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Archives for : Craig Robinson

Fantastic Fest Reviews: “Halloween”, “An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn” & “Cam”

Halloween (2018)

The opening night film at Fantastic Fest was none other than the highly anticipated sequel, Halloween (2018). Jamie Lee Curtis returns to her iconic role as Laurie Strode to come face-to-face with masked serial killer, Michael Myers, who has haunted her since the traumatic night four decades ago.

The film is inspired by John Carpenter’s classic. But filmmakers David Gordon Green and Danny McBride decided to ignore all the other sequels that followed the original Halloween from 1978, and create a story that changes Laurie’s past. In other words, 40 years later Laurie is a bad ass. Michael Myers is not her brother. And, she’s prepared to take on whatever he throws her way.

Laurie Strode is one hell of a grandma in Halloween (2018). Though her daughter (Judy Greer) still resents her for making her grow up as a survivalist since childhood, her granddaughter, Allyson, (Andi Matichak) adores her. This creates tension anytime the family is all together. It isn’t until Halloween night that Michael Myers returns to wreak havoc, and finally finish the job he started 40 years ago. Only this time he’s up against 3 generations of Strode women.

Halloween (2018) far from a stand out horror flick. We’re basically seeing the same formula just different ways of murder. However, this film is a lot of fun! McBride’s writing shines throughout the film, and it’s the comic relief that provides any sort of originality. But don’t get me wrong, I love this formula and it’s great to see Curtis back in action in a role she handles so naturally. The movie entertains the whole time through and will leave you satisfied.

Rating: 3.5/5

 

An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn

Surprisingly enough, the people that brought us The Greasy Strangler, which I hated; has now made An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn, which I really liked a lot. Jim Hosking is back with a second feature that maintain his same style and his same personal dialect. Only this time, he let go of the nauseating grease murderers and swapped it out for characters we could actually care for.

Aubrey Plaza (Parks and Recreation) stars a Lulu Danger, a recently unemployed woman who is unsatisfied with her marriage to sleazy Shane Danger (Emile Hirsch) and life all together. In an attempt to fix the couples financial troubles, Shane steals from his brother-in-law. Which then makes him the target of the world’s worst hitman (Jermaine Clement). But Lulu sees this as an opportunity, she runs off with the hitman in hopes that he can help her track down her old flame, Beverly Luff Linn (Craig Robinson).

This offbeat comedy takes a minute to warm up to. You might not be sure of the flow it’s taking. But once it gets going, it’s actually quite delightful. The all-star cast does a fantastic job, and this might be my favorite performance by Aubrey Plaza. There’s a very unique and corky chemistry between Plaza and Clement that’s almost endearing.

An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn is the light-hearted deadpan comic relief that I was craving during a marathon of graphic horrors at Fantastic Fest.

Rating: 4/5

 

Cam

After letting Cam marinate for a bit, it quickly became one of my favorite films of the fest. Daniel Goldhaber’s feature debut is smart, sexy, and disturbing.

The film stars Madeline Brewer (Orange is the New Black and The Handmaid’s Tale) as Alice, a young web cam girl who is on the rise to breaking top 50 rank on a pornographic site.  Alice lives a normal life by day, but at night she is “Lola” and constantly comes up with wild narratives to spice up her online shows. She is anxious to reach the top and beat out the other cam girls in the network. However, she never breaks her 3 rules: No public shows, no fake orgasms, and never telling “her guys” that she loves them.

Just when Alice is moving up in her ranking, she has an unwelcoming surprise when she sees a girl who looks just like her live on her web cam profile. Frantic and paranoid, Alice is on a mission to find out who has taken her identity and stolen her top rank.

Even though 60 percent of Cam consists of a bunch of web cam girls performing erotic acts, the film is incredibly magnetizing. It’s as if you’re in a trance the minute the film begins and you can’t stop watching. The neon lighting, the shocking sequences, and the captivating performance by Brewer is enough to suck you in.

Cam is the movie you didn’t know you wanted to see. It’s a tantalizing thrill-ride with a bone-crushing end that will leave you wanting more.

Rating: 4.5/5

Movie Review: This is the End & Man of Steel

Last week I got watch the two films I’m sure are at the top of everyone’s summer must see list.  One of these movies soared into heaven, while the other didn’t fly quite as high.

