The Book of Henry

Many months ago, when this film was still wanting to come out and exist, I saw a teaser trailer for The Book of Henry and I was intrigued.

Whatever that trailer showed me, it showed me a potentially very cool story. I remembered absolutely nothing about the plot, just that it was maybe cool. And yet, I missed the screener for a different film. Apparently I dodged a bullet though, as this film was then blasted to so many directions.

I didn’t read or hear specifics, just words like bad getting thrown around. Which is enough for me to know I had to watch it eventually.

Just like how we know eventually that plunger had poop touching it.

Susan Carpenter (Naomi Watts) is a single mom, struggling to get by on her own with her two sons: Henry (Jaeden Lieberher) and Peter (Jacob Tremblay). Even though she struggles, she really shouldn’t, because Henry gets to be a super genius level kid at 11 or so. He is taking care of their funds, their bills, everything. She just needs to work and be a mother.

And sure, that is weird. But hey, whatever works. Speaking about “whatever works,” their neighbor (Dean Norris) is the head of the police force also, with a stepdaughter, Christina (Maddie Ziegler), in his custody, for whatever reason. Henry is super sure that she is getting beat up by her stepfather, but people won’t listen to him, for the lack of proof thing. Fucking A.

Long story short, Henry gets a fast moving cancer, totally dies, and has left behind a big book of instructions for his mom to kill their neighbor.

Also starring Sarah Silverman, Lee Pace, and Tonya Pinkins.

Oh. Well. Um.

The Book of Henry started out very okay, without a lot of bad or good things really going on. Just a story, intelligent and nice kid trying to do good. The death switch up? That was sad and a bit strange. The book? Well, that is when the movie quickly nose dived into stupid, stupid, stupid territory.

In general, I often have problems in movies for the character who is so goddamn smart that he has predicted things from real people eight actions in advance. The master planner, even in superhero things, usually makes me sort of glare at the screen and find it disbelieving, unless they also had an actual psychic ability.

And we get all of this in this film, but it is actually supposed to be realistic, and it is a goddamn kid. Because in this book, with tape recorders, he has so many instructions for his mom to listen to while walking around. While this is happening, the mom character will talk back, make snide remarks, whatever, which Henry totally predicted and he will respond thusly.

Oh my goodness, it is so terribly dumb to watch. On top of that, the plot is stupid from the get go at that point, and the ending is a few steps worse.

The Book of Henry might have had a good concept, but it was then thrown away and instead we were given this turd burgler of a film. Nothing deep and philosophical to see here, folks.

0 out of 4.

Battle of the Sexes

The phrase “battle of the sexes” always feels cringey nowadays, and it has for years. There was a board game with that name recently, and it is just one that is based on poor stereotypes and no one should really ever want to play. And yeah, that is the point of the phrase. To talk about the differences between the most common genders and fuel masculine and feminine behaviors.

But the movie Battle of the Sexes is beyond all of that. First of all, the title is given due to the real event that announcers decided to call it at the time. So they are just highlighting history here, not their fault.

And second, it is a sports film that is also about gender equality and sameness, not stereotypical differences. This is the clincher here, this is why I want to see the movie.

Maybe the actors involved was another important factor, but don’t tell them. They have big egos.

In the early 1970’s, Billy Jean King (Emma Stone) was on top of the female tennis players world. She was the first female player to ever each $100,000 in a year from prizes, and people really made a big deal about it. Things were on the up and up for the women’s movement too! Except when it came time to sign a new contract with her fellow ladies for the main American tournament. The prize support for the women’s players was significantly lower than the men players, despite sharing the same arenas, drawing the same crowds and all of that. So they decided to just up and leave. They started the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA), had Virginia Slim cigarettes as their sponsor, and now had funding to play for real money!

This pissed off a lot of people. But King and a lot of her fellow players were riding high. King also started a relationship with her hairdressed (Andrea Riseborough) while on tour with a husband (Austin Stowell) at home!

This story is also about Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell), an older retired tennis pro who used to be number 1. He is a bit of a dick and likes to parade around like a fool to earn money. And he is a gambler. At the lowest points of his life, he decides to challenge Margarat Court (Jessica McNamee) to a tennis match, really playing up the male chauvinist angle. It seems like he is around just to ruin the modern women’s rights movement! The prize amount gets even bigger when he is finally able to challenge King, and it becomes one of the biggest spectacles of the decade, where apparently the question would be settled by the end of who is greater, man or woman.

