The Girl on the Train

I did plan on watching The Girl on the Train when it came out, you know, in 2016. I knew it was based on a pretty famous book, it had a lot of mysterious elements, and it might have been a spiritual successor to Gone Girl. The book and movie are not done by the people who did Gone Girl, but similar elements were apparently there.

However, I missed the screening, and then my wife said she really wanted to see it also. Just after she read the book first, because that is what normal people do. It took a year later, but she finally picked up and read the book in only about a week, which let us thankfully still watch it thanks to Redbox. It is great when they have oldish movies on there (and yes, I realize it is within a year of coming out, but it still feels really old).

Hooray trains!

I found her! The girl on the train! Did I solve it!?

Rachel (Emily Blunt) is a woman who happens to be an alcoholic, and she rides a train to and from work every day. And on this train ride, she has become obsessed with another woman. She can see her in her house, this Megan (Haley Bennett), living a life with her lover, happy and free. Or at least that is what Rachel invents for her life.

Rachel is a drinker because her husband, Tom (Justin Theroux) left her. He married Anna (Rebecca Ferguson), had a kid, all of the things that he could never do with Rachel. And it turns out that Megan was their nanny for the little kid, unsure if Rachel knew this fact.

Well one sad day, Rachel decided to get off on that stop, seeing that Megan was with another man. This could not be! She was perfect! And now Rachel was drunk and upset.

The next thing Rachel knew, she was awake in her home, with blood on her hands. And news that Megan was missing.

Was it Rachel, blackout drunk and angry? Could she have killed someone?

Also starring Luke Evans, Edgar Ramirez, Darren Goldstein, Laura Prepon, Allison Janney, and Lisa Kudrow.

The Girl on the Balcony was a much sexier title, but too close to Man on a Ledge.

The Girl on the Train is told from three different points of view, Emma, Megan, and of course Rachel. The timelines are a bit out of whack, for dramatic sake, in order to amp up all the mystery. After all, if we saw Megan’s point of view when she died, there would be no story to tell!

The false leads don’t end up pissing off the viewer, but really just make sense as the story unfolds. It is not an easy mystery to guess ahead of time, although enough hints really are there. I made a lot of intentionally stupid guesses just to mess with my wife, but when the final reveals occurred I wasn’t surprised in the least.

The issues with the film are just…hard to explain. It feels so bland. The acting isn’t bad, it is just mediocre feeling. The story doesn’t end up feeling as great as it is built up to be. It was maybe over hyped by the advertising or the pacing of the book, because the movie felt rushed and just average.

I think more details in the story would have gone a long way. More drives for the characters and just more things for them to do. It took a long time to reveal not too much, and just felt like a lot of potential that was never fully reached, unfortunately. Let’s hope the sequel, The Old Lady in the Shoe does a bit better.

2 out of 4.

Table 19

Ah, Anna Kendrick. She had six movies come out in 2016, and I was disappointed in the five I saw. I am sad to say The Hollars, which looks great, I still haven’t gotten around to.

I used to love Anna Kendrick, since I saw her in Rocket Science and Up In The Air. But her choices that don’t involve singing in the movies have been bad choices, and that really just sucks.

So on that note, I wasn’t rushing to see Table 19. For a lot of reasons, but even the Anna Kendrick appeal was losing its lure on me. At this point it just feels like I should just wait until Pitch Perfect 3 before trying to trust her again.

And then Kendrick might have more than one person following her around for paparazzi.

Ah the joys of a wedding. What a splendid time where people come together to laugh, sing, dance, be merry, all in celebration of the love of a couple!

Except for those who feel like they had a pity invite or shouldn’t be there. Or maybe people there for alternative reasons. Or maybe you are just Eloise (Anna Kendrick). A month ago you were the bridesmaid, but you bailed out of the wedding due to an awkward situation. You are great friends with the bride (Rya Meyers), but you were also dating her brother, Teddy (Wyatt Russell), the best man. And a month before the wedding, he broke up with you over text. Oh yeah, lot of confusion now over what you should do. ‘

But Eloise still shows up! She decides to come anyways, for her friend, and maybe for rekindling love, but it is awkward. And she is now put at Table 19, with the random people who they couldn’t put anywhere else. The people who came but really, why?

