A Simple Favor (R)

Directed by actor/producer/director/writer, Paul Fieg, based on the best-selling novel by Darcy Bell and Starring Blake Lively (Emily) and Anna Kendrick (Stephanie), A Simple Favor is a crime/drama/mystery wherein a woman’s search to uncover the truth about the disappearance of her best friend leads her down a winding, mysterious and dangerous path.

A Simple Favor starts out really strong and keeps you guessing nearly until the end, because if, like me, you have not read the book or seen a trailer you don’t quite know where the story will go. It was like Single White Female meets Gone Girl meets any of a dozen or so lifetime movies I’ve seen.

What sets A Simple Favor apart is, it is laugh out loud funny at times. I don’t know what the limit on designations is, but /comedy should absolutely have been included. It also has mystery, suspense, plenty of crime and criminals and is packed with Dra-Ma. But it is the comedic moments that makes A Simple Favor special. Shout out to Jessica Sharzer on her first feature length screenplay! Home run!

The two main characters are richly written; well developed and multifaceted. And that Blake Lively wears a masculine suit like a boss! I loved the contrast between the two characters and how the differences in their personalities and styles were not only acted out, but also demonstrated through wardrobe, hair, makeup and set design. (Kudos to those departments!) Lively’s acting chops are on point. She is funny, crazy and frightening, sometimes all at once. Anna Kendrick is perfectly directed as a person trying a little too hard to act like a “regular” person. On the one hand she is this super-sharp, super sleuth, putting together the pieces of this mystery; on the other she is a total social moron, and it is hilarious. The material is funny enough to stand on its own, then Kendrick punches it up into comedy gold.

Since I would never watch a Twilight movie in this lifetime and have never seen any of those Pitch Perfect films (I can’t really say why; just because), I “discovered” Kendrick later in her career (she’s been at it since 2003, steadily since 2007) when I reviewed Mike & Dave Need Wedding Dates (here’s my review). I have to say, she is turning into a favorite for me. And somehow, so too is Blake Lively! (This surprises even me for some reason). Even though she did a good job on Gossip Girl, I couldn’t tell if she could actually act or was simply relying on her pretty (that was the crux of her character), but her acting is getting better and better. She was comfortable and effortless in this role. (Or maybe I’m just still crushing on those clothes…) At any rate, these two did outstanding work and looked like they had great fun while doing it.

The inclusion of the culture of blogging/vlogging is not just some attempt to “modernize” the story by bringing social media into the mix. It is smartly used as a vehicle to move the story along.

The way the bat-shit craziness (there is no better-fitting phrase) of these two women unfolds is nothing short of genius. I laughed for about 5 straight minutes (internally – to myself of course. There were other people in the theater to consider), while I struggled to gain my composure and continue!

I was like, wait a minute… Who the hell are these people!? I know many lovely people, but not one who would allow themselves to be sucked all the way up into a stranger’s life in this way, proclaiming to be “best friends.” I thought, Maybe I’m too “wise” or “street smart” or too “New York.” That one point made it hard for me to believe anything about this movie – until I started writing about it and the lightbulb went off! In the middle of attempting to relay how this one point ruined this movie for me, it all became crystal clear. Believe me when I tell you, this was a veeery different review about an hour ago. Well played Jessica Sharzer… Well. Played.

A Simple Favor earned 8.5 out of 10 bloops. Is it perfect? Nah! It meanders in some spots. But aside from that, it is a great movie that is a lot of fun and shouldn’t be missed, if only for Blake Lively’s fabulous wardrobe! Just kidding. The tale is well executed, entertaining, super cute and funny. It made me want to read the book and after reading this article I’m certain I will get around to it one day very soon.

