A Star is Born (R)

One cannot discuss A Star is Born without first reviewing the history of this remake. If you hadn’t heard, just for a bit of trivia, since the time of the movie’s release it was rumored that the story was inspired by the real-life marriage of the legendary Barbara Stanwyck (If you have to google Barbara Stanwyck or never seen or heard of Stella Dallas I just feel sorry for you.) and her first husband, Frank Fay. The original version (1937) starring Janet Gaynor and Frederic March was the first all color film to be nominated for an Oscar award. The 1954 version starred Judy Garland and James Mason. This is the version I saw first and it took me many years after its release to be remotely interested in the 1976 version starring Barbara Streisand and Kris Kristofferson. I’ve never seen it, by the way. Not that I can recall. I’ve been a “remake snob” for a very long time. So let us continue from there.

Directed and co-written by Bradley Cooper, starring Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper A Star is Born (2018) tells the story of a famous musician/singer/songwriter who helps a young up and coming singer/song writer find fame as his own career declines due to aging and alcoholism. This movie revives and modernizes the story for a new generation. I mean, it’s been 42 years since the last reincarnation, so I’ll allow it.

Talk about a passion project – Bradley Cooper not only directed, co-wrote and starred in this movie, he took guitar lessons for about a year and a half, piano lessons, singing lessons AND wrote three of the film’s original songs. He poured himself into this project and it shows. It was brilliant of Cooper to modernize this version through original music, and the addition of Gaga and some drag queens brings it right up to the present day and pushes it over the top.

Cooper does a great job in his directorial debut. A Star is Born feels like an actual biopic/documentary.

The writing is fine. This struggle-love scenario annoyed the heck out of me but made for a great anti-love story. A broken man with a woman who both think it’s up to her to fix and save him. (If she asked if he was alright one more damn time…) Red flags galore and she just plunges right into it after telling herself she knows better. The episode leading up to the proposal was absolutely outrageous and the fact that she said yes so soon after that incident was ridiculous. She couldn’t even do her job without worrying about this man/child. The things we will put up with in the name of love. A Star is Born is a cautionary tale to everyone that you cannot fix another person, no matter how much you love them. Young people everywhere need to watch and learn from this film.

The acting is great; Cooper as this surly, drunk who drops f bombs all day long (if they cut all the f words from his dialogue the movie might have had a shorter run time) and Gaga as this up and coming star trying not to fall for this drunk. There were points in this movie where they kissed and Cooper was so convincing it turned my stomach because I was imagining what he must smell like with all the whiskey and cigarettes. (Blech! The first time they “slept together” was downright disgusting.) Gaga and Cooper have terrific on-screen chemistry. They played off one another extremely well. This was a perfect vehicle for Gaga as she owns this role from the first scene to the last.

The music is original and enjoyable. Good, I wouldn’t call it great. It just didn’t stir me in that way that great songs in movies do at times. I wasn’t moved to tears or get all the feels. It wasn’t The Greatest Showman-great. I know that’s a high bar to set musically, but if you’re going to give me original music in a movie, I want to be moved. I’ll Never Love Again, while a perfect fit and summary of the entire relationship/movie sounded very “Whitney Houston” to me.

Building this movie up as a contender for an Oscar, saving it for release closer to the end of the year, hyping it for over a year indicates that “the powers that be” have high hopes for this project to be nominated for an award or two. It may be wildly popular because there is original music and Gaga, but this is the kickoff of award season contenders so we have a long way to go and a lot of movies to see before anything is decided. I wish Cooper and Gaga well.

A Star is Born earned 8 bloops out of 10. It is a great movie that should not be missed. It runs a bit long at 2 hours 15 minutes, but the music and singing are enjoyable and the acting is tight. Cooper did an outstanding job wearing the many hats he did and Gaga delivers excellence.

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…

Other Reviews

A Simple Favor
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 House With a Clock in Its Walls (PG)

Directed by producer/actor/writer/director Eli Roth, based on the first in a series of 12 books (1973) by the late Jack Bellairs and starring Owen Vacarro, Jack Black and Cate Blanchett, The House with a Clock in Its Walls tells the story of a young boy who must go to live with his magical uncle in a strange house following the death of his parents. After moving in, the young boy aids his uncle in locating and stopping a clock with the power to bring about the end of the world.

As usual, I‘ve never read this book so I had no idea what the story was about going in, what was in the book and not in the movie or vice versa, etc. If I were as avid a reader as I should be, this wouldn’t have been on my “to read” list anyhow. Not my genre.

