Tuesday, July 28, 2015


Since I knocked off 4 flicks over the past week (one through generosity of a friend & the other three as part of my triple feature yesterday), I thought I’d dole out some quickie reviews:

TRAINWRECK: At its core, it's your typical Judd Apatow-directed semi-rom-com: a tad beat-by-beat formulaic, a teensy bit raunchy and more than a bit too long. However, Amy Schumer is a human dynamo of funny (she wrote the damn thing too), and while Bill Hader plays the slightly thankless straight man, he's still wonderfully appealing -- and both Lebron James (!!!) and Colin Quinn steal every scene they’re in. The flaws are largely irrelevant here -- you're going for one reason -- to laugh your ass off.

JURASSIC WORLD: Forget the all the rampaging dinos;  this theme park is overloaded with painfully clunky dialogue and overstuffed with several stock characters written thinner than my local deli slices the Swiss (I was gonna say "cuts the cheese", but some girl actually did that in the theater). And don’t get me started on those kids...I never knew how good the child actors were in Jurassic PARK until I sat through Jurassic WORLD. But damned if Chris Pratt doesn't continue to have that special stardusted quality; there's no denying that the effects are impressive, and if you can switch off your brain for about two hours, you will be entertained. It's the epitome of a popcorn crunching summer blockbuster -- just not a great one.

ANT-MAN: I enjoyed this film considerably more than AGE OF ULTRON (which was fun, but little more than bombastic comfort food and not much else beyond Spader's amusingly droll voice). This tiny wonder is a deft mix of comedy and drama with a definite heart as well. Rudd is surprisingly believable as a hero; it’s the most I’ve liked Evangeline Lilly since LOST Season 1, and the most impressive VFX isn’t the magnificent macro-photography—it’s the digital wizardry that makes Michael Douglas look 30 years younger in the opening scene. ANT-MAN sounded like a preposterous notion, but it turns out to be one of the best MCU movies yet.

INSIDE OUT: This was the first Pixar film I’ve gone to see in FIVE years, and it was well worth it. I was very impressed with what I felt was a rather daring script, dealing with issues and concepts that would be beyond most kids (and probably quite a few adults as well). I spent the first thinking “Oh, they’re not going to squeeze one tear outta me this time.” But by the end credits were rolling, so were the tears, and much like TOY STORY 3, UP and WALL-E, my face was ruddy and streaked with those salty eye jail escapees. Glad I ended my triple feature with this one, as it wore me out with “the feels”. 

Now, I need to devise a way to see MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - ROGUE NATION before summer's end. Then I can decide if  MAD MAX: FURY ROAD remains the Best Summer Action Movie of 2015 (other than the occasional Tasmanian Devil cartoon, I've never sat through anything that was both "fast" and "furious" -- and I have no plans to ever change that).

PS: someone needs to give Judy Greer a better part other than these minor "mom" roles, which was the case with both ANT-MAN and JURASSIC WORLD (I think I heard she was yet another main character's mother in TOMORROWLAND as well). I'm shocked she wasn't the animated mom in INSIDE OUT. It's a complete waste of such a sublime talent -- and not much better than the "best friend" roles she used to be relegated to playing on the big screen...just less snarky and more weepy.

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