REVIEW: Free Guy [2021]

Don’t have a good day. Have a great day. Every day is awesome for Guy the bank teller (Ryan Reynolds). While so-called “heroes” in sunglasses run roughshod on Free City by wrecking it with explosions, crime, and debauchery, his best friend Buddy (Lil Rel Howery) and him get their favorite coffee (medium with cream and two sugars), talk about hitting the beach, and greet everyone the same exact way they did yesterday … and the day before that. If not for the hole in his heart where love was concerned,…

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REVIEW: The Croods: A New Age [2020]

The pack stays together. There’s a montage during 2013’s The Croods wherein a comparison is being made between caveman Grug (Nicolas Cage) and Neanderthal Guy (Ryan Reynolds) concerning intelligence and thought. The point is that the former uses his fists without contemplating a better way while the latter problem solves to find success with the least amount of risk. One of the examples comes during a confrontation with the so-called “punch-monkeys” as Grug readies to fight his way through them before Guy swoops in with a bushel of bananas to…

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REVIEW: Pokémon: Detective Pikachu [2019]

I can feel it in my jellies. It’s almost shocking that nobody made a live-action Pokémon movie considering the card game’s heyday was back in the 1990s while the anime and video games still ruled kids’ televisions. That’s not to say the property ever disappeared. Nintendo couldn’t have turned “Pokémon GO” into an international smartphone phenomenon without strong brand recognition spanning multiple generations. But what was there to lean on narratively? The creatures themselves can’t say anything but their names and the human characters are kids trying to catch them…

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REVIEW: Van Wilder [2002]

Write that down. Twenty-four years after Tim Matheson‘s Eric “Otter” Stratton fast-talked his way towards saving a fraternity in National Lampoon’s Animal House, the torch was passed onto former “Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place” star Ryan Reynolds. The timing isn’t surprising since American Pie and its sequel earned box office success while bringing the gross-out antics Matheson and friends originated back to the big screen. This is why I never had an interest in watching Van Wilder despite being a Reynolds fan. It simply never seemed as…

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REVIEW: Deadpool 2 [2018]

We can’t really live until we die a little. The biggest critical gripe coming out of the first Deadpool film was that its attempt to subvert the superhero genre was squandered by being a superhero film. What does that mean? It literally is a superhero film. The character is an X-Men alum who exists to fight bad guys (and good guys alike). So the plot was always going to follow a familiar arc towards finding redemption and/or revenge against those foes/friends. Where it diverted from the formula was its embracement…

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REVIEW: Life [2017]

“Its curiosity outweighs its fear” Calling Daniel Espinosa‘s Life an Alien retread is the easy thing to do. Both are tensely claustrophobic science fiction films with a violent extraterrestrial that’s loose and in search of the crew. But it’s also a very reductive comparison considering they are nothing alike beside genre conventions. The missions are different. The time period is different. And the creature’s motivation is as dissimilar as can be. Life also can’t help but stand apart on its own for one reason: it could actually happen tomorrow. We…

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REVIEW: Deadpool [2016]

“Maximum effort” The fact Deadpool is in theaters should have fans and detractors of the superhero “genre” excited because it signals a burst of creativity within an otherwise stagnant artistic avenue. But don’t think it won’t still be a superhero movie. A lot of talk in the critical sphere revolves around how Tim Miller and Ryan Reynolds’ passion project “looks to subvert convention” yet “ends up just another comic book origin story.” Guess what? Deadpool is a comic book character. Just because he’s self-aware enough to mock his world’s tropes…

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REVIEW: Mississippi Grind [2015]

“It’s Machu Picchu time” Filmmaking duo Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck‘s latest Mississippi Grind is an interesting creature. It has no ulterior motives whatsoever and that’s a unique attribute for a movie about gambling. You can’t watch loudmouth storyteller Curtis (Ryan Reynolds) happen upon the same poker table as down on his luck sad sack Gerry (Ben Mendelsohn) without knowing he’s in the midst of a con. We don’t know what he could want from a guy who is joining sixty-dollar buy-in tournaments to pray he’ll be able to pay-off…

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REVIEW: The Voices [2015]

“I know karate” Don’t let the wide-eyed giddiness of Ryan Reynolds‘ Jerry Hickfang fool you. There’s darkness inside him that simply hasn’t yet been coaxed out into the open. It may take a little while to see it in full force so you can truly comprehend what is going on with the Edward Scissorhands-esque bright colors and smiling faces version of warped small town suburbia, but it will be an eye-opening revelation when it does. What this means too is that you need to try and not let Reynolds’ broad…

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REVIEW: The Croods [2013]

“Never not be afraid” One credit has fascinated me since The Croods opened in theaters: story by John Cleese. That John Cleese? Surprisingly, yes. It’s a somewhat convoluted journey from his failed adaptation of Roald Dahl‘s The Twits with Kirk DeMicco catching the eye of Dreamworks and earning them the pick of the litter as far as in production pitches at the studio. They chose one about a stereotypical caveman and his “modern” counterpart running from the volcanic apocalypse plate tectonics wrought. It was set up at Aardman, left for…

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REVIEW: Just Friends [2005]

“Does this hat make me look fat?” The memory of All-4-One lives on in a laugh-out-loud lip-synched rendition from Ryan Reynolds in the romantic comedy Just Friends. A film suggested to me by many, their descriptions always began with an, “it’s stupid, but really, really funny.” They were not wrong as any substantial plot involving the leading ex-BFFs ten years later is ignored in order to showcase a rising Reynolds and his self-deprecating ability to make a fool of himself. Between wearing a fat suit, myriad of pratfalls, and constant…

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