Tag Archives: Netflix and chill

Lovesick

Everyone goes just a little bit crazy when they fall in love. Charlie, however, goes clinically, certifiably insane. Outwardly he’s a middle school principal who looks like he’s got it together, but he’s ruined literally all of his relationships because of his insanity. The only trouble is, until now, he hasn’t known it. Undiagnosed, his nutty downward spiral always seems perfectly logical to him. He make huge mental leaps in order to convince himself that his girlfriend is cheating on him. This time he’s aware that he’s crazy, but that’s not the difference-maker you’d think.

And the more perfect Molly (Ali Larter) seems, the more obvious Charlie’s (Matt LeBlanc) psychosis becomes. Choosing to keep Molly in the dark, he struggles to explain away all his deranged behaviour. My sister recently told me she hates movies where everything matt-leblanc-ali-larter-lovesick-07171201agoes wrong, and I suppose I’m feeling exactly that during Lovesick. His best friend is less a character in the movie and more of a narrative device. The screenwriter seems to think if he uses him to constantly point out that yeah, his friends and family should maybe have intervened, we’ll forgive them for not doing so. But there’s no way Charlie’s behaviour would go unchecked for so long and through such serious ups and downs in real life. He does stuff he should get fired for, maybe even go to prison for, but the movie treats them like cute foibles on the road to love.

Matt LeBlanc is not a terrific actor. Previous to this, he hadn’t had a film role in 11 years (since Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle), or a starring one since 2001. With his Friends money he doesn’t have to ever act again, and it’s unimaginable that this was the material that drew him back (it’s much easier to imagine that he simply doesn’t get asked a lot).  Ali Larter is not a terrific actor either. They’re not pulling this off. And we’ll never know how Chevy Chase get embroiled in this, but there he is, breaking, entering, and watching porn. You may be scrolling through Netflix looking for a Valentine’s treat, but by god, this isn’t it.

Advertisements

When We First Met

Oh good, another Groundhog Day ripoff on Netflix. I complained heartily when I came across the first one, but clearly not loudly enough. HEY NETFLIX: CUT IT OUT!

This time it’s sad sack Noah (Adam Devine) who uses a photobooth to time travel back to the day where he met his true love Avery (Alexandra Daddario) – and she met someone Alexandra-Daddario-“When-We-First-Met”-2018-promotional-pictures-3else. He got friend-zoned then but he’s sure if he can just repeat that day enough times, he’ll eventually get it right, and she’ll realize that he’s her true soul mate.

The movie is so eager to play a trick on you that it literally sacrifices logic and good story-telling. Then, once the ball is rolling, you realize that you don’t care what the outcome is because Noah is so damned annoying you just sort of hope he gets sucked through a rip in the space-time continuum on his travels just so we can end this thing a little early. Noah is not a guy you root for and Adam Devine has now spent 100% of his career playing whiny, self-centered douchebags whose mouths literally resemble anuses. So I’m starting to think he’s just playing himself, and I’ve officially moved him over to my shit list.

There is not a single redeeming factor here. It’s best to keep a safe minimum distance between yourself and this movie at all times, so when browsing Netflix – beware.

The Cloverfield Paradox

GDP-08575.rafSo this is what “straight to video” looks like in the Netflix age. Honestly, I am surprised at the drastic drop off in quality from 10 Cloverfield Lane to The Cloverfield Paradox, if only because I gave 10 Cloverfield Lane a 3 out of 10 and by comparison to Paradox, Cloverfield Lane is a masterpiece.

Basically, the Cloverfield Paradox is a less entertaining, less scary, and less interesting version of Event Horizon, a movie that really let me down 20 years ago, and that I am sure has not improved over time. That The Cloverfield Paradox falls so far short of that (very) (very) (very) low bar is damning indeed.

For a “franchise” that I didn’t much care for in the first place, Cloverfield has managed to sink to new depths of awfulness with each new entry, especially with the two “sequels”, which were clearly written as standalone movies, then got stamped with just enough giant monsterness to justify the Cloverfield name.

At least at this point we can be fairly sure we’ve reached the end of this disappointing series. It is a sad state of affairs that I can’t totally exclude a reboot in five or ten years, but that’s a rant for another day (and one I’ve probably already written out three or four times in other reviews so I’m sure you can find it without too much effort!).

Unleashed

Did you ever feel so lonely you wished you could legally date your dog?

Did you ever watch an American episode of Shameless and wish there was worse writing, and no pants?

