Movie Catch-Up (Part 1) - 2017
Title: Daddy’s Home 2
This sequel to 2015’s comedy hit sees Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell return while bringing along their movie parents in Mel Gibson and John Lithgow. Hijinks ensued. I’ll be honest, I didn’t hate the original, I watched it on Prime about a year after its theatrical release and I laughed way more than I expected so when I saw a sequel on its way I wasn’t shocked. Overall, the sequel is fine, it manages to build on the original and has a premise that allows the audience to buy into why the dads would be in competition once again. I did have a problem adjusting to the pace of the movie as it felt sped-up and edited sharply to keep the runtime down. Lithgow is a national treasure and we should enjoy every single minute he graces us with. Gibson was bad in this movie, but not bad enough to completely turn me off the movie, even if I have personal qualms with him being in a “family friendly” movie given his history as a human being. Solid OK movie to watch with the family over the holidays.
Title: A Bad Moms Christmas
This sequel to the 2016’s breakout hit of the summer ($184 million worldwide) follows the same formula many sequels tend to follow and that is doubling down on what the original did right. More f-bombs, more slow-motion and more moms with the addition of the trio’s mothers to the mix. Look, this movie felt lazy. It felt as if the writers thought that with the addition of a curse word that the audience would automatically laugh. They would put one of the mothers in what some would consider a funny situation and just have her drop an f-bomb hoping it would generate the desired laughs. While I didn’t laugh as much as I would’ve liked from a comedy, I didn’t hate the time I spent watching the movie and Christine Baranski continues to be a gem of a performer. It’s not a horrible way to kill time during the holidays.
Write here...Quick note: it doesn’t get lost on me that Daddy’s and Bad Moms did the exact same thing. Set the sequel on a holiday and add the parents of the parents of the original. Oh Hollywood! You so original.
Title: El Camino Christmas
This movie has a premise. It’s something, I think. This movie also has a cast of “stars” that consists of Jessica Alba, Tim Allen, Kurtwood Smith, Dax Shepard and Vincent D’Onofrio. This isn’t a comedy because I didn’t laugh. This isn’t a holiday movie because it got somewhat dark towards the end with multiple deaths. This isn’t a drama because it barely had any dramatic moments between the character. Just skip this one altogether.
Title: Better Watch Out
We have seen this story before: a teenage girl is left in charge to babysit a young boy who is madly in love with her and she finds herself defending herself and the boy from a home invasion. But this one has a great little twist to it that I will go out of my way to not spoil and you should go out of your way to not see the trailers that spoil it to some extent. Better Watch Out is a great addition to the Holiday-Horror genre that takes the joy and innocence normally associated with Christmas and flips it on its head. Well-acted, well-directed and the twist is well-executed. If you are looking for something out of the norm to watch during your holidays, this is the movie for you.
This psychological thriller directed by prodigal-son-returned M. Night Shyamalan is completely carried on the back of the stellar performance by James McAvoy. He plays a man diagnosed with having 23 distinct personalities and he kidnaps three girls as he awaits the arrival of his 24th. This premise would completely fall on its face if McAvoy wasn’t able to convince the audience that he was multiple characters, but he delivers on all counts, especially through his Patricia and Hedwig personas. Ultimately an uneven story with a great payoff for the fans of Shyamalan. Rent it if you’re a fan or just wait for it on Netflix/Prime/Hulu if you’re not.
Coming of age story of a young girl that is not only her finding her sexuality, she is also realizing that she has a taste for human flesh. This French horror-thriller had a lot of buzz generated out of early screenings where people passed out from the gore featured in the movie. The movie doesn’t live up to that that hype, but delivers a well-crafted thriller with a great payoff in the end. I have some qualms with the world they built around the characters, as I didn’t understand some of the rules, but the performances and the ending saved the movie for me. Another great 2017 entry in a great year for horror. Currently streaming on Netflix, watch it if horror is your jam.
Lost in the shuffle of what many will call the year of the Stephen King adaptations, I consider 1922 to be one of the best adaptations of King’s material of the past decade. A simple farmer, played perfectly by Thomas Jane, murders his wife with the help of their son for financial gain. This story is simple and straight forward, but the study of their guilt and how it haunts him and his son was executed perfectly. The way this story is structured doesn’t give you a chance to guess what’s going to happen since you already know exactly what’s going to happen. It tells you and it does it. There is something oddly eerie about knowing where we are going and not having any surprises along the way. A great performance by Jane and a straight, hard-hitting story makes this one of the best Netflix movies of this year. Watch it.
Title: The Devil’s Candy
This horror-thriller has flown under the radar but thanks to Netflix it has slowly gained some traction. The premise is nothing new to any fan of the horror genre, killer hears voices and obliges their wishes by killing innocent people. What makes this film stand out among the countless horror movies on Netflix is the execution. The set-up takes a bit of time, but once the second act hits, the tension ramps up and doesn’t let go until the very end. I loved the way that heavy metal was use through the film, especially by our bad guy, played very well by character actor Pruitt Taylor Vince. Normally heavy metal is associated with satanic worship, but in this movie, he uses it to drown out the voices and help him avoid doing the evil things they ask of him. Fun, simple and under 1hr 30mn it’s an easy watch for anyone looking for a horror fix.
Title: The Belko Experiment
Mysterious company located in South America decides to use all its American employees in a survival of the fittest experiment by pitting everyone against each other. Everyone starts dying left and right. The movie has just the right amount of gore to satisfy the horror crowd and not turn off anyone new to horror. The premise is straightforward and the execution of it as well. I would’ve liked to get to know the characters a bit more, since this movie pretty much starts on the day of the experiment. If I knew the characters, their deaths would’ve been more impactful and maybe I would’ve been rooting for them to survive. It’s not a huge knock on the movie because I still enjoyed my time watching it, but I know I would’ve enjoyed it more if I had some investment in the characters. If its streaming on the platform of your choice give it a watch.
Title: The Babysitter
Hyper-realistic movie that follows a young teen short on friends but loaded with imagination as he finds out his babysitter (and friend) is part of a satanic cult doing rituals in his home. McG directed this movie even though it feels like Edgar Wright and Quentin Tarantino directed it due to the style and dialogue throughout the movie. Some stylistic decisions worked better than others, like the funny long-winded conversation some characters have or the buckets of blood gushing out of wounds. But some stylistic choices just took you out of the film, like freeze-framing the scene to drop a “cool” word over it as if we were watching Scott Pilgrim vs The World. It’s funny, over the top and the just plain fun. Perfectly fine Netflix movie to pass the time with your friends.
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