Sorry To Bother You

Sorry to Bother You is one of those films that sort of snuck up on me with a roar. I heard idle mentions of it earlier in the year, but didn’t go out of my way to do further research.

I knew the star. I guessed the theme. And yet none of that would prepare me for the trailer.

The trailer felt very fresh and told me that this. Would be a movie with a lot going on. A sort of extreme satire, maybe very political, but whatever it is it has a message and will be both subliminal and superliminal with that message.

I was excited and ready for this screening, without really knowing what it might give me.

Japan
I am getting a Japan / sumo wrestler headband vibe here.

Cassius Green (Lakeith Stanfield) is your regular, down on his luck, poor, brother. He is living in a garage in the house of his uncle (Terry Crews), with his long term girlfriend artist (Tessa Thompson), and they aren’t having a lot of luck making money.

But Cassius is able to get a job working as a telemarketer, working for commission. It is better than nothing. And he has the promise that if he does good, he can go to the top floors of the company. He can ride in the special elevator. He can be a “power caller,” and make the big bucks. No one really knows what they sell up there, but it ain’t magazines and book sets.

Cassius is told to just stick to the script, don’t get out of line, and make money. Once he makes money, he can make more money and more and be a success for once. Especially if he taps into his white person voice.

Starring David Cross, Patton Oswalt, Lily James, Forest Whitaker, and Rosario Dawson! Or at least their voices. Also starring Jermaine Fowler, Steven Yeun, Omari Hardwick, Armie Hammer, Robert Longstreet, Danny Glover, Kate Berlant. and Michael X. Sommers, that would be their voices and their bodies.

Drinks
This is how white people drink champagne.

Strangely enough, the trailer for Sorry To Bother You only gave you a slice of the whole story, so I tried to do the same with my plot. There is a whole lot more that goes into this story. Topics of slavery (multiple levels) , class warfare, poverty, selling out, and American indifference to clear wrongs in the world. This movie coming out now is extremely well timed given the border problems that keep getting swept away by other media distractions.

It is not a film to use subtle clues to drive the point home. No, these clues are obvious, with a hammer. Fuck, one of the most uncomfortable scenes was the precursor to a “rap” where the chants, the disparity of the cast, made everything all too real and uncomfortable.

Stanfield is amazing in this film as our lead. His senses will probably always align with the audience on the scale of what is right and wrong and when to finally draw the line. Oh yes, you will know when that line is drawn. It was good seeing Yeun in a role very different than his previous work. Thompson was great. Hardwick was as well, despite more limited time, and Hammer was a blast going full crazy CEO for this film.

Unfortunately, areas do feel a bit clunky and jarring. Especially in the end, time seems to go by strangely and not everything seems to have the same attention to detail as earlier on in the film.

Sorry To Bother You will be looked back as an important work, with extreme topics in order to get the point heard loudly.

3 out of 4.

John McCain: For Whom The Bell Tolls

What’s this? ANOTHER political documentary?

Well first of all, complainy McComplainy Pants, most documentaries are inherently political. Secondly, yes, yes it is. First I had RBG (which is the shit), then I had The Final Year, which was disappointing.

Given them, I still cannot tell you why I decided to go out of my way to watch a documentary about John McCain. Dude didn’t even become President. And he is a Republican, which makes him a bad guy, right (#NotAllRepublicans)?

But I gave it a shot, because it was also on HBO, and HBO has generally impressed me with its documentaries. I was also so disappointed with The Final Year that I figured it couldn’t be worse. Especially with a more focused topic and a longer run time to tell the story.

Seems like the timing is also important, since (as of the time of this writing), McCain is still alive despite working with a pretty intense form of Cancer that is very likely to kill him. Now we can at least get his point of view on events as he reflects on his career, while he still has a chance. John McCain: For Whom The Bell Tolls will be interesting, if anything.

John McCain
It is just 100 minutes of him staring at you from the screen, only blinking seven times.

