Just a heads-up, I know that Mission: Impossible is coming out this weekend, and that’s a huge deal, and Fantastic Four (Quick prayer) is coming out next weekend, but I may not be able to see either of them. MI5 is more likely to be missed, unfortunately, but I’ll try to see it some time this weekend, even if the review comes out later than I’d like. Same goes for FF, but… Well, we’ll see.
Whatever, let’s get into this shitshow.
Directed by: Paul Feig
Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Rose Byrne, Jason Statham, Jude Law, Allison Janney, Miranda Hart, Bobby Cannavale
Plot: Susan Cooper (Melissa McCarthy) is a CIA agent, but not one of the cool ones, who get to steal state secrets, make quips, assassinate world leaders, and the such. Instead, she is desk-bound, guiding her partner (Jude Law) on his missions through his earpiece. However, criminal heiress Rayna Boyanov (Rose Byrne) steals a nuclear device, and all field agents are unable to go after her, as she has learnt all their identities. In a last-ditch effort to stop The Bomb from getting into the wrong hands, Susan is sent after Rayne. Hilarity ensues.
Before this movie, Melissa McCarthy was struggling to get out of a rut. After a hilarious, Oscar-nominated turn in Bridesmaids, she kind of became a more talented, female version of Kevin James. Identity Thief was awful and The Hangover Part III didn’t exactly help matters. The Heat was pretty good, but she followed that up with Tammy. I would rather watch somebody getting a needle slowly stuck into their eyeball than watch Tammy again.
After that arid wasteland of a comedy, McCarthy turned in a great dramatic performance opposite Bill Murray in the solid dramedy St. Vincent. Now, in Spy, she gets to join Charlize Theron as one of the biggest of the notable female asskickers this year. Who would’ve thought that?
What I loved about this movie is that it doesn’t fall into the trap of making fun of McCarthy’s appearance for the entire runtime. When I compared McCarthy to Kevin Fucking James earlier, I didn’t mean in terms of talent and acting ability, because the best performance that Kevin James has ever turned in is in goddamn Barnyard.
What I saw in Tammy that worried me was the growing resemblance to a movie like Paul Blart: Mall Cop in terms of story, character and humour. I’m sure you know what I mean. It’s one of those movies that appeals to the lowest common denominator, who just want to see a movie about stupid people who don’t meet societal standards of body image falling over and generally not being funny.
In Spy, McCarthy is not only very funny- She’s extremely capable, highly intelligent, frequently the most capable person in the room and, get this, a legitimate action star. We live in a world in which Melissa McCarthy can be an action star. That is so goddamn awesome.
- + As awesome as McCarthy is, my favourite performance in this movie that isn’t the guy in the next bullet point is Rose Byrne. After this and Neighbors, we should probably get her a part in Ghostbusters and be done with it.
- + Jason Statham. That is all.
- + This movie single-handedly proves that insult comedy is an art form. I would murder truckloads of people for the ability to write insults half as funny as these ones.
- – Miranda Hart is really funny, but she kind of gets old the minute her character gets upgraded to a major supporting role.
The Boy Next Door
Directed by: Rob Cohen
Starring: Jennifer Lopez, Ryan Guzman, John Corbett, Ian Nelson, Kristin Chenoweth
Plot: Claire Peterson (Lopez) is having a rough go of it, going through a separation with her cheating husband (Corbett) and being left with custody of their oft-bullied son (Nelson). All appears to be going better after a new neighbour, Noah, moves in next door (Guzman) to help his elderly uncle, who only exists as a story device and, without explanation, does not appear again once his story purpose is served. Good job writers! That isn’t infuriatingly bad writing at all!
Anyway, the Boy Next Door (Wank-off motion) helps the son stand up for himself and becomes good friends with him, as well as Claire, who is to be his high school English teacher. One night, after a date gone wrong with a stock asshole character, Claire allows herself to be seduced by Noah, and has a one-night stand with him (But don’t worry, the movie insists that he’s nineteen, so it’s not technically pedophilia!).
Claire tries to put this behind her, but, surprise! He’s completely insane!
I expected more from the director of The Fast and the Furious.
