Review: What We Did on Our Holiday

Excerpt:What We Did on Our Holiday is British comedy at its best and most awkward. They use children to deal with very adult situations in a more grown up way than the adults would have dealt with them. Writers/directors Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkin show us they excel in family-centered comedies like they did with the series Outnumbered. They have shown that they can weave delicately embarrassing situations into comedic gold. The children were more the vehicles for the humor, but the adults were the ones that kept this film grounded.”

RATING: ★★★★★★★ (7/10 stars)

To read my full review, go to The Young Folks

Review: Self/less

Excerpt: “Visual maestro Tarsem Singh directs this film, even though there are practically no signs of his expected visual style anywhere to be seen. The only morsels we receive are near the beginning of the film, when we see the golden decadence of Damian’s home and an upscale restaurant where everything seems curated with care. With Singh, there always seems to be a disproportionate compromise between the artistic imagery and an engaging story. We usually get one, but not the other, with the close exception being The Fall. Typically, the films have favored visual flair over an intriguing story, but Self/less gives us the rare case of an outwardly interesting premise becoming underwhelming, while the anticipated avant-garde style is all but nonexistent. Singh’s signature style over substance approach leaves us with nothing but empty gestures on both sides.”

RATING: ★★ (2/10 stars)

To read my full review, go to The Young Folks

Review: Terminator Genisys

Excerpt: “Where Terminator Genisys both fails and succeeds is in the way it panders to us as if we could be subdued with nostalgia and reworked references to the first film. They hold little charm this time around and only serve to undermine any original thought that was put into the creation of this film. Instead, the film comes off as a vehicle to restart a once-great franchise. Even though the vehicle is packaged nicely, it won’t get anywhere without an engine. The nostalgia is great at first, reminding you of why you originally fell in love with the franchise. Yet, as the film continues to bludgeon you with more references and the same gags (like Arnold’s terrifying smile), they become tragic reminders of how far these films have strayed. At the end of the film, you’re left with a sour, metallic taste in your mouth and a longing to re-watch the first two films (maybe even the third one), trying to forget this one exists. Unfortunately, like Skynet’s threat of complete human annihilation, nothing is more terrifying than the already confirmed threat of more Terminator sequels.”

RATING: ★★★ (3/10 stars)

To read my full review, go to The Young Folks

Review: Magic Mike XXL

Excerpt:Magic Mike XXL is unabashedly all about entertainment, and not just the physical kind that involves hips gyrating like crashing waves along a shore. The film is like a big road trip that way, allowing us to glean how each character would act in a more relaxed environment. Through their casual conversations, they are able to reflect and give us some insight into the life of a male entertainer, or at least how they see it. It’s hard to tell if this is Channing Tatum, who helped co-write the screenplay, showing us his point of view.”

RATING: ★★★★★★★ (7/10 stars)

To read my full review, go to The Young Folks

Review: Manglehorn

Excerpt: “Pacino is on a career high this year, delivering tender moments in his genuine performances. He can do cantankerous with ease, but he also injects his own personality into his performance, making it much more authentic. This film falls heavily on Pacino’s shoulders, making his character’s metamorphosis the center of the story, even when the pacing slows to a crawl. He does the best he can with they story he is given, relying on his great chemistry with Holly Hunter to get us through the particularly sluggish scenes.”

RATING: ★★★★★ (5/10 stars)

To read my full review, go to The Young Folks

Review: “Love & Mercy” Unveils Brian Wilson

Excerpt: Brian Wilson’s life, past and present, has always been shrouded with a melancholy mystery. Decoding the man from the myth is impossible, and an ambitious attempt to do through any medium, but Love & Mercy succeeds in lifting (if only slightly) the veil the is/was Brian Wilson. Using a young Wilson (Paul Dano) and an older Wilson (John Cusack) to show the equally tumultuous time periods in the artist’s life, director Bill Pohlad manages to blend this parallel narrative to help explain Wilson’s rise and temporary fall.

RATING: ★★★★★★★★ (8/10 stars)

To read my full review, go to The Young Folks

Review – “Insidious: Chapter 3” is Actually a Preface

Excerpt: At this point, you may have realized that the third chapter in the Insidious saga is actually a prequel to the first film. The major difference between this sequel/prequel and the rest of the continuity is that it corrects a huge mistake made in the first film: killing off the most likeable/interesting character. Aside from the ghostly geek squad, Elise (played by the talented Lin Shaye) is the anchor to the story. Having her die in the first film was a mistake they couldn’t quite retcon, and even having her as only a spirit in the second film was limiting to the overall story. Although it would have been amusing to see the continuation of the story with Elise communicating through ambiguous signs and symbols, the only way to fix the franchise and any future sequels was to give Elise an origin story and the ability to continue to (physically) appear in the films in the form of backdated, episodic films dealing with a new case/story each film. This act may have saved the franchise and given it the change it needed to recapture our attention.

RATING: ★★★★★★ (6/10 stars)

To read my full review, go to The Young Folks

Review: “Spy” Slays Familiar Foes

Excerpt: One of the best things Feig introduces into the spy canon is a paradigm-crushing example of an inspirational female spy. Like male spies, females spies are often hyper-sexualized, forcing only tall, thin, blonde or dark-haired women to be the standard. With their impractical plunging necklines and foot-torturing high heels, they are laughably ill-equipped for battle, yet they somehow manage to easily overcome their opponents. Feig introduces a more realistic spy with Susan Cooper, one that shows us how intelligence and skill will always win over sexual manipulation and stilettos.

RATING: ★★★★★★★★★ (9/10 stars)

To read my full review, go to The Young Folks

Review: “Barely Lethal” Is Deadly If Ingested

Excerpt: Barely Lethal thinks it has hopes of becoming a comic book film franchise all its own, but even with the borrowed cast from other such films (AvengersSin City, and X-Men: Apocalypse) and the rented elements from films past, this only comes off as a shallow parody of an homage to a film. The title itself is a warning reminding you that any more of this film is enough to kill you.

RATING: ★★ (2/10 stars)

To read my full review, go to The Young Folks

 

Review: “Results” Flexes Its Dramatic Muscles

Excerpt: Results not only flexes its dramatic muscles, but also shows us the strength of its most powerful muscle: its whimsical, beating heart. The undeniable chemistry between Smulders and Pearce is only elevated by the curious magnetism that Corrigan provides.

RATING: ★★★★★★★ (7/10 stars)

To read my full review, go to The Young Folks

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