Old school meets new life. You and a guest are invited to a free advance screening of Melissa McCarthy’s upcoming comedy, LIFE OF THE PARTY, on May 8th. Visit www.wbtickets.com/WorldViralParty to download your complementary passes. (Passes admit up to 2, while supplies last. Passes do not guarantee admission as theater is overbooked. ARRIVE EARLY!) #LIFEOFTHEPARTY in theaters May 11th!
When her husband suddenly dumps her, longtime dedicated housewife Deanna (Melissa McCarthy) turns regret into re-set by going back to college…landing in the same class and school as her daughter, who’s not entirely sold on the idea. Plunging headlong into the campus experience, the increasingly outspoken Deanna—now Dee Rock—embraces freedom, fun and frat boys on her own terms, finding her true self in a senior year no one ever expected.
Ten years people. We have been waiting ten years for Avengers: Infinity War and it is finally here. Eighteen movies and three television series later and it is finally here. Okay, so not many people watch all three TV series. I forgot Inhumans was even a thing (just eight episodes), Agent Carter got the ax after eighteen episodes, and I quit watching Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. partway through season four (the one with Ghost Rider) because it became downright stupid. What was I saying? Oh, right – INFINITY WAR!!
To put it bluntly, nothing will top Infinity War for me this year. Sure, there may be another movie like Get Out that comes out of nowhere to blow our socks off, except that movie already happened and it is A Quiet Place. And while A Quiet Place is a fantastic film that will not leave my top five for the year, Infinity War is a watershed moment in film. Really, the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has altered the film business, but Infinity War is the gasp you release because, even though you expected what was coming, you were not expecting that.
There shall be no spoilers here.
The big question on everyone’s mind is “how is Marvel going to fit all of the characters and storylines into a two and a half hour movie?” The answer is “are you seriously questioning Marvel after ten years?” Seriously, the answer is the same way a show like Game of Thrones does it – jumping from one character (or several) to another throughout the film and bringing them all together at the end to fight Sauron. With the exception of maybe Black Panther, not one character felt short-changed on screen time and every storyline matters.
(Side note: Hawkeye and Ant-Man are conspicuously missing from this film – as many people noted from the poster – but the film does throw out an acceptable, if not very brief, explanation. Incidentally, I am now beyond fascinated to see where Ant-Man and the Wasp will take us.)
Directors Anthony and Joe Russo helmed this behemoth of a film and were tasked with the challenge of crafting what looks on paper like an impossible movie. Again, we are talking about eighteen movies worth of characters, plots, and subplots featuring a cast best described as all the actors. We are talking about not pulling a Batman v Superman because Disney invested $300-400 million to make Infinity War. We are talking about ten years of planning and execution and if you two guys screw this up we’re going to pump Christian Bale full of adrenaline, steroids, and PCP and tell him you are the light guys. We are talking about the pressure of hitting a grand slam in the bottom of the ninth in game seven of the World Series, but, hey – remember to just have fun out there. All of to which the Russo brothers said “here, hold my beer.”
The stones on these guys…
Infinity War is first and foremost an action movie and you will not leave the theater thinking there should have been more action. However, you will leave the theater exhausted, not because of all the action, but because the tension is relentless. Luckily, the writing in the film deftly inserts exposition, transitions, and the familiar banter and comedic relief of every MCU film exactly in the places where you need to take a breath and remember to blink a few times. These scenes serve to join the various parallel plots of the groups of characters (each of whose makeup you most definitely will not guess) to thread everything into one large narrative which is basically “Hi Thanos.” Then, they turn the tension dial back up to a million.
Considering the complexity of eighteen movies worth of stories, the plot of Infinity War is as simple as it gets – to stop Thanos from acquiring the six infinity stones, thus allowing him to kill half the living beings in the universe. That may sound like a cliched supervillain plot, but the motivation behind Thanos’ goal distinguishes it from most others and helps make Thanos one of the great movie villains of all time. He believes that half of all beings must die because the resources of the universe are finite and dividing by two will ensure the survival of everyone else. Bet you didn’t see a subtle climate-change message coming from a movie like this. Granted, genocide is a really, really bad solution for resource conservation, but one cannot argue at its effectiveness.
Even better is that Thanos has layers of menace mixed with a smidge of…compassion? Wait, that can’t be right. *Thinking* – flashback scene of his home world of Titan coming to a bad end. *Thinking some more* – scene where he acquires the soul stone. Huh. I’ll be damned. Nuance in a giant blockbuster. Even his speech pattern (calm and logical) and excellent dialogue (Josh Brolin owns this movie) adds sneaky depth to a character you start to empathize with by the end of the film. Exactly – *gasp.*
The biggest reason why I will inevitably pick this as the best movie of 2018 is the end is definitely not what everyone expects from this kind of movie. We all know that it is part one of the finale of this massive endeavor, so we all know it will end with a cliffhanger. But it is not the kind of cliffhanger most TV shows end a season with or the way half of all the old Batman episodes left things dangling. Most likely, you have heard the myriad rumors and guessing at who dies and who lives, but Infinity War scoffs at those rumors and guesses and throws the knuckliest of all knuckleballs, leaving the movie off in a place that feels like the wrong place, but is exactly the right place.
Regardless of how this whole story turns out, I was not exaggerating when I said this movie and the entire MCU have fundamentally altered movies. We are already seeing Warner Brothers and Universal attempting the same universe structure (to almost comically bad degrees. You heard me DC fanboys). One can point to Harry Potter or Lords of the Rings as earlier examples, but those are linear franchises. When Marvel succeeded with their so-called phase one, culminating with The Avengers, they showed that audiences were willing to invest in stand-alone films coming from different directions and characters with the promise of a giant payoff in one climactic mashup film. Phases two and three cemented that concept, almost to the point of taunting the audience with unknown characters like Doctor Strange. The strategic plan was visible to even the most jaded of moviegoers, so we trusted Marvel and were rewarded time after time (after time), none more so than with Infinity War.
From so far out of left field, the field is just a dot to you.
There are plenty of people out there who hate Marvel and Disney for a perceived homogenization of movies, but that is utter nonsense. These people are the get-off-my-lawn people. They hate the designated hitter and bitch about how millennials are just the worst. They reminisce about the good old days of film (read: pre-CGI) and use words like whippersnapper. These are the people who have forgotten that they didn’t get excited about movies because they watched Citizen Kane, but got excited because they watched Star Wars or E.T. or The Wizard of Oz. These are people who refuse to see the audacity and ambition of a studio asking us to stick around for ten years; we promise it will be worth it. In the latter half of Infinity War, Doctor Strange tells a companion “We’re in the end game now” and, like in Game of Thrones, the years-long ride was worth it.
Rating: Ask why you aren’t paying $50 (or more) for a movie that is easily as entertaining as most sporting events and concerts.
Hey Colorado Mamas! We all know that we as moms need an escape from the chaos of motherhood from time to time, which is why we are giving you the chance to win an early Mother’s Day gift for yourself! Enter our exclusive contest to win the TULLY pre-Mother’s Day prize pack and be one of the first to see Focus Features’ TULLY before it hits theatres! It will be a relaxing night out away from the kids complete with wine specials, sheet masks, and more on-site prize giveaways. Please email FocusFeaturesDenver@gmail.com with your full name and birthdate, and include “VIRAL TULLY” in the subject line to qualify. Entry deadline is Tuesday, April 24th at 11:00AM MT and winners will be contacted then via email. *ONE entry per household. Must be 17 years or older to enter. #Tully
Synopsis – Marlo (Charlize Theron) , a mother of three including a newborn baby, is gifted a night nanny by her brother (Mark Duplass). Hesitant to the extravagance at first, Marlo comes to form a unique bond with the thoughtful, surprising, and sometimes challenging young nanny named Tully (Mackenzie Davis).
Director: Jason Reitman (“Juno”, “Young Adult”, “Up in the Air”)
Writer: Diablo Cody (“Juno”, “Young Adult”)
Cast: Charlize Theron, Mackenzie Davis, Mark Duplass, Ron Livingston
If you were to make a list of video games you would most like to see adapted into movies, I am guessing that list would include exactly zero classic arcade games. I have never expressed a desire to see a Galaga or Centipede movie on the silver screen nor have I heard any other mammal express that desire. The reasoning is simple – those games have no story on which to base a movie. Ironically, that reasoning means some of those same games are the safest to adapt because there is no legion of middle-aged nerds freaking out because Hollywood crapped on their childhood memories or ruined a fantastic game. Thus, we have Rampage, a movie based on a game in which players are tasked with destroying buildings using the fists of one of three (two if you only played the NES version, like me) giant creatures. All the movie had to do to pay respect to the game was offer up rationale, no matter how absurd, for the existence of the creatures and why they would attack buildings. And, they did not hold back on the absurdity.
(SPOILER ALERT for obligatory reasons, not because you do not know what happens in this movie.)
The biggest absurdity of this film is how hard the four screenwriters worked to explain nonsense. The film kicks off in space. Chew on that for a moment. Alarms are sounding on a space station and a frantic astronaut is trying to escape from a giant mutant rat that has killed everyone else on board, but her (remote) corporate overlords will not let her leave without grabbing the scientific research on board the station. She escapes in the nick of time, but her capsule explodes upon reentry and the three cylinders containing the research plummet to Earth. Goodbye ten minutes of your life. That is the explanation given for how a gorilla named George, a wolf, and an alligator become gigantic, destructive monsters and it was completely unnecessary. The movie should have just begun with the three capsules streaking through the sky, but I am not four different writers, am I?
Do not think about why the gator grew orders of magnitude larger than George or the wolf.
Davis Okoye (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) is a primatologist (he said while chuckling and remembering the time Denise Richards played a nuclear scientist) who has worked with George for George’s entire life. Their relationship is so close that Davis can decipher anything George says (through sign-language), taught George how to flip the bird, and prefers the company of George (and other animals) over humans, including a very attractive woman who invites Davis to show her his other monkey. By the sheer pull of Johnson’s animal magnetism, one of the research capsules lands in the gorilla enclosure and sprays green mist in George’s face. The next morning, Davis discovers George is much bigger and killed a grizzly bear, but this movie is rated PG-13 so no gorilla-vs-bear action in a movie about rampaging animals.
Meanwhile, the corporate overlords are revealed to be Claire and Brett Wyden (Malin Akerman and Jake Lacy, respectively). They send out private soldiers to track down the capsules and kill the mutant wolf, but that plan does not go well. Plan B is to turn on a giant radio that will attract the beasts to the tower formally known as Sears so they can collect DNA samples and sell this weaponized DNA for profit. Do not worry; they have a cure. I promise that plan is flawless as long as you ignore every part of that same plan. Suffice it to say, the animals race to Chicago to destroy the signal and everything in their path.
It’s okay; that bear was a jerk.
(Side note and pet peeve: these same two siblings funded a space station, yet their stated goal here is to make money? Four writers, everybody.)
The other big absurdity of this film was the casting. This is par for the course for Johnson, who is this generation’s Arnold Schwarzenegger, but without the overt soldier aspect, but every other recognizable actor in this film should have had better things to do. Akerman might be the worst villain this decade, but she sure tries to look the part when she scrunches up her face to look like a big meanie. Lacy is obviously there for the comedic support, but none of the four writers appear to be familiar with the concept of humor and treat his character as nothing more than a bad pun. But nobody is more out of place than Jeffrey Dean Morgan playing a special agent playing a birthday-party version of Negan, complete with chrome plated pistol and rodeo-sized belt buckle because carrying Lucille around would be copyright infringement. Morgan’s performance is so ridiculous that you probably will not notice that Naomie Harris (playing Dr. Kate Caldwell) is laughably atrocious and literally an actor in this movie. Not that I blame her or Morgan completely, considering the dialogue they were forced to memorize and repeat out loud, but yeeesh.
Don’t worry, bad acting won’t affect the box office of a movie like this.
I know many of you cannot wait to tell me how much of a film snob I am and that this movie was not intended to win Oscars, but remember I am the same person who enjoyed Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunter. This movie is not bad because I am a film critic, it is bad because four writers, a director, a studio, and a bunch of producers forgot they were making a movie based on a game whose entire story is its own title. This movie should have been all kinds of fun to watch, but the never-ending exposition coupled with rampant inconsistencies (why does only the wolf get the power of flight and porcupine quills and why do the other animals grow so much larger than George?) nearly put my theater’s entire audience into a coma. And don’t even get me started on how asinine it was how George was cured (the cure being the animal just stops wanting to kill everything). I just wanted to enjoy a mindless movie while on a work trip and all I could think of during the movie was how the game was better. Some buildings did get destroyed in the movie, so mission accomplished, I guess.
Rating: Ask for thirteen dollars back because movies do not cost ten dollars any more, like they did when I started writing these things.
Do you want to see I FEEL PRETTY before it hits theaters? Click on the link http://stxtickets.com/PrettyViral for your chance to download an admit-two screening pass for an advance screening on Tuesday, April 17 at 7:00PM in Denver! Seats in the theater are first-come, first-serve so PLEASE ARRIVE EARLY! #IFeelPretty opens everywhere on April 20! #FeelPretty
DIRECTED & WRITTEN BY: Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein
CAST: Amy Schumer, Michelle Williams, Rory Scovel, Emily Ratajkowski, Aidy Bryant, Busy Phillips, Tom Hopper with Naomi Campbell and Lauren Hutton Written
OPENS: April 20
In I FEEL PRETTY a woman who struggles with feelings of deep insecurity and low self-esteem, that hold her back every day, wakes from a brutal fall in an exercise class believing she is suddenly a supermodel. With this newfound confidence she is empowered to live her life fearlessly and flawlessly, but what will happen when she realizes her appearance never changed?