MovieBoozer http://movieboozer.com Movies Measured by the Pint! Fri, 19 Jan 2018 13:15:04 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Post (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/post-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/post-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Fri, 19 Jan 2018 13:15:04 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=105394 By: Christian Harding (Two Beers) – a.k.a “Fake News” – The Movie! Ah, yes. No matter how one chooses to approach this film, all of the allusions to contemporary issues in our society are practically unavoidable. Not only that, but it could be argued that The Post was made in direct response to a certain orange-skinned wannabe …

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By: Christian Harding (Two Beers) –

a.k.a “Fake News” – The Movie!
Ah, yes. No matter how one chooses to approach this film, all of the allusions to contemporary issues in our society are practically unavoidable. Not only that, but it could be argued that The Post was made in direct response to a certain orange-skinned wannabe fascist in chief’s seemingly personal tirade against the fifth estate. Once legendary filmmaker Steven Spielberg got his hands on the spec script by first time screenwriter Liz Hannah, post-production on the forthcoming Ready Player One was slowed down, and The Post was rushed into production just this past summer – while would probably explain the presence of so many well-known and acclaimed television actors being stunt cast into supporting roles – and completed just in time for a late season awards run.
But putting all of that aside, this film is just a cracking good time and at the very least, it provides a fairly compelling and extremely necessary history lesson for those of us who might be just young enough to not fully recollect or understand the depths of what was going on during that particular time in history, seeing as how once again we’re regrettably stuck in another cycle of similar issues being thrust into the middle of our contemporary political discourse.
A Toast
The Post stars none other than Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks as Kay Graham and Ben Bradlee, the owner and editor in chief of The Washington Post, respectively. Despite being set primarily during the early 70’s, with the Vietnam war still hot and fresh on everyone’s minds, The Post contains a number of plot threads and socio-political issues that might ring a few bells. So, stop me if you’ve heard this one before: a woman in a high-ranking position of power is still met with opposition on a daily basis from her male coworkers, ranging from common everyday sexism to outright attempts to thwart her and undermine her wishes. Meanwhile, institutions of journalism all over the country are faced with the moral dilemma of upholding their promise to faithfully reporting the absolute truth to a very needy and fearful public, all the while dealing with a presidential administration that’s constantly dealing brand new lows of treasonous behavior never before seen by the country before this period of time in US history.
Uh huh…
Yeah, I don’t see how this is relevant to today *at all*…
While I’ve already addressed the modern day relevance of telling this particular story and telling it now, that entire aspect of The Post really cannot be overstated. It’s as central to the entire production of this film as the fact that Birdman, or: the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance was made to look like one entire single shot, or that Boyhood was filmed over the course of twelve years using the exact same cast and crew. Were we not dealing with these specific issues at this specific period of time under this specific administration, The Post likely wouldn’t be as relevant as it is now, nor would it probably have even have been made at all. And it’s this slavish devotion to getting its central message across that really drives this film right down to its very core. Like it or not, Steven Spielberg is a very old fashioned filmmaker at heart, and this film is like the modern day equivalent to a classic era morality tale, where every facet of the story is manufactured for maximum impact of getting the main thesis of the whole thing across. With that in mind, The Post certainly does this very well, and proves to be an effective cautionary thriller with a deeply felt moral center.
Beer Two
In regards to most of Steven Spielberg’s more mature, adult oriented dramas, there is a common thread that seems to impact them all – usually for the worse – and The Post isn’t immune to this very particular flaw either. I am of course referring to Spielberg’s tendency to lean towards a more self-congratulatory, sentimental-adjacent tonality when reaching the climaxes of his works. Whereas the majority of The Post is fairly restrained and understated regarding its tone and the delivery of plot information and period details to the audience, Spielberg’s insistence to oversell a handful of moments during the final act has always proven to be a hindrance when trying to remain consistently engaged in the proceedings, and this film is no exception.
Like Schindler’s List, Amistad, Munich, Lincoln, and Bridge of Spies before it, The Post isn’t rendered completely inert because of this, and it barely makes a large impact in the grand scheme of things. But ending the film on a slightly more introspective note probably would’ve resonated a lot better. We already know that the first amendment important and freedom of the press is… y’know, a good thing. Heck, we’re being constantly reminded of it on literally a daily basis, so there’s no desperate need to reinforce this point so emphatically.
“Oh good lord, what did the President say THIS time?”
Verdict
Another successful addition to Steven Spielberg’s ever growing filmography, The Post does all that it needed to and does it effectively. It’s not as huge of a smash hit as some of Spielberg’s past historical dramas, but it’s still an effective and engaging watch that presents its subject in a manner which is fairly easy to follow but also doesn’t downgrade it in the process, nor does it treat its audience as being too simple-minded to follow along. And given all the modern day parallels to the story the film is telling, it might be useful to re-educate yourself on how best to remain vigilant in times of seemingly nonstop treasonous behavior emerging from Washington, and how to best resist the impulses from the most powerful among us when they try to silence those who might seek to oppose them or call them out on their unjust behavior.

The Post (2017) Drinking Game

Do a Shot: for each modern day parallel you pick up on.

Do another Shot: along with each dramatic typewriter clang.

Shotgun a Beer: when you see a well known/acclaimed television actor being stunt cast in a supporting role.

Finish an Entire Six Pack: during the thirty minutes of studio logos before the film even starts.

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Paddington 2 (2018) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/paddington-2-2018-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/paddington-2-2018-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Thu, 18 Jan 2018 13:15:30 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=105400 By: Hawk Ripjaw (A Toast) – Movies with talking bears just get to me, and I can’t explain why. They just do. And Paddington 2 just solidifies it. Yes, a family movie about a talking bear caused a grown man to start crying in the theater. The mother two seats down scooted her children away from me. …

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By: Hawk Ripjaw (A Toast) –

Movies with talking bears just get to me, and I can’t explain why. They just do. And Paddington 2 just solidifies it. Yes, a family movie about a talking bear caused a grown man to start crying in the theater. The mother two seats down scooted her children away from me. I am an adult and this turned me into a kid– every single fear and doubt in my mind melted away.

Paddington (Ben Whishaw) has settled in with his new family, led by the infectiously sweet Mary (Sally Hawkins) and gruff but vulnerable Henry (Hugh Bonneville), and has become a fixture of his quaint London neighborhood.

Paddington anxiously awaits his Aunt Lucy’s (Imelda Staunton) 100th birthday, and Paddington wants to repay a lifetime of kindness with the perfect gift. With the help of Mr. Gruber (Jim Broadbent), he comes across a vibrant pop-up book of London, the perfect portrait of the city Aunt Lucy has been yearning to see her entire life. The book fetches a high price, which Paddington is willing to pay through as many menial jobs as he can hold. Unbeknownst to Paddington, the book is actually a treasure map, which failed character actor Phoenix Buchanan (Hugh Grant) intends to steal and use to find the lost riches somewhere in London and resurrect his one-man show. In trying to stop him, Paddington is blamed for the theft and incarcerated. With the help of his family, Paddington must clear his name and get Aunt Lucy’s birthday present back.

A Toast

The spirit of the Paddington films is one of decency, thoughtfulness, and identifying the inherently good qualities in everyone. Paddington 2 welcomes viewers back with open arms, and shows how the town has grown to welcome Paddington as one of their own. In an early sequence, the townspeople are shown going about their morning duties assisted by Paddington: a marmalade sandwich for someone here, a friendly reminder to bring the keys there. One wonders how these people even functioned before a talking bear showed up to help them get their lives together, but it hardly matters: goodwill is the main ingredient of Paddington 2, and it’s an effective one.

Everything in Paddington 2 comes together amazingly well: on the visual side, Paul King once again evokes some Wes Anderson-flavored shot composition (assisted by DP Erik Wilson) while keeping his own signature style intact with a great understanding of visual humor. The production design is detailed and bursting with personality. The jokes have the sort of broad appeal that doesn’t pander to children or parents, whether it be Buster Keaton-flavored physical comedy or slight setups that pay off unobtrusively much later. Most importantly, it endears to all without stooping to obvious pop-culture references or obvious attempts to whack itself into crass preteen territory for no reason.

Whishaw breathes believable life into Paddington (whose CGI is even better now), and the rest of the supporting cast is a delight. Bonneville, now warmly accepting of Paddington, gamely evolves his character through a hilarious midlife crisis. As a new addition to the series, Hugh Grant gives one of the funniest performances of his career as Phoenix, talking to himself via his different “characters” and sneaking around London in disguise in search of the treasure.

Finally, as a sequel, Paddington 2 could have followed the reigning Hollywood trend of diminishing returns and reheated leftovers in children’s films. It’s the status quo at this point to phone in the sequel for easy money on an established, popular set of characters. Refreshingly, it puts in the same amount of effort to delivering a product of equal or greater quality to the original. It counterbalances any staleness with a greater sense of adventure true to the spirit of creator Michael Bond’s original stories and lets its characters breathe in a way that feels joyfully timeless.

Verdict

Something as wonderful as Paddington 2 feels exceedingly rare and almost undeserved. Paddington is a role model for all of us: he accepts everyone–no matter how different, no matter how mean, no matter how much they may specifically dislike him, Paddington opens his heart to them. It’s a sobering reminder that who you are and where you come from don’t make you any less of a person, and where you’ve ended up doesn’t make you any less deserving of love. Even if you take away its great technical achievements, Paddington 2 is the warm, kind picture that the world needs now.

It’s funny, and exciting, and moving, and almost everything the genre should be. Family entertainment doesn’t get better than this.

Paddington 2 (2018) Movie Drinking Game

Take a Drink: for each famous British actor showing up to play a bit or supporting part

Do a Shot: every time Paddington wins someone’s heart over

Take a Drink: every time someone says “marmalade”

Do a Shot: good luck holding back tears at the end, sucker

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Virtual Pub 237: Darkest Hour, I, Tonya, The Post, Paddington 2 http://movieboozer.com/featured/virtual-pub-darkesthour http://movieboozer.com/featured/virtual-pub-darkesthour#respond Thu, 18 Jan 2018 04:00:21 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=105422 The post Virtual Pub 237: Darkest Hour, I, Tonya, The Post, Paddington 2 appeared first on MovieBoozer.

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The Bachelor (2018): Season 22, Episode 3 http://movieboozer.com/television-review/the-bachelor-2018-season-22-episode-3 http://movieboozer.com/television-review/the-bachelor-2018-season-22-episode-3#respond Wed, 17 Jan 2018 13:15:36 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=105407 By: Jenna Zine (Six Pack) – A wrestling match, a date in an Airstream trailer, tears, confusion, and eliminations. Suit up, friends – it’s time for the third episode of The Bachelor! A Toast We pick up at the end of last week’s cocktail party, with one gal saying, “I’m emotionally and physically drained.” It’s only the …

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By: Jenna Zine (Six Pack) –

A wrestling match, a date in an Airstream trailer, tears, confusion, and eliminations. Suit up, friends – it’s time for the third episode of The Bachelor!

A Toast

We pick up at the end of last week’s cocktail party, with one gal saying, “I’m emotionally and physically drained.” It’s only the third episode and it sounds like things are going great! Not.

Chris Harrison wanders in to tell the ladies, “There are eighteen of you. That’s a lot. Take advantage of your time. You know what they say – behind every good man is a very strong woman.” Hmm… I feel there’s a not so veiled meaning behind this. What could it be?

A date card arrives and the ladies learn they’ll be wrestling. Strong women, indeed! The gals grappling each other for Arie’s love are: Maquel, Marikh, Jacqueline, Lauren B., Krystal, Bibiana, Tia, and Bekah. Not only will they be wrestling – they’ll be getting coached by GLOW (Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling) pros Little Egypt and Babe the Farmer’s Daughter. These GLOW’s are old school and their way of doing things is to trash talk in order to get the contestants riled up enough to kick ass. The only problem? It’s 2018, and calling someone out for having an ethnic-sounding name is not okay. (Little Egypt asks Bibiana, “What’s your name? Wow, does your mom not know how to spell?” Bibiana gives her a, “What the fuck” look before starting to cry. It’s awful.) With government funding running out on the DACA program this Friday and a bigoted president at the helm of our country, it seems like now would be a good time to cut the racially-charged chatter from your oeuvre, Little Egypt. Just saying!

They’re all knockouts! [Photo Credit]

Meanwhile, the girls of GLOB (Gorgeous Ladies of Bachelor) suit up as their alter egos, including: Mean Lunch Lady, Bridezilla, Sex Kitten, Southern Belle, Gold Digger, and Cougar. (Or Crusty Cougar, as Bekah calls Krystal.) And, of course, we have Arie as The Kissing Bandit (who shows up to the competition in a suit, looking totally bewildered). Kenny King, the beloved professional wrestler from Rachel Lindsay’s season, appears briefly to take on Luyendyk Jr. in the ring. Arie clearly was expecting to sit back and watch today – as he loves to do, and it’s not at all creepy! – but Harrison throws him in a match with Kenny, suit and all. Kenny could clearly wipe the floor with Arie – but, much like our presidential election, it’s rigged and Luyendyk Jr. emerges victorious. (Speaking of, I wish they would’ve let Kenny speak! He’s awesome. I miss him and hope he still gets cast as The Bachelor one day.) The matches between the ladies are as awkward and pointless as one would expect, and it’s a relief when this portion of the show wraps.

Beer Two

Now it’s time for the after-party date. How to follow up this mess? With a hang at a trailer park, naturally! (It’s a cool Airstream – I’m thinking it might be this Airbnb?) As per her usual M.O., Krystal grabs Arie first to woo him with her obnoxious baby voice. She asks, “What do I need to do? Kick back, or be aggressive?” He says, “Just be yourself.” So… aggressive it is!

Bibiana is up next. She receives a small hug, no kiss. Arie looks visibly bored and I’m thinking her time is not long on this show. That’s okay – she deserves better anyway and will be a ton of fun on the upcoming The Bachelor Winter Games.

Tia follows. Arie tells her he was surprised she didn’t rock the challenge today. Tia agrees, saying, “I felt weak.” Arie replies, “If you’re feeling that way, I can make you feel better. That helps me feel like the man.” Personally if a guy told me he needed me to feel weak in order to feel strong, I would run for the fucking hills. Tia doesn’t share the same sentiment; instead she makes out with him. C’est la vie!

Bekah and Arie then head off for a little alone time in the Airstream. She straddles him before the camera cuts away to Krystal talking about how awesome she is. The duo returns to the group, with Arie hunched over to hide his massive boner. He takes a beat before handing the date rose to Bekah. Game, set, match!

It’s the old Airstream straddle! [Photo Credit]

Beer Three

Meanwhile, back at the mansion, another date card arrives. It’s for Lauren S. and it says, “You had me at merlot.” She breathlessly exclaims, “I think it has to do with wine!” No shit, Sherlock. She runs upstairs and returns lugging a massive suitcase. I feel a sense of foreboding that this is a harbinger of her permanent exit, but let’s see what happens, shall we?

Lauren and Arie fly to wine country. Well, not the country, per say, but rather to one spot – Hall Wines. Lauren says, “This is a very Lauren date.” There are many Laurens, so I will accept this blanket statement. They consume some vino (obvi!) before wandering the gorgeous estate. It is there, amongst the sun-dappled grapes, that they embark on a conversation that shall bond them for life. JK! It’s super lame, with Arie talking about bedtimes (he loves to go to sleep early!) and Lauren agreeing, before he makes a stupid joke about cardigans. She replies, “Ah, cardigans; the natural progression of life!” The date ended there, but there’s airtime to fill so the two progress to the evening portion of this painful event. Lauren tries to get their connection back on track, but fails miserably and instead goes full motor-mouth. Arie completely checks out. He is, in fact, so bored THAT HE ACTUALLY EATS THE FOOD! No one in Bachelor history has eaten a meal on a 1:1, but here we are. She finally shuts up for a minute and he takes the opportunity to grab the rose. He gives a brief speech about how “it’s obvious” that she loves her family, and he certainly doesn’t want to keep her from that. He lets her go, then and there. Good thing her bag was already packed! The night wraps with Arie staring out a window while violinists serenade his lonely heart.

As awkward as it looks! [Photo Credit]

Beer Four

Don’t fret – more dates are around the corner! This time it’s another group outing, including: Ashely, Becca K., Britney, Jenna, Caroline, Chelsea, and Annaliese. The clue is, “Love is ruff.” This means puppies, and the women are thrilled. All except for Annaliese, of course! She’s got – you guessed it – trauma around dogs. I can’t even with this, so I’ll move on.

They go to the park to play with their animal pals before learning that they’ll be putting on a dog show at The Grove. Fred Willard (of Best in Show) joins Chris Harrison to narrate the event. The event is a non-starter total waste of time. Except for the scene where they show Annaliese scooping poop. Now that’s funny!

They move on to The Reserve for the rest of the rendezvous. Arie makes the moves this time, pulling Chelsea aside first. Though Chelsea has all but faded into the background, it doesn’t stop her from combining codependence with confidence. She says, “I’m here to discover myself through someone else. I adore the person I’ve become today.”

Arie then proceeds to pull each gal away for a makeout sesh, minus Annaliese because she’s awkward AF. The night caps (see what I did there?) with Chelsea receiving the rose.

Krystal thinks Krystal is the greatest. [Photo Credit]

Beer Five

Now we’re back home for the cocktail party. Bibiana sets up a romantical couch under the stars for her and Arie. (Read: the producers masterminded this, and the interns put it in place.) But before she gets to pull him out to the makeshift cabana, he stumbles upon the driveway bed with Lauren B. How convenient! They proceed to lock lips before Bibiana comes out. Arie asks her for, “just five more minutes.” She meekly agrees. Only he never tries to find her after that, instead bringing out a string of ladies to the sexy spot. Ouch.

Bekah, of course, is one of the gals who gets private couch time with the bachelor. He asks if she’s interested in getting married when she’s of legal age someday. He claims he’s guarding his heart with her. Bekah drops some freshman Psych 101 on him, saying, “That’s because I’m unsafe. I don’t need you, and you know it. Based on what you said, you’ve been attracted to people who need you. Like, who need you more than you need them. And it’s scary to be with someone who doesn’t need you to complete them. Maybe that’s why you like moms.” Arie doesn’t know what’s hit him; he’s lived a life luxuriating in privilege and is blown away that a woman has called him out. Seriously, anyone with a passing interest in dime store psychology could read Luyendyk Jr. from a mile away, but he’s looking at her like she’s a fucking oracle and it’s hilarious.

Arie could stand to heed this advice! [Photo Credit]

He then sets up hay bales for Tia. I guess she’s supposed to enjoy this because she’s from Arkansas? To further cement the stereotype, he offers her moonshine from a jug. I am not making this up. He says it, “tastes like gasoline, but in a good way.” She’s game and they get a buzz on. Anything to take away the sting from this embarrassing moment, I say.

Annaliese, who not surprisingly does not know when to leave well enough alone, approaches Arie next. And by “approach” I mean she drags him to a remote corner balcony upstairs that the owner of this mansion probably doesn’t even know exists. It is there that she asks him for a kiss, which he declines to give. She wanders away to cry and receives terrible advice from one contestant to try again. And so she does! She finds Arie, again requesting some form of affection, and this gets her sent home. Like, we’re minutes away from the Rose Ceremony and he can’t even wait that long! It’s humiliating, but with the way she’s been acting, no one can blame him. She sobs in the limo about her fear of ending up alone. Having graduated from Bekah’s School of Psychology, I recommend a hard three years of therapy before attempting to date again. And even then, it’s probably too soon.

Good luck out in the real world, Annaliese – you’re gonna need it! [Photo Credit]

Beer Six

And we’ve got another Rose Ceremony to wrap up this epic episode! Bekah and Chelsea are “safe” with their date roses. The other women to accept flowers are: Caroline, Kendall, Ashley, Lauren B., Brittany, Becca K., Seinne, Krystal, Tia, Maquel, Jenna, Jacqueline, and Marikh. Due to Lauren S. and Annaliese’s earlier exits, it is Bibiana who gets the sole boot to the curb.

Verdict

We know we’ll see Bibiana again, and Annaliese has been thankfully exiled. Now we’ve just got to set our sights on Chelsea and Krystal. Bekah’s rise to power will continue until her dark secret is revealed. Meanwhile, I will continue to question why these women are fighting over the human equivalent to mayonnaise. Until next week!

The Bachelor (2018): Season 22, Episode 3 Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time you want to give the GLOW gals their own smackdown.

Take a Drink: every time you root for anyone other than Arie.

Take a Drink: every time you count the ways in which the show wasted Fred Willard’s cameo.

Take a Drink: every time you wished Peter or Kenny were The Bachelor.

Take a Drink: every time Krystal’s voice made you want to punch someone.

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The Commuter (2018) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/the-commuter-2018-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/the-commuter-2018-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Tue, 16 Jan 2018 13:15:59 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=105378 By: BabyRuth (Three Beers) – Michael MacCauley (Liam Neeson) wakes up every day at 6:00AM. He has breakfast, says goodbye to his son and wife, and catches the train into New York City to his job as an insurance salesman. We learn this during the opening credits, a kind of Groundhog Day-esque sequence of  Michael’s mundane, …

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By: BabyRuth (Three Beers) –

Michael MacCauley (Liam Neeson) wakes up every day at 6:00AM. He has breakfast, says goodbye to his son and wife, and catches the train into New York City to his job as an insurance salesman. We learn this during the opening credits, a kind of Groundhog Day-esque sequence of  Michael’s mundane, but comfortable existence.

But when is Liam Neeson gonna kick people’s asses all over a train? We were promised that in the trailer! And where did he acquire the particular set of skills needed in order to do that if he’s just an insurance salesman?

Patience, patience.

Turns out Michael is a former cop, having quit the force about ten years ago for the insurance gig which was working out pretty well until the financial collapse of 2008. With his son soon going off to college, Michael had to take out a second mortgage on his house and depends on his earnings. But it will be fiiine, and he’s only five years away from retirement.

I’ll give you one guess as to what happens next.  No, before he kicks people’s asses all over a train. Yup, he gets laid off.

On the train ride home that very day he encounters a mysterious woman with awesome shoes (Vera Farmiga, the go-to person for transportation-related films) who presents him with a peculiar proposition: identify the one person on the train who doesn’t belong before the train arrives at a certain stop and he will get $100,000. Why that would solve all of his money problems and for someone who has ridden the same train for ten years and knows most of the regular commuters, shouldn’t be too difficult!

“Usually I travel by plane. I prefer to be up in the air.”

But you know what they say about things that seem too good to be true? Well, Michael soon realizes that he really should have just complimented the lady on her shoes and politely declined her offer, because as it turns out – surprise! –this is deadly game. It’s too late though. He already took the bait: a large portion of the cash hidden in the restroom (which is a hell of a lot better than anything I’ve ever found in a Metro-North train’s bathroom) and now he is responsible for the lives of friends, strangers, and his own family.

Yes, this is the part when he begins to kick people’s asses all over a train.

A Toast

This is Neeson’s fourth collaboration with director Jaume Collet-Serra  (2011’s Unknown, 2014’s Non-Stop, and 2015’s Run All Night) and I’m too lazy to count what number Liam Neeson action hero movie we’re on. So the viewer may already have an idea of what they’re going to get. And The Commuter delivers exactly that. I mean that in a good way.

It’s a suspenseful, thrilling, and fun ride. The combination of the claustrophobic setting and ticking countdown clock creates a frantic tension that never lets up. The pacing keeps everything moving in real-time and puts the audience in Michael’s position, trying to solve the mystery of who the unknown passenger is and what it is they have that is so damn important. It never gets boring and never overstays its welcome.

Neeson commits 100% to a role he really could just phone in at this point and easily pulls off both the mild-mannered family man and the take-no-bullshit-badass we all know will eventually be revealed.

There are a few great stylistic flourishes courtesy of Collet-Serra (opening sequence included), which make the movie feel like it’s more than a generic 90s-inspired blow ‘em up real good dumb action flick.

Beer Two

While Collet-Serra’s style is certainly a high point of The Commuter, I do have one gripe: the shaky cam and fast cuts often make it hard to follow the action and take away from the many well-choreographed fight scenes.

Beer Three

The ending goes…get ready to groan…off the rails (I’m so, so sorry) both with the escalating and far-fetched story developments and Michael’s increasingly ridiculous superhero invincibility. It’s also here where the plot holes start becoming more and more apparent. (This is definitely one of those don’t think too hard about it movies. Really, don’t.) And then everything is neatly wrapped up with Michael never seeming too concerned about the consequences of his actions.

But it’s all okay because it was fun while it lasted.

Verdict

The Commuter delivers exactly what you expect and want it to. So if you are looking for a big, silly but entertaining break from catching up on the “awards” movies, well, ALL ABOARD!

The Commuter (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: whenever Michael mentions that he is 60 years old

Take a Drink: every time a cell phone rings

Take a Drink: every time there is a discussion about a book

Take a Drink: whenever the Goldman Sachs douchebag says something douchey

Take a Drink: every time Michael changes train cars

Take a Drink: for every red herring

Take a Drink: every time someone says “Cold Spring” or “Prin”

Do a Shot: for every casualty

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365 Days of Movies- Henry J. Fromage’s Brave New Year Edition- Week 2 http://movieboozer.com/articles/365-days-movies-henry-j-fromages-brave-new-year-edition-week-2 http://movieboozer.com/articles/365-days-movies-henry-j-fromages-brave-new-year-edition-week-2#respond Mon, 15 Jan 2018 18:15:58 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=105246 By: Henry J. Fromage – If you live outside of NY/LA movie nirvana, this is the time of year you get to catch up on all those Best Of Lists and Awards Contenders.  I’m doing my damndest. 8. Justice League Yeah, this is exactly the green-screened garbage the trailers promised it’d be.  Ezra Miller’s Flash …

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By: Henry J. Fromage –

If you live outside of NY/LA movie nirvana, this is the time of year you get to catch up on all those Best Of Lists and Awards Contenders.  I’m doing my damndest.

8. Justice League

Yeah, this is exactly the green-screened garbage the trailers promised it’d be.  Ezra Miller’s Flash was fun enough, and Henry Cavill’s CGI’d upper lip is especially horrifying, but I can’t find much of a reason to recommend it outside of that.  Five Beers.

9. Lemon

This is perhaps barely a feature film, meandering about in Adult Swim rhythms as Brett Gelman endures one self-manufactured humiliation after another.  It’s entertaining in a deeply schadenfreude manner, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t entertaining.  Three Beers.

10. Molly’s Game

Aaron Sorkin directs a very Aaron Sorkin script about a very Aaron Sorkin hero- an exceedingly verbose misunderstood genius making a moral stand against all odds.  The good news is, if all that Sorkin is something you already like, then you’ll love this- and he adds surprising directorial verve for a rookie to boot.  Two distinctly flavored but still tasty Beers.

11. Wonder Wheel

Yeah, this was quite bad.  Woody Allen’s latest opus to stale nostalgia and hysterical theatricality is staler and more hysterical than usual, falling off that thin line that made, say, Blue Jasmine work.  I can’t recommend this except for the hardiest of Allen or Kate Winslet completists.  Five Beers.

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Hercules (1997) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/hercules-1997-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/hercules-1997-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Mon, 15 Jan 2018 13:15:30 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=105259 By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) – A common theme in literature and film is the nature of heroism. There have been many types of heroes in popular culture, including the famous superheroes Superman and Batman. However, not all heroes need to wear capes in order to save the day. The Disney animated film Hercules is …

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By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) –

A common theme in literature and film is the nature of heroism. There have been many types of heroes in popular culture, including the famous superheroes Superman and Batman. However, not all heroes need to wear capes in order to save the day. The Disney animated film Hercules is a great example of teaching audiences what it means to be a hero, and that performing noble deeds for the sake of helping others is the true nature of what it means to act as a savior.

A Toast

This film can be very inspirational thanks to the Oscar-nominated song “Go the Distance.” It might have lost the Academy Award to “My Heart Will Go On” from Titanic (1997), but the song is still powerful because it involves perseverance and the determination to succeed. The film also features very strong and independent women, including the Greek goddess Athena and Meg. Meg is actually a very unique Disney character because she almost acts like a tomboy instead of a damsel in distress. Besides that display of feminism, Hercules features the fundamental fact that anyone can be a hero regardless of who they are.

Verdict

Heroes are often times the star of their respective films, and this trend continues in the present day (as of 2018) thanks to films like Wonder Woman (2017). Nevertheless, being a hero is much more than just saving people or exhibiting masculinity. Instead, being a hero involves practicing compassion, expressing love, and demonstrating altruism. Hercules is a great family film because it can teach viewers that selflessness is the best way to act like a true hero. In fact, this film is thematically similar to the Mariah Carey song “Hero” because both that song and this film reveal that anyone can be a hero only if such people choose to behave that way. Hercules was a great addition to the Disney Renaissance of the 1990s because it demonstrates how the studio was doing its best to experiment with new material outside of the fairy tales that made Walt Disney famous. Just like the muses sang, anyone can go from “zero to hero” (but only if they believe)!

Hercules (1997) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time the muses sing in unison

Take a Drink: every time Hades loses his cool (and has his hair change from blue to red in the process)

Drink a Shot: every time anyone says the word “hero” (especially during the song “Zero to Hero”)

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Hawk & Ken Survive: Bad CGI Animation http://movieboozer.com/featured/hawk-ken-survive-bad-cgi-animation http://movieboozer.com/featured/hawk-ken-survive-bad-cgi-animation#respond Sun, 14 Jan 2018 18:15:20 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=105362 The post Hawk & Ken Survive: Bad CGI Animation appeared first on MovieBoozer.

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The Bachelor (2018): Season 22, Episode 2 http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/romance/the-bachelor-2018-season-22-episode-2 http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/romance/the-bachelor-2018-season-22-episode-2#respond Sun, 14 Jan 2018 13:15:22 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=105339 The Bachelor (2018): Season 22, Episode 2 By: Jenna Zine (Six Pack) –  A mansion packed with lithe young women. A manly man, being manly, revving the engine of his slick motorcycle. They are miles apart, yet yearning for the same thing –  to get into each other’s pants – eternal love. Will the distance close between …

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The Bachelor (2018): Season 22, Episode 2

By: Jenna Zine (Six Pack) –

 A mansion packed with lithe young women. A manly man, being manly, revving the engine of his slick motorcycle. They are miles apart, yet yearning for the same thing –  to get into each other’s pants – eternal love. Will the distance close between confirmed bachelor Arie Luyendyk Jr. and one lucky lady? I tuned in, so you don’t have to!

*(Programming note: I was caught in Southern California during the mudslide and was without internet this week. Normally you can count on these recaps being up Tuesday, after the show airs on Monday. )

A Toast

Arie sits on a hill, his face warmed by the California sun, as he prepares to swoop down from a mountain and into the hearts of America. Meanwhile, the ladies are screaming as if they are about to see The Beatles, even though “their man” is nowhere in sight. Chris Harrison materializes with a dire warning, “You seem happy now. But I know from experience it won’t last.” Um… thanks?

With that comforting line, Arie rolls up to the shared home and strolls into the living room. More high-pitched screaming ensues. Jenna says, “Arie makes me lose my words,” even as she’s literally saying words. A date card is handed out. Everyone is assuming it will contain a group activity. But no! It is a solo outing for Becca K. with the cryptic message, “Hold on tight!”

Guess what, folks? The producers didn’t rent that motorcycle for the hell of it – that date includes a ride! Becca clutches Arie, shouting in his ear as they zip down the highway (of love). Meanwhile, back at the house, Krystal says, “I’m really glad I didn’t have to get on that bike. My dad was in a horrible motorcycle accident,” as she proceeds to list all the body parts that can be mangled when one takes a high-speed spill. Fun!

Krystal seems like a good time! [Photo Credit]

Boy, does Arie have a day in store for Becca, including getting styled by human lollipop Rachel Zoe! A rack of dresses is rolled out. Champagne appears. Arie says, “I’m going to sit back and enjoy.” Settle down, Richard Gere – this isn’t Pretty Woman. She tries on several outfits and looks stunning in them all. Arie magnanimously says, “You don’t have to choose – they’re all for you!” But wait – there’s more. She’s got to have shoes to go with those fancy frocks. Arie produces a box containing bejeweled Louboutins. Is it too much? It’s not! It’s the man strolling over the hill with a tray of diamonds for her to choose from that puts this shizz over the top. (“Neil Lane sends his regards,” is my new favorite sentence.) Becca can now comfortably sneak into the next Kardashian photo shoot and blend in perfectly. Arie says, “I thought it would be fun to spoil you because it wouldn’t fall on deaf ears.” I don’t know how he ascertained such a quality simply from Becca’s limo exit, but damn, she did something right.

How ya like me now? [Photo Credit]

Beer Two

Meanwhile… the girls are chattering like nervous birds before a storm. What are they doing? Where are they? When will I get MY turn? Are his lips really like pillows? are all muttered in hushed tones before Becca appears on the landing, holding her pile of bling. They pretend to be happy for her, but as soon as she leaves the room, Bibiana wails, “Oh, my god – they’re going to get married!” Yep, it’s the second episode and it’s already game over.

But we must press on, because this show has airtime to fill until March! Another date card appears. Surely this is the group date! But no, a singular name is read. It’s Krystal’s turn for a one on one, with the note, “Home is where the heart is.” She meets Arie on a tarmac. They are flying on a private jet to Scottsdale where, you guessed it, Arie resides! Somehow this has suddenly turned into hometowns and Bachelor Nation explodes on Twitter. It’s too soon! What is happening? Most of us surmise that: (1.) Arie forgot something at his house and convinced Chris to let him go fetch it. (2.) He has a lucrative real estate deal to close in Arizona. After all, he needs some chingle chingle to pay for that date he just took Becca on!

Krystal couldn’t care less what the reasoning is behind this mega-fast-forward move, for she is, “Smitten as a kitten.” God, I hate her and her breathy baby voice. She rasps, “This must be really meaningful for him.” For him to take you to his home? Yes, it’s safe to assume there’s meaning behind the gesture.

Were you thinking Arie whisked Krystal away to get to know her better? Quite the opposite, my friend! Krystal barely says a word (thank god) as Arie takes her on a tour of his high school (Why? He’s 36-years old!) and also drives by the Pizza Hut where he used to work as a teen before taking her home to watch videos of his childhood. Then they are off to meet his parents. Naturally, as this is what you do when you’ve known someone for all of 5 minutes. It’s as awkward as it sounds, with stilted conversation as they struggle to find something to say to one another.

Hot date! [Photo Credit]

Night falls. They are now back in California. He takes her to the iconic Bradbury Building (where a portion of the original Blade Runner was filmed) in downtown L.A. It is here that Arie finally asks Krystal a question about herself. Krystal reveals a convoluted, albeit sad, story about her homeless brother and how painful it is to have no one. Arie says, “That’s okay. I have friends who’ve also had rough upbringings.” Well, I don’t know about you, but I certainly feel better! (Personally I’m distracted, for now all I want in life is a Blade Runner/Bachelor mashup.)

After baring her soul, it’s time for Krystal and Arie to sway to the requisite, “We’re alone in a ballroom getting serenaded by a stranger” portion of the show. The unknown artist is Connor Duermit. Who is he? I have no idea; I refuse to Google him.

Beer Three

Yet another card is revealed and this time it really is for the group date! Fifteen names are read. They are: Bekah, Jenny, Jenna, Bibiana, Chelsea, Tia, Annaliese, Seinne, Brittany, Marikh, Maquel, Valerie, Lauren G., Kendall, and Caroline.

Surprise – this outing will involve cars! It is a Demolition Derby! Arie wants to see who will have fun with this activity, who will take it in stride, and who will break down. Annaliese outs herself as the weakest of the pack when she starts wailing in fear over the challenge. The reason? She has Bumper Car Trauma lodged deep in her psyche from an incident when she was a child. You see, one time she drove a bumper car where others then bumped into her, and she never felt so alone! All I can think is, “Bitch, that’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard.” Unlike her, I know I am not alone. (Even sensitive Arie has to struggle to keep the smirk off his face.) Seriously – I am simultaneously offended that this is her version of adversity, and jealous that this is her reality. Imagine the privilege!

Mr. Harrison shows up to narrate the action. He sneaks in a dig at the bachelor, asking, “Will this be the first time Arie wins something on the track?” Sick burn, dude!

After the weep-fest, Annaliese proceeds to repeatedly plow into the other cars, proving herself to be fierce competition. Was it reverse psychology? I’m not sure she’s that clever. Regardless, the ruse is for naught. Seinne wins, with Tia coming in second.

I’m getting a serious Tom Cruise “Days of Thunder” vibe here… [Photo Credit]

Beer Four

Now it’s time for the Demolition Derby After Party! Of course it’s Chelsea who nabs him first (per the producer’s request). She reveals that she has a 3-year old son. Arie doesn’t run for the hills, so Chelsea takes that to mean they’re getting serious. Whatever helps you sleep at night, Chels. Arie tells her that he actually lived with a woman who has two kids, but it didn’t work out. Good to know that that relationship failed, otherwise it would be really awkward for you to be the lead on this program right now.

Seinne gets to spend time with Arie next. She tells him she’s a Yale grad who has traveled the world and speaks four languages. Arie says, “I barely graduated high school and I worked at Pizza Hut.” But the patriarchy is solidly in his court, so it’s Luyendyk Jr. who is the millionaire and it’s this hardworking beauty that must compete for his heart. No wonder white men are hanging onto to the old guard with all their evil might.

Meanwhile, Bibiana fumes in the background. She’s already earned her spot as the most quotable when she accuses Chelsea of “the old Snagaroo” where her “patience has been trialed.” But she bounces back by counseling herself, “to be patient, to the point of rage.”

Bekah then grabs Arie and they head out front for one of Arie’s patented “deep, slow” smooches. It is way too intimate, and uncomfortable to watch. Bekah, wearing an animal pelt, tells Arie she, “must always be wrapped in fur.” Arie lets out a nervous, knowing laugh and I am left to assume this is some sort of euphemism for pubic hair? But that doesn’t make sense! She’s a millennial and those gals get waxed “down there” practically from birth. Wait! Is she talking about his hairy package? (I assume he manscapes, but I’m not sure if he goes as far as to wax his balls.) Or could it be as simple as needing to be swathed in a dead animal at all times? So many (mainly inappropriate) questions. Well, let’s table this discussion for now. I’ll leave you with this – those two are gonna Netflix and chill before he sends her packing for sure.

We are so gonna get busy later! [Photo Credit]

It’s time to hand out a date rose. He gives Chelsea a shout-out, but then spins away to present the flower to Seinne, who graciously accepts. It’s clear he’s got to keep Chelsea for narrative’s sake, even though he doesn’t want her. She’s a brat, so it’s hard to feel too bad for her. Bibiana continues with the crazy dagger eyes.

Beer Five

Now we’re back at the mansion for the cocktail party preceding the rose ceremony. Arie seeks out Brittany first because she apparently got injured at the Derby and he wants to make sure she’s okay. He then presents her with the “Most Hardcore Award.” Because nothing says, “I care,” like a fake diploma with a gold star from an arts and crafts store!

Krystal brags about having a rose. She doesn’t need the time after her lengthy one on one date, but it doesn’t stop her from interrupting three other women to get another moment alone with Arie. Not only does this rightfully piss off the ladies, but one can watch the light die in Arie’s eyes as Krystal goes from “playful blonde” to “clingy bunny boiler.” I was thinking Chelsea was the villain of the season, but Krystal definitely seems to be vying for the title!

Lauren B. (who was one of only four women not on a 1:1 or group date) is one of the women Krystal horns in on. That’s really rude – girlfriend deserves a minute! The other lady she cuts off is Bibiana and holy shit, is that ever a mistake! Bibiana gives her the dressing down of a lifetime. I swear she says Krystal just “dug a big asshole” for herself before ending with, “If I get eliminated, you’d better sleep with one eye open.” Krystal tries to defend herself, but Bibiana says, “Nope. Mic drop.” Bad for Krystal. Good for us.

Bye, bitch! [Photo Credit]

Beer Six

Sound the alarms – it’s rose ceremony time! Becca K., Krystal, and Seinne are all “safe.” The next names to be called are: Maquel, Jacqueline, Bekah, Jenna, Chelsea, Lauren S., Tia, Annaliese, Lauren B., Kendall, Brittany, Ashley, Marikh, Caroline, and – lucky for Krystal and her eyes – Bibiana. Krystal shall remain shank-free… for now.

And the gals who are leaving this week include: Valerie, Lauren G., and Jenny, who claims she’s never been broken up with before. She’s weeping in the foyer. Arie comes to check on her. She says, “I’m not crying over you. I’m crying because I have to leave my friends,” making her the first contestant in Bachelor history who did go there to make friends! Take that, Courtney Robertson!

Verdict

The end scene includes Arie and Kendall in a lively discussion about taxidermy. She presents him with a “pickled” rat and a seal that’s falling apart because it’s “vintage.” She claims she’s never killed anything. I’m not sure I believe her. (Come on, when do you ever come across a dead seal that’s in the perfect state of decomposition – pliable enough for taxidermy, but not too ripe? Odds are slim! I’m not calling her a serial seal killer. But I’m not not calling her one either.) Until next week, my patient friends!

The Bachelor (2018): Season 22, Episode 2 Drinking Game

 Take a Drink: every time the group is deflated when they don’t get called for a date.

Take a Drink: every time Arie talks about himself.

Take a Drink: every time Arie makes out with a contestant.

Take a Drink: every time Krystal offends someone.

Do a Shot: for Bumper Car Trauma!

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The Shape of Water (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/shape-water-2017-movie-review http://movieboozer.com/featured/shape-water-2017-movie-review#respond Sat, 13 Jan 2018 13:15:41 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=105354 By: Christian Harding (A Toast) – The term “visionary” gets tossed around in the filmic scene far too much these days, in this writer’s humble opinion (there are many great directors out there to be sure, but “visionary” is maybe pushing it a bit too far in most cases). But if there was anyone currently …

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By: Christian Harding (A Toast) –

The term “visionary” gets tossed around in the filmic scene far too much these days, in this writer’s humble opinion (there are many great directors out there to be sure, but “visionary” is maybe pushing it a bit too far in most cases). But if there was anyone currently working in mainstream directing circles who best deserves that title, Mexican filmmaker Guillermo del Toro would most definitely be among these candidates – at least in terms of the sheer wonderment and creativity on display in every single one of his works. Most well known for alternating between a series of consistently intriguing horror-fantasy hybrid passion projects, and elevating typical studio fare by adding his usual creative stamp, Del Toro has made quite the career for himself whilst adapting his own childhood fantasies onscreen for the entire world to enjoy. That now brings us to the man’s latest project, The Shape of Water, which has poised itself recently as being among one of the most significant awards prospects this Oscar season; and for good reason, too. More than anything else Del Toro has made in the past decade, this is easily one of the liveliest, most vital, and original pieces of mainstream genre filmmaking since, I don’t even know, the Lord of the Rings trilogy maybe?

“God help the outcasts.”

Our story, set in the Cold War felt America of 1960’s, follows a mute woman named Elisa (played by Sally Hawkins) who works as a cleaning lady during the night shift at a secret government laboratory of sorts. While on the clock one night, a mysterious creature from the Amazon is brought in to be housed in her facility, along with it an undesirable crew of potentially untrustworthy government folks assigned to deal with the creature. But soon after its arrival, Elisa and the amphibian man (who is never given a name, likely a screenwriting choice meant to preserve its otherworldly nature) establish a bond of sorts, which starts out as a shared connection of humanity and eventually blossoms into something more conventionally romantic. And if that sounds a bit offbeat to you, then you’re not alone. But the fact that Guillermo Del Toro was able to take this admittedly goofy sounding (at least in theory) storyline and make it not only believable and able to be taken completely seriously, but to make it as deeply felt and moving as The Shape of Water soon reveals itself to be is a real testament to his talent and probably marks his greatest achievement as a filmmaker to date.

A Toast
Right off the top, one of The Shape of Water‘s strongest assets is its ensemble cast. Despite a handful of roles potentially coming across as one note or underwritten on the page, Guillermo del Toro is adept at choosing actors who could breathe life into their parts. Industry veterans like Octavia Spencer and Michael Shannon don’t exactly do anything especially new or surprising here, but they play to their strengths really well and both make for compelling onscreen presences. Richard Jenkins also makes a strong impression in a sympathetic supporting role as Elisa’s closeted gay neighbor and closest friend, but it’s Sally Hawkins in the leading role who resonates to most out of the entire assembled cast. Hawkins is an actress that has never really stood out to this reviewer beforehand (though there’s no denying that she’s been good in others things beforehand), but she absolutely shines here and gives one of her greatest performances yet. Special mentions should also go to Doug Jones as the nameless amphibian man at the center of this tale, who works through all the heavy prosthetic makeup and is able to make his central creature a tangible, felt presence within the story, thus adding to the central connection between it and Elisa.
Another one of the most impressive and rewarding attributes of The Shape of Water is its ability to work on multiple levels at once, just like the best of Guillermo del Toro’s films. Del Toro has always been incorporating themes of social commentary into his works for his entire career, but never have they been as upfront or prevalent as they are in this film, and here are the just a few of the ways this film could be interpreted as:
1. A really well done, engaging piece of genre storytelling (mostly a hybrid of science fiction, fantasy, and horror, with some musical elements tossed in there for good measure).
2. A sweet, unconventional love story.
3. A story about the plight of underdogs and the perceived “lessers” of society, where the historically disenfranchised manage to find ways to thrive right underneath the nose of the oppressors who never gave them a second thought.
4. A giant middle finger / “stick it to the man” allegory about overcoming systemic oppression.
5. All of these things at once
Still a better love story than Twilight.
Verdict
No matter how you approach it or from which point of view you see it from, The Shape of Water is an outstanding achievement from top to bottom. It marks a new potential career highlight for Guillermo del Toro, who has already seen his fair share of high points beforehand, and is a beacon of light amidst a storm of middling, same-y genre fare and middle of the road dramas which lack imagination and originality. In terms of depicting and reflecting the cultural climate in which it was made and released, seen through the lens of a pulpy genre exercise, it functions as this decade’s equivalent of M Night Shyamalan’s still largely misunderstood The Village. It’s so nakedly earnest that it leaves itself open to senseless mockery and derision from the edge-lord cynic review crowd that runs rampant all over social media these days. It’d be a miracle if this can survive the rest of awards season without getting hot-take’d to death or being meme’d as “that weird fishman romance movie lol”. It’s that exact sort of try-hard edge-lord cynicism that The Shape of Water seeks to deconstruct and tear down, all the while expressing it through one of the most sensational and brilliantly told monster movies in recent memory.

The Shape of Water (2017) Drinking Game

Do a Shot: each time Elisa signs.

Do another Shot: whenever you get a good look at the creature.

Shotgun a Beer: when Michael Shannon dials his mania up to eleven.

Pour a Glass of Wine: In celebration of Guillermo del Toro actually being able to pull off making a fishman romance story both digestible and serious.

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Ken’s Movie Diary 2018: ain’t nobody got no time fo’ that (Week 1) http://movieboozer.com/articles/kens-movie-diary-2018-aint-nobody-got-no-time-fo-week-1 http://movieboozer.com/articles/kens-movie-diary-2018-aint-nobody-got-no-time-fo-week-1#respond Fri, 12 Jan 2018 18:15:54 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=105265 It’s a New Year, and this year my resolution is to continue tracking and writing short reviews of every film I see, for better or worse… very often worse.  And it begins… 1. Russell Madness (2015)  A Jack Russell terrier wrestles with the help of his Monkey friend, this is a thing that exists… Give …

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It’s a New Year, and this year my resolution is to continue tracking and writing short reviews of every film I see, for better or worse… very often worse.  And it begins…

1. Russell Madness (2015) 

A Jack Russell terrier wrestles with the help of his Monkey friend, this is a thing that exists… Give this a watch if you desire a few fewer brain cells and want to see John Ratzenberger play a Vince McMahon-like villain. Five baffling Beers

2. Pup Star Better 2gether (2017)

If they made a movie about American Idol and filled it with shitty dog puns, shittier original pop songs, and set it in a world where dogs sing, disco dance and talk (and it’s ok with the humans)… What do I mean by If?  They did make that movie, this is the fucking sequel to it, and THERE IS ANOTHER ONE COMING in 2018! Six-Pack of spectacular shit

3. Pups United (2015)

Soccer playing dogs, a 1930s comedy duo masquerading as robbers, and an antagonist whose resting bitch face is matched only by her resting bitch-attitude. Featuring the voice of Rob Schneider! Drink a Six-Pack to forget…

4. Beverly Hills Chihuahua 3 (2012)

Drink a Six-Pack because you can’t remember a goddamned thing that happened in this dull slog of a movie… except for the fact that it has that one dude from Reno 911, and Kyle Gass.

5. Lucky (2017)

From the late Harry Dean Stanton, Lucky is a beautiful final gift to filmgoers. While director John Carroll Lynch may have a few things to learn about staging dialogue heavy scenes, he means well and the actors are all game to perform. One of the biggest surprises is a solid supporting turn by David Lynch. Two Beers: one for the movie, and another to toast Harry Dean’s life and career.

6. Wish Upon (2017)

2017’s clusterfuck of clusterfucks; a teenage girl discovers a wish giving box that takes a blood price in exchange. Bad acting, terrible editing, awful music, and some of the worst movie logic you’re ever bound to see. A Six-Pack isn’t enough, drink a forty to be sure.

7. The Road Movie (2017)

Compiling some of the most stunning camera footage from the dashboards of Russia, The Road Movie paints a dizzying picture of the truly insane streets of one of the biggest countries in the world. While thrilling, sometimes frightening, there really doesn’t seem to be any set arc to this. In Soviet Russia, Three Beers drink you!

8. Good Time (2017)

Everything that can go wrong, does in this truly disturbing thriller. Robert Pattinson plays a deeply misguided small time crook desperate to save himself and his mentally challenged brother, but bereft of the common sense that would take. Despite a truly dislikable lead, the poignant nature of this film deserves a solid Two Beers.

9. Their Finest (2017)

Just when you thought they were Dunkirk… the least known of the 3 British films of 2017 that reference the Battle is a quirky dramedy that follows the making of a propaganda film.  Another movie about making movies?  TWO META BEERS.

10. American Made (2017)

Tom Cruise is late to the “Comical Portrait of American Super Criminal” game, but director Doug Liman directs a tight script and the story is too fascinating to ignore.  Two Beers for the triangle drug trade!

11. Molly’s Game (2017)

Sure, Aron Sorkin’s characters all sound like Sorkin arguing with himself.  But his directorial debut is tightly crafted and features solid performances all around.  I’ll see you, and raise you two beers.

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Trailer Reviews: The Commuter, Paddington 2, Proud Mary, & The Post http://movieboozer.com/articles/trailer-reviews-the-commuter-paddington-2-proud-mary-the-post http://movieboozer.com/articles/trailer-reviews-the-commuter-paddington-2-proud-mary-the-post#respond Fri, 12 Jan 2018 13:15:28 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=105315 by: Hawk Ripjaw –   The Commuter This is it. Liam Neeson is finally retiring from action films because he realized what most of us noticed in Taken 3: he’s getting old, and it doesn’t look as cool anymore. Of course, he also said this shortly before Taken 3 came out, so maybe we shouldn’t close …

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by: Hawk Ripjaw –

 

The Commuter

This is it. Liam Neeson is finally retiring from action films because he realized what most of us noticed in Taken 3: he’s getting old, and it doesn’t look as cool anymore. Of course, he also said this shortly before Taken 3 came out, so maybe we shouldn’t close the book just yet. 

Unfortunately, his “final” action film looks suspiciously similar to the same director’s earlier film Non-Stop (which, full disclosure, I actually loved):

1: Liam Neeson is going on a trip using public transport.

2: For some reason Liam Neeson is targeted by a mysterious villain who wishes to manipulate him.

3: The lives of others are threatened by this villain unless Liam Neeson does some stuff.

4: Liam Neeson’s going to crash this bitch when it comes time to stop the villain.

Worse, this trailer has the worst case of “you just watched the whole movie in two minutes”-itis than I’ve seen in at least the last year. Apart from the actual motivations of the villain (which we can only hope are somewhat connected to The Conjuring), it appears that many of the major plot beats in the movie, especially from the climax, are here in the trailer. Boy, nothing gets me excited for seeing a movie like saving me the time of actually having to watch the whole thing, right?

That said, director Collet-Serra is rarely not fun, even when reheated, and his movies often look pretty cool at the very least. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t going to see this over the weekend.

Beer Prediction

It was a fun chapter of Neeson’s career, but he’s way more than a pair of fists so I’m excited to see what he moves on to.

 

Paddington 2

When I watched and reviews the first Paddington a few years ago, I went in expecting a decent family film with solid charm and good style thanks to director Paul King (The Mighty Boosh). I got what I expected, but more of all of it: the wacky humor had broad appeal without being generic, but still had a handful of weirdly specific jokes for those paying attention. The familiar family movie structure still felt fresh and wonderful. The tiny little flourishes (the Lost & Found sign behind Paddington in the station has the “Found” part burnt out, but it suddenly lights back up when the family encounters him for the first time) were great, welcome surprises. It did damn near everything right.

For this trailer review, I’m actually not going to watch the trailer, which is a little abnormal but given the wonderful surprises that the original Paddington consistently unwrapped, I want to go in fresh. I’m posting this trailer here without looking at it with the help of a friend to help me avoid the temptation.

Beer Prediction

I can’t remember the last time I was this excited to see a children’s film.

 

Proud Mary

When I first saw the trailer for Proud Mary, I thought it was actually the trailer for Acrimony so I was 80% sure that Tyler Perry was continuing his descent into madness and the new trailer for Acrimony was just revealing a new plotline where the main character was so pissed about her marriage she just decided to start killing people. Obviously, that’s not the case (for the better? I can’t say), but dodgy CGI gun and bullet animation aside, this might be awesome. Taraji P. Henderson looks pretty badass as a hitwoman blowing the bad guys away, which the movie will need: the plot, involving her having to take care of a young kid she runs into during a hit, is about as generic as they come. Introducing a helpless woman or child is not how you make a hitman movie cool! Two Hitman movies alone should make that obvious!

Beer Prediction

It doesn’t help that Sony is doing the usual fucking up with the marketing, so hopefully this gets some traction.

 

The Post

Steven Spielberg, Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Bob Odenkirk, Sarah Paulson, Bruce Greenwood, and Bradley Whitford all working together on the same movie? Are you fucking kidding me?? Of course it’s going to be good!

Beer Prediction

Still technically a 2017 film, so I’m pretty confident this will earn a spot on some Best of 2017 lists. Journalism thrillers scratch a specific sort of itch that nothing else really does, so the infrequency with which these show up is always welcome.

