Baywatch: In Name Only

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Zack Efron and Dwayne Johnson’s physiques are emblematic of Baywatch the movie: All strength and no stamina. Every actor’s talents were wasted by the actors playing themselves or stock characters. Baywatch might have gotten away with it if it was at least funny.

Admittedly, I did laugh twice. But twice in the span of 116 minutes is quite a thin spread. Baywatch is in name only as it’s less of a movie about lifeguards on the beach as it is a buddy cop movie. It kept reminding me of a far lesser grade of Beverly Hills Cop. Or if that’s too archaic of a reference, it more like a lesser grade 21 Jump Street.

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I expected Johnson and Efron to interduce themselves as Axel Foley and Sgt. Tagget. Only 80’s movie fans will get that joke.

The story follows a two-time olympic gold medalist Mike (Zac Efron). Mike has fallen from grace as he vomited into a swimming pool competing for this thrid gold medal. Mitch Buchannon (Dwayne Johnson) is the head lifeguard at Baywatch and both have to investigate a drug ring that is smuggling flakka on the shores of Baywatch.

You may wonder why lifeguards, not the police, are investigating and planning a potential drug bust. I saw the movie and I am still wondering why. It has too many tonal shifts between beach comedy and drama and action comedy and drama. It eventually settles with criminal espionage with lifeguards instead of cops none of which is particularly funny or thrilling.

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Where the gags go in Baywatch: In the bin and recycled again and again.

There are gags in Baywatch that constantly repeat, making me want them to move on. There is one where they constantly reference that hot people run in slow motion and another string of gags where lifeguards name Efron’s character different teen-bop artists. While not particularly funny, at least there is variety in the name calling with the various punchlines. He was called “Justin Bieber” “NSNYC” New Kid on the Block” and various other names. Those gags got tiring quickly and the movie constantly rehashed the same joke.

There were also scenes that were a complete waste too as they added nothing to the story. There were entire scenes which you could take out and the movie would have made just as much sense. Why they made an entire scene with David Hasselhoff instead of a quick cameo appearance with Pamela Anderson I have no idea. Why Efron did a complete obstacle course that had nothing to do with the lifeguard recruitment process I also have no idea.

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“Baywatch works because we follow rules” HAHAHAHAHA!

Overall, I believe that Baywatch is so long because all the actors have to get all their shit in while constantly running out of steam by flip-flopping between genres and locations. It also looked like the editor forgot his scissors on he day at work as pointless scenes made the final cut and made the movie 116 minutes long. Because of this, I highly doubt the filmmakers had a solid idea for the movie before they started filmmaking. ⭐3/4

PS: Baywatch has the fakest CGI fire I have ever seen. I have seen Zack Snyder films with more convincing CGI.

Smurfs: The Lost Village – Not Terrible

The Smurfs: The Lost Village is not terrible. Why is The Smurfs: The Lost Village not terrible? Just take out all the things that made The Smurfs 2 terrible. Take out the live action and the overuse of the word “Smurf” have gotten rid of what mostly made The Smurf movies annoying. By that virtue alone, this installment of The Smurfs is the best of the three as it’s not painful to watch.

Smurfs: The Lost Village is mildly surprising because it half-works. It has a somewhat cohesive story about a female Smurf called Smurfette (Demi Lovato) who travels to new places in an attempt to find herself (which sounds like a lot of young adults today) and overcomes adversity along the way. There was even a bit (but not a ton of) character development in Smurfette as well.

The animation wasn’t terrible either. The animation is bright and colorful without being oversaturated and garish. I was actually surprised how little my eyes hurt and how my mind wasn’t offended by any bad CGI. It was almost as if The Smurf : The Lost Village was trying to be good. It was surprising that I found redeeming qualities about this movie that are important to the story.

However the Smurfs : The Lost Village has its fair share of bad. Mainly the predictability of the plot and the cliches were mildly annoying. This story is a standard cliff notes/ mad libs book of a Disney narrative. Smurfs: The Lost Village pulls out all the tired tropes of kids movies (loud music, bad jokes, Disney-action plot points etc) and does so unabashedly. At least the movie doesn’t botch the execution. However, it was so predictable that at one point I decided to close my eyes for 5 minutes to see if I missed anything. I missed nothing.

Overall my reaction to Smurfs: The Lost Village is one of indifference. There is no passionate hate or love of the movie. Despite that, If I said I was indifferent to Smurfs: The Lost village, it tells you that this is the best Smurfs movie by default. It definitly exceeded expectations but that dosen’t mean it was spectactular in the slightest **3/4

 

 

The Lego Batman Movie: Deadpool for Kids… Sort of.

