Landline

In 2014, Gillian Robespierre directed a small indie film called Obvious Child, starring Jenny Slate.

And it frankly was the best thing Slate has ever done. She is in a lot of kid movies weirdly enough, along with voice roles, so those rarely are anything noteworthy. And then on the other end of the spectrum, she can be in these raunchy/annoying roles that make you remember her, but usually in a negative way.

Obvious Child was a nice balance between outspoken and notable in a good way.

So I was excited to hear that the pair had teamed up for a new movie, Landline, not at all related, but hey the same director and same star.

Boys Room
And hardcore tobacco use in a bathroom. Is this what Mötley Crüe was talking about?

Dana (Slate) is an adult, working a job, and living with her fiance, Ben (Jay Duplass), who is a bit boring. And by that I mean their life is routine, their sex doesn’t lead to climax, and every time they try to spice things up it goes wrong. Her younger sister, Ali (Abby Quinn) is almost graduating from high school and thinking about colleges. She is super smart, but she is getting into dumb positions and working with drugs, putting a strain on her future.

But we are really here to talk about their parents. Alan (John Turturro) and Pat (Edie Falco), who are going through weird times. Turns out that Alan might be cheating on Pat, thanks to Ali finding a disk with some erotic poems to a mysterious C. Oh yeah, I mean floppy disk, because this takes place in the mid-90’s.

While that is going on, Dana separates from her fiance temporarily to find herself, which she does in the arms of a friend from long ago, Nate (Finn Wittrock). Oh boy, time for everyone to have panic attacks about their lives and question all of their relationships!

Also starring Raffaella Meloni as “C”.

Hibachi
The face you make when you realize your dad was actually cheating with the hibachi chef the whole time.

Landline is going to be remembered as one of those movies that really just fit the okay rating. It had some things happen, some notable moments, but the whole thing failed to stick with me in anyway. I don’t even have any large complaints. No one acted terribly and no character felt badly written. Everyone in the family was pretty realistic, as were their relationships and attitudes towards each other. It just didn’t resonate.

And hey, I didn’t even find Slate annoying in this film, that is a first!

I was most impressed with Turturro, he did a lot with his face and body, despite a more limited screen time than the two lead actresses.

Also the ending of the film felt wrapped up too nicely. It ruined a bit of that realistic feel and turned back into a movie, but one that didn’t match the way one would assume with the choices a few characters had made.

The good news is it wasn’t terrible, so I would be more than willing to watch another team up with Robespierre and Slate. Unlike the team up of Wahlberg and Berg.

2 out of 4.

The Ridiculous 6

How many movies does Adam Sandler do in a year? Usually one right? Maybe two?

Well this year, he stars in three different movies. The Cobbler, Pixels, and now The Ridiculous 6. Sure he is getting older, but those private yachts aren’t going to pay for themselves. And as he does more and more films, he gains more and more friends to have to support on his army of yachts.

This film is a Netflix original movie. Last year he signed a four film deal with the company, and so it will be awhile before his films are released theatrically again.

And uhh. I guess this is Adam Sandler’s take on a western, with a name similar to those other western and samurai movies.

Group
There are rag tag groups and there are shit groups. This group is worse than the later.

White Knife (Sandler) grew up never really knowing his father or his mother. But he is half Native America, despite looking white. And yes, her is freakishly good at using knives. Name explained, boom.

Then one day, an old guy comes to town. Frank Stockburn (Nick Nolte), a famous bank robber who was notorious throughout the land. Turns out that is his real daddy. But he needs help. Members of his former gang are going to kill him, unless he pays back money that was stolen from there. The gang is now lead by Cicero (Danny Trejo), and they are ruthless. Frank lies to them about the location, so that White Knife aka Tommy can get the money and put it in the spot before the bad guys get there. Then, after saving his dad’s life, he can enjoy some of that sweet ass quality time he has been hoping for. So he will run off and do that, before he gets married to Smoking Fox (Julia Jones).

Along the way, Tommy finds out that his dad really did get around, by meeting several half brothers. There is Ramon (Rob Schneider), half Mexican with a burro. There is Lil’ Pete (Taylor Lautner), who is half retarded and well. Yeah. Herm (Jorge Garcia) is half…Mongolian or something. He speaks gibberish. There is also Chico (Terry Crews), half Black and a piano player! And finally, Danny (Luke Wilson) who is half an alcoholic and half an American traitor.

Remember when I said Sandler had friends? Yeah, a ton of them are in this movie.

Chris Parnell. Blake Shelton. Harvey Keitel. John Turturro. Jon Lovitz. Nick Swardson. Saginaw Grant. Steve Buscemi. Steve Zahn. Vanilla Ice. And Will Forte!

SJ
Lautner’s tooth gap is played by Steve Carell!