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A Bigger Splash (2016) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/bigger-splash-2016-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/bigger-splash-2016-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Thu, 11 Jan 2018 13:15:52 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=98007 By: Henry J. Fromage (Three Beers) – If you had to pick one actor to portray David Bowie in all his weird glory, who would you, who could you pick?  Who of all the casting lists in the world could even come close? Right answer. In A Bigger Splash, Tilda Swinton does basically play Bowie, or a …

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By: Henry J. Fromage (Three Beers) –

If you had to pick one actor to portray David Bowie in all his weird glory, who would you, who could you pick?  Who of all the casting lists in the world could even come close?

a-bigger-splash-tilda-swinton

Right answer.

In A Bigger Splash, Tilda Swinton does basically play Bowie, or a Bowie-level superstar who’s recovering her voice on a southern Italian isle with her handsome and brooding boy toy (Matthias Schoenaerts), whose peace is upended when former lover and manager Ralph Fiennes blows through talking a mile a minute, with seductive young daughter Dakota Johnson in tow.

A Toast

Luca Guadagnino announced himself to be one of cinema’s boldest stylists with I Am Love, and now reunites with Tilda Swinton in a film that is less in your face, but still shows plenty of flair, full of off-kilter framing and editing, near pornographic food worship (the ricotta…), and an easy handiness with eclectic musical cues.

Acting-wise, Swinton as Bowie just makes sense, and her raspy croak gives her another fun physical acting challenge to tackle.  Fiennes, though, is unlike you’ve ever seen him, positively cheerful, the life of the party, even (often) manic.

fiennes-schindlers-llist

ralph-bigger-splash

These are the same people.

He certainly earns his laughs, and the rest of the cast looks awful good in the bright sun as does the Mediterranean Isle of Pantelleria scenery.  Guadagnino’s clear 70s-inspired milieu, replete with orchestral score and wide, slow pans looks awful good, too.

Beer Two

The film’s laid-back tone doesn’t serve drama very well.  It’s hard to care about the loves and losses of these overprivileged, underempathetic characters, especially stretched out to 2 hours.

a-bigger-splash-2

Oh, the humanity…

Beer Three

Perhaps a bit too late, A Bigger Splash takes a turn for crazytown in its third act, but one that doesn’t seem remotely supported by what came before it.  The scene in question finishes through a frankly incredible shot, but overall the scene’s a jaw-dropper in totally the wrong way.  Telenovela producers would be ashamed.

Beer Four

I read a review of the film awhile back that describes it as “the first truly pagan film”, which both fits the lifelong bacchanal of these characters and my issues with them.  Ultimately, their soullessness permeates the entire film.  Their agony at the pain their complete and proud selfishness brings them in the end ultimately plays as so many crocodile tears, an impression triple underlined by the flippant masturbation of an ending, which combines ethnic caricature, celebrity worship, and nauseating entitlement into an unwelcome spurt directed right at our eyes.

Verdict

A Bigger Splash is as beautiful and empty as its characters.  Watch it if you want to see the actors playing a different register, otherwise avoid.

zzz4beers

A Bigger Splash (2016) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: for drugs

Take a Drink: for nudity and near nudity

Take a Drink: for classic Harry word vomit

Take a Drink: for swimming and diving

Take a Drink: for singing

Do a Shot: for terrible dancing

Do a Shot: for Voldemort’s dick

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Insidious: The Last Key (2018) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/insidious-last-key-2018-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/insidious-last-key-2018-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Wed, 10 Jan 2018 13:15:18 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=105305 By: Christian Harding (Three Beers) – Of all the mainstream horror franchises still going on, the Insidious films are in a curious position: the series is generally well liked within the horror fan community and casual audiences seem to respond well enough to them, but there’s not really any film in the franchise that’s regarded as being …

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By: Christian Harding (Three Beers) –

Of all the mainstream horror franchises still going on, the Insidious films are in a curious position: the series is generally well liked within the horror fan community and casual audiences seem to respond well enough to them, but there’s not really any film in the franchise that’s regarded as being better than merely good, and none that really stand head and shoulders above the rest as a true benchmark for the franchise. But that isn’t always a necessity for a horror film franchise, and there have been some that have gone on long after they’ve run out of things to do (we’re looking at you Paranormal Activity and Saw…). Besides, based on the extremely impressive year Blumhouse had in 2017 with the trifecta of SplitGet Out, and Happy Death Day all exceeding expectations both financially and critically, it’s pretty safe to say that the famed horror studio has earned the benefit of the doubt from us. Did they let us down this time? Stay tuned after the jump.

“I would have put Get Out on my “best of the year” three times if I could have! Best film made in my lifetime, hands down.”

A Toast

Somewhere in between the original Insidious film and The Last Key, this series has suddenly evolved into a series of star vehicles for actress Lin Shaye, and this reviewer is completely on board with that, to say nothing of the rarity that a current horror franchise unironically being headlined by a 74 year old woman. But given the fate of her character at the end of the first film, the Insidious franchise has had to continually jump around with timelines to ensure we keep seeing Shaye in the role of paranormal ghost hunter Elise Rainier, but it’s been relatively easy to follow up to this point.

This entry takes place between the third and first films (hmm, maybe I should take back what I just said about the timelines being easy to follow) and finds Elise returning to her childhood home after years of self-imposed exile. There, she must deal with all manner of spooky paranormal activity, all the while coping with some traumatic childhood memories, both in equal measures. The increased budget over the course of these four films is used effectively here and the overall details/designs of the supernatural worlds being visited in this series have improved dramatically ever since we got stuck with the under lit and fog machine-heavy interiors of the first film. Add to that a pretty strong opening fifteen minute sequence depicting what Elise as a young woman had to deal with growing up with her abilities whilst living inside of a dysfunctional, broken family unit and you’ve got a pretty intriguing setup for a potentially satisfying horror sequel. And how do the creative minds at play handle all of these elements laying out on the table for them…

Beer Two

Before we even get to typical, generic jump scares du jour, let’s first discuss all the cringe-worthy forced humor and comedic relief in this film. In addition to Lin Shaye returning in the lead role as Elise, her two “wacky” assistants Tucker and Specs (once again played by Angus Sampson and writer of The Last Key, Leigh Wannell) are back again, and boy howdy are just as pandering and insufferable as they’ve ever been. These two have always been among the weakest elements from this franchise, but never before have they been as up front and center as they are in this one, and man does their shtick get old fast. But it’s not necessarily the fault of the performers themselves; Whannell has always been a writer first and actor second, but he was passable enough in the original Saw film; and Angus Sampson has done some pretty impressive work on television, most notably in the second season of Fargo.

But quite literally none of the material written for these two characters works at all, and in addition to completely deflating the tension at any given moment, there are even some points where it reaches far beyond being merely unfunny and cringe-worthy (though there’s plenty of that to be sure), and their behavior crosses into downright predatory and uncomfortable territory at times (pretty much anytime they share the screen with a female character other than Elise). The prospect of having humorous elements in an otherwise very serious horror film can work and has done so many times in the past; but degree of humor we’re dealing with in Insidious: The Last Key is Michael Bay Transformers levels of forced and unnecessary. No thank you.

 Beer Three

Since we’ve gotten the critique that I found uniquely specific to this one horror franchise in particular, we can now move onto the main criticism that’s still reliably infected most of the mainstream horror outings of the century: bland and predictable scares. While there’s nothing in this film that I found to be particularly awful or poorly done – I was actually quite appreciative of this film’s method of constructing prolonged sequences that continued to build tension over the course of several minutes – the payoffs themselves are always the same and don’t contain all that many surprises in and of themselves (apart from one unexpected story element that’s soon undercut by introducing a far less interesting twist). I’ll give Insidious: The Last Key some credit for not being terribly obnoxious or laughable in the scares department, but now that we’re four films into this series, it wouldn’t hurt for the creative minds behind the franchise to start taking a few more chances and not play everything so blandly safe all the time.

The sister of Supreme Leader Snoke has been getting a lot of work ever since her brother broke into the big leagues.

Verdict

At the end of the day, Insidious: The Last Key is what it is. For the fourth film in a horror franchise released during the first weekend of January, the fact that we got anything remotely passable is like a belated Christmas miracle. Casual viewers and non-horror fans likely won’t find much of anything to respond to here, but genre aficionados and people who really responded to the first three Insidious films may very well get enough out of it to find it worth their time. And if Star Wars: The Last Jedi is still sold out or there aren’t any of the half dozen really interesting looking awards contenders playing nearby, you could probably do a lot worse than this for an alternative. Take that however you like.

Insidious: The Last Key (2018) Drinking Game

Do a Shot: for each jump scare.

Do another Shot: for every reference to a past film in the series.

Shotgun a Beer: when (not if, *when*) the awkward forced comedic relief starts to wear thin.

Chug a Beer: if you correctly guess both of the “big, shocking” reveals ahead of time.

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Holy Hell (2016) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/holy-hell-2016-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/holy-hell-2016-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Tue, 09 Jan 2018 13:15:03 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=98350 By: Henry J. Fromage (Two Beers) – Why do cults always seem to end up the same way?  Maybe it’s giving unmitigated power and trust to a single person, then assuming this human being will be able to refrain from abusing it forever.  This isn’t really something most humans are capable of. I’m diabetic, and I …

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By: Henry J. Fromage (Two Beers) –

Why do cults always seem to end up the same way?  Maybe it’s giving unmitigated power and trust to a single person, then assuming this human being will be able to refrain from abusing it forever.  This isn’t really something most humans are capable of.

I’m diabetic, and I can’t even say no to this motherfucking abomination.

Holy Hell came about when cult-member and official filmmaker for the cult XXX decided to craft a film from all the footage he shot and interviews of his former cult-mates to reach some catharsis about his experiences.  Surprise: it gets dark.

A Toast

Holy Hell is practically a field guide to using the power of suggestion and unshakable conviction to subsume others to your will.  Highly codependent people and pathological narcissists… sounds like the scientific formula for the phenomena alright.

Clearly, dozens of cats in cute little hats is a better choice.

When you put some weirdo with an unidentifiable, variable accent, spouting vague spiritual nothings while inviting a bunch of suburban white kids (it’s always suburban white kids) to drink in his great abs and have one on one cleansing sessions, predicably, things are going to go crazy.

It starts with the elaborate dance productions only for and starring that weirdo, then goes to having somebody carry around his special chair everywhere for him, then banning TVs and dogs.  Then, of course, the sex stuff comes out, and it’s heart-breaking and disgusting and turns something that just feels off but could have turned out to be relatively harmless into something soul-scorching.  Which, of course, is always a possibility when you redesign your entire life around somebody like this:

What is ultimately most ground-breaking about Holy Hell, though, is how it helps you understand how this can happen to normal, intelligent, loved as children people.  Here’s a clue- get out when they start asking for money and then use even a rusty cent of it on self-aggrandizement.

Beer Two

The ending hugs and self-actualization montage/music video of the former, and in some cases, maybe still current, cult members doesn’t feel earned in a way, especially after Michel so easily shakes them off when confronted in Hawaii.  More confrontation was warranted, and I doubt they can ever fully close this chapter of their lives until it occurs.  Hopefully the existence of this film itself will help with that.

Verdict

Holy Hell puts you right in the middle of a cult right from bright beginnings to inevitable, power lust-induced unraveling.

Holy Hell (2016) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: for unnerving eye contact from Michel/Andreas/Reyji

Take a Drink: whenever he dances

Take a Drink: for red flags

Take a Drink: for that speedo

Take a Drink: whenever an interviewee expresses disbelief at their past actions

Take a Drink: whenever an interviewee cries

Do a Shot: when you need it

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Hawk & Ken Survive: Talking Dog movies http://movieboozer.com/featured/hawk-ken-survive-talking-dog-movies http://movieboozer.com/featured/hawk-ken-survive-talking-dog-movies#respond Mon, 08 Jan 2018 18:15:20 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=105255 The post Hawk & Ken Survive: Talking Dog movies appeared first on MovieBoozer.

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365 Days of Movies- Henry J. Fromage’s Brave New Year Edition- Week 1 http://movieboozer.com/articles/365-days-of-movies-henry-j-fromages-brave-new-year-edition-week-1 http://movieboozer.com/articles/365-days-of-movies-henry-j-fromages-brave-new-year-edition-week-1#respond Mon, 08 Jan 2018 13:15:54 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=105182 By: Henry J. Fromage – Last year, I didn’t make it to 365, but try, try again and all that.  For 2018 I start right on target by recapping some of 2017’s highlights. 1. The Stupids Don’t ask me why my brother and I put this on after the stroke of midnight, but a year …

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By: Henry J. Fromage –

Last year, I didn’t make it to 365, but try, try again and all that.  For 2018 I start right on target by recapping some of 2017’s highlights.

1. The Stupids

Don’t ask me why my brother and I put this on after the stroke of midnight, but a year into our brave new world you can’t argue that it doesn’t feel strangely apropos.  Also, it’s exactly as advertised- pretty goddamned stupid (and the crickets throughout are deafening).  A well-deserved Six Pack.

2. Darkest Hour

The third of one hell of a triptych of Dunkirk films examining the incredibly inspirational historical event from different angles, Joe Wright’s focus on Winston Churchill’s first weeks as Prime Minister may be the best of the bunch.  A hearty Toast.

3. Ingrid Goes West

Did you know Instagram perpetuates unrealistic lifestyle porn striving and consists mostly of a massaged quasi-reality?  So, yeah, this doesn’t exactly tell you anything you don’t know, but Aubrey Plaza’s exploration of some pretty dark character psychology may still be worth your time.  Three Beers.

4. Captain Underpants

I can’t contest that this ADHD-riddled animation captures the spirit of the Captain Underpants books, which I absolutely loved… when I was 10 or so.  Worth the nostalgia trip when in the right frame of mind, but I’m getting too old for this shit.  Four Beers.

5. The Shape of Water

This signature Guillermo del Toro dark fantasy is absolutely bursting with his love of his cinema, conspiracy, monsters, gooey gore, and surprising kinkiness.  While I still feel like Pan’s Labyrinth is the truest distillation of del Toro magic, this is not terribly far behind.  A resounding Toast. 

6. Call Me By Your Name

Luca Gugadino finally tones it down a tad and the accolades come running.  This is a no doubt handsome and extremely well-acted late summer romance/arthouse coming of age film that Oscar so dearly loves.  Personally, the ennui of the idle rich and the age dynamic left me a bit cold to this, but there’s no denying it’s well made.  Three Beers for me.

6. Lady MacBeth

Here’s one that should have more heat on it, although it’s emotionally frigidity, as a rich landowner’s wife discovers she’s going to have to seize the life she wants- through bloody force, if need be.  Impeccably shot and brutally frank, this is a hell of a calling card for first time director William Oldroyd and the riveting Florence Pugh.  Two very well earned Beers.

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A Raisin in the Sun (1961) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/a-raisin-in-the-sun-1961-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/a-raisin-in-the-sun-1961-movie-review-drinking-game#comments Sun, 07 Jan 2018 13:15:57 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=105003 By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) – Langston Hughes wrote one of the most famous poems in the African-American literary canon. His poem entitled “Harlem (What Happens To A Dream Deferred?)” remains a landmark in American literature. Within the actual poem, the line, “A raisin in the sun” inspired Lorraine Hansberry to write an equally impactful …

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By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) –

Langston Hughes wrote one of the most famous poems in the African-American literary canon. His poem entitled “Harlem (What Happens To A Dream Deferred?)” remains a landmark in American literature. Within the actual poem, the line, “A raisin in the sun” inspired Lorraine Hansberry to write an equally impactful stage play that is thematically similar to Langston Hughes’s poem. Hansberry even wrote the screenplay for the play’s film adaptation, and the final film remains one of the most important films based on a dramatic work.

A Toast

Sidney Poitier and Claudia McNeil received Golden Globe nominations for characters that they played both on Broadway and in this film version of Hansberry’s seminal play. The emotional force that these two performers give to their characters is actually very similar to the performances of Viola Davis and Denzel Washington in Fences (2016). It is also a bit of a shame that Poitier and McNeil failed to receive Academy Award nominations simply because their performances were so powerful. Besides the performances, Hansberry’s screenplay essentially honors her own creation while making the film version appeal to mainstream audiences. Even with some minor differences, the film still conveys the themes of the play very nicely, and the film itself remains a classic.

Verdict

Lorraine Hansberry might have died at a relatively young age at 34 in 1965, but she still gave the world one of the greatest plays ever written. Students continue to study A Raisin in the Sun in academic settings, and the play continues to remind audiences about the impossibility of idealism. The play itself is somewhat similar to Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman because both plays reveal how the “American Dream” really is just too perfect to be real. It appears as if famous works in American literature oftentimes do their best to dispel that dream as a myth. Nevertheless, sometimes miracles do happen, and not all dreams have to necessarily shrivel up like “a raisin in the sun” (pun intended).

A Raisin in the Sun (1961) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time Sidney Poitier experiences tense moments as his character, Walter Lee Younger

Take a Drink: every time Mama expresses pride for her family

Take a Drink: when any of the characters talk about money (especially the $10,000 check)

Drink a Shot: during every mentioning of “assimilation” (which directly relates to the radical movements of the 1960s that happened around the time of this film’s release in 1961)

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Morris from America (2016) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/morris-america-2016-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/morris-america-2016-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Sat, 06 Jan 2018 13:15:36 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=97999 By: Henry J. Fromage (Three Beers) – I have a special place in my heart for culture clash comedies, with my life essentially having been a non-stop and usually willful clash of cultures ever since a childhood that was outside most people’s norms. Man, where’s the poor white ghetto amish bookish no-TV film and baseball buff …

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By: Henry J. Fromage (Three Beers) –

I have a special place in my heart for culture clash comedies, with my life essentially having been a non-stop and usually willful clash of cultures ever since a childhood that was outside most people’s norms.

census-race

Man, where’s the poor white ghetto amish bookish no-TV film and baseball buff box?

Morris from America follows a 13 year old rap enthusiast (Markees Christmas) from Virginia living in Heidelberg, Germany with his widower soccer coach and also rap enthusiast dad (Craig Robinson) who finds his normal teenage insecurities magnified by living somewhere he can barely speak the language and where every teenager is kind of a dick.

A Toast

Morris from America boasts attractive sunlit summertime cinematography, old world charm meets new school fashion, and just plain style to spare.  Director Chad Hartigan is clearly a voracious movie buff just from the look of his film, with classical 70s dollys and framing like something from Nicolas Roeg, Wes Anderson dioramic setups, and even pinhole fades like something from the Silent Era.

Markees Christmas is also certainly game, asked to carry a film that isn’t always sure of the tone it should be projecting and sometimes go down deeply embarrassing rabbit holes like the pillow dance (you’ll know it when you see it).

wetlands-movie

Not as, um, revealing as co-star Carla Juri’s big break…

Craig Robinson, though, deserves all the accolades he’s received, even some low-level supporting actor Oscar attention.  Honestly, he saves the film in many ways as a father who has as much idea as any on how to handle those teenage years for the first time, and has to do it alone and in a foreign country to boot.  His always perfect comic delivery, authentic empathy, and straightforwardness is just what Morris, and the film, need.

Beer Two

Hartigan appears to be a bit overly focused on style over substance, particularly in the case of Morris’s blonde object of desire, Katrin, who makes a music video entrance half the time and never feels like more than a foil and plot-forwarder.  The asshole German kids also suffer from lack of characterization which could have deepened the film’s message instead of providing easy villains to root against.

Beer Three

The more out there fantasy sequences, like everyone in a museum including statues and stained glass figures nodding along to Morris’s rap, are a bit awkwardly inserted, maybe a bit too on the nose.  Hartigan makes an admirable attempt at externalizing emotions that nonetheless never feels quite right, quite authentic.

morris-from-america-2

Nope.

Verdict

Morris from America takes a good shot at a unique coming of age tale, and largely succeeds on the strength of a grounded father/son relationship.

2beers

Morris from America (2016) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: for outsider awkwardness

Take a Drink: whenever a German is a dick to Morris

Take a Drink: for good German beer

Take a Drink: for casual racism

Take a Drink: for German lessons

Do a Shot: for flights of fancy

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Darkest Hour (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/darkest-hour-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/darkest-hour-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Fri, 05 Jan 2018 13:15:24 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=105187 By: Henry J. Fromage (A Toast) – Strangely converging film subjects in one year is no new phenomenon in Hollywood. For example, I’m not sure we needed two Truman Capote biopics focused on the exact same period of his career and personal life. This year was the year of Dunkirk for whatever reason, and between Dunkirk, Their …

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By: Henry J. Fromage (A Toast) –

Strangely converging film subjects in one year is no new phenomenon in Hollywood.

For example, I’m not sure we needed two Truman Capote biopics focused on the exact same period of his career and personal life.

This year was the year of Dunkirk for whatever reason, and between Dunkirk, Their Finest, and now Darkest Hour, we’ve achieved that rare phenomenon where Hollywood hasn’t duplicated, but rather beautifully complemented itself.

Darkest Hour focuses on Winston Churchill (Gary Oldman) in the barely more than two weeks between his assumption of the role of Prime Minister from Neville Chamberlain and the imminent defeat and miraculous evacuation of Dunkirk.

A Toast

What makes these films such thrilling companion pieces is that each of them focuses in their own aptly adapted style on a different aspect of the remarkable history of the Dunkirk evacuation.  Yes, Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk puts us frighteningly in the midst of it all, and Their Finest does an equally excellent job of showing what it meant to the common people on the ground through and despite the propaganda made about it, and now Darkest Hour shows the extraordinary toll on and incredible resilience of Churchill and British leadership facing most the most uncertain and direst of straights- the loss of the entire British army with Hitler’s hordes breathing down their necks.  Imminent defeat, and nothing less.

I’m happy to report that Joe Wright is back more familiar Atonement territory, and it’s clear that he’s comfortable there.  This is an exquisitely directed feature, full of his signature inventive viewpoints lensed by a new cinematographer for him, Bruno Delbonnel.  In particular, they make evocative use of a recurring God’s eye view of the battlegrounds and teeming masses below, which serves to establish the life and death stakes in a film that mostly takes place in parlors and palaces.

On the acting front, Oldman is unrecognizable, both due to that utterly flawless makeup work (don’t listen to any haters- this is stunning craftsmanship) and due to his utter habitation of one of history’s most recognizable figures and voices.  He locates the real man, full of doubts and past failures that may not appear to others to affect his risk tolerance but which are very much a part of his considerations. That he only has a single Oscar nomination and no statue to his name is a wrong that appears close to being rectified.  The supporting cast is no less excellent, in particular Kristen Scott Thomas as his perhaps even stronger-willed wife and Lily James as a young typist who as a different, quieter strength, as well as a less showy but for my money even more impressive depiction of King George VI by Ben Mendelsohn than Colin Firth’s Oscar-winning turn.

Finally, Anthony McCarten’s screenplay is perfectly paced to show the ever tightening noose Churchill and his nation faced, the real doubts that made even Churchill consider seeking peace terms with Hitler, and the encounters and inspiration he drew in making his most famous of speeches in the darkest of hours.  Bravo.

Verdict

Darkest Hour depicts just that for Britain, but also the extraordinary and ordinary man who helped rally the incredible resilience of the British people to weather it.

Darkest Hour (2018) Drinking Game

Take a Sip: whenever Churchill does

Take a Drink: whenever he lights a cigar

Do a Shot: for every historic speech

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Downsizing (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/downsizing-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/downsizing-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Thu, 04 Jan 2018 13:15:44 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=105094 By: Will Ashton (Four Beers) – Life didn’t want me to see Alexander Payne’s Downsizing. That’s how it felt, at least. Back in November, my first attempt to see the original sci-fi comedy was blockaded by the lack of my credentials. My second try, a whole month later, was sabotaged after I went to the …

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By: Will Ashton (Four Beers) –

Life didn’t want me to see Alexander Payne’s Downsizing. That’s how it felt, at least. Back in November, my first attempt to see the original sci-fi comedy was blockaded by the lack of my credentials. My second try, a whole month later, was sabotaged after I went to the theater, waited for over 90 minutes, only to be told the movie wouldn’t be playing due to some technical error. My third try was evidently the charm, it seems. But of course, I use that term loosely. For the resulting film is, like my previous two attempts to see it, a misfire, filled with promising starts and underwhelming results. If you have any hopes for this movie, consider them shrunk. Payne’s first high-concept, big-budget effort diminishes its potential.

A long-brewing, intensely political passion project for Payne, the Oscar-winning filmmaker behind American dramedies like Election, Nebraska, Sideways, The Descendents, and About Schmidt, Downsizing was Payne’s blank check production. It was the acclaimed director’s rare chance to conceive a project well above his usual budgetary range and produce an imaginative, highly inventive social satire for our turbulent times — the likes of which aren’t normally distributed under the studio system today, unfortunately. It’s a great concept too. In a lofty effort to save our environment from the ongoing dangers of overpopulation, a team of Norwegian scientists discovers a way to literally downsize the human population. Shrinking humans down to five-inches, it’s an effective, socially-conscious effort to reduce our carbon footprint and assure we don’t use as many earthly resources, effectively saving the world in the process. A colony of miniature people produces only half a garbage bag of waste in two years time.

It’s a revolutionary, money-saving change, an idea that once seemed impossible but now presents real, life-saving opportunities for many all over the world. And it’s obviously controversial. As the news spreads, people don’t know what to make of it. Questions are raised. Arguments are had. Nutjobs want to take away the rights of the small. In the midst of all this chatter and confusion is Paul Safranek (an affable Matt Damon), an average, everyman guy living (and struggling) in Omaha with his caring-but-concerned wife, Audrey (Kristen Wiig). Trying to move into a new house and adjust into the next stage of their marriage together, Paul struggles to find the money with his shabby living and unassuming life. When he first hears about downsizing, he’s shocked. When he talks to his shrunken high school buddy Dave Johnson (Jason Sudeikis), he’s convinced that downsizing is the answer to all their problems. But Audrey is less persuaded, even after Paul agrees to go through the downsizing process. And that’s when things start to take a turn for the worse in Payne’s broad-thinking, overzealous, and unrewarding new film.

A Toast

There’s quite a bit to like — and even love — in Downsizing. Beyond the fact that it’s an exciting, original, dynamic, and highly novel concept, Payne and fellow screenwriter Jim Taylor occasionally make excellent use of its liberating potential, notably around the first 45-60 minutes. The ideas it raises, the notions that it inspires, the conversations fostered between its characters are thoughtful, insightful, and periodically profound. The project has been in the works for well over a decade, and it shows. They have lots of big, bright ideas about the world of the small, and it’s one of the most invigorating concepts of the year.

And though it’s sadly a bit bland to have a plain white man be at the forefront of this endeavor, Damon gives one of his better performances in some time here. Damon is usually at his best playing self-effacing guys in extraordinary situations. Whether it’s Good Will Hunting, The Informant!, or even the Bourne films, this is Damon’s forte, and Downsizing is no exception. He plays up the modest aspects of Paul’s life while never making it too Hollywoodized. You could easily imagine someone like Damon’s Paul living next door — whether he’s big or little. He’s a charming, endearing lead, and that helps bring weight and honesty to the opening of the film, especially the moments where he’s crunching numbers and trying to figure out how to make a better life for himself and his wife. That’s where Damon and Payne really excel.

Similarly, Wiig, Sudeikis, Christoph Waltz, Udo Kier, and Hong Chau are all good in their miniature roles, although the latter’s character is one that sorely, sorely leaves a lot to be desired. But let’s get into that…

Beer Two

After a very exceptional first act, Downsizing loses steam quickly. As it wobbles uneasily into the second act, Payne and Taylor weirdly and miserably have less fun with the creative high concept, deliberately making it more mundane and plain in their approach. While that’s charming and more, err, realistic at first, as a viewer, that grows stale and cumbersome after the hour mark. If you have this fantastical, wonderful, super unique idea, why not get some enjoyment out of it? Why make it downtrodden? That’s one of the biggest misfortunes to come from Downsizing, which sadly only lives up to a little bit of its potential. And if you think I’m making too many “little” puns in this review, buckle up. The movie has at least ten or fifteen more. While it’s cute, harmless, and pretty punny at first, it grows tiresome quick.

Beer Three

And then there’s Ngoc Lan Tran, played by Chau. While the talented actress does the best she can with such a thin, poorly-written character, Ngoc Lan Tran is a regressive, grossly stereotypical portrayal of a Vietnamese woman, plain and simple. From her harsh broken English, seemingly played for uncomfortable laughs, to how she ultimately shepherds Paul’s white savior journey, everything about Ngoc Lan Tran feels terribly inconsiderate and, frankly, pretty racist too. I don’t want to assume Payne had poor intentions. At his heart, I’m sure he wanted to tell this story from a global perspective, shedding some light on the misfortunate in order to give Downsizing more impact. But that backfires considerably, and it’s a struggle to sit through any of the scenes featuring Chau’s character, despite the solid acting. Whether or not Payne had humble intentions with Ngoc Lan Tran, the portrayal does him no favors.

Beer Four

Then there’s the tricky factor of Downsizing‘s running time. At its heart, Downsizing should be roughly 90-105 minutes long. Maybe 115 minutes, tops. Making it 145 minutes turns what could’ve been an entertaining, ingenious romp into a preachy, overbearing slog. Ironically, Payne and Taylor should’ve downsized their script into a less considerable shape and length. Having read the production script after watching the film, I can attest that it’s even longer in its written form. It’s a credit to the writers that they’ve had this screenplay under their wings for so long, bristling with ideas and concepts they want to explore and fighting to get it made over the past decade and a half. But sometimes, you need a friend to sit you down and talk some sense into you. I get the impression that Payne never had someone bring him down to earth and refine his initial vision. Much like Netflix’s similarly high-minded but disappointing Bright, it’s an enjoyable, perhaps even brilliant idea that never earns its full potential. And that’s a shame.

Verdict

Downsizing is legitimately one of my biggest filmgoing disappointments for 2017. As much as I want to champion it, as much as I want to celebrate Payne for getting this movie made under his gaze, this is a messy, bloated, overworked mini-disaster that’s somehow both half-baked and overcooked. Despite its numerous successes, Downsizing fittingly and ironically spends too much time paying attention to the little details while ignoring the big, glaring issues that hold back its earned triumph. It’s clearly made by smart, forward-thinking people. And that makes its failures more staggering and disheartening.

Most filmmakers have a failure or two. Unfortunately, Payne failed big time with Downsizing. Bummer.

Downsizing (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time the characters mention something being “big” or “small.”

Take a Drink: anytime they highlight the characters’ short stature.

Do a Shot: whenever Ngoc Lan Tran is introduced into the picture.

Take a Drink: anytime the movie gets super preachy.

Do a Shot: once you reach the ending. You made it, buddy. Congrats.

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Virtual Pub 235: Jumanji, All the Money in the World, The Ballad of Lefty Brown etc. http://movieboozer.com/featured/virtual-pub-235-jumanji-money-world-ballad-lefty-brown-etc http://movieboozer.com/featured/virtual-pub-235-jumanji-money-world-ballad-lefty-brown-etc#respond Thu, 04 Jan 2018 04:00:53 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=105248 The post Virtual Pub 235: Jumanji, All the Money in the World, The Ballad of Lefty Brown etc. appeared first on MovieBoozer.

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The Bachelor (2018): Season 22, Episode 1 http://movieboozer.com/television-review/the-bachelor-2018-season-22-episode-1 http://movieboozer.com/television-review/the-bachelor-2018-season-22-episode-1#comments Wed, 03 Jan 2018 13:15:41 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=105199 By: Jenna Zine (Six Pack) – Alright kids, it’s time to kick off the most dramatic season of The Bachelor… ever! Will Arie Luyendyk Jr. find true love? Will there be cat fights? How many Laurens are in this season? Most importantly, will I have to look up “Luyendyk” every single time I write a recap, or …

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By: Jenna Zine (Six Pack) –

Alright kids, it’s time to kick off the most dramatic season of The Bachelor… ever! Will Arie Luyendyk Jr. find true love? Will there be cat fights? How many Laurens are in this season? Most importantly, will I have to look up “Luyendyk” every single time I write a recap, or will this Dutch last name become ingrained in my soul? Let’s find out!

A Toast

We begin with a close-up Arie’s handsome mug while he muses about love, saying, “This is the most important race of my life.” Get it? It’s funny and deep because he is a semi-retired racecar driver! And I am already crying because the next 3 months of my life are going to be steeped in puns about sleek vehicles. And that’s just the women. Hey oh!

Before we get to an hour + of limo exits, we first must recap who in the hell Arie is, since 99% of Bachelor Nation (card carrying member, right here!) were assuming Peter Kraus was going to be the man we’d be swooning over all season. Instead we’ve got Luyendyk Jr., who competed for Emily Maynard’s heart against Jef Holm (yes, Jef with one “f”) on the 8th season of The Bachelorette. Arie claims that Emily broke his heart – and only now, 5 YEARS after briefly dating on television for a few weeks, is he ready to move on. This is supposed to make Luyendyk Jr. seem sensitive. Personally all I see is a sea of red flags.

A toast to Emily, Arie, and the love that wasn’t meant to be. [Photo Credit]

Beer Two

But you guys, he has recovered from the miasma of love lost and rebounded spectacularly! What a triumph for a handsome white man. And here I was, so worried. We find that while the driving portion of his life has slowed down (insert requisite pun here), he has ramped up his career with a lucrative gig selling luxury real estate in Phoenix, Arizona. Also, we are again prompted to note that Arie is 36 years old and ready for marriage. He is successful and sensitive! The show cannot remind us of this enough!

Sean and Catherine Lowe – who met and subsequently married after Sean chose Catherine as his bride on Lowe’s season of The Bachelor – drop by with their adorable son, Samuel, to taunt Arie about the family life that he does not yet have. Quick, Arie – you are getting old! Procreate with a stranger that ABC has provided for you, posthaste!

Arie, this could all be yours! Sponsored by Dreft! [Photo Credit]

Beer Three

Perennial host Chris Harrison magically appears for his contracted 5 minutes of work to welcome Arie back to the mansion. He gives the scripted pep talk to his new victim before briefly patting Luyendyk Jr. on the shoulder and strolling off. This dude seriously has the best job in all of television.

And now – drum roll please – here are the ladies!

Caroline: first out of the limo. She is also a realtor and they seem immediately smitten with each other. One to watch!

Chelsea: completely awkward. They have about as much chemistry as a flat glass of champagne. But she’s obviously slated to be this season’s villain (more on that later), so she’ll be around for a while.

Kendall: really, really into taxidermy because she “gets to keep it forever,” so… that’s not at all alarming.

Seinne: is gorgeous and offers Arie the first gift of the night – a pair of cufflinks shaped like elephants. Because elephants never forget… and he should not forget to find her later. Smooth!

Tia: is from Weiner, Arkansas (and yes, she is friends with Raven). She gives him a small Oscar Mayer Weiner whistle, saying, “I hope yours is not as tiny as this.” It is a bold move – and an epic fail. (Also, John Mayer and Oscar Mayer have the same last name! Coincidence, or conspiracy?)

Bibiana, Bri, Jenny: meh, eh, huh.

Brittane: says, “You can’t put a bumper sticker on a Ferrari, but what about an Arie?” Then she places a sticker on his butt. You can’t make this stuff up.

Jacqueline: snooze.

Krystal: is a breathy health & fitness coach. She’s seems flighty AF, so that will be fun.

Valerie: yellow dress, purple hair.

Bekah: the youngest of the group, rocking a pixie haircut. She pulls up in a vintage car, claiming she can also appreciate a “classic” man. So she basically calls him old. Bold!

Jenna: no, not me. I have a feeling my husband would not approve of me going on this show. What a cock-blocker! Anyhoo, this Jenna has some seriously Botoxed brows that make her look like a super villain. Stay tuned!

Jessica: gives him a “gratitude rock,” which is something she made up when she grabbed a pebble off the street before hopping in the limo.

Marikh: owns an Indian restaurant with her mother, and says she is ready for a little salt & pepper spice in her life! (Arie is letting his black hair go gray, so that is yet another nutty pun!)

Becca: forces Arie to get down on one knee and propose. There’s nothing a man loves more than that!

Lauren #1, Lauren #2, Lauren #3, & Lauren #4: Yes, there are four Laurens and the producers thought it would be a hoot to put them in the same limo. I concur!

Ashley: comes out with a racing flag and asks, “Are we going to make it to the finish line?” Yawn.

Brittany: eh.

Amber: owns a spray tan company and tells Arie, “I see a lot of dicks. I hope you aren’t one.” He looks alarmed. It’s hilarious.

Ali: makes Arie SMELL HER ARMPIT, all so she can ask him, “Is this the best pit stop you’ve ever had?” Good christ, I hope it was worth it.

Annaliese: shows up in a mask so she can make a play on Luyendyk Jr.’s “Kissing Bandit” nickname. It’s cute and ensures he’ll find her later.

Maquel: Yes, Maquel – not Raquel. She arrives in a racecar – driven by someone else. Surely a metaphor for the rest of their “relationship.”

Beer Four

And there went an hour of my life! Arie finally enters the mansion, they all toast, and then Chelsea kicks it off with the first “swoop,” dragging Luyendyk Jr. outside to “get to know him better.” The girls are incensed! Like, what was supposed to happen? Someone has to talk to him. Regardless, they are all offended and it is quickly established that Chelsea is the one to hate.

Maquel is up next. She and Arie take a silly selfie. Arie needs to practice his faces in the mirror – his “goofy” visage needs some streamlining.

Brittane pulls him out front for a race with mini cars in the driveway. He wins, handily, proving curves are his forte! They kiss – a brief peck – in which Brittane claims his “lips are like clouds.” That’s because you barely touched – that smooch was all air, baby.

Kendall – aka “Taxidermy Chick” – serenades him with a tacky song about a stuffed seal, all while strumming a ukulele. (?!?) And now I’ve gotten a glimpse into what a hip evening hanging out on a brownstone in Brooklyn must be like.

One smart gal feeds Arie pizza, while another shoves a piece of pineapple in his mouth and then says, “Pineapple is my safe word!” With his appetite satiated, Jenna then gives him a foot rub. It’s good to be king!

He finally finds Annaleise and removes her sequined bandit mask. She is cute! They kiss.

Beer Five

But, wait – it’s not all fun and games! (Actually, that’s all it is.) Chris Harrison appears for minute three of his five minutes of contractual obligations to drop off the dreaded First Impression Rose! Though the blueprint of this program has never once varied, the ladies are thrown into a tizzy of shock and despair. They queue up to get face time with the eligible bachelor, in a bid to make sure it is she he will remember out of the 29 ladies there. Good luck to all!

While the line grows to get to Arie, Chelsea learns that Brittane smooched him out in the driveway. This will not stand! Even though she’s “already gone once,” she nabs him for a second round of hang time. They kiss. He says, “Thanks. That’s nice.” Nice? That’s the coldest of showers, raining down on passion that shall never ignite. It doesn’t stop them from kissing again, while angry bachelorettes look on.


The look of lukewarm love! [Photo Credit]

Bekah snags Arie next, dragging him out front to sit on the hood of her vintage vehicle. She asks him, “What three things make you excited to be alive?” Arie replies, “Excitement, adrenaline, people, and pizza.” Bekah says, “So excitement makes you… excited?” Well, duh – he’s a racecar driver, not a rocket scientist! (Nor a mathematician. She asks for three things. He gives her four. Though a strong case can be made for lumping excitement and adrenaline together. Me? I’m still stuck on the fact that pizza made the list of things that make life good for him. Are we soulmates?)

The First Impression Rose is glimmering from its quartz rose tray. (Nice touch, Bachelor interns!) Who will get it? Suspense is quelled – the flower goes to Chelsea! (Arie says, “Chelsea leaves me wanting more. She understands she doesn’t have to tell me everything right now.” Translation: “The producers told me I have to keep her because she’s this season’s villain.”)

Beer Six

Now it is time for The Rose Ceremony! In a rare move, the producers allowed it to air in the same episode in which it began. Elan Gale, Bachelor Nation thanks you. The lucky ladies who accept roses are: Becca, Marekh, Kendall, Lauren G., Krystal, Bekah M., Lauren S., Sienne, Caroline, Brittney T., Bibiana, Annaliese, Jenna, Valerie, Jacqueline, Jenny, Lauren B., Ashley, Tia, and Maquel.

And, with tears and trembling lips, here is the first round of eliminations: Amber, Jessica, Ali, Bri, Brittane, Jessica, Lauren J., Nysha, and Olivia.

Verdict

This season on The Bachelor there will be toasts, tears, trauma, travel, and tits. Arie will muse about feelings while his humble face is caressed in sunlight. Connections will be made… and some will be broken. Will it all end in a proposal? Unless Luyendyk Jr. wants his nuts in a vice, courtesy of The Bachelor mafia, it god damn better. Stay tuned!

The Bachelor (2018): Season 22, Episode 1 Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time Arie says, “Beautiful,” when he greets the girls.

Take a Drink: every time you see sequins.

Take a Drink: for every limo exit!

Take a Drink: every time one of the gals gets huffy about Chelsea.

Do a Shot: for each Lauren.

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Mulan (1998) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/mulan-1998-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/mulan-1998-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Tue, 02 Jan 2018 13:15:02 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=105056 By: Alex Phuong (Two Beers) – The Disney princesses are among the most famous heroines in cinema. In spite of such fame, they have all faced backlash from critics as being “damsels in distress.” In order to counteract such criticism, Disney created one of their most independent Disney princesses (even though she technically not a …

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By: Alex Phuong (Two Beers) –

The Disney princesses are among the most famous heroines in cinema. In spite of such fame, they have all faced backlash from critics as being “damsels in distress.” In order to counteract such criticism, Disney created one of their most independent Disney princesses (even though she technically not a real princess since she is not from a royal family). That heroine is none other than Mulan, and her tale lives on in one of the most successful films to come out during the Disney Renaissance of the 1990s.

A Toast

This film brilliantly captures the beauty and splendor of Chinese culture that includes calligraphy, beautiful cherry blossoms, and an Oscar-nominated score that sounds like classical Chinese music. As previously mentioned, Mulan is one of the greatest Disney heroines ever made because she is an example of how she does not need a man to rescue her. Her strength and independence are prevalent throughout the film (and it even has some awesome action sequences)! Some of the other characters have criticized her for “not bringing honor to her family,” but she really does honor the fact that women can just be as strong as their male counterparts. The film Mulan is essentially one of the most feminist Disney films ever produced!

Beer Two

Even with such feminism, this film contains a surprising amount of innuendo. There are a lot of jokes and awkward moments involving the human anatomy (but that does not need to be discussed here). Parents should just be careful about showing this film to their children given the fact that this film contains (somewhat) mature content. It is also a bit surprising that this film earned a “G” rating from the MPAA given the amount of violence and crude humor that only adults would understand. Nevertheless, this film still celebrates and advocates feminism in a way that has never been seen before in a Disney film (or since!)

Verdict

As the Disney studio began its renaissance in the 1990s after the success of The Little Mermaid in 1989, the filmmakers did their best to push the boundaries of what was possible for Disney animation. Such audacity led to some of the greatest Disney films ever produced, including the “Best Picture” nominee Beauty and the Beast (1991) and the Oscar-winning Pocahontas (1995). Interestingly, Pocahontas exhibited a lot of strength in her own film, which might have been a stepping stone for Disney animation towards the notion of a strong Disney heroine. Each Disney character is unique in his or her own right, of course, but Mulan is very special given the fact that she is nothing like Snow White nor Cinderella. Instead, she is her own woman, and that is why many people adore this modern Disney classic that basically blends Western filmmaking with Eastern culture.

Mulan (1998) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: for every musical number

Take a Drink: for every comedic moment (especially the ones involving Mushu)

Take a Drink: for every action sequence

Take a Drink: every time references to gender come up (like “being a man”)

Drink a shot: every time the characters discuss “honor”

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Ken’s Movie Diary 2017 – Week Something or Other http://movieboozer.com/articles/kens-movie-diary-2017-week-something http://movieboozer.com/articles/kens-movie-diary-2017-week-something#respond Mon, 01 Jan 2018 18:15:01 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104351 Weekly Update: My final update of the year, yes- I know its been awhile since one of these posted, but this sums up all the films I’ve watched since the last time… Happy 2018! Curious what else I’ve seen this year? -Click here to read the full list of movies viewed year to date- 288. Batman Vs …

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Weekly Update: My final update of the year, yes- I know its been awhile since one of these posted, but this sums up all the films I’ve watched since the last time… Happy 2018!

Curious what else I’ve seen this year? -Click here to read the full list of movies viewed year to date-

288. Batman Vs Two Face (2017)

The sequel to last year’s Return of the Caped Crusaders this direct to DVD/Streaming movie reunited Adam West and Burt Ward as the dynamic duo, alongside Julie Newmar as Catwoman (with bonus Lee Meriweather catwoman cameo). New to the proceedings is William Shatner as Two Face, bringing his distinctive self-aware silliness to the series. While not quite as sharply written as Return of the Caped Crusaders, there is a lot of fun to be had with this comical take on Batman. The filmmakers faithfully recapture the feel of the original TV series. The animation quality is quick and dirty, but it gets the job done. Worth a look for fans of the more comical side of comic books.

289. Baby Driver (2017)

Director Edgar Wright finally got to make the kind of flashy genre action flick he parodied so well in Hot Fuzz. Baby Driver tell the story of a young but accomplished wheelman for a major criminal enterprise. Suffering from Tinnitus since a child, he drowns out the ringing in his ears with music. This serves as an excellent excuse for Wright to film scene after scene of action set to various smartly chosen pop songs. Even gunfights are set to music in the world of this film, truly a visceral viewing experience.

290. Justice League (2017)

After the surprisingly good Wonder Woman surprised me earlier this year for being… surprisingly good, Justice League is a return to miserable form for the DC Cinematic universe. A confusing mess of Zack Snyder’s dour grit and bad comic relief scenes sewed together by Joss Whedon in what seems to be a rushed race to the finish in post production.

291. Roman J. Israel Esq. (2017)

Denzel Washington shines in what might be one of the most nuanced performances in his storied career. The eponymous character is a civil rights attorney who spent 35 years working in the back room of a two-man law office. When his partner, the face of the firm, goes into a coma suddenly, Roman is left without a job and soon finds that his years of working in the background have not prepared him for modern-day lawyering. Soon he finds that just to make ends meet he may have to compromise every ideal he has spend the last third of a century espousing.  The film itself isn’t as impactful as Denzel’s performance, but he is impossible not to be awed by here.

292. The Man Who Invented Christmas (2017)

This light dramedy follows the story behind Charles Dickens’ composition of A Christmas Carol, arguably his most widely known and loved work. Dan Stevens plays Dickens at a time when his career seemed to be flagging, coming off of the heels of 3 novels which flopped. He decides to gamble everything on his next project; a Christmas fable. As Dickens sequesters himself into his office, the characters from his book come alive for him, helping to guide the story as if players in a theater company.  While not by any means an award-worthy film, it has solid performances and a fun concept that keeps the audience interested. This is an ideal film to watch with your Grandma on Christmas.

293. Coco (2017)

Pixar has been hit and miss recently, but with the magnificent Coco they show that they’re still a world class animation and storytelling studio. Steeped deeply in Mexican folklore, Coco takes place on The Day of the Dead and follows a young Mexican boy who is pulled into the spirit world as he struggles to find a way out, and to get his family (both living and dead) to accept his interest in music as a profession. The film is as colorful and heartstring-pulling as Pixar’s best films, and boasts a stellar original score by Michael Giacchino.

294. Lady Bird (2017)

This coming-of-age story follows a teen girl over the course of her Senior year in High School as she struggles to find a personal identity (even deciding to rename herself Lady Bird when her real name is Christine). Along the way, Lady Bird’s contentious relationship with her Mother provides much of the film’s drama. Rarely in film have I seen a more believable and accurate portrayal of the way mothers and their teenage daughters interact with each other, switching instantly from being perfectly amiable to brutally combative. One of the most interesting dramas of the year.

295. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)

Francis Mcdormand stars in this quirky and darkly comical film about a cantankerous woman whose desperation to solve the brutal rape and murder of her daughter leads her to paying for a series of billboards berating the local police department for their lack of progress. Perhaps the most daring of director Martin Mcdonagh’s films to date, Three Billboards does not present its audience with any easily lovable characters, rather it challenges the audience to find ways to love numerous deeply flawed people. Forgiving their faults isn’t easy, but McDonagh provides just enough reason for exactly that. Possibly the best film yet of the 2017 film year.

296. And Then There Were None (1945)

Agatha Christie’s bestselling novel with an incredibly racist title was re-titled for American release and subsequently adapted into this entertaining lark of a film. The movie follows a group of people gathered at a mansion on a deserted island who discover they were all invited there for a singular purpose; to be punished by the unseen host for causing the death of others. Solidly acted, and with a speedy pace for a film from the era, And Then There Were None is a worthy film to watch on classic movie night.

297. Man on the Moon (1999)

Jim Carrey stars in Milos Forman’s biopic about Andy Kaufman, a performance artist/comedian who might be one of the most divisive figures of 1970s Hollywood. There are many who saw his antics/pranks/stunts as transgressive and daring, while other just thought he was an asshole.  Sadly this film doesn’t really explore that, instead focusing on the greatest hits from his life and basically deifying him.  Carrey’s performance is excellent, but the rest of the film lacks depth….

298. Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond (2017)

… And then there is this 2017 documentary in which Jim Carrey explains how awesome and woke he is.  While it was clear to me from the first 3 minutes that I thought Carrey was a crazy person full of self-absorbed bullshit, I found this documentary impossible to put down. Carrey might not be someone I’d want to meet in person, but he’s a heck of a storyteller and spins a fascinating yarn about his time working on Man on the Moon. Carey believes that Andy Kaufman’s spirit literally took over him during the film… Sure.  Keep telling yourself that.

299. First they Killed my Father (2017)

Angelina Jolie directed this stunningly real drama about a girl’s experiences surviving the Killing Fields of Cambodia. She and the rest of her family are marched out of the city, along with thousands of other families, and assigned to farm work in the middle of nowhere. The communist Khmer Rouge impose a brutal system of punishment over their perceived enemies and set up these camps as a way to root them out. Jolie’s direction has never been stronger and the performances she gets out of the film’s child actors is nothing short of excellent.

300. 1922 (2017)

This darkly gothic story about a farmer who murders his wife with the help of their son starts out heavy and dark, and gradually becomes darkly comedic. As the film progresses it becomes obvious that the entire purpose of the story is to set up an unlikable main character in order to watch him get tortured by demons both real and imagined for the rest of the story. Unlike other recent Steven King adaptations, this one actually has a beginning, middle and end, making it the best example of a King adaptation in 2017.

301. Wheelman (2017)

This tightly directed and fast paced action thriller follows a wheelman for the mob (Frank Grillo) on one night on the job. The Wheelman receives a phone call telling him that he is going to be murdered by the people he is driving, so right as his co-workers put the money in his trunk he makes a quick escape without them.  The rest of the film follows as he is pursued by several different groups all wanting the money he stole, playing phone tag with untrustworthy characters and trying to piece together what went wrong.

302. Mudbound (2017)

Two families experience hardships during and after WWII while struggling to scrape together an existence on a farm. The White McAllan family owns the farm but are just making ends meet after the head of the family Henry is swindled in a real estate deal. The Black Jackson family are tenant farmers who do the heavy work on the farm, hoping eventually to be able to own a piece of land for themselves. One member of both families go to war and both come back changed.  Seeing that home didn’t change along with them, they form an unlikely friendship with each other that threatens to upset the “natural order of things”. Director Dee Rees pains an epic story that uses the past to paint a larger picture of modern humanity’s struggles.

303. The Wizard of Lies (2017)

Wow, I’m floored that Robert De Niro and director Barry Levinson had a good movie in them.  Its been so long since I’ve seen something compelling from either that I’d about given up hope.  The Wizard of Lies is a powerful story of Bernie Madoff,  a  financial entrepreneur who took billions of dollars of investor’s money and used it to create an investment company with no intention of ever actually investing anything. The company lasted for years and managed to be ignored by regulators at the SEC. Finally seeing the end in sight, Madoff announced to his family and employees that the company they’d worked for was a fraud.  What follows is a biblical fall from grace that destroys the lives of himself and everyone around him.

304. Columbus (2017)

……. If I never hear another person muse on the significance of architecture it’ll be too soon. I imagine in an interview the director might confess: “In film school they taught me how to frame a shot and get good performances out of actors… they just didn’t remember to tell me that these people had to say something interesting”.  Fuck this critically acclaimed dullard of a movie and the long pauses between sentences that dot every line of dialogue.

305. Gilbert (2017)

Gilbert Gottfried is one of the most well-known and recognizable stand-up comedians. This documentary follows him in his personal life, as he and his wife of 20 years raise their children. They talk candidly about Gilbert’s double life as an incredibly dirty and daring comic vs his very shy but personable real life. Unlike many “profile of a comedian” documentaries that have come out the last few years, Gilbert doesn’t focus that much on his career, but rather how that career has affected him and his family.

306. Antiporno (2016)

Director Sion Sono has something to say about pornography, and boy does he ever in Antiporno. Playing heavily with preconceived notions of adult filmmaking, and film in general, Antiporno explores the voyeurism and humiliation present in pornography from a female perspective, using a story within a story structure. Antiporno is transgressive, daring, disgusting, and gorgeous.

307. Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017)

After the relative creative revival that was The Force Awakens, the Star Wars saga continues with a stumble. The Last Jedi is perhaps the last time I go into a Star Wars film with a sense of pre-loaded awe and childlike wonder.  Director Rian Johnson has crafted a 2 and a half hour film that systematically takes on all elements of what makes Star Wars unique and deconstructs it by subverting expectations.  As if to say that subverting those expectations are all you need to make your story original. While the film has some entertaining character moments, my overall impression is that this installment is a missed opportunity.

308. Brigsby Bear (2017)

Raised as a boy to believe the end of the world had come, James is now well into his adulthood when Police raid the compound at which he lived with his “parents”. It is soon revealed that not only has the world not ended, but these parents are kidnappers who took him from his real family when he was very young.  James’ learning and development while on the compound took place entirely through the character of Brigsby Bear, a Television program that his would-be parents created for him. Brigsby Bear is a fascinating “what if” scenario that is handled in a quirky and unique way.

309. Suburban Sasquatch (2004)

Looking for a wonderfully terrible movie? One with such a consistent level of incompetence that it is impossible to not find enthralling? Suburban Sasquatch is just such a movie, featuring performances of the lowest calibre, special effects that would make a 4 year old wince, and… just the worst sound design. If you enjoy “so bad it’s entertaining” cinema, this is for you.

310. Detroit (2017)

A gritty and horrifying exploration of the Detroit riots of 1967, focusing particularly on an instance of police brutality that shook the country. Detroit spectacularly recreates the feeling of horror that must have reverberated in black-dominant neighborhoods while armored police raided their homes. This tragic look at one of the darker moments of the Civil Rights struggle throws modern conflicts with police into relief. Kathryn Bigelow proves once again that she is on of the most sensitive and provocative filmmakers in Hollywood.