 

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The Lego Batman Movie is a unique entry in the superhero genre, not only because it’s a Lego animation but also sees the story in a kid-friendly, light-hearted manner. It’s such departure from other DC movies of Batman in that it’s hard to make a comparison of this movie to other Batman films. Instead, I will be comparing The Lego Batman Movie to Deadpool.

Both The Lego Batman Movie and Deadpool are inherently well written as the characters are witty, both movies wink at the audience with the breaking of the fourth wall and all the inside jokes and finally, both aim to give the audience a feeling of joy and fun while the superheros do their superhero stuff.

Lego filmakers Love Joy

Michael Cera as Robin and Zack Galifinakis as The Joker. The casting director is a genius

The plot: Batman is the poster boy for saving Gotham that all the children love him and sing his praises. Batman (Will Arnett) just laps it up and is arrogent (He brags to have a 9-pack. Yes, a 9-pack) . What we find out early on is the reason Batman is self-centered is because he is afraid of committing to a quiet, family life. Batman is on the mission to save Gotham once again from The Joker (Zack Galifianakis), only he cannot save Gotham on his own this time. He inadvertedly adopts a child (Michael Cera) who turns out to become Robin and they both try to save Gotham.

The bottom line is that The Lego Batman Movie succeeds in what it attempts to achieve. That is because it is so committed to a tone that aims to be lively, child-like and fun that it’s hard to not buy what The Lego Batman Movie is trying to sell. I was buying it for the majority of the movie. Like Deadpool, The Lego Batman Movie does this through fourth wall breaking, witty and funny characters and an arrogant, ego-driven yet charming main character.

The jokes: Faster than a Speeding Bullet

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Tylor Goodwin holds the world record of the number of jokes told in an hour with 571. The Lego Batman Movie might have beaten that record. That is not a good thing if you are trying to keep up

The Lego Batman Movie succeeds to a lesser extent than Deadpool due to the inability for the movie to control the barrage of jokes and the narrative pacing. The main problem with The Lego Batman movie is it either scattershot with jokes that move so fast that you couldn’t keep up or the momentum of the movie would slow down to a near halt.

The scriptwriters also decided that Batman should break the fourth wall five times per minute, which I grew tired of by the end as I was constantly reminded that I was watching a movie and therefore made it hard to suspend my disbelief. Deadpool had the perfect balance of breaking the fourth wall by dropping the intensity of fourth wall breaking considerably after the first act. In The Lego Batman Movie, the filmmakers didn’t get that memo.

The uneven narrative pacing and the overuse of jokes are the two main things The Lego Batman Movie could have improved upon and it did hurt my overall enjoyment of it.

The Running Gag: A Killing Joke

Barman: The guy that doesn’t so “ships” as in “relation-ships”. He is the Dan Bilzerian of life. Just swap women for fighting and they are a mirror image 🙂

Aside from that, there is not much else that is bad that I can think of. The story between The Joker and Batman in this movie are unique, especially the character motivations of The Joker. It somehow manages to work even if it shouldn’t on pen and paper. As always, The Joker wants Batman to hate him as much as the Joker hates Batman, only they make their own twist. It’s a romanticized story in a oddly comedic way where destroying Gotham is like courting Batman to take part in a hate relationship. I loved the angle The Lego Batman Movie takes with that and It was my favourite part of the film.

With all this in mind, I believe it’s the best movie DC has put their name on since The Dark Knight Rises. I still don’t believe it’s as good as a lot of Marvel movies, but it’s a positive step in the right direction in my opinion ***1/4

The Lobster Review

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Written by Nelson Cumming

The Lobster is one of the bleakest, weirdest, funniest, most satirical, and most original movies of the year. It blends a ton of social commentary about relationships in the most deadpan way possible. It is a story that is absurd and messy but tightly and smartly written. I love it.

The Lobster is absurd at the root of the story, yet there is a twisted, human truth that’s at its very core. The story follows David (Colin Farrell) a recent divorcee who moves into a hotel. David has 45 days to find a significant other. If David doesn’t find a significant other in that time, he gets turned into an animal of his choice. His choice is a lobster partly because “They are blue-blooded like aristocrats”.

Surprisingly enough David is not alone. He brings his brother. The thing is, his brother is a dog because he went to the same hotel but couldn’t find a life partner in 45 days.

