Thursday, June 2, 2022

In & Out [post]: The Founder

Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.   

Title: The Founder    Rating:   PG-13     Runtime: 115 mins
With: three classes of bored sophomores

What's it about? Two pickles, diced onions and the got-damned United States of America. Well, that and the equally (and immorally) delicious tale of Ray Croc, the man who founded McDonald's in the same way Columbus discovered America. Part-time husband, full-time hustler, Croc turns what was a (not his) family burger business into a global empire. So global in fact, that according to the film, Mickey D's feeds 1% of the world's population every single day.

What works: Keaton is awesome as always, making Croc genuinely human...initially (by the end he's the T-1000 made out of special sauce). The rest of the cast are all charming as well, with Nick Offerman and John Carroll Lynch (as the McDonald brothers) deserving any and all praise (unless they got shafted, like their real-life counterparts). The film, set in the world of 50's old white-man business, moves along at a pleasantly brisk pace, routinely dropping factual nuggets of McDonald's lore along the way.   

What doesn't: I know it's a thankless role, but Dern is pretty much stuck on the moment the vet says that there's nothing that they can do for Mr. Whiskers. More pressing/hurtful, is the fact that some of the larger details seemed to be exaggerated for effect. It feels like we honestly have enough here, and any tweaks to the truth is just piling on.

Thursday, May 19, 2022

In & Out [post]: The Bad Guys

It's not a butt!

Title: The Bad Guys    Rating: PG    Runtime: 100 mins 

With: Violet (8), Kim (43)  And: Guy Who Sat in Our Seats

What's it about? A group of criminals, who also happen to be anthropomorphic animals, are caught during yet another Ocean's Eleven-style heist (elaborate robberies are kind of their thing) and sentenced to hard time. In an effort to further his impeccable image and standing in town, some little hamster dude named Professor Marmalade vows to rehabilitate the motley crew and make the Bad Guys, you guessed it, good.


What works: From the jump, the vibe is fantastic, with Sam Rockwell channeling peak George Clooney rivaling the breath-taking animation for the coolest thing ever. While my daughter was moderately miffed about some key changes from the book, the story is engaging, goofy and rocket-paced. If anything, it might move a bit too quickly (we've got a some sort of record for double and triple crosses), but overall it's a crowd-pleaser.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

In & Out [post]: Just Mercy

Whatever you did, your life is still meaningful.

Title: Just Mercy    Rating: PG-13    

Runtime: 137 mins    With: HS kids     

Did they read the book? No. No they did not.
 

What's it about? Hate. Love? Honestly, I'm not sure. Either way Just Mercy tells the incredibly inspirational (and real-life) tale of young lawyer Bryan Stevenson, a recent Harvard graduate who moves to the south in an attempt to overturn wrongful convictions for inmates on death row. Though Stevenson will have many clients throughout his career, the film focuses primarily on the case of Walter McMillan, a black man set to be executed for murdering a young white woman in Monroeville, Alabama (home of Harper Lee, of all people).

Sunday, May 8, 2022

In & Out [post]: The Northman

Remember for whom you shed your last teardrop.

Title: The Northman Rating: R             Runtime: 137 mins

With: my sister, my father (my king?)

Could I actually feel him hating the movie? Fully

What's it about? A seemingly docile Viking boy grows into a laser-focused monster of a man, with the singular goal of avenging the murder of his father. Along the way, he joins some sort of mercenary death squad, aiding in the killing of countless innocents, which should make his quest decidedly unsympathetic. Can we really root for a guy to avenge a senseless murder of someone close to him, if he himself is slaughtering families along the way? Turns out we can...at least for awhile.

What works: Outside of some fantastical elements and famous faces, at times this mfer feels like the most badass Viking documentary ever. Hardcore rituals where the line between man and beast is eviscerated by light angriest campfire in the history of time? Yes, please. Skarsgard disappears into the void (that is Amleth, honestly) and it's, initially, pretty f--king thrilling. Throw in an absolutely manic Willem Dafoe (whose long-rotted severed head still belongs to, rather obviously, Willem Dafoe), an eyeless Bjork (I blame that giant teddy bear back in 1993) and one of the dopest scores in recent times, and good times should be had by all.

What doesn't: While the curveball thrown into the Amleth's quest was definitely appreciated (and likely obvious to you non-morons), it didn't make make his journey any more satisfying, frankly. Ultimately, after all we've been through together, what we're left with amounts to damn near zero, and even if that's the point, it felt kind of...fruitless? Even when we get to the final boss at the Lava Level, which should be the story's climax, I honestly just wanted to get the Hell outta there already (it didn't help that I thought the movie had already ended thrice). I was tired of...everything.

Saturday, April 16, 2022

In & Out [post]: Morbius

We shouldn't be here when it gets dark. 

