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The Boss (2016)
The Boss (2016)
2016 | Comedy
5.7 (10 Ratings)
Movie Rating
Where's the comedy?
Melissa McCarthy is one of the biggest stars in Hollywood. Her rise to fame has been nothing short of extraordinary, helped in part by her leading roles in The Heat, Spy and of course the hilarious Bridesmaids.

However, each of those examples of comedic brilliance had one thing in common, apart from McCarthy, director Paul Feig. He brings out the very best in the actress and we’ll see if this formula continues to work with the controversial Ghostbusters reboot, released later this year.

For now, McCarthy teams up with director and real-life husband Ben Falcone (Tammy) in The Boss. But does it offer you a laugh a minute?

The Boss follows the fall from grace of Michelle Darnell (McCarthy), one of America’s wealthiest women, and her efforts to get back on top. Her plan? To start a cake-making empire. Alongside her for the ride is long-suffering assistant Claire (Kristen Bell). Side roles are reserved for Game of Thrones star Peter Dinklage as Michelle’s rival and Kathy Bates as her mentor.

Unfortunately, the biggest problem The Boss has is one that blights many films nowadays; the best bits have already been shown in the trailer. For an action adventure, this is disappointing, but for a comedy, it’s silver-screen suicide. Having laughed in the pre-release clips already, the rest of the film is as barren as the Sahara when it comes to raising a titter.

That’s a real shame as the film’s plot, whilst hardly ground-breaking, is fundamentally solid and the acting is, Dinklage’s hammy performance aside, decent. McCarthy in particular takes a poor script and injects some much-needed spice into it – a testament to her incredible talents as a comedienne. Bell is on-point and bounces off McCarthy’s presence very well while Kathy Bates provides the film with one of its more memorable scenes, albeit one already used in the trailer.

There’s also a well-choreographed bust-up between two groups of teenage girls that manages to raise a chuckle, but again the majority of it was added to the most recent trailer.

Overall, The Boss is McCarthy’s second true turkey with Tammy being the first, but there’s no blame to be placed on her shoulders here. Michelle Darnell is a cracking character, despite her striking resemblance to Rita from Coronation Street, and is one that deserves far better than a film that’s light on laughs and has to rest on the laurels of its lead star – now that’s just lazy.

Perhaps the next time her husband asks her to star in one of his comedies, she should really, really think about it first.
Dirty Grandpa (2016)
Dirty Grandpa (2016)
2016 | Comedy
6.1 (7 Ratings)
Movie Rating
Dirty De Niro
It’s hard to imagine an acting career that has continuously impressed as much as that of Robert De Niro. The two-time Academy Award-winner has also racked up an incredible five further nominations at the Oscars, cementing him as a Hollywood great.

However, over the last few years, this acting veteran has spiralled into rather dangerous territory. Taking on thankless role after thankless role with terrible romantic comedies, his filmography makes for grim reading these days.

His latest movie sees him star alongside the hunky Zac Efron in Dirty Grandpa, a gross-out comedy following the pair on a road trip from Atlanta to Florida, but does it do enough to restore some sheen to De Niro’s CV?

De Niro stars as Richard ‘Dick’ Kelly, an army veteran mourning the loss of his late wife. To ease his grief, he and his uptight lawyer grandson Jason (Efron) take a trip together as a way of catching up. Though for Dick, there’s more than scenery on his mind.

I’ll get this off my chest before we go any further. The script is absolutely atrocious and one of the worst I have ever come across in the genre, and Dan Mazer’s inconsistent direction only highlights these major flaws.

Both Efron and De Niro look uncomfortable with the overly offensive dialogue that targets homosexuals and ethnic minorities just to try and raise a laugh. This is comedy at its laziest and Dirty Grandpa is more than happy to admit that to you – it’s definitely not ashamed of what it is.

Nevertheless, it’s such a shame to see a former Oscar winner taking on the role of a borderline perverted grandparent. The constant leering at college girls and the cringe-worthy talk of sex just don’t sit well with those who know of De Niro’s once unrivalled talent and this is why he feels sorely miscast.

Efron too starts off incredibly poorly. As the uptight lawyer, he spouts legalese that you know he doesn’t truly understand, though once he starts to unwind we see him at his best. The actor knows that he works well in films where he can use his cracking smile and body to full effect and it’s certainly out in force here.

