Bros: Insulting Your Audience

1.5/5      

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

The first big studio rom-com to feature same sex leads, if you ignore Love Simon and a few others.

Honestly I just didn’t think this film was very funny. Somewhere in between all the jokes about how straight people are lame and the gross out sex gags I found myself questioning why for such an important film for a number of reasons they didn’t do their best to at least give it a good script and a few passable jokes. The humour of this film is at times aggressively unfunny and by that I mean that the film is actively angry at you for not laughing along with it, thinking that every joke made is the peak of comedy and that you are just a philistine for not laughing.

Another thing going against this film is the star Billy Eichner. Now I have seen Eichner before in a few other things and I stand by the idea that in small doses his particular shtick is funny, however, being exposed to it for over an hour proves to be unbearable. Additionally, Eichner’s character really isn’t particularly likeable and I found it hard to root for his happiness. Adding to that are the comments Eichner has made post release wherein he has said the reason the film has underperformed is not because of a weak script or unfunny jokes but because audiences are homophobic. Though this is true to an extent, it reeks of someone on the defensive lashing out because their ego got hurt, it also does nothing to make an audience want to see the movie because why support a star who is calling them names?

Overall, this film is important there is no doubt about that, but sadly what we got was incredibly mediocre with a leading man who is ill suited to the task.

Pros.

It is an important step forward for diversity within film

It is watchable

Cons.

Eichner is no leading man

It is unfunny

It has terrible pacing

It repeatedly lampoons straight people and then expects that audience to come out and support the film.

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She-Hulk: The Retreat

3/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Jen, played by Tatiana Maslany, heads to a retreat for a few days to try and get over the fact a guy she likes hasn’t text her back.

Once again the show promised Daredevil and didn’t deliver, like I have said before I am now convinced that he won’t show up until a post credits scene in the final episode and he will have been used to try and draw in audiences who don’t care about a show about a whiny, spoilt white girl who has a series of wine mom issues and first world problems.

I would say however in favour of this episode that it is probably one of the better ones of the series and has Jen actually think about how she views herself which I thought was interesting to see. I liked the character growth she got, and thought that bringing back Tim Roth’s Abomination was a very good idea. Fun was had.

I didn’t like that during her therapy scenes they used actual tweets about the She-Hulk show as why she feels bad about herself, as I think this just makes the show look petty. Likewise I also think it is a bad look when one of the main stars of the show Jameela Jamil has to go on the record saying about how much the show has upset men, as though all criticism against the show is sexist. It makes the whole production look like it has a chip on its shoulder.

Another thing that I thought was bad, please do believe though I am finding all these negatives with the episodes it probably is one of the better ones, is the fact that Jen’s latest potential love interest is revealed to be a villain. This continues the shows obsession with every none established male character having to be bad or incompetent in some way, though I suppose her therapy buddies do kind of balance things out on that front.

Overall, better but still not good, luckily there is only a few episodes left.

Pros.

Maslany and the focus on Jen

Bringing back Roth

The therapy scenes

Cons.

Still no Daredevil

Continued man bashing  

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Rick And Morty: Night Family

3.5/5      

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

The family program their sleeping selves to do all of the things they don’t want to do.

I think this was probably the best episode so far of the new season. I liked the premise and thought that it mixed in a nice amount of horror into the usual science fiction formula, Night Summer, played by Spencer Grammar, was especially creepy.

I also enjoyed the bond between Jerry and Night Jerry, both voiced by Chris Parnell, I thought that the relationship between the two was nice to see and moreover, it is just nice to see someone treat Jerry like an actual human being for once.

The downside of this episode for me was that it all just boiled down to one big car chase which whilst entertaining feels like the most mediocre way to end things. What’s more the whole thing ends up feeling redundant as in the end the Night family win anyway, which further adds to the powering down of Rick, voiced by Justin Roiland, this season.

Overall, a fun episode but not the best the show has ever done.

Pros.

The horror elements

The friendship between Jerry and Night Jerry

It is a good premise

A number of funny moments

Cons.

The ending feels a bit lackluster

Rick is far too easily beaten

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Bullet Train: Lock Stock Meets John Wick

3/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

A group of hitmen and murderers gather together on a bullet train, each has their own mission.