When I heard of the premise I was so excited to see it. I was interested because not only was the premise fit my style of humor but it was so original. What’s even better is that the premise is only the surface of the movie, the tip of the iceberg if you will. When I thought about The Lobster more and more, the ideas came out.

Left to right: Lisping Man (John C. Reilly), Limping Man (Ben Waishaw) and David (Colin Farrell) 

The irony of the rich, funny premise is the movie is played deliberately bleak, deadpan and monotonous. Therein lies its satire, a human truth that is the rules of love we make up. The movie presents this hotel as rigorously organized in terms of improving human qualities like hunting and sexuality in the most matter-of-fact way possible as if love is formulaic.

The Lobster even satirizes the ways in which people may lie to their significant others so they would feel more attractive to them. A man called “Limping Man” (That is his name in the credits) is attracted to “Nosebleed Woman” (Also her name in the credits) who has frequent nose bleeds. Feeling insecure, he deliberately makes his nose bleed behind her back in an attempt to woo her.

The second half of the movie occurs in the woods which consists of rebels of the hotel. Their belief is remaining single forever. No one can have a relationship and you literally dig your own grave. Even in its satire, The Lobster is morbid. It goes to all of these extremities to find the humor and to find the darkness with great results.

If deadpan humor is your thing then The Lobster is the film to see this year, if you’re the kind of people who wants a dose of originality then this is will be up your alley. The Lobster can be grim and bleak, but the heart the humor and storytelling more than make up for it. Even the grimness and bleakness is justifiable for the morals of the story. The Lobster is one of the most original left-of-centre movies of the year ****3/4

Office Christmas​ Party Movie Review

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Written by Nelson Cumming

I just wasted my time watching Office Christmas Party. It was nearly two hours of vacuous unfunny material. Needless to say, this review will be pretty short.

The plot is essentially the film title. Zenotek, a software company, try to secure a multi-million dollar account by throwing a massive office Christmas party to persuade the owner of the account to invest in the Zenotek company.

The problem with Office Christmas Party are the gags are either too contemporary (Uber and Gone Girl references) or so cliched, old and archaic like sticking your bum on a photocopier. What’s worse is that barely any of the gags are funny.

Office Christmas Party is not good at all but it’s not bad enough to hate. It just exists in the material form of film as proof it exists. I have to finish now because I am forgetting scenes already *

Fifty Shades of Black: Fewer Laughs Than The Original.

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Written by Nelson Cumming

This movie is Wayan’s World. If only it was as funny as Wayne’s World. That joke I just made up was funner than any gag in in Fifty Shades of Black.

It started off with jokes on chlamydia and ended with Marlon Waynes getting a giant dildo up his asshole. Like the fate of Marlon Wayne’s character Christian Black, I found watching it was painful and hurt insides felt like white hot lead.

Fifty Shades of Black is a “spoof” of Fifty Shades of Grey. The only difference is the woman is called Hannah (Kali Hawk) and the man Christian Black (Marlon Waynes) and the majority of the cast is black. Fifty Shades of Black follows nearly shot-for-shot the movie they are trying to poke fun of. The end result for me was myself poking fun at it.

Painfully Unfunny Characters Abound

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Jenny Zigrino (Kateesha) playing a sassy black girl despite the fact that she is white. It is as bad as that sounds.

There are so many characters that are so annoying and unbelievable even for a spoof movie. Jenny Zigrino plays Kateesha who is a white woman being the most stereotypical black woman imaginable and it’s hard to hear what she is saying with the loud sass in her voice. It got so bad I hated her every time I saw her.

Do you want another bad character? How about a character called Jessie played by an actor called King Back (I am not making this up) He plays a black photographer who unflatteringly tries to hook up with Hanna only to do the “you misheard me” routine to cover himself when Hannah is repulsed. Oh and you realize he knows karate when he’s threatened. He sounds like Chris Tucker on cocaine.

Broke-ass Poor Dialogue.

What could possibly be worse than the actors you say? How about the dialogue. It is as painful as waiting in line for a prostate exam. Five minutes of the dialogue felt like an eternity. The dialogue in Fifty Shades of Black is worse than London has Fallen and that is saying something.

Such lines like “You look like a thumb that was yanked out of an asshole” were one of the better ones; In reference to a woman’s breath: “That’s the smell of (Christian Black’s) balls after two hours of racketball” was another. The worst line also had blatant product placement “A Mac? I licked seven guy’s assholes and only got a Dell!”

