REVIEW: While its heart is in the right place, ‘Green Book’ is largely average

I knew Peter Farrelly directed this picture going in, but it still seemed strange seeing the name of the person who helmed movies like “The Heartbreak Kid” and “Hall Pass” attached during the end credits.

“Green Book” is titled after a sort of brochure used decades ago in the Jim Crow era which listed hospitality businesses that were safe and/or open to African Americans, mainly in the southeastern United States. The movie follows a lower-middle class Italian nightclub bouncer-turned driver named Tony (Viggo Mortensen), whose latest job is driving Dr. Don Shirley (Maherhsala Ali), an African American pianist.

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REVIEW: ‘Can You Ever Forgive Me’ is a fantastic dramedy

I can certainly forgive Melissa McCarthy for “The Happytime Murders” thanks to her work here.

“Can You Ever Forgive Me” is a movie taking place in the early 1990s. The film follows Lee Israel (McCarthy), an author whose main focus are biographical books. Unfortunately, the line of work hasn’t exactly produced much in earnings.

Behind on rent, and with not much new income, she decides to sell an old letter by another writer. Upon doing so, she learns that it warrants some good money. As a result, she comes up with a scheme to forge these types of letters and sell them to the highest bidder. The process is successful initially but her work ends up leaving a paper trail for law enforcement.

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REVIEW: ‘Night School’ fails the laugh test

I like Kevin Hart, I think he’s a pretty funny dude. In fact, I like most of the cast featured in this flick. However, I can’t say I actually liked the movie.

In his latest comedy feature, Hart stars as Teddy, a high school dropout who’s always struggled with tests. Despite this, Teddy is still able to claw his way into a fairly good life, becoming a hardworking retail salesman who’s in line to become the general manager of the store he’s at. Additionally, he’s in a good relationship with his girlfriend.

However, through a series of events where Teddy tries to propose to his girlfriend, he ends up losing his job and needs to find new employment. Without a high school diploma, though, it isn’t easy. The end result is Teddy returning to school to get his GED. The task is tough, though, because of a strict teacher named Carrie (Tiffany Haddish) and a principal with a vendetta against Teddy, Stewart (Taran Killam).

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REVIEW: ‘Happytime Murders’ is a contender for worst of 2018

The concept of “The Happy Time Murders” was introduced around 2008 and over the next decade, the movie idea wandered in development hell. With its release this weekend, maybe it should’ve stayed there.

“The Happytime Murders” takes place in a world where puppets exist and live among humans. The film focuses on Phil, a puppet who after leaving the Los Angeles Police Department, became a private detective. In his latest investigation, he comes across a larger case than he expected.

Phil (Bill Barretta) soon learns that there are murders taking place, with the victims being cast members of a popular TV show. Even more significant is that Phil was very close with some of the cast. As he starts investigating, he’s forced to work with his former police partner, Connie Edwards (Melissa McCarthy).

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REVIEW: ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ is a charming, insightful romcom

Subjects such as wealth, power and differences in the social hierarchy based on income are all packaged and put before audiences in this summer romcom.

As the name implies, the film centers around very affluent Asian individuals. However, the main protagonist Rachel (Constance Wu), isn’t one of them. Rachel is an economics professor living in New York City and is in a relationship with Nick Young (Henry Golding). The two are a happy couple, yet when Nick invites Rachel to his best friend’s wedding, she finds out that he’s been hiding something.

It turns out that Nick’s family is extremely wealthy and holds great influence in Singapore. Upon arriving in Singapore, Rachel experiences some of the perks of her boyfriend’s wealth, but at the same time, their relationship becomes strained. This is mainly because Rachel isn’t remotely close to being a rich person, and some of the individuals close to Nick look down on her for it.

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REVIEW: Weak second half, poor chemistry drag down ‘Spy Who Dumped Me’

“The Spy Who Dumped Me” is a movie that seemed fine, for a while. Then it kept going, and kept going.

Before getting into what didn’t work, though, a recap of the story. “The Spy Who Dumped Me” starts off with the main character Audrey (Mila Kunis) celebrating her birthday with her best friend Morgan (Kate McKinnon). However, the celebration is soured by the fact that Morgan’s boyfriend Drew just ended their relationship.

Because of her phone conversations with Drew, though, Audrey soon finds out that her ex-boyfriend is actually a spy working on a significantly important mission. As a result of her discovery, Audrey and Morgan are forced to go on the run, as they’ve become tied into the espionage world.