Thank you for reading. You can scroll down, enter your email address to subscribe to bloopbymimi, and never miss a review or follow me on twitter @bloopbymimi1 

Bloops:

1   =   worst ever, avoid at all cost
2   =   very bad, forget about it!
3   =   poor movie, not recommended
4   =   not good, even for free – NO!
5   =   so-so, worth it if you don’t have to pay
6   =   not bad, could have been better
7   =   good movie, worth seeing
8   =   great movie, don’t miss it!
9   =   excellent movie, a must see!
10 =   a masterpiece, go see it now!

What I’m seeing/reviewing next…

Thankfully, there’s nothing coming out this week I feel I need to rush and see so I’ll be doing some catching up.

Assassination Nation – saw it already and honestly, I won’t know what I think about this movie until I write it out. It’s purposefully unfocused, bazaar and aggressive but I’m not sure if it’s all purposeful, so I have to give that some thought.
The House with the Clock In Its Walls – saw it last night. Review up soon.
Colette – have no idea what it’s about. Just that Keira Knightly is in it and I’m there.
Life Itself – seeing this tonight and I cannot wait.

Other Reviews

The Predator
BlackkKlansman
Support the Girls
Peppermint
Christopher Robin
Crazy Rich Asians
The Happytime Murders
RBG
Won’t You Be My Neighbor
Sorry to Bother You
Superfly
Hereditary
Book Club
Avengers: Infinity War
You Were Never Really Here
Rampage
A Quiet Place
Ready Player One
A Wrinkle in Time
Lady Bird
I, Tonya
The Florida Project
Black Panther
Molly’s Game
The Post
Phantom Thread
Den of Thieves
All the Money in the World
Coco
The Greatest Showman
The Disaster Artist
Call Me By Your Name
Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri
The Shape of Water
Marshall
The Man Who Invented Christmas
Victoria and Abdul
Thor: Ragnarok
Kingsman: The Golden Circle
Mother!
It
Good Time
Atomic Blonde
Dunkirk
Girls Trip
Spider-Man: Homecoming
The Big Sick
Baby Driver
All Eyez on Me 
It Comes at Night 
The Wedding Plan 
Wonder Woman
Everything, everything
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
Raw
Kong: Skull Island
Logan
The Girl with All the Gifts
A Cure for Wellness 
Get Out
Hidden Figures
Fences
Moonlight
Hell or High Water
Loving
La La Land
Lion
Manchester by the Sea
Arrival
Hacksaw Ridge
Nocturnal Animals
Captain Fantastic
Elle
Jackie
I Am Not Your Negro
The Lobster

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The Predator (R)

Co-written and directed by Shane Black and starring Boyd Holbrook, The Predator tells the story of how a young, autistic boy unknowingly triggers the deadliest hunters in the universe to return to Earth. Upon their return it is up to the kid, a motley crew of discarded soldiers which includes his father and a biologist to prevent the extinction of mankind.

As a matter of full disclosure, Predator (1987) is one of my favorite franchises, of the very few franchises that I care for. Nothing will compare to the first installation, specifically about 45 minutes in, when Bill Duke’s character triggers the entire crew to clear a glade in the jungle with artillery. That scene is one of my all-time favorite movie scenes, ever. I have been anticipating this movie for two entire years (plus a little over three months. I remember because I mentioned it when I reviewed The Nice Guys (2016) (my review in the link) which Black also co-wrote) so it was difficult to clear out all my expectations, but I did it! When I sat down I was clear, ready to take in whatever was presented. And it paid off.

This movie is like Predator (1987) meets The Breakfast Club, (1985) meets Home Alone (1990), meets Jurassic Park (1993), meets It (2017) (my review in the link), meets The Shape of Water (2017) (my review in the link), meets youjustaboutnameit. Black and his co-writer, Fred Dekker, are old college roommates, and it shows. Most of the jokes are quite juvenile and some are just unfunny. You know how it is when you and your goofball friend get together and there is no one to check the two of you on your silliness. That seems to be what happened here.