Sean can’t hardly believe that I actually watched this one, but I did. Nor can he believe that I’m about to tell you there’s a worse movie than November Criminals on Netflix right now, yet here I am. Yesterday I skewered a movie based on a book I sort of remember reading. I can’t lawfully, for reasons of libel, tell you the director of November Criminals is illiterate. But what I can suppose is that he’s not much of a reader, so he got an unpaid intern to give him the Coles notes version over avocado toast, and he made a movie based on the parts that he could remember without having taken any notes.

Unleashed, on the other hand, feels like it was pitched by my adorable, precocious 3 year old nephew Jack, who proposed something like “I dunno, maybe it could be about a dog and the dog gets to turn into a human, and then there’s a lady and they kiss and get married and stuff (to which my 4 year old nephew Ben would undoubtedly shout “too many ladies!” – that was his legit criticism of the Smurfs movie). Unleashed in fact has a woman, Emma (Kate Micucci, of that terrible nun movie I complained about a few days ago), who is such a dating disaster she “wishes” her cat and dog to life, and they turn into two “hot” guys. I put “hot” into quotations because they’re played by Justin Chatwin and Steve Howey, a couple of chuckleheads from Shameless, which means they’re the kind of “hot” that you can buy quite cheaply. Chatwin, being “pretty,” is the cat of course, so naturally he takes up modelling and being a bitch. Howie gets to be the big dumb dog. I have absolutely no respect for either of these actors and I still think this stuff is beneath them; their “performances” better suited to kindergarten ice breakers. And while it might be adorable for 3 year old Jack to just magically transform a dog into an eligible bachelor, it doesn’t play as well on screen, where mysterious astrological reasons are alluded to but certainly never addressed, because there’s no Coles notes on the sciences behind that.

A major plot point of Unleashed is how much they miss licking themselves AND YET NEITHER REFRAINS FROM LICKING HIMSELF.

I refuse to dignify this movie with any further discussion. Instead, let’s check out pictures of my real-life dogs and talk about who would play them if they were mysteriously brought to life.

IMG_2042.JPG

This is Herbie. He’s the effortless alpha of his crew, reigning with a gruff nonchalance. He’s cool and aloof and everyone’s crazy about him. Of course, he plays hard to get. Hard to impress. But fiercely loyal to his Jay and a secret softie.

 

IMG_2011

Gertie is a cutie. She has a big heart and she’s always taking care of others. She’s nurturing and maternal but can be a fierce disciplinarian when needed. She’s very curious and VERY smart. She can do anything she puts her mind to but her greatest trick of all is manipulating you into doing things for her. She loves attention and isn’t afraid to ask for what she wants.

IMG_9347

This is Fudgie. He may be small but he’s quick and he’s agile and he has an insatiable appetite for catch. He’s 100% lovable and 102% neurotic. His biggest anxiety is that you don’t love him enough, so he’ll lure you in with a cute as heck pose and then steal your heart forever by exposing his belly for you to rub or kissing you up the nose, if you’re lucky!

DSC_0007 (3).JPG

Here’s Bronx. Born a runt, he’s visually impaired but that doesn’t stop him from running around like he’s bonkers-bananas. He has sad and soulful eyes but his heart has truly never known a single moment of sadness. He’s pure gladness and love and he’s not afraid to express his feelings with constant displays of affection.

 

Which actors would play these dogs?

Goosebumps

20151007fdGoosebumps.6c5f8Turns out, it’s Jack Black week around these here parts. Today’s instalment is Goosebumps, a movie written for (and possibly by) people a third of my age or less. And those damn tweens must have seen this one a LOT of times because a sequel is coming out this fall just in time for Halloween.

First things first: Goosebumps is not scary at all. Planet Earth II is more harrowing.  Though in fairness, the Planet Earth segment with the snakes chasing an iguana is one of the scariest things ever:

There is no chase sequence in Goosebumps that even comes close to that level of terror, but that’s by design. Goosebumps is completely non-threatening right down to its protagonist, who you might recognize as the non-threatening guy from 13 Reasons Why if, like me, you watch too much Netflix.  He is perfect for Goosebumps because in his spare time he is a singer/rhythm guitarist for a band that got its break at a social inclusion and autism awareness concert (that’s right, two non-threatening causes at once)!

There are monsters in Goosebumps but they are the kind that chase you with a smile on their face. The kind that Jay would adopt and make me build a shelter for in our backyard. The kind that I can watch with my nephews and not get dirty looks from their parents. The kind that must make Goosebumps author R.L. Stine pat himself on the back for being as non-threatening as the guy from 13 Reasons Why (it helps immensely that Stine has written dozens of joke books and G.I. Joe choose-your-own-adventures under the pen names “Jovial Bob Stine” and “Eric Affabee”).

The only way Goosebumps will give you goosebumps is if you watch it while your furnace is broken. But I’ll take that over nephew nightmares any day of the week.

