Guards Up For Action Packed Laughs

Bodyguard

 

Summer movie season is starting to putter out, but the movie magic continues to trickle to get a buck out of us.  This weekend tries to muster up some chuckles in the form of not one, but wo comedies that look to be more of the same.  I start my weekend off with The Hitman’s Bodyguard starring the dynamic duo Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson. With dynamic comedy styles and a track list of movies behind them, one can only wonder what these two bring to the big screen this weekend.  Fortunately, I have the privilege of providing that information and giving you some insight.  Let’s get started on another review, shall we?

 

Likes:

 

Soundtrack:  Always good to have a soundtrack with quality music and surprisingly Hitman’s Bodyguard kills it on this aspect.  Much of the music fits in with the scenes, often used as a comedic ploy to compound on the humor presented in the movie.  They even managed to make the action even more exciting with the music, primarily during Black Betty’s epic guitar solo.  One way or another though, you may find yourself tapping your feet to the soundtrack at hand.

 

Action:  When they say action/comedy they mean action comedy alright.  Hitman’s Bodyguard has edge packed into its gun happy, pro-violence run and in a variety of styles that help diversify the plot.  Jackson and Reynolds, or at least their doubles, are involved in a variety of stunts that mix martial arts, weaponry mastery, and insane driving on their journey to testify.  I myself had an adrenaline-fueled blast with the movie, but one fan hollered in approval at the hardcore action contained in this film, despite how illogical, unrealistic, or death defying they were.  And as a note, the camera work is quite stable to pull off an approval from yours truly.

 

Comedy:  The leading component of this film though, is the comedy loaded in to the firearm that is this film.  I found myself laughing for most of the movie at the writing this film had.  The screenplay writers had a field day with the dialogue of this film, stretching their minds to deliver lines worthy of cheap laughs to witty gold.  I certainly enjoyed the entire spectrum in this movie, but really enjoyed the timing of the jokes and the delivery from the two leading actors, especially Jackson, sold the line for full price.  While certainly not the best writing to grace Hollywood, Hitman’s Bodyguard hits some balance that other comedies ignores.

 

Dislikes:

 

Jokes grow stale:  Despite all the antics packed into this pistol, many of the potshots are crafted into the same mold and fired so rapidly that they quickly lose their punch.  Reynolds’ angles are the biggest victim of going stale and becoming more eye rolling/annoying than gut busting.  I have to agree with my fellow reviewers in how the movie is relentlessly throwing jokes at you during the film and it gets tiring after a while, especially when interrupting the more serious moments.

 

Gary Oldman’s character:  Oldman is a master of playing those grittier roles and he didn’t shy away from the communist leader role in this film.  Sadly, the villains have little bite, reduced to threatening facial gestures (amidst unimpressive makeup), a few grandiose speeches, and oh yes, a running scene.  The worst part though has to be the accent and direction Oldman gave the character, which sounded forced, stretched, and uncommitted to the character at hand.  This protagonist was boring and outside Oldman’s normal range, leaving the flunkies to bring the pain.  Had they focused on his lieutenant a little more, we may have had a real ringer.

 

Jackson’s catchphrase:  I know, you get Jackson, you often get a certain phrase alongside him, and Hitman’s Bodyguard is no exception.  This film is relentless with their cursing, focusing on the magical F word and all its iterations as the primary ammunition for comedy.  Jackson in particular goes overboard with these words and while funny at times, gets old after a while.  Salma Hayek’s cameo was a welcome change to the mix, but with the lazy writing and merchandising off this word, I can’t get on board with their overuse.  To quote the movie, Jackson may be destroying the MF phrase, which is hard to do.

 

The Verdict:

 

I had fun with Hitman’s Bodyguard and enjoying the approach this movie took with comedy and action.  It’s go simplistic, unoriginal stunts that are predictable, but it is nicely executed keep your heart pumping.  In addition, the laughs are nicely integrated into the film to go along with the pace of the movie and not diverging down the slow, unnecessary paths that most do.  Still, it’s not the most unique movie to grace the theaters and like many films is unable to obtain that balance of using their gimmicks.  Throw in the over utilization of the F word and well…you see where it gets panned on.  Still, it is an enjoyable ride for a movie venture, but your money many be better spent elsewhere. 