Also starring Sarah Silverman, Natalie Morales, Bill Pullman, Alan Cumming, Elisabeth Shue, Eric Christian Olsen, Fred Armisen, Martha MacIsaac, and John C. McGinley.

Courting in this film holds two different definitions.

Battle of the Sexes is one of those movie trailers you will see and you just know you will have a good time during the film. It is a period piece, so we get to see people we recognize fondly looking, from our current standards, ridiculous. Always a plus.

Stone and Carell have been in films together before, namely Crazy, Stupid, Love, where they played daughter and father, and now they get to play pseudo rivals! Because the reality of this situation is they are not, at all, in any way, real rivals. They would never play each other in a tournament, they both were not at their primes at the same time, they only played the one game together. But their lives are now forever entwined in history due to this moment, this festival, this, well, publicity stunt.

Because in all reality, it seems like it was just all about the money. King may have had other reasons for agreeing to the game (women’s rights in sports and all), but all the people pulling the strings from behind the scenes just wanted to get rich. The events of this film are almost unbelievable, this is a time when reality if it was written as a screenplay would be lauded as ridiculous. But hey, what’s the point of life if not to get really ridiculous every once in awhile?

I like that this story told much more than the game. A lot of the film is NOT tennis, but about tennis players. Finding out about King’s husband and other relationships felt realistic and sad. Riggs himself was in a sad state in his life and he wasn’t even a bad guy, he just played it up for publicity. And in all honesty, I didn’t know who won going into the movie, so I am glad I never looked it up. It is interesting that the game was held in Houston though, in the now defunct Astrodome.

That last sentence is meant to appeal to the locals.

3 out of 4

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping

When the first poster was released for Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping, I felt like my life had changed.

It looked amazing. I wanted to see the film right then and there. The tagline was just four words and felt like the most brilliant thing ever.

But the poster came out in February with the movie not coming out until early June! What a torturous few months it has been. I’ve had to watch three superhero films before I could see a potentially life changing film. But I guess that the date ended up being a good one. It is the real start of the Summer films (because counting May is stupid), and hopefully the film would have enough party in it to last me through the months of excessive blockbusters and explosion heavy films.

This doesn’t mean that I will go in praising it no matter what of course. Just look at X-Men: Apocalypse, my most anticipated comic film of the year, and it left a disappointing taste in my mouth. Going in excited means it is very easy for it to crash, that is all I am saying.

How they were able to get an Adam Levine hologram for this movie I will never know.

Ever since Conner4Real (Andy Samberg) was born, he was dope. He could play the drums at 1, he could make the mad rhymes, and he had the best two friends ever: Lawrence (Akiva Schaffer) and Owen (Jorma Taccone).

They made the group The Style Boyz and their hip hop music was everywhere. It inspired tons of modern groups. Lawrence made the lyrics, Conner was the front man, and Owen made the fat beats. Then Conner gets to real, too big, gets his own verse on a song with another artist and does his own solo album that sells a shit ton. And this documentary is about the release of his second album, his world wide tour, and his relationship with his girlfriend, Ashley Wednesday (Imogen Poots).

It is also about the rise and fall of being a popstar and how it can be hard to fall when you were up so damn high.

Tim Meadows plays the manager, Sarah Silverman the publicist, and James Buckley/Edgar Blackman the yes men groupies. Chris Redd is Hunter the Hungry, an upcoming rap superstar, and Joan Cusack is Conner’s mom. Also a shit ton of cameos, of artists playing themselves mostly.

I hope my future groupies will make sure I never leave the house looking like that.

Going into Popstar, I actually didn’t even know it was going to be a Mockumentary. And I love Mockumentaries, one of the rarest genres out there, so it was definitely a nice surprise. And since I have gone out of my way to watch quite a few recent pop tour documentary films (Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, Justin Bieber 2, One Direction, Justin Bieber 3) I was very familiar with the current summer concert line up types of film. Early on in the film, it is was quite clear they were sort of parodying Justine Bieber: Never Say Never film (and the title is similar too, obviously), going to extremes with his backstory and even including Usher!

Add in the fact that we got original The Lonely Island music, with a shit ton of cameos and outrageous humor, you are left with a pretty dang funny feature film. So many quotable lines, plenty of vulgar language and we get an actual human penis in this film. Not a prosthetic dick and not even for a quick flash. They earned their graphic nudity rating.

