Hey, if you like movies, here’s quite a spread of new mini reviews for you. They all have the common theme of… ummmm… Corporate greed? No… Dirty make-up? Almost… Ummm… Things blowing up? No, not that one… Comedy? Hmmm, maybe. Except that first one isn’t very funny. At all. Well, they are all movies released in 2016, right? Unless you count their film festival or overseas premieres… WHATEVER. Just read these stupid reviews, already…! Yeesh.
Alternate title: There Will Be Explosions
What’s this about? This is the heroic story of a BP oil executive (played by John Malkovich) who takes command of the offshore oil rig Deepwater Horizon. With pressure from his superiors to finally get a profit out of the rig, he puts in the risky orders to use the machinery despite notable concerns about the safety of half of the equipment from whiny know-it-alls (played by Mark Wahlberg and Kurt Russell). That courageous BP executive is willing to put the lives of all 128 people on board the rig in immediate danger for his company’s profit, which makes him a very very good executive. Many sources tell me he’s the best executive. Believe me.
What was good about it? Well, this movie basically gave me a panic attack for a solid hour or so. The sequence of the rig exploding over and over again was ULTRA well shot and edited. This movie definitely has Oscar worthy editing and sound design. I had a notable “cringe face” almost the entire movie. It’s really intense and well done. You should watch this simply for the artistry and thought process that went into illustrating visually in a sequence how a big pipe can fill up with mud and then ruin everybody’s day. I want Peter Berg to direct a similar sequence of what happens in my intestines when I eat too much Potbelly in a week.
But even the parts leading up to the disaster, where smart engineer types are talking about things that sometimes went over my head, were certainly more interesting than they could have been. And I actually felt real emotion at the end, too. Peter Berg might just be a less obnoxious version of Michael Bay? Has anyone thought about that? Deepwater Horizon kind of had everything you could possibly ask for in a movie about an exploding oil rig that barfs shrapnel and hellfire all over a bunch of dudes.
What was bad about it? I still think the scene about “taming the dinosaurs” with the daughter in the beginning is pretty stupid, but oh well. Also, not that it really matters, but they showed pictures of the real life people during the credits, and it’s safe to say that the real life people played by Mark Wahlberg and Kate Hudson got extremely generous Hollywood portrayals…
Alternate title: Untitled Melissa McCarthy Comedy (2016)
What’s this about? Much like the scripting process behind Tammy and Identity Thief, Melissa McCarthy went through the studio’s wardrobe department and tried on different combinations of wigs and clothing for hours until they finally landed on something that made them go, “Yeah. Ok. We can probably write a stupid movie around this costume.”
What was good about it? I don’t think I ever *out loud* laughed at anything in this movie, but I probably chuckled a handful of times. I felt kind of numb about the whole thing, but it wasn’t so bad that I needed to turn it off. I’m honestly right now trying to think of a specific, singular joke I really liked from this movie, and I’m definitely struggling.
What was bad about it? It wouldn’t be a Melissa McCarthy project without her falling down in a bumbling stupor (this time down a flight of stairs, and also kind of in a pull out couch flipping gag). Isn’t that the same thing that made Chris Farley depressed about his career? Always being asked to fall down/into stuff? Melissa McCarthy should be above this by now (you’d think). Then again, she is on a multi-cam network TV sitcom…
Anyway, back to The Boss… The scenes go on too long, the characters are one-note, and the jokes aren’t really anything that we haven’t seen before. Has Peter Dinklage ever been funny in a comic relief movie role? I’m legit asking, I don’t know if he has? None that I’ve seen.
SWISS ARMY MAN
Alternate title: Harry Potter and the Farting Corpse
What’s this about? In one of the better premises I’ve ever seen, a shipwrecked Paul Dano is about to kill himself on a deserted island until he notices the farting corpse of Daniel Radcliffe on the beach. He then rides Daniel Radcliffe’s farting corpse like a jet-ski, powered by farts, across the ocean until he finds land again. Then he bonds with Daniel Radcliffe’s (now talking) farting corpse (that also pukes drinking water) in a survival tale that is literally guided by farting corpse Daniel Radcliffe’s magical compass boner. I mean. Just bravo. Braaaaaaaa-vo.
What was good about it? Well, that premise is just magical. And it delivers on (probably) all of the farting corpse comedy. Radcliffe kills it with his rag-doll acting, and Dano is great (as usual) as his emotionally fragile buddy. Overall, it does a decent job exploring a few philosophical topics, but it mostly delivers visually as a film that is *literally* driven by farts and boner humor. You’d be hard to argue that this is a super ambitious, extremely unique, very low-brow piece of high art.
What was bad about it? While it has about the same level of comical whimsy as a Spike Jonze or Michel Gondry film, it doesn’t quite have the home-run emotional impact that it needs to be as charming as it wants to be. And yes, I think this farting corpse movie *was* trying to be charming. I mean, the ending was good, but I still think that it should have had maybe a more powerful moment right before that? I don’t know. I’ve never written a farting corpse movie before. Maybe I’m wrong? There were also times when I got a little anxious for it to start wrapping up, but then it came up with a new gag to hold my attention for a little bit longer.
I think ultimately, Swiss Army Man have an identity crisis with audiences. It might be too obnoxious for the intellectual crowd, and might be too much of an experimental indie film for the fart-loving K-Mart crowd. I guess I’d recommend it, but I also wouldn’t be surprised if you told me it sucked later.
Alternate title: NO THANKS: The Movie
What’s this about? Another good premise on paper; this (Eli Roth produced) movie is about a man who puts on a “magical” clown suit for his son’s birthday, but he finds out that he can’t take it off because it’s turning him into a demon clown that needs to eat children. I bet this will rise in popularity at the RedBox because of the real life scary clown epidemic hitting the streets of America! It’s from the former director of Cop Car (pretty good movie), and the future director of Spider-Man: Homecoming!
What was good about it? In the spirit of crappy, low-budget horror movies; this does a fine job. Whenever I see something like this nowadays, I kind of have to step back and think about how much more I would have enjoyed watching it in college. This is definitely a movie I would have praised in college. Does that make it good? Not really. But I understand where it’s coming from, at least. I had fun watching it once. I don’t think I need to watch it twice.
What was bad about it? I guess the acting could be better? It kind of drags in the middle. A movie of this concept shouldn’t be longer than 85 minutes, in my opinion. In fact, this could have had potential to make a really high quality twelve-minute short film.
See you next week, when I review some Oscar bait (The Girl on the Train & The Birth of a Nation)!