By: Henry J. Fromage –
I’ve been working my butt off on the weekends (surprise! I definitely have a day job), so this week I pretty much watched flicks I could work to. Hence:
79. Office Christmas Party
Man, Horrible Bosses sure was profitable. The latest attempt to clone the modest magic of that R-rated ensemble comedy features plenty of debauchery, an entirely game cast, and an overall as-desired painless two hours of smiles and a few laughs to boot. The definition of a rental.
Despite all the good press, I’ll admit I was slightly skeptical that this film could live up to its obvious influences and thematic goals, but I’m happy to report it largely does. Oberst pointed out that the final shot, which feels like a fitting epitaph to the entire X-men film franchise, was a direct homage to The Outlaw Josey Wales. While not perfect (why stay in that nice family’s house? why?), the fact that it feels apiece of a film that great shows what an uncommon accomplishment this superhero film is.
81. Assassin’s Creed
This might have killed big-budget video game movies for good, at least in my estimation. If this creative team couldn’t deliver quality or profit, then, seriously, is it time to close the book on the concept of a serious video game film altogether? The film itself is a special kind of high-effort preposterousness, but Justin Kurzel still accomplishes not a few pretty shots and some pretty kinetic action sequences, and Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Brendan Gleeson, and Michael Kenneth Williams are never a complete waste of time. Almost underappreciated. Almost.
82. Why Him?
See: Office Christmas Party above. This studio comedy has the slightly different flavors of a Apatow/Rogen joint, but it’s just new spice to age-old Hollywood comedy boilerplate. Again, nothing to avoid, and worth your time as background noise or if you really, really like James Franco or Keegan-Michael Key, but if you don’t… you’re not missing anything.
83. Fifty Shades Darker
I had such high hopes for the prospect of Madame Twilight FanFic and her hubby wresting control of this franchise from the semi-competent hands of Sam Taylor-Johnson and Kelly Marcel. It could only be the right kinds of misguided trash, right? Well, misguided trash is correct, but far from the right kind. Just goddamned boring.
84. Trespass Against Us
Michael Fassbender again, this time playing an Irish Traveller (like Brad Pitt in Snatch, yes) with Brendan Gleeson playing his father once more. Free range chicken throwing (Why Him?) also proved to be an unexpected theme of the day. Anyway, this proved to be an at times uneven mix of drama and comedy about a virtuosic but illiterate getaway driver who just wants to get his family away from the influence of his charismatic father and on the path to a more normal life for his children. Of course, that proves harder than it sounds.