Hosts: An Ever-Rotating Lineup of OOU.Net’s Unusual Suspects
That’s right, your favorite geek conglomerate website is now doing audio movie reviews! The cast of reviewers is subject to change even movie to movie, we have a whole rogues gallery of cinema outlaws, but one thing you can always count on is that these funny and insightful film reviews will always be, in some way, Highly Suspect.
Daniel Day-Lewis plays Reynolds Woodcock (titter), a famed dressmaking fashion king who puts silk on the backs of celebrities and royalty. When he meets a young girl named Alma (Vicky Krieps) he is taken with her, but is it more as a lover or as someone with the right frame to hang his dresses on? And how long will she, or anyone, put up with his eccentricities? Oh, the unmitigated tension. Paul Thomas Anderson directs Lewis here in what may be (if he’s serious this time) the actor’s last role. Chris, Lara, Jacob, and Ian review this movie in what may be (assuming they had as much fun as it seemed recording this) not even close to their last review for this website.
Liam Neeson tries one last go-round as an action star by teaming up again with director Jaume Collet-Serra (Non-Stop, Unknown) for this film that according to what Chris could get out of Ian, Lara, and JC, is basically two hours of Liam walking up and down a train going, “Is it him?”. Basically, Vera Farmiga offers this ordinary joe a lot of money to find the person on the train that ‘doesn’t belong’. And that’s about it. Oh, until the twist, of course. *sigh
Dear America: Paddington is amazeballs. Get with the program. Signed, the British. And us. Because the first Paddington movie in 2014 was one of the best movies that year that NO ONE in America bothered to see. And now, I suspect it’s going to be the same thing this year with the sequel. Which is a shame because both of these movies about the lovable bear cub who lives in London with his adoptive human family and ends up having accidental adventures…are tremendously good.
This time around Hugh Grant joins the cast as a scheming actor, Brendan Gleeson as a prison tough, a laundry list of famous British actors making cameos, and Paddington’s friends and family (including everything-nominee Sally Hawkins) return from the first film. Yeah, we dug it. And it’s also a prison escape movie. Chris hadn’t sold Michael on the idea, but after he saw this sequel he was like, “Damn, I’m gonna go home and buy the first movie, like, now.” Listen to them go on and on about how wonderful this is right here.
Black Mirror: Season 4
oin Chris, Patience, and Elliott as they go episode by episode with their review of the latest season of Charlie Brooker’s, Black Mirror.
Insidious: The Last Key
Back for foursies, the Blumhouse spook show continues on with its left turn into Lin Shaye prequels with this story that covers her childhood and introduces new members of her family. But is it scary? Is it fun? Is it more of the same old, same old? Listen to Chris, Zach, Sarah, Michael, and Ian speak from the Fade with their reviews.
Because you demanded it… Ok, because those troublesome folks from our Deliberations of Doom podcast demanded it, we got that crew together to review that weird urban fantasy/End of Watch mash-up movie on Netflix, Bright. You know, the one where Will Smith and Joel Edgerton (under heavy Orc makeup) are mismatched cops searching for an elf on the run with a magic wand…. Yeah. That one. So now you can hear our epic-length review and know what the Doom Patrol thought of it.
All the Money in the World
Ridley Scott’s new movie is based on the true story of the kidnapping of the grandson of the richest man in the world, J. Paul Getty. Problem was, the kidnappers didn’t realize that Getty was such an unbelievable skinflint that not only would he pay no money to said grandson’s family (they lived in poverty) but he wouldn’t pay the ransom either. Minimally, he just sent a handler (Mark Wahlberg) to assist his desperate daughter-in-law (Michelle Williams) but sans any kind of a real budget. What happened as this story unplayed was kinda crazy. Almost as crazy as the last minute digital replacement they did for Getty, inserting Christopher Plummer. Which we never really noticed the seams of. Listen to Chris, George and Frank talk about that and the movie in general right here.
Jessica Chastain plays real-life underground poker queen Molly Bloom, as she recounts her story of being targeted by the FBI to her lawyer, Idris Elba. I mean, just the two of them in a movie together should be enough to get butts in seats, right? Just put them in everything. Hell, they’re going to be in IT 2 now, apparently. But wait, there’s more…or less, depending on how you feel about screenplay God (yeah, I said it) Aaron Sorkin. He wrote this sucka and now makes his directorial debut. WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG. Well…. Hmm. Chris, Lara, Frank, and JC discuss the issue.
Adding to the pile of December Oscar-bait this year is Steven Spielberg’s entry and he’s going in with guns-a-blazing, casting Meryl Streep as Washington Post owner Kay Graham and Tom Hanks as its editor Ben Bradley in a time of deep concern for the paper: do they ignore the federal government’s threats and publish shocking documents that were illicitly obtained revealing secrets about the Vietnam war? Timely, no? Which isn’t to say we were head over heels with it. Listen to Chris, Elliott, Frank, and JC break it down for you.
Pitch Perfect III
In the third chapter in this (apparently) well-loved series, we thought it appropriate to actually try to get some people from the demographic the film is targeting to do the review for us. Turns out, our own regular Highly Suspect Reviewer, Lara, has a teen daughter named Rowan who was VERY excited to see the trilogy completed and Chris interviews the two of them about their experience. And NO…Chris did not use this as an excuse to get out of seeing Pitch Perfect III. There were multiple screenings on the same night. But, that being said, good note for future reference…
Owen Wilson and Ed Helms play very different brothers who have to team up when they find out that the father that their mother (Glenn Close) told them about is only one of a series of possible dads. Road trip and celebrity cameos ensue. Check out Chris moderating the review with Michael and Aaron.
The latest Alexander Payne film features Matt Damon as a man who decides to downsize his life in the most literal way possible, joining many others by going under a shrinking process that makes him about 5 inches tall. Also featuring Kristen Wiig, Christoph Waltz, and Jason Sudeikis, this was one of the more split-opinion films to be released this year and our group of reviewers (Chris, Frank, and JC) are no different. Check out their review.
The Conclave: The Last Jedi Spoiler Review
We’ve reconvened our knowledgeable Jedi conclave to help us discuss the latest Star Wars movie at length. This is a review for those who want to hear some adult talk (I mean, admittedly, adults who’ve read and seen every last bit of canon lore in the Star Wars universe, but, you know) digging deeply into the new film. Not everyone is on the same page here but it makes for a really smart talk about what works and what doesn’t in The Last Jedi. Your host is Chris and your Conclave is Chris Herman, Marco, Adam, and Harris.
The Greatest Showman
Hugh Jackman puts back on his song and dance man hat to become legendary circus guy P.T. Barnum. This musical exploration of his story also features Zac Efron, Michelle Williams, Rebecca Ferguson, Zendaya and many more and I’m telling you right now: some of you are going to HATE it. Not us though. Listen to Chris, Frank, and Lara almost break out into song reviewing the film.
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
A new group of teens has to experience the threatening world of Jumanji only now, it’s not a board game anymore. Only 30+ year olds play those things, right? The game magically transforms itself into a video game instead and quite honestly, you’ll be glad it did. Once sucked into the game, the teens find themselves transformed into different people: Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, and Karen Gillan, and they have to figure out their strengths and weaknesses to survive the game’s perils, as well as the mustache-twirling villainy of Bobby Cannavale. But will teens as different as they all are figure out how to relate to each other? Basically, if The Breakfast Club got sucked through a wormhole into an alternate universe and became badasses (well, some of them), you’ll be VERY surprised to hear what Chris, Michael, JC, and Lara have to say about this movie.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
It’s finally here. The second film in the final trilogy in the Skywalker line of Star Wars movies. I know not everyone was pleased with The Force Awakens. Some were. Our group of reviewers (John, Chris, Ian) are convinced that both groups will really, REALLY dig on The Last Jedi as director Rian Johnson brings some things to the film series that we’ve never seen before. Like extended character development and genuine plot surprises. Oh wait… there definitely will be some Star Wars fans who hate it. Regardless, check out our spoiler-free (we tried REAL hard) review of the film.
Woody Allen’s latest features a period-piece bad marriage between Kate Winslet and Jim Belushi (yes, Jim Belushi) who live on Coney Island and have their lives shaken up when Jim’s long-estranged daughter (Juno Temple) shows up on the run from her mobster husband. Also, Winslet is cheating on Jim with a young aspiring writer (Justin Timberlake) and the daughter complicates that as well. You know what? Whatever. This review is about hearing the chaos erupt between Chris, Elliott, and Johnny. Strong feelings were elicited and I have a feeling the opinions expressed will cause some amount of consternation. Oh well. Have at us.
The Shape of Water
Guillermo Del Toro’s latest dark, romantic, adult fairy tale is being hailed by many as one of his best films. We certainly see the appeal of watching a romance between a mute cleaning woman (Sally Hawkins) and The Creature from the Black Lagoon (Doug Jones) being menaced by a slowly rotting Michael Shannon. I mean, we do now that we’ve seen the movie. Listen to Marco, Michael, Zach, JC, and Chris give their review.
I would never have called it that one of the films being considered for Best Picture this year would be about disgraced, trashy, Olympics figure skater Tonya Harding. But here we are. Margot Robbie plays the infamous athlete in this black comedy/biopic/mockumentary also starring Sebastian Stan as her abusive husband Jeff and Allison Janney as the worst mother ever. Listen to Chris, Michael, and Johnny Neill give their review.
Crisis on Earth X
The Arrow-verse (or CW-verse, or Berlanti-verse) had their biggest crossover yet this year with the DC Comics shows, Supergirl, Arrow, The Flash, and Legends of Tomorrow, all meeting up over four episodes to fight parallel Earth Nazi versions of themselves. So we put together our own team to take it on and see how it measures up against all the other big superhero team-ups going on out there (*eyeing Justice League*). Listen to Chris, David, Johnny Neill, and Elliott. They know what they speak of.
The Punisher S1
Marvel’s latest show on Netflix is the highly anticipated/dreaded, The Punisher, featuring the ideally cast Jon Bernthal as Frank Castle, the veteran who is on a never-ending rampage against crime and anyone even with a tertiary connection to the murder of his family. But what did we think about it? Listen to Chris, Jeff, and Logan weigh the pros and cons in this full spoiler review.
The Disaster Artist
The Room is one of those weird cultural things. This movie, a truly game-changing terrible film on an Ed Wood sea-change level, has been an anomaly since it was first discovered by midnight movie crowds. How did it even get made? Who is this Tommy Wiseau weirdo who wrote/directed/produced/starred in the thing? Weirdo is the central question and I’m not sure that James Franco’s The Disaster Artist will answer all of your questions about Wiseau or the movie it purports to show the making of. But it will damn sure entertain the HELL out of you. Don’t just listen to me, trust our full podcast critic group on this one: Chris, Zach, Mike, and Dragonball Mike (he’s going to regret ever telling us it was ok to nickname him that).
The Man Who Invented Christmas
Charles Dickens. We all knew he was responsible for some of the most beloved works of literature from the 19th century. And that it’s because of him there’s gotta be a new goddamn version of A Christmas Carol every freakin’ year. But hold on, that’s because it really was quite good. Timeless, even. So here we go with the META version, as Dan Stevens plays the writer, stuck between books, unclear how to proceed past the earliest conceiving of the character of Scrooge (played wonderfully here by Christopher Plummer), when he starts hallucinating (or is it just the writer processing?) the characters from the novel appearing to him and writing the story with him. Maybe it’s a new family Xmas classic, maybe it’ll be entirely forgotten in a few years, it’s honestly hard to predict these things, but Chris, Marco, and Michael give it their best shot.
Roman J. Israel, Esq
In this new film from the writer/director of Nightcrawler, Denzel Washington plays a lawyer. Not the slick and fancy, expensive suit kind. The kind that that other lawyer has working for him doing all the research work. The kind who hasn’t bought even a new suit in 30 years. The kind with heart, drive, and unshakable belief in doing what’s right. So, yeah, the kind that doesn’t really exist. He’s hidden away from the world until his partner unexpectedly ups and dies and he finds himself thrust into the real world, having his 60’s idealism met with a new generation that has learned not to share his viewpoint. Will he conform, or will he wither away? Chris and Elliot (our resident lawyer) discuss this film at length and I think our verdict will surprise you.
A little Mexican boy is transported to the realm of the dead (not in a creepy way) when he defies his family’s wishes to stay away from music. There, he must find his musician great-grandfather to receive a blessing in order to be able to return to the world of the living without the added onus of ‘no music for you’ that every other dead relative he has insists on adding on. Pixar brings their magic to Día de Muertos and as expected, the results are pretty darn solid. Check out Chris, Marco, Michael, JC, and Elliot on the review.
Three Billboards Outside Ebbings, Missouri
Frances McDormand plays Mildred, a woman living in a small town who is seething with anger because still, 7 months after the rape and murder of her teenage daughter, the local police haven’t done anything about it. So, taking aim specifically at the local Sheriff (Woody Harrelson) she pays for three billboards (natch) to be erected which pose her question. This makes the town erupt in a certain degree of simmering chaos and sets the tone for what we felt is one of, if not the best, movies of the year. Not that it comes as a huge surprise, being from the mind and lens of Martin McDonagh (In Bruges). Listen to Chris, Richard, Marco, and Lara lavish it with praise.
**Warning: There are some mild spoilers in our review. We recommend you go see this film…like, now, and THEN listen the review.
Rural Mississippi. The late 40s. Racism. Mud. Poverty. PTSD. That’s what you’re in for with this Netflix-produced, Dee Rees-directed adaptation of the novel by Hillary Jordan. Garrett Hedlund and Jason Mitchell are two young men back from WWII, each confronting the abject poverty of their homes (and rampant racism) in different ways but having a friendship based on their shared soldiering experiences. Casey Mulligan is Jason Clarke’s wife who was expecting something WAY different when she was told they were packing up the whole family and moving to a farm. Rob Morgan and Mary J Blige are working for Clarke and are figuring out that trying to get ahead in this scenario is a losing proposition. And Chris, Marco, and Mike are the HSR critics who don’t really see eye-to-eye on this film. Check out their review here.
Last Flag Flying
Well, here we are. After several disappointing films and one solid one, the DCU has built up to their big team-up film. What, we got yer Batman, we got yer Aquaman, we got yer Flash, we got yer Wonder Woman, and we got yer Cyborg. Pretty much the Justice League, right? Yeah, and that other guy who may or may not make an appearance. Lots of arms crossed and cynical predictions going into this one but did it surprise us? Listen to Chris, Michael, Elliot, Zach, JC, and Marco form their own super-team in the review.
Last Flag Flying
Richard Linklater has kinda mastered the road trip deep conversations thing. At least now with the release of his (kinda, sorta, not really) sequel to 1973’s The Last Detail. Bryan Cranston, Steve Carrell, and Lawrence Fishburne play old Vietnam war buddies who are uncomfortably reunited when Carrell asks them to join him for a trip to the funeral of his son who died in the Iraq war. Everyone is WAY on their game here. Trust Chris, Richard, and Lara to tell you all about it.
Murder on the Orient Express
Kenneth Branagh takes on this new adaptation of the Agatha Christie classic as director and detective as he plays the mustachioed Hercule Poirot trying to solve a murder mystery on a train. Of course, this being what it is, traditionally you gotta have a huge cast and here we’ve got Johnny Depp, Daisy Ridley, Josh Gad, Judi Dench, Olivia Colman, Penelope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Derek Jacoby, Michelle Pfeiffer, and more. But how does it hold up next to the previous versions? Listen to Patience, Michael, JC, Frank, and Chris tell you.
Stranger Things: Season 2
The kids are back together again fighting against the terrors of the Upside-Down and all of America (or at least that’s how it looked from MY facebook feed) was watching. So what did our crew think of it? This long-form season review (full spoilers) features Chris, Johnny Neill, Marco, Kim, and Beau. Chaos is assured.
The third time is clearly the charm as director Taika Waititi (What We Do in the Shadows) takes over the reins of Thor’s chariot in this crazy, colorful film that from its opening frames makes no mistake that it’s a comedy. Co-starring Heimdall, Hulk and Loki (yay!) and introducing Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie, Jeff Goldblum as the Grandmaster, and Cate Blanchett as the diabolical (but still funny) Hela, we suspect this one is going high up on everyone’s favorite Marvel movies list. Check out Chris, Beau, Marco, and Zach with your review.
The Killing of a Sacred Deer
You get so excited to talk about a movie sometimes and then you hit record and you’re like, “How the hell do I get across what this film made me feel like?” The Killing of a Sacred Deer is one of those films…entrancing, complex, difficult to summarize.
Basically, Colin Farrell plays a surgeon with a God complex who is hanging out with a teenager (Barry Keoghan) who he feels (although he’d never admit it) that he owes a debt to. When the teenager calls in the debt in a reality-shattering fashion, it’s Farrell’s wife (Nicole Kidman) and his two children who suffer for it.
We all really dug this, while admitting fully that it is not a film for everybody. Check out our review with Chris, Lara, Frank, and Ian.
Goodbye Christopher Robin
Someone in Hollywood has clearly decided that biopics about beloved children’s storybook writers are a cash cow. This time we take a look at the creator of Winnie the Pooh (played by Domhnall Gleeson), his often-absentee wife (Margot Robbie) and the precocious child of theirs that was the basis for the Christopher Robin character from the books. Taking a darker turn than these types of affairs generally do, the crew was kinda mixed on this. Listen to Chris, Elliot and Frank deliver the deets.
Well, here it is. Our review for what, despite the massive pedigree that would seem to spell out “good movie”, is one of the worst movies we’ve seen this year. Michael Fassbender plays a broken police detective in Norway who is chasing a mysterious ‘snowman’ killer. And lots of other irrelevant stuff happens, including, for some reason, a conspicuously ADRed Val Kilmer in the past acting like a lunatic. Words fail me on my keyboard as to how truly terrible this movie is. But they don’t fail us in the review. Listen to Chris, Marco, Lara, Patience, and Ian take this movie DOWN.
Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House
Liam Neeson takes a break from chasing down bad guys in the action movie senses to chase down bad guys in the Watergate break-ins sense and, in fact, the President of the United States, in this biopic about the guy who turned out to be the confidential informant to the Washington Post (among other news outlets) whose information led to Nixon stepping down. We had mixed reactions on this one but still, full points to Neeson who can carry a film just by the strength of his disapproving glare. Chris, Marco, and Mike will be guiding you through the political murkiness on this one.
Only The Brave
Are you familiar with the story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots? A fire crew of badasses in Arizona? No? Ok, don’t look them up. You’ll thank me later. Watch this movie about their story without that background information. Here, Josh Brolin plays the leader of this crew of manly men who is married to Jennifer Connelly. His boss is Jeff Bridges. Miles Teller is the new guy with a sordid past determined to make a better man of himself A strong cast, but it sounds a little flag-wavey, right? Upon actually seeing it, we didn’t think so, but we do admit that a film so determined to pay faithful tribute to these important men might have some troubles in the ‘keeping the drama tight’ department. Still, Chris, Frank, and Elliott found a lot to like in this film that we suspect large parts of America will downright fall to pieces over.
Chadwick Boseman takes on the role of legendary NAACP lawyer (and later, Supreme Court Justice) Thurgood Marshall in this story of an early case where he defended a black man on trial for raping a white woman. Forced by a racist system and intolerant judge to only act as an advisor for the case, he has to make the reluctant Josh Gad, a good insurance lawyer but one with no criminal trial experience, act as his mouthpiece. Featuring roles from Kate Hudson, James Cromwell, Dan Stevens, and Sterling K Brown, there’s a lot to like about this film that takes on such a pivotal trial about such a legend like Marshall, but, it still felt more like a TV film to Chris and Marco. Listen to their review here.
Jackie Chan takes a turn for the dramatic (but don’t worry kids, he still kicks some arse) in this moody thriller from director Martin Campbell. When his teenage daughter dies in an IRA bombing in London, with nothing left to lose he reassumes old skills and starts harassing a former IRA member turned British government official played by Pierce Brosnan. What starts off looking like just another Taken clone ends up having a lot more subtlety and ‘adulting’ going on than you might expect. Listen to Chris, Marco, Michael, and Zach with their review.
Happy Death Day
So you take 3 parts Groundhog’s Day, add a healthy covering of 90’s post-Scream slasher films, and lovingly garnish it with Heathers…what do you get? More or less, Happy Death Day. And I mean all of that largely in a good way. Following the travails of a college sorority girl caught up in that Bill Murray-esque quandary (there’s, like, a floating cloud of time loop going around these days or something) only her day keeps ending when she gets murdered by a masked figure. No time to learn the piano or ice sculpture, she’s got to figure out who her killer is, and probably stop being such an awful person herself in the process. While we get that this seems…obvious, we were all rather surprised that we had as good a time as we did. Listen to Chris, Frank, George, and JC break it all down for you. And then go back to the start and do it again. And again. And again…
The Mountain Between Us
Kate Winslet and Idris Elba are strangers but they both have important dates they can’t miss so when their flight is canceled because of weather conditions, they team up to hire a small plane to fly them to Denver together. Oops. Crash. Mountains. Snow. Mountain lions. Romance? Survival film love story is the name of the game as these two acting giants battle the elements and hoary tropes to get to the end. Chris, Frank, and Elliott tell you all about it.
Blade Runner 2049
I never, ever, EVER, thought this day would come. Even if I allowed myself to fantasize that it would, realistically speaking it was hard not to think that it would be a nightmare, not the sequel to 1982’s classic Ridley Scott sci-fi film that I would often envision in my dreams.
Ok, yes, I (chris) am more than just a casual fan of Blade Runner. There’s a poster of it in my living room. I own two different versions of the Blu-Ray set with five different versions of the film in it. So, I am both the person most suited to love a sequel, and least suited to. Which meant that a lot of people who know me well told me, “I’m waiting to be excited or not based on what you think”. The wait is over. The review is here. I am joined by Richard, Sarah, Lara, and George. We discuss the film at length and yet, we think, manage to avoid spoilers. And you’re just going to have to listen to it to see what we thought. No spoilers for our opinions in the text here either.
The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)
Director Noah Baumbach returns with another dramedy about a dysfunctional family. Shocker. But are we complaining? No, because nobody does these things better than he does. This time around, Adam Sandler (yes, Adam Sandler) and Elizabeth Marvel play brother and sister who are reengaging with their half-brother (Ben Stiller) when their irascible artist father (Dustin Hoffman) needs them. Anger come to the surface with years of simmering paternal resentment on all sides and there’s as much hurt as humor. But how does it stack up to the rest of Baumbach’s filmography? Listen to Chris, Marco, Kim, and Ian to find out.
Director Doug Liman and Tom Cruise team up again to tell this story of an airline pilot who ended up working for the CIA smuggling guns to the Contras and smuggling cocaine for the Medellin cartel at the same time. So outrageous you either laugh or get mad, this true story is a keeper. Or, at least, so says Chris, Lara, and Frank. Listen to their review here.
Kirsten Dunst is sad. Her mother just died, and she’s got all sorts of angst about it because she assisted her and that’s gotta be hard on anybody. So, she mopes around a lot, gets high, like, constantly, and floats in the forest. I think that about covers it. Regardless, Chris and Frank have some fun in their review.
Kirsten Dunst is sad. Her mother just died, and she’s got all sorts of angst about it because she assisted her and that’s gotta be hard on anybody. So, she mopes around a lot, gets high, like, constantly, and floats in the forest. I think that about covers it. Regardless, Chris and Frank have some fun in their review.
Battle of the Sexes
Back through the mists of time in the fantastical world of America in 1973, folks got all kinda beside themselves over a big media circus of a tennis match between women’s champion Billie Jean King, here played by Emma Stone, and former men’s champ Bobby Briggs, played here by Steve Carell. It turned into “WOMEN’S LIBBERS VERSUS MALE CHAUVINIST PIGS!” and despite the silliness around it, was indeed a turning point for equal rights. So now here’s the movie. Listen to Chris, Lara, Beau and Zach discuss the vagaries of tennis, equality, and the yuks.
Kingsman: The Golden Circle
Matthew Vaughn’s silly-fun spy caper film Kingsman: The Secret Service got a sequel and we were REALLY excited to see it…what with Julianne Moore as new super-villain Poppy, Channing Tatum, Jeff Bridges, Pedro Pascal and Halle Berry as members of the American equivalent of their group, The Statesman, and the mysterious return of a certain cast member from the original. However, perhaps we were TOO excited as we all ended up feeling like this sequel left something to be desired. Check out Kyle, Zack, JC, and Chris talkin’ spy stuff.
The Lego Ninjago Movie
The Lego brand makes it’s third theatrical outing, this time taking from their Ninjago (IE: Ninjas) brand of locking block toy sets and adding a similar formula to their surprisingly accessible and funny first two entries. But does it hold up to the quality of those films? Is third time the charm or does it do harm? Chris, Scott, and Marco investigate and Chris privately wonders when we’re getting that Erector Set movie series he’s been waiting for.
First off, this isn’t a Hunger Games movie. I know, I know, it’s America’s new sweetheart, Jennifer Lawrence, in the lead, but this is a film…not for everybody. That’s exactly what you should expect from a director like Darren Aronofsky. His new film features Lawrence as a submissive wife to writer’s-blocked poet Javier Bardem. They live in a big house in the middle of nowhere, she fixes it up, he struggles with not being able to put a pen to paper. Then one day two strangers appear, married couple Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer, and Bardem invites them in and to stay. From there, things get REAL weird.
I don’t know how much I CAN say without spoiling Aronofsky’s desired effect and I don’t know how much I can say and feel certain I’m really describing the film accurately either. Suffice it to say, this was a hard film to review and a challenging one to watch. Our thoughts on it came across as rather diverse which makes it good that we had a sizable pack or critics to take it on: Chris, Beau, Richard, Patience, Phil, and Robert. And even then, we’re not entirely sure we got this one down right. It’s just that kind of movie.
Twin Peaks The Return: The Final Three Episodes
It’s been a great ride but now it’s done, as Chris, Ian, Betty, and Scott talk about the last three episodes in Twin Peaks Season 3, their Grand Unified Twin Peaks theories, and feelings overall about the season.
IT is here. IT is what you have been waiting for. IT is the IT movie of the…erm…post-summer. IT is where IT’S at. I could go on like this all day and keep annoying all of you but the upshot is, we loved the hell out of this new adaptation of Stephen King’s coulrophobic novel. Listen to Chris, Patience, Phil, Beau, and Marco rave on.
Game of Thrones Season 7
Review is Here. The Game of Thrones Season 7 review, that is. We talk about all the ups and downs of this penultimate adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s sublime fantasy series. Oh yeah, and we also make predictions for season 8. Check out Chris, Beau, Harris, Cat, and Kim giving this topic their best geek-out.
The Defenders Season 1
All of Netflix’s superhero shows finally collide together at the end of their Phase 1 in The Defenders, as the implausibly long-awaited team-up between Jessica Jones, Daredevil, Iron Fist, and Luke Cage happens. Together, they fight The Hand (immortal ninjas), Elektra, and Sigourney Weaver as the evil(ish) head of the long-lived organization. But, after all this time did it live up to the hype? Chris, Zach, Elliott, Kyle, and Ian give their takes on the show.
Twin Peaks Episodes 14-15
Peaksians rejoice! The answers are finally arriving. I mean, in that Lynchy way. And we love it. We especially loved these last two episodes and it makes for a fitful discussion of what we’ve learned and what appears about to happen as we head into the final stretch.
