Currently browsing the "Aubrey Plaza" tag.

Review: Ingrid Goes West

This is an odd and uncomfortable indie comedy. The Ingrid of the title has serious social/mental problems. Played by Aubrey Plaza (Parks and Recreation) she lives very much alone but online, and actually thinks people are her besties because she follows their social media feeds and knows all about them. In the first scene of the movie, Ingrid crashes a wedding she wasn’t invited to, assaulting the bride who she felt so close to because she’d seen and “liked” all the wedding plans on Instagram. But once that “relationship” has turned sour, she goes back online and finds her next victim/best friend who just happens to live in Los Angeles, and she’s off to insinuate herself into her life. Taylor Sloane played by Elizabeth Olsen (Martha Marcy May Marlene) is a lifestyle star on Instagram and is soon real life friends with Ingrid. But you are constantly worrying that she’s going to figure out she’s being stalked.

Mainstream Chick’s Quick Takes: The Secret Life of Pets; Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates; Life, Animated; Zero Days

The Secret Life of Pets is one of those movies that is probably critic-proof because the trailer is so darn cute and promising that kids (and many adults too) will be eager to see it, no matter what. Still, I would be remiss to give it a glowing endorsement when I was, in fact, disappointed. I loved the first 15 minutes and the last 10 minutes of this movie. But everything in between dragged for me as the tone of the movie turned rather dark. The premise is awesome — what kind of lives are our pets leading when we leave them home alone for hours at a time? They party! They get together for walks! They watch telenovellas! The characters (dogs, cats, bunnies, snakes, etc.) are all well-drawn, and well-voiced by the likes of Louis C.K., Eric Stonestreet, Kevin Hart, Ellie Kemper, Lake Bell, Bobby Moynihan, Hannibal Buress, and Albert Brooks. My issue is with the shift in tone from fun animal adventure to animated crime saga. The Secret Life of Pets is certainly way better than recent duds Ratchet and Clank, Norm of the North, and Angry Birds… but not nearly as good as Finding Dory and Zootopia. Oh well. I may not have loved The Secret Life of Pets, but I do predict the movie will boost attendance at theaters, animal shelters, pet stores, and dog parks! There’s also a cute short before The SLOP that features the Minions of Despicable Me fame.

The To Do List

If you’re old enough to remember Porky’s (1982) or more recently, American Pie (1999), then you know exactly the demographic this movie is aiming for: horny teens and nostalgic Gen X-ers. Everyone else can – and should – skip this R-rated coming-of-age ‘sex comedy’ set in 1993. The To Do List is like an after-school special gone awry. It has some funny moments, but misses the ‘message’ mark by a mile.

Safety Not Guaranteed

Sometimes not knowing what you’re getting into can be a great thing. Indie films are perfect for that since they haven’t usually been hyped and marketed to death. And though I had heard about a movie that dealt with time travel, one of my favorite subjects, I did not know a lot more about Safety Not Guaranteed, which happens to be a great little indie flick. No big stars. No special effects. All right, maybe just a few. No homage to another film. Just an original, well-done comedy love story about a bunch of misfits.