to find out and help determine whether or not it is worth your money to hit the theater.

 

So what do you get?  For once the trailers were pretty spot on with their portrayal of this movie.  Rough night is a very raunchy, simplistic, and over the top comedy that has little sustenance outside of the attempt at humor.  It’s ridiculousness at times is clever, but these moments are few and far between, buried under the comedy rubble that fills this movie. Aggressive innuendos come rushing out of the woodwork, many delivered in the overdramatic manner that somehow seems to be popular and entertaining to many.  The all-star cast assembled to for this film are okay, dropping their dynamic acting range for superficial roles filled with cursing and satire. Lazy writing also doesn’t help sell the comedy factor, primary thanks to the consistent cursing, shouting of the male genitalia, overzealous drug use, and cringe worthy catchphrases.   Kate Mickinnon is able to salvage some parts of the film with her usual tricks, working the Australian accent with her pizazz and spot-on timing.

Story wise, nothing special here.  Rough Night’s plot is about 80% revealed in the trailers and there is little surprise left for you in the audience. Some of the more adult moments will be the eye widening magic you are seeking, but again these are often awkward uncomfortable, or unnecessary.  Still the movie’s tale had some surprising character development and a nice twist thrown into the mix to help keep things dynamic.  The morals hit close to home on some level, but again are robbed by another bout of stupidity.  I know, you aren’t there for the character developments and rugged plot, but other comedies have learned to balance things and that is where this movie fails.

 

In the end though here are my likes and dislikes:

 

LIKES:

  • Kate McKinnon
  • Good, upbeat soundtrack
  • Short Run Time
  • More dynamic storyline

 

DISLIKES:

  • Incredibly stupid
  • Excessive cursing
  • Aggressive humor
  • Trailers Ruined most of the movie
  • Inappropriate at many times
  • Shallow story
  • Annoying characters
  • Dropped plots
  • Overacting
  • Limited target audience

 

 

THE VERDICT:

 

            It’s nice to see a movie fit the expectations set by the advertising, but it’s sad that this is a form of entertainment.  Rough night fails to find balance and resorts to cheap parlor tricks known as adult humor.  Sure there are clever components (primarily thanks to the boyfriend and Kate), but even they can’t save the movie from the monotonous laziness that is to come.  kWhy must it be overacted?  I don’t know, but nevertheless this movie failed on many accounts.  Recommended audience members include bachelorettes, girls nights out, or fans of one of the cast.  For the rest though, skip this movie until it darkens the library of Netflix. 

 

My scores are:

 

Comedy:  5.5

Movie Overall: 3.0

Training Pants Off, Underpants On…For Kid Focused Comedy

underpants

 

Superheroes seem to be the theme of this weekend at the movie theater.  For those not interested in the Amazon princess’ tale another caped crusader awaits in the hallowed halls of the silver screen.  No, it isn’t Batman, but instead a more childish hero to fight ridiculous antagonists.  And tonight, my review is on the waistband warrior himself… Captain Underpants and his first feature film.  Based on the hit children’s comic book/novel series, the latest kid’s movie is here to try and bring the laughs contained in its pages.  Did it succeed?  Robbie K here to help answer that question, so let’s get started, shall we?

 

LIKES:

 

  1. Cute Factor: We all know kid movies can vary like the flavors of Baskin Robbins ice cream. Captain Underpants is along the cute variety, filled with that fun, G rated goodness reminiscent of the Peanuts Movie. The trailers are accurate in stating there is a great moral lesson about friendship, one that just may touch your heart and call up your best friend.  If the sappy parts don’t make you say awwwwww, the sound of your child laughing certainly will.

 

  1. Nostalgia: If you read the books, or co read with your young one, then good news, the movie captures the spirit of the series. Watching Harold and George trying to control their gallivanting hero is sure to bring a flood of memories back at the adventures in the book.  In addition, you’ll find ridiculous villains, potty based humor, and even Flip-o-rama all integrated in the short run time of the movie. Ahh, the power of reliving your childhood is a strong thing indeed.

