What is a sausage party? Well, I’m way more partial to the slang term, sausage fest, but this Slate article will break it down for you (Kelly). You could either be talking about an actual social gathering where people are celebrating, cooking, sharing, and eating sausages like a barbeque, or you could be referring to a party or event in which the amount of males grossly outnumbers the females attendance (Kelly). With this in mind, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg have co-opted the term for their super R-Rated CGI animated comedy, Sausage Party. Sausage Party is as funny as it is obscenely debased, absurd, and wildly inappropriate. The film has an excellent ninety-minute runtime and even tries to deliver commentary on religion, sex, and acceptance in a cruel, intolerant, and harsh world.
Weekend Box Office Results for January 19-January 21, 2018, via Box Office Mojo. Box Office Results will be displayed on the "Feed" Tab until the next weekend, where the old box office results will be moved to the "Old News" Tab.
Ferdinand had the misfortune of having a premiere date sandwiched right between two House of Mouse Behemoths, Coco, and The Last Jedi. It is, however, the former film that Ferdinand will probably be compared to, given that Coco was a brilliant re-imagination of Mexican culture with nuisance, humor, sadness, and depth. Comparing Ferdinand to Coco is almost unfair, as Ferdinand is almost everything that Coco is not. Ferdinand doesn’t even attempt to explore Spanish culture or bullfighting, other than some face value for humor or to service the plot. Ferdinand is a simplistic, but well-crafted animated film about a bull who doesn't want to fight.
Pete’s Dragon (2016) is a remake of a 1977 film of the same name. The film updates the story, having it take place in the Pacific Northwest instead of in New England like the original, while also moving the date from the turn of the 20th century to 1977. For full disclosure, I’ve never seen the original so I can’t comment on the differences between the two films. Pete (Oakes Fegley), the titular boy, survives a car crash deep in the forest and lives with a dragon for six years before he’s discovered by Park Ranger Grace Meachum (Bryce Dallas Howard). Pete’s Dragon is a safe, rather uninteresting movie about a lost boy and the dragon who finds and befriends him as well as the people who try, and ultimately succeed, in separating them.
“If we as an industry feel we must be shackled to franchises for name recognition sales, this seems like a good way for the creative to beat the system; just make something cool and randomly slap a franchise name onto it.”-Ben 'Yahtzee' Croshaw
Croshaw was referring to the video game industry, but this quote could just as easily apply to the film industry, and especially to the new Jumanji film, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. The new Jumanji is a total reboot in all but name. This movie could have easily been an unrelated, stand-alone film, and for the most part, functions that way aside from the iconography of the Jumanji universe and a few references and homages to the previous film (especially that of Robin William’s character, Alan Parrish). As it stands, however, Welcome to the Jungle is a humorous, big-budget adventure film with a light-hearted tone that stands in stark contrast to the original.
Do you remember “The Miracle on The Hudson”? In case you don’t, on January 15, 2009, U.S. Airways Flight 1549 took off from LaGuardia Airport with 155 souls on board headed to Charlotte, North Carolina. The plane made fateful contact with a flock of geese, which resulted in catastrophic engine failure. Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger III and First Officer Jeffrey Skiles managed to land the plane on the Hudson River with zero loss of life. The landing was described by the National Transportation and Safety Board (NTSB) as one of “the most successful ditchings in aviation history,” (Olshan). Captain Sully and First Officer Skiles were hailed as heroes. Sully seeks to undermine this perfect, uplifting story by undermining and demonizing the NTSB, turning them into cartoonish antagonists for the sake of dramatic tension, while also offering a window into the lives of the two pilots during the stressful period after the crash.
Did you know that there isn’t an audio clip of Hank Hill saying “Laaady Biiiiird” on Youtube? That’s an odd start to a review, I know, but its criminal that this beloved and iconic phrasing couldn’t be shared, even as a mediocre joke. I digress. Have you heard of Lady Bird? The film lit blogs and news outlets aflame with its perfect Rotten Tomatoes score through almost 170 reviews. I asked several friends if they had ever heard of the movie. Some had, but mistakenly thought it was about Claudia Alta “Lady Bird” Johnson (whom Hank Hill’s beloved bloodhound was named for). Others had not (the titular character is not, in fact, named in honor of Johnson). But I tell you what (see what I did there?), Lady Bird is a powerful, deeply emotional, and painfully realistic coming-of-age film about an adolescent’s journey through high school, a touching love letter to the city of Sacramento, California, and most prominently, the complicated relationship between mothers and daughters. The movie is nothing short of a stunning triumph.