311. Downsizing (2017)

Alexander Payne attempts to be satirical in this story of people getting literally small. Matt Damon is Paul, a mild-mannered middle class man who takes a chance on a new procedure to make himself about 5 inches tall.  The procedure’s purpose is to help the environment by consuming less, and has the fringe benefit of making your money more valuable as you require less resources. Unfortunately, after an intriguing first third, the movie flounders with directional turns that confuse the situation and do nothing to further what otherwise seems like a fertile concept.

312. Ferdinand (2017)

John Cena plays Ferdinand, a Bull who doesn’t want to bull fight, in this funny and heartfelt children’s film. Blue Sky Studios finally has pulled itself out of the doldrums of the latter-day Ice Age movies with this film, which comes feverishly close to recapturing the glory of the better Pixar movies. Excellent performances from the voice cast all around, and particularly from Cena, who plays completely against type as a pacifist.

313. The Shape of Water (2017)

The Universal Monster “Gillman” is given an artsy adaptation with Guillermo del Toro’s latest film bringing him back to home after the disappointing Crimson Peak. Sally Hawkins plays a mute woman who falls in love with a creature captured and being held in the facility at which she serves as a janitor. It is a spectacular and heartfelt performance which overcomes the numerous challenges given her character’s inability to talk. Michael Shannon is comically devious, one of his strengths as an actor is playing characters who are initially threatening but gradually fall apart.

314. All the Money in the World (2017)

More famous for its last minute substitution in re-shoots of Christopher Plummer over Kevin Spacey, owing to sexual assault allegations, it is perhaps too easy to overlook the fact that Ridley Scott’s latest film is also one of his best. All the Money in the World tells the story of the 1973 kidnapping of John Paul Getty III, grandson of billionaire miser John Paul Getty. Getty famously refused to pay the $17 million ransom and held out for months until the demands dropped to tax deductible levels. Christopher Plummer plays the elder Getty, in a performance that was entirely shot over a 9-day emergency session to keep the movie from floundering under (albeit understandable) Hollywood politics. Considering the lack of preparation time, Plummer delivers an incredibly deep and fascinating portrayal of Getty, a man renowned for his stingy nature.

315. Jumanji (2017)

Conceived as both a sequel and soft reboot of the 1995 original film, the board game Jumanji is reimagined as a video game… or rather reimagines itself after finding that kids don’t play board games anymore (Is Jumanji a sentient being?). Four teenagers find themselves sucked into the game, each taking on the visual appearance of a stereotypical adventure movie character. This provides ample opportunity for fish out of water humor that makes up a good portion of the film’s runtime. The film isn’t anything particularly groundbreaking, but entertaining as a popcorn feature.

316. Tulip Fever (2017)

Tulip Fever is a movie built around an intriguing period in Dutch History; a time when the value of Tulip bulbs were more valuable than gold. Inside of that concept they inserted a pretty paint by numbers romantic drama that could have fit in with the likes of Bronte or Jane Austen. Sadly, nothing really works as the editing and dialogue rarely carries any dramatic weight.  Christoph Waltz manages to walk away relatively unscathed, as his nuanced and weird performance upstages the routine boredom of the rest of the cast.

317. Raw (2017)

One of the year’s more transgressive films, Raw tells the story of a Vet School student’s descent into cannibalism despite being raised a vegetarian.  The result is somewhere in between Harmony Korine and Lars Von Trier, perhaps with some Japanese horror elements thrown in for good measure. While an entertaining film beginning to end, I didn’t find much to bite down on by the end, which pretty much renders the movie into a 99 minute joke…

318. My Father Die (2017)

Gritty and bloody, My Father Die is low budget indie by Sean Brosnan, son of Pierce Brosnan.  The story is a southern-fried revenge story about a man rendered mute as a boy by his murderous father in an incident that left his brother dead.  It is years later and the father is released from prison, causing the man to embark on a mission to kill his father.  Those who enjoy exploitation films will find a lot to enjoy here, though it never digs much deeper than it seems it should.

319. The Ballad of Lefty Brown (2017)

Bill Pullman plays Lefty Brown, the partner to a Western Hero named Eddie Johnson (Peter Fonda). Lefty is much beloved by Eddie and his compatriots, but seen as a no-account hanger-on by Eddie’s wife Laura (Kathy Baker). Then Eddie is suddenly murdered, and Lefty is the only of his friends who witnessed the crime. This is a fascinating and superlatively entertaining Western adventure, particularly fun for the way it turns the Archetypal “Sidekick” character into the lead role, and playing with the dynamics of a classical Western in a way never really approached before.

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Trailer Reviews: All the Money in the World & Insidious: The Last Key http://movieboozer.com/articles/trailer-reviews-money-world-insidious-last-key http://movieboozer.com/articles/trailer-reviews-money-world-insidious-last-key#respond Mon, 01 Jan 2018 13:15:42 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=105156 By: Hawk Ripjaw – Insidious: The Last Key’s poster apparently features a demon with keys for fingers. I feel like that power would be both convenient and frustrating. For one, you’d always have your house key right B) at your fingertips. On the other hand, you’d have just 4 other keys for a couple, which …

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By: Hawk Ripjaw –

Insidious: The Last Key’s poster apparently features a demon with keys for fingers. I feel like that power would be both convenient and frustrating. For one, you’d always have your house key right B) at your fingertips. On the other hand, you’d have just 4 other keys for a couple, which would make everything else feel disappointingly archaic as you find you have more locked doors than you have keys to open them. Conveniently, this applies to life in general. If one of those fingers was for your car, would that be weird trying to drive with your pinkie shoved into the car’s steering column?

 

All the Money in the World

I feel like I bring this up every time I discuss Ridley Scott, but that dude is inconsistent as hell. He’s got his Blade Runner, Gladiator, Black Hawk Down, Alien, and Thelma & Louise, but he’s also got A Good Year, Alien: Covenant, The Counselor, and Exodus: Gods and Kings.

However: at age 80, he not only has a stronger work ethic than anyone else ten years on either side of him, he has a stronger worth ethic than most other working directors. Remember when Kevin Spacey’s career careened off a cliff like a flaming locomotive after multiple came forward with assault allegations? That was at the end of October. Shortly after, Ridley Scott stated that Spacey and his seventeen pounds of makeup to turn him into Getty were terminated from the finished film, to be replaced by original choice Christopher Plummer. The film was finished. It was ready to be released. Yet Scott still fired that ass, hired Plummer, and intended to stay on track for the planned release date. Less than two weeks later, Plummer’s reshoots were done and the new trailers were out. That is getting shit done. Regardless of how good the movie is, it’s hard not to respect that. Luckily, it looks really good.

Beer Prediction

If my calculations are correct I believe we’re about due for one of Scott’s good ones.

And that is one sweet instrumental rendition of Kanye Wests’s “Power.”

 

Insidious: The Last Key

I remember several years ago when I was living in a different town, the local Carmike Cinema had, in their decrepit 90s-era mall-ass box office, tens of 11×17 Insidious posters covered the wall, and I hated, hated, hated the marketing campaign. Remember that bizarre “Insidious Is Insidious” shit?

I can’t even find the poster, but I promise you the phrase was stamped all over that bad boy. Like this trailer, but even more irritating:

But that movie turned out to be one of the most energetic and exciting chillers in recent memory. It was playfully cruel, with a number of clever, effective scares that were campy, yet frightening enough to not feel toothless. The last act’s attempt at world-building was suspenseful, though ultimately felt like extra baggage on a lean movie. Unfortunately, the Further has been seeing increased focus with each Insidious sequel, with diminishing returns on the overall sense of dread and funhouse novelty of the original, but still the occasional pretty great scare. One of the biggest moments of the new one is the Key Fingers Demon Man….turning off a girl’s voice by locking her throat? I think? What the hell are these movies even about anymore?

Beer Prediction

I’m very sad at my lack of enthusiasm for this sequel to a horror film that had a big part in pioneering the current era of supernatural horror films, but for a series built on uniquely unsettling visual imagery, it’s just getting too boring to even be worthwhile.

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365 Days of Movies- Henry J. Fromage Edition- Week 50 http://movieboozer.com/articles/104857 http://movieboozer.com/articles/104857#respond Sun, 31 Dec 2017 18:15:16 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104857 By: Henry J. Fromage – Well, looks like I didn’t make it to 365, but at least I wrapped up a year of movies in grand fashion- hanging out with my wife and Oberst an shooting the shit. 246. Brigsby Bear  This story of a boy kidnapped and raised in a bunker by his “mom …

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By: Henry J. Fromage –

Well, looks like I didn’t make it to 365, but at least I wrapped up a year of movies in grand fashion- hanging out with my wife and Oberst an shooting the shit.

246. Brigsby Bear 

This story of a boy kidnapped and raised in a bunker by his “mom and dad” and a cable access-style children’s show that teaches him all about life and mathematics doesn’t go at all how you think it will.  A film with more than a surface resemblance to Room, down to same the suburban house, it sure seems, just keeps refusing to make the dramatic choices you’d expect it to.  Instead, Kyle Mooney’s film (he stars and writes and it feels very much the product of a singular voice) plays like a strange companion to The Disaster Artist, right down to the strangely uplifting theatrical debut finale.  I really quite enjoyed it.

247. Suburban Sasquatch

This is hang out with friends and drink it all in bad movie gold right here- a movie a surplus of ambition and a surfeit of resources and talent, a movie that has never seen a Geocities-level special effect that wasn’t good enough for it, a movie that’s bad dialogue and bad touch that doesn’t know when that girl in the bar just wants you to leave her alone already… it’s oblivious and terrible and a damn good time despite itself.  Search it out.

248. Icarus

Talk about stumbling onto pure documentarian gold.  Bryan Fogel started out trying to make a Supersize Me for steroids, deciding to undertake a professional steroid regiment not unlike too many world-class cyclists we’ve now discovered, to see what affect they’d have on the absurdly difficult non-professional bike race he undergoes every year.  As he interacts with this shady sports netherworld, though, he comes in contact with Grigory Rodchenkov, the head of Russia’s antidoping lab, and starts to learn far more about how the Olympic world really works, at least in Russia.  What transpires is a fascinating story of international intrigue, crime, and cover-up that is still rocking the news cycle today.

249. The Book of Henry

This polished and completely wrong-headed studio wide release from Colin Treverrow, in the midst of his victory lap for Jurassic World, occupies the same psychic space as Winter’s Tale or Collateral Beauty, a technically polished melodrama full of the dramatic contrivances so ridiculous that they could only have come from a creator with total control and total confidence in their batshit insane choices.  I won’t spoil it here, and I will temper expectations a bit by saying it’s not as badgood as those other two, but it really does need to be seen to believed.

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All the Money in the World (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/money-world-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/money-world-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Sun, 31 Dec 2017 16:15:56 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=105145 By: Movie Snurb (Two Beers) – All the Money in the World is the true story of John Paul Getty (Christopher Plummer), an oil tycoon who once was considered the richest man in the world. One day in Rome in 1973 his grandson John Paul Getty III is kidnapped and held for ransom for 17 …

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By: Movie Snurb (Two Beers) –

All the Money in the World is the true story of John Paul Getty (Christopher Plummer), an oil tycoon who once was considered the richest man in the world. One day in Rome in 1973 his grandson John Paul Getty III is kidnapped and held for ransom for 17 million dollars. Getty Sr. is unwilling to pay the ransom for his grandson because he doesn’t want to give the impression he’ll throw all of his money at kidnappers thinking they can get rich quick by kidnapping his grandchildren, and J. P. Getty Sr. is a miserly man. Getty Sr. hires an ex CIA agent Fletcher Chase (Mark Wahlberg) to negotiate for his grandson. Chase goes to Rome with Getty III’s mother Gail Harris (Michelle Williams) to get her son back.

A Toast

This film had a lot of buzz around it mainly because of the massive scandal surrounding several Hollywood big men including Kevin Spacey who was original cast to play John Paul Getty. Not only was he cast but the entire movie was filmed and finished when everything came out. So, Ridley Scott decided he wanted to save his film and with only moving the release date back three days gave himself about 6 weeks to reshoot all of Spacey’s scenes with Christopher Plummer, who Scott originally wanted to cast but the studio wanted a bigger star. Well hats off to Ridley, because there isn’t another director out there who would’ve been able to pull this massive feat off and still have a good film. If I wouldn’t have known that all of Sapcey’s scenes were reshot with Plummer I would’ve never noticed. It was a seamless job and Ridley Scott deserves major props and it’s no wonder he received a Golden Globe nomination.

Along with Scott’s deserved nomination, Christopher Plummer and Michelle Williams both carry this film. If it wasn’t for their performances this film would’ve been a major dud. For Plummer it’s astounding that he stepped into the role with little preparation and gives such a great performance. Scott made the right choice when he first selected Plummer and I think the film might’ve suffered had Spacey been left in (regardless of the giant scandals). Plummer looks more like Getty when this event happened, and his behavior and demeanor was spot on to someone who was much older and had amassed a gargantuan fortune.

Michelle Williams is not only the best thing about this film but she’s one of the best actors working in Hollywood today. She has a way of not only stepping into a role but becoming invisible in that role, which is a talent few actors today have. Her performances are reminiscent of Meryl Streep, Marlon Brando, or Daniel-Day Lewis. I doubt this film gets any Oscar nominations which won’t be surprising; it’s nowhere close to the top ten films of the year, but if anyone deserved one it’d be Michelle Williams. Unfortunately, that category is too competitive this year- Plummer would be more likely to get the nomination. However, Michelle deserve a lot of recognition; even though we all know she still is a great actor, she still will never phone it in.

Plummer looks like the better fit, stupid studio interference.

Beer Two

It’s hard to put my finger on it, but this film felt flat. It’s a good film that is crafted well, especially considering the circumstances. However, it doesn’t have the enjoyment and isn’t re-watchable like The Martian. Nor does it have the gravitas of Gladiator, Blade Runner, or Alien. It feels like it’s just here existing. It’s a good film but something is missing to make it a great film, and ultimately makes the film forgettable. There was never a tense moment and a film like this should be shrouded in them. Based on true story films can have that but this one didn’t. It was good but could’ve been better.

Verdict

Ridley Scott pulled off an impossible task to most filmmakers and reshot several scenes with a new actor and didn’t change the release date, even getting screeners out to the HFP for the Golden Globe nominations. Unfortunately, aside from that amazing task and Plummer and Williams’ great performances All the Money in the World still falls short of being a great Ridley Scott film. This film will fall somewhere in the middle of his films, upper-middle. I’d wait till this one is on HBO or Netflix and see something else this holiday season.

All the Money in the World (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: for every mention of how Cheap Getty Sr. was.

Do a Shot: for every phone call.

Do a Shot: every time the ransom goes down.

Take a Drink: every time Getty is looking at the Stock ticker.

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Beloved (1998) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/beloved-1998-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/beloved-1998-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Sun, 31 Dec 2017 13:15:52 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104952 By: Alex Phuong (Three Beers) – Toni Morrison is currently one of the most famous writers in contemporary fiction. She is the recipient of both the Nobel Prize and the Pulitzer, and has composed some of the most powerful novels in American literature. Some of her novels include The Bluest Eye and Sula, but there …

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By: Alex Phuong (Three Beers) –

Toni Morrison is currently one of the most famous writers in contemporary fiction. She is the recipient of both the Nobel Prize and the Pulitzer, and has composed some of the most powerful novels in American literature. Some of her novels include The Bluest Eye and Sula, but there has only been one major film adaptation of a Toni Morrison novel. Oprah Winfrey loved the novel Beloved so much that she literally devoted ten years to produce and star in the film version of that “beloved” novel (pun intended). The film is actually a very interesting take on a contemporary classic, albeit with some flaws.

A Toast

Beloved is actually a film that is hauntingly beautiful. It does its best to capture the complexity of the African-American experience, which is a signature trademark within Toni Morrison’s writing. The film also received an Academy Award nomination for “Best Costume Design” even though Colleen Atwood’s designs were not as glamorous as Sandy Powell’s costumes for Shakespeare in Love (1998). The overall visual design of Beloved is actually beautiful in the sense that it reveals the harsh realities of slavery in America in the late 1800s. It might not be the fanciest film, but it still has its own style as unique as Toni Morrison’s spellbinding prose.

Beer Two

Even with its artistic merits, the film does not exactly do the original novel justice. The purpose of the supernatural elements within the novel is so that Toni Morrison could provide social commentary about racism and prejudice that has affected African-Americans throughout history. The film almost completely ignores Morrison’s intentions by displaying the supernatural aspects of the novel like a B-rated horror film. Such content actually makes the film very scary.

Beer Three

As previously mentioned, the film actually IS really scary! There are numerous instances in which the title character “Beloved” terrorizes everyone in her monstrous path, especially her own mother, Sethe (Oprah). There are also some graphic depictions of slaves being abused, including scars of Sethe’s back as the result of being whipped by slave masters. Ironically, such graphic depictions of terror accurately portray the horrific experiences of African-Americans that Toni Morrison wanted to comment on through her literary contributions. At least the film got that part right! (even though it is not exactly “on par” with Morrison’s celebrated novel).

Verdict

Upon its original publication in 1987, critics described Beloved as “mesmerizing” and “voluptuous.” Because of such eloquence and power, it is no wonder that the novel inspired Oprah to produce the film version of this literary triumph. The film might not be the best adaptation ever, but it can still provide a nice history lesson to audiences while also encouraging them to practice acceptance instead of spreading hatred. The character “Beloved” might be a vengeful spirit, and the plot of the novel might not be “a story to pass on,” but the film can still inspire people to delve into the  novels that made Toni Morrison one of the most important writers in the American literary canon.

Beloved (1998) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time Beloved terrorizes 124 (which is the main home in the original novel)

Take a Drink: for every haunting flashback

Take a Drink: every time the color “red” appears (such as supernatural red lights, red blood, etc.) Fun fact: The original novel is sometimes published with that color, too!

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Jumanji (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/jumanji-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/jumanji-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#comments Sat, 30 Dec 2017 22:19:26 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=105140 By: Oberst Von Berauscht (Three Beers) – In 1996 young Alex Vreeke is given a game by his father, he shoves it aside, not interested in board games. The game “Jumanji” is apparently a sentient entity, because that night it turns into a video game. When Alex finds it has changed, curiosity gets the best of him …

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By: Oberst Von Berauscht (Three Beers) –

In 1996 young Alex Vreeke is given a game by his father, he shoves it aside, not interested in board games. The game “Jumanji” is apparently a sentient entity, because that night it turns into a video game. When Alex finds it has changed, curiosity gets the best of him and he immediately plugs it into his TV… and is never seen again.  20 years later, 4 teens serving time in detention for various offenses come across the Jumanji game in the donation basket of their school, and find themselves sucked into the game, each taking on avatars of stereotypical game characters.  The nerd kid of the group becomes the big and tough hero, the jock kid becomes the small and weak one, the nerdy girl becomes a tough ass kicker, and the hot girl becomes Jack Black…

Yep, that fits

A Toast

As you might be able to tell from the description, this film’s humor is all about contrasting personas. Each of the four principal characters play stereotypes as teens, and are placed into the opposite role as avatars. The film’s highlights are pulled from this fertile stream. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is particularly good at milking this sort of comedy, as he’s got a long career of playing tough guys who have a soft underbelly. The way he portrays a tough guy with a nerdy teen’s brain is definitely funny. Jack Black is equally excellent, tapping into a feminine side that is very enjoyable to watch.

Director Jake Kasdan pays tribute to the 90s original film while re-writing the Jumanji mythos in this soft reboot. By taking a completely different approach to the Jumanji concept, he has lots of room for invention, and he draws inspiration from the video game world quite admirably. One of the film’s most entertaining elements is that each character has three “lives” to use, which allows for the film to have some fun giving characters comical deaths while maintaining the PG-13 audience, particularly one grisly scene involving a Hippo.

Just want to make friend…

Beer Two

The same conceit that makes for the comedy in the film ironically also is its downfall, as it relies heavily on stock stereotype characters, who you really don’t have any reason to care about. The book-end scenes with the teenage actors feel particularly weak, since the Jocks vs Geeks thing has been played out so much. The “hot girl” character is even worse though, completely one-dimensional and unlikable in any way.  Fortunately, once the seasoned cast arrives inside the video game, they make the most of these stock personas.

Beer Three

The unfortunate thing about the film’s actual plot is there really isn’t one. It is just your basic “avoid the supervillain and get the McGuffin to the other McGuffin”. Video game storytelling can be deeper than this, and has been many times. Absent any real stakes, the film’s effectiveness rests solely on the jokes.  This isn’t a deal breaker for the movie, but it doesn’t raise it above base-level entertainment.  Also, we don’t get to see Robin Williams in crazy-beard mode…

This makes me a sad panda…

Verdict

Incredibly predictable, but with fun performances and fish out of water charm, Jumanji is the perfect popcorn movie to end 2017.

Jumanji (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: for video game tropes

Take a Drink: for character deaths/reincarnations

Take a Drink: every time the film’s title is spoken

Do a Shot: when The Rock strikes a pose

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Trailer Reviews: Downsizing, Father Figures, & Pitch Perfect 3 http://movieboozer.com/articles/trailer-reviews-downsizing-father-figures-pitch-perfect-3 http://movieboozer.com/articles/trailer-reviews-downsizing-father-figures-pitch-perfect-3#respond Fri, 29 Dec 2017 16:15:38 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=105039 By: Hawk Ripjaw – Welcome to an entire weekend of cognitive dissonance!   Downsizing 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, …

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By: Hawk Ripjaw –

Welcome to an entire weekend of cognitive dissonance!

 

Downsizing

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. 

Beer Prediction

LOOKS LIKE IT’S TIME TO DOWNSIZE THE CHRISTMAS BOX OFFICE WEEKEND AMIRITE?

 

Father Figures

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 StreetNeighbors 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.

Beer Prediction

 

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?

Beer Prediction

At least the trailer promises that this will be the last one, until the inevitable Wilson-led spinoff.

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Blood Father (2016) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/blood-father-2016-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/blood-father-2016-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Fri, 29 Dec 2017 16:15:01 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=97432 By: Henry J. Fromage (Four Beers) – Mel Gibson is mid-reputation rehabilitation, at least his second attempt to do so in the last decade, but this one seems like this one might take a little better than the last. “Nope”- America Blood Father isn’t going to draw the same crowd as Hacksaw Ridge (maybe the opposite, ironically), but does tap …

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By: Henry J. Fromage (Four Beers) –

Mel Gibson is mid-reputation rehabilitation, at least his second attempt to do so in the last decade, but this one seems like this one might take a little better than the last.

beaver-movie

“Nope”- America

Blood Father isn’t going to draw the same crowd as Hacksaw Ridge (maybe the opposite, ironically), but does tap into a skillset of his we haven’t seen in some time.  He stars as an ex-con trying his best to stay sober and stay straight, which gets thrown for a loop when his long-missing, estranged daughter (Erin Moriarty) shows up asking him to help protect her from the Cartel boss/ex-boyfriend she shot in the face.  Time to dust off a particular set of skills.

A Toast

Face it, Mel Gibson hasn’t forgotten how to entertain.  This is a gruffer, more regretful, and older Gibson here, firmly in the Neeson/Denzell aged asskicker mode, but he has something they don’t necessarily- the quick quips and hard-jawed leading man charisma earned at first with the Lethal Weapon franchise, and later with a couple of decades of steady work more.

He pretty much single-handedly carries this film, displaying he still knows how to flex those muscles and at his best reminding you of those early career highlights.  If you’re wanting to go back to those good old days, well, first watch the far superior Get the Gringo from that last attempt at a comeback, but this’ll also do.

Get-the-Gringo-Main-Review

“Yep”- Henry J. Fromage

Beer Two

Director Jean-Francois Richet is no Adrian Grunberg, which, considering Grunberg never directed a film before or after Get the Gringo, probably says enough.  This is post-Taken mundane Euro-action direction 101, full of quick cuts, blurry to the point of incomprehensibility action sequences, and otherwise workmanlike framing and editing.  Meh.

Beer Three

More eyebrow-raising are the mixed political messages, that insane Sons of Anarchy bullshit, full of liberal lip service and race and sex politics straight out of the 1890s.  This is the typical macho dick-shielding that folks think represents biker culture these days, with little splashes of nose-wrinkling flavor like Gibson knocking over some Nazi uniforms and screaming loudly like they wound his soul or something.  I don’t know what message he thinks he’s conveying with this, but he’s not succeeding.

mel-gibson-crazy-beard

The rest of us caught on that Nazis were bad a bit sooner, Mel.

Beer Four

At one point, there’s a suicide conversation with his daughter that is really thoroughly bizarre, centering pretty much on him talking her out of considering it because he tried it once and it sucks or something.  It doesn’t feel terribly sincere (Moriarty in general is fine, but not dripping with sincerity at any point of the film, which is extra off-putting because Gibson very clearly is trying to be sincere).  In general, the tone of the film just ain’t right.

Verdict

Blood Father is really only for Mel Gibson die-hards and undiscriminating Taken worshipers, but there’s still plenty of those, right?

4Beers

Blood Father (2016) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: for talk of parole and going back to prison

Take a Drink: for talk of immigration

Take a Drink: for regret & contrition speeches

Take a Drink: for clear, confusing references to less savory Mel Gibson moments

Do a Shot: whenever a women gets jacked in the face (yes, this means it happens more than once)

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Pitch Perfect 3 (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/pitch-perfect-3-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/pitch-perfect-3-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Fri, 29 Dec 2017 13:15:50 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=105049 By: Felix Felicis (Four Beers) – It’s Pitch-mas and your fave *mashup mavens are back, y’all! (*Gimme a break here, it’s really hard to alliterate mashup) It’s been five actual years and seven Bella years since these vocalizing vixens exploded onto the Aca-scene (fun review Drinking Game: Take a Drink: every time I make an …

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By: Felix Felicis (Four Beers) –

It’s Pitch-mas and your fave *mashup mavens are back, y’all! (*Gimme a break here, it’s really hard to alliterate mashup) It’s been five actual years and seven Bella years since these vocalizing vixens exploded onto the Aca-scene (fun review Drinking Game: Take a Drink: every time I make an Aca-pun — yes that counts and Take a Sip: for every alliteration). They crushed college, but, like every millennial nightmare starts, they’re stuck in a rut longing for the days when their biggest problem was being a plucky underdog in a collegiate singing competition, instead of “how do I make rent this month and NOT move back in with mom and dad?”

Same, my dude, same.

We open on Becca as she’s living her best life as a music producer (She’s not. She’s in literal hell trying to produce a hit by shining up a lyrical turd) until she quits to pursue artistic integrity. Brb. Laughing until I can’t breathe because Becca’s entitled privilege has sucked up all the air in the room. The Bellas get back together for a sad reunion where they watch shinier, perkier versions of themselves perform at an aquarium (Yep. That’s the DREAM). The group then decides that one last hurrah performing on a USO tour for the troops abroad would be aca-AWESOME (and totally possible because Aubrey’s weird-saying-generator of a father is in charge of the lineup so they’re automatically IN).

The only thing Pitch 3 was *missing.(*Narrator: Oh it was missing so much more than that)

Once abroad, the Bellas find out there’s a competition to open for Placeholder Famous Person (DJ Khaled) that one of the acts on the tour will win. Because of course there is. Half-fizzled romantic subplots and weighty exposition followed by some dynamic action sequences (you haven’t lived until you’ve seen Fat Amy wield a sausage – surprisingly not a sex thing) and ridiculous shenanigans ensue in a smorgasbord of countries to round out this amehzing final flick in the Pitch Perfect-verse… or is it?

I love this franchise but if they make Pitch Perfect 4  then I officially quit life.

A Toast

No one can deny that Rebel Wilson is the heart of this franchise (fight me, I’ll die on that hill) and, I say this with love in my heart for Anna Kendrick, super fuck Becca you guys. She’s entitled and whiny at the best of times and obnoxiously overbearing given her tendency to land on top during the worst of times. Seriously. Pitch 3 finally, FINALLY gives the major plot points and spotlight to Fat Amy who far and away RUNS WITH IT IN AN INCREDIBLY EPIC WAY. I mean, not actually runs with it because (as we remember) cardio and Fat Amy don’t get along.

Fat Amy is my life coach.

But to give Pitch Perfect 3 the credit it deserves, the ensemble cast can make magic out of almost anything. Their undeniable chemistry and charm with one another helps the Bellas buoy this sinking ship long enough for it to dock/possibly explode. But outside of that, and Rebel Wilson’s runaway performance, Pitch 3 rings hollow and formulaic in the most disappointing way.

“… of our low-to-moderate expectations for Pitch Perfect 3.”

Beer Two

Picture your mother giving your uterus pointed glances all throughout Christmas dinner followed by AUDIBLE SIGHS as you fight your shockingly spry-yet-ancient Aunt Judy for the last of the peppermint schnapps before dessert and you’ll be about halfway to the level of disappointment I felt at this final chapter in the Pitch Perfect franchise that my mother felt compelled to express at our holiday dinner over my perpetually single love life (next year I’m playing dead unless I end up married to Channing Tatum or one of the Chris’s – Evans, Pratt, Pine any one of which would do). The strength of the Bellas has always been killer mashups and performance-based Aca-awesomeness but in Pitch 3 I didn’t get thrilled, chilled or even a little bit trill (again I remind you rhyming is hard) over any of the Bellas’ performances because they all felt like an afterthought pushing the plot along – kind of like when you nudge a recently dead body deeper into the swamp to hide it (super unrelated to the beginning of the paragraph… promise).

-Me during any holiday, family, or Fifty Shades-related event.

Beer Three

Which is weird because the plot to Pitch Perfect 3 felt like what I imagine the inside of Nicholas Sparks’ brain looks like (just a clusterfuck of Aca-Awful ideas and “plot twists’ which are simultaneously fucking insane and somehow also super derivative and formulaic). From myself and (I feel confident speaking on his behalf) Hawk Ripjaw, please start making movies again, Nicky Sparkles, we love to hate you and (unrelated) after we write up the last Fifty Shades flick which will, undoubtably, taking a piping hot Cleveland Steamer on our immortal souls, there’s really nothing else for us to look forward to other than the unrelenting slide into middle age, and, inevitably, death.

Death: the best, most Nicholas Sparks-free nap ever.

There was also nothing here in Pitch 3 that felt fresh, or original, or funny beyond a few expected laughs at some callbacks to the franchise (and pretty much anytime Rebel Wilson was onscreen). AND FOR THE LOVE OF CTHULHU IT IS NOT FUNNY WHEN YOU NAME A RIVAL GIRL GROUP EVERMOIST. NOT A GOOD ENOUGH REASON TO USE THE WORD MOIST EVEN TYPING IT MAKES ME GAG. And let’s talk about how the film made *shudders* Evermoist catty and unrelentingly bitchy until the last scene in which they begrudgingly kind of half smile when the Bellas (and Becca- ughhhhhhhhhhh) come out on top… Again.

Dry-heaving while someone repeats the word “moist” on a loop is a special circle in hell for anyone caught asking if Nickleback is available on vinyl (I’m looking at YOU, teens I overheard in the bookstore last week).

Beer Four

Which brings me to my last point. Pitch Perfect 3 was a shell without a soul. It was a pretty sparkler hoping to dazzle you enough with spinning sausages -again, weirdly not a sex thing- and mega yacht explosions long enough for the studio to moonwalk out the theater with your money. And I say this as a fan of the franchise, I enjoyed myself… but 95% of that was residual goodwill from the previous films and 5% seeing it in theaters with friends (and in the back of my mind I was aware of every minute ticking by onscreen). All the right parts were there in Pitch 3: a fire, some explosions, high-stakes a cappella, a swarm of bees accidentally released into a room of well-dressed people in the south of France and yet… satisfaction lay just out of reach like multiple orgasms (or a sane political administration).

This .gif is basically all of 2017 in a nutshell.

Thing We Needed More Of In Pitch Perfect 3:

  • Fat Amy -ALWAYS MORE FAT AMY
  • high-powered a cappella mashups that didn’t feel like helium slowly escaping from a sad balloon
  • awkward yet endearing Bella moments
  • I’ll just say it, porgs. This movie needed porgs.
#TeamPorg

Things We Didn’t Need At All In Pitch 3:

  • DJ Khaled
  • The serious use of the phrase “bless up” (see above)
  • Brittany Snow thirsty AF for a dude like she ain’t shit without a man *cough* feminism *cough*
  • naming a rival girl group “Evermoist” NO A THOUSAND TIMES NO
Actual footage of my soul leaving the theater after they said “moist” for the thousandth time.

Verdict

You can’t help but enjoy more time with these Aca-Weirdos (and they make the most of what they’re given by turning full force into the Aca-skid) but P3 doesn’t entirely recapture the initial magic that the first film had pitch… perfectly. 100% worth a matinee for franchise fans. Hard pass for everyone else, though.

Pitch Perfect 3 (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time the Bellas get pwned either by life or by the competition.

Do a Shot: whenever DJ Khaled’s Producer stalks Becca and/or gazes longlingly in a bemused-yet-creepy fashion at this magical unicorn of beauty and talent.

Take a Drink: any time Fat Amy’s dad pops up/Fat Amy does something epic.

Take a Sip: for each a capella performace. Take Two: if it doesn’t go well for the Bellas.

Shotgun Your Beer: for boats and ho’s (you’ll know when, trust me).

Please see above for reference.

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Entertaining and Useful at the Same Time http://movieboozer.com/articles/entertaining-useful-time http://movieboozer.com/articles/entertaining-useful-time#respond Thu, 28 Dec 2017 18:15:44 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=105012 Movies are a great opportunity to spend your free time, to distract from your problems, to move to a fantasy world, to plunge into the atmosphere that you choose yourself. It can be any genre you want: a romantic comedy; a historical novel; an action film; fantasy and so on Moreover, the screen version of …

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Movies are a great opportunity to spend your free time, to distract from your problems, to move to a fantasy world, to plunge into the atmosphere that you choose yourself. It can be any genre you want:

  • a romantic comedy;
  • a historical novel;
  • an action film;
  • fantasy and so on

Moreover, the screen version of some novels can help to learn and understand it in 2 hours when reading takes more time and more effort. In many cases, the screen version is slightly different from what is written in the book, but there are times when what the reader can miss is well shown to the viewer.

The finished flick is a carefully crafted, studied book all the way through, from which all the most important and spectacular elements are taken. Perhaps some details like the color of Harry Potter’s eyes or the wine brand that Eugene Onegin drank in Pushkin’s novel of the same name are not transmitted to the film exactly, but the main idea of ​​the work, the author’s message to the reader in any good adaptation is always preserved.

Watching film can help you to learn the material fast and write an essay, otherwise, https://scoobydomyessay.com/essay-editing will help you with this task. But basically, films are about entertainment, not about studying. Different genres and themes are suitable for different purposes. Moreover, the country where the movie is made also leaves its imprint on it. For example, American comedies are known for their simple and frank humor, and French films for specific atmosphere and style.

What makes us watch movies?

But the films are differed not only by the country in which they are shot but also by the genre, the theme, the budget, the actors involved. Sometimes we watch a movie only because our favorite actor stars, regardless of other factors.

Some people may be attracted by the budget of the scene. For example, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End is the movie with the largest budget in the history of cinema – more than $ 300,000,000.  The box office is not less impressive – about a billion. Of course, such success is the result of the work of professionals, the usage of expensive special effects, and the participation of popular actors in this film. That’s exactly where these millions are spent.

Movies which we watch every single year with the great pleasure help as to feel the holiday spirit when everyday life does not allow us to have rest and it is almost impossible to relax. One of the most popular ones in many countries for more than 25 years is Home Alone. This is one of the most watched Christmas comedies. For 20 years it was the highest grossing comedy in North America.

In any case, huge amounts of money are spent on the good mood of the public and the satisfaction of its needs for making truly fascinating works. Therefore, at any time we can find a movie for home viewing in a few minutes or go to the cinema with the confidence that the next 2 hours will not be wasted.

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The Greatest Showman (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/greatest-showman-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/greatest-showman-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Thu, 28 Dec 2017 16:15:25 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=105064 By: BabyRuth (Four Beers) – After reportedly being in the works since 2009, Hugh Jackman’s passion project, a musical about the life of P.T. Barnum, is finally seeing the light of day over the 2017 holiday season. 2017 also happened to be the year that Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus closed down for good …

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By: BabyRuth (Four Beers) –

After reportedly being in the works since 2009, Hugh Jackman’s passion project, a musical about the life of P.T. Barnum, is finally seeing the light of day over the 2017 holiday season. 2017 also happened to be the year that Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus closed down for good after declining sales and allegations of animal abuse.

But we are going to put all that aside along with the fact that P.T. Barnum really wasn’t such a great guy (have fun with Google!) and attempt to enjoy The Greatest Showman for what it is: a big, glitzy, cheeseball musical that’s fun for the whole family!

But is it?

Jackman stars as Phineas Taylor Barnum, the son of a poor tailor who longs to give his wife Charity (Michelle Williams) the life she is accustomed to, having been born into high-society wealth. Her father never accepts him, which only fuels Barnum’s ambition.

After losing his job, Barnum finagles his way into a loan to build a museum of oddities. Unfortunately for him, it isn’t very lucrative. That is until his daughter points out that living things are more interesting then dead ones which gives him an idea. He quickly puts together a show of peculiar and formerly shunned people including a bearded lady (Keala Settle), a 25-inch tall man (Sam Humphrey), and various other  “freaks.” Some may call it exploitation, Barnum (and this movie) calls it empowerment.

Shoutout to Lady Gaga and OG Teen Wolf!

The newly named “circus” is a success. But despite being richer than he ever dreamed, it is not enough for Barnum as he becomes more and more obsessed with fitting into the Manhattan society that still continues to reject him. He sees an opportunity in an opera star named Jenny Lind (Rebecca Ferguson), someone who is not a freak and whose talent is “real” (which… everyone in his circus can sing and dance exceptionally well, and two are even skilled trapeze artists, but okay, whatever). He begins to turn his back on everyone who was there for him from the beginning, including his very own family. Will he learn that friendship and love is more important than money and a favorable review in the newspaper?

I’ll give you one guess.

A Toast

I’m a huge fan of musicals – movie musicals, Broadway musicals, off-Broadway, community theater, musical episodes of television shows… it doesn’t matter. Give me jazz hands, group choreography, and a bombastic key change and I’m a happy camper. When I saw The Greatest Showman’s live preview performance during last week’s A Christmas Story Live (which, yes, I watched that too) I was very excited and had high hopes (though maybe that’s because in comparison to A Christmas Story Live, it looked amazing.)

Performance-wise, the film delivers. Director Michael Gracey’s (this is his feature film directorial debut) music video experience is evident in the many energetic musical sequences, which are entertaining and whizz by faster than you can say Moulin Rouge (Baz Luhrmann was undoubtedly an influence here). The choreography is imaginative and props are creatively incorporated. (Though, there is no way a person can drink like 20 shots and dance as well as Hugh Jackman and Zac Efron do in their barroom duet –even though they may think they can at the time)

Jackman is every bit as charismatic and lovable as one would expect, clearly reveling in finally realizing his dream of bringing this project to fruition. It’s almost enough to make the viewer buy into believing the film’s white-washed version of Barnum.

The supporting cast are all-in as well and everyone emotes, stomps, and poses accordingly.

The best parts of the film focus on the romance between Barnum’s business partner Philip Carlyle (Zac Efron) and trapeze artist Anne Wheeler (Zendaya). Their chemistry is one of the few things in the film that feels authentic and both are insanely talented performers. Every moment the two on are on-screen together is electric.

A much sexier use of ropes than anything in Fifty Shades of Grey.

Beer Two

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what is missing, but there’s an emptiness under all the gloss and pizzazz. It all feels very manufactured and artificial, hitting each figurative and literal beat predictably. Every big musical number is supposed to be a climactic payoff to the drama that precedes it, but it never feels earned.

Beer Three

While the musical setpieces are quite entertaining and inventively choreographed, the music itself isn’t very memorable, which is not good in a musical. I had the same issue with La La Land (for which this film’s Benj Pasek and Justin Paul also composed the music). It’s fine in the moment, but impossible to recall enough to be able to hum a single bar from any of the film’s songs even a minute after they end. And while I had no problem with the use of the current-sounding pop music, the songs are so over-produced that it takes the viewer out of the moment, constantly reminding the audience they are watching actors lip sync on a soundstage.  It’s particularly distracting during the otherwise wonderful trapeze duet between Efron and Zendaya- I mean, who sings that perfectly while flipping through the air at death-defying heights (well, besides Pink)?

Then there’s the introduction of “The Swedish Nightingale,” Jenny Lind, the best opera singer in the entire world, according to the movie. When her big moment comes to perform, she sings… not opera. I know, I know, I just said I didn’t have a problem with the use of modern music, but in this one instance I did. Maybe don’t repeatedly refer to her as an opera singer if she’s only going to belt out a song that sounds like something the winner would sing on the finale of American Idol?

Beer Four

Speaking of Lind, I was not familiar with her before this film. I’m assuming the majority of audiences who go to see The Greatest Showman were not either. I read up a little on her and it turns out she was a pretty awesome person. In reality, she only agreed to embark on the tour with Barnum because of the opportunity to make a shit-ton of money for charity. She severed ties with him because they disagreed over money and Barnum’s exploitative marketing techniques, eventually continuing the tour on her own. But in the film, she is used as nothing more than a source of conflict for Barnum, threatening to lure him into leaving his band of freaks, as well as his wife. When he turns down her advances, she vengefully attempts to ruin his business and marriage. So that’s what the audience takes away from her character. And none of it is true.

It’s one thing to fictionalize real people and situations for the sake of  storytelling, it’s a whole other thing to villainize them (while making someone who was not a good person look like the hero, no less).

Like Lind, the performers in Barnum’s troupe are not much more than pawns in Barnum’s story, there to collectively cheer him on or teach him a lesson about being a better person. It would have been nice to learn a little more about them. Especially since one of the main themes of the film is their supposed empowerment.

Verdict

Not the worst but certainly not the greatest, Showman is a mostly-entertaining watch and a nice little escape from the craziness of the holiday season. Just don’t expect much substance. Or facts. Or memorable songs.

The Greatest Showman (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: whenever anyone yells “FREAKS!”

Take a Drink: whenever Barnum stares in awe at a performer

Take a Drink: stomp-dancing

Take a Drink: whenever Michelle Williams’ character is sad

Take a Drink: when they do that thing where the crowd is cheering but there is no sound. And then the sound comes in and it’s roaring applause (this happens quite a bit in this movie)

Take a Drink: whenever a character does (small sips during the number with Jackman and Efron)

Take a Drink: for every CGI animal not harmed in the making of this film (unlike the real ones in the Ringling Bros. circus)

Do a Shot: for every final pose at the end of a big number

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Virtual Pub 234: Star Wars! The Shape of Water, Ferdinand, Downsizing & more http://movieboozer.com/featured/virtual-pub-234-star-wars-shape-water-ferdinand-downsizing http://movieboozer.com/featured/virtual-pub-234-star-wars-shape-water-ferdinand-downsizing#respond Thu, 28 Dec 2017 04:00:48 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=105104 The post Virtual Pub 234: Star Wars! The Shape of Water, Ferdinand, Downsizing & more appeared first on MovieBoozer.

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Mudbound (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/mudbound-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/mudbound-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Wed, 27 Dec 2017 18:00:31 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=105088 By: Oberst von Berauscht – In the Deep South during the 1940s two families live and work with each other on the same farmland. The Jacksons are tenant farmers working for their rent, putting aside whatever they can with hopes of a better future. The McAllan family owns the land, facing their own personal struggles. …

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By: Oberst von Berauscht –

In the Deep South during the 1940s two families live and work with each other on the same farmland. The Jacksons are tenant farmers working for their rent, putting aside whatever they can with hopes of a better future. The McAllan family owns the land, facing their own personal struggles. The McAllans are only just a bit better off than the Jacksons, as hard times press down on both families. War breaks out in Europe, and each family sends one of their own to fight, but when Jamie McAllan (Garrett Hedlund) and Ronsel Jackson (Jason Mitchell) return, both find it difficult to readjust to their “place” at home. Jamie strikes up a friendship with Ronsel, finding more in common with a fellow veteran than anyone in his family.

Choice of hats for instance…

A Toast

Director Dee Rees crafted a story of epic quality, exploring the internal struggles of its many characters. Their hopes and dreams of a better life come into conflict when reality looms. The chief conflict of the film develops as a result of the friendship between Ronsel and Jamie, as their cross-racial friendship clashes with the established social pecking order. The turmoil of the war in Europe reverberates through every moment in their lives, and their families lack the experiences necessary to understand what each was going through.

That’s not to say that $&%# at home was all roses and happiness…

On the surface Mudbound might be seen as simply another portrayal of racism in the rural south during the 1940s, however this is one ingredient in a complex character story that explores a circular nature of economic and cultural repression. The McAllan family are landowners, but only just. Their financial situation requires them to take on a tenant family just to make ends meet. The Jacksons want desperately to better their situation with land ownership a dream. Their agreement with the McAllans is designed to keep them from being able to put much aside, and should anything happen to one family member, they risk falling perilously deeper into debt. Ironically, the more pressure the McAllan families place on the Jacksons, they are in a worse position themselves. The interplay between the McAllan and Jackson family, and the inner-monologues held by its principle characters make for moving self reflective moments that are equally as relevant now as ever.

It is a shame this film didn’t get a significant theatrical release, as the cinematography is spectacular and really deserves a bigger screen for best viewing. There is a Southern Gothic visual palate which sets the earthy tone of the story with gloomy eyes. Strangely, the colors open up and brighten in scenes taking place overseas in Europe. Despite the trauma endured by Jamie and Ronsel, both found more of a sense of moral certainty in the fog of war than the unforgiving fury of the Jim Crow South.

Verdict

Mudbound is one of the year’s best films, and one of the best recent films to use historical racial discrimination to draw comparisons with modern tribulations.

Mudbound (2017) Movie Review

Take a Drink: for casual racism

Take a Drink: for bible quoting

Take a Drink: when any character drinks

Do a Shot: for flashbacks

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The Ardennes (2016) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/ardennes-2016-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/ardennes-2016-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Wed, 27 Dec 2017 13:15:16 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=98367 By: Henry J. Fromage (Three Beers) – European crime films often feel like the bread and butter of the arthouse and limited release circuit, and they’ve been the jumping off point for many a Hollywood career. Matthias Schoenaerts= Da Shit. The Ardennes plays like another calling-card film, as writer and star Jeroen Perceval plays one of …

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By: Henry J. Fromage (Three Beers) –

European crime films often feel like the bread and butter of the arthouse and limited release circuit, and they’ve been the jumping off point for many a Hollywood career.

Matthias Schoenaerts= Da Shit.

The Ardennes plays like another calling-card film, as writer and star Jeroen Perceval plays one of a pair of house-robbing brothers with Kevin Janssens, who is sent to prison for the stunning maximum sentence of… 7 years… despite an apparently violent denouement to one robbery.  When he gets out, it turns out Perceval has been getting awful familiar with his old squeeze (Veerle Baetens), and of course a return to the life always beckons.

A Toast

Director Robin Pront conjures up some unique visual ideas, never better than the opening shot of a masked man emerging out a pool in slow motion, his wettened mask making his features uncanny.

When they do go for action, it’s well-staged and executed, including an inventively staged carwash fistfight, and when the film actually gets to the Ardennes Forest and a rendezvous with Janssens’s shady prison buddies, everything intensifies nicely.

All around, this is an appropriately rough-looking cast, the kind you’d cross the street to avoid on craggy bad-intentioned mien alone.  Jan Bijvoet as the principal prison buddy is always a welcome presence as well, adding a wildcard charisma that spices things up.

A face made for character acting.

There’s also a well-deployed electronic soundtrack from Hendrik Willemyns that seems to come part and parcel with this type of film, and I sure don’t mind.

Beer Two

Unfortunately, stylistically the rest of the film never quite reaches the heights of that opening scene.  For too much of the film, Pront deploys the same boring blue filter that all of these Euro crime dramas and most crime television does.

The Good Wife’s parody was pretty much on point.  This, however, is Low Winter Sun, which is practically the same thing.

Beer Three

Outside of one sick twist at the end, the plot doesn’t do anything narratively different than what you’d expect.  One brother’s a bad egg, who’s going to pull the other back into that life of crime, aided by a few narrative turns of bad luck.  Obviously the one brother has gotten together with the other’s girlfriend, which will come to a head, and it will all end very badly.

I wrote that all midway through the second act, btw

Verdict

The Ardennes may be a fairly run of the mill European crime drama, but as these things go, it sure beats the likely American remake it’ll spawn in five years or so.

The Ardennes (2016) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: whenever Janssens acts a prick

Take a Drink: for references to prison life

Take a Drink: for that old ultraviolence

Take a Drink: for variations of “Fuck”.  Seems it’s popular everywhere!

Do a Shot: for ostriches

Do a Shot: Jean Claude Van Damme arguments!

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Greatest Premieres of the Departing and the Upcoming Year http://movieboozer.com/articles/greatest-premieres http://movieboozer.com/articles/greatest-premieres#respond Tue, 26 Dec 2017 18:15:42 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=105011 Christmas is high time to visit some of the hottest film premieres that have been widely discussed for the last couple of months. It’s the time when students finally stop making prank calls to custom writing services, either we speak of https://thesispanda.com or other resources, and fully switch to much more pleasant activities. Traditionally, this …

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Christmas is high time to visit some of the hottest film premieres that have been widely discussed for the last couple of months. It’s the time when students finally stop making prank calls to custom writing services, either we speak of https://thesispanda.com or other resources, and fully switch to much more pleasant activities.

Traditionally, this year has brought a wonderful gift to movie fans of practically all ages and nationalities. The 13th of December is the date when the new episode of Star Wars saga was released in Sweden. It was exactly the date when the newly born force started its round-the-world trip to reach the farthest corners of our planet.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

It is currently known that the force has already shaken the Shrine Auditorium near downtown Los Angeles. Both the stars and the filmmakers were brought together the Saturday night of December 9th to get their first screening of the eighth episode of the immense Lucasfilm franchise. As some sources point out, the entrance was guarded by giant AT-M6 walkers; all who visited the event could see Mark Hamill, Laura Dern, Daisey Ridley, and other stars walking down the red carpet. The event turned out to be a good promotion for the film’s premiere- done right in every way.

Avengers: Infinity War

One might confidently say that the last decade was marked by an ever-ascending popularity popularity of comics-based movies. Eventually, Marvel Studio has turned to be the flagship in the matters of the genre’s development. Starting with the time they released Iron Man back in 2008, the studio has shown a significant edge over their direct competitor DC and began to conquer millions of fans all over the globe.

The premiere that’s scheduled for June 22, 2018 promises to be one of the most epoch-making events in cinema history. Avengers: Infinity War is, without doubt, a must-see for every comics admirer who’s seen all the previously released films of the studio.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Jurassic World has proven to be a worthy successor of one of the most sensational Hollywood blockbusters of 1990s. Its huge success couldn’t have passed unnoticed by Universal studio, who has hurried out its sequel: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom continues the story of its prequel, featuring characters familiar from every installment of the franchise. Considering what’s been shown in the trailer, the events take place on the same island we’ve seen in a previous movie. However, the plot gets a new round, as one clearly sees that some serious catastrophe is about to take place…

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

Another Hollywood universe that’s gained a large army of fans over years of franchise development is fully devoted to magic and powerful sorcerers. A sensational prequel to the events depicted in Harry Potter movies has paved the way to the introduction of the whole new series. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald comes to cinemas on November 16, 2018. According to current forecasts, it’s going to beat the box office results of the previous movie and enlarge the army of sorcery fans to unprecedented numbers.

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Into the Inferno (2016) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/into-the-inferno-2016-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/into-the-inferno-2016-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Tue, 26 Dec 2017 16:00:21 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=99033 By: Henry J. Fromage (Two Beers) – Last fall, I got a chance to go out to the Pacific Northwest for the first time, and I considered a Mount St. Helens visit a complete necessity.  Perhaps it was being at a formative age when the twin volcanic mediocrities Dante’s Peak and Volcano came out, but volcanoes have always been a …

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By: Henry J. Fromage (Two Beers) –

Last fall, I got a chance to go out to the Pacific Northwest for the first time, and I considered a Mount St. Helens visit a complete necessity.  Perhaps it was being at a formative age when the twin volcanic mediocrities Dante’s Peak and Volcano came out, but volcanoes have always been a minor fascination for me, one I’ve yet to witness any vestiges of first-hand.  Suffice it to say, I suggest anyone who can get out there go see this evidence of the Earth’s terrifying might.

Werner Herzog perhaps unsurprisingly seems to have a similar fascination, at least as far as Into the Inferno goes.  This documentary combines his typical philosophizing and fascination with unique anthropologies with a subject matter that handily creates both- the mighty volcano.

A Toast

Herzog does volcanoes- c’mon.  This subject just ties into so many of his interests- nature, death, the impermanence of man’s works, and the attitude of different cultures towards all of these things filtered through the lens of living under a behemoth that can destroy all you know and love in a matter of hours.

Herzog credits Volcanologist Clive Oppenheimer as his co-director, a man Herzog met during filming Encounters at the End of the World, and full of fascinating conjectures and scientific fact himself.  He’s as much a presence in the film as Herzog, and finds plenty of scientists across a fascinating array of disciplines to talk about not just volcanoes but the very roots of humankind itself.

This provides interesting peeks at the work of a scientist as well, from Oppenheimer’s device to see volcanic gas emissions at work saving lives to the live discovery of a thousands of year old hominid in Ethiopia (the third ever recovered of this age) as a Las Vegas line-spouting paleoanthropologist oversees.  North Korea’s relationship with Mt. Paektu is also very interesting, as is Herzog’s interview of cargo cult leaders that believe an American G.I. named John Frum will return someday with copious consumer goods for all.

On a technical level, this is perhaps Herzog’s most gorgeous film at least since Encounters, full of striking red lava against black pumice, lightning strikes in ash clouds, and incredible historical footage of older catastrophic events.  The Gregorian Chants that fill the soundtrack feel very appropriate.

Beer Two

Into the Inferno meanders about along the trains of thought of Herzog himself, a man Oppenheimer assures us is not insane in the film (not that I’ve ever been in doubt, but Herzog loves to entertain the notion.

He has a bit of evidence to back it up.

But he’s definitely one whose particular musings certainly follow the tune of their own piper, one which not every viewer will be attuned to.  It’s also somewhat disappointing how he’s not terribly stringent about North Korea, preferring to take their apparent devotion to the cult of Juche at face value and of interest solely in the context of his premise, and not particularly in the context of its tragic implications.

