Critical MeMe

Time spent watching films, even crappy ones, is time well-spent.

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Location: Missouri, United States
    These aren't comments on ALL of the movies through which I've cried, yawned, laughed, and rolled my eyes, but just about everything I've seen since early 2002 is here plus a few from earlier. Post dates reflect my screening & parenthetical dates are the year of US release (aka Oscar eligibility).
    Yeah, a movie review blog isn't very original. But originality is overrated. Just ask Michael Bay.

8/16/2019

Otherhood (2019)

The mothers of three adult best friends, all hurt because their sons barely keep in touch, decide to take an impromptu trip to New York, where their sons now live. Each woman barges into the home of their own son and are surprised and hurt anew that their visit isn't wanted. And though I kind of agreed with the guys, I also thought that all three were unnecessarily assholey to their moms.

Though not thoroughly devoid of nice moments, most scenes felt forced and there were very few surprises.

C

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8/11/2019

Tag (2018)

Five friends have been playing the same game of tag since they were kids -- but now that they're adults, they confine the fun to one month every year. When the "never been tagged" Jerry is scheduled to be married in that month, the other four see their chance to finally lay hands on him.

My expectations were low, so this turned out to be a really fun surprise. Though ridiculous, it's also extremely funny -- even more so when I found out that this story is based on a real group of guys and that some of the elaborate situations in the film came from life. I could've done without Jerry's almost mythical abilities to avoid having hands touch him, but that surrealism didn't detract much.

B

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8/10/2019

Death of a Salesman (1951)

Fredric March is an on-the-road salesman who's slowing down. Problem is he's got no money to retire on and his grown sons aren't much help to their parents. Technically this family has more than its share of problems, but they all seem well-earned. It's not a "bad luck" situation so much as a "terrible patriarch" situation. 

Two-hour misery marathon.

F

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8/09/2019

Instant Family (2018)

Couple who've never thought seriously about kids look into foster kids and, almost before they know it, are parenting three siblings. It's undeniably heartwarming and tearjerking, but the two younger kids were pretty terrible actors and the jokes didn't have much room to breathe.

Still, the power of the story itself (based on true events) won out.

B-

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8/04/2019

Happy Death Day 2U (2019)

Tree, the Sorority girl from the first movie, is pretty pissed to find herself back in the time loop she thought she'd successfully exited.

It's basically more of the same, but with a Back to the Future twist this time. I was just as happy with this as I was with the first.

B

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Happy Death Day (2017)

Sorority girl wakes up hungover on her birthday in a strange guy's dorm room. After a jam-packed day, she is stabbed to death by a masked killer -- only to wake up hungover on her birthday in that same guy's dorm room. If she can't figure out how to stop her killer, she's pretty sure she's not going to be able to break out of the loop.

It's a lightweight horror twist on Groundhog Day, and it's pretty fun.

B

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Doctor Dolittle (1967)

A physician who is perplexed by the behavior of humans finds that he gets along quite well with animals, especially once he puts in the work to learn their languages.

There's a charm to the early part of the film, as we get to know Dolittle through the eyes of boy meeting him for the first time. But that charm wears thin as the film is twice as long as it has any need to be and the songs that break up the action are completely forgettable.

C-

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8/03/2019

Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood (2019)

Tarantino pulls the same revisionist history trick with the Manson murders that he did with Hitler in "Inglorious Basterds." I didn't like it much then, and I don't like it much now.

While I appreciate the performances turned in by Pitt, DiCaprio, and even Margaret Qualley, the movie's too enamored with itself. It takes way too much time to do anything, and not everything should be given so much breath. The good stuff here is the actor aging out of leading-man status and his longtime stuntman/only friend. Why take the power of that away by stapling a "hey look at THIS" bullshit-but-wouldn't-it-be-cool-if-this-is-what-happened storyline to it? It's distracting and unnecessary. This could've been a masterpiece without it.

C

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