- + While Lopez wouldn’t be confused for a good actress, at least she’s not awful in this movie. Just kinda bad. Yes, this is the kind of thing that qualifies as a positive when talking about this movie.
- – I find it amusing how, in awful thrillers like this, nobody ever has the idea of calling the fucking police. Or, at the very least, trying for a restraining order against the violent stalker.
- – There’s a scene where Noah gives Claire a “first edition copy of The Iliad” as a present. THis wouldn’t be a big deal… If the first copies of The Iliad weren’t written three thousand years ago in Ancient Greece. Of course, it’s possible that Noah was referring to the first English edition of The Iliad… But in that case, why does it’s condition look like that of something that I would find on a Bestsellers shelf at Indigo?
And for that matter… How the fuck does a nineteen-year old get his hands on a “first-edition” copy of the goddamn Iliad?
- – Ryan Guzman peaked in the Step Up movies. Awful thing to say about somebody, I know, but… Yeah, he’s pretty horrible.
When Marnie Was There
Directed by: Hiromasa Yonebayashi
Starring (Japanese cast): Sara Takatsuki, Kasami Arimura
Plot: Anna Sasaki (Takatsuki) is a lonely, depressed 12-year old girl, tormented by feelings of self-loathing, who suffers from asthma attacks, because apparently, she angered some petty god who decided “Fuck her! Here’s all the bad shit!”. After a particularly bad asthma attack, her parents decide to send her to spend her summer in Kushiro with her aunt and uncle, hoping that the clean air of the Japanese countryside will do her some good.
While in Kushiro, Anna discovers an old, dilapidated mountain on the shore of a salt marsh. While investigating the mansion, she discovers a mysterious blonde foreigner girl named Marnie (Arimura) who only appears at certain times, and who strikes up a close friendship with Anna.
The tough times that Studio Ghibli was going though after the retirement of Hayao Miyazaki a few years back culminated in the legendary animation studio finally going on hiatus in August of last year, but not before releasing their last film, When Marnie Was There. And it’s a damn shame, because When Marnie Was There may be one of the better movies to come out of the studio.
- + Computer-animated movies can be awesome, but it’s nice to see that there is (Or “was” rather), a studio that still has/had faith in hand-drawn animation. there’s really no good reason why that style of animation appears to be in the middle of being phased out in the West, at least in movies.
- + I hate the cliche of critics guaranteeing that “You will cry!” while watching a movie, but yeah. If you have any semblance of a heart, you probably will cry.
- + I haven’t seen the English dub, but the Japanese version is version is well-acted, for all I know. Who knows, it could be acted by the Japanese equivalent of Rob Schneider, and I wouldn’t know.
- – If you pay the faintest semblance of attention, it’s pretty easy to figure out the big mystery of the movie on your own. I figured it out about halfway through.
Directed by: Erik Van Looy
Starring: Karl Urban, James Marsden, Wentworth Miller, Eric Stonestreet, Matthias Schoenaerts. Rhona Mitra, Rachael Taylor, Isabel Lucas
Plot: Five awful, awful people who the movie would have you believe are friends (Urban, Marsden, miller, Stonestreet and Schoenaerts) are co-owners of a loft where they all take their mistresses behind their wives’ backs. One day, they discover a dead woman in the bedroom of the loft, and deduce that one of them must have done the deed, as they’re the only people with keys. Hilarity ensues.
The Loft is based on a Belgian movie of the same name (And same director) that is almost certainly a million times better than this piece of horseshit.
- – Karl Urban and James Marden do the best that they possibly can with an atrocious script, and do enough to make themselves not unwatchable, at the least. The other actors are fucking terrible, though. Wentworth Miller tries to be crazy, and ends up just staring blankly at everything, occasionally screaming when the plot remembers that he’s supposed to be mentally unbalanced, and not a member of the Walking Comatose. Schoenaerts (Who was actually a cast member of the original movie) plays a fucking caricature, and Eric Stonestreet- Wait, no, Eric Stonestreet gets his own paragraph.
- – ERIC STONESTREET’S CHARACTER IS THE FUCKING WORST. It’s one thing to present a character as being an obnoxious loudmouth, but this… This goes well beyond that. I felt physically and mentally violated every time this turd opened up his garbage-spewing mouth. I wish that his character got thrown off a fucking building.
