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Thursday, July 30, 2015

MINI-REVIEW: The Overnight

MOVIE
The Overnight

CAST
Adam Scott,
Jason Schwartzman

RATING
R

RELEASE
June 19, 2015

DIRECTOR
Patrick Brice

STUDIO
The Orchard

RUNNING TIME
1 hour 20 minutes







STARS
****










REVIEW:

It's films like this that make me appreciate how little you need in terms of sets and how simple a story can be to make something truly great. "The Overnight" is a movie with a mostly recognizable cast, including the likes of Adam Scott from "Parks and Recreation" and Taylor Schilling from "Orange Is The New Black," and takes place over the course of a single night in the lives of two couples. Both couples have young sons who quickly become friends after meeting at the park, but it's when they're tucked away for bed when the party really begins in this strange little movie. To call this a "raunchy sex comedy" in my eyes is kind of demeaning to the film, because it's a lot more than that.  Sure there's crude language, explicit sexual talk, and some full frontal nudity, but this is a lot sweeter and a lot more realistic than it would look on the outside. Ok it's not 100% realistic, but it's an incredibly sweet film.  This is a movie about self-discovery, living life to the fullest, and blossoming out of your comfort zone, which is something I think a lot of people can relate to.

We all sometimes feel confined in our own little worlds and are afraid to break out of our shells, and to me this film is a perfect representation of that. The four leads in this film, them being Scott, Schilling, Jason Schwartzman, and Judith Godrèche, all have charming and secretive sides to one another that make them feel like real people and not just characters from the mind of a writer.  Schwartzman in particular is a radiant ball of sunshine in this, bringing the laughs, sweetness, heart, and drama to his character every step of the way.  Clocking in at a short 80 minutes, this movie never dragged or felt too fast.  Nothing felt over the top, too raunchy, or too strange.  This is as perfect a comedy as we're going to get all year, and I honestly haven't been able to stop thinking about it since I saw it.  Writer/director Patrick Brice has created an honest, hilarious, weird, and consistently entertaining little comedy that may go down as one of 2015's shiniest gems.  If "The Overnight" is playing near you, don't hesitate and go see it.  If it isn't, wait for it on DVD and watch it then.  Either way, please just see this movie.






PREVIEWS YOU MAY SEE:

The Diary of a Teenage Girl

Grandma

Best of Enemies

Irrational Man





Wednesday, July 29, 2015

MINI-REVIEW: The Tribe

MOVIE
The Tribe

CAST
Grygoriy Fesenko,
Yana Novikova

RATING
NR

RELEASE
June 17, 2015 (NY/LA)
Expanding To Select Theaters
Throughout 2015

DIRECTOR
Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy

STUDIO
Drafthouse Films

RUNNING TIME
2 hours 9 minutes






STARS
***1/2









REVIEW:

The idea of a filmmaker making a film with an entirely deaf cast on its own is quite a challenge.  It's even more of a challenge for an audience member, however, to watch a film with an entirely deaf cast without the use of a score, subtitles, voiceover, or any way of understanding what's going on other than watching what's presented.  Ukranian director Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy did all of this, and the product of his efforts is called "The Tribe."  The film tells a story of a young man who attends a school for the Deaf and ends up in a world of drugs and prostitution, finding love along the crazy way.  If you're intrigued by the idea of an dialogue-free movie, then I think you may be interested in this.  Even if you understand sign language, you have to understand Ukranian sign language to know what the characters are saying.  Luckily, this is a movie where you don't need to understand sign language, you just have to focus on everything that's going on screen.

It might drag at times and the fact there's no music does get a little irritating, but it's hard to deny how ambitious this movie is at the end of the day.  The actors are all solid, the story is fascinating, and director Slaboshpytskiy doesn't hold back on showing things in a very raw and gritty way that, at moments, are very hard to watch.  The movie also doesn't have many cuts, with most scenes being done in one take.  This allows the story to be more intimate and a lot more in-your-face than it would have been with a series of constant takes.  "The Tribe" isn't a movie for the weak of stomach or the softest of hearts, but if you can deal with an entirely silent (except for ambient noise) movie without the ability to understand any dialogue, as well as be patient and be completely focused on what's being presented on screen, then I definitely recommend seeking this one out and seeing why this is getting so much praise.