Elsewhere, a supporting cast that includes Parks and Recreation’s Aubrey Plaza fares much better with Plaza being the film’s standout character. Her sex-obsessed Lenore is actually very funny indeed and provides Dirty Grandpa with what it sorely needs – genuine comedy.

Unfortunately, despite a few laughs, the film tries too hard with the tired old clichés. From fart jokes to racism and sexism, it’s all there – all the while unaware it’s adding another nail in the coffin of Robert De Niro’s acting career.

Emma @ The Movies (1440 KP) rated The Hustle (2019) in Movies

Jun 22, 2019 (Updated Sep 25, 2019)  
The Hustle (2019)
The Hustle (2019)
2019 | Comedy
I love Anne Hathaway. I love Rebel Wilson. I love Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. I did not love this.

Penny is a small-time con artist who decides to head to Europe to change things up a bit. Josephine is at the top of the con artist charts and is living very comfortably in Europe making a mint off the wealthy gentlemen who cross her path. When Penny stumbles onto her train she realises that the crass American could bring too much attention so she sets about sabotaging her plans. Penny is more resourceful than she seems though and soon makes her way back into Josephine's life.

I did laugh at a couple of points, but it really wasn't the bright and bubbly comedy I'd been hoping for. There are some definite hangovers that they've kept in that stick out in a modern film. The opening titles and some of the music are very reminiscent of older comedic movies and honestly seemed like a bad choice. You're remaking something, go the whole hog or don't bother.

Hathaway & Wilson do work well together as a comedy duo. The training montage was quite possibly the best bit and I enjoyed the teacher/student dynamic that they had. Beyond this though the film seemed to lack genuine comedy and instead relied on pratfalls. I don't know if it's just that it doesn't feel right that these two were doing this humour or that this humour doesn't have the same standing in films as it used to, but it left me disappointed.

Anne Hathaway is a stunning trickster with the accent of a stereotypical aristocrat. Listening to that in the trailers annoyed me, the film was no better. Admittedly it does change throughout to accommodate the con but it rears it's ugly head enough times to make you remember it.

Rebel Wilson was... Rebel Wilson, I'm not sure she had any other setting, and I don't think that matters for this. It's the perfect part for her and she actually does get some moments of seriousness to deal with. I think this was the perfect bit of casting.

I wish I could remember Dirty Rotten Scoundrels to see how much they kept but it has been a very long time since I watched it. Even without that memory I can tell you it isn't a fitting tribute to it, or to the genre sadly.

What you should do

At some point it'll stream and if there's nothing else to do it might be worth watching. I'm not sure you need to go out of your way to find it.

Movie thing you wish you could take home

I'll take some of the poise and agility that Josephine has, please and thank you.
Cold Pursuit (2019)
Cold Pursuit (2019)
2019 | Action, Drama, Thriller
Doesn't Quite Succeed In What It Was Attempting To Do
Liam Neeson has stated that COLD PURSUIT is going to be his last action film. And, if that is the case, he certainly picked an interesting one to go out on.

Based on the Norwegian film KRAFTIDIOTEN and Directed by the same person (Hans Peter Moland), COLD PURSUIT follows snowplow driver Nels Coxman (Neeson) who's son dies of a drug overdose. It's not long before Coxman uses his "certain set of skills" to settle the score.

And that is how this movie was marketed (taking advantage of Neeson's past 10 years of action hero status) and that is too bad for those who are going into this film expecting a "standard Neeson kick butt revenge action flick) are going to be disappointed, for Cold Pursuit has parts of that, but it also has an element to it that is going to take some getting used to - it's "Norwegian sense of humor".

To say this film is a "Dark Comedy" does not do it justice, for the comedy in this film (and there IS comedy) is so rooted in the violence and action of the proceedings that, at first, the audience does not know how to react to it. By the end, it is clear that this is a comedy - and I wished that it would have worn it's comedic elements just a little more on it's sleeve. But then, I guess, I would be missing the point of what makes up the "Norwegian sense of humor" - oddity and subtlety. And this film IS odd from the setting (a remote ski resort village outside of Denver) to the warring drug gangs (city thugs vs. Native Americans) to the lazy Sherriff and laid back townspeople to Coxman's hippy, drug addled wife (Laura Dern). It is an odd assortment of people and circumstances, but not quite as add as...say...Twin Peaks.

