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

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

Fun, Funny, and Fierce. This adventure is as crazy as the characters.

suicide squad

           It’s here, it’s here, the long awaited antihero movie has finally reared its rather odd looking head into theaters tonight. With all the justice filled men and women in sparkling underwear, Hollywood’s superhero sea needed a little color added to it. Suicide Squad looks to be just the ticket to provide that color and the trailers only fueled my excitement. But one always wonders if the movie will be as good as the trailers, or if it will bite the big one. Hi, Robbie K here, and I’m here to share my opinions on the latest movie. Let’s get started.

 

The GOOD

  • Comedy is spot on
  • Decent action/antihero theme
  • Margot Robbie is awesome

 

There is so much to say about this movie, and I wish to start with the comedy. If there is one thing superhero movies deliver on (outside of flashy outfits) it is usually a good comedic kick. Suicide Squad ups that factor as the band of rogues provide their views on life, often in a pessimistic jab. The lines are well written filled with a combination of whit and pizazz that are blended into a potpourri of themes that are very entertaining to hear. Our writers were also able to balance these lines throughout the movie, and mix in some additional comedic styles to further blend in the mix. And the delivery, alongside the timing, maximized the punch and  intended relief in this rather somber tale.

But you didn’t come for comedy alone (this isn’t Bad Moms). No…you came for action with an antihero twist. Once again, the movie delivers as our assorted criminals tear through the CGI generated villains with their various gadgets and styles. These moments are exciting, giving a decent balance of everyone’s abilities from Quinn’s use of a baseball bat or Diablo’s computer animated fire. The first battle in particular was my favorite of the bunch, but the other fights weren’t bad and provided some exciting (often explosive) fun. And it’s all nicely packaged with that living on the edge, careless joy that bad guys seem to enjoy and we expected. It’s dark, it’s vicious, and it certainly is fun…at parts (more on that later).

Yet one of the biggest positives of this movie both my friend and I agree on is Margot Robbie. The beautiful actress certainly brings the sex appeal, which is highlighted by the trailers, and she certainly got a response by the audience members in the stage. Outside of looks though, she nails the role of the psychotic Harley Quinn. Her high pitched screams, the ecstatic enjoyment of danger, and the devoted passion for violence were all captured by her and she certainly brought the edge we longed for. In addition, the movies performed by Quinn matched her personality and completed the deadliness of Mr. J’s assistant. She was a major carrier of the film and certainly a well-casted member of the crew.

 

The BAD

  • Story was kind of lacking
  • Action crosses into cheesy and unbalanced territory
  • Emphasis on only a few characters

One thing that a lot of movies can’t seem to get is the balance of story with action. Suicide Squad’s tale doesn’t feel much like a comic book tale, and fell short on some levels for me. A random opening that drops into a long winded origin tale whose pace became very erratic. From their the tale rushed at parts and then dragged at others and prolonged dialogue prior to the fight didn’t help things along. The “twists” behind their missions were kind of lame (and somewhat random) and was not impressive despite the buildup of the trailer (I was hoping more Joker and less gargantuan beast). It wasn’t the worst story of a hero flick, but this reviewer thinks it needed some tightening up.

Something else that didn’t stay consistent was the action. Remember I said the first battle was exciting, fast, and truly rocked. Well that momentum gradually gets lost as the movie progresses. Exciting romps become quick skirmishes where overdramatic theatrics are the weapon of choice instead of choreographed numbers. The exciting conclusion at the end is probably the least engaging of the fights, and dropped into the uber theatrical, symphony driven sequences that Hollywood loves. In addition some of the comedic irony in the film made the battle almost pointless and only further took away from the action.

And finally the balance on the characters was a little skewed considering the trailers announcing the line up. Deadshot and Harley Quinn took center stage in both story and action, and although they portrayed it well kind of robbed the involvement of the other characters. Pyro and Sorceress had their own contributions to tale, but even those were a cheesy subplot that fit awkwardly in this tale. As for Killer Croc, Captain Boomerang, and other members of the team, they fell into comedic relief positions that either started a laugh riot or fell on deaf ears. Again, everyone played their parts well, but the disproportionate representation of the characters and the unorganized tale robbed us of potential magic. So much for teamwork I guess.

 

The Verdict

            Despite the cheesiness, uncouth, and disproportionate aspects of the movie, Suicide Squad is certainly a fun movie to kick August off with. I feel you many will certainly enjoy the laughs that the gang will provide and the action sequences are sure to get some applause until they fall into corny territory. Again it doesn’t seem like they could decide on the route to go, but DC studios is getting closer to getting the formula right. Is this movie worth a trip to the theater? I think it certainly is, but not in 3-D if I do say so myself.

 

My scores:

Action/Adventure/Comedy: 8.0-8.5

Movie Overall: 7.0