Melissa McCarthy is the ‘Life of the Party’

By Julia Wilson, Edited by Anthony Peyton

2018 really has been the year of pleasant surprises. Melissa McCarthy’s newest comedy ‘Life of the Party’ is genuinely laugh out loud funny, charming, and heartwarming, something I did not expect from the absurd concept of the film.

The film starts out with Deanna (Melissa McCarthy) finding out that her husband Dan (Matt Walsh) is in love with their realtor and divorcing her. Deanna then decides to better herself in the wake of this awful situation, by going back to college and finishing her Archeology degree at the same school she started it at, which also happens to be the same school her daughter Maddie (Molly Gordon) is attending.

A mom and daughter going to college together sounds pretty ridiculous right? But McCarthy and the rest of the cast are able to make it work effortlessly.

First of all, this movie is hilarious. Watching the pure and adorable Deanna going through all of these insane college antics, paired with McCarthy’s impeccable comedic timing is a true recipe for good comedy.

Also, while we’re on the topic of how funny this movie was, I have to talk about Maya Rudolph. She plays Deanna’s best friend Christine, and although she doesn’t play a very big role in the story, she steals the show of every single scene she is in. From the absurd things she says, her never ending support of Deanna, and the comedic genius that is Maya Rudolph every single scene she is in is absolutely hysterical.

Honestly, watching McCarthy and Rudolph together again reminded me of the days of Bridesmaids, and man was it great to see these two talented ladies working together on another film.

The part of this film that surprised me the most was how well the story worked because the concept really does seem like a recipe for cringing and eye rolling. But the plot actually ends up flowing very well. The way it is done makes you almost forget how ridiculous it is, and honestly made it feel plausible and nearly realistic.

I think what made the plot work so well was the open and honest relationship Deanna and her daughter Maddie had. It was so nice to watch this charming mother daughter relationship unfold and see how they were always there for each other in every way. It reminded me of my relationship with my mom which made me love it even more.
If you’re looking for a heartwarming and hilarious movie where you truly care about the characters, then go see Life of the Party. You won’t regret it.


My Rating: 83%

Acting: 3.7/4

Cinematography: 2.5/4

Story: 3.2/4

Enjoyability: 3.8/4

 

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Film Forecast Friday: May 11th

On Friday, May 11th, we have….

  1. Breaking In
  2. Life of the Party
  3. Terminal
  4. The Seagull
  5. The Assassin’s Code

Liv’s Prediction:

The biggest movies opening this weekend have got to be Melissa McCarthy’s Life of the Party and Gabrielle Union’s Breaking In. One’s an action/thriller and the other a comedy both starring strong female leads. Without question, these films will do numbers at the box office.

Two other films starring female leads are Margot Robbie’s Terminal and Soairse Ronan’s The Seagull. Two indies with Academy Award nominated actresses – likely to be a hit amongst regular moviegoers, like myself.

Lastly, the new Justin Chatwin action film The Assassin’s Code might just end up being one of those movies you’re likely to see end up on Netflix after a week in theatres because no one knew it existed.

Therese’s Prediction:

Without a doubt, Life of the Party, starring Melissa McCarthy, will be the biggest film of the weekend. McCarthy never seems to disappoint when it comes to making people laugh, as she always exudes a certain underlying lighthearted charm within the characters she performs. Another big hit for the weekend will be Gabrielle Union’s Breaking In, as she fights for her family’s survival. With two strong, talented female leads headlining the biggest movies of this weekend, it sure will be an enjoyable weekend at the box office.

The next two films to premiere this weekend feature a couple of incredibly talented award nominated actresses. Terminal, starring Margot Robbie, and The Seagull, starring Soairse Ronan and Annette Bening, will definitely be a crowd favorite among movie viewers of all ages. This makes for a weekend filled with powerful and compelling female roles, which I am all here for.

The final movie of the weekend, The Assassin’s Code, starring Justin Chatwin is a crime thriller detective story that many people are probably unaware of and as a result will likely fall short at the box office with lower than expected views and poor ratings.

‘Taco Shop’: Slapstick Comedy Gone Wrong

By Therese Gardner, Edited by Olivia Norwood

Despite the other wonderfully done comedies this year including Blockers and Game Night, the new Taco Shop is not all that it’s intended to be. While it is categorized as a slapstick comedy characteristic of broad humor, this film lacks any presence of it. As someone who loves a good laugh, I enjoy films with no social purpose except to make people laugh and feel good. This is definitely not one of those films. As a whole, this movie lacks any sense of direction and its message is vague.

Taco Shop follows Smokes (Tyler Posey), as he plans to resign from his job at Taco Dollar to open up his own taco shop. His plans get interrupted when he discovers his mother has recently lost her job and is now struggling with debt and the possibility of losing their house. As a result of their current financial situation, Smokes is forced to stay at Taco Dollar. The pressure continues to mount when a taco truck decides to park across the street from Taco Dollar causing a war to ensue, as both wish for success.