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A Look At How ‘Mystery Men’ And ‘Unbreakable’ Were Ahead Of Their Time

“Avengers: Infinity War” continues to dominate the box office, now reaching a total of nearly $1.2 billion.

The theater tickets sold, as well as the great feedback from audiences and critics, is the latest example that we are in the superhero movie golden age. Since 2000, when the original “X-Men” came out and was followed by “Spider-Man” a few years later, the genre has been on an incredible upward trend.

“Infinity War” is just the latest highlight in a series of milestones that includes great films such as “The Dark Knight” and “Captain America: Winter Soldier.” Even comedy films based around the genre have popped up over the years to some solid success.

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REVIEW: ‘Life of the Party’

Melissa McCarthy is a talented individual but there’s no doubt her track record with movies hasn’t been perfect. As a result, there is only cautious optimism when I walk into one of her features, such as “Life of the Party.” Fortunately, this one was actually a pleasant surprise.

McCarthy’s latest starring role is playing Deanna, a housewife who didn’t finish her college degree and is suddenly met with divorce papers from her husband. As she weighs her options, Deanna sees this life-changing event as an opportunity to go back to college and complete her archaeology degree.

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About REVIEW: ‘Blockers’ Is Funny As Both An Adult And Teen Movie

I’ve been burned by comedies before, by those that have been marketed to teens as well as the ones for adults. It was quite a pleasant surprise, then, that “Blockers” ended up being so good, having laughs come from both aspects.

The title should make the general concept here pretty apparent. The film takes place on prom night and follows three teen girls, Julie (Kathryn Newton), Kayla (Geraldine Viswanathan) and Sam (Gideon Adlon). The three want to have a memorable prom experience, but their parents, Lisa (Leslie Mann), Mitchell (John Cena) and Hunter (Ike Barinholtz) are worried about them potentially having sex.

As a result, while the teens are having their own adventures at the prom parties, the trio of parents set off on a crazy mission to prevent any sexual activity from taking place.

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REVIEW: ‘Game Night’ Has A Fun Concept But Doesn’t Deliver Enough Laughs

With a cast like “Game Night” features, one would hope that a solid comedy can be found. Unfortunately, as a finished product, the movie isn’t a winner.

Primarily, the film is about a married couple, Max (Jason Bateman) and Annie (Rachel McAdams). The two are immensely competitive and often hold game nights with their friends where they play anything from Scrabble to Charades.

Despite his competitiveness, though, the one person Max can’t seem to beat in competitions is his brother Brooks (Kyle Chandler). Brooks often tries to upstage Max and even hosts his own game night at his luxurious home, impressing many of Max’s friends. However, the game Brooks set up, a pretend murder mystery, ends up going wrong when a kidnapping occurs, leaving Max and his friends to solve real crimes.

“Game Night” is somewhat in the same category as last year’s film “The House.” More or less, it’s about putting law abiding, middle class people into crime situations and hijinks follow. While the concept does thrust the characters into some over-the-top situations, though, many of the comedic attempts are repeated too many times or have a ‘few and far in between’ symptom, with too much dialogue related to weak subplots.

For example, one of the married couples that attend Max and Annie’s game night spend much of their screen arguing over an incident that’s been used in other movies before and has very little payoff.

Additionally, “Game Night” gets dragged down by a series of twists that basically are set up as jokes. More or less, the joke is whether or not something is just set up as a game/prank or if it’s real. The problem is that “Game Night” just runs this into the ground by repeating it too many times.

I was also somewhat surprised that a movie called “Game Night” had very little related to games. I figured maybe the characters would have to play games as a ways to move forward or use their trivia knowledge, but that wasn’t really the case here. Instead it was just used as a setup.

The cast does help things, though. Jason Bateman is always reliable in comedies and it’s no different here. He also has a solid chemistry with McAdams, who’s also pretty good in the picture.

The best cast member, though, is likely Jesse Plemons, who really comes through playing the awkward neighbor. Once he’s in the film more, his character becomes one of the funnier people to watch.

The rest of the characters are a bit hit or miss, though, and the film may have benefited by reducing the amount of people on screen and narrowing the focus on just a few.

“Game Night” does fortunately have a fairly short runtime, clocking in at just an hour and 40 minutes, so it’s not a huge time commitment. Still, this isn’t one to rush out to the theaters for. Check it out on a rental if you want a simple comedy. 2.5 out of 5.