By: Hawk Ripjaw –
Welcome to an entire weekend of cognitive dissonance!
Matt Damon has had a bad year. The Great Wall was not only an expensive dumpster fire, but it was mired in controversy over the perceived fact that the White Man had to go save China from the scary monsters. Suburbicon, an awful Coen-lite thriller with all of the good Coen stuff violently ripped away from it courtesy of director George Clooney, was one of Paramount’s biggest flops of all time and was pulled from theaters after just three weeks. Now we’ve arrived at Downsizing. I was excited for it: the concept is unique and Alexander Payne’s direction is almost certain to offer much more nuance to a simple comedy about shrinking people. Unfortunately, this looks like it’ll be one of Payne’s misfires, as the “nuance” is just a normal man getting to learn to care for others via a different lens. That’s totally fine, but most reviews seem to be saying that this theme takes precedence over the original idea. So we’ve got a good actor in a bad year, a reliable director with an uneven movie, and a great concept with an unfocused execution. Even so, I really, really want it to be good.
LOOKS LIKE IT’S TIME TO DOWNSIZE THE CHRISTMAS BOX OFFICE WEEKEND AMIRITE?
I really like Ed Helms. Owen Wilson has a weird pattern in which only every third movie or so is a good one. It does not appear that Father Figures is going to be that one. Yes, I suppose there is a novelty to Terry Bradshaw and Ving Rhames saying vulgar things about someone’s mom in a trailer, and Ed Helms is great, but the R rating isn’t what it was four years ago, and having your comedy be not PG-13 isn’t a general promise for quality anymore. It never was, mind you, but we all breathed easily upon hearing movies such as 21 Jump Street, Neighbors and Spy got the R rating during that great, brief era of adult comedy because that meant the movies wouldn’t be held down by adolescent baiting. Vince Vaughn’s Unfinished Business was one of the movies that reminded us that sometimes, movies are vulgar just for the sake of being vulgar, and that’s just not enough. So I’m sorry, Ed Helms, but this one’s not going to happen.
Pitch Perfect 3
This trailer is a tricky one for me. I’ve grown to kind of hate A Capella, but Anna Kendrick is basically charm personified so she’s difficult to resist. The original Pitch Perfect was definitely an entertaining movie, but the sequel was surprisingly mean-spirited and not very much fun. The thing that most intrigues me to Pitch Perfect 3, however, is the… action? Why are there action sequences in an A Capella movie? Even more so than the second movie, nobody besides Rebel Wilson seems remotely interested nor happy to be in this movie. It’s almost as though real life is a reflection of these characters, in that everyone has sort of moved on to other things. Does anyone care anymore?
At least the trailer promises that this will be the last one, until the inevitable Wilson-led spinoff.