The first american film from British director Stephen Reynolds, 12 ROUNDS 3 suffers the same plight his Danny Dyer-starring breakout film VENDETTA in that it looks the biz (thanks largely to DOP Mahlon Todd Williams) but Reynolds proves that he isn't an actors director.
When he's not dealing with trite, cliched dialogue (you can play a great drinking game at home as you predict the next lines) he's working with performers so wooden they belong in a kitchen drawer. Top it off with some of the most inane story inconsistencies (for instance, why would three cops show up to a suburban house to murder a witness and wear their badges for everyone to see?!) and you have a film that's hard to buy into regardless of how far-fetched it is to start with.
And yes, we know it's a simple WWE film that's designed to be a vehicle to get the wrestlers on screen and they're not high-art, but speak to Scott Wiper, because both his WWE films (THE CONDEMNED and THE MARINE 3) had more heart than a dozen 12 ROUNDS.
To say it's better than part 2 in the series is damning it with faint praise. Part 3 will suffice for the action junkie's criteria but little else.
If you are familiar with Austin's PRIDE AND PREJUDICE then you are going to get a whole lot more from this new period horror than others. It is precisely as the title suggests. Watching it is like viewing a legitimate adaptation of the original novel, as though zombies were naturally prevalent during the period. The story arc and characters are faithful to the text and somehow they've managed to submerge everything within a historical zombie plague that threatens to destroy mankind. The Bennett daughters are exactly how they were originally, only now they're all skilled zombie slayers. With a cheeky introductory narration we learn that the wealthy sent their sons and daughters to Japan to learn ancient fighting skills while the wise sent theirs to China. And so lies the greater class distinctions of the story. Everyone's present... Elizabeth, Mr Darcy, Mr Bingly, Mr Wickham and so on.
Of course if you have never read PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, or aren't even familiar with it, then rest assured that you will still get a kick out of it. There's a lot to like and not all of it is dependant on previous knowledge of the source material. The wonderful set designs, costume designs and action choreography are fantastic and the presentation of the zombies themselves offers a fresh and unique take on what is otherwise a stale and overdone subgenre. There are excellent jump scares brazenly placed within dramatic monologues, and a whole lot of ravenous flesh eaters lurking amongst the privileged that will delight a horror fanatics amongst the audience, while the original charm and charisma of Austin's dialogue is in tact for those familiar with it.
The film also has fun with the sexism of the era and the constant denigration of women is hysterical at times, although not without purpose. This is very much a feminist movie, where the women are the powerful ass-kickers. Lily James comes to the film hot off the heels of her lead role in CINDERELLA and she slips into the Regency Era setting effortlessly. The rest of the cast are good too with Matt Smith's being particularly hilarious in as Parson Collins. He relishes the opportunity to provide the film's comic relief and he does so brilliantly. Sam Riley is excellent as Mr Darcy and Charles Dance brings a lot of theatrical weight and credencec to the whole damn thing.
The strength of the film is its resistance to CGI. The special effects are suitably understated and practical for the most part. There are some moments in the third act that resort to the digital stuff, particularly in certain siege and battle sequences, however it's never used gratuitously and director Burr Steers (yep, that's his name) wisely reigns the story in whenever it threatens to push the "crazy" too far. There are a few moments when the film lags, but as though self-aware, the story snaps into shape and picks up its momentum again.
PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES is a whole lot of fun and it is certainly the movie that ABRAHAM LINCOLN VAMPIRE HUNTER should have been. There's no pretensions here... just the promise of a good time.
Regardless of their insanely quick succession, and to his credit, the projects he's delivering are always slightly above par in just about every aspect; They look a little slicker, the writing is a little sharper and the direction is a little more competent that their contemporaries.
Fans of the TREMORS series (yes, there are some out there) can breathe a sigh of relief for part 5 isn't as bad as it sounds. Part reboot, part sequel (is there any other kind of film these days?) this has Michael Gross returning as Burt Gummer, the survivalist gun-nut who started the series in the first installment alongside Kevin Bacon way back in 1990 and remains the only cast member to appear in all 5 films (can't decide if that's a good thing - Ed.).