Like Jerry (Craig Robinson) and Bina Kepp (Lisa Kudrow), who own a diner, have a lose connection to a family member of the bride, and sort of hate each other. There is Renzo (Tony Revolori), a high school student looking to just get lucky, who is young and unaware of how to be social. We have Walter (Stephen Merchant), a cousin who is awkward and a criminal. And we have Jo (June Squibb), the bride’s first nanny who they love so dearly, maybe.

Eloise now has to exist in misery with this group of strangers who have issues, while hoping she doesn’t also accidentally ruin the entire wedding.

Also starring Andrew Daly, Amandra Crew, Charles Green, Jay Klaitz, Margo Martindale, Richard Haylor, and Thomas Cocquerel.

Oh my god look at these freaks and weirdos.

Table 19 is a shocking film. Not in the extreme graphic language, violence, or nudity way. Not in the amount of laughs that it provides. But how different it was from its advertising, which most people would assume is a comedy with a bunch of weirdos, doing weird stuff. But it was hardly ever funny. There were some amusing bits, but it was extremely lacking on the actual humor.

Yep, we have a drama comedy that is more drama, with a bit of romance. It just drives the film into the average territory as it goes for several genres without excelling at any of them. If you have read certain films this year that I have reviewed, like Get Out or Colossal, I praised them for their genre bending. But the difference between them and Table 19 is that when the genres change, each the movie is awesome on each level. Table 19 is just middling, where the shifting doesn’t help it but hinder it.

Sure, it is realistic. But a lot of the story lines feel like missed opportunities. Kudrow/Robinson story felt like it didn’t help anything, Merchant’s story didn’t feel finished, and Revolori’s plot was just disappointing. The only other character to have a decent story was Squibb, who really brought the whole film together.

Table 19 has some cute moments and the occasional laugh. But the selling points of the film are how Kendrick and Squibb carry themselves throughout the movie, the realism they bring to the whole thing, to give the film a little bit of heart.

2 out of 4.

The Boss Baby

Honestly, I didn’t think I would watch The Boss Baby until at least this summer when it was out on Redbox to rent.

When I first heard about the film with a poster, I just hoped and assumed it was a joke. Then a teaser trailer and a real trailer happened. Then advertising in a lot of places. They are going full on with this movie, they are serious that it is real.

Just, honestly. Come on, fuck you Dreamworks. Your animation style for your not Dragon/Panda movies is usually terrible. Your plots are bad and simplistic. You will seemingly never reach the Disney/Pixar level of work if you continue to come up with shit. A talking baby that is secretly a CEO? Just, god damn it, Dreamworks.

Like someone saw Baby Geniuses or those E-Trade commercials and thought it was the perfect idea to make some money.

The only person here who isn’t trading stocks must be the kid sitting alone!

Our story starts with Tim (Miles Christopher Bakshi), a 7 year old kid, in love with the world. He has an overactive imagination which helps his play time as an only child. His mother (Lisa Kudrow) and father (Jimmy Kimmel) also spend a ton of time with him, even though they are both marketing workers at a place called Puppy Corp, which makes puppies or something. Oh, and he is about to have a baby brother.

Tim thinks his brother showed up on his own in a Taxi. He is already wearing a suit and a briefcase. He is a “boss” baby (Alec Baldwin), in that he immediately bosses around the house. He demands things of the parents. He takes up all of their love and attention and soon Tim feels alone.

But also, yeah, Tim finds the baby talking at one point. Perfect English. Being kind of a dick. Turns out this baby is from a place where babies come from. He was put into their management team, instead of given to a family, because he was the cream of the crop. They even have a special bottle formula to stay as babies forever, to help take care of baby interests.

And he was sent here on a mission. A spy mission. A deadly mission!? No, just a mission.

Steve Buscemi plays the Puppy Corp boss, and Tobey Maguire is the narrator/older Tim voice.

The sock straps freak me out seeing them on a baby.

I know the bias is coming out, but this was a terrible film. This is the worse thing Dreamworks Animation has put out since Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa. I somehow even liked Turbo more than this film.

Technically the whole thing is structured from an unreliable narrator, as we find out he is telling this story decades later, and we already established he has a big imagination, but it was too wild and over the place.

First of all, the plot is shit, the twists are shit, the mission, the backstory, it is just extremely poor writing. The comedy from the film mostly comes in the form of violence and arguing, between an adult baby and a regular kid. There is a scene where Tim records a baby meeting, which begins a way too long chase between the babies and him, to get the tape back. It is way too extreme and violent against the babies, I could barely stop rolling my eyes.