And that's what hurts it. It IS a subtle film with subtle humor and subtle quirks, but (at times) is TOO subtle for an American audience that is used to being hit over the head with themes and quirks and violence.

One who is NOT subtle in this film is Neeson as Coxman. He brings the rugged, dependable man of action that one has come to expect during his action-hero phase. Also not subtle (not by a long-shot) is Tom Bateman as the main bad guy, Viking (they all have nicknames) who telegraphs that he is a bad guy by being over-the-top, doing everything but kicking a puppy and twirling his mustache.

Domenick Lombardozzi as Mustang (one of Vikings' henchmen) and Tom Jackson as White Bull (leader of the Native American clan) find the right line between subtlety and over-acting and ground this film (for the most part). The rest of the cast (including John Doman and Emmy Rossum as the town Sheriffs) flit through this film, uneventfully and uninterestingly, neither adding nor detracting from the events. Only William Forsythe, as Neeson's shady brother and Elizabeth Thais (as his wife Anne) manage to rise above things in the limited amount of screen time they are given. And, finally, Laura Dern is wasted in an underwritten - and under-performed - role of Neeson's wife.

I can hear Director Moland screaming to his cast "Less, less...give me more...More...MORE!!!" and the result is an uneven film that is underplayed too much in some ways and overplayed WAY too much in others. And this is too bad, for he had an interesting concept going, he just didn't execute it (at least not with this group of performers) very well. I'll be interested in seeing the original Norwegian film, KRAFTIDIOTEN, to see if it worked there.

Letter Grade: B- (for I applaud what it was trying to do)

6 stars (out of 10) and you can take that to the Bank(ofMarquis)
Father Figures (2018)
Father Figures (2018)
2018 | Comedy
Expectations, all of us have them and occasionally our expectations live up to exactly as we assume they will; other times, we are wrong. The movie Father Figures, a comedy film directed by Lawrence Sher and written by Justin Malen is not only about two brothers searching for their biological father, but the journey and the expectations that go along with the journey.

Peter Reynolds (Ed Helms) is a man who is disenchanted with his life. He’s a doctor who’s still struggling with his divorce from three years ago, and the prospects of connecting with a son who wants nothing to do with him. His fraternal twin brother Kyle, on the other hand, has the picture-perfect life. Wealthy for being nothing more than a surf bum on the beach and being at the right place at the right time; with a new baby on the way with his long-term (6 month) relationship.

An unlikely event opens Peter’s eyes to the life he has known; a life where the father he believed to be his died of colon cancer, which dictated his career and life choices. The event exposed the lies that their mother had told them and the man they believed to be their father all along, never was.

The realization sends the two brothers on a mission to discover who their real father is, and also discover a bit about themselves along the way. Their journey of discovery will take them from Florida to Massachusetts, and several places in-between. All of this, with of hopes of unraveling the mystery of who their real father is and what role, if any, he could fill in their existing lives.

Ed Helms, portrays his character brilliantly. A man who is kind, good-hearted and responsible. The one who even with all his good intentions, never feels like he is able to get ahead. Owen Wilson plays what I feel is one of his best roles to date, as the ying to Ed Helms yang, the happy-go-lucky, never have a care in the world character. The two have a chemistry on the screen that draws you into their personal struggles with lots of laughter along the way.

The cast of “fathers”, are all brilliantly portrayed, whether it’s Terry Bradshaw portraying himself; J. K. Simons, as the lovable “jerk”; and the always talented Christopher Walken as the family veterinarian Dr. Walter Tinkler. Glenn Close does an absolutely amazing performance as the brother’s mother Helen Baxter.

There are plenty of laughs to be had through the movie, but it’s the amount of heart that the movie shows that really drew me in. As I spoke in the beginning, about expectations, I myself had expectations that the movie would be just another slap-stick comedy, with the characters getting into one hilarious situation after another. While this certainly did happen (it is still a comedy after-all), none of the bits seemed outrageous or done for the sake of shock value. As with most movies that fall into this genre, there are scenes which some may feel provided nothing to the story, and were there simply for adolescent humor or to justify the R rating, but none of these detracted from the film as a whole. I didn’t expect to come out of this movie not only quoting some of the very memorable lines, but also reflecting on where their journey began and where it ended.