The Predator is crazy good fun! It is infused with some humor, tension, action and more. I found the two ridiculous things that take place out of absolutely nowhere (you will know exactly what I’m talking about when they occur, and if you’ve already seen the movie, you already know) hilarious, along with the endless supply of smokes, the comeuppance of several bullies and this silly broad (That’s right, I called her a silly broad because that’s what I mean.) chasing after a space creature in the name of science as if she weren’t in jeopardy of being torn to literal shreds by it.

The making of the film was problematic and it showed in the final cut. Edward James Olmos shot about a half an hour of scenes which were cut in the end to keep the running time at the standard Predator cap of about an hour and 47 minutes, or so. Then the entire third act was reshot from daytime to night time. This explains a lot, from spontaneous occurrences to unsmooth editing, etc. But because the story is so full of silliness, I forgive it. The movie reflects the comedy of errors that occurred during its production. I mean, after you’re given an $88 million dollar budget and make a bunch of mistakes, what is one to do?  Black had to figure out how to make it work the best he could and while I don’t believe he did a terrible job, he certainly should have done better; particularly as someone who is far from an amateur.

This is a goofy, campy take on Predator and I don’t mind because The Predator doesn’t take itself too seriously. It allows itself to be deeply ludicrous and over the top without making you want to walk out in disgust (At least I didn’t want to. I would never try to speak for you). The acting is what it is for a movie that is what it is. Halbrook has all the swag and arrogance of Mel Gibson in Lethal Weapon (1987), so the movie has this “throw-back” sort of feel to it. Alton K. Sterling went all out with his role and seemed to have a good time with it. I must say, even though I laughed (it felt so organic and unscripted it caught me off guard), I don’t approve of the use of The N Word here and have thought of a way to make that line funnier without it quite easily; but such is The Predator in all its shiny ridiculousness.

No need to go on about it because like any other movie, you need to see it to judge for yourself, of course. The Predator earned 6.5 out of 10 bloops. It’s not bad, but could have been better – and I certainly will not sit here and tell you it’s good because what I saw up on that screen isn’t good by any measure of the word in regard to film making. I cannot say whether I am being harsh or generous because of my love for the franchise, but even with my soft spot for Predator, I gotta be honest with you. That being said, the action, visual and special effects and the set design make it worth at least one watch on the big screen. It’s a sometimes funny, fun but silly romp and if you clear your mind of all expectation (and forgive a whole lot of technical errors, some hammy acting and dialogue here and there, some juvenile humor and if you love Predator) I think you’ll be able to watch and enjoy. (That last sentence helped me figure out the answer! I am absolutely being generous.)

Thank you for reading. You can scroll down, enter your email address to subscribe to bloopbymimi, and never miss a review or follow me on twitter @bloopbymimi1 

Bloops:

1   =   worst ever, avoid at all cost
2   =   very bad, forget about it!
3   =   poor movie, not recommended
4   =   not good, even for free – NO!
5   =   so-so, worth it if you don’t have to pay
6   =   not bad, could have been better
7   =   good movie, worth seeing
8   =   great movie, don’t miss it!
9   =   excellent movie, a must see!
10 =   a masterpiece, go see it now!

What I’m seeing/reviewing next…

I’ll let you know soon.

Other Reviews

BlackkKlansman
Support the Girls
Peppermint
Christopher Robin
Crazy Rich Asians
The Happytime Murders
RBG
Won’t You Be My Neighbor
Sorry to Bother You
Superfly
Hereditary
Book Club
Avengers: Infinity War
You Were Never Really Here
Rampage
A Quiet Place
Ready Player One
A Wrinkle in Time
Lady Bird
I, Tonya
The Florida Project
Black Panther
Molly’s Game
The Post
Phantom Thread
Den of Thieves
All the Money in the World
Coco
The Greatest Showman
The Disaster Artist
Call Me By Your Name
Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri
The Shape of Water
Marshall
The Man Who Invented Christmas
Victoria and Abdul
Thor: Ragnarok
Kingsman: The Golden Circle
Mother!
It
Good Time
Atomic Blonde
Dunkirk
Girls Trip
Spider-Man: Homecoming
The Big Sick
Baby Driver
All Eyez on Me 
It Comes at Night 
The Wedding Plan 
Wonder Woman
Everything, everything
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
Raw
Kong: Skull Island
Logan
The Girl with All the Gifts
A Cure for Wellness 
Get Out
Hidden Figures
Fences
Moonlight
Hell or High Water
Loving
La La Land
Lion
Manchester by the Sea
Arrival
Hacksaw Ridge
Nocturnal Animals
Captain Fantastic
Elle
Jackie
I Am Not Your Negro
The Lobster