PREVIEWS YOU MAY SEE:

Point Break

Everest

Spectre

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials

Star Wars: The Force Awakens





MINI-REVIEW: Ted 2

MOVIE
Ted 2

CAST
Mark Wahlberg, Seth MacFarlane

RATING
R

RELEASE
June 26, 2015

DIRECTOR
Seth MacFarlane

STUDIO
Universal Pictures

RUNNING TIME
1 hour 55 minutes











STARS
***










REVIEW:

Seth MacFarlane's "Ted," like "This is the End" and "Spring Breakers," is one of those films that gets better upon multiple viewings.  The film had jokes that got stronger and sharper upon revisiting them, and I happily watch it now whenever it's on TV and I have nothing else to do.  Having said this, I wasn't clamoring for a "Ted 2" as the original was fine on its own.  The fact that Mila Kunis was announced to not be returning for the sequel also lowered my expectations for this.  Of course I wanted to go see it, but I didn't think it could actually live up to the first one's already high standards. So what did I think of "Ted 2?"  Well I will admit that it's not as strong a film as the first "Ted" was, as this one had weaker jokes, dragged a bit, and had the same villain from the first movie for no apparent reason other than to have a subplot.  What this movie did a whole lot better on the other hand was feature a strong female character in the form of Amanda Seyfried's Sam Jackson, a more interesting storyline, and a better romantic subplot between Mark Wahlberg and Seyfried.  Overall this isn't as funny or as raunchy as the first "Ted," but it's the positives mentioned before, as well as some hilarious cameos, that make "Ted 2" worth watching at least once.









PREVIEWS YOU MAY SEE:

American Ultra

The Gift

Daddy's Home

Hitman: Agent 47

Straight Outta Compton





Tuesday, July 21, 2015

REWIND REVIEW: Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2

MOVIE
Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2

CAST
Kevin James, Raini Rodriguez

RATING
PG

RELEASE
April 17, 2015

DIRECTOR
Andy Fickman

STUDIO
Columbia Pictures

RUNNING TIME
1 hour 34 minutes








STARS
*1/2










REVIEW:

Let me ask you a question: Did you want to see a sequel to "Paul Blart: Mall Cop?"  Even if you enjoyed the film, did you actually want to see what this character did after the events of the first film? Well I didn't, and I enjoyed the 2009 original!  Alas, Kevin James wanted a paycheck and his buddy Adam Sandler wanted to make a quick buck with his Happy Madison company, so now we have "Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2."  After his wife divorces him after six days of marriage and his mother gets killed by a milk truck, and yes this is LITERALLY how the movie starts off, Paul Blart is depressed and is clinging onto his daughter Maya for dear life.  Things start to look up for Paul when he's invited to a mall cop convention in Las Vegas, so he and Maya head to Vegas for a fun and relaxing trailer.  Obviously, though, things aren't fun for the two as at the same exact time a bunch of criminals are trying to steal paintings from the hotel.

For all of the hate that Adam Sandler and his ensemble of friends get, I still believe they are talented and can be really good in films.  Unfortunately, they keep making these utterly stupid and pointless comedies that consist of predictable plots, bathroom humor, and fat jokes galore.  What makes this movie even more upsetting, aside from the fact that it merely exists, is that it throws out two of the previous film's central characters with cheap jokes, not to mention that Blart is a despicable and pompous human being here compared to the humble and loving version of this character we saw six years ago.  I would have really hated this film had it not been for a few moments that were so unbelievably stupid that I laughed, as well as this random character who sleeps a lot and has some of the strangest and yet most brilliant timing I've seen in a recent Sandler production.

It might have been that everything else was so bad that these minor bits of humor made me laugh more than I should have, but who knows.  I'm never going to watch this again, nor should you even try to watch it a single time.  Even if you enjoyed the first "Paul Blart," this isn't worth your time or hard-earned money whatsoever despite a couple of humorous moments.  Kevin James, you're better than this.  Adam Sandler, you're better than this.  Everyone involved with this movie, you're better than this.  Please stop making mindless crap for an easy paycheck.  Do the world this favor and I promise you we will forget that you guys played friends pretending to be a gay couple.  Well except for the people who really love "I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry," which is totally ok.





MINI-REVIEW: A Deadly Adoption

MOVIE
A Deadly Adoption

CAST
Will Ferrell, Kristen Wiig

RATING
TV-14

RELEASE
June 20, 2015

DIRECTOR
Rachel Lee Goldenberg

STUDIO
Marvista Entertainment

RUNNING TIME
2 hours 2 minutes







STARS
**1/2








REVIEW:

Will Ferrell and Kristen Wiig are incredibly gifted comedic actors, which made the announcement that they were to star in a Lifetime drama all the more hilarious. Many, myself included, expected these two to make a self-aware and overly dramatic parody that never took itself seriously in the slightest. What we got when "A Deadly Adoption" premiered was, well, a Lifetime movie.  I think the best word to describe this film is "odd." This was a very serious melodrama thriller that, while it did have solid acting from its leads and some pretty interesting twists, felt forced at times and felt like it would have been the perfect idea for an over the top version of a Lifetime movie. Ferrell and Wiig shine here and prove that they are more than capable of doing serious work if they tried.  The main villain of the film, who looks like Megan Fox but acts better, is fine, but she gets pretty campy at times.  Considering this movie was meant to be taken seriously, the very last scene of the film felt out of place, making me wonder whether this actually was supposed to be a parody or not.  I was never bored watching "A Deadly Adoption," but considering the talent both in front of and behind the camera, this could have and should have been better than the average Lifetime movie.