Father Figures is much more than a simple comedy, and it’s far more than simply a “who’s your daddy” adventure. It’s a movie about self-discovery and more importantly, the journey to get you there. The folks at Warner Bros. Pictures should be commended on not only the casting of the roles, but for producing a story they can be proud of.
The Night Sitter (2019)
The Night Sitter (2019)
2019 |
4.0 (2 Ratings)
Movie Rating
Story: The Night Sitter starts when a con-artist Amber (Dufour) poses as a babysitter for her latest job, she finds a wealthy occult enthusiast child Kevin (Champion) to babysit for the night, along with his father’s new girlfriend son Ronnie (Campbell).

With Amber setting up her plan with her partners in crime Rod (Rivers), Lindsey (Neukum) and her over-protective stalker who thinks he is her boyfriend Martin (Larmore), the boys enter the relic room and unwittingly release three witches upon the household.


Thoughts on The Night Sitter


Characters – Amber is a con-artist that poses as a babysitter for her latest job, she has the experience to trick the adult into believing she is qualified for the job and keeps the kids occupied enough to prepare for her robbery. She remains calm however many obstacles get thrown in her way including her partner bring his girlfriend, her stalker boyfriend and obsessed man from across the road. Kevin is the son from the house, he isn’t willing to get overly involved in searching around the house, he doesn’t want to be friends with Ronnie and spends time trying to prove the witches are real. Rod is the criminal partner, he brings his girlfriend on the latest job which shows him being a slacker when it comes to the jobs. Lindsey is the girlfriend of Rod’s she comes dressed like a cat burglar getting into the role of criminal thief, willing to get involved in everything going on.

Performances – Elyse Dufour in the leading role is the strongest of the cast, she shows the calm required while keeping her character in control through the night. Jack Champion is the young actor playing one of the children, he brings the nervous innocence needed for this film. Jermain Rivers does get a lot of the comedy to do with his character being the dumb one in the criminal act. Each actor does give their character enough to be a standout.

Story – The story here follows a con-artist working on her latest job which turns into a nightmare when three witches are released into the house searching for their latest victims. This is a story with plenty going on, in other films this hasn’t worked, for this one it does, the kids are troublesome like you would imagine, the criminal characters bring the laughs, which has moments that feel like we are watching the Home Alone thieves and once we add the witches into the mix, everything ties together effortlessly. If you have seen Annabelle Comes Home, you can see certain similarities, though this movie was made first before anyone thinks I am calling it a copy, having the household needing to deal with hauntings from a secret room, shows that this could be compared.

Comedy/Horror – The comedy in the film comes from criminals for the most part, with them not having everything going to plan, the horror comes from witches that have started to haunt the members of the household for the night.

Settings – The film is set in the one location of the house that has the occult material inside, they become trapped which plays into the idea of what the horror is coming for them.

Special Effects – The effects in the film are great, we get to see the blood covered moments that the witches put on their victims.

Scene of the Movie – Heading down to the basement.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Martin the character, mostly because he changes through the whole film, starting nervous, turning into the ass by the end.

Final Thoughts – This is a fun horror comedy that will get a couple of laughs, while giving us the blood needing for the witches getting the blood needed.


