A Simple Favor

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Anchored by two awesomely good performances, A Simple Favor by director Paul Feig (Bridesmaids, Spy) shows that his foray into a bit darker territory is certainly worthy. While the movie goes off the rails at the end, it’s a fun, twisty, snarky tale until then. And though the film is not without mistakes, it does a lot to improve upon the source material, a book that was a bit too preposterous without the wit and charm of the film.

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The Happytime Murders

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An interesting concept-a dark comedy in a world where puppets (more accurately, Muppets, or Sesame Street-esque creatures, thanks to director Brian Henson, yes, son of) live alongside humans-is wasted in the not-nearly-as-funny-as-it-should-be Happytime Murders. The film seems to think that a Muppet saying “fuck” is enough to generate laughs, which it isn’t after the first two or three times. Melissa McCarthy does her able best as a cop working with her former puppet partner investigating a series of murders to the actors who once worked on a 90s TV show, but she can’t escape a script lacking in, amongst other things, effort.

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Crazy Rich Asians

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Like most of America, I opted to see Crazy Rich Asians, despite being unfamiliar with the source material and having an aversion to romantic comedies. And even though the experience was marred by a surprising fire drill that gave us a twenty-minute intermission before the climax of the movie, I found the film to be somewhat entertaining, exactly as expected and completely overdue. Even if the movie is exceedingly mediocre, which I found it be, I’m glad it’s printing money and I’m glad that it’s the second supposedly surprise hit this year to feature a predominantly non-white cast (after Black Panther, now the biggest superhero movie in history and the third-biggest movie overall, ever).

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BlacKkKlansman

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Spike Lee movies often offer a mixed bag for me. Some are amazing, though many crumble under the weight of his proselytizing. His sermons many times push character development and logic to the background, which is unfortunate since I generally support the points he’s trying to make. While BlackKklansman is upper-tier Lee, it does undo a lot of its good will in the closing moments, which emphasize allusions and connections that didn’t need to be emphasized. Still, the story at the heart of the film is a bold, vexing, often humorous, ride that works on nearly every level.

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Sweat

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It’s not that common in live theater, at least from what I frequent, to get a show that’s set in the modern age. Mostly, there’s an endless stream of classics: Shakespearean works, Tolstoy, up to Eugene O’Neill, Edward Albee, and the like. As well as many of these works are, I often find it hard to relate, even if I can appreciate the storytelling, performances, and themes. But it’s those “modern” works that I tend to gravitate towards even if there’s no direct correlation between myself and the characters on stage. Lynn Nottage’s “Sweat” is one such play.

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Joshua Tree and the Perseids

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It’s been a busy month, so much so that documenting it has taken a back seat to experiencing it. One of the greatest weekends spent a fortnite or so ago, was going out to Joshua Tree for Perseid meteor shower. Every year, as we tilt properly towards the night sky, a bevy “shooting stars” and the like can be witnessed. Leaning into that prospect, a few friends and I traveled into Joshua Tree where the local area is less encumbered by light pollution. During the days, we’d hike around in the obscene heat, while at night we’d play games, drink, and during what is normally my bedtime, we’d drive into the park and stare up the sky, collectively marveling “look at that!”, “did you see that one?” and the like.

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Mission: Impossible – Fallout

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Continuity has never been the strong point in the Mission: Impossible movies, other than lead character Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise), very few things carry over from movie to movie. Sometimes you get Ving Rhames and Simon Pegg, you never get the same female character twice (other than a quick flash of Ethan’s wife Julia from MI:3 (Michelle Monaghan) in Ghost Protocol (AKA MI:4). With Fallout, writer-director Christopher MacQuarrie (also the first director to return as he helmed the last installment Rogue Nation) may have crafted the tightest, tensest and arguably best installment of the franchise, by actually playing into the continuity of the franchise.

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Sorry to Bother You

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There’s weirdness for the sake of being weird, and then there’s the absolutely trippy, ridiculous, absurdist, balls out fucking fever dream that is Sorry to Bother You. I can appreciate movies that are a little out there, but Bother leaves “out there” in the dust a few light years behind it. Ostensibly a comedy about a telemarketer angling for a better future, it’s really a darkly (like pitch black) subversive tale about the racial and class divides and inequality in our country, and the struggle in trying to bridge those gaps.

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Eighth Grade

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If there’s ever a more awkward time to be alive than the final year before high school, I haven’t lived it yet. Writer-Director Bo Burnham (yes, that singing comedian) has crafted a completely believable, uncomfortable, squirmy, beautiful ode to that troublesome, turbulent, pubescent period known as Eighth Grade.

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Ranking the Marvel Cinematic Universe (Top 20)

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20. Thor: The Dark World

Just a weak effort across the board and not something I can think of anything more about which to say.

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