Currently browsing the "Netflix" tag.

Review: Thunder Force

The latest action-adventure comedy from celebrity couple Ben Falcone and Melissa McCarthy is not exactly a Thunder Force to be reckoned with. It’s barely watchable. So don’t be fooled by its cute trailer and impressive roster of actors. Thunder Force is a dud that takes way too long to get to what might be considered the good stuff if you’re in a forgiving mood… and happen to have a Netflix account… and managed to find some escapist value in critical bombs like Superintelligence, Tammy, Life of the Party, and the The Boss — all starring McCarthy and co-written and/or directed by Falcone. Seems their talents are far better served by other people’s material. And Octavia Spencer? The Academy-Award winner seemed to have far more fun playing super bad in the 2019 creepy horror movie Ma, and that wasn’t exactly a film to write home about.  Here, she’s a newly-minted superhero out to save the world — or at least Chicago — from genetically-altered supervillains known as “miscreants”.

Quickie Review: YES DAY

Who can say no to a YES DAY? This movie is as simple as its premise, and that’s okay. It’s family-friendly entertainment that gives adults and kids alike pause – and cause – to ponder the boundaries of responsibility, and the joys of embracing a ‘can-do’ mindset. Within reason.

Review: Operation Christmas Drop

Operation Christmas Drop had me rethinking my somewhat harsh rebuke of Holidate which seems to be doing just fine on Netflix without my endorsement. At least Holidate evoked a reaction. Operation Christmas Drop just… is what it is. A “feel good” holiday romcom devoid of “feels.” There’s nothing particularly terrible about it; it’s simply flat and unaffecting, and the two leads lack the kind of chemistry or cheesy sap that ropes millions into marathon viewings of Hallmark and Lifetime Christmas movies this time of year. There are literally dozens of new offerings coming down the pike, so you may want to wait for those.

Review: All Together Now

We must be in the final throes of summer, with yet another teen drama based on a popular Young Adult (YA) book. Netflix brings us All Together Now, a sometimes heartbreaking but also uplifting tale about a friendly, selfless, cheery High School teen struggling to stay optimistic in the face of mounting adversity. The film is based on the book “Sorta Like a Rock Star” by Matthew Quick, and the vibe is about what you’d expect from the producers of engaging teen movies Love, Simon and The Fault in Our Stars.

Review: The Half of It

If you’re looking for a light as air romantic comedy, Netflix has you covered with its latest Cyrano de Bergerac retread. In this version, set in a Pacific Northwest high school, a Chinese-American girl with prodigious verbal gifts agrees to ghostwrite a love letter for an inarticulate jock to a beautiful girl who becomes the object of both their desires. It’s a sweet version of the old story and surprisingly charming.

Quickie Review: The LoveBirds

Oh, LoveBirds, how cruel you are! Setting us up to believe we’re in for a fun, engaging romantic comedy, then plunging us into the depths of stupidity for a solid hour before ending with a formulaic flourish. If you took only the very worst parts of Issa Rae’s recent romantic drama The Photograph and Kumail Nanjiani’s recent action crime comedy Stuber, then you’d have the bulk of The LoveBirds. The movie takes the likeable pair and puts them in the middle of a painfully absurd murder mystery that even by Netflix romcom standards is a major disappointment.

Review: Extraction

It appears quite likely that battered and bloody mercenary-with-a-conscience Tyler Rake will live to see another day, and facilitate another extraction, amidst a barrage of gunfire, RPGs, exploding helicopters and myriad villains. If you’ve already watched Extraction, fast becoming Netflix’s most-watched feature film ever, then it’s possible you weren’t quite sure if the epilogue was designed to leave the door open for Rake’s return. Ka-ching. Wonder no more. Screenwriter Joe Russo has already agreed to pen another installment of the action thriller based on the 2014 graphic novel “Ciudad” by Ande Parks. But let’s be real. I didn’t watch Extraction for Russo or director Sam Hargrave’s footprint (embossed on several Avengers movies). I watched it for Chris Hemsworth (Thor, Rush). The Aussie doesn’t disappoint, even if the film itself does come off as a John Wick wanna-be. With John Wick: Chapter Four pushed way back to a post-pandemic (hopefully) May 2022 release date, Extraction serves as a serviceable placeholder.

Quickie Review: Murder Mystery

The Netflix original movie Murder Mystery is lame, riddled with clichés, superficial and mildly amusing. And it knows it. Now you know it too and can plan accordingly. Watch with a grain of salt – sprinkled on popcorn – on a hot and humid summer evening that commands mindless indoor entertainment at home, with the A/C on full blast. The title is your first clue to just how seriously this movie takes itself. Murder Mystery is about… da-da-dum… a murder mystery.

Quickie Review: Dumplin’

‘Tis the season to squeeze in a few guilty-pleasure movies alongside the “art” that is your straight-up Oscar bait. Dumplin’ may not win any big awards, but it will warm your heart, and that’s gotta count for something. Plus, you can already stream it on Netflix! Dumplin’ is a formulaic, feel-good film that’s brimming with schmaltz, and topped with a dollop of Dolly Parton. It stars Danielle Macdonald (indie darling Patti Cake$) as Willowdean Dixon, the plus-size teenage daughter of a Texas beauty queen (Jennifer Aniston).