I almost forgot to mention the controversy! You know, where Native American extras walked off the set because they found the humor to be racist and demeaning. One would say that isn’t good publicity, but of course we know there is no such thing as bad PR.

In fact, Netflix can only gain from a raunchy Sandler film. No one will cancel their account because it exists, but they will get more international audiences who love the shit out of him still. Win for them, no matter how terrible a film is.

But in all honesty, this film isn’t even super terrible. No, it is really fucking…slightly below average. Sandler’s character is a bit boring, which is true for a lot of his things lately. He is just playing an every guy, who happens to be good at knives I guess. The only reason to watch the film is for the rest of the 5 brothers.

Taylor Lautner playing what amounts of Simple Jack? Fantastic. He was the best part of Grown Ups 2 and one of the best parts of this one as well. I have been know to enjoy Schneider, and I think his performance is one of his better ones lately (again, not saying a lot). Garcia and Crews felt a bit underused, especially Garcia. His character didn’t even make sense.

But really, the movie has bottom of the barrel. I only laughed occasionally, the twists were obvious, and it was just far too long. It looks like they really did try to make a good western parody, but you know. Poop jokes. Under using actors. Some racism. You know what you are getting going into the film, I suspect.

1 out of 4.

Exodus: Gods and Kings

I think we are finally done with them. The ones I talked about a lot earlier in the year. You know, The Jesus Movies.

We had Noah. We had God’s Not Dead. We had Heaven Is For Real. We had the Son Of God. And now we finally have Exodus: Gods And Kings.

Obviously, this one is a story from the earlier part of the bible, not a modern tale or a new testament tale, so it will be closer to Noah in terms of size and scope. Which is good, because Noah is the only one of those I enjoyed!

But also, this movie has controversy. Non religious related controversy. Nope, we got race related controversy. This movie features Hebrews and Egyptians, yet the majority of all the actors involved are white people! White people! How dare you Ridley Scott! As I said before in my The Last Airbender review, I don’t give a damn. I just want someone to act good in the role given to them. I don’t care about the color of their skin. I don’t think being the right ethnicity for a role should be a requirement. What is next? Needing to actually have cerebral palsy? Needing to actually be gay?

It’s called acting. That’s all I’m gonna say.

Just Goatee
And you can act anything, even a man with a goatee.

Moses (Christian Bale) is just a dude, living in an Egyptian palace, and good friends with Ramesses II (Joel Edgerton), a prince of similar age who he has grown up with. Seti (John Turturro) was the Pharaoh at the time and getting old, so it is obvious that his son would rule after he was gone. But thanks to some shitty cryptic prophecy, there was some tension between the boys.

That, and the fact that apparently Moses was a Hebrew. Once that secret came out, and Moses saved a slave over punishing them, he was exiled from the Kingdom. Bitch. Ramesses’ mom (Sigourney Weaver) wants him dead, Ramesses is more whatever. Exile should kill him.

Moses eventually makes it to a far away village. He meets Zipporah (Maria Valverde), gets his marriage on and becomes a goat herder. Hell, he also sires a child. Why not? He is fine with his peaceful existence, although still kind of hating on Gods. Until he climbs a sacred mountain of course for the lols and gets fucked over a bit. Like, almost dies. But hey, a kid and a burning bush talk to him about leading his people out of Memphis. So I guess that happens.

Last parts of the movie you probably know all about. Some plagues, some dead people, some running, and a lot of Red Sea crossing.

Also starring Ben Mendelsohn as an Egyptian, and Ben Kingsley and Aaron Paul as Hebrews. Kingsley can do whatever he wants, he is a good mimic. Aaron Paul is super weird in his role. Ridley Scott must have liked Breaking Bad.

Beard Wave
The goatee grew a bit bigger. That is a lot of the character development.

Exodus: Gods and Kings is 2.5 hours long. Why? Because Bible, I guess. I can’t tell you how long it takes to read the same story, but I bet I could do it all in less than 2.5 hours. Even with all the ye olde language going on. This is a long movie and it feels even longer. Honestly, I feel like it is over a whole hour of movie before we even get to the burning bush. We get a tiny war, to get some plot. We get some mistreated slaves, we get an awkward attempt to exile Moses, and a long boring time before we get the stuff we care about.

The plagues! Of course that is all we want. The trailers show enough of the Red Sea scenes to make them not not as interesting. The plagues were cool, but they were also rushed. They weren’t fully explained either, they kind of just happened and the story kept going. Too much vagueness, not enough explainin, and a whole lot of downtime.

It was hard to stay awake. The acting from everyone, by the way, was completely fine / good in locations. It is just the story that I had issues with and that is due to its extreme boringness.

1 out of 4.