With a backdrop that looks like Nevada but is supposed to be South Africa, the giant, man-eating Graboids appear for the first time in the Southern Hemisphere and are terrorizing the inhabitants of a wildlife reserve. Burt, now a minor TV star, is hired by the S.A. Government to aid the cause and bring his expertise to a scenario that's getting more and more out of hand. Along for the ride is his new cameraman Travis B. Welker (Jamie Kennedy) and together they ... well, you get the gist.
Gross-man can do this schtick in his sleep now and Jamie Kennedy looks like he was hired because he's Jamie Kennedy. Casting is, after all, 90%. Is it high art? Nope. Is it ripe for discussion afterwards? Certainly not. Is it fun? Hell yeah. It's a breathless 95 minutes watching creatures called Graboids and Ass-Blasters chew their way through cannon fodder and bad-guys with big guns and big, loud explosions as things that go bang.
Avoid it if Merchant Ivory is your thing, but if you dig creature-features you can laugh along with, give it a spin.
During the 1968 Republican and Democratic National Conventions the network devised a new style of broadcast and invited two outspoken and well educated minds from polar opposite sides of the political spectrum to verbally stoush on live television. Those two men were: In the right corner, conservative author William F Buckley, and in the left corner the controversial author Gore Vidal. What would unfold was a series of ten national debates that would capture the attention of the nation and open up a whole new platform for conversation.
BEST OF ENEMIES is a documentary film that chronicles these debates and features reflections and opinions from various political commentators. It wisely takes a non-partisan approach with zero bias and, instead, directors Robert Gordon and Morgan Neville present the story with an entertaining structure that resembles that of a wrestling match. In between each debate (round) the narrative switches to commentaries on the performance and outcome of the exchange and fragments of character back-story help to paint a greater picture of who these two men were.
The film gives Buckley and Vidal the same amount of attention, with each receiving an equal measure of criticism and respect. Both men were charismatic and highly intelligent, and proved to be formidable sparring partners. Of course there was a mutual hatred between them, and the film examines the moment when the frivolous nature of the debates turned and became very dark. In a moment of heated discussion one provokes the other with a flippant and offensive insult and the other responds with an equally offensive and derogatory retort. It was a moment that both men would carry for the rest of their lives. One man plagued by his words with regret and the other taking his hatred to the grave.
BEST OF ENEMIES is a compelling film that highlights the correlation between the political atmosphere of the 60s and the current state of affairs in modern America. Very little has changed and while the film has no intensions of pushing a left or right agenda, it does ask us to reflect on what progress we've made and whether we've progressed as much as we should have within the span of four decades. It also documents one of the great intellectual rivalries of a generation, and it's captivating.
Here are the pros and cons about the movie. Pros: Leslie Mann and Dakota Johnson. They are wonderful and their presence in the film is all that saves it from complete disaster. Cons: Everything else.
HOW TO BE SINGLE is a romantic-comedy that is best described as a shemozzle. It is a mish-mash of ideas thrown together without any cohesion or chemistry amongst its characters. The film kicks off by establishing two female characters who's stories, it is logical to presume, will provide the pivot to the story. However towards the end of the first act one of them is cast aside and their entire presence in the remainder of the film becomes irrelevant. We are left with one woman's story and all of the characters who surround her... but that other woman? She has scenes but... whatever. She's not important anymore (apparently).
The story follows Alice (Johnson) who has broken up with her boyfriend and moves to New York City. Determine to live the single life and rediscover herself she befriends an annoying Aussie work colleague (Rebel Wilson) and attempts to play the field, if you know what I mean. The middle act of film becomes a laborious and over-written barrage of puerile jokes about dicks, tits, clits and shagging. Rebel Wilson feels like a gun-for-hire with ALL of the dirty material assigned to her. - and boy does she over-play it. I have a soft spot for her in general but I don't think she's been more disagreeable than she is in this film.