Getting so you can’t trust anyone in Hollywood who says they’re ‘retired’ anymore. Steven Soderberg only took a five year break from directing films after his announcement before he came back but it seems like we’re all happy about it regardless. His latest, Logan Lucky, is a southern-boys heist comedy film starring Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, Riley Keough, Daniel Craig and more which sounds like exactly the ticket for a quality commercial Soderberg vehicle. But, some of us were more crazy for this than others. Listen to Chris, George, and Marco give their reports.
NYC has often been visualized as a fantasy land, a nightmarish landscape, or even hell itself, and the film Good Time definitely puts the city into the ‘almost a character in the film itself’ category. Robert Pattinson (yes, that one) has a brother who is mentally handicapped but he refuses to admit there’s anything wrong with him. When he makes him go on a bank robbery with him, his brother is captured by the police and Robert spends a hellish night desperately looking for any solution as a way to free his brother.
Directors Ben and Josh Safdie have created something really unique here and kind of insane. Even as it reminds one of Dog Day Afternoon or After Hours, it’s so clearly its own thing. But, that Movie Movbeing said, some people liked it a whole lot more than others. Listen to Frank and Chris hash it out.
Ingrid Goes West
Ingrid (Aubrey Plaza) is a bit on the obsessive side. To put it mildly. She’s seriously into fantasizing about having a friendship with an Instagram influencer (Elizabeth Olsen) who lives on the other side of the country. So she packs up and moves out there to insinuate herself into her life and then, of course, everything will be wonderful when she is besties with such a wonderful lady! Or not. Yes, things go deeply wrong for Ingrid’s best laid crazy plans but deeply right for those watching this film, also starring great performances by O’Shea Jackson Jr and Wyatt Russell. Chris and Richard give you what you need to know.
The Hitman’s Bodyguard
Darius Kincaid (Samuel Jackson) is one of the world’s deadliest hitmen, now captured by Interpol and agreeing to give evidence against a despotic Eastern European ruler (Gary Oldman). But Interpol has a mole inside and can’t protect him on their own. That’s when agent Rousell (Élodie Yung) calls in her estranged ex-boyfriend Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds), a top-notch bodyguard (but one currently dealing with career issues) to protect him.
Problem: Kincaid and Bryce have a history of trying to kill each other.
Advantage: goes to the audience who love the old mis-matched buddy action comedies back when they used to be fun.
Chris, Lara, Elliott, and Frank give you the low-down on this love-letter to films like Lethal Weapon.
The Glass Castle
The writer/director of the often overlooked (but wonderful) Short Term 12 teams up with Brie Larson again to tell the story of the seriously dysfunctional Walls family. Woody Harrelson is an optimistic drunk and Naomi Watts is a kooky artist and they’re not so great as the parental units in this nomadic tribe they have together. Switching back and forth in time, Brie Larson plays the older version of their child Jeannette who has to deal with her nonconformist parents still, a yuppie fiance, and her writing. Sounds complicated, right? Well, Elliott, Lara, and Frank explain it to you.
Imagine if your whole world wasn’t what you thought it was. You were raised living in an underground shelter by your ‘parents’ who had weird rules and rituals and had created an entire alternate reality for you, even creating a children’s tv show for you to watch (that as far as you know was the ONLY show) that you became completely obsessed with. Now, imagine that world ending as you realize they are A: not your real parents, B: that is not the real world, and C: Brigsby Bear (the TV show in question) was entirely created for an audience of one…you. That’s the set-up of this warm and funny comedy that Chris, Richard, and George are all calling one of the best of the year. Check out their review here.
The writer of Sicario and Hell or High Water shows up to script AND direct this new film featuring Jeremy Renner as a bad-ass hunter up in the frozen climes of Wyoming on an Native American reservation. He teams up with a noob FBI agent (Elizabeth Olsen) to solve the murder of a young girl. It’s a slow burn but boy does it explode into some serious firecracker stuff in that third act. Chris, George, and Lara give you the scoop.
After Ouija 2 did everything right that Ouija 1 did terribly wrong, I thought to myself, “Self…maybe that’s exactly what Blumhouse is going to do with Annabelle 2“. ‘Cause, you know, that first one ain’t exactly The Conjuring, despite being a spin-off of it. Hell, it’s barely worthy of an Asylum rip-off of the idea. So, lo and behold they got director David F Sandberg, fresh off his win with Lights Out, to come on board and try to save this sinking ship with a period-piece prequel film (much like how they saved Ouija 2). Does it work? I mean, sometimes. It’s definitely freakin’ Citizen Kane compared to the first. Listen to Chris, Patience, and JC tell you all about it.
Twin Peaks Episodes 12-13
The gang is all back to discuss the weirdnesses and brilliance of the latest two episodes of David Lynch’s, Twin Peaks: The Return (aka Season 3).
Man, what do you say about this? That Katheryn Bigelow better start picking out her Oscar dress now? That people are going to come away from this true story set during the Detroit riots of 1967 scared and upset? That Will Poulter better stay inside for a few months until folks can set their emotions back in order after seeing this? Detroit is going to be an oft-discussed, debated, and click-baited film for the rest of the year, we suspect, but the Unusual Suspects call it one of the year’s finest. Listen to Chris and JC experience PTSD during their review.
The Dark Tower
Adapting Stephen King’s 8-book series into a film couldn’t have been easy. In fact, the project, in various forms, has been in development by Hollywood for over a decade. So, then we have this, the first film that will (possibly) lead into a tv show and then more films taken from the book series, with Matthew McConaughey as The Dark Man and Idris Elba as Roland the Gunslinger. Good vs Evil. A kid from our world trapped between. If you saw the trailer and thought that Last Action Hero was the only movie this adaptation was cribbing from, oh man, just wait. So, while realizing no amount of telling hardcore fans anything will change the decision they’re going to make with their dollars, here’s the review featuring Chris, Sarah, George, JC, Patience and Scott.
It’s 1865, you’re a woman (see, I pronounced it correctly there) and you’ve been ‘purchased’ for marriage by a rich land owner for his son. They’re both cruel people and the son, when he is around, doesn’t even want to touch you. But then, there’s that handsome (albeit, a bit rapey) new stablehand….Looking back, how could things have gone so, so wrong?
No, this isn’t the story of the character from the Shakespeare play, but the comparison to her journey led to the original book this film is based on to use her name. So yeah, it gets bloody and dark and tense as all hell. The critics have been raving about it but what did we think? Ask Chris and Johnny Neill and you’ll get an earful.
Charlize Theron has become the new action-goddess and here, teaming up with David Leitch (one-half of the directing team behind John Wick), you know things are gonna go crazy. Theron plays a spy in Berlin on the eve of the collapse of the wall. Somebody over there has a list of all the spies and that’s bad, ok. Theron has to work with James McAvoy, John Goodman, Eddie Marsan, Sofia Boutella, Toby Jones, and more to get the work done but it’s not gonna be easy and it’s gonna involve a significant amount of BRUTAL fights. But is it any good? Chris, Lara, and Johnny Neill let you know.
Twin Peaks Episodes 9-11
Our crew of dedicated Twin Peaks fanatics (Chris, Betty, Ian, and Scott) return to deliver their insights, appreciations, and conspiracies around episodes 9,10, and 11 of Twin Peaks: The Return. Give it a listen and let us know if you think there’s something we missed.
Christopher Nolan returns to bring us his shortest film ever (since Following, his first) with no aliens, no supermen, no time travelers or magicians, just a bunch of British guys getting blown the hell up, heart-rending heroism, and jaw-dropping cinematography. I’m talking about Dunkirk, and if you’re not from American you probably already know about this famous evacuation during WWII and if you are, well, watch the damn movie. Chris, Richard, Jon, Scott, and Marco review.
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
So, that was a movie we just saw. That’s pretty much what we were saying coming out of Luc Besson’s latest, a sci-fi action film that is kinda a descent into madness. In more than one way. Dane DeHaan plays the protagonist Valerian and Cara Delevigne plays his sister…erm, partner, Laureline. They are an inseparable duo, space-agents (or whatever) that take on the toughest cases in the distant future, one in which thousands (millions?) of alien races have come together, connecting ships to form one planet-sized space station. And this is one of their cases. Clive Owen is here. Ethan Hawke is here. Rihanna is here. It’s colorful and crazy and is most likely to be comparable to The Fifth Element (which large parts of were based on the same source material). But did we like it? Listen to Chris, Marco, Joe, and Scott give their review.
A Ghost Story
So Casey Affleck is married to Rooney Mara but then he dies and becomes a ghost covered with a bedsheet who can’t leave the house and he has to watch shit happen for a long time until he doesn’t. That is the plot synopsis of A Ghost Story which is both a spoiler and isn’t a spoiler because it’s the basic premise of the film, yet pretty much sums up the entire events of the film. And this thing is REALLY some folks cup of tea. Even some of our folks. This kind of avante-garde horror (lately and controversially referred to as post-horror by some journalists) splits genre fans down the middle, even Chris, Beau, and Marco who can’t come to a consensus.
I’m starting to think there’s a Chinese antique store out there like in Friday the 13th: The Series, that only sells cursed items. This high school girl (Joey King) gets a wishing box (?) from her father (Ryan Phillipe) who is a…dumpster diver? Professionally? You got me. Anyway, box is cursed, as I said, and you don’t have to feed this one after midnight to set it off, you just have to hold it and make a wish. I mean, sure, the wish comes true, BUT someone you know dies. THIS GIRL doesn’t even wish for anything cool. Just, ugh, you know, fucking teenagers. Anyhow, Chris, Patience, JC, and Marco review this one. Man, they shoulda given the box to a oneofus fan, at least we wouldn have gotten a movie where they wish for cool stuff to happen. Lame.
Fargo Season 3
Fact: Noah Hawley has had one hell of a year on TV. From the surreal super-hero art-house Legion (see our review for that right here) to the third, but hopefully not final, season of Fargo, no one else in the field of running the shows on that there boob tube seems to get it down so perfectly. And although our group of critics (Chris, Russell, and Morgan) don’t absolutely drool, they are no fools, as there’s a lot of praise worth heaping upon this third and maybe (“sniff”) final season. Check out their review here.
Glow Season 1
The Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling. That was a real thing in the 80s. There’s a documentary all about them on Netflix you can watch if you don’t believe us. It all seems so crazy, over the top, and kinda racist/sexist, and yeah, it was. But now there’s this new narrative show at Netflix starring Mark Maron, Allison Brie and a HUGE cast of lady wrestlers (or actresses playing lady wrestlers mainly) and it’s all the talk around the watercooler (virtual watercooler, but still). So we got the guys from our wrestling podcast, Thumbtacks and Screwjobs to take the lead here in our review of the first season. Listen to Richard and Gene know what they’re talking about and Elliott and Chris try to keep up.
The Little Hours
Whereas of late comedies set in medieval times haven’t had the best track record, The Little Hours is about to break that streak. Dave Franco plays a servant to Nick Offerman who is forced to flee for his life when his master discovers he’s been diddlin’ the wife. As luck would have it, he stumbles across a nearby convent and its pastor played drunkenly by John C Reilly, who is taken with him and offers him a job tending to the grounds. Only one warning: he has to pretend to be deaf and mute. Because THESE nuns…well, they’re a little rough. Played by Allison Brie, Aubrey Plaza, Kate Micucci, and Molly Shannon, they are foul mouthed, violent, sexed-up, and pretty damn funny. Listen to Chris and Beau review this little hidden gem.
The Big Sick
Kumail Nanjiani is happily married to his creative partner and wife, Emily Gordon. But things weren’t always looking so good. Together, the two of them wrote The Big Sick, the story of how shortly into their relationship Emily almost died, with a bit of dramatic embellishment and with Zoe Kazan playing Emily. Believe it or not, according to our reviewers (and dammit, MOST reviewers) The Big Sick is not just one of the best films of the year, but one of the best Romcoms ever made. Check out the review with Jon, Chris, Harris, Marco and Beau.
War for the Planet of the Apes
Director Matt Reeves brings the “Apes” prequel trilogy to a resounding and decisive close, following the further trials and tribulations of Caesar (Andy Serkis + an entire CG department) who only wants peace, but an insane human warlord (Woody Harrelson) won’t just let things be. Check out Chris, Richard, and Beau pointing at the film and going “OOH OOH OOH OOH” excitedly.
Remaking the 1971 Clint Eastwood film, Sophia Coppola tells the story of a wounded Union soldier (Colin Farrell) who is found by the girls of a boarding school in the Confederate south. Doing the ‘Christian thing’ and taking him in, the girls argue with each other and themselves of whether or not to turn him in to the Confederate army, where surely he would die. Slowly but surely they come under his BEGUILEMENT (see?) but that’s only the beginning. Check out Chris, Richard and Frank’s review, comparisons to the original, and take on the controversy surrounding the film.
Spider-Man back in the MCU. Who woulda thunk it? But here were are and after Tom Holland’s highly praised appearance in the character in Captain America: Civil War, the anticipation for this cross-company Sony/Marvel stand-alone film has been precariously high. And with Michael Keaton playing The Vulture? Folks are champing at the bit to see how it works. But does it? Listen to Chris, Richard, Herman, Beau, and JC weave their critical webs around this latest attempt to capture Marvel’s best character.
Despicable Me 3
How is this a franchise? That’s what we asked ourselves when the first sequel came out back in 2013. And AGAIN (but more exasperated) when the spin-off, Minions, came out in 2015. And here we go again. But full disclosure: yeah, they’re not classics or anything but some of us really enjoyed the movies anyway. UNTIL NOW. You’ve got to hear Ian, Aaron (NEW GUY), and Mike being guided heroically by Chris through their review of Despicable Me 3.
Edgar Wright is the kind of guy who appears to be a little obsessive with the geeky stuff. He made Shaun of the Dead to channel his zombie/horror fixation. Hot Fuzz for cop thrillers, The World’s End for alien invasion movies, and Scott Pilgrim for…well, maybe video games, but honestly I think he was just blown away by the comic book like all of the rest of us. But, not to put too fine a point on it, he’s a geek and his intricate and layered comedies are his versions of building a giant model from Star Trek or something. Now, enter his latest, Baby Driver: a fast-paced (for the first and last act) action musical (of sorts) with Ansel Elgort as the titular “Baby” who works as a getaway driver, and one helluva good one, for crime boss Kevin Spacey. Wright, as it turns out, has a real fixation for some of the classic ‘driver’ movies of the 70s and so, here ya go.
Also featuring Jamie Foxx, Jon Bernthal, Lily James, Jon Hamm, and Eliza Gonzales, Baby Driver is a car stunt-heavy, absolutely music packed and choreographed, action comedy….that we all at least liked. Yeah, some of us merely ‘liked’ it. Check out the review with Chris, Jon, Harris, Beau and Richard to find out why.
Twin Peaks: The Return – Eps 7-8
This week is full of surprises. Not just the episodes of Twin Peaks themselves (although…JEBUS CRISTOS) but on our review show itself. Subbing out for our regular contributor Ian this week is beloved Oneofus regular Johnny Neill, who is as deeply passionate about this show as the rest of us. To add to that, we’ve got a special interview at the end of the episode with actor Christian Calloway who played one of the woodsmen in episode 8 who has some fascinating insights into the episode and working with Lynch.
American Gods – Season 1
It’s a big year for great TV and in our humble opinion, the Starz network’s adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s novel American Gods fully lived up to expectations. Was it Bryan Fuller’s show-running? The dead-on but often surprising casting? Neil Gaiman’s scripting? Chris, Sarah, George, and Harris get in deep in their full spoiler discussion of the first season. Note: we’re pretty careful about avoiding spoilers for the future seasons from knowledge of the book so we’d appreciate it if you avoided them as well in the comments.
Transformers: The Last Knight
THIS IS A SPOILER REVIEW!!! Here ya go, schadenfreude fans, it’s time for your dangerously huge dose of Unusual Suspect agony as you get to hear Chris, Jon, and Matt Frank writhe in pain from their experience watching Transformers 5. Well, on the whole, Matt. Chris calls it, “The greatest film of the series.” He doesn’t mean that like you think he does. Listen to the review to see what I mean.
Sam Elliott is a former western screen icon who has slipped lazily into his golden years spending his time not really working but smoking out with his former co-star (Nick Offerman). But when he gets a cancer diagnosis, he forms a strange friendship with a stand-up comic (Laura Prepon) and tries to connect with his estranged daughter (Krysten Ritter). Check out what Marco, Beau, and Mike called one of the best films of 2017 in their review.
The Handmaid’s Tale – Season 1
Some are calling it the most terrifying new show on television, some the most beautiful, all are calling it the saddest: it’s the first season of Hulu’s new adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s masterful dystopian sci-fi classic, The Handmaid’s Tale. Elizabeth Moss plays Offred, one of many Handmaidens who must live in this new theocratic American society as the servant of a rich family, specifically there to bear the child of the rich husband (Joseph Fiennes). Child birth rates are plummeting and women have had their citizenship revoked, if not their humanity. Even the mother of the house (Yvonne Strahovski), who clearly despises Offred for doing what she’s there to do, is obedient to the new order. Is there any escape? Are we 5 minutes away from this world ourselves? Chris, Sarah, Scott, and Rebecca have a long, spoiler-filled, discussion about the show.
47 Meters Down
SHARKS! GODDAMMIT SHARKS! Like, not so good for sexy twenty-somethings (or realistically, thirty-somethings, but whatever). At least not in the movies. What in the world would possess Mandy Moore and Claire Holt to agree to go in a rusty old shark cage, attached to a ramshackle boat’s winch chain, in the middle of Mexico, with a bunch of people they don’t know? So, no one’s that’s surprised when the chain breaks and they’re caught in it titularly 47 meters down with hungry great whites swimming around and a host of other problems including, due to extreme panic, that they’re already low on air? I know I wasn’t. But, despite a distinct lack of surprise, SOME of us were pretty scared. Some of us, PSHAW, not so much. Listen to Patience, Chris, Mike, and our special guest Nick reveal their hidden depths.
Scarlett Johansson is getting married? NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! Ok, yeah, I’d come along to the bachelorette party in Miami, especially with fun people along for the ride like Jillian Bell, Ilana Glazer, Zoë Kravitz, and Kate McKinnon. I mean, they’re all old friends and the party in Miami with them will be crazy fun, right? Wait, a stripper dies and they have to hide the body? What, like Very Bad Things? Oh god, well, but it’s got such a primo group of funny ladies and is written and directed by people who worked on the HY-sterical Broad City. Ok, sure, I’ll give it a shot. Wait…..I’m not the stripper, am I? Whew.
Despite the pedigree for fun (or, alternatively, because of it) we came to a split house on our review crew: Two 5’s, Two 9’s. Can you guess which Chris, Elliott, Lara, and JC picked?
The Book of Henry
You know when you’ve got one of those adorable kids who does all your accounting for you because he’s got a super-genius level intellect and the patience of a saint while you’re a useless drunk who sits around and plays video games all day? Hey, if you take the kid out of the equation that sounds like me! But seriously, in this movie by Colin Trevorrow (Jurassic World), Naomi Watts is that mom. Of her two kids, the older is that kind of genius you only see on Nick! shows and the younger is the too-cute Jacob Tremblay (Room). They are just so goddamn happy until there is a major crisis in their lives and Mom realizes she’s going to have take Henry’s advice and deal with her child-molesty neighbor next door (Dean Norris). And I haven’t even told you the BAT SHIT INSANE parts yet. Not in a good way. You know how you guys are always like, “Man, I like it when they’re in physical pain from watching a movie, it’s funny” because you’re schadenfreude-drinking little bastards? Well, this is your food.Bon Appétit! Drink the Blood of Chris, Marco, Frank and Richard.
Beatriz at Dinner
Salma Hayek is a new-agey, hippy type, all heart with her love for the animals she keeps in her house, to her affection for the Earth and all humans who live upon it. That is, until one night her car dies while at a healthful massage appointment with a 1% friend (Connie Britton) and she’s invited to stay for a dinner party. And let me tell you man, party guest John Lithgow can try the most patient and loving of souls. How will she deal? More like how did WE deal? Our group of critics found this thing exhausting and question who was it made for exactly. Listen to Chris, Frank and Mike as they have trouble keeping from ripping this to shreds.
Third time’s the charm, I guess? Pixar has doggedly refused to back away from the questionable charms of their Cars franchise, much to the chagrin of critics everywhere and to apparently the great pleasure of SOMEONE (which includes one of our critics), as the first two films have racked up over 1 billion in worldwide box office and 10 billion in merchandise. So here we are at number 3: This time, Lightning McQueen is getting old and can’t keep up with the new generation of hi-tech racers, like Jackson Storm (Armie Hammer). Then, they realize that perhaps murdering all the organic beings so long ago during the famous time of ‘Maximum Overdrive’ may have been a bad thing after all. Or something like that. Chris Herman, George, and Jon review.
Twin Peaks S3 – Ep 5-6
Diane, it’s Monday morning, June 12th 2017. I’ve gathered together a crew of hard-core Twin Peaks fans to analyze the content of the television episodes of the same name that aired on the 11th and 4th of this same month. Something tells me that there’s more to a lot of what we see here than the casual viewer may be aware of. But first, Diane, have you tried the coffee here? Man, damn good coffee. Make a note to tell Chris, Ian, Betty, and Scott about it.
It Comes at Night
Let’s say you’re Joel Edgerton. You’ve got a wife and a teenage son, you’re living in a large (!) cabin out in the woods, your father-in-law just passed away and you presumably (due to the viral apocalypse) don’t have to pay taxes or get a job, just living off the land in peace and quiet. Doesn’t sound too bad, right? Except It Comes at Night. I mean, not Pennywise (just to be clear), but, you know, it. IT. *sigh* Don’t worry about it. Just watch this movie and tell us who you agree with, Chris, Patience, or Marco who hold three very different opinions about this art-house horror (?) film.
Universal wants a big honkin’ slice of the shared universe movie franchise pie and they’re launching their effort, using their classic movie monsters, and with the help of blockbuster stalwart Tom Cruise, with The Mummy, the ostensibly first in their Dark Universe. Tom is an…archeological thief? Whatever. Anyway, he and Annabelle Wallis (with the help/hindrance of Jake Johnson) have to do with a new source of evil from the past (Sofia Boutella) who wants to make Tom into her new Set and take over the world. Well, that will just not do! So how does this rate? Ask your crew of Usual Suspects: Chris, Beau, Richard, Frank, and Patience.
Twin Peaks: The Return – Episodes 1-4
Ok, this isn’t exactly a ‘review’…more of a group of the hardest core TP fans we could find to talk about the first four episodes of the new third season of the show on Showtime. It’s an analysis, really, and as such, unless you’re intimately familiar with the show, (and have already watched these episodes) this may not be for you. That being said, OMGOMGOMGOMG. Chris, Ian, Betty, and Scott are your fanatics, so take it away…
Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie
In this animated adaptation of the popular children’s book series, Kevin Hart and Thomas Middleditch play two kids who constantly prank their cruel teachers. Using a cereal box prize hypnotism ring, they convince their principal (Ed Helms) to become a superhero they created, Captain Underpants. They decide to permanently override the Principal’s personality and create a new ‘alter-ego’ (I mean…wow, these are the heroes?) it turns out they need the Captain when Professor Poopypants comes to town and tries to stop them all from laughing at his name forever with the Turbo Toilet 2000. Jesus, is this for real? WTF? But those crazy kids in the animation crew said it was pretty good. Well, still. Better them than me. Listen to their review right here.
This is it. The big test for the DCU. Can they get past the ignominious previous three films and deliver a solid hit with this new first ever feature film version of Diana Prince’s story? Or will it be met with derision as some have suspected. The early reviews have been very strong, but we all know that can be deceptive. What does the HSR crew think of Gal Gadot starring in this Patty Jenkins (Monster) directed, period-piece, superhero adventure? Chris, Lola, Sarah, Herman, and Marco are here to give you the goods.
Samurai Jack: Season 5
Our newly minted ‘animation crew’ takes a deep look into the fifth season of Samurai Jack and eventually, after a warning gets into serious spoiler talk. Check it out right here.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
Captain Jack’s back for one more go-round on the ol’ Disney brand of dead horse they don’t seem to be willing to stop beating. This time he’s being chased by another undead pirate, Armando Salazar (Javier Bardem) and defeat is certain for whichever one of them doesn’t find the artifact The Trident of Poseidon first. I know, who writes this stuff? Meanwhile, Jack’s got two young assistants (Brenton Thwaites and Kaya Scodelario) he’s got to keep in line and who will, of course, end up being more than they seem. Beau, Elliott, JC, and Harris take this one for a ride. Listen to what happens.
I mean, was anyone actually asking for this? Ok, I know, 21 and 22 Jump Street were great (and believe me, the producers of this film know that too) and yes, it gives one hope that a corny tv property like Baywatch might actually be pretty darn funny if you attach the right people to a film version. And, while director Seth Gordon is certainly no Lord & Miller, putting Dwayne Johnson and Zak Efron as antagonistic protagonists doesn’t hurt. So how is it? Listen to Elliott, Chris, and Patience tell you all about it.
Do you know who Chuck Wepner is? No? Ok, well, do you know who Rocky is? Yeah? Ok, same thing. At least, sorta. You see, Sly Stallone heard about Chuck, who was known as The Bayonne Bleeder (not the most complimentary of nicknames), who through sheer literal thickheadedness got to the point where he had the opportunity to fight Muhammad Ali for the heavyweight title. And despite all prognostications to the contrary, lasted 15 rounds against the Champ. As it turned out, Sly was a fan and wrote Rocky based largely on Chuck. Once Chuck found this out, the party was on.
Liev Schreiber plays the title role and he works with a great cast including Elizabeth Moss, Naomi Watts, Jim Gaffigan, Michael Rappaport, and Ron Perlman. So how come you haven’t heard of this film? Why indeed? Chris, George, and JC review.
Richard Gere is the title character, Norman, a vaguely mysterious (as to where he lives or how he survives) schmucky guy in New York who spends almost all his time on his phone, wandering around on the streets. He is all but stalking Micha Echel, a relatively high-up functionary in the the Israeli government who is visiting New York. To his surprise, his gambit works and after buying the man an expensive pair of shoes, he finds himself on his radar. Although things don’t work out exactly how he hoped in that scenario, flash to years later and Micha has become the Prime Minister. This simple semi-friendship and Norman’s inability to keep from trying to bring everyone he knows together, leads to a fascinating trail to ruin and incredible self-sacrifice. Yeah, we dug it. Chris, Frank, and Marco give you the heads up on the best movie to come out this week.
Amy Schumer’s second cinematic headliner sees her as the ugly American: a shallow, surface-level millennial obsessed with herself and incapable of seeing herself as others do. When her boyfriend dumps her on the eve of a trip to Ecuador together, she is forced to use the nonrefundable ticket to bring her shut-in mother, Goldie Hawn, along with her. Naturally, things are awkward at first, as Amy wants to party and get drunk and Goldie wants to hide out in her room. However, she gets Goldie to agree to go on a small adventure together with a cute local she’s making eyes at, and they are kidnapped by criminals who take them to Columbia. And from there, it’s a mom and daughter on the run through the jungle comedy. Results may vary. Consult your critics (Chris, Lara, and Frank) for recommended dosage.
