Widows (2018)

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Set in contemporary Chicago, amid a time of turmoil, four women with nothing in common except a debt left behind by their dead husbands’ criminal activities, take fate into their own hands, and conspire to forge a future on their own terms. (IMDb)
Great cast, cool flourishes (see the car-convo tracking shot), but never gets into a good groove (maybe for a few minutes during its heist prep montage). There’s a grief-themed character study, a women-empowerment thread, a shady politics sub-plot, and a heist movie all thrown in there-all with potential, but focusing on just two of the four would’ve made for a more impactful film. As it is, it feels disjointed (the attempt at a plot-tying twist only raises more questions) and is hard to get into.
6.5/10 (Alright)
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Pineapple Express (2008)

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A process server and his marijuana dealer wind up on the run from hitmen and a corrupt police officer after he witnesses his dealer’s boss murder a competitor while trying to serve papers on him. (IMDb)
A stoner and his dealer get caught up in a drug war and the comedy’s exactly what you’d expect–a combination of “that’s gotta hurt” slapstick (Red is the obvious champ in this area) and loud swear-laden and weed-infused riffs of dialogue. Doesn’t break much new ground but Franco’s dim Saul and Rogen’s straight man Dale have good chemistry and keep you engaged in spite of the mediocre plot. An uproarious improvised epilogue at the diner makes up for the over-the-top gun-happy climax.
6.5/10 (Alright)

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018)

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An anthology film comprised of six stories, each dealing with a different aspect of life in the Old West. (IMDb)
The discomforting and racist villanous portrayal of “Indians” should’ve been thrown away but the rest of the classic Western potpourri here provide lots of cozy charm (love those songs sprinkled throughout) and frigid chills amidst what is a uniquely curated collection of stories (some delightfully bizarre like the titular tale with its compelling narration and amazing climactic duet; others a bit more plodding and unremarkable) about death and judgment and the diehard American dream.
7/10 (Good)

Monsters vs. Aliens (2009)

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A woman transformed into a giant after she is struck by a meteorite on her wedding day becomes part of a team of monsters sent in by the U.S. government to defeat an alien mastermind trying to take over Earth. (IMDb)
You can see it coming from a mile away thanks to the douchey Derek, but the character arc for Susan is a nice one (“I’m not going to shortchange myself ever again!”), adding substance to the bare-bones plot, while appreciably not feeling the need to pair her off with someone else at the end. A great gaggle of quirky secondary characters, meanwhile, keep the chuckles coming quite consistently (Rogen’s dimwitted blob monster is a standout: “I think that jello gave me a fake phone number”).
7/10 (Good)

Megamind (2010)

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The supervillain Megamind finally defeats his nemesis, the superhero Metro Man. But without a hero, he loses all purpose and must find new meaning to his life. (IMDb)
The script’s dialogue-based humour is inconsistent at best (the opening voiceover intro is kinda lame; Megamind and Metro Man’s cliche convo was funny: “Revenge is best served cold!” “But it can be easily reheated in the microwave of evil!”) but it’s helped by a great voice cast (Cross as earnest Minion tops the list), and the overarching premise offers both some quirky satire of the typical good guy vs. villain dynamic as well as, of course, a refreshingly nuanced look at the villain itself.
6.5/10 (Alright)

 

Incredibles 2 (2018)

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Bob Parr (Mr. Incredible) is left to care for the kids while Helen (Elastigirl) is out saving the world. (IMDb)
The superhero politics thread feels a little tired and uninteresting, and the other main catch-the-villain plot is nothing special either (though Screenslaver’s monologue about heroes and the people was a standout moment for both). Fortunately, the characters and humour are fabulous (awkward Violet is a delight–see her embarrassing mishap at the restaurant; the remarkable Jack-Jack is a riot–see his raccoon fight, inter-dimensional travel) and the animated action is excellent and thrilling.
7.5/10 (Really Good)

 

The Adjustment Bureau (2011)

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The affair between a politician and a contemporary dancer is affected by mysterious forces keeping the lovers apart. (IMDb)
An interesting concept is largely flattened by numerous large dumps of blatant exposition, heavy-handed injections of theological themes (see the sappy wrap-up) and rushed ruminations on free will and the future that are anything but subtle. Still, real suspense can still be found in spite of the cheesiness (see the door-to-door climax) and the (thin) romance has its moments of charm (Damon and Blunt have good rapport) and beauty (see the touching kiss in the face of their enemies at the end).
6/10 (Mediocre)