Dakota Johnson is lovely in the lead and it's a pleasure to watch her. Leslie Mann plays her supportive sister and she's as equally delightful. In fact it's amazing that she was able to deliver such a sincere performance with such a disjointed and messy script... and for that fact alone HOW TO BE SINGLE has some merit. The rest of the cast are passable and there are a lot of charming moments in the movie that began to make me reevaluate my reaction... but no sooner did the film have my attention, Rebel Wilson would burst on to the screen with some stupid remark about midgets or albinos, or how many guys she's fucked, and it would all dissolve into an embarrassing and painfully unfunny exercise in excess.
Two great performances, a handful of mediocre ones and a shabby narrative do constitute a good movie.
ZOOLANDER is the latest seminal cult classic to fall victim to the cha-ching machine and no matter how good it might be, there's a part of me that wishes it was never made. I blame Will Ferrell. Think about it. AUSTIN POWERS, ANCHORMAN and ZOOLANDER!! He's the poisoned chalice. Up until this point Ben Stiller, as a director, has had a precise knack for creating original and assertive films that stand strong without the imposed pressure for more. REALITY BITES, THE CABLE GUY, TROPIC THUNDER... and until now ZOOLANDER (the original just lost some of it's mojo).
But hey, pessimism doesn't suit me and the good news is that ZOOLANDER 2 is a whole lot of fun. It builds upon the absurdity of the first movie and magnifies everything by ten. It is fully self-aware and makes no apologies. Ben Stiller was lured back to the character because of demand from the fan-base and at one point he had stepped aside, handing the directorial reigns to Justin Theroux, but he clearly understood that the only way to keep the original film in tact was to present the sequel as a parody of itself. All of the subtleties of the first movie have been replaced with big, fat obvious jokes that benefit from saturation. The viewer is pounded over the head with jokes and forced into submission.
Picking up fifteen years later, the movie opens with a well-played recap of events and updates us with filler from the missing years. Stiller does intros really damn well and his flair for satire instils the viewer with confidence right from the get-go. His Derek Zoolander character is back on the scene, along with his old pal Hansel (Owen Wilson) and they're faced with being has-beens in a world that left them behind. Then they find themselves central-figures in a maniacal plot to - oh I don't know – end the world or something? The plot is dumb and irrelevant (trust me).
ZOOLANDER 2 moves at a relentless pace and doesn't slow down for a second. Old jokes are recycled, old jokes are reinvented and old jokes are generous enough to let new jokes in too. It is a mixed bag of lunacy. A chaotic crock-pot of comedy that can't help but be endearing. And wherever the script may have felt insipid on paper, they have launched an assault of celebrity cameos to beef it up. We're talking some unexpected and hilarious appearances from the unlikeliest of people (you'll have to see for yourself).
So is ZOOLANDER 2 any good? Yeah, I think so. It's a heap of fun and it doesn't disappoint, but don't expect to be quoting it in ten years time. It doesn't have the impact of the first movie and it's more than likely going to fall by the wayside in due time.
ZOOLANDER is definitely better without ZOOLANDER 2 but what can ya do?
For some reason the death-dealing assassin agrees to lend a hand...? Zachary Quinto takes a break from intergalactic space exploration to come shoot some guns and delivers the clunky, expository dialogue as best he can and there's a mildly entertaining sequence involving a car that gets anchored to a street corner by grappling hooks but its not enough to save a film that's all but DOA. To say it's better than Xavier Gens previous, unrelated film, is damning it with faint praise.
Agent 47 is a mess of loud guns, improbable explosions and murky motivations that makes about as much sense as a thing that doesn't make sense on 'No Sense Day'. It may satisfy on a drunk Friday night but little else.
What unfolds is a stock-standard revenge-thriller that lacks vision and collapses under it's own exploitation. Viola Davis and Jennifer Lopez are both quite good and their performances are certainly the least of the movie's problems, and so where it all comes undone, first and foremost, is with the script. The dialogue is mechanical and the film's structure is clanky. Marred by constant flashback sequences the impact of the story is diminished by constant reminders of family life and motherly love. Had director Charles Stone III taken a grittier and harsher approach to the aesthetic then perhaps this convention would have resonated more, but instead he has delivered a glossy-looking movie that feels more like a midday movie of the week.