I watched The House With a Clock in Its Walls in an RPX theater all by myself (with my smuggled in (went to a Regal theater. Damn them and their bag check!!! Even if I didn’t bring my own food, I wouldn’t be particularly interested in buying theirs, but that’s another rant for another day. We’re talking mushrooms, lettuce, tomato, and pickle. Yum!). The solitude felt sort of weird because the theater was huge, and I didn’t have the reaction of another soul to compare my experience to. There are times when I consider crowd reaction after a movie. You take notice of no one laughing or people laughing at scenes that were meant to be serious, or us all laughing or crying (Yes, I heard all those sniffles while trying to stop my own) together, or I am the only one laughing out loud because no one else seems to “get” it or I’ve decided a movie listed as a drama has turned into ridiculous drivel that I have to find some way to enjoy. Sometimes I just make note of the silence as everyone is absorbed in whatever is on the screen. You know what I mean. Anyway, let’s get into it.

To say that the Black/Blanchett pairing is odd doesn’t even begin to explain what occurs here. They have no business on the same screen together. Ever. Period. For any reason. Blanchett with her extensive, versatile film catalogue and Black with his one trick ponyism (I’m not judging. There’s nothing wrong with being a one trick pony. If you think about it, Clint Eastwood got away with it successfully for decades using his trademark tough guy scowl and that voice. It just is what it is.). They spewed banter at one another for much of the hour and 45 minutes, attempting jokes which mostly fail due to the fact that there is zero chemistry between them. Their characters are supposed to be best friends, but it felt as though there were no connection between them at all. No one did a terrible job here. The chemistry just wasn’t evident on screen. Blanchett looked as if she had fun during the action scenes, at least.

The House with a Clock in Its Walls isn’t the most annoying young adult story featuring magic spells that I’ve ever seen, I guess. All I know is somewhere in the middle of it all they lost me, and near the end I wanted to just walk out. I didn’t, and it didn’t end too terribly. Underdog triumphs, blah, blah, blah. Nerdy kid turned cool, blah, blah, blah. One big happy family in the end, blah, blah, blah. The entire movie is kind of meh, with some great effects and some creepiness to it. Small children might find it too scary, as it contains a lot of the stuff of nightmares such as clowns, devils, odd looking dolls and the like.

Despite its problems, The House With a Clock in Its Walls earned 6.5 out of 10 bloops. It is a movie worth seeing in a theater for the effects but I have to stop short of calling it “good.” It’s somewhere between not bad/could have been better and almost what I might call a good movie. The lack of chemistry between Black and Blanchett is just too large an obstacle to overcome but the effects are great. Quite a mixed bag here. I suspect that if it does well enough at the box office this won’t be the last we will see of these characters, and if that is the case, let’s just hope someone gets re-cast.

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…

It’s Oscar season. There’s a lot to see. Hope you’ll see it with me.

Other Reviews

A Simple Favor
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

 

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

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.

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

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

Christopher Robin (G)

How do you make a movie about Winnie the Pooh (1926) for the adults who grew up on the beloved Alan Alexander (A.A.) Milne characters? Feature an overworked, joyless, rigid, boring, adult Christopher Robin! Directed by Marc Foster and starring Ewan McGregor, Christopher Robin tells the story of what happens after Christopher Robin goes off to boarding school, leaving his childhood friends, Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, Tigger and the others, behind.

Now, I’m not completely certain whether making a movie for older fans (that’s a rather large audience since the book was written in 1929) who grew up with Pooh was what the writers were going for, but that’s how I’m spinning it in my head, because it works. Greg Booker and Marc Steven Johnson did some very thoughtful writing. Christopher Robin has this adult sophistication to its humor and wit which mirrors Milne’s in his Winnie the Pooh stories. It starts off a bit slow as the groundwork is laid (this is the part that the younger children might not appreciate. I thought it was interesting and moved Christopher Robin into adulthood rather quickly), but once Christopher Robin gets on its way, it is a joy. Not only do we get to go into Pooh’s enchanted world, he and his friends get to come into ours. And it is brilliant. If you recall in the original books only Christopher Robin could see his friends animated.

For me, Pooh was my first introduction to that sort of dry, high-brow, British humor which is what set it apart from other children’s stories. It wasn’t laugh-out-loud funny, but rather, funny in this meaningful, introspective, “real life,” sort of way. There were no tasteless jokes, pranks, explosions, or great disasters, but there was always adventure, humor and community mixed with civility. These writers understand this and pay homage to Milne’s style very well, delivering a fine piece of work.

Marc Foster’s direction is good. The mixture of live action, animation, special and video effects is seamless, so kudos to the editing department as well.