BlackkKlansman (R)

Co-written by Lee (along with Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, and Kevin Willmott), BlackkKlansman is sublimely written and has the ability to spark much lively discussion (among enlightened adults who still remember how to have a meaningful discussion without it all descending into childish name calling, deflection and finger pointing). It takes a look at racism throughout American history in a way I’ve never seen done before, to my recollection – demonstrating how racism has evolved and persisted from the time before the slaves were first “freed”/the Civil War/Antebellum South, through Jim Crow, the civil rights movement and beyond; how we haven’t really learned a damn thing in all those years; and how even with all the advances we think we’ve made, we remain stuck on stupid, today. But, this is what makes this film masterful. The boldness and creativity in this writing earns 10 bloops on its own. I enjoyed each story line equally, which is odd because ordinarily I would say this movie tries to be too many things. Not this time. This is how to balance out a story and not have it become a mess.

BlackkKlansman is billed as biography/comedy/crime story, but also contains romance, at least a couple of history lessons, and enough suspense to qualify it as a thriller – things become terrifying as you imagine the many, many ways this entire operation could go wrong. And since it is based on a true story I had never heard about I had no idea where this story would go, which only served to heightening the suspense further.

John David looks more like his mom, but if you close your eyes and listen to him speak, at times you would swear Denzel Washington was in the room. He talks like him, laughs like him somewhat, at times, and has some “Denzel-esque” mannerisms that endeared him to me.  There is some superb acting here. Cory Hawkins as Kwame Ture a/k/a Stokely Carmichael is amazing. His performance is powerful, moving, memorable and worthy of note. Ashlie Atkinson is the breakout star here. She will make you laugh out loud, shake your head, want to cry, and want to kick her square in the ass several times, for a number of reasons – sometimes all at the same time. There are many other notable performances. Go see it and find out for yourself.

While BlackkKlansman is superbly written and well acted, it isn’t without fault. As happy as I am to see Lee in all his directorial glory, and it is his movie to direct as he pleases, I could have done without him putting his personal “Spike Lee stank” on this particular film. I don’t think I’m giving too much away when I say, the club scene got kind of corny and out of step with the rest of the film, as was his signature “Dolly Shot”. (I didn’t care for the dolly shot the first time I saw it, so every one that I have witnessed thereafter has induced and always will induce immediate and severe eye-rolling.) Both scenes took me out of the movie and put me square back into the theater… not in a terrible way; but if neither of those scenes would have happened I wouldn’t have missed them; or had they been directed or written differently – say without the choreographed dance or without that damn dolly shot – I think it would have made for a stronger film. It’s a Spike Lee Joint. We get it.

Also, BlackkKlansman could have been even stronger had it not shown the face of a certain, shall we say, controversial dude who’s in charge of the country right now… I dislike an “obvious” film and understand why he is in the film, but trust me, he isn’t necessary. The audience understood exactly where and to whom things were leading. The audience is provided with all this thought provoking entertainment for two hours and ten minutes only to be fed the conclusion like silly children. In this way, I thought that piece of footage weakened the film.