Verdict

Into the Inferno sees Werner Herzog attempting to define the majesty and alien power of volcanoes in human terms, examining the culture that has sprung up around them across the globe.

Into the Inferno (2016) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: for philosophical trains of thought

Take a Drink: for each new volcano shown

Take a Drink: for connections to other Herzog documentaries

Take a Drink: for safety tips

Take a Drink: “pyroclastic”

Do a Shot: for the Chicken Church

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Father Figures (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/father-figures-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/father-figures-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Mon, 25 Dec 2017 13:15:00 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=105023 By: Reel 127 (Six Pack) – I feel so lost. I am so goddamn tired and done. This movie has drained any strength left in me and I don’t know if I can make it through Christmas anymore. I thought Ferdinand was a pretty terrible movie, but then there is Father Figures. Father Figures is …

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By: Reel 127 (Six Pack) –

I feel so lost. I am so goddamn tired and done. This movie has drained any strength left in me and I don’t know if I can make it through Christmas anymore. I thought Ferdinand was a pretty terrible movie, but then there is Father Figures.

Father Figures is about two fraternal twins, Peter (Ed Helms) and Kyle (Owen Wilson), who learn their father isn’t dead like they thought. The two then set out on a trip to find their real father. Along the way trying to reconcile their differences.

I say fraternal because they look nothing alike,
despite everyone saying they’re twins.

A Toast

The premise is fun enough. You have a road trip and dysfunctional family comedy set up with it. Sure, those tropes are used plenty, but many funny things can result if done properly. J.K. Simmons’s segment was the best part. He had some pretty good jokes and I loved seeing June Squibb as his mother. This section of the review is so short because there is not really much good that can be said about Father Figures.

At least I can pretend I was watching Nebraska.
That was a true dysfunctional family comedy.

Beer Two

The movie begins with Peter giving a man a prostate exam. And of course they have to go with the most cliché and overused joke they could, “Buy a guy dinner first.” With Peter even becoming self-aware and saying he hasn’t heard that one a million times. This immediately sets the tone for the recycled jokes this movie uses. All of which lost any humor they had years ago. On top of that, the entire cast is interchangeable. No part or actor stood out. You could have recast this entire movie and lost absolutely nothing. It just adds to how unremarkable the whole thing is.

Above: The actual iMDb profile pic of the director.

Beer Three

Ed Helms and Owen Wilson offer absolutely nothing new to this movie. Ed Helms is the tightly wound professional who secretly just wants to cut loose, and Owen Wilson is the relaxed guy who always gets off easy and doesn’t seem to have consequences. I not only described their parts in Father Figures, but easily at least five other movies they’ve been in. I want to like these guys, they both seem very nice. I know Owen Wilson is at least capable of a good performance- Midnight in Paris is one of my absolute favorite movies. I just can’t tell if it’s them failing to try, or directors failing to give them anything to work with.

Is this Father Figures,
or a lost Hangover sequel?
It could be either, and that’s bad.

Beer Four

The pacing ruined the entire end of this movie. The story beat that cues the audience that the 3rd act is starting comes too early. It comes when Peter and Kyle have a frank discussion and reconcile their differences after Kyle is nearly killed when a train hits their car. There is nothing wrong with the beat itself, but too much time passes afterwards. It makes the audience think things are winding down as things are becoming resolved. Yet the movie gets stretched for like another fifteen minutes. And all we gain from that is an incest scare, an unnecessary epilogue, and two minutes of Christopher Walken.

I love me some Walken,
but I would have loved him more
if he wasn’t in this.

Beer Five

This entire movie’s plot is held together by one implausibility after another. I’m not even talking the usual suspension of disbelief for movies. This is just people being stupid, beyond belief lucky, and lying:

  • Peter and Kyle’s mom continues to lie by saying Terry Bradshaw is their father, knowing he isn’t.
  • Peter says that Terry Bradshaw is his hero, but is dumb enough to accept this answer and not call out his mother on how convenient it is that his hero is his father.
  • When it seems like they are reaching a dead end, a pair of cops Kyle and Peter meet after their car is hit by a train know how to find “Sparkly P”, their next potential father.

By the end we discover that their mother isn’t even their birth mother. It ends up devaluing the whole journey, because instead of focusing more on the bonding of the brothers, they spend so much time caring who the father is.

Beer Six

I love to laugh. And a wise man (Ralph Sepe) once said that all a comedy needs to do is be funny. And I completely agree. On a technical level nothing is done great, but nothing is done poorly. Hell, even some of the montages were well edited. But when the joke highlights for your comedy are peeing on an unruly child, overly large cat balls, and possible incest, you have failed. I would rather watch Office Christmas Party five times over than watch Father Figures once. At least that one was Christmas-themed and made me laugh.

Amazingly, both are written by the same person.
“I don’t know whether to laugh or vomit.”

Verdict

Frankly I wish I could forget I ever saw this movie. I’m getting a headache just from writing this review. It seems almost like they had bigger plans for this as a raunchy R-rated comedy, originally planning to release it in late January under the title “Bastards.” But I guess the studio saw they had a flop on their hands. So they changed it to a more appropriate title and snuck it in for a Christmas weekend release so they could blame it on people seeing other things instead. So for the love of God skip this movie. I cannot stress this enough.

I wish I could give this a “12-Pack” rating.

Father Figures (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time a potential father is visited.

Take a Drink: every time someone lies (this happens way too much).

Take a Drink: any time Ed Helms starts shouting.

Take a Shot: when a joke takes an uncomfortable turn.

Finish Your Drink: when you wish you had seen literally anything else showing right now.

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365 Days of Movies- Henry J. Fromage Edition- Week 49 http://movieboozer.com/articles/104856 http://movieboozer.com/articles/104856#respond Sun, 24 Dec 2017 18:15:33 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104856 By: Henry J. Fromage – Another week spent catching up with highly praised films from earlier in the year, and Star Wars, of course (it’s mandatory). 241. Mudbound This Netflix release feels like a prestige Oscar play from yesteryear, and would be a very deserving nominee and even winner of many a category this year, if …

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By: Henry J. Fromage –

Another week spent catching up with highly praised films from earlier in the year, and Star Wars, of course (it’s mandatory).

241. Mudbound

This Netflix release feels like a prestige Oscar play from yesteryear, and would be a very deserving nominee and even winner of many a category this year, if voters can get past the Netflix bias (you’re all in L.A., where they screen these to qualify, so stop ‘plainin’).  Mudbound is the latest from Dee Rees (Pariah) and takes a Great American Novel approach to the story of two families sharing the same hardscrabble Mississippi land circa WWII.  Not much has changed culturally since the antebellum Confederacy here, which Ronsel Jackson (a superlative Jason Mitchell) finds after returning from commanding a tank under Patton, despite the friendship he strikes with fellow veteran flyboy Jamie McAllan (Garrett Hedlund, also great).  What ensues is a uniquely American tragedy, but with a strain of hope, however faint, that makes it something truly special- one of the best of the year.

242. The Rapsittie Street Kids Believe in Santa

From a great film to one of the worst that’s ever graced a screen of any size- this unbelievably shoddy animation that ran for reals on the WB back in 2002 (post not one, but two Toy Stories) conceals one hell of a backstory (the producer claims the first time anyone laid eyes on it after being delivered by the animators was the minute it aired… just… how?) that I’m more desperate to know than Tommy Wiseau’s origins and age.  Anyway, the animation beggars belief, especially when you recognize voices like Bart Simpson’s Nancy Cartwright and Mark Hamill giving a horrifying facsimile of life to these monsters.  To be seen to be believed- catch it on Youtube!

243. Columbus

Kogonada made his name with his Youtube videos studiously and intelligently dissecting great scenes and styles from the masters of cinema, so it’s no surprise that his directorial debut set in the surprising architectural mecca of Columbus, Indiana is beautiful to look at, originally and studiously composed frame by frame, and kind of inert and academic.   Judging by what he puts on display here, he’ll find a way to breathe a greater spark of life into his craft sooner than later, especially if he keeps working with excellent actors like John Cho, Haley Lu Richardson, and Parker Posey.

244. Girls Trip

This surprising smash comedy hit of the year frankly isn’t terribly good, content to walk a well-trodden gross-out and girl power path that feels like another male director of mediocre comedies’ change of pace work (Malcolm D. Lee of Scary Movie 5 fame this time) a la Bad Moms and its ilk.  There are some genuinely funny moments sprinkled without, though, and Tiffany Hadish in particular is an utter delight.  Plus, it references this gold standard of Youtube:

245. Star Wars: The Last Jedi

I’ve been mulling over this more and more since I saw it, not an accusation you could levy at The Force Awakens, and have come around to just how boundary-pushing an accomplishment Rian Johnson achieved here.  Sure, it’s overstuffed and has that modern Disney sheen of cold competence on it here and there, but damn, did he go and produce a thesis statement on out with the old and in with the new within the boundaries of a universe founded on Joseph Campbell ur-myths and genre pastiche (which Johnson also proves quite adept at here).  Give this exemplary article on the AV Club a read- Sean O’Neal puts it better than I ever could, and introduces new paths into this film that are well worth the exploration.

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The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/the-hunchback-of-notre-dame-1996-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/the-hunchback-of-notre-dame-1996-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Sun, 24 Dec 2017 13:15:09 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104907 By: Alex Phuong (Two Beers) – Victor Hugo composed two of the greatest novels ever written. His epic novel Les Misérables has inspired numerous film adaptations over the years, a Broadway musical, and a film adaptation of that same musical in 2012. Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame has also stood the test of time …

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By: Alex Phuong (Two Beers) –

Victor Hugo composed two of the greatest novels ever written. His epic novel Les Misérables has inspired numerous film adaptations over the years, a Broadway musical, and a film adaptation of that same musical in 2012. Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame has also stood the test of time as a novel filled with drama and some elements of horror. Even with its horrific elements, is the hunchback really a monster? Disney attempted to answer that question when they produced an all-star animated version of this novel in 1996. The final film remains a unique installment in the Disney canon within the famous “Disney Renaissance” of the 1990s.

A Toast

The animation in this film is absolutely spectacular. It is amazing how the animators were able to bring 19th century Paris to life with a unique combination of hand-drawn and computer animation. There is a plethora of memorable scenes in this film, including the opening musical number that sets the tone for the rest of the film as well as the “Topsy-Turvy Day” celebration. The real stars might not have been on the screen literally, but the voice work from Tom Hulce and Demi Moore does a fantastic job at bringing Quasimodo and Esmeralda to life. Quasimodo is obviously a special Disney character because he has a sense of heart to him that is not quite the same as other performances of Victor Hugo’s main protagonist, such as when Lon Chaney played him in 1923. That makes Quasimodo a very unique hero in a Disney (as well as any other) film!

Beer Two

It has been said with every great hero is a great villain. Judge Claude Frollo is arguably one of the scariest villains in the Disney cinematic world. Tony Jay actually had a very small role as Monsieur D’Arque (the person who ran the insane asylum) in Beauty and the Beast (1991), and Belle has her own cameo in this film during the song “Out There.” It is no surprise that the Disney studio would want Jay to play this villain since he played a man named “dark” in Beauty and the Beast (pun intended). The sequence called “Hellfire” is also one of the most controversial scenes ever put into a Disney film, and was nearly cut simply because it was so dark. It is safe to say that this film pushed the boundaries of what could be put into a Disney film since it deals with very mature themes.

Verdict

The Hunchback of Notre Dame might not be one of the most popular Disney films ever made, but it is still very unique in its own right. It is simply an example of how the studio was experimenting with new types of material outside of the fairy tales that made the original Walt Disney famous. This film might also be very frightening, but it still has a level of sophistication that is oftentimes rarely seen in family films. In the end, what really makes a monster and what makes a man? Watch this film and see for yourself!

Bonus Drinking Game

Take a Drink: Every time the gargoyles shift from being animate to inanimate

Take a Drink: Every time Esmeralda dances beautifully (and sometimes provocatively)

Drink a Shot: Every time Frollo says the word “gypsy.”

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Married By Christmas (original title) (2016) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/married-christmas-original-title-2016-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/married-christmas-original-title-2016-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Sat, 23 Dec 2017 13:15:25 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104961 Also known as The Engagement Clause By: Jenna Zine (Three Beers) – Carrie Tate (Jes Macallan) is the top executive at her family’s massive grocery distribution outlet, Emerson Foods. She has no problem being single, as her focus is solely (and happily) on her life’s work. However, things change when her parents reveal that her grandmother put …

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Also known as The Engagement Clause

By: Jenna Zine (Three Beers) –

Carrie Tate (Jes Macallan) is the top executive at her family’s massive grocery distribution outlet, Emerson Foods. She has no problem being single, as her focus is solely (and happily) on her life’s work. However, things change when her parents reveal that her grandmother put an antiquated clause in her will stating that whomever marries first gains control of the company. With her sister’s wedding right around the corner, can Carrie beat her to the altar?

A Toast

Carrie Tate is a powerful working woman who simply does not have time for love, because deciding where groceries end up is an all-consuming passion. (Sounds like someone needs a new vibrator!) Meanwhile, her sister, Katie (April Bowlby), is a sucker for Cupid – so much so that moments into the film, she is announcing her engagement to her boyfriend, Ethan. (Adam Senn of The City fame, who dated both Madonna and Lindsay Lohan. Researching this project has been a goldmine – I could write an entire post just about Adam’s dating life.) It turns out Ethan has a prospering organic farm and is diametrically opposed to big chain grocery stores. Fight, fight, fight! (Ethan says, “We’re harvesting Brussels sprouts right now. It’s a blast.”)

Katie and Ethan announce their engagement while the family is gathered for Thanksgiving dinner, and reveal that they will wed on Christmas Eve. Like, who in the hell does that? I would slap a bitch if they squandered my favorite holiday for their nuptials. There are 365 days to choose from and you’ve got to claim Christmas? Roll your shit back.

Surprise – your Christmas gift is our wedding! [Photo Credit]

Beer Two

The family is thrilled, but bad news is afoot, for the sister’s parents must sit down and reveal some distressing information. It turns out Grandpa Emerson left the company to Grandma Emerson (their mother’s parents, hence Emerson/Tate) – and before grandma died she created an ironclad provision: whichever granddaughter marries first gains control of the family fortune and will have the run of Emerson Foods. But wait – there’s more! While whomever marries first gains the company, the ownership of said business will actually be put in the name of her husband. Carrie & Katie’s mother, Elizabeth (Lee Garlington), weakly explains, “Grandma had strong feelings about gender roles.” Oh, did she now?! What in the fuck is wrong with you, Grandma Emerson? Have you ever heard of women’s rights? I’m about to dig you up and slap you myself.

Compounding the problem is Ethan, who perks up at the thought of getting to own the lucrative company. Spoiler alert: his allegiance to Brussels sprouts is apparently not as pure as we thought!

What in the actual fuck? [Photo Credit]

Beer Three

What ensues is the proverbial “comedy of errors,” as Carrie scrambles to find a mate. She’s a modern gal – unlike her bitch of a grandmother – so she naturally explores internet dating on (the fictional) findyourforever.com. (Coincidentally, the domain is currently for sale and can be yours for a mere $2,295. Pocket change!) Her delightful assistant, Zelda (Lauren Pritchard), helps with the ridiculous scheme, tartly challenging her boss with, “So… your plan is a corporate marriage takeover?” Zing! But she does help Carrie create a wall of dudes to choose from, and soon a montage of hilarious failed dates is taking place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wall of Dudes! Hipster or European is my new drinking game! [Photo Credit]

Not surprisingly, the online dating spree doesn’t work out. (Does it ever?!) However, she doesn’t have a lot of time, so she goes full retread and tries to reunite with an old flame, high school boyfriend, Paul Taylor (Ryan Caltagirone). The only problem? Paul is gay. And everyone knows Paul is gay, except for Carrie, who blindly tries to push ahead with her ill-advised agenda. Girl, his square peg is never gonna fit in your round hole!

Meanwhile, chicanery is afoot at Emerson Foods! Something about a small winery that Carrie wants to absorb (now we’re talking!); however, said winery is wary of joining the corporate world, and winery decides to get all legal with it. Enter smooth talking lawyer (and Jeremy Piven doppelganger), Dylan Courtney (Coby Ryan McLaughlin)! Carrie and Dylan immediately dislike each other – and you know what that means. Those two are gonna fuck like rabbits – as soon as they can get over that little speedbump called “hate.” But does that mean Carrie gets married before the arbitrary Christmas deadline? You’ll just have to tune in to find out!

Does she make it down the aisle? More importantly, does Ari bring his Entourage? [Photo Credit]

Verdict

Yep, it’s another Hallmark holiday movie. And yes, you can practically see the plot points from space. But Married By Christmas is delightful – mainly due in large part to the sparkly presence of actress Jes Macallan. (Yes, the same Jes from the now defunct guilty pleasure Mistresses. Man, did that show go off the rails or what? Why couldn’t they let Harry and Joss stay in the bone zone? Why did they have to turn Joss/Jes into an MMA fighter? Ah, but I digress.)

Jes’s onscreen charisma is bolstered by a fun, not-too-sappy-by-Hallmark-standards script, courtesy of Alison Spuck McNeeley and Casie Tabanou. Who are they? I have no idea – but a little digging revealed that they also co-wrote something called Deadly Detention and now I want them to be my new best friends. This is a lot of fun for what it is, and is worth the few dollars to stream it. Very merry!

Married By Christmas (original title) (2016) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time Carrie’s righteous anger about the ridiculous circumstances her grandmother set forth rises to the surface.

Take a Drink: every time Ethan and Dylan (who happen to be best friends – surprise!) wear plaid. Seriously, I know it’s the holiday season, but… all plaid everything?

Take a Drink: every time Carrie goes on a failed date.

Take a Drink: every time Ethan acts like a dick.

Do a Shot: for Katie’s janky-ass Ross Dress For Less wedding.

Do a Shot: for missed opportunities to play with the title of the film. They include: Married by Christmas – literally getting married by Christmas. Where is Santa when you need him? Also Merried by Christmas – get in the holiday spirit by December 25th … or else!

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Ferdinand (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/ferdinand-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/ferdinand-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Fri, 22 Dec 2017 13:15:50 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104983 By: Reel 127 (Five Beers) – “The Story of Ferdinand” is an innocent enough book with an interesting history. It was beloved by children as well as adults upon its release. Yet the Nazis burned the book for being “degenerate democratic propaganda.” When I heard that it was receiving an animated feature film adaption literally …

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By: Reel 127 (Five Beers) –

“The Story of Ferdinand” is an innocent enough book with an interesting history. It was beloved by children as well as adults upon its release. Yet the Nazis burned the book for being “degenerate democratic propaganda.” When I heard that it was receiving an animated feature film adaption literally 80 years after its release I said, “Oh.” When I heard John Cena would voice Ferdinand I asked, “Why would they get a guy who has made a living in fighting, to play a character who’s message is fighting isn’t the answer?”

Ferdinand, like the book, is about a bull who would rather smell flowers than fight. When he grows up he becomes the biggest bull there is, but still wants to smell flowers. One day he is stung by a bee and everyone mistakes him for being a fierce fighter. This is where the similarities seem to end between the book and the movie, as the film often takes darker turns with the story.

A Toast

First of all, I did not hate this movie as much as I thought I would. Anytime I see the label “Blue Sky Animations” I feel a sense of dread only rivaled by Illumination Entertainment. I laughed more than I thought I would at the jokes. However, for every joke that worked at least three fell flat. And I would have to say the same about the slapstick. Most of the time I am able to easily predict the direction the story is headed (especially with animated films), but Ferdinand managed to surprise me a couple of times (though not for the better). Lastly, I would like to add that Poco was the best character. I wish he was in this movie more. Why was Poco barely in this? Can we get a spinoff with just Poco?

It probably isn’t a good sign when the best character
in a movie about bulls is a dog.

Beer Two

That being said, every other character in this is terrible. All of them were one note and any growth they have comes very quickly. Basically it was something like, “I’m a bull, I’m [fast, strong, easily sick, etc.] and I will win against the matador.” Then Ferdinand tells them, “Nope, you’ll die.” So the other bulls go “Oh dang! Better just escape, because the other option is the slaughterhouse.” There you go. I just summed up at least a third of this movie in a few sentences.

Can’t tell them apart? I’ve made my point.

Beer Three

The writing is awful in Ferdinand. But hey! That’s kind of expected when you have six different writers! I’m sure the first draft wasn’t bad, possibly even great. But writer after writer taking a crack at turned it into the mess that was regurgitated onto the screen. I’m not sure which writer(s) and/ or producers decided that having the threat of a slaughterhouse helped add stakes but it was a bad idea. At the showing I attended, when the first bull was sent to the slaughterhouse, a mother and her daughter left the theater and never came back.

And I have to say this because this bugged me the most in the film. There is an inexplicable dance-off between the bulls and some German horses (a trio that seems to be a knockoff of the German students in Community). It comes out of nowhere, does absolutely nothing to progress the plot, and were the most cringe-worthy minutes of the whole movie. Not to mention that in an earlier scene the German horses had commented that Ferdinand’s “parents probably weren’t even related.” Why the hell was an inbreeding joke in a family movie!? The kids won’t get it, and I doubt any parents laughed at it.

The Award for Most Infuriating
Characters of 2017 goes to…

Beer Four

By the time we reached the climax where Ferdinand must fight the matador there was no tension. Because until then, against all odds everything had worked out for Ferdinand. He had escaped the ranch when he was a kid, he was able to live his dream life for years, when he is captured he is sent back to the same farm so he already had a relationship with some of the bulls there, he manages to get all the bulls on his side to escape (even the ones that had gone to the slaughterhouse and were awaiting their slaughter), and gets them to his home in countryside. I didn’t even need to read the book to know he would make it out of the ring and live happily ever after, because this movie gave me no reason to think it might not work out. I yawned. I actually yawned as the film reached its thrilling conclusion. That’s how worried I was for our protagonist.

Oh wow, he wins through non-violence.
Color me surprised!

Beer Five

It also doesn’t help that the direction was terrible. You can tell that most of the voice cast is trying their best despite this. David Tennant sounded more Scottish than he naturally sounds, and I’m pretty certain all the direction Kate McKinnon was given was, “Do those silly things you do all the time. People love that!” This is thanks to serial Blue Sky director Carlos Saldanha, who has just gotten lazier with each movie he has made. And why wouldn’t he? Blue Sky keeps hiring him no matter how bad each film gets.

David Tennant was told:
“Do your Scrooge McDuck but even more Scottish!”

Verdict

In summation, Ferdinand is the result of a studio that focuses on its marketing more than its content and to this day has been given no reason to change their formula. I honestly have no idea who this movie is for. Absolutely no attempt was made at being for all ages. It pushes the boundaries too much for a PG film to be for kids. But there is very little available for adults to enjoy. Ferdinand is a film best left forgotten. If you want a movie about Ferdinand, check out the 1930s Disney short. It’s 100 minutes shorter and won an Oscar.

Disney did it first!

Ferdinand (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time Ferdinand stops to smell the flowers.

Take a Drink: every time a joke gets too dark.

Take a Drink: every time a bull runs into something.

Take a Drink: every time Lupe coughs something up.

Do a Shot: for that oh-so-predictable moment when Ferdinand’s dad dies.

Do a Shot: every time a bull gets sent to the slaughterhouse.

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The Bachelor: Countdown to Arie (TV Review) http://movieboozer.com/tv-drinking-games/bachelor-countdown-arie-tv-review http://movieboozer.com/tv-drinking-games/bachelor-countdown-arie-tv-review#respond Thu, 21 Dec 2017 13:15:22 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104941 The Bachelor: Countdown to Arie (2017) By Jenna Zine (Six Pack) – The Bachelor franchise is heading into its 22nd season (!!!), with the first episode airing New Year’s Day of 2018. (Talk about the perfect hangover cure!) Thanks to popular frontrunner Peter Kraus (from Rachel Lindsay’s season of The Bachelorette) playing hard to get with …

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The Bachelor: Countdown to Arie (2017)

By Jenna Zine (Six Pack) –

The Bachelor franchise is heading into its 22nd season (!!!), with the first episode airing New Year’s Day of 2018. (Talk about the perfect hangover cure!) Thanks to popular frontrunner Peter Kraus (from Rachel Lindsay’s season of The Bachelorette) playing hard to get with producers, we now have racecar driver/real estate agent Arie Luyendyk Jr. as the man 20+ ladies will vie for in a quest for eternal love. And because Arie has not been on television in 5 years, he is absolutely ancient and not one person in Bachelor Nation remembers him. Hence this special television extravaganza to (re)introduce him to viewers. Yay!

A Toast

Is there a guiltier pleasure than The Bachelor franchise? The ludicrous premise has horrified and delighted audiences for an astounding 15 years and is permanently embedded in pop culture. It’s always the most dramatic season ever, and this year promises to be no different. So let’s get down to the Kissing Bandit’s (Arie’s skin-crawling nickname) plans, as well as the drama and tears that are sure to ensue in the following months!

Beer Two

Perennial host Chris Harrison (a shout-out to mimosas!) kicks off this sneak peek, letting us know that January will be full of, “sexy romance, crazy emotional drama, and, of course, true love.” Well, at least two of those three things will be true! Did he also just say it will be, “one of the most romantic seasons in Bachelor history”? Yes, yes he did. Congrats to the franchise that both gaslights and Groundhog Day’s its audience!

First, Chris takes us back to Arie’s heartbreak during Emily Maynard’s Bachelorette season when Arie thought he was a lock for the single mom’s heart. Instead he lost out to Jef Holm – yes, a man who spells his name with one “f.” We see Arie wandering around, unable to move on, all to prove that he is a very sensitive man who loves to love! Personally all I see are red flags. A man who hasn’t gotten over a brief, televised love affair that ended five years ago? Hello, issues!

Beer Three

Speaking of love affairs that have ended, where is Courtney Robertson? My guess is the producers have paid her to lay low on social media, as Arie’s reputation is more crucial than ever, at this moment. * Courtney, the “winner” of Ben Flajnik’s Bachelor season, and Arie had a passionate fling that is described, in detail, in her juicy tell-all I Didn’t Come Here to Make Friends: Confessions of a Reality Show Villain. (No, I am not making this title up!) In case you were wondering, Courtney says Arie is, “incredibly passionate and utilizes his entire body in his lovemaking. And he knows exactly what positions make a woman feel comfortable and satisfied.” Translation – those fantasy suite dates are gonna be LIT! Other translation – Robertson has the dirt and wouldn’t be shy about sharing even more. After all, they were reportedly still messing around, off and on, up until earlier this year. Will she stay off the radar for Luyendyk Jr.’s season? I, for one, am praying that she does NOT! Blow up that Twitter, girl.

*(I’m also curious how Arie and the franchise will fair in the long-awaited #MeToo era, as Bachelor In Paradise barely survived a huge sexual assault scandal this summer, and Luyendyk Jr. is reported to have allegedly roamed college campuses in search of hot hookups with barely legal coeds. Not a good look for either!)

Beer Four

Now it’s time to meet the woman who’ve agreed to sign up for this mess! Including:

  • A professional wedding photographer! (Hmm, what will she be thinking about?)
  • A gal that lives in Weiner, Aransas who loooves to shoot guns! (You’re not Raven. Don’t try to be Raven.)
  • A pert nanny with a pixie cut. Look – she has short hair! She must be unique because she does not have extensions!
  • A nurse who “loves blood; the more, the better.” It seems the very goal of your job would be less blood, but … okay.
  • A woman who collects taxidermy because she can “keep it forever.” One word to Arie: Run.
  • A realtor who also grew up around cars! OMG, she and Arie have so much in common. Houses and vehicles? Just get hitched already, you crazy one-percenters!

Needless to say, it’s gonna be a shit show of boobs, abs, and females pitted to compete against each other. Hello, 2018 – you have not changed one bit. (For a complete/detailed list of upcoming contestants, check out Reality Steve – but only if you don’t mind spoilers).

Beer Five

We now know that Arie, the Kissing Bandit, is as sensitive as he is handsome. He is a really good guy! (cough) But don’t forget about that passion, people! In case you need help, Chris Harrison has detailed all the ways in which Luyendyk Jr. likes to get romantical. Kissing styles include the:

  • One-handed cheek caress.
  • Two-handed face fondle.
  • Tender, tasteful touch.
  • Slow and sultry lip-lock.
  • Hair stroke/lean in.
  • Full on French.
  • Passionate “hello” kiss.
  • And the popular super-sexy-up-against-a-wall make out!

I pity the poor intern that had to go through old footage and name all these “moves.” I cannot even describe how wildly uncomfortable this section of the show was; I think I have PTSD. To balance the creepiness, the producers also thoughtfully added “Worst Kisses in Bachelor History.” How kind! They are:

  • Chris Soules & Ashely Iaconette: This confirms what we already know – Ashley has no game!
  • JoJo Fletcher & Wells Adams: Old coffee grinds have more chemistry than these two.
  • Jake Pavelka & Michelle: She begged for a kiss he didn’t want to give. Ouch.
  • Emily Maynard & Doug Clerget: He went in for a smooch after getting eliminated. Too late, dude!
  • Josh Murray & Amanda Stanton: He managed to gross out Bachelor In Paradise viewers with his constant moaning and endless pizza consumption.
  • Rachel Lindsay & Fred Johnson: They met in grade school, and she still thinks of him as a little boy two decades later. This should’ve stopped way before a failed lip-lock!
  • All of Bachelor Pad Casey: The dude smelled. End of story.
  • Carly Waddell & Evan Bass: It’s still a total mystery as to how these two went from friend zone to bone zone.
  • Jason Mesnick & Shannon Bair: She was crying and wiped her nose with a napkin, pieces of which remained on her face as she went in for a smooch. As horrifying as it sounds.
  • Ben Flajnik & Jamie Otis: She tried to straddle him all sexy-like… right as her dress ripped. There’s no coming back from that.

Beer Six

Were you doubting that the system works? Because falling in love with a stranger on network television totally works! Here’s proof of couples who’ve “made it,” including:

  • Rachel Lindsay & Not Peter (aka Bryan Abasolo), who are living together while enjoying time with Rachel’s adorable dog, Copper. Bryan moved to Texas to join Rachel, “like the next day,” after filming wrapped. And that is not at all a concerning or desperate sign, okay?!
  • Tanner & Jade Tolbert (nee Roper), who met and subsequently married on Bachelor In Paradise. They now have a baby. (They show the adorable newborn and Tanner says, “We had an inside baby. Now we have an outside baby.” Because #science.)
  • Sean & Catherine Lowe (nee Giudici), who met on Sean’s season of The Bachelor and are now on Baby #2. Not a lot of shade to throw here, as Sean is genuinely funny and one of my favorite alums to follow on Twitter.
  • The aforementioned Evan Bass & Carly Waddell. Again, a total mystery as to how Carly went from being repulsed by Evan to marrying him and having his baby. Methinks she never recovered from her Bachelor In Paradise breakup with Kirk Dewindt and decided to get off the carousel of love. Can I trademark “carousel of love”?

No word as to why JoJo Fletcher & Jordan Rodgers or Kaitlyn Bristowe & Shawn Booth were left off this illustrious list, as both couples are still together and each have engagement/marriage plans in the works. All I know is the show favors some past contestants more than others, and these kids have seemingly fallen off the Bachelor family radar. I’m going to go out on a limb and say this is not the worst thing to happen to these people.

Verdict

All this fun is followed up by a sneak peek of Arie’s most dramatic season ever, resplendent with shots of gals crying, the Kissing Bandit macking, trips to the desert, Paris, and Tuscany, plus more tears. It looks like a god damn mess. I, for one, cannot wait. Look for my Bachelor recaps here at MovieBoozer in 2018. In the meantime, happy holidays and many Arie dreams to you!

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It Doesn’t Suck: Money for Nothing (1993) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/it-doesnt-suck-money-for-nothing-1993-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/it-doesnt-suck-money-for-nothing-1993-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Wed, 20 Dec 2017 13:15:46 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104914 By: Maria R. (Two Beers) – Released back in 1993, Money for Nothing mostly received negative reviews. Most agreed that John Cusack’s performance might be the only good thing about Ramón Menéndez’s effort. The movie’s synopsis doesn’t sound promising either. Cusack plays a dockworker called Joey Coyle who finds one million dollars fallen from an …

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By: Maria R. (Two Beers) –

Released back in 1993, Money for Nothing mostly received negative reviews. Most agreed that John Cusack’s performance might be the only good thing about Ramón Menéndez’s effort. The movie’s synopsis doesn’t sound promising either. Cusack plays a dockworker called Joey Coyle who finds one million dollars fallen from an armored car. Sick and tired of being unemployed, Coyle chooses to keep the money. But his attempts to launder it and cover his tracks become painfully obvious. So why doesn’t this movie suck?

A Toast

There’s something inexplicably pleasing to stumble upon a rather mediocre movie with an amazing cast. In this regard, Money for Nothing does live up to a true cinephile’s expectations. Take Michael Madsen who delivers a performance almost more impressive than Cusack’s. Or think of Benicio Del Toro, who’s cast against his usual type. Michael Rapaport and Debi Mazar’s screen time is shorter but still staggering. After all, it’s a peculiar experience to see familiar faces from pop culture artifacts. Especially, if those artifacts are so monumental, they forever left their stamps on actors who have once been part of the production.

Rapaport has enjoyed a moderate success, but let’s face it, ever since we’ve seen him alongside Lisa Kudrow in Friends, we’ll always remember him as Phoebe’s boyfriend Gary. In Money for Nothing he portrays the complete opposite of the overly masculine character from the famous sitcom. Mazar, mostly associated with multiple small roles in Madonna’s music videos, has more room to show her talents here.

Beer Two

It seems like certain sequences in Money for Nothing are included just to move the plot along. In contrast, the characters that are important to the story are rarely shown. By the time you see them on the screen again, you might have already forgotten what purpose their appearance serves. No doubt, the movie is unstable, but this is exactly why it’s special. The movie’s brilliance is in its capacity to serve as an excellent example of a 90s film figuring itself out. More precisely, it’s clearly a flick that would have been more appropriate in the 80s. However, it had to struggle to find its place in another decade.

The film doesn’t really know what to do with itself the way Bad Influence (1990) and Clueless (1994) don’t know where they need to go to please their viewers. These are the movies that remained in the making, in-between. Money for Nothing is too light to solely belong to the genre of crime. At the same time, the film attempts at implementing a more cynical approach. Menéndez examines people’s true colors relentlessly here. Coyle’s girlfriend considers giving the relationship a second chance only because of his newfound financial fortune. On the other hand, the protagonist’s interactions with his family members are way too touching. They make it harder to ascribe Money for Nothing to the series of wry and sardonic crime productions roaming around in the 90s.

Verdict

Money for Nothing takes the best qualities of an 80s heartwarming comedy yet unsuccessfully combines it with the over-exaggerated cynicism, realism, and detachment of the 90s. It breaks your heart every time a few lines from one decade ruin the sweetness of another. This collision is thrust upon you, fast pacing absent in most required scenes a conspicuous sign. Whether you’ll enjoy this movie, thus, wholly depends on your own experience with flicks made in those decades. As an example of such juxtaposition, it’s a very curious piece of work that you shouldn’t overlook.

Money for Nothing Drinking Game

Do a Drink: whenever Joey tries to hide the money

Take a Shot: every time you see Michael Madsen on the screen

Take a Drink: every time Joey spends his money

Do a Shot: every time Cusack’s character screams

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Trailer Reviews: Ferdinand & Star Wars: The Last Jedi http://movieboozer.com/articles/trailer-reviews-ferdinand-star-wars-the-last-jedi http://movieboozer.com/articles/trailer-reviews-ferdinand-star-wars-the-last-jedi#respond Tue, 19 Dec 2017 13:15:46 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104935 By: Hawk Ripjaw – Ferdinand A good, catchy song can go a long way to selling a trailer. Take, for example, the trailer for Ferdinand. It’s intermittently funny, but doesn’t really leave any sort of lasting impression beyond Ferdinand almost killing a rodent, which causes said rodent to suffer a heart attack. It looks pleasant …

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By: Hawk Ripjaw –

Ferdinand

A good, catchy song can go a long way to selling a trailer. Take, for example, the trailer for Ferdinand. It’s intermittently funny, but doesn’t really leave any sort of lasting impression beyond Ferdinand almost killing a rodent, which causes said rodent to suffer a heart attack. It looks pleasant enough, in a way that a lot of Blue Sky Animation movies aspire to and sometimes hit. But somehow, the trailer editing and that frustratingly catchy Ed Sheeran song gave me that “I’m ready to see this” feeling that I really shouldn’t get for a movie about a talking bull (the song also has literally nothing to do with the movie, either). Surely the movie can’t be that endearing, but it certainly can’t be that bad either, right? It’s from the director of the first three Ice Age movies, Robots, and both Rio films, so there’s a pretty wide margin of quality there.

Beer Prediction

I just know I’m gonna fucking hate those hedgehogs, though.

 

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

I will never forgive the asshole who spoiled an important Force Awakens death for me in an article whose headline mentioned an important death and showed the dude’s face in the header image. I did not click the article, it was a sidebar ad. The morning of the movie’s official release. It didn’t stop the movie from being entertaining, but I was definitely not happy at the lack of surprise. Sadly, I won’t even get to see this until next week. That means I have six fucking days to completely avoid all spoilers around one of the biggest releases of the year and what people are calling the best Star Wars since Empire Strikes Back. Which means there is roughly a billion percent chance that I’m going to get spoiled.

Beer Prediction

I’m gonna do it. I’m going to avoid every single spoiler if it means I have to call Comcast and tell them to switch me off for a week.

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Loving Vincent (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/loving-vincent-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/loving-vincent-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Tue, 19 Dec 2017 13:15:44 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104821 By: Henry J. Fromage (Two Beers) – Loving Vincent begins with text explaining how it is an animated film comprised of countless oil paintings in the style of Van Gogh, painstakingly created by over 100 artists.  This is a good call, because despite the evidence of your eyes, you’d never guess that someone was as audacious …

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By: Henry J. Fromage (Two Beers) –

Loving Vincent begins with text explaining how it is an animated film comprised of countless oil paintings in the style of Van Gogh, painstakingly created by over 100 artists.  This is a good call, because despite the evidence of your eyes, you’d never guess that someone was as audacious as to paint an entire film.

Yep, the whole thing.

The film takes place a year after Van Gogh’s erstwhile suicide, shooting himself in the stomach and dying two days later insisting he was trying to kill himself in this strange manner.  The son of the postman who handled the majority of Van Gogh’s correspondence is tasked with searching for Van Gogh’s brother to deliver a last letter to him.

A Toast

Loving Vincent is more than just its lovely and technically baffling imagery- a manual rotoscoping in the style of one of the world’s most recognizable painters.  Make no mistake, filmmakers Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman should have an Animation Oscar nomination in hand just for that alone- it really is a staggering achievement.

Just another day at the office…

However, there’s a real film here, too, one with heartfelt and effective performances under all the paint from Douglas Booth, Saoirse Ronan, O’Dowd, Aidan Turner, Eleanor Tomlinson, Bronn-err-Jerome Flynn, and many more, scored by evocatively by the one and only Clint Mansell.

There’s also a real story here, one full of mystery and heartache and stunning biographical details.  Perhaps you knew that Van Gogh didn’t start painting until he was 28 and was dead by 37, but I didn’t, and when you consider the span of his achievement in not even a decade of work, it makes you wish what could have been even more.  Surrender yourself to the melancholy rthymns of this story and these visuals and you will experience something quite special.

Beer Two

The crime investigation throughline was perhaps a tiny bit unneeded, despite the dispute over the true facts of Van Gogh’s death that survives to this day.

Also, this is yet another film about continental Europeans in which everyone features a British Isles accent, up to and including Chris O’Dowd’s hearty Irish brogue.  All the characters are actually French or Dutch, of course, and the filmmakers were largely Polish, so I dunno…

Verdict

Loving Vincent is a gorgeously rendered and often quite touching portrait of one of art history’s most enigmatic and brilliant figures.

Loving Vincent (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: for every famous painting of Van Gogh’s that you recognize (do a Google image search first)

Take a Drink: for every actor that you recognize underneath all that oil paint

Take a Drink: for every flashback

Take a Drink: whenever Van Gogh is drawing or painting

Take a Drink: for every drink a character takes

Do a Shot: any time a child throws rocks at somebody

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Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/star-wars-last-jedi-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/star-wars-last-jedi-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Mon, 18 Dec 2017 13:15:14 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104920 By: Christian Harding (Two Beers) – Wow, I can’t believe both of Rey’s parents were Porgs! Why didn’t I see that one coming? Oh, sorry. Spoilers. Just kidding, of course. Anyhow, after a brief and unnecessary sidestep, leaving the dreary and self serious Rogue One: A Star Wars Story spin off in the rear-view, we’re now officially …

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By: Christian Harding (Two Beers) –

Wow, I can’t believe both of Rey’s parents were Porgs! Why didn’t I see that one coming?

Oh, sorry. Spoilers.

Just kidding, of course. Anyhow, after a brief and unnecessary sidestep, leaving the dreary and self serious Rogue One: A Star Wars Story spin off in the rear-view, we’re now officially back on track with the Star Wars franchise proper and more at home within the reliably optimistic and classical-feeling main thread with Star Wars: The Last Jedi. At the very least, it’ll be nice to take a break from our increasingly dystopic reality and once again escape into a fantasy world where a hideous looking, fascist-adjacent ruler and his supreme force of unquestioning followers and useful idiots face off against an earnest but hopelessly outmanned resistance trying to prevent the evil regime from taking over the world and spreading their evil across the entire – oh, godammit…

“We are gonna build a wall, and the Jedi’s are gonna pay for it!”

Seeing as how this is a Star Wars film, and fans are understandably more wary of spoilers here than with any other franchise out there, I’ll try to keep plot details to a minimum and just cover the basics off the top: The Last Jedi quite literally begins right where The Force Awakens left off, and continues the story from there…..Yup… Well… that’s really all you need to know, if you want to go in completely fresh. For more casual viewers, it merits mentioning that Luke Skywalker (a returning Mark Hamill) plays a larger role in this, having been successfully tracked down by the person who emerged as the true hero in The Force Awakens (as well as the trilogy overall), Daisy Ridley’s scavenger turned Jedi-in-training, Rey. Meanwhile, the Resistance is still here, fighting the good fight against the First Order and Adam Driver’s conflicted Sith-in-training Kylo Ren, and are still being led by General Leia, portrayed once again by the late Carrie Fisher, who fortunately finished shooting all of her scenes in this before her untimely passing almost a year ago. Aided by another reliably thumping John Williams score, we’re back in the Star Wars universe! Oh, and there are Porgs now, too. Lots and lots of Porgs.

A Toast

Much like the recently premiered second season of Stranger Things, it seems like the creative minds at work were paying attention to the fan reactions from the first time around and knew what people liked and didn’t like about The Force Awakens, so they were more aware of what not to do here and also what people wanted to see more of. This includes giving side characters from the first film more screentime and development, namely Oscar Issac’s cocky pilot Poe Dameron, who has a much larger role to play in the story this time around, apart from his more preferred mode of just flying around in an X-wing and blowin’ shit up. Also improved upon from the previous films (and I would include Rogue One in this as well) is the enlarged sense of scope and scale to the film. The world-building on display here is unparalleled in the rest of the franchise, feeling at once massive in size while also somehow seeming nurtured and lived in. In terms of the sheer size and weight of the settings, The Last Jedi more closely resembles the Lord of the Rings trilogy at times, moreso than anything else we’ve seen from this series up to this point.

Beer Two

While The Last Jedi is no doubt another satisfying and enjoyable entry into the Star Wars series, it is most certainly not without fault. That being said, this one is interestingly flawed in a different way than its predecessor, The Force Awakens. Whilst that film was fundamentally more conventional and derivative, The Last Jedi is more ambitious and genuinely surprising at times, but is also overstuffed and crowded to a fault, with enough subplots and side characters to fill a whole other feature. Despite its overarching similarities to A New HopeThe Force Awakens at least moved a lot better and had a stronger pace and kept its story going forward with a sense of urgency and purpose, whereas The Last Jedi completely screeches to a halt at some points and could’ve been trimmed by at least ten minutes, and not have lost much in the long run.

There’s one midpoint side-quest in particular that distracts from the main thread of the film considerably (involving a brief diversion to a casino planet, which features some unusually forced social commentary about animal cruelty and child slavery, of all things), and once you see where it all leads, it could’ve quite easily have been glossed over without much detriment to the overall flow of the narrative; to say nothing of the fact that it almost feels as if it hearkens back to – dare I say it? – the Prequel trilogy (dun dun DUN)! Director Rian Johnson commented before this film’s release that his first cut of the film ran for over three hours long, and while the version that’s in theaters now sits at a much more comfortable 2.5 hours (the longest Star Wars film yet), I’d be lying if I said that one more pass in the editing room would’ve been a waste of time.

 “She was fearless and crazier than him. She was his queen. And God help anyone who dared to disrespect his queen.”

Verdict

Warts and all, Star Wars: The Last Jedi is a wholly satisfying and enjoyable entry into the ever growing and expanding Star Wars series. In both the context of the fictional universe of the film and the broader real-world cultural context, this film is about honoring the past and giving it proper consideration before literally burning it to the ground and making way for a brand new generation to take over and inherit the mantle.

While the film may be a bit too crowded and overly-ambitious for its own good at times, it needed to give us enough meat to chew on for two whole years until the next Star Wars flick comes out (ignoring the pointless and sure-to-be-garbage Han Solo prequel spinoff), so who are we to complain? For all its faults, The Last Jedi provides more than just fleeting, momentary thrills and spills, but it changes and advances the whole mythology of the Star Wars canon forward and usurps the status quo of the franchise in such thoughtful, unexpected ways that is really clears the path for the series to go in any number of interesting directions, which is more than we could say for this franchise in quite some time.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) Drinking Game

Do a Shot: whenever a Porg appears; Two shots if it makes a noise.

Do another Shot: for each reference and/or callback to a previous film in the series.

Shotgun a Beer: each time a lightsaber is ignited.

Pour out a Glass: because RIP Carrie Fisher.

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Meet Me in St. Louis (1944) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/meet-me-in-st-louis-1944-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/meet-me-in-st-louis-1944-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Sun, 17 Dec 2017 13:15:21 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104827 By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) – Judy Garland is one of the most iconic actresses from the Golden Age of Hollywood. She starred in The Wizard of Oz (1939) as Dorothy, and received an Oscar nomination for A Star is Born (1954). In-between those two cinematic triumphs, Garland appeared in a wide variety of projects …

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By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) –

Judy Garland is one of the most iconic actresses from the Golden Age of Hollywood. She starred in The Wizard of Oz (1939) as Dorothy, and received an Oscar nomination for A Star is Born (1954). In-between those two cinematic triumphs, Garland appeared in a wide variety of projects ranging from musicals to comedies. One of her greatest roles in a musical was playing Esther Smith in Meet Me in St. Louis (1944). It might not be as famous as The Wizard of Oz, but it is still a very delightful film filled with humor, music, and joy.

A Toast

The film contains one of the most famous musical numbers in cinematic history (and it was performed all in one take!). “The Trolley Song” might be a very simple song, but it is incredibly catchy (and even received an Academy Award nomination for “Best Original Song”)! Other than the great music, this film delivers the fundamental theme about the importance of home since it involves the famous proverb that, “home is where the heart is”. This film is also great for the holidays even though a very small portion of the film takes place during the Christmas season. The song, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” has stood the test of time as a holiday classic. Indeed, Meet Me in St. Louis is a remarkable musical because the music itself makes this film a seminal piece of filmmaking.

Verdict

Judy Garland might not have liked playing teenagers and young women as she became typecast after the success of The Wizard of Oz, but Garland really does have a wonderful singing voice. Her acting and singing abilities make her a very ideal choice for movie musicals. Meet Me in St. Louis is a very great title for this film because of how it showcases the greatness of St. Louis even though the Smith family debated about going to New York. Indeed, this film is a great example of how there really is no place like home, just like how Judy Garland’s Dorothy learned that lesson from her adventures in Oz.

Meet Me in St. Louis (1944) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: whenever the family members debate about the ketchup (i.e. Is it too sweet? Too sour? Too flat?)

Take a Drink: during every musical number

Drink a Shot: for all of the clanging of the trolley and the dinging of the bells

Have a Big Toast: as this film brings about holiday love and joy

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365 Days of Movies- Henry J. Fromage Edition- Week 48 http://movieboozer.com/articles/365-days-movies-henry-j-fromage-edition-week-48 http://movieboozer.com/articles/365-days-movies-henry-j-fromage-edition-week-48#respond Sat, 16 Dec 2017 18:15:50 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104708 By: Henry J. Fromage – With a little extra off time and a bit more chill in the air, finally got back in the theaters to catch the Oscar hopefuls streaming in this month. 237. Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare The one and only true Thor, yes, that’s right, Jon-Mickl Thor, directs and stars in the …

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By: Henry J. Fromage –

With a little extra off time and a bit more chill in the air, finally got back in the theaters to catch the Oscar hopefuls streaming in this month.

237. Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare

The one and only true Thor, yes, that’s right, Jon-Mickl Thor, directs and stars in the 80s hair metal/horror hybrid you never knew you needed in your life.  Glam rock glam, half-second delay-levels of stilted dialogue, preposterously slimy gore effects, ORIGINAL SONGS, penis puppets, mind-blowing twists… this micro-budget winner has it all.  Seek it out in the place you and I tube.

238. Just Getting Started

Bull Durham‘s Ron Shelton returns with is first theatrical film since 2003’s Hollywood Homicide, and, well… his skills have not been getting better.  This geriatric comedy is a cut below even other recent examples of the genre, surprisingly cheap and amateurish to the point that it’s a surprise this got a wide theatrical release.  I’d advise you to avoid at all costs, but let’s be honest.  If you’re reading this, you were never even considering it.

239. The Disaster Artist

James Franco’s ode to the preeminent “so bad it’s good” movie ever, The Room, is far and away the best film that Franco’s ever directed, and his Tommy Wiseau, seriously, is perhaps his finest performance.  He absolutely nails the bizarre accent, content, and cadence of his speech patterns, but as an actor and director does something far more wondrous- he finds the soul of a man who’s a willful cipher.  The film surrounding this performance does travel a fairly conventional three act structure with a fair bit of artistic license, but as a love letter to the phenomenon that is The Room, complete with utterly sidesplitting recreations of its “best” scenes, it’s an absolute triumph.

240. Loving Vincent

This animated film starts with a message that it was hand-painted by nearly 100 artists in the style of Van Gogh himself- a disclaimer that is necessary because you would never have imagined anyone would try something so audacious.  The results are gorgeous, and demand to be seen on a big screen if you still can.  Beyond just the surfeit of eye-catching detail and easter eggs for fine art fans, the story itself, set a year after Van Gogh’s purported suicide as a young man tries to deliver his final letter to Van Gogh’s brother, is captivating in its own right.  One of the finest animated films of the year (just too bad it came out in the year of Coco).

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Sci-Fi and Superheroes Take Over New York! http://movieboozer.com/articles/sci-fi-and-superheroes-take-over-new-york http://movieboozer.com/articles/sci-fi-and-superheroes-take-over-new-york#respond Sat, 16 Dec 2017 13:15:44 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104862 Once again, Movieboozer was on the scene for two big comic con expos that hit upon the New York City one after the other recently. First, a convention that has now become a staple to end the year right and one of our favorites, Wintercon 2017. Honoring all things Sci-Fi, Wintercon welcomes all cosplayers, comic …

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Once again, Movieboozer was on the scene for two big comic con expos that hit upon the New York City one after the other recently. First, a convention that has now become a staple to end the year right and one of our favorites, Wintercon 2017. Honoring all things Sci-Fi, Wintercon welcomes all cosplayers, comic book vendors, and has really shown to be able to draw in top talent from many of our favorite sci-fi films and TV shows. Last year, Wintercon reeled in a very rare appearance of the cast of The Road Warrior and The Warriors. This year’s personalities were worth the trip as Wintercon welcomed the cast of Buck Rogers and the mother of all sci-fi films, Blade Runner.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Both casts talked about their experiences, what appearing in these classics have done for their careers, and the Blade Runner cast talked about the deeper meaning of the film, with Rutger Hauer and Sean Young discussing their roles, and taking plenty of Q&A from the audience.

 

 

 

 

Unlike other cons, these panels were free and held right in the middle of the showroom floor, so all can see and hear the stars speak, unlike other conventions where you’re made to pay additional fees to attend and wait in long lines at separate areas, causing convention goers to miss out on so much. We boozers love Wintercon for being very fan friendly and for the amount of really cool stuff to do all weekend long.

 

 

Following Wintercon, another convention took place just outside of New York City. Ace Comic Con, which has established itself as one of the premier cons in the nation, made its way to its first ever convention in New York. While not totally invaded by cosplayers, Ace Comic Con tries to mix a little of the spirit of what comic cons should be—dedicated to comic books and all the writers, artists, illustrators, and colorists who produce the comics—which it did by devoting a tremendous amount of floor space to them, but also attracting major celebrities to attend. The first day of panels, also free of charge and held just off the main convention floor, was dedicated to WWE. Fans of The Hardy Boyz and The Bella Twins were out in force to root for them, with Hardy Boyz fans chanting “delete, delete,” to express their excitement, and many young girls on hand to see their idols The Bellas up close, and getting a chance to ask questions, with both duos posing for pics with their fans afterwards on stage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But the real highlight of Ace Comic Con was seeing the Justice League—Superman (Henry Cavill), Wonder Woman (Gal Gardot), Cyborg (Ray Fisher), and Aquaman (Jason Momoa), who came out first to welcome the crowd and really getting them worked up. The cast discussed what being in the film has meant to them and all mentioned the fans as being an inspiration to do their best for them, which the packed crowd really appreciated.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So that was the year in comic con craziness. Who knows what 2018 will bring, but Movieboozer will be there to capture your favorite comic book and sci fi characters again.

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Merry Kissmas (2015) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/merry-kissmas-2015-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/merry-kissmas-2015-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Fri, 15 Dec 2017 13:15:34 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104839 By: Jenna Zine (Six Pack) – Kayla is engaged to Carlton, a choreographer obsessed with Christmas. But when Carlton’s ego threatens to overtake the holiday season, she finds herself drawn to Dustin, a sweet pastry chef (pun intended) who just may be the perfect gift! A Toast Kayla (Karissa Lee Staples) is a PR maven working …

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By: Jenna Zine (Six Pack) –

Kayla is engaged to Carlton, a choreographer obsessed with Christmas. But when Carlton’s ego threatens to overtake the holiday season, she finds herself drawn to Dustin, a sweet pastry chef (pun intended) who just may be the perfect gift!