 

  1. Voice Acting: No academy award worthy performances in this movie, but the voice acting fits well with the ludicrous tone of this movie. Kevin Hart’s high pitched voice fits so well with the character of George, primarily the obnoxious laughter I pictured the character having. Thomas Middleditch helped compliment his co-actor in his wispy voice. Ed Helms was a toss-up for me.  I didn’t find his portrayal of Mr. Krupp the same tone as my imagination, but he certainly nailed the boisterous, whimsical tone of the superhero nimrod. And finally Nick Kroll certainly has the over exaggerated accent down pat, and made for an entertaining antagonist at times.

 

  1. The Art Style: DreamWorks animation nailed the media for this movie for me. Bright colors, dazzling lights, and a trippy spin were exactly what I expected for the Captain Underpants universe.  This film “flips” between animated panels of a child’s drawing to the 3-D cartoon CGI image and it works to capture that kid friendly energy and nostalgic blast to the past. And as there aren’t too many kid’s movies using this style yet, so the uniqueness is always appreciated.

 

DISLIKES:

 

  1. Very Kiddy: The trailers warned us about this, and even the comic books did as well, but Captain Underpants lacks the adult factor many cartoons hold. Much of this movie is simplistic potty humor, incessant laughing, and mindless bantering that may hold little humor to those above the age of 12. And to be honest, much of the movie loses its comedic spin within the first third of the movie. A little more wit could have gone a long way to save this movie from getting stale.

 

  1. No solid story: Masterpieces from Pixar and Walt Disney studios have a blend of humor, character development, and story. In Captain Underpants… that is sadly not the case.  The spirit of adventure is missing in this film, diluting the suspense aspect of the film to stuff more bathroom humor in the mix. And without a solid story to base the humor upon, it feels kind of like a failed stand-up comedy routine than a theater worthy film.

 

  1. Lacking Emotional Kick: While the movie does portray the power of friendship well, it still lacks that the emotional slam dunk that others have perfected. Captain Underpants doesn’t have much tug to the heartstrings and while you can laugh with the two of them, you can’t really connect to the characters at hand. Without that investment, it makes it that more difficult to invest in the movie. Therefore, I was bored for much of the movie, jealous that the younger audience could relate to the fart humor more than I could.

 

  1. Over exaggerated Voice Acting: Yes, we know the characters are all supposed to be overdramatic spoofs meant to tickle the funny bone.  Doesn’t mean they had to go over the top on the voices ALL THE TIME. Much of the voice work eventually drops into the annoying zone and for some characters very quickly (how many Tra-La-Las did we really need to hear?). Without the clever writing to back it up, not even this star-studded cast can save the eye rolling, or teeth grinding moments contained in this film.

 

The VERDICT

 

Captain Underpants is a different spin on the superhero genre, and one that is very welcoming to the younger generations.  With a very focused comedy towards its demographic, parents aren’t going to find much gold to this movie outside the art style and the melody of children laughing. Despite the nostalgic run it brought, there is not much to this film to make it theater worthy (unless you need a 90-minute tranquilizer for your kids). Therefore, I recommend this one be saved for Netflix or Redbox instead of the theater.

 

Animation/Action/Comedy:  6.0

Movie Overall: 5.0

Set Sails For Calmer Waters: Pirates 5 Drops The Sword For The Comedy Pen

Dead men

 

Avast ye scurvy scoundrels, it be Captain Robbie of the S.S. Review, sailing the seas of the cinema in search of the treasure known as a good movie.  Alas, this weekend Admiral Bruckheimer’s armada set out on a fifth voyage with Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp)

taking the wheel once more. Will this adventure be smooth sailing and reward us with a crown jewel, or will we be drowned in the sea of sorrow at another hand me down adventure? Yo Ho, Yo Ho, A pirate’s life for me, drink up me hardies, sit on your captain’s chair and read my thoughts on Pirates of The Caribbean 5: Dead Men Tell No Tales.