Lets start with the film that marks the directorial debut of Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, This is the End.  The film is based off a short that Rogen had made with fellow cast member, Jay Baruchel, Jay and Seth Versus the Apocalypse.  The premise is simple. During a party at James Franco’s house, the Apocalypse strikes and only the good ascend to heaven. Most of the Hollywood stars drop straight to hell within the first 20 minutes, leaving only six of them to try and stay alive.  If they are good enough and prove to be selfless, they still have a chance at that golden ticket into heaven.

The most unique factor in this film and the biggest risk, is the fact that all these actors are playing selfish, versions of themselves.  I wasn’t sure how this would play out or if it would even be that funny.  But I was so happy my doubts were wrong.  This movie was HILARIOUS!  And is now officially right up there with Goldberg and Rogen’s other classics, Superbad and Pineapple Express.  The constant jabs that these actors make at each other, and the real chemistry that this cast has is what makes them so enjoyable to watch.  Like we’re getting a glimpse of a warped friendship.  All six contribute to laugh out loud moments, but I have to say Craig Robinson really stood out for me in this film.  Maybe it’s because we don’t usually get to see Robinson in lead roles, or maybe its because I’m still missing anything related to The Office.

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I do think most everyone will enjoy the film and leave with many quotable lines.  I only like to give a heads up to audiences, if you don’t care for these actors already or you’re not a fan of really dry and crude humor; then this will not be the film for you.  Otherwise, purchase that ticket and get ready to laugh!

Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen made a red carpet appearance in Dallas at the Northpark Mall to promote the film and they were a blast to interview!  Click on the link below to watch.

This Is The End; a red carpet interview with Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen

One of the most anticipated films of the year, Man of Steel, finally hit theaters.  From the moment I heard Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer were behind the story idea for the film, I was convinced it would be better than The Dark Knight trilogy.  I am also a little bias, considering Superman is my all time favorite superhero.  Either way, my first advice to audiences (especially hard core Superman fans) is don’t go in with high expectations.

It pains me to say I was disappointed with this movie.  Don’t get me wrong the film wasn’t by any means “Bad.”  And to say it was better than the 2006, Bryan Singer film, Superman Returns, would be an understatement.

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I hope everyone knows the story of Superman before going into this film.   Man of Steel‘s main goal was to tell a version  that we hadn’t seen before.  And I will say they achieved that goal.  I just cant say that this was a version I wanted to see.  I get that they were wanting to make up for the lack of action in Superman Returns, cause there was more than enough action for both films.  But in doing so, there is a serious lack of character development with the supporting actors which led to not caring about most of them.  The film’s main focus was the battle between the infamous, General Zod and Superman.  And when I say battle, I mean BATTLE.  There are so many fight scenes between the two, that I just remember it all blurred together as one giant fight that lasts for the entire second half of the film.  As I’m sure you guys have read on other sites, there are many things in the movie that don’t follow the original story.  But what kills me the most is the relationship between Lois and Clark.  I’m not saying we need their love story to play a huge part.  But it certainly didn’t need to be rushed and not have any real growth.

There is still some really good parts to Man of Steel.  The flashbacks of Clark growing up and learning how to control his powers were by far my favorite parts of the film.  Though they may be redundant to people who have seen this story many times, they are necessary for us to connect to Superman on the human level.  I did like the dark tone of the film.  The casting was great, and all the actors owned their roles, especially Amy Adams.  I just wish that for someone who had tried out for Lois Lane three times, she could have gotten to exude more of Lois’ fiercely/fun side which I know Adam’s would have nailed.  Instead we got a seriously good, “Pulitzer Prize winning reporter.”

Having said all this, I still recommend audiences go watch the movie and get their own opinion.  I know a big part of my let down was that I had predetermined what I was about to see.  I’m actually thrilled it did so well in the box office, and I am really looking forward to a sequel.  There’s a lot they didn’t cover in this film and knowing now how they are telling the story, a sequel will be much more enjoyable.  I guess I will always root for Superman no matter what the circumstances.  And hey, I do love this trailer!

Man of Steel – Official Trailer HD