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
Why are there so many King Arthur movies/shows? Same reason there are so many Robin Hoods’, Sherlock Holmes’, etc. IT’S FREE AND EVERYBODY KNOWS THEM. Branding heaven. So this studio cozied up the hot, tough, blonde of the moment (Charlie Hunnam) to play a young Arthur before the round table and all that crap, and Jude Law playing the evil Vortigern who killed Arthur’s parents, and said, “Hey, Guy Ritchie, this looks like your sort of thing. Get over here and direct this bitch”. And Ritchie said, “Sure”, and audiences said, “WTF?” including our group of critics: Chris Herman, Richard, Marco, JC, and Patience.
Ridley Scott gives it another go in this sequel to Prometheus/prequel to Alien that has another doomed spaceship crew dealing with crazed xenomorphs and the android that thinks they’re SO awesome. Katherine Waterston leads the cast as this entry’s Ripley substitute and is joined by Michael Fassbender, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride, Damien Bichir, and a crew full o’ Red Shirts. Check out Chris, Patience, Marco, Beau, JC, and Sarah delivering large quantities of review and snark in equal portions.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
You know you’ve been waiting to hear, you’ve got to know: where do the Highly Suspect reviewers fall on the latest Marvel theatrical epic. Let’s see…you’ve got the whole original goofy space crew returning (albeit one, significantly smaller), the return of Michael Rooker in an expanded role as Yondu and Karen Gillan as Nebula. You’ve got the legendary Kurt Russell in a big part as Ego (and that’s all I’m saying about that for now). Lots of familiar faces (to old school comic book fans), really funny cameos, and promises of things to come to make any cosmic Marvel fanboy drool….well, yeah. we dug it. Listen to Chris, Beau, Frank, Jon, and JC give you the sweet deets.
How to Be a Latin Lover
Who is the #1 most influential Hispanic male in the world? According to Variety in 2014 it is Eugenio Derbez. Thousands showed up to see him put his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Now, if you’re a clueless American like me, you probably said, “Who”? Well, Eugenio managed to leverage a surprise hit in American theaters with the Spanish-language film Instructions Not Included in 2013. Now he is back, headlining a (primarily) English comedy, where he plays a washed up gray cougar hunter who is forced out on the street when his elderly catch forces him out after 25 years. Forced to move in with his sister (Salma Hayek) he begins to befriend and teach her ten-year-old son in the ways of being a casanova…but, of course, to try and get something HE wants as well. So how does Derbez’s latest work with English-speaking audiences? Is it as funny as his resume would suggest? Chris, Frank, and George (our new critic of the week!) give you the low-down.
Now he’s back, headlining a (primarily) English comedy, where he plays a washed up gray cougar hunter who is forced out on the street when his elderly catch forces him out after 25 years. Forced to move in with his sister (Salma Hayek) he begins to befriend and teach her ten-year-old son in the ways of being a casanova…but, of course, to try and get something HE wants as well. So how does Derbez’s latest work with English-speaking audiences? Is it as funny as his resume would suggest? Chris, Frank, and George (our new critic of the week!) give you the low-down.
Jacob, Patience, Jon, Chris Cox, and Chris Herman all were super excited to watch Free Fire, the latest film by indie wunderkind Ben Wheatley. Or rather, everyone else was excited to watch it after Cox and Herman wouldn’t shut up about it since they saw the premiere at SXSW. So here’s the final word from folks who saw it without the fest madness alongside those who did…does it live up to their praise? I mean, Cillian Murphy, Brie Larson, Sharlto Copley, Armie Hammer, and a bunch more in one long comedy-invective laced fire fight? Listen and hear for yourself.
The Lost City of Z
ZED. The Lost City of ZED…is what I imagined before we recorded this review every one of our listeners from across the pond would be yelling. And so I tried to start us out on the right foot. Still probably said it wrong at some point during the review. Oh well.
Charlie Hunnam plays a British Major who needs some decorations on his uniform if he wants to get out from under the shadow left by his ne’er do well father. So he agrees, despite having a wife, a child, and a second child on the way, to head an exploratory trip to the Amazon jungle to find the beginning of the mighty river. Despite all the complications you might imagine, the trip changes his life and begins him on a quest to prove the existence of an early civilization that once lived there. And if you listen to the review, Chris, JC, and Frank give their reviews to prove they went to go see this 2hr20min film.
The Fate of the Furious
Eight. How the hell are there eight Fast and the Furious films? Why? Because of groups of people like us keep LOVING THE ($#% out of them! Not ‘so bad it’s good’ so much as ‘big, dumb, and perfectly executed for maximum fun’, the series has regardless certainly had its ups and downs. This time, Jason Statham gets slid from the ‘bad guy’ category to the ‘family’ category (you knew it was coming), Vin Diesel has a secret with Charlize Theron and he has to betray his family, and lots of spy shit happens. Things blow up, Lamborghinis fall from the sky, dogs and cats sleeping together, total anarchy. But is it enjoyable? Chris, Richard, Harris, Joe and Brian (that’s right, BRIAN) give it a look-see.
Legion Season 1
In this full-on spoiler review, Chris and Johnny Neill are joined by two newcomers to oneofus.net, Neil and Evan, to thoroughly review the first season of Legion. Why? It’s not just because it’s another Marvel comics show, albeit not a Netflix one like we’ve traditionally covered. It’s because we thought it was absolutely groundbreaking television in every way. Check out our review and tell us what you thought in the comments.
Ghost in the Shell
It’s Scarlett Johansson in the lead role of a human brain in a kick-butt robot body who learns all is not what she’s been told in an adaptation of the famous 90’s anime directed by the guy who did Snow White and the Huntsman. I think that about covers it. Chris, Rob, Herman, and Harris go into the deets and even deliver some spoiler talk after the ratings.
Kristen Stewart teams up again with French filmmaker Olivier Assayas (with whom she made Clouds of Sils Maria) for this odd little indie ghost story. Stewart plays Maureen, who is living in France as a personal shopper for a celebrity, but really she’s there because of her dead twin brother. They were both mediums and they promised if either one of them died first they would give the other a sign. Maureen, not entirely sure the disturbances she’s witnessed were indeed spirits of dead people or something else, is going on three months with nothing and is unsure how to proceed. But when mysterious messages start showing up on her cell phone, she tries to understand how this relates to her brother. Chris and Beau give you the scoop on this art-house chiller.
“We didn’t make it for the critics, we made it for the fans”. This is the statement we choose to address today on our review for Netflix’s Iron Fist series. Mainly because as much as we are critics, on a considerably higher level we’re huge fans. Fans of Marvel, fans of the Marvel Netflix series, and BIG fans of Iron Fist as a character. So why was this series such a let-down? Chris, Harris, TJ, and Elliott investigate.
In this adaptation of a Daniel Clowes graphic novel, Woody Harrelson plays the titular Wilson, a misanthrope who still never stops trying to connect with people, despite his lack of understanding of social niceties. Ok, he’s kind of an asshole, but one you can’t help but sorta like. Into his life comes his long-estranged ex-wife (Laura Dern) who reveals that rather than having had an abortion when she left him, she gave birth to a child and gave it up for adoption. Wilson is thrilled to find this out and wants to develop them into a family, but is he even capable of such a thing? Chris, Beau, and Frank give you the skinny.
I know, there’s lots of critics out there talking about this new Power Rangers movie, probably on the whole with no real affection for the source material, and you, as a fan, are wondering: what would I think of this? Wonder no longer as Oneofus.net brings together two of our crew who are huge PR fans to give their take on the new movie, Chris Herman and Matt Frank. So check out our audio review here and shortly the video version.
Is there life beyond our planet? Could it have evolved elsewhere in the universe? If it did and it’s intelligent, would it be friendly? Well, I guess we’ll never know because this group of astronauts done pissed it off. Which is not good for them AT ALL, and potentially even worse for everybody on the planet down below if the thing were to get down there. Which is why Ryan Reynolds, Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson, Hiroyuki Sanada, Ariyon Bakare, and Olga Dihovichnaya have to do whatever possible to keep this adorable little bugger where it is. Now, some may say I’ve already said too much. We do, in fact, describe the creature in detail in the review so those who want to go in completely blind might want to wait to listen to Beau, Chris, Sarah, and Richard talk about it. You have been warned.
Beauty & The Beast
The question: is there a good reason for Disney to do a live action remake of their animated classic Beauty & the Beast? We definitely come to a VERY split decision on this one. Whether it’s the quality, or lack thereof, of Emma Watson’s Belle, or of Dan Stevens’ unnecessarily CGed version of the Beast, we have a lot to discuss. Listen to Chris, Sarah, Frank, and Beau come to blows.
Kong: Skull Island
Stupid people, hubris against nature, hot lady, giant ape…you get the picture. Only this time it’s 1974 and we’re not trying to do a remake of the original again. I mean, yeah, there’s a lot of similar stuff, but the upshot is, it’s all on the island and JEBUS is it crawling with nasties. Somehow, Sam Jackson, Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, John Goodman, and the rest of this huge cast have to survive. SPOILER: most of them don’t.
Before I Fall
Poor Samantha. Her friends (who are practically the “Heathers” from Heathers) don’t understand why she’s been acting so stressed out. Probably because Groundhog’s Day-style mystical experiences are WASTED on the young. Over and over and over she has to relive this day and she is having a heckuva time figuring out what she needs to do differently in order to stop it from happening. So what is happening? I dunno. Not a great movie. Or at least, one of us thought so. Listen to Chris and Beau disagree about this one.
A United Kingdom
Rosamund Pike plays Ruth, an office girl in London who is swept off her feet by the dashing and handsome Seretse (David Oyelowo) who turns out to be a prince and she goes with him to his kingdom where they live happily ever after. Is this a Disney film? Oh, wait, he’s black, she’s white, it’s 1948 and South Africa (which recently had instated apartheid laws) ain’t having it. And if they ain’t having it, England wasn’t either, considering how much post-WWII debt they had and how much money was coming in from South Africa’s diamond and gold mines. What’s a lovely young couple to do? Put up a middle finger to the world and challenge established mores, that’s what. Chris and Beau take a look at this true story.
Jordan Peele makes his directorial debut in this intense, intelligent, and sometimes very funny horror movie. Imagine if you were a black man dating a white woman and you got talked into going out to her parent’s house for the weekend to meet them, and it turns out all their extended family and friends, and something is just…off. Like, eventually WAY off. You know what? Don’t read this, just listen to Chris, Beau, Patience, and JC do the review, then go see the movie. Trust us.
Wolverine is old. He’s tired of all your shenanigans. He just wants to get drunk, do uber driving in his limousine, and bring even older-ass cranky Professor X his medicine so he doesn’t kill everyone with his dementia-addled mutant a-bomb of a brain. So, of course, somebody’s gotta f%$k up his groove. Another goddamn science company tinkering with mutants have screwed up his week by creating an adorable little girl version of Wolvie that needs his help. *SIGH* “Ok, FINE, let’s go”. He’s our hero. And director James Mangold should be too, creating what many are calling the best film in the entire X-Universe of movies. Some. Some of us even. Listen to Chris, Patience, Beau, Sarah, and Richard talk rather excitedly about the topic.
In this remake/reenvisioning of the 80’s movie Three O’Clock High, a schoolteacher (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia‘s Charlie Day) in fear of losing his job on the last day of high school, gets in trouble with another teacher (Ice Cube) who tells him with certainty: at 3pm in the parking lot, we’re gonna fight. Charlie Day vs Ice Cube. Not a hard call to make for a winner there. And Charlie’s no dummy, albeit an unsympathetic and pathetic worm of a man, and he tries everything he can think of to try and escape his fate. You’d think with a supporting cast like Tracy Morgan, Christina Hendricks, Dennis Haysbert, Dean Norris, Jillian Bell, and Kumail Nanjiani that this would be a comedy slam dunk. You’d think. Chris, Herman, Frank and JC set you straight.
A Cure For Wellness
Gore Verbinski returns with his first horror film since The Ring…so, we were excited. A bit. I mean, did you see the trailer for this?
Looks, kinda classy, spooky, arty, and has Dane DeHaan up in that big spooky house protagonizing the shit out of it. So, outside of a drunken pirate Johnny Depp showing up, what could go wrong? Um, lots. Listen to Chris, Patience, Richard, Beau and Carlos give you the reasons why.
The Lego Batman Movie
Ok, I’m not Batman and at this point in my life it seems unlikely I ever will be, but Will Arnett damn sure is, and one of our favorite actors to play (well, voice) the role ever. Of course, after his great turn in The Lego Movie as the Bat, he ended up with his own movie. Only this time with Robin (Michael Cera), Barbara Gordon (Rosario Dawson), Alfred Pennyworth (Ralph Fiennes), the Joker (Zach Galifianakis)…look, I don’t have all day to sit here and list the massive cast list. Go to IMDB like a big boy.
ANYHOW, the point is, this spin-off has a different writer/director team than The Lego Movie, but will that keep it from making fans SQUEEE the way the previous film did? Chris, Herman, Beau, Elliot, and Sarah put the bricks together for you.
Fifty Shades Darker
“The Thing cannot be described – there is no language for such abysms of shrieking and immemorial lunacy, such eldritch contradictions of all matter, force, and cosmic order. A mountain walked or stumbled.
If I say that my somewhat extravagant imagination yielded simultaneous pictures of an octopus, a dragon, and a human caricature, I shall not be unfaithful to the spirit of the thing. A pulpy, tentacled head surmounted a grotesque and scaly body with rudimentary wings; but it was the general outline of the whole which made it most shockingly frightful.”
Thanks, HP, that about covers it. Chris, Frank and Jon review this….movie.
Here’s your review starring Chris, Patience, Beau, JC, and Jon.
War on Everyone
Director John Michael Donagh (The Guard, Calvary) is back with a crazy bad-cop action comedy starring Michael Peña and Alexander Skarsgård as two absurdly bad cops who don’t seem quite as bad when they’re chasing down Theo James as a rich British prick running a kiddy-porn ring. Chris Herman and Chris Cox review this one that you’re definitely not gonna want to let children watch, but you might want to tell your friends who are fans of The Nice Guys about…or folks who like Tessa Thompson being kinda sexy.
Shouldn’t this feature Naomi Watts on a mining installation confronting thousands of Samaras with the help of some marines? No? FINE, I guess we’ll make our peace with the fact that this third chapter in the American version of The Ring franchise features more teenagers trying not to get killed while deciphering visions and uncovering history. Yeah, a lot like the first one. But with promise! So, Patience and Chris came out kinda mixed on this one. Check it out.
Robert De Niro plays a comedian whose career barely is describable as a ‘career’ anymore. Folks only come out to see him because of a starring role he had on a sitcom in the 80s. One night enough is enough and he punches a heckler and is sentenced to community service. There he meets Leslie Mann and their friendship starts his career going again as he embraces the version of himself he has to become to be relevant today. But, it’s been awhile since we’ve seen much really memorable out of De Niro. Will this be the one that puts him back on top? Chris, Kyle, JC, and Beau let you know.
The Space Between Us
Asa Butterfield is the first kid born not on Earth. No, I mean, not really, but he certainly doesn’t look like he’s from here with those big creepy eyes, amirite? Anyway, IN THIS MOVIE, Asa Butterfield plays the first kid born not on Earth; On Mars, to be specific. So he’s grown up with some different physical attributes than everyone else. But he falls for a girl on the internet (Britt Roberson) and then he HAS to go to Earth to meet her so he runs away once he’s there and the two go on a car trip together only OOPS…Earth gonna kill you, fool! What will happen? Will he survive? Will their love survive? Will anyone care? Chris, Elliott, and JC let you know.
Resident Evil: The Final Chapter
Patience and Carlos join Chris for this straight-up spoiler-laden review of the newest and last film in Paul W.S. Anderson’s Resident Evil franchise. For those of you who are still all tied up in the “plot” (*snort*) of the films and don’t want anything spoiled, there’s a short spoiler-free intro and our ratings. But then, for the rest of you who just want to hear how BATSHIT crazy this series got, we give a rundown of the entirety of the Resident Evil films then dive into everything that made us WTF during this final entry.
Matthew McConaughey is Kenny Wells, a schmucky businessman who can’t seem to save his failing mining company. Although his friends and girlfriend (Bryce Dallas Howard) stick with him, all is about to go tits-up WHEN…he has a dream…of gold in Indonesia. So, of course, he does what any reasonably sane, on the verge of liver failure alcoholic would do, he goes to Indonesia….and lo and behold, and certainly not immediately, he makes a huge gold strike. That being said, he definitely doesn’t live happily ever after. So how is this rise-and-fall story starring America’s favorite southern boy? Chris, Beau, Herman and JC let you know.
M Night’s latest tale of twisty horror (?) follows Anna Taylor-Joy and two less interesting teenage girls (that’s not me, that’s the movie making that declaration) who are kidnapped by James McAvoy and brought to a locked underground room. There, McAvoy gradually reveals that he is not just one person, but many, as he shows the Child, The Matron, and more personalities to the girls, seriously weirding them out and scaring them with predictions of The Beast to come. Meanwhile, he regularly visits a specialist therapist in the outside world and we’re not entirely sure why we’re seeing that part. In short, this is kind of a mixed bag and results may vary with your oneofus reviewers, Chris, Kyle, JC, and Jon.
And hey, check out the commercial we did for our review too!
20th Century Women
Director Mike Mills took a look at his father through film with Christopher Plummer in 2010’s wonderful Beginners. Now, he turns the camera on his memories of his mother from 1979 with the sublime, 20th Century Women.
Annette Benning is the owner of a large house that rents rooms out to Billy Crudup and Greta Gerwig. As a single mom, she does her best to raise her pre-teen son Jesse but realizes soon that she needs help, and enlists her renters and a young neighbor girl (Elle Fanning) that Jesse has a crush on to help. Things don’t go as planned, everybody kinda learns something, and hell, you just watched one of the best movies of 2016. Seriously. Listen to Chris, Beau and Frank tell you the truth about this smart, great piece of cinema.
XXX: The Return of Xander Cage
Vin Diesel returns, after skipping a movie and about 15 years, to the wanna-be x-treme sports spy franchise he started. This time, he’s got to deal with a device that can be used to throw satellites in orbit down to the Earth for destructive purposes and has to either fight or befriend folks like Donnie Yen and Tony Jaa to do it. What will happen? Will he survive? Will the star of the second film (Ice Cube) make a cameo? Will he say, “Family”? All this and more answered when you listen to the review from Chris, Herman, and JC.
The Bye Bye Man
I suspect the most horrifying this about this movie is that the review for it starts out with Chris singing. Again. *sigh*
The titular monster makes you kill…possesses you…but it’s ok, all you have to do is be totally and completely unfamiliar with the name, “The Bye Bye Man” or his mythology and you’re safe. …. … oh, sorry.
This review is brought to you by Frank, Patience, and Carlos and narrated by Chris. Enjoy.
Live By Night
Ben Affleck writes, directs, and stars in this adaptation of the Dennis Lehane novel, Live By Night. Which should be very exciting if you’ve seen Affleck’s previous directorial and/or writing efforts, Gone Baby Gone, The Town, and Argo, or previous adaptations of Lehane’s novels (Mystic River, Gone Baby Gone, Shutter Island). But does this tale of gangsters in the 20s live up to the expectations? We got mixed results from our group of critics (Chris, Herman, and Elliott).
How does one review this type of film? I mean, yeah, it’s a film by Martin Scorsese, one of, if not the, greatest living directors. But it’s definitely not the type of output from him we generally expect. This deeply personal film about faith follows Andrew Garfield and (to a lesser extent) Adam Driver as two Portuguese priests who are sent to Japan during a time when the country was torturing and executing any Christians they found. The two search for their mentor (Liam Neeson) who has reportedly committed apostasy (look it up) but they just can’t believe it. Much hand-wringing and long, torturous deaths to follow. But is it…good? Well, we have differing reports on that. Listen to Richard, Chris, Beau, and Herman try to nail down what’s going on here.
Underworld: Blood Wars
That’s right, there’s ANOTHER Underworld film out. I know it seems like only yesterday (but it was 2012…huh) that we sat through and reluctantly admitted how much we enjoyed Underworld: Awakenings, but here we are again, with Kate Beckinsale in tight vinyl outfits and trenchcoats, killing vampires and werewolves with guns, knives, and whatever happens to be nearby. Realizing that our review of this film (by Chris, Patience, and Carlos) will only really matter to a select few, we describe our feelings about it largely in the context of comparison to other Underworld films. Because if you were gonna start watching this series, you woulda done it by now.
A Monster Calls
If Liam Neeson is coming to your window every night with story-based advice for you, it’s probably best to listen. Double that if he’s an Ent. Double DOUBLE that if your mom (Felicity Jones) is dying downstairs and, quite frankly, you’re having trouble dealing and could use some help.
A Monster Calls is from J.A. Bayona, director of The Orphanage and The Impossible and has been highly anticipated since its trailers leaked last year. But does it live up to the hype? Chris, Richard, Frank, JC, and Herman give you that bit of information.
And hey, we got a video of the review as well! Check it out!
You will believe that black women can make a white dude fly!
Probably not the tag line they were looking for, but it’s kinda true. This is the story of the unheralded black women who were mathematicians for NASA in the 60s and who were essential to our space program. Sounds dry? Well, it’s not. You gotcher Taraji P. Henson as Katherine Johnson, yer Octavia Spencer as Dorothy Vaughn, and yer Janelle Monáe as Mary Jackson…all pretty incredible actresses having a ball of a time playing three incredible women. So yeah, we liked it. Listen to Beau, Chris, and Herman detail you further on this space voyage.
Bryan Cranston just wants to see his little girl happy. Not to the extent where she gets married to internet zillionaire James Franco though. This Christmas, it’s war between Dad and wannabe son-in-law… Is the studio guy gone? Ok, whew. Yeah, this is bad, ok. Not Bad Santa 2 bad, but still. OMG, more like “Why Us?”. Hire some decent writers, for god’s sake, and stop it with this balls-in-the-face, oh look he said motherfucker in front of her dad, style ‘uncomfortable’ comedy. Seriously. I can’t be alone on this, right? Chris, Herman, Jon and Kyle agree with me, right? RIGHT? *sigh*
Natalie Portman plays Jackie Kennedy in this examination of the days following her husband’s assassination. While certainly an actor’s movie, Chilean director Pablo Larrain brings this tale of intense and unique grief to us in a non-linear style, framing it with a conversation between Jackie and a journalist (Billy Crudup). But did we all like it? Not as much as you’d think. There’s a wide range of reactions here from Beau, Herman, Frank, JC, and Richard. And a video version to watch to boot.
Saroo Brierley was a tiny little tot of an Indian kid when he got separated from his family by falling asleep on a train which ended up on the other side of the continent. But he was lucky in that he was frickin’ adorable and was adopted by an Australian family (Nicole Kidman and David Wenham) who took him to Tasmania to grow up in relative luxury. Flash to many years later and adorable little Saroo has grown up into Dev Patel. He’s got a steady girl (Rooney Mara), a promising future, but then his memories start returning of that time before this family, his other family who he lost, and he starts obsessing over how to reconnect with them. Enter the real star of this film, Google Earth. Are we sure they didn’t produce this? Chris, Beau, Frank, Herman, and JC aren’t so sure.
Michael Fassbender plays a bad dude. After a short ‘when he was young’ segment, the first time we see his character, he’s being trussed up to be given a lethal injection for his murderous crimes. Fortunately for him it’s a ruse, and a big corporation led by today’s version of the Knights Templar that have death row connections have secreted him away to their huge techy compound in Milan where they want him to connect to their big machine (THE CLAW!) and live out the memories of his assassin ancestor (also played by Fassbender) so he can tell them where an ancient artifact is. But, you know, they’re evil. And he’s kinda evil too. I think. Or something. Hell, I couldn’t figure it out. Chris, Beau, and Frank put their heads together the best they can on this review.
Chris Pratt wakes up 90 years before he scheduled to on a long-distance sleeper spaceship. What’s a guy to do for the rest of his life, by himself, on a high-tech luxury liner? A lot, at first, but eventually boredom sets in, then misery, then suicidal ideation…is it any wonder he ended up staring wistfully at Jennifer Lawrence’s sleeping body in her creche? Is it any wonder he sabotages her pod so that she wakes up early too and tells her it was an accident like his so they can fall in love? Is it any wonder that we’re all like, “I’m sorry film but WHAT?” But don’t worry, we gots lots of other stuff to be complainy about this one. Check out Chris, Beau, Frank, and JC on the review.
OMG OMG OMG….it’s here. The new Star Wars. The first of the ‘Star Wars Stories’ series. To say we were nervous about whether or not this film would be good is putting it mildly. Gareth Edwards directs Felicity Jones leading a group of non-Jedi rough types to steal the plans for the Death Star in a story immediately preceding A New Hope.…Yes, nervous is putting it mildly. So how was it? Richard and Chris are on hand to tell you.
La La Land
It’s the all-singing, all-dancing episode of Highly Suspect Reviews where Chris, Kyle, Mike, Beau, and Frank deliver the goods in a series of high-energy, old-school, Hollywood-style musical numbers. Oh wait, sorry the video didn’t record for some reason. Too bad, you shoulda seen Chris tapping the night away. Impressive. Well, I guess you’ll just have to settle for our plain old audio review of La La Land, the third film from Damien Chazelle (Whiplash). Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone fall in love (gradually) in modern day Los Angeles but as illustrated by classic Hollywood musical numbers. But, as their needs and circumstances change, so does the style of the film.
Will Smith is sad. Yes, again. This time it’s because his 6 year old daughter died. It’s been two years and he’s letting his advertising business sink because he can’t stop obsessing and being angry. Angry enough to write letters to abstract ideas like Time, Death, and Love. “Piss off, Love, you suck”. That kind of thing. Ok, maybe a bit more eloquent than that. Unfortunately, his close friends and business partners (Ed Norton, Kate Winslet, and Michael Pena) are panicking, because if he won’t engage at all, he won’t sign the papers that could save everyone’s jobs and the business. So, they hire three actors (Helen Mirren, Keira Knightley, and Jacob Latimore) to pretend to be these abstract ideas to Smith to break him out of his funk. What good friends <sarcasm>.
Office Christmas Party
Jason Bateman and TJ Miller run the Chicago branch of a tech firm that isn’t exactly the tightest ship in the fleet. When TJ’s sister (Jennifer Aniston) drops in to cut over half the staff, cancel all bonuses, and cancel the yearly Christmas party, they decide the only way to save their branch is to impress Courtney B Vance, who has been shopping around a very expensive contract. And guess what they decide the best way to do that is? Boom! Giant-ass Xmas party.
Jessica Chastain plays the titular Miss Sloan, a power-broker lobbyist that eats other lobbyists for breakfast. She’s feared for her prodigious skills and lack of a moral compass even within her own company. Which is why they’re honestly surprised when she refuses to cooperate with a plan to help the NRA (or the film’s equivalent of it) gain traction with female voters and instead leaves the company to go work for Mark Strong and his little group fighting the gun lobby to help push a bill through for tighter controls on sales.
Manchester By the Sea
Casey Affleck plays Lee Chandler. He lives in Boston by himself in a crappy basement apartment, works as an on-call repairman for various apartment buildings, and seems to be very sad. Like, saddy sad. The saddiest sad that ever sadded. But why? That’s the question that Manchester by the Sea explores as he is called back to the titular town to deal with the sudden death of his brother and the unexpected responsibility his brother wanted him to take for being the caregiver of his teenaged son.