Also, what would have been perfect is if there was a picture of Ron and his partner and his love interest at the end.  Are they still alive? (I didn’t know when I watched the movie, but I do know at least Ron is alive and well) How much jail time was given? (Was that part of the story even true?) Whatever happened to Ron and his love interest – did they stay together, did they marry, have grandchildren, split up? I personally clapped when I believed the movie was over and no one else did (well, my sister clapped with me, of course). But as I made my way down the stairs to leave the theater everyone else remained seated. I think that closure is what they were waiting for. It’s pretty standard in biographical movies (Queen of Katwe, Deepwater Horizon, Hidden Figures, Lion, Loving, Marshall) (my reviews are in the links if you’d care to read them), and it should have been done here; particularly since so few people have heard this story or ever laid eyes on Ron Stallworth. (*I now understand why this was not done. I leave the paragraph in because featuring Ron with some follow up text would have been sufficient.)

It was my pleasure to see Spike all these years after kicking in the Hollywood door and creating a space for himself still working to shock, provoke, disturb, awaken and educate. Pops, I mean, Spike, has still got it! With BlackkKlansman Spike proves he is still relevant in his “old age”, and still has something important to say.

BlackkKlansman earned 8.5 out of 10 bloops. I wanted to watch it again as soon as the screen darkened and I will probably see it again before it leaves theaters, which almost never happens. The well written, original story, top notch writing, acting, directing, makeup, hair, wardrobe, cinematography, all combined to create something quite special.

***After you see it, NOT BEFORE (I know you will do what you want), read this to find out which parts of and characters in the movie were real/fictional and to explain the * above).

Thank you for reading. You can scroll down, enter your email address to subscribe to bloopbymimi, and never miss a review or follow me on twitter @bloopbymimi1 

Bloops:

1   =   worst ever, avoid at all cost
2   =   very bad, forget about it!
3   =   poor movie, not recommended
4   =   not good, even for free – NO!
5   =   so-so, worth it if you don’t have to pay
6   =   not bad, could have been better
7   =   good movie, worth seeing
8   =   great movie, don’t miss it!
9   =   excellent movie, a must see!
10 =   a masterpiece, go see it now!

What I’m seeing/reviewing next…

I’m kind of out of pace right now. Catching up. Excuse me. I cannot say.

Other Reviews

Support the Girls
Peppermint
Christopher Robin
Crazy Rich Asians
The Happytime Murders
RBG
Won’t You Be My Neighbor
Sorry to Bother You
Superfly
Hereditary
Book Club
Avengers: Infinity War
You Were Never Really Here
Rampage
A Quiet Place
Ready Player One
A Wrinkle in Time
Lady Bird
I, Tonya
The Florida Project
Black Panther
Molly’s Game
The Post
Phantom Thread
Den of Thieves
All the Money in the World
Coco
The Greatest Showman
The Disaster Artist
Call Me By Your Name
Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri
The Shape of Water
Marshall
The Man Who Invented Christmas
Victoria and Abdul
Thor: Ragnarok
Kingsman: The Golden Circle
Mother!
It
Good Time
Atomic Blonde
Dunkirk
Girls Trip
Spider-Man: Homecoming
The Big Sick
Baby Driver
All Eyez on Me 
It Comes at Night 
The Wedding Plan 
Wonder Woman
Everything, everything
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
Raw
Kong: Skull Island
Logan
The Girl with All the Gifts
A Cure for Wellness 
Get Out
Hidden Figures
Fences
Moonlight
Hell or High Water
Loving
La La Land
Lion
Manchester by the Sea
Arrival
Hacksaw Ridge
Nocturnal Animals
Captain Fantastic
Elle
Jackie
I Am Not Your Negro
The Lobster

Support the Girls (R)

Written and directed by Andrew Bujalski and starring Regina Hall, Support the Girls takes us through a trying day in the life of the general manager at Double Whammy’s, a highway-side, Hooter’s-type sports bar. Hall’s optimism about her job and her faith in herself, her employees, her customers, her boss and her husband are rigorously tested.

