REVIEW: CHIPS [2017]

“Shoulda cuddled, bro” I’ve never watched an episode of “CHiPs” so I don’t care whether or not the original Jon Baker (Larry Wilcox) and Francis Poncherello (Erik Estrada) pulled their guns during six seasons of television as some on social media have enjoyed touting they didn’t since the trailer hit. I will, however, admit I’m glad writer/director Dax Shepard didn’t feel beholden to such a streak of pacifism because I don’t see how it would have been entertaining for 90-plus minutes. And if his CHIPS remake is anything, it is…

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REVIEW: Maggie’s Plan [2016]

“‘Like’ is a language condom. Trust me.” The character of John (Ethan Hawke) within Rebecca Miller‘s Maggie’s Plan is writing his first fiction novel not-so-loosely based upon his life—a loveless marriage with a bigger narcissist (Julianne Moore‘s Georgette) than he that’s up-ended by a hopeful affair with a control freak (Greta Gerwig‘s titular Maggie) just narcissistic enough to allow him to fully embrace his ego. This novel starts out promising. It’s stripped down, funny, and possesses a surrealist bent that tickles Maggie into falling in love. But after three years…

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REVIEW: Big Hero 6 [2014]

“One a scale of 1 to 10: how would you rate your pain?” Many parents aren’t going to allow their young children to watch Marvel Cinematic Universe films—they skew older with dark underlying themes and comic book violence that leaves beloved characters dead. So while Disney’s purchase of Marvel gave them boundless raw material to use in order to capture the attention of teens and everyone older, the question remained whether Mickey and friends could find something in the extensive catalog that would be suitable for their target audience. On…

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REVIEW: The Way Way Back [2013]

“You just surprised me” Fresh off their Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar for The Descendants, writing duo Jim Rash and Nat Faxon return with a wholly original work to serve as their directorial debut. Well, original in the sense they created it without any previous material to jump off from besides a century plus worth of cinematic coming-of-age tales. The honest truth: The Way, Way Back will seem very, very familiar. But this is a fact that helps audiences realize how good it is. Like what Greg Mottola‘s Adventureland did for…

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TIFF11 REVIEW: Friends with Kids [2012]

“Death by shark or alligator?” This has been the year of romantic comedies doing their best to overcome the genre and crossover to succeed with men and women alike. An unintentional reunion for four members of the Bridesmaids cast, the world premiere of Friends with Kids at the Toronto International Film Festival tries to equal its success in those regards. As star Jennifer Westfeldt’s directorial debut, she gives us some R-rated vulgarity, doesn’t pull punches, and finds a way to tug at the heartstrings too. Built upon the idea that…

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REVIEW: Bridesmaids [2011]

“Hold on for one more day” The best things a comedy can do are to exceed expectations and prove you don’t need to show all the funny parts in the trailer to con people into coming. Kristen Wiig and co-writer Annie Mumolo achieve both with their ‘stone-cold pack of weirdoes’ gearing up for the bride-to-be’s wedding day. Following in Tina Fey’s footsteps as SNLer turned feature film comedy scribe, Wiig branches out from the tv sketch show with help from Judd Apatow and his gang, including director Paul Feig, to…

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REVIEW: Away We Go [2009]

“Do the preggo shuffle” I love Sam Mendes; I’ll say that now. What else do I love? Comedies with indie quirk. And that leads me to Away We Go, a film that embodies the genre completely as evidenced by the trailer with its awkward laughs, (I stapled the itinerary to your coat? Really?), and “cool” soundtrack, I must have absolutely loved it … right? Wrong. I know I should, I know that people all around me are showering it with praise, but besides the final thirty minutes—‘Away to Montreal,’ ‘Away…

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