Friday, April 8, 2016

Mr. Right

(L-R): Anna Kendrick as Martha McKay and Sam Rockwell as Francis/ Mr. Right, in the action
comedy “MR. RIGHT” a Focus World release. Photo credit: Cook Allender courtesy of Focus
World.
Anna Kendrick and Sam Rockwell star in Mr. Right, the romantic action comedy opening Friday in limited theaters and Video on Demand platforms.  The two have perfect chemistry together in this enjoyable comedy.

Paco Cabezas directs from a screenplay written by Max Landis.  Rockwell and Kendrick lead a cast that includes Tim Roth, James Ransome, Anson Mount, Michael Eklund and RZA.

Landis' screenplay has it all and because of that, the film is hard to market.  Is it a comedy?  Is it a romantic film?  Is it an action film?  It's all three combined and that makes the film enjoyable as outrageous as the concept may seem.  Mainstream studios passed on the movie and that's a shame because it's worthy of being seen.

Martha (Kendrick) is going through a breakup and not really at her best when she meets Francis (Rockwell) at a convenience store, where they bumped into a stack of condoms of all things.  It's the last place one would expect the typical meet-cute to be.  Francis doesn't come off in the best sort of ways as he tries asking her out but Martha is interested and the two go out.  Of course, she doesn't know he's a professional hit man.

Francis is a different kind of hit man.  Instead of taking out the people that other people want killed, he kills the people that requested the hit.  When he tells Martha that he has to go shoot someone, he isn't kidding around.

Francis' services are soon required by a client who is being changed by an FBI agent (Roth).  Martha has to quickly figure out if he's going to join Francis in the action or leave the scene.  Most people would run away after finding out they are dating a killer.  Not Martha.  She decides to stay and becomes even more attracted to Francis.

Rockwell describes the film as Mr. and Mrs. Smith meets Silver Linings Playbook.  That's a fair assessment.  Nobody could have played Francis as well as Rockwell--Landis wrote the part with him in mind.

Kendrick is no stranger to comedy or drama and the actress has delivered great performances over the years.  Martha is crazy from the get go and Kendrick pulls it off very well, right down to the girl being turned on by the gunfire even as she gives off the vibe of being the nice girl living next door.

If you're not up to seeing The Boss this weekend and want some laughs, check out Mr. Right.  You won't regret it.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

The Boss: Movie Review

(Foreground, L to R) Claire (KRISTEN BELL) and Michelle Darnell (MELISSA MCCARTHY) lead their Darnell's Darlings in "The Boss." McCarthy headlines the comedy as a titan of industry who is sent to prison after she's caught for insider trading. When she emerges ready to rebrand herself as America's latest sweetheart, not everyone she screwed over is so quick to forgive and forget. Photo Credit: Hopper Stone


Melissa McCarthy more than makes up for Tammy with her upcoming film, The Boss.  While anything McCarthy does with director Paul Feig makes for classic comedy, it's the films not directed by Feig that give some pause to question whether the film is any good.  This one is good though.  It's not too long either with a running time of 99 minutes.

Directed by McCarthy's husband, Ben Falcone, the movie stars McCarthy, Kristen Bell, Kathy Bates, Tyler Labine and Peter Dinklage.

Melissa McCarthy & Ben Falcone & Steve Mallory wrote the screenplay for the comedy, which was based on a character that the actress created with The Groundings.  Some sketch characters have a hard time making the transition from a three to five minute sketch to a full lengthy feature film but Michelle Darnell makes the transition very well.

Darnell is a self-help finance guru who is sent to jail after rival Renault (Dinklage) turns her in for insider training.  Out of jail after a short prison sentence, she turns to former assistant Claire (Bell) to help her re-brand herself after finding out that nobody is going to welcome her back.  Her extravagant lifestyle is no more.

A lot of people were upset with the way Michele treated them so it's not easy to reform her image as a white collar criminal.  Even Claire is hesitant at first to help her back to her feet but it's Claire's daughter, Rachel (Ella Anderson), who talks her mom into bringing in the down-on-her-luck titan.

Michelle is soon using Claire's homemade brownies and a girl scout troupe as a way back into business in the mold of Darnell's Darling.  It's a great idea at first but soon things get messy.  A woman who grew up bouncing from foster home to foster home, and does not seem like she would be a likable character, turns out to have a soft spot for family after all.  If not for the time spent with Claire and Rachel, not to mention the children involved with Darnell's Darlings, Michelle would not be grounded and come to understand what it means to have a family.