My favorite scenes actually are where they parody that strange TMZ show where they just badly gossip in their office. They parody it only a few times, but man, I practically laughed nonstop.

If I had complaints, I would say it started to drag a bit near the end. That is kind of disappointing, given the film is under 90 minutes, The film isn’t surprising with the direction it takes, we practically know how it will end, so getting to that point just takes its time.

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping is start to finish over the top comedy and a great release in this season of blockbusters, sequels, and cinematic universes.


3 out of 4.

A Million Ways To Die In The West

Hey boys and girls! Did you like Ted? Well, then you might like the next movie, A Million Ways To Die In The West!

That is what advertisements told me at least. But I only thought Ted was okay. Was entirely pop culture based humor, so it was a movie that won’t be as amusing in a few years because nothing will be relevant. Although it had a decent plot and Marky Mark, so that is fun.

But now we are going out west, back in time, and director Seth MacFarlane is actually going to star in it. Hopefully it is more than just a few dude’s hangin’ out.

Hangin' Out
Damn it, this looks like two dudes just hangin’ out!

Set in the 1800’s in Arizona, near Monument Valley (like every other western), lives our hero Albert (MacFarlane), a sheep farmer and a pussy. He doesn’t like to shoot a gun, because he never has, and thus he is bad at it. But somehow he keeps getting himself into shoot outs.

Albert starts to hate himself after his long term girlfriend, Louise (Amanda Seyfried) dumps him. Now he hates life. He also is a cynic, pointing out all the things that can kill him in the west. Thus the movie title. He does all this until Anna (Charlize Theron) walks into his life. Just kidding, he continues his moping ways, but now there is this mysterious woman who can shoot better than any he knows. Maybe she can change his life and stop him from getting into gun fights.

Just kidding. He does some stuff, getting him into fights with Foy (Neil Patrick Harris), the owner of the Mustacherie, and Clinch (Liam Neeson), an outlaw and the fastest hands in the West. Oh Albert, you are so silly.

Also starring Giovanni Ribisi, as his best friend, dating a whore Sarah Silverman.

“Huh? Why would Neil Patrick Harris every run a mustache store?” – GorgView Hate Commenter

I think I would rather watch Ted in four years than see A Million Ways To Die In The West.

The humor is very Seth MacFarlane, I will give it that. You can go in expecting that, and if you enjoy that enough, you will maybe have a good time. Maybe.

To me, this comedy had huge stretches of time without a joke. Trying to maintain some western tropes, there were scenes of traveling and just looking at the scenery. But that wasn’t the downtime. Literally just long periods of the movie moving on without very many jokes. It doesn’t help that quite a few of the jokes were in the trailer, most of which giving the entire set up and punchline so none of it was left to surprise. I am most disappointed in even the TV ads giving away one 1980’s related scene, which would have been amazing if kept secret.

Not that surprise is needed for comedies, no. A good comedy can keep you laughing through many viewings. The humor that was present just for the most part wasn’t for me.

There were some okay moments. I really liked the mustache song. Sarah Silverman ended up making me chuckle on more than one occasion. So I guess I thought the small side plot was more amusing than most of the film. That happens some times.

TL;DR, for the most part, A Million Ways To Die In The West just felt like 2 hours of boredom, with an occasional chuckle. Having the main character be a relatively modern man felt a bit half-assed. And I didn’t even get into how much of a unlikable character he was. Mr. Mopey. Ever have a friend who complains about everything, as if the experiences are unique to them? Yeah…

1 out of 4.

Wreck-It Ralph

I first saw the preview for Wreck-It Ralph when it premiered for the movie Brave. Unfortunately for Brave, I no longer cared about the Pixar movie I was about to watch, but instead was dreading the 4-5 month wait I’d have to endure before seeing Wreck-It Ralph. As a self described nerd, how could I not immediately think it would be the best thing ever.

Video games! In a movie! Ahh!

Bad guy

Our story takes place inside of an arcade, in the fictional game Fix-It Felix Jr., clearly a Donkey Kong-esque game. But the antagonist, Ralph (John C. Reilly) is tired of his place in life. He wrecks things like a boss, but he is tired of being the bad guy. The townsfolk and Felix (Jack McBrayer) are still afraid of him, unwilling to let him hang out during their downtime. However, they tell him if he is able to earn a medal on his own, they’d be willing to celebrate with him and treat him better.

