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Quick Reviews: Week Of 05.13.2022
Flash Reviews Of The Upcoming Weekend's Movie Releases
Here are my thoughts on the movie releases from the weekend of 05.13.2022 in alphabetical order of their respective release dates. A reminder, you can click this link to see how I grade films when I review them.
- Plot: In 1943, two British intelligence officers concoct “Operation Mincemeat”, wherein their plan to drop a corpse with false papers off the coast of Spain would fool Nazi spies into believing the Allied forces were planning to attack by way of Greece rather than Sicily.
- Review: Given its (just a tad too overlong) two hour runtime, your enjoyment of this British historical drama is going to test just how much tolerance you have for watching yet another World War II flick that comes with all the trimmings of one including the millionth portrayal of Winston Churchill on screen. For my part, as you should know by now given some of my earlier reviews from the year of similar films, I am a big sucker for these sort of historical dramas and this was (mostly) up my alley.
Based on the true story of a little known and yet hugely important deception scheme the British pulled over on Germany during the second World War, this has everything either a WWII or history buff in general could ask for. Spies and their espionage of the time are featured here as well and the writing does allow for plenty little moments of levity throughout the production thanks to some witty dialogue. There’s some fun cameos and the tone of the movie still makes you really feel the tension when need be of how important this mission is and why our protagonists can’t afford it to fail. The acting in it is commendable thanks to a respectable ensemble that includes the likes of Matthew Macfadyen, Kelly Macdonald, Penelope Wilton, Jason Isaacs, Simon Russell Beale, and even Mark Gatiss - all lead by the one and only Colin Firth as our main protagonist - Ewen Montagu.
If there’s a weak link to the movie that keeps it from a greater potential though its all the subplots that are set up and yet all end up having either unsatisfying conclusions or seem to just be forgotten about by the script come the climax. This includes a whole romantic side story that goes nowhere and comes off forced for dramatic effect. There’s even a running gag where the movie almost seems to go out of its way to point out Ian Fleming is in the background of these events, something that starts out amusing and then starts to get a bit grating by the final act.
All that said this was a respectable enough historical drama that will do the job for those of us who love these kind of films, but it allows itself to get bogged down in its dramatic license and thus fails to become anything truly great.
- Initial Grade: B-
- Plot: A girl with extraordinary pyrokinetic powers fights to protect her family, and herself, from sinister forces that seek to capture and control her.
- Review: I’m always up for a film adaptation of a work from my all-time favorite novelist, even if the record of such productions are wildly hit or miss. Even given Firestarter isn’t placed too high for me in Stephen King’s catalog of stories, I was intrigued to see what we’d get from this second attempt at bringing this novel to screen. Unfortunately, I have to say this was a miss.
God bless them because I really do think that Zac Efron and Ryan Kiera Armstrong try their best to elevate this past the mediocre script this is going off on, playing the father and daughter on the run from government agents who seek out controlling her powers. But they can only do so much with such bad pacing that moments in the story either don’t feel earned or you feel like you’re missing certain pieces to the puzzle that are certain story beats. Not to mention incredibly bad dialogue and questionable character motivations that are better explained in the novel.
This all Culminates in a mediocre and messy film that doesn’t even measure up to the original eighties film adaptation which itself is no grand masterpiece either. The only major highlight being the amazing score by none other than horror movie legend himself, John Carpenter.
That said while I didn’t like this, I also don’t think its as disastrous as other reviews I’ve seen have labeled it as because I can see this being okay enough to pass the time with for horror or Stephen King fans if you play this on Peacock (Wouldn’t recommend seeking it out at the local theatre), and it does have its small glimpses of a better horror flick here or there. I just wish we got that movie instead. As it stands its just another mediocre King-affiliated film.
- Initial Grade: C-
ON THE COUNT OF THREE
- Plot: Val has reached a place where he feels the only way out is to end things. But he considers himself a bit of a failure, his effectiveness lacking, so he figures he could use some help. As luck would have it Val’s best friend, Kevin, is recovering from a failed suicide attempt, so he seems like the perfect partner for executing this double suicide plan. But before they go, they have some unfinished business to attend to.