The script explores the lives of a group of women whom, to my recollection, have never been fully acknowledged in film. Although they’ve been featured in dozens of movies, the waitresses at Hooters and road-side bars like Hooters have never been given a real identity, much less a story. Finally, they are not just window dressing; not “just” “the waitress” in some scene featuring the main characters.  They are waitresses, bartenders, entertainers, mothers, daughters, sisters and friends. They have feelings and problems that they can’t allow to affect the work of creating this silly, American fantasy of the holy union of sports, booze and ta-tas.

We learn who the Hooter’s girl might be. Disadvantaged, undereducated, living in an area where there isn’t a lot of opportunity. The script attempts to examine the reality of what life is like for many working women in this country who are just trying to make the best out of what they have.

The pace of the film is steady as Regina Hall moves the audience from laughter to defeat to anger, to tears and back again, and from scene to scene and setting to setting, during a day that would frustrate the most patient, kind, understanding person you know. She is the therapist, all around problem solver and sounding board to staff, customers, her boss and her man. Just like her employees, she has many problems she has to leave at the door when entering the bar where women are there to create a happy fantasy of a sports/bar experience while dealing with all types of b.s. in the background. How true to life is that?

The supporting cast is quite good. Haley Lu Richardson is a hoot. Shayna McHayle won me over immediately in her debut acting role. Her career is so new there is little-to-no information about her on IMDB (not even a picture), but I did find out she is an MIT graduate who moved from fashion to rapping and is now trying acting, and she has quite the following under the pseudonym Junglep#$$y. (I had to clean up the spelling, but she sure doesn’t Honey. The things I learn writing this blog sometimes…I tell ya!). She is no Viola Davis (Yet. Give her a chance. It’s her first time out.), but McHayle does for Support the Girls what Awkwafina does for Crazy Rich Asians. She gives it enriching flavor.

My issue with Support the Girls is that there is little character development of and less focus on the girls who need this “support”. (The pun of “support the girls, relating girls to breasts is a bit tired on its own.)  So, essentially, while these women are featured in a way they haven’t been before, their stories remain untold, glossed over and/or simplified. Hall could have easily been the manager at a bowling alley or a superstore or a fast food joint and these characters could have remained exactly the same.

Also, not one of these women is taking action to do anything different or better with her life. They all seem pretty content where they are since no one is in a certification program or working on a degree or in a trade school, or doing an apprenticeship. Volunteer work? An internship? Anything?

One character seems to be in a good position to make some sort of change in her life, except she is not the one making the change. Someone else is. And what if that doesn’t work out? Another has a chance at advancement and shuns it in the name of this super “sisterhood.” I know there are people who are comfortable where they are. People who lack confidence in themselves and are afraid of change. But, come on.

I would truly hope that out of a bar full of women, at least one of them would be working toward the day when her hooters may not be the talk of the town any more. Or one who may be senior to the rest and encourage them to aim higher. There could have been one woman who feels the “family” love at the bar, but knows this isn’t going to be her life forever. And all that was needed was one line to convey all of that. The need for a baby sitter could have arisen out of the need to attend a G.E.D. program, a community college course, a training program. That would have satisfied me to know at least one somebody in this movie has made up her mind this is just a temporary stop in her life. Even Hall’s character, who seems more mature, educated, “established,” and she has some job experience she can take somewhere else choses to interview at another bar just like the one she’s at. Not one woman advances in this film. Despite this “sisterhood,” and at times because of it, their lives are all so stagnant. For me, that stagnation put a huge damper on what was supposed to be a comedy.

Oh, and then to top it all off, after writing these characters who seem to have no aspirations, little education, and little more than one another, the movie is actually about the headache it is to manage such women. Do you see how that “pro-women,” “sisterhood” sappiness just got flipped? As usual, it’s all a matter of perspective. Just like opinions and youknowwhats, everybody’s got one.