 

Assassin’s Creed

assassins-creed-movie-FassbenderThis is probably the most super serious movie that a video game franchise has ever birthed. We are quickly briefed on the thousand-year old struggle between Templars and Assassins, with the two sides warring for control over a magic apple, the Apple of Eden that contains the seeds of mankind’s deceit, yadda yadda, genetic code, yadda yadda, free will, yadda yadda, fate of the world at stake. So Michael Fassbender has to travel back in time, sort of, and find out where that apple is hiding.

Except those stakes are then lowered for no apparent reason because right from the outset Fassbender and the audience are told that nothing can be changed in the past – he’s just observing what’s already happened to one of his ancestors. Which is a bizarre choice for a movie based on a video game that put the player in control of an assassin’s kung fu fighting ancestor, as it leaves the movie’s audience passively watching Fassbender experience a “memory” from the distant past and kind of act it out with the help of a big mechanical harness.

Or, when Fassbender’s recovering from doing his mechanical harness work, we get to watch him fight ghosts (not real, we are assured, just glitches in the Matrix) and also guards (real but gentle because they need Fassbender alive since he’s the last ancestor of some guy, yadda yadda, never mind that this group also is holding Fassbender’s father at the same location [Edit: I just remembered that the ancestry was on his mom’s side but that opens up a whole other set of criticisms]). Admittedly, there are hints of danger, like Fassbender suffering a seizure caused by the harness and then being confined to a wheelchair, but 30 seconds later he is practicing karate moves again so it seems like it’s no worse than a little VR motion sickness.

There is some kind of 1%/mind control through consumerism/uprising by noble freemen underlying all this but don’t even try to find a worthwhile message because the premise of the film’s logic is that violence and free will are tied together, so only murderers and assassins can stand between the 1% and total domination.

That should have been the most insulting part of Assassin’s Creed, but it’s not. The most insulting part is that a decent cast (including Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Jeremy Irons, Brendan Gleeson and Charlotte Rampling) is totally wasted in a blockbuster that lacks any semblance of blockbusting.  My ancestors would be ashamed I ever watched this trash, and I’m right there with them.

The Little Hours

What if nuns and priests were foul-mouthed and raunchy? Writer-director Jeff Baena apparently has these kinds of thoughts all the time, and he decided to write a whole movie about it, a 30-second punch line stretched to an agonizing 90 minutes.

Three young nuns are having an unhappy time in a convent in the middle ages. the-little-hours-still-1_31377951785_o-1200x520Alessandra (Alison Brie) was placed there by her father (Paul Reiser), because it’s cheaper than paying her dowry, but no amount of needle point can replace the touch of a man. Fernanda (Aubrey Plaza) is secretly a witch who thinks a nunnery is a great place to recruit vulnerable young women into the coven she shares with her her lover (Jemima Kirk). Ginevra (Kate Micucci) is generally pretty oblivious but when a sexy deaf-mute (Dave Franco) is brought into the enclave by Father Tommasso (John C. Reilly), it shakes things up quite a bit.

Despite a pretty talented cast, I think my review could have ended after the first paragraph. There’s just not enough here for a whole movie. I didn’t laugh once. You have to do more than cuss anachronistically to earn my praise. It seems to think that the genre is joke enough in itself but the farce has no target and the film has no point.

Bright

bright_unit_06597_r_wide-67b1f15cb792c81ccc1359a7e8a2e6c0bce7b718-s900-c85What’s worse than being flat, derivative and uninspired? Being all those things, showing a tiny bit of promise in spite of them, and then throwing the interesting parts away in search of a flashy climax and tidy resolution. That’s Bright.

The concept is sound – what if there were Elves and Orcs and magic in our world? It’s not a new idea and that’s fine. The hodgepodge of fantasy elements forming the basis of this world are standard fare as well, straight out of Tolkien or World of Warcraft. Orcs are brutes with sharp teeth, Elves are beautiful and rich, magic wands are super powerful but not everyone can use them. The script, complete with minority and 1% allegories, practically writes itself.

The problem is, it feels like no extra effort was put in to creating Bright. Like, at all.  Like, I’m pretty sure Will Smith was quoting himself from Men in Black every time he let a sarcastic quip fly. Not incidentally, well over 90% of his lines in Bright are sarcastic quips. Either stop phoning it in or stop being in movies, please.

Joel Edgerton doesn’t phone it in like Smith but he is totally unrecognizable and totally wasted here as the sensitive Orc sidekick. He had no chance of saving this mess. Full disclosure: this is a recurring exchange between Jay and me:

Jay: We should go see [small indie movie]. Joel Edgerton is in it.

Me: Who’s Joel Edgerton again?

