Category Archives: Comedy

COMING 2 AMERICA (2021): The Things I Liked…

Coming 2 America (2021), kIkI Layne, Amazon Prime Video
Coming 2 America (2021), kIkI Layne, Amazon Prime Video

I had a good time watching Coming 2 America, the sequel to Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall and James Earl Jones’s 1988 comedy classic Coming to America.

Director Craig Brewer’s film isn’t quite perfect but the parts that it gets right gave me so much joy, that I’m barely mad about the ones that didn’t fully work. 

There’s a fair number of memorable funny moments, many of which you won’t see coming. And several of them feature Wesley Snipes and Leslie Jones. Another key highlight is, of course, Eddie Murphy as Prince Akeem. I was so happy to be fully present in the moments the camera was on Murphy (one of my favourite standup comics); whether it be Akeem in the present day, or young Akeem via the clever usage of old footage captured for the first movie. In this way, for me, watching Coming 2 America felt like catching up with an old friend you hadn’t seen for a very long time. One with whom you shared some of the best times of your life.

Coming 2 America (2021), Eddie Murphy, Amazon Prime Video
Coming 2 America (2021), Eddie Murphy, Amazon Prime Video

As for what I wish had been different about Coming 2 America, in no particular order, some of the de-ageing of Murphy wasn’t the best. The part of the story I consider the weakest has to be the love story. That element felt forced and rushed. 

I know very well that Coming 2 America is supposed to be focused on Prince Akeem’s son. Yet, a part of me wanted the camera to focus more on Akim. I’m going to blame that on how very appreciative I am of Murphy’s general comic excellence.

Watch Coming 2 America if you haven’t already. The first movie is undoubtedly better, but there’s much fun to be had with this sequel. And chances are, you won’t want to miss the highlights mentioned above and more. Especially the performance at the party near the end. That moment had me so happy, that as soon as it was over, I had to rewind and relive it all over again. It’s been a while since I’ve partied, so maybe that’s part of the reason.

Happy Film Loving

G

TOM AND JERRY (2021): The Thing I Liked…

Tom & Jerry (2021), Warner Bros. Pictures
Tom & Jerry (2021), Warner Bros. Pictures

The pre-teen version of me desperately wanted the recent Tom and Jerry movie starring Chloë Grace Moretz, Michael Peña and Colin Jost to be good. I was looking forward to being transported back to some of the happiest TV viewing moments of my childhood. Instead, what happened with director Tim Story’s film is that I quickly became bored.

My biggest issue with Tom and Jerry is that I didn’t find the writing engaging enough to keep me watching beyond the thirty-minute mark. My disappointment was further compounded by the lack of newness where Tom and Jerry’s antics are concerned. There’s also the fact that my sense of humour has undoubtedly evolved. Still, I don’t regret aborting my viewing session before the end.

As for the animation style, I may have appreciated it more had the background not been real-world New York City. This combination of the updated animation style with the real-world backdrop proved to be too much difference all at once for me. An overload that’s made worse because the story execution is lacking.

The best thing about my brief experience with Tom and Jerry is Jerry’s cuteness. I’ll remember that for a while, as try not to think too hard about how different the film could have been had the humans not featured so very prominently, when, for me at least, they were never the main attraction.

This is one you watch if you absolutely must.

Happy Film Loving 

G

THUNDER FORCE (2021): New Trailer From Melissa McCarthy, Octavia Spencer, Jason Bateman, Ben Falcone…

Thunder Force (2021), Octavia Spencer, Melissa McCarthy, Netflix
Thunder Force (2021), Octavia Spencer, Melissa McCarthy, Netflix

New action/fantasy Thunder Force stars Melissa McCarthy, Octavia Spencer, Jason Bateman and Bobby Cannavale.

Written/directed by Ben Falcone; Spencer and McCarthy play two estranged childhood best friends who reunite after one devises a treatment that ends up giving both of them super powers.

My fingers are crossed that Thunder Force is one of those McCarthy movies that I really enjoy; rather than the variety I have to stop watching within 15 minutes.

There must be hope because I find myself very amused by the vision of McCarthy’s Lydia taking the rapid breaths at 0:51 in this trailer. Also, there’s the inclusion of Bateman, plus the chemistry between the two ladies that intrigues me.

Sarah Baker, Melissa Ponzio, Shane Berengue, Tyrel Jackson Williams, Braxton Bjerken, Trevor Larcom, Patrick R. Walker, Marcella Lowery and Taylor Mosby also star.

Thunder Force Release Dates: April 9th, 2021, (US), Netflix…

Happy Film Loving

G

I CARE A LOT (2020): The Things I Liked…

I Care a Lot (2020), Rosamund Pike, Amazon Prime Video
I Care a Lot (2020), Rosamund Pike, Amazon Prime Video

I knew that crime/thriller I Care a Lot was about Marla Grayson (Rosamund Pike), a despicable woman who takes pleasure in draining the savings of her vulnerable elderly clients. What I didn’t know is I’d end up detesting Marla quite as much as I did.

To say I was extra impatient to see her get her comeuppance feels like an understatement. Furthermore, I’m not sure if I’ve ever been more incensed by a character the way I was with Marla. OK, maybe Guy Pierce’s Charley Rakes in Lawless (2012) is even more despicable. I mean, I truly, deeply hated him. I digress. 

Written/directed by J. Blakeson, I Care a Lot is generally well-acted. However, there are parts of the story I didn’t fully buy. Specifically, occurrences that seemed to happen the way they did, simply to serve the story. Only, ironically, they ended up doing the movie a disservice because I didn’t believe them. Much of this takes place once Marla became more involved with Peter Dinklage’s character.

