Tom Cruise in Jack Reacher: Never Go Back

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back Should’ve Taken Its Own Title’s Advice

What a hilarious garbage movie. It’s so bad that it’s fun (or it had enough action distractions to make me feel like it was fun). It’s peak Tom Cruise…in the sense that Tom Cruise has gotten so far up his own ass that he can’t play any character besides the characters Tom Cruise has already played. You know, the tall, dark, handsome, tall (Yes, I said tall twice because Tommy wears lifts in his shoes) ass-kicker with the edgy name like Ethan Hunt or William Cage.
Continue reading “Jack Reacher: Never Go Back Should’ve Taken Its Own Title’s Advice”

Emily Blunt in The Girl on the Train (2016)

The Girl on the Train Is Budget Gone Girl

Well, the disappointing fall movie streak continues. The Girl on the Train was a major letdown. It’s based on the 2015 novel of the same name written by Paula Hawkins (which is sitting in my Amazon cart right now), and even though I haven’t read the book yet, I was pretty excited because The Girl on the Train has the “creep factor” you want in October movies. Plus, Emily Blunt. But it was just so incredibly mediocre that I’m not sure if I want to read the book now. Continue reading “The Girl on the Train Is Budget Gone Girl”

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (2016)

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children Is Another Mediocre Film from Tim Burton

I think it’s time for Tim Burton to retire. Or at least take a nice long holiday and then come back refreshed. Because, like his infamous leading man Johnny Depp, he’s gotten himself in a rut. He’s always been the “weird” director, which once meant he could take odd, creepy stories and find the beauty in them. (Remember Corpse Bride?) Now, it’s as if the weirdness has become a gimmick that consumes the film, leaving no room for storytelling or art. Continue reading “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children Is Another Mediocre Film from Tim Burton”

Movie still from The Divergent Series third installment, Allegiant

Allegiant: Will Somebody Pull the Plug on This Franchise?

The Divergent Series feels like the never-ending story. Not only are three books being stretched into four movies, but the movies have gotten progressively worse each time, which makes the slow jog to the finish line that much more unbearable (Did no one learn their lesson after The Hobbit?). Do we blame it on bad filmmaking, author Veronica Roth’s mediocre young adult novels, the bland actors who play one-dimensional characters, or the onslaught of too-similar special snowflake saves dystopian society stories? I say all of the above. Continue reading “Allegiant: Will Somebody Pull the Plug on This Franchise?”

Lily James and Bella Heathcote in Pride & Prejudice & Zombies

Pride & Prejudice & Zombies Is Exactly Like It Sounds

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.”

That’s the opening line of this film and Seth Grahame-Smith’s novel of the same name. I read Pride & Prejudice & Zombies when it came out in 2009 and found it pretty hilarious (Mind you, that was around the start of the zombie fad; the movie unfortunately landed a release during zombie fatigue). Grahame-Smith took the public domain content of Jane Austen’s beloved classic and simply added a zombie twist for comedy. But you wouldn’t know that if you only watched the movie.

Like its terrible cousin, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, another Grahame-Smith comedy novel that was made into a film, this movie can’t decide what it wants its genre to be. It tries throwing all of them at the wall in hopes they stick and manages to master none. Rom-com? Action? Horror? Period drama? War drama? The tonal shifts in this movie will give you whiplash.

Lily James as Elizabeth Bennet

That’s not to say Pride & Prejudice & Zombies isn’t fun. The physical fight between Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy as he declares his love for her is both well-choreographed and funny, as is the training montage between the Bennet sisters. There’s also the zombie headshots that come out of nowhere and make you jump (more so than the zombies themselves). Had this movie focused less on recreating Pride & Prejudice with zombies and more on action-comedy, I think it would’ve fared a lot better.

As for performances, Lily James, who plays classic-heroine-turned-warrior Elizabeth Bennet, fits well with the period piece vibe, which comes as no surprise given her roles in Downton Abbey, War and Peace, and Kenneth Branagh’s live-action Cinderella. But the sword is the extent of James’ refreshed take on Elizabeth Bennet. She’s no different than the countless other actresses who’ve played the beautiful, smart, steely Lizzie. Worse, she occasionally ventures into action movie “Strong Female Character” territory (which is to say she’s little more than fighting skills with great boobs).

Seriously about the boobs for a moment. How many pushup bras were in James’ costumes? Every time she breathed, it was like Helloooooooo, nurse! The person behind the camera was clearly determined to make sure we didn’t forget about her ample bosom either because each shot drew your eyes to BEWBS. Hell, that fight scene I mentioned between Lizzie and Mr. Darcy? He rips open her bodice, and her boobs practically leap out at the audience! We get it! She’s a hot woman with breasts!

Lily James, Sam Riley, Bella Heathcote, and Douglas Booth in PPZ movie.

Beyond that, most of the characters are forgettable. Sam Riley’s Darcy will only spark a romantic fantasy for people who fantasize about making love to sandpaper. Charles Dance as Mr. Bennet and Sally Phillips as Mrs. Bennet are underutilized. The Bennet sisters are like wall decor with Bella Heathcote’s Jane being the gorgeous painting in the center of the room. Jack Huston’s Mr. Wickham wears way too much foundation. And why in the hell doesn’t Lena Headey’s Lady Catherine de Bourgh get more screentime? She’s the bitchiest, most epic warrior in all of England, yet she only shows up to chew scenery.

That said, Matt Smith’s Mr. Collins is the GREATEST Mr. Collins I’ve ever seen. He somehow takes the obnoxious self-importance of the Bennet’s clergyman cousin to the next level, and he is the saving grace of this movie. If you see Pride & Prejudice & Zombies at all, see it for him. Shit, let’s just make a movie called Mr. Collins vs. Zombies. I’d watch that so hard.

Pride & Prejudice & Zombies: C

You can listen to my review of Pride & Prejudice & Zombies on “Pat & JT in the Morning” here (at 00:16).

Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay in Room

Room: Brie Larson Gives an Award-Worthy Performance

Five-year-old Jack (Jacob Tremblay) has always lived in a small, windowless home called “Room” with Ma (Brie Larson). When Jack goes to sleep at night, Ma is visited by Old Nick (Sean Bridgers), who brings them food and supplies. One day, Ma tells Jack that she was kidnapped and has been imprisoned for seven years in Room. Jack fights with Ma at first, unable to believe there’s anything beyond Room. But he eventually accepts the truth and helps Ma escape. Continue reading “Room: Brie Larson Gives an Award-Worthy Performance”

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 Is Aggressively Okay

After the rebellion successfully claims District 2, the Capitol’s remaining military resource, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and the rebels infiltrate the Capitol to reclaim Panem and their lives from President Snow (Donald Sutherland). But taking the Capitol isn’t as easy as it seems. Continue reading “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 Is Aggressively Okay”