I didn’t catch this one in the cinema so I was waiting for the digital release, and now that I have seen it I am somewhat disappointed. Not because it is a bad movie, because it isn’t, but because it tries to be two very different things and didn’t do either of them enough, and to make matters worse these two elements badly clashed with one another. The film certainly has charm but it also has a lot of issues.

The two things this film tries to be to me, is on one hand a Guy Ritchie crime film with the quippy comments and colourful characters and then on the other it tries to be an incredibly stylised action film ala John Wick. The issue with the former comes as the tone can’t seem to maintain its quippy nature throughout and at times tries to go serious and dramatic, this derails it. The problem with the stylised action is that there isn’t very much of it, the film really goes out of its way to set up all these oddball characters with different backstories but then realises after it has done that that there isn’t any runtime left. The action we get is fairly tame and forgettable.

Brad Pitt is still a strong lead, and in that he does make an interesting entry point into this world.

Overall, there are some things to like about this film, namely Pitt, but there are also a lot of problems.

Pros.

Pitt

A few funny moments

It has a nicely lively pace

Cons.

The tone doesn’t quite work

It feels mismatched

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Ticket To Paradise: A Holiday To The Cinema

4/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Two bitterly divorced parents, played by Julia Roberts and George Clooney, must team up to try and prevent their daughter, played by Kaitlyn Dever, from getting married.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time with this film. It was nothing new or particularly surprising, but it was comforting. It was like a warm mug of soup on a hot day, you have had it before but it provides a nice escape from the winters day outside. In my mind this film did what all good films should do, it provided you with a nice breezy escape from reality. It entertains you for a few hours and ultimately it doesn’t need to do more than that.

I think George Clooney and Julia Roberts have great chemistry together, and the formers case it made me realise just how much I had missed seeing him on-screen. I think if the film had different leads it would have worked a lot less and the cornier elements of the narrative might have stuck out more for the wrong reasons, as it is the two bring a lot to the film. An interesting thing to note in terms of performance is that Dever gets totally out shone by Billie Lourd who plays her best friend. Dever doesn’t bring much to the film and could have easily been replaced by a number of other actors to minimal effect, Lourd though however is a scene stealer across the film.

Overall, this film feels like a warm hug from a friend you haven’t seen in a while.

Pros.

Roberts

Clooney

Lourd

It is a lot of escapist fun

Cons.

It is nothing new

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The Munsters: Use My Body To Keep You Alive

3/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Rob Zombie brings back The Munsters.

I saw a few episodes of the original series when I was a kid, but outside of that I have come to this project with very little familiarity with the IP. Mainly I came because I am a big fan of the films of Rob Zombie, also I wanted to see how his first foray into the world of family filmmaking went. In all honesty this film is a mixed bag, and if you aren’t a fan of Zombie’s style then you will almost certainly not like it.

I think that Zombie’s sensibilities work better outside of the family genre, I think now after watching this that Zombie needs the gore and the mania as compliments to his work. That is not to say that this is entirely without charm, to the contrary I found myself quite enjoying some of the more out there nods and jokes here and Sheri Moon Zombie is as delightful as always. However, on the whole I would say the film’s comedy left me freezing cold.

I do question who this was for, was it for the original fans? New ones? Who? I don’t think the film at all justifies its existence, even though it has many opportunities to in as the film is seemingly on for eons- maybe it just felt that way.

A saving grace of this film was the score, it gave me something to latch onto.

Overall, the only reason this film gets a slightly better than average score from me is because I am a Zombie fan and really appreciate his signature style, most other people would rate in lower.

Pros.

Zombie’s direction flair

The zaniness of it

The score

Cons.

It is too long and doesn’t justify its existence

The comedy doesn’t work, and the family friendly feel holds the film back

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She-Hulk: Just Jen

3/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Jen, played by Tatiana Maslany, goes to a wedding.

Compared to a lot of the other episodes of this season I actually thought this was somewhat better. I liked the focus on Jen rather than She-Hulk and thought that Maslany got a lot of moments to shine wherein her charm really did come out. I think it is hard to watch this episode and not like the character of Jennifer Walters.