Unfortunately I'm not able to discuss LILA & EVE's biggest fault, only to say that it employs an unnecessarily cliched and fatigued plot device that grinds the entire movie to a halt before its even had a chance to build momentum. It's a disappointing method of storytelling that is handled sloppily and is proven to only work when controlled by a skilled and accomplished filmmaker.
And so it is. LILA & EVE. Two decent performances and a handful of good ideas. Everything else is fodder. Thankfully it has been dumped onto Netflix following a brief VOD stint and so there's no sense of being ripped off. You can tempt it for yourself, but you have the luxury of switching off without loosing good coin.
THE 5TH WAVE is the latest sneeze to hit the screen with a splat, and it offers absolutely nothing new. I can imagine teen viewers talking it up as though it were some kind of masterpiece, and I am honestly pleased that they have franchises for their generation to claim, but what they probably don't realise is that this movie is little more than a mash-up of so many films that came before it. Whether it's RED DAWN, THEY LIVE, WAR OF THE WORLDS or INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS (amongst others) THE 5TH WAVE takes ideas and concepts from a whole bunch of sources and mooshes them together. The result is a perplexing action-thriller that draws a fine line between being an exciting and entertaining genre film to being a contrived and heavy handed piece of fluff.
The film follows Cassie (Chloë Grace Moretz) as she races against time to save her younger brother, during the final stages of a systematic alien invasion. Know as “The Others” (original, huh?) the aliens circle the Earth and launch a series of strategic attacks to eradicate mankind. Of course this is where the narrative of the film becomes really clunky, because having demonstrated their control and incredible capabilities from the outset there is no reason why they couldn't just take the planet in one foul swoop. And so its logical to assume that they're considerate aliens, who are calculating their invasion precisely to enable Cassie enough time to make shit happen. Everything is too convenient and the entire middle act of the movie collapses into a long and tedious attempt to develop characters and talk a whole lot of nonsense.
The action is well handled... I'll give it that. Reminiscent THE WALKING DEAD in it's depiction of a desolate society, and the dangers that lurk, the film's handling of disaster and combat is quite impressive. A particular sequence involving coerced natural disasters is as affective as I have seen such things done before, and the military engagement sequences are loud and engaging. For a while I forgot that it was all so trite and I found myself really enjoying it. But then those moments of distraction dissolve and as if the director was clicking his fingers in your face, you snap out of it and remember what nonsense it really is.
But hey - I'm no longer part of the target audience, and while that doesn't mean that I can't still enjoy teen movies, it does mean that my thoughts on such things are irreverent. My seventeen-year-old daughter saw THE 5TH WAVE last week and she loved it... and that makes me feel like an old man.
The film tells the true story of Dr Bennet Omalu, a Nigerian-born forensic pathologist in Pennsylvania's coroner’s office, who made headlines when he discovered Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) and threatened to bring down the entire National Football League. He was first assigned to perform an autopsy on the legendary player Mike Webster, who's life spiralled into psychosis and self-destruction in his final months leading up to his death. When there were no physical signs indicating Webster's mental condition Dr Omalu invested his own money into extensive research to determine the true cause of death. What he discovered was a brain disease caused by years of heavy trauma to the head caused by playing football. When several other players fall into a similar psychotic state of mind, leading to their untimely deaths, Omalu exposes the systemic condition and enters into a David and Goliath battle against one of the biggest and most beloved organisations in the country – The NFL.
Criticisms could be levied at the film for being heavy-handed and melodramatic, however the structure of the story has been carefully driven, as to present an emotionally-charged narrative that is paced fluently with a genuine elegance to its stride. Each scene has a purpose and as the story unfolds the film builds momentum and evolves into a taut political thriller.