 

My scores:

 

Action/Comedy:  7.5

Movie Overall:  5.0

Girls, They Want To Have Fun

Girls Trip

 

A girl’s trip. A novelty idea that starts out so innocent, but can turn down the wilder side.  Rough Night already attempted to depict this concept earlier this summer, but it didn’t quite deliver the punch it wanted.  So, this weekend, another (almost identical) movie tries the concept again, and we can only hope it’s more successful.  Robbie K reporting again on another movie review to give you the 411 on films.  Let’s get started!

 

LIKES:

 

Good Pace:  Many raunchy comedies, and let’s face it there are plenty of them, often have either too quick a pace, or drag out exponentially. Girls Trip gets the pace right though, keeping things fun and entertaining, without getting stuck on a scene or sequence for too long.  I found myself engaged in the movie and thoroughly enjoyed the fun at hand in the Flossy Posse adventure.  It’s nice to see things progress at an adequate rate and breathe some life into a plot that was dead of originality. And speaking of plot…

 

Story:  Believe it or not, comedies can still have a story and make you laugh.  Despite what the trailers promised, Girls Trip has a plot that creates a foundation for the laughs to spring off of and keep it grounded with a relevant purpose. I’d be lying if I didn’t say there are times they go all out for comedy, however much of it goes with the flow of the story and is relevant to the plot.  Past the comedy though, the story is another heartfelt romp about friendship and love, going down the usual avenues that we’ve seen a hundred times.  One unique feature though is how all of the girls’ problems interconnect and cause drama to offset the mischief at hand.  The result is a dynamic relationship between the ladies, and the extras surrounding them, that feels relevant, relatable, and realistic on many levels.  So, nice to see this in a comedy again.

 

Acting:  Characters are good, but they require acting to come to life.  Rough Night failed to emphasize the acting and traded their talent for quick laughs.  This film learned from that mistake and encouraged them to act like characters with more depth.  Regina Hall has the drama acting down pat, being emotional while also steering from the overacting. Queen Latifah brings her sass back to the mix, a little edgier, but nonetheless the same style that works for these roles. Tiffany Haddish is like the Rebel Wilson in this film. She works well for comedic relief, and her loyal, unfiltered edge is executed well at most parts.  My favorite is Jada Pinkett Smith who presents the most balanced character of the bunch and played the broadest spectrum of the bunchTheir chemistry mixes well and really represents a girl squad who has drama, but has each other’s’ back.

 

Comedy:  A small, but important note, is that the comedy is well executed and quite balanced for this reviewer.  Sure, much of the theme is sexual natured, but fortunately the crassness of the jokes varies depending on the character.  There are some other comedic devices presented that are fun, but what’s nice is that comedy is balanced and not the center piece.

 

DISLIKES:

 

The Language:  Yeah, no surprise, I don’t like strong focus on cursing.  Girls Trip sadly falls victim to using the F bomb, alongside a few other derogatory devices, for much of their conversation.  While not the worst I’ve seen, the writing could have used a few rewrites to add some class and more memorable lines to the mix.  But Lazy writing still brought a lot of laughs to the group so it’s probably not the biggest factor for most.

 

The Uncensored moments:  Despite the change up of delivery, and the dynamic nature of the women…much of the comedy is focused on sex. While this comedy is not my particular style, it can be entertaining, when executed at the right times.  There are points where Girls Trip gets really nasty though and drops the class for cheap laughs and gimmicks.  In particular, Haddish’s character gets old at times and her raunchy moments got old at times (though not as much as seeing near naked men and their organs).

 

Endgame/Lack of Originality: With all the good pacing and delivery of this movie, you would think there would be a strong endgame.  Unfortunately, Girls Trip kind of dropped the ball in the last twenty minutes when they threw a big wrench into the gears.  At this point a lot of tension is introduced, only to have it immediately resolved in a rather lackluster manner.  The final resolution has emotional power behind it, but it was very unoriginal and lacking the cleanup I expected from our ladies.  Not the consistency I had hoped for, but still not the worse conclusion I’ve seen this weekend.

 

The Verdict:

 

Despite my low expectations, Girl’s Trip is surprisingly very entertaining.  A well-paced, story-focused comedy is in store for those who come to see this film in the theater.  The cast keeps the movie fun, and the story is both emotional and entertaining to watch, especially with the comedy that goes in tangent with it.  However, despite the entertainment value in it, Girl’s Trip still has some areas to improve upon including comedy diversity, classing up the lines/censorship, and maybe working on an endgame.  Regardless, this movie hits its target audience well and is a fun adventure that I hope will stand at just one movie (no sequel needed).  Worth the trip to the theater?  In terms of comedy this summer, yes this is one of the ones to see.  Yet, there is nothing theater worthy to call for the expensive tickets. 

