By: Henry J. Fromage –
I’m back on the mainland this week, and back to my less sunshine-y, more dark theater-y normal existence. Time for some new releases!
Surprise puppies aside, this is not the film that was advertised to us at all. Instead of the schmaltzfest that was promised in some of the worst trailers of the year, this is actually a surprisingly hardcore survival tale with the on-his-own-now Allen Hughes outdoing himself in the cinematography and style departments. Worth every penny of that IMAX 3D- catch it on the biggest screen you can, while you can. Three Beers.
Despite flickers of Spike Lee’s former cerebral provocation (the climactic scene intercutting KKK watching Birth of a Nation and an elderly black man describing a horrific (true-life) story of a lynching instigated by it to a group of college students is a burner, as is one hell of a speech by Corey Hawkins as Kwame Ture), I found this film to be oddly limp, often disturbingly unfunny (the several scenes of supposedly ironic juxtaposition of slack-jawed KKKaricatures spouting racist nonsense with Adam Driver and/or John David Washington present are more punishing than comedic as they’re presented to be), and surprisingly shoddy (the camerawork here is TV-level and the editing is… disinterested). I’ll leave it to minds like Boots Riley’s to evaluate whether the man who used to bring us complex fare like Do the Right Thing has also delivered something reactionary and dishonest to boot. Four Beers.
132. I’m So Pretty
Who is this movie for? It has a premise so insulting to women you have to wonder whether this is the driest parody that ever existed, but as the movies goes along it slowly starts to sink in that all of this shit is being played entirely straight and insultingly predictable (it’s basically Big for women who think they’re ugly, which it makes sure to explicitly reference just so you get it). Good goddamn does this film deliver a stake to the heart of Amy Schumer’s fledgling A-list film career. Five Beers.
It seems like this got a lot more flak than the above film for going a weird direction in the end and general blahness, and while that’s not altogether off target, this is the kind of slickly produced, well-cast Hollywood ensemble comedy we get a few of every year that scratches that particular itch just fine. I especially liked Jeremy Renner’s nearly superheroic tag-avoidance instincts, which demonstrate where this move is trying to operate- it knows it’s silly and just wants you to have a good time (shoehorned-in final act obligatory life lesson bullcrap notwithstanding). Three Beers.