Bell holds her own against McCarthy's Darnell.  The comedy charm of the movie, if you will, according to screenwriter Steve Mallory.  Playing a single mother, she has to deal with her boss' demands of the day.  Claire's strong moral compass eventually starts rubbing off on Michelle.  Not only do we have a strong female character in Michelle Darnell but we also have one in Bell's Claire.

The film also serves as a commentary of sorts when it comes to wealth, family, fame, and the power that comes with that.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Update

This website is back in action and I'll be doing some freelance work over at Movie Pilot, too.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Some February thoughts

There were not that many releases worthy of attention in February.

Identity Thief opened to start the month.  The road trip identity-stealing comedy, starring Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy started off the month.  This was McCarthy's first leading big screen role.

Seth Gordon directed the film from a script by Craig Mazin.  Mazin co-wrote The Hangover: Part 2 so it should come at no surprise that this film was a letdown.  There were funny jokes, don't get me wrong, but I felt that the film, overall, just didn't reach the level that it should have reached.

This was Gordon's first feature since the release of the 2011 hit comedy Horrible Bosses, also starring Bateman.

Running just shy of 2 hours, the film is closing in on $100 million at the domestic box office.

I'd say that I would give it a C-.

*****

Side Effects was the other film that I saw in February.  This says something about the films released in February.

Side Effects stars Jude Law, Rooney Mara, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Channing Tatum.  Mara shows that she can, indeed, lead a film.

Mara's character is prescribed a new drug that is intended to treat anxiety.  There's a lot that happens but I can't divulge too much without giving away the plot.  The drug has side effects, or there would be no film.

The psychological thriller-neo-noir film directed by Steven Soderbergh, who is supposedly retiring after the release of this film.  Soderbergh directs from a screenplay by Scott Z. Burns (Contagion, The Informant!, The Bourne Ultimatum).

The thriller is Hitchcockian in nature.  It's smart and clever, too.  There is a twist, too, that you never see coming.  I know that I didn't.

Here's for hoping that March is a better month for movies.  Lord knows that February wasn't.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

January Dump Month

As many movies as I see, I should keep this more active.  Instead of writing reviews per se, this may be more of movie commentary on films being released (and I opt to see)

The months of January and February, historically, have seen movies being released that are not that great.  Except for those December releases that finally go wide.

Aside from the expanding releases in January of The Impossible and Zero Dark Thirty, there were really no films that stood out to me.  While Movie 43 featured an all-star cast, the gross-out comedy was widely panned by critics.

I'm a big fan of Billy Crystal.  I waited until New Year's Day to see his newest film, Parental Guidance, and I was very surprised to see it being widely panned as well.  The film features one of the best calls in all of baseball history for Pete's sake!

The Impossible, an emotionally powerful film, featured a very strong performance from Naomi Watts.  I thought she would have been considered for an Oscar nomination a few years prior for her performance as Valerie Plame but that just wasn't meant to be.  I do agree, however, that she had one of the best performances for a female actor in a leading role in all of 2012.

I saw Zero Dark Thirty on the same day that the nominations came out.  While I was glad to see the film get nominations for Jessica Chastain and Mark Boal, I was very surprised to see that Kathryn Bigelow was snubbed in the category of directing--after she received a nomination from the Directors Guild of America.  While the torture scenes might not be for the squeamish or faint of heart, the final half hour of the film is probably the best last 30 minutes of a film since who knows when.  Chastain had one of the best lines of the film, too: "I'm the mother fucker who found this place!"

The only other film I saw during the month was Hitchcock.  Nominated for best makeup and hair styling, I made sure to see it before it left theaters.  I'm not a horror film type of guy but I have seen a few Hitchcock movies.  Helen Mirren's performance was impressive and worthy of a best actress nomination.  I thought that Anthony Hopkins, for his work as the late director, would have at least been considered but as 2011 was a great year for actresses, 2012 was very similar for actors.  As such, while Hopkins was in the top ten acting performances, it just wasn't enough to get in the five slots on Oscar Sunday.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Pitch Perfect

Pitch Perfect stars Anna Kendrick, Skylar Austin, Rebel Wilson, Adam Devine, Anna Camp, Brittany Snow with John Michael Higgins and Elizabeth Banks. The cast also includes Christopher Mintz-Plasse, John Hickey, Alexis Knapp, Ester Dean, Hana Mae Lee, Ben Platt, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Michael Viruet, and Freddie Stroma.