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Sunday, October 23, 2016


An ordinary suburban couple (Zach Galifianakis and Isla Fisher) discover that their hospitable new neighbors (Jon Hamm and Gal Gadot) are actually government spies. Soon, all four of them are caught up in an international espionage imbroglio. Greg Mottola (Superbad, Adventureland) directed this action comedy. ~ Daniel Gelb, Rovi

Director:Greg Mottola 

Cast: Zach Galifianakis, Jon Hamm, Isla Fisher, Gal Gadot, Matt Walsh

Release Date: Oct 21, 2016

Rated PG-13 for

Genres: Comedy


Keeping up with the Jones is a fun little comedy.  As a spy movie satire it’ll never live to last year’s Spy or even Mr. & Ms. Smith which it borrows heavily from as well.  Still, it’s light and breezy direction by Greg Mottola makes for an enjoyable if inconsequential comedy.  Its biggest strength is its cast.  The foursome of Zach Galifianakis, Jon Hamm, Isla Fisher & Gal Gadot are likeable throughout with each shining at one point or another. The plot in of itself is thread bare with nary a surprise in sight.  This oversight does leave the film lingering past its expiration point.  It’s a shame because with a slightly better script and plot this could have been something special. 


Cindy Prascik's Review of Jack Reacher: Never Go Back

Dearest Blog: Yesterday it was off to Marquee Cinemas for the newest installment in Tom Cruise's Jack Reacher franchise, Never Go Back. Spoiler level here will be mild, nothing of consequence that wasn't revealed in the trailers. 
Attempting to prove the innocence of an Army Major accused of espionage, our hero finds himself embroiled in a high-reaching conspiracy while facing off with a secret from his past. 
As I spent quality time with my best friend the Internet this morning, I saw a fair few headlines along the lines of, "How Can the Jack Reacher Franchise be Fixed?" and I thought, "Come on, Internet, we're only on the second installment!" 
At any rate, I'm not sure the thing needs a complete overhaul, but a few tweaks are definitely in order. Never Go Back is a predictable action flick where everybody does pretty much exactly what you'd expect. 
That's not always a bad thing, but there were a few cases here where I really, really wished they hadn't, in particular the tried and true plot mechanism: "bratty teenager continually risks everyone's safety with foolish behavior." The kid, in general, was an annoying and pointless addition to this sequel, and, should there be more Jack Reachers, I hope she never turns up again. 
On the plus side, the ass-kicking is also exactly what you'd have expected, that is, AWESOME! The movie wastes little time getting started, and features great end-to-end action with exciting chase scenes and well-choreographed fights. The backdrop of New Orleans' spectacular Halloween parade makes the climax especially fun. 
Tom Cruise capably carries the lot on his shoulders, alternately heroic and funny, ever the ideal leading man. Cobie Smulders is passable in the female lead, nothing special in a nothing-special part. 
The real star of the show is Patrick Heusinger, who somehow manages to be mesmerizing in a blandly typical baddie role. Despite having a true Hollywood A-Lister in the lead, Never Go Back ultimately feels very low-budget, like maybe Cruise (who has the top producer's credit) did what he could out of his own pocket, but might have benefited from a little more help. 
Jack Reacher: Never Go Back clocks in at 118 minutes and is rated PG13 for "sequences of violence and action, some bloody images, language, and thematic elements." Jack Reacher: Never Go Back could be the poster child for unnecessary sequels, but it's also a pretty good time. 
Of a possible nine Weasleys, Jack Reacher: Never Go Back gets six and a half. 

Fangirl points: Holt McCallany, Aldis Hodge, and Robert Knepper, who earns senior billing but barely earns a paycheck in a total of about five minutes onscreen. 
Until next time...