 

My Scores: 

 

Comedy:  7.5

Movie Overall:  6.0

Volume Two Are The Guardians to Comedy

guaridans

 

It’s the first weekend of May and you know what that means?  No not love is in the air!  It means Marvel studios is kicking off the summer movie brigade with another one of their “super” superhero movies.  In this case, the mercenary team takes to the stars again in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 starring Chris Pratt and a bevel of other characters to lead the charge. Will this intergalactic spoof take us to intergalactic heights, or has it burnt out like a white dwarf?  Robbie K is back with another review, and as always, I appreciate the views.  Let’s get started shall we.

 

LIKES:

 

  • Visual Style
  • Edgier
  • More Action Than the First
  • Comedy Gold
  • Another golden soundtrack

 

Summary: When guardians comes to mind you probably think of a lot of… weird things.  However, if you get past the trippiness of the idea, you’ll see some impressive visuals to get your adventure going.  Marvel studios once ore shows of their special effects prowess, bringing you a display of interstellar stars, explosive laser fights, and unique planets with odd environments. Guardians 2 will have your eyes watering at all the explosions of color and the beautiful actors that inhabit the artificially created setting.  And no lie, it certainly warrants a look in 3-D given everything they stuffed into the film.

Yet with the impressive displays comes the ability to add edge to the movie, and volume 2 brings it in spades. While certainly lighthearted at times, the second addition to the franchise is much darker than its predecessor.  Graphic deaths, hate filled dialogue, graphic violence, and some disturbing visuals are just some examples of this edge, and warrant caution when bringing the kiddos to see it.  Good news though, this edge also dropped a barrier holding back the action, because Volume 2 is loaded with more battles than its predecessor.  Much like Star Wars, the ship and laser battles are loud, flashy, and suspenseful (at times), feeling like a haphazard mess that is perfect for this galaxy. It is not the most spectacular, but it gets the job done and brings loads of laughs with it.

Speaking of laughs, Guardians biggest selling point is the comedic gold buried in the star filled void. The film got a lot of things right, including dynamic comedy styles, such as innuendos, insults, and clever references, each balanced to keep the chuckles coming. And it was only amplified by the fantastic timing and delivery by our talented cast of actors.  Of all the cast, I think Rocket and Drax are the funniest, with Drax’s lines being the best timed and delivered, while Rocket had the edge and best writing. Bottom line is, I have not laughed this hard at the movies in the long time and hope you enjoy it as much as I did.  One last thing, the soundtrack is on point again filled with a variety of classics to make your toes tap or get that last emotion out.  In addition, they use some of the songs as a fantastic comedy device, once more illustrating the creativeness at Marvel studios.

 

 

 

 

DISLIKES:

  • Action is not dynamic
  • Drawn out/Cheesy moments
  • Semi Lame villain again
  • The story elements not as tight

 

Summary:  This section was hard to come up with, but here were a few things on the weaker side for me. It starts with the action. I know, Guardians is a comedy movie, but it still portrayed with heavy action moments.  To some degree this is true, but the action is not as dynamic as some of Marvel’s other films.  Much of it is simplistic shooting and monotonous ship battles that slightly differ with a setting change or a different ending to the conflict. When they try to add a little diversity, these moments become drawn out, overdramatic moments that feel like something from the third matrix movie without the intense suspense. They do get points back for some clever spoofs and supporting dialog, but Guardians has a lot of work to do in the action department to rival some of the greater films.

One thing that could help this is to actually cast or develop their main villains to have some more bite to them. In this film, I had difficulty determining who was going to be the primary villain, which made a lot of those drawn-out moments and “suspenseful” battles lacking to me.  Why they keep trying to make these grandiose blowhards whose skills are pathetic is beyond me, but hey grandiosity is the Guardians attaché. Something else that was hard to get on board with the looser story design of this film. It wasn’t linear, and much of the arcs didn’t seem to tie together as I think they envisioned, that is until the end where things hastily tied up. And for me, there was lots of obvious foreshadowing that gave much of this movie away, and if you pay attention you can have everything predicted in 15-30 minutes.  In addition, the Nebula arc had some guts behind it, but still didn’t sit well with me given all the stories crammed into one movie and how incomplete they felt at times.

