The 2018 novel, "The Woman in the Window," by author A.J. Finn, was a hot property in Hollywood and almost immediately after its release, was green-lit as a feature film. It attracted Oscar-caliber talent, like Amy Adams, Julianne Moore and Gary Oldman, with an adapted screenplay by Tracy Letts and Scott Rudin. Esteemed director Joe Wright ("Darkest Hour," "Atonement") was brought on board and "The Woman in the Window" looked like a surefire hit.
That is, until disastrous test screenings with audiences sent the movie back into post-production and delayed it from its original October 2019 release date. The pandemic put it out even farther, and 20th Century Studios was more than happy to sell it off to Netflix, who purchased the rights to the film and then unceremoniously dumped it as a mid-May release (Netflix, a PR powerhouse, did little to promote it and doesn't seem to have much confidence in its performance).
It's never a good sign when a movie goes through so much, but even in knowing the film's journey, it still lands as a massive disappointment when it arrives and is ever worse than you expect. With Adams, Oldman, Moore and also featuring Brian Tyree Henry, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Wyatt Russell and Anthony Mackie (the latter two of whom were recent co-stars in "The Falcon & The Winter Soldier"), you expect something great, and "The Woman in the Window" is not great...even if glimpsed through a window from across the street would one never reach that conclusion.
Zack Snyder has worked his way into the hearts of millions and is one of the most talked-about directors of the past year. The "Zack Snyder Cut" of "Justice League" that was recently released was well-received and dreamed into fruition by his fervent fan-base. But long before he ever took on The Caped Crusader and his Super-Friends, Snyder cut his teeth on a zombie movie...a George Romero zombie movie no less...the 2004 remake of "Dawn of the Dead." It was Snyder's first feature-film and he returns to world of the undead with his own original zombie tale, "Army of the Dead."
Yes, it's way too long (it is a Zack Snyder film after all), and it never quite lives up to its outstanding opening sequence. But sometimes it's nice to just rest one's brain, and that particular muscle is not at all needed to enjoy this one. "Army of the Dead" definitely pays tribute to the zombie genre, in that mindlessness is not only welcome, it's the main dish.
If only it didn't take itself so seriously.
Director Alexandra Aja has made a career out of horror. Films like "Crawl," "The Hills Have Eyes" and "Piranha 3D" clearly show his skill as a growing master of the genre. With his latest film, "Oxygen" ("Oxygéne" as it's known by it's original French title), he leans more heavily into science-fiction while still flexing his usual muscles.
The result is the most effective movie to date that deals with the isolation, desperation and claustrophobia associated with the recent pandemic, even though "Oxygen" has nothing to do directly with it.
Beautifully animated, hilarious and inventive, "The Mitchells vs. The Machines" is exactly what you'd expect from "The LEGO Movie" directing duo, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller...however this time they only produced. The new filmmaking pair of Michael Rianda and Jeff Rowe ("Rianda & Rowe") have a catchier name and they make the most of their inaugural directing effort.
"The Mitchells vs. The Machines" is an absolute blast, and you're sure to love it whether you're a kid, an adult or even a robot.
There are no aliens, no secret attacks, no mutinies in "Stowaway." The entirety of the film is presented as a moral dilemma, the kind of situation a group of college psychiatric students might try to work through over the course of a semester.
It's small in scale despite taking place mostly in the outer reaches of space, but "Stowaway" carries with it both some dead weight and some unexpected surprises.
Melissa McCarthy is one funny lady, and we know that she must be fiercely loyal too. Because once again she puts her career on the line to try to make the most out of her husband's, Ben Falcone's, flimsy comedy, "Thunder Force."
Bottom line: It's terrible.
But so were Falcone's last few films - "Superintelligence," "Life of the Party," "The Boss" and "Tammy," - films that were all directed by Falcone and with the exception of "Superintelligence," written by him as well. And they all share another commonality in that each film stars his wife, Melissa McCarthy, who is a tremendously funny and gifted actress whenever she is not trying to make the most of a Ben Falcone movie.
NETFLIX Review: 'Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal,' privilege with and for a price
In 2019, an investigation that was dubbed "Operation Varsity Blues" uncovered a scandalous scheme involving super-wealthy parents who were caught buying access for their children to attend prestigious colleges and universities across America.
To the majority of the public, the "faces" of this scandal were actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin - who were perhaps the two most famous individuals involved - but there were allegedly over 700 families caught up in it (though over 50 formally charged). All of whom had two things in common: They had committed a felony, and they had dealt directly with Rick Singer, a "coach" and consultant to the super-rich, who was the man who cooked the whole thing up.
The deciding factor as to whether a family-friendly comedy is "good," usually comes down to this: Is it something that can be simultaneously enjoyed by kids and adults alike? With "Yes Day," the answer to this question is an emphatic "no."
I've never quite considered the importance and function of an effective protagonist in a story, like I did while watching the new Netflix film "I Care A Lot." "Likability" is not a necessity, but when a film gives you absolutely nothing to care about, and no one to root for, it's hard to become emotionally invested...and when there is no emotional investment, it's incredibly hard to feel like a movie is worthy of your time.
The pandemic wasn't just rough on the box office and the existing slate of films that had been scheduled for release, but also the few films that did manage to get made in 2020 have left a lot to be desired as well. Enter "Malcolm & Marie" a wordy, tiresome examination of a couple who are as caught up in themselves as writer/director Sam Levinson seemingly is of his own work.
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