Cinema Clash podcast: Incredibles 2; Tag; A Kid Like Jake; Hearts Beat Loud; The Misandrists

Currently browsing posts by Hannah Buchdahl.

Review: Ocean’s 8

As expected, Ocean’s 8 is Ocean’s Eleven – with women. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Ocean’s Eleven was a smart and entertaining heist flick with a strong ensemble cast. Ocean’s 8 is too, though we have seen it all before. It doesn’t quite measure up to the 2001 Clooney classic, which was a remake of a 1960 Sinatra classic. But it’s a fun escape with a talented, diverse group of ladies (skewing a bit younger than the recent all-star female cast in Book Club).

Review: Adrift

Adrift (not to be confused with the 2006 horror drama Open Water 2: Adrift) is a meet-cute swept into a Perfect Storm. It’s based on the true story of Tami Oldham (Shailene Woodley) and Richard Sharp (Sam Claflin), a couple of young adventure-seekers who encountered a catastrophic hurricane while sailing a 44-foot yacht from Tahiti to San Diego in 1983. The couple was left stranded – injured and adrift – in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. For 41 days.

Review: Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

Even as a kid, I knew there was something inherently comfortable and calming about Mr. Rogers. I remember sitting in front of the television watching him put on his cardigan and tennis shoes and singing “Won’t You Be My Neighbor.” I vaguely recall his puppets and sidekicks and forays into the land of make-believe. Do I remember specific episodes and messages? Not really (I was, after all, quite young). But this documentary explains and validates why the man – and his show – were truly special, and why there are lessons still to be learned today from the classic program and the man who created it.

Review: Solo: A Star Wars Story

Solo: A Star Wars Story doesn’t exactly break new ground. But it does offer up a pleasant enough excuse for a journey back to a galaxy far, far away. It’s a prequel and a sequel and an origin story designed to shed light on the beloved scoundrel who – several years later – delivered Luke, Leia, C-3PO and R2-D2 to the Rebel Alliance and helped them attack the Death Star (or something like that). It’s hard to picture anyone other than Harrison Ford as sarcastic pilot-extraordinaire Han Solo, but Alden Ehrenreich (Hail, Caesar!) creates a believable precursor, with a cockiness and swagger that cloaks a deep desire for family, connection and doing the right thing.

Review: Book Club

If you’ve ever been part of a book club and/or read the kinky romance trilogy “Fifty Shades of Grey,” then you’ll totally ‘get’ this movie and enjoy a few good laughs along the way. It’s formulaic and predictable and largely stakes-free, but as the friend who accompanied me to a special Mother’s Day screening of the film declared, “We need that type of movie once in a while!” In other words, don’t over-think it. Just appreciate Book Club for its lighthearted nature and positive themes about embracing change, taking risks, and starting new chapters in the book of life. And, enjoy it for the cast: a powerhouse ensemble of veteran actors led by Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen and Mary Steenbergen.

Review: Deadpool 2

Deadpool 2 has a lot in common with Deadpool 1: it’s irreverent, self-deprecating, cynical and sarcastic; incessantly mocking the superhero genre, while leveraging the very plot devices and character quirks that have come to define superhero movies in general and Marvel movies in particular; and, it’s weird, gross, and generally entertaining. But yes – there’s a ‘but’ coming… the R-rating could easily stand for ‘Redundant’ (in addition to, um, other stuff that makes Deadpool 2, like its predecessor, an anti-superhero flick for older teens and adults only). The shock value humor that made Deadpool such a ‘WTF’ hit in 2016 simply can’t be replicated in a sequel. Instead, we get more of the same. More of Ryan Reynolds breaking the fourth wall as Wade Wilson aka Deadpool whose superpower is, as he describes it, “unbridled cancer”; More overt and covert pop culture references; More melodramatic 80s music; More opening credit gags and CGI extravaganzas.

Even the storyline provided by the studio is, intentionally, a load of bull:

Review: Life of the Party

Life of the Party is a serviceable, but forgettable vehicle for the affable Melissa McCarthy. She plays a middle-aged housewife named Deanna whose husband abruptly announces that he wants a divorce after 20-plus years and is in love with a local realtor. He dumps this news on Deanna just after they drop-off their daughter Maddie (Molly Gordon) at a nearby college where she’s about to start her senior year. The locale gets Mom thinking… perhaps it’s time to go back to school herself and get those last credits she needed to graduate with a degree in archaeology. Cue the archaeology puns (can you dig it?), the makeover, and the conventional college and family-dysfunction comedy antics: Deanna’s decision initially horrifies Maddie while her sorority sisters think Mom is the bomb (in a cool way); she moves into the dorms and attempts to bond with her freakish loner of a roommate; and, she catches the eye – and more – of a hunky young guy on campus.

Spoiler-Free Review: Avengers: Infinity War

I don’t know what to say. Really. There’s little to say, without giving too much away. So here’s the spoiler-free gist: The Avengers – and their superhero allies from across the Marvel Cinematic Universe – engage in what may be their deadliest showdown of all time. Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Scarlet Witch, Black Widow, Spider-man, Captain America, Black Panther, Dr. Strange, and others too, join forces with the Guardians of the Galaxy (Star-Lord, Gemora, Groot, Drax, Rocket Raccoon, etc.) to defeat a mighty alien named Thanos who aims to eliminate half the universe. Thanos’s misguided plan for population control rests on his ability to collect all six brightly-colored “Infinity Stones” that can manipulate elements of time, space, reality, power, the mind, and the soul. If Thanos (Josh Brolin) succeeds – all hell breaks loose, and a lot of people die. In other words, the stakes are higher than high for this epic action adventure sci-fi fantasy flick.

Avengers, assemble! And bring reinforcements! Victory is not guaranteed.

Review: I Feel Pretty

I Feel Pretty is an average comedy about an average woman who bumps her head in a Soul Cycle class and suddenly believes she’s been transformed into the most gorgeous creature on the planet. The delusions give her newfound confidence to be fearless, carefree and to pursue her dreams and romantic interests as never before. And just like the main character Renee, played by Amy Schumer (Trainwreck), the movie itself is entertaining – yet flawed.

Review: The Rider

The Rider is an arthouse lover’s dream – quiet, authentic, raw, visually captivating with minimal dialogue. It’s the kind of indie that mainstream chicks like me can express a certain appreciation for, while still cautioning the masses that its greatest appeal will surely lie almost exclusively with the arty crowd. The film is a hybrid – part western, part docudrama, part biopic about a young cowboy whose days on the rodeo circuit come to a crashing halt when he suffers a devastating injury.