 

The VERDICT:

 

The epic trailers did the movie justice, for the most part, and Guardians 2 has plenty of awesome factors that will entertain the masses.  It’s special effects and action are exciting, and the edgier atmosphere opens up for darker plots and comedy that many will like (alongside the killer soundtrack). Yet the story isn’t as put together and some of the drawn-out moments could have been edited down to restore the balance they were seeking. Nevertheless, and as if I could stop you, this movie is one for the theaters, though I warrant caution to those looking to take young ones due to the edge of the film. 

 

My scores are:

 

Action/Adventure/Sci-Fi:  8.5

Movie Overall: 8.0

Birds of A Feather, Deliver Cute Together

storks

            “Where do babies come from?” For decades kids ask this question to parents and in a state of desperation creative answers, (aka lies) are cooked up.  One popular story wielded by parents is the concept of the stork delivering babies to doorsteps. This weekend, the creative geniuses over in La La land have managed to craft an animated film all about the miracle of these white winged wonders.  Yes, today I’m reviewing Storks starring Andy Samberg and Katie Crown.

 

LIKES:

  • Originality
  • Cute
  • Emotional

 

We all know there is really no original story anymore, but animated films usually put a creative twist on things. Storks breaks the mold of princesses and dogs by switching to birds with the fabled job of bringing life…literally…to people’s doors. I enjoyed the poke at our online consumerism by making the storks trade babies for technology, which isn’t the iconic adventure setting. Along the way, the orphaned Tulip (Crown) accidentally creates a baby through a giant magic wielding device that leads to a simplistic adventure to return her home.  It’s a fun twist on the tale of creatures uniting to accomplish a goal (Ice Age anyone), topped with a few unique kicks to sweeten the deal, including Lego versions of wolves.

Stupid as all this may sound, Storks main attraction is the cuteness bundled in the 100 minute run time.  I don’t just mean the baby, although the magenta haired munchkin will certainly melt many aspiring/current parents’ hearts. Much of my audience awed at some of the sweet moments our first time “foster” parents experience, many of which will bring nostalgic memories of your child’s firsts rushing back.  But if the main story isn’t up your alley, the side tale of a family struggling to spend quality time might be the ticket for you, especially with that song track they play.

Perhaps the biggest bang of Storks though, is the emotion the team have placed throughout the journey.  A simple opening starts to soften the heart as the intentions of Tulip are shared, which no surprise is the preachy, noble, and justice filled goals all protagonists have.  It’s just an opening I promise.  As they travel through the world, various themes of parenting and letting go fill the screen that again will start to knock the walls down further.  Yet the ending is where the true punch is. Without ruining anything, Storks ending has a powerful, well animated, montage, complete with orchestrated sappy music, to open the flood gate of tears of most parents in the audience.  Not me of course, I’m pretty much a robot, but there were loads of sniffles at the heartfelt moment portrayed. Sigh, such a nice wrap up of the movie, despite the predictability.

DISLIKES

  • Predictable
  • Misdirected Comedy
  • Annoying at times

No surprise, Storks has a predictable plot that most animated movies have and I’m being a stickler.  I know this isn’t a shock so it’s why I’m saying it is a minor weakness.  Despite the unique twist on the story, Storks originality does not extend much past that and falls into the time tested pattern once again.  Oh sure, I was wrong on one prediction, but the trailers have given much of the little surprise away.  Such a shame with the promise they made, but hey we at least got laughs out of it right? Right?

Wrong! You might go into Storks thinking or hoping for kiddy laughs with a few clever puns thrown in the mix. This was not the case. Surprisingly, this movie’s jokes are geared towards a more adult audience in terms of delivery, content, and comprehension. I don’t mean sex jokes (this isn’t Sausage Party), but much of Storks gears towards parenting humor and themes of abandonment that might be a little over your little ones’ heads.  Yes, there is some slapstick comedy, bodily harm, and a pigeon with a goofy voice named Pigeon Toady (Danny Trejo) that will make them laugh.  Aside from that, most of the comedy is a shot at entertaining parents, which I’m sorry to say failed for the most part in the laugh department. 

