Category Archives: Comedy

I am serious…and don’t call me Shirley.

Isn’t it Romantic (2019) Movie Review

At an early age, Natalie (Rebel Wilson) is taught from her mom that she is not the type of woman they make romantic comedies about. Those movies don’t fit into real life; at least, they don’t fit into what her real life will be. “We’re no Julia Roberts,” Natalie’s told. If they made a movie out of her life, they would have to “sprinkle Prozac on the popcorn.”

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Natalie has carried these values, perhaps subconsciously, into her adult life. She assumes she is blind to the world, and thus she allows herself to be pushed around at work. She is Continue reading Isn’t it Romantic (2019) Movie Review

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The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part (2019) Movie Review

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part is just what implies; it is a second helping, a rehash of the surprise hit that tries to recapture the magic but ultimately falls short.

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Following the events of The LEGO Movie, the world inhabited by sentient LEGO beings has fallen into chaos. It has become Continue reading The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part (2019) Movie Review

Cold Pursuit (2019) Movie Review

There is a fundamental disconnect in Cold Pursuit that, while being the film’s largest flaw, is oddly charming. To say that the film does not know what it is would be false, but it does not know how to fully achieve what it wants to be.

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The film begins with a quote from Oscar Wilde: “Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.”

Frankly, I can’t figure out for the life of me why Continue reading Cold Pursuit (2019) Movie Review

The Upside (2019) Movie Review

The Upside is a remake of the 2011 French film Intouchables, a facile yet hugely crowd-pleasing story about a white wealthy quadriplegic who hires a black ex-con to be his live-in caregiver. In the American iteration, the two roles are fulfilled by Bryan Cranston and Kevin Hart, with the role of Philip Lacasse’s (Cranston) uptight executive Yvonne being played by Nicole Kidman.

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Neil Burger’s film is just as facile, and likely just as crowd-pleasing, as Intouchables.

Dell Scott (Hart) is on the hunt for a job—something he does not want, but something required to Continue reading The Upside (2019) Movie Review

Vice (2018) Movie Review

Adam McKay likes to show. And show. And show.

As he moves further from straight comedy and more toward a dark comedy examination of political America, McKay’s showy style becomes more apparent. In a way, it is more permissible to have a broad comedy film be brash and in-your-face. While such a style is not destined to fail in a more dramatic setting, it is harder to grapple with tone in that setting.

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McKay’s The Big Short shows some signs of this tonal problem. Largely a depressing subject, the comedy flourishes in that retelling of the housing crisis don’t translate well. The non sequitur cutaways to celebrities are jarring and ineffective. What shines in that film are the performances, showing that the director understands the import of Continue reading Vice (2018) Movie Review

The Favourite (2018) Movie Review

Lady Sarah: Love has limits

Queen Anne: It should not

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Those unfamiliar with the work of Yorgos Lanthimos may be surprised to hear that The Favourite is the man’s most accessible film to date. A court drama about the shifting power dynamics between three women—Queen Anne (Olivia Colman), her long-time confidant Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz), and new arrival Abigail (Emma Stone)—this feverish portrayal of high society at its lowest states of depravity is Continue reading The Favourite (2018) Movie Review

The House with a Clock in Its Walls (2018) Movie Review

In The House with a Clock in Its Walls, poor man’s Jacob Tremblay, Lewis Barnavelt (Owen Vaccaro) moves into his Uncle Jonathan’s (Jack Black) house in Michigan following the untimely death of his parents. The house, decorated at the gate with year-round pumpkins, is filled with clocks. One of these clocks resides within the walls.

Get it?

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Jonathan is a bearded man who wears kimonos and top hats, aka a warlock. He eats enough cookies (and nothing else) that he is, optimistically, pre-diabetic. His platonic roommate Florence Zimmerman (Cate Blanchett) is defined by her love of purple. And his nephew, Young Sheldon, is precocious beyond what is healthy for a child. He quotes dictionary entries for fun. That’s what we’re working with here.

Just as Lewis gets settled into his new living environment, he realizes everything inside his house is Continue reading The House with a Clock in Its Walls (2018) Movie Review