There are very few if any clear cut ‘good people’ in this movie. This is a truth that made watching I Care a Lot more uncomfortable than anticipated. Maybe I wouldn’t have felt so slightly shortchanged had I been able to connect more with any characters’ story, and in a way that made me identify with them on a less than surface level.

As for my favourite things about Blakeson’s film, Chris Messina is great as the Lawyer and I found Marla’s style delightfully noteworthy; as is her general badassery. There’s no doubt that her place in the list of tough female movie characters sporting blunt bobs has a corner in my mind. I only wish it had one in my heart too.

Watch I Care a Lot if you’re curious.

Happy Film Loving

G

HAPPILY (2021): New Trailer From Natalie Morales, Natalie Zea, Joel McHale…

Happily (2021), Joel McHale, Paramount Movies
Happily (2021), Joel McHale, Paramount Movies

Starring Natalie Morales, Joel McHale and Natalie Zea; in new comedy/crime/drama, Happily, a happily married couple are visited by a mysterious stranger. A visit that leads to a dead body, many questions, and a tense couples’ trip with so-called friends.

Written/directed by BenDavid Grabinski; additional key cast includes Kerry Bishé, Stephen Root, Shannon Woodward and Charlyne Yi.

This looks like a potentially fun story about frenemies who are mad that a couple in their group isn’t quite as miserable in their relationship as they are. And so they seek to destroy. Well, at least that’s my very quick summation based on this trailer.

It would be great if this turns out to be even more fun than expected. Something surprisingly pleasant, the way Long Shot (2019) was.

Kirby Howell-Baptiste, Breckin Meyer, Brea Grant, Paul Scheer, Al Madrigal, Jon Daly and Billie Wolff also star.

Happily Release Dates: March 19th, 2021 (US)…

Happy Film Loving

G

CRUELLA (2021): New Trailer From Emma Stone, Emma Thompson, Mark Strong, Paul Walter Hauser…

Cruella (2021), Emma Thompson, Walt Disney Studios
Cruella (2021), Emma Thompson, Walt Disney Studios

Set in 1970s London, England, amidst the punk rock revolution; Cruella is the latest Disney animated film to become a live-action movie.

Starring Emma Stone, Paul Walter Hauser, Emma Thompson and Mark Strong; director Craig Gillespie’s comedy/crime story focuses on the rebellious early days of the notoriously fashionable villain, Cruella de Vil.

I’ve missed seeing Stone in a leading role, and based on this impressive trailer, Cruella looks like a great way to make her presence felt.

Glenn Close is the Cruella that comes to mind when I think of de Vil, thanks to 101 Dalmatians (1996). Now, I can’t wait for this new version of the story to take us back to the earlier years of the devilish de Vil.

Emily Beecham, Joel Fry, Kirby Howell-Baptiste, Jamie Demetriou, Gianni Calchetti, Michelle Greenidge, John McCrea, Tony McCarthy, Chloé Booyens, Haruka Abe and Niamh Lynch also star.

Cruella Release Dates: May 28th, 2021 (US)…

Happy Film Loving

G

TO ALL THE BOYS – ALWAYS AND FOREVER (2021): The Things I Liked…

To All The Boys: Always and Forever (2021), Lana Condor, Netflix
To All The Boys: Always and Forever (2021), Lana Condor, Netflix

I remember being pleasantly surprised by To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, back in 2018; the story of the romantic life of two high school students, Lara Jean (Lana Condor) and Peter (Noah Centineo).

Then came To All the Boys – P.S. I Still Love You (2020), a film I concluded was okay compared to the first. Having now watched To All the Boys – Always and Forever, the final instalment, I can say that minus one or two minor niggles, director Michael Fimognari’s film is close to as satisfying as high school romance stories get. Especially for girls who picture themselves in Lara Jean’s position.

It certainly helps that Peter is quite decent, somewhat mature, and the story feels generally quite grounded in the reality of what life is like for high schoolers in similar predicaments. I enjoyed letting To All the Boys – Always and Forever take me back to the romantic ups and downs of high school life and remembering just how absorbing my high school romances were.

Other highlights include the general look and feel of the visuals, including the colours, illustrations, plus a perfectly fitting, sometimes rebellious soundtrack.

The only parts that had me raising an eyebrow or two involve the situation with the pink sofa on the New York subway. Particularly the expectation that I’m supposed to believe they fully carried it there. There’s also the fact that Peter’s father looks very unlike him and some of his dialogue left me wanting.

I say watch To All the Boys – Always and Forever if you enjoyed the first two movies. The story is wrapped up rather well.

Happy Film Loving

G

MISSING LINK (2019): The Things I Liked…

Missing Link (2019), Hugh Jackman
Missing Link (2019), Hugh Jackman

Missing Link, the story of Mr Link (a Big-Foot-like character) and his adventures with explorer Sir Lionel Frost (Hugh Jackman), plus adventurer Adelina Fortnight is an animated movie I found to be fun in parts and watchable.

The reason I’m not more enthused by writer/director Chris Butler’s film is that story-wise, it felt oddly superficial and more basic than I expected.

What I did enjoy are the interactions between Lionel and Link, plus the moments of heart, most of which happen in the more engaging last quarter. Emma Thompson’s character is another welcome highlight, and it proved quite satisfying to see Lionel’s growth/evolution as the story continued.

I watched Missing Link because the cast which also includes Zoe Saldana and Zack Galifianakis intrigued me. Yet, overall, I wish I could include Butler’s film on my list of favourite animated movies I’ve seen in recent years, but I cannot. Nevertheless, I say give Missing Link a chance if you’re particularly curious. It may just be what you need when you’re after an easy-viewing animated film experience.

Happy Film Loving 

G