Category Archives: Comedy

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

Paddington 2 (2018) Movie Review

Paddington 2 has a simple message, but one that is nevertheless easily forgotten. Be nice to people. Pay it forward. Yadda yadda. It sounds obvious, and it sounds like it would play saccharine in a children’s film about a naive little bear. But, for the second time, it doesn’t.

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I would like to make the argument that this second film is Continue reading Paddington 2 (2018) Movie Review

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I, Tonya (2017) Movie Review

There is one word that describes every facet of the film I, Tonya. Energy. From the acting performances, to the editing, to the camera work, to the dialogue, to the framing device, to the soundtrack there is a constant and consistent energy. There is never a wasted or dull moment. It is a two-hour movie that breezes by.

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Beneath this energy, which is spear-headed by dark comedy, is a surprising amount of empathy that the film drums up around the figure of Tonya Harding (portrayed here by Margot Robbie). The highly publicized story of Harding plays out in the film in a Continue reading I, Tonya (2017) Movie Review

Downsizing (2017) Movie Review

Alexander Payne’s latest is a sci-fi comic drama about a man named Paul Safranek (Matt Damon) who decides to engage in the biggest scientific innovation since the Apollo space program: Downsizing.

Downsizing, or “going small,” is the process of shrinking one’s body down to five inches and moving to one of many small communities, a “magical” place where everything is cheaper because the quantity the consumer requires is smaller (although, economy isn’t all about quantity…if there’s a demand for small diamonds, wouldn’t the price of small diamonds go up regardless? But I digress).

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Downsizing has a sprawling plot. For a film about shrinking a person and putting them under a glass dome, there is a lot of movement. Too much, to be frank. The first act of the film is firmly planted in Continue reading Downsizing (2017) Movie Review

The Disaster Artist (2017) Movie Review

James Franco’s The Disaster Artist could have been the extension of a joke, an acknowledgment of the irony that makes Tommy Wiseau’s historical miscalculation The Room such an audience favorite. That would have been the easy route, and it would have made for a less compelling film.
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Instead, The Disaster Artist takes an earnest approach. It aims to convince us that it is the drive of Wiseau’s vision which is truly Continue reading The Disaster Artist (2017) Movie Review

Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017) Movie Review

In Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, a title so laborious and specific that it can’t help but get stuck in your head, Mildred Hayes (Frances McDormand) rents out three billboards (they haven’t been used in years, not since the highway went up) and plasters a notice up on them. Black on red. A question aimed at Police Chief Willoughby (Woody Harrelson) asking for justice for Mildred’s dead daughter.

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A confrontational pitch-black comedy about reactionary culture and life-altering emotional extremity, Three Billboards delivers one of the Continue reading Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017) Movie Review

Lady Bird (2017) Movie Review

The teenage bildungsroman is a common narrative formula. Lady Bird, Greta Gerwig’s directing debut (she also serves as screenwriter), may be another addition to the list, but it does not feel like another tired addition. If anything, it exists in this long line of coming of age films as as much of a standout as the film’s eponymous role: a personality so bold and big but also honest that it demands to be taken on its own merits.

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This is undoubtedly caused by Gerwig’s distinct presence. Even as a first-time director, it is clear that this is uniquely Continue reading Lady Bird (2017) Movie Review

Daddy’s Home 2 (2017) Movie Review

There is a moment early on in Daddy’s Home 2 where Will Ferrell’s character walks into the house after he and his “co-dad” Dusty (Mark Wahlberg) pick up their fathers (John Lithgow and Mel Gibson) at the airport and exclaims: “We’re back…with more daddies.”daddys-home-2-review

That is all the summation necessary. From here, the film moves from location to location with only the slightest amount of Continue reading Daddy’s Home 2 (2017) Movie Review