I went into Kong: Skull Island completely blind. I had no idea that this movie was in anyway connected to Legendary Pictures’ “Monsterverse”, or the recent Godzilla (2014), nor did I realize such a shared universe even existed before watching this movie. Kong: Skull Island is leaps and bounds ahead of the 2014 Godzilla movie. The film differentiates itself by having relatable characters, an A-List cast, and suitably epic monster battles while also having its titular Monster show up for more than ten minutes of the movie. While I was surprised at how much I liked Kong: Skull Island, the film is not without its flaws, namely a lack of character development and an overabundance of characters and subplots.
Kevin Hart’s Kevin Hart: What Now? by Kevin Hart is a comedy special masquerading as a full-length feature film. For the record, I’m not a fan of Kevin Hart and his usual schtick. So why did I go see this movie? Well, there's always the chance that Kevin Hart will be as funny as everyone seems to think he is. Also, Kevin Hart: What Now? is yet another opportunity for Hart to reach out to a massive audience and win new fans like me. He didn’t. Finally, it’s my job. Kevin Hart: What Now? is more of the same. If you like Kevin Hart, you’ll like this.
I was initially hesitant about all the positive buzz around this film because while I liked In Bruges, from writer/director Martin McDonagh, I thought his last outing, Seven Psychopaths, was a masturbatory, meta-pretentious mess. Thankfully, McDonagh has written and directed one of the best films of the year in Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri. The film is a sweeping southern story about a woman named Mildred Hayes (Francis McDormand) who buys three billboards outside the eponymous town to shame the police, specifically its chief (Woody Harrelson), into solving her daughter's gruesome murder, which has since turned into a cold case. Hayes takes the police and town to task while they attempt to get her to remove the billboards through both legal and extralegal means.
There’s a genre of film that I’d like to christen the “senior comedy.” Films like The Bucket List, Going in Style, and Dirty Grandpa are examples of this niche that caters heavily to the Baby Boomer dollar. These films are often defined by their willingness to embrace taboos about sex, violence, or just give license to act like a juvenile idiot-which is just fine, if done right. Just Getting Started is just another in the long line of such “senior comedies,” but done wrong. What’s more, Just Getting Started is simply the latest cynical Christmas cash grab, released solely to squeeze profits out of the holiday season.
After the success of Deadpool, Fox Studios suddenly got the nerve to allow the superheroes in its stable to be placed in R-rated films. Wolverine was the next logical choice. Despite some hit or miss sequels and reboots, terrible prequels, and one decent stand-alone film, the X-Men film franchise, and Wolverine, in particular, have always been bankable. Always repressing unfathomable rage, a living weapon with unbreakable razor claws protruding from his fists, Wolverine is tailor-made for a violent R-rated action romp. James Mangold directed the last successful standalone Wolverine film, aptly titled The Wolverine, and was given the creative reins for what could be Hugh Jackman’s final portrayal. Hugh Jackman has been faithfully reprising his role as Wolverine for seventeen years now and was ready to call it quits. Fan favorite, Patrick Stewart, was also brought back to play Professor X and the film is all the better for it. The result? A somber, neo-noir western that works as a perfect sendoff for both Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, and their respective characters. Logan skillfully integrates visceral action with gut-wrenching emotionality and bleak fatalism.
I have never read a single Agatha Christie book, nor could I recall having I seen a single movie or T.V. show based on her work until I started doing supplementary research on this movie (call me unenlightened). This is a shocking statement, I know, but it gave me the advantage of reviewing this film tabula rasa, unencumbered by preconceived notions or expectations from the books or previous adaptations. My resulting enlightenment resonated with the sentiment, “Meh…not bad.” The story follows one Hercule Poirot, a world-famous detective who is well into his career and now looking for some rest and relaxation. Despite Poirot’s best efforts, he becomes embroiled in perhaps his most difficult case yet, confined to the snowbound Orient Express.