A Toast

Kayla (Karissa Lee Staples) is a PR maven working for her controlling fiancé, Carlton (David O’Donnell), a world-famous choreographer who treats Kayla more like the help than the love of his life. Kayla is a pert blonde who looks like she should be handing out cookies to a kindergarten class. Carlton is a simpering, entitled man obsessed with fame who rocks a goatee worthy of a poor (wo)man’s Robert Downey Jr. The two are so wildly mismatched from the get go, they should’ve called this movie, Hello, We Are Going to Break Up! But we’ve got a plot to get through, so let’s move on with this charade!

Proof. [Photo Credit]

Beer Two

We meet Carlton (whose ridiculous English accent is surely the most entertaining thing about this film) as he pulls up to a fancy hotel. He’s in town to direct The Nutcracker and is fully prepared for everyone in his path to fall at his feet. (I was not aware that choreographers had groupies and now I want to follow one just to have this experience.) He sweeps into his gorgeously appointed hotel room imperiously – one that the hotel staff was told in advance to decorate for Christmas – briefly glances around, flops down on a chair, and whines, “More!” Kayla, who’s swept up in the spirit of the décor, is baffled. “More what?” she questions. “More Christmas!” replies Carlton. Dude, Santa could blow a load in there and it couldn’t get more Christmassy. I think someone needs to adjust his expectations!

No, not that KISS. That’s mighty festive though! [Photo Credit]

Beer Three

The next day, the not-so-happy duo are off to the theater to begin rehearsals. Have we established that Carlton is very important? Because he is very important! If you do not know he’s important, please look up, because that is his mug on the marquee. Oddly, they have chosen to use a photo of Carlton sans-facial hair, which renders him unrecognizable; but he seems very proud of this picture, so just go with it! He becomes immediately immersed with his ballerinas, but not before barking some orders at Kayla, who meekly leaves to fulfill the duties for her boss/fiancé.

Me, me, and more me! [Photo Credit]

Cue the other character we have yet to meet – Dustin (Brant Daugherty), the charming, goofy baker who just happens to be unlucky in love! We know this because his cousin/business partner, Kim (Brittany Underwood), tells us so. In a crazy coincidence, the two just happen to be catering Kayla and Carlton’s upcoming engagement party. What? No way! In fact, Dustin is off to meet the party planner, Jana (Ion Overman), right that very second. But not before getting stuck in a magic elevator that has the gift of pairing people. Only the elevator gets it wrong the first time because Dustin finds his elderly neighbor, Mrs. Billing (Doris Roberts), under the festive mistletoe. Mrs. Billing wastes no time in stealing a (completely horrifying) smooch from the unwilling Dustin. Who says women can’t sexually assault? #evenplayingfield.

Beer Four

Hold on to your hats, folks – there are more coincidences just around the corner because Jana is also close pals with Kayla! In fact, the two used to work together at a magazine called Trend. (Jana seems happy in her new party planning career. Kayla still yearns to be a writer, but is instead stuck working for the dictator of love.) Dustin’s meeting ends and moments later Kayla comes in with a reluctant Carlton in tow. Carlton’s mood improves, however, when he sees autograph-seekers at the bar. Jana can barely contain her immediate contempt for Carlton. Jana’s had two back-to-back meetings, several glasses of wine, and calls it how she sees it. Jana is a heroine.

There’s so much going on in this film! Did I mention every time Kayla strolls forlornly through the town square that there is always a quartet of sad carolers, whose presence is never addressed? Or that every time she’s in said square that Santa himself weighs in on Kayla’s relationship status? Man, I wish I’d gotten high to watch this because I feel high writing about it.

Meanwhile, Carlton may be obsessed with Christmas, but it’s Kayla who loooooves Nutcrackers. She stops in a quaint gift shop to purchase one, only to have a bizarre conversation with the owner. (Who, inexplicably, has a head shot of Kayla’s fiancé clutched to her chest?!) It’s so bizarre, in fact, that Kayla runs out of the shop, only to have the woman chase her. Not just down the street, mind you, but for several blocks. She finds shelter from the insane shop owner in an apartment elevator. Why, yes – the same one Dustin happens to be in, again. As we know, the elevator is magic, so no introductions are made. Nope – it’s straight to the mad macking, and it is dreamy! Take that, Mrs. Billing.

The Duds & Studs grabbed this magical moment where the shop owner pulls this headshot out of freakin’ nowhere!

Beer Five

Kayla exits the elevator after the lip lock and heads to meet her fiancé at the site of their soon-to-be engagement party, as one does. But wait, who is that sexy caterer? It seems they might know each other! The aloof Carlton suddenly expresses interest in Kayla when he sees her eyeing the hottie with the dimples. He pees a little circle around Kayla, all while cackling to Dustin, “She’s mine. All mine!” Someone must’ve slipped Kayla a spine because she actually breaks up with Carlton, right then and there. (She tells him, “Our pieces belong in different puzzles,” which is the most delicate P in the V euphemism ever uttered.) I’ll be damned.

Naturally what follows is a montage of Kayla and Dustin hanging out, including baking cookies (in the shape of Nutcrackers, ‘natch), extended scenes at an animal shelter (how else are we going to bring a boatload of puppies in to save this mess?), and an inexplicable date where they appear to be in shorts at a summer carnival, on a pier, in the middle of winter. I know it’s California and there’s global warming, but… Oh, I just answered my own question. Moving on!

Sleeveless in winter… [Photo Credit]

Beer Six

But wait – it’s not time for that happily ever after just yet! Carlton wants Kayla back, even though he’s boning Pamela (Camille Balsamo), his prima ballerina! We know of this hot hookup because Kayla is at a bar having a heart to heart with bestie Jana (more wine – get it, girl!), when Jana spots Carlton and Pamela canoodling in a corner at the very same bar. Jana does not point this out to Kayla. Again… why? Jana is clearly Team Dustin, so why is she failing to bring it home? I’m going to blame the wine.

Carlton is all, “Kayla is meh. I want passion.” And Pamela is like, “Yeah, that bitch is as basic as they come. Forget her. Let’s go fuck.” I’m paraphrasing here. But come on, Hallmark* – it’s time. #realtalk

Dustin stops by the hotel (because Kayla is still staying there with Carlton. Why… oh, never mind!) to drop off a Nutcracker. What is it with you kids and this Nutcracker? Stop trying to make Nutcrackers happen. They’re not going to happen. Carlton sees the gift, gets jelly, sets up a romantic meal in their suite, and gifts Kayla with the most tacky-ass bracelet I’ve ever seen. It is unidentifiable stones of yellow and purple. He says, “Here… the colors of Christmas.” Um, for someone who’s obsessed with Christmas, you’re sure not familiar with much of it, Carlton. Unless Christmas is in New Orleans, and it is Mardi Gras. Otherwise let’s stick with green and red, shall we?

Kayla runs into Santa in the square again and when he asks her what she wants for Christmas, she says, “Boundaries.” This is the only thing that makes sense in the entire movie.

It’s complicated! [Photo Credit]

She’s in the square because she’s on her way to break it off with Dustin. Obviously Kayla can be bought, and her price is one piece of janky costume jewelry. Kayla is distraught, but ends the relationship in order to “make it work” with Carlton. Dustin is sad, but understanding. Dustin’s cousin drops by to chastise him for not trying harder to keep Kayla. Kick the dude while he’s down, woman who’s barely a part of this plot.

Jana finally spills the beans on Carlton and Pamela. Kayla breaks up with him again, using almost exactly the same speech as the first time. Sure, just cut and paste that script. He doesn’t deserve any more of your time!

Kayla then runs to Dustin’s apartment, who is trapped in the elevator (again!), thankfully alone this time. (This begs the question: is he his own one true love?) While the elevator is stuck, Dustin has plenty of time to confess his innermost feelings to the mistletoe. In an easily foreseen twist of fate, the elevator’s intercom is on, so every word of yearning is broadcast to the crowd waiting in the lobby. (Does anyone take the stairs anymore?) Kayla joins the throng and tears up at his declaration of love. The door finally opens, he emerges, she flings herself into his arms, and the PDA begins.

We see them one year later on a Ferris wheel – the site of their magical winter/summer pier date – where Dustin proposes with a prominently-placed Kay Jewelers ™ diamond ring. Does she say yes? I don’t wait to spoil it. Oh, fuck it – of course she does. The end!

Verdict

While this is not technically a Hallmark movie – it was made for the ION (stylized as ion) Channel – we all know the blueprint of these films. And God bless these Hallmark-type flicks, for what would the holidays be without them? Yes, they’re terrible. Yes, you know exactly what’s going to happen – and that’s the point. In an uncertain world, there’s comfort in the known. Besides, that eggnog ain’t gonna binge drink itself – put reality on a shelf, have a sit, and treat yo’self!

Merry Kissmas (2015) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time you laugh at Carlton’s accent.

Add a Shot: for the insane shop lady’s accent.

Take a Drink: for every missed connection between Kayla and Dustin.

Take a Drink: every time you feel bad for the (terrible and awkward) carolers that never get their due.

Take a Drink: every time you think, “What in the hell is with these people and their Nutcrackers?”

Take a Drink: every time you think, “Jesus, Kayla – grow a pair.”

Do a Shot: Why on earth did they name the romantic lead “Dustin”? That is one of the least-sexy names, ever. (All apologies if you’re a Dustin who’s reading this. I’m sure you’re hot AF.)

Do a Shot: if you want to kick Dustin in the balls when his cousin asks about his kiss with Mrs. Billing and he replies, “No. I’m talking about a real woman.” Elderly women are real people, you sexist/ageist fuck.

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Just Getting Started (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/just-getting-started-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/just-getting-started-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Thu, 14 Dec 2017 13:15:38 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104787 By: Henry J. Fromage (Six Pack) – Folks don’t talk about Ron Shelton in the same breath as a Barry Levinson or a Rob Reiner, but this contemporary of theirs was once just as good, and is now just as fucking toothless.  Sure, it’s been 15 years since his also garbage Hollywood Homicide, but Just Getting Started proves that …

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By: Henry J. Fromage (Six Pack) –

Folks don’t talk about Ron Shelton in the same breath as a Barry Levinson or a Rob Reiner, but this contemporary of theirs was once just as good, and is now just as fucking toothless.  Sure, it’s been 15 years since his also garbage Hollywood Homicide, but Just Getting Started proves that you don’t to put out a series of painfully mediocre films to prove you’ve lost it- one will do.

What does that tagline even mean?

Morgan Freeman is in Witness Protection in a Palm Springs retirement community, when he’s spotted in a commercial he clearly shot on purpose by the matriarch of the mob family he ratted on, who sends her son to kill him instead of a professional who a mob family would clearly have access to.  Meanwhile, Tommy Lee Jones joins the community and threatens Freeman’s alpha dog status, what with his three girlfriends and three idiot lackeys and poker and golf.  Finally, Rene Russo shows up for them to fight over.  These disparate story elements come together as lamely as you’d expect.

A Toast

I went to Palm Springs once on a business trip, and I liked it, not that this movie shows you much more than a few landscape shots of the mountains.  Tommy Lee Jones is mostly just himself in the movie, which is always fine.

Beer Two

The first title card was for something called Endurance Media.  I knew I was in for a bad time right then and there, further confirmed by some poorly integrated Youtube footage of people dealing with cars stuck in snow for the opening scene “somewhere in New Jersey”, before we hop to Palm Springs to Christmas music and some elf statues in the sun.  It is apparently non-stop hilarious to Ron Shelton that they celebrate Christmas in Palm Springs, as seemingly every scene transition comes back to this joke.

This shit must be Ron Shelton’s Caddyshack

Beer Three

It’s clear from that very first scene, in which Jane Seymour screeches in a bad wig and a cheap-looking set likely very far away from Palm Springs, that very, very little effort was expended on this desiccated turd.   That’s underlined by most of the technical aspects of the film, including just so much unnecessarily bad dubbing, back-projected “action scene” car chases in which the actors chat like they’re having an afternoon tea, and schizophrenic camera movements that suggest even the cameraman was getting bored.  Reshoots?  Why bother?

Beer Four

The Greek Chorus of old idiots who make up the principal supporting cast further accentuate how little actors of a certain age have to do, and what drivel they’re willing to voice if they’re paid scale (shit, I hope they were paid scale).  They include: Joe Pantoliano (an Emmy for The Sopranos), Elizabeth Ashley (Emmy, BAFTA, and Golden Globe nominations), Glenne Headley (two Emmy nominations), Sheryl Lee Ralph (an Independent Spirit Award for To Sleep with Anger), George Wallace (48 credits, not counting 108 credits for various comedy specials), and Graham Beckel (117 credits, including L.A. Confidential and Leaving Las Vegas).

Beer Five

There are no stakes or forward motion to this, it’s pure direct to video listlessness.  There couldn’t have been more than a take or two for any of these scenes, and as the production dragged on, the energy of the filmmaking apparently decreased on a steady downward line.  It just gets worse and worse precisely at the time the film half-heartedly heads in an action film direction.  The damn thing’s not even the 91 promised minutes- giving up around 80 or so.

Did they seriously get Subway to provide craft service?

Beer Six

Perhaps the most disappointing aspect of any of this is Morgan Freeman’s involvement- couldn’t somebody give him something better to do?  He very much acts down to the level of his script in this- sadly broad and hacky.  The man’s 80 years old and a national treasure.  Let’s find roles that are worth all of our time.

Verdict

Just Getting Started is an impotent comedy actively trying to reduce all participants to official has-been status.  I can’t imagine Ron Shelton getting a wide release again after this.

Just Getting Started (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: for geriatric sex talk

Take a Drink: for desert Christmas incongruities

Take a Drink: for Jane Seymour scenes

Take a Drink: for golf

Take a Drink: “shut up”

Do a Shot: for F150 commercials

Do a Shot: oooohh, they said the title!

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Virtual Pub 233: Disaster Artist, Columbus, Antiporno and more! http://movieboozer.com/featured/virtual-pub-233-disaster-artist-columbus-antiporno http://movieboozer.com/featured/virtual-pub-233-disaster-artist-columbus-antiporno#respond Thu, 14 Dec 2017 04:00:49 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104849 The post Virtual Pub 233: Disaster Artist, Columbus, Antiporno and more! appeared first on MovieBoozer.

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Legally Blonde (2001) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/legally-blonde-2001-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/legally-blonde-2001-movie-review-drinking-game#comments Wed, 13 Dec 2017 13:15:14 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104780 By: Alex Phuong (Two Beers) – Reese Witherspoon is one of the most recognizable actresses working today. She won the Academy Award for playing June Carter in Walk the Line (2005), received an Oscar nomination for playing Cheryl Strayed in Wild (2014),and recently appeared in the film Home Again (2017). Even with such a wide …

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By: Alex Phuong (Two Beers) –

Reese Witherspoon is one of the most recognizable actresses working today. She won the Academy Award for playing June Carter in Walk the Line (2005), received an Oscar nomination for playing Cheryl Strayed in Wild (2014),and recently appeared in the film Home Again (2017). Even with such a wide variety of roles and acclaim, perhaps Witherspoon’s most iconic performance was when she played Elle Woods in Legally Blonde (2001). This beloved comedy is a modern classic because of its quirky sense of humor along with its advocacy of feminism.

A Toast

This film is laugh-out-loud funny! (LOL!) Some of the jokes might be risqué, but all of that makes the film very enjoyable to watch. Reese Witherspoon also delivers an amazing performance, and even received a Golden Globe nomination for her work on this film. This is also a great example of a “feel-good movie” because audiences feel a sense of relief at the film’s conclusion (but it will not be spoiled in this film review). Legally Blonde can also deliver a sense of empowerment as its strong female characters teach audiences that women can just be as independent as men. This is definitely a film filled with “girl power”!

Beer Two

Even with its empowering tone and feminist ideas, this film has its fair share of anti-feminist content. Some of the anti-feminist ideas involves the degradation of women. For example, there is scene in which Elle (Witherspoon) is dressed like a playboy bunny at a college party, which reveals the disturbing fact that some real-life women have those unfortunate professions. There are also a lot of negative stereotypes against women exhibited in the film primarily through the costumes that Witherspoon wears. Some of the dresses are very stylish, such as the red dress that Elle wears on her date with Warner near the beginning of the film. However, there is also a lot of usage of the color pink, which could imply negative ideas depending on how audiences feel about that “feminine” color. Even though Elle wears clothing with stereotypically feminine colors, her self-determination reveals the fundamental fact that outer appearances do not always represent a person’s true character, all of which still reiterates the film’s feminist themes.

Verdict

Indeed, wearing pretty clothes is not the same as being “close-minded.” Not only are the clothes part of the feminist aspect of this film, but the title itself involves independence and self-determination. The word “blonde” describes Elle Woods’s blonde hair, which is a major feature of both her physical appearance as well as her vivacious personality. The adverb “legally” implies that Elle has the right to be herself no matter what other people say. She can be a homecoming queen. She can be (also) a lawyer. She can be anything she wants to be…legally! Because of the symbolic nature of the title, the story of Elle Woods has inspired countless people (and not just women) to express their own individuality. That sense of empowerment is most likely the reason why this film has endured in terms of its popularity and cultural influence.

Legally Blonde (2001) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: for every “dumb blonde” joke

Take a Drink: whenever Elle and Paulette do the “bend & snap”

Drink a Shot: every time Elle Woods wears anything pink

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Roman J. Israel, Esq. (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/roman-j-israel-esq-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/roman-j-israel-esq-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Tue, 12 Dec 2017 13:15:03 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104675 By: Oberst von Berauscht (Three Beers) – Roman J. Israel, Esq. (Denzel Washington) has worked for 35 years in the back room of a small Civil Rights law firm. His partner was the face of the firm, meeting with clients, representing them in court, making public appearances. Roman’s job, on the other hand, was to …

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By: Oberst von Berauscht (Three Beers) –

Roman J. Israel, Esq. (Denzel Washington) has worked for 35 years in the back room of a small Civil Rights law firm. His partner was the face of the firm, meeting with clients, representing them in court, making public appearances. Roman’s job, on the other hand, was to draft documents and use his encyclopedic legal knowledge to guide strategy.  When his partner is hospitalized in a coma, Roman is left to fend for himself and his lack of social skills make that a challenge. It is painfully obvious that Roman is ill-prepared to take on cases for himself. Finally he finds work with the law office run by George Pierce (Colin Farrell) a younger, hungrier lawyer who sees Roman as an idealist and respects him for it, though he finds working with him a challenge. Particularly since Roman has been doing things his way for decades now…

There are things called “Com Pu Tors” Roman…

Desperate to make his own way, Roman begins compromising those ideals in very major ways, making decisions for the first time in the name of financial gain rather than his beliefs.

A Toast

Denzel Washington should be commended for his excellent performance, which depicts Roman as a proud but socially inept man who has never had a real challenge to his beliefs, having sequestered himself in a office back room for 35 years.  Roman is depicted as being autistic, a choice that challenges Washington as he’s never played that sort of character before. He is very much up for the challenge though, and his performance never feels false.

Director/writer Dan Gilroy poses an interesting question through Roman’s downfall. Was Roman a righteous man who was pushed to the edge, or was he inherently prone to temptation from the beginning, just kept away from the dangers of corruption due to his isolated lifestyle? For his part, Colin Farrell is excellent as Roman’s foil. Attorney George Pierce compromised his integrity early on, focusing on a career path of financial gain. But deep inside he has a deep-seated longing to do something significant, and he seeks Roman’s approval for this reason. As Roman begins to fall, George crosses paths with him in another direction, on his way towards a sort of personal redemption.

Beer Two

Dan Gilroy’s screenplay has trouble keeping up with Washington’s performance. Whereas his past film Nightcrawler was a tightly paced thriller, Roman J. Israel, Esq. feels spotty at best. Numerous scenes feel either abruptly shortened or set up subplots that never pay off.  This is a movie that could have used some judicious editing to cut out the fat.

It’s not the first time a film relied on Denzel’s acting to save the day…

Beer Three

The film’s biggest flaw is that near the end Roman’s character is given too much of a chance at redemption. The themes that are explored would be far more effective if Roman was allowed to descend more fully into the abyss. Particularly since Colin Farrell’s character gets his own chance at redemption, it lessens the overall impact of the story.

Verdict

Roman J. Israel, Esq. is supremely flawed, but boasts an excellent performance from its lead and supporting characters that make up for many faults.

Roman J. Israel, Esq. (2017) Movie Review

Take a Drink: when Roman makes an obviously bad decision

Take a Drink: every time Roman is awkward in public

Do a Shot: each time someone says his full name or he corrects someone on his name

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365 Days of Movies- Henry J. Fromage Edition- Week 47 http://movieboozer.com/articles/365-days-movies-henry-j-fromage-edition-week-46-2 http://movieboozer.com/articles/365-days-movies-henry-j-fromage-edition-week-46-2#respond Mon, 11 Dec 2017 18:15:26 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104651 By: Henry J. Fromage – With a little extra off time and a bit more chill in the air, finally got back in the theaters to catch the Oscar hopefuls streaming in this month. 232. Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri I’m all in on the both of the McDonagh brothers, and Martin McDonagh getting legit …

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By: Henry J. Fromage –

With a little extra off time and a bit more chill in the air, finally got back in the theaters to catch the Oscar hopefuls streaming in this month.

232. Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri

I’m all in on the both of the McDonagh brothers, and Martin McDonagh getting legit feature length Oscar attention (he already has one for his dramatic short Six Shooter) is genuinely exciting stuff indeed.  So, I’m happy to report that this film is entertaining in all the ways a McDonagh film usually is- a colorful, colorfully-speaking cast of characters cast impeccably, a truly dark sense of humor mixed in with the dramatics like only a Korean auteur elsewise would dare, and a story that grabs you and holds you from start to finish.  The only problem- all the marketing that posits this film as holding some sort of serious opinion on Ferguson-style police brutality.  Make no mistake, this film, like all of both McDonagh brothers’ films, takes place in a heightened parallel universe where the rule of law very tenuously exists (seriously, every one of the main characters should have been very easily and deservedly incarcerated before we’re even halfway through it- and this is a film about the police, mind you).  As long as you walk into this film understanding this, you’ll have a blast.  We’ll see how successful that Oscar marketing spin, proves, though.

233. Patti Cake$

So, this is boilerplate inspirational scrub musical wanna-be finds her voice and shows it to the world stuff here, make no mistake.  However, for my money, the formula works when the characters (and acting) are this relatable and interesting, the direction is this energetic and inventive, the music is this surprisingly credible, and the catharsis is this good.  Typical Sundance striving, sure, but if you liked the awesomely bombastic trailers, you’ll love the film (and if you hated them, then your opinion is probably already made).

234. Coco

This is Pixar finally delivering at feature length on the promise of that goddamn heartbreaking short film to begin Up.  Once again, we’re dealing some pretty basic storytelling here (I had most of the literal beat by beat plot figured out in the first third of the film, and so can you!).  However, that’s what Pixar does– they just do it better than probably anybody these days, and if this story of life, death, and family ties doesn’t rear back and donkey kick you in the feels, you quite likely don’t have any.  I probably don’t need to even mention how stunningly detailed and realized the Dia de los Muertos-flavor afterlife is here- definitely worth your big screen ducats.

PS- While I actually like Frozen unlike Oberst, apparently, his instincts to avoid the 20-plus minute Olaf-starring short that replaces the trailers in most markets were spot on.  Hot, steaming garbage involving none of the behind the scenes talents that brought Frozen to the screen, as far as I could tell.  For the kiddos, because kiddos are easily pleased.

235. The Last Detail

This Jack Nicholson Oscar vehicle apparently had quite a reputation in its day for its ribaldry, and it is plenty ribald, even if not especially impressive by modern standards.  Nicholson stars alongside Otis Young as Navy NCOs detailed to escort a 19 year seaman (an extremely fresh-faced Randy Quaid) caught stealing from a donation box and sentenced to 8 years in military prison for the deed.  The hard-living and highly opinionated Nicholson gets a stroke of conscience alongside Young, and they decide to drag out their week-long detail to the end and show this kid who’s barely lived some good times before he gets locked up.  Fascinating for its perspective on a seedier and livelier New York and Philadelphia, among other places, it plays well as a roadtrip comedy with some strong touches of drama even today.

236. Last Flag Flying

The reason for getting around to The Last Detail now is Richard Linklater’s new, loose 2003-set sequel to the film (or rather, adaptation of the loose sequel of a book by the original author).  Linklater has great fun drawing parallels between the two films and two worlds (instead of going whoring in NYC like the first film, the three leads… buy their first cell phones).  However, the real crux of the film is a comparison between their Vietnam (only lightly referenced in the original, but now playing a prominent part in the past of these characters- again, loose adaptation) and the first Iraq War, to which Steve Carrell’s Larry has lost a son whose body the three are now transporting back home with him, and our present day, in which thousands still serve in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Laurence Fishburn and a very Nicholson-esque Bryan Cranston deliver quality comedy in their abrasive relationship, but it’s Carrell’s soft-spoken performance that makes this film worth seeking out.

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Mary Poppins (1964) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/mary-poppins-1964-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/mary-poppins-1964-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Mon, 11 Dec 2017 13:15:19 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104668 By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) – P.L. Travers created one of the most beloved heroines in children’s literature with Mary Poppins. Walt Disney saw potential in Travers’s enchanting books as a magical movie-going experience, but Travers was notoriously adamant about protecting her character from exploitation. Walt Disney was a real charmer, though, and somehow managed …

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By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) –

P.L. Travers created one of the most beloved heroines in children’s literature with Mary Poppins. Walt Disney saw potential in Travers’s enchanting books as a magical movie-going experience, but Travers was notoriously adamant about protecting her character from exploitation. Walt Disney was a real charmer, though, and somehow managed to convince Travers to grant him the film rights to her books. The final film has maintained a legendary status for more than fifty years (as of 2017), and continues to entertain audiences with magical adventures filled with heart and soul.

A Toast

Upon its release, many critics and audiences argued that it was Disney’s crowning achievement, and Mary Poppins has been living up to that praise for decades. Obviously, Julie Andrews is the real star of this film as she played her title character as a nanny who is “kind but extremely firm.” That firm but fair attitude, combined with angelic singing and magic tricks up her sleeve, are all reasons why Julie Andrews deserved her Academy Award even though it was her film debut. The entire film is one of the most magical Disney films ever produced, and received a record-making five Academy Awards, including the only “Best Picture” nomination for a film that Walt Disney personally worked on. It is no surprise that the Academy gave this film 13 nominations given the fact that it truly is a spectacular family film.

Verdict

1964 was a very interesting year in film history because the two films that acquired the most praise that year were My Fair Lady and Mary Poppins. An even more interesting fact was that Julie Andrews couldn’t play the lead in the film adaptation My Fair Lady, which meant that she was available to play Mary Poppins. Audrey Hepburn didn’t even receive a nomination for playing Eliza Doolittle at the Academy Awards, which meant that Julie Andrews was a very formidable actress. The film itself had a spectacular premiere at the Grauman’s Chinese Theater in 1964, and it was Walt Disney’s most lavish premiere since the release of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves at the Carthay Circle Theater in 1937.

Walt Disney unfortunately passed away in 1966, but he has truly blessed the world with one of the greatest motion pictures in cinematic history. Mary Poppins also inspired the Disney Company to make Saving Mr. Banks (2013), which provides an interesting backstory to the making of Disney’s masterpiece. Emily Blunt is also set to star in Mary Poppins Returns (2018). Because of the influence of this cultural phenomenon, it is no wonder that this magical flying nanny has entertained audiences for more than half a century, and will hopefully continue to entertain audiences with its whimsically magical tale.

Mary Poppins (1964) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time Bert changes professions (which includes being a street chalk drawer, a hot chestnut salesman, and a chimney sweep)

Take a Drink: every time Admiral Boom shoots cannonballs punctually every hour on the hour

Take a Drink: during every reference to the suffragette (women’s rights) movement

Take a Drink: anytime anything magical happens on screen

Drink a Shot: when any of the characters say the word, “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” (and have another shot when Mary Poppins says it backwards!)

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Trailer Reviews: Just Getting Started & The Disaster Artist http://movieboozer.com/articles/trailer-reviews-just-getting-started-disaster-artist http://movieboozer.com/articles/trailer-reviews-just-getting-started-disaster-artist#respond Sun, 10 Dec 2017 18:15:20 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104807 By: Hawk Ripjaw – Just Getting Started I went down a weird little rabbit hole while I was learning more about Just Getting Started. First, I watched the trailer. It seemed mostly inoffensive, but also the sort of Old Person Comedy like Last Vegas or Going in Style that caters directly to your parents and …

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By: Hawk Ripjaw –

Just Getting Started

I went down a weird little rabbit hole while I was learning more about Just Getting Started. First, I watched the trailer. It seemed mostly inoffensive, but also the sort of Old Person Comedy like Last Vegas or Going in Style that caters directly to your parents and grandparents that want to go see a talkie after brunch at Denny’s. Look! Morgan Freeman and Tommy Lee Jones get into shenanigans while they compete for pussy at the old folks’ home! How fun!
Next, I read the description. Yes, the movie is about that, but also it’s about Morgan Freeman’s character suddenly on the shitlist of people who want him dead. Wait, what?

This is from the director of Hollywood Homicide, one of the first movies I actually hated, as well as a bunch of other stuff I didn’t see. He also helped write Bad Boys II for some reason, and I really can’t fault him for that because Bad Boys II is one of the most shamelessly excessive action flicks ever made. This, unfortunately, looks like garbage. 

Beer Prediction

I think I might be able to catch one more showing of Blade Runner 2049.

 

The Disaster Artist

Ah, James Franco. I like him, but he takes his filmmaking seriously, and oftentimes not in a way that pays off for him. It is good—I have my passions, but if I tackled them with the fearlessness that Franco seems to, I’d be doing a lot more shit than I am right now. He also adapted a Frank Bidart poem about a guy banging a dead body. The dude is daring, and I respect that even if his movies don’t always stick the landing. However, he really seems like he’s about to strike gold with The Disaster Artist. A couple of weeks ago on the Pubcast, we discussed method acting and how not to be an asshole about it. Franco’s not being an asshole with his method acting, he’s making it his method to directing the movie, even reportedly staying in character as Tommy Wiseau as he directed. He apparently even took it one step further by breaking character and turning back into Franco during the questionable first teaser for the movie–or maybe that was just part of the marketing. That alone propels this into must-see status. 

Beer Prediction

Come on, it’s based on The Room. We all want to see where this goes.

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The Aviator (2004) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/the-aviator-2004-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/the-aviator-2004-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Sun, 10 Dec 2017 13:15:27 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104620 By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) – Leonardo DiCaprio has had one of the most interesting careers that Hollywood has ever known. He received his first Academy Award nomination for What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993), and he played “Jack” in James Cameron’s Titanic (1997). Even though he is one of the most recognizable film stars, he …

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By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) –

Leonardo DiCaprio has had one of the most interesting careers that Hollywood has ever known. He received his first Academy Award nomination for What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993), and he played “Jack” in James Cameron’s Titanic (1997). Even though he is one of the most recognizable film stars, he had to wait decades before finally winning the Oscar for The Revenant (2015). DiCaprio almost won the Oscar many years earlier for bringing Howard Hughes to life in Martin Scorsese’s epic bio-pic The Aviator (2004). Even though he failed to win the Oscar in 2005, Leonardo DiCaprio still delivered one of the greatest performances from an actor in any given year.

A Toast

The Aviator is definitely a modern epic. This film swept the craft categories at the Academy Awards because of its historically accurate art direction, sweeping cinematography, and sumptuous costumes. It is no wonder that this film would win these awards given the fact that it captures the “colorful” (pun intended) life of Howard Hughes. Cate Blanchett deserved her Academy Award for bringing Katharine Hepburn to life, and Blanchett became the first person to win an Oscar for playing an Oscar winner! The real star of the show, though, is Leonardo DiCaprio because he exhibits the grandeur of Howard Hughes while also presenting his character’s vulnerability, especially when Hughes struggles to cope with his fear of germs. It is safe to say that Martin Scorsese directed one of the first modern epics of the Twenty-first Century!

Verdict

Howard Hughes really was quite the character. He was an aviator, a filmmaker, and lived a very scandalous life. Even with his hardships, he still had major triumphs, especially when he made “The Hercules” (or as some would say, “The Spruce Goose.”) In spite of criticism and backlash, Howard Hughes was still very bold and innovative, and Leonardo DiCaprio did a great service by playing such an iconic figure. DiCaprio might have lost of coveted Oscar to Jamie Foxx’s performance as Ray Charles in Ray (2004), but his portrayal of Howard Hughes will always remain a favorite for Leonardo DiCaprio fans.

The Aviator (2004) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time the characters do anything involving airplanes

Take a Drink: every time the film exhibits some of Howard Hughes’ cinematic work

Drink a Shot: during every intense hand-washing scene

And be sure to Clean your Cups: every time Howard Hughes expresses his phobia for germs, especially when he spells the word Q-U-A-R-A-N-T-I-N-E out loud.

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Last Flag Flying (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/last-flag-flying-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/last-flag-flying-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Sat, 09 Dec 2017 13:15:18 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104685 By: Henry J. Fromage (Three Beers) – Richard Linklater could pretty much have written his own check for any idea he had after the stunning success of Boyhood, but curiously he chose to direct a semi-sequel to a moderately successful 1973 film.   Weep for the lost art of video sleeves. Last Flag Flying catches up with …

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By: Henry J. Fromage (Three Beers) –

Richard Linklater could pretty much have written his own check for any idea he had after the stunning success of Boyhood, but curiously he chose to direct a semi-sequel to a moderately successful 1973 film.

 

Weep for the lost art of video sleeves.

Last Flag Flying catches up with the principal characters of The Last Detail 30 years later, as Larry (then- Randy Quaid, now- Steve Carrell) comes into Sal’s (then- Jack Nicholson as Buddusky, now- Bryan Cranston) hole-in-the-wall bar and convinces him to drive and find now-pastor Mueller (then- Otis Young as Mulhall, now- Laurence Fishburn).  It turns out his son has died in Iraq, and he’d like the buddies who once escorted him to military prison to now come with him as he claims his coffin.

A Toast

Richard Linklater attempts to walk a tricky line of paying a homage to the original film while adapting a later quasi-sequel by the author of that film’s source, James Ponicsan.  Between Linklater and Ponicsan, it was clearly determined that there would be more thematic resonance if certain details, like the length of time Larry was in the brig (from 8 years to 2 now) and even their branch of the military (Navy to Marines) was tweaked, and the characters’ names are not even (quite) the same.  This annoys at first, but as the author and director’s master plan reveals itself, that fades.

Last Flag Flying is a film about how one service generation’s memories of a fucked-up foreign war without seeming motivation nor clear end reflect on another’s, and by extension, ours, 14 years after the 2003 setting of this film and still boots firmly on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan.  It’s also a meditation on nostalgia and the passage of time like nearly all of Linklater’s films are at its core, and a turf war between distrust of the government and the military and respect for the men who serve, as well as a between the value of facing the nasty truth of war and the illogical things that happen in it and the value of comforting a loved one with half-truths or even outright lies instead of revealing that ugly truth.

Not everyone dies a hero, but you ain’t telling mama Cicely Tyson that.

Basically, this is another very Linklater script that should get its fair share of recognition, and the cast displays great chemistry, comedic timing, and camaraderie even if it’s not easy for these contrasting personalities to always get along or even particularly like each other sometimes.  The movie gets great mileage out of Fishburn’s priestly but still rough and tumble if forced mien and Cranston’s live-wire alcoholic Sal. Cranston clearly had great fun playing an aged version of young and garrulous Jack Nicholson’s Oscar-nominated original role, and might be in the conversation himself in a few months.  J. Quinton Johnson makes his mark among this storied cast as well playing the soldier on detail this time- minding his best friend’s body as it makes its way home.

It’s Carrell who’s the heart and soul of the film, though, and while underplayed and quietly very of a piece with his usual persona, his performance is what gets you in the end.

Beer Two

The way the debate about burying Lary’s son in his uniform or his decidedly civilian graduation suit debate is resolved undercuts what the whole film had been building towards, it seems.  It involves at least Sal acting completely out of character, removes what little agency Larry’s character had, and strangely neuters what could have been a perhaps fittingly acerbic finale to a film that to this point had many very conscientious objections to such a display.

Beer Three

*Spoilers to the extent possible in a Richard Linklater film*

That’s what makes the final reading of Larry’s son’s letter almost come off like fully endorsed military propaganda.  I can see the argument that the son is doing what Larry, Mueller, and Sal finally swallow their perhaps selfish guilt and do with their old friend’s mother, but it’s one thing to suggest the comforting lie is sometimes better, and it’s quite another to end your generally anti-war film with a rah-rah sacrifice for your country one to comfort the olds with.

Verdict

Last Flag Flying doesn’t punch as hard as it could of in the end, but maybe that’s the point of this otherwise quite thought-provoking and entertaining sadly multi-generational soldiers’ story.

Last Flag Flying (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time Bryan Cranston does

Take a Drink: for references to Vietnam

Take a Drink: for new forms of transportation

Take a Drink: for obvious patriotic or anti-patriotic speeches

Do a Shot: for full-handed candy grabs

Do a Shot: every time you see Saddam Hussein

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The Disaster Artist (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/the-disaster-artist-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/the-disaster-artist-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Fri, 08 Dec 2017 13:15:50 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104748 By: BabyRuth (A Toast) – Tommy Wiseau’s The Room has been referred to as “The Citizen Kane of bad movies.”  While there are many deserving films that this honor could arguably be bestowed upon, any doubt of Wiseau’s epic being the worthy recipient of the title is put to rest in the first five minutes.  Hell, …

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By: BabyRuth (A Toast) –

Tommy Wiseau’s The Room has been referred to as “The Citizen Kane of bad movies.”  While there are many deserving films that this honor could arguably be bestowed upon, any doubt of Wiseau’s epic being the worthy recipient of the title is put to rest in the first five minutes.  Hell, scratch that, the first minute.  No wait, the first line of dialogue.

The Room is very difficult to put into words. If you were to try, some might be “cringe-worthy,” “wrong-headed,” and “incomprehensible.”  The most fitting though, is  “fascinating.” It’s truly one of those things that must be seen to be believed. It’s an impressive feat in filmmaking in that it displays just how mind-blowingly wrong someone could get every element of a movie. Upon viewing, one may wonder, how in the hell did this even come to be?

As the legend goes, one day in back in the early 2000s, a man from unconfirmed Eastern European whereabouts named Tommy Wiseau decided that he was going to write, direct, produce, and star in his own damn movie after countless rejections trying to make it as an actor in Los Angeles. Many months and six million dollars (it has never been revealed where/how he got the money) later, the result was The Room.

Wiseau wasn’t just satisfied with getting the film made though. He truly thought it was something special. He put up a billboard in LA that stayed up for years, took out a full-page “For Your Consideration” ad in Variety magazine, and even held his own red-carpet premiere during which audience members (the ones who didn’t walk out) “were rolling on the floor” and “crying with laughter.”  Have I mentioned that The Room is a drama?  It has even been compared to the works of Tennessee Williams—by Tommy Wiseau.  The movie ended up grossing $1800.00 in its original theatrical run.

But then something bizarre happened. Over time, The Room developed a huge cult following and became a bona fide worldwide phenomenon. Even fourteen years later, cities still have midnight showings similar to The Rocky Horror Picture Show in which audience members bring props, dress up, and yell comments at the screen. Wiseau has embraced this odd fame and makes regular appearances at screenings, even if he doesn’t fully understand/accept that people love it because it’s so magnificently awful.

In 2013, Wiseau’s The Room costar and longtime friend, Greg Sestero released a book titled The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside The Room, the Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made that documented the making of The Room as well as his and Wiseau’s unlikely and often tumultuous friendship. In 2014, James Franco optioned The Disaster Artist’s rights to adapt the book into a film through Seth Rogen’s production company, Point Grey Pictures. Franco also announced that he would direct the film and star as Wiseau.

Which brings us up to now with the long anticipated release of The Disaster Artist.

The first half of the film focuses on the unusual friendship between  young, struggling actor Greg Sestero (Dave Franco) and Tommy Wiseau (James Franco). The two meet at an acting class when Greg, along with everyone else in the room, is mesmerized, and likely frightened, by Tommy’s insane but commendably uninhibited performance. Greg is shy and reserved and asks Tommy to be his scene partner so he can learn how to break out of his shell. The two quickly develop a bond and move to Los Angeles to become big movie stars.

Thanks to his pretty-boy looks, Greg has a slightly easier go at it, landing an agent (Sharon Stone, in one of many cameos) and a girlfriend (Alison Brie). Things don’t work out so well for Tommy, who is constantly rejected and told to go for villain roles much to his disdain (he insists he is “All-American hero”).

Tommy decides that instead of waiting around for a role that will never come, he’ll just write one for himself. Hence: The Room is born. The latter half of the movie recreates the experience of the filming, culminating with that ill-fated premiere.

A Toast

Like many who have been chomping at the bit to see this film, I am a devoted The Room enthusiast. I had been a fan of “bad” and offbeat movies my whole life, but nothing could have prepared me for The Room when I first learned of its existence in 2009. I immediately became obsessed, reading anything and everything I could find on it, watching it dozens of times, and attending multiple screenings over the years. I even have a football signed by Tommy and Greg.

So when I first heard that James Franco was planning to make The Disaster Artist I was equally excited and nervous. Make that slightly more nervous than excited. Franco and Rogen’s brand of stoner-comedy often goes for the easy laugh, and subject matter such as The Room is perfect fodder for mean-spirited mockery (anyone who has ever attended a screening can attest to that – there’s always at least a few people who take it too far). So the idea of Franco in Wiseau drag hamming it up and making easy “hey, remember this?” references was a little concerning.

Fortunately, The Disaster Artist is no lazy parody. As a director, Franco strikes the perfect balance between absurdity and humanity. The screenwriting team of Scott Neustradter and Michael H. Weber (500 Days of Summer, The Spectacular Now) also must be mentioned here as they do a wonderful job in keeping true to the tone of the source material.

Make no mistake, this is a very, very funny film, easily the funniest of the year. Cry-laugh funny at times. But the humor is smartly found in the stranger-than-fiction situations, never from cruel parody or outright ridicule. It’s sneaky though, because at the same time it is surprisingly poignant and sometimes even sad.

Much has been said about Franco’s performance as Wiseau. And everything you’ve heard is true. He disappears into the role, even at times when that smile threatens to remind the viewer that they’re watching James Franco. He nails the accent, the intonation, and the strange body language. It’s spooky. (Note to Franco: Just please don’t make a James & Tommy Netflix documentary twenty years from now.) But Franco goes a step beyond mere impersonation; he brings vulnerability to Wiseau, portraying him as an actual human being (bean, sorry!) rather than a larger-than-life sideshow. Behind the overconfident exterior there is a person with feelings, feelings that are capable of being hurt. And through Franco’s empathetic performance, we see that. And it’s pretty damn heartbreaking. Along with turning in his best acting work to date, Franco did Wiseau a solid, as his interpretation depicts an endearing outcast just trying to follow his dreams.

That’s not to say the film shies away from showing the unflattering side of its subject. During the filming of one of the many infamous love scenes, Wiseau launches into an insult-filled tirade against his crew and co-star Juliette Danielle (Ari Graynor), all while ridiculously clad only in a cock sock. It’s a disturbing look at just how difficult and unhinged Wiseau could be and reportedly was on the set of The Room. In another, he denies Greg, his supposed best friend, a day off to shoot a scene on a hit TV show, purely out of spite and jealousy. It’s a complicated character and a complicated balance, and Franco, as director and actor, handles it extremely well.

Much like last year’s celebrated ode to Hollywood, La La Land, The Disaster Artist is also a tribute to the dreamers and struggling actors of the world, though in a funhouse mirror kind of way to the glossy musical. In addition to Wiseau and Sestero, we get a glimpse of the other people behind their Room counterparts, seeing what they had to endure only to ultimately be rewarded with pretty much the exact opposite of the big break they were hoping for. Graynor is the standout here, she is fantastic as Danielle and as “Lisa” in the recreated scenes.  (The real-life actors have a great sense of humor about it all, as evidenced by the very funny mockumentary I recommend to all Room fans available here)

The supporting cast all easily fit into their roles and there’s a family feel to the whole production, not only due to the actual family members (the Franco brothers and Dave’s wife Alison Brie), but frequent Franco collaborators Seth Rogen and Charlyne Yi as well as How Did This Get Made? podcast hosts Paul Scheer, June Diane Raphael, and Jason Mantzoukas, who are no doubt  responsible for introducing many to The Room. Each seems to have a genuine love for Wiseau’s magnum opus and it shows in their performances.

And then there are the cameos, all of which are great, but Zac Efron’s scene-stealing turn as the intense Dan Janjigian (“Chris-R”) must be singled out along with Josh Hutcherson, whose first appearance in the “Denny” costume elicited uproarious laughter and applause at the screening I attended.

Though the film stays true to events as depicted in Sestero’s book for the most part, there is some use of artistic license. Everything is a bit romanticized and there are a few instances of fact-bending for super-fans to nitpick: In reality, Sestero did not want to star in The Room and was initially only the line-producer (he reluctantly agreed to play Mark after several actors quit), whereas Dave Franco’s Greg couldn’t be more excited at the offer to be cast and seems as optimistic about the movie’s turnout as Wiseau. There is also no terrible dubbing in the recreation of the famous “flower shop” scene. The final act of the premiere condenses months into minutes with the turnaround of the audience from shocked scorn to bewildered amusement. But none of these things get in the way of enjoying the movie and definitely do not merit a second beer, at least not from me.

The biggest debate surrounding this film isn’t whether it’s any good or not, but that if someone not familiar with The Room would enjoy The Disaster Artist as a standalone piece. I’d answer that by likening it to a person going to a concert for a band a they’ve never heard of. They’d still be able to enjoy the show, but they’re not going have the same experience as the person standing next to them who knows all the words to the songs. (Speaking of rock concerts, I would definitely equate the screening I attended, the first public showing in New York City, to one. Some people showed up in costumes/The Room t-shirts and several times the entire sold-out theater broke out into applause for different lines and characters. It was probably the most fun I’ve had at a movie since, well, the last Room screening I attended. My face hurt from smiling/laughing so much.)

So I would highly, highly recommend, at the very least, checking out some clips on Youtube rather than going into the film blind. It definitely helps the viewer appreciate the precise attention to detail both in Franco’s Wiseau and in the meticulously recreated scenes from The Room (word is there is over 30 minutes of these scenes that will be released on the DVD).

Verdict

Believe the hype. The Disaster Artist is a hilarious and heartfelt love letter to everyone involved in, as well as fans of The Room and to outcasts and dreamers everywhere. We’ll see you at the Oscars, Franco. And in perhaps the strangest full-circle in the history of cinema, you too, Wiseau!

Last Call: be sure to stay through the entire credits for a bonus (contractually-obligated) scene starring Tommy Wiseau himself.

The Disaster Artist (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: whenever Tommy calls Greg “babyface”

Take a Drink: for every “hahaha”

Take a Drink: for every take of the “I did not hit her” scene

Take a Drink: every time Tommy is rejected

Take a Drink: whenever anyone asks Tommy about his origins, where he got his money, or his age

Take a Drink: for every famous Room line

Do a Shot: for every cameo

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Alice in Wonderland (1951) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/alice-in-wonderland-1951-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/alice-in-wonderland-1951-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Thu, 07 Dec 2017 13:15:24 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104640 By: Alex Phuong (Two Beers) – Lewis Carroll created one of the most beloved heroines in children’s literature. His character “Alice” has delighted readers ever since the 19th century, and her enduring legacy continues today in both her published stories and cinematic adaptations of those famous adventures. Walt Disney wanted to create a live-action/animation hybrid …

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By: Alex Phuong (Two Beers) –

Lewis Carroll created one of the most beloved heroines in children’s literature. His character “Alice” has delighted readers ever since the 19th century, and her enduring legacy continues today in both her published stories and cinematic adaptations of those famous adventures. Walt Disney wanted to create a live-action/animation hybrid in the 1930s, but then finally had the chance to adapt Lewis Carroll’s writing into an animated feature that was released in 1951. The final result is one of the most famous film versions of the equally famous books that made Alice a star in her own right.

A Toast

The animation is pretty spectacular because it brilliantly brings the fictional characters from Lewis Carroll’s imagination to life on-screen. It appears as if the animators at the Disney Studio were improving their creative talents after the release of films like Pinocchio (1940) and Cinderella (1950) since they had to animate the zany characters that made Lewis Carroll famous. There are definitely a lot of imaginative drawings displayed in this film that ranges from a smoking caterpillar to a grinning Cheshire Cat. Alice herself is also a well-drawn heroine as she descends into Wonderland after falling down the rabbit hole. The film is also full of amazing colors, and that iridescence makes the visual design of the film very appealing.

Beer Two

Even though the film looks like a magical Wonderland, the storytelling of Alice’s adventures in that magical place is a bit sloppy. That is because the film basically chronicles Alice’s encounters with one mad character after another. One minute she is talking to Tweedledee and Tweedledum, and the next minute she is celebrating her “unbirthday” with the Mad Hatter and the March Hare. The film also feels a bit rushed towards the end after Alice meets the infamous Queen of Hearts. A better screenplay and some more pacing could have made Alice’s adventures in Wonderland more enjoyable to watch in this animated classic.

Verdict

This Disney version of Lewis Carroll’s famous stories is probably just as famous as the original publications. Many people are still fascinated with Alice’s adventures even though they were written about more than a century ago (as of 2017). Disney also had a $1 billion dollar hit when they made the Tim Burton version of Alice in Wonderland in 2010. Both films were made by Disney, but there will always be a particular charm when it comes to the animated version that Walt Disney personally produced as he retold Alice’s famous adventures in Wonderland.

Alice in Wonderland (1951) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time Alice meets a colorful character

Take a Drink: every time the Cheshire Cat recites lines from the famous “Jabberwocky” poem (i.e. ‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves’, etc.)

Drink a Shot: every time the notorious Queen of Hearts exclaims, “Off with their heads!”

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Virtual Pub 232: Roman J Israel Esq., Three Billboards, Wheelman, Mudbound etc http://movieboozer.com/featured/virtual-pub-232-roman-j-israel-esq-three-billboards-wheelman-mudbound-etc http://movieboozer.com/featured/virtual-pub-232-roman-j-israel-esq-three-billboards-wheelman-mudbound-etc#respond Thu, 07 Dec 2017 05:00:45 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104770 The post Virtual Pub 232: Roman J Israel Esq., Three Billboards, Wheelman, Mudbound etc appeared first on MovieBoozer.

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The Man Who Invented Christmas (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/man-invented-christmas-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/man-invented-christmas-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Wed, 06 Dec 2017 13:15:12 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104674 By: Oberst Von Berauscht – Eccentric writer Charles Dickens (Dan Stevens) was going through a difficult time when he wrote his most famous work A Christmas Carol. He had experienced three failed books in a row and was desperate for money. As a result of these pressures, he set out to write a story quickly and based …

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By: Oberst Von Berauscht –

Eccentric writer Charles Dickens (Dan Stevens) was going through a difficult time when he wrote his most famous work A Christmas Carol. He had experienced three failed books in a row and was desperate for money. As a result of these pressures, he set out to write a story quickly and based on the Christmas season in order to gain some fast returns. The Man who Invented Christmas dramatizes this period in Dickens’ life. And while he writes the story, his characters come to life for him, interacting with him as if actors in a play at rehearsal.

Eccentric is just another word for Crazy (true story)

A Toast

Dan Stevens is remarkably entertaining as Charles Dickens. He portrays the author as an obsessive yet flighty character, with strongly held social beliefs that he pays forward to his own disadvantage. The way he interacts with the characters of his story such as Christopher Plummer’s Scrooge makes for some really funny sequences, and provides a way for the writers to muse on how Dickens’ drew from his personal experiences for his art. While I doubt we’ll ever get a chance to see Plummer play Scrooge in a big screen adaptation of the story, this comes close to satisfying that itch, as the scenes with Scrooge are easily the film’s highlight.

Beer Two

The film is a bit too heavy on name-dropping Dickens’ other works. Like many biopics set in historical periods, there are numerous scenes when characters in it interact with each other by bringing up famous things that these historical characters are known for, rather than attempt to make the characters converse like human beings.  Scenes designed for film audience members to turn to their partner and whisper “he said ‘Copperfield’ because that’s a book he’s going to write!”

References… Yeah!

Beer Three

While the individual performances are solid and the dialogue entertaining, the actual story leaves much to be desired. It holds the earmarks of every predictable biopic drama that came before it, and will surprise no one.  That said, while this predictability won’t win the film any awards, it does make for a film that people will watch half-interestedly when family is over.

Verdict

The perfect film to watch when family comes over for a Christmas gathering or any other time that you absolutely need a nonthreatening distraction from actually interacting with your relatives.

The Man Who Invented Christmas (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: for direct quotes from Dickens

Take a Drink: for Dickens character name-checking

Do a Shot: for flashbacks

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Mr. Roosevelt (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/mr-roosevelt-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/mr-roosevelt-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Tue, 05 Dec 2017 13:15:36 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104723 By: Will Ashton (Three Beers) – Mr. Roosevelt doesn’t want to be called “quirky.” And it shouldn’t be. Noël Wells’s charming, winning, nimble feature directorial debut goes out of its way to scorn that dismissive label. And for good reason. While the quarter-life crisis indie dramedy formula is well-worn by this point, Mr. Roosevelt is anything …

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By: Will Ashton (Three Beers) –

Mr. Roosevelt doesn’t want to be called “quirky.” And it shouldn’t be. Noël Wells’s charming, winning, nimble feature directorial debut goes out of its way to scorn that dismissive label. And for good reason. While the quarter-life crisis indie dramedy formula is well-worn by this point, Mr. Roosevelt is anything but weathered. A passionate, creative, compassionate, consistently funny, and supremely touching effort filled with wit, heart, sensitivity, and cinematic confidence, Wells’s sincere, exceptionally lovely freshman film quickly promises a blooming, skillful multi-hyphenate who’s well worth following. To call it “quirky” wouldn’t nearly do it justice. Mr. Roosevelt is a talent showcase that radiates with hilarity and gumption.

The story follows Emily Martin (Wells), a gifted comedic actor/editor in her early 30s still struggling to find her way in L.A. Though she found enormous success and a following on YouTube, Emily hasn’t figured how to monetize that or how to propel that success past her popular online account. Her days are spent in unsuccessful commercial auditions and showing up late for her editing job with her indignant boss (Doug Benson), while her nights find her unable to connect with the local improv scene. But when she gets a distressing emergency call in the middle of the night from her ex-boyfriend Eric (Nick Thune), Emily flys back to Austin, TX to discover Celeste (Man Seeking Woman‘s Britt Lower) has taken her place in his life.