Will Smith is exceptional in the lead and he carries the film effortlessly. His performance is captivating and, as mentioned earlier, he was robbed of well earned accolades. I cannot vouch for his Nigerian accent in the film, only to say that it didn't seem feigned to me, but there is no questioning the sincerity and resolution of his performance. The ensemble of supporting players is impressive too with affective turns from Albert Brooks, David Morse and Alec Baldwin. Brooks never disappoints and he knocks this role out of the park. There are also a handful of other notable names in smaller roles, such as Paul Reiser, Luke Wilson and Arliss Howard, and their talent almost seems wasted given the small amount of screen time they each have. Nevertheless they bring added weight and credibility to the film... and its so good to see Reiser back on screen. He has reemerged in recent years with WHIPLASH and LIFE AFTER BETH and he also has a string of upcoming projects in the pipeline (welcome back Paul, it's great to see ya again).
I am not convinced that CONCUSSION is worthy of a Best Film Oscar win, but I am positive that it deserves the nomination. It's far from perfect due to its commitment to melodrama, but it tells and important story with an earnest heart and a lead performance that packs a wallop... and above all else, it's an absorbing movie-going experience.
David Spade dons the iconic mullet wig once more and steps back into the acid wash jeans as though no time has passed. He brings with him familiar faces from the original movie such Christopher Walken, Brittany Daniel, Adam Beach and Dennis Miller. It's a comfortable collective and they're all back on board for the sake of it. They know precisely what garbage they're making and they give the exact amount of fucks that I afford the movie – zero. In fact the key to enjoying JOE DIRT 2 lies within the closing credits. Sadly that's an unfortunate point in the proceedings to let the audience in on it, but there's a moment in the blooper reel where David Spade looks down, shakes his head in disbelief and laughs before saying “This is so stupid”. And that's the point. If you give in to the absurdness you might get more from it than others.
The story borrows heavily from THE WIZARD OF OZ, FORREST GUMP, BACK TO THE FUTURE and IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE and has Joe Dirt being carried away in his trailer by a tornado. He lands in the year 1965 where his actions have an affect on his future-life. In a desperate bid to make things right and get home he is joined by a guardian angel, who guides him towards the right course.
My God this is a stupid movie. It's absolutely, positively and irrefutably dumb. But it's funny. Of course you will need to have a weakness for puerile humour (be prepared for an abundance of fart gags, dick jokes and innuendos - you know, the good stuff) and an established fondness of the character. Chances are, that if you even contemplate JOE DIRT 2 for a moment, then you're the forgiving type.
JOE DIRT 2 was made for Crackle and with THE RIDICULOUS SIX in tow they are the first two Happy Madison productions to be produced for online streaming services. Factor in the recent SNL movie STATEN ISLAND SUMMER, which was also made for Netflix, and we suddenly have an exciting new home delivery service for this brand of film. These movies are being pumped directly into our living rooms and they're offered freely. That factor grants them some leniency and it also holds the theatrical releases to account.
JOE DIRT 2 suffers from a moronic narrative and its dependency on homage, but it has a heart and it's full of charm. The players look as though they're having a good time and their willingness to embrace the absurdity is infectious. The running time is nice and short, it doesn't over stay its welcome and none of us should feel ashamed to admit it was fun.
Where so many people disliked the 2013 film JOBS, I bucked the general consensus and thought it to be a strong and commendable piece with Ashton Kutcher giving a convincing performance. The narrative presented a cohesive and overall palatable perspective, detailing Jobs' humble beginnings and his rise to the top. Exactly why it was met with such distain is beyond me, but I am positive that Danny Boyle's latest film STEVE JOBS is far less interesting and practically insufferable.
The assumption is that everyone in the world knows who Steve Jobs is, and that's probably an accurate speculation, and so the film ignores ALL of the details that made Jobs the man he became and instead it presents him without context. All we see is a mean, arrogant and deeply troubled human-being. Aside from the technology that he gave the world, the film would have us believe he had very few redeeming qualities. I'm not sure that I like this presumption and with conflicting inside views on the man, it leads me to respond as though the film is a work of fiction.