I felt that sense of nostalgia one rarely experiences while watching a film. It felt as though I was going back in time with Christopher Robin, returning to my own childhood, familiar places and friends. I felt the delight in recapturing the enthusiasm of youth. Remember that overall carefree, joyful feeling you used to have before adulating started kicking your butt? If you’ve forgotten, see this movie and it may all come back to you.

The thing I love most about Winnie the Pooh is that no one was ever excluded and the friends were true; always allowing one another to be themselves without judgment. Whoever they were, no matter how annoying or challenging, or hyperactive. Even a constantly down-in –the-dumps, buzz kill like Eeyore was accepted without ever being told to “cheer up” “stop whining” or “stop moping.” He wasn’t asked to change in any way. In the way that Winnie the Pooh taught/teaches us about kindness, love and acceptance with a focus on family and community, so does Christopher Robin.

Christopher Robin earned 8.5 out of 10 bloops. It is a great movie, not to be missed, which I enjoyed thoroughly. I would have scored it higher, and although I wouldn’t mind giving a second watch in the near future, I can easily see this film is not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. It doesn’t give me that, “You must be out of your mind if you don’t love this movie,” type of feeling. This movie may be rated PG but it is not for small children. You may bring them if you like, but they will not be entertained for the animation-free portion of the film. If your child has read the books you may stand a better chance. If they’ve not read the books maybe you’ll be inspired to read them to them or with them.

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

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

 

 

Crazy Rich Asians (PG-13)

Starring Constance Wu and Henry Golding, Crazy Rich Asians is a romantic comedy based upon Kevin Kwan’s globally best selling trilogy of novels (2014, 2016 and 2017, from what I could figure out) about a young Asian-American woman who is swept away to Singapore to meet her boyfriend’s family during a family wedding. Their relationship is tested when truth bombs start to fall all around them.

Not since The Joy Luck Club have we seen an English-speaking Asian cast in a movie on an American screen in a feature film. That was 25 years ago. Doesn’t improve the quality of the movie one bit, but you better believe Asian people and those who identify with them and/or appreciate their various cultures are excited, and this film will be supported and make buckets of money. A sequel is probably already in the works as I type, I’m sure.

I enjoyed seeing the landscape and culture of Singapore. That street food made me want to book a flight right then and there! The music is enjoyable and fun. Some of it is even familiar. Witnessing the warmth and traditions of this imperfect family who love one another very much was lovely.

Along with its “unique” Asian perspective, Crazy Rich Asians delves into all of these contrasts between East and West, traditional ways vs. non-traditional ways, traditional culture vs. “Westernized” culture, the older generation vs. the newer generation, that helped to make the story interesting to watch. The problem is, that despite these interesting themes, the content of the movie includes too many cookie cutter moments where the two main stars could have been swapped out for Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts or Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston, or whoever (take your pick from a litany of American rom-com stars) in any romantic comedy you’ve ever seen before. In all fairness, I’ve never read the books, so I don’t know if how it played out on film follows the story as written or deviates, but I would be interested to find out.)

…But such is the trouble with rom-coms and why Hollywood slowed down with the making of them every few weeks or months, or at whatever ridiculous clip they were being produced. It is a difficult, if not an almost impossible task, to make romantic comedy feel “fresh” because the story usually follows the – boy meets girl or girl meets boy, boy loses girl or girl loses boy, boy wins girl back or girl wins boy back – formula, over and over again. That’s the standard template. Change the locations/landscape, seasons, ethnicities, family dynamics, cultures – and there is always the same story beneath it all.

In the case of Crazy Rich Asians, while you get more of the same, the story is a bit more dramatic because of what is at stake and what is revealed; and the reaction is a bit more appropriate because there is more going on here than just losing a boy. Still, you know the drill and although you’ve been here before, somehow you don’t mind going along for the same ride again.

The acting is quite good, particularly from the elders in the family. The aunts, the grandmother, the potential mother-in-law to be, all play their respective roles well. These are very strong actresses whose work I want to look into further. (I do love a good foreign language film from time to time.) It felt good to see Lisa Lu still doing her thing. If you’re unfamiliar and want to know who she is, look her up after seeing the movie. (AFTER, I said!) I was captivated whenever Awkwafina and/or Nico Santos were on screen. Together, they sort of steal the show and provide the majority of the comic relief.

The writing is pretty good, but one large question about a big moment was left unresolved, and I still want to know who did it! I know it isn’t supposed to matter, but I’m petty like that. Name a name!