Celeste is basically the perfect girlfriend, filled with kind support and helpful insights, and Emily can’t stand it. “She’s like a Pinterest board come to life,” she remarks at one point, and indeed, Celeste is just a little too neat and perfect. Emily gets resentful, and she doesn’t trust her with her former boyfriend. But when emotions become heated, Emily finds support from Jen (Daniella Pineda), a local waitress unafraid to speak her mind, and throughout her days back home, Emily slowly regains some composure in her life.

A Toast

On paper, Mr. Roosevelt doesn’t appear to be anything you haven’t seen before. But the film’s rousing success doesn’t come from its original story, but rather from the inspiration and perspective Wells brings. As an actor, Wells is a bubbly, winsome delight, filled to the brim with hearty energy and enthusiasm. She’s never afraid to display her array of quips and impersonations, but it never becomes cloying or tired. As a screenwriter, Wells carries her idiosyncratic voice, filled with zipping smarts, but the dialogue never feels stilted or, worst, dishonest. She’s a clever writer with a lot of funny, insightful things to say, with a loving attention to character and story that never feels crass or critical, and I’ll definitely be looking forward to hearing her voice again in future projects. And as a director, Wells has a bright vision that’s at once controlled and chaotic, in just the right ways. Shot on 16mm Kodak film, Mr. Roosevelt reflects the restless intensity of its unfocused protagonist, while never letting itself become cluttered or overly fussy. It’s a beautifully fizzled movie, one that explodes with the actor/filmmaker’s delicately prominent touch.

These are all telling signs of a well-formed filmmaker ready to shine. I can’t wait to see what comes next.

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It’s not hard to spot Wells’s cinematic influences in Mr. Roosevelt. For instance, it’s easy to see how Lena Dunham, Miranda July, Zach Braff, and Joe Swanberg, to name a few, might have inspired Wells’s film. While that doesn’t necessarily detract from everything Wells does so efficiently well on her own, it does remind you how similar the story is to other films of similar ilk. Not the worst flaw in the world, though. Wells does channel her own voice and her own personality into the film. It’s not merely an impersonation. And I don’t want to suggest otherwise. But there’s still that nagging sense that you’ve seen this one before. Especially towards the third act, when Mr. Roosevelt hits some familiar and predictable storytelling beats.

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There are also some first movie flaws that are completely understandable but are otherwise worth noting. The camera is out of focus in some shots. The ending is a tad too clean for the film’s general messiness. There are perhaps one too many musical montages for Mr. Roosevelt‘s own good. None of these things kill the movie, it’s important to stress, but they do impact its overall success. But because Mr. Roosevelt is defined by a character slowly-yet-quickly coming to form, in a way, it also makes the film a little better too. If that makes sense. The film’s flaws are, indeed, the film’s flaws, but they are also its strengths. It’s a bit confusing, I bet, but when you have a film that’s centered around a character like this, it makes sense. The logic is odd, but it doesn’t have to be completely sound. And that’s one beauty of this film.

Verdict

Mr. Roosevelt is flawed and intentionally/unintentionally messy, but it’s nevertheless a sweet, enchanting, shining triumph. Bolstered by the singing success of its lead actress/writer/director, it’s a rich, admirable, warmly-made, emotionally charged, and nicely homey film made with love, care, and fine attention to place and person. You’ll see better films this year. You’ll see worse films too. But you’ll keep a special place in your heart for this one. Remember: Please don’t call it “quirky.” That’s selling it much too short.

Mr. Roosevelt (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: during every music montage.

Take a Drink: every time Celeste annoys Emily.

Take a Drink: for every familiar indie movie beat.

Take a Drink: anytime a character says “Mr. Roosevelt.”

Take a Drink: every time Emily does an impression or voice.

Do a Shot: in remembrance of the late dear Mr. Roosevelt.

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Coco (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/coco-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/coco-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Mon, 04 Dec 2017 13:15:12 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104535 By: 3-Deep (Three Beers) – Coco is a celebration. A visual feast and emotional extravagance filled with life, warmth, heart, and acceptance, providing a beacon of love and hope and tranquility in our bleak and morally askew time. Disney/Pixar’s best original animated film since 2015’s excellent Inside Out is a firm reminder of what makes …

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By: 3-Deep (Three Beers) –

Coco is a celebration. A visual feast and emotional extravagance filled with life, warmth, heart, and acceptance, providing a beacon of love and hope and tranquility in our bleak and morally askew time. Disney/Pixar’s best original animated film since 2015’s excellent Inside Out is a firm reminder of what makes the powerhouse animation company among the best moviemakers in the business. But more than that, Coco is an affirmation of the power of great and simple storytelling, and how passionate, wholesome, intelligent, and socially progressive filmmaking can make a difference in such turbulent, troubling times. Coco isn’t merely another exceptional film from Pixar; it’s a proud, loving reminder of why we love movies.

The story follows Miguel Rivera (Anthony Gonzalez), a 12-year-old boy living in Mexico with one simple dream: to become a famous musician, just like his idol, the late Ernesto De La Cruz (Benjamin Bratt). But there’s a problem: his family has firmly denounced music in their household for generations after Miguel’s great-great-grandfather walked out on his great-great-grandmother, Imelda, and their daughter, Coco, to pursue his music dreams. But Miguel is not deterred. Playing in the attic in secret alongside his best friend, the stray dog Dante, Miguel harbors his dream of becoming a famous musician. And when he discovers there’s a talent show on Dia de Los Muertos, Miguel follows his hero’s mantra and “seizes his moment.”

But when Miguel’s family discovers his musical aspirations, they promptly destroy his guitar, killing his chance of playing in front of a crowd for the first time. In a fit of rage, Miguel runs away from his family and attempts to play in the talent show anyway, even if he doesn’t have an instrument at his disposal. With little time and even fewer options at his disposal, Miguel attempts to raid Ernesto’s shrine and retrieve his guitar for the night. But when Miguel first strums the strings on the instrument, a magical thing happens: he is transported to the Land of the Dead, where Miguel comes in contact with several deceased family members, including Mama Imelda (Alanna Ubach), the matriarch who continues to rule even in death. She promises to bring Miguel back to the Land of the Living, but only if he does one solemn deed: never play music again. That’s a promise Miguel cannot keep, and therefore he winds up trapped with the undead.

Now, the clock is winding down. If Miguel doesn’t make his way back to the Land of the Living before Dia de Los Muertos comes to an end, Miguel will be living with the unliving for the rest of his existence. In the process of making his way back, Miguel runs into Hector (Gael Garcia Bernal), an undead beggar without a family to claim as his own who is desperately trying to make his way back to the Land of the Living for the holiday. If Hector can return Miguel to the living, Miguel will help bring Hector back to the living for this special day. It’s a compromise! But in the process of beating the sun, Miguel and Hector discover how much they have in common, and that’s before Miguel and Hector wind up crossing paths with Ernesto.

A Toast

After churning out a couple of good, if underwhelming and mostly unnecessary, B-grade sequels, including Finding Dory and this summer’s Cars 3, along with the disappointingly average The Good Dinosaur, Coco is the firm return-to-form Pixar has needed for years. Blistering with creativity, cleverness, inspiration, and excitement, directors Lee Unkrich (Toy Story 3) and Adrian Molina make a new family classic that scorches with the burning enthusiasm that’s mostly been absent from Pixar’s filmography post-Inside Out. The characters, even though most of them are dead, ironically, are more lively and well-envisioned than many we’ve seen from the studio of late, and the passion and imagination that went into making the Land of the Dead such a festive, beautifully-crafted wonder is yet another testament to Pixar’s terrific world-building talents. There’s very little I can say about this movie that I didn’t like. It’s everything you hope a Pixar movie would be: inclusive, dynamic, pulpy, fun-loving, and quick to hit all the right emotional beats.

Beer Two

That said, Coco isn’t a perfect film. The film’s biggest flaw is that, for all the inspiration that went into its characters, backdrops, and designs, the story itself is pretty formulaic by design. That’s not to say that the story is bad. It’s sweeping, empathetic, tender, engrossing and impactful. But the beats are — for the most part — expected. There’s very little here that’s surprising, and very little you won’t predict, and that ultimately makes it hard to put it in the same ranks as, say, WALL-E or The Incredibles or Toy Story 1-3.

But that’s not to suggest Coco is without its charm, of course. In fact, it’s often a testament to the film’s success that you’re not often bothered by its by-the-numbers predictability. You’re so engulfed in its grand vision that the fairly familiar, yellow brick road outline it follows isn’t necessarily a grievance as much as it’s a roadmap to its success. It hits all the expected beats, but you want it to hit those beats. You’re hoping it gets those emotional beats down pat. And while some might consider it a B-level Pixar effort for its route storytelling framework, it’s ultimately a credit to the success of the filmmakers that you’re engaged anyway.

Beer Three

But since Coco is constantly in motion, and because it follows a racing clock to the finish line, there are some elements of the story in the third act that, without getting into spoilers, deserve some firm criticism. It’s hard to describe without getting into specifics, but let’s just say that the movie ends just a little too neatly for its own good, especially when you consider the complexity of the emotions and family dynamics at play. It’s a shame it couldn’t quite reach the layered complexity of Inside Out or even The Incredibles. But with all that said, however, if you’re not moved by the end, you might want to get your heart checked.

Verdict

Coco isn’t quite on par with some of Pixar’s other well-established masterpieces, but it gets pretty close. Above all else, it’s a triumph for inclusivity and Pixar’s broadening horizons, promising a future that will promote new perspectives, new ideas and hopefully a lot fewer sequels (with that said, Pixar, please feel free to release Incredibles 2 as soon as possible. That movie looks like it’s going to be a real blast.) In a year as dark, dour, and miserable as 2017, Coco is the perfect remedy for the broken heart and soul. You’re not likely to watch a more heartwarming, inviting, and emotionally swelling family picture this holiday season.

Coco (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time a character breaks into song.

Take a Drink: anytime Dante hops onto the frame.

Take a Drink: anytime one of the characters says “Dia de Los Muertos” or “Land of the Dead/Living.”

Take a Drink: every time you cry or are on the verge of tears. It’s okay to admit it. Put your pride aside.

Do a Shot: when you get to the big reveal.

Do Another Shot: when you get to the next big reveal.

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365 Days of Movies- Henry J. Fromage Edition- Week 46 http://movieboozer.com/articles/365-days-of-movies-henry-j-fromage-edition-week-46 http://movieboozer.com/articles/365-days-of-movies-henry-j-fromage-edition-week-46#respond Sun, 03 Dec 2017 18:15:37 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104474 By: Henry J. Fromage – Last weekend’s library rental binge continues this week, and hence the Asian-inflected eclecticism, along with a documentary about one of science’s unsung heroes. 228. Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story Hedy Lamarr was a lot of things- a European arthouse provocateur, a Hollywood starlet of the first order, a scandal-ridden tabloid …

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By: Henry J. Fromage –

Last weekend’s library rental binge continues this week, and hence the Asian-inflected eclecticism, along with a documentary about one of science’s unsung heroes.

228. Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story

Hedy Lamarr was a lot of things- a European arthouse provocateur, a Hollywood starlet of the first order, a scandal-ridden tabloid headliner, a six-time wife and three-time mother, and the inventor of frequency-jumping, the science of which underlies almost all modern communication- including wifi, bluetooth, and cell phone networks.  This documentary delves into all of the different faces of one of the most fascinating women of the 21st Century- a definite must watch for Hollywood and Science History fans.

229. Kung Fu Hustle

Stephen Chow’s live-action Looney Tune combines cartoon physics, 1930s Hong Kong period glamour, kung fu myth-making, and that signature Stephen Chow goofy magic to create a bizarre and thoroughly entertaining confection like only he can.  Long may he reign.

230. Woman on the Beach

Hong Sang-soo’s been accused of making the same movie over and over again, and Exhibit B of what’s nearly a full alphabet of exhibits here will prove once more that this serial offender has never learned his lesson.  But of course, what lesson is there to learn if your 2-3 iterations of the same ‘a director has drunken conversations with friends about life and tries to seduce a woman he shouldn’t’ story you make a year all play major film festivals and usually walk away with some hardware?  Honestly, his poetic musings can be quite thought-provoking when his naked autobiography and clearly inflated sense of his own celebrity don’t get in the way first.  This is one of the more polished and emblematic examples of a Hong Sang-soo film, so if you have to start somewhere, this is not a bad place to do so.

231. 20th Century Boys: Beginning of the End

This Japanese manga adaptation is the story of a group of schoolchildren friends who find that the weird little club they formed, complete with creepy apocalyptic symbol, appears to be the creepy apocalyptic cult that’s sweeping Japan in response to a blood-borne disease that is sweeping the world and destabilizing society.  Lot’s of dodgy CGI, some sort of giant robot battle, and tons of sepia-toned flashbacks later, you realize you’ve been watching a complicated mythos that probably played out over quite a few issues of the manga boiled down into a largely followable but overly busy adaptation of something you probably would’ve never opted to try in the first place.  Fans of the manga will likely have a blast, though, I assume.

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Hairspray (2007) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/hairspray-2007-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/hairspray-2007-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Sun, 03 Dec 2017 13:15:35 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104506 By: Alex Phuong (Two Beers) – When it comes to movie musicals, most films within this genre deal with either romance or comedy. That is also part of the reason why the Golden Globes have the category called “Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical.” Famous examples include Oklahoma! and Cinderella, both of which are …

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By: Alex Phuong (Two Beers) –

When it comes to movie musicals, most films within this genre deal with either romance or comedy. That is also part of the reason why the Golden Globes have the category called “Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical.” Famous examples include Oklahoma! and Cinderella, both of which are from Rodgers and Hammerstein. Because of that, it is sometimes rare for musicals to deal with controversial subject matter. Nevertheless, the 2007 movie musical Hairspray somehow manages to deal with heavy themes while also being a joyous movie-going experience. The final result is a feel-good movie with catchy tunes and the universal theme of acceptance.

A Toast

This film features an all-star cast that includes Michelle Pfeiffer, Zac Efron, and John Travolta. The music is absolutely spectacular with songs ranging from “Good Morning Baltimore” to “You Can’t Stop the Beat.” Even though this was her film debut, Nikki Blonsky does an amazing job as Tracy Turnblad. Blonsky actually saw the Broadway version of Hairspray on her 15th birthday, and celebrated her 18th birthday on the set of this film. The film overall is very bubbly even though it involves the Civil Rights Movement and racial prejudice in the 1960s. Even with those serious undertones, Hairspray is still a lot of fun to watch!

Beer Two

This movie might make audiences feel good, but it might make some parents upset. Let’s just say that some of the dancing is a bit…”provocative.” Some people might also find it bizarre that John Travolta would play a female character, who is Tracy Turnblad’s mother, Edna. He actually does a great job in that role, though, and received a Golden Globe nomination for his performance. The film also deals with racial tension, but it only does that to a certain extent. Hopefully parents will use this film to teach their children about accepting others in spite of the differences that sometimes separate people.

Verdict

Hairspray is a very unique musical because it provides a modern spin on the genre. It has elements of Hollywood’s past, such as memorable songs and great production values. It also provides a nice history lesson about the prejudice that existed in the 1960s, and teaches audiences to accept others for who they truly are. Hairspray will always remain a beloved contemporary musical because even though it has been a decade since this film premiered (as of 2017). “You can’t stop the beat!”

Hairspray (2007) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: during every mentioning of The Corny Collins Show

Take a Drink: every time Amanda Bynes (Penny) is seen sucking lollipops

Drink a Shot: for every use of hairspray

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Avengers: Infinity War: Death Predictions http://movieboozer.com/articles/avengers-infinity-war-death-predictions http://movieboozer.com/articles/avengers-infinity-war-death-predictions#respond Sat, 02 Dec 2017 15:30:27 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104660 By: Hawk Ripjaw – In lieu of a regular Trailer Reviews this week, since nothing major appears to be releasing, I decided I’d do a quick Trailer Review of something else. That, of course, is Avengers: Infinity War, also known as Hey DC, Hold My Beer. It’s almost funny that Marvel has dropped the trailer …

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By: Hawk Ripjaw –

In lieu of a regular Trailer Reviews this week, since nothing major appears to be releasing, I decided I’d do a quick Trailer Review of something else. That, of course, is Avengers: Infinity War, also known as Hey DC, Hold My Beer.

It’s almost funny that Marvel has dropped the trailer for Infinity War a mere twelve days after Justice League dropped in theaters. It’s almost as if they were waiting, either for Justice League to have a few days to shine, or for everyone to agree that DC’s team-up was a disappointment before whipping out the big guns. At the very least, so far Marvel hasn’t really said anything to DC, which is nice because nobody wins when a Justice League movie sucks. We just all missed out. At the same time, Marvel doesn’t have to say anything, because the trailer speaks to itself. In fact, the trailer is just testament to why Marvel’s formula works and DC’s stumbles: it’s put in the time and effort to make a huge team-up such a monumental event: this is the culmination of a decade of buildup and eighteen films, starting with a gamble on a series of B-list heroes and the director of Elf. Yet here we are.

There are so many money shots and light references and callbacks that it’s still unbelievable that we’re here now with this caliber of cinematic event. What’s most impressive is that MCU mastermind Kevin Feige has made multiple promises (threats?) that this will result in the deaths of several beloved characters and that the MCU following this will be a completely different thing. I’ve got some theories on who might meet their end at the hands of Thanos and his minions.

Also, Felix Felicis asked me to inform you all of her “strenuous objection” to any death of the Christophers (Evans, Hemsworth, and Pratt).

SAFE

Ant-Man: Though he’s not immediately visible in the Infinity War trailer, Scott Lang will be fine for now. He’s only had one standalone film and his role in Civil War seemed to be setting him up as a member of the next line of Avengers post-Infinity War. He’s also got Ant-Man and the Wasp on the way.

Black Panther: The fact that Black Panther doesn’t even have his standalone movie dropping until next year strongly suggests that he’ll be a part of the new Avengers lineup Post-Infinity War.

Doctor Strange: Now that he’s ushered in the cosmic element of the MCU, it seems unlikely that Strange will be exiting it any time soon. Like most of the heroes introduced in the last 2-3 years, he’s probably going to be a big part of the next Phase of movies.

The Guardians of the Galaxy: If anyone’s going to die on this team, it’s Drax. Since the original Guardians of the Galaxy he’s stated that his mission is to kill Thanos. Not even Drax the Destroyer will be able to match up to the impossible power of Thanos, but given that Drax is still growing as a character and that James Gunn still intends to finish off his Guardians trilogy presumably with the whole team intact, Drax is probably safe. However, we can expect Marvel to try to trick us by making us think Drax is dead or at least put him out of commission until the next movie.

The Hulk: I initially put Bruce Banner under Endangered status, considering that Universal’s continued ownership of the hero will prevent any solo Hulk movies for the forseeable future. However, Marvel cleverly gave Hulk more of a starring capacity via his newfound bromance with Thor in Ragnarok, and we’ll probably see more of them together going forward. Moreover, the stronger Jekyll/Hyde dynamic established in that film will need a bit more room to breathe, so Hulk is probably fine, but maybe only for a couple more entries.

Spider-Man: With Sony still owning Spider-Man, Marvel’s concession for Homecoming was to make the movie while Sony saw all of the profits. Marvel fans adore Spider-Man, and that amount of work will not go to waste one appearance later. Spider-Man will be a huge piece of the Marvel machine after next year, so he’s safe.

Thor: Thor’s brand got a huge boost in Ragnarok, and it’s hard to believe that Marvel would so heavily overhaul the tone of the God of Thunder’s movies, not to mention a massive power boost, only to kill him off in his next appearance. However, Chris Hemsworth has only this and Avengers 4 remaining on his contract, so he may not last past 2019’s conclusion.

War Machine: War Machine was already seriously injured in Civil War, so killing him outright doesn’t seem sensible. On top of that, he stands to be the de facto replacement for Iron Man in what will be the next lineup of the Avengers, so his death is extremely unlikely.

The Winter Soldier: Bucky Barnes has not completed his arc started in his eponymous movie and continued in Civil War, so he needs at least Infinity War to achieve the heroic status he had in The First Avenger. In the comics, Barnes eventually becomes Captain America after Steve Rogers, and that hasn’t happened yet. Even if that wasn’t the case, Sebastian Stan has an insane nine-movie contract and Infinity War is only the fourth, so he’s here to stay.

 

ENDANGERED

Black Widow: One of the biggest reasons Black Widow probably won’t die is that fans will riot if she kicks the bucket before there’s even a whiff of a Black Widow standalone movie. Also, I stand by a general prediction that when it comes to “pairs” of characters, only one will die. With Cap almost surely on his way out, Widow will probably at least survive until Avengers 4.

Falcon: Falcon is a pretty awesome character, but his military background and his allegiance to Captain American, as well as his so-far sidekick status, puts him on the Endangered list. At the same time, those same factors set him up for the next Avengers lineup. The only thing that sort of pushes the needle a bit into the former territory is that Falcon hasn’t had any significant character development thus far, which makes him expendable.

Hawkeye: The MCU’s general disinterest in Hawkeye at this point is almost comical, given that the plot real estate for the archer has been an afterthought at best. Even the sudden detour to show his family in Age of Ultron felt compulsory, and you know the only reason anyone even liked that scene was to see Captain America split a log by tearing it in half with his bare hands. Hawkeye has yet to have a pivotal role in the MCU. Were it not for his Instagram post about filming Avengers 4 I’d be composing his gravestone already, but there’s always the chance that his appearance there is either a misdirection or a flashback. He may yet have his time to shine, but if that is the case it’ll only be to send him off in Avengers 4.

Iron Man: Here’s the big thing for me: in the final money shot of Cap leading the charge in what looks like Wakanda, Iron Man is nowhere to be seen. We’ve got Captain America, Winter Soldier, War Machine (though Spider-Man could be in the armor since War Machine was paralyzed in Civil War), Black Widow, Hulk, Black Panther, and Okoye-with a huge army behind them. It’s hard to say where this scene takes place but Iron Man’s absence feels significant. If he dies, that will also solidify his proto-Uncle Ben role in Homecoming to Peter. The only thing that casts doubt for me is Iron Man’s status in the franchise. He may end up just retiring and disappearing, in case Marvel needs to bring him back.

Loki: Loki’s had one hell of an arc in the MCU, going from the antagonist of Thor and The Avengers, to the free agent of Thor 2, and finding the beginning of redemption in Thor: Ragnarok. In the Infinity War trailer, he presents the Tesseract to Thanos. This could mean a couple of things: either he’s buying his salvation by turning over the Infinity Stone to Thanos, or the infamous trickster is helping his brother and his friends by feigning allegiance to the Mad Titan. Given his character progression in the MCU, the latter is more likely, but regardless it may very well end in his demise.

Scarlet Witch: Wanda Maximoff could really go either way. One thing is for certain, she is destined for a redemptive arc. Following her villain role in the first half of Age of Ultron and her shame throughout most of Civil War involving her accidentally killing several civilians in that movie’s opening brawl with Crossbones, she’s in need of something to pull her back into hero status. She will either help save the day to start a new positive arc for herself, or she’ll sacrifice herself and go out on a heroic note to save someone else. The latter seems less likely considering a) her love interest Vision is almost certainly on the chopping block and b) following the same path as her brother Quicksilver in Age of Ultron seems lazy.

 

DOOMED

Captain America: Sorry Felix, this one makes me as said as it does you: Captain America appears to be nearing the end of his arc in the MCU. He’s a fugitive at the end of Civil War, and all signs in Infinity War point to him rising back to his heroic status to save the day, at the cost of his life. An even bigger tell is the fact that Chris Evans himself is not only nearing the end of his contract, but has stated several times his interest in moving onto directing and producing. Bucky Barnes, too, is poised to take on the Captain America mantle. The writing is on the wall for the Evans Captain America.

Nebula: Nebula’s arc began in the first Guardians of the Galaxy and continued in Vol. 2 set her on a path for redemption. Given that Thanos was so integral to the source of her bitterness, and that the ending of Vol. 2 found her and Gamora somewhat making amends, it seems very likely that she will face her father in Infinity War and sacrifice herself for her sister.

Vision: At least in some capacity, Vision is going to get his ass nerfed in Infinity War, and hard. The trailer deliberately shows the Infinity Stone being painfully ripped from Vision’s forehead, and this might just kill him. However, like Hawkeye, Paul Bettany has been said to be in Avengers 4. However, also like Hawkeye, this could be another flashback or Marvel misdirection: Nerdist handily points out that Michael Rooker (Yondu) posted an Infinity War set photo as misdirection to hide his devastating Guardians Vol. 2 death. As a sentient being, Vision may be fine, since the AI consciousness of Jarvis might just live on in another form, but Vision is probably about to get blacked out. That said, the fact that Marvel deliberately showed Vision in peril could also be misdirection. It’s hard to say, but I’m convinced that at least something very bad is going to happen to him.

Wong: As far as I’m concerned, there’s only one reason Wong stays by Strange’s side for what looks like most of Infinity War, and that’s to give Strange someone to mourn. He’s a fun character, and exactly the type of bite-sized character that could be killed to raise the stakes early and highlight Thanos as serious business.

Finally, there are some things to consider: Firstly, there’s a strong likelihood that some actors may have contract intricacies that we don’t know about. For example, Hugo Weaving signed a multi-picture deal way back when Captain America: The First Avenger was in development. Obviously he’s not had much of a presence since then, which could mean either he’s set for an appearance later on for some reason or Marvel adds a couple of conditional movies onto the contract for an “as needed” basis. This has happened a couple of times with both RDJ and Evans, where Marvel called them back for one or two more appearances after the technical end of a contract.

It’s also extremely likely that Marvel is once again trying to misdirect fans with trailer moments deliberately containing false leads. Anything hinting at a death in the trailer could be given out of context just to drum up excitement for the movie and make people like me write a two thousand word article about a superhero movie where fictional characters might die.

But isn’t that testament to the amazing thing Marvel has achieved that we’re all passionate enough to talk about it, post about it, and break YouTube records picking it apart?

Got any theories about what you’ve seen in the trailer? Let us know!

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Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie/sweeney-todd-the-demon-barber-of-fleet-street-2007-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie/sweeney-todd-the-demon-barber-of-fleet-street-2007-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Fri, 01 Dec 2017 13:15:16 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104428 By: Alex Phuong (Two Beers) – Johnny Depp has had a very interesting career ever since his film debut in the classic Wes Craven horror flick A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984). Since then, he has collaborated with Tim Burton numerous times, and this famous director essentially made Depp a star. Known for playing characters …

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By: Alex Phuong (Two Beers) –

Johnny Depp has had a very interesting career ever since his film debut in the classic Wes Craven horror flick A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984). Since then, he has collaborated with Tim Burton numerous times, and this famous director essentially made Depp a star. Known for playing characters that have a sense of darkness to them, (including Ed Wood, Edward Scissorhands, and Captain Jack Sparrow), Johnny Depp delivered one of his greatest performances in Tim Burton’s adaptation of the famous Broadway musical, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007). Indeed, this is one of the best modern-day musicals given the unique approach to what a movie musical could be outside of the “sing-songy” quality that have made other movie musicals look like family-friendly outings.

A Toast

Set in the same city that provided the backdrop for Mary Poppins (1964), Sweeney Todd has a very Gothic tone to it since its art direction and costume design both feel hauntingly beautiful. This film definitely deserved its Academy Award victory for its art direction because it portrays London in the nightmarish tone that characterizes the film’s plot. Colleen Atwood also did a remarkable job designing the costumes even though the winner was Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007). Since Johnny Depp was the star, this film obviously features one of his greatest performances even though the Oscar went to Daniel-Day Lewis for his equally dark role in There Will Be Blood. Helena Bonham Carter also does well as Mrs. Lovett, and Depp and Carter make the perfect duo for secretly committing horrific atrocities. The plot itself is also very original for a musical given the fact that other musicals have a light and cheery tone to them, all of which is the complete opposite of this vengeful tale.

Beer Two

Since this film is about a “demon barber,” it is obviously gory and scary. Audiences need to be prepared to view the “graphic bloody violence” that earned this film its R-rating from the MPAA. That is probably the main reason why some people might not enjoy this film. During its original release in 2007, some audience members complained that they did expect this “horror film” to also be a musical, and they felt as if the advertising campaign misled them into thinking that this would be a film perfect for Halloween. A similar reaction applies to musical-theater lovers who did not expect a movie musical to be filled with chaotic violence. Maybe the “movie musical” and the “horror film genre” don’t necessarily go together…?

Verdict

Like it or not, Sweeney Todd is still a very unique musical that redefined that genre. This film was also unfortunately one of the last highlights of Johnny Depp’s career because he has been tumbling down a slippery-slope after the success of another Tim Burton film–Alice in Wonderland (2010). Sweeney Todd might not be suitable for everyone, but it will always have an ominous aesthetic quality to it given the visual design of this contentious modern-day musical.

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time Sweeney Todd incorrectly calls Mrs. Lovett “Mrs. Lovetts” with an “s” (which might have been an intentional error from Johnny Depp)

Take a Drink: every time any of the characters sing the name “Johanna.”

Take a Drink: for every black-and-white costume that earned Colleen Atwood her Academy Award nomination

Take a Drink: for every shiny blade that is one of Sweeney Todd’s “friends”

Take a Drink: for every meat pie that Mrs. Lovett bakes

Drink a Shot: for every jump scare

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24 Hours to Live (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/24-hours-to-live-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/24-hours-to-live-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Thu, 30 Nov 2017 13:15:52 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104633 By: Hawk Ripjaw (Three Beers) – Travis Conrad (Ethan Hawke) is a former mercenary on hiatus after the death of his wife and son a year prior. He mostly spends his days drinking on the beach with his father-in-law Frank (Rutger Hauer). Elsewhere, Interpol agent Lin (Qing Xu) is transporting a whistleblower that plans to …

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By: Hawk Ripjaw (Three Beers) –

Travis Conrad (Ethan Hawke) is a former mercenary on hiatus after the death of his wife and son a year prior. He mostly spends his days drinking on the beach with his father-in-law Frank (Rutger Hauer). Elsewhere, Interpol agent Lin (Qing Xu) is transporting a whistleblower that plans to spill the beans on mercenary organization Red Mountain and some very evil things they do.

Travis is approached in a bar by his old friend Jim (Paul Anderson), now a handler for—who else—Red Mountain, who Travis also worked for. Travis, who is of course the best at what he does and as such is needed for this mission, is tasked with killing this informant (and collecting a hefty paycheck). Lin manages to kill him first after Travis seduces her and gets information on the location of the informant. Red Mountain brings him back to life, but only for 24 hours, in order to get this information from him. During this time his body will systematically shut down before he dies outright. Travis does not play that shit and promptly escapes, deciding to team up with Lin and destroy Red Mountain, along with its sinister leader Wetzler (Liam Cunningham).

A Toast

24 Hours to Live mostly treads a fine line between camp and drama. A major theme involves Travis’ sorrow over the death of his family, and the occasional drip-feed flashbacks flesh out how that came to be. Likewise, Jim is haunted by guilt as he’s suddenly forced against his former war buddy. There’s pathos to spare, but the movie also understands that this is about a killing machine brought back to life for a single day. It knows how to have fun: Travis logs into his company computer with the key phrase “Yankees suck.” I won’t tell you how Jim logs into his, but even if you don’t guess it ahead of time you won’t be surprised when it happens.

It’s also packed to the gills with loud, visceral and well-staged action. The shootouts and car chases come at a satisfying clip and they’re all very cleanly shot. The finale will be divisive: it mostly ditches the mood of the rest of the film in favor of ludicrous, ultra-violent mayhem. We’re talking two-handguns-pointed-in-opposite-directions action movie stuff, and it feels like a final indulgence in the mercenary’s skills. It works because it’s staged post-MacGuffin and feels liberated from most of the remaining plot baggage.

Beer Two

The marketing for the movie heavily emphasizes the involvement of the producers of action renaissance flick John Wick, and even follows a similar recipe of recruiting a stunt coordinator to direct. Part of that movie’s magic was the level of commitment to worldbuilding, which 24 Hours to Live largely neglects. There are references made to the general nefariousness of Red Mountain without actually going into too much detail, and it ends up feeling a bit like a missed opportunity. With as much scenery as Liam Cunningham gets to chew on as the mustache-twirling Wetzler, Red Mountain feels like it just can’t stack up.

Elements of the script regarding this feel a bit half-baked, as if someone missed a deadline and the movie got made anyway, but the potential for Red Mountain as an awesome criminal organization isn’t capitalized on. Weird, amusing logical fallacies show up here and there.

Beer Three

The wrist clock starts out as an interesting plot device: one of the first things hard-drinking Travis does when realizing the clock in his wrist is running down is dump out a bottle of liquor and get into the car. It prepares for some great forward momentum but never really gets fully realized. Travis occasionally checks the clock to see how much time he has left and it leads to some weird time jumps: in one scene, he has six hours left, and in the next he has two. It breaks the flow just a bit and there’s the feeling that tightening up the focus on that precious, diminishing time would have given the film a greater sense of urgency.

Verdict

24 Hours to Live is a completely serviceable and enjoyably dumb movie with above-average action sequences that look more expensive than they probably were. Beyond that, it’s nothing more or less than you’d expect. The performances are fine as well, if mostly workmanlike, with Hawke especially bringing his usual energy, Anderson surprisingly watchable, and Cunningham just fun. Xu could be a decent emotional foil for Hawke and her performance is also fine, but they lack chemistry.

This is a movie that seems destined for boozy late-night excursions into VOD offerings, but when it has this much confidence in what it’s doing, it’ll be exactly what someone is looking for.

And isn’t that nice to have now and then?

24 Hours to Live (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: whenever Travis has a vision of his wife and son

Do a Shot: for every action movie cliché

Take a Drink: every time Travis checks his wrist clock

Do a Shot: when you think about something that’s happened and it doesn’t quite make sense

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Virtual Pub 231: Justice League, Jim & Andy, Lady Bird http://movieboozer.com/featured/virtual-pub-231-justice-league-jim-andy-lady-bird-roman-j-israel-esq http://movieboozer.com/featured/virtual-pub-231-justice-league-jim-andy-lady-bird-roman-j-israel-esq#respond Thu, 30 Nov 2017 04:00:54 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104647 The post Virtual Pub 231: Justice League, Jim & Andy, Lady Bird appeared first on MovieBoozer.

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Lady Bird (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/lady-bird-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/lady-bird-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Wed, 29 Nov 2017 13:15:24 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104464 By: Henry J. Fromage (A Toast) – Greta Gerwig has always had a particular voice that always complements the directors she works with like Noah Baumbach and Whit Stillman, but never feels like any but her own, particularly when she’s either contributing to the script, or writing it outright (she doesn’t seem like the kind …

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By: Henry J. Fromage (A Toast) –

Greta Gerwig has always had a particular voice that always complements the directors she works with like Noah Baumbach and Whit Stillman, but never feels like any but her own, particularly when she’s either contributing to the script, or writing it outright (she doesn’t seem like the kind of gal who has acted without any input on her character for many a year).

She probably sat this one out, though.

Lady Bird is her directorial debut, a story of a headstrong Sacramento high-schooler (Saoirse Ronan) navigating the choppy waters of her senior year, the dating world, friendships, and butting heads with her equally headstrong mother (Laurie Metcalf), especially about where she will go to college.  She’s got East Coast dreams and a Community College work ethic, at least according to Mom, but she’s not the kind of girl to let anything dissuade her.

A Toast

This film feels like the purest distillation of Gerwig’s voice yet, and like the story she’s been holding onto until she could tell it herself, properly.  And boy does she ever.  Her characters and storylines feel entirely sprung from real experience, joy, laughter, and not a little heartbreak, and unlike any of her previous comedies, all of which had their touches of pathos, Lady Bird really makes you feel all of it.  It’s a remarkable step forward for an already confident and accomplished talent, and already bears mention with the classics of the coming-of-age genre.  It just freaking gets ya, and one can see generations of future artsy types and outsiders gravitating to the honesty and hope on display here.  Gerwig, *ahem*, Lady Bird made it all work for her, so why not you?

Gerwig also shines on the directorial front, overseeing sun-kissed lensing from Sam Levy and a soundtrack of perfectly deployed needle drops, as well as an all-around accomplished cast, featuring your 2018 Best Supporting Actress winner Laurie Metcalf (just chalk it up, folks).  Saoirse Ronan regresses a tad from her more adult Brooklyn to play another high schooler, but plays it well, showing she can swing back and forth across that teenage divide at well and deliver a striking performance each time.  When the camera at last cuts on her face pondering the brand new, uncertain, and adult path before her, you’ll feel right there with her.

Just… trust me.  This film’s for you.

Verdict

Lady Bird is both a near-flawless directorial debut from Greta Gerwig and an evolution in her voice that bodes exciting things to come.

Lady Bird (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time Lady Bird fights with her mother

Take a Drink: every time the topic of college comes up

Take a Drink: every time the topic of finances comes up

Do a Shot: for bad sex

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Brawl in Cell Block 99 (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/brawl-in-cell-block-99-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/brawl-in-cell-block-99-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Tue, 28 Nov 2017 18:15:32 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104297 By: Henry J. Fromage (Two Beers) – Two years ago Bone Tomahawk came out of nowhere to set S. Craig Zahler’s place in the filmmaking firmament as both a maven of anachronistically witty dialogue and a just straight brutal purveyor of B-movie gore.  The mix works better than it has any right to, as Brawl in Cell Block …

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By: Henry J. Fromage (Two Beers) –

Two years ago Bone Tomahawk came out of nowhere to set S. Craig Zahler’s place in the filmmaking firmament as both a maven of anachronistically witty dialogue and a just straight brutal purveyor of B-movie gore.  The mix works better than it has any right to, as Brawl in Cell Block 99 very much confirms.

Yes, please.

Vince Vaughn stars as a car repairman with just the worst luck, who is drawn back into a life of crime and then finds himself in prison after a job gone wrong, with a Cartel leader holding his wife hostage and the near impossible task of killing another prisoner who happens to be in an entirely different prison.  Good thing he can punch through goddamn steel.

A Toast

If anything, Brawl in Cell Block 99 doubles down on Zahler’s trademark dialogue and horrific practice effects-driven violence, both laconically delivered by an entirely recognizable but nonetheless entirely perfect fit for the part Vince Vaughn.  The camera just about never leaves him, and he commands the screen with the physicality it’s easy to forget Fred Claus has.

Fred Claus could break your puny neck if he felt like it.

Zahler paces this 134 minute film like it was an 80 minute grindhouse confection of pure nastiness from some lost VHS tape.  However, half the film goes by without you realizing it and without even getting to the prison where the real brawls go down.   It’s pure character and tone-building skill, but with enough action interspersed throughout that first hour plus that you don’t even notice the screenwriting at work.

When we do get to the prison, though, watch out.  Don’t worry how long it took, because all the gritty fistfights you can shake a stick are delivered with utter and unflinching bone-crunching and head-stomping zeal.  If you’re skittish of gore, you’ll likely hate this film despite its other pleasures, but if you’re a gorehound, well, you can’t possibly be disappointed.

Beer Two

One thing Zahler clearly hasn’t mastered, and doesn’t appear to have much desire to, is his now two film-running ugly digital cinematography streak.  It’s functional enough, but while the angles are occasionally evocative and the framing is fine, the blue-tinted, washed out drabness just doesn’t need to be a thing in the year 2017.

Verdict

Brawl in Cell Block 99 firmly establishes S. Craig Zahler as a truly unique voice in film, and Vince Vaughn as an instantly credible badass.

Brawl in Cell Block 99 (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time Vince Vaughn hits something with his fists

Do a Shot: for crushed or mangled heads, obviously

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Trailer Reviews: Coco & Roman J. Israel, Esq. http://movieboozer.com/articles/trailer-reviews-coco-roman-j-israel-esq http://movieboozer.com/articles/trailer-reviews-coco-roman-j-israel-esq#respond Tue, 28 Nov 2017 13:15:43 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104617 By: Hawk Ripjaw – Coco I don’t know whether I’m getting more old/boring/bitter, but I haven’t truly enjoyed a Pixar movie since maybe Toy Story 3. I’m pretty sure this has at least something to do with the Cars franchise. While the first (and inoffensive, if unremarkable) Cars movie predated WALL-E, probably the best Pixar …

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By: Hawk Ripjaw –

Coco

I don’t know whether I’m getting more old/boring/bitter, but I haven’t truly enjoyed a Pixar movie since maybe Toy Story 3. I’m pretty sure this has at least something to do with the Cars franchise. While the first (and inoffensive, if unremarkable) Cars movie predated WALL-E, probably the best Pixar film, I was already suspicious that a studio that could make a post-apocalyptic romantic drama between robots that couldn’t talk was also making a movie about talking vehicles. That’s some late 90’s Cartoon Network shit that predates Disney’s full acquisition of Pixar but also stinks of Disney’s modern merchandise-forward mentality of designing kids’ movies. Kids are smarter than Larry the Cable Guy voicing an idiotic redneck tow truck, and hopefully Coco is the movie that will reinforce that. 

Beer Prediction

Unfortunately, I just got wind that the movie is preceded by a twenty-one minute short starring Olaf the snowman from Frozen, so I’ll either have to wait for the Blu-Ray or pay someone off to calculate when I can just go in late and catch the start of the actual movie.

 

Roman J. Israel, Esq.

The trailer for Roman J. Israel, Esq. has a certain feel to it, like it’s advertising a movie that has a lot of plot–a lot more than a single trailer could encapsulate. There’s a lot going on in this trailer: Denzel Washington sporting an awesome afro and pair of lenses, being socially awkward, collecting a reward and living large for awhile before it comes back to bite him while presumably he hurts his ideals in his quest for the American Dream. 

I do cautiously respect how the movie appears to show Israel on the autism spectrum based on his difficulties in communicating. If the trailer is any indication, that’s a pretty good way to portray a character with autism–someone who is a person who has a condition that sets him slightly outside what some would consider normal. It’s a great contrast to, say, that TV show The Good Doctor. So far that show is basically HEY LOOK, THIS GUY IS AUTISTIC AND HE’S ALSO A DOCTOR. Granted, I’ve only watched a couple of episodes but there’s still a pretty distinct difference between something being a part of a character, and something defining a character. 

Beer Prediction

It’s Dan Gilroy (Nightcrawler), who already has proven he’s great at directing character performances, so I’m both excited and confident.

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Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/three-billboards-outside-ebbing-missouri-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/three-billboards-outside-ebbing-missouri-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Mon, 27 Nov 2017 13:15:51 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104591 By: Movie Snurb (A Toast) – Three Billboards is a dark comedy about Mildred Hayes (Frances McDormand), a single mother whose daughter was brutally raped and murdered months earlier. There are three billboards on a road outside her hometown of Ebbing, Missouri that are not being used because no one uses the road. She decides …

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By: Movie Snurb (A Toast) –

Three Billboards is a dark comedy about Mildred Hayes (Frances McDormand), a single mother whose daughter was brutally raped and murdered months earlier. There are three billboards on a road outside her hometown of Ebbing, Missouri that are not being used because no one uses the road. She decides to take out an ad on the three billboards stating: “Raped While Dying”, “And Still No Arrests?”, “How Come, Chief Willoughby?”. As you could guess this causes quite the stir in this little town where Chief Willoughby (Woody Harrelson) is highly respected and seems like a genuine good man. It’s a dark comedy, but a thought-provoking and deeply emotional film.

A Toast

Martin McDonagh’s third full length feature film is his best film yet. McDonagh started as a playwright and that comes through in his films. He is an actors’ writer; he writes such brilliant roles and delicious dialogue for his cast it’s no wonder they turn in such brilliant performances. Martin has an ability nearly unmatched in Hollywood; he’s able to find humor in the darkest of moments. That’s not to say that he makes light of rape and murder, but that the dark situations he creates can cause humorous moments. For instance, Mildred bursts into a police station and calls a police officer “Fuck Head”, who responds without thinking. You still are aware of the tragic happenings, but your eyes are full of tears from laughter. Martin McDonagh is a brilliant writer and director; writing the perfect roles for specific actors is a recipe for a great film, and Three Billboards is not a perfect film but it is a great film.

When a character is written for a specific actor in mind that usually leads to masterful performances, unless the writing or actor is awful.  Thankfully that is not the case for Three Billboards. Martin McDonagh has said that Mildred Hayes was written specifically for Frances McDormand. Initially she didn’t want to take the role because she thought a 58-year-old woman wouldn’t have a 16-year-old daughter. After some thought and a “gentle” push from her husband Joel Coen she decided to do the film and thank God she did. There is no other actress that could’ve pulled off the foul mouthed badass that Mildred was. She is a far cry from her Oscar-winning role as Marge Gunderson, however she is back at the top of her game. You feel for Mildred’s situation; she still has a son at home in high school, her ex-husband used to beat her and now dates a 19-year-old, and now her billboards have brought a lot of negative attention to her family. McDormand is able to show her full range of emotion in every scene because of her tragic backstory. It’s sure to be an iconic character and Frances deserves every award she has coming her way.

The other standout in this film, aside from the whole cast, is Sam Rockwell as Jason Dixon. Dixon is like Ebbing’s village idiot who is on an angry power trip. We find out he tortured an African-American inmate. So Dixon isn’t really respected in Ebbing and with good reason, he’s kind of an idiot, and an asshole to boot. Rockwell has always been at his best when he is allowed some room to go a little crazy. When he is given the wiggle room to play around with his character it’s a marvelous thing to watch. Dixon’s character arc is a great thing to watch- he’ll go from an asshole you find funny but ultimately don’t like to cheering for him in the end. Rockwell has given us some dazzling performances: Moon, Seven Psychopaths, The Way Way Back, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, & The Green Mile. I would say this is definitely Sam’s best performance and hopefully leads to an Oscar nomination because that is well overdue.

This is a very timely film, which could play major role in it’s Oscar chances. With everyone who has been coming forward and outing the predators in Hollywood and in other places. Three Billboards is a great film with a strong female lead who is looking for justice for her daughters’ rape and murder. Hollywood is trying to get more diverse in their filmmaking and this film gives us a strong female lead, looking for what so many women are looking for today with Harvey Weinstein, Brett Ratner, James Toback, and many others. This film could be the statement that the women in Hollywood want to make with a Best Picture win; We aren’t taking your shit anymore!

Verdict

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is one of the best films of 2017. It’s highly emotional, tragic, hilarious, and masterfully acted. It’s a film not only about rage and revenge, but on learning how to forgive and moving on, but never forgetting. It’s a lesson that the entire world could use, maybe if they did, there’d be much less anger and violence in this world.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017) Drinking Game

Do a Shot: every time Mildred reeks havoc.

Do a Shot: every time Dixon assaults someone or is assaulted.

Take a Drink: every time we see the billboards.

Take a Drink: for every racial slur.

Lastly throw down a Beer: if you have any unresolved anger you need to let go.

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365 Days of Movies- Henry J. Fromage Edition- Week 45 http://movieboozer.com/articles/365-days-of-movies-henry-j-fromage-edition-week-45 http://movieboozer.com/articles/365-days-of-movies-henry-j-fromage-edition-week-45#respond Sun, 26 Nov 2017 18:15:59 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104445 By: Henry J. Fromage – Spent a rainy weekend making some serious headway on my probably now nigh impossible 265 quest, with quite an Asian lean. 224. Confession of Murder Film one in an unintentional but quite entertaining Jung Jae-young double-tap, in this one he plays a homicide detective whose serial killer nemesis reveals himself …

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By: Henry J. Fromage –

Spent a rainy weekend making some serious headway on my probably now nigh impossible 265 quest, with quite an Asian lean.

224. Confession of Murder

Film one in an unintentional but quite entertaining Jung Jae-young double-tap, in this one he plays a homicide detective whose serial killer nemesis reveals himself as the soon to be rockstar author of a tell-all memoir the day after the statute of limitations expired on his crimes.  Some hilariously dodgy CGI aside, this twisty and tonally all over the place thriller still entertains enough to recommend you give it a single watch.

225. Going by the Book

Jung Jae-yung stars in this one as an extremely by the book provincial traffic officer who is picked to be the bank robber in a disaster simulation the new police chief dreams up to enhance public confidence in the police department.  The only  issue is Jung is very dedicated to doing his best at any job given to him- and it turns out he’s pretty good at fake bank robbing.  This comedy with a dollop of social commentary never bores, and is often quite hilarious in the ways he chooses to simulate the logical escalation of his crimes while the police scramble to simulate an appropriate response.

226. Lady Bird

Greta Gerwig’s solo directorial debut is a clearly very autobiographical tale of a Sacramento teen who’s weathering the last year of high school and dreaming Big Apple dreams despite mediocre grades and an overbearing but loving mother (soon-to-be Supporting Actress nominee Laurie Metcalf) intent on her going to college near home.  Gerwig filters her unique voice through the talented Saoirse Ronan this time, and delivers on the humor as always, but finds an emotional center that I’ve yet sense in her scripts.  This is a supremely effective and affecting coming-of-age tale that immediately deserves mention alongside the greats of the genre.

227. All About Lily Chou Chou

This thoroughly depressing arthouse oddity from Japan was at one point included by Quentin Tarantino on his “off-the-top-of-my-head best-of list” soon after it came out in 2002.  Some gorgeous staging and cinematography interspersed between a lot of ugly hand-held photography does provide one clue, and an unflinchingly brutal portrait of the cruelty of high school teenagers to each other perhaps another, but by and large this is one of those inscrutable arthouse oddities that you watch to say you did and only privately admit how little you understood of the plot.

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The Phantom of the Opera (2004) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/the-phantom-of-the-opera-2004-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/the-phantom-of-the-opera-2004-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Sun, 26 Nov 2017 13:15:12 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104413 By: Alex Phuong (Two Beers) – Gaston Leroux wrote one of the most beloved French novels of all time. Andrew Lloyd Webber adapted that novel into one of the greatest Broadway musicals the world has ever known. The film version of that famous stage show was… okay (for the most part). Even though The Phantom …

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By: Alex Phuong (Two Beers) –

Gaston Leroux wrote one of the most beloved French novels of all time. Andrew Lloyd Webber adapted that novel into one of the greatest Broadway musicals the world has ever known. The film version of that famous stage show was… okay (for the most part). Even though The Phantom of the Opera is a classic, the 2004 musical film could have done better. It might have the glamour of 19th century France, but it ultimately is a somewhat mediocre Broadway film adaptation.

A Toast

Since this is both a musical and a period drama, the overall design of the film is “phantastic” (pun intended). This film definitely deserved its Academy Award nominations in the “Best Art Direction” and “Best Cinematography” even though The Aviator swept the craft categories during that same year. The Paris Opera House was recreated with a meticulous attention to detail that is simply too hard to ignore. Even the catacombs beneath the Opera House were hauntingly beautiful. The cinematography has a bit on an enchanting quality to it because it makes audiences feel like Christine Daaé when she was under the Phantom’s hypnotic spell. Indeed, audiences should be prepared to lose a connection with reality for quite some time as they listen to “The Angel of Music” while succumbing to the power of “The Music of the Night.”

Beer Two

Even though this film is very lavish, such beauty is very superficial. One of the main problems is the cast. As a producer of this film, Andrew Lloyd Webber told the director Joel Schumacher that the stars must be unknown. That might not have been the best move when it comes to filmmaking because this film had a somewhat lukewarm box office performance during the 2004 holiday season. Casting the unknown actors Gerard Butler, Emmy Rossum, and Patrick Wilson might have been the downfall for this film simply because general audiences did not know who they were. Anne Hathaway almost landed the leading role, but she was under contract with Disney for The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement. Maybe well-known actors could have saved this film from turmoil both artistically and financially.

Verdict

The Phantom of the Opera was made during the beginning of Hollywood’s return to the movie musical in the early 2000s. Moulin Rouge! (2001) was a sensational Best Picture nominee, and Chicago (2002) was a triumphant Best Picture winner. Unfortunately, The Phantom of the Opera underperformed even though it is based on one of the most beloved Broadway musicals of all time. This film might have been a misstep in Hollywood’s attempt to bring back the musical, but it will always remain a (somewhat) pleasant experience for audiences willing to be seduced by the titular “Phantom of the Opera.”

The Phantom of the Opera (2004) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time Christine Daae refers to “The Phantom of the Opera” as “The Angel of Music”

Take a Drink: every time the Phantom does anything devious

Take a Drink: every time the film switches back and forth between time periods (which include black-and-white to color transitions as well)

Drink a Shot: for every mask (including the Phantom’s mask and the ones during the “Masquerade” sequence)

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Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare (aka The Edge of Hell) (1987) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/rock-n-roll-nightmare-aka-the-edge-of-hell-1987-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/rock-n-roll-nightmare-aka-the-edge-of-hell-1987-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Sat, 25 Nov 2017 13:15:24 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104550 By: BabyRuth (Six Pack) – This is bodybuilder and “Legendary Rock Warrior” Jon Mikl Thor. Known for his stage performances that include breaking bricks over his head, bending steel pipes with his teeth, and blowing up hot water bottles like balloons until they burst, Thor is also the inventor of “muscle-rock.” Somehow, SOMEHOW, I never heard …

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By: BabyRuth (Six Pack) –

This is bodybuilder and “Legendary Rock Warrior” Jon Mikl Thor. Known for his stage performances that include breaking bricks over his head, bending steel pipes with his teeth, and blowing up hot water bottles like balloons until they burst, Thor is also the inventor of “muscle-rock.”

Somehow, SOMEHOW, I never heard of this guy until I recently learned about a little movie from 1987 called Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare, which Thor not only stars in, but also wrote and produced. That’s not all! His band, called (what else?) Thor, performs the soundtrack. The one thing Thor didn’t do on this movie was direct. That credit goes to John Fasano, who would go on to acquire quite an extensive resume of writing and producing credits, before his untimely death in 2014 at the age of 52. The film was shot in seven days with a budget of $53,000 and it is every bit as incredible as that sounds.

Originally titled The Edge of Hell (which is still in the opening) Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare tells the story of world-famous band The Tritonz, who take a road trip to a secluded (pay no attention to that visible highway in the background) farmhouse somewhere in Canada. Canada eh? Why yes, because as lead singer John Triton (Thor) points out, Canada is where everything is happening: “the music, the entertainment, the arts.”

The Tritonz are there to record exactly ten minutes of new material for their upcoming album.  Their manager Phil (Adam Fried) explains that the detached barn has been converted to a recording studio used in the past by the likes of Alice Cooper and Rod Stewart. Phil’s a geek who dresses like Duckie from Pretty in Pink so naturally he is  the “comic” relief of this film.

Let’s introduce the rest of the band and their traveling companions, shall we? I’ll even list the name of the actors, even though for nearly all of them, this is their only role. There’s guitarist Max (David Lane). Max has a thing for the band’s keyboardist Dee Dee (Denise Deicandia), who is always braless and dressed in spandex. Dee Dee likes Max too, but for some reason neither has revealed their feelings for the other. There’s a boring bass player named, I shit you not, Roger Eburt (Frank Deitz) and his even more boring new wife Mary (Liane Abel Dietz). The Eburts are on their honeymoon and seriously, they suck so much. Roger does get a pretty great line though. When he sees Mary washing dishes (Oh my god, the dishwashing—I will talk more about this later) he grabs her from behind and says “When I see you doing something so domestic, my boner can’t help itself.” With a poet like Roger in the band, I don’t understand why they are having so much trouble coming up with a new love song.

