Some of its satire is cringe-y (see post-credits), but the loud, busy edit is info age-appropriate and at its core is a poignant picture of how we face the inevitability of our end: some ignore it, cut to commercial, or dream of utopia; others turn to hashtag activism at concerts or nihilist stickers on skateboards. But when death actually arrives at the door, our fear is made plain and all we can do is hold hands and pray and talk about all the small things that made up the “everything” we had.
The broken heart to new love arc is generic, but constant pops (flashes? see Peter’s hilarious naked confrontation with Sarah) of goofy humour keep the film feeling fresh and engaging throughout, never taking itself too seriously (see the failed symbolic cliff jump). Other highlights include the CSI parody (Crime Scene: Scene of the Crime), Paul Rudd’s surf instructor (“Oh, the weather outside is weather”), and McBrayer’s nervous new husband constantly cursing the confounding human anatomy.
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.
On the rocky path to sobriety after a life-changing accident, John Callahan discovers the healing power of art, willing his injured hands into drawing hilarious, often controversial cartoons, which bring him a new lease on life. (IMDb)
Combines the accessible emotional punch of a mainstream drama (without getting sappy) with the unconventionality and boldness of an indie; the wonderfully edited timeline-jumping of the first half creates a uniquely compelling character set-up while the longer dialogues to follow solidify and bring to a tear-jerking climax the powerful yet nuanced redemption arc (see the return to those adorable skate kids). Phoenix is expectedly great, but it’s Hill who’s simply magnetic in a supporting role.
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).
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.
Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane’s successful attempt to assemble a baseball team on a lean budget by employing computer-generated analysis to acquire new players. (IMDb)
It’s got the surface stuff for dramatic greatness–an intriguing premise, a solid cast, entertaining dialogue (see Billy’s flurry of calls at the trade deadline), and slick editing that smoothly incorporates lots of flashbacks and archival footage–but the story holds it back in a couple ways: Billy’s personal life often feels like an unnecessary inclusion, and the intellectualism of the sports narrative seems to get replaced in the third act with a more typical underdog/pep-talk type feel.
God contacts Congressman Evan Baxter and tells him to build an ark in preparation for a great flood. (IMDb)
The set-up’s predictable (yet another working dad neglecting his kids); the build-up is too (The Santa Clause, anyone?), but the plethora of biblical puns make it fun. The humor is mostly bland slapstick (Hill’s stalker Eugene aside) but Carell’s solid turn (the beard probably helped) as the guy God is seemingly screwing over gives the second act surprising dramatic credibility. Finally, though the CGI boat ride of the third act is cringe-worthy, its environmentalist slant is appreciable.
A sausage strives to discover the truth about his existence. (IMDb)
The puns are okay, but the creative anthropomorphic food premise is funniest in its extreme plays on humanity’s physical aspects; namely, death (see the flour shell-shock scene, kitchen massacre) and sex (see the outrageous ending orgy). It swings and misses everywhere else, moving from a promisingly hilarious opening musical number to a swear-overloaded script with nary a clever joke, and a religion-related thesis just as lacking in subtlety. The meta-ending also felt silly and unnecessary.
A Hollywood fixer in the 1950s works to keep the studio’s stars in line. (IMDb)
Despite Gambon’s excellent bits of narration and Brolin’s classic-Coen-crazy central day-in-the-life plot thread, Hail, Caesar! still feels more like a series of skits than anything else-some of them bland (DeeAnna’s dilemma is forgettable), many hilarious (see Hobie on the set of Merrily We Dance; McDormand’s outrageous cameo) and entertaining (see Tatum’s song and dance number among the numerous 50s Hollywood tributes), but all of them feeling rather inconsequential by the film’s abrupt end.