Movie Reviews: Everything Everything, Free Fire, Colossal, My Cousin Rachel, Boss Baby

By | October 9, 2017

I can’t really even pretend these films have anything in common except that I watched them. That’s about it, but this is a strong group over all…

Everything Everything…This unfairly dismissed teen romance (mediocre reviews and box office) follows Amandla Stenberg’s immune-disease afflicated teen (the movie calls it something, but you may know it as “Bubble Boy” disease) as she lives an extremely sheltered life inside a house she can’t leave, communicating exclusively online or with her nurse and mother, played by Anika Noni Rose. That is until Nick Robinson’s boy-next-door moves in and wants to date her. What’s best about this film are the subtle shadings people might miss, like Robinson’s gloomy outlook on life that might actually make him want to date someone with a life-threatening disease, and also how Stenberg’s character might open him up to a more positive worldview. [It’s hard to think you’ve got it bad when your girlfriend might die if she goes outside.] It’s the rare teen romance that actually makes sense on an emotional level, which might get lost in the shuffle between flashier melodramatic scenes. Grade: A-

Free Fire…A movie that’s set entirely in a gun-deal gone wrong and the ensuing shoot-out, and even if its chief virtue is directness, it still finds ways to surprise. [What sets off the conflict between the two parties has nothing to do with the deal at hand.] Although it seems like a missed opportunity to not incorporate the AR-15s they’re selling into the gun battle itself, it’s still a lively showcase for a lot of actors I thought I’d grown tired of like a fantastically soulful Cillian Murphy as an IRA leader, Armie Hammer as muscle, and Sharlto Copeley a double-dealing arms dealer. [Bonus points for this being the only film I can remember that brings up Copeley’s…”unusual” accent.] Grade: B+

Colossal…Most critics were so impressed with this movie’s originality (Anne Hathaway’s hard-partying, messy, laid-off magazine writer has a psychic connection to a Godzilla-sized monster that appears in Seoul, South Korea when she returns to her hometown after getting dumped by Dan Stevens) that they didn’t seem to notice how lazy and unconvincing it really is. For most of the first half, we’re essentially hanging around a small-town bar with people that aren’t really very interesting, including Jason Sudekis as a boy she went to school with. Then “Colossal” subverts cliches by having one benign character turn shockingly outright abusive and villainous, and another persnickety and judgmental but does that really make sense? We have to believe in not one, but two major character shifts from characters we thought were decent, and that’s at the expense of Hathaway’s own character arc. The movie sets you up for a character journey/allegory for how hard-partying can have unintended consequences, but shortchanges that to focus more on deliberate abusers. By the end, we haven’t really learned much of anything about Hathaway’s character, why she drinks, or even why she should stop. Grade: C+

My Cousin Rachel…A timeless story about Sam Claflin’s young heir investigating the death of his older cousin, and the mystery surrounding the man’s ambiguous new wife (Rachel Weisz, perfectly cast since you believe her equally of being a femme fatale or wholesome, misunderstood widow). Even if this story ultimately builds to an unconvincing anti-climax (there’s just too much smoke, not to be more fire), it’s a handsomely photographed, worthy-build to get there as I was literally grimacing watching Claflin’s beauty-struck fool get so expertly manipulated. Grade: B-

Boss Baby…Kids will probably really enjoy this movie, and their parents may be thanful for Alec Baldwin’s acidic wit—his honeyed menace hasn’t been toned down at all in this role, thankfully—but this is a pretty forgettable film that starts out in an honest emotional place (the real fear an older sibling feels when a new baby is monopolizing his previously-devout parent’s attention), but winds up not meaning a whole lot. Grade: B-

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