REVIEW: Murder Mystery (2019)

Release Poster – Netflix

The following is a review Murder Mystery — Directed by Kyle Newacheck.

I go back and forth when it comes to Adam Sandler. I love plenty of the audience-favorite comedian’s films. I think Sandler is gifted with tremendous dramatic talent, which he showcased with his performances in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Punch-Drunk Love and Noah Baumbach’s The Meyerowitz Stories. He is still a very funny stand-up comedian if his excellent Netflix special Adam Sandler: 100% Fresh is anything to go by. But, more often than not, Sandler is known for his comedies. More often than not, Sandler is known for his not-so-fresh, critically panned comedies. Sandler and Netflix have made about a handful of Happy Madison-comedies together, and, thankfully, though Murder Mystery isn’t exactly a home-run, it is far superior to the godawful, snoozefest that last year’s The Week Of, arguably the worst film of 2018, was. Continue reading “REVIEW: Murder Mystery (2019)”

REVIEW: Booksmart (2019)

Theatrical Release Poster – United Artists Releasing

The following is a review of Booksmart — Directed by Olivia Wilde.

Before I saw Booksmart, it had been impossible for me to avoid the online bombardment of incessant comparisons between Booksmart and Superbad. The comparison made sense, even when I hadn’t seen the film. This is a coming-of-age film about two best friends who want to have a good time before they leave for college. Also, one of the two leads in Booksmart is Superbad-star Jonah Hill’s sibling Beanie Feldstein. Having now seen Olivia Wilde’s directorial feature debut, I have to admit that it would be wrong to say that it isn’t very similar to Superbad. Thankfully, though, I grew up with Superbad. I love Superbad. So it pleases me to say that any comparison to Superbad is by no means meant to be anything other than a compliment of the highest order. Booksmart is a modern, sweet, and gender-swapped, next-generation version of Superbad and I loved every minute of it. Continue reading “REVIEW: Booksmart (2019)”

REVIEW: When They See Us (2019 – Mini-Series)

Release Poster – Netflix

The following is a series review of When They See Us — Created by Ava DuVernay.

Before I saw Ava DuVernay’s incredibly important and overwhelmingly powerful mini-series When They See Us, I never knew anything about the Central Park jogger case or the so-called Central Park Five. At the end of the series, I felt out of breath. I needed some air. DuVernay’s series is another excellent 2019 limited series true story that is so very bleak and absolutely infuriating, but it is also just as gripping as it is tough to watch. Continue reading “REVIEW: When They See Us (2019 – Mini-Series)”

REVIEWS: The ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ Trilogy

It’s time for another full franchise or filmmaker review. Today, I’m taking a look back at the well-renowned animated movie trilogy of How To Train Your Dragon-films, which I, believe it or not, had never seen before I started writing this article. Just like with my single article film series review of the Mission: Impossible films, you’ll find reviews of each of the three How To Train Your Dragon-films in this one article. Do note that there may be some spoilers in the three reviews. Continue reading “REVIEWS: The ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ Trilogy”

REVIEW: Always Be My Maybe (2019)

Release Poster – Netflix

The following is a short review of Netflix’s Always Be My Maybe — Directed by Nahnatchka Khan.

Netflix has a pretty solid reputation when it comes to producing these hip romantic comedies. One of those films, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, received a lot of praise from both critics and audiences last year. Now, in 2019, Netflix has a new romantic comedy with a culturally diverse and thus modern cast. Always Be My Maybe is Fresh Off the Boat-creator Nahnatchka Khan’s feature film directorial debut.

Khan’s debut is a romantic comedy about two former best friends reuniting. Sasha (played by Ali Wong) and Marcus (played by Randall Park) were once childhood best friends, but their friendship eventually ended when a one-night fling went poorly. Now, they are living completely different lives. Sasha is a celebrity chef engaged to Brandon (played by Daniel Dae Kim), a successful restaurateur. Meanwhile, Marcus is stuck in a rut. This all changes when Sasha returns to their home city of San Francisco as Brandon has decided that they should ‘see other people.’ Sasha and Marcus eventually reconnect and soon sparks fly. Continue reading “REVIEW: Always Be My Maybe (2019)”

REVIEW: X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019)

Theatrical Release Poster – 20th Century Fox / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

The following is a review of X-Men: Dark Phoenix — Directed by Simon Kinberg.

“You’re always sorry, Charles, and there’s always a speech. But nobody cares anymore,” is the line that is going to be cited to oblivion in reviews of the final Fox-controlled X-Men film, Simon Kinberg’s Dark Phoenix. It is a line uttered by Fassbender’s Magneto-character, and, even though it certainly is in-character, it almost feels like unintentional self-directed criticism on the part of the writer-director. Or, perhaps, one might suggest it speaks to our collective disinterest in these films after Days of Future Past and Logan successfully bid farewell to that era of superhero filmmaking.

As is made painfully clear, one of the actors doesn’t even care anymore, so why should audiences? It hasn’t helped that X-Men: Apocalypse left a sour taste in people’s mouths. And the fact that Disney can now shoehorn the X-Men into their wildly successful Marvel Cinematic Universe whenever they see fit surely hasn’t helped in bringing new audiences to the long-running X-Men film series. Fox’s X-Men is a tired film franchise and that quote perfectly encapsulates the way many feel about these films. Continue reading “REVIEW: X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019)”

REVIEW: Chernobyl (2019 – Mini-Series)

Release Poster – HBO

The following is a review of the HBO / Sky Atlantic Limited Series Chernobyl — Created by Craig Mazin.

While Game of Thrones, HBO’s proudest possession, was coming to an end amid fan uproar and disappointment, the co-writer of The Hangover Parts II and III, Craig Mazin, was quietly releasing his masterpiece to the world on the very same television network. Released alongside an in-depth after-the-episode podcast, Chernobyl is, now that it has ended, starting to earn the acclaim and popularity that it deserves. I think Chernobyl is one of the most accomplished mini-series that I’ve ever seen, if not the most incredible and impressive of its kind. Continue reading “REVIEW: Chernobyl (2019 – Mini-Series)”