Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story that's funny but never particularly clever. It's an enjoyable bit of escapist entertainment, mixing some sharp gags in between the more obvious jokes. But while the script makes a feeble attempt to poke fun at over-the-top machismo, it indulges in relentless gender stereotyping.
Now best buddies, co-dads Dusty and Brad (Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell) decide to combine their families to celebrate Christmas this year. Then Dusty's estranged tough-guy dad Kurt (Mel Gibson) turns up, as does Brad's more touchy-feely father Don (John Lithgow). This raises issues for both Dusty and Brad, who are clearly chips off the old blocks. They may be united in their love for their kids (Owen Vaccaro, Scarlett Estevez and Didi Costine), but old rivalries spark as they take the family to a huge mountain cabin with their wives (Alessandra Ambrosio and Linda Cardellini). What follows is a combination of wacky slapstick and various forms of sabotage as Dusty and Brad's bromance is put through the wringer.
None of this is remotely original, with elaborate set-pieces that feel like they've been lifted wholesale from other holiday comedies. And the plot is never remotely surprising either. But the actors have chemistry, and invest some sparkiness in their characters. Much of the antics centre on the clash between Gibson and Lithgow, who play up the aggression and sweetness, respectively. It's badly exaggerated, but the actors throw themselves into the roles, and the interaction between the three generations is nutty enough to keep the audience chuckling even through some rather stupid gags. The filmmakers seem to think that crazed conflict is hilarious, but actually the funniest moments are when Walhberg and Ferrell are working together to approach a problem.
Continue reading: Daddy's Home 2 Review
It has been a few years since the Barden Bellas graduated from college, and while they have largely managed to stay in touch, they have not performed together at musical World Championships for a very long time. Needless to say, with their various career ventures not going as well as they had hoped and the media still keeping a close eye on them and willing them to fail, they are missing their beloved a cappella sing-a-longs a lot right now.
Beca Mitchell (Anna Kendrick) has quit her job out of boredom, Flo Fuentes (Chrissie Fit) is serving on a city juice stall, Chloe Beale (Brittany Snow) is struggling to get into vet school and Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson) is now a not so popular impersonator called Fat Amy Winehouse. But maybe they can give their musical passions a boost with a new kind of show...
Aubrey Posen (Anna Camp) has an idea of trying to obtain an invite to perform at a competition show in Europe set up by the United Service Organizations (USO) in support of the US Army soldiers. It's not like they have anything else to do at the moment so the group are all for it. However, armed only with their voices, they have quite the competition as many of their rivals are bands with actual instruments.
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It’s part of modern life that divorce and separation is part of many families and a lot can't even form civil friendships. When Brad Whitaker met his wife Sara and her two children he thought that he'd been given the instant perfect family - for the most part, he had! Though Megan and Dylan were a little reluctant to take to Brad, with time and much persistence, both kids warmed to their mum's new husband.
Brad is kind, friendly and a real family man, just like his father. Megan and Dylan's birthfather, Dusty, on the other hand isn't quite as mild mannered as the latest addition to the family and when Dusty announces that he's going to come visit the family, Sara is far from impressed. What starts out as animosity toward one another soon develops into an admiration for both their strengths.
Though many wouldn't have guessed it, now Brad and Dusty are great friends! As the winter holidays come around, both Dusty with his partner, Karen and Brad and Sara decide that the family will all get together for one big holiday celebration. The kids are thrilled with the decision, as is the entire family, but the mood soon changes when Dusty receives a phone call from his dad, Kurt. The family unit has just got a little bit bigger and Dusty really isn't sure how his rough and ready father is going to appreciate the new Dusty or their larger family arrangement. If that wasn't enough, Brad's father also joins the team.