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Cindy Prascik's Review of The Accountant

Dearest Blog: Yesterday it was off to Marquee Cinemas to see my Bat!Boyfriend's new flick, The Accountant. 
Spoiler level here will be mild, nothing you wouldn't know from the trailers. A CPA with a dangerous clientele handles more than just the books. 
The Accountant is a mystery/thriller with a protagonist who may be difficult to warm up to. It's unhurried and often uncomfortable due to the aforementioned protagonist's failure to respond/react to certain situations in the "normal" way. Sound familiar? 
If you saw The Girl on the Train last weekend, I'm sure it does. However, unlike The Girl on the Train, The Accountant boasts well-plotted action, solid performances, a couple nice twists, and is funny only when it means to be. 
The titular savant, Christian Wolff, is unable to deal normally with people, but his mathematical genius is invaluable to his unsavory clients. Ben Affleck perfectly portrays the mannerisms typical of autism spectrum disorders, creating a character who is sympathetic even when he's doing some pretty bad things. 
Jon Bernthal, J.K. Simmons, and John Lithgow are terrific in supporting roles, and Cynthia Addai-Robinson is a pleasant surprise as the FBI agent hot on the tail of our mysterious money manager. (I've always thought she was one of the worst actors working, but maybe when you're on Spartacus there's just nothing for it!) 
The Accountant is brutal at times, certainly not for the faint of heart. There's a short spell right about the hour mark where the movie starts to drag a little, but it picks right back up and is otherwise deliberately-paced but never dull. 
Wolff's inappropriate and seemingly rude interactions with people and situations outside his comfort zone spell the dark tone with amusing moments that are never a mean spirited laugh "at" autism or its manifestations. 
The movie could have explained itself better in a few spots, and the runtime might have benefitted from a trim, but The Accountant is a suspenseful yarn that'll keep you on the edge of your seat. 
The Accountant clocks in at 128 minutes and is rated R for "strong violence and language throughout." 
The Accountant is a solid thriller featuring satisfying twists and a standout performance by Ben Affleck. 
Of a possible nine Weasleys, The Accountant gets eight. 
Until next time...

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Cindy Prascik's Reviews of The Girl on the Train & The Birth of a Nation

Dearest Blog: Yesterday it was off to Marquee Cinemas for the buzzkill double-bill of The Girl on the Train and The Birth of a Nation. 
Spoiler level here will be mild, nothing you wouldn't know from the trailers. First on the docket: The Girl on the Train. An unhappy divorcee makes up stories about the people she sees on her daily commute, then becomes entangled in the case when one of them goes missing. 
The Girl on the Train is such a pedestrian mystery that, never having been anywhere near the novel, it took me approximately 23 minutes to clock exactly how it was going to play out...and that was far from my final check of the time, believe me. 
Emily Blunt plays the titular girl as a sloppy, irritating drunk, and the supporting characters are so odious it's impossible to care what happens to any of them. (Though I'd forgive Luke Evans for pretty much anything once he started peeling off those clothes.) 
A few laughable bits--including a full-on Cameron Frye moment in a gallery--spell a miserable whole that plods along with varying versions of events. Who's telling the truth? Who's lying? 
You'll stop caring long before this mess crawls to its predictable finish. About the only things The Girl on the Train has to recommend it are a properly menacing score by Danny Elfman and a couple frames of Evans' glorious bod. 
The Girl on the Train runs an excruciating 112 minutes and is rated R for "violence, sexual content, language, and nudity." The Girl on the Train is a slow, dull exercise that made me want to throw myself on the tracks. 
Of a possible nine Weasleys, The Girl on the Train gets four. 

Fangirl points: Luke Evans. Luke Evans' abs. Luke Evans' bottom. 
Also, a girl in a Damned shirt...yay! Next up: The Birth of a Nation. The true story of Nat Turner, a slave and preacher who orchestrated a rebellion in 1831. 
The Birth of a Nation is difficult to watch, and more than once I had to look away from the brutality and abuse. Performances are fantastic across the board, with Nate Parker and Aja Naomi King outstanding in the leads, and Armie Hammer his usual reliable self in an important supporting role. 
Turner's Christian faith is central to the story, but the movie also exposes the contradictory nature of the Bible and those who presume to speak for their gods. 
The subject matter is unpleasant enough to make the film feel much longer than it is; for the duration I kept thinking the last thing we really need right now is yet another reminder of how horrible people can be to one another. 
Only afterward did it occur to me, maybe exactly what we need right now is a reminder of what happens when people are encouraged to treat others as less than themselves. 
The Birth of a Nation clocks in at an even two hours and is rated R for "disturbing violent content and some brief nudity." The Birth of a Nation is a well-acted picture with a timely, important message, but, sadly, none of that makes it a truly great movie. 
Of a possible nine Weasleys, The Birth of a Nation gets five. .
 Fangirl points: The aforementioned Armie Hammer. Mark Boone Junior (Bobby Elvis)! 
Until next time... 

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