And don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying Support the Girls had to turn into some feel good, woman triumphs over all her circumstances, let’s all cheer about it, you go girl!-type of movie for me to enjoy it. I just would have appreciated some more depth (which didn’t require much more effort or time being put forth) to the characters and any one of them doing something positive to propel herself forward in life.

Support the Girls earned 5.5 out of 10 bloops. It’s so-so, and perhaps worth it if you don’t have to pay – that is, if you like this type of movie. Think about how dull it might be if someone were to make a movie about a day in your life and you’re not a celebrity or a business tycoon, or some high end chef, or a mogul of some sort, or a rich-whatever. So, yes. The movie is “slow”, but the performances are enjoyable. It was nice to see Hall star in a movie which was driven by her character without a bunch of co-stars for a change. And it felt nice to see new faces and actresses who I haven’t seen a million times in a million other movies. Now I want to see them in better movies. You can catch Support the Girls when it streams. It was in and out of theaters so fast. I saw it Saturday. I don’t believe it was out for a week before I saw it, and it is now gone. 91% Rotten Tomato Score indeed! Somebody’s tomatometer must be broken.

Thank you for reading. You can scroll down, enter your email address to subscribe to bloopbymimi, and never miss a review or follow me on twitter @bloopbymimi1 

Bloops:

1   =   worst ever, avoid at all cost
2   =   very bad, forget about it!
3   =   poor movie, not recommended
4   =   not good, even for free – NO!
5   =   so-so, worth it if you don’t have to pay
6   =   not bad, could have been better
7   =   good movie, worth seeing
8   =   great movie, don’t miss it!
9   =   excellent movie, a must see!
10 =   a masterpiece, go see it now!

What I’m seeing/reviewing next…

I’m kind of out of pace right now. Catching up. Excuse me. I cannot say.

Other Reviews

Peppermint
Christopher Robin
Crazy Rich Asians
The Happytime Murders
RBG
Won’t You Be My Neighbor
Sorry to Bother You
Superfly
Hereditary
Book Club
Avengers: Infinity War
You Were Never Really Here
Rampage
A Quiet Place
Ready Player One
A Wrinkle in Time
Lady Bird
I, Tonya
The Florida Project
Black Panther
Molly’s Game
The Post
Phantom Thread
Den of Thieves
All the Money in the World
Coco
The Greatest Showman
The Disaster Artist
Call Me By Your Name
Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri
The Shape of Water
Marshall
The Man Who Invented Christmas
Victoria and Abdul
Thor: Ragnarok
Kingsman: The Golden Circle
Mother!
It
Good Time
Atomic Blonde
Dunkirk
Girls Trip
Spider-Man: Homecoming
The Big Sick
Baby Driver
All Eyez on Me 
It Comes at Night 
The Wedding Plan 
Wonder Woman
Everything, everything
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
Raw
Kong: Skull Island
Logan
The Girl with All the Gifts
A Cure for Wellness 
Get Out
Hidden Figures
Fences
Moonlight
Hell or High Water
Loving
La La Land
Lion
Manchester by the Sea
Arrival
Hacksaw Ridge
Nocturnal Animals
Captain Fantastic
Elle
Jackie
I Am Not Your Negro
The Lobster

 

Peppermint (R)

My, my, my. Tsk, tsk, tsk. Where to begin, where to begin? I guess I’ll begin at the beginning as always and just work my way through it. Here we go…

Directed by Pierre Morel, written by Chad St. John, and starring Jennifer Garner and John Gallagher Jr., Peppermint is a revenge story centering on a mother who loses her family to violence and takes revenge on the killers, the justice system that failed her and one other very deserving party. No one is safe in her quest for justice, as this woman leaves no stone unturned. She is on a mission and she is coming for them all!

Sounds great, doesn’t it! Too bad it isn’t.