 

LIKES:

  • Character Centered Story
  • Acting
  • Special effects
  • Soundtrack
  • Comedy

 

Summary: When it comes to the plot of these movies, one never knows if they’ll find gold or mere rocks. The fifth installment is fortunately back on the path to good storytelling, focusing on the characters instead of well… immortality. Among the number of scallywags, we get some background on about five of the cast, each with a unique angle to help them stand out.  While certainly not the best story, it is miles above the mess number four was.

The story is a nice component, but the acting is really the aspect that brings the pirate’s life to well…life.  Newcomers like Brenton Thwaites and Kaya Scodelario are a welcome addition that have spunk, class, and a number of other qualities that many will latch onto, (especially the cute factor) and they aren’t bad to look at either. Scaring is way into another antagonistic role, Javier Bardem brings his bag of tricks back to the screen, including the suave accent and cantor that oozes evil.  Of course the main two you are probably coming to see are Geoffrey Rush and Johnny Depp, the legendary captains we fell in love with in the first movie.  Rush is incredible, bringing the sea saltiness and arrogance that is the famous Captain of the Black Pearl.  Depp on the other hand is as enigmatic as ever, capturing the goofiness, lackadaisical attitude of Sparrow with a dash of heroic charm.  Together, the two actors lead not only the character development, but the comedy.  Yes Pirates 5 certainly has the laughs in spades, using every in their arsenal to get a chuckle.  I loved the clever word play, idiotic banter, and comedic timing in this movie, which helped relieve the darker aspects of the film.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a pirate’s movie without incredible special effects.  Yes Disney and Bruckheimer combined their studios to bring the magic back to the screen. Chaotic maelstroms expand across the vast screen, as ships sail across dead infested waters, firing explosive cannons at the specters that haunt the blue.  The journey is certainly beautifully illustrated in a mix of art and excitement, all under the unifying banner of the epic orchestra work we all have come to love.

 

DISLIKES

  • Still shallow story
  • Action scenes somewhat bland
  • Lack of suspense/Simplistic end
  • Worthless cameos

 

Summary:  Alas, despite the jewels that sparkle in the distance, the story still needs some work.  With five main stories, each a different motif to quest for the elusive item, the plot gets spread thin and deprived of real sustenance into the character’s history. Sure, one of the stories has more bite than the others, but this Pirates took a hit in the rich depth we have come to expect. Therefore, the bland characters were lacking at times and not as strong as I had hoped.

Even more bland are the action scenes that they tried to bring to the movie.  Don’t get me wrong, there are some beautifully animated battlegrounds in the movie, it’s just that they lack the same sting I feel in love with.  Where were the epic sword fights between two swashbuckling men amidst dangerous landscapes? Where were the notorious ship to ship battles where a well-placed cannonball and evasive maneuver meant the difference between life and death? And where was the suspense and thrills that kept me on edge all those previous installments?  I’m not sure, but Pirates 5’s action scenes were malnourished forms of battle I loved, with many scenes reduced to pan over shots of extras fighting CGI enhanced ghosts. A few scenes were gaining the potential to be awesome, but comedic relief set in and reduced it to some quick ended scuffle that quickly turned to running.  Glad to know our pirates could have run track.

And finally, the cameos.  While certainly a great tool for nostalgia, most of the cameos were shallow shout outs to the characters we have wondered about.  It allows for some neat little tie ups at times, but these less than 5 minutes screen appearances were missed potential.  Only Paul McCartney, the legendary beetle, was able to pull off an appearance that was worthy of being included… well done Paul.

 

VERDICT:

 

Pirates 5 took a step in the right direction with its returned to character driven story, comedic style, and special effects that scream pirates. However, it still has room to improve to get back to the glory of the first film.  It’s unbalanced at placed, and lacks the excitement of the battles, or an exciting conclusion at all to wrap up the supposed final entry.  Seems they wanted more of a comedy than anything else, and one will certainly enjoy the laughs, and most likely the movie, if you go in for the comedy over everything else.  Worth a trip to theaters?  I’m sure you would still go regardless what I said, but the special effects are certainly worthy of the theater’s sound and video. Yet you could still hold off on this film and check it out at RedBox, because this finale sets up the series for yet another installment.  Finale chapter my butt!