You know, an impossible task given he is the bad guy in his game. So he decides to leave his game and temporarily join “Hero’s Duty”, a much newer and advanced FPS game that awards medals for reaching the top of the tower. Turns out games have gotten a lot more violent than they were 30 years ago and he has a few issues. He eventually is able to claim a medal but then finds himself himself in “Sugar Rush”, a candy land racer game, accidentally bringing an alien from the previous game. There he meets a glitch, Vanellope (Sarah Silverman) who is unable to enter the daily races due to the cruel King Candy (Alan Tudyk).

Alien breeding pools, lollipop fields, and Jane Lynch as a futuristic Captain await you in the finale of this game hopping film. But more importantly, can Ralph finish his task and get back to his game before his absence causes it to get unplugged for good?

Wouldn’t it be great if the tiny girls in Sugar Rush were all secretly Barakas?

Before I talk about how awesome this movie is, let me tell you my one real complaint. Sure, there are a lot of video game character cameos in the surge protectors outside of the games, but I am a bit disappointed Ralph only goes to visit two other games. I was expecting at least two more game hopping levels, to maximize the experience for Ralph. They might have done this only to to increase material for future movies (that really aren’t necessary).

But the rest of the movie, wow oh wow. The animators put a lot of effort into the detail of the worlds. There is a lot that goes on in the background, including additional cameos. Despite the large advertisements with Sonic upfront, he is only in a “commercial” in the actual movie. Personally, I thought Zangief was the best cameo in the movie, given that his character felt a bit inspirational with his back story.

I am having a hard time to figuring out if I liked the movie for being good, or just because I grew up with video games. Obviously if you have never really been a fan of video games, I don’t think this is the best movie to watch. But I still think it is an enjoyable enough comedy/action movie that will entertain everyone who sees it, even if they don’t understand every little reference.

3 out of 4.

Take This Waltz

If you have heard of Take This Waltz, there is generally only one reason why.

Because this is the Indie-Canadian movie originally rumored, then confirmed, to have a naked Sarah Silverman. I am sure there is 95% of you that just don’t know the movie, but the other 5%? Yeah, it is because of that reason.

To be fair, there is tons of naked women in this movie. All shapes and sizes. Fully. Let this not be the main reason to watch the movie, mmkay?

We got this girl, Margot (Michelle Williams) who is on vacation! Woo, she feels lonely there, but some guy in the tour group keeps joking around. Same guy ends up being next to her on the plane. Same guy ends up leaving “near her” so he can just walk from her house when they share the cab. Dude lives two houses over and across the street. How crazy! (And potentially stalkerish).

Pretty amazing how they never really met. Especially if Daniel’s (Luke Kirby) job is one of those cart things, where people can ride, being pulled by someone running. Probably decent pay, and good for working out. But also, Margot is married. To a Lou (Seth Rogen) who makes cooking books, dealing with chicken recipes. They eat a lot of chicken.

They have been married for five years, but Margot doesn’t feel loved as much. Lou jokes around a lot, and she feels like her advances are being ignored, while he has become complacent. But this neighbor, he is a new, and interesting, and probably can fulfil her sexually. Should she leave her husband for him, or just fool around a bit?

Hos be hoin’.

Take This Rogen
Sarah Silverman is also barely in this movie. Just a sober sister. Michelle Williams is naked way more often.

I was ready to bash this movie so hard. Fucking double standards in film. Women cheating on their spouses tend to be acceptable because they are finding themselves, or something. Men cheating are generally always pigs and bad people. Fuck that. She does try to be open with her emotions, but she does a bad job of it, and apparently “too late” for Seth to see anything as wrong. Generally the best time to deal with problems is not when you are walking out of the door.

But hey, the movie ends up not painting her as some hero figure. (Spoilers?) By the end, turns out she just wanted something new. But eventually new things become old things (a quote from an old black woman in the shower scenes), and she gets bored of it too. She realizes she done fucked up, and she is kind of a horrible person. I loved that ending a lot more.

I’m not saying you have to stay with the one you marry (although it’d be nice). Just you know, try to work shit out. Don’t run away from your problems. Realize that couples can fight. Etc.

In other news, this movie felt very real in the good way. Nice emotions going on, and pretty nice acting. Those Canadians can make some good things people.

3 out of 4.

