REVIEW: My Spy [2020]

It’s a fine line between friendly and desperate. Like Hulk Hogan, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Vin Diesel, and Dwayne Johnson before him, former wrestler and MMA fighter Dave Bautista has found himself starring alongside a child in a family-friendly vehicle using the juxtaposition between adolescent innocence and muscle-clad heroics as a comedic right of passage towards potential (Hollywood Hogan left his short-lived cinematic career in the 90s) superstardom. Whereas Mr. Nanny, Last Action Hero, The Pacifier, and Tooth Fairy hit the big screen to varying box office success, however, Bautista’s bid to…

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REVIEW: Then Came You [2019]

Friends don’t wait to be asked. The premise behind Then Came You is a tough sell. A hypochondriac attends a support group for people dying of cancer, befriends one said person, and helps her fulfill a demented bucket list while allowing her lack of boundaries to shove him into the arms of the woman he’s been too afraid to ask out. It’s a sort of rom-com spin on Fight Club‘s Jack and Marla getting off on others’ sorrow for the tween sect. There will be initial confusion at the film…

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REVIEW: The DUFF [2015]

“Can I have some peaches and pears?” CBS Films and Lionsgate are using an interesting approach to pitch The DUFF. Watching their first trailer made me check the calendar, wondering if I had somehow been transported back in time. Not only were they openly calling someone a Designated Ugly Fat Friend to her face as though it’s merely a fact worth noting, they were doing so to someone who isn’t close to being either pejorative. This atrocity set itself up to go the tired ugly duckling route, telling girls they…

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REVIEW: Penguins of Madagascar [2014]

“Venetian blinded again” Is Penguins of Madagascar a total cash grab? Not quite. It’s one thing when a studio hones in on a successful franchise’s periphery character and deems it worthy of a spin-off by pretending it possessed enough depth to carry a feature of its own, but it’s another when the filmmakers embrace its appeal and simply expanded upon that element. Puss in Boots was painted as a hero to begin with and supplying him an origin wasn’t a giant leap past Shrek. The “cute and cuddly” penguins from…

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REVIEW: Despicable Me 2 [2013]

“Do not do your business on the petunias” When we last saw super villain Gru (Steve Carell) in Despicable Me he had just returned the moon to its rightful place in the sky, retired from evil, and become a father to the three sweetest little girls ever: Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), Edith (Dana Gaier), and Agnes (Elsie Kate Fisher). He had turned over a new leaf after youthful innocence thawed his heart a la how Cindy Lou helped the Grinch grow his in the classic Dr. Seuss tale. It’s the kind…

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REVIEW: The Hangover Part III [2013]

“Can you take Stu instead?” Love them or hate them, you can’t deny The Hangover and The Hangover Part II pushed the envelope to an extreme. No one anticipated Todd Phillips’ hard-R buddy romp would turn into the phenomenon it did—a hit before its release—and his idea to pretty much remake it in Bangkok for the sequel was an inspired choice for no other reason than it being so uninspired. I loved the first and thought the second’s ability to increase our discomfort level further was just as funny if…

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REVIEW: Pain & Gain [2013]

“I gotta get a pump” I like when actors not only play to their strengths, but also make a concerted effort to do so. Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson saw an opportunity to have fun playing a couple of bumbling amateur criminals—waiving their salaries along with director Michael Bay for backend deals—and had faith audiences would come to see them make light of their physiques and act the fools. Pain & Gain is a perfect venue for their somewhat limited skill sets as its true to life tale of greed…

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Posterized Propaganda May 2013: Super Sequel Summer with ‘Iron Man,’ ‘Hangover,’ ‘Star Trek,’ ‘Fast & Furious’ & More

“Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover” is a proverb whose simple existence proves the fact impressionable souls will do so without fail. This monthly column focuses on the film industry’s willingness to capitalize on this truth, releasing one-sheets to serve as not representations of what audiences are to expect, but as propaganda to fill seats. Oftentimes they fail miserably. One of these years Alamo Drafthouse has to organize some crazy Mondo Tees sponsored summer where every big tent pole release receives a unique artistic interpretation on paper. They get…

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REVIEW: The Muppets [2011]

“Laughter, the third greatest gift of all!” If you saw Forgetting Sarah Marshall, it’ll be no surprise that Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller were chosen as the ones to bring The Muppets back to the big screen. Almost three decades since the last true Muppet movie besides their literary adventures after Jim Henson’s untimely death, it’s also not shocking that the two decided to base their plot around this lengthy hiatus. Years removed from the original “Muppet Show” that began in 1976, this new iteration begins by introducing us to…

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REVIEW: Zookeeper [2011]

“I certainly wasn’t cleaning my basement” What is the point of giving Zookeeper a rating? There really is none. The people who want to see it will see it, the kids who its aimed for will eat up the fact animals are talking and singing and joking around, and the adults escorting them will at the very least chuckle when the raunchiness comes out to play. Its success is a foregone conclusion, just like that of its most kindred of spirits. Call it Night at the Franklin Park Zoo, call…

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REVIEW: Transformers: Dark of the Moon [2011]

“You all read ‘Humpty Dumpty’” When Transformers came out in 2007, it was all the rage. Nostalgia, explosions, over-the-top summer blockbuster laughs, and even a smidgeon of heart were thrown into Michael Bay’s ultimate orgasm of action, sex, and metal. It was fun despite its corniness and therefore left a desire for a sequel, one where we knew all the major players and could watch their continuing saga. But 2009 came and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen underwhelmed. I still maintain that if liking one means liking the other because…

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