Ocean’s 8

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I really wish when they make these gender-swapped remakes of movies, they would at least make them good to shut up the sexist whiners who think the female version is traipsing over some sacred ground. But like Ghostbusters before it, Ocean’s 8 is a collection of great actresses doing mediocre things in a movie completely unworthy of them, based on a previous movie that didn’t really need a rehash.

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Solo

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Right off the bat, I can say that Solo was much better than I expected, I just didn’t expect very much. While entertaining, watching the space heist has an extra jolt of thrilling, it’s basically a pointless endeavor that is ultimately the answer to questions that weren’t worth asking. What exactly is the Kessel run? Where does Han’s last name actually come from? How did Han come to own the Millennium Falcon? I wasn’t excited to see Solo, and through no fault of my own I saw it twice, but I’m glad it was interesting. I’m just beginning to understand what people are saying in regards to superhero fatigue. As much as I’m enjoying the recent run of Star Wars movies, maybe a little more space between space epics is warranted.

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Deadpool 2

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Part of the joy of the first Deadpool was how shocking it was to hear all those different iterations of the word “fuck” coming from a costumed superhero. It was the surprise and delight filthy version. While the sequel maintains the more jokes per second than Moulin Rouge had edits, there’s a pretty big narrative hole the movie spends two hours trying to dig itself out of (I won’t spoil it here). It’s certainly entertaining throughout, I’ve seen it multiple times and caught jokes on the third round I missed the first two times.

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Tully

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The combination of director Jason Reitman, screenwriter Diablo Cody, and can-do-anything actress Charlize Theron is a potent one. Their last effort, Young Adult, was a favorite of mine the year it came out, and the equally adept Tully is also a solid achievement (Reitman and Cody’s first hit Juno remains their best). Tully moves quick with sharp dialogue, decent pacing, and great performances.

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Life of the Party

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Much like the equally frustrating I Feel Pretty, Life of the Party is built around a strong central performance, capable ensemble, and interesting enough premise, but fails to deliver more than an SNL sketch’s worth of story in nearly two hours of tedium. Melissa McCarthy, a fine actress when she wants to be (and a co-writer here it should be noted), plays Deanna, a mom blindsided by her husband’s request for a divorce who decides to go back to college with her daughter and finally get her degree. Hilarity, one would think, would ensue, but it’s more like a couple laughs and a lot of eye rolls.

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Life and Death and Farts

My seventh-grade teacher was murdered. It was a random mugging, less than a mile from my house the summer before eighth grade. I don’t remember how I found out. This was before the internet let tragedy spread like a brush fire. What I remember most is her funeral. I had a hand-me-down suit from my brother because mine no longer fit me. It was itchy and tight. I sat in the third or fourth pew with my friend, Quentin.

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Avengers: Infinity War

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As a Marvel movie, the latest installment of the Avengers, Infinity War, is an exciting, non-stop action, thrill ride. And it’s a lot of fun. As a film in and of itself, it doesn’t really work. Taking for granted you have intimate knowledge of the characters and plot points of the previous movies (which I do), the movie doesn’t do anything to establish characters or even give any of them time to breath. It’s essentially one big action sequence divided amongst five different set pieces. Continue reading

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I Feel Pretty

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There’s a good movie somewhere in the depths of “I Feel Pretty” but the version that flits about on screen isn’t it. Sure, Amy Schumer gives it her best effort, and she’s a solid presence and game for anything, but the film doesn’t even stay true to the logic it establishes. Schumer is Renee, a low-level employee at a makeup company who suffers from esteem issues surrounding her appearance, until a freak SoulCycle accident instills her with an overblown sense of vanity.

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A Quiet Place

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The most unsettling thing about A Quiet Place, the new movie from triple-threat John Krasinski (who co-wrote, directed and stars) is that the lack of noise throughout made me really self-conscious about eating popcorn (and chewing ice). Actually, that’s not really true. While the movie itself is rather soft and unobtrusive, it does such an amazing job at creating interminable tension (a loose nail here, slow-moving monsters there) that the anxiety-inducing audibility of popcorn chewing was barely top 5. I can’t think of a recent movie so good at exploiting the audiences own uncomfortableness since 10 Cloverfield Lane, which is mildly interesting since A Quiet Place could’ve easily slotted into the Cloverfield mythos.

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Blockers

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Really, for being a film about a virginity pact and with that visual pun of the rooster in the ads, Blockers is so much better than it deserves to be. Despite the fact that it made me laugh throughout, it is also a broad comedy with fantastically well-drawn characters with believable relationships, evident and honest motivations, and a great heart. Credit that to director Kay Cannon (writer-producer of 30 Rock, and the Pitch Perfect movies) who maintains a delicate balance between dick jokes and complex familial dynamics. Continue reading

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