 

Scores:

 

Action/Adventure/Fantasy:  8.0

Movie Overall: 7.0

Going Back To Traditional Style

Going in style

 

The age of comedy has certainly changed over the years, transitioning from the classic slapstick to a simpler, straightforward approach that today’s youth loves. Yet, every once in a while, the legends from the past return in an attempt to bring some whit back to the silver screen.  Tonight, my friend and I head back into the trenches of the local theater to give some insight into Going in Style starring the legendary trio of Morgan Freeman, Alan Arkin, and Michael Caine. Let’s get started!

 

LIKES:

  • Classic comedy
  • Good chemistry between actors
  • Cute
  • Nicely tied together story

Summary: If the intro didn’t spoil it for you, Going in Style is true to its name, as the trio brings the classic comedy back into style.  Fans of the slapstick of yore are going to bust a gut at this film as the timeless styles of the leads continue to shine bright. Caine and Freeman have comedic timing and delivery down, with clever lines craftily intertwined in the serious dialogue that put today’s writing to shame.  Arkin on the other hand is all about the banter and complaining, which for the most part is balanced and well-placed. The trio have great chemistry together, and sell that they are best friends who have faced the challenge called life.  They sell the struggles and praise the joys, and do it with such class and minimizing the stupid, mindless banter famous today. And in addition to being funny, the lack of crude comedy also makes this movie cute. Watching older men trying to rob a bank, while also getting their lives in order makes for an adorable adventure as my friend commented.  Of course, this reviewer likes a story to his comedy, and Going in Style gets this right too.  It’s a hardy story for most ages, and one that won’t have the older audience members shaking their heads in shame.  This may also surprise you, but there were a couple of twists that fooled me, which isn’t easy in the comedy genre. 

 

DISLIKES:

  • Predictable
  • Depressing at times
  • Old jokes get a bit stale

Summary:  With a simple story as this, it’s not surprising that much of the story is predictable. Given the theme of the movie, you should be able to predict most of the ending, and certainly can guess where things are going to go wrong.  Therefore, the uniqueness of this movie takes a hit in the story department. And no surprise, the comedy is also predictable and therefore loses the comedy edge they wanted to deliver…at least to me. While the trailers do promote the more fun atmosphere of the movie, don’t let it fool you that it is all happiness and rainbows (that’s the Smurfs!).  Going in style emphasizes the end of life generation, highlighting the less than glorious problems of getting older. Thank goodness for the consistent comedy, because otherwise this could have been a much harder movie to watch.

Of all the comedy this movie has in its folds, they certainly stuck with the old theme of this movie.  Positives, there are plenty of quips and class to the punches they throw. Bad news, the quips get older than the actors delivering them.  How many insults about difficulties getting up can you make, or metaphors for being poor and not having a check.  It’s good political awareness (nice work there writers), but it would have been nice for a little more variety to work its way into the vaudeville.

 

The VERDICT:

Going in Style is one of the classier, wittier comedies to end up in the theater this year.  Both this reviewer and his friend, enjoyed the trade of simplistic one-liners and innuendos for a less aggressive comedy style that shows the traditional style has not been lost quite yet.  Despite the trade up though, the movie is still very predictable and simplistic enough to still be stuck in the mediocre territory.  As much fun as I had in the movie, there isn’t much to warrant it for a movie theater visit, unless you are a fan of the traditional comedy and looking for a fun group/date movie.  My friend though gives this movie three thumbs up and states it is an entertaining, fun flick that will keep you laughing. 