Overall: Three Witches, One Solution, Enjoy.
Get Smart (2008)
Get Smart (2008)
2008 | Action, Comedy
6.1 (10 Ratings)
Movie Rating
In the post Cold-War era the focus on national security has changed from focusing on Eastern Block adversaries to terror cells and state sponsored terrorism. For the agents of the ultra secret agency Control, the demise of their arch nemesis KAOS was the signal that they had ceased to be important in the world of today and had shut down when in truth they just went further into a cloak of secrecy and continued their mission.
In the new movie “Get Smart” audiences are given a new interpretation of the classic Mel Brooks/Buck Henry series that started Don Adams and Barbra Feldon as a pair of secret agents tasked with saving the world.
This time out Steve Carell and Anne Hathaway star Maxwell Smart and Agent 99 as they are forced to work with one another following a devastating attack on Control headquarters which results in the exposure of their operatives worldwide.
With no agents having the required anonymity needed to perform covert missions, the Chief of Control (Alan Arkin), is forced to promote eager intelligence analyst Smart to the ranks of field agent and pairs him with Agent 99 who is still able to maintain her guise thanks to some prep work she had done for a prior assignment.
To say that 99 is not thrilled to be paired with Smart would be an understatement, as she sees the eager Smart to be an unproven liability and one that would likely cause the failure of the mission and kill both of them.
Since the ultra suave Agent 23 (Dwayne Johnson), is unable to work in the field, Smart and Agent 99 are forced to work with one another as they head off to Russia to get to the bottom of the weapons threat and hopefully follow the trail to the ultimate threat, Siegfried (Terrance Stamp), who is the brains behind an all new wave of terror that only Agent 99 and Smart can stop.
The film starts out slowly, but eventually finds its rhythm and does a decent job of blending comedy and action. Hathaway and Carell do a great job with the material as both roles require a degree of physicality that they have not shown in previous works.
The laughs on the film are constant, but they are off the more dumb humor comedy as nobody will mistake this film as a piece of high comedy. Which is not to say this is a bad thing as Carell is very likeable as Smart and while he portrays the character differently than did the late Don Adams; he maintains the goofy competence that his character requires as despite being a goofball, he does get the job done in the end.
The fine supporting work by Arkin and Johnson as well as a good amount of cameos lead to the fun of the film.
It is important to note that this is not a retelling of the original series that ran from 1965-1970 but a completely new interpretation of the series which has been updated to reflect the modern setting yet contains plenty of winks to the show that inspired it.
While many of the series catch phrases seem out of place in the film, I found myself enjoying the new film despite being a fan of the original series.
Some have leveled criticism that the film has traded locker room humor, stupid comedy, and FX for the wit and inventiveness that made the original series so popular.
I found myself enjoying the new version of the film and enjoyed the performances of the characters and while not side splittingly funny, there were more than enough chuckles along the way to keep me entertained.
Here is hoping 86 and 99 will be back on the big screen for future missions.
Swingers (1996)
Swingers (1996)
1996 | Comedy, Drama
Verdict: Reality Check Comedy

Story: Swingers starts when two friends Trent (Vaughn) and Mike (Favreau) head from LA to Las Vegas for a night to try and help Mike shake off his breakup with his girlfriend. Trent does have a way with women, which he is trying to teach Mike for their return to LA. Joined with Rob (Livingston) the three struggling actors talk shop about how they haven’t gotten their big break yet.
We continue to follow the friends around the town as they try to help Mike rebound from his breakup, pushing him to take risks, despite the group of aspiring actors just going through the same routine, not partying till late and Mike wanting to get back together with his ex.

Thoughts on Swingers

Characters – Mike is one of the aspiring actors, he has had the most gigs of the rest of the friends, he is struggling with a break up which has been holding him back for 6 months and now, the friends are trying to help him break out of his shell, as he always ends up getting nervous about everything whenever he is put on the spot. Trent is the confident ladies man, he is always trying to teach Mike about how to pick up women, showing his confidence through any chatting up situation. Rob is the friend that followed Mike, he looks up to him and wants to follow in his footsteps despite the constant job rejections. Sue is another one of the group, he has a different attitude which could see them getting into trouble. Between the three of them of the friends they all want to help Mike in their own way.
Performances – Jon Favreau as the down on his luck actor is great to watch in this role, he makes us understand why he feels life isn’t going his way. Vince Vaughn brings all the energy to his role, showing that he was always going to be great to watch in the fast-talking roles. Ron Livingston bring gravity to his role, showing a man with his feet on the ground, while Patrick Van Horn brings a mix of the three while not knowing his own motivation.
Story – The story here follows four struggling actors as they look for women every night which sees them trying to help one of them get over their blues of a breakup, each has their own style which they try to imprint on the others. This story mixes up the styles of helping a friend with a breakup and highlights how difficult it is to make it as an actor in Hollywood. We might spend a lot of time just watching the guys party, which is mean to highlight their struggles and watching them all give advice to Mike shows that friends will always be there for you, but you will need to make the biggest step in changing your future.
Comedy – The comedy in the film comes from the mishaps that happen to the guys on their adventures through the night showing how not every plan is as well exercised as the next.
Settings – The film is mostly set in LA, it shows the bars that people would go to hoping for a late night party, the ones that only the locals would truly know about.