Can Smokes cooperate with his coworkers in order to save Taco Dollar? Well, obviously, the answer is yes since it’s a predictable film with no motivating meaning. By the end of the film, Smokes has saved Taco Dollar from being taken over by their competition.

One thing I disliked the most about this film was its cringeworthy nature and poor application of crude, sarcastic humor. This was only one of few projects for Director Joaquin Perea and it was not a memorable one. If you couldn’t already tell, I was not impressed even in the slightest. It wasn’t even stupid funny – just foolish.

I don’t want to be completely harsh, however, there were not many strengths, if any, within this film. Considering it is a remake of Taco Shop (2012), I’m not really sure what Perea intended to achieve. If there is anything to be learned from this film, it’s that not every film should be remade and not every director is capable of writing worthy comedy.


My Rating: 39.4%

Acting: 1.5/4

Cinematography: 2/4

Story: 1.8/4

Enjoyability: 1/4

‘6 Balloons’ and its Unexpected Greatness

By Olivia Norwood, Edited by Therese Gardner

As we all know, Netflix is the new outlet for films that may not have gotten the attention it needed. It’s great because when they slap that well known label on it then people are guaranteed to come across it. Not only are these stories given a bigger platform but, actors are given roles beyond being typecast in the same role. This is the case with the new Netflix drama, 6 Balloons.

When Katie (Abbi Jacobsen) attempts to throw a birthday party for her boyfriend, she’s disrupted by her heroin-addicted brother, Seth (Dave Franco), who is in need of a detox center. The two take an overwhelming journey around the city while also dealing with his toddler daughter.

The plot is as simple as any other film- simpler than most addiction-based films. But instead of it being in the perspective of the addicted, it’s in the perspective of the enabler. Katie’s life revolves around her brother’s issues as she takes him to detox and rehab centers only for him to relapse. She then ends up buying him drugs to help with his pain even though she knows he won’t actually get better. It’s a complex story with complex characters that you don’t normally see in cinema – even if these people exist in real life.

6 Balloons is strong in not only the plot, but also the acting. It’s headed by actors who are normally found in the genre of comedy. Broad City’s Abbi Jacobsen and The Disaster Artist’s Dave Franco are surprisingly successful in bringing these characters to life in the most authentic way. They’re the performances that we’ve always wanted from Franco and never expected from Jacobsen.

Franco doesn’t shy away from showing the glaring and harsh realities of being an addict who needs to stay high just to survive while Jacobsen gives us a spoonful of the truth and what the difference is between caring for someone and letting them continue their destructive habits. Not only were these roles a little daring but they were the perfect start for these actors to branch out and gain more recognition for their true range of talent.

6 Balloons is a powerful indie drama with actors that prove themselves to their regular audience and fans and a story that is just as gripping and meaningful as the movies on the bigger silver screen.


My Rating: 81%

Acting: 3.5/4

Cinematography: 3/4

Story: 3.5/4

Enjoyability: 3/4

‘Titanic’ Makes My Heart Go On

By Anthony Peyton, Edited by Olivia Norwood

When I think of late 90s cinema, there are dozens of movies that come to mind. We have American Beauty (1999), The Sixth Sense (1999), Good Will Hunting (1997), Clueless (1995), and so many others that quickly became classics. For me, however, none touched me quite as much as Titanic (1997).

Titanic is a movie that nearly everyone knows about as most grew up having seen it once or twice. Maybe they’ve even heard about its impressive eleven academy award wins at the 1998 Oscars. No matter how one may have heard of it, it’s a movie that’s touched the hearts and minds of everybody.

Given that everybody knows what the film is about, I’ll keep the summary brief. When poor Jack Dawson (Leonardo DiCaprio) and recently engaged Rose Bukater (Kate Winslet) meet aboard the RMS Titanic, they find love in one another. They build a relationship beyond anything many have seen, but realize sometimes love doesn’t last as long as you may like it to. In their case, however, it wasn’t a break-up that brought this realization.

The sinking of the RMS Titanic was the climax of this movie, and showed – practically in real time – the sinking of the ship and the drowning of the lives on board. Director James Cameron knew how to capture this emotional tragedy and make it so the audience doesn’t even care about its running time (194 minutes).

Titanic 1
Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Everything about this movie was astonishing to me and millions would agree. Being able to witness such stellar performances by DiCaprio and Winslet (as well as such notable names as Kathy Bates, Billy Zane, and Frances Fisher) under equally beautiful writing makes any moviegoer fill with joyful tears from beginning to end.

It doesn’t happen often in modern cinema that you see a cast of actors and actresses who are all so individually dedicated to their roles. It was obvious that each wanted to portray their characters with the seriousness that those on the real Titanic would’ve maintained.

