By Shane Sellar
The paradoxical thing about bosses is that they’re the highest paid yet most hated person in the company.
Unfortunately, the CEO in this comedy no longer receives the income portion.
Michelle (Melissa McCarthy) is a hardnosed businesswoman sent to prison for insider trading. With nowhere to live when she’s release Melissa reaches out to her former assistant Claire (Kristen Bell), whom she mistreated and poorly paid.
Determined to regain her fortune and topple her adversary (Peter Dinklage), Michelle proposes that they sell Claire’s homemade brownies through her daughter’s scout troop. But all that camaraderie soon becomes too much for the titan of industry to handle.
While McCarthy’s verbally abusive character provides a few decent sight gags, for the most part this vanity project written and directed by her husband is an unfunny, foul-mouthed and overall formulaic family outing.
Incidentally, in white-collar prisons inmates don’t get raped… their butlers do.
Barbershop: The Next Cut
The difference between a black and white barbershop is that police don’t shoot up the latter every other week.
Surprisingly, it’s not the cops conducting drive-bys in this comedy, but gangbangers.
As the owner of the first coed barbershop/salon, Calvin (Ice Cube) is constantly caught in the crossfire of the daily disputes between his female (Nicki Minaj, Eve) and male (Common, Sean Patrick Thomas, Cedric the Entertainer) employees.
But he’s caught in a deadlier crossfire when a turf war erupts on the block. To fight back, he throws a benefit for the neighborhood that garners national attention.
While this shearing series is showing signs of lassitude, especially in the laugh department, this second sequel is on point when it comes to the issue of gun-violence. However, Common’s infidelity sub-plot involving Nicki Minaj undermines the message.
Furthermore, with women around men can no longer hangout at the barbershop all-day drinking Barbicide.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
As an illegal alien in America, Superman’s greatest adversary will always be Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
However, in this action movie it’s a middle-aged man in a bat-suit.
While dealing with authorities over his mid-air clash with Zod, which razed Metropolis, Superman (Henry Cavill) now finds himself the target of a disgruntled billionaire (Ben Affleck) who moonlights as the heavily-armoured hero: Batman.
Meanwhile, a maniacal mogul (Jesse Eisenberg) provokes the rivalry further by kidnapping Supe’s mother (Diane Lane) and transfiguring Zod’s corpse into a monster.
With more DC characters running around as well, this supplement to Man of Steel – and set-up for Justice League – is needlessly convoluted with subplots that service future sequels instead of the story at hand.
The laughable dialogue, dreary aesthetic, and bloated Batman don’t help this slapdash skirmish either.
Fortunately, if he is deported Superman can always emigrant to the Caribbean and become Super-Mon.
The problem with getting someone else’s memories implanted in your head is that you have to remember a ton more birthdays.
Sadly, the recipient in this sci-fi thriller isn’t the gift-giving type.
A CIA higher-up (Gary Oldman) directs a doctor (Tommy Lee Jones) to imbed the memories of dead operative Pope (Ryan Reynolds) into the mind of a noted prisoner, Jericho (Kevin Costner), in order to locate a hacker (Michael Pitt) in possession of nuclear launch codes.
However, Jericho escapes during the procedure and heads to Pope’s house for sanctuary, where his wife (Gal Gadot) and daughter help him track down the hacker before the Russians do.
Extremely light on the science fiction aspect of the story, but heavy on the generic car-chases, shootouts and encrypted flash drives, this middle-of-the-road mind meld offers little in ingenuity or excitement.
What’s more, Jericho now knows the passcode to get into the CIA’s sauna.
The simplest way to demolition your home is to rent it out on Airbnb.
Mind you, the widower in this drama finds it more cathartic to raze it himself.
Unable to cope with the death of his wife, or the guilt his father-in-law is projecting towards him, ridged investment banker Davis (Jake Gyllenhaal) takes out his frustrations in a series of complaint letters to a vending machine company.
Touched by his confessions, a customer service rep (Naomi Watts) makes contact. Eventually Davis befriends her and her sexually confused son, much to the chagrin of her boyfriend.
Meanwhile, Davis is also busy dismantling his dream home in hopes of finding some closure.
While it’s a well-intentioned work of post-mortem inspiration with a moving performance from Gyllenhaal, Demolition’s unconventional relationships and forced profundity come off as unrealistic and manipulative.
Besides, instead of destroying your dead’s wife’s wardrobe just re-marry someone her size.
The Divergent Series: Allegiant
The problem with a society run by teenagers is that all essential services would cease during July and August.
Fortunately, the young folk in this sci-fi film have no idea what summer vacation is.
Resistance supporter Tris (Shailene Woodley) refuses leadership of the opposition for a chance to explore outside her post-apocalyptic home.