In fact, much of the comedy was actually annoying to me.  First off they rely on constant banter for much of their dialogue.  It was kind of entertaining at first, but they ran too far with it and by the fifth round of arguing… it had gotten old and rather stupid. The wolves that seemed to be so funny in the trailers were indeed entertaining…in the beginning.  However, their comedic ploy also got annoying, particularly in the way they spoke in a very direct, robotic like manner. And as for Pigeon Toady, there were times I laughed hard, but this character gets old quickly, especially his gigolo like attitude that seemed like a diluted SNL character. I could go on, but I think three strikes is enough to make my point.

 

The Verdict:

            If you found Storks’ trailers cute, then the movie will only amplify that factor as you watch it. This simplistic film is fun for kids, but ironically seems to be geared towards parents for the true emotional kick. Unfortunately, the comedic aspect failed to take flight and stumbled into the stormy skies of annoyance and stupidity. Can’t say it’s the best animated feature to grace the silver screen, it is a decent distraction for a rainy day. My recommendation is to wait for a Redbox rent, except for parents wanting to recapture baby magic.

 

My scores are:

Animation/Adventure/Comedy:  7.0

Movie Overall: 6.0

Baking This Bun Is Fun: Comedy Meets Romance

bridget-jones-3

            We all love a good love story in one form or another. Whether it takes the form of a realistic relationship or drops into the make believe perfection of a Nicholas Sparks movie, Hollywood is happy to play on affection for entertainment. And this weekend another sequel attempts to make us oooh and ahh only this time adding a little “bump” in the road. I speak of Bridget Jones’ Baby, the latest installment in the single woman’s legacy starring Renee Zellweger and her lovely ensemble. So let’s get started shall we?

 

Likes:

  • Surprisingly witty comedy
  • Acting chemistry
  • Well paced plot

I can’t lie that I went into this movie with low expectations, after all it’s been 15 years since the last movie and a lot can change. However, age hasn’t stopped our writers from placing some clever comedy in the 2-hour runtime. The dialogue has plenty of quips thrown at our cast, meant to poke fun at our characters quirks and qualities. In addition, our characters throw jabs at various movements, popular trends, and media ploys that prove just how ridiculous we humans can be. But the laughs are not limited to just dialogue. Bridget Jones tale is filled with situational awkwardness, a well-designed soundtrack to mirror scenes, and a little slapstick to liven things up. A majority of the comedy has wit and timing to maximize laughs, but there are plenty of stupid moments that are good for a quick chuckle.

Writing aside, the three actors played their characters extraordinarily well and certainly brought the words to life. Renee Zellweger reprises her role as the single spinster transitioning into a new role, managing to bring all of Bridget’s qualities out of storage while evolving her character. Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy is yet another notch in the stuffy, English gentleman belt that he still plays fantastically even after the tenth reiteration. And newcomer Patrick Dempsey is a welcome addition to the world, bringing a new twist on the more fun side of life that Hugh Grant once played. These three certainly play well together, able to form a reverse Archie Comics love triangle that so many will love.

In regards to the plot, again I was surprised by how much I wasn’t annoyed by this love story. We know many romance tales are about drawing out the drama because our characters are too shy to commence their feelings until some episode, usually alcohol, leads to sex and the tension breaking. Not the case for this film, as our crew was able to cram so much romance into a short running time and keep the plot moving that it was entertaining to watch. Nice job guys!

 

Dislikes:

  • Very Formulaic at times
  • Sometimes a bit too preachy and silly.

 

I’m probably going to be berated on this, but Bridget Jones still follows the formulaic, love ritual that the genre has become. Much of the story is predictable, with our cast of characters falling into the typical pitfalls and romantic gestures that audiences continue to eat up. You can see the ending coming a mile away at whom she will choose and I only hoped I was wrong so I could be surprised. In addition, the jokes sometimes do get predictable and lost their punch for me (not the case for a lot of the audience). Oh well at least it is safe for fans of the series and will certainly deliver the expected. Still I was hoping for a little more twist to the familiar tale.

Another dislike for me was the preachiness of the film at times. I’m all for the revolutionary movements (e.g. equal rights, kindness towards others, and single moms) but to have my face smeared in over aggressive montages takes away from the magic for me. My least favorite moments involved Bridget’s mother, because it was forced comedy focused on pointing out how different certain people were. Come on people, put the message in the movie without making a spectacle of it, we know that’s not the most constructive means. In addition, the whole you can do it as a single mom was kind of pointless in this movie as she continued to pine over her two suitors without much hesitation. If you are again going to take extreme measures about promoting an image, follow through with it please. Regardless, the grandiosity of the movie wasn’t my favorite aspect at times, but the comedy was able to dilute some of it.