The film is broken into three acts, each of which taking place backstage in the hours leading up to important public launches; the Macintosh, NeXT and the iMac. We are presented with a highly-strung man in a constant crisis-mode, who attacks anyone within biting distance. And that's about it. The entire film takes place behind the scenes of important launches, surrounded by chaos. It could be confused as a companion piece to BIRDMAN and it plays out like a two-hour-long commercial. Actual information about these groundbreaking products are treated as insignificant side-notes, and their importance is practically ignored. And to support the notion that Steve Jobs “The Myth” is paramount to “The Man” the film completely misrepresents the historical implications of NeXT (any dope can google it).
Performance-wise, STEVE JOBS is a powerhouse. Michael Fassbender knocks it out of the ballpark and commits to an impassioned, albeit caricatured, depiction of Jobs. The support cast includes Kate Winslet, Jeff Daniels, Seth Rogan and Sarah Snook, who all surround Fassbender with grounded and reliable performances.
I admire Steve Jobs, but I'm done with Steve Jobs. I rely on his contribution to humanity on a daily basis and without his genius we would be living in a very different world, but I dare say that we are yet to see his life depicted accurately, and I doubt that we ever will. He laid the stones for which his myth was built upon, and maybe that would satisfy him immensely... but in my mind STEVE JOBS doesn't tell us anything that we don't already know. It seems pointless, exhausting and it's far too late to the game (which is ironic).
2016 / Director. Tim Miller.
Review by Jarret Gahan.
Shortly after being diagnosed with terminal cancer, petty criminal and standover man, Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) is visited by a mysterious man who promises not just remission but complete recovery from said disease in exchange for Wade's service with his organisation. The treatment however does come with consequences, one being heightened powers comparable to those of a superhero and the second undisclosed to him, physical deformation. Unfortunately for Wade, he only learns this and the genuine nature of the organisation's intentions for him once it's too late. Driven by the passion to be reunited with his one true love, Wade sets about finding the people who made him what he has become to restore him to what he once was or otherwise suffer a grizzly fate.
DEADPOOL, the film like its source material is a slight divergent from the Marvel universe that Disney has recently shaped, in that its attitude toward violence is more of excess, style and above all humour. Whilst the comic book was forced to tone down its onscreen violence due to its wide readership, the brush and canvas are out with the feature-film as it earns it's MA15+ with generous and consistent strokes of crimson, a freeway beheading proving a particular standout. Likewise with the profanity, gone is the @#$&! of the comic, replaced by bona fide obscenities and whom better to deliver that dialogue than the silver tongued devil himself, Reynolds as the merc with a mouth.
Despite a tumultuous filmography of comic adaptation misfires (The Green Lantern, R.I.P.D., Blade Trinity), Reynolds shines as Deadpool with the right balance of brawn, intellect and charisma to deliver both deadly blows and hilarious quips while always remaining affable to the viewing audience. On that note the film stays faithful to its source with Deadpool regularly breaking the fourth wall to directly address the audience and better still often with intertextual wisecracks, one pertaining to the cheapness of the film's financing studio, 20th Century Fox gaining huge laughs.
Humour is paramount to DEADPOOL, from the aforementioned to its jocular opening title sequence to the insult-ridden interplay between barman Weasel (T.J. Miller) and Wade/Deadpool to the wit against grit one-liners dispatched by Deadpool, the film remains funny as it does action-packed from start through finale.
As a film, DEADPOOL does feel a little reminiscent of KICK-ASS in terms of tone and to a lesser degree style but that's not necessarily a bad thing, in fact its welcomed as it offers contrast to Disney's Marvel universe and may prove to engage viewers who regularly dismiss superhero films as children's fare or fanboy fantasy.
Like Reynold's performance, DEADPOOL is a skilled symmetry, proportionate in plot as it is in design.
2015 / Director. Ross Katz.
Review by Glenn Cochrane.
