The appeal of âHorrible Bossesâ (2011) was that (at one time or another) weâve all had odious supervisors. So when Jason Bateman, Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikisâ characters clumsily plotted to kill their bosses, a hilarious revenge comedy ensued. It wasnât realistic and it didnât have to be â the draw was in the fantasy, and the ability to live vicariously through these dudes.
âHorrible Bosses 2â takes a different track, and in doing so is still funny but is not as good overall as the original. Whereas previously we could relate to Nick (Bateman), Dale (Day) and Kurt (Sudeikis) when they were underlings for unctuous dictators, this time theyâre the bosses as theyâve created a shower product they believe will be the next big thing. Notably fewer of us have been aspiring entrepreneurs, so on concept alone this is harder to relate to than its predecessor.
I grew up watching the films of Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, Harrison Ford, and Mel Gibson. All of them are action movie icons of the 1980s who created indelible characters and starred in movies that are well remembered today. Their movies have in turn influenced an entire new generation of filmmakers. Itâs just too bad that the new generation, like âExpendables 3â director Patrick Hughes, doesnât know how to make âem they like used to.
âExpendables 3â has one good idea, one fun character, and the rest is an overblown mess. The one good idea is to have Barney Ross (Stallone) ditch his old team from the first two films in order to hunt down ex-friend/Expendables co-founder/nemesis Conrad SnowbanksĂÂ (Mel Gibson, once again cashing in on the crazy persona like he did in âMachete 2â). To do this, he turns to Bonaparte (Kelsey Grammer) to help him find new recruits.
This brings us to the one fun character: Galgo, played by Antonio Banderas. Heâs been trying to get on the team for years, with no luck. Now is his big chance and he is ready to go and eager to please. Galgo is a breath of fresh air into an otherwise stale story. He is energetic and funny, the perfect comic relief. This is crucial, especially since Rossâs new crew is the same as the old crew personality-wise, with the only real difference being that one of the new ones has a vagina (MMA fighter Ronda Rousey).
It is an insult â an appalling, avaricious insult â to ask moviegoers to pay hard earned money and give them nothing in return. So little happens in âThe Hunger Games: Mockingjay â Part 1â that it should be skipped altogether without a second thought. This movie is deplorable. I hated every second of it.
This is not the first time a mega-franchise has split the final installment of its finale into two parts, and it will not be the last (the third âAvengersâ movie will do the same). But this strategy didnât work for âTwilight: Breaking Dawn Part Oneâ nor âHarry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One,â so thereâs little reason to think it would work here. And it doesnât. Oh boy it doesnât.
He has one of the most extraordinary minds of the 20th century, yet he canât lift a fork to his mouth to eat. Stephen Hawking is, simply and complexly, a paragon of inspiration and tragedy. How ironic, and cruel, that a man with extreme intelligence is afflicted with a disease that shuts down his muscles but doesnât affect his mind, leaving him a prisoner inside himself.
In âThe Theory of Everythingâ we first meet Stephen (Eddie Redmayne) at Cambridge University in 1963, where heâs a PhD candidate in physics. Heâs racing to class on his bike with his friend Brian (Harry Lloyd) â both are youthful, vibrant, alive. Later they go to a party and Stephen meets Jane (Felicity Jones), a fellow Cambridge student studying medieval Spanish poetry. They click, but soon Stephen learns he has motor neuron disease and is given two years to live. Jane chooses to stick by him; they marry and have children.
Life is precious and fragile. Itâs important to live in the moment and make each one count as much as it can, because in an instant, it could be all over. This is the central message of âIf I Stay,â one that director R.J. Cutler delivers in a powerful way.
I admire the structure of the screenplay. This type of narrative arrangement is very difficult to pull off, but screenwriter Shauna Cross does it brilliantly, based on the novel by Gayle Forman. âIf I Stayâ starts off with a snow day in Portland, Oregon. The Hall familyâmom Kat (Mireille Enos), dad Denny (Joshua Leonard), son Teddy (Jakob Davies), and daughter Mia (Chloe Grace Moretz)âgo for a drive. An oncoming truck loses control on the icy road and thereâs a terrible accident. Mia wakes up outside of her body. She can see herself lying on the ground and can see and hear all of the people around her and everything thatâs happening, but they canât see or hear her. This is the starting point. From this moment, the story continues forward as Mia and her family are rushed to the hospital and family and friends come by for support. We also flashback to Miaâs past experiences, mostly centering around her expertise in playing the cello and applying to Julliard, and her relationship with up and coming local rocker Adam (Jamie Blackley).
Imagine waiting twenty years for your comatose friend to wake up and when he finally does, he reveals that it was all a big joke. You, for sure, feel duped, perhaps a little angry, perhaps a little impressed, but ultimately confused. Why wait so long for a humorous payoff? Now imagine that you are the duper, the one who has committed themselves so completely to their gag that they wasted twenty full years of their life for one single solid laugh. The Farrelly brothers surely felt that there was a good chance that the sequel to 1994âs âDumb and Dumberâ might be perceived by its audiences as just that: a twenty year build-up to a quick laugh. After all, âDumb and Dumber Toâ is the sequel that should have happened eleven years ago rather than the non-canonical prequel âDumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd.âĂÂ
But it wouldnât have been as good eleven years ago. It wouldnât have had the same level of commitment behind it. This sequel has been wanted for years; wanted by the directors, the audience, and by at least half of the original stars. The problem? Jim Carrey didnât want to do it until it was worth doing. Had he signed on to reprise his role as Lloyd Christmas at the first talk of a sequel, the studio would have surely churned out whatever they could as quickly as possible regardless of whether it measured up to the original or not. Thatâs generally how sequels work.
Timing is everything, and it just so happens that kidnapped journalists in the Middle East have recently been all over the news. The truth is itâs been happening for years, so to have a new release about a tortured journalist in Iran is serendipitous indeed. The fact that itâs a serious drama written and directed by comedian Jon Stewart (âThe Daily Showâ) makes it all the more intriguing.
Maziar Bahari (Gael Garcia Bernal) grew up in Tehran, Iran, but is now based out of London working as a journalist for âNewsweek.â Itâs June 2009, and he leaves his pregnant wife (Claire Foy) behind to head to Tehran to visit his mother (Shohreh Aghdashloo) and cover the election between incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Mir-Hossein Mousavi. After Ahmadinejad wins in controversial fashion, Mousaviâs supporters protest, prompting Bahari to submit street riot video footage to the BBC. Shortly thereafter Bahari is arrested by Revolutionary Guard police and interrogated by a âspecialistâ (Kim Bodnia) who smells of rosewater, hence the filmâs title. The charge? Bahari is suspected of being a spy. For 118 days, heâs asked about his writing, travel, Facebook page and more, never knowing if heâll survive.ĂÂ
Every once in a while a sequel comes along that positively answers the age old movie question: Can a sequel be better than the originalâor at least just as good? âHow to Train Your Dragon 2â is one such movie.
Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) is backâminus the part of his leg he lost in the first movie. But donât fretâhe and his faithful dragon Toothless, who lost part of his tail in the first movie, both have prosthetics that make them as good as new. Or better, since both prosthetics are mechanically made to interact with one another, making Hiccup better able to ride and steer Toothless. The opening sequence featuring Hiccup and Toothless exploring new areas and pushing the limits of what they can do together in the air is breathtaking, as is the dragon race that his friends Astrid (America Ferrera), Snotlout (Jonah Hill), Fishlegs (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), Tuffnut (T.J. Miller) and Ruffnut (Kristen Wiig) are competing in.