The baby also seemed to have some sort of magical powers as well that they never escaped. He could apparently teleport in the house to out of the house to in the house, because he kept appearing faster than he should have. And guess what, that is just still bad writing.

The animation wasn’t consistant. Eyebrows would get ripped off of a character, and somehow they showed them back the next scene, while acknowledging another character still having the ripped off eyebrows. Things would be thrown onto the ground and disappear a second later. The tiny inconsistencies between frames in a scene really made it look like a shoddy C grade performance. The parents forgot to act like parents at the end, for plot convenience, and didn’t question why their kids were suddenly in Vegas.

As a note, this film has references to other movies. We got an Indiana Jones scene, several Gandalf quotes from his alarm clock Wizzie, and even Baldwin quoting his famous lines from Glengarry Glen Ross. But references on their own cannot carry a movie, do not constitute real jokes, and are the second lowest form of comedy. Right above slapstick.

They really struck out with this film.

0 out of 4.

The Other Woman

The Other Woman? Yes. This movie is the unofficial sequel to The Other Man. And by unofficial, I mean not at all related. It still deals with people cheating though, so don’t worry.

“Yay infidelity!”

Natalie Portman stars in this movie as the other woman. Yes! She meets a guy at the law firm, they get together (the guy says his marriage isn’t working anyways, but…the kid! He wants to stay together for the kid). Who was he married too? Lisa Kudrow, who can be a mean old bitch if she wants to. She really hates Portman, and it is understandable why (I mean, broke apart her marraige). The movie is very disjointed, because it is told from the present (of her living with the new kid + lawyer), but with flashbacks of first meeting him, and getting knocked up, breaking apart a marriage.

So in a real time line? Portman meets Lawyer Dude. They shellack in a hotel. She gets pregnant. He divorces Kudrow. They get joint custody of kid. Portman now lives with them and sees Kudrow a whole bunch because of the joint custody thing.

At the same time, it shows her interactions with the “not her kid” kid, and how awkward it can all be. It seems that everything goes wrong too, which Kudrow is quick to throw in her face. We also find out (early early on) that Portman produced a child with her new man, but that child died of SIDS.

The movie is about both Portman never feeling accepted into her new situation (after all Kudrow harasses her and says she is bad with children) while at the same time feeling that no one else cares about her dead child enough, and never cared at all. Portman does some outlandish things that will leave the viewer very upset, and begin to think Kudrow is right. Except, also, Kudrow is also a mean bitch.

This movie is really just about two woman who do questionable things.

You know. Like home wrecking.

So the movie is okay. It is an Indie flick. I don’t really enjoy the ending. At first you feel sympathetic for Portman (but why? She ended a marriage) but her meanness makes you question that. You will never like Kudrow’s character, because even at the end, when she does something positively, it is still very mean sounding. Must be because she is a woman of science. So overall, it is okay. I don’t think you are normally supposed to hate all the characters in a movie though, so that is a negative.

But hey. Anthony Rapp and Lauren Ambrose (Six Feet Under / Can’t Hardly Wait) have small roles. Nifty!

2 out of 4.

Paper Man

Paper Man is a pretty weird movie. That becomes obvious if you have seen the cover. Let me help you.


Ryan Reynolds as a super hero maybe? (Is he called Paper Man? (Nope, Captain Excellent)) Jeff Daniels, not being in Dumb and Dumber? Lisa Kudrow, not in Friends? And wait, EMMA STONE? SHE IS IN THIS MOVIE? I would have probably bought this on that fact alone (you know, if I thought this was worth buying). All the times I walked by this movie, I could only see Ryan Reynolds, sitting there being bored. Never noticed it was Emma Stone, since she looks a bit different on the cover.

This is a serious story. Not a comedy! Jeff and Lisa are married, yet not doing well. Jeff is having a midlife crisis. Another author who never writes anymore. He actually sees make believe people, aka, Ryan Reynolds. Emma Stone is real, just some underage girl who lives near his cabin, who he gets to babysit his kids. (He has no kids. Pedo, pedo).

This isn’t really a joke, just a fact.

Somewhat comedic, but I didn’t really laugh. Jeff may or may not be trying to get it on with Emma Stone (as those are the only two options?). You see him deal with his crisis, and slowly seem to drift further and further from Lisa Kudrow. Also of course, Ryan fucking Reynolds wearing tights. Probably good for at least one watch, but it missed out on perfection by not having the strongest emotional ties behind it.

2 out of 4.