Rules Don’t Apply
Warren Beatty steps behind the camera again for the first time since 1998’s Bulworth, to tell this story of young forbidden love under the employment of legendary weirdo Howard Hughes. Alden Ehrenreich and Lily Collins are the two moon-eyed kids, both afraid of losing their employment and defying their religious convictions if they give in to their lusty needs. Meanwhile, Beatty plays Hughes and keeps forgetting the story was originally about these kids and not him. Does that make this a bad movie? Well, it’s not perfect, that’s for sure. Listen to Frank, Gene, Beau and Chris explain the situation.
Bad Santa 2
Who are you people who were all like, “OMG, I totally want a sequel to Bad Santa! I have so many questions that still need answering.” Well, here it is, assholes, thanks a whole fucking lot. Because of your selfish ass now Chris, Mike and JC had to sit through this fucking thing. By the way, is that your face or…sorry can’t even finish the thought because I was too busy throwing up.
Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard are spies during WWII who, despite both of their better instincts, fall in love during an assassination mission and get married, immediately popping out an adorable little tyke. All is well, except the occasional Nazi air raid, until the British spy command tells Pitt, “Oh sorry, looks like your wife may be a German spy and you’ll have to kill her or we’ll kill you too.” Bummer, right?
Disney magics up all over South Pacific island culture and mythology for this, their 56th animated feature film release. It follows a young lady, Moana, whose father won’t let her or anyone else on their island go out to sea. But when a sickness comes over their home, she goes past the set limits out on a quest to find the demi-god Maui (Dwayne Johnson) and make him return a sacred stone he stole back to it’s rightful place. But it’s not gonna be easy. Mainly because Maui is super-into himself and not much else.
Bleed for This
Miles Teller plays boxer Vinnie Paz, a title holder who after his big victory ended up hitting rock bottom (for once in a boxing movie, through no fault of his own). Director Ben Younger’s film spends its time less as a traditional boxing film structure and more as a ‘healing through sheer determination” one. But is it any good? Chris, Kyle and JC give it to you on the chin.
Director Tom Ford (A Simple Man) takes us through a film that has a film inside it and then kinda another prequel film to boot. Amy Adams is rich, beautiful, successful, but kinda dead inside. When her ex-husband (Jake Gyllenhaal) sends her an advance copy of his new book that is dedicated to her, she is swept up in its violent narrative even as she starts to realize that its emotional subtext of deep anger and regret is directed at her.
Edge of Seventeen
Hailee Steinfeld’s life is the worst ever. Or so she tells herself, and her long-suffering history teacher (played by a comically exasperated Woody Harrelson). Sure, she’s always been a bit of a nerd, an introvert, and a misanthrope, but at least she had that one super-close bestie (Haley Lu Richardson)…until she starts dating her perfect, hunkalicious older brother. What’s an outraged teenager to do? Well, we have some suggestions and most of them involve her ceasing her endless whingeing at once. Herman, Chris and JC deliver the lecture.
Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them
The Potterverse returns with this new JK Rowling scripted series set two generations earlier. Eddie Redmayne plays the shy Newt Scamander, a wizard who mainly is interested in magical beasts but which gets him in hot water with the magical authorities when a No-Maj (IE:Muggle) played by Dan Fogler accidentally switches suitcases with him and several of his cantankerous creatures are let loose upon New York.
(Recorded During Fantastic Fest) Since Brian and Chris are both at Fantastic Fest, nothing can stop them from teaming up again, this time to take on Denis Villeneuve’s new hard sci-fi epic, Arrival. Listen up, because we’re calling it now: beyond the shadow of a doubt a Best Picture nod (if not win) for this one. Seriously. You gotta listen to the review to believe.
The true story tells the tale of Richard and Mildred Loving, who fell in love, got married, and then the state of Virginia told them, “Get out or go to jail”. Which eventually led to a groundbreaking Supreme Court case. But this plays out differently that you probably imagine. Listen to Chris, Richard, and JC tell you how.
I know, I’m breaking my own rule reviewing a movie written by our friend Cargill, but good lord, IT’S DOCTOR STRANGE! A MAN ONLY HAS SO MUCH STRENGTH! Not that Cargill has anything to worry about because this movie cast a spell on JC, Chris, Richard, and Harris. Well, mostly. There may be some amount of squabbling but you’ll have to listen for yourself to find out.
Can Tom Hanks and Ron Howard pull of a third Dan Brown film adaptation successfully? Have they done it successfully even once? There are many different opinions on this and in this room alone our reviews range from a 3 to a 9. So listen to Chris, Elliott, Herman, Frank, and Kyle all argue about a film I doubted would ever inspire this much fire (despite the title).
Jack Reacher: Never Go Back
Tom Cruise returns as Jack Reacher (although about a good two feet less of him than the literary character). this time determined to help Cobie Smulders, who has been framed for selling secrets to bad guys. Oh, and maybe he has a kid now who the bad guys are targeting to get to him. Sigh. Anyway, here’s Chris, Frank, Herman, and Kyle reporting in…
Keeping Up With The Joneses
Zach Galifianakis and Isla Fisher suspect their neighbors are secret agents. If Jon Hamm and Gal Gadot were living next to me, I’d KNOW they were secret agents. Anywho, chaos erupts and the normal folks get embroiled in it, as anything else would make for kind of a non-starter for the movie. But is it entertaining to watch? Herman, Kyle, and Frank give it the what for.
Director Gavin O’Connor (Warrior) brings us this tale of a high-functioning autistic math savant (Ben Affleck) who works for some not-so-nice people, the Treasury agents trying to figure out who he is (J.K. Simmons and Cynthia Addai-Robinson), and lots of ass-kicking. That’s right, Affleck is not only an almost supernatural whiz at being a CPA, he’s also a top-level martial artist and marksman. And there’s also John Lithgow, Anna Kendrick, Jon Bernthal and more. How does that all add up? To a pretty high number as far as we’re concerned. Listen to Chris, Elliott, Herman, and Kyle on this review.
In this shockingly true story, Rachel Weisz plays a professor of holocaust studies who is sued by a well known denier (Timothy Spall) for libel when she calls out his version of history as being fallacious. And this went to court. In 1998! Chris and Richard examine the evidence…
Chris Cox and Matt Frank (duh) get together to review Japan’s latest entry in the most popular monster series in the world. Japanese audiences seem to be responding positively to the new film but what will Westerners think?
The Girl on a Train
Emily Blunt plays Rachel, an extremely broken woman and serious alcoholic, some two years out from her marriage falling apart and still can’t even vaguely get it together. Every day she rides the train to the city, passing by her old house where she can watch her husband and his new wife and child live together happily. But she also observes a beautiful couple who live nearby and fantasizes about their perfect life…until one day she sees the woman with another man…and then the woman disappears. Who did it? Rachel is afraid SHE might have done it during a black out so she has to get straight and play detective to discover the truth.
The Birth of a Nation
Nate Parker produces, writes, directs and plays the role of Nat Turner, a slave who ended up leading a rebellion that killed many white slave owners. All reports are that this is one of the shoe-in best pictures of the year, with Fox breaking the record for deals at Sundance, paying 17.5 million for distribution rights. So what could possibly go wrong? Chris, JC, Elliott and Herman give you the heads up.
The film follows Zach Galifinakis as a night guard at an armored car company who planned and executed one of the biggest bank heists ever. True story. Except for the Zach Galifinakis part. He just plays the guy. But he’s helped by Kate McKinnon, Owen Wilson, Kristen Wiig, Jason Sudeikis and Leslie Jones…with a cast like that it can’t be all bad, right? It appears our intrepid group of unusual suspects have some differing opinions on that.
And it’s gonna be alllllllright. Chris Herman leads Frank, Jon, and Kyle in this review of the film that plays out the big-bada-boom that was the Deepwater Horizon oil rig and the subsequent biological disaster that followed. Not even Mark Wahlberg and Kurt Russell can save the day this time. But they might save the movie. Check out the review…
The Magnificent Seven
Discussions happen (I imagine): “All of these westerns that we’re putting out are so dark. Why don’t we make one you can take the kids to? An old fashioned black hats vs white hats western!” So what do they do? Re-make one of those ‘fun’ westerns, specifically the 1960 classic The Magnificent Seven. Bring on Antoine Fuqua to direct, reunite the two leads from his best movie, Ethan Hawke and Denzel Washington, and add in the extremely bankable Chris Pratt and a selection of good character actors…how can it go wrong? Well, we had a mixed reaction to this one but some of us felt it went very wrong. Listen to Chris, Kyle, JC, Herman, and Jon discuss.
You can never really go home again. Or at least if you do, you might find everyone there has turned into exaggerated cartoon versions of people. I don’t think that was John Krasinski’s intent when he directed and played the lead role in this dysfunctional family film, but that’s what Chris, Herman, and Frank thought.
Here, Joseph Gordon-Levitt takes on the titular role, and a voice affection that doesn’t seem entirely called for, is this attempt to make the story of this man’s life, and the reasons he did what he did, understandable. Frank and Chris get into it deep. Be prepared: this is indeed a very opinionated review not just of the film but of the Snowden controversy in general. And not just about Jo-Jo-Levy’s acting choices.
Director Adam Wingard and writer Simon Barrett (The Guest, You’re Next) take over the long paused Blair Witch franchise with this long-hidden sequel. Basically, a new bunch of budding filmmakers enter the woods in a quest to discover what happened to the original group…and of course…well…you know. Chris, Frank, Herman, and Kyle tell you all about it. Plus spoiler discussion at the end…
Tom Hanks may not be a great guy to choose to travel with, to be sure, but if he’s flying the plane, he’ll damn sure save every last one of ya. That’s what Captain “Sully” Sullenberger did in 2009 when both engines cut out three minutes after take off and he was forced to make a water landing….something that is usually best described as ‘plane crashes violently into the ocean.’ But, of course, saving every last person on board with a miraculous landing wasn’t enough so he had to be raked over the coals for not managing to get the plane back to the airport. THIS IS HIS STORY. Chris, Herman, and Kyle (now making his first HSR appearance) review.
The Light Between Oceans
Michael Fassbender just got back from the Great War and honestly? He just doesn’t feel like talking to anybody at ALL. Which is why he took a position working as a lighthouse keeper out on this tiny island in the middle of nowhere. Sweet, sweet, exclusion. But here comes Alicia Vikander to f&%k it all up by flinging herself at him and making him fall in love…and then, no babies… WHERE’S THE DAMN BABIES? Oh, wait, there’s one in that boat that washed up after the storm. Well, honey, that baby probably belongs to someone..FINDERS KEEPERS, MFers. *this can’t possibly come back to bite us in the ass*
Kate Mara plays a corporate risk assessor who is called in to observe a scientific experiment possibly gone awry. That experiment is a teenage girl named Morgan. But she’s not just any teenage girl. She’s the product of a radical synthetic gene experiment, born and raised in a lab, only lately, she’s been going a bit wild. And how will Morgan react if Kate decides to shut the program down? One guess, get it wrong and it’s back to film 101 for you. Chris, Herman and JC break it down.
Southside With You
It does seem a little soon to do a romantic meet-cute film about Barack and Michelle Obama’s first date, but here it is anyway. Are they adorable as they seem? Sort of.
A group of young people are breaking into houses trying to steal enough to finance an escape from economy-torn Detroit. But then they hear about the big score, the last one they’ll need to do: a house out in the middle of an abandoned neighborhood where an old blind man lives who has stashed $300,000. Should be no problem, right? Not when that old man is Stephen Lang. And the film is directed by Fede Alvarez. Chills abound in this thriller. Don’t believe the text? Listen to Chris and Rob assure you of scares.
Kubo and the Two Strings
In this dreamy myth-like tale from Laika studios, Kubo is a young one-eyed Japanese boy whose mother and her strict rules have always protected him from the searching gaze of his father, the moon king, and his two creepy aunts. But now she is gone he has to rely upon an overprotective talking monkey and a giant beetle samurai to protect him until he can find three mystical pieces of armor that might protect him against his grandfather’s quest to claim his other eye. Sounds kind of crazy? Yes, but in the best way. Ask Chris, Richard, and Herman all about it.
Jonah Hill is a wild man. He sells guns to the US military. Miles Teller is not a wild man. But he makes poor decisions when he’s around his old friend Jonah Hill. So he sells guns with him. Crazy shit happens. Payday. Their eyes set on an unrealistically big prize. Chaos ensues. You know the rise-and-fall type of movie all too well by now and this is another one based on true events. But this one is directed by the guy who did the Hangover movies (and pretty much, exclusively party comedies). Make what you will of that. Chris, Herman, Elliott and JC certainly did.
In 1941, two exiled Czech operatives (Cillian Murphy and Jamie Dornan) parachuted into their homeland with one mission: assassinate Hitler’s third in command, Reinhard Heydrich, the head of the Nazis in occupied Czechoslovakia and the architect of ‘The Final Solution’. The problem was, with a tiny resistance force and fears of reprisals, no one was sure what a good idea it was. Chris, Richard, and Kevin debate how good an idea this movie was…
What happens when Seth Rogen and company get access to an animation studio with the chance to make their own film? A very hard-R, gross-out, sex and food comedy is what happens. And whether that’s going to be YOUR thing is anyone’s guess. It sure wasn’t ours. Listen to Chris, JC, Herman, and Jon to find out why.
Disney won’t leave a brand they own untouched, clearly, as they ‘re-imagine’ their 70’s live-action/cartoon film Pete’s Dragon into the modern-ish (just before cell phones) era. This story of a boy raised in the wild by a giant furry dragon and his new relationship with a human family probably gets all the feels from some. We definitely felt something. Not sure it was what they were looking for. Check out Chris, Frank, JC, and Rob as they curmudgeon their way through this review.
Hell or High Water
Two brothers (Chris Pine and Ben Foster) in west Texas have to save the family farm and it means robbing banks to do it. But a semi-retired good-ol-boy Jeff Bridges is hot on their trail. While this might not sound like a ‘grabber’ outright, our gang of reviewers (Chris, Herman, and JC) found this to be one of the best of the year.
Not all heroes have halos. Some heroes aren’t even really heroes. Thus, DC’s Suicide Squad, a band of villains forced under threat of head explody to work for the government and stop a meta-threat. Will the villains/heroes succeed? Will Will Smith own the summer again (or at least rent with an option to buy)? Will Jai Courtney be able to act if they let him use his real accent? Will this be another nail in the coffin for DC’s current cinematic universe or will it give it sparkling fresh breath? The only way to know is to listen to Chris, Herman, Elliott, Joe and JC on this review.
Matt Damon teams back up with shaky-cam fetishist director Paul Greengrass in a return to the Jason Bourne movies as the titular hero finds out yet again there’s something he doesn’t know about his past and someone to kill because of it. But is it any good? Listen to Chris, Herman, and Jon spill the secrets.
Mila Kunis has had it. No, not with Ashton Kutcher (though that’s gotta be coming soon, right?), but with her entitled children, her dead-beat (fictional) husband, and the society that expects her to be the perfect mom at all times. So what to do? Team up with Kristen Bell and Kathryn Hahn and go on a party binge. Where were these moms when I was in the singles scene, dammit? Listen to Chris, Elliott, and Herman tty to sweet talk these righteously dangerous ladies.
Emma Roberts joins a ‘Take a dare for money’ online game to prove that she’s not a stick-in-the-mud and ends up cozying up to Dave Franco and having a great time…until suddenly she isn’t anymore. I think we stopped having fun at about the same moment. Listen to Chris and Elliott who are joined by two new cast members, Rob and Frank, give you the lowdown on this movie.
Star Trek Beyond
The intrepid crew of the Enterprise get together once again, this time halfway through their five year mission, to battle ennui, space herpes, and the vampires from Lifeforce (or Idris Elba in alien goop, your call). But seriously, we (Chris and Herman) did, on the whole, like this movie…up until they do…aaaigh…I can’t say it. Listen to the review. Where we STILL won’t tell you what it IS that they do, as it would be a giant spoiler, but…oh god.
Who says making short films can’t lead to big things? Certainly not David Sandberg whose mega-creepy short swept the internet in 2013 and led to him getting a chance to make a full length film with the help of James Wan and Jason Blum. His full length feature expands the mythology with Teresa Palmer playing a woman worried about her younger step-brother Martin. He still lives at home with her mother (Maria Bello) and Mom is kinda nutty, believing that an old friend of hers named Diana lives in their house with them. Problem is, she does. In a way. A creepy as hell way.
Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie
Edina and Patsy may be in their 60s but the wacky drunken hijinx continue unabated as they make the leap from British television to the big screen. We brought in our own AbFab power crew (IE: fans) to check it out and see how it compares to the classic series. Beau, Sarah and Cat tell you what it’s all about, darling.
Hunt for the Wilderpeople
Taika Waititi. Not the easiest name to roll of the tongue. However, I suspect to film and comedy nerds, his name will be oft-mentioned in the coming years, if it isn’t already. This being the guy who wrote, directed, and starred in the recent and astounding What We Do in the Shadows. This being the guy who is directing Thor: Ragnarok. And even if all that hadn’t happened, he deserves full credit for writing and directing this film, Hunt for the Wilderpeople. I’ll stop my effusive praise here and let you just listen to Chris and Herman on the review, but this story of a little fat kid and his friendship with Sam Neill as they are chased through the New Zealand mountains (the bush) by an obsessed social worker falls into our ‘best of the year’ list.
I ain’t afraid of no…Ghostbusters review backlash. Ok, maybe a bit. But that’s ok, because, as you might imagine, our review of the new Ghostbusters remake/reboot/? is at times a bit angry. Towards the nay-sayers, that is. Because our crew (Sarah, Elliott, and JC) thought this sucker was not merely a phantom of the former film but a towering giant of a ectoplasmic disturbance! (that means they liked it).
Bryan Cranston has to go deep undercover as an accountant with super-money-laundering abilities in order to get close to the Escobar cartel. With the help of Diane Kruger as his faux-wife and John Leguizamo as his entry point to the underworld, he has his work cut out for him. As does director Brad Furman. How do you make an exciting movie out of basically someone posing as an accountant? Chris, JC, and Herman have your answer for you.
The Secret Life of Pets
The folks behind all those Minions movies bring you this story of your pets and what they do when they find themselves separated from the comfortable confines of your home out into the real world. Basically, revert to their animal natures, become a bunch of assholes, and then probably die. But I dunno, I didn’t see this one. But Herman and Elliott did so I (Chris) interrogate them on the successes and failures of this latest animated theatrical release.
The Purge: Election Year
This third chapter of James DeMonaco’s Purge series continues the tradition of opening the scope of the story. Whereas the first was a home, the second was a city, this film focuses on the country. Elizabeth Mitchell is running for President on a anti-Purge ticket, and the New Founding Fathers party, who are heavily invested in the continuation of the Purge (IE: evil) lift the ban on government workers from being Purged for what could be the final year. Of course, so they can take out Mitchell during the 12 hours of chaos and then their precious Purge doesn’t have to end. What they don’t realize is that when you’ve got Frank Grillo as your personal security, no amount of Nazi black ops guys are gonna be enough to get the job done. Chris, Richard, and Elliott purge their feelings in the review.
The Legend of Tarzan
It’s that time again. Hollywood says, “Let’s see, what stuff is in the public domain that is still charting as a recognizable brand that is worth making yet another movie out of? Oh, hey, it’s been awhile since we’ve done a Tarzan movie. Do that.” And here ya go, this time with the swinging ape-man being played by the hunky Alexander Skarsgård as he has to protect his Jane (Margot Robbie) against the evil Christoph Waltz. JC, Herman, and Chris (as their interrogator) tell you how it is.
Swiss Army Man
Paul Dano is on an island and he’s had it. The film starts with him preparing to kill himself, is what I’m saying. Not the most auspicious beginning for a film that is ostensibly a comedy. But wait, what’s this? Is someone else there? Has Daniel Radcliffe washed up on the beach and now Paul will have a deserted island friend? Well, sort of. See, Danny is dead. Sort of. Maybe. But regardless, Paul finds in Dan a reason to live, and a multi-purpose tool to help do it.
Independence Day: Resurgence
The aliens are back! And so are Fox’s hopes to get a franchise out of Roland Emmerich’s ID4, only 20 years later. This time around the world feels more prepared, as they’ve adapted much of the alien tech and advanced significantly, preparing themselves for interstellar defense in the future, only they hadn’t met the worst that their antagonists had to offer. Nor have we met the worst this franchise has to offer. Listen to Chris, Herman, Elliott and Hai hem and haw about the relative merits of this sequel in this SPOILER-LADEN review.
The Neon Demon
Director Nicolas Winding-Refn returns with his latest visual and auditory delight, albeit one that might very well send most audiences running out of the theaters…and for good reason. Elle Fanning plays a young wannabe model who has barely arrived in LA before she’s being sought desperately as the next big thing. But this fashion world is more than it seems. Although this movie is less than it looks like. Or so we thought. Listen to Chris, Sarah, and Herman debate.
Free State of Jones
Don’t mess with Matthew McConaughey. Now now, not in the future, and especially not during the American Civil War. Here, he plays a guy in Mississippi who’s had enough of all the fightin’ for rich landowners to keep their slaves and enough of Reb soldiers coming and taking all his and his neighbors stuff to support the war…he wants out. And that’s exactly what he and a bunch of other folks did. This is his story. His long..long…LONG..ass story. Chris, Elliott, and Herman review.
Because there were so many unanswered questions, Pixar felt the need to return to the undersea world of Finding Nemo with this new direct-to-dvd theatrical sequel, Finding Dory. This time…they have to find Dory. Yup. Also, the main bad guy and good guy (?) from The Wire as seals. And lots of mentally disabled or psychologically…different…animals. THERE’S A MESSAGE, DAMMIT. Chris, JC, Elliott, and Herman tell you about it.
The Conjuring 2
No one expected James Wan’s The Conjuring to be the blockbuster that it was. Let’s face it: American big studio produced horror is all too rarely any good. But, you know any big studio produced horror that’s a hit is going to become a franchise. That’s generally not so great either. But Wan, after initially turning down the director spot for the sequel, changed his mind and came on board to protect his baby. And thank goodness he did. Chris, Beau and JC tell you all about it.
Now You See Me 2
The Four Horsemen are back! Well, three of them anyway plus Lizzy Caplan stepping in to replace Isla Fisher as the lady magician on the team. This time it’s all about revenge as Daniel Radcliffe, a reclusive (about as much as you can get reclusive) billionaire forces the team to work for him, but his plans are more devious than they first appear. Will the team manage to trick their way out of this new jeopardy? Will the Fifth Horseman (no spoilers in the text here if you haven’t seen the first one, but spoiled in the review) manage to keep his identity secret from his employers? Will the mysterious organization The Eye finally reveal themselves? All of these questions will be answered, but not necessarily in this review. We just tell you what we thought of it. Chris and JC weigh in.
Duncan Jones (or as Herman insists, Zoey Bowie) moves from sci-fi indies to fantasy blockbuster as the great wall keeping us from having quality video game film adaptations is given another attempt to be breached. But does he succeed? Is this a historical moment to remember? Or, as some have dubbed it, the new Battlefield Earth? Are green women with tusks sexy? You’ll have to listen to Ed, Elliott, and Herman to find out.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows
The turtles are back and this time they’re joined by…well, lots of characters that will make fans of the 90s cartoon just like CRAZY happy. Other folks? Maybe not so much. We try to delineate that line in the sand with our two teams. On team turtle: JC and Elliott. On team calling bullshit: Chris and Herman. Decide for yourself.
Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping
Andy Samberg plays Conner Friel, the biggest popstar in the world, about to drop his second solo album that is expected to break all records and be a mega-smash….and not so much. This mockumentary is essentially “Lonely Island SNL Music Videos: The Movie” but is that such a bad thing? Depends on who you ask. So, in this case you’re asking Chris, Sarah, Beau, and Herman.
Alice Through the Looking Girl
There isn’t time enough in the world to sit through an ill-conceived sequel to Disney and Tim Burton’s ill-conceived ‘reboot’ of Alice in Wonderland. But hey, that’s what we’re here for, so you don’t have to. Chris, Richard, and Herman tell you all about this tale of Alice’s return to Wonderland and her quest to save the Mad Hatter from angst. DEATH angst.
The Nice Guys
Christmas has come for this film circle. The Nice Guys takes place in the 70s in Los Angeles with Ryan Gosling as a widowed father, alcoholic, and incompetent private eye who ends up falling backwards into working with paid enforcer Russell Crowe to find a missing girl named Amelia. How this ties into an art porno film, the Detroit car industry, and Hannibal Buress as a giant talking bee is something that will be your pleasure to discover, hopefully. Our feelings about this film aren’t shared across the board, but hopefully (from the viewpoint of those of us who DID really like it) our discussion, featuring Chris, Beau, Herman, and Sarah can lead you in the right direction.
Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising
After the events of the first Neighbors film, where Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne have to defend their quietude from the noisy frat next door headed up by Zac Efron, we see them now…peaceful, happy…until a major film studio drives up to their door with huge bags of money and say, “Hey, trade you these for an unnecessary sequel”? Which isn’t to say this sequel isn’t bad, as such, just generally more of the same, now adding Chloe Grace Moretz as the leader of a new sorority that takes over the house next door. This is apparently a world that police do not exist in. Chris, JC, and Elliott tell you whether this grade is a pass or a fail.
Oscar Isaac dons the heavy blue makeup to become Apocalypse, the first mutant who wants to recreate the world into one where only the strong survive. Standing in his way are all the usual suspects (yes, I made a Bryan Singer pun) from X-Men: First Class and X-Men: Days of Future Past, and a lot of new ones…or at least, new young versions of heroes the franchise started out with. But…does it work? Well, we’ve got very mixed feelings about that. Listen to Herman, Richard, Elliott, and Chris express them.
Captain America: Civil War
In the wake of massive destruction and a sizable death toll, the world is beginning to become unsure about the decision making abilities of the superheroes that seem to be multiplying like tribbles. Strong feelings run on both sides. No more so than between Tony Stark and Steve Rodgers: CIVIL WAR …which brings in ALL the characters, pretty much, in a Marvel film that felt for sure it would feel overcrowded like Age of Ultron did to some, and yet…
KITTEH!! OMG KITTEH!! LOOK AT THE KITTEH!! This was Chris during this film who actually required a slap to the back of the head to stop squeeing about how cute the titular star of this film was. We all (JC, Chris, Herman) agreed the kitten was the best part of this new (and first) Key & Peele film. Take from that what you will. The story involves Key & Peele, playing decidedly not gangster badasses, having to pretend to be gangster badasses so they can get their kitten back from Method Man. So yes, an extended Key & Peele show sketch. Reactions were…mixed. Check out our review. AND LOOK AT THE KITTEH!
Huntsman: Winter’s War
Chris Hemsworth returns in this prequel/sequel (yeah, it kinda wraps around) to Snow White and the Huntsman. This time we get to see where the Huntsman came from and why he’s so badass, get introduced to his lady love who may be even more badass that he is (Jessica Chastain) and watch everyone involved get pounded by Emily Blunt as Charlize Theron’s ice-powered cold-hearted sister. But, of course, Charlize shows up to chew some scenery too. All this and more dwarves, of course. But is it any good? Chris, Sarah, Herman and JC tell you like it is.
