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Quickie Review: Dolittle

I often skip the “kids movies” since my nieces and nephews have aged out of them. But I will generally make an exception for animation, musicals and anything with Robert Downey Jr. Dolittle has the latter. After years of playing Iron Man, Sherlock Holmes, and other PG-13 and R-rated characters, Downey wanted to make something his younger kids could see. Thus, we have Dolittle – a sweet, harmless, sometimes goofy film reminiscent of the family-friendly comedy adventure films of my youth. It won’t displace the 1967 Rex Harrison version (with music!), or Eddie Murphy’s 1998 take on the classic tale; but for a new generation, this re-imagining of the doctor who can communicate with animals is superficially satisfactory. It’s got enough heart and animal shenanigans to entertain the kids and placate most of the adults in tow.

Review: Brad’s Status

I lie in bed and overthink everything in my life on a regular basis, but I don’t think everyone needs to hear about it. Writer/director Mike White (School of Rock, Beatriz at Dinner), however, thought that that kind of obsessive inner life monologue would make for a great film. Perhaps, though not this film. In Brad’s Status, Brad (Ben Stiller) is a dad about to take his only son (Austin Abrams ) on a college tour, and it throws him into a self-absorbed walk down memory lane where he compares his life with those of his classmates (Michael Sheen, Jemaine Clement, and Luke Wilson) and comes up totally lacking. Though there is dialogue in the film, Brad’s voice-over dominates. And boy is he annoying.

Review: Home Again

No harm, no foul. Sweet Home Alabama – um, I mean, Home Again, is light and fluffy, formulaic, predictable, enjoyable and forgettable. And it serves as a pleasant alternative at the box office for those who might prefer a mindless modern romantic comedy to a horror story about a creepy clown that terrorizes and kills kids (IT).

Passengers

Passengers is basically Castaway in space – with a bit of Gravity and The Martian thrown into the mix. Only it’s not as good as the aforementioned titles, mostly because it lacks tension and drama. Even the sexual tension between the attractive main characters is dispensed of rather quickly, if ya know what I mean.

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part Two

I read all the books, okay?? So yeah – I absolutely had to see this thing through to the end. So there! I did it! I watched, and survived, all FIVE cinematic installments of the four-book phenomenon that was “Twilight”. That’s the good news. The bad news is… this last hurrah, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part Two, kinda sucks, which fittingly enough, brings the franchise full circle. ‘Cause the first one kinda sucked too. But therein lies my disappointment. As the years wore on, and the broodingly attractive actors grew into their roles, I became rather smitten with the Twilight movies. New Moon in 2009, Eclipse in 2010 and Breaking Dawn – Part One in 2011 were decent enough flicks, all things considered. So what happened?

I’ll tell ya what happened. Hollywood, in its misguided attempts to bleed the franchise dry, broke the last and weakest book of Stephenie Meyer’s vampire romance quadrilogy into two parts, giving the most convoluted chapters a movie all their own. Big mistake.

Beautiful Boy

Beautiful Boy is about as far as you can get from the “feel good movies” of summer. But to be fair, it’s hard to imagine a good time of year for this type of indie drama. It’s a bit reminiscent of last year’s Rabbit Hole (Nicole Kidman, Aaron Eckhardt) which came out during the winter holiday season (that seemed like bad timing too). Both movies revolve around married couples dealing with grief and confusion in the aftermath of losing their only child. Beautiful Boy, however, is darker and more complex.