Crazy Rich Asians earned 7.5 bloops out of 10. It is a good movie worth seeing. If you’re more of a fan of the romantic comecy genre than I (Not that I’m not a fan – they are just all quite predictable and I have to be in the mood, like on a snowy Sunday afternoon, alone in my pajamas with some Thin Mints and a pint of Haagen Dazs Caramel Cone, to be specific. Yuuummmm. – Apologies. I’ve actually been eating Keto for the past few weeks and I got waaay distracted for a second there!), you will certainly enjoy it more. If you’re Asian and/or appreciate Asian culture, or have ever traveled East or to Singapore specifically, you may like it even more. I get it. I know that just seeing people who look like you or with whom you identify on the big screen feels good. The resurgence of Asian-cast movies has been a long time coming and if Kevin Kwan has anything to say about it, it will not take another 25 years before it happens again! Kudos Mr. Kwan! Kudos!

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…

At this point, I’m just waiting on The Predator

Other Reviews

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

The Happytime Murders

Starring Melissa McCarthy and Elizabeth Banks, the action/comedy/crime flick, The Happytime Murders tells the story of a disgraced LAPD detective-turned-private eye puppet who takes on solving a “whodunit” case wherein the puppet cast of a popular 1980s children’s TV show are being murdered one by one. The case reunites this former detective and his former human partner from the force (McCarthy).

Brian Henson, son of Jim Henson’s (creator of the Muppets), directed this film whose puppets venture so far from the image of “the Muppets” it is shocking. But in its attempt to shock, someone failed to add more humor. Even though not billed as a straight comedy, once the absurdity wears off there are very few genuine laughs to be had.

The acting (by the humans) wasn’t bad, but neither was it good. Nobody expects Shakespearean efforts here, but just to indulge oneself in silliness is not enough to carry a film most times, and it certainly isn’t enough here. The Happytime Murders feels like a high school film project with wasted puppet masters. I love Melissa McCarthy on Mike & Molly and when she hosts SNL, but I find her movies underwhelming and The Happytime Murders did absolutely nothing to change that opinion. (I personally wouldn’t pay to see her in a movie. Thankfully, this one was a freebie. I’m not saying I will never see another movie with her in it again, but she (even with all her comedic talent) is pushing me dangerously close to that point; and I thought I had enough with Ghostbusters…) She has one more chance before this relationship will be permanently severed. Somebody better call her and let her know. Okay? This comedy thing may be working to the tunes of millions of dollars for her, but I’m dissatisfied. (LOL!) Seriously, maybe it’s time for her to try something dramatic or a horror movie or something. THAT I would pay to see, because I believe she has it in her.

The puppetry was the absolute, hands-down best part of this film. With the exception of those who are frightened by them or the few folks who may find them annoying, who doesn’t love puppets/Muppets? I always find the craftsmanship that goes into creating a puppet, animating it and then filming that animation impressive. The Happytime Murder puppets are very funny, although puppets have that advantage, don’t they? They can be funny without trying very hard, or without the dialogue being very well written or witty, just because they are puppets. The set design was also very well done, of course, because things had to be scaled to cater to the size of puppets.

Don’t get me wrong, the movie isn’t all bad. It definitely makes a statement about societal discrimination, fame-whoring/the selling of one’s soul to remain relevant, and the tragedies that befall washed up celebrities, and there is even a good twist at the end; but the potential for comedy was wasted on over-done, juvenile, toilet humor. (And mind you, this is coming from a woman who gave Sausage Party 8 out of 10 bloops! I still stand by that review, by the way, although I’ve never given Sausage Party a second view and I believe once was enough. At any rate, I say all of this to say, when reading reviews, consider the source.) If you look at The Happytime Murders more from the angle of being a sort of a buddy-cop movie, like 48 Hours or The Nice Guys, you may like it better than going in looking for a comedy. Even then, the story is cliché.

Some of the action is pretty entertaining, but there is a much more amusing fight scene featuring puppets in season 5, episode 14 of Angel, titled Smile Time, where Angel is transformed into a puppet and attacks Spike. That’s what I wanted – to see truly evil puppets – not sex starved, junkie, foul-mouthed, dirty, pathetic puppets/Muppets. (I can’t even believe I am writing this. How silly do I feel? Very. But not as silly as this movie. Enough with this already. Let’s wrap it up, shall we?)

The Happytime Murders earned 5 out of 10 bloops. Unfortunately, it didn’t do it for me. I tried. Don’t let the hour and 32 minutes running time fool you. That is still an hour and 32 minutes of your life you won’t be able to retrieve. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. Of course, depending on your sense of humor, you may like it better than I did. The best part of The Happytime Murders takes place when it is over, during the credits, which almost made it worth-while. Almost.

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…

Other Reviews

Crazy Rich Asians
BlackkKlansman
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