On DVD & Blu-Ray: November 12, 2019

If twelve year-old's could actually see the new Seth Rogen-produced comedy, Good Boys, which chronicles-in too honest a nature for their own sensibilities apparently-the misadventures of this transformative stage from elementary to middle school then there would undoubtedly be a thousand more "bean bag boy" trios popping up across the nation tomorrow and...in all honesty...that wouldn't be such a bad thing. For all of the promotional focus around this movie being on the gimmick of it starring actors too young to see their own movie because of the words and actions they say and do the truth of the matter is that despite this seemingly backwards rule (for the record, I don't think anyone under fifteen should probably watch this if for no other reason than to preserve as much innocence as possible for as long as possible) the heart of Good Boys lies in the fact that a sweetness is ultimately born from the vulgarity it would seem reliant upon. Our three co-leads, best friends and founding members of the aforementioned "bean bag boys" are so oblivious to the true meanings of some of the things they say, so unsuspecting in the ramifications of some of their actions and-most importantly-have the best of intentions in the quest the movie ultimately sends them on that the crudeness that comes to serve as the details in said quest only make to further emphasize the honesty of how kids act among themselves when their parents and elders aren't around. This point of these children being tawdry is just that-to garner cheap laughs from their peers, not because they actually possess such personalities; they're unrefined, sure, but they're not crass. The minutiae of such distinctions allows for the kids themselves to feel blameless in their thoughts and in their words, but more products of their environments in the truest sense of the phrase. This is where Good Boys becomes something wholly different in its approach though, for as much as the movie is, on a surface-level, about garnering laughs from twelve year-old's saying the "F" word writer/director Gene Stupnitsky and co-writer/producer Lee Eisenberg seem intent on emphasizing the fact the title of their film is more earnest than it is satirical; meaning the bean bag boys-despite all the trouble they get into-are in fact, fundamentally, honest-to-God good boys. Video review here. B-

Precious without being precious.

As has already been said, The Peanut Butter Falcon is a movie that very well could have been as excessive on the sentimentality as its synopsis would leave you to believe it probably would be. Somehow, first-time feature directors Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz are able to strike the ever-important balance between hokey and genuine though, conveying this modern day Mark Twain tale with pure, earnest heart and vigor.

Shia and Dakota do some of their most endearing work, but it is Zack Gottsagen-the star of the film who has Down syndrome-who is the film's greatest strength as Nilson and Schwartz's screenplay doesn't speak down to or make excuses for Zak, the character, but instead allows this individual to finally offer his insight on life to the people around him rather than the other way around...and everyone's lives are all the better for it. B-

“Don’t spend it on practical things like rent! Buy yourself something nice,” is maybe the most “grandmother” thing one can say and The Farewell certainly knows how to hone in on the very best aspects of what makes grandmothers “grandmothers”. And yet, what is most appealing and refreshing about Lulu Wang’s film and its approach to its delicate subject matter is that it’s as equally sweet and simple as you remember the world as seen through your grandma’s eyes while layering in the complexities and complications of your modern, adult environment.

As someone who no longer has either of their grandmothers with them, but was respectably close to both if not much closer to one than the other it came as something of a shock (and a reality check) when it became clear in the years following their deaths that there was as much to be derived about these women I only knew at a very specific stage of their lives from those they most influenced when they were alive as there was to be learned from what they taught me face to face...maybe even more so. In other words, this idea of paying it forward and the importance of not necessarily personal legacy, but doing ones small part to ensure continued decency came to be that much more clear. The idea of “paying it forward” is undoubtedly admirable, but The Farewell is about paying things back; it’s good to look forward, it’s right to nurture the future, but it’s essential to honor those that brought us to this point as well.

Deceivingly simple in its approach, The Farewell for a fair portion of its running time seemed as if it were destined to be one of those indie darlings that received such high praise so early out the gate that by the time it reached my unimportant market would be diminished by lofty expectations and yet, as the film’s third act begins and it draws its lines to the center to connect these seemingly disparate, but altogether necessary strands the impact of what Wang has crafted hits you full force. I was in tears.

Also, Alex Weston’s score is the unsung hero of the piece and deserves to be nominated for all the awards. For lack of a better phrase, it truly makes the film sing. B+

I’m not entirely convinced Morgan Freeman wasn’t playing God for Tom Shadyac again here.

Bad jokes aside though, this is a movie about an extraordinary person in a movie that might not be nearly as extraordinary as he is, but sometimes the subject no matter the execution is enough and this is very much the case with Brian Banks. B

As far as puns go: Squeal Team Six was pretty solid. The Angry Birds Movie 2 is more or less more of the same, but my four year-old was entertained enough and it has a "Baby Shark" riff, so there ya go. C-

47 Meters Down: Uncaged is the seemingly unnecessary sequel to 2017's 47 Meters Down in which four teen girls (including Sophie NĂ©lisse AKA the girl from The Book Thief, Corinne Foxx AKA Jamie Foxx's daughter, Brianne Tju and Sistine Rose Stallone AKA the Italian Stallion's daughter) go diving in a ruined underwater city only to quickly learn they've entered the territory of the deadliest shark species in the claustrophobic labyrinth of submerged caves. I actually really enjoyed director Johannes Roberts' original film as well as his The Strangers sequel, Prey at Night, so the fact he returned to direct this sequel is enough to make me give it a fair shot.

After the Wedding is a remake of the 2006 Danish film starring Mads Mikkelsen and Sidse Babett Knudsen. Originally directed by Susanne Bier (Bird Box, The Night Manager) the remake comes from Bart Freundlich (Mozart in the Jungle) who adapted the screenplay for English audiences, changing the setting to New York and swapping the genders of the three leading characters. Billy Crudup, Julianne Moore and Michelle Williams star in this story about a woman who manages an orphanage in Kolkata who travels to America to meet a benefactor.

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