Much of this is due to the main man himself, James Cameron (Avatar, Aliens). People are no stranger to the work of Cameron, as he had already released Aliens in 1986, eleven years prior to Titanic.

Not everyone was too confident in him for Titanic (given that the budget was incredibly high – the highest of any movie in history at the time – and that most thought it would be “just another romance flick”), and many lost faith before it had even been released. That concept in itself is a marvel to me given its brilliant reception and continued adoration today.

It’s not doing Titanic justice by calling it a brilliant historical adaptation, when it felt like so much more. It was a near spiritual awakening for most who watched it, whether you’ve seen it once, twice, or two dozen times.


My Rating: 96%

Acting: 3.8/4

Cinematography: 3.9/4

Story: 3.8/4

Enjoyability: 3.9/4

‘Bad Samaritan’ is Predictable yet Terrifying

By Olivia Norwood, Edited by Therese Gardner

Have you ever seen a film and wondered “how did the writers come up with this story?”. Well, that’s the big question in the new thriller/ horror Bad Samaritan.

Starring Doctor Who’s, David Tennant, and Irishman Robert Sheehan, the film follows a young thief, Sean (Sheehan), who discovers a chained-up girl in the home he broke into. He then goes down the reckless path of trying to save her while dodging her manipulative kidnapper, Cale (Tennant).

Now, this film had its moments. There were plenty of times where I was expecting something to happen and a second later, it would. It has the typical features from other successful (enough) thrillers and horror films – jumpscares, dark alleys, and the killer behind the protagonist scare. It’s predictable.

But can predictability still make you flinch? Yes.

Which is what made the film work because when something expected happens, the real scare comes after.

I cannot tell you how many times I covered my ears and eyes and actually jumped out of my seat because of how terrified I was. It was more than I usually do in a regular horror movie (and I’m not easily scared by those). The fact that Bad Samaritan did that to me is remarkable.

David Tennant has come a long way from playing a quirky time-traveler by way of a telephone booth. He plays a true villain and adds no sympathy to his character’s story. He’s not only a murderous psychopath, but also a major asshole. He single handedly ruins the lives of anyone close to Sean while also ruining his credibility that causes the police department to not listen to a word he says.

But I guess that’s what made the hero-villain dynamic so pleasing to watch. There’s a distinction between the two instead of making the bad guy not seem so bad at heart. It gives you a chance to support the main character as he risks his life to do the right thing. What a Good Samaritan.

If you want a movie that will give you a real scare without the use of ghosts or cursed dolls, then look no further than Bad Samaritan. I promise that it will not disappoint.


My Rating: 71%

Acting: 2.5/4

Cinematography: 2.5/4

Story: 3/4

Enjoyability: 3.5/4

‘Overboard’ Didn’t Need To Be Remade

By Julia Wilson, Edited by Anthony Peyton

Every time there’s another bad remake I wonder whether the world has lost its creativity or just become lazy. Personally, I think it’s a combination of both.

The original Overboard came out in 1987 and starred Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell. This new one stars Anna Faris as Kate Sullivan and Eugenio Derbez as Leonardo Montenegro.

In the new film Leonardo is a self-centered and incredibly wealthy man, and Kate is a mother of three working two jobs and studying to become a nurse. Kate is hired to clean the carpets on Leonardo’s yacht, but he fires her and throws her cleaning equipment into the water. Leonardo then falls overboard his yacht and washes up on shore with amnesia. When Kate sees this she pretends to be his wife and puts him to work, by making him help her out around the house and work construction to pay her back and to get revenge on him.

This film does a couple of things different from the original. First, it’s a gender swap as in the original Goldie Hawn was the rich one with amnesia and Kurt Russell was the one tricking her. The other difference with this film is it is framed as being like a telenovela.

Now, I’m not always against remakes. In the case of It, which had never had a theatrical release, and Ghostbusters, where the gender swap really provided an interesting element, I was all for the remake. But Overboard just really didn’t warrant being remade.

Honestly, this film just wasn’t funny to me. It seemed like it was relying on the absurdity of its premise for most of its humor. However, every time the story got more and more ridiculous I found myself rolling my eyes a lot more than laughing.

However, although the story was absolutely ridiculous, the way they framed it as a telenovela did work well and had me excusing some of the absurdity of it.

The acting performances were not stellar. They weren’t terrible but they lacked well done comedic timing which is what this film really needed if it was going to rely on its premise for all of its humor.

Overall, there really was no reason to remake this film. The original was fine as it was, and the story isn’t interesting enough to be told again, but just in a slightly different way.


My Rating: 53%

Acting: 2/4

Cinematography: 1.7/4

Story: 1.9/4

Enjoyability: 2.8/4