Moving on, there is also John’s girlfriend Randy (Teresa Simpson), appropriately named because she just can’t get enough of John’s rippin’ bod and amazing clothing. But John has no time for that. He’s all about the music, man.

Finally, we have drummer Stig (Jim Cirile) whose terrible, ever-changing British Australian no fucking idea accented line delivery must be heard to be believed. Stig’s girlfriend Lou Anne (Jillian Peri), is your standard big-haired 80s movie bitch. She’s wonderful.

Wow, that’s a lot of people! I haven’t even mentioned the groupies who show up for exactly one scene and are never heard from again. Of course, the reason there are so many characters is so they can be picked off one by one by the dark, mysterious evil that lurks in the deserted home.

And here it is:

I know. Terrifying.

A Toast

I have made it one of my life’s missions to see as many bad movies as I possibly can. I’ve slogged through a lot of shit (don’t even get me started on After Last Season) trying to find the gems among the turds. And this one is a fucking diamond you guys.

This film combines so many wonderful things: 80s cheese, hair metal, low-budget practical effects, first-time auteur passion-project ineptitude, puppets, dishwashing, I can go on and on. I’ve already watched this movie four times and there’s always something new to discover.

From what I’ve learned about Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare, it was a fun experience for everyone involved and that shows through. Everybody here knew they were making a silly horror movie with limited resources but were sincere in their attempt to make it as entertaining as possible. And entertaining it is.

Beer Two

As we learned with Manos: The Hands of Fate and Birdemic, when a movie starts with extended footage of driving, you know you are in for something special. And boy is there driving.

Lots and lots and

lots of driving.

Turns out the movie ran about four minutes short of officially being labeled feature-length, so they went back and shot four minutes of the van driving to the farmhouse. Problem solved!

Beer Three

Know what’s overrated in movies?

Consistency, that’s what.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare has no time for that (as I mentioned, they only had seven days, just like God).

So it does not matter one tiny bit that when victims are attacked they either:

A) go back to normal as if nothing happened to them.

B) go back to normal but with increased musical ability/sexual stamina

C) presumably die but then come back to life as demons

D) presumably die and are never seen again.

E) transform into tiny penis-shaped sock puppets.

An actual screenshot of Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare. I am TELLING you, it is so wonderful!

Beer Four

Of course with Thor (the band) providing the music for Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare and being written by Thor (the man God), this film contains lots of music. Nearly every scene has a Thor song playing in the background (except for the Wolf Boy parts –he gets a magical flute! Oh yeah, there’s also a wolf boy in this movie because: see Beer Three) and we are treated to not one, but two FULL performances by the Tritonz. Costumes, lighting, and all because all great musicians know, if you are going to record ten minutes of material, you have to practice your presentation first dammit!

The songs: “We Live to Rock” and “Energy,” are both something. I dare you not to get either of these stuck in your head.

And the band! They rival only Miami Connection’s Dragon Sound in presentation (slight edge to Dragon Sound since they incorporate Tae Kwon Do) and by that I mean that no one’s (except for Thor) pretend-playing matches up to the music. This, of course, adds to the charm.

Beer Five

These rock stars sure like their coke.

No, no, no…Not cocaine.

Coca Cola, duh!

I’m not sure if Coke was an official sponsor of this film… I’m thinking “no,” but they were sure hoping it would be! Nearly every shot has a visible can and the label is always facing forward. Pay special attention to the scene near the end when Thor sits down to write his masterpiece while enjoying a nice, cold can of Coca Cola Classic. You can see him, ever so discreetly (not at all) turn the label so it is facing the camera. It’s incredible.

Beer Six

This is where I would mention the ending. The ridiculous, batshit, out of nowhere, M. Night Shyamalan-wishes-could-come-up-with-something-like-this ending. But I’m not going to. Because the less said about it the better for the first-time viewer. I repeat, DO NOT SPOIL THIS EXPERIENCE FOR YOURSELF!

All I will say is, there is absolutely no way in (The Edge of) hell that one can predict the thrilling conclusion of Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare, so don’t even bother attempting to and just enjoy getting to it and then revel in all its studded codpiece, flying Play-Doh-starfish-monster magnificence.

Usually when there is a twist of this kind, if you go back and rewatch the movie, you’ll pick up on little details that you didn’t notice before that kind of foreshadow the ending. That is not the case with Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare. In fact, the ending makes even less sense upon multiple viewings. Please don’t misunderstand—I am not discouraging watching this movie more than once. In fact, it’s just as much, if not more, fun watching it over and over.

Beer S—-

Shit! I ran out of beers before I can assign one for all the glorious dishwashing! Let me just say, if there is one thing that screams ROCK N ROLL, it is washing dishes.

Wait, that’s not right.

I mean, unless you do it like Kenny from Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead.

But kudos to Jon Mikl Thor for making sure to include many, many scenes of it to remind us all that before we can rock, we mustn’t neglect a sink full of dirty dishes.

Verdict

I can’t believe it took me this long to become familiar with both this movie and Jon Mikl Thor himself. SHAME! This is a freaking masterpiece and I order you to watch it right now (it’s available on Amazon and YouTube). Then be sure to check out the legitimately good I Am Thor (Netflix) documentary for a look into the man behind it all. He’s had quite a life.

In addition, there is also a film called Zombie Nightmare that was actually the first collaboration between John Fasano and Jon Mikl Thor. I highly recommend checking it out. It has a much larger budget and even stars Adam West and Tia Carerre (in her first film role). It’s just as fun and silly, though slightly more coherent than Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare.

If you still need more Thor in your life, there is also a 2005 sequel called Intercessor: Another Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare. (I haven’t been able to check this one out yet but from what I’ve seen, it appears to have been made for $52,900.00 less than Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare).

Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare (1987) Drinking Game

Drink Suggestion: Coca Cola mixed with your choice of alcohol. Just make sure to pour the alcohol in the can and drink with the label clearly showing.

 

Take a Drink: whenever you hear the ominous “ahhh” sound (you’ll know what I mean when watching.)

Take a Drink: whenever anyone washes dishes

Take a Drink: whenever someone tells a story about Phil

Take a drink: for every Jon Mikl Thor costume change

Take a Drink: whenever anyone mentions the whereabouts of the van

Take a Drink: for every (off-screen) kill

Take a Drink: whenever the camera zooms in and holds on Dee Dee’s nipples

Take a Drink: boobs! (Take two for Thor’s)

Take a Drink: for every prominently placed Coca Cola can

Take a Drink: whenever Stig’s accent changes

Take a Drink: deformed Muppet penis booger monsters!

Chug: during the sex scenes (trust me)

Do all the Shots: at the insane twist ending!

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Justice League (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/justice-league-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/justice-league-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Fri, 24 Nov 2017 13:15:27 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104502 By: Felix Felicis (Four Beers) – There’s no better way to end 2017 than with a DC movie, and here’s why. This film is the poster child for what may be the most fucked up year (definitley cinematically – and somewhat realistically) on record yet. Justice League served lukewarm villains paired with a weak sauce …

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By: Felix Felicis (Four Beers) –

There’s no better way to end 2017 than with a DC movie, and here’s why. This film is the poster child for what may be the most fucked up year (definitley cinematically – and somewhat realistically) on record yet. Justice League served lukewarm villains paired with a weak sauce superhero team origin story. I’ve seen more thrilling formations of baby ducks come together. But I digress. Plagued by reshoots and studio meddling long before release, this flick was D.O.A almost out the gate and not even the Mighty Whedon could pluck this silver screen dumpster baby fully from the jaws of mediocrity. R.I.P quality control, we knew ye well. Not to mention, Beardgate: The CGI Edition MAY have actually been more visually annoying than the latest iPhone glitch and/or Kardashian pregnancy scandal (we get it, you’re branding – I mean birthing, the next corporation – I mean, generation).

Pipe down, Steve, genius at work here.

I’m trying to gather my thoughts on how to explain the Justice League plot, but the ferrets on crystal meth who run my brain just faxed a .gif of a *puggle **peeing on a trash can fire down the ol’ cortex and that imagery seems about right (* something that SHOULD be awesome, **in essence, just shitting the bed). Okay, take two, so we open the first few seconds of the film on what honestly looks like Henry Cavill’s face (if his face had melted like a crayon under a heat lamp) as he says some Superman shit blah blah hope blah truth blah justice, etc. Then we follow that with a montage of some super sad peeps woke and heartbroke (’cause Superman got super dead last time he hung out with Batflek) including a homeless dude bucking for Human Representation Of 2017 listlessly sitting on the street with a cardboard sign that says “I tried.” Sidenote: the couple next to me laughed at this and, also unrelated, humans are literally the worst.

Same, girl, same.

After that, we follow a bloated, front-heavy (even with Whedon’s obvious editing influence) character-driven introduction guaranteed to induce survival-based narcolepsy as we meet (and re-meet) Cyborg, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and The Flash because Mike Pence, I mean our villain, Steppenwolf (alien? demi-god? weirdly Oedipal dude? All three?) has a huuuuuuuge hard-on for his long-lost “mother boxes” (and would also like to crush and subjugate humanity. They’re basically twinsies).

“Steppenwolf” in the mirror every morning… interpret those air quotes as you will.

The team, nay, LEAGUE, comes together to fight off a moderately douchey, slightly underwhelming threat to earth (and mankind). But not too threatening, because it only took *six of them (*Superman gets resurrected and shows up to pwn the day – you CANNOT think this is a spoiler, you KNEW Superman would be back, calm down the three angry nerds with no clue who somehow haven’t seen Justice League yet) with the Big Bad Ultimate throwdown happening in an abandoned nuclear silo somewhere deep in the heart of Bumfuck, Russia. Sure, okay, I’ll buy that vowel… But only because it comes with a free beach tote and, as you all know, we white girls are powerless against a free beach tote.

Still a better Justice League than Justice League.

A Toast

Much like an ancient hangover story from my college days, I’m struggling to recall the specific details about this cinematic barf bag that I liked. There were moments, grafted on to the choppy mess of back-alley mediocrity that was Justice League, that I genuinely enjoyed. Um, Ezra Miller was a goddamned delight as The Flash, for one. Cheeky, charming and generally carrying any scene he was in with a twinkle in his eye, Miller made the Flash a scene stealer all the way through to the first post-credit scene (there are two, FYI). Also, Jeremy Irons as Alfred gets criminally underused in Justice League, which is ironic in that he works for Batman who basically has to arrest himself for that one.

Candid footage taken of me standing outside theaters warning people about Justice League.

Beer Two

Holy. Fucking, CGI circlejerk shitshow, Batman! Picture a wax replica of Henry Cavill set on fire, put out, doused in acid, dunked in more wax and launched into space. That’s the level of quality DC is operating at with regards to the care they put into their product these days. Basically, when the time came that Henry Cavill was needed to (what turned out to be an almost total overhaul) massively reshoot his role after Joss Whedon took over, he was already shooting Mission Impossible: 6 and (after a masterfully petty bitch move due to studio-on-studio hardball) was required to keep his stubble and full mustache for Justice League reshoots. Cue the bad decisions in three, two…

The longer you stare at it, the more it stares back into your soul.

Every time you see Henry Cavill’s dead eyes behind a mask of computer generated imagery, please know that DC is why we can’t have nice things. They could’ve pushed back the release date and given up on competing with Thor: Ragnarok at the box office and really taken the time to get the CGI right, but nope. They could’ve tossed in one line of dialogue explaining the mustache as a right-out-of-the-comics Rebirth storyline, but, HAHAHAHAHA NOPE. The level of disrespect/delusion it takes to put out a shitty product as “good enough”, counting on a fanbase to nevertheless give you their money is almost as much as it takes to run the United States these days.

*silent screaming*

Beer Three

Dear Joss Whedon, hi, Felix here. You know. Remember that one time you like a tweet I wrote? So, basically as your BFF I have to say you did your best with Justice League AND NOBODY IS MAD AT YOU, SWEETIE.

But… this horse was already dead before they hired you to beat it. Justice League was front-heavy, laboriously paced, and somehow still filled with superfluous character elements. They gave you an already flaming bag of poo, buddy. I was somehow simultaneously bored AND dying inside at warp nine. Character motivations were inconsistent at best. A dealer’s choice Jersey Shore cast member could’ve made better life decisions than anyone who greenlit this boil-waiting-to-be-lanced-on-the-ass-of-cinema.

Whatever “The Situation” was here, still a better life choice than Justice League.

Not to mention JL’s terrible writing, uneven tone, and the solid call to make Wonder Woman’s ass cheeks juuuuust visible enough when she hopped off a transport by hiking her skirt up to levels only previously seen by gynecologists. And hey, who hasn’t been cold enough to wear a scarf but hot enough to still wear a battle skirt around the ol’ office? Gotta say I also super loved the forced-yet-extremly awkward not-sexual-tension she had with Batflek as she WOUNDED-BABY-BIRD NURSED HIM AFTER BATTLE HAHAHAHAHA FEMINISM IS FOR UGLY WOMEN AMIRITE?!?

And don’t even get me started on Lois Lane and Martha Kent’s relegation to the sidelines as “calming female presences only relevant through their importance to a (super)man”.

Bit clunky, though, with you guys mentioning Steve Trevor every five seconds to set up Wonder Woman 2 and all (that legit may be the only thing I’m actually excited for coming out of DC in the future). Given Justice League’s overweighted first half, not even the team’s synergy on the back end (including finale Battle Royale) could overcome everything wrong with this flick due to Steppenwolf’s fairly weak sauce throughout.

Is what I whispered walking out of the theater to the woman waiting outside who looked mildly pumped about the next showing of Justice League.

Beer Four

I’ve spent the better part of the last week breaking down Justice League at the office and at home. There are tweet threads here, here and here about it. You’re welcome for those. But I digress. In each of those threads a common element emerged to drag Justice League down into the depths of meh-diocrity, and that’s a forgettable villain. Unless you’re familiar with Steppenwolf’s comic arc (New God from another world acting as a general/war commander for Darkseid – a bigger, badder villain) you’ll be mostly confused as to why this guy is such a whiny, petulant asshat about conquering Earth. Kind of like “The Man In Black” from Stephen King’s The Dark Tower this year, Steppenwolf is a big “fuck you” to anyone casually uninformed about the source material.

A fairly accurate representation of what the writers involved with Steppenwolf were thinking.

I’m just gonna say it, Steppenwolf is an allegory for Mike Pence and his weird obsession over possessing the “mother boxes” (think knockoff tesseracts) and subsequent tempter tantrums after being thwarted are real… real boring. Almost everything Steppenwolf does lasts JUST long enough for the League to get their act together and roll out to stop him. It’s also pretty hard to get jazzed about a bad guy who Gollum-talks to some inanimate objects before getting hoisted by his own petard. Picture a bowl of room temperature yogurt. Poke the bowl. Watch it kind of jiggle. Congrats. You’ve just experienced the same level of excitement a ticket to Justice League (and Steppenwolf) could bring you.

“Steppenwolf” to his mirror at night.

Verdict

Better than Suicide Squad but not as good as Wonder WomanJustice League is the Dominoes of movies (it’ll fill you up but ultimately leave you wishing you’d ordered something else).

Last Call: There are two post credits scenes, the second all the way at the end.

Justice League (2017) Drinking Game

Take a (Small) Drink: every time you can tell what was reshot due to Superman’s melted candle wax face.

Take a Drink: whenever someone new talks about or carries the mother boxes.

Do a Shot: each time “Steve Trevor” gets mentioned.

Take a Sip: anytime someone strikes a “battle pose”. Take Two: if it’s the whole team.

Shotgun Your Beer: when the mother boxes blow the mother load.

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Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/bombshell-hedy-lamarr-story-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/bombshell-hedy-lamarr-story-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Thu, 23 Nov 2017 13:15:19 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104476 By: Henry J. Fromage (Two Beers) – Hedy Lamarr was a lot of things- provocateur, Hollywood royalty, tabloid queen, inventor of the basis of most modern communication… Wait, what do you do in your spare time? Bombshell: the Hedy Lamarr Story delivers just what it promises- an examination of the life and times of one of …

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By: Henry J. Fromage (Two Beers) –

Hedy Lamarr was a lot of things- provocateur, Hollywood royalty, tabloid queen, inventor of the basis of most modern communication…

Wait, what do you do in your spare time?

Bombshell: the Hedy Lamarr Story delivers just what it promises- an examination of the life and times of one of Hollywood’s most enrapturing beauties, and, lesser known, one of the 21st Century’s most influential inventors.

A Toast

Director Alexandra Dean chooses to pretty much play it straight- telling the story of Lamarr from her earliest years as a rich Jewish girl then scandalous film ingenue in the Bohemian pre-war Vienna (she had the first full-frontal nude scene and simulated on-screen orgasm in film history, a feat that would not be managed again in conventional film for decades), to her escape into the clutches of Louis B. Mayer and Hollywood glamour, to her wartime efforts with the Inventors Council and in bail bonds sales, to a later career marked with grief, groundbreaking then depressing plastic surgery, and addiction to Dr. Feelgood’s Vitamin B injections (yes, a real person, and yes, it was meth).

What emerges is the portrait of a woman who was utterly gorgeous, yes, but also forward-thinking, manipulative, scandalous, and unconcerned by whatever anyone else thought or said.  A woman who used these qualities to truly “made her own reality”, but who never received credit for shaping ours in as profound a way as any inventor of modern times.  This is no exaggeration- her invention of frequency hopping (which Dean explains the origin and science of in a comprehensible and interesting way) underlies cellular communication, wifi, bluetooth, and countless military technologies.  How about that for a side gig to Hollywood stardom?

Maybe Adam Sandler’s been perfecting that flying car all these years?

Beer Two

Dean plays the filmmaking largely straight with interviews and stock footage and audio, and that’s all that’s necessary for such an interesting tale.  So, the multiple animated flourishes that plaster the screen especially at the beginning of the film feel like unnecessary gilding and are a tad distracting.

Verdict

Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story is a conventionally delivered but nonetheless gripping portrait of one of the most fascinating figures of the 20th Century.

Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time somebody refers to Hedy’s beauty

Take a Drink: every time somebody refers to her formidable mind

Take a Drink: every time a scandal occurs

Do a Shot: when the immensity of her scientific accomplishment becomes clear

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Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (1937) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/snow-white-seven-dwarves-1937-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/snow-white-seven-dwarves-1937-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Wed, 22 Nov 2017 13:15:45 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104247 By: Alex Phuong (Two Beers) – This is the one that started it all… and is arguably the fairest of them all! Walt Disney wanted to expand the studio that he founded by taking his animated work to new heights. People in the Hollywood business thought that he was insane, and labeled his attempt to …

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By: Alex Phuong (Two Beers) –

This is the one that started it all… and is arguably the fairest of them all! Walt Disney wanted to expand the studio that he founded by taking his animated work to new heights. People in the Hollywood business thought that he was insane, and labeled his attempt to produce a full-length animated feature as “Disney’s Folly.” Nevertheless, “Disney’s Folly” ended up being a major triumph. Walt Disney’s contributions to the world (which include numerous films, theme parks, and his enduring legacy) would not even exist if Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (1937) had never been made.

A Toast

Even though this was the world’s first animated feature, many film critics and historians believe that it is one of the greatest and most important films in cinematic history. The beloved fairy tale of Snow White has enchanted and entertained audiences for eighty years (as of 2017). The animation is really amazing given the fact that animation was a relatively new art form in the 1930s. Snow White herself is one of the most beloved princesses in the Disney canon, and her story continues to live on both in fairy tale books and the silver screen.

Beer Two

Even though this is one of the greatest Disney films ever made, it is also one of its scariest. Many people would either like or hate the Evil Queen given the wickedness of her character. Many young children also do not enjoy the scene in which the queen transforms herself into an old hag. The entire notion of a “poisoned apple” also became a frightening reality when people placed dangerous objects and/or poison into candy and caramel apples that they would give to trick-or-treaters on Halloween. The funny thing about Halloween, though, is that many girls like to dress up as either Snow White, the Wicked Queen, or the old hag.

A fun fact is that the film started a fashion trend when it was originally released in December 1937, but that trend appears to have never faded away thanks to the popularity of Disney costumes. Such an influence on popular culture reveals the fundamental fact that Snow White and the Seven Dwarves is a very influential motion picture.

Verdict

“Disney’s Folly” is in reality a masterpiece because of its portrayal of one of the most beloved stories ever told. Everything about Disney would not even exist if Snow White flopped during its original release. This film is so spectacular that even Adolf Hitler labeled it as one of his favorite films. It might be one of the scariest films ever made, but it is also one of Disney’s greatest. Decades have passed since this film premiered at the Carthay Circle Theatre in Los Angeles, but it will always remain one of the fairest films ever made.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (1937) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time the dwarves exhibit the behaviors that reflect their names and personalities (i.e. Sleepy, Happy, Grumpy, etc.)

Take a Drink: every time the Evil Queen expresses anger and jealousy towards the fair Snow White

Drink a Shot: every time the famous poisoned apple hits the ground.

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The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/killing-sacred-deer-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/killing-sacred-deer-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Tue, 21 Nov 2017 13:15:10 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104420 By: Movie Snurb (Two Beers) – Yorgos Lanthimos follows up his Oscar nominated film The Lobster with this Horror Drama. It’s equally unique and much darker. Dr. Steven Murphy (Collin Farrell) is a Cardiologist and has a loving family with his wife Anna (Nicole Kidman), their daughter Kim (Raffey Cassidy), and their son Bob (Sunny …

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By: Movie Snurb (Two Beers) –

Yorgos Lanthimos follows up his Oscar nominated film The Lobster with this Horror Drama. It’s equally unique and much darker. Dr. Steven Murphy (Collin Farrell) is a Cardiologist and has a loving family with his wife Anna (Nicole Kidman), their daughter Kim (Raffey Cassidy), and their son Bob (Sunny Suljic). Dr. Murphy has taken a liking to a teenage boy Martin (Barry Keoghan). One day Dr. Murphy is forced to make a horrific decision; he must make a sacrifice on who to kill between his wife, daughter, or son. Soon we found out why Martin is forcing Dr. Murphy to make this decision.

A Toast

Lanthimos is currently one of the most exciting screenwriter/directors out there. His ability to fully craft such unique ideas is a pleasure to watch. Lanthimos’ writing style is very distinct, it’s like Wes Anderson’s style. Everyone speaks very matter-of-factly, and it helps sculpt his universe. So, instead of seeing the 8th installment of the biggest franchise, we get to see a completely new vision, even if it is a dark and twisted vision. I cannot wait to see what Lanthimos does next, hopefully with Farrell and Kidman in tow.

The acting is brilliant, with a stellar performance delivered by Colin Farrell- again he gives a reserved performance and it’s nonetheless great. The standout is Nicole Kidman; watching her give serious pros and cons on killing their son over their daughter is unsettling and it looks completely natural, which makes it even more unnerving. I won’t be shocked if Kidman has an Oscar nomination coming her way, whether if it is for The Killing of a Sacred Deer or The Beguiled; both are brilliant performances. Barry Keoghan is frightening as Martin, it’s a complete 180 from his turn in Dunkirk, and he nails the role. He’ll be an actor to keep on your radar for the future.

Beer Two

The Killing of a Sacred Deer is a slow build, most of which is spent learning who the characters are and how they play into the story. However, the pacing in this film is a little too slow. Once we find out what is happening to Dr. Murphy’s family I thought Lanthimos would ratchet up the tension; however, the film stays in the slow pace up until the very end. Also we never find out how Martin does what he does to the Murphy family. One scene hints at it, but it’s extremely vague.

Verdict

Lanthimos delivers another unique film with brilliant performances. The pacing is much slower than The Lobster, however, the film is still great. It’s a very unsettling journey that you must prepare yourself for before you watch.

The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time there is an uncomfortable conversation.

Do a Shot: every time someone eats.

Do a Shot: every time someone is crawling on the floor.

Finish you Drink: for the 2nd to last scene; you’ll probably need it.

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Wonder (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/wonder-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/wonder-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Mon, 20 Nov 2017 13:15:10 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104470 By: Movie Snurb (Three Beers) – Wonder, based on the book of the same name, is the touching story of Auggie Pullman (Jacob Tremblay). He has a facial deformity due to complications at birth and multiple surgeries. His parents, played by Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson, have decided to send Auggie to school on the …

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By: Movie Snurb (Three Beers) –

Wonder, based on the book of the same name, is the touching story of Auggie Pullman (Jacob Tremblay). He has a facial deformity due to complications at birth and multiple surgeries. His parents, played by Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson, have decided to send Auggie to school on the 1st day of 5th grade after being home-schooled for his elementary school years. As you’d guess, things aren’t smooth sailing, but this film teaches some great lessons in being yourself, and then your true friends will appear.

A Toast

The film has some wonderful lessons to teach children about being yourself, being kind to everyone, and being understanding; everyone has their crap to deal with, remember to understand that fact. When I have kids I would absolutely show them this film, it’s an excellent way to teach them those lessons. Wonder has its moments of genuine heart and it’ll give you the warm fuzzies inside. Sometimes it might get a little heavy-handed, but that doesn’t totally detract from the warmth that will come over you from this film.

Jacob Tremblay is an outstanding actor; he was so honest in his portrayal and the make-up was so real that it didn’t seem like Jacob was acting. Jacob is an immense talent and he has a long career ahead of him. Julia and Owen also do great jobs with the material they’re given. Izabela Vidovic as Via (Auggie’s sister) gives an honest and reserved performance. It would’ve been very easy to make any of these characters one-dimensional, especially Via, but we get a well-rounded character so that by the end we feel for her just as much as Auggie.

Beer Two

At times it seems the actors were underutilized. Julia Roberts, an Oscar winner, never really has any scenes that prove why an actor of her caliber should be in the film. It seemed like they could’ve gone with a lesser known talent and been fine. Same for Owen Wilson, only his issue is Owen is relegated to having a goofy one-liner here and there. Oh that silly Dad, he’s always just a goofball hahaha. The actors do well with what they’re given, but they could’ve been given more.

Beer Three

Stephen Chobsky gives a great message with this film and is a good film to watch with your kids to teach them that everyone goes through their own things and we need to be understanding, and just be kind and decent human beings to each other. However, there are many moments in this film where the message becomes quite heavy-handed. Most kids are going to understand the message; they won’t need it beat into their head.

Verdict

Wonder could’ve been a much worse and much cheesier film (although it was still pretty cheesy). It’s a testament to the stellar cast and acting, and the great writing and direction from Stephen Chbosky. Wonder isn’t as good as Chbosky’s 1st effort Perks of Being a Wallflower, but it was still a nice surprise that will fill your heart.

Wonder (2017) Drinking Game

Do a Shot: every time someone makes fun of Auggie.

Take a Drink: for every moment of subjectivity or dream of Auggie.

Do a Shot: for every friend Auggie makes by the end of the film.

Do a Shot: for every cheestastic moment. Yes, it was cheesy but it’ll still make you feel.

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365 Days of Movies- Henry J. Fromage Edition- Week 44 http://movieboozer.com/articles/365-days-movies-henry-j-fromage-edition-week-44 http://movieboozer.com/articles/365-days-movies-henry-j-fromage-edition-week-44#respond Sun, 19 Nov 2017 18:15:33 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104363 By: Henry J. Fromage – Another limited but random week of movie watching, focused on good not great new releases. 222. Wonderstruck The newest from master Todd Haynes, with his usual distinguished film crew including Oscar-nominees DP Ed Lachman and Composer Carter Burwell, landed with a whimper at Cannes earlier this year, and now we …

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By: Henry J. Fromage –

Another limited but random week of movie watching, focused on good not great new releases.

222. Wonderstruck

The newest from master Todd Haynes, with his usual distinguished film crew including Oscar-nominees DP Ed Lachman and Composer Carter Burwell, landed with a whimper at Cannes earlier this year, and now we get to see why.  He’s adapted a YA book from Brian Selznick, who also wrote the book adapted by Martin Scorcese with Hugo, and to an even greater degree than that one, feels like a bit of a waste of its filmmaking crew’s copious talents.  Neither are awful films, mind you, but neither exactly display their directors’ main talents.  Wonderstruck is a handsomely-produced d ual-period piece with a time-jumping interrelated story between the 1920s and 1970s, and how the film deals with the deafness of its two main characters is conceptually interesting and lovingly handled.  However, it’s… a bit slow and boring, and builds to a conclusion engineered for maximum good vibes melodramatic tear-jerking which lands with a thud and a saccharine skid.  Well, there’s that Peggy Lee moving ‘comin…

223. Murder on the Orient Express

Kenneth Branagh tackles the best detective of all time, yes, that’s right, Hercule Poirot, in this star-studded, CGI-sheened adaptation of Agatha Christie’s classic mystery.  The production is all-around handsome, the mustache is non-cannon but pretty goddamned glorious, and Branagh keeps the pace humming along.  I’m not the biggest fan of some of the big screen spectacle-chasing changes to the source material, and the overall impact is low, but as Hollywood mid-range budgeters go, I’ll take more of this over wanna-be franchise starters any day (although was that a hint at a sequel at the end…?).

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Enchanted (2007) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/enchanted-2007-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/enchanted-2007-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Sun, 19 Nov 2017 13:15:47 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104266 By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) – Seventy years after the release of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (1937), the Walt Disney Company produced yet another fairy tale film… with a twist. Enchanted is a very special Disney film because it celebrates the Disney legacy while also poking fun at itself in humorous ways. The …

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By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) –

Seventy years after the release of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (1937), the Walt Disney Company produced yet another fairy tale film… with a twist. Enchanted is a very special Disney film because it celebrates the Disney legacy while also poking fun at itself in humorous ways. The film itself is a very modern version of the Disney fairy tales that have enchanted audiences for decades while redefining what a Disney film could be for the modern age. Many would argue that Enchanted is the first modern Disney classic of the Twenty-First Century.

A Toast

This film features a fabulous performance from Amy Adams and all of the charm and grace of Disney’s legacy. Adams definitely deserved her Golden Globe nomination for playing the Princess Giselle, an animated character who finds herself in the strange and terrifying world of New York City. This film also boasts three Academy Award-nominated original songs (and this was the last film to have that distinction after the Academy changed the rules in terms of its nominations). This film might have lost to Oscar to the song “Falling Slowly” from Once (2007), but it still has the magical and musical elements of the “Disney Renaissance” thanks to the music by Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz. Enchanted really is enchanting (pun intended) because it essentially honors the magic of Disney.

Verdict

Enchanted is a very delightful film that contains numerous references to Disney’s past. Some critics argued that this film might have had assistance from Walt Disney himself even though he has been dearly departed for a very long time. There is also (possibly) an upcoming sequel entitled Disenchanted that might be released in 2018. It has been a decade since this film’s original release (as of 2017), but Enchanted will definitely remain a continuation of Walt Disney’s enduring legacy.

Enchanted (2007) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: each time the characters from Andalasia enter New York City through the manhole.

Take a Drink: every time there is a reference to Disney’s past

Take a Drink: every time Pip (the chipmunk) gets into any sort of trouble or mayhem

Drink a Shot: every time a famous Disney celebrity appears on-screen (i.e. Jodi Benson, Paige O’Hara, etc.)

Make Yourself a Martini: when Nathaniel gives Giselle an apple martini in the Italian restaurant

Celebrate with your Favorite Drink: when this film reminds you that dreams can come true!

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To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/to-kill-a-mockingbird-1962-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/to-kill-a-mockingbird-1962-movie-review-drinking-game#comments Sat, 18 Nov 2017 18:15:37 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104335 By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) – Harper Lee was one of the most beloved authors in contemporary American literature. The world mourned her passing on February 19, 2016, and her novel Go Set a Watchman shook the literary landscape upon its publication the year before. Lee was responsible for one of the greatest novels ever …

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By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) –

Harper Lee was one of the most beloved authors in contemporary American literature. The world mourned her passing on February 19, 2016, and her novel Go Set a Watchman shook the literary landscape upon its publication the year before. Lee was responsible for one of the greatest novels ever written, and the adaptation of that same novel ended up becoming a cinematic masterpiece. That beloved classic is none other than To Kill a Mockingbird. Indeed, this Pulitzer Prize winner served the basis for a triumph in filmmaking that students continue to study in academic settings, and remains a landmark in both the literary and cinematic world.

A Toast

This film features an Oscar-winning screenplay, outstanding art direction, and great performances from both Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch and Mary Badham as Scout. Mary Badham might have lost the Oscar to Patty Duke’s portrayal of Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker, but her nomination was well-deserved. Gregory Peck’s performance is iconic because he was able to bring one of the most beloved characters to the silver screen. Peck ended up winning the Oscar for playing the inspirational lawyer in Maycomb, Alabama, and the American Film Institute (AFI) voted that Atticus Finch was the #1 greatest hero in film history. To Kill a Mockingbird is definitely a film that has stood the test of time simply because of its profound explorations of racism, growth, and maturation.

Verdict

Harper Lee might no longer be with us, but she blessed the world with one of the most profound stories ever written. Many people love Atticus Finch so much that they were hesitant to read Go Set a Watchman since that novel portrays Atticus as an anti-hero. Maybe the reason why Harper Lee wrote about that specific character in both a positive and negative way is to reveal the fundamental fact that there will always be both a good side and a bad side to everything. Even if readers do not enjoy Go Set a Watchman, film lovers can still marvel at Alan J. Pakula’s adaptation of one of the most beloved American novels that the world has ever known.

To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time Scout and Jim behave rambunctiously together

Take a Drink: during every courtroom scene.

Enjoy Your Favorite Drink: while Atticus Finch delivers his famous and inspirational speech about the humanity that defines this beloved classic.

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Trailer Reviews: Justice League, The Star, & Wonder http://movieboozer.com/articles/trailer-reviews-justice-league-the-star-wonder http://movieboozer.com/articles/trailer-reviews-justice-league-the-star-wonder#respond Sat, 18 Nov 2017 13:15:57 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104438 By: Hawk Ripjaw –   Justice League I have a lot of respect for DC fans. They’ve had it rough for the last few years: Man of Steel was fine, but Batman v Superman is so ambitious yet problematic that people are still arguing about it. Suicide Squad, a unique idea for a tentpole franchise …

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By: Hawk Ripjaw –

 

Justice League

I have a lot of respect for DC fans. They’ve had it rough for the last few years: Man of Steel was fine, but Batman v Superman is so ambitious yet problematic that people are still arguing about it. Suicide Squad, a unique idea for a tentpole franchise film, was an unmitigated disaster whose only bright points involve elements that weren’t fully explored. Wonder Woman, of course, was a surprisingly fun standalone flick, but an outlier from the rest.

But they are excited for Justice League. Like the symbol on Superman’s chest to signify hope and the unyielding will to hold on to it, they’re still confident that a new DCEU movie will deliver a compelling story that does justice to their beloved characters. This is something that Marvel fans don’t have to worry about: the MCU movies, at this point, consistently meet a modest bar of quality. While generally unremarkable, they’re very entertaining and can be expected to be decent movies. DC fans don’t have the luxury of taking new films for granted, for reasons that mostly fall on the disorganized and unconfident shoulders of the WB and their producers. 

Yet, they persevere. In the face of a trend of misguided movies, they’re still confident that we’ll get something good. Cynicism would by now make most give up on the series, but those hopeful, devoted DC fans are willing to give it yet another chance. They don’t expect a great movie, they want one. They don’t have the entitlement of the Marvel fans, but they’re passionate. With the majority of movies in the DC universe being less than great so far, they’re still ready to hope for the next one to deliver. That’s a degree of love for a franchise you rarely see.

Beer Prediction

Less awesome is the sub-50% Rotten Tomatoes score, and the fact that even the positive reviews have some reservations. Hope is what will continue to fund this franchise, it seems.

 

The Star

“The Nativity Story, but from the perspective of the animals” is something that was probably conjured after a couple of minutes of brainstorming, and the trailer shows it. Ironically, I also just saw the trailer for Rampage starring Dwayne Johnson, which had a similar feel. Yes, that is Rampage based on the video game where giant animals trash city buildings. Yes, this is where we are at in the current state of Hollywood. Most memorably, the trailer for The Star features Tyler Perry as a camel, a “classic” “Animal that ‘talks’ isn’t understood by humans so the important thing the animal needs to say is interpreted as animal sounds by the human” gag, and a dove waving his ass at the camera. This is coming out right before Pixar’s Coco, so why not save your movie dollars for some weed or maybe a nice gift for a loved one. Or both!

Beer Prediction

Look, I am all about the birth of Jesus, but it is seriously time we start trying to raise the bar for religious movies.

 

Wonder

Sight unseen, it’s easy to dismiss Wonder as another in the pile of irritatingly try-hard child prodigy movies, involving smart youngsters overcoming adversity through the power of spunk and snark. However, the trailer sells a surprisingly touching story of how to conquer shame and anxiety. Whether or not you’ve got a deformed face, you’ve probably faced problems with other shithead human beings. Because that’s what we do: we’re assholes to each other. Wonder looks like a nice reminder that it’s pretty cool to just be nice, and true to yourself. We really need that right now, don’t we?

Beer Prediction

I want this movie to do well, partially because the talented Jacob Tremblay deserves something successful after The Book of Henry.

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LBJ (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/lbj-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/lbj-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Fri, 17 Nov 2017 13:15:30 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104352 By: Oberst Von Berauscht – President Lyndon Baines Johnson is one of the most contradictory figures in American history, on one hand pushing through some very progressive social reforms and leading the way in Civil Rights legislation, on the other hand deeply self-conscious and paranoid, and his escalation of the War on Vietnam will forever taint …

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By: Oberst Von Berauscht –

President Lyndon Baines Johnson is one of the most contradictory figures in American history, on one hand pushing through some very progressive social reforms and leading the way in Civil Rights legislation, on the other hand deeply self-conscious and paranoid, and his escalation of the War on Vietnam will forever taint his legacy. LBJ follows the eponymous politician (Woody Harrelson) from his years as John F. Kennedy’s vice president through the assassination and his subsequent assumption of power.

Through about an inch-thick coating of makeup

A Toast

Woody Harrelson clearly did a great deal of research into Johnson’s mannerisms and speaking style; he disappears into the role almost completely. A challenging feat for a President who has been played by so many other great actors. Woody’s performance particularly nails the way Johnson was able to make himself whatever he needed to be in order to get what he wanted. Johnson was well known for working both sides of an issue and self-consciously taking the side of what was popular. The film delves quite aptly into how that worked for him as a politician most of the time…

Beer Two

That said, the film doesn’t touch much on how that could (and did) also blow up in his face. While the film isn’t covering the timeframe of his Presidency where this is most well known (in relation to the war in Vietnam), ignoring this side to him draws an incomplete picture of the man. The movie only very briefly touches on his need to be loved by the public, a personal failing that other films on his life have conveyed much stronger.

See also

See also, also

Beer Three

The film’s primary fault, though, is that it feels like a re-treading of material without anything new to say. It re-plays numerous scenes depicted in other Johnson-related films coming to the same conclusions as those films. This wouldn’t necessarily be a movie-killing problem if the other LBJ-related films weren’t made so recently. All the Way, Path to War, and a few relevant scenes from Selma, Jackie, and The Butler all did very solid jobs with presenting President Johnson. This version is not only late to the party, but all it brought was a half-eaten bag of cheez-puffs.

“What the shit, Frank?”

Beer Four

Director Rob Reiner should take a little bit of time to re-familiarize himself with his own films of the 1980s-early 1990s. At some point during the mid 1990s he seems to have forgotten how to carry dramatic weight. Even in his off-kilter comedy The Princess Bride or films as wacky as This is Spinal Tap Reiner managed to hit the audience with moments where they can really feel for its characters. In LBJ, even during the JFK assassination sequence (which should be the most affecting moment for an audience), the film comes off cold and unemotional.

Verdict

LBJ is like watching Rob Reiner play connect-the-dots; it draws a clear picture but doesn’t aspire to anything more.

LBJ (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: whenever LBJ says something crass

Take a Drink: when ever the Kennedy name is mentioned

Do a Shot: each time the story flashes back or forward

Do a Shot: whenever LBJ takes a drink

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Dispatches from the Philadelphia International Film Festival http://movieboozer.com/articles/philadelphia-film-festival http://movieboozer.com/articles/philadelphia-film-festival#respond Thu, 16 Nov 2017 13:15:52 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104368 By: Christian Harding – For the 26th year in a row, the Philadelphia International Film Festival (or PIFF for short) has been going strong, and is showing no sign of slowing down. For this Northeastern Pennsylvania denizen, making a yearly trek all the way into the city for this event is always a worthwhile venture, …

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By: Christian Harding –
For the 26th year in a row, the Philadelphia International Film Festival (or PIFF for short) has been going strong, and is showing no sign of slowing down. For this Northeastern Pennsylvania denizen, making a yearly trek all the way into the city for this event is always a worthwhile venture, and is a tradition I look forward to every year. Here’s just a small sampling of the many, many films which were selected to screen at the festival this past October, and some of the ones I was fortunate enough to see either during the festival’s run, or shortly thereafter:
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Beloved (Jonathan Demme)

Earlier this year, acclaimed director Jonathan Demme passed away at the age of 73. Demme is most well known for scoring Oscar gold with his modern horror classic The Silence of the Lambs, and also for directing the film which nabbed Tom Hanks his first Best Actor win with the aptly titled Philadelphia. The PIFF therefore selected a number of Demme’s features to screen over the course of the season’s festival run, among which is his criminally underrated 1998 drama Beloved. Based on the Toni Morrison novel of the same name, the story of Beloved takes place in post-Civil War America, where we follow Oprah Winfrey’s Sethe as she tries to navigate somewhat of a normal life at home with her daughter after living the majority of her life in slavery.
But that all changes when a mysterious young woman who calls herself “Beloved” shows up at her house, and after a series of unexplained paranormal phenomenon begins occurring in their home, is eventually is revealed to be the ghost of Sethe’s long dead daughter. And if that premise sounds a bit unusual and even potentially un-filmable to you, then it’s a true credit to Jonathan Demme’s talents as a director that he’s able to take this genre-bending premise and turn it into something not only worth watching, but also dramatically satisfying, in addition to being just plain unnerving. But unfortunately, Beloved didn’t fare quite as well with critics or audiences as some of Demme’s other past successes, and the film has since faded into obscurity, with only a small but vocal cult following dedicated to sharing its memory. The selection of this over some of Demme’s other, more recognizable works might seem odd at first, but to anyone who was willing to give it a chance, they’re probably thankful now for the opportunity to see it played once again in big screen form.
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The Florida Project (Sean Baker)
a.k.a. American Honey Jr. A smash hit at this year’s Cannes Film Festival and a follow up to his acclaimed 2015 feature Tangerine, Sean Baker’s The Florida Project takes place right on the outskirts of the self-proclaimed “happiest place on Earth” – the Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Florida. Similar to Baker’s previous Tangerine, this film largely consists of non-professional actors in almost all the prominent roles (save for Willem Dafoe as the manager of the Magic Castle Motel, where the majority of the film is set). And despite Dafoe’s much Oscar-buzzed supporting turn, the real stars of this show are the mini-ensemble of child actors at the center of the film, featuring Brooklyn Prince as the true protagonist of this story, and whose perspective the majority of the film’s proceedings are seen from. Also noteworthy is the way in which this was filmed; unlike Tangerine, which was famously shot entirely using iPhone 5S smartphones, The Florida Project employs a more traditional style and is shot more formally than Baker’s previous works, and yet somehow feels entirely distinctive and vibrant from a purely visual standpoint, as well as being in complete harmony with everything else Baker has made thus far, both tonally and aesthetically. There’s really nothing like it out there right now, even in the ever-growing field of American coming of age dramedies.
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Thelma (Joaquim Trier)
Also a centerpiece at this year’s PIFF was Norway’s entry into the forthcoming Oscars’ Best Foreign Language Film race, Thelma. Based on the trailers, one couldn’t be blamed for drawing comparisons between this project and Stephen King’s Carrie (in book form or any of the onscreen adaptations), with both properties containing the premise of a young woman’s coming of age being heavily symbolized by each stories’ central heroines either gaining or being made aware of their own supernatural abilities. Having seen the film myself, I can verify that, apart from a number of surface level plot similarities, the two properties are vastly different in terms of tone and narrative goals. While both stories operate with a seemingly identical central conceit, Carrie is famously more shocking and horrifying in nature, whereas Thelma takes a sweeter, more empathetic and romantic approach to the story – not necessarily in how the titular protagonist’s newfound abilities are depicted, but rather in regards to the surrounding circumstances which awaken and/or strengthen said abilities.
Chief among these are Thelma’s increasing sense of independence from her overbearing and deeply religious parents after moving away to college, as well as the exploration and questioning of her own sexuality, and also dealing with a blossoming romance with an older female classmate. And it’s this central, manifest emotional sincerity that not only separates it from the aforementioned King work, but also what makes Thelma such an original and deeply effective film in its own right. It’s one of the year’s most pleasant surprises and is well worth seeking out if and when it becomes available to the public. *ending spoilers follow* There’s also one more aspect in which Thelma is incredibly noteworthy – dare I say damn near revolutionary – in that it actually features a *happy ending* for it’s central queer pairing; yes, you read that correctly. Stop the presses, everyone: I think we may very well be experiencing film history in the making here!
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Visages, Villages / Faces, Places (Agnes Varda, JR)
In our ever darkening, seemingly hopeless modern world full of worsening climate conditions, record-breaking mass shootings, and the Trump administration, it’s important that we continue to embrace the little things that make us happy and hold onto whatever brings us joy in this world. Case in point, the new documentary Faces Places, a collaboration between French New Wave director and just all around delightful human being Agnes Varda and photographer/muralist JR. Another big winner from Cannes 2017, the film follows Varda and JR as they travel together around rural France, meeting with the communities and creating large portraits to plaster on the surroundings. Together, they work to create these portraits of the various types of people they come across along the way, be it in the form of murals, or the film itself. The film has also been generating considerable amounts of awards buzz leading up to the beginning of this forthcoming Oscar season, and while awards recognition is rarely an indicator of quality by itself, hopefully Faces, Places should be able to crack into the lineup within the increasingly competitive documentary categories. At the very least, it should manage to succeed in bringing joy to the audience members viewing it at any given time. And in this day and age, is that really something we can afford to pass on?

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Virtual Pub 230: Murder on the Orient Express, Assholes, Batman Vs Two Face etc http://movieboozer.com/featured/virtual-pub-230-murder-orient-express-assholes-batman-vs-two-face-etc http://movieboozer.com/featured/virtual-pub-230-murder-orient-express-assholes-batman-vs-two-face-etc#respond Thu, 16 Nov 2017 05:00:21 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104435 The post Virtual Pub 230: Murder on the Orient Express, Assholes, Batman Vs Two Face etc appeared first on MovieBoozer.

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365 Days of Movies- Henry J. Fromage Edition- Week 43 http://movieboozer.com/articles/365-days-of-movies-henry-j-fromage-edition-week-43 http://movieboozer.com/articles/365-days-of-movies-henry-j-fromage-edition-week-43#respond Wed, 15 Nov 2017 18:15:06 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104273 By: Henry J. Fromage – This week was actually a single day thanks to work, and what an eclectic day of film watching it was indeed. 219. The Killing of a Sacred Deer The mistake many will make with this film is reading it as anything but a comedy- sure the darkest fucking comedy imaginable, …

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By: Henry J. Fromage –

This week was actually a single day thanks to work, and what an eclectic day of film watching it was indeed.

219. The Killing of a Sacred Deer

The mistake many will make with this film is reading it as anything but a comedy- sure the darkest fucking comedy imaginable, but pure Yorgos Lanthimos-brand comedy nonetheless.  Drawing inspiration from the myth of the sacrifice of Iphigenia due to her father Agamemnon killing the goddess Diana’s favorite deer, this oblique revenge tale features all of the deadpan delivery and just otherworldly weirdness of Lanthimos’s dual breakouts, Dogtooth and The Lobster, but arguably amps it up even further.  Barry Keoghan’s strange face is the perfect canvas for the ain’t quite right young man terrorizing surgeon Colin Farrell’s family, but it’s Nicole Kidman who turns the unprecedented trick of having one foot in Lanthimos’s signature universe and one foot in our own- she really doesn’t get the recognition she deserves for her near unmatched versatility.

220. Brawl in Cell Block 99

S. Craig Zahler is only two movies in (after his hyper-violent and hyper-entertaining debut, Bone Tomahawk), but he’s already created his own utterly unique universe- a film world in which the bone-crunching B-movies of yesteryear are inhabited by witty and verbose men of action (played by cast-aside character actors relishing the chance to take a bite out of A-grade material).  Vince Vaughn’s career may have taken a turn towards laconic badasses in his underrated season of True Detective, but in this relentless prison fight/revenge flick it crystallizes into a bold and pure new direction- when you have other critics making comparisons of the star of Fred Claus to Lee Marvin, you know you’re witnessing something special.  Good god, the gore effects in this thing, too.

221. Thor: Ragnarok

After leaving the theater for this, I posted “Let’s just have Taika Waititi make all of the movies from here on out.” and I didn’t mean ‘all the Marvel movies’.  I can’t really understate how much I enjoyed this technicolor, Jeff Goldblum-saturated, Tessa Thompson-dominating, Heavy Metal-rocking marvel of a flick- hands down my favorite of the series so far.  Waititi takes probably the least successful of the Avenger franchises and makes it his own weird playground of in-jokes, eye-popping design, surprisingly effective and perfectly dosed drama and action, and just pure goddamn fun.  This was probably already true after Hunt for the Wilderpeople, but I’ll watch literally anything he ever makes, ever again.  His comedic talent appears to be limitless.

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Cinderella (1950) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/cinderella-1950-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/cinderella-1950-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Wed, 15 Nov 2017 13:15:57 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104201 By: Alex Phuong (Two Beers) – The Walt Disney Studio went through hard times amidst the chaos of World War II. Even with that struggle, Disney was determined to continue the legacy of his studio that came to fruition after creating his first animated feature, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (1937). Since he found …

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By: Alex Phuong (Two Beers) –

The Walt Disney Studio went through hard times amidst the chaos of World War II. Even with that struggle, Disney was determined to continue the legacy of his studio that came to fruition after creating his first animated feature, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (1937). Since he found success by producing an animated fairy tale, Disney thought that he could achieve a similar accomplishment by returning to his roots. Disney was right because the release of Cinderella in 1950 essentially saved the Disney Studio from financial hardship. The film itself is a very enchanting motion picture based on one of the most iconic stories ever told.

A Toast

The animation for this film is absolutely spectacular. All of the human characters look very believable given the sheer realism of their movements. Part of the reason for this was because around 90% of the film was shot in live-action, and then the animators used that footage to assist them with their work. This film also features Walt Disney’s favorite piece of animation, which is the part in which the fairy godmother magically creates Cinderella’s beautiful ball gown. Lady Tremaine (Cinderella’s stepmother) is also deliciously evil, and a great Disney villain. Given the success of this character, it is no wonder that Disney would choose Eleanor Audley to also play Maleficent in Sleeping Beauty (1959). These great qualities are among the many reasons why Disney films like Cinderella are timeless masterpieces.

Beer Two

Even with the greatness of this film, its Academy Award nomination for the “Best Original Song” entitled “Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo” is a bit questionable. Some people might argue that such a nomination is a bit ludicrous because the song itself consists of mostly gibberish. Even with that minor issue, the music overall is very beautiful, and the film’s nomination for “Best Original Score” is well-deserved. The fact that this film is a musical makes it even more enchanting.

Verdict

Walt Disney knew that the magic of fairy tales would allow his studio to continue his dream of producing great entertainment. Cinderella was the starting point for a lot of great Disney films produced throughout the 1950s, including Peter Pan (1953) and Lady and the Tramp (1955). Some film historians would argue that if Cinderella flopped at the box office, then the Disney Studio would cease to exist. It is almost as if the fairy godmother had cast her spell to ensure that the Disney legacy would live on long after the success of the fair Snow White!

Cinderella (1950) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time Lucifer (the cat) chases the mice around

Take a Drink: every time the stepmother and stepsisters (Lady Tremaine, Drizella, and Anastasia) behave spitefully

Drink a Shot: for all of the bubbles during the song “Sing Sweet Nightingale”

Have a Drink: every time Cinderella cleans anything (and be sure to clean your cup after enjoying your drink!)

But Be Sure to Finish your Drink: before the clock strikes 12!

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Daddy’s Home 2 (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/daddys-home-2-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/daddys-home-2-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Tue, 14 Nov 2017 13:15:53 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104392 By: BabyRuth (Three Beers) – Last week, I saw A Bad Moms Christmas –an unnecessary sequel to a decent but forgettable comedy that reunites the central cast in the days leading up to Christmas and adds older, well-known actors as the parents of the main characters to disrupt the holiday cheer. This week, I saw Daddy’s …

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By: BabyRuth (Three Beers) –

Last week, I saw A Bad Moms Christmas –an unnecessary sequel to a decent but forgettable comedy that reunites the central cast in the days leading up to Christmas and adds older, well-known actors as the parents of the main characters to disrupt the holiday cheer.

This week, I saw Daddy’s Home 2 – an unnecessary sequel to a decent but forgettable comedy that reunites the central cast in the days leading up to Christmas and adds older, well-known actors as the parents of the main characters to disrupt the holiday cheer.

Former rivals Brad (Will Farrell) and Dusty (Mark Wahlberg) are now BFFs and “co-dads,” working in harmony while splitting up fatherly duties for Dusty’s children with his ex/Brad’s wife Sara (Linda Cardellini). In addition to those kids: Dylan (Owen Vaccaro) and Megan (Scarlett Estevez), there’s also Griffy (Brad and Sara’s baby) as well as Adrianna (Didi Costine), Dusty’s new wife Karen’s (Alessandra Ambrosio) daughter with ex-husband Roger (John Cena). Got it? I think I did. I may have missed a kid… You know, they really should have passed out charts along with the movie tickets.

Brad and Dusty are so simpatico that they decide to have one big Christmas for everyone rather than separate celebrations . Their big Christmas gets even bigger when Dusty’s estranged garbage father Kurt (Mel Gibson) turns up uninvited.  Brad’s dad Jonah (John Lithgow) is also on board for the festivities, though he is most definitely invited as that father and son pair are pretty much the furthest thing from estranged.

Exhibit A

And so we’re off. It’s time to deck the goddamn halls…again.

A Toast

In the Christmas sequel showdown between the [Bad] Moms and the Daddies, Daddy’s Home 2 easily comes out on top. It’s the much better movie of the two and unlike Moms, has several laugh-out-loud moments and didn’t make me hate Christmas. The writing is superior in that there was actual thought and effort put into it and the characters and situations are (slightly) more grounded in reality. It’s never mean-spirited—rare in comedies these days (as well as a deviation from the first movie)—and doesn’t rely on crude body humor or lazy vulgarity. There’s not one fart joke and no one gets hit in the balls. This is progress people!