The Muppets

I can’t say I know much about The Muppets. Pretty sure I watched more of the Muppet Babies cartoon than any actual muppet movie or show. And by pretty sure I mean 100% positive. I have seen many episodes of that cartoon, and no episodes of the old Muppets show or any Muppet movie before. Just wasn’t raised on them, my bad.

So needless to say the only preconceived notions I had on this movie was that A) a lot of people loved it and B) the title was dumb/vague.

I like that dog one myself.

In this world, I guess Muppets are just real things. I couldn’t tell if all things that were Muppets like were known as Muppets, or if only this select group of /things/ were known as the Muppets. A third option is that they are more or less identical to real people, and the people who were part of the show The Muppets are the Muppets. I think that is the real answer? Kind of weird though.

The story is about a “Guy” named Walter, who clearly is a muppet. Or at least a weird looking human. He is best friends with Jason Segel‘s character, and they are roommates for like, forever. Jason has been dating his girlfriend for 10 years, Amy Adams, and on their anniversary they are going to the magical land of Los Angeles. She also happens to be a school teacher, and I was weirded out when it was her and NOT Alyson Hannigan.

They invite Walter along too, because he is lonely, and wants to see the Muppet studios. He is obsessed with that show. Like, really obsessed. That is all he talks about. Kind of makes sense why not many friends. So of course all he wants to do is see the studio. Amy Adams main goal is to finally have alone time with her boyfriend and maybe get a proposal finally. But shit goes wrong. Turns out an “evil” man (Chris Cooper) is about to but the old studio, because there is oil underneath it. And in the original contract, they have until some time next week to buy it again for $10 million.

Walter flips a shit, and wants to try and stop him. So he finds and convinces Kermit to “Get the band back together” and that people “Still care” about them, and hopefully try and save their studio. So they get all the Muppets they can and work on getting a telethon the day before to hopefully raise enough money, with a lot of musical acts, and host Jack Black!

Also, eventually Jason stops being such a jackass, and realizes he is dating Amy Freaking Adams and does the right thing. Don’t worry.

Tons of cameos of famous people playing themselves or other weird roles, including Rashida Jones, Zach Galifianakis, Sarah Silverman, Kristen Schaal, Donald Glover, and Emily Blunt.

Look at this noob. He is too fanboyish to be a real Muppet.

Honestly, I thought the plot was pretty weak. The ending didn’t seem to make much sense to me. Heart warming, sure, but nonsensical. I don’t want to spoil it, but feel free to ask me if you saw the movie, haha.

BUT. I did like a lot of the jokes. When they were getting all the muppets, and needed to do it in a montage? That was great. And map travel. I also enjoyed a lot of the music. The songs involving Amy Adams and Jason Segel were my favorite, but the Muppet only songs during their telethon were pretty entertaining as well. Especially the barber shop quartet.

But out of all that, it just means I might be more willing to buy* the CD, and not really care about watching the movie again. It was decent, probably a lot better for those that you know, grew up with the muppets though.

2 out of 4.

Peep World

I have walked by this title a lot, mostly because I got it confused with a British television show that might be about Pedophiles, Peep Show. But Peep World has neither pedos nor Brits. Just Americans, a “dysfunctional family” and boner jokes.

This is all not to be confused with this British gem.

Peep World is the name of a fictional book in this fictional movie. Written by Ben Schwartz, he is the youngest member of his family, and decided to write a novel about their lives. They didn’t know it was going to happen, but it became a very successful book, and even has a movie being made about it! Whether or not it is just based on them, or all true, that is the real question. Despite all of this fame for the youngest son, he has problems lasting in the sack, and therefore is flawed again. His assistant Kate Mara might be able to help.

He has two older brothers, one a not too successful lawyer (Rainn Wilson, took 8 tries to pass the bar), and a more successful businessman with a wife (Michael C Hall, Judy Greer). His older sister is Sarah Silverman, and is thinking of suing for damages, all while her friend Stephen Tobolowsky is trying to hit that. Oh yeah, and the entire thing is narrated by Lewis Black.

Lot of star power right there. Unfortunately just describing the plot seemed weird to me. Characters all there, and a dad, who really wants to bring his family together. That is about it.

A very odd film, no doubt, and had some humorous moments, but I am left wondering what the point was of it all. I just needed something…more!

Rainn Wilson
More than Rainn Wilson looking like, well, a pedophile.

2 out of 4.