On DVD & Blu-Ray: March 10, 2020

What is maybe the best aspect of the exceptional Uncut Gems is the fact that yes, this is very much Adam Sandler doing something outside of his standard routine, but this isn't Sandler playing serious simply for the sake of proving he can in fact act when the material calls for it. No, this isn't sad or depressed Sandler simply for the sake of being taken seriously, but instead the Safdie Brothers (Good Time) have somehow lured the Sandman into giving both a layered, physical performance while also remaining one that plays off the inherent charm and charisma Sandler naturally possesses. Moreover, he's used perfectly here. So perfect in fact, it's hard to imagine anyone else in this role besides Sandler.

In Gems, Sandler is a jeweler in the diamond district in Manhattan. He’s ingrained in the Jewish community there and he's also a gambling addict. He has a wife (Idina Menzel) and several children, but he also has a girlfriend (Julia Fox) who works with him in his shop during the day and hustles for The Weeknd at night. Sandler's Howard Ratner pawns jewelry from his store to pay off bookies and accumulated debt some of the time, but most of the time he’s using that money to place bigger bets in something of a small scale Ponzi scheme. Context clues aside, the focus of plot comes into view when a giant opal that has been mined from the caves of Ethiopia comes into Ratner's possession. Ratner has plans to auction the rock off as he believes it to be worth untold amounts of money, but he first brings it to the attention of Kevin Garnett (via Lakeith Stanfield's character who will vouch for Howard's product to potential high dollar clientele such as Garnett). The NBA star can't seem to pass up the opportunity to own the stone as he believes it to bring him some type of luck (the film is set in 2013 when the Celtics were facing the Sixers in the Eastern Conference finals) with Ratner making one bad choice after another; deepening his debt rather than his pockets. Full review here. Video review here. A+

They may as well have called this Half Baked 2, but not because the idea to make a movie about a group of women who decide to take on Fox News head Roger Ailes (portrayed here by John Lithgow) is a foolish move to make, but more because it's evident a half hour in that the choices here weren't really thought through and not near enough time has passed since these events occurred to accurately depict what might be the interesting ramifications from the fallout of men such as Ailes losing their power; we need to know what a non-toxic atmosphere looks and feels like before acting like we can really assess how bad these toxic ones truly are. Still, this movie exists and it's trying its damnedest to be a political satire via Adam McKay. Given there was much to look forward to about the project outside of simply telling a relevant and intriguing story there was hope that director Jay Roach (Austin Powers, Meet the Parents, Trumbo) and screenwriter Charles Randolph (The Big Short, Love & Other Drugs) might find a unique angle on how to infiltrate the chaotic world behind the 24-hour news cycle that would feel fresh if not exactly revelatory. While Bombshell hits the ground running and is happy to welcome the audience into this world before beginning to intricately weave these three individual character plights together it, despite always feeling enticing and always feeling as if it's getting ready to really dig into the meat of what it's here to say, ultimately never comes to dig further beneath the surface delivering a cliff notes-like version of a story the average consumer was likely already aware of. Bombshell is a movie with a great beginning and idea for what it wants/needs to be by the end, but it just hadn't yet developed a sound basis for which these ideas could solidly stand on. Full review here. C-

Tom Holland made two trips to Europe last year and honestly, Spies in Disguise-a family-friendly animated film with themes dealing in the complexities of the human condition via pigeons is just as fun, free-wheeling and inventive as the one dealing in teen angst and longing via spiders-without all the strings attached. B-

I failed to see Elizabeth Banks' version of Charlie's Angels when it was released last November and bombed at the box office, but as a big fan of Banks and the Pitch Perfect films in general I'm eager to see what the actor/filmmaker did with this property as Kristen Stewart, Aladdin's Naomi Scott and newcomer Ella Balinska headlined the re-imagining of the 70's TV show that was also made into a feature and a sequel in 2000 and 2003. This time around, the angels are called into action when a young systems engineer blows the whistle on a dangerous technology.

No comments:

Post a Comment