Daredevil Season 2
So, it wasn’t like we didn’t want to do this review sooner. It’s just that life was crazy for pretty much everyone and it took awhile for our crew to find the time to go through the entire second season of Netflix’s Daredevil. But, I think in the end, we’re all glad we did. Listen to Chris, Elliott, Harris, Cat, Herman dissemble the third season in Netflix and Marvel’s television partnership.
The Jungle Book
While we’re certainly aware that Disney of late hasn’t had the greatest track record when it comes to live action adaptations/reconsiderations of their classic animated films, it looks like Jon Favreau might be just the director to change that. His new adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book definitely is causing a positive stir in critical circles. And who couldn’t love Bill Murray as Baloo the Bear? I’m smiling just thinking about it. Check out Richard, Chris, Sarah and Herman on the review talking all about it…
While Hardcore Henry might not have much of a plot, it certainly delivers visceral entertainment in spades and in a way you’ve never seen before…well, at least not in a movie theater. Basically, YOU play Henry, a guy whose memories are now gone who was in some sort of accident and has awakened to find a female scientist attaching bionic parts to him. She informs him she’s his wife. But almost immediately, BOOM, bad guys show up and the film goes into overdrive as Henry tries to save his wife from evil by killing everyone in sight…for pretty much the entire rest of the running time. And did I mention Sharlto Copley is playing a ton of different roles here? Ok, so it’s action packed, super-violent, and funny. What’s the problem? Well, It’s all filmed first-person go-pro. Yes, this will be a problem for the whole “I don’t want to watch someone play a video game for an hour and a half” crowd. But a lot more of you are gonna lose your minds over this thing. Listen to Chris Herman and Chris Cox explain…
Melissa McCarthy plays Michelle, a business tycoon and self-help icon for the greedy set whose career of stepping on people to get where she wants to be bites her in her tukas when an old flame she screwed over (Peter Dinklage) gets her arrested for fraud and she loses everything. Forced to fall back on the one person in her life who will give her the time of day, her former personal assistant Claire (Kristen Bell) she starts from the bottom again to work her way back up to the top, only will she change her nefarious ways?
Everybody Wants Some
It’s been 23 years since director/writer Richard Linklater’s seminal “Dazed and Confused” remembered so distinctly the last day of high school in 1976. But in his new “Everybody Wants Some”, it’s like only 4 years have passed as he takes a new group of talented young actors and places them in the first few days before college begins in 1980. Cited as a spiritual sequel to “Dazed” (and to “Boyhood” to boot), this story follows the members of a college baseball team as they suss out college life before classes even start. And to give you the full spectrum of age-related responses, reviewing the film we have Chris Herman (too young to remember when any of this was happening) and Chris Cox (just the right age to remember all of it).
Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice
It’s finally here. The moment fans have been waiting for. The heavens will shake when Batman and Superman finally clash on screen…mainly because the music is ridiculously loud. Ok, so no, we weren’t big fans of Zach Snyder’s latest entry in DC’s movie universe. A whole bunch of us felt, to varying degrees, let down. But we honestly had trouble deciding how to really express everything we felt about the film without heading deeply into spoiler territory. So, what you get is a spoiler review. If you DON’T want this film spoiled for you, PLEASE wait till after you’ve seen it to listen. I suspect even the comments will contain spoilers. And probably don’t listen at all if you come from the viewpoint of “Screw you guys, this movie is going to be the best thing ever no matter what anyone says.” No point in driving up your blood pressure. So, with all that being said, here’s Chris, Herman, JC, Richard, Joe, Elliott and Beau with their review…
My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2
n the category of counter programming, because there’s got to be something new playing in theaters for people who have no interest in Batman V Superman (which by now, should be all of you), sadly we present, My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2. Personally, I’m still mystified by the success of the first one. But here we are, over a decade later and BANG…Nia Vardalos needs a paycheck. Do I sound like a bitter guy? I am, a bit. I couldn’t even bring myself to pretend to be keeping an open mind about this one. I didn’t go. So, in my stead, I sent JC, Davis, and Sarah to their likely doom. I sit down to interview them here about how they managed to get out alive.
Melissa Rauch plays former Olympics gymnast bronze medalist Hope who lives with her dad (Gary Cole) in her small hometown and won’t let anyone who lives there forget that she’s the one memorable thing that ever came out of it. To the point and beyond of obnoxiousness. Thoroughly unpleasant to anyone in her path, when she discovers there’s a new Olympics hopeful gymnast training under her old coach, she is…displeased. And then that coach dies unexpectedly and leaves a promise to give Hope a LOT of money if she trains the young girl herself all the way to the games.
10 Cloverfield Lane
Mary Elizabeth Winstead gets into a car accident and wakes up in an underground bunker where John Goodman has brought her and claims that there’s been some sort of ‘attack’ on America and outside is unlivable. Seems fishy, no? Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. Regardless, Mary really goes through the wringer trying to figure out what’s going on here. And yes…this is arguably in the same universe as Cloverfield (which has been stated officially by JJ Abrams, so NOT a spoiler), but to find out how and when this happens in the film you’ll have to stick around after the final thoughts as Chris, Kat, Davis, Herman, and JC dissect it thoroughly with their post-review spoilers.
What would happen if man had never evolved and instead, the animal kingdom had been allowed to grow without our toxic interference and become upright and intellectually capable? It seems unlikely the entirety of said animal kingdom would have all evolved as such, but hey, who am I overthinking a Disney cartoon, right? You gotcher fluffy bunny (Ginnifer Goodwin) who wants to break away from rabbit stereotypes and join the largely predator-staffed police force. You’ve got the sly con man fox (Jason Bateman) who wants nothing to do with the bunny but gets conned by the cop into helping her. And you’ve got a police force that is embarrassed by the very presence of a bunny on it. The last thing this fluffy bunny is gonna do is put up with that so she takes on a big missing persons (erm, mammals) case to try to prove herself. As does JC, Herman and Chris as they take on this film review.
London Has Fallen
Because, I guess, SOMEONE demanded it, Gerard Butler is back as that security guy who frat bros around with the President (Aaron Eckhart) from Olympus Has Fallen. This time the two have to go to London for the funeral of the Prime Minister when a terrorist group takes out all the other leaders of the world there and only Eckhart and his broham are still alive. With a race across the city for survival as it blows to pieces, the USA must remain TRIUMPHANT!
When a group of cops and ex-special forces guys find themselves being forced to do an impossible heist for the Russian mob, extreme measures are called for…the triple 9. That’s when you kill a cop and pretty much every cop in the state ignores everything else in order to get to the scene. But, best laid plans and all.
This is brought to you by director John Hilcoat who helmed such great pics as The Proposition, The Road and Lawless so already some major cred there. Add in this crackerjack cast: Casey Affleck, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Anthony Mackie, Aaron Paul, Norman Reedus, Woody Harrelson, Kate Winslet, Clifton Collins, Jr., Michael K. Williams, Teresa Palmer, and Gal Gadot…I mean, wow. But does this twisty crime thriller match the pedigree of its stars? Listen to Chris, Elliott, JC and Herman give you the low-down.
Eddie the Eagle
Take one Taron Egerton with questionable sanity and facial rictus, add wildly miscast Hugh Jackman as drunk former champion with heart of gold, mix well into olympics fever, and you get this grandma-pleaser of a film, Eddie the Eagle. Which isn’t to say it’s bad, per say, (at least, some of us weren’t saying that). It’s not gonna fill you with many surprises though. However, our REVIEW might as Chris, Herman, JC and Sarah kinda dogpile on Richard a bit (not for a difference of opinion, but just for being so damn British).
The story follows a puritan family in New England from the early settler days who’ve been kicked out of their own puritan group for some mild deviation of belief and find themselves having to make a go for it on their own out in the woods. As it turns out, bad idea. The newborn of the family disappears and suspicions rise…is the teenaged girl of the family practicing witchcraft? Of course, it’s all more complicated than it sounds, at least subtextually, and our reviewers (Chris, JC, Kat, Sarah, Richard and Herman) delve deep into said complexities while reminding you…goats are evil, m’kay.
How To Be Single
It would seem that this Valentine’s Day timed romantic comedy, starring Alison Brie, Rebel Wilson, Dakota Johnson, and Leslie Mann is angling to be an anti-romantic comedy, a deconstructionist romantic comedy, if you will. And it is…sort of. Until it falls into the same traps it’s decrying. At least that’s what our reviewers are saying. Those reviewers being, Elliott, and appearing for the first time on our website, his lovely and learned better half Stacee. We figured, who better to review a romantic film for Valentine’s Day than a couple (also, I couldn’t get anyone else to go). JC and Chris show up to ask the questions.
Just in time to be able to tell your friends during the Superbowl that you’ve already heard it’s cooler than Bobby Drake in a meatlocker, here’s our super-rare Sunday release of our review for Deadpool! Surpassing all expectations, our crew raved about the merc (now featuring a mouth) as Ryan Reynolds returns to the super, erm, dude, role but much mo’ better. If you were worried they weren’t gonna get Deadpool from the comics right, worry no more. More like Deadon. Your review crew today will be Chris, JC, Beau, Richard, Diva and Herman.
I can’t believe I’m saying this, but this Coen brothers’ movie needed more Channing Tatum. There, now my Charming Potato journey is complete. Their latest film features the tater in a relatively small, but unforgettable role, but that’s true of most of the starpower attached to the movie (and there is a lot). The story, such as it is, follows Josh Brolin who plays a ‘fixer” for a major Hollywood studio. He keeps stars from getting in trouble, makes sure the pictures come in on time…whatever needs doing on the spot, basically. But when the star (George Clooney) of their latest high profile pic is kidnapped by communists, he’s got to find him get get him back on set before the pic starts shooting again.
Pride And Prejudice And Zombies
Jane Austin but with zombies. These are indeed the end times. I mean, the book was a pretty big hit, sure. I don’t think anyone expected it was going to spawn a niche fiction with other classic literary works rewritten to include monsters. But there ya go. I certainly didn’t expect that we’d see a MOVIE version. But here ya go. I know what you’re thinking. Chris, shut up with your ranting and let us get on with listening to the review. Is it any good or not?!? Kinda both. You gotta listen to me, Beau, JC and Sarah to get the complete story…
Kung Fu Panda 3
Jack Black returns as Po, the titular panda bear, now a hero of his city and of kung-fu in general. But things get tough for him when his master insists that he become a teacher and learn the secrets of chi. And then there’s a new big bad, voiced by J.K. Simmons who is stealing the chi of masters around China (even the dead ones). A solution seems to have been found when Po’s long lost biological father shows up out of nowhere (Bryan Cranston) and tells them of his hidden Panda village where everybody knows how to manipulate chi. Problem solved, right? Not so much. But not as big a problem as making the entertainment value of these characters stay steady for three animated films. Sarah, JC, Chris and Elliott tell it like it is.
The Finest Hours
When your giant ship at sea is split in half by a huge winter storm and the half with the radio is the part that went down, my standard behavior is to curl into a ball and start whimpering. Not so Casey Affleck, the ship’s alpha mechanic who gathers his men into a physics-fighting force to buy them time until hopefully somebody notices they’re missing. Insert Chris Pine on shore as a shy member of the Coast Guard who is ordered to take some men out on a tiny boat and see what they can do….basically a suicide mission. But, this is a true story and it’s from Disney so ya know….Elliott and Chris do their best to come to a consensus on this one.
Where To Invade Next
Michael Moore himself doesn’t even really consider his films documentaries, per say. I mean, they are, but he also understands that he’s creating leftist, populist propaganda as entertainment more than, strictly speaking, documentaries. Doesn’t make the films any less true, but certainly slanted. However, his latest film, which Chris, Ashley, Richard and Sarah review here, is…ok, it’s more of that.
One of the oddest, and arguably most genius, writers in Hollywood (Charlie Kaufman) returns with this uncomfortably but beautifully animated film about a guy (David Thewlis) having more than just a bit of a mid-life crisis during a work trip who meets a young fan (Jennifer Jason Leigh) and starts to reconsider his life. You’ve certainly heard by now how this has been on a lot of best-of lists for the year, but is all that praise deserved? The Unusual Suspects have a bit of a different take on this film from most of the reviews you’ve heard and the only way we could really get into it was by making this a spoiler review. Sarah, Chris, Beau and newcomer Kat (not the other one) make their thoughts known.
13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi
Who exactly thought it was a good idea to let Michael Bay direct a film about a still current and upcoming election issue hot button like the story of the attack on the American Diplomatic Compound in Benghazi, Libya? Yeah, that’s kinda a rhetorical question. But still, with John Krasinski (still trying to reinvent his image) as the newest member of a badass security team protecting the compound(s) and some typically over-the-top Bay carnage, there’s no question this is going to put butts in seats. But what did the crew think?
Leo grabs again for that brass ring (or gold statue, as it were) with his desperate and downright uncomfortable looking performance in The Revenant. Playing a trapper who ends up mauled by a bear and then left for dead by Tom Hardy, he crawls and gradually heals himself across the wilderness of early America with one thing on his mind…REVENGA! Chris, Beau, Sarah, Richard and JC give their thoughts.
On the surface, a biopic about the woman who invented the Miracle Mop and other HSN type household helpers doesn’t exactly seem like box office dynamite. But, make that woman Jennifer Lawrence and add Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro to the cast, and hmm, yes, well, more interesting. Then put director David O. Russell in charge of it all and ok, fine, yes you should go see it, right? But then we saw it and…holy crap, you REALLY should go see it. Listen to Chris, Beau and Herman speak fondly of a film you’ll be hearing a lot more about, we suspect, come Oscar nomination time.
Will Smith discovers that football players probably shouldn’t bang their heads around so much. Go figure. We figure that this Oscar hopeful is largely worth ignoring. Chris, Sarah, JC and Richard discuss and Sarah gets PISSED. Gotta hear her rant. We’ll always hold it as a treasured oneofus moment.
It’s Christmas time in the 1950s and Rooney Mara plays a young lady working in a department store. She meets a customer, Carol, played glamorously to the hilt by Cate Blanchett. The two become fast friends and then…something more. Tis the season for LGBT films and Carol might very well be the best of the Oscar-hopeful lot. Chris and Beau review.
Let the pain begin as Chris, Ashley, and Beau suffer the torments of hell as they relive the experience of sitting through Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell compete for the attention of some kids. Not even kidding. This section of oneofus.net will forever be plagued with spooky stories of the agonizing wails of our three reviewers as their souls burnt away from the white-hot flame of evil. Be prepared.
The Hateful Eight
Tarantino is back with another western….or is it The Thing? Shades of The Thing anyway as Kurt Russell is looking kinda shaggy as he and the rest of the cast experience paranoia in a small enclosed space with an impassible winter storm outside. He is joined in his snow covered retreat by Sam Jackson, Jennifer Jason-Leigh, Walton Goggins, Demián Bichir, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen and Bruce Dern. Not a nice one among ’em. But Tarantino seems to have made a nice movie…maybe one of the best in his career? Ok, Chris, Richard and Herman don’t agree on this one at all, but you gotta hear the deets.
Star Wars The Force Awakens: SPOILER REVIEW
We threatened you with it, and now it is here: the spoiler review for the new Star Wars movie. GAWD we were dying to talk about the details here. Because, let’s face it…just like every other geek in the country we were obsessing over said details. For this one we brought out Chris, Sarah, Beau, JC, Herman and even Jason Murphy! Ok, so it gets a little bit chaotic at points, but it’s still one of the most fun reviews to record we’ve done this year. Check it out!
The Big Short
Banking scandals, thieving yuppies and a nearly nude Margot Robbie. We’re talking about The Wolf of Wall Street, right? Nope. We’re talking about The Big Short, a sorta, kinda, docu-drama dense with information about the financial crisis of 2007-2010 due to collateralized debt obligation and the people who saw that bubble was going to collapse and bet against it. Sound dry? Thanks to a stellar cast of folks like Steve Carell, Brad Pitt, and Christian Bale, and a wry, pitch black sense of humor, this educational film ended up being one of the most strangely funny and entertaining watches of the year. At least for some of. Chris, JC, Beau, Elliott and Sarah describe the proceedings.
The Danish Girl
Academy favorite Tom Hooper directs this tale of an artist living in Copenhagen in the early 1920s (Eddie Redmayne) with his also-an-artist-but-not-as-successful wife (Alicia Vikander) and all is well. That is, until one day she asks him to model for her as a woman and he likes it. A lot. So much so that he decides that he wants to be a woman. Tragic stuff ensues. Listen to Beau, Ashley, and Chris weigh in.
Tina Fey and Amy Poehler play two very different sisters who nonetheless, are the best of friends. When their parents announce that they’re selling the girls’ childhood home, the two decide to throw one last huge party in the house to give Poehler the chance to cut loose the way she never got to when she was younger. And then things go terribly wrong. Or terribly right? Depends on your perspective on huge parties, I guess. But Chris, Ashley and Beau say that as a movie, pretty much everything goes terribly right here. Listen to them rave about what they call ‘the best giant party comedy since Old School‘.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Is there any sort of lead-in here that I can give that anyone requires to understand what movie I’m talking about? I didn’t think so. What I can tell you is that this is the first of two reviews our site is going to do for this anticipated film. This is our spoiler free review. Which was no easy task. Chris, Richard and Ed all dove in with the dedicated intent of spoiling as little as possible. While saying that, understand that we had to give at least a bit of first act plot and character set-up description that some will certainly feel is more than they want to know until they see it. So enter with caution those of you who want to know absolutely nothing. Stay tuned for our spoiler filled review!
I wondered how long it was going to be before Hollywood caught on to the resurgence in popularity (what, it’s only been a few hundred years) of the Krampus monster, the dark shadow of Santa Clause. And here we go. Because when you get the Trick or Treat helmer in charge of your seasonal horror film, Weta Works to design your monsters, you release that shit wide. Chris, Michael and Herman review.
Even Batman has never been this grim. Since we’re reviewing the Scottish play (shh, don’t say it out loud) we had to bring in our two scotsmen. Basically, Chris sits back and lets Beau and Richard tell you all about Macbeth and the pros and cons of this Michael Fassbender/Marion Cottilard adaptation of Shakespeare’s classic play. Not that he has much of a choice. Let’s just say that Chris knows when he’s out of his league.
In the Heart of the Sea
Chris Hemsworth is a whaler who fights for his own survival when the big ‘un ends up fighting back. Ron Howard directs this meta-take on Moby Dick, as the film is narrated by a survivor years after the fact with Herman Melville taking notes from it for his novel. More or less based on a true story, In the Heart of the Sea will have you believe that a whale can cry! …and men will die. Chris and Richard take a stab at the review.
We got a giant crew to come out and talk in-depth (and I mean, for over an hour) about Marvel’s latest television series on Netflix, Jessica Jones, adapted from Brian Michael Bendis’ comic series Alias. Discussing are: Chris, Elliott, Sarah, Harris, Beau, Herman and Randy. Sit back and enjoy our spirited and spoiler talk discussion of this great show!
It’s been awhile since we’ve had a narrative Spike Lee film worth talking about. There’s no question that there’s going to be a lot of talking about his latest film. In Chi-Raq, Lee takes the Greek comedy of Lysistrata and moves it to present day Englewood in Chicago, or Chi-Raq, as its natives call it, for the extreme amounts of violence that take place almost daily on its streets. The two biggest culprits are two gangs led respectively by Nick Cannon and Wesley Snipes. When a side-effect of one of their drive-bys is that a little girl is left for dead, the gang’s women, and the women of the entire area, band together in a pact to stay celibate until their men put down the guns. Oh, and did I mention that the bulk of the movie is in rhyme? Chris, Richard and JC review.
Tom Hardy plays both of the infamous Kray twins in the 60s as they tore through London with their mobstery ways. Beau and JC describe the madness for your listening pleasure.
The Good Dinosaur
A lost dinosaur named Arlo and a small cave boy (yes, this is established as an alternate timeline) team up to survive in a rather hippy version of the alternate past where even the T-Rexes are just farmers. It could only be made in California. Brian and Elliot review.
In this revisionist bro-mance, James McAvoy plays the titular Victor, filled with genius and madness, spitting his passionate lines into the camera while Daniel Radcliffe is a (eventually) much cuter and quieter Igor than we’re traditionally accustomed to. Together, in an extended prequel type of fashion, they work (somewhat reluctantly on Igor’s part) towards the modern Prometheus. But does this version of Mary Shelley’s classic tale give it new life? Chris, Sarah, JC and Diva tell the tale.
Or, come on…Rocky VII. Which is fine with me as… #1: All but one of the Rocky films are eminently watchable and re-watchable (I’m looking at you, V), #2: The last Rocky film, Rocky Balboa, was one of the best, #3: Michael B. Jordan is a great young actor with a big future in front of him and whatsay we all forget about Fantastic Four, eh? #4: Ryan Coogler directed this latest entry, who also worked with Jordan on the wonderful Fruitvale Station, #5: Just listen to the review already. You people and your lists. Jeez. Chris, Sarah, Joe, Herman, JC and Diva review.
Michael Keaton is back and he’s heading up another film sure to hit many of the top spots at award ceremonies this year. Spotlight is the story of a small group of reporters at the Boston Globe who are tasked with long-term investigative pieces and uncover a giant conspiracy to cover up child abuse on the part of Catholic priests. Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, John Slattery, and Stanley Tucci also star in the film that may be our pick of the year. Sarah, Chris and Herman reporting…
The Night Before
Three old friends, played by Seth Rogen, Anthony Mackie, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, have been ritually going out every Xmas eve together and partying like crazy. It became tradition the year Levitt’s parents died in a car accident and he was left all alone. 14 years later and Rogen is married and his wife is about to pop their first child, Mackie has become a sports super-star, and Levitt….is about the same, only now mourning for the one that got away, his ex (Lizzie Caplan). But the three agree on one last blow-out and with Rogen having a box full of drugs, Mackie having the sweet hookup to stuff like a limo paid for by one of his sponsors, and Levitt having come across three tickets to the mysterious party to end all parties that they’ve been searching for all these years, how could it go wrong? (spoiler: it does). All this and Michael Shannon too!
Secret in Their Eyes
Chris Herman and JC got to see this remake of the Best Foreign Language Film award winner, now starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Julia Roberts, and Nicole Kidman and they can’t quite come to consensus. So Chris (cox) is there to referee. Listen up!
The Hunger Games: MockingJay Part 2
The Hunger Games franchise comes to a close (at least for the time being) with this final chapter that brings all the rebels together in a final stand against the capitol and President Snow. And it brings Chris, Brian, Herman, JC, and Elliott together in a final stand to ask…why did they split this up into two movies again? Warning: This is a SPOILER review, so if you don’t want the events of the film revealed, wait to listen till after you’ve seen it
Bryan Cranston steps into the shoes of the bigger than life Hollywood screenwriter, Dalton Trumbo, telling the story of how one of the most respected creators of his time was forced to work anonymously because of the red scare in the 1940s. Filled with other great actors playing significant characters of the time (Helen Mirren, Diane Lane, Alan Tudyk, John Goodman, Louis C.K., etc), Trumbo was met by our reviewers with…a decidedly mixed reaction. Click the link and listen to Chris, Joe and Sarah disagree on this one.
Daniel Craig returns for the fourth time as super-spy James Bond in the film that finally returns the evil organization SPECTRE to the franchise…and NO ONE is more excited about it than Brian Salisbury who joins Chris and Sarah on this review. WARNING: There are spoilers.
Appropriately we put up our review on the 5th of November because this new film Suffragette is about people blowing stuff up in political protest. More specifically, it follows the story of the women of England in the early years of the 20th century who had just about had it with not being able to vote. Carey Mulligan and Helena Bonham Carter star in the film and Chris, Richard and Sarah star on this review.
Our Brand Is Crisis
Sandra Bullock goes head to head with old rival Billy Bob Thornton as political campaign strategists for competing candidates in the Bolivian presidential elections. Things get wackier than you might expect and at least one llama dies horribly. Chris, Elliott, Diva, and Richard check the polls to see how it is.
Brie Larson and her five year old boy have been held prisoner in a garden shed for five years. Well, she’s been trapped in there for seven but…well…anyway. To comfort her child, she describes ROOM as all there is. Even having a tv in there with them she tells him TV people aren’t real. But when an opportunity to escape comes, the kid will need a crash course in scary reality. Beau, Chris and Sarah suss this one out for your amusement.
Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension
Paranormal Activity is back with its sixth film and the final movie in the franchise (and if you believe that, I have a Friday the 13th-The Final Chapter to sell you). Another family, another house, same location, same camera, same goddamn ghost, only now, with the help of that camera that keeps popping up, you can see him…in crapola 3D. None of which helps Ashley or Chris have anything good to say about this movie. Except breasts. Listen to the review.
The Last Witch Hunter
Vin Diesel finally gets a chance to play Dungeons and Dragons again as he assumes the role of Kaulder, an immortal hunter of witches who has lived for 800 years and now, in the modern age, has to respect a truce with non-interventionalist practitioners of the art, a brand new wet-behind-the-ears priest assistant (Elijah Wood) and a young witch (Rose Leslie) who wants to help as he tracks down some nasty spell-casters with an eye towards ending the truce once and for all. Listen to Richard, Chris, Sarah and JC make their savings throw against silliness.
Jem and the Holograms
I said to myself, “Chris, go ahead and ask Harris and Cat if they want to go see and review this movie and if they say no, you’re off the hook, and you don’t have to go see it. This is short notice, they probably can’t do it”. And Harris and Cat said, “Yes”, or I believe Cat’s exact words were, “I am so in it’s not even funny”.
You see, Jem and the Holograms was originally a 80’s animated tv series and it had its fanbase. Cat was one of the members of that fanbase. I never would have heard of this thing if not for her. Dammit, Cat. Anyway, this theatrical live action adaptation is, as she says, “In name only”, and we proceed to thrash this thing down to an inch of its life. Come share our pain, won’t you?
Based on the insanely popular series of horror for kids books by R.L. Stine, this new film takes a meta approach to the material with the new kid in the neighborhood discovering that his next door neighbor (Jack Black) is in fact the author of the books. And then he accidentally releases all of his creations into the real world. Don’t ask. But Chris, Beau, JC, and Sarah will tell you anyway.
One thing you can say for Michael Fassbender: he’s no Ashton Kutcher…thank God for that. Because finally, after multiple attempts, we get a film about the Apple icon that’s pretty damn great. Even with all the talent in this new Danny Boyle film, we hold up screenwriter Aaron Sorkin to be the shining star of the movie. Listen to Chris, JC and Elliott describe it in words that, quite frankly, seem embarrassingly trite next to what Sorkin would have said.
Bridge of Spies
Tom Hanks the lead in a film directed by Steven Spielberg and written by the Coen Brothers…yeah, sounds like that would probably suck, right? NO OF COURSE IT’S NOT GOING TO SUCK YOU FOOLS. Which is why I was a bit baffled I couldn’t drum up more interest with our critic group in going to see it. This true story with Tom playing the guy who negotiated the release of a American spy for a Russian one during the Cold War is just as good as it’s pedigree suggests. Listen to Chris, Elliot and JC cast shame on the others for not showing up in their review.
Guillermo del Toro has historically been at his best when telling ghost stories. Which is why, probably, there was so much excitement about his latest film. Perhaps the varying responses to del Toro’s previous work has shaped to some extent the wide divergence of opinion that Chris, Michael, Beau, JC and Sarah have on this hyper-gothic romance film. Listen to our review (and try not to get too angry…we lost track of ourselves and there are indeed some big spoilers in our review).