Since Disney purchased Pixar in 2006, Pixar films have played it safe by focusing on sequels rather than creating original stories. Remember, the films Ratatouille, Wall-E, and Up were in development before Pixar’s acquisition. This is not to say that there haven’t been excellent, original Pixar stories like Inside Out, but otherwise, Pixar’s filmography has been filled with sequels and average original stories likeThe Good Dinosaur. Famed animator and one of Pixar’s decorated leaders, John Lasseter, took a recent six-month leave of absence due to sexual assault accusations. Some Mexican people were upset that Disney had tried to trademark their revered cultural holiday Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead), in order to sell merchandise and others still were upset that the film seemed to rip off The Book of Life. The stage was set for Coco to fail spectacularly, but the film succeeds with its vibrant visuals, strong emotional core, and fantastical adventure to the Land of the Dead.
The original Thor was a decent movie that was personally annoying to me for its overuse of dutch angles. Its sequel, Thor: The Dark World, was legitimately terrible; an idiotic movie with a boring villain that is better off left to the dustbin. Thus, the timing was perfect for a different take on the Thor series, and Marvel hit this one out of the park. Thor: Ragnarok is an irreverent superhero adventure comedy that manages to tell a cohesive story despite a never-ending cavalcade of jokes.
After seeing A Bad Moms Christmas, I didn’t think that a bad, lazy, blatant money grab movie could get any worse, or more obvious, for that matter. My God, was I wrong. Daddy’s Home 2 is somehow even worse than A Bad Moms Christmas. Using the same stale and wholly generic formula of the Christmas themed sequel, Daddy’s Home 2: The Christmas Special is a cynical attempt to part you from your money under the guise of holiday cheer. Returning leads Marky Mark and Will Ferrell are back but this time their dads (Mel Gibson and John Lithgow) are coming too!
A Bad Moms Christmas is the sequel to the original Bad Moms, starring Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, and Kathryn Hahn as the three leads. I remember liking the first Bad Moms, so why does this sequel make me regret those kind words? A Bad Moms Christmas is a lazy sequel designed solely to profit from the goodwill of patrons to its predecessor and the holiday season.
I was dreading my review of Wonder, the film adaptation of R. J. Palacio's novel by the same name, because I hate “feel good” movies. That is to say, I hate movies that use cheap, exploitative techniques to elicit emotions of sympathy, sentimentality, and superficial satisfaction from their audience. These films make me want to shoot myself because their premises rely on unbelievable or unrealistic events, cartoonish caricatures, and saccharine endings that leave me feeling nauseous rather than good. However, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Wonder, despite relying heavily on such sentimentality, is a character-driven drama that is well worth the price of admission. Wonder focuses on one pivotal year in the life of one August “Auggie” Pullman, a ten year old boy who suffers from Treacher Collins syndrome, and his relationship with his immediate family and friends as he attends public school for the first time in his life.
Sequels in Hollywood tend to follow the tried and true formula of being “the same, but different.” Kingsman: The Secret Service was a violent breath of fresh air for the spy genre, harkening back to the older, ridiculous Bond films, while having nothing but contempt for the more recent grim iterations starring Daniel Craig. Kingsman: The Golden Circle is, unfortunately, the bad type of sequel; the kind that self indulgently wallows in its predecessor’s footsteps, while only introducing stale ideas and underdeveloped characters. The Golden Circle attempts to mask its flaws with its action and crude humor, but ultimately is a poor, bloated imitation of Kingsman: The Secret Service.
Believe it or not, I’ve seen every Saw movie made and have enjoyed more of them than I’ve hated. I liked this spinoff sequel, but it’s not exactly good. If you’ve seen one Saw movie you have seen them all. Police attempt to stop the “Jigsaw Killer” or his copycat, while a game goes on in which seemingly random people are tortured to teach each of them a lesson. The police are blundering buffoons and the characters are selfish morons who the killer, or killers, are playing the entire time. The movie ends with a nice twist that ties everything up in a neat bow. Jigsaw, the newest entry in the Saw series, sticks to its franchise formula to a tee.
Do you remember the disaster movies 2012 or San Andreas? I think I remember The Day After Tomorrow but that’s only because of the hilarious South Park television spoof that followed it. I definitely remember Armageddon because the film is so charmingly bad it's amazing. My point is, if you see Geostorm, you’re going to regret it and forget it. Geostorm is a retread of all the “extreme weather” disaster movies that you’ve already seen time and time again. The only difference being that Geostorm is worse, far worse. It’s a sci-fi, mystery, action-disaster movie that just ends up a disaster.