I find it hard to believe this is the same dude who directed Taken (2008). The majority of Morel’s credits are as a cinematographer and/or cameraman and sometimes it shows in Peppermint sometimes, and not always in the best way. He seems to want to make compelling scenery and get great shots and capture action on film well but the gaping holes in this script won’t allow him to be great. There are these slow motion shots and pensive moments that slow the film down and make it feel longer than an hour and 42 minutes. He did do some things right, but there was so much more wrong here I could go on for a long while about it, but I won’t. It’s not worth our time. Let’s move on.

And about those plot holes, this is Mr. St. John’s first time writing a feature film. But that’s no excuse. Despite what Garner may say, it isn’t as if this is an original story. The template already exists for a satisfying revenge killing movie with tons of other movies including Death Wish (1974) (and all its sequels and reincarnations) and First Blood (1982). All that was done here is to make the dark protagonist a woman and add some social media nonsense which improved absolutely nothing. The writing is just lazy. It’s as if dude had a book report due in the morning, had only half written it and finished writing the rest the night before. There is no care taken in the details, whatsoever. There are many glaring examples throughout this movie, but again, it’s not worth our time.

The initial impetus for the entire chain of events is so weak it hardly make sense. And why would you not put the impetus into action in an action movie! This has to defy some rule of movie making. Then this California housewife goes off the grid and gets this training in military weaponry, martial arts, hand-to-hand combat, and surgery even, and the audience sees absolutely none of it. She just reappears as this killing machine with no explanation as to how she got that way, except in some, “Oh, by the way…” manner. And “Oh, by the way…” this is how she got the money to finance her travel and training. Two missed opportunities to make this a more interesting, action packed film right there. The action that did take place was mostly forgettable because I couldn’t stop shaking my head at how ridiculous the story is long enough to really enjoy it. The act of revenge upon the actual killers isn’t even shown; just the silly aftermath. When I tell you it is downright silly, it is downright silly. What does it say when the most satisfying act of revenge in the entirety of an action film is the most civil?

The dialogue was corny at times and the ridiculous plot was coincidence driven and predictable. The fact that the movie is named Peppermint as some sort of homage to Orson Welles’ “Rosebud”, doesn’t help either. And there is this unnecessary, weird, allusion to this non-existent interracial “love story” which was pushed on the audience in an attempt to bring a relationship which never existed to some sort of a dramatic climax. This annoyed me to no end. Even the pretty darn good twist at the end couldn’t save what was already a ruined movie. And please Dear Lord, tell me no one is going to attempt a sequel to this, because the set-up is real!

The acting. Oh, the acting. With the corny writing (it felt as if I was watching scenes directly from Lethal Weapon whenever there was a conversation among officers, and as much as I love Lethal Weapon, this is not meant as a compliment) and hole-riddled script it couldn’t have been easy to get through this movie as an actor. I don’t know this Gallagher guy from a hole in the wall, but dude… this was not your shining moment. The cast had little to no chemistry. It was as if they were talking at one another instead of to or with each other. Jennifer Garner was the only person I believed, at times, in this entire movie. What I will say for the cast is that they landed every single joke. You will get several good laughs, if nothing else. And there really isn’t much else to see here, unfortunately.

Peppermint was painful for me on so many levels and for so many reasons, it earned 3 bloops out of 10. It is a poor movie that I cannot recommend for any reason. It left me extremely dissatisfied. I hate to just pan somebody’s work and normally, I would give something like this a 5 and say it’s worth it if you don’t have to pay, but I’ve had a bad week, I’m not in the best mood and I am not feeling generous today. It is what it is. Save yourself some time, money and pain. Proceed at your own risk, but don’t say you weren’t warned.

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Bloops:

1   =   worst ever, avoid at all cost
2   =   very bad, forget about it!
3   =   poor movie, not recommended
4   =   not good, even for free – NO!
5   =   so-so, worth it if you don’t have to pay
6   =   not bad, could have been better
7   =   good movie, worth seeing
8   =   great movie, don’t miss it!
9   =   excellent movie, a must see!
10 =   a masterpiece, go see it now!

What I’m seeing/reviewing next…

I’ll let you know soon.

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