Andrew Garfield is just trying to save his family home but at every turn, he’s lied to, told contradictory things, having blockades put up, and before you know it…BANG, there’s Michael Shannon at his door with cops saying, “GET OUT”. At the end of his rope and running out of ideas of how to support his family, he goes to confront the company and people who forcibly moved him out only to be offered construction work for big pay and little work by Shannon. Slowly seduced into first a moral grey area then, just plain moral bankruptcy, 99 Homes is a look at one man’s soul disappearing. Chris, Beau and Sarah weigh in…
Poor Matt Damon. His team done and left him on Mars. What’s an astronaut to do? Well, to quote his character, he’s going to science the shit out of it. Ridley Scott directs this adaptation of the best selling book rounding it out with an all star cast of folks like Jessica Chastain, Jeff Daniels, Kristen Wiig and many more. The Unusual Suspects bring Chris, Joe, JC, Elliott and Beau in to analyze the data.
Emily Blunt plays a FBI agent who finds herself in kind of a sketchy cross-departmental task force to not quite legally go into Juarez Mexico and deal with the terrifying cartels. Josh Brolin is the not-so-forthcoming leader of the task force and Benicio Del Toro is the team badass whose actual departmental affiliation seems to be…vague. Our feelings weren’t vague about this film though. Listen to Chris, Joe and Michael give their reviews.
Johnny Depp leads an a big cast as Boston gangster Jimmy Whitey Bulger, a frightening steely blue eyed killer who makes a deal with an FBI agent (Joel Edgerton) to give him info on the Costa Nostra in exchange for being left alone by the feds. How could that go wrong? And how could a movie this cool looking (have you SEEN the trailers?) go wrong? Well, maybe a bit. Listen to Chris, Beau, Richard, JC and Joe give their review.
The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trails
In this unwieldily titled sequel, our heroes find out that the corporation W.C.K.D. (seriously, who gives their company the acronym ‘wicked’?) are even more nefarious than they thought, as nothing as is it seems, the post-apocalypse is full of Last of Us zombies, and sadly, that it looks like Gus from Breaking Bad needs to start getting better offers than half-assed YA sequels. Check out Jenny and Chris on the review.
Why did you climb that mountain? Because you must want to die. We couldn’t think of another good reason, which should clue you in that if you’re a mountain climbing fan you might want to skip this Highly Suspect Review of the new film Everest. Even with great actors like Jake Gyllenhaal, Josh Brolin, John Hawkes and Jason Clarke trying to ascend the legendary peak, we just couldn’t get past the NOPENOPENOPE part of our reactions. Which, of course, doesn’t mean that the film itself was bad. Or good. Or…oh, hell just listen to Chris, Beau and Joe do the review..
M. Night is back and now teamed up with Jason Blum is taking on the found footage horror. Will he be able to provide something new in a pretty tired style? Will the two kids who are sent to their grandparents house discover the secrets as to why these old folks act so strangely? Will Elliott kill the rest of the reviewing team for dogpiling on him in the review? You’ll have to listen to find out.
Noah Baumbach’s latest has his muse, Greta Gerwig, taking center stage again as Brooke, a 30 year old whirlwind of a woman, filled with an excess of Joie de Vivre and just as much chaos. But she becomes a beacon of possibility and a muse for her writing for her soon to be step-sister Tracey (Lola Kirke) a freshman at a NYC college looking for direction. The two take on the town trying to get Brooke’s naive restaurant concept funded but Tracey may be more interested in Brooke’s fictional counterpart she’s drawing up than Brooke herself.
What would you do if you were in a third world country, revolution broke out, and the #1 directive was: kill all the Americans? Owen Wilson doesn’t know either but one way or another he’s determined to get his wife (Lake Bell) and his two daughters to safety…if there is such a thing. As chaos erupts their only hope might be coming from a drunky Pierce Brosnan. Not exactly the highest of things to hang your hopes from.
Hitman: Agent 47
In this sequel (reboot? who knows?) to the 2007 video game adaptation film, Rupert Friend shaves his head for the role of the unstoppable assassin, this time teamed up with a equally dangerous lady (Hannah Ware) and fighting Zachary Quinto. Does it fare any better than the original. Chris, Elliott and Richard have been given the contract to take this one out.
Jesse Eisenberg is a stoner who just wants to live his simple life and get his shit together enough to ask his too-good-for-him girlfriend (Kristen Stewart) to take it to the next level. And then it turns out he’s a sleeper super-assassin. You know, the way it happens. Isn’t it always that way? Soon he’s a target for other hitmen and mayhem (and comedy) ensues. Check out our review featuring Jenny, JC, Diva and Beau.
The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
Get out your decoder rings and exploding pens because Guy Ritchie is doin’ the spy thing old fashioned style. And that’s one of the things we loved about The Man From UNCLE. All that 60’s fashion. All the cool gadgets. Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer as two secret agents on opposite sides of the cold war having to work together and entertainingly taking the piss out of each other. Alice Vikander being cool and glam. Beau, Chris, JC, Joe and Johnny Neill elaborate. And Johnny eats his hat.
Straight Outta Compton
F. Gary Grey’s bio-pic of formative rap band NWA seems to be shaking up reviewers across the country, and the Unusual Suspects have put together a very special episode of our show to review it. The film is a staggering 147 minutes long and in response, we go on for almost an hour talking about it. But not alone. Joining Brian, Chris, JC and Joe this week on the show is Shane and Ryan from Oneofus’s superlative music podcast, Somebody Likes It. Check it out.
The End of the Tour
Jason Segel gets all serious as author David Foster Wallace, writer of “Infinite Jest”, that reluctantly agrees to a lengthy interview with Rolling Stone writer David Lipsky, played here by Jesse Eisnenberg. The two have a multi-day conversation that goes from bro code to existence pondering. But is it interesting? Sarah, Beau and Chris contemplate the film.
WARNING: Somewhat spoilery review. Joel Edgerton is Gordo, a lonely, somewhat socially awkward man who runs into a old high school acquaintance (Jason Bateman) and his wife (Rebecca Hall) who’ve just moved back to California. Gordo just wants to be friends. Bateman seems reticent. Turns out there was some old friction there and Bateman, becoming gradually more suspicious of Gordo’s gestures of friendship, just wants him to go away. Gordo doesn’t take no for an answer very easily.
Fox has had a series of significant super-hero hits of their own lately with the last two (or three, depending on who you ask) X-Men universe films with more to come. So why wouldn’t you be excited for this new take on The Fantastic Four starring Miles Teller, Michael B Jordan, Kate Mara and Jamie Bell? Well…I don’t have enough text space here to tell you all the reasons not to be excited about it so you’ll just have to listen to the review with JC, Chris, Ashley, Beau, Elliott and Joe.
Shaun the Sheep
The much loved British stop-motion animated series Wallace and Gromit have now spawned a spin-off about Shaun the Sheep. Shaun is a smart sheep and his curiosity gets himself and his fellow ewes into trouble around the farm, this time accidentally sending the farmer into the city who loses his memory of the farm. The sheep, adrift without the farmer’s guidance send Shaun into the city to try and find out what happened.
Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation
Unusual Suspects, this is your mission, if you choose to accept it: to watch all the way through the new Mission Impossible movie…without giggling at how silly it all is. No, I’m kidding, no one is physically capable of that. Except maybe Elliott. But listen to the case files. Chris, Brian, Elliott, Joe and JC will self-destruct after this review.
Ed Helms plays Rusty Griswold, now all grown up, married to Christina Applegate, and with two boys of his own. He suffers from feelings of inadequacy because, well, in some ways he’s pretty inadequate. To try to bring his dysfunctional family back together, he piles them into the worst rental car ever (seriously, worse than the family truckster) and sets out on a cross-country trip to Walley World, echoing his memory of his vacation with his family long past (RE: National Lampoon’s Vacation).
Jake Gyllenhaal is Billy Hope and he’s got it all. World lightweight boxing champion. Incredibly sexy and loving wife (Rachel McAdams), a precocious and smart little girl, a huge mansion. What could possibly go wrong? Well, a lot of stuff and fast. At rock bottom, Billy has got to get his game back and he’s gotta go to an old half-blind trainer (Forest Whitaker) to do it.
80’s video game characters coming to life and attacking major cities. Only a handful of old dudes who used to be the best at gaming can save us all. Sounds like the premise for a really cool Lord and Miller film, right? Unfortunately, it’s Chris Columbus and stars Adam Sandler and, get this, Kevin James as the President of the USA. Not even Peter Dinklage in a mullet (again) can save us from Pixels. But is it really as bad as all that? Chris, Ashley, Sarah, JC and Elliott are here to confirm.
Paul Rudd joins the MCU as Scott Lang a nice-guy with a checkered past who gets put into the shrinking Ant-Man super-suit by Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), an inventor/hero from the 80s. Pym needs Lang to help him and his daughter (Evangeline Lily) keep his insane ex-disciple Darren Cross (Corey Stoll) from developing his own shrinking tech and selling it to…EVIL. Chris, Beau, Joe, Elliott, Jenny, JC form a super-team to tangle with this theatrical release.
Amy Schumer goes from the little screen to the big one as the star of Trainwreck, a comedy by her and director Judd Apatow. She plays a woman who was damaged by her father’s perspective and instructions on love: to never, ever, go monogamous. Working by day at a shallow men’s magazine and by night getting drunk and hooking up with random one night stands, her life is a mess to anyone on the outside but she thinks she’s doing fine. At least, until she’s given an assignment to do a story about a sports doctor that all the big players go to (Bill Hader). They have a hook up and then…he won’t let her get away that easily. No one has ever fought so hard against falling in love as Amy Schumer in this (apparently) somewhat autobiographical story that comes with a lot of laughs.
Amy Winehouse. A public figure met with enormous amounts of both mockery and adulation. It was hard to deny her incredible talent but equally impossible to deny that she was a woman of deep-rooted problems that led to her untimely death at the age of 27. Now, this new documentary explores her in a way that many critics are calling extraordinary…including our critics. Johnny Neill, Joe, Diva and introducing, Lynn.
What would you do if you were old, powerful, rich and could take your consciousness out of your frail and dying frame and put it into that of young man’s body? I think it’s a no-brainer that’d be a big seller. Such is the premise of Tarsem Singh’s latest film where Ben Kingsley gets his mind transferred into Ryan Reynolds body…supposedly a vat-grown, never was human thingee. But of course, that would make for a boring movie. Chris, Richard and Elliot don’t agree at all on this one so listen up.
I’m not sure anyone was really asking for ‘world building’ in the Despicable Me animated film series, but here it is anyway. The little yellow fellers get their own movie as we see their origin story and a big adventure for them as they hench and then become the enemy of Scarlet Overkill (Sandra Bullock) in 1968 London. Chris, JC, Beau and Elliott make the twinkie jokes.
A high school play that once killed a student is re-attempted 20 years later, but something (!) wants, erm, to, ah, kill high schoolers. Boy, I’ll be the suspect list is endless on that one. This found footage film found fealty from few, but our critics see it how it is. Marvel at Ashley, Sarah and JC as they restage the play to understand its secrets.
Chris, JC, Beau, Ashley, Elliot, Sarah and Joe somehow manage to keep a reign on the potential chaos and deliver a review that explores the gamut of possible feelings about this divisive film. And, because it’s almost impossible to really talk about this without spoiling stuff, we keep it pristine for a regular review, then we come back and talk in depth with spoilers.
Magic Mike XXL
Chaos was the rule of the day, both in the (somewhat humid) theater we watched this screening of Channing Tatum’s male stripper sequel film, and in Chris’s house during the review of it. Or, I should say, as much of a review as we were capable of giving to a movie that doesn’t really lend itself to reviewing so much as to dollar bills pushed into it’s celluloid g-string…of which I suspect it will have many this weekend.
Ashley and Sarah reviewed this…Joe and Chris did their best to stay out of their way. Did I mention this is a bit chaotic? We liked it that way. And were possibly a bit scared.
What begins as an attempt to have a child with his new bride (difficult with no…erm…boy parts) leads to a civil rights case as the government tries to tell the magically alive teddy bear that he has no rights and is property not a person. Yes, this is the type of plot that seems called for in a film about a foul mouthed stoner teddy bear. Listen to Chris, JC, Elliot, Beau and Sarah come to opinions that vary more than ever before on this sequel…seriously, we’ve got one 10 out of 10 and one -3. Check it.
Me, Earl & The Dying Girl
Thomas Mann plays Greg, a high school kid too scared of being judged or hurt to make any real friendships in his life outside of being passingly friendly acquaintances with about everybody. Except for Earl, his childhood friend with whom he has filmed hundreds of pun-based classic film satires, his conversational daily content is sum-uppable in twitter lengths. But then, a girl from his school (Olivia Cooke) is diagnosed with leukemia and his mother orders him to go and spend time with her. Despite themselves, a friendship forms and Greg’s life changes…but will yours?
Adam Scott and Taylor Schilling are all too pleased to get to meet Jason Schwartzman and Judith Godrèche who are a very wealthy and friendly duo. But as the night goes on, it seems these Californians might have something else on their mind. Something a mite bit more sex oriented than our Washingtonians planned on.
Pixar’s latest offering presents the voices that live inside a little girl’s head and what happens when the balance therein goes all askew. No, this isn’t The Exorcist, it’s a surprisingly thoughtful and inventive animated film that calls back the Pixar days of yore. Or, so our reviewing team says. If you can’t believe Chris, Ashley, Beau and Elliott, who can you believe? (no, don’t answer that)
Isla Nubar is now no longer the prepping for the opening of Jurassic Park that will never happen, but the long since having opened, Jurassic World. Families come from all over the world to visit their dinosaurs, but like every amusement park, if they don’t keep creating bigger and better exhibits, attendance starts to fall off. I can only assume Cretaceous and Triassic Park are big competitors somewhere.
Enter Bryce Dallas Howard who’s working with the eternally insidious InGen corporation to create a new hybrid dinosaur that is bigger and badder than anything they have ‘as-is’ genes for. Why is Chris Pratt the only one who sees that this is a bad idea? I mean, other than everyone watching the movie?
Melissa plays a CIA analyst whose field partner (Jude Law) is killed and she has to take the field herself for the first time to track down Rose Byrne and a hidden nuke. Does this sound like one of the funniest films of the year to you? Well, maybe it was and maybe it wasn’t. You’ll have to listen to Chris, Beau, Ashley and JC to find out.
Insidious Chapter 3
The scariest thing on this review of the prequel film in the Insidious series might be that it starts out with Chris singing. Sorry about that. Other than that, it’s him, Ashley, Sarah and Elliott bringing your their perspectives on Lin Shaye trying to protect another teenager from yet another pissed-off ghost/demon.
Because you demanded it.,..oh wait, you didn’t demand it? Well neither did I. Hmm… HEY, ANY OF YOU GUYS BACK THERE DEMAND AN ENTOURAGE THEATRICAL FILM? NO? OK.
Yeah, I dunno. But here it is. A feature film capping off HBO’s tv series about a movie star and his three hanger-on friends going around LA, being shallow, and objectifying women. Hurrah. Chris, JC and Joe give their two cents.
Dwayne Johnson plays a Los Angeles Fire and Rescue helicopter pilot that can save about anything except his own marriage to Carla Gugino. Planning to take his daughter, Alexandra Daddario (rowr) on a road trip, the father-daughter bonding time is interrupted by California going boom boom. As the Earth goes crackity-crack and millions die, the Rock and his ex-wife put their differences aside to go rescue their progeny from the ruins of San Francisco.
Are you ready for a movie where a Kung Fu superstar (the titular, “Kung Fury”) has to avenge the death of his best friend at the hands of martial arts master Adolph Hitler (aka Kung Führer) by going back in time to end his reign once and all? Oh, and also he rides dinosaurs? Well, wait no longer, the internet has spoken and paid for “Kung Fury” to be made and the Unusual Suspects have seen it.
The Scooby gang gets together to see if this remake of the 1982 Spielberg/Hooper classic leaves us in high spirits, or if it’s just another dude in a rubber/CG mask (running the abandoned amusement park…my allegory ran out of steam). Sam Rockwell takes over the dad pants and might very well be the saving grace. You’ll have to listen to Ashley, Sarah, Chris, JC, Beau and Joe to find out…
“To Infinity…and Beyond!” No, wait, that’s the wrong Disney film. But still, we ARE talking a Disney film about a Disney product, a section of their theme park, to be exact. Said Disney brand is strongly emphasized (pretty much, ever-present) in this tale of the land that once was and could be again. Britt Robertson plays a teenage girl who is delivered a transformative preview experience of the titular world by a spunky child robot who directs her to team up with cranky ol’ George Clooney to save the world and find an entrance to Tomorrowland before the killer robots find them.
Pitch Perfect 2
In this sequel to Pitch Perfect, Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson and the rest of The Bellas enter the international competition, something no American team has ever won. And according to some of our critics, perhaps they shouldn’t. Elliott, Diva and JC review.
Mad Max: Fury Road
Mad Max returns, now played by Tom Hardy, in a cross-apocalypse-country road chase of a film that never lets up for a minute. Of course, Max isn’t REALLY the main character this time around. The film introduces Furiosa (Charlize Theron), a worthy equal to Max who is driving a battletruck full of escaped slave brides, and their former master has brought out pretty much the entirety of wacky death racers on the road in pursuit.
Reese Witherspoon and Sophia Vergara are stuck with each other as these two women bicker endlessly as they run from gangsters and crooked cops. The Unusual Suspects were stuck watching this and have, for your pleasure, recorded their immense pain. Please make them feel like it was worth their suffering by listening to this review of “Hot Pursuit” with Chris, Brian, Sarah, Joe, and JC.
Far From the Madding Crowd
I guess since the main character from 50 Shades of Grey mentioned she’s a big Thomas Hardy fan, now we’re gonna get a bunch of Thomas Hardy adaptations with this one being the FOURTH time his 1874 romantic drama has been made into a film. Basically, as Beau and Joe put it in their review, Carey Mulligan becomes independently wealthy and must choose “Fuck, Marry, or Kill” between a shepherd (Matthias Schoenaerts), a military dude (Tom Sturridge) and a rich guy (Michael Sheen). She may win but it looks like we all lose.
The D Train
No, it’s not a Tenacious D film (unfortunately). Not THAT kind of D, just possibly a D-grade. Jack Black plays Dan, a not-terribly-lovable schlub married to the inhumanly patient Katheryn Hahn who puts his nerdy status quo in jeopardy when he manufactures a web of lies to get himself out to LA to try to convince former high school acquaintance turned actor Oliver (James Marsden) to come back to the home town for a reunion party. Already teetering, things get worse when he shows up and Dan can’t quite take not being Oliver’s center of attention anymore. Chris, JC and Diva give this one a spin. Check it out…
Avengers: Age Of Ultron
OMG OMG OMG! That was pretty much all of our internal dialogues were saying while we were sitting in the theater waiting for this long-awaited sequel to The Avengers to start. Honestly, the projectionist is lucky he got it started on time because I suspect one of us might have rushed up to the booth to intimidate him if he hadn’t. HUGE expectations…could the film possibly live up to them? You certainly get a wide choice of Unusual Suspects to hear from about it. Chris, Brian, Richard, Elliott, JC, and Beau have control of the Criticism Gem as they review Marvel and Joss Whedon’s latest block-buster.
This new wacky comedy stars Jonah Hill as a bumbling journalist who stumbles into the story of a lifetime when a bumbling James Franco is on trial for the murder of his wife and children. Having assumed Hill’s identity while he was on the run, the two come together in bumbling prison interviews for Hill to get to the bottom of the TRUE STORY bro. Or something like that. Wait, this was actually a true story? It’s not a comedy? Ok, maybe we were looking at this all wrong.
How do you know when your computer is smarter than you? It’s admittedly kind of hard to tell when you’re having trouble thinking about anything but wanting to have sex with it. Which, to be fair, is true for many of us in a day-to-day sense now. But in the case of Ex Machina, Oscar Issac plays a wacky-rich computer genius type who flies one of his employees (Domhnall Gleeson) out to his compound for a weekend to meet his new female android Ava (Alicia Vikander) to help him decide whether or not she is indeed truly an artificial intelligence. Suffice it to say, everything does not go to plan.
From Blumhouse Productions, Unfriended is a pretty blatant attempt to take ‘found footage’ to a new level, and we conclude that it does, sort of. You must listen to this Highly Suspect Review starring Chris, Brian, Michael and Sam or…ONE OF YOUR FRIENDS WILL DIE. Email this review to at least 50 friends or you will die. And don’t forget to click on all our Amazon links or your pet will develop a hacking cough. And become a subscriber or that sandwich you bought for tomorrow’s lunch will go bad in the fridge overnight. And join Audible.com or you will get a bad rash.
The Longest Ride
Scott Eastwood plays rodeo bull-riding wanna-be-champ Luke Collins and he meet-cutes with wanna-be-east-coast-art-curator-college-girl Sophia Danko (Under the Dome‘s Britt Robertson). How will they possibly find a way to coalesce the needs of their raging hormones with their distinctly separate realities? Why, with the allegorically helpful flashbacks of an old Jewish man (Alan Alda) who tells them the stories of his love long past (performed in sepia-tone by Boardwalk Empire‘s Jack Huston and Oona Chaplin).
While We’re Young
While We’re Young follows the story of Josh (Ben Stiller) and Cornelia (Naomi Watts), a ‘settled in’ couple who have largely made peace with their inability to have children together and with the routine of their lives, which includes Stiller eternally working on his second film, a documentary too intellectually impenetrable for anyone to be interested. One day they meet Jamie (Adam Driver) and Darby (Amanda Seyfried) and the older couple find themselves captivated by the younger one’s joie de vivre and carefree attitude. Soon everything isn’t as simple as it seems, feelings get hurt and everyone learns something. Beau and Chris sure did.
Woman In Gold
Helen Mirren plays Maria Altmann, an aged escapee from Austria during the rise of the Third Reich who has lived out her life, blessedly Nazi-free, in Los Angeles. When her sister dies, she discovers in her papers that several valuable works of art should rightfully be in her family’s possession, not in that of the Austrian government. Problem is, the art in question includes some of master artist Gustav Klimt’s most famous works. Recruiting a young lawyer (Ryan Reynolds) whose family has ties with hers, the two take on a seemingly impossible task, especially with her constantly flashing back to the war (where Orphan Black‘s Tatiana Maslany plays the young Maria).
We learned a lot of stuff in the 80s about sex that changed our attitudes. The era of ‘free love’ changed to ‘no glove, no love’ and paranoia due to misunderstandings about the nature of dangerous health risks associated with it. That being said, having sex that causes an unkillable supernatural monster that only you can see that will never stop coming after you unless you pass on the ‘tag’ by having sex with someone else? Sure, probably not the biggest problem for the popular kids, but if you were a nerd like us and just happened to get lucky once… maybe not so lucky after all.
Awww, look at all those cuddly little squishy aliens. So cute and they talk in adorable pidgin English. Jim Parsons (from “Big Bang Theory”) is playing the lead one and look… he just wants to be loved, much like his reluctant buddy, an earth girl played by Rihanna who only wants to find her mom. See, they’re both misunderstood nerds in their own way! It’s also so captivating the way the aliens resettle all of humanity into a brightly colored concentration camp, isn’t it? That Dreamworks really knows how to speak to, erm, 4 year olds.
Get Hard (At SXSW)
Get Hard is the latest Kevin Hart comedy in which he plays a guy mistaken for an ex-con by a racist, NERF-y finance executive. Playing that finance guy, and serving as the obligatory juxtaposition to Hart, is Will Ferrell. The two of them together should have been a recipe for tasty comedy stew. But alas, something went terribly wrong in that kitchen.
Brian and Chris take to the rooftops of Austin to record this highly special Highly Suspect review of Get Hard. Hey, that title also sounds like what happens when a man gets an erection…I just got that.
Furious 7 (SXSW)
Here now, recorded live from SXSW is our Highly Suspect Review of one of the year’s most anticipated movies. If you aren’t already of a fan of this franchise, you may not find much to like here. But for all you Fasties out there (we need a better name), this is pure gasoline candy.
Brian, Chris, and J.C. are joined by special guests Kyle Scott, our editor Thomas Mariani, and We’re Alive creator KC Wayland to talk about why Furious 7 got them all revved up. Download and listen to this special early review and get your pistons pumping!
Run All Night
Run All Night takes place over the course of a single day, in which a former hitman for the mob (Neeson) must protect his son (Joel Kinnaman) from the wrath of the local boss (Ed Harris). Turns out that mob boss’ son (Boyd Holbrok) is a real d-bag and tries to murder the hitman’s son, only to end up full of bullets himself. When in the hell are people going to learn to stop effin’ with Liam Neeson?!
Hey kids, it’s time to gather around the fireplace and let The Unusual Suspects read you the story of Cinderella. Well, not so much read, but rather give our thoughts after watching Disney’s Cinderella. Kenneth Branagh directs this iteration of the classic story about a girl whose widower father apparently didn’t have access to OkCupid, because he marries a horrid ice queen to be his daughter’s new stepmother. When he then kicks the bucket, step-mama begins to treat lovely little Ella as a servant, nicknaming her Cinderella because she sleeps next to…you know, if you don’t know the story by now, we don’t know what to tell ya.
Vince Vaughn plays a guy from the far more conventional business world. The kind with spreadsheets and neckties and stuff. Vaughn quits his job at a company that sells scrap metal to boldly found his very own company…that also sells scrap metal. He founds this company alongside an elderly former coworker (Tom Wilkinson) and a lovable young idiot (Dave Franco) whom he met in the parking lot on his way out the door of his former employer. After a year of operation, the trio now have one shot of keeping their company afloat: nabbing that one major client even if it means traveling all the way to Germany!
The Lazarus Effect
Ok, so sure, if I was dating Olivia Wilde and she died, I’d probably commit all kinds of acts of hubris against man and God(tm) to bring her back to life too. This is essentially the plot of The Lazarus Effect, as a group of scientists develop a procedure to give new life to the dead. And nothing goes wrong at all and they all live happily ever after. The end…
Ok, no, that would be a pretty boring movie but perhaps no less boring than what this film brings us. Even with a cast like Mark Duplass, Donald Glover, Evan Peters and Sarah Bolger, there’s no getting around lazy horror filmmaking. Or is there? What if we came up with a procedure to reanimate dead horror tropes? Oh wait, Blumhouse Pictures already figured that technique out. With the expected results.
Will Smith and Margot Robbie are out to steal a lot of money, and perhaps each other’s hearts, in this new romantic heist flick from the writers/directors of Crazy, Stupid Love. It certainly is the long con being pulled here as Focus feels like two separate movies crammed into one.
What We Do In The Shadows
Jemaine Clement is a very old vampire. He lives in a flat with three other vampires. During the nights they go out and kill. During the day, they sleep. For centuries they have subsisted thusly. So you can’t help but imagine they’re probably a little bored. Enter a camera crew who they’ve agreed to let film a documentary about them. Sadly, the truth of the matter is, these vampiric archetypes aren’t as cool as the classic literary and film vampires they resemble. In fact, they’re all kind of a bunch of schlubs.
