It’s hard enough to have a fully CG character as your co-star, and it’s even tougher when an actor is tasked with creating a deep emotional bond with something she can’t even see during production. Steinfeld is up to the challenge, making us believe in Bumblebee’s existence almost as much as the animators who worked on bringing him to life.
There are some individual moments and elements to like here, but taken as a whole, Bohemian Rhapsody is mostly a flatline with occasional blips of life here and there—and not nearly enough to bring the whole body back from the dead.
As messy and predictable as its plot can get, A Simple Favor is an engaging throwback to the aforementioned tongue-in-cheek mysteries, drawing much of its energy from the chemistry between Kendrick and Lively. It need not be any more than that.
Abrahamson can transition seamlessly between static James Ivory-type long shots of the soothing English countryside, easing the audience into a sense of comfort that comes with the high-class beauty of the period drama, and uncomfortable close-ups of faces, weaning in and out of focus, daring us to confront the neuroses of the characters head on. Underneath the veneer of uber-polite socializing is a vast inner turmoil.
All of the plot developments, including the third act twist, are predictable for aficionados of the genre, but the many successful standalone comedy and action sequences, as well as the natural chemistry between Kunis and McKinnon, keep us going.
Gus Van Sant’s film certainly captures how Callahan used whimsy as a defense mechanism against seemingly insurmountable real-life conflict, but Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot captures little of how Callahan’s art was such a vital part of that whimsy.
Tag is a bit of a mess, the well-paced runtime not allowing gag-based physical comedy and dramedy to exist equally on the same plain, just barely fun enough to keep an otherwise one-joke premise elevated.
How to Talk to Girls at Parties is a deliciously bizarre and refreshingly unique experience that not only manages to successfully meld two completely opposite tones—punk and whimsy—but to wrap them up into an exhilarating narrative that infuses a familiar sci-fi/comedy/romance structure with a host of surprises that even the most hardened genre scholar will appreciate.
Carrey commits one hundred and ten percent, fluctuating accent notwithstanding. It’s only a matter of time before his newfound artistic intensity will be matched to suitable material to create something special.
There doesn’t seem to be any insidious motivation behind writer/director Deon Taylor’s vision for his film, no purposeful undermining of the real impact of sex slavery by coating it in a veneer similar to what can modestly be described as a highly eroticized, run-off-the-mill basic cable home invasion thriller. It’s misguided, not nefarious.
The reason such a colorful mainstream family time-waster should exist is to string together a bunch of zippy PG-rated action set-pieces. In that sense, the film succeeds at the basest level, thanks primarily to the beautifully crisp animation, a big step-up from the first film’s overtly plastic CG look.