22 Jump Street (2014)

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After making their way through high school (twice), big changes are in store for officers Schmidt and Jenko when they go deep undercover at a local college. (IMDb)
Maybe it’s just because I watched it right after the first, but despite all its sequel-satirical nods (the opening address change and ending credits were hilarious), and perhaps because of them in some cases (the “exact same thing as last time” line felt overused) it didn’t feel quite as fresh. Fortunately, Hill and Tatum’s continued chemistry is more than enough to keep you engaged (see their counselling session), helped too by some quirky new characters (Bell’s deadpan dame is a riot).
7/10 (Good)

 

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21 Jump Street (2012)

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A pair of underachieving cops are sent back to a local high school to blend in and bring down a synthetic drug ring. (IMDb)
Takes an already funny buddy cop comedy (Hill and Tatum have excellent chemistry–see their bungled opening arrest, tearful final triumph) and goofy high school flick (jock Jenko with the nerds is a highlight thread) and adds a thick layer of sharp satire to the tropes from both (see the millennial update of high school), and even to itself as a film (“37 Jump St… No, that doesn’t sound right”), making for a wholly entertaining experience from its 2000s flashback beginning to “Die Hard” end.
8/10 (Great)

 

Game Night (2018)

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A group of friends who meet regularly for game nights find themselves entangled in a real-life mystery. (IMDb)
Keeps things fresh, to its credit–the plot and humour don’t rely solely on the initial premise of dramatic irony, the characters are funny but develop depth too (see dumb, cocky Ryan’s vulnerability in the van; big shot Brooks’ pavement penitence), and the cinematography takes creative turns (see the game-board zoom-ins, one-take egg exchange)–even if the choices don’t always work (the third act has one or two too many twists; the dark comedy isn’t always funny–see Annie’s “Oh no, he died!”).
7/10 (Good)

 

Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

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The Avengers and their allies must be willing to sacrifice all in an attempt to defeat the powerful Thanos before his blitz of devastation and ruin puts an end to the universe. (IMDb)
Thanos’ villain still felt a little familiar with his twisted “for the greater good” motive, but he remained an intimidating presence-a good match for the huge cast of heroes which is balanced remarkably well throughout and contributes to plenty of amazing moments both of comedy (see Thor meeting the Guardians) and action (see the Titan attack; Thor’s arrival in Wakanda). With all the superpowers going around some snags in the plot arise but its massive stakes and solid execution overwhelm them.
8/10 (Great)

 

Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

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Thor is imprisoned on the planet Sakaar, and must race against time to return to Asgard and stop Ragnarök, the destruction of his world, which is at the hands of the powerful and ruthless villain Hela. (IMDb)
Thor is released from his cheesy-golden-Viking realm (“Asgard is not a place, it’s a people”) to super fun results: Hemsworth oozes goofy charm (“No, I won. Easily”) and serves as a solid lead for the fast-paced script. An eclectic supporting cast (the amiable Kiwi Korg and goofy Grandmaster are comedy gold-blum), fun cameos, a suitably intimidating villain, and just the right amount of trope subversions (see the opening scene) amidst the serious moments (see Loki’s final catch) fill it out.
8.5/10 (Amazing)

 

Greenberg (2010)

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A man from Los Angeles, who moved to New York years ago, returns to L.A. to figure out his life while he house-sits for his brother. He soon sparks with his brother’s assistant. (IMDb)
The “slice of life”-type dramedy is nailed by everyone involved here: Achingly authentic scenarios (see Greenberg with bitter Beller; his date with Beth) are played out with perfect dialogue, strong turns from the whole cast, and smart edits (see Greenberg catching up at Beller’s party). Stiller’s uptight lead is loveably cynical (“Life is wasted on people”) and complimented perfectly by Ifans’ chill Ivan and Gerwig’s far-from-one-note-romantic interest who has her own share of issues.
7.5/10 (Really Good)

 

Gold (2016)

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Kenny Wells, a prospector desperate for a lucky break, teams up with a similarly eager geologist and sets off on a journey to find gold in the uncharted jungle of Indonesia. (IMDb)
A false alarm first fall from fame and a slow FBI epilogue overshadows the unexpected and satisfying final twist, making for a bit of a messy and bloated third act–a shame because the rags-to-riches tale of the first two was a uniquely, increasingly compelling one thanks to its slightly unconventional editing, active pop soundtrack, and most of all McConaughey’s strong central turn as the passionate and erratic prospector Wells (complimented perfectly by the Ramirez’s reserved Acosta).
7.5/10 (Really Good)