- Review: I heard about this movie going all the way back to Sundance of last year; directed and produced by Jerrod Carmichael who stars in the film as Val with Christopher Abbott as his co-lead playing the character of Kevin, this movie touches on depression, trauma, bitterness, friendship, and even hope as we follow our two protagonists on a literal suicide mission.
A “small” movie that has excellent pacing, never extending its welcome like too many small budget festival films do, and never over-using some of the cameos in this from names like Tiffany Haddish, Henry Winkler, or J. B. Smoove. It all takes place in one screwed up day, but by the time its over it feels like a brisk emotional roller coaster has taken place instead. This film had me thinking about life and its meaning by the time it was over, with an ending that feels satisfying enough even with its bitter sweetness.
This is a solid movie that has me hoping I see more of Carmichael behind the camera. It makes you chuckle, gasp, cry, and smile all in less than ninety minutes and will likely earn a place in more than a few critics’ “Best of the Year” lists.
- Initial Grade: B+
- Plot: A thirty seven year old woman wakes up from a twenty year coma and returns to the high school where she was once a popular cheerleader to finish her senior year and become prom queen.
- Review: The premise to this film is ridiculous and in a way that sounds much meaner than I’d like it to sound, it feels like the very type of thing a studio would offer a comedian like Rebel Wilson to star in. Raunchy teen comedy that calls back to the early 2000s?I can’t blame them for calling up someone with her comedic style.
There’s more than a few things that I think have lead to the mostly poor critical reception I’ve seen for this one. There are a few moments where Wilson is obviously off-script and the editor should have cut off a few of those scenes out. The comedy is raunchy which means it won’t be for everyone and it also includes comedy that lampoons some cultural debates that are ongoing today that some might not want to be reminded of. Its also not particularly witty, being a very by the numbers and predictable fish out of water comedy. And finally it does fall prey to that all too common modern movie sin of overstaying its welcome a bit.
But these are also the kinds of movies that can be of the guilty pleasure sort and I found myself chuckling more than a few times and maybe once or twice laughing out loud even. Particularly with the references to the early to mid 2000s as someone who was in High School during that period and how much has changed since then. The movie also dares to show a little heart regarding a subplot about Wilson’s late movie mother and the themes of how many of us change as we evolve from our awkward high school years and into adulthood (Or for some, fail up).
Overall, I can see why this is a no go for a chunk of folks out there. But your mileage may vary and for me this was an okay comedy that wasn’t a torturous experience to get through like other raunchy comedies have been for me.
- Initial Grade: B/C
- Plot: When El, an aspiring sneaker designer from Queens, meets Kira King, the fiercely independent daughter of legendary basketball star and sneaker tycoon Darius King, sparks fly as the two bond over their mutual affinity for sneakers. With a little nudge from his best friend and a sprinkle of Fairy Godfather magic, El finds the courage to use his talent to pursue his dream of becoming a legit sneaker designer in the industry.
- Review: A film that has been delayed on multiple occasions, this finally hit Disney+ this weekend and I have to say was a very pleasant surprise for me. While you can see some of the limitations of its budget, this proved to be a vibrant, hip, and colorful musical experience that gives us a modern twist with a gender reversal on the Cinderella fairy tale.
The soundtrack isn’t my typical style of music to listen to but some songs can be catchy and their performed with great energy and dance numbers on the screen that help to make those scenes the best ones in the movie. While all the modern twists don’t quite come together, there were more than not that I thought were inspired changes.
That’s not to say this movie doesn’t have clear weaknesses. There are one or two song numbers that could have been cut, the acting is hit or miss with certain lower tier supporting roles, and the movie really could and should have been wrapped up about a good twenty to thirty minutes before its runtime is up. Still, the musical aspect helped this to go into the above average tier for me and I think its a fun and worthwhile Disney+ watch.
- Initial Grade: B-