My scores are:

Comedy/Crime: 7.5

Movie Overall: 6.0

Darker, Sexier,Deeper Story. Still Requires Some Work

darker

Robbie K here, and I’m back to bring you yet another movie review on the latest movie theater “hits.”  No doubt that many are ready for the mass advertised Fifty Shades Darker, the sequel to the literary work that “graced” the world so long ago.  Despite how badly the first installment did, Hollywood is taking another shot at the series.  Is this thing up to the test?  Or is it just a plain, dirty dream filling, mess.  As always, I’m going to do my best to put bias aside (unlike some reviews) and give you some insight into this flick.  Let’s go

 

LIKES

  • Still Tasteful…mostly
  • Story a little better
  • Surprisingly funny at time
  • Soundtrack Still Kicking

 

Summary:  While I’m not the biggest fan of the Fifty Shades series, this reviewer has to recognize the pressure placed on the directors for this series.  For me, I think they did a nice job keeping the movie tasteful while indulging in some of the…sexier qualities of the film.  Although supposedly darker, the movie keeps most of the steamy scenes in decent detail without crossing into porn threshold, except the last scene…nothing tasteful about that.

But when the actors aren’t trying to sell the sex, the story that tries to give it purpose starts to emerge.  While certainly not the strongest story, Fifty Shades Darker is a little more dynamic, bringing some mystery, some drama, and some love to the table.  Those who wanted a little more details to the cast will get their wish, somewhat, and wetting your appetite for the next film.  Amidst all the dramatic moments though are some well-timed comedic moments, often pointing out the ridiculous concepts housed in this series. Yet the best thing, for me at least, was the soundtrack. Once more the music editors have selected/crafted tracks that fit well into the scenes, including a number of songs that will capture the heat of the scene. Was it as good as the first installment?  I don’t think so, but it still does its job.

 

DISLIKES:

  • Story is still lacking
  • No butts about it
  • Extra Characters Lacking
  • Character Development Simplistic
  • Acting still needs improvement

 

Summary: Okay, I’m not ignorant enough to not recognize that a lot of people are going for the “passionate” moments.  But a reviewer looks at the other qualities, including the story.  Despite being better and having more components to it, Darker’s story is still lacking.  Many of the plots promised in the trailer are simplistic at best, often dropping them for another sex scene or sequence of the couple arguing.  The mysterious girl, the blonde dominatrix, and many other tales involving other characters are diluted attempts to add suspense, adding a little suspense and foreshadowing for the next installment before the potential is dropped.  In fact, the only thing really developed to me was the origins of the strange obsession with domination and sadism.  As mentioned earlier, the character development is stronger in this film, but it too didn’t live up to the potential it could have.

 

While their sex life was reaching a climax, their backstories barely moved from baseline, other than a few flashes of sad origins and some insight explaining their approach to love.  For many this won’t be an issue, because it gives some more time for spicy antics, overdramatic quarrels, and plenty of butt and breast shots for audiences to absorb.  Yes, you get plenty of the eye candy in this film, which helps cover up the work in progress acting.  If I’m not mistaken, both leading roles are awkward, reserved, and have some traumatic history.  However, this does not provide an excuse for sloppy line delivering, creepy staring, and using grunts and sighs as space fillers.  I wasn’t the most thrilled with either leads’ performance in the movie, outside of being able to do it on the screen (they seem to have that down pat).

 

The VERDICT:

 

Overall Fifty Shades Darker delivers what was promised, steamy scenes interlaced with the romantic drama that is enjoyed by so many.  I think it still held some taste, mixing the sex with a story that provides the entertainment most will be looking for.  Can it match to the picture your imagination patient when reading?  No, because Hollywood doesn’t have an unlimited budget and has rules to abide. But it does its best to provide what many craved.  Yet not even sex can make up for the limitations in acting, detailed story, and character development that goes beneath the skin.  I’m sure my review will not stop fans from trekking to the theater, but this reviewer can’t recommend this one for the theater, unless you just want to see the sex on a massive screen.  Yet, it also doesn’t deserve the worst score, because it delivers what I think it promises, though not all the way.  Oh, and make sure to stay for the credits for a teaser that really is a tease.