Scene of the Movie – The awkward phone, mainly because it is and can be so real for people.
That Moment That Annoyed Me – It doesn’t show any of their acting lives.
Final Thoughts – This is a comedy that shows the struggles being an actor really are, while also trying to highlight the party lifestyle people in LA like.

Overall: Strong Look at Hollywood Lifestyle.
Hustlers (2019)
Hustlers (2019)
2019 | Drama
Verdict: Stylish Crime Story

Story: Hustlers starts as we follow a young stripper Destiny (Wu) who is working to make sure her Grandmother (Ho0 is supported, she sees the more successful dancers in the club as she is trying to find her own place in the club, looking up to the most popular dancer Ramona (Lopez).
Ramona takes Destiny under her wing to teacher her more techniques, which should give her a chance to get more money, let alone showing her about the extra tricks she has been working on for years, getting the credit cards and taking their money, showing the money flying in, taking advantage of the Wall Street clients.

Thoughts on Hustlers

Characters – Destiny is the young woman who just wants to make enough money in her life for her Grandmother who has always supported her. She has a job as a stripper which sees her start small before learning how to bring in the big money, while her life might not go to plan after she has a kid, she returns to the life as a dancer which sees her take advantage of the wall street bankers. Ramona is the experience dancer, she gets most of the attention in the club and takes Destiny under her wing in a mentor role, they have one brilliant year before things change. Once they are out the club, she leads a bigger scheme which takes thousands from the clients bringing the girls together. Elizabeth is a journalist hearing the story from Destiny about what happened with the women, she wants to hear everything to see whether they knew and thought what they did was right. We do meet plenty of the fellow girls that joined in the plan, each has different motivations and different skill levels to be part of it.
Performances – Constance Wu in the leading role is wonderful and such a big change from last years Crazy Rich Asians, proving herself as an actress that can play both sides of the acting range. Jennifer Lopez shines as the confident seductive dancer, she looks the part with ease and steals every scene she is in. Julia Stiles brings the calm reporter that is asking most of the questions that we would be asking. The rest of the cast including the dancers do a great job too.
Story – The story here follows two strippers that start their own business where they look to make massive amounts of money by drugging wall street banks and using their cards to fill their financial needs. The story here shows how the plan starts off small, but soon leads to them going for bigger scores which leads to them taking bigger risks which they didn’t need to be getting involved in. while this is based on a true story, it does show that there wasn’t much of a punishment for the women either. The mentor friendship between Destiny and Ramona is great to see as we can see how they both need each other to get through the problems they might the facing.
Comedy/Crime – The crime side of the film mixes with the comedy which shows how the women were getting away with the crime for so long without being caught in the middle of being a full-blown comedy.
Settings – The film is set in New York which shows where the targets will have too much money for their own good, which makes them an easy target.

Scene of the Movie – The bad party.
That Moment That Annoyed Me – The time jump does take away something from the story.
Final Thoughts – This is a fun crime comedy that showed how a group of hustlers swindled money out of wall street bankers who would spend anything.

Overall: Fun throughout.
Ghostbusters (2016)
Ghostbusters (2016)
2016 | Action, Comedy, Sci-Fi
A forgettable cash-grab
After months of online back-and-forth vitriol and endless debates about feminism and misogyny, the infamous "Ghostbusters" reboot was finally released, and proved to be mostly forgettable. The lead actresses, Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones, have little chemistry, and director Paul Feig delivers an overall mediocre product. That's really what it is: a product intended to make money for Sony Pictures. Fueled by a marketing campaign in which those who hated the idea of reboot were painted as low-life sexists, it really was a manipulative concept. It's overstuffed with unnecessary scenes and unfunny improv comedy, and it's missing the high stakes that made the original film believable as a fictional narrative. For worthwhile female empowerment in cinema, there are a wealth of better films to choose from, including "Alien", "Kill Bill", or "Wonder Woman". The "Ghostbusters" reboot isn't worth your time.