General knowledge has told me a few things about McCain before this viewing, and some I experienced. Besides the cancer, I knew he was a prisoner of war during Vietnam for quite some time. I knew he was from Arizona. I knew he lost the presidential election in 2008 by a shit ton to Barack Obama, and is the reason we all know who Sarah Palin is right now. And I know he is nicknamed a Maverick, and had partially helped stop bad health care bills from coming through recently. Not all of them, but some of them.

I didn’t know a lot more. The documentary goes into his families history of military service, and of course a big portion on the war. Details from his wife at the time, his kids, and of course himself. We also see his post war efforts when returning home, when he meets John Kerry, how he got into politics, and many of the major things he worked on before running for president.

Even better is an acknowledgement that Palin was a terrible choice as a VP nominee, and is one of the reasons he definitely lost the election. I like that they highlighted how he tried to run a clean campaign and not bad mouth Obama while running.

Unfortunately, after the election it basically fast forwards to this last year. His cancer problems, his confusing statements on senate meetings, and the health care notes. It makes him seem like a great guy, but it nicely points out that he was basically a huge dick while Obama was in office. Sure, occasionally he would say something we could agree with, but he still mostly just voted along political lines and didn’t feel like a Maverick unless he could get something out of it.

It is still a well crafted documentary about an interesting man. I am happy we get interviews with so many people, political and otherwise, who knew him, and of course the man himself.

3 out of 4.

First Reformed

Now that I have met Ethan Hawke in real life, he is of course my favorite actor. Because the only other real celebrities I have met (at the time of writing this) have been Rob Reiner (director mostly), Justin Long, and Sean Astin. Astin comes close, but what has he done for me lately? Oh yeah, Moms’ Night Out.

Back to Hawke. Sure at some point his directed movie Blaze comes out, but he hasn’t had a very well acted film for a bit. So any thing where he returns to his form is going to be great.

I missed the first screening of First Reformed because it was in the middle of the day, which didn’t feel like a problem. But everyone else mentioned how great this film was, meaning I needed to give it a shot and hope to be wowed.

Purple
Having a purple sky is pretty wow-derful.

The First Reformed church is the oldest still standing religious structure that is still in use. In the year 2017 it is going to celebrate its 250th year of use! A pretty significant number. It is of course a rather small church, one main room, a balcony area for the organ.

It doesn’t have too many members at this point, being in a small community, by Father Toller (Ethan Hawke) still has his weekly session. He keeps the place clean, he gives tours when necessary, and he tries to be an active part of his community. When the community doesn’t need him, he goes on a drive to the local Mega Church to help out over there.

One day, Mary (Amanda Seyfried), a younger member asks to speak with him. It turns out she is pregnant, and her husband, Michael (Philip Ettinger), is having doubts on the baby. He recently was also arrested from being at an environmental protest and has been mopey lately.

Basically, Michael thinks it is completely irresponsible to bring a child into this world, knowing how bad it is and bad it will get without any notable changes over the last decade. Could he be a good person and let that happen? Toller begins to meet with the family and talk to them, giving him a bit more purpose in his life.

And once events begin unraveling that Toller is not well equipped to handle. He is having a crisis of conscious and of faith, while being put in the spotlight for just those things.

Also starring Cedric the Entertainer, Victoria Hill, and Michael Gaston.

Distraught
Really, it is the feng shui that is causing all of these issues.

Strangely enough, this film is not in wide screen. It is presented in a square format. I am sure someone could explain why for good reasons, and I cannot be that eloquent at this point. I will just note that it is notable and it does add something to the film.

Hawke is absolutely amazing in this role, and a lot more subtle about it than most of his other acting performances. It is definitely relatable to his work in the Before Trilogy, but less romantic and more depressing.

The story itself is quite slow, and yet still full of shocks and surprises. Maybe a third to halfway through the film will the viewer realize the potential conclusion of the film, adding a bit of nervousness to the proceedings. The ending is quite a spectacle and definitely controversial. I can hardly believe it, and yet at the same time, it really just makes sense.