Title: Morbius Rating: PG-13 Runtime: 104 mins

With: Matthew, 12        Did I fall asleep? Probably

Year this should have been released: 1996

What's it about? Did you see the second Venom flick? It's that. Again. With different CGI creatures throttling each other endlessly. Basically, there's something kinda bad (symbiote/needing to drink fresh blood) in a guy that's mostly good (Eddie Brock/the guy from My So Called Life). Ultimately, he wants to use his powers to help protect the less fortunate, but sometimes things go awry (people are swallowed/people are sucked). Oh, and there's this other guy with the power, who is an out-of-control dick (Cletus the murderous a-hole/a guy who reminds me of Eddie Redmayne in Jupiter Ascending).

What works: Even if he is remotely off-putting for a variety of reasons (none of which I can really put a finger on), Leto at least seems moderately interested in bringing the half-dead Dr. Morbius to life. I thought I would hate Nerd Blade from the jump, but it turns out his mission is noble and his assistant is hot....so, in that regard? *awkward thumbs up*

Monday, March 28, 2022

In & Out [post]: Uncharted

Fell out of a car that fell out of a plane.

Title: Uncharted Rating: PG-13 Runtime: 116 mins

With: My older brother     Is Mark Wahlberg still alive? Maybe

What's it about? If you've played the video games or have the ability to imagine Indiana Jones minus a charismatic lead and mostly void of joy, you're halfway there. Add in something about a map and a lost treasure (and gold, sweet sweet golddd), and just like that...you've got everything you need to know about Uncharted.

What works: Three things: two gigantic action sequences and the infinite charm of Tom Holland. The action, the notable stuff, unfortunately pretty much bookends the film, with tons of silly exposition to slog our way through in between. But when things get crazy, it's inspired, and it's hard to not to be impressed with the spectacle of things that aren't supposed to be flying through the air doing just that. And yes, Holland is essentially playing Peter Parker as if Aunt May had been murdered, too, but I'm going to allow it. For now.

Friday, March 25, 2022

In & Out [post]: The Batman

Justice. The answer's justice.

Title: The Batman Rating: R Runtime: 176 mins

Where: Regal West Manchester How tired was I: Very 

What's it about? We've known for years that Gotham is a bottomless shit hole tits deep in murderous villains and gangsters, sure, but somehow, it's gotten worse, making Batman's job, this go-round, even more loathsome than before. And now? Even being Bruce Wayne sucks a rain-soaked dick, as it turns out his family's tragic legacy was built on lies, murder and deep-rooted corruption. Or was it?

What works: Turns out, staying awake, as I enjoyed this one infinitely more the second time around. That scene with the (actual) bat? Yeah, I didn't catch a glimmer of that the first time through (and who knows what else). Obvious shit like actually watching the entire movie aside, I really enjoyed the casting, with Pattinson and Kravitz just eviscerating the screen with their deadly mix of charismatic aloofness and unrelenting sexiness. The score is an absolute banger, and doom-and-gloom of Gotham has never looked doomier and/or gloomier. Frankly, there wasn't much I didn't love...

Sunday, March 13, 2022

In & Out [post]: Promising Young Woman

Can you guess what every woman's worst nightmare is?

Title: Promising Young Woman  Rating: R  Runtime: 117 min

Streamed on: HBO Max   Number of times my wife fell asleep: 0

What's it about? The only promise this young woman makes, is a day of reckoning for all the assholes and would-be scumbags of the world. That tipsy blonde in the corner of the bar? Take her home, bro. I f--king dare you. (basically, this film could be the most badass MCU flick ever, as it's essentially a goddamned superhero flick where Thanos' plan ain't got shit on what the criminally underappreciated Carrie Mulligan has in store for half the population)

What works: From the very first scene to the very last, Promising Young Woman is relentless. The mystery of how we are where we are unravels with a remarkable intensity, as Cassie's journey is equal parts terrifying and terrific. It's an awful story about awful people doing awful things, but there's a certain uneasy pleasure derived from Cassie's mission. The script is amazing, the supporting cast tremendous, but it is absolutely Mulligan who f--king owns every frame she is in (and honestly, even the frames she's not in). 

Monday, February 28, 2022

In & Out [post]: Jackass Forever

It ain't a bunch of NASA scientists writing this shit.

Title: Jackass Forever Rating: R Runtime: 96 mins

Where: Regal West Manchester With: My sister, old people???

Number of times the screen was mostly somebody's dick: 900

What's it about? Someone might tell you it's about a lot more, and they might be right, but the short version is a bunch of dudes get together to hurt each other's dicks. Repeatedly. 

What works: Even if you're the most miserable f--ker on the planet, I'd bet good money that something in this movie is going to make you laugh in spite of yourself. And even if you somehow manage to defy the odds and find none of this shit funny, there's a certain undeniable charm in seeing these assholes all grown up, still doing the same dumb shit they did as kids. Oh, and old-man Knoxville is kinda sexy, right? (I'm more of a Steve-O man, myself).