After a cyber-attack reveals the identity of all of the active undercover agents in Britain, Johnny English is forced to come out of retirement to find the mastermind hacker. (IMDb)
Atkinson’s continued comedic charm (great on its own–see his virtual mission–but excellent when paired with Bough’s straight man) keeps this thing afloat like a shoebox inflatable on a sea of forgettable and poor plotting (the climax is particularly eye-rolling), an atrocious villain (atrocious as in bad bad not good bad–his name is VOLTA for Zuckerberg’s sakes), and a cringe-y old school ways vs. new school tech motif (though the harkening back to super old school armour at the end was fun).
Agent J travels in time to M.I.B.’s early days in 1969 to stop an alien from assassinating his friend Agent K and changing history. (IMDb)
The key to this film’s success is that Brolin as a young Agent K is marvelous and has the same entertaining chemistry with Smith’s J as TLJ did. The future-past mash-up, meanwhile, adds both extra fun to the dynamic as well as hints of intriguing character work (“What happened to you man?”; see also the final reveal). Stuhlbarg’s manic Griffin and Clement’s delightfully over-the-top villain (see his hilarious interaction with his past self) are great secondary characters that fill things out.
7.5/10 (Really Good)
An estranged family gathers together in New York for an event celebrating the artistic work of their father. (IMDb)
Shifts from a first act packed to the brim with quirky, rapid-fire dialogue (Hoffman’s self-absorbed Harold is the highlight here: “It’s my protest”), entertainingly edited (see the snippets montage) to a downright hilarious second act (see the siblings’ note taking, Pam obsession) and a slower, more ponderous third act that really brought out the complex dynamic between the brothers and The Dad (both Stiller and Sandler are great–see their pre-fight exchange). Well-paced, and never predictable.
7.5/10 (Really Good)
Author P.L. Travers reflects on her childhood after reluctantly meeting with Walt Disney, who seeks to adapt her Mary Poppins books for the big screen. (IMDb)
A wonderfully crafted screenplay carries this touching character-driven drama:The present-time tale of rude and uptight P.L. Travers as she struggles with her book’s film adaptation is broken up by beautifully-shot scenes of her tragic childhood that gradually seep into and enlighten the current story as the complexity of her character is unraveled. Standard bits of sentimentality and humour shine bright amidst this deep script and round out a well-acted and thoughtfully written film.