Margot At The Wedding

The reason I bought Margot At The Wedding for a dollar is because I recognized the people in it. The reason I finally watched it was because someone else chose it for me from my list of unwatched movies. But the reason I was actually looking forward to it was because of the director/writer Noah Baumbach. He is most famous for working with Wes Anderson, but I watched a film he did about his own child life called The Squid and The Whale, and absolutely loved it.

Basically, I am excited about the potential of a great drama. He also wrote/directed Frances Ha recently, so the potential is pretty dang high.

Angst
Yep, just look at all of that angst.

This film is about Margot (Nicole Kidman) at a wedding. Huzzah!

She is questionably single, and taking her only son Claude (Zane Pais) back to where she grew up for a wedding. Not just any wedding, but her sister Pauline (Jennifer Jason Leigh), who is still living in that old middle of nowhere house. Her husband, Jim (John Turturro), and her are going through some tough times, but that can’t possibly affect this wedding, can it?

Nah. But having a lover on the side in that homedown, Dick Koosman (Ciaran Hands), can. Add on a war with the very redneck-y and cruel neighbors, past family drama, and bad communication skills, and you got yourself a dramatic wedding. Especially with Jack Black as the groom.

Also starring Flora Cross as Pauline’s daughter, and Halley Feiffer as Dick’s daughter.

Tree
Totally thought her son was a girl for like, at least the first 10 minutes of the movie.

I think I would describe this movie as cruel. Cruel and vague.

Why cruel? Well, every adult character in this movie is deplorable. Every single one of them. Most of all Margot of course, but everyone has faults and they all come out to the extreme during the movie. Constant arguing and constant passive aggressive behavior. It certainly took a huge toll on my “Give a fuck” meter.

Why vague? Well, there were problems in the past, and problems now with relationships, but figuring out what happened is a big struggle. The most I can figure out is that Margot wrote a novel about her family, told the world secrets, and they got mad at her. I have no idea what is going on between her and her husband, outside of the cheating. They intentionally kept a lot of the details in the dark for too long, which made it more annoying than anything else.

I guess the acting was decent, but the story was blahhh.

It had a lot of indie tropes, my favorite of which is “camera behind character walking”. Man, indie movies love that shit. That is what most of The Wrestler was, after all.

Overall, this is just another movie you can skip. Noah is a very hit or miss writer. Better than mediocrity all your life, I guess.

1 out of 4.

Cars 2

Hooray! The long awaited sequel to Cars is Cars 2! And by long awaited, I mean both never expected in 2006 and also, since a couple days ago, when I reviewed Cars.

I say this in an exaggerated way obviously, but Cars 2 is nothing like Cars. Sure, both of them are still in some creepy ass world with only cars (and other transportation vehicles) being their own entities that are alive, but Cars is better than Cars 2. Cars is about slowing down, appreciating the finer things in life, and finding true happiness.

Cars 2 is just some big James Bond Spoof.

Knight Rider
But unfortunately, when I think Cars + James Bond, I think KITT from Knight Rider. This was KITT-less.

Owen Wilson and his bad voicing habits are barely in this movie. This movie is all about Mater, the Tow Truck, voiced by Larry The Cable Guy. Yes. They changed leads and put the comic relief in the first film as the main character. Yes. This is as bad as it sounds.

The actual beginning of the movie I assumed was a “movie” in this car land. It was just nothing like the first film, with Michael Caine playing the James Bond like car, spying on an oil rig? Or something? But this film is “deeper” than that. It involves Lightning going on a world grand prix, and racing against a french car (voiced excellently by John Tuturro) sponsored by an alternative fuel source dude, voiced by Eddie Izzard. This is of course the only way Izzard can play someone who isn’t evil. Because if he had to show his face in a movie, you know he always is the evil dude. Yay voicing!

But yeah. There is some big conspiracy happening. This takes up most of the movie, and of course Mater ends up being mistaken for an American spy. Thanks to Bruce Campbell, who’s few minutes is the best in the movie, because he is Bruce Campbell.

Bruce Campbell
“Voice a car? Boom boom boom. Sorry, I’m fighting deadites here. Can the car just be backfiring? Boom boom boomstick.”

It is stupid that this movie got a G rating, with all of its “violence”. But who knows what goes on in those rating meetings. The reason for all the bad cars is laughable too. They are a bunch of “lemons”, or cars that break down a bunch. Yes. I’d hope you read my first review, but in this world, cars are created and forced to live certain rules. You’d be pissed off too if you were made with defections and forced to just, live that life out while other cars never break down. You can only handle being stuck on the side of the road so many times before you’d snap too.

So, likers of the first Cars movie would probably call this one worse. I am going to actually find a shark and throw it over the shark, to represent my point more. This movie is just a cash-grab for merchandise. But at least they called Bruce Campbell.

1 out 4.