First Reformed offers us our first real look at a Best Acting nominee this year which means awards season is definitely upon us.

3 out of 4.

I Kill Giants

I haven’t met a giant in my life yet, but I would be sad if I had to meet it then immediately kill it. They seem rare, and I can’t imagine they are all inherently evil.

But I Kill Giants is a film that definitely has a specific message and propoganda attached to it. Who kills these giants? An elf? A regular human? Is it maybe a collective “I” which doesn’t really makes sense as a type it?

Needless to say, I better see a damn giant in this movie. Or if not a living breathing angry giant, at least a dead one.

Spy
Yes, be on the look out for those Zombie Giants. They are the worst.

Barbara Thorson (Madison Wolfe) is not considered to be one of the cool girls at school. She is incredibly nerdy, including being a fan of dungeons and dragons. Besides believing these dragon forces to be real, she also is quite certain that giants are real.

Not just above average people or Sasquatches. But large forces of nature meant to cause harm. Most people don’t open their eyes enough to embrace these threats, and just blame them on tornadoes, earthquakes, or various storms. But they are there. And there are worse giants! There are titans, even bigger and meaner, and yes like the ones from Greek Mythology.

Barbara spends most of her time in her town, setting traps and bait out to track giant movement. She has saved her town a few times and given up grades and a social life to do so. But a new girl in town, Sophia (Sydney Wade), from Great Britain befriends her and helps her on her quest, despite all of the doubt.

While this goes on, a new guidance counselor at the school (Zoe Saldana) is set out to make sure she can actually help Barbara instead of just discarding her as crazy.

Also starring Imogen Poots, Rory Jackson, and Jennifer Ehle.

Hammer
With a weapon like that, who’s crazy now?!

I Kill Giants is the type of film that feels like when it was written, it was extremely creative and original and a lot of people would have loved its ambition. But then A Monster Calls happened. It happened at the end of 2016, and it is extremely similar. It deal with grief, and large fantasy creatures to help deal with that grief. It involves kids, and parents, and bad things.

I feel bad for I Kill Giants, because I think I would have liked it more if I didn’t already love A Monster Calls. I am not saying there isn’t room in this very specific genre for more films. It is just it wasn’t different enough for me to love it as much as A Monster Calls.

We have a different gendered main character, who does an amazing job (You go Wolfe!). Some different fantasy lore, but overall, the motives behind the fantasy are almost exactly the same.

In other good notes, Poots does a great job as older sister trying to hold everything together, despite limited screen time, and this is possibly the best Saldana has ever acted.

In the end, if you liked A Monster Calls, you will probably like this one as well. If you haven’t seen it, then just think of this as a girl version of A Monster Calls and make a decision to watch at least one of them before you died old and cranky.

3 out of 4.

Stronger

A couple years ago I saw Patriots Day, against my better judgement, and it felt wrong.

It was #TooSoon, the movie. It felt like it wanted to be a documentary, but also to use a lot of famous actors. It would have been amazing as a documentary, as the footage and all of that exists. Instead, we had Marky Mark running around Boston, making those actual areas relive the moments, including when the final guy was caught in the boat, which seemed to be filmed on location.

That is uncomfrotable.

And now we have our second movie about the Boston Marathon bombings, which I clearly skipped for awhile for similar reasons. Am I ready for a story like this one? Stronger is clearly being hailed as a real story of a survivor, and will end with me most likely crying in happiness.

Kiss
Does it end with a happy kiss and terrorism finally defeated?

Jeff Bauman (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a free spirited Boston man, who has an energetic family, loves his Boston teams, and loves to joke around and have fun. So a stereotypical Boston man. He is also in love with Erin (Tatiana Maslany), an on again off again relationship. Right now it is off, so to win her back, he helped her raise money for his Boston Marathon run, and promised to be there at the finish line!