THE CHOICE is a thinking person's film. It asks a fundamentally perplexing question and leaves the answer squarely in the hands of its audience. The question was stuck in my mind for the entire duration of my drive home, through rotten peak-hour traffic, and it kept repeating itself over and over... and so what, exactly, did became of the pot-roast?
And that's about as deep as THE CHOICE gets. It is, of course, the latest insistently stifling title from Hollywood's most prolific moosh-machine, Nicholas Sparks. There was a time when I really enjoyed his stories. Way back when MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE and A WALK TO REMEMBER set the standard, and NIGHTS IN RODANTHE and THE NOTEBOOK propelled his melodramatic drivel into the wider public consciousness. But then “Sparks” became franchised in nature and the movies began to blur. I can imagine a Rolodex sitting on his desk and when it's time to write a new novel, he randomly selects a title and it says something like “the romance of a lifetime, marred by tragedy”. But so be it, and hey, he has his audience. I'm just no longer part of it.
The movie opens with a stupid and condescending narration with the lead character letting us in on the secret to life. “It's all about choices”. And so begins a laborious story of two people who hate each other, but then fall in love, and if you've seen any one Nicholas Sparks movie then that's all you need to know. What ensues is a tumultuous love affair full of moon-lit waters, wind-swept reeds and all kinds of romantic picturesque views (oh and there's a bunch of characters, but they're not as interesting). It's basically like a DAWSON'S CREEK reunion film.
The mawkish melodrama was expected, and I was fully prepared to take THE CHOICE for what it's worth. A slathering of generosity is always necessary with these films and to be honest, it almost had me. There were moments when I felt myself hoping for specific outcomes and for a brief moment I was interested in the direction of the story, however the lack of depth to the characters and the absolute absence of personality makes it a very predictable and arduous watch. In fact aside from Tom Wilkinson as the windowed father, there are no likeable character at all... that is unless arrogant, condescending twats is your idea of likeable.
And so there it is. But what about the pot-roast?
2015 / Director. Jason Moore.
Review by Glenn Cochrane.
Once upon a time Tina Fey and Amy Poehler made a wonderful film called BABY MAMA. It was a sincere and understated comedy full of heart and two very strong comical performances. In the years to follow their partnership was reaffirmed as they continued to capture people's attention by way of hosting award ceremonies. All good things must come to an end, and their latest offering is a most shitful affair.
SISTERS sees Fey and Poehler trading their BABY MAMA places, with Fey taking on the rebellious role while Poehler assumes the straight uptight function. They play sisters (derr) who never grew up and seize an opportunity to host an old school house party. They invite all of their old childhood friends (all of whom have become respectable adults) and set in motion a night of illicit mayhem, that delivers one cliché after another.
So let me throw a few positive notes at you. Fey and Poehler have an undeniable synchronicity and the chemistry between them excuses some of the movie's shortcomings (just some). They are also very body confident and are never afraid to sacrifice their dignity for the sake of a laugh. It really is refreshing to see two powerful women like them take pride in their less flattering attributes. From pot bellies to playdoughy rolls of skin, and a whole variety of indecent postures and antics. I love what these two women represent, which makes the impact of SISTERS' nosedive all the more painful.
The film was written by fellow SNL writer Paula Pell and it would seem that her preparation consisted entirely of watching house-party movies. I would hazard a guess that CAN'T HARDLY WAIT and PROJECT X were the two titles she had on loop... that is until she saw NEIGHBOURS and thought “Fuck it! Lets just do that!”. And so there you have it. SISTERS is another comedy about middle aged people desperately trying to relive their youth and making fools of themselves in the process.
In the case of SISTERS there is a fifteen to twenty minute chunk of solid laughs in the middle, which is padded by seriously unfunny, long and cringe-worthy bookends. As talented as Fey and Poehler are together, this outing smacks of desperation. It's so bad that I would recommend avoiding it entirely..... IF it weren't for the fact that Diane Wiest drops a big fat C-BOMB... and that's something that is well worth the price of admission (or just wait for the home entertainment release, whatevs).