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There were two more lines that were hilariously ironic. When Black recites the Fifty Shades of Grey novel he says “This is fifty shades of fucking terrible, Who wrote this a third grader?” The other one had to do with Black not knowing Osama Bin Laden was dead for five years. He says “I don’t keep up with current events” when the movie continuously lampoons on recent movies, product placement and contemporary culture.

The Set Design. A Minor Breath of Relief

Despite the poor acting and the horrible, laughable dialogue, there are two redeeming things about the movie. The first one is the set designers as I could tell they meticulously got all the equipment and locations to near-perfect detail. I saw effort in there that I needed to acknowledge.

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You can tell the set designers actually watched Fifty Shades of Grey and made it look authentic. If I took out all the characters, you wouldn’t be able to tell which is which.

The second moment was when Black is told to give Hannah the worst in the form of domination. The camera pans across the whips with labels like “Glory” “12 Years a Slave” “Django Unchained” before finally going to the “Joseph Jackson” belt. That was the only time I smiled, laughing with the movie and not at it.

Those two things obviously could not redeem the movie. I could not believe I wasted money on it. This is another film to Marlon Waynes inglorious canon of films such as “A Haunted House” and “White Chicks” I’d rather watch Fifty Shades of Grey. I’d rather watch almost anything again. DUD

Amateur Night: No. Just No.

“Based on a true story… mostly” is the subtext of the Amateur Night title card. Once I saw that I knew they were going to use creative license so much that it’s not even funny. I later found out that the story is directed by the people who have involved in the true story themselves.

The key question I asked myself about Amateur Night wasn’t “Is most of this story really based off a true story?” it was “Why did this story need to be told?” because, to tell you the truth, I wish I hadn’t seen it.

So anyway the story is Guy (played by Jason Biggs whose career is in freefall) is an architect who is struggling to find a job and with a baby on the way. He gets a job on Craigslist to drive prostitutes to bachelor parties and acting like a pimp in his pink salmon shirt.

In come the sight gags.

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One of the cleaner scenes of the Biggs cleaning dildos. I decided for the view not to show the zip-lock bag all the dildos came in

So Guy does these things for the prostitutes that only a desperate man would do. He cleans all their dildos and there are a lot; he gets squirted in the face (You can imagine the source of the squirting) and collects all the money and the panties from the floor during the bachelor party.

This is one-half the problem with Amateur Night. They just settle for gross. When an R-rated sex comedy decides to go for the easy laughs it is just so tasteless. A note to filmmakers: the more tasteless you are, the smarter you have to be. When you are tasteless and stupid, your movie becomes horrible and it turns into a pissing contest to see how horrible you can be.

When a sex comedy decides to dabble in bodily fluids just for shock value you get no winners but the most morbid of people. There are piss, vaginal fluid, and lube gags in this movie. None of it comes off as funny. Some scenes like when Guy is cleaning all the dildos are elongated, cringeworthy and painful to watch.

Despite all the unfunny and lazy sight gags, it wasn’t the worst part of the movie.

Yes, you heard me.

The most hateful performance of the year: Janet Montgomery.

Montgomery is just lucky this movie is so small and so forgettable that it won’t damage her career irreparably.

Nikki (Janet Montgomery) is the lead prostitute and I absolutely hated her. From the time she is introduced to the very end, I hated her. I hated her so much. There is a scene in which she blackmails Guy into continuing being the host of the bachelor party. From that moment on I had a seething hate to the point of no return. At the end, the film embodies the “hooker with a heart of gold” cliche in a sad and pathetic attempt to care for her. She was completely mean-spirited with no leanings that she was anything but.

It wasn’t that Montgomery was a bad actress but just her character embodied vile manipulation to the point where I not only detested her but the whole movie. She crossed the line from dumb raunchy comedy to dumb and hateful raunchy comedy. With the combination of dumb sex jokes, bodily fluids, and Montgomery’s performance, Amateur night reminded me of Dirty Grandpa and that’s really saying something.

In my eyes, Amateur Night was merely a vanity project created by a couple to tell their own story and the actors are there so desperate for a paycheck. Biggs hasn’t made a movie in four years and the directors Lisa Addario and Joe Syracuse are a real life couple retelling their own experiences living in Hollywood in this hot mess.

At the end of Amateur Night, I thought of a song called “Lost in Hollywood” where the main line was “All you maggots smoking fags on Hollywood Boulevard” because sometimes I wonder how some movies in Hollywood get made. This was just the epitome or a bad sex comedy turned horrible -*1/2