That said it is far from perfect. They bring back the dumpster fire that is Titania, played by Jameela Jamil, who ruins the wedding scenes which she is in and also gives us one of the worst fight scenes ever in the history of the MCU. Moreover, they also have a b plot about a guy being sued by a bunch of his ex-wives and the joke is that he is terrible. To me this just came across as man hating plain and simple, it seems that it is very hard for this show to have any male characters, that isn’t already an established part of the MCU be shown in a good light.

In addition they also draw attention to the fact that even though last week’s episode ended with a tease for Daredevil that this episode would just ignore that. As I have said before drawing attention to your bad writing doesn’t suddenly make it good it is just doubly bad and lazy. I really do think that this show has to use the promise of Daredevil as a crutch to get people to keep watching, if they announced tomorrow that Daredevil had been cut from the show I bet the viewership would quickly nosedive.

Overall, better than the last few episodes but still troubled.

Pros.

Maslany is very charming

A lot of the jokes land

It makes me warm to Jen as a character

Cons.

Titania is still awful

The b plot is just garbage  

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Confess Fletch: Who Doesn’t Need A Whole Bunch Of Fake Identities

4/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Retired investigative journalist Fletch, played by Jon Hamm, explores an art world mystery.

I will open this review by saying that I have no fondness for the Chevy Chase Fletch films. They were before my time and upon watching them in a more modern context the humour just didn’t land for me at all. However, I am pleased to say I enjoyed this film much more than the older Chase films.

I thought all of the performances across the board were great most noticeably Lorenza Izzo and Jon Hamm, but all of the characters were very easy to warm to. I thought this film had a lot of old school charm and reminded me of comedy crime films of yore, the sort that someone like Steve Martin would have made. However, unlike those movies a lot of the more toxic and problematic elements of those films were cut out here, much to the betterment of the film.

Moreover, the central mystery is pretty solid I did not guess it which is a sure sign of quality. In addition the humour of the film was more hit than miss for me and quite often made me laugh, I think Hamm in particular has great comedic timing.

Overall, a fun and enjoyable film that won’t set the world on fire.

Pros.

Hamm

Izzo

The humour

The mystery

Cons.

A few pacing issues  

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Rick and Morty: Bethic Twinstinct

2.5/5      

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Beth, voiced by Sarah Chalke, begins an affair with her clone and the rest of the family try and process it.

I think that for a while now Rick and Morty has become more and more mean spirited and depressing, I know there has always been an element of it in the show, but now it is getting hard to watch. The way non-space Beth treats her husband her is really quite unpleasant and makes the whole thing hard to watch.

I enjoyed the Summer, voiced by Spencer Grammar, and Morty, voiced by Justin Roiland, b plot slightly more. I thought the idea of hyper realistic videogames was cool and I enjoyed how the episode showed them reacting to their mum’s affair. I thought they became great stand-ins for the audience here.

Overall, mostly just a depressing episode.

Pros.

The videogame stuff was interesting

Summer and Morty had some good moments

There were a few funny jokes

Cons.

It feels mean spirited

It is quite uncomfortable viewing

It isn’t enjoyable

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Honk For Jesus, Save Your Soul: Tax The Church

3/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

A mockumentary following a preacher, played by Sterling K. Brown, and his wife, played by Regina Hall, as they try to save their ministry after a sex abuse scandal.

I thought this film quite cleverly satirised religion and the stereotypical idea of the faith preacher, deconstructing both into their base elements. I think the film raises a number of good points about the follies of organised religion and how power and trust corrupts.

Both of the leads give strong performances, though I would probably say that Hall is the better of the two, she really brings an authentic air to her character of a devoted wife who tries even in face of knowing that there husband is far from a perfect man, I feel there is a real sense of earnestness to her character.

Where this film falls down for me is with the pacing, I think the film doesn’t have enough going on for it to be feature length, I think a lot of the things that happen in the narrative feel like playing for time and I think the film would have worked much better at the hour mark. Moreover, I think some of the more surreal elements the film tries to incorporate come off more as out of place than anything else, which could work in an absurdist sense but I found to be quite try hardy.

Overall, better than average but let down by a bad pace and some odd creative choices.

Pros.

Hall

Brown

A few good laughs

Cons.

The pace

The surreal elements   

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