Friday, May 24, 2019

The Week Of (2018)

Movie Name/Year: The Week Of (2018)
Genre: Comedy
Length: 116 minutes
Rating: TV-14
Production/Distribution: Happy Madison Productions, Netflix
Director: Robert Smigel
Writer: Adam Sandler, Robert Smigel
Actors: Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Steve Buscemi, Rachel Dratch, Allison Strong, Roland Buck III, Katie Hartman, Chloe Himmelman, Jake Lippman, Jim Barone, June Gable, Suzanne Shepherd, Christian Capozzoli, Nasser Faris, Jared Sandler

Blurb from IMDb: Two fathers with opposing personalities come together to celebrate the wedding of their children. They are forced to spend the longest week of their lives together, and the big day cannot come soon enough.

Selina’s Point of View:
I like the concept of The Week Of. It had a lot of potential.

I should know. My wedding involved merging two vastly different families. I’m pretty sure it could have been written up as anything from a hardcore drama to a dynamic comedy. As a result, I was expecting something decent.

Yes, I know I should have lowered those expectations a little. Adam Sandler (Sandy Wexler, The Do-Over, The Ridiculous 6) hasn’t exactly been shining lately. So, I’ll take the blame for being as disappointed as I was.

I think the problem is that Sandler is trying to use humor from a different era. He hasn’t evolved at all since the height of his popularity. He’s trying to recreate the success of his old films by using dated methods. It’s not going to work. He needs to understand that he can be his quirky self and still come out of the past.

The worst part is that there are a few scenes sprinkled throughout the film that show real promise. Even the short scene during the beginning of the credits felt like something I could have watched a lot more of.

There’s no way I’d recommend The Week Of to anyone.

Cat’s Point of View:
This movie looked funnier in the trailer.

I went in with an optimistic outlook and the hope that it would be a throwback to some of Adam Sandler’s (Bedtime Stories, Pixels, The Do-Over) earlier and better work. I mean, seriously, Chris Rock (Bee Movie, Death At a Funeral, Sandy Wexler) and Steve Buscemi (Rampart, Norman, The Boss Baby) were involved with this project. That should be a comedy goldmine. Should have been.
My eternal optimism was misplaced here.

Rock didn’t quite have the intensity you would expect for one of his projects. I can play devil’s advocate to say his character was just ‘that way’; but, honestly, I expected a little more personality to shine through.

Buscemi’s part would have been a little more amusing to me if I hadn’t nearly been triggered by this character’s actions. Unfortunately, that’s hard to explain without spoilers. I recognize that's a personal thing, though. All I can say is that Buscemi has perfected the art of playing crazy and unlikeable guys.

I thought Allison Strong (Dora and Friends: Into the City!, The Blacklist, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel) and Roland Buck III (Sleight, The Long Road Home, Chicago Med) were cute as a couple. That’s my positive there. I think their roles were downplayed significantly. They almost vanished behind all the rest of the chaos going on.

Chaos was exactly what this film was, though. I know it was meant to be because it was showing a building overwhelming situation for Sandler’s near-doormat character to handle. On the other hand, watching it caused my blood pressure to rise. It was actually stressful. The awkward moments were just that and not on the funny end of it, either. There were several points I wanted to nope right out of watching the rest of it. I’m stubborn, though. That being said, it took a bit for me to decompress after the credits rolled.

There were a few good moments sprinkled in – but otherwise, I think I’d give this movie a hard pass.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 27%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – None
Metascore – 41/100
Metacritic User Score – 5.1/10
IMDB Score – 5.1/10
CinemaScore – None

Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating1.5/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating1.5/5

P.S. Short scene during the start of the credits.

Movie Trailer:

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween (2018)

Movie Name/Year: Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween (2018)
Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Family Length: 90 Minutes Rating: PG Production/Distribution: Scholastic Entertainment Inc., Original Film, Sony Pictures Animation, Columbia Pictures, Silvertongue Films Director: Ari Sandel Writers: Rob Lieber, Darren Lemke, R.L. Stine Actors: Madison Iseman, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Caleel Harris, Chris Parnell, Ken Jeong, Mick Wingert, Jack Black Blurb from IMDb: Two young friends find a magic book that brings a ventriloquist's dummy to life.

Cat’s Point of View:
I’m a little on the fence about Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween. There were good and, well, not as good moments about it. I can’t say that there was anything that I expressly hated about it.

It did feel like a follow-up book from a young-adult series more than a blockbuster sequel. The key word there is likely ‘sequel.’ I’m not sure that this film escaped the curse.

So let’s start with the positive!

The original movie’s cast stayed busy and had committed to other projects while this was in production.  That could have spelled bad news for this project if significant recast of major characters were needed. Since the story didn’t try to pick up immediately where the first left off, the sequel dodged that bullet for the most part. 

To be honest, I didn’t even realize Jack Black (The Polka King, The Unexpected Race, The House With a Clock in Its Walls) wasn’t voicing Slappy until the end credits. Mick Wingert (Modest Heroes, Avengers Assemble, Ultraman) did a wonderful job with the role. Of course, he’s no stranger to stepping into Black’s vocal shoes. He’d also been tapped to be the voice of Po in Kung Fu Panda: The Paws of Destiny (2018) series.

The cast, in general, was selected fairly well. The ‘kids’ were generally recognizable from their other projects, but not to the extent that it would overshadow their performances here. I bought in to the little family at the core of the story, and the issues they were going through.

Older horror fans might recognize Jeremy Ray Taylor (42, The History of Us, Geostorm) from his recent role in It (2017), and Madison Iseman (The Rachels, Still the King, Feast of Seven Fishes) from the wildly popular sequel of Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017). Caleel Harris (Think Like a Man Too, How Sarah Got Her Wings, The Loud House) fit well as the practically-family best friend and still has that ‘I know that kid from somewhere’ vibe to him.

I also really enjoyed the whimsy of Ken Jeong’s (Dr. Ken, Wonder Park, Avengers: Endgame) neighbor character.

The life-lessons and character growth was decent here, as could be expected from youth-oriented horror-light like this. It wasn’t bad, but I can’t say that I haven’t seen it all before. There were so many well used recipes here. There’s a point at which I wondered if the movie was poking fun at itself, understanding this. I’m afraid giving the example would be a major spoiler; so if you give it a shot you’ll likely see what I mean.

Ultimately, I was a bit disappointed with this story. I wanted it to be either a ‘what happens next’ from the first movie with same characters and new adventures; or I wanted it to be much further removed from the first while remaining in the same ‘world’ of the Goosebumps stories. I’m not sure that what we got was entirely either.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 48% Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 40% Metascore – 53/100 Metacritic User Score – 4.3/10 IMDB Score – 5.6/10 CinemaScore – B
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 2.5/5
P.S. There are some animated scenes, as well as 1 epilogue scene during the credits.
Movie Trailer: