There’s no silence quieter than the one in a movie theater during an bad comedy. At times during Mother’s Day, director Garry Marshall’s newest debasement of a beloved holiday, a hush fell over the theater to rival the quietude at a Benedictine monastery. When the laughter finally came, it’s always at the movie’s expense. This disaster is less deliberately funny than the last movie titled Mother’s Day, and that was a violent horror film.
Take the comedic talents of Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key, add an intensely adorable kitten, the musical stylings of George Michael, and a riff on John Wick, and you get Keanu — an action comedy that is mostly enjoyable, until it stretches its premise a little too thin and falls victim to the narrative demands of a feature-length film. Perhaps fittingly enough, Key and Peele’s first film outing is at its most lively when the titular kitten is on screen. Remove the kitten from the equation and you have a film that adheres a little too closely to the action flick formula it seeks to emulate, particularly during the lengthy third act.
What do you get when you cross ‘Death of a Salesman’ with ‘Eat Pray Love’? The latest Tom Hanks movie, a dramedy about a middle-aged sad white guy.
The Huntsman: Winter’s War is a prequel, a sequel, a spinoff, a mashup, a bit of a remake, and almost a movie. It contains many recognizable elements from actual films — plot, characters, scenes, imagery, music — almost all of them inspired by (if not outright stolen from) other far more original movies and television shows. There are bits and pieces shamelessly swiped from Frozen, Lord of the Rings, The Hunger Games, Game of Thrones, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, plus a few odds and ends from the production it is ostensibly following, 2012’s Snow White and the Huntsman. It’s almost like the movie version of a pod person from Invasion of the Body Snatchers; superficially indistinguishable from the real thing, but lacking any semblance of a soul.
When Marvel Studios began ambitiously building towards the first Avengers movie, many openly wondered: how can they do this? Many times over the years, notably in Sam Raimi’s bloated Spider-Man 3, too many characters had clogged up the screen, diluting those films of any real focus. This was a legitimate concern for Marvel and for The Avengers, a movie that was going to star not one, but seven superheroes. Flash forward to 2016 and seven superheroes suddenly seems like an intimate gathering. Now Marvel has arrived with Captain America: Civil War, the latest in their progressively expanding franchise, with a lineup that includes 12 superheroes and three villains. Have we reached peak superhero? Is this finally, once and for all, just too much? NOPE.
Kids grow up so fast these days. They have to if they’re going to watch the movies Hollywood makes for them.
I would like to formally apologize to the Park Avenue Screening Room for permanently denting two of their armrests. It couldn’t be helped. I was watching Green Room, which might be the most intense thriller of the last five years, and I needed somewhere to release all the tension. If the damage can’t be repaired, please send the bill to Jeremy Saulnier, the film’s director. It’s all his fault.
Even as video games have become inherently more cinematic, almost all movies adapted from video games have resulted in pretty horrible movies. It’s an unfortunate curse for gamers worldwide. Somewhere along the way, these projects lose what made them...
After being dealt some bad luck in the studio system with the underwhelming action flick Aeon Flux and the undervalued horror comedy Jennifer’s Body, director Karyn Kusama emerges with her best film since she made her feature debut with 2000's Girlfight. The Invitation is an exceptionally unnerving thriller, a sharp study in the horrors of platonic indulgence and the over-extension of courtesy.
There’s a scene in The Boss where Melissa McCarthy’s character, a disgraced business mogul named Michelle Darnell, tries to rebuild her financial empire by going to a country club to woo potential investors. Her pitch goes badly, from both a practical perspective and a comedic one. Not realizing one of the investors’ wives is dead, she mocks her and calls her terrible names, and basically makes a fool out of herself. None of this is funny. The conversation goes on and on, fumbling for some kind of ending, until Michelle excuses herself and then suddenly and randomly falls down a flight of stairs. End of scene.