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Sunday, July 5, 2020


Scott has been a case of arrested development since his firefighter dad died. He spends his days smoking weed and dreaming of being a tattoo artist until events force him to grapple with his grief and take his first steps forward in life.

Director: Judd Apatow

Cast: Pete Davidson, Marisa Tomei, Bill Burr, Bel Powley, Maude Apatow, Steve Buscemi, Pamela Adlon

Release Date: June 26, 2020

Genres: Comedy, Drama

Rated R for language and drug use throughout, sexual content and some violence/bloody images

Runtime: 2h 16min


The King of Staten Island offers more than it looks like on its surface.  Sure it’s another Apatow exploration of a man stuck in arrested development but there is a bit more here than usual.  It’s very funny in spots and touching in others with a large part of the pathos coming from Davidson’s proximity to the subject matter.  Since the primary portion of the plot hits close to home for him, his performance is impressive and heartfelt as he avoids any moments of self parody.  It’ll come as a surprise to people who have never seen him outside of skits on SNL, it’s a pleasant surprise but it can’t mask some of the films overall issues. Apatow, after all these years, is still terribly unfocused as a director and it really shows here.  There are multiple sequences that feel like they need some strong edits and tightening overall.  Tone also tends to shift sporadically over the course of the film which lessens the impact of some moments.  Luckily for Apatow his film is stocked with excellent supporting players like Maisa Tomei, Bill Burr, Pamela Adlon and Steve Buscemi.  Together they make the film feel much breezier than you’d expect for a film that’s over 2 hours long.  This film won’t be considered a classic like Knocked Up or 40 Year Old Virgin but it’s definitely one of his better films in recent memory. 


Monday, June 29, 2020

Cindy Prascik's Review of My Spy

With reopened cinemas having nothing new to show for their trouble, this weekend I again relied on the kindness of streaming for something to watch and write about.

On the docket, the family comedy My Spy. Desperate times and all.

Spoiler level here will be mild, nothing you wouldn't know from the trailers.

Already on thin ice over a botched mission, a government agent becomes entangled with the family he's meant to be observing.

My dear reader(s), way back when we had new movies in cinemas and a person sitting directly behind me could happily spit popcorn into my hair for a couple hours, trailers for My Spy ran before pretty much everything I saw. It's the kind of dopey comedy I'd never spend money to see at a cinema (unless Gary Oldman were in it), but that I will unashamedly enjoy the minute it crosses my path for free. I may be damning with faint praise when I say this movie did not disappoint.

My Spy leans heavily on the likability of its cast. The adorable Chloe Coleman steals the show from her adult costars, while Dave Bautista's talents aren't stretched too much as the not-as-dumb-as-he-looks titular spy. Parisa Fitz-Henley, Ken Jeong, and Kristen Schaal nicely round out the principals. Action sequences are fun and mild enough for younger viewers, and the humor is cute and obvious, nothing too off-color. It's the sort of predictable picture that will never set the world on fire, but it's perfect for when you just want to be entertained and not challenged. (There's that faint praise again!)

My Spy runs a quick 99 minutes and is rated PG13 for "action/violence and language."

There's nothing clever or cutting edge about My Spy, but when the world's as terrifying as it is right now, its brand of benign escapism may be just what the doctor ordered.

Of a possible nine Weasleys, My Spy gets six.

Until next time...

Sunday, June 28, 2020


Two small-town singers chase their pop star dreams at a global music competition, where scheming rivals, high stakes and onstage mishaps test their bond.

Director: David Dobkin

Cast: Will Ferrell, Rachel McAdams, Pierce Brosnan, Dan Stevens, Demi Lovato
Release Date: June 26, 2020

Genres: Comedy, Music

Rated PG-13 for crude sexual material including full nude sculptures, some comic violent images, and language

Runtime: 2h 3min


There are a few things that’ll make you much more disposed to enjoying Will Ferrell’s latest farce.  If you’re a fan of Ferrell’s man child shtick and euro pop music you’ll probably find plenty to love in loving send up of the famed singing contest.  The film radiates some strong Zoolander vibes from the start even if it never quite reaches that film’s heights.  It’s a zany vibe from the start and director David Dobkin embraces the silliness which includes things like elves and a charred protector ghost and those aren’t even major story threads.  Unfortunately the film could have used some trimming here and there; it appears to be an issue with Netflix produced films all around.  There’s zero reason this type of film should be 2 hours long and while it only drag in spots it would have benefited from some savvy edits.  As is the film have some really funny portion like an after party that turns into a Eurovision cameo fest and central performance that goes horribly wrong.  Ferrell and McAdams make for a fun duo and both work off each other really well.  This film is right in Ferrell’s wheelhouse so it’s hardly a surprise but McAdams continues to show off some impressive comedic talents which is kind of hard to believe considering her early rom-com film roles.   Both are obviously have a great time but Dan Stevens nearly steals the show as their friendememy.  Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Sage is kind of escapism lark you need occasionally especially during particular time in history.  It doesn’t bring much new to the table but its funny enough to make for an enjoyable watch.  


Sunday, June 21, 2020


Strange events plague a couple and their young daughter when they rent a secluded countryside house that has a dark past.

Director: David Koepp

Cast: Kevin Bacon, Amanda Seyfried, Avery Essex, Geoff Bell, Lowri-Ann Richards

Release Date: June 18, 2020

Genres: Horror, Mystery

Rated R for some violence, disturbing images, sexual content and language

Runtime: 1h 33min


You Should Have Left is the definition of a forgettable horror thriller.  David Koepp’s film is interesting enough but it always hints at bigger idea and themes but it never follows through on its promise.  Koepp’s visual style is striking enough to keep things engaging especially once the house starts opening up.  Kevin Bacon is more than capable in the lead but there are weird tonal shifts that pop up throughout the film which makes maintaining any sort of tension a Herculean task.  Amanda Seyfried does what she can but it’s a thinly written role that leaves her feeling more like a plot tool than a fully realized character.   Avery Essex is a surprisingly effective child actress which is to the film’s benefit.  Sadly, the film itself is a mixed bag of clichés and unrealized ideas which leave you with the impression that there is a better film in there somewhere. 

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