What comes to mind when you think of the 1950s? The Cold War, Sputnik, McCarthyism, post-war prosperity? Cheerful suburban home life following white flight from America’s cities, white picket fences, housewives with towering hairdos, and friendly neighbors? Or maybe we have come to see through the facade of an all-inclusive, welcoming community; a fragile edifice pitched during a time when racism, segregation, and housing district redlining were still running rampant. Suburbicon attempts to tackle these romantic anachronisms of the mid-20th century to reveal the violent torrent of racism and paranoia that lurked underneath, threatening to explode into chaos and social upheaval. Unfortunately, the movie is a god-awful mess that fails to provide any of these topics proper examination.
After the success of Die Hard, many film studios wanted to recreate the movie’s formula but in a different setting. Thus, we had Die Hard on a bus (Speed), or on a plane (Air Force One). Happy Death Day, much like the fantastic Edge of Tomorrow, similarly opts to mimic the formula of Groundhog Day explicitly and with great relish. Happy Death Day is a slasher flick reminiscent of Scream, with the iconography of Sorority Row or Mean Girls. Jessica Rothe stars as Theresa “Tree” Gelbman, a young woman trapped in a time loop, cursed to repeat her birthday over and over again, having been murdered at the end of that day. Happy Death Day is a fun romp that balances its comedic tone and thriller elements.
The Foreigner is adapted from English author Stephen Leather’s The Chinaman,which he wrote while working for The Times during an IRA bombing campaign. The director, Martin Campbell, a veteran filmmaker, wastes little time getting going, and I appreciated it. We’re introduced to Ngoc Minh Quan (Jackie Chan) and his daughter Fan (Katie Leung) and not 10 minutes go by before the shop Fan enters explodes, killing her instantly. A grief-stricken Quan languishes about his home and business in a daze before leaving his friends behind and vowing to find and punish the people responsible for Fan’s death.
Taylor Sheridan is on a roll. Fresh from writing back-to-back stellar films, Sicarioand Hell or High Water, Sheridan gives us another gem with Wind River. Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen respectively star in Wind River as a U.S. Fish and Wildlife tracker and an FBI agent. They are tasked with tracking a murderer in this meditative thriller set on the frozen landscape of Wyoming.
The Snowman is a thriller with a stellar cast and proudly boasts production by film great Martin Scorsese. Michael Fassbender leads an ensemble cast as detective Harry Hole. Harry grapples with alcoholism and struggles to catch a serial killer across frozen Norway. If you read that and thought, “Hey that sounds like it might be good!” You’re wrong, dead wrong. It's terrible.
The Accountant is basically Rain Man crossed with a Bourne film, taken to its extreme. Ben Affleck stars as Christian Wolff, a high-functioning autistic accountant extraordinaire who deals with some of the most dangerous people on the planet. Unfortunately, The Accountant is a very uneven film, with a solid cast and exciting action sequences, but a clumsy and uneven narrative.
The Deepwater Horizon was a deepwater offshore oil-drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico that experienced a complete catastrophic blowout on April 20th, 2010. This blowout led to one of the worst environmental disasters in human history, and the largest oil spills in United States’ history. Deepwater Horizon is not concerned with analyzing the aftermath of the blowout, the closing of the sea floor oil gusher, or the environmental damage of the oil spill. Deepwater Horizon is a terrific disaster film that focuses on the human element of the people trapped on the Horizon that fateful day. The film also doubles as a scathing indictment of BP and their policies.
The Girl on the Train (2016) is a simple mystery movie based on a book by the same name, both centering on the lives and extramarital affairs of three women and two men in Westchester County, New York. Rachael, (one of the aforementioned women) a divorced and lonely alcoholic, fantasizes about a gorgeous couple she sees while riding the train every day. The woman of that fantasy couple, Megan Hipwell, ends up missing. Amid her drunken blackouts and emotional frailties, Rachael ends up caught in a web of lies and illicit affairs as she struggles to find out the truth of Megan's disappearance.
Robinson Crusoe is a classic literary work written by Daniel Defoe in the early 18th century. The story involves the titular character spending thirty years stranded on a deserted island and has since been adapted dozens of times into other media. The Wild Life is an animated film adapted from Robinson Crusoe, unfortunately, it’s god-awful. The film probably hoped to slip under the radar of late summer releases that generally bomb or go unnoticed by the masses. The Wild Life is a Belgian-French film translated into English and released upon a naive and unsuspecting audience. I, unfortunately, paid good money to see this garbage. You should not.