Archives for category: movie reviews

Wow, positive thinking really does work. A woman, getting dumped on from all directions, finds her husband in flagrante delicto and absurdly dark comic hijinks ensue in “Breaking News in Yuba County” (2021). It’s not Shakespeare, but if “A Comedy of Errors” met “Hamlet” in small-town Kentucky… maybe not, but there’s definitely a full-on competition between cases of mistaken identity and cases of homicide. Allison Janney convincingly connives atop an ensemble of bad daughters (Awkafina), bad cops (Regina Hall) and bad sisters (Mila Kunis). If you think almost all the characters are annoying – I know I did – just be patient.

“What’s the Worst That Could Happen?” (2001) is a rhetorical question, but there is an answer. The worst that could happen is you could assemble an incredibly deep cast (Nora Dunn, Siobhan Fallon Hogan, Bernie Mac and many more) for an interesting story pitting white collar and streetwise crooks against each other in a match of masculine one-upmanship – but then have Martin Lawrence as the star. Lawrence’s schtick and some horrible impersonations by he and John Leguizamo are a lowest-common-denominator drag that exacerbates an uneven performance by co-star Danny DeVito as a lascivious corporate raider who spars with Lawrence’s burglar.

I’m not that interested in animated stepmothers and wizards and whatever, so I haven’t seen much Angelina Jolie lately. Thus, it was nice to have her back in a movie for grownups, even if one of the main characters is a kid. In fact, Finn Little admirably performs a lot of heavy lifting as the teen target of government-enabled hitmen in “Those Who Wish Me Dead” (2021). The action mashup of gunfighters and firefighters has Jolie as a smokejumper suffering from PTSD when the aforementioned teen parachutes into her fire tower, so to speak. Huge plot holes, but fun action.