And he was there. Right in the blast of the bombs going off before Erin made it to the end.

This left Jeff very damaged, but he was saved by some onlookers, taken to the hospitals, who helped amputate his legs so that he could survive. But he had no legs. And now the city of Boston is looking to him as a symbol of their ability to grow from this tragedy. He has promised to walk again, and wants to be in the spotlight, he thinks. But the pressures put on him by the community drive him into relapse after relapse, feeling like a worthless potato. His mom (Miranda Richardson) is trying to help him, but it is doing the opposite.

Can he be Stronger, not just for himself, but for an entire city?

Also starring the following people, mostly as his family: Richard Lane Jr., Nate Richman, Lenny Clarke, Patty O’Neil, Clancy Brown, Kate Fitzgerald, and Danny McCarthy.

Boston
One day you wake up, no legs, and being used by the Bruins.

I went in expecting to hate this film, and sure enough, it surprised me. I expected a typical feel good story of someone struggling to eventually get through PT and start walking on false legs. I expected the long anguish scenes of surgeries, of his girlfriend crying by his bed, and all of that. But it is different. This one feels real.

Having the main character want to get better (obviously), but hated the spotlight and hated the pressures on him. His family was overbearing, random citizens walking up to him on the street making him out to be a martyr (which he obviously didn’t ask for or want) felt heartbreaking. This guy had a lot of eyes on him, when he never felt special. He also was feeling survivor’s remorse over the others who died because they weren’t saved as quickly as him.

This whole thing is a lot more about PTSD than some overcoming great challenges story, which makes it a lot more powerful. Sure, he eventually did overcome them, but it focuses more on the challenges you don’t expect someone to overcome.

And of course, the main reason to watch this – Gyllenhaal himself. A powerful actor, especially at transforming into a character. His voice and appearance was a bit funny, reminding me of his Bubble Boy self, but it definitely felt like a man who had lost his legs. Great, fantastic performance, to a much better than expected film.

3 out of 4.

Paddington 2

Paddington 2 was probably one of my most looking forward to films for awhile. No, not some big superhero film, or a drama with all of my favorite actors. Paddington. Two.

The first one was just a delight. It was cute, funny, and it felt like the perfect family film. It didn’t help that Europe got it so much earlier than other parts of the world, so I heard about its praise, and I just wanted more.

Who would have thought that a little bear could bring the world together so much? Well, the makers of the first Paddington, I guess.

Family
A successful family film always needs a big family so everyone can relate to someone.

Things are changing in the Brown household. The kids (Madeleine Harris, Samuel Joslin) are changing their appearances and hobbies, the mother (Sally Hawkins) wants to go on adventures and is training to swim to France, and the father (Hugh Bonneville) is going through a big midlife crisis because he feels old and is missing promotions at work.

But Paddington (Ben Whishaw) is just chill. He is helping his neighbors, making the world a brighter place, and really just finding a place to exist. He does want to get a gift for his Aunt Lucy (Imelda Staunton) though, which leads him to a sweet pop up book of London! It is very detailed and it will let her experience London like she always wanted to. But the book is rare, so Paddington will have to get a few jobs in order to pay for it.

What Paddington doesn’t know, is there are others out there that will go to great lengths to get that book, even if it means Paddington ends up in Prison as a result.

Also starring Hugh Grant, Michael Gambon, Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent, and Brendan Gleeson.

Prison
Jails are just a red herring of course. Or a pink herring.

At the time of writing this review, Paddington 2 has a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. And that isn’t based on only 20 or so reviews, it is based on ONE HUNDRED NINETY-SIX reviews! That is almost 200 people who agreed that it didn’t suck. Of course it doesn’t mean it is a perfect film, just everyone found it overall good and gave a positive impression. And that is frankly unheard of in this day in age.

Of course while watching it, I found myself chuckling a few times. Just the generic slapstick portions as Paddington flails about trying to do human things are worth it. The story goes really well together and ends with a lot of the pieces coming together quite nicely.

