Movie Reviews Archives for 2017-05

Regional Media Movie Review Colossal

As metaphors go, Godzilla has seen his fair share of interpretations. While most often Godzilla is a stand in for nuclear age mismanagement, the big guy has also been used to further environmental messages, anti-war messages and in his latest and most unique incarnation, in the comic-drama “Colossal,” Godzilla stands in for the emotional trauma people can inflict on others. As unique as “Colossal” is in the interpretation of the legendary movie monster it does adhere with the idea that the humans are nearly as monstrous as the monster we created.
Gloria (Anne Hathaway) is a mess. She has no direction, no job and few prospects. Oh, and Gloria has a serious problem with alcohol. Gloria’s issues finally come to head when her live-in boyfriend Tim (Dan Stevens) kicks her to the curb. With nowhere to go, Gloria returns to her childhood home, recently abandoned by her parents, and squats on mom and dad’s dime, eventually finding a job at a bar owned by her childhood friend Oscar (Jason Sudeikis).
I say that Oscar is Gloria’s friend but as the story of “Colossal” plays out the dynamic between Oscar and Gloria will evolve in some very unexpected ways. Unexpected is a hallmark of “Colossal” which comes to find that Gloria’s many, many issues have manifested through some sort of portal that links her thoughts and actions to a Godzilla like creature that wreaks havoc in South Korea each time Gloria goes a little too far in her self-centered partying.
This is no dream sequence in “Colossal.” The story here, crafted by veteran Spanish filmmaker Nacho Vigalondo, manifests Godzilla as a real monster that does attack South Korea and mimics the actions of Gloria who decides to turn her life around so that she can avoid killing thousands of people each time she gets drunk and rowdy. Oscar has his own connection to this unique manifestation but that would be far too spoiler heavy to reveal here.
“Collossal” is not at all the movie it appears to be in advertisements and trailers. The marketing for “Colossal” plays up the comic aspects of this story despite the comedy being almost incidental to the psycho-drama that the film becomes as it goes along. There is a darkness and complexity to “Colossal” that producers have apparently been attempting to hide from audiences on the assumption that people aren’t interested in a unique premise, they just want to think they are going to laugh.
As insulting as the marketing of “Colossal” unquestionably is, the film itself is rare and authentic, a work of a wonderfully inventive filmmaker. I am, in all honesty, not familiar with the work of Nacho Vigalondo. That said, “Colossal” is a fantastic introduction to a filmmaker with a unique vision and approach to storytelling. This is just the kind of original and exciting filmmaking that I hope we can encourage more of in the future.


Regional Media Movie Review Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul

What did the world do to deserve a reboot of the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” franchise? What was it about the mediocre previous entries in this franchise that inspired producers, a screenwriter and a director to believe this was something they should dedicate time and effort to? Well, time anyway, effort, as you will find from reading this review, is a questionable aspect of the making of “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul.”
We are once again brought into the world of Greg Heffley (Jason Drucker) an imaginative kid who continues to find himself in humiliating situations. Greg’s latest humiliation has gone viral after a trip to a family restaurant leads to Greg chasing his little brother Manny (played by twin kids Wyatt and Dylan Waters) into a ballpit where Greg ends up getting his hand stuck in a used diaper and leads to him being referred to in internet memes as ‘Diaper Hands.’
That opening alone could tell you how charmless “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul” is but the film somehow manages to find one new low after another. Greg’s family is taking a road trip to Mee-Maw’s house and along the way Greg wants to trick his parents, slumming former stars Tom Everett Scott and Alicia Silverstone, into taking him to videogame convention while Greg’s brother Rowley (Charlie Wright) acts dumb and adds little to nothing to the story.
The road trip is a mere set up for some of the most disgusting gross out jokes this side of a horror film. Poop, puke and body horror are employed throughout “The Long Haul” to the point where I nearly walked out, something I haven’t done since Samuel L. Jackson graphically fed laxatives to bad guys for an explosive diarrhea gag in the forgotten action movie “Formula 53.” This film is nearly as offensive as that R-Rated movie despite somehow carrying a PG Rating.
“Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul” also features a subplot about another family on a road trip who keep crossing paths with Greg. Jokes about Greg accidentally sleeping in the family’s bed, in his underwear, in a strange man’s bed, is just one of a series of highly questionable gags. The father of this competing family, referred to for some reason as Beardo and played by Chris Coppola is portrayed as wanting to murder Greg throughout the film. The character lapses in and out of a murderous rage each time he see’s Greg and again and again director David Bowers seems to find this notion hilarious.
In one epically bizarre homage Greg somehow winds up in Beardo’s shower and the scene devolves into a remake of the shower scene in “Psycho.” In what universe is a “Psycho” homage a good idea for a family road trip comedy? What kid in the audience is getting that reference? What parent in the audience feels that this homage is remotely appropriate for a family comedy? WHO THINKS THIS IS OK????
Please do not tell me that I am overreacting or that it’s “Just a kid’s movie.” If anything, we should hold children’s entertainment to a higher standard of quality than we do entertainment aimed at older audiences. Children’s tastes are just not evolving and growing. Exposing a child to entertainment that is beneath contempt as “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul” truly is, is irresponsible. This is a film so execrable that it could do permanent damage to a child’s taste; this is the kind of kid’s movie that creates Adam Sandler fans.
I am not being hyperbolic when I say that “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul” is the worst movie of 2017. Gross, unfunny, and genuinely unpleasant to sit through, I am truly shocked that major movie studios still allow such movies to reach mass audiences. This is a dispiriting experience. If ever you need proof that Hollywood does not care about what it puts into the world “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul” is that proof.