Butt Kicking Blockbusters and Bad Moms in Theaters
There’s something to please most any interest in theaters this weekend. Woody Allen makes a return to the screen, Viggo Mortensen learns what it means to be a dad while Mila Kunis and her posse try to change the image of the ordinary mom. You can also see teens in the streets, letting online gaming take over their lives. Of course, you can see that on the actual streets of Columbus as well, but in the movie there’s no Jigglypuff – I don’t know if that’s better or worse.
If you’ve got some asses that need kicking, Christmas comes early this year. Jason Bourne is back, with a sack full of fuzzy memories and ferocious action.
Star Matt Damon and director/co-writer Paul Greengrass return to the franchise after nearly ten years, trading some of the emotional depth of the previous films for a stab at new relevance and two of the most effective action sequences of the entire series.
Since we left him at the end of Ultimatum, Bourne has basically been wandering the Earth like a violent Caine, grabbing cash in back alley fights across the globe. Old friend Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles) tracks Bourne down to deliver more clues about his past, with CIA director Robert Dewey (Tommy Lee Jones), cyber division chief Heather Lee (Alicia Vikander) and the agency’s favorite assassin (Vincent Cassel) close behind.
Damon’s brooding-yet-vulnerable intensity makes Bourne an effective anti-hero who’s easy to root for, and Greengrass can still deliver thrilling set pieces of shaky cam action. An early sniper chase brings sharp, wide-eyed tension, and the climactic car chase through the packed streets of Vegas is over-the- top spectacular, with a well-placed sign for self-parking as the exhale-inducing coup de grace.
A raunchy comedy that peels away all the precious nonsense associated with motherhood and isn’t afraid to get a bit nasty – this feels like a film that’s been a long time coming. It could be a welcome change of pace if done well. Unfortunately, instead we got Bad Moms.
Mila Kunis stars as an overworked, underappreciated, harshly judged parent. Her husband’s useless, her boss is a joke, and she’s so irredeemably responsible that her life is spiraling out of control. Either that or she is such an overtly clichéd image of every potential mom complaint that no actor could possibly make her a human.
This is a world where not one father contributes. OK, maybe one – but he’s a hot widower, so there’s no mother to help out. Awwww….
Bad Moms is trying to offend your sensibilities, but it succeeds in the wrong spots. The lengthy sight gag concerning sex with an uncircumcised penis – not offensive, just funny. The problem is the rest of the movie.
At no point in the film Bad Moms is the word “parent” used. Every problem, every responsibility, every joy and obstacle is the sole property of the mom. I’m sure it can feel that way at times, but good comedy rarely comes from such a one-dimensional premise. It certainly doesn’t do so here.
Unfriended meets Pokemon Go in the online thrill ride Nerve.
Within the film’s universe, Nerve is an online game of truth or dare, “minus the truth.” Participants choose to be players or watchers. Watchers choose dares, players complete them, gaining cash rewards and collecting watchers. The player with the most of both wins – or do they?
Emma Roberts is Vee, a high school senior who observes more than she participates. Definitely not a player. But when brash bestie and Nerve celebrity-wannabe Syd’s (Emily Meads) miscalculation leads to Vee’s public humiliation, she leaps outside her comfort zone and joins the game.
Kiss a boy (Dave Franco). Ride into Manhattan with him. Try on a swanky dress. Everything seems innocent – even dreamy – until it doesn’t.
Jessica Sharzer’s script, based on Jeanne Ryan’s 2012 novel, is sharp enough to keep you interested regardless of the holes in the plot, which devolves into utter ridiculousness by Act 3. Still, in a forgettable B-movie kind of way, it’s a fun ride.
It also boasts a savviness that’s too of-the-moment to remain relevant by the end of the summer, but right this second it’s both cheeky and insightful. The finger wagging and lessons learned fit perfectly with the familiar teen angst of the genre in this glitzy cautionary tale.
Also opening in Columbus this weekend:
- CAFÉ SOCIETY (PG-13)
- CAPTAIN FANTASTIC (R)
- INTO THE FOREST (R)
- LEAGUE OF GODS (NR)
- LIFE, ANIMATED (PG)
- ROSEANNE FOR PRESIDENT (NR)
Reviews with help from George Wolf.
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