Most importantly, it is a film with a simple story and that works in its favor. It is slow enough moving that even those younger kids will be able to follow along and enjoy it, while not being too slow or boring for adults. The family was funny enough. And Grant was very good in his role, and at a very good age and time in his career to play something like he did.

It doesn’t resort to violence, it resorts to smarts, and maybe some bonking, but not an all out brawl.

Hooray!

3 out of 4.

Tiny Shoulders: Rethinking Barbie

Rethinking Barbie?! How can I rethink a barbie? As a man, with daughters, I am trying my best to make sure my girls are well rounded individuals, exploring many different types of toys and sure, some dolls. I want to make sure they don’t grow up thinking they have to be one type of girl. The girl who plays with dolls, the girl who dreams of being a passive princess, the girl who might just want to be a housewife (nothing wrong with that last one, but it is important for them to know options are available).

So I have never given my girls a barbie doll. Other people have, when people are lazy at gift giving. She still has a ton for absolutely no reason. I say no reason, because why do they need like, 8 barbie dolls? People not thinking give her one every birthday, every Christmas, and sometimes multiple ones, because it is easy to just grab a barbie and send it over. I mean, its a girl toy! Girl toys are dolls, and boy toys are everything else (including different dolls).

It is completely fucked up. But I still went into Tiny Shoulders: Rethinking Barbie, letting my mind me somewhat open. Come on, tell my why Barbie is progressive now. Tell me everything I have learned through slight googling in the past is a lie.

See? I am a willing participant!

Barbs
“Couldn’t you have picked a less creepy photo for this review?” No.

This documentary has two goals. One, to give a small history of barbie, to show how it was a trendsetter back in the day (first doll with boobs!), how it didn’t want to be a perfect women archetype, to the eventual feminist backlash. Their idea was to make sure Barbie had all these jobs so that it could encourage woman to live out fantasies and achieve these dream jobs, not just be a homemaker. And of course, modern, modern backlash over its unrealistic proportions and body image notes.

And that is where the other part of the documentary comes into play. Actually trying to change the way Barbie looks and the problems that have come about. You see, they have been trying to change her appearance for some time to better represent more realistic people. But they have had plenty of focus group issues. They have the issue that the model rarely ever changes, and by having a change, that creates accessory issues, and is the change worth making it so they need various sized outfits/accessories for every release? (More expensive for them and the consumer).

Add to the fact that they don’t want people to think they are pandering to an audience and doing too little too late. They have one shot to try and redefine Barbie so that she has various body types, a task they can’t just do every year in case they mess up. They have to make a statement and they WANT to make a statement.

Strangely enough, this toy redesign happened in 2016 and I really didn’t hear about it at all. There are four different sized barbies at this point, did you know? I didn’t. I remember when they made a lot of hooplah about the different races represented with their barbies, which was a good change, but for whatever reason this redesign was never put in front of my eyes.

I found the whole story to be compelling and it was good to see a company full of people who cared. They cared about the repercussions of their decisions and they wanted to help make the world feel more inclusive. I still don’t think I’d go out of my way to introduce different sized barbies to the kids. My wife told me we actually had different sized ones, so that is how unnoticeable the changes really were.

But this is still a good story of a company trying to do good, and coupling it with a history that I knew nothing about, makes it a compelling story.

3 out of 4.

6 Balloons

I have talked recently on some of my Netflix reviews about how they seem to have a big release of a week and go over hype with their advertisements about the film. You know, so people can watch it. Because they rarely have commercials for their movies.

But they also are now releasing a ton of films without all of the fanfare, and just letting those niche groups find them on their niche recommendation slides.

I think that is the type of idea they had for the movie 6 Balloons. A very simple film, with like two big names in it, neither of which are the “lead”, and a drama.

If it isn’t flash sci-fi action or comedy, they don’t get the big treatment. And that is why I am hear to talk about the film.

CVS
Where the fuck are the balloons at?