 

My scores are:

 

Drama/Romance:  6.5

Movie Overall:  5.0

 

 

Makes you Want To Laugh And Sing

sing

Tis the season for movies, and this week there are plenty of films for all to see.  My first review this week is the latest animation film geared toward the younger audience group.  Assuming you’ve seen the title of my review, you know I’m talking about Sing, Illumination Studios’ latest production.  As an answer to Disney’s Zootopia, Sing is trying to take the anthropomorphic animal story and a little twist to bait you in.  But was that twist enough, or is it another generic animation. Please read on to hear my opinions on the latest blockbuster.

LIKES:

  • Very Fun
  • Decent song and dance numbers
  • Character development
  • Touching moments

The thing you always hope for in a kid’s movie is a fun adventure for the audience (both adults and kids). Sing does its job of providing laughs and energy, having a variety of jokes that will tickle your funny bone from time to time.  Little kids will find the slapstick antics of characters farting, tripping on stage, or crashing into some sort of scenery. Adults on the other hand will embrace the funny voices, well timed delivery, and popular culture references. Whatever your style of humor, Sing will surely entertain most audience members.

For a movie titled Sing, you hope for a little singing and dancing, right?  Good news, there is some of that in this movie. Sing’s song and dance numbers keep with the cute theme of the movie, filled with explosive colors and energy.  The singing is…okay in the film, but the music director picked a wide variety of tracks (from a multitude of genres) in hopes of roping all ages into the film.  Their twists on some of the classics is certainly enjoyable, though doesn’t quite come together like the originals.  Dance numbers are again cute, but are primarily comedic relief than a true wow factor you might have expected.

My main like of Sing though, is the emotional moments the directors packed into the film.  The cast of aspiring singers each have their own problems (shocking right) and our heroes must face them semi-head on throughout the 90-minute run time.  While the outcomes are certainly predictable, the dialogue, music, and animation are more than enough to maximize the emotions of the moment. I found my heart strings being tugged at a few of the story arcs, but enjoyed the attempt at teaching the audience some important lessons.  Nevertheless, there is some simplistic character development to help around out the adventure.

DISLIKES:

  • Different theme than presented
  • Many numbers were shortsighted
  • Dropped potential characters
  • Story, while touching, was kind of bland

 

When I saw the trailers for Sing, I was expecting American Idol meets Zootopia.  To an extent, we do get that, but it’s only in the auditions part of the movie.  You’ve seen most of the audition numbers in the trailer, and the studio didn’t expand much past this.  As a result, the music numbers I would hope blow me away were reduced to simplistic quips that while comical and cute, weren’t that impressive. Surprisingly they are missing some genres like country, rap, and others that some audience members might have been hoping for.  I guess the soundtrack will have to make up for the short bytes.  In addition, the contest aspect really wasn’t pursued, as the story takes a different approach to make it a completely different movie than you were expecting.

This approach, as well as the short numbers, also reduced the screen time of some of the other animals you might have been hoping for.  So, all those animals you see auditioning, don’t get too attached, because chances are they aren’t going to stick around long enough for the adventure. In addition, some of the supporting characters have limited roles, their story lines hastily wrapped up and lost in the musical numbers.  And the result of all this is again an entertaining story, but one that is kind of bland and lacking suspense.  The incomplete use of characters and the lack of the contest aspect took away the suspense of rooting for your favorite animal, diluting this film’s potential to really drive the emotions home.

 

The VERDICT:

 

            If you haven’t guessed from my review, this film is fun, fun, fun.  It has energetic song and dance numbers, some cute wholesome comedy, and yes some predictable emotional moments that we all like to see this time of year.  However, the decisions to not pursue the contest, limit the engagement of the other characters, and the lack of hard-hitting numbers took away from the movie for me.  Therefore, this reviewer recommends, and predicts, this film will be best enjoyed by families with little ones (who will most likely flood the theaters to see it).  However, this reviewer recommends holding out to see this one at home instead of in the movie theater. 

 

Scores:

Animation/Comedy/Drama: 8.0

Movie Overall: 7.0

B-E-A-UTIFUL Acting!

collateral-beauty

 

We all know Charles Dickens’ classic tale the Christmas Carol and all the lessons it teaches this time of season.  It’s a story that has been told through many mediums that continue to entertain the masses.  This weekend, we get a similar tale to grace the theater entitled Collateral Beauty starring Will Smith and a slew of other characters. The question is though, does this twist work?  Hi Robbie K here, privileged to share some thoughts on another movie.  Shall we get started?