 

The Verdict:

            Overall, I’m happy to say that Bridge Jones’ Baby was one of the more enjoyable romantic comedies I have seen in a while. The comedy is by far the best part of this, and although raunchy and stupid at times, is dynamic and fun to say the least. In addition the chemistry of the actors alongside the fast moving plot only further enhances the fun of this adventure. But again it is formulaic and overly preachy at times, much of which is geared toward the intended audience that was often eye -rolling to me. Worth a trip to the theater? I have to say yes this a movie worth the price for how much fun it is, especially for fans of the series, middle-aged women and older, or those who appreciate feminine comedy. Otherwise catch this one on RedBox when it hits bins in a few months.

 

My scores are:

Comedy/Romance: 8.0-8.5

Movie Overall: 7.0

War Meets Wolf Of Wall Street: Hill and Teller Take On Politics

War Dogs

            Robbie K here, starting the weekend off with what else…a movie review. Tonight we jump into the political drama movie that is about our beloved country and those who try to cheat the system to make excessive amounts of cash. So lets bump past the formalities and dive right into my thoughts on War Dogs starring Jonah Hill and Miles Teller!

 

LIKES:

  • Good chemistry between actors
  • Interesting story
  • Comedy is witty

 

When I saw the trailers for this movie, I shuddered to think of the mess this movie could potentially be. After all, both of the actors (while talented) had not been in any roles that I absolutely loved. Therefore I was nervous to see these cast together and the potential stupidity/annoyance that could have been. To my surprise, these two were great together, having a dynamic relationship that sold the characters to me. Hill’s brash, aggressive nature led the charge of the movie, but was able to be toned down by Teller’s calm, intelligent, and more mature role. Each one was able to balance the other’s extremes and certainly felt like two coworkers/friends cheating the system. Once more I say that alone these guys were good, but together they were excellent.

While the relationship is certainly the driving force of the movie, the story helps keep the pace and suspense going. The story is exactly as sold in the trailers of two young men giving up their mundane jobs to begin selling weapons across the country. Unlike other gun running movies, this film abandons the frontlines for the bank, and feels much like another rendition of the Wolf of Wall Street. Todd Phillips and his team integrated the lives of our characters well into the story while still adding an edge of threat to keep you wondering what would interfere. The many moving pieces keep one engaged in the movie, and while there were components I felt under developed, had enough detail in each to bring things together.

Finally the comedy, I was expecting the comedy to be nothing more than a bunch of one-liners and facial expressions to make the next wave of memes. Truth is…there are plenty of these moments, but surprisingly there is some rather witty dialogue that had me laughing. In particular the banter between the two held plenty of clever insults and jabs at American stereotypes. Hill’s character in particular had more lines I found funny, mainly by his delivery, but Teller’s responses to those lines also assisted with that factor. All-in-all, the comedy has all of the insult and stupidity you expect, but is delivered so well.

 

DISLIKES:

  • Wanted more Ana De Armas moments
  • The F word and comedic antics getting old
  • Underdeveloped parts and the ending

 

My first dislike is the limitation of Ana De Armas’ character. I won’t lie, she is a beautiful woman and was very nice to have on screen (hey I am human after all). But I also really liked her character and how she drove the morals of the story despite all the corruption in this film. That goodness could have really refreshed the movie at some of the slower parts and they could have injected some more suspense in the film by having her in the film. Perhaps she isn’t the most key character in this war/crime drama, but hey it couldn’t have hurt…I think.

To sound like a broken record, the F word does not equal great dialogue or great writing. Yet Hollywood still can’t get that idea through their skulls. War Dogs has moments where it is just one bomb dropped after another, which may not bother you much. Still this reviewer would love the strategic use of the word to maximize its comedy potential, instead of replaying the ploy much like a Hallmark Channel Christmas movie. The same can be said for the comedic ploys in this film, some of which are again beaten to death without much remorse. Jonah Hill’s laugh (which sounded like a mixture between the joker and a donkey) in particular grew stale to me and was more annoying by the tenth time it escaped its lips. Fortunately, there aren’t too many of these stale antics plaguing the riding.