Katie (Abbi Jacobson) has a plan and she is going to make it work. No matter what, she has a plan. Her current plan? To throw a kick ass surprise party for her boyfriend, Jack (Dawan Owens)! He is returning from something or another. She is a perfectionist or something. Everything must be right. She can’t trust all of her friends with the basic tasks, because they might do it wrong. Her parents (Jane Kaczmarek, Tim Matheson) are there and bickering, but they wont get in her way.

But there is her brother, Seth (Dave Franco). She heads out to pick him and his daughter (Charlotte and Madeline Carel, twins for legal reasons I guess) up. He is divorced, and has issues, and the current issue is he is high on heroin when getting picked up by Abbi. Drugs are not part of her plan and a big distraction. She is going to have to put him in a rehab place immediately so she can continue with her plans.

Even if the daughter has to see it. Even if he might lose custody. Even if his insurance isn’t going to accept the close place. What? It doesn’t? Shit. That is actually not okay. That is a problem. And she has a party to fix. Fuckin’ brothers, right?

Drugs
Oh hay, homeless crack addicts. What a surprise party!

6 Balloons is not going to win awards. It is not going to be sought after in most circles. Super fans of Dave Franco are not frothing at the mouth to see him in this movie (although honestly, he plays it really well. I blame it on his naturally high looking face). But in all honestly, it is a really solid movie.

At times I wasn’t sure where it was going, and at times I thought it didn’t have a real end goal. Well, I had one idea, but that was me being a movie pessimist and hoping for the worst possible case scenario.

6 Balloons felt like a movie about real people dealing with all too common issues. Not just the addiction problems, but the insurance problems, the having too much on their plate, and just extreme anxieties associated with dealing with your family. Can you just sell out your family to the cops? How much emotional abuse would it take for you to snap? And really, who is to blame for the addiction? Could over bearing parents cause many of these problems in their kids?

It is not a funny movie, but it isn’t fully sad either. If anything, 6 Balloons is just a small idea for a plot, and acted very well by the two leads of Jacobson and Franco. There are worse ways to spend 70 minutes of your time.

3 out of 4.

Tully

Jason Reitman and Diablo Cody are an interesting pair. Together they have created great work, like Juno and Young Adult. On their own, well, Reitman gave us Thank You For Smoking and Up In The Air, both great amazing movies. And uhh, Cody gave us Jennifer’s Body.

So it seems like Cody needs Reitman more than Reitman needs Cody, but generally their work together has been a guaranteed hit. Reitman does have some duds as well, but Cody seems to just be not my taste without him.

Despite all of that, I was excited about Tully. This is their first film together since Young Adult, and it also has the same lead. Really, what I probably should do is rewatch Young Adult again, now that I am older with different mindsets. It might blow me away.

Although I can relate to Tully in some different ways for the same reason.

Body
Everyone knows that you lose any sense of shame after number two.

Motherhood can be hard. You can take my word for it, because I am a father, and I inherently understand all aspects of motherhood. All of it.

Marlo (Charlize Theron) has been a mother for awhile. She has two kids, both elementary, the younger one in Kindergarten and some sort of Autistic. It has been some rough years after he was born. But guess what! She is pregnant again, and older. Surprise! Definitely not planned.

Her husband (Ron Livingston) travels a lot for his job, and is constantly swamped. When he gets home late at night he often just plays video games until he passes out. It is up to Marlo to carry most of the load and she is doing…well, not well. Her brother (Mark Duplass) is actually decently rich though, due to whatever reason. He and his wife (Elaine Tan) want to get her a better gift than normal for her baby shower. They want to give her a night nanny.

A night nanny only shows up at the night, like a ninja. She takes care of the home while the parents sleep, and all of the baby needs that come up. Not the breastfeeding, Marlo would get woken up from that. She is reluctant, but after a particularly bad day, she makes the call, and invites a stranger into her house to do parenting. Oh no.