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Beatriz is a holistic healer trained in massage, reiki and other therapies who is invited to stay for dinner at her rich clients' - Cathy and Grant's - home after her car breaks down. They're having guests over for a party and once they start arriving she couldn't look more out of place with her bare face, casual clothes and 5 foot 2 stature. The guests try and be polite towards this woman, who could clearly never be a part of their own social circles, but she's strangely drawn to one guest in particular; Grant's business partner Doug Strutt. As the evening wears on and the guests get progressively more drunk, she starts to sense a prejudice in the air in regards to both her nationality and her career choice. But her own prejudices come to the forefront when she discovers Doug's passion for hunting, and her disgust is something she just can't hide.
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While this slick dramatic thriller plays with some intriguing ideas and themes, it never actually breaks the surface, relying on silly plotting and simplistic moralising. It also uses autism as little more than a plot point. Still, it's sharply shot and edited to create plenty of interest, with comical asides and some intense action. So it's entertaining even if it's both preposterous and shallow.
It centres on Christian (Ben Affleck), a mild-mannered autistic accountant with a big secret: he's not only cooking the books for top gangsters around the world, but he's also an efficient killer. In his day job, he's hired by Lamar (John Lithgow) and his sister Rita (Smart) to locate an anomaly in their robotics company's books. Working with company accountant Dana (Anna Kendrick), Christian crunches the numbers and finds more than anyone expected. Meanwhile, Federal Agent Ray (J.K. Simmons) wants catch this mythical mob accountant-killer before he retires, so he coerces analyst Marybeth (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) into tracking him down. But just as they close in on Christian, so does hyperactive hitman Brax (Jon Bernthal).
The script by Bill Dubuque (The Judge) never even remotely holds water. Christian's autism provides some intriguing flashbacks, which build throughout the movie to a climactic moment, as his militaristic father cruelly treats his condition by sending him to Karate Kid-style training in Indonesia with his silently annoyed little brother. Where a real autistic child would revert into the horror of all of that, Christian emerges as adeptly skilled at engaging with everyone he meets and also able to fight more efficiently than experienced military commandos, whom he kills by the dozen as Brax and his army surround him. No, it makes absolutely no sense, but as a movie it's a rather amusing waste of time.
Continue reading: The Accountant Review
Elizabeth Sloane is a lobbyist and often finds herself facing off against some of the most important politicians in America. She's a consummate professional and is often taken as cold and calculating but these elements of her personality only work to her benefit.
In many ways, being a successful lobbyist is like being a chess champion, you always must have the foresight to be at least one step ahead of your opponent and making sure they don't see your moves coming - and if they do, making equally sure that you have a counter measure in place.
After years of success, Elizabeth decides that her time has come to take on one of the biggest challenges; the Gun control laws and Elizabeth soon becomes aware at just what lengths people will go to in order to protect their second amendment right.
When an influential and forward-thinking writer locks horns with a conservative author, things get a little intense. Gore Vidal and William F. Buckley, Jr. made headlines when they were enlisted to debate the Republican and Democratic presidential ideals in 1968 for ABC, and subsequently found themselves in a controversial feud as they became more and more incensed by each other's opinions. With threats of violence and insulting jargon leaving a shocking mark on the legendary televised argument, it became a landmark moment in political media and, indeed, continued - albeit indirectly - with later publications and lawsuits from both parties. While there used to be an element of poise and dignity with political conversation, from this moment, things heated up considerably when it came to fighting about the government.
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Luckily for the human race, dinosaurs were wiped from the face of the Earth millions and millions of years ago after a deadly asteroid struck the globe. But what would the world be like if that meteorite missed the planet, sparing the colossal creatures much loved by children? While the thought might be somewhat terrifying, this is a story about a young Apatosaurus named Arlo who's not such a danger to his fellow Earthlings. After a family tragedy, Arlo finds himself shaken and confused and winds up injured, only to then find himself far away from home. Troubled but determined, he sets out on formidable journey to find his way back to his family again and on the way meets a young human boy, who he is quick to befriend. If you thought dinosaurs couldn't be compassionate and make awesome friends, you were so wrong.
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In this pointed and involving New York drama, the snap of realistic dialogue more than makes up for a fundamental flaw in the premise. It helps to have first-rate actors like John Lithgow and Alfred Molina in the focal roles, and filmmaker Ira Sachs has a wonderful eye for earthy rhythms of human interaction that continually reveal deeper truths everyone can identify with. So the way the film explores a long-term relationship is revelatory and important.