That’s not to say it isn’t ridiculously silly and doesn’t often lay on the pratfalls for easy laughs. With Ferrell involved there’s plenty of physical comedy. Lithgow takes part too, as Brad’s equally accident-prone father. The slapstick gets tiresome after a while, as the funniest bits are dialogue-based. Fortunately, there are many cases of this including an instant classic scene of the four fathers discussing thermostat etiquette (trust me, it’s funnier than that sounds).

The naïve but lovable character of Brad is what Ferrell does best (being set at Christmastime, there’s even a bit of Buddy the Elf in there) and it’s nice to see him back in his sweet spot after this summer’s painfully unfunny The House. John Lithgow couldn’t be more perfectly cast as his ultra-sensitive and affectionate father.

The addition of Mel-hey at least I’m not as bad as Kevin Spacey-Gibson may leave a bad taste in some viewers’ mouths, but casting him as a sadistic, misogynistic prick was kind of a genius move. If he’s going to be welcomed back into the mainstream, this is really the only kind of role that makes sense.

One of the best parts of  Daddy’s Home was John Cena’s cameo as Dusty’s new rival, Roger. The casting was inspired and a fun payoff, especially for WWE fans to see the “Marky Mark” jokes of Cena’s early rapper persona come full-circle with the two finally sharing a screen at the conclusion of the first movie. I was hoping there would be more of Cena in this sequel, but he does have a few pretty great scenes once he finally shows up in the last act (though I’m a little disappointed that his big, epic showdown with Walhberg’s character was a snowball fight and not a rap battle. I mean, come on writers.)

The kids, who are given subplots of their own, hold their own opposite the older leads, the standout being Scarlett Estevez, who gets some of the biggest laughs of the whole movie.

But overall, it’s Wahlberg and Ferrell’s chemistry that makes Daddy’s Home 2 work as well as it does. They were great as arch-nemeses in the first film and even better as a team in this one. Even when the “harbors are opened” and the two spar, it’s evident they still care for and respect each other. It’s like watching family members argue.

Of course there’s a touch of family drama mixed in, required, yes, but effective, slow-building to the eventual pot boiling over and subsequent everybody-makes-up-happy-ending. But that moment, even as over-the-top absurd as it is (I won’t ruin it but pay attention to an early flashback), feels earned and rewarding rather than abruptly slapped on.

Beer Two

In addition to experiencing déjà vu from A Bad Moms Christmas, much of Daddy’s Home 2 felt very, very familiar.

Doofy, accident-prone father? Christmas decoration destruction? Sledding mishaps? Going into the forest to find and cut down that perfect but much too large tree? Hmm.

Well, I guess if you’re going to steal borrow, borrow from the best.

Beer Three

As in A Bad Moms Christmas (I know I’m making a lot of comparisons, but these are essentially the SAME, exact movie right down to the “X Days until Christmas” title cards and characters heading to Las Vegas for New Year’s which makes me wonder if there is a crossover movie on the horizon) supporting characters of the opposite sex are relegated to set dressing. Linda Cardellini doesn’t get to do much more than react to the men’s antics, while Alessandra Ambrosio barely has two lines of dialogue, though she does get a bit fleshed out when it’s revealed that she’s a freaking criminal! To the film’s credit, it does pass the Bechdel Test, when the two characters have a discussion about why shoplifting is wrong. Welp, we can’t have everything.

“Hi!!! I’m here if you need me. Yes? No? Oh…Well, okay, I’ll go stand in the background.”

Verdict

Despite its flaws, this movie was better than it had any right to be. Maybe my expectations were extremely low after suffering through the dumpster fire that was A Bad Moms Christmas, but I actually found Daddy’s Home 2 quite funny and charming and enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would.

Daddy’s Home 2 (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: whenever anyone uses the term “co-dads”

Take a Drink: for every “countdown to Christmas” title card

Take a Drink: whenever Mel Gibson’s character says something offensive (small sips)

Take a Drink: whenever Brad is injured

Take a Drink: whenever Jonah is injured

Take a Drink: whenever Griffy is forgotten

Take a Drink: whenever anyone adjusts the thermostat

Do a Shot: for every on the lips kiss between a father and son

Do a Shot: for every cameo (listen carefully- one is a voice)

P.S. : Dear Hollywood, Please, puhleeeessse, make Missle Tow.

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Murder on the Orient Express (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/detective-mystery/murder-on-the-orient-express-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/detective-mystery/murder-on-the-orient-express-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Mon, 13 Nov 2017 13:15:25 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104384 By: Jenna Zine (Four Beers) – World-famous detective Hercule Poirot attempts to take a vacation while aboard the luxurious Orient Express, but his plans for rest are foiled when a murder takes place on the train, forcing him to solve the case… possibly before the killer can strike again. A Toast There can’t be more classic source …

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By: Jenna Zine (Four Beers) –

World-famous detective Hercule Poirot attempts to take a vacation while aboard the luxurious Orient Express, but his plans for rest are foiled when a murder takes place on the train, forcing him to solve the case… possibly before the killer can strike again.

A Toast

There can’t be more classic source material than an Agatha Christie mystery (the celebrated novelist is only surpassed in sales by the Bible and the works of Shakespeare). That said, it is unclear why Hollywood decided to spend $55 million on this limp noodle of a remake (there is also a far superior 1974 version). The premise is promising and the cast outstanding, but it still manages to fall short. Let’s examine why…

Beer Two

Kenneth Branagh plays the titular Poirot, while also holding down the director’s chair. Branagh does a great job with the character and is clearly having a blast chewing up the scenery. The problem? He’s the only who gets to do so. The cast is stuffed with talent, including Dame Judi Dench as Princess Dragomiroff, Willem Dafoe as Cyrus Hardman, Penelope Cruz as Pilar Estravoados, Josh Gad as Hector MacQueen, Michelle Pfeiffer as Caroline Hubbard, and Daisy Ridley as Mary Debenham. Johnny Depp is a thug and bully with a drinking problem, a penchant for abusive dark deeds, and a moral compass pointed permanently due south. He also plays the bad guy, Samuel Ratchett, in this film.

With marquee names such as these, the movie should be teeming with standout performances as each actor vies to top the other. Instead, we get Branagh, Branagh, and – oh, hey! How about some more Branagh? Meanwhile the rest of the cast is afforded scant screen time, acting opposite, you guessed it, Branagh! All do the best they can with their allotted moments, but you can sense thoroughbreds yearning to break free.

“Psst… Josh. Did you hear I’m a jerk?”

Beer Three

Do you like molasses? I like molasses too! Just not for pacing of my film plots. Christie’s book was published in 1934 (the novel, per usual, shines above its screen counterparts) and is understandably held to a different standard from today’s fast-paced world. However, this version is being released in 2017, yet Branagh has chosen to do nothing to reflect that. Instead he delivered a product with absolutely no embellishment. The result is a tepid note for note reinterpretation that feels more like a play. (Granted there is nothing wrong with plays – they remain an important facet of our entertainment culture. But that is not what people are expecting when they go to a movie. I hit the 12:30 PM showing on Friday, Veteran’s Day, and it was packed. My sense was people entered excited and left deflated).

If the movie has nothing clever to say, why should I? [Photo Credit]

Beer Four

It’s not a total loss, as the sets and costumes are sumptuous. The beauty is a feast for the eyes. (Am I on a dare to cram as many idioms into one review as possible? I’ll never tell!) Though the pace is slow, it is nice to enjoy some subtle dialogue. (Stellar examples include: “Romance never goes unpunished,” “You’ve got a head full of steam and a mouth full of words,” “There is no end to the lies produced for me,” and “If it were easy, I would not be famous.”) Unfortunately, it doesn’t live up to the slick marketing hype; I suspect word of mouth will spread quickly that this thriller is not at all thrilling.

(Speaking of Hollywood marketing, I beg of studios: Please, please stop torturing us with so many previews. You’re actively punishing a captive audience and then turning around expecting support. Previews used to be a treat – a teaser of 3 or 4 movies to come. Now that time clocks in at an excruciating 25 MINUTES or more, plus commercials. I’m beginning to think they’re in cahoots with an underground league of babysitters working for the mob. Think you’re getting out of that theater in 2 hours or less? No, you are not – and it’s gonna cost you).

I feel you, Penelope. I was pretty bored too! [Photo Credit]

Verdict

There is nothing horribly wrong with MOTOE – it is simply not compelling enough to warrant feature film status. Lacking the humor of another classic detective series (the Robert Downey Jr.’s Sherlock Holmes installments) or the gravitas of something grittier, it’s left to just… sit there. And that’s no damn fun.

Murder on the Orient Express (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time Poirot reveals his OCD tendencies.

Take a Drink: every time a character is questioned by Poirot.

Take a Drink: every time you fixate on a gorgeous costume or piece of scenery.

Do a Shot: when Poirot says, “I don’t like your face,” to Johnny Depp’s character and you want to shout, “Same!”

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Trailer Reviews: Daddy’s Home 2 & Murder On the Orient Express http://movieboozer.com/articles/trailer-reviews-daddys-home-2-murder-orient-express http://movieboozer.com/articles/trailer-reviews-daddys-home-2-murder-orient-express#respond Sun, 12 Nov 2017 18:15:40 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104371 By: Hawk Ripjaw – Daddy’s Home 2 On my list of movie ideas that I kind of hate, “a main character with a parent played by a significantly older and very famous actor for shenanigans” is close to the top. Usually it comes in a sequel, following a moderately successful comedy. Often, it’s a very …

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By: Hawk Ripjaw –

Daddy’s Home 2

On my list of movie ideas that I kind of hate, “a main character with a parent played by a significantly older and very famous actor for shenanigans” is close to the top. Usually it comes in a sequel, following a moderately successful comedy. Often, it’s a very bad sequel. Honestly, I don’t know why there is even a second Daddy’s Home, given that the original wasn’t all that good or memorable in the first place. Adding John Lithgow is admittedly a great casting move, but you can only watch him kiss Will Ferrell on the lips in the trailer so many times before you realize the movie probably isn’t going to offer much in the way of fresh comedy. Truly, this is not an Adam McKay project. That’s not even to mention Ferrell’s diminishing returns in general (although I’ll be honest, I thought The House was kind of fun). Optimism is not on this movie’s side.

Beer Prediction

I guess if you have to watch a Christmas movie about parents and their parents, you at least have this and Bad Moms Christmas to worry about? You can also count yourself lucky that the producers of this haven’t been rumbling about a Bad Moms cinematic universe.

 

Murder on the Orient Express

Depending on who you are, there are a couple of specific things you’ve been looking forward to in Murder on the Orient Express:

  1. A good old-fashioned murder mystery.
  2. Actors such as Willem Dafoe, Michelle Pheiffer, Dame Judi Dench, and Kenneth Branagh.
  3. That glorious mustache.

Whether or not those great things can overcome what has so far been said to be a relatively dull movie remains to be seen. What also remains to be seen is whether people bored by it just don’t understand what makes Agatha Christie a compelling storyteller. What I do know is that Branagh’s mustache is 100% worth the price of admission.

Beer Prediction

Please, please don’t play that fucking Imagine Dragons song in the movie.

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Ken’s Movie Diary 2017 – Week Numbers are Overrated http://movieboozer.com/featured/kens-movie-diary-2017-week-numbers-overrated http://movieboozer.com/featured/kens-movie-diary-2017-week-numbers-overrated#respond Sun, 12 Nov 2017 18:15:32 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104215 Weekly Update: Due to unforseen circumstances I have been unable to keep making this a weekly update thing, I am however still keeping count of my movies and will update you whenever I have the time. Curious what else I’ve seen this year? -Click here to read the full list of movies viewed year to date- 278. …

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Weekly Update: Due to unforseen circumstances I have been unable to keep making this a weekly update thing, I am however still keeping count of my movies and will update you whenever I have the time.

Curious what else I’ve seen this year? -Click here to read the full list of movies viewed year to date-

278. Geostorm (2017)

A nonstop disaster movie thrill ride for people who didn’t get bored of non-stop disaster movie thrill rides in 1998. Revel in the utter lifelessness of this cookie-cutter would-be blockbuster. Drink it in…

279. Only the Brave (2017)

One of the best films of 2017 thus far, Only the Brave tells the story of a group of forest-firefighters from Arizona. Miles Teller proves once again to be one of the best up and coming stars in Hollywood and Josh Brolin/Jeff Bridges continue to carry their torches of stardom burning brightly. The fire fighting sequences are wonderfully shot and blend practical and computer effects seamlessly. The direction is stellar, keeping the story moving at a blistering pace even at nearly 2 and a half hours long.

280. Thank you for your Service (2017)

Based on a true story, but following nearly to a T the template of classic postwar drama The Best Years of Our LivesTYFYS is a truly unsettling film about readjusting to civilian life following the Iraq War. Post Traumatic Stress disorder is explored in detail. Miles Teller hits a twofer with his second powerful performance in as many weeks. Supporting Teller is Beulah Koale, who carries the dramatic weight of his character with star-making quality.

281. Marshall (2017)

Read the full review

282. Brawl in Cell Block 99 (2017)

Vince Vaughn gives a spectacular performance as a man with just the worst luck in the world, but can handle himself in a grudge match. Taking as a template the “prison movie” grindhouse subgenre, director/writer S. Craig Zahler makes a very solid genre film that happens to also feature some of the most sharply written dialogue in modern filmmaking.

283. Spielberg (2017)

A solid documentary about the career of Steven Spielberg, taking you through most of his best known films in detail. The film touches on Spielberg’s rocky relationship to his father, and how that colored many of his films, which brings a unique new perspective to them. Like last year’s De Palma, this won’t change your mind about the filmmaker, but it will give you more details about the films you grew up on and love.

284. Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

Director Taika Waititi brought his characteristic comic flair to a film that otherwise could have been a dreadful bore. Everything relating to Thor, Loki, and the Hulk plays spectacularly like a buddy comedy. The film is incredibly entertaining throughout, as this part of the story makes up at least 3/4 of the film, but every time the more dramatic storyline playing out on Asgard is addressed the film screeches to a halt for a few minutes.  As usual with recent Marvel films there are simply no real stakes, so the comic elements are what buoy things. Since this film has a higher quantity of humor than average, it mostly works.

285. LBJ (2017)

Do you like watching someone play connect the dots? This by the number LBJ Biopic would be completely unremarkable were it not for a solid turn by Woody Harrelson, who is sadly trapped behind a few inches of unconvincing makeup. There are several much better films about President Johnson out there, seek them out instead.

286. Loving Vincent (2017)

A loving tribute to artist Vincent Van Gogh done the most gorgeous way possible: animated. Every frame of Loving Vincent is a remarkably detailed oil painting mimicking the painter’s style. The story itself is a simple journey a character makes to deliver a letter from the recently deceased artist to his brother, and the people he meets and talks to along the way. Very worth watching for its spectacular visual flourishes.

287. Murder on the Orient Express (2017)

Boasting a super-sized cast of excellent actors, Director/Star Kenneth Branagh delivers a visually sumptuous adaptation of Agatha Christie’s landmark mystery novel. Unlike the 1974 Sidney Lumet-helmed adaptation, this film gives nearly every member of the large cast something interesting to do, which keeps the close-quarters setting interesting. There are a few small deviations from the source material in the name of upping the film’s stakes, but it mostly feels in service of the story. Mostly though, this is a solid and very entertaining throwback. Your parents who binge watch BBC/ITV mysteries will love it.

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Sleeping Beauty (1959) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/sleeping-beauty-1959-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/sleeping-beauty-1959-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Sun, 12 Nov 2017 13:15:48 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104161 By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) – After the success of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (1937) and Cinderella (1950), Walt Disney decided to return to the fairy tale by choosing to adapt Sleeping Beauty as an animated feature. This film would be different, though, because Walt Disney himself did not want to simply repeat …

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By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) –

After the success of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (1937) and Cinderella (1950), Walt Disney decided to return to the fairy tale by choosing to adapt Sleeping Beauty as an animated feature. This film would be different, though, because Walt Disney himself did not want to simply repeat his previous efforts. Using the phrase, “A Moving Illustration,” Disney’s goal was to create a film that consisted of opulence and majesty when it comes to its artwork. Indeed, Disney produced of the greatest animated features ever made that contains pure cinematic beauty.

A Toast

This is one of the most sophisticated Disney films ever made. The visual design is much like the medieval and Gothic art that was made during the time period in which this film is set. Part of the reason for this were the beautiful layouts and backgrounds that Eyvind Earle designed in order to make animation feel more artistic rather than conventional. The final result is an animated feature that is purely aesthetic. Sleeping Beauty also features what is perhaps the greatest Disney villain of all time- Maleficent. Her name itself is a portmanteau of the words “malevolent” and “magnificent,” and those two adjectives perfectly describe “The Mistress of All Evil.” She is so iconic that she had her own movie in 2014 fifty-five years later! Many young girls also admire the beautiful Princess Aurora, and the adaptation of Peter Tchaikovsky’s classical ballet score earned the film its only Academy Award nomination. Nevertheless, Sleeping Beauty will always maintain its timelessness as one of the greatest Disney films ever produced.

Verdict

Sleeping Beauty was advertised as “six years in the making.” It also premiered alongside epic films like Ben-Hur in 1959. In spite of its rough opening in January that year, Sleeping Beauty still had financial success by being the year’s second-highest grossing film (right behind Ben-Hur!) There have been nearly sixty films since this film premiered in 1959 (as of 2017), but Sleeping Beauty will always remain one of Disney’s crowning achievements because of his unique vision of what the overall design of an animated feature could look like.

Sleeping Beauty (1959) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time Maleficent uses her staff for wicked reasons

Take a Drink: every time Maleficent’s pet raven (named Diablo) squawks very annoyingly

Drink a Shot: each time Flora and Merryweather use their wands to change Princess Aurora’s dress pink and blue

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Sylvio (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/sylvio-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/sylvio-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Sat, 11 Nov 2017 13:15:53 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104190 By: Henry J. Fromage (Three Beers) – Sylvio is about a gorilla who works a dead-end job in debt collection and who’s one pleasure in live appears to be his videotaped one-man puppet show, The Quiet Times with Herbert Herpels.  When he stumbles onto a surprisingly popular Public Access TV show out collecting a debt, his newfound and very …

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By: Henry J. Fromage (Three Beers) –

Sylvio is about a gorilla who works a dead-end job in debt collection and who’s one pleasure in live appears to be his videotaped one-man puppet show, The Quiet Times with Herbert Herpels.  When he stumbles onto a surprisingly popular Public Access TV show out collecting a debt, his newfound and very relative stardom open new doors for him.

This is Sylvio.

A Toast

You’ll know in the first five minutes whether Sylvio is for you.  Fortunately, Sylvio is strangely engrossing from the start, from its minimalist pastel and kitsch-obsessed set, graphics, and art design to its weirdly protracted scene by scene rhythms.  It’s just quite unlike anything you’ve seen before, perhaps sharing more in common with Adult Swim late night mock-infomercials than anything we’ve seen at feature length before.

As you get drawn into the peculiarities of Sylvio’s world, especially as he befriends the crew of a local Public Access TV show and begins to ascend to (a very modest) stardom in a segment in which he smashes various objects in amusingly inventive ways, the fact that this is a man in a gorilla suit and cheap sunglasses falls away.  The way Sylvio Bernardi (credited as himself, because of course) brings a soulful complexion to this character invests you in his travails, and even lends a bit of weight to the simple plight of an artist story that makes up its plot.

Beer Two

You’ll know in the first five minutes whether Sylvio is for you.  Unfortunately, Sylvio is extremely twee and full of the kinds of millennial preciousness that society loves to hate for being so self-consciously unconscious, the kind where carefully curated 80s-idolizing thrift store clothes, posters, and household decor is the apex of creative expression.  I dig that shit, but you may well hate it.

Let this be your Rorschach test.

Beer Three

There’s something here about how the entertainment industry twists you, makes you into something you’re not in the name of providing the same thrills that got you famous in the first place.  Also, Peace > Violence.  It’s pretty simple stuff, and the odd package doesn’t make it quite as profound as the winsome indie guitar noodling would like you to believe.

Verdict

Sylvio is an uncategorizable oddity, a hipster confection if there every was one, but one that makes you root for a man in a gorilla mask regardless.

Last Call:  In many ways, the most surprising element of the film is the immediate pre-credits scrawl.

Sylvio (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: whenever Sylvio goes to work or work comes to Sylvio

Take a Drink: for every episode of The Quiet Times with Herbert Herpels

Take a Drink: for every episode of The Afternoon Show with Al Reynolds

Take a Drink: whenever Sylvio breaks something

Take a Drink: when, obviously, they go to a thrift store

Do a Shot: for banana-themed electronics

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Chicago (2002) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/chicago-2002-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/chicago-2002-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Fri, 10 Nov 2017 13:15:46 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104100 By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) – “A flash of leg…” “The taste of temptation…” “The smell of corruption…” “And things that go bump…in the night…” These words were part of the opening narration for the trailer of the 2002 Best Picture winner Chicago (2002). Even though this was his directorial debut, Rob Marshall somehow managed …

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By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) –

“A flash of leg…”

“The taste of temptation…”

“The smell of corruption…”

“And things that go bump…in the night…”

These words were part of the opening narration for the trailer of the 2002 Best Picture winner Chicago (2002). Even though this was his directorial debut, Rob Marshall somehow managed to create one of the greatest movie musicals of the 21st century. As a tribute to the legacy of Bob Fosse and the power of jazz, this film is a cinematic triumph that helped revitalize the musical after the success of Moulin Rouge! the year before. This film is definitely a high point in Hollywood’s attempt to bring back the musical.

A Toast

This film features phenomenal performances from its entire cast, great production values, and memorable songs. The Academy was definitely aware of the greatness of this film since they awarded it with six wins out of 13 nominations, including the coveted Best Picture Oscar. Colleen Atwood won her first Oscar for creating costumes that are both stylish and surprisingly sexy. The real stars of this film, though, are Catherine Zeta-Jones and Renée Zellweger, who brought to life the murderesses who struggled to survive in 1920s Chicago. Catherine Zeta-Jones actually won the Oscar for her supporting role as Velma Kelly while Zellweger lost to Nicole Kidman for playing Virginia Woolf in The Hours. 2002 was definitely a competitive year given all of the talent that received acknowledgement from the Academy at that time!

Beer Two

Even with all of its awards, acclaim, and accolades, this film might not be suitable for everyone. Some people might find it puzzling that a musical could deal with homicide. The film still somehow managed to receive a “Best Screenplay” nomination, though (probably because it honors the legacy of films like the 1979 film All That Jazz and the rich history of jazz itself.) The film is also (obviously) violent since most of the characters are murderesses. Nevertheless, the film is still visually stunning, and the music has been very captivating ever since the film premiered in 2002.

Verdict

Chicago is a great film, but it is definitely an acquired taste. Some people might not enjoy it given all of the mature content that earned this film its PG-13 rating. Others might find the film unusual unless they are aware of its references to both American history and cinematic history. Even with those minor flaws, this film is still a brilliant adaptation of the hit Broadway musical. In fact, some critics argued that the original Broadway musical was un-filmable. Luckily, Rob Marshall knew how to adapt this film into a cinematic work of art, and he definitely deserved his Best Director nomination for directing this modern classic. Years have passed since this film premiered in 2002, but many people still enjoy its beautiful score… and all that jazz! 😉

Chicago (2002) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: for every musical number

Take a Drink: every time Taye Diggs (the bandleader) introduces a musical number

Drink a Shot: for every gun shot

Have some more Shots: every time the six merry murderesses sing the phrase, “He had it comin’!” during the “Cell Block Tango” number

Enjoy your favorite Drink: every time the characters sing the phrase “…and all that jazz!”

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Creep 2 (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/creep-2-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/creep-2-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Thu, 09 Nov 2017 13:15:05 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104326 By: Hawk Ripjaw (A Toast) – 2014’s Creep was one of the biggest streaming surprises of that year. Patrick Brice’s found-footage serial killer movie was very unsettling, surprisingly funny, and utilized the handheld camera format in a way that felt personal more than gimmicky. Creep 2 builds cleverly on the mythology of its killer as …

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By: Hawk Ripjaw (A Toast) –

2014’s Creep was one of the biggest streaming surprises of that year. Patrick Brice’s found-footage serial killer movie was very unsettling, surprisingly funny, and utilized the handheld camera format in a way that felt personal more than gimmicky.

Creep 2 builds cleverly on the mythology of its killer as well as on the concept of found footage, this time focusing on a webseries called Encounters run by Sara (Desiree Akhavan). She responds to craigslist ads and records the interactions to find the vulnerabilities in these Internet characters and give them a voice. After several encounters but no viewers, she finds an ad posted by Aaron (Duplass), vaguely seeking someone to film him for 24 hours. Seeing a potential big break, she responds, and what follows is an entirely different killer-victim dynamic than in the original.

A Toast

The most thrillingly effective element of Creep was Duplass, known for his indie comedies and for FX’s sitcom The League, his charm always front and center. He had that same charm in Creep, but that likability was married with a creepy unpredictability. What made his character so great was how he preyed on the kindness and common decency of others, a cruel move by the movie in how it makes you feel susceptible to punishment for showing compassion. There was definitely something wrong with him, but his weird mix of sadness and eccentricity made him fascinating.

Brilliantly, Creep 2 accepts the challenge of tackling a similar character piece that needs to still be surprising now that the cat’s out of the bag. There’s no longer the question of “is he crazy” (because the ending of the original and the opening of this make that very, very clear). Now the question is “how crazy is he,” something that’s far more engaging than any modern cinematic psychopath usually gets to be.

Now that Aaron’s modus operandi has been made clear a couple of times, Creep 2 has much more fun delving deeper into what makes this charming maniac tick. He’s given an excellent foil with Sara, as well: while the victim in the original film reacted with trepidation in almost every situation and spent most of the movie responding to Aaron with resistance, Sara is fascinated. She acknowledges the red flags, but wants to know more about Aaron and actually connect with him. This also fundamentally changes how the movie handles jump scares: the main characters’ responses to Aaron’s incessant desire to startle people is distinctly different between movies, so the way the audience gets to respond keeps Aaron’s control of the situation much less one-sided.

Duplass is even better in Creep 2 than he was in the original, describing the act of murder with the passion one might use to explain how a piece of music makes them feel. His dynamic with Sara, too, changes his demeanor in a way that makes him at once more magnetic and repulsive. His vulnerability has become less of a façade than an actual trait, so knowing that about him creates an awesome sense of dissonance between familiarity and repulsion. The fact that Duplass is still able to exude likable charisma is seriously impressive.

Verdict

The original Creep slowly built dread as more was gradually revealed about an already-unsettling character. Creep 2 finds the same man becoming disillusioned with what he now considers the routine of luring and murdering malleable videographers. It pushes deeper into the psyche of a well-spoken but very dangerous man by allowing him this time to build a genuine two-sided friendship with his supposed latest victim and balancing it with the very real fear creators have of stagnating creativity—and how that changes their drive. It’s not as immediately frightening as the original, but the trade-off is a more vulnerable Aaron with a more involved look at who he is. That’s not only funnier, but also more unsettling on a deeper level. Brice’s confidence in his killer is shaping a fresh, interesting new horror franchise.

Creep 2 (2017) Movie Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time someone leaps out of nowhere

Take a Drink: whenever Aaron tells a story or anecdote

Do a Shot: whenever Sarah should probably run but doesn’t

Take a Drink: every time Aaron switches his demeanor

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Virtual Pub 229: Thor Ragnarok, LBJ, Stranger Things S2 http://movieboozer.com/featured/virtual-pub-229-thor-ragnarok-lbj-stranger-things-s2 http://movieboozer.com/featured/virtual-pub-229-thor-ragnarok-lbj-stranger-things-s2#respond Thu, 09 Nov 2017 04:00:29 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104347 The post Virtual Pub 229: Thor Ragnarok, LBJ, Stranger Things S2 appeared first on MovieBoozer.

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365 Days of Movies- Henry J. Fromage Edition- Week 42 http://movieboozer.com/articles/365-days-movies-henry-j-fromage-edition-week-42 http://movieboozer.com/articles/365-days-movies-henry-j-fromage-edition-week-42#respond Wed, 08 Nov 2017 13:15:49 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104186 By: Henry J. Fromage – Another slow week, but did catch a couple of very distinct films to review and kept at my list of flicks to catch up with before year’s end. 216. Thank You For Your Service The second of Jason Hall’s scripts after American Sniper to focus on the plight of our veterans on …

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By: Henry J. Fromage –

Another slow week, but did catch a couple of very distinct films to review and kept at my list of flicks to catch up with before year’s end.

216. Thank You For Your Service

The second of Jason Hall’s scripts after American Sniper to focus on the plight of our veterans on the home front, and his directorial debut, Thank You for Your Service has none of the perhaps jingoistic strains of that smash hit, but does echo many of its strengths.  Miles Teller, Joe Cole, Scott Haze, and especially extremely impressive newcomer Beulah Koale all deliver heartbreakingly natural performances of veterans dealing with their PTSD in varied ways.  Hall delivers a film that may toe the line of cliche in moments (and features the surprising and ineffective presence of Amy Schumer), but which delivers enough emotional impact to be spoken of in the same breath as classic portraits of American soldiers and the toll wartime has taken on them like The Best Years of Our Lives and Born on the Fourth of July.

217. Sylvio

Sylvio is about, well, Sylvio (played by himself, of course), a gorilla who works at a dead end debt collection job by day and films his puppet show, The Quiet Times with Herbert Herpels at night.  When his path crosses with a Public Access talk show he finds a creative outlet and like-minded friends, but also the tyranny of popularity as he begins to be pigeonholed as a wild ape who smashes things on camera.  The entire film is saturated with a thrift-store bought kitsch obsession which shows through in its design, costuming, and very mindset, but if you dig that sort of thing, you’ll likely the slow but pleasing rhythms of this indie film-making metaphor.

218. The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)

If you were pinned down to describe what a Noah Baumbach movie is like, you’re likely to find yourself describing his breakout, The Squid and the Whale, as he’s evolved significantly from his Whit Stillman-like Kicking and Screaming and his two Greta Gerwig collaborations, Frances Ha and Mistress America, feel like both more her voice than his and pleasing mellowed from their uneven and acidic predecessors in his oeuvre.  Now, however, he’s delivered in my opinion his best and most distinctly proprietary work since The Squid and the Whale, in another story about children (Ben Stiller, Adam Sandler, both great, and Elizabeth Marvel, even greater) obsessed with their intellectual and outspoken father’s (Dustin Hoffman) opinions of his underappreciated legacy.  It’s awkward, hilarious, and actually genuinely touching at points, and finally feels like everything a Noah Baumbach film should be.

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Hamlet (1996) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/hamlet-1996-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/hamlet-1996-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Wed, 08 Nov 2017 13:15:36 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104043 By: Alex Phuong (Two Beers) – “To be… or not to be?” That is the question. Within the history of theater, many would argue that William Shakespeare’s Hamlet is the greatest play of all time. Its profound exploration of life and death has captivated audiences ever since the early 17th century. It even lead to …

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By: Alex Phuong (Two Beers) –

“To be… or not to be?” That is the question.

Within the history of theater, many would argue that William Shakespeare’s Hamlet is the greatest play of all time. Its profound exploration of life and death has captivated audiences ever since the early 17th century. It even lead to a celebrated film adaptation in 1948, which starred Laurence Olivier and won the Best Picture Oscar that year. There have always been problems with Shakespearean adaptations, though, mainly because…

1. Modern day audiences sometimes have a hard time understanding Shakespeare’s poetic and rhetorical language
2. Sometimes the plays are so long that filmmakers have to remove certain elements just to make the finished film’s running time reasonable.

In spite of those two key issues, Kenneth Branagh was bold enough to adapt, direct, and star in his 1996 version of Hamlet while also remaining faithful to the original source material. The final result is a Shakespeare adaptation of EPIC proportions!

A Toast

This film features an all-star cast that includes Julie Christie as Gertrude and Kate Winslet as Ophelia. A fun fact is that Kate Winslet was actually working on the set of this film when James Cameron asked her to play Rose in Titanic (1997). The film also features beautiful production design, sumptuous costumes, and an Oscar-nominated screenplay. Part of the reason why this film received its screenplay nomination was because Branagh was bold enough to film every single line of the original play. And of course, Kenneth Branagh is definitely the star of this film since he plays Hamlet himself.

Beer Two

Even though the production design is gorgeous and received an Academy Award nomination, it is actually not that faithful to Shakespeare’s historical time period. That is because the original play was published in the early 1600s, but the overall look of the film is like a Nineteenth Century period drama. A possible reason for this was the popularity of period pieces made in the 1990s, such as Sense and Sensibility in 1995. Coincidentally, Kate Winslet played Marianne Dashwood in that beloved Jane Austen adaptation, and Patrick Doyle composed the original score for both of those films. Even with that minor historical inaccuracy, Hamlet is still a wonderful film that is simply a sight to behold.

Verdict

When it comes to Shakespeare adaptations, it can really be a hit or a miss. A hit might be the Franco Zeffirelli version of Romeo and Juliet (1968), and a miss could be the 2004 version of The Merchant of Venice, starring Al Pacino. Because of the complexity of Shakespeare’s language, film studios are oftentimes very hesitant to allow filmmakers to produce such film adaptations. Thankfully, Kenneth Branagh was very wise when it came to his knowledge of filmmaking, which was probably why Hamlet resonated with audiences even with its four-hour running time.

Hamlet (1996) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time the film mention ears and hearing (which are real motifs from Shakespeare’s original play)

Take a Drink: every time there are moments of deception and misogyny (which help reiterate the theme of the subjective nature of reality)

Enjoy your Favorite Drink: as you watch Kenneth Branagh perform the famous “To be or not to be” soliloquy that is ultimately one of the most iconic scenes in literary history

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Thor: Ragnarok (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/thor-ragnarok-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/thor-ragnarok-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Tue, 07 Nov 2017 13:15:03 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104321 By: Hawk Ripjaw (Two Beers) – Thor (Chris Hemsworth) has been away for a while. After searching far and wide for one of the cosmic infinity stones, he finds himself facing the fire demon Surtur (Clancy Brown) to prevent the Norse version of the apocalypse, Ragnarok. He handily defeats the demon and returns to Asgard …

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By: Hawk Ripjaw (Two Beers) –

Thor (Chris Hemsworth) has been away for a while. After searching far and wide for one of the cosmic infinity stones, he finds himself facing the fire demon Surtur (Clancy Brown) to prevent the Norse version of the apocalypse, Ragnarok. He handily defeats the demon and returns to Asgard to find Loki (Tom Hiddelston) posing as Odin (Anthony Hopkins) after having sent their father away at the end of The Dark World. Loki has also accidentally released Hela (Cate Blanchett), the “hot-but-in-an-intimidating-way-because-she-will-kill-you” Goddess of Death, and their sister. Hela, banished for her lust for power and desire to conquer all of the realms, is ready to destroy all of Asgard and claim her place as its leader.

Despite working together, Thor and Loki are easily defeated by Hela and are booted to Sakaar, a dumpster planet run by Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum) who pits prisoners against each other in a giant arena. Thor is delighted to find that his first opponent is Bruce Banner/Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), who unfortunately has been on Sakaar for a long time, stuck in Hulk mode with little of his humanity remaining. Thor must talk some sense into Hulk, reunite his brotherly bond with Loki, and convince a former Asgardian Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) to join him in retaking Asgard from Hela.

A Toast

New Zealand director Taika Waititi (What We Do in the Shadows, Hunt for the Wilderpeople) brings his shamelessly goofy brand of comedy into the MCU, and the result is one of, if not the funniest MCU movie to date. The humor mines sublimely goofy moments from semi-obvious fodder that Waititi spins into gold—Asgard’s name is incorrectly referred to as “ass-burg” by Grandmaster, Thor’s idea of a disguise is ludicrously bad, and the introduction to Sakaar features a great, weirdly specific Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory reference—to name just a couple. Thor is almost a different character the third time around, which would normally be an issue but here just feels like a character is finally getting a chance to capitalize on his abundance of personality.

It’s also beautiful to look at, awash in occasional Frazetta-flavored imagery and 80s glam, the latter spilling over into an awesome synth-lite score and not one, but two uses of Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” that serves as Thor’s battle music. Like the Guardians movies, Ragnarok really marks a reinvention of sorts in the Marvel formula. While there’s still a lot of what has made the rest of the franchise such a mainstream behemoth, there are some more adventurous choices made here that signal more inventiveness going forward.

Goldblum deserves a specific mention for his absolute peak Goldblum status. The man has always had an “I want to be his friend” sense of wonderful eccentricity to the point that it’s literally a brand. Here he’s on brand in a way that he hasn’t been since he worked with Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim, and his particular weirdness is nothing short of amazing. Likewise, Waititi himself gives life to the disarmingly sweet rock monster Korg, injecting Waititi’s goofy charm directly into the movie. Marvel movies don’t generally have a personality directly influenced by their directors, but Thor: Ragnarok makes a strong case for that being a good idea.

Beer Two

A noticeable by-product of all the fun there is to be had with Ragnarok is that the stakes have rarely felt lower for a Marvel film. Initial plot announcements pointed out the title’s reference to the Norse version of the apocalypse, something that sounded pretty dark and possibly trilogy-closing for Thor. And there is a bit of that here, but really the movie is so fun and silly and fast-paced that the dramatic bits just don’t have the weight they could have.  That’s probably more of a stylistic choice than a tonal misfire, but the fact remains that “Thor’s evil sister who is the goddess of death and wants to conquer the universe with her undead army after slaughtering all of Asgard” is something that sounds a lot more dire than it ends up being. That said, as the cinematic climate continues to skew towards the dour, Ragnarok is a wonderful break.

Verdict

It turns out that Taika Waititi’s uniquely wacky sense of humor is the perfect fit for Thor, and the pairing of the generally-underused Thor and Hulk makes for a promising bromance. Despite all of the attention given to the destruction of Asgard and the threat of Hela to the entire universe, the movie works just fine as a buddy comedy about the God of Thunder reuniting with the Strongest Avenger. The threat of Hela is fine, but doesn’t really feel like it belongs in what really amounts to a Thor episode with little bearing on the overall MCU. Yet, those more serious plot elements are met with indifference at worst, as the rest is such a pure delight that it’s almost impossible not to love. This is the escapism that we’ve been needing.

Thor: Ragnarok (2017) Movie Drinking Game

Take a Drink: for each cameo you can spot

Make it a Double: if that cameo is a Taika Waititi alum

Do a Shot: whenever someone says “Devil’s anus”

Take a Drink: for every sex joke

Do a Shot: for each Jeff Goldblum-ism

Take a Drink: whenever Korg says something charmingly depressing

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A Bad Moms Christmas (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/a-bad-moms-christmas-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/a-bad-moms-christmas-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Mon, 06 Nov 2017 13:15:57 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104303 By: BabyRuth (Five Beers) – Last year’s Bad Moms was a surprise hit. Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, and Kathryn Hahn starred as a trio of mothers who, fed up with the pressures and demands of being perfect, decided to say “fuck that shit” and be, well, bad. Not really, they just drank a lot and told …

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By: BabyRuth (Five Beers) –

Last year’s Bad Moms was a surprise hit. Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, and Kathryn Hahn starred as a trio of mothers who, fed up with the pressures and demands of being perfect, decided to say “fuck that shit” and be, well, bad. Not really, they just drank a lot and told off/stood up to the people who were mean to them, took them for granted, or were too demanding. There were hijinks. There was lots of swearing. Then everything worked out in the end and everyone was better off and happy. It was a decent weekend afternoon watch and had some funny parts. It was fine.

It really didn’t require a sequel though. Once the credits rolled, I didn’t feel a burning need to someday revisit these people to see what happens next in their lives. But here we are, a little over a year later, with A Bad Moms Christmas (I guess the lack of apostrophe in the title means it’s supposed to read like they’re a singing group or something and it’s their Christmas special. You know what I mean? As in, they are The Bad Moms™ not just some random bad moms who are having Christmas? I don’t know… I’m done thinking about this. I’m mad enough I have to devote time to writing this review. Oops, spoiler alert: I hated this movie.)

Even though the vomit is barely dry on Sexy Cat costumes everywhere with this movie being released literally one day after Halloween,  it’s time to deck the goddamn halls!

The Bad Moms™ : Amy (Kunis), Kiki (Bell), and Carla (Hahn) are each preparing in their own way. Amy decorates, bakes, shops, wraps, and repeats while narrating just how tough the holidays are for mothers (so I guess the reset button has been pushed after the last movie?). Kiki wears a lot of festive sweaters. Carla gripes about all the trees she has to trim. By “trees” I mean vaginas or as she eloquently puts it, “pussies,” because she works at a spa, in case you forgot (I did). Tis the season!

Everything gets disrupted when the moms’ own mothers show up. And get this—they are each wacky in their own way! Amy’s awesomely-named mother Ruth (Christine Baranski) barges in and overrides Amy’s plans for a quiet and chill holiday with a complete schedule of over-the-top activities, while never missing an opportunity to belittle and criticize her daughter. Sandy (Cheryl Hines) goes all Single White Female on Kiki. Susan Sarandon plays Carla’s mother Isis (oh you read that name right), a drifter who only visits when she needs money.

Amy, Kiki, and Carla again must join forces and this time, “take Christmas back!”

Only, they really don’t. They kind of put up with shit for an hour until they finally stand up for themselves and then are made to feel bad about it (even though they were all completely justified) while the older moms see their errors and everyone apologizes in an abrupt and jarring tonal shift. Then they are all happy and do silly dancing during the end credits.

That’s it, you’re welcome. Seriously, don’t waste your time and money going to see this.

A Toast

This is one of those movies that’s infuriating because it’s such a waste of a good cast.

But, other than signing on, it’s not their fault, so cheers to the very funny (just not in this movie) and talented women. Kunis, Bell, and (especially) Hahn fully commit and swing for the fences, doing their best to try to pull some laughs out of the lazy material.

The casting of the Moms’ moms is inspired. Hahn and Sarandon have the best chemistry and are the most believable mother-daughter combo of the three pairs. Cheryl Hines annoyed the hell out of me, but I guess that was the point, so kudos! Baranski’s overbearing, overcritical, perfectionist mother is basically the same character as the one she plays on The Big Bang Theory (shut up, you watch it and know exactly what I am talking about), but she does it so damn well and easily steals the movie.

The men are pretty much glorified extras whose only purpose is to react to all the “zaniness” with the exception of Justin Hartley who shows up as a potential love interest for Carla. He’s pretty great as the sweet and extremely well-endowed firefighter/exotic dancer/fantasy for the drunk women target audience who wins her heart during a ball-waxing session, but again, would have benefited from better writing.

Beer Two

Have I mentioned that this movie is not funny? Not even a little. I didn’t laugh once. I didn’t even almost-laugh once. It’s that lazy type of humor (no surprise, with Hangover writers Jon Lucas and Scott Moore at the helm once again) full of “shocking” sight gags, foul language as the punchline, and no actual comedy.

There are a few attempts to set up and execute a genuine joke between all the “fucks,” “taints,” and penis-shaped cookies, but Lucas and Moore manage to screw those up.

For example, Baranski’s character plans to throw an elaborate Christmas party in Amy’s home and talks about hiring Kenny G. Then she mentions it several more times throughout the film.  Gee, do you think Kenny G is going to make a cameo? Is the audience actually supposed to be surprised when he shows up? The way you do something like this is, you mention it once, ONCE, and then pay it off later. (Last year’s Why Him? also botched this.)

Similarly, the aforementioned ball-waxing scene, clearly designed to be the sequence everyone’s going to be talking about, starts out with a funny concept but then goes on and on until it all the humor is sucked out of the idea. Same with Hines’ character’s guilt-trip attempts of announcing she has made-up diseases.

Beer Three

The first movie worked (for the most part) because the characters and situations were believable and relatable.

But that all goes right the hell out the window here. Everyone in this movie is such an over-the-top caricature that not one person (okay, maybe Amy’s boyfriend) would actually exist in real life.

Likewise, in what world would these situations occur?  How can you find and close on a house in two days? Wouldn’t one get arrested for stealing a Christmas tree from a busy store (or also, groceries right out of people’s carriages)? How about for sexually assaulting a mall Santa?  How can a person (even Christine Baranski) completely redecorate a house, order food and drinks, hire employees, and find a camel in five hours?

Most importantly, where are these malls whose food courts serve beer?

Beer Four

While I didn’t hate the first Bad Moms, I have a hard time remembering a lot of it. The main thing I do recall is the slow-mo montage of the moms getting drunk and going grocery shopping.  That’s likely the standout scene most people remember, so in A Bad Moms Christmas we get another, nearly shot-for-shot, montage of the moms behaving badly—this time at a mall.

Why stop there? How about another montage of the families at SkyZone (who likely footed a large portion of this movie’s budget)? But why limit the montages at SkyZone to just one? How about TWO montages at SkyZone? More is better, right?!

There are so many friggin’ montages I lost count.

Beer Five

Like in the first movie, when the running time calls for it, everything must be resolved in a big sentimental finale. Despite Kunis and Baranski’s best efforts (and they are both excellent when they get to show real range) it’s unearned and feels slapped on.

Verdict

This is, quite possibly, the worst (in the bad way) holiday movie I’ve ever seen. And I’ve seen Santa With Muscles (which coincidentally also had Mila Kunis in it). Skip this lazy cash-grab sequel that contains nothing that made the first movie fun (and funny).

A Bad Moms Christmas (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: whenever a character does (go easy)

Take a Drink: whenever Ruth gives her grandchildren wrapped gifts while telling them the very expensive contents

Take a Drink: for every:

  • “fuck” (two when a child says it)
  • “pussy”
  • “balls”
  • “taint”

Take a Drink: whenever Ruth doesn’t remember meeting Amy’s boyfriend Jesse

Take a Drink: every time Kenny G is mentioned.

Do a Shot: when Kenny G shows up

Do a Shot: for every montage

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Thank You For Your Service (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/thank-service-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/thank-service-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Sun, 05 Nov 2017 13:15:06 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104183 By: Henry J. Fromage (Three Beers) – You can’t help but compare Jason Hall’s last script, American Sniper to his present one, and directorial debut, Thank You for Your Service. Although Miles Teller probably doesn’t get mistaken for Bradley Cooper terribly often. Both films explore the emotional and mental toll wartime has on our servicemen, but refreshingly there’s no …

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By: Henry J. Fromage (Three Beers) –

You can’t help but compare Jason Hall’s last script, American Sniper to his present one, and directorial debut, Thank You for Your Service.

Although Miles Teller probably doesn’t get mistaken for Bradley Cooper terribly often.

Both films explore the emotional and mental toll wartime has on our servicemen, but refreshingly there’s no change Thank You for Your Service will be mistaken as a nationalist chest-thumper like American Sniper was by many.  No, this film is entirely about the home front, as three soldiers (Miles Teller, Beulah Koale, and Joe Cole) return from Iraq to varying degrees of familial support but the same Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which surfaces in the men in unpredictable and varied ways.

A Toast

In order for a film like Thank You for Your Service to have the impact that it should, it’s absolutely essential that the audience quickly bonds with and invests in the emotions of its leads.  A film spent talking about feelings and traumas that are only shown in flashbacks requires an audience that is even more interested in those feelings than they are the wartime action that created them.

Otherwise, you get this.

Teller, Koale, and Cole are able to quickly and effectively display their immutable brotherhood and build rapport with the audience so that when their domestic lives begin to be subsumed by PTSD our hearts are torn right along with their families’.  Teller yet again demonstrates his ability to be entirely inhabited by his characters, playing in some ways the toughest role- the Sergeant who has to be strong for his comrades and his superiors, the man who takes care of others, not the man who needs to be taken care of, no matter how much that may not be true.

It’s Koale, though, who steals the screen as a man from a tough background who will tell anyone who listens that “the Army saved my life”, but who’s memory has been affected to a startling degree an IED explosion.  While it’s Koale’s first role, unless he’s actually an Iraq veteran suffering from crippling PTSD and memory loss, he deserves a place in the Best Supporting Actor conversation.  He just is his character, and through his eyes we see the confusion and betrayal that our finest returning home from wartime too often justifiably feel.

Beer Two

Jason Hall does not shy away from the cliches you’d expect from this type of film, from the almost cartoonishly callous superiors to the pitbull Koale saves after it was discarded to die post-dogfight to the flirting with a life of crime subplot to the melodramatic “Just live your life.  That’s how you honor him” at the end.  These actors and Hall’s generally excellent instincts for naturalistic scene-setting and incidental dialogue save the film from wallowing in that cliche, but it definitely pops up here and there.

Beer Three

Amy Schumer, yes, that Amy Schumer, is entrusted with delivering that final cathartic line, but she shouldn’t have been.  Died brown hair and a lack of makeup do not a dramatic actress make, and while it’s always nice to see comedic superstars try their hand at something different, she’s not playing at the level of her castmates here yet, and it shows, badly.

Verdict

Thank You For Your Service often takes the conventional path, but ends up an affecting and rousing portrait of those who have given so much.

Last Call:  In many ways, the most surprising and affecting element of the film is the immediate pre-credits scrawl.

Thank You For Your Service (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: whenever somebody acts callous towards a soldier

Take a Drink: for every flashback or hallucination

Take a Drink: for every mention of drugs

Take a Drink: whenever you see a gun

Take a Drink: whenever anyone mentions suicide

Do a Shot: for every single Amy Schumer scene

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Ken’s Movie Diary 2017 – Week 36? http://movieboozer.com/articles/kens-movie-diary-2017-week-36 http://movieboozer.com/articles/kens-movie-diary-2017-week-36#respond Sat, 04 Nov 2017 17:15:46 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=103890 Weekly Update: More movies movies movies movies… Curious what else I’ve seen this year? -Click here to read the full list of movies viewed year to date- 274. Of Unknown Origin (1983) This amazing little movie tells the story of one man’s fight against a ravaging rodent invading his house and home. Bart Hughes (Peter Weller) is …

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Weekly Update: More movies movies movies movies…

Curious what else I’ve seen this year? -Click here to read the full list of movies viewed year to date-

274. Of Unknown Origin (1983)

This amazing little movie tells the story of one man’s fight against a ravaging rodent invading his house and home. Bart Hughes (Peter Weller) is a successful business suit on the verge of a major promotion when his wife and kid leave the house on a trip. Bart discovers that a vicious rat has infiltrated the home, and becomes obsessed with killing it. The film plays fast and loose with realism, making Bart’s fight with the rat feel like a descent into madness.

275. Professor Marston & the Wonder Women (2017)

Professor Marston was a successful Psychology professor in the 1920s who along with his brilliant wife invented the lie detector and pioneered a whole new theory on human behavior (DISC theory). On top of that, Marston was the creator of Wonder Woman, the first female superhero to be accepted into the canon of great comic icons. This compelling biopic explores Marston’s private life, where he, his wife, and another woman lived an unusual, but committed 3-person relationship (with a hefty helping of BDSM).

276. The Foreigner (2017)

Jackie Chan plays Mr. Quan, a Chinese restaurant owner whose daughter is murdered in a bombing in London. Distraught and angry, he watches the news and once he sees an IRA connection to the bombing, he seizes the opportunity to go after Irish Deputy Minister Liam Hennessy (Pierce Brosnan), who he believes knows more than he is letting on. This movie is a tonal mess, moving between some truly dramatic sequences and comically silly action set-pieces with blatant disregard for common sense.

277. The Snowman (2017)

Read my full review here

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It Doesn’t Suck: Killing Gunther (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/doesnt-suck-killing-gunther-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/doesnt-suck-killing-gunther-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Sat, 04 Nov 2017 12:15:14 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104075 Inspired by  Adam Nayman’s book It Doesn’t Suck: Showgirls, this brand new column is dedicated to movies that received either mixed or negative reviews. Just like Nayman’s analysis contributed to Paul Verhoeven’s movie’s classic cult status, reviews presented in this category aim at highlighting everything brilliant about overlooked masterpieces and new releases. By: Maria R. …

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Inspired by  Adam Nayman’s book It Doesn’t Suck: Showgirls, this brand new column is dedicated to movies that received either mixed or negative reviews. Just like Nayman’s analysis contributed to Paul Verhoeven’s movie’s classic cult status, reviews presented in this category aim at highlighting everything brilliant about overlooked masterpieces and new releases.

By: Maria R. (Two Beers) –

Released just a month ago, Killing Gunther has mostly received negative reviews with few critics appreciating the former Saturday Night Live alum’s first directorial effort. This should come as no surprise, though, as even the synopsis of Taran Killam’s debut sounds generic and anything but exciting. Indeed, given a number of movies revolving around ensembles that have been produced over the past few years, the story of seven killers hired by the insecure hitman Blake (Killam) to take down the assassin Gunther (Arnold Schwarzenegger) who has been screwing him over professionally and personally doesn’t seem too unique. At first glance, the use of the mockumentary format isn’t likely to excite potential viewers either, for the style has been associated with low-budget indies for quite awhile now. So why doesn’t this movie suck?

A Toast

Schwarzenegger has been in the centre of the movie’s marketing campaign which has led to many disappointed spectators and dubious critiques that have denoted the actor’s short amount of screen time.  On the other hand, Killam should be praised for the sole fact that not everything that is funny and actually worth seeing was used in the film’s trailer. That said, even though each member of Blake’s crew is introduced in the teasers, seeing them in the first act doesn’t feel repetitive: Killam has a lot to offer as the narration progresses. Paradoxically, the characters who at times look like they’ve been inspired by re-used caricatures look more fresh and interesting than the Suicide Squad members. Plus, luckily for us, they’re all shown within the first 15 minutes before the act gets stale.

In addition to that, kudos go to Killam for not relying on the vérité style as the main asset to squeeze laughs out of the audience. Instead, using the documentarians to move the plot along without having them break the forth wall, he focuses more on the likes of his “team”: Allison Tolman, Bobby Moynihan, Aaron Yoo, Steve Bacic, Ryan Gaul, Amir Talai, and Paul Brittain. The cast was given a chance to improvise on set, and without a doubt that was the best decision one could make to create the illusion of chemistry between the characters that are united by such a questionable goal. Moreover, the plot twists that might have been considered cheap in a different genre magically work here; take the ridiculous romantic storyline between Sanaa (Simone) and Donnie (Moynihan) for example.

Beer Two

Here’s what doesn’t seem to work though. First, there’s Killam’s bizarre combination of action flick sarcastic deconstruction and over-the-top humor. For instance, we have Gabe (Brittain) remarking that it’s impossible to enhance Gunther’s image that the documentarians were able to get during the assassins’ first meeting. The joke is later juxtaposed to the character being killed by a tombstone landing on his head.