Hot Tub Time Machine 2
It may be February, but go grab your swimsuits because it’s time to hop back into that temporal displacement jacuzzi! That’s right, it’s the Highly Suspect Review of Hot Tub Time Machine 2! Now granted, the only thing more difficult than actually developing time travel is crafting a decent comedy sequel, but maybe HTTM2 will take a page from BTTF2‘s book and be able to break the unfortunate trend.
Kingsman: The Secret Service
It has been remarked that manners maketh man, but as in all things, our understanding of propriety around here is Highly Suspect. Luckily, we take lessons on both citizenship and impeccable fashion sense from Kingsman: The Secret Service. A few of the upstanding gentlemen who comprise The Unusual Suspects suit up to break down Matthew Vaughn’s cheeky love letter to/sendup of James Bond. Brian, Chris, Elliott, and J.C. gather round the table to not-so-secretly laud this refreshingly well-crafted action comedy that packs just as much subtext as it does punch.
Fifty Shades of Grey with Dr. Nerdlove
Welcome to the movie that everyone was poised to hate. Well, everyone here at OneOfUs studios, anyway, but we’ve all got SOMEONE in our lives who is excited as all hell about it. And after watching Fifty Shades of Grey, The Unusual Suspects are a bit baffled by this affection. Perhaps even a bit worried about the people we know who love it so much. Chris, Diva, JC and special guest Harris (aka Dr. Nerdlove) do their best to straighten out the kinks in this adaptation of the confusingly insanely popular book that started out as Twilight fan fiction.
In this era, entertainment such as The Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones set such a high and poetic bar to reach for cinematic fantasy in the modern age that most of the competition (what there was of it) didn’t see fit to aspire to try. Seventh Son is not a movie that is trying to match those lauded entries in fantasy either, but has its strategy down pat nonetheless. More like the quick-and-fun, dice-and-entice 80’s films, this movie starring Ben Barnes as the seventh son of a seventh son who becomes the apprentice to a powerful but aging knight (Jeff Bridges) who must battle a evil witch queen (Julianne Moore), has simpler aspirations.
Russian cleaning ladies secretly rule the world? Telepathic bees? Intergalactic dragons? Teen Wolf in space with magic shoes? What on Earth is Jupiter Ascending? Hopefully, this Highly Suspect review can offer some answers.
The Boy Next Door
Jennifer Lopez is a teacher who has an affair with a nineteen-year-old student, who’s still in high school for indeterminate reasons. The boy in question subsequently decides to go full cuckoo bananas and stalks J-Lo all kinds of weird. Think of it like Fatal Attraction, only it’s the guy who’s a looney. Oh, and it’s terrible.
Brought to you by the director of Big Man Japan, this story of a man who hires a Dominatrix company to randomly assault him, brings our reviewers (Chris and Michael) to weird and somewhat uncomfortable heights of ecstasy themselves. While this is the sort of thing that has to be seen to be believed, the duo do their best to give you a picture of just how bizarre and fun this thing really is.
Here at OneOfUs, we always aim to please. That’s why we’re bringing you this fully loaded Highly Suspect review of Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper. Bradley Cooper stars in this biopic of U.S. Marine Sniper Chris Kyle, the film following Kyle as he serves multiple tours in Iraq and struggles with PTSD.
The Wedding Ringer
The Unusual Suspects gather the full wedding party (Brian, Chris, J.C., Beau, and Diva) to throw some rice and definitely some salt at this new comedy. Are Kevin Hart and Josh Gad perfect for each other? Or will you want to divorce your brain from the memory of The Wedding Ringer as soon as you’ve seen it?
Blackhat does indeed go to exhaustive lengths to explore the minutia of internet hacking, but at what cost? Hunky hunk face Chris Hemsworth plays an incarcerated computer hacker given the chance to gain his freedom if he assists a joint U.S./Chinese task force apprehend a cyber terrorist.
Selma takes place during King’s 1965 campaign for equal voting rights and his march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. The Unusual Suspects gather to lend their thoughts on the film, as well as on David Oyelowo’s performance as Dr. King. Spoiler alert: David Oyelowo turns in a fantastic performance as Dr. King. J.C., Brian, Elliott, Chris, and Beau appear on this Highly Suspect Review for one highly important piece of social cinema.
Seriously, it’s 2015, can we PLEASE stop making Jaws sequels?! No? Well ok then. I guess we’ll just have to devour each new entry and chum the waters of the internet with a Highly Suspect Review. Brian and Chris are back in the boat for this, yes, the nineteenth Jaws film.
Pull up a chair, have a seat at the table. This a Highly Suspect card game and here…the stakes are high! Seated across from you are Brian, Chris, Ashley, and J.C., but the one holding all the cards is The Gambler himself: Mark Wahlberg. Wahlberg plays a college professor with an obsession for risking it all. He gets in way over his head and owes a lot of money to dangerous people. The shit of it is…he doesn’t seem to care?!
The Unusual Suspects will not be defeated. You can show us one thousand mediocre historical films and we will not be deterred. You can hit us over the head again and again with heavy-handed sentimentality, but we will never break. Angelina Jolie takes time out of her busy child collecting schedule to direct this biopic centering on Olympic runner/WWII POW Louis Zamperini.
The Imitation Game
Hello. We want to play a game. No, this has nothing to do with cutting off your own leg. This game involves The Unusual Suspects reviewing what may well may be one of the very best movies of 2014. Benedict Cumberbatch stars in the true story of Alan Turing, one of the most important men of the 20th Century whose name many of us have tragically never before heard.
Foxcatcher is the latest film from Bennet Miller (Moneyball) who is once again approaching a sports story from an unusual angle. But don’t go thinking Foxcatcher is going to make you feel romantic about wrestling the way Moneyball did about baseball. This is a dark, bleak, wholly unnerving film headed by a scary immersive performance from Carell himself.
Into the Woods
This ain’t no fairy tale! Well, actually it’s several fairy tales mashed into one story. Stephen Sondheim’s wildly popular musical is brought to the big screen and The Unusual Suspects are donning their red riding hoods and heading Into The Woods!
The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies
Peter Jackson’s adaptation of The Hobbit, somewhat uncomfortably stretched out into three movies, reaches its conclusion with The Battle of The Five Armies and to honor that, the Unusual Suspects arrived as the sixth army to tackle it. Your lieutenants for this lengthy war are: Diva, Chris, Elliott, JC, Michael and Ed.
Ed and Chris strap in for the latest Chris Rock “comedy” vehicle, only to find out…hey, this ain’t half bad! Clearly taking a sharp turn away from his commercial studio efforts of the past, Top Five, with Rock writing, directing, and playing a lead role that’s barely distanced from himself, surprised the heck out of our erstwhile critics.
Exodus: Gods and Kings
Exodus is the latest high-spectacle epic from Scott featuring a white guy as the Pharaoh of Egypt and the legendary Jewish hero played by a guy named Christian. The Unusual Suspects gather to wax biblical about this new Old Testament adventure. Brian, Chris, and Diva del Mar discuss what they liked about Exodus, and the problems that plague it.
The Homesman, directed by Tommy Lee Jones, centers on a nonsense-free pioneer maven named Mary Bee Cuddy (Hilary Swank) who is tasked with escorting three madness-stricken women from Nebraska to Iowa. Who could pass up such a scenic trip right? Along the way she teams with down-and-out scoundrel George Briggs (Jones) and the two discover just how much life sucked in the 1850s.
Horrible Bosses 2
Comedy sequel? What could possibly go wrong?! Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, and Jason Sudeikis return to further prove themselves the most bumbling criminals of all time. Now, they are facing off against a shady captain of industry (Christoph Waltz) and his spoiled brat son (Chris Pine). Will hilarity ensue?
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1
The most successful YA-based film franchise (since that last successful YA-based film franchise of which we do not speak) returns with this grand finale(ish)! Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) has gone from The Girl on Fire, the darling of The Hunger Games, to the living symbol of revolution! At least, the movie says it wants a revolution but well, you know, Katniss also has this whole boyfriend/love triangle thing to sort out that’s super complicated and OMG!
Jon Stewart, of The Daily Show, makes his directorial debut with this biopic account of reporter Maziar Bahari, who spent several months incarcerated by the Iranian government for capturing evidence of corruption with his camera. Government officials used an appearance on The Daily Show as Happy Little Treesed-up evidence that Bahari was a spy for the west.
Dumb and Dumber To
Purportedly, Dumb & Dumber To is a comedy sequel…so why did it make us so sad? The Unusual Suspects hope that despite their apparent creative bankruptcy, the Farrelly Brothers can show them the funny with this followup to their 1994 hit.
Interstellar is the story of humanity on the verge of extinction. We’ve made too many babies and eaten all the foods, so space cowboy Matthew McConaughey must travel to new, possibly inhabitable planets to save us all. It’s a long trip that takes him to the outer reaches of the universe as well as through a galaxy of conventions from other sci-fi films.
Big Hero 6
Disney and Marvel putting their collective might together to release an animated film based on a comic book? Count us in! The Unusual Suspects assemble their Big Hero 4 to review Big Hero 6. Brian, Chris, Elliott, and Michael use their powers of observation to scale this movie in a single review.
In this Highly Suspect Review, we ride along with Louis Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal) as he delves deeper and deeper into the world of late-night, run-and-gun crime scene journalism. These guys descend upon car crashes, murders, and house fires to capture the moment and turn a profit off the misery of others. This proves to be the perfect venture for Bloom, who was born bereft of conscience.
See if you can wrap your mind around this: Bill Murray playing an acerbic, self-absorbed, but ultimately lovable jerk. I know, way outside the boundaries of imagination right?
In St. Vincent, Murray plays a crotchety old drunk who befriends an adorable child. You can probably guess what happens from there. Sure, the conceit may be familiar, but Bill Murray elevates the material with one of his best performances to date.
When a washed-up former Hollywood star of three popular superhero films (Birdman, natch), decides to reboot his career by producing, directing, writing and starring in a Broadway adaptation of a Raymond Carver story, the stress starts to become overwhelming, leading to hallucinations (or are they?) of telekinetic abilities and of his own voice as Birdman calling him a failure. And who did director Alejandro González Iñárritu (21 Grams, Babel) brilliantly cast in this role? Why, Michael Keaton, of course.
Remember when you thought Battleship was the silliest board game to adapt into a movie? Well now Universal has gone and made a horror film about the Ouija. Only problem is, there have already been several movies centered around the basic conceit of a spirit board. But hey, at least this one has…direct product placement?
Director David Ayer helms this grimy WWII feature about five men in a tank in the final push across Germany and the new guy who is really, really, REALLY unqualified to be there. Brad Pitt gruffly commands the group of Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman, Michael Peña and Jon Bernthal.
Men, Women, and Children
The voice of Emma Thompson reminds us to not take any of this too seriously from space, as Jason Reitman’s sixth film explores the lives of it’s titular subjects. Rosemarie DeWitt, Jennifer Garner, Judy Greer, Dean Norris, Adam Sandler, Ansel Elgort and more (it’s a big honkin’ ensemble cast) deal with the disconnects and new kinds of connections that have altered our lives in this modern digital age.
Robert Downey Jr is a big-city defense attorney who doesn’t care if his clients are innocent or not. When his estranged father, a former long-sitting judge played by Robert Duvall, gets indicted for murder and it looks like he may have actually done it, Downey has to re-check his moral centers, loathing for his small home town, and hatred for his father, and force him to accept his son’s experienced legal defense (before the fumblings of small-time lawyer Dax Shephard get him the death penalty or something).
Yes, no matter how many times you may have heard the origin story of Count Dracula, Dracula Untold is here to fill you in on those bits that, well, you’ve already largely been told. Luke Evans stars as Drac as he defends the people of, based on the accents, Britishvania against the invading Turks.
Would Brian, Chris, and the new guy Michael be able to sink their fangs happily into this romantic action epic or will the continued cinematic Dracula feeding frenzy leave them with a fang-over? No, these Highly Suspect puns don’t stop there.
David Fincher is one of the premier directors working today, and so when Brian and Beau sat down to watch his latest theatrical offering, they were prepared for a quality movie. What they weren’t prepared for was one of the most shocking and uncomfortable experiences of Fincher’s career. And that’s saying something!
Gone Girl is not what you think it is, and saying any more than that would ruin things. That being said, there was no way to review this film without talking about its many twists. The movie is structured like corkscrew; twist after twist directly into your brain stem. Be forewarned, this is probably a review you’ll want to save until after you see this incredible film.
“Hey, The Conjuring was a huge hit! How do we follow it up? Who doesn’t love a horror prequel?”
“Um, sir, our numbers say…no one.”
“Well how about if we do this…NONE of the original characters appear in the film. What do you say now, smart guy?”
“Sir, it seems to me that’s even worse. What even makes this connected to the first film?”
“The fuckin’ doll in the beginning, whatserface…anny or whatever. Make it about the doll. Goddamn Chucky was a license to print money. We’re gonna get in on that. Evil dolls, man.”
“Yes, erm….I gotta go update my Linked In profile…”
Brian and Chris cast a skeptical eye on this rather disconnected sorta prequel, sorta spin-off of The Conjuring. Much fun is had at its expense.
Kill The Messenger
Jeremy Renner plays Gary Webb, the journalist who first cracked the egg on the whole CIA-Contras-Crack Cocaine dealie. Renner leads a talented cast of ‘blink and you’ll miss ‘em’ actors like Oliver Platt, Michael Sheen, and Andy Garcia, but you do get a bit more Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and we think that’s never a bad thing.
Kill the Messenger is practically a cautionary tale to journalists, which makes sense since why else would Hollywood be allowed to make a movie about how the CIA was funding the crack epidemic in America? Poor Gary got his life taken apart and the Unusual Suspects are here to tell you how we felt about that, and how director Michael Cuesta’s version of the story holds up. Listen to Chris, Beau and Will for your ultimate experience in truth in movie journalism. Or truthiness anyway.
Why why why do people still mess with Denzel Washington?!! Have they learned nothing from Man on Fire? Evidently not.
In Antoine Fuqua’s The Equalizer, Washington plays a seemingly mild-mannered guy with a bad case of insomnia. When a young prostitute whom he has befriended is beaten by her boss, Denzel declares a one-man fatwa on the entire Russian mafia.
Daniel Radcliffe plays a guy who everybody hates. It does look a lot like he murdered his girlfriend, who everybody loved (Juno Temple). But he didn’t do it. What’s a guy to do when even his parents are looking askance at him? Well, trust writer Joe Hill (son of Stephen King) to add a bit of dark magic: Danny starts growing horns, making him literally look like the devil everyone thinks he already is. Add to that some magic powers that makes everyone around him be PAINFULLY honest about the darker things they’re thinking, and you’ve got “Horns” as Daniel tries to figure out whodunnit.
Keanu Reeves plays a retired hit man for the mob who is in mourning for his wife who has died of cancer; she was the reason he left the business in the first place. But when the loose cannon son of the Russian mobster he used to work for kills his dog….there’s gonna be hell to pay.
… Ok, I know, it doesn’t sound like anything to write home about on the page.
BUT WE’RE WRITING HOME ABOUT IT, DAMMIT, AND IN ALL CAPS!!!
Well…Kevin Smith is back, for what it’s worth.
We can’t say we listen to his SMODCAST enough to get the references that his new film “Tusk” is apparently littered with, but we can say that, well, erm….
Justin Long plays a shock podcaster who goes on a voyage to Canada to do an interview and finds more than he bargained for in Michael Parks who has a strange hankering to turn him into a walrus.
Yeah, don’t ask us either.
A Walk Among The Tombstones
J.C. and Brian, duly appointed representatives of The Unusual Suspects, stood waiting for the first bullet to be fired, and Neesons did not disappoint. However, this was not the typical Neesons joint, in which he cuts swaths of devastation through the criminal underworld. A Walk Among the Tombstones was darker, more intense, with more shades of Fincher than remembrances of Taken.
This Is Where I Leave You
Director Shawn Levy isn’t exactly known for nuanced character driven comedies but he surprised us with “This is Where I Leave You” starring a big ensemble cast led by Jason Bateman and featuring Corey Stoll, Jane Fonda, Tina Fey, Adam Driver, Rose Byrne, Kathryn Hahn, and more. The story follows a disconnected family who have to come honor the last request of their father who asked that they sit Shiva for seven days and they try not to kill each other. The Suspects (in this case, Elliott, Chris, JC and Beau) found themselves more or less in agreement on this one. Check it out.
The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby
Rookie filmmaker Ned Benson takes a very ambitious, Peter Jackson-y approach to his first movie. He split one romantic drama into three separate films. The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby tells the story of a couple’s emotionally devastating breakup from each of their individual perspectives, accounting for two of the movie versions, with an additional installment blending the two.
Tom Hardy rescues an adorable talking dog and the two go on magical adventures through the mysterious kingdom known as Brooklyn. With a few minor reductions in whimsy, that is basically the plot of The Drop, directed by Michaël Roskam (Bullhead). It also happens to boast the very last on screen appearance of the late James Gandolfini.
If I Stay
Chloë Grace Moretz has a problem: does she follow her dreams of going to Julliard for music, or does she stay in her home town with her new hipster boyfriend? Thank goodness something else happens (because God knows, who’d want to watch a film just about that?), as her family gets in an accident and she finds herself a coma-ghost (is that a thing?) trapped between life and death.
Sin City 2
Rain pummels the desert-browned roofs of Austin, teasing the night with tantalizing specter of quenched thirst. A quintet of scoundrels conspire to pierce the quiet night with a cacophony of snark as they spit dissatisfaction in the direction of Sin City 2: A Dame to Kill For.
Chris, Beau, Ashley, Richard,and Elliott go all noir-y to cut down this sequel in an audio review “replete with negotiable virtue” as Richard would say.
Let’s engage in a round of hypotheticals shall we?
What if a boy met a girl who already had a boyfriend? Could they still just be friends despite his feelings for her?
What if she found out about those feelings?
What if that boy was The Boy Who Lived and she was merely a muggle pixie dream girl?
What if a rom-com wasn’t complete garbage?
Into The Storm
Brian, Chris, and J.C. strap themselves in for this whirlwind, and of course Highly Suspect, review of a found footage Twister knockoff. Would the gimmick be enough to make it entertaining? Or would Into the Stormthoroughly blow? Find out!
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Would Brian, Chris, J.C., Richard, or Ed find something to like about this latest mutation of the evergreen (rimshot) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise? Or would Jonathan Liebesman prove to be just as inept a filmmaker here as he has his entire career? Not to mention, let’s face it, no small amount of influence from the Bay-hemoth himself!
Crawl into your favorite sewer, cuddle up next to your furry rodent sensei, and prepare for this Highly Suspect review, dudes!
Guardians of the Galaxy
We gathered our own full squadron of mismatched degenerates to take on James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy.
We’ve got J.C. de Raccoon, Will Goss-mora, Beau The (Mic) Destroyer, Elliott (aka Star Lawyer), and Richard The J’accuse-r.
Also Brian’s back…kind of.
Would this weird, wild assortment of intergalactic ne’er do wells gel into something thoroughly entertaining? Oh, and will the movie be any good? Listen and find out!
Scientists believe that the Unusual Suspects only use 10% of their collective brain. This is a terrible myth, and we would refute that number if our brains weren’t so crammed full of movie trivia that there is no room for such trivial constructs as mathematics. Plus, we could totally scan those scientists and make their heads explode if we wanted to.
For this installment of Highly Suspect Reviews, Elliott, Beau, and J.C. take on the beautiful, but cognitively dangerous Lucy. Scarlet Johannson has always seemed like the kind of actress who can effortlessly blend intelligence with ass-kicking, but in Luc Besson’s latest, her smarts are the instrument of said ass-kickery. Now the question becomes how much of his brain did Besson use during the scriptwriting phase?
The Purge: Anarchy
If you can’t suspend your disbelief for the conceit of The Purge films, with post-constitutional America deciding to suspend all laws against, well, pretty much anything, for one day a year, this sequel isn’t going to make you feel any better about it.
But, on the other hand, if you can get past that, the writer/director of the smaller first film has REALLY branched out with this sequel, giving those who complained about the first movie everything they asked for. But is it good? Chris, Elliott, Ed and JC rage against the machine.
Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel have lost the spark in their love life, and under the influence of tequila and desperation, they make a sex tape together. Intending to delete it immediately after (yeah, right) the footage ends up getting sent across the cloud to all of their friends and acquaintances. How do you stop it?
As a warning to any of you who this might happen to, be clear that these are insane people and by no means should their decisions taken to resolve the scenario be judged as rational in any way. Despite this, is it funny? Chris, Elliott and JC take a look under the sheets.
Hey Richard Linklater, you can be as arty as you want, but if you’re going to actually film a movie over the length of 12 years, well, it better damn well be good.
Fortunately, that’s exactly what Beau and Ed have to say about his latest film, “Boyhood” starring Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette as estranged parents of the initially very young Ellar Coltrane, who over the length of the film grows into an adult.
Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes
The Unusual Suspects are all fans of the 2011 Apes reboot, Rise of the Planet of the Apes. And why wouldn’t we be? Rather than trying to remake the original classic (like Tim Burton so lamely tried to do), director Rupert Wyatt decided to tell the tale from the beginning, as we saw how the apes gained their sentience and how the downfall of humanity began.
But we were understandably cynical about Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Could lightning strike twice? Even from a different director, with Cloverfield helmer Matt Reeves now at the helm? Hell yes.
Earth To Echo
A bunch of suburban kids who are about to lose their neighborhood to a highway development go out on one last adventure together and discover alien life. Earth to Echo is a throw-back to E.T., The Goonies and evenSuper 8 but in the found footage format…a really inexpensive version of those movies.
Melissa McCarthy is on top of the world, so of course to maintain her position she has to play another character at rock bottom with Tammy, a white-trashy loser who embarks on a road trip of self-discovery and extreme alcoholism with her troubled grandmother, played by Susan Sarandon.
The creator of the Irish indie hit “Once” comes to Hollywood to try something suspiciously similar with “Begin Again.”
Chris, Ed and Elliott all decide whether this tale of a rock-bottoming-out record exec (Mark Ruffalo) who discovers life, love and all that gooshy stuff through his promotion of a new talent (Keira Knightley) hits all the right notes or is tone deaf. The film also has the first theatrical acting performance of Adam Levine, and also features Cee-Lo Green as more or less himself. So, you know, there’s that.
Chris, Richard, Ed and Brian weigh in on this Korean made film, all in English with big name actors like Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton and John Hurt, that really is the best sci-fi film thus far in 2014. If you don’t know yet about this post-apocalyptic film featuring a class struggle on a train, you haven’t seen one of the best films this year has yet to offer.
Transformers: Age of Extinction
“No No No” becomes “Whoa Whoa Whoa” as Mark Wahlberg steps in for Shia LaBeouf in the latest installment in the Transformers saga…and the Unusual Suspects are unimpressed.
Chris, Brian, Elliott, Richard and our newest Suspect, Ed, can’t keep themselves from making this a spoiler heavy review (so, you know, warning) as they deconstruct Michael Bay’s latest CG robot fest.
Cold In July & Borgman
Richard and Chris talk about two of the more interesting art house releases this month:
Cold in July, based on the book by the always-intense Joe Lansdale, stars Michael C. Hall as a small Texas town family man in the 80′s whose understanding of what it is to ‘be a man’ is thrown into a complex web of violence and moral grey areas when he kills a midnight intruder in his home. Don Johnson and Sam Shepard also star.
Borgman is a Dutch thriller about a strange society of homeless folk who invade the lives of a family in…an uncertain and presumably supernatural manner…and slowly point their co-existence to a crisis point. Weird, weird stuff, man.
And now, ladies and gentlemen, the all-singing, all-dancing, greatest show on Earth…THE UNUSUAL SUSPECTS…reviewing an adaptation of an extremely popular musical that cinematically feels more like a standard rock bio.
Beau, JC and Chris take on Clint Eastwood’s latest cinematic outing and probably are going to piss off some Clint fans along the way. Check out the outrage…
How To Train Your Dragon 2
Dreamworks Animation has never showed any shyness about pumping out sequels to their successful films (and even some that we despised). There has generally been a pattern of diminishing quality evident in these. Despite this, I know we all just loved (ok, SQUEED) at the original “How to Train Your Dragon” film and were stuck in that difficult fanboy realm of want/fear a sequel.
I don’t want to spoil our impressions of it for you here. I’ll let the Unusual Suspects do that. This time around, Ashley, JC and Elliott soar with the dragons, letting you know how aerodynamic the film is the second time around.
22 Jump Street
Ok, so 21 Jump Street took us all a little bit by surprise. I mean, sure, it was directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller who knocked Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs out of the park. But a live action adaptation of a mediocre 80′s tv show about undercover NARCS in a high school? Sounded like a no-thanks to me. But, plumbing unexpected depths in their leads Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum, they scored a big hit.
But this is the sequel. And sequels to buddy comedies are almost always half as funny as the original, right? I can’t even think of an exception. And sure, Lord and Miller are back, and they REALLY took The Lego Movieand made it work better than anyone could have dreamed. BUT IT’S A SEQUEL. The first one had to be a ‘lightning doesn’t strike twice’ scenario, right? Right?
The Fault In Our Stars
Chris, Ashley and Beau are tasked with coming up with a review for this romantic drama+cancer based on an extremely popular YA novel that won’t have teenage girls angrily trying to break down their doors and murder them afterwards.
Edge Of Tomorrow
Imagine, if you will, a man, with uncannily perfect teeth, who finds himself in a war against unstoppable alien invaders. Imagine he manages to kill one only to die himself in the explosion. Now…imagine he wakes again at the start of that day, to find that anything that kills him, only leads him to reset again at the beginning….
Ok, sure it’s a mix of “Groundhog’s Day”, “Starship Troopers” and any give militaristic sci-fi FPS video game, but director Doug Liman and stars Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, and Bill Paxton, still manage to mash them up in a slick melange that we think very well might be one of the best popcorn films of the summer.
A Million Ways To Die In The West
Seth MacFarlane moves from behind the camera and doing voice work, to being the star of his own film. Here he plays a lonesome dude in the old west that wants nothing more than to not be living in the old west (anachronistically, of course). Spurned by his former gal (Amanda Seyfried) for his lily-livered ways, he has nothing to do but to complain to his only friends in town (Giovanni Ribisi and Sarah Silverman)…until Charlize Theron shows up and teaches him how to be a man. If she’s the teacher, we’d like to know how to sign up for that course…
Following the recent trend in fiction of humanizing the monster, Disney has begun applying this formula to their own licensed properties, beginning with Sleeping Beauty. In this live action re-telling of the fairy tale, the evil witch Maleficent, played here by the sharp cheek-boned Angelina Jolie, is the protagonist; misunderstood, abused, and full of understandable venom against her abuser (Sharlto Copley). She’s SO mad, that in a fit of pique, she curses his daughter, yada yada yada. Only in this version, later she feels just terrible about it. What we’ve got here is a fairy tale for little girls where the female characters are front and center. But where does that leave our team of intrepid Unusual Suspects?
Director Amma Asante takes a somewhat flourished and hypothesized look at the life of Dido Elizabeth Belle (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), inspired by a famous 1779 painting of her and her cousin Lady Elizabeth Murray (Sarah Gadon). Dido was the half-black daughter of a very rich English Admiral who, despite the mores of the time, decided to legitimize her as his child and left a sizable fortune in her hands.