The film opens as Ben and George (Lithgow and Molina) finally get legally married after 39 years together. But when they return from their honeymoon, their happiness hits a bump: George is sacked from his job as a music teacher at a Catholic school because he's now considered openly gay. Unable to afford their mortgage, they sell their flat and take a huge loss due to fees. So now they are forced to live separately: Ben moves in with his workaholic nephew Elliot (Darren E. Burrows) and his wife Kate (Marisa Tomei), sharing a bunk bed with their surly teen son Joey (Charlie Tahan). Meanwhile, George takes the sofa of noisy party-boy neighbours Ted and Roberto (Cheyenne Jackson and Manny Perez). Neither situation is remotely ideal, but they try to make it work, knowing that it's temporary.
The problem is that none of this is actually necessary. They had much better options than this, so the continuing messiness feels like it could have been very easily avoided simply by making a few rational decisions rather than be pushed in one direction by an undercooked screenplay. On the other hand, the actors are more than up to the challenge, finding the most meaningful angles within every scene. Sachs gives his cast the space to bring these likeable people to life. Lithgow is terrific as the chatty Ben, who drives Kate crazy while creating tensions in their family. And Molina is wonderful as the more patient, open-minded George. Their chemistry together is sparky and realistic.
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Strong characters and a vivid sense of life in frontier America give this film a kick of authentic energy that makes it a gripping journey. While it may be a little too serious for its own good, the movie is strikingly shot and played to bring out the gritty tenacity of people who dare to live in such a foreboding place. And a couple of shocking twists in the tale keep us on our toes.
In the Nebraska Territory in 1853, life was so difficult that three women (Grace Gummer, Miranda Otto and Sonja Richter) in a small community are driven mad by the isolation, desperation and harsh weather. Their husbands are too busy surviving to do anything about it, so the local pastor (John Lithgow) arranges for the strong-willed spinster farmer Mary Bee (Hilary Swank) to escort them back east to civilisation. She needs a "homesman" to help make the arduous five-week journey, so she drafts in drunken scoundrel George (Tommy Lee Jones). During their long trek across the plains, they have a series of potentially life-threatening encounters with the likes of well-armed Native Americans, an interfering opportunist (Tim Blake Nelson) and a cruelly dismissive hotel owner (James Spader).
The characters are strikingly feisty, starting with Swank's fiercely no-nonsense, self-sufficient Mary Bee, who one local observes is as good as any man around. She's also rather annoyingly holier-than-thou, which explains why she's has so much trouble finding a husband to help her. And these three women really push her to the breaking point: Gummer's Bella is consumed by grief, Otto's Theoline moans day and night, and Richter's Gro is a delusional menace. So it's a good thing that Jones provides some comic relief as the rapscallion George, a snarky realist who's the only likeable person on-screen.He also emerges along the way as the true protagonist of the tale.
Continue reading: The Homesman Review
Date of birth
19th October, 1945
Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...
It has been a few years since the Barden Bellas graduated from college, and while...
It’s part of modern life that divorce and separation is part of many families and...
Beatriz is a holistic healer trained in massage, reiki and other therapies who is invited...
While this slick dramatic thriller plays with some intriguing ideas and themes, it never actually...
Elizabeth Sloane is a lobbyist and often finds herself facing off against some of the...
Ben Affleck is cast as Christian Wolff in this new action thriller film The Accountant....
When an influential and forward-thinking writer locks horns with a conservative author, things get a...
Luckily for the human race, dinosaurs were wiped from the face of the Earth millions...
In this pointed and involving New York drama, the snap of realistic dialogue more than...
After living together for 39 years, Ben (John Lithgow) and George (Alfred Molina) are able...
Strong characters and a vivid sense of life in frontier America give this film a...
Brainy blockbuster maestro Christopher Nolan heads into deep space with this epic adventure, which is...