And then Tully (Mackenzie Davis) appears. An eccentric, strange young lady who promises to make everything better. Not just the baby. Everything in her life.

Pyscho
She devours the essence from old people to stay chipper.

Tully was amusing, and really heart felt. Obviously parents will relate to a lot of what happens, but it isn’t like some parental mystery that non-parents won’t get.It is all obvious humor, just things more relatable for parents.

Theron gives a great performance, and it is something unlike recent roles. She has been all over the place, more so on the badass scale, but now she is on a much more different spectrum. She is an everyday woman, who put on a lot of weight for this role, and nails it.

This might have been the role Davis was born to play. She has always been a bit weird in her films, which isn’t a large body of work at this point, but her weirdness is on fire for this one. She hits all of the right notes. She does have to play this basically magic, Mary Poppins-esque figure, but in a much more modern context, and of course, focusing on the mom and less the bratty kids.

Overall, this is a very weird movie. I actually started to hate it when the final act started. It got better, and it got even weirder than I expected. Definitely shocking, in that regard. But it still finished on a high note.

Great acting performances, a simple story, and some good old fashioned postpartum depression.

3 out of 4.

Trouble Makers (Xiongdi, bie nao!)

This is one of the many reviews that have come out of WorldFest in Houston. Check the WorldFest tag to see them all!

I am happy to say that I chose Trouble Makers (Xiongdi, bie nao!) at the festival. I was debating between it and another movie, and looking for anything to tell me why I should pick one or the other. The description of a sentence look looked humorous, and the fact that it involved twins that didn´t look like twins just made it seem like a comedy. But my book listed it as a modern drama.

So it was between a Chinese Modern Drama, and a Turkish War Drama, which definitely wasn´t funny.

And I am glad I chose this one, because like I imagined, it was actually a comedy and the genre was just wrong. I just wanted to laugh, damn it.

Bros
Especially laugh at others misfortunes.

Zheng Hao (Xiaopan Gao) is a bit of a bad ass. He is a criminal, he is a thief, he has been to jail, and he doesn´t give a fuck. He only gives one fuck, actually. And that is about his brother, Zheng Zhong (Xianchao You). His twin brother, although they don´t look too similar. Some issues with child birth. Zhong is a bit slower, but he is protective of his smaller brother, the brains of the operation.

Either way, Hao finds himself in hot shit after leaving prison when he immediately causes a lot of destruction and has to pay it back.

The good news is that a local station has an idea for a new reality show! It is about bad guys wanting to become good. If they can turn their lives around, get forgiveness, right their wrongs, and do good things (please!) then they will win a big cash prize. Enough to pay off his new debts, and hey, money yo.

So sure, they will put in the effort to do good things, at least originally just for the money. But then Hao starts to fall for the very pretty worker who is putting on the show, Xia Tian Fan (Shasha Yu). It helps. But being good is hard, and they are going to have to change a lot to get better.

Also starring Sam Lee, Samuel Pang, Sky Li, Xi Chen, Ziming He, and Yu Tian as the Steve Perry looking director.

Bald
I mean he looks like Steve Perry when he has his wig completely on. Bald Steve Perry without it.

Trouble Makers was full of laughs, and they came on hard and strong. Sure, it ended on a serious note. Including an excessively long fight scene, but ended up right in the feels and morally strong.

The director is also the star of this movie, and he has officially directed and been in only one movie, this one. It is an extremely impressive feat for a first timer, and honestly, I feel like a liar just typing that out. It is truly hard to believe.

This is a slap stick movie, with subtle gags, non subtle gags, and sure, just pure misfortune going to our characters. It did have some other interesting aspects, like a scene where four clearly Chinese individuals were in brown make up to act like Indians. And you know what, I am not an expert on Chinese/Indian relationships, but I am sure that is totally fine, although it wouldn´t fly at all in America.

This film has a lot of energy and surprises, tackling its own satire on the reality television fads going across the world strong for some decades now.

3 out of 4.

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