I like Eric Stonestreet, though.
- – As awful as the male characters are, at least James Marsden is a semi-redeemable human being. Wanna find a female character that isn’t a mean conniver, nymphomaniac, or stereotypical jealous, shrewish wife? Good. Fucking. Luck.
- – If you still cared about the mystery by the time the movie was a quarter of the way through, then congratulations! This is probably the first movie you’ve ever seen! May you look forward to much, much, much better things in the future!
Directed by: Yann Demange
Starring: Jack O’Connell, Richard Dormer, Sean Harris, Sam Reid, Charlie Murphy, David Wilmot, Paul Anderson, Paul Popplewell
Plot: Private Gary Hook (O’Connell) is a young British Army recruit whose squadron is sent to Belfast, Northern Ireland, during the Troubles (Google them). When a routine firearm inspection in a Catholic neighbourhood goes horribly, horribly wrong, Gary finds himself stranded alone in hostile territory, solely dependant on his wits and on the hospitality (Or lack thereof) of the Irish civilians.
I can’t exactly speak to having any personal insight about the Troubles. My Irish ancestors got the fuck out of Dodge (Dodgederry?) the second the Potato Famine struck.
That’s why this movie was so interesting to me. Not only because of the tense, pulse-pounding action and suspense, but because of the political intrigue between the various factions vying for power and the civilians, just trying to get by, regardless of ideology.
Also, I could listen to Irish accents all day.
- + Jack O’Connell is really terrific. I’ve heard he’s good in Unbreakable (Which I haven’t seen) and I can attest to his talent after watching ’71. Good on ya, kid (Said the 18-year old to the 24-year old).
- + When a movie’s ending has you reeling at the injustice of it all, that’s a good friggin’ movie. Ditto when the movie has my eyeballs drying up, because I’m afraid of missing something if I so much as blink.
- + There’s a small child in this movie who’s legitimately excellent. Hard to believe, I know. Maybe it’s just America that has all the shitty child actors.
- = Belfast during the Troubles was fuckin’ brutal, holy shit.
Directed by: Anne Fletcher
Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Sofia Vergara
Plot: … No.
No. I have spent way too much of my time on this round-up. Two thousand words’ worth. My family hasn’t seen me all day (I work slowly). I am not wasting any time talking about the plot to fucking Hot Pursuit. I HAVE TOO MUCH FUCKING DIGNITY, DAMMIT!!!
Reese Witherspoon plays an uptight, by-the-book Texan cop who’s tasked with escorting the wife of a drug lord, played by Sofia Vergara, to Dallas, in order to get her spirited away by the F.B.I. into the wonderful ether that is Witness Protection. When that goes wrong, a distinct lack of hilarity ensues.
- + The guy who plays the main villain is alright. Too bad he’s only in it for, like, a minute.
- – Reese Witherspoon is a great actress. I love Reese Witherspoon. She was terrific in Wild last year. What does she bring to this project? A god-awful accent and a grating performance of a cliched character that I want to punch in the face every time I see her. I don’t care how cute she looks in a red dress, I wanted her dead.
- – Sofia Vergara, while better than Witherspoon, believe it or not, is really, really terrible. There were a couple times when her dialogue consisted of nothing but nasal screeches. That’s not a slight on her latino accent (Shit, I’m half latino myself, what grounds would I have for that?), but, how do I put this, her accent doesn’t help the fact that her dialogue is mostly nasal screeching.
- – As one would expect, two terrible performances does not lead to great chemistry between the two performers. It also doesn’t help that this humour is fucking nonexistent, being written and directed extremely awkwardly.
Here’s an example: There’s a scene in which Witherspoon tries breaking into someone’s car. The way that Vergara tries to get them out of it is by, uh, claiming that they’re veterinarians who are also lesbian lovers? What? How is that supposed to get them out of trouble (In Texas, especially!)? It’s like if a thirteen year old boy was handed the script for rewrites, and decided that the fact that these two women are randomly lesbians is somehow funny, because lesbians are hot and homosexuality’s a joke to them, I guess. Whatever. It’s not funny, and anybody who thinks that it is funny should be ashamed of themselves.