Along with some friends (Theo James, Ansel Elgort, Miles Teller, Zoë Kravitz), Tris is eventually captured by the Bureau head honcho (Jeff Daniels) and told of the genetic war that led to the social factions that control her and her friends’ fates.
The first instalment of the final chapter, this third entry in the dystopian series is also the worst. Continuing the uninspired storyline and the wooden acting of previous segments, Allegiant ups the ante with some B-movie quality special effects and embarrassing green screen work.
Moreover, teenagers hate being classified unless it’s them classifying themselves.
Everybody Wants Some!!
College puts an end to high school factions by categorizing everyone as alcoholic.
Case in point, the plastered freshmen in this comedy.
While Jake (Blake Jenner) was a big-deal pitcher in high school in college he’s just another rookie there to be razzed by his teammates (Ryan Guzman, Temple Baker, Glen Powell, Quinton Johnson).
Before classes start up the team takes Jake out on the town with them where they introduce him to college’s diverse party scene. Along the way he meets a cute coed (Zoey Deutch).
Evoking the nostalgia of going away to school through a cast of eccentric characters that one could encounter in a post-secondary, writer-director Richard Linklater utilizes his green leads to construct a convincing campus where he can insert his subtle lessons about becoming an adult.
In fact, college gives you those tools you need to get a job to pay off your student loan.
I Saw The Light
The number one threat to a country music star’s career is their successful transition into pop music.
Unfortunately, the cowboy crooner in this biopic didn’t live long enough to employ auto-tune.
Repetitively rejected from the Grand Ole Opry for his youthful inexperience, Hank Williams (Tom Hiddleston) wasn’t able to strike a cord with promotes, fans, and later Hollywood, until he started composing ditties inspired by the spats he had with his singing partner/wife (Elizabeth Olsen).
But just as those hit records were rolling in, Hank’s dalliances, hard drinking, and drug use derailed his meteoric rise.
Although Hiddleston is able to embody the honky-tonk hero in appearance and essence, his vocal range is lacking that hillbilly twang.
Meanwhile, the laborious script and ham-fisted director are more concerned with chastising him for his faults than celebrating his triumphs.
Incidentally, sex with Minnie Pearl was not the cause of Hank’s death.
By the Sea
Vacations are a great way to rekindle a marriage as long as you remember to tell your spouse which country you’ll be in.
Shockingly, the languishing lovers in this drama are staying seaside jointly.
Author Roland (Brad Pitt) takes his impotent wife Vanessa (Angelina Jolie Pitt) to a coastal French village to write his next novel and hopefully stir something within her.
While the setting fails to stimulate Vanessa, the newlyweds (Mélanie Laurent, Melvil Poupaud) next-door do. So, she peeps on them through a hole-in-the-wall, while Roland drinks downstairs with the widowed hotelier (Niels Arestrup).
While writer/director Jolie Pitt tries admirably to concoct her own foreign film through risqué subject matter, long silences and minimal exposition, her biggest mistake is casting herself and her husband in what ultimately becomes a pretension vanity project.
Furthermore, holes in the wall bigger than a silver dollar are not for sticking your eye in.
Miracles from Heaven
The problem with God performing miracles is that he automatically expects you to return the favour.
Which means the cured kid in this drama has one whooper of an IUO.
Stricken with an ailment that prevents her from digesting food, 10-year-old Anna Beam (Kylie Rogers) undergoes rigorous testing at the behest of her mother (Jennifer Garner) that ultimately concludes that Anna has intestinal pseudoobstruction.
It’s not until she falls 30 feet from a cottonwood tree and has a near-death experience that Anna finds relief from the excruciating pain. Even more astounding is Anna’s account of her encounter with the big man upstairs.
Christian propaganda masquerading as wholesome family entertainment, this mawkish mockup of the mother’s own memoirs emulates movie-of-the-week acting and storytelling with a side of Sunday school sermonizing thrown in for good measure.
In fact, Millennials would be more inclined to attend Sunday services if church had an omelet station.
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
The worst part about being a female war correspondent is that every one naturally assumes you’re just there to report the weather.
However, the scribe in this dramedy is drab enough to pass as a reporter.
Gung-ho to get in front of the camera, copywriter Kim Barker (Tina Fey) accepts a field assignment in Afghanistan. Paired with a general (Billy Bob Thornton), mentored by a stringer (Margot Robbie) and wooed by a photojournalist (Martin Freeman), she quickly learns to navigate close quarter combat.
But when her segments go unaired due to audience apathy, Kim tries to seduce an official (Alfred Molina) for an excusive.
Adapted from Baker’s own biography, WTF takes a lighter look at Operation Enduring Freedom that comes off more flippant than empathetic, especially the unfortunate casting of white actors in Afghani roles.
Furthermore, being a female war correspondent isn’t as dangerous as being a female sports reporter.
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