NEW THIS WEEK
The third film in the rebooted Star Trek franchise, Beyond sees the Enterprise crew stranded on an unknown planet, after their famous ship is suddenly attacked by the mysterious General Krall (Idris Elba). The lost and scattered explorers must now navigate through the rough wilderness to reunite and battle their way off this dangerous new planet.
We Said: “Star Trek Beyond doesn't have much complexity, and that may rankle fans who were hoping for a bit more depth and humanity, but it'll just have to wait until the next voyage.” Rating: 3.5 out of 5
The Good: This is an incredibly fun movie. The plot of separating the crew members and breaking them off into different little groups works brilliantly in allowing the movie to further explore their characteristics and dynamics. The new addition of Sofia Boutella’s character Jaylah is also fantastic, and a true highlight of the movie. There’s a real sense of both fun and thought to Beyond that has been a bit lacking from the franchise (particularly the second film in the rebooted saga, the aptly titled Into Darkness). Fans of the original series will especially appreciate this new film for all of its efforts to better represent the values of the original series. It’s fan service, but some of the best fan service that we’ve seen in a while.
The Bad: While the plot does allow for different sides of the character’s personalities to be explored, it simultaneously struggles with giving all of the characters a consistently interesting plot line of their own. Several key players are underused, and several smaller characters are weirdly overused. The biggest flaw in Beyond though, is how safe it is. It’s true that Into Darkness went too far with its action elements, but Beyond at times goes too far in the opposite direction, and becomes a bit boring. There’s a way to be thoughtful, fun, and exciting. Star Trek Beyond just misses that mark.
Overall: Beyond is a very enjoyable movie, and a big improvement over some previous films in the Star Trek cannon. It does at times feel like a two hour version of an episode of the TV show, but perhaps that’s okay for a series like this.
Fed up by the pressures and standards of being the perfect mom, Amy (Mila Kunis) teams up with some fellow parents (Kristen Bell, Kathryn Hahn) to blow off all their pent up mom-rage and party like there’s no bedtime. The rebellious mothers then square off against the uptight PTA president (played by Christina Applegate) in this raunchy new comedy from the creators of The Hangover franchise.
We Said: “Unlike the other "Bad" films [Santa, Teacher¸ etc.], Bad Moms is closer to wish fulfillment than anything else. Nobody dreams about being a crusty old mall Santa, but there are plenty of mothers out there who dream of throwing their responsibilities aside for a night of wild sex and parties. Bad Moms will give them plenty to laugh about but it should have been raunchy and reckless enough to make them ashamed of identifying with it so much.” Rating: 3 out of 5
The Good: Much like the Hangover movies, Bad Moms humor relies on its cast’s strong chemistry, and continually upped stakes of gross, vulgar, excitedly R-rated comedic situations. The actors all give 100%, and turn in surprisingly funny performances (particularly Kathryn Hahn, but honestly everyone else has their moments to shine too). While I am neither a parent nor a woman, I’ve been told that this is an incredibly relatable movie for those who are. And I believe it. There’s a lot in Bad Moms that seems to be pulling its dark, hard-R jokes from a very real and honest place. I was surprised by how much of Bad Moms really lands.
The Bad: It isn’t by any means a new or particularly inventive plot for a movie, and relies pretty hard on cliches and tropes you’ve seen a million times before. Though mostly funny and played for everything they’re worth, the characters are all rather one dimensional, and feel like stock characters who only exist to get to the next laugh.
Overall: While not the freshest of concepts, Bad Moms delivers what it promises with an awful lot of laughs and a very game cast.
In this real movie that actually exists, Kevin Spacey plays Tom Brand, a workaholic billionaire who doesn’t have time for his wife (Jennifer Garner) and family. In a half-hearted attempt to get his daughter a present she’d like for her birthday, Tom goes to mysterious pet shop to buy her a cat. I’m not kidding when I say that Kevin Spacey then switches bodies with the cat, and now has one week to reconnect with his family as Mr. Fuzzypants or else he’ll be stuck this way for the rest of his life, in what is certain to be one of the strangest films of the year.
Overall: Typically here I would describe a movie in terms of its “good” and “bad” aspects. Nine Lives however, defies such a description, as it is simultaneous both qualities and neither. This is a truly insane thing here that has been filmed and released under the title Nine Lives. It’s fascinating, and I would be lying if I told you that it was anything short of immensely entertaining, but it would not do justice to whatever Nine Lives is to suggest that it is therefore “good” in any kind of conventional sense. It is an oddity. Rare lightning caught in a bottle of strange that I am absolutely amazed by. If you’re around 10 or 12 years old and want a quick laugh, you’ll certainly enjoy Nine Lives, additionally, if you’re into silly mind bogglers like the Howard the Duck movie or The Star Wars Holiday Special you will absolutely love this real movie, where Kevin Spacey trades places with a cat to learn to love his family. Everyone else... probably not much.