Hi friends! I really wanted to write long reviews for each of these movies but alas I simply ran out of time. Shorter reviews will have to do because I want to get the word out (on most of them) as they are part of a strong April at the cinemas.
So here we go!
The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent
After years of making schlocky underwhelming films Nicolas Cage seems to be having a bit of a renaissance with films like Pig, Mandy and Spider-man Into the Spider-Verse. With this in mind it perhaps the perfect time to release a film like The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent. In this comedy Cage pokes fun at his persona, Hollywood in general and tells an endearing story of friendship with the great Pedro Pascal (who was one of my favorite parts of Wonder Woman 84).
In this meta-story a version of Nic Cage, the actor, is hired by Pascal to come to his Birthday party and hopefully read his movie script. Unfortunately while there Cage gets recruited by the CIA to investigate Pascal who is involved with organized crime and abducting the daughter of a fellow mob boss.
The truth is I could have gotten rid of all the espionage plot and just had the movie been about Pascal and Cage becoming friends (make it a My Dinner with Andre but with these 2 dudes) and been perfectly content. They have great chemistry together and I bought them as friends. There are other strong supporting roles from Sharon Horgan, Neil Patrick Harris, Tiffany Haddish and more.
Something like Massive Talent could be smug and annoying but it never loses its sense of humor and spirit of fun. I had a great time with it and I agree with its conclusion that Paddington 2 is the best…
7 out of 10
Everything Everywhere All at Once
If Massive Talent is too meta for you than you definitely should stay away from the new film from distributor A24 Everything Everywhere All at Once. To say this indie martial arts family drama is bonkers would be an understatement. Normally I don’t like movies which feel jumbled and confusing but for whatever reason I had a good time with this one.
The story of the film is about a woman named Evelyn played by Michelle Yeoh who stumbles into an interdimensional portal when visiting her auditor (Jamie Lee Curtis). This portal includes different versions of herself and her family (Ke Huy Quan who is so fun as her husband and Stephanie Hsu as her daughter). We also see the great James Hong as her father.
There are times when the multiverses feel like they are trying too hard to be edgy and weird but it was all in a spirit of fun so I enjoyed it. The weirdest one they have hotdogs as hands!
Such a bonkers film won’t be for everyone but I loved all the homages to classic films thrown in like a whole In the Mood for Love section. The music is also strong by Son Lux and I laughed throughout at the madness. If you are up for something weird give it a shot.
7 out of 10
Now we have for something totally different the latest documentary from DisneyNature Polar Bear. Like all the films in this series it helps us get to know a species of animal (in this case polar bears) and tries to teach kids about the world around them. While this one is harmless and has a good message, I must admit it is one of my least favorite of the DisneyNature docs.
For Polar Bear they don’t give the bear a name but they have Catherine Keener narrating the film in first person. This leads to lines like ”I had the best day of my life”. I mean come on. How could they possibly know that? LOL. These nature docs are always cheesy but this one laid it on especially thick.
Also the film is very heavy-handed on the climate change messaging. I suppose there is a place for that but it made it all less fun and was strange when put up against the cheerful ahtropomorphization of other sequences .
I guess this is harmless for kids but not one of my favorites.
4.5 out of 10
The Bad Guys
One of the most exciting trends in moviemaking today is the hybrid 2D/3D animation method. I love the flat, yet rich, designs of films like Spider-Verse, The Mitchells vs the Machines and The Peanuts Movie. Now our latest entry comes from DreamWorks animation with The Bad Guys.
Based on the graphic novels by Aaron Blabey The Bad Guys takes a simple concept of a group of ‘bad guy’ thieves and asks if they can be the good guys? It’s not so different from Wreck-it Ralph in that regard except for here you have more than one character who needs reforming and animation that is truly special.
There are a lot of reasons the animation is stunning in this film but I particularly loved the way the action was shot. I can’t think of a film that has better animated car chases and fight sequences except maybe the web-slinging sequences in Spider-Verse. It was a joy to watch.
I also really liked that it was set in LA with recognizable landmarks. Most animated films are set in fictional cities so that was a fun aspect here. The voice-cast is also excellent without being distracting. I loved Sam Rockwell as our lead Mr Wolf with Awkwafina stealing the show as the cute Ms Tarantula.
The story in The Bad Guys is a basic heist plot and it is definitely predictable but everything else was so great I didn’t care. I’ve seen it twice now and loved it both times. The whole family will enjoy following these bad guys on this very good time!
8 out of 10
So there you have it. If you get to see any of these films let me know what you think!
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