 

LIKES:

  • Fantastic Acting
  • Equal Screen Time
  • Good use of Music
  • Fantastic morals

 

With a star, studded cast that includes Will Smith, Kate Winslet, Hellen Mirren, and Edward Norton you expected good acting.  Well good news, the acting met the expectations placed on the cast.  Smith of course takes the lead, delivering another grand performance of someone suffering in life (7 pounds and pursuit of happiness). He sells the anger and hurt, while maintaining his emotional balance to prevent falling into overacting territory. Edward Norton, again delivers a sound performance and probably has the most diverse energy of the cast.  Newcomer Jacob Lattimore surprised me with his performance, which although a little skewed, had the teenage angst and aggression representative of time.  But the champion actor is Helen Mirren, who continues to prove that age brings experience.  Mirren was the funniest of the group, but managed to sell the morals of the movie the most without going too far.  She engages so well with the entire cast, and does a good job as the keystone of the movie…you know past Will Smith.  The entire group again does a fantastic job altogether, and even better are all balanced through the movie, each member getting close to equal time (which is sometimes unheard of).

While the acting certainly helps make the story come to life, the editing of the movie helped amplify the emotions of the film. The cinematography is beautifully executed, combining the enchanting scenery with the raw pain of our suffering characters.  You’ll get plenty of close ups on tear stricken faces and troubled stares as our characters face the ordeals at hand.  But it’s the background symphony music, that helps add that edge to get the tears flowing. Beautiful piano work helps sell the scene, subtle at times before unleashing its full power as the lessons are learned.  The culmination of audio and visual are fantastic tools to seal the deal for the morals this film has to offer.  And speaking of morals, the writers did a nice job twisting the tale to focus on dealing with life’s problems.  Aside from Will Smith’s trial of accepting his daughter’s death, the other characters each have their own trials to face that involve self-assessment, acceptance, and a willingness to try and make things better.  Preachy as it can be, these important lessons are taught with the fantastic lines and strong acting premise.

 

DISLIKES:

  • Not as deep as I thought
  • Felt Incomplete
  • Lackluster
  • More spirit interventions would have been nice

 

Despite all the good I reported, Collateral Beauty still has some rough edges that need some smoothing out.  For one thing, I felt there could have been more emotional punch to this film.  I felt the lessons in my heart, but I wasn’t borderline crying in this film.  It felt like they held back on the emotional punch. Whether this is due to some production quirks, some shallower plots, or the fact that the trailer delivered much of the film could have diluted it.  The movie also felt incomplete at parts, as if other scenes were needed or perhaps scenes deleted to take out the incomplete feeling.

In addition, the movie is a bit lackluster from the various tellings of the Christmas Carol.  This film doesn’t have the terror or suspense that Dickens’ three spirits contain, although they are much more entertaining.  This movie, despite teaching values, was just not as unique as I think it wanted to be. There were no grandiose twists, no outstanding spirit designs, and no key features to help make this movie stand out from similar morale tales.  I think I also wanted more spiritual interventions as well, another round to drive the point home to Howard.

 

The VERDICT

 

Collateral Beauty is certainly an example of great acting, as our stars have incredible chemistry, integrate through most of the movie, and have the emotional balance we would want in such a cast.  In addition, the morals are taught well thanks to the strong dialogue and wonderful audio/visual techniques to amplify the emotions.  However, there was something missing that just didn’t make this movie as emotionally deep as I expected.  Still, this is a movie that will move many and a good, fun movie for the holiday season.  Is it needed to be seen in the big screen?  When looking at the technical qualities and the unique aspect of the film…no this movie is worth a Redbox rent. However, in regards to the moral lessons and heartfelt story, this one is worth a visit. 

 

My scores are:

 

Drama:  7.5

Movie Overall: 6.5