Of course, this can’t stop racists from being racists, and as she explores outside of her gilded cage (maintained by foster parents Emily Watson and Tom Wilkinson) she discovers a more complex world, and a love decision to be made, between a titled lord from a disdainful family, and a poor idealistic lawyer. All this leads (speculatively) to a courtroom drama that will decide the course of the law as regards to slavery, but that’s neither here nor there….WHO WILL SHE FALL IN LOVE WITH?!? omg.
Jon Favreau suffers more than most from blockbuster fatigue. I mean, if his Cowboys and Aliens was any indicator, it was past time to take a step back and rediscover his joy. In this case, it turned out to be returning to the sweet and funny style of indie films that he helped popularize with 1996′s Swingers.
In Chef, the title refers to Favreau who plays LA culinary artist Carl Casper. He may be the head of a top-notch restaurant, but when a famed food critic (Oliver Platt) accuses him of having become uninteresting in his prepared fare, a heated and public discussion leads to him throwing it all away and trying something both new (a food truck) and old for him (cuban sandwiches).
“Sure, it’s a new Adam Sandler movie, but this one has a chance of being good…”
Oh, how those words have come back to haunt me. The latest vehicle for Sandler’s mish-mash of family-friendly and the same ol’-same ol’, had an cautious optimism for me because he co-stars for the third time with Drew Barrymore; a team-up that has previously released two of the better films in Sandler’s filmography.
I suppose I should have realized that statistically, this didn’t stand a chance.
Sandler and Barrymore play two single parents with Brady Bunch-sized and gendered offspring who, in order to get a cheap family vacation to Africa have to take it together, despite the the two adults really not liking each other.
And oh, how calculated wackiness ensues!
X-Men: Days of Future Past
There is no fate but what we make it, and the Unusual Suspects are always hellbent on making sure that fate involves copious amounts of booze and comic books. This week, Chris, J.C., and Ashley swill from a giant frosty tankard of nerdom with X-Men: Days of Future Past.
Bryan Singer’s return to the X-Men franchise has been preceded with much geek excitement, and made this flick one of the most anticipated of the summer. Will Days of Future Past live up to the hype or will it have us wishing we could travel back to a time where X2 was Singer’s last franchise contribution?
All eyes across the world are on Austin, Texas as the inhuman group of movie critics known as The Unusual Suspects are destroying much of Hollywood with their acerbic comments and snide witticisms.
Leading the forefront of destruction currently is Beau, Chris, Brian and JC. But the question on everyone’s minds is, will they leave the new remake of Godzilla unscathed? It’s got an excellent and award-winning cast (Brian Cranston, Sally Hawkins, Aaron-Taylor Johnson, Ken Watanabe, Elizabeth Olsen, Juliette Binoche, David Strathairn) and is directed by Gareth Edwards, who some say already proved himself monster-worthy with his lauded 2010 indie film Monsters. Our reporter thinks it’s gonna be a tough fight.
Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne have a happy enough life, for a couple with their first child, slogging through the necessities of the work week, sneaking just enough occasional joints or quickies in the mix to not feel old. But when a frat house moves in next door, led by the charismatic Zak Efron, doubts are fermented, noise becomes an issue, and war becomes the status quo. It’s family vs frat values as Rogen and Efron continue to up the ante in their battle to control the decibel level of the hood.
JC, Chris, Brian and Will pledge to give you the very best review possible of the latest R-rated sex comedy (that nonetheless, had, of course, a screaming baby in the theater….ironically, I suppose).
With nary a “Bane” impression to be found, The Unusual Suspects, this time made up of JC, Chris, Beau and Will, take a look at Tom Hardy’s new film, “Locke”. Well outside of the range of his previous roles, Tom plays a construction foreman named Ivan Locke who has chucked his whole life behind him (as politely as he could manage) to drive to London to be with a woman who is NOT his wife who is having his child. Through a series of tense phone conversations while driving, Ivan tries to establish a calm equilibrium with the birth mother, his family and his job, but the chaos he’s unleashed by trying to do what he considers ‘the right thing’ has consequences that no control freak can handle.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2
For the first time ever it would have actually been appropriate to give a sequel the secondary title, ‘Electric Boogaloo”. Missed opportunities. But Beau, Chris, Brian and JC point out lots of other ones in this latest addition to the Spider-verse, as Andrew Garfield, under the direction of Marc Webb, puts on the red and blues and swings in the direct path of no end of trouble, including Jaimie Fox as an autistic stalker who becomes “Electro” and Dane De Haan as, erm, Harry Osbourne….I guess.
I don’t want to say too much here; even in the review there are elements that are hard to say aren’t somewhat spoilery. It’s not a film you can review without giving away some stuff, so I’m just warning ya. But you might be surprised all the things they DID like about this one. Which may come off as faint praise nonetheless.
Under The Skin
Scarlett Johansson has come to our planet seeking soccer hooligans. She will seduce them, drive them to her alien lair. ???. Profit. That’s (I guess) the premise of Jonathan Glazer’s (Sexy Beast) new film that seems to be sharply dividing audiences and critics, even among the Unusual Suspects.
Brian, Richard, JC and Chris all take a turn trying to discern meaning from Glazer’s arty, seventies-sci-fi-ish film that will create both devotees and disparagers, probably in equal measure.
Did I mention Scarlett gets nekkid?
The Quiet Ones
Jared Harris is a para-psychologist trying to get to the truth behind hauntings. He believes that ghosts and their related powers are actually created and controlled by the human mind and he’s ready to double down to prove it. Along with three university students, he’s set up an experiment to closely monitor (and more or less torture, Guantanamo style) a young girl who at least appears to be connected with a malevolent spirit named ‘Evie.”
And nothing goes wrong and Jared Harris becomes the most celebrated scientist of all time for proving that ghosts aren’t real, psychic powers are just, like, ridiculously strong, and evil doesn’t start to get pissed when you keep poking at it.
Yes, well, maybe that last bit, much like this film’s claim to be ‘inspired by a true story’, isn’t all that accurate. Put your trust in Brian, Chris, JC and Richard to give you the real, unexpurgated, frightening truth.
Parkour! Parkour! Par-poor.
Paul Walker’s last film is sadly this lackluster, and staggeringly unnecessary, remake of 2004′s District B13. Much of the same content is ported over from the original, but the script changes and editing free-run this update into the ground. But hey, at least RZA gets to drop a few unearned Wu-Tang references. That’s at least gotta be fun to watch, right? Guys?
Let’s face it, at some point, we will all live inside the internet. We want to pilot our own Flappy Bird, we want to be able to throat-punch certain people on Facebook, and I’m not even gonna touch upon the revolutions this would represent for the internet porn industry.
In Transcendence, Johnny Depp plays a scientist who uploads his consciousness into a computer. No, he’s not playing Arnim Zola…although it is funny that The Winter Soldier JUST beat Transcendence to the punch. Given the fact that Transcendence is the directorial debut of cinematographer Wally Pfister (longtime Christopher Nolan collaborator), anticipation was running high. Would the film be able to handle the anticipation bandwidth or would it crash, forcing us to reboot our expectations?
One thing the Unusual Suspects love to do with pretty much every minute of spare time they have, is dance. Ashley is, of course, world famous for her touring interpretive ballet based on the life of comics writer Jeff Lemire. Beau is always a hit at parties with his tap routine designed and named after Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps. Brian choreographs and sometimes performs with a knock-off act called The Blu Man Group. And Chris….sometimes snaps his fingers in rhythm while getting off the couch. So you can see why a movie all about a passion for dancing would really resonate with our crew.
Nick Frost is the passionate guy in question, for whom long ago, salsa dancing was his entire existence. When he was made the target of ridicule for cruel kids, he threw it all away. Now, he’s the workplace shlub, regularly picked on by the office bully (Chris O’Dowd) and without much hope of joy or love…until the new office manager (Rashida Jones) comes into his life. When he discovers she loves Salsa dancing, he re-dons his sequined shirts, seeks out his old trainer (Ian McShane) and learns to love life again. And maybe Rashida. We ain’t spoiling that one.
Don’t say we never do anything for you. Chris and Beau actually roused themselves early on a Saturday morning (!) to go see the latest factory product ground out by Blue Sky Studios, a sequel to 2011′s hit film (sigh), Rio. When you make almost 500 million, you’ve pretty much GOT to make another film these days I suppose, and the better part of the whole gang from last time is along for the ride again in what I can only hope is ‘contractual obligation’.
Jesse Eisenberg and Anne Hathaway are back as the rare blue macaws, Blue and Jewel, who since we saw them in the previous film, have “gotten it on,” as it were, and produced three annoying offspring. Despite Blue’s protests, a trip to the Amazon rainforest gets complicated when it turns out Jewel’s whole family, who she presumed were dead, actually live there and don’t really care for the domesticated Blue all that much. Add to that evil loggers, a revenge driven cockatoo (Jemaine Clement), a host of other subplots, and you’ve got Rio 2. Such as it is.
The ghost story has gotten quite a workout in the last few years, largely thanks to the huge financial success of Blumhouse Productions’ Paranormal Activity series and all their imitators. As if that wasn’t enough, they doubled down with successes on new franchises of the nether-realm in Insidious and Sinister. Now, this latest entry into the game picks up the board and shakes it so hard at least some of the pieces fall off. There’s a new ghost in town and it’s, um, a mirror?
Karen Gillan plays Kaylie, a woman obsessed with the past, when her younger brother shot and killed their father, who himself had murdered their mother. Her brother (Brenton Thwaits) is freshly out of the psychiatric institute and “cured,” but here comes Kaylie with an elaborate plan to destroy the evil that came from an old cursed mirror, despite her brother having come to terms with said evil just having been in his imagination.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
We’re over the half-way mark in Marvel’s Phase two leading up to the second Avengers film, and I’d say none of the films has been so anticipated as the sequel to Captain America: The First Avenger. Not just because the success of the original, but because the sequel is based on one of the best superhero comic runs ever, that it has the Black Widow as a main character (rowr), and that it introduces Anthony Mackie as the BEST Cap side-kick ever, The Falcon.
But will all this pedigree lead up to The Winter Soldier actually being as good as some are saying? Will directors Anthony and Joe Russo, who have more experience in TV, be able to cut it as the helmers of a huge Marvel action flick? Fear no more, as the Unusual Suspects are here to dish the dish. Richard, Chris, Brian and Beau fanboy up on our review of Cap 2.
The studio decreed from on high, “Thou Shalt Not Have a Noah Press Screening.” The heathens known as The Unusual Suspects, decided they were going to see the film anyway and deliver you all from a lack of review. Still, apologies for the tardiness of the posting.
Darren Aronofsky takes on that classic biblical story: The Old Man & The Sea. Starring Russell Crowe as the old man and digital effects as the sea. Brian is joined by Mr. William Goss and, believe it or not, Luke Mullen makes his HSR debut to testify as to the strengths and shortcomings of Aronofsky’s epic. Will it float their boats or just tread water? Thou Shalt ALWAYS Make Puns.
Director David Ayer is known for gritty, dark, intense crime thrillers like Training Day and End of Watch. Screenwriter Skip Woods is known for garbage like X-Men Origins: Wolverine and A Good Day to Die Hard. Between them, can Sabotage turn out okay? It’s hard to say, but we’re pretty sure throwing in Arnold as a DEA agent running a team of scummy and corrupt officers versus the Cartels isn’t ideal casting.
Nevertheless, Arnie has to deal with his own crazy team, the watchful and suspicious eye of his superiors at the agency, a troubled past and someone who is brutally killing off members of his team, as well as a troublesome accent from Olivia Williams, playing a local cop investigating the murders.
Jason Bateman has had it up to HERE with your shenanigans. He’s sick and tired of being the nice schlub that has to deal with some obnoxious ass coming into his comfortably square life and ruining it. In fact, he’s so done with it, that he’s not only starring in this film, he’s directing it! He plays Guy Trilby, a 40 year old man who has decided he’s going to enter the national spelling bee contest and win! Problem, is it’s really intended for kids. That doesn’t stop Guy, who foul mouths his way hysterically through legions of angry parents determined to prove a point. But what is that point? And will he be able to keep his ire up at all costs when a plucky young contestant befriends him?
You young adults, I swear. First you wanted more boy wizards, then it was angsty gothy teens, now you want chicks fighting fascism, when I was your age….oh, but look at me. Going off on my childhood when we should be talking about kids being forced out of childhood. That’s what all this YA stuff is about, right?
Like in “Divergent” with Shailene Woodley being forced by society to choose her own identity, only to find out she doesn’t fit into one of the neatly shaped holes that are provided for her, and must make adult decisions or be discovered for being the freaky deaky individual she is. Or something like that. And will she be able to make like rabbits with the hunky leader of her group? OH MY GAWD, I GOTTA KNOW.
Muppets Most Wanted
Nostalgia notwithstanding, let’s face it: The Muppets are, and always have been, awesome. The best stuff that ever came out of the Henson camp was always the shows/films that knew how to appeal to both children and adults in equal measure. Certainly the return of the felted friends to the big screen in 2011 with “The Muppets” film largely seemed to please most demographics.
But what now? Jason Segel and Amy Adams have left and a brand new set of humans (Tina Fey, Ricky Gervais, Ty Burrell, amongst others) is interacting with Kermit and the gang. Will it be the same? Will it compete with the original? Or the ORIGINAL original? Or the sequel original original?
Our team of highly trained, highly unusual suspects are here to crack the case. Join Martin, Brian, Beau and Ashley as they investigate the latest muppet madcappery.
Rob Thomas directs the Veronica Mars theatrical film, released some seven years after the untimely demise of the cult tv show starring Kristen Bell as the lovably snarky Nancy Drew-ish gumshoe. But how does this work for folks who aren’t slavering Mars fanatics?
Well, you won’t find out on this podcast. Beau and Chris, both dedicated followers of the Mars cult, are joined in their worship by two folks from the Infinite Variations spaceship (and the old LEOG show, to boot), Harris and Cat O’Malley. Much fandom is indulged in while talking about Veronica’s latest adventure in the city of Neptune, CA. If you’re one of this specific US, give it a listen. You’ll be rushing to give a VOD choice your credit card number, I suspect.
The Raid 2
There ain’t no electric boogaloo going on in this highly anticipated sequel to the 2011 action film that took the martial arts world by storm, just lots of ass-kickery. I mean, like seriously, all over the place. Making practically every other action film look like My Little Pony by comparison. Even the original film.
I can’t make this stuff up. If you don’t believe me, check out the Unusual Suspects who all get REAL excited for the massive amounts of blood flowing out of this Indonesian thriller (in fact, maybe we do need to talk to a therapist, this is probably not how humans are supposed to react to this much death). Check out what Chris, Brian, JC and Martin have to say…and then you should probably call the police.
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Any new release by Wes Anderson is a cause for celebration for some, for skulking about issuing cynical remarks about all that is good and pure in this world for others (I might be biased). Surprisingly, one of the biggest Anderson nay-sayers on our crew, Martin, might be the Unusual Suspect who liked this new film the most. You’ll have to hear it to believe it.
Chris, Ashley, Beau, and the aforementioned Martin all take turns digging into this period piece comedy starring Ralph Fiennes as the perfect hotel concierge who finds himself in way over his head when the death of a beloved patron leads to strife with her family. Wackiness ensues….
Need for Speed
The Unusual Suspects have their work cut out for them on this one, as Touchstone Pictures (re: Disney slumming it) tries to speed past the Fast & Furious franchise by grabbing a popular video game brand and putting a recognizable star behind the wheel of high performance cars.
Ok, so why that recognizable star is Aaron Paul we have no idea either. Not exactly the career jump we expected after his amazing performance on “Breaking Bad”. Even if they do have him going up against the likes of Dominic Cooper, who surely could be doing better by now himself.
Mr. Peabody & Sherman
Mr. Peabody is a dog. Mr. Peabody is a time traveler. Mr. Peabody has a human son. I’m betting drugs were involved when the creators of Rocky and Bullwinkle came up with Mr. Peabody and Sherman in the 60′s as an accompanying short to their show.
Flash to decades later and here we are, a dark dystopian future where no brand is safe from a family friendly re-imagining and the dark lord Dreamworks has hatched a nefarious plan to hoist upon the planet’s unsuspecting populace a new evil, from the past, reshaped into the monster that is…Mr. Peabody and Sherman.
Or, alternately, it might actually be really cool. Only Ashley, Beau and Chris know for sure. Better find out before this whole time-space continuum gets all wibbly-wobbly.
300: Rise of an Empire
From the get-go, there are several things you might find highly suspect about 300: Rise of an Empire. Maybe you’re hesitant to approach a sequel to a film nearly a decade after its predecessor was released. Or maybe you believe 300 was so inextricably linked to Zach Snyder’s style that there’s no way it can work under a different director.
Whatever the case, it’s time to unwad your loincloth and let the professional scallywags known as The Unusual Suspects give you the lowdown. They deconstruct this new 300 by the numbers, and all without barbaric war cries or slipping into unnecessary slow motion.
The Wind Rises
The dreaded day has finally arrived; the day that one of the greatest living storytellers hangs up his brushes. Hayao Miyazaki, who brought the world such unforgettable creations as My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononokeand Spirited Away has retired. But as a farewell, he has left us with one last parting gift, the historical fable of a young man with dreams of flight, The Wind Rises.
And did I mention he’s designing Japanese fighter planes during WWII?
Okay, so, awkward.
Sometimes movie titles succeed in not only describing the plot of said cinematic offering, but also in characterizing the career of its headlining star at that particular moment in time. Such is certainly the case with the film Non-Stop, and its star, dynamo of kinetic box office energy that is Liam Neeson.
But would Neeson be able to bring his violent brand of magic to this Die-Hard-on-a-plane? Or would this vehicle face a catastrophic disaster before landing? The Unusual Suspects were willing to secure boarding passes and climb aboard Non-Stop to let you know whether the skies were friendly enough (or rather if they were unfriendly enough, it is Neeson after all).
3 Days To Kill
Kevin Costner is making 2014 his year to play tired old spies. In this latest outing, he’s plays a dying CIA agent, determined to mend fences with his daughter, played here by Hailee Steinfeld. Unfortunately, he’s got more on his plate than familial friendliness, as he has to agree to one last mission in order to retire and possibly even obtain a cure.
Amber Heard and Connie Nielsen also star in this McG (uh-oh) led thriller that may not have actually been all that thrilling. What did our intrepid team of Unusual Suspects think? Martin, JC, Elliot and our newest member, William Goss, deliver the intel.
Kit Harrington (you know him as Jon Snow from Game of Thrones) gets his Conan on in this historical disaster film from Paul W.S. Anderson. No, not the Boogie Nights Paul Anderson.The Resident Evil/Death Race Paul Anderson. So, fair warning.
Sadly, Brian and Chris heeded not this warning and plunged into the caldera of cinema. They died a little inside so that all of you could laugh. Laugh at their pain. Or was it giddy joy? I mean, it did have the amazing Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (just don’t ask them to say his name out loud), the accomplished Jared Harris, and the beautiful Emily Browning….oh wait, it also has Keifer Sutherland. Never mind.
Check your minds at the door for this review by the Unusual Suspects. Warning: Puns ahead. We really had no choice.
This Valentine’s Week, there is an unprecedented plethora of cinematic romance bursting forth onto multiplex screens; yes, bursting…like an overripe cow heart. Rom-coms and Rom-drams are positively crowding into theaters, all fighting to be THE movie that you are forced to see this weekend. There were so many flicks in fact, that most of them screened for press here in Austin on the same night!
It is for this reason that the normally tight-knit and united cadre of miscreants known as The Unusual Suspects had to split up; had to divide and conquer this unenviable Herculean task. They then reconvened for one Highly Suspect, and highly extensive, Review.
Robocop has been rebooted…or perhaps it’s more appropriate to say rebuilt. The Unusual Suspects gather in their industrial hideout like the Boddicker gang, and dig into the finite circuitry of Jose Padilha’s nouveau-Robo.
Their prime directives? To serve the movie-goer trust, protect the innocent (from potentially wasting ticket money), and to uphold their own convictions (warped though they may sometimes be). Could the studio make Robocop better than it was before? Stronger? Faster? More Explosion-er? Dead or alive, Chris, Brian, Ashley, and Beau are coming to a verdict on this.
Listen to this Highly Suspect Review or there will be…trouble. Thank you for your cooperation.
The Monuments Men
Clooney himself stars with Matt Damon, Bill Murray, Jean Dujardin, Hugh Bonneville, John Goodman, and Bob Baliban, an impressive collection of talent to be sure. But will it be an “Arty Dozen” or a just-going-through-the-”Motions Eleven”? That’s what your team of Unusual Suspects is here for.
Going deep into enemy territory with little hope of survival is their mission. This crack team of expert reviewers, Chris, Ashley, Elliott, and Beau, must get in, watch the movie, and get out with the secret review plans. God rest their souls.
The Lego Movie
Did they really make a movie based on…?
I mean we know Hollywood is creatively bankrupt, but come on! How could anyone possibly make a movie based on building bricks and create something anybody would want to go see?
Oh, what? It’s directed by who? Ok, we’re interested.
Indeed we all thought it was ill-advised, but what in fact would be the final verdict of the Unusual Suspects once we had seen all the pieces put together? Ashley, Elliott, Beau, and Brian evade the internet lawmen once more to discuss how the movie connected with each and every one of them.
It shouldn’t be too laborious to get up off your keister and see the new film written and directed by Jason Reitman, right? I mean, the guy made “Thank You For Smoking” and “Up in the Air”.
But what if I told you that JJ Reity was trying to horn in on Nicholas Sparks territory. Maybe grabbing excellent actors like Josh Brolin and Kate Winslet to steam up the screen.
No, seriously, some of us really liked it. Find out who by listening to JC, Martin, Chris and Ashley take turns dishing on “Labor Day”.
The Invisible Woman
Now don’t get all huffy and run off, it may be a romantic period piece but it’s got ol’ Ralph playing the great author (and just wild human being) Charles Dickens. Patriarch of a distressingly huge family, after having used his wife for decades as a baby factory, his eyes light on a young actress, Nelly, played here by up-and-comer Felicity Jones.
I’m feeling younger and more spry myself just thinking about her.
These were different times, and a woman who decides to be a mistress better be sure she can keep that job, because there wasn’t much in the way of a retirement plan back then..
The Unusual Suspects are on the case to give you the heads up: Too dry and English-y (apologies to my British friends or anyone who respects the English language) or Too wet and mushy? Or maybe, just maybe, this one is just right. Ashley, Martin and Chris give ya the low-down.
The Nut Job
Man, there is just nothing I love more than a good heist movie. So many classics in the genre. Oh wait, there’s a new one? Great! And you say it’s from South Korea? Oh man, I am so excited. Who’s in it?
Will Arnett? Well, ok, seems like weird casting for this but…Brendan Fraser…wait, what’s going on here? Gabriel Iglesias? You did say this was a Korean heist movie, right? Katherine Heigl….Seriously, you better start running now, I don’t know how long I can hold myself back.
Oh, I see, it’s an ANIMATED film. And Liam Neeson is in it as well? Why didn’t you just say so? I can’t imagine Martin, Elliott and Ashley could find anything about this they didn’t like, right?
Ok, ok, we’re not going to make you go see Ride Along if you don’t want to.
Rather, you get to hear the Unusual Suspects’ tales of woe as they relate the story of Ice Cube as a gruff cop having to take Kevin Hart’s fast-talking security guard character along for a 24 hour patrol because Hart wants to prove himself worthy of marrying Cube’s sister.
Your wounded but proud reviewers today are Ashley, Martin, JC and Brian. Be nice to them. I suspect they’ve had a rough ride.
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
Paramount goes back to the beginning (as is the trend lately with franchise characters) with an actor who’s already used to doing exactly that, Chris Pine,. Instead of treading the halls of a space ship, this time he walking through Wall Street as Tom Clancy’s spy hero, Jack Ryan.
Thrill to the danger as the Unusual Suspects choose to accept this dangerous mission of reviewing Kenneth Branagh’s (that’s right, he directed it too) Jack Ryan. Your agents for this case will be Chris, Beau, Martin and Elliot. Good Luck.
The Legend of Hercules
Hercules. Child of the king of the gods. A symbol for strength and accomplishment.
Why did they hire Kellan Lutz to play him again?
Is there a reason to see this other than manly bo-hunks (if that’s your thing)? Leave it up to Chris, Ashley, Elliot and JC to make the call. Check out what our Unusual Suspects have to say about “The Legend of Hercules”.
Wahlberg, Ben Foster, Emile Hirsch, and Taylor Kitsch all fight for the right to be the titular spoilery Lone Survivor in this film by Peter Berg, more than making up for whatever the hell possessed him to make “Battleship”. Check out Ashley, Chris, Martin and JC’s review.
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
Ben Stiller fantasizes about being a better film director as he plays the titular role of a dreamer who is forced to live real life when his job comes into jeopardy, but fortunately he has the help of his co-worker and fantasy girl, played by Kristen Wiig. Check out Martin, Chris and JC as they discuss the whys and wherefores of Mitty’s mind.
The Wolf of Wall Street
Leo DiCaprio stars as a Wall Street guy who doesn’t have time to do things the easy way (re: the legal way). He’s gotta get rich biatch! With supporting roles from Jonah Hill, Matthew McConnaughey, Jean Dujardin, Rob Reiner, and pretty much everyone in Hollywood, it’s hard to see how the Unusual Suspects, this time around Chris, Martin, and JC, could have anything to say about this but ‘masterpiece’…… …. Unless…..
Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones
The Paranormal Activity series spawns a spin-offin this Latino side-story to the popular franchise, featuring more folks getting possessed, getting scared, and inexplicably filming absolutely everything. Join Ashley, Elliot, Chris and Brian for a spirited (GET IT, SPIRITED…. ….sorry) review of the latest installment in this probably endless horror tale.
Inside Llewyn Davis
The Coen Brothers are back with their heart-warming holiday tale of a musician in the sixties who pretty much takes advantage of everyone he comes across in any way he can so as to avoid freezing to death. But how does it fair with The Unusual Suspects? Martin, JC and Chris are here to divvy up the review loot and let you know if that critical praise you’ve been hearing is real or just a false alarm.
The seventies are back, and more sideboobed than you’ve ever seen before! The Unusual Suspects crew pulls out Chris, Martin, Beau and the new fish, JC, out of their lineup to give you the deets.
Saving Mr. Banks
Do we praise “Saving Mr Banks”, the story of how “Mary Poppins” got made, starring Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson….or do we condemn it? It’s more complicated a question than you might think.
The Unusual Suspects have gathered for this Highly Suspect review of what many critics have deemed the best film of the year. Brian and Chris are joined by Martin Thomas and Beau Paul of The Original Gentlemen to decide whether or not the consensus surrounding this intimate sci-fi experiment, featuring Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson, is legit. Is it as great as everyone claims?
Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues
The Unusual Suspects of the Highly Suspect Reviews News Team pulls Chris, Brian, Elliot, and Ashley out of its roster to take on the latest in the Burgundy legend. Will he rise to the top? Will Elliot and Ashley rise to the challenge? Only pressing ‘play’ can reveal the truth…
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Our first foray in the world of theatrical release reviews is for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. Join Christopher Lawrence Cox, Martin Thomas, Beau Paul, and Brian Salisbury as they negotiate the tricksy waters of the second prequel to their precious LOTR films.