Jay: The guy from [slightly older small indie movie that we saw a few months prior].

Me: That was Joel Edgerton?

Jay: We literally just had this conversation when you made me watch the Star Wars prequels.

Me: JOEL EDGERTON IS IN STAR WARS?

Jay: I hate you.

It happened again in Bright only I swear, this time it was not my fault. It was David Ayer’s, and Bright is proof that we should have cut Ayer off long before Suicide Squad. Thanks for writing Training Day, really, but that goodwill was used up long ago.  A glimmer of promise and then an avalanche of mediocrity and disappointment – just like Bright.

Scraping the Bottom of the Christmas Barrel

12 Dog Days Till Christmas

A boy named Jack is sentenced to community service by Uncle Carl (Reginald Vel Johnson – formerly of Steve Urkel fame). He’s had a “rough” childhood, as evidenced by his medium-bad attitude. He’s a foster kid who hasn’t quite aged out, and he seems to relate a lot to the dogs at the shelter where he’s sentenced to work his hours. They’re unwanted too. But oh no, the shelter’s closing! So when they have the 12 remaining days before Christmas to find homes for 12 dogs, he greets the task with frantic zeal.

The kid who plays Jack is monumentally bad. He’s either someone’s nephew, or he was sentenced community service hours which he must serve by appearing in this very bad movie, which co-stars the woman who was in the Christmas movie about the dog park about to close before the holidays. The dogs are cute, but a couple of nice gifs should prove far more entertaining than the entirety of this movie. In fact, here’s a Christmas picture of my own dogs. If it helps keep you off the Christmas crack of bad holiday movies, it’ll all be worthwhile.

DSC_0095 (2)

Christmas Kiss 2

The title implies that there was a Christmas Kiss 1 and I can scarcely believe it was so well-received that it merited a sequel. It’s about a woman who seems to get non-consensually kissed by her boss until she falls in love with him. It co-stars the male lead of that aforementioned dog park movie. It seems that multi-picture deals seem to be big business in the horrible holiday movie racket. I have my suspicions about the kind of person whose IMDB credits include ONLY Christmas made-for-TV movies, but I’m going to keep them to myself. No one in this movie is any good at all but oh my god, the woman hired to play the “hot girlfriend” is god-awful. You might think she was hired solely for her looks, but haha, no. No.

And here’s a fun fact about Christmas movies: in 99% of them, someone is a millionaire, maybe even a billionaire, but usually a secret millionaire, and yeah, it’s usually the guy. Only none of these Christmas movies have the budget to convincingly portray a millionaire’s lifestyle. It’s half-hilarious, half-depressing.

Holiday Breakup

Man, this one really makes you work to get to the Christmas part. It’s about a couple who meet on the Fourth of July and breakup by Halloween but then have to fake a relationship through Christmas in order to…I don’t know, really, fend off awkward questions, I guess? I mean, they were a couple for less than 4 months, I doubt anyone was overly invested in it, EXCEPT FOR NANNA WHO’S ABOUT TO DIE, yet they really pursue this terrible plot because they settled on a title first and the script just followed, for worse or worse still.

An actual quote from the movie: “You used to call me ridiculicious.”  “Maybe I’m tired of your ridiculosity.”

 

Okay, one more just in case you need it.

IMG_3546.JPG

 

 

Pottersville

Maynard is the nicest guy in town, so it’s kind of upsetting when he goes home to surprise his wife with a couple of steaks and instead finds her – no, not naked in bed with another man, but dressed up in a plush mascot costume with one, which is somehow worse. She’s not just an adulteress, she’s a furry, the kind of person who gets kicks from dressing up and rubbing herself on someone else, also wearing a sweaty costume.

still1_pottersvilleMaynard is shocked and disturbed, and after a night of drinking, he finds his old hunting gear and an ape mask, though they bring him little consolation. Cut to: the next morning, the small town’s abuzz: big foot is on the loose. It doesn’t take long for Maynard to connect the dots and realize HE’S the one they’re looking for, but he keeps that embarrassing information to himself and the legend grows.

Netflix has a whole bunch of really, um, interesting holiday fare in its lineup this year, and this one stars the likes of Michael Shannon, Judy Greer, Ron Perlman, and Christina Hendricks (as the furry). I kind of dig Michael Shannon. He’s a great actor whose choices sometimes baffle me – this holiday season you can check him out in this, or the Oscar-bound The Shape of Water. Totally up to you. If you’re looking for a Christmas movie that’s light on Christmas, high on conspiracy, and is a tolerable if forgettable watch, well, I can say with confidence that this is the cream of the crop. If it’s also my opinion that the crop this year is spoiled, well, that’s a whole other post.