My final limitation was the underdeveloped components of the film. I’ve already stated the Ana De Armas parts, but there were other components I felt were in need of some fine tuning. The Bradley Cooper character I expected to have a bigger role for the price tag he carries and the way they snuck under the government’s nose was a bit farfetched as well. In addition, the fact that this is all based on a Rolling Stone article left me wondering how much was true and how much of this was Hollywood magic and fantasy. And as for the ending, it is a little lackluster and I would have thought more ploy, drama, and actual footage would have been in the film. Not to mention the final scene was ambiguous and unnecessary.

 

The VERDICT

War Dogs was much better than I expected and really portrays the actions some may take to make a quick buck. While certainly not the most original or entertaining movie, the engaging characters will keep you entertained and the dialogue will have you laughing. However, these qualities are not enough to recommend a trip to the theater for most of the audience members. Only those with great capitalistic pride and who don’t mind American political jabs should venture into this movie, otherwise wait for the Redbox rent.

 

My scores:

Comedy/Drama/War: 8.0

Movie Overall: 7.0

Streep Leads This Emotional, Classy Movie About Inspiration and Hope

Florence

 

The lovely Meryl Streep is a woman whose legendary performances spread across all genres. Tonight I have the privilege of reviewing her latest film that spans insto historical biography drama. The name of the movie if Florence Foster Jenkins and the game is about uniting a city during troubling times. The trailers made this one look promising, but as always I’m here to see if they deliver on said promises. So let’s get started shall we?

 

LIKES:

  • Acting
  • Emotional Delivery
  • Great writing

 

Florence Foster Jenkins is certainly a movie that is dependent on its actors to make it entertaining. Meryl Streep’s performance certainly lives up to its legendary standards and brings the iconic character to life in spades. She once more balances all her emotions, covering a diverse spectrum that includes joy, sickness, and fear all brilliantly wrapped in courage. And to see her butcher the musical notes the way she does, only gains further applause from this reviewer. Hugh Laurie, while not my favorite actor, certainly got the supportive husband role down and had a reactive chemistry with not only Streep, but every character in the film. And as for Simon Helberg, he did a decent job. I don’t know the character or the book, but Helberg’s performance was like a creepier version of Wallowitz with more elegant piano work. I warmed up to the character eventually, and soon found the performance much more fitting.

Outside of the acting though, the emotional drama certainly delivers on the promise of playing with your mood. The feelings of joy, pride, empathy, and anger all dance around in a chaotic waltz as the events unfold. While the actors are certainly the primary means of bringing everything to life, the camera work and accompanying orchestra work amplify the emotional turmoil you might feel. And the writing combined with the story certainly establishes a strong framework to guide everything. The dialogue in particular impressed me, so real and yet so clever that you can’t help but feel dropped into the setting. Bottom line is that the production quality is top notch and certainly the best part of the movie for me.

 

DISLIKES:

  • The Pace
  • Ear shrieking gets old after a while

 

With all the great things about this movie, it is unfortunate for me that the pace of the movie was very slow. I’ve seen my share of bibliographies, and many of them had some sort of plot point or engaging suspense to keep you hooked. In this movie I didn’t have those aspects, which often left the movie dragging at points and stuck in repetitive sequences. This error/weakness is mostly on my part and I should have been prepared for some slower moments. However, the rest of the audience had no problems with the speed of the movie and relished in the drama.

The second dislike comes from Florence’s main theme of singing poorly to a number of crowds. At first the gimmick is fun and funny, as Mirren throws off key ballads under the pretense she sings well. However, she soon transitions into opera and the surround sound, high amplitude shrieking becomes quite an ear splitter that may give you a headache. That joke also grew stale for me too, but its relevance to the plot made up for it despite the decibels she reached. It might be a minor point, but it was something I didn’t quite enjoy. In addition the movie itself wasn’t revolutionary as well and therefore wasn’t the masterpiece I thought it would be from the trailers.

 

The VERDICT

 

Overall Florence Foster Jenkins has high production quality and a five star cast that brings the movie to life in more ways than one. However, it probably could have had just a strong impact if it had premiered as a PBS original movie. For me there just wasn’t much theater quality to it (e.g. no special effects, or unique enough story). Therefore I can’t recommend this one is a must see in theaters. Who is the target audience for this movie. Well if my showing is a representative sample, it seems that women greater than the age of 50 are going to enjoy this most.

 

My scores are:

Biography/Comedy/Drama: 7.5

Movie Overall: 7