One holiday movie, one Oscarbait ths week. Office Christmas Party throws a bunch of jokes and funny people together and hopes it works. It mostly does, and its saving grace is Kate McKinnon, but the plot sometimes gets in the way of the funny. Manchester by the Sea is going to make you depressed and wow you with amazing acting skills of Casey Affleck and Michelle Williams. Get that Oscar!
Money Monstershould have been more exciting. Script is kind of boring and never delves into why we should care. Unlike The Big Short, which had Margot Robbie in a bubble bath to help explain boring finance and economics. Andy doesn’t remember Selena Gomez’s name. Adam gives it a forgettable 5/10. Go watch The Big Short and Hail, Caesar! instead.
X-Men: Apocalypse is the third movie in the rebooted X-Men universe. Plays out a little like a Greatest Hits but is still incredibly fun. That Quicksilver scene, though. Apocalypse is a boring villain who’d rather fuss over costumes Tim Gunn style than actually be menacing. Wasted opportunities with great characters and great actors.
This week we review the Best Animated Feature nominated stop motion animated Anamolisa, the Oscar-dominating survival film The Revenant, and Adam talks about what he’s seen at Sundance so far: The Greasy Strangler, Other People, The Lobster, Norman Lear: Another Version of You.
Anamolisa – directed by Charlie Kauffman, produced by Dino Stamatopolous (nee “Starburns”), this should’ve been better. Very overwhelming. Its basic conceit isn’t well-communicated — there’s only two people in the world, the main character and everyone else, who all look and sound the same. . . .until he meets Lisa, who is an anomoly (Anaomolisa… get it?) Too trite, navel-gazing and precious for its own good. Technically amazing. Puppet sex! But better in Team America? Andy gives it 6/10, Adam gives it 5/10.
The Revenant – Iñárritu strikes gold again. DiCaprio’s acting. That bear attack, tho. The atmosphere of the film will make you feel cold. Andy really liked it but was nitpicking and thought it was a little overhyped: 7.5/10. Adam thinks it was awesome and it’s in his top 10: 9/10.
Sundance movies! The worst: Greasy Strangler – no, you are NOT John Waters. The best: Other People. Will make you laugh and cry. Jesse Plemons and Molly Shannon are both amazing. The Lobster and Norman Lear: Another Version of You (documentary) – also very good!
Macbeth is bloody, violent, dirty, sexy, and altogether not Macbeth. The performances are good, but they tried to change this so much and focus on big overt things like battles, it just didn’t gel and didn’t “get” the source material. Andy gives it 4/10.
In the Heart of the Sea has the same problems. Why make this movie when you could’ve just made a great Moby Dick movie? There’s no excuse for this to be as boring and padded as it is. Andy gives it also a 4/10.
Return of the Jedi is not just the movie we grew up with, but it’s a movie that grows up with you. Changes in the Special Editions. “No!” Grey Jedi. Star Wars comics. Klaatu Barada Nikto.
Krampus – If the idea is appealing to you of an evil cloven-hoofed Santa demon punishing a family of sociopaths who are like The Griswolds^10, then you might like this movie. Andy gives it 5/10.
Trumbo – Hollywood’s best writer gets blacklisted, starts writing under other names. The Blacklist and why it was so terrible. The actors in this. Louis CK. Joan Allen. John Goodman. Helen Mirren, Alan Tudyk. ALL amazing. And Bryan Cranston is beyond phenomenal. Andy gives this a 9/10.
The Empire Strikes Back – Andy thinks this is the greatest movie of all time. Adam thinks it’s up there, and it’s the best Star Wars movie. An even weirder movie than Star Wars– it plays backwards. John Williams. Boba Fett. A strange birdwalk about Ewan Macgregor and Michael Fassbender and their. . . ahhem. . . Han Solo and the Princess. That Carbon Freeze sequence tho. Willrow Hood!!! Oh, and Lando, I guess.
This week we review The 33, My All-American, and Love theCoopers. They’re. . .moving pictures! (Barely)Content warning: This episode may contain graphic descriptions of a horrible Christmas movie and includes Christmas music. . . luckily all by Stephen Colbert. Also, if you hate the Texas Longhorns football team. . .or coal mining. . . you have been warned.
My All-American – Plays more like a made-for-tv movie they would show to people to try to recruit them to come to the University of Texas football program. From the writer of Rudy and Hoosiers, so you can guess where this is going. Andy re-enacts the opening scene featuring a doe-eyed reporter from The Daily Texan student newspaper and old coach Aaron Eckhardt in old man makeup. We hate to call your life a cliche, Freddie Steinmark, but. . . Still, not terrible. Just not great. 4/10.
The 33 – True story of the Chilean miners trapped below ground. Should’ve been more heroic, but was mostly just boring. There’s still a few good things in here. 5/10
We don’t have any recommendations, except to go back and listen to last week’s episode. Because James Bond.
Beasts of No Nation – released in theaters and on Netflix the same day, this is a story about child soldiers in Africa starring Idris Elba. Go check it out in a local cinema if you want to cry in a theater, or on Netflix if you want to cry at home. Andy gives it 6.5/10
Goosebumps – Based on the books, this is almost more fun for adults than the kids, it includes all the monsters and stories we love and remember. Jack Black is even restrained! Adam has a more full review here and gives it 8/10
Crimson Peak – Sooooooo cool to look at! Absolutely gorgeous. And then it gets Game of Thrones-y. Andy’s full review is here, he gave it a 8.5/10, and Adam gave it 9/10.
Pan – a bad prequel that doesn’t do what a prequel is supposed to do. Pan doesn’t even get his powers until the last five minutes. Why are the pirates singing Nirvana? Why is Rooney Mara a native princess? This was five different movies cobbled together and it gives you whiplash. Andy gives it 4/10 and a more full review here.
99 Homes – Andrew Garfield and Michael Shannon act the hell out of this movie, but it’s not quite Spider-Man vs General Zod. It’s better. It’s a little date, but all the performances more than make up for it. Andy gives it 6/10, Adam gives it 8/10 and you can read more here.
Recommendations: This week’s theme is Aliens!!!
Andy – Attack the Block – go watch John Boyega protect his London block from weird glowy-teethy alien monsters. Funny and scary!
Adam – They Live – Mostly we just talk about all the things that ripped off They Live for the last 30 years. Duke Nukem, Devil May Cry, South Park, Futurama . . .
Go vote for this week’s theme: Disney vs. Comedies!
Max – 2.5/10 – The weirdest, worst afterschool special ever. The good? A boy and his dog. Robbie Ammell fighting in Afghanistan. Lauren Graham. The bad? Thomas Haden Church’s wooden acting. The ridiculous plot about the gun smuggling. Andy’s longer review here.
Me, Earl and the Dying Girl – 8/10 – Won ALL THE AWARDS! at Sundance. Lots of great stuff in here for cinephiles. Not a typical love story, but very touching and smart.
The Overnight – 6/10 – Lots of fake dong. This movie is the Venn Diagram of Funny + Awkward. Duplass Brothers executive produced– makes sense. Andy’s “longer” review (or is it a prosthetic?) here.
Ted 2 – Adam: 3/10; Andy: 5/10 – Seth Macfarlane is just ripping off his own jokes. Ted was funny. Ted 2 is not. Some funny nerd humor and easter eggs, but it felt a little mean-spirited. Seth Macfarlane can’t do smart political/ethical satire necessary to carry this plot.
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