Another jam packed four movie weekend this week.
And what a variety of films.
We have two completely opposite comedies, one about older women seeking love, the other starring a loud mouthed, super human mercenary.
But that’s not all.
There’s also a buddy cop movie featuring talking dogs, and to round things out a documentary about the Pope.
Let’s get to it shall we?
First up is “Book Club.”
Four lifelong friends’ (Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen, and Mary Steenburgen) lives are turned upside down when their book club tackles the infamous “Fifty Shades of Grey.”
From discovering new romance to rekindling old flames, each is inspired to revitalize their love live.
There aren’t too many movies where the premise, the very concept of the story, make the film truly unappealing to me.
Unfortunately this is one of those movies.
I hate “Fifty Shades of Grey.”
I’ve never read the books, but I have had the distinct displeasure of watching all three films based on E. L. James’s best selling novels.
Frankly, I found each of them more revolting than the last. Not for the gratuitous nudity or unconventional sexual content, that doesn’t phase me either way.
No, I despise the series for a much more insidious reason. Championing a horribly abusive relationship.
Christian Grey, the leading man from “Fifty Shades of Grey,” is a whiny, disgusting man-child who constantly harms his partner both physically and emotionally throughout the series and pouts about it when he doesn’t get his way.
The fact that anyone finds that creep’s actions attractive is completely baffling to me.
The romance of Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele is possibly one of the worst to draw inspiration from. I can’t believe anyone would paint that terrible relationship in a positive light.
Which leads me to this movie.
This film is basically a celebration of “Fifty Shades of Grey” and the author behind it. The women here practically make E. L. James out to be some kind of grand liberator of female sexuality, instead of the normalizer of abusive relationships that she is.
For that reason alone I had a very hard time enjoying any aspect of this movie.
All that said though, despite how much I hated the premise, this film wasn’t all that painful to sit through. Especially compared to some other comedies I’ve seen recently.
It even made me laugh a few times.
This movie felt like four romantic comedies rolled into one, with our quartet of leading ladies meeting up occasionally to discuss the latest happenings of their love lives here and there.
My favorite pairing ended up being Diane Keaton and Andy Garcia. Keaton being a recent widow with overprotective children and Garcia an adventurous pilot.
I enjoyed the way the two of them worked off each other. If nothing else, I thought they were the funniest couple in the movie overall.
Speaking of the humor, I hope you enjoy sexual metaphors and double entendres because that’s pretty much what all the jokes boil down to here.
Personally, I didn’t get much out of them, but the people in my theater seemed to just about die of laughter at every single joke.
So I guess that’s what it comes down to.
If you want to see Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen, and Mary Steenburgen joke about sex for nearly two hours, you’ll probably have a great time with this movie.
For me though, I just couldn’t force myself to get past the premise.
“Book Club” is rated PG-13.
Next is “Pope Francis: A Man Of His Word.”
This documentary follows Pope Francis, sharing his ideas and speaking to audiences around the globe.
I don’t have the chance to see many documentaries in theaters, so for that alone this film is a bit of a treat.
However, this hardly feels like a movie. It’s more like a 96 minute campaign video if anything.
There’s barely any kind of story to propel the film forward. It’s mostly just a collection of loosely connected speeches and interviews with the Pope.
I suppose if there is a binding narrative to the overall film, it’s the Pope trying to live up to the saint that inspired his name, Francis of Assisi.
And from what’s shown in this documentary, it seems like he does.
Pope Francis is highly supportive of the poor and even goes as far as to celebrate poverty.
He despises inequality.
He strongly dislikes how humanity has treated the planet, exploiting nature for profit.
He supports immigration, especially for those forced to leave their homes and country because of terrible wars or famine.
All of these positions are great in my book, and it’s nice to see someone with so much influence be this progressive and caring for the common person.
That said, I’m not sure I’d recommend people go out in droves to see this film.
Since Francis is a native Spanish speaker, most of the film’s dialogue is in Spanish.
So if you don’t know Spanish, you get to read subtitles for the large majority of the movie. Something I don’t mind, but I know would put a lot of people off.
And like I said before, the entire movie is pretty much just the Pope talking for an hour and a half straight. I could see a lot of people finding that pretty dull.
Honestly, on the surface this whole project does appear to be a bit self-indulgent. If the Pope didn’t come across as so humble, the film would look like something crafted only to stroke his ego.
Luckley Pope Francis seems like one of the most unassuming men on the planet. Even as a non-Catholic it’s hard to find a single thing to dislike about the guy.
Bottomline, if you like the Pope and want to see where he stands on just about everything, this is the movie for you.
Those who don’t care won’t find this film all that compelling.
“Pope Francis: A Man of His Word” is rated PG.
Third this week is “Deadpool 2.”
Everyone’s favorite foul-mouthed mutant mercenary is back.
Seeking to protect a young boy (Julian Dennison) from a time-traveling mutant from the future (Josh Brolin), Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) gathers a team of rogue mutants to stop him.
Alright, first things first. This may be a superhero movie set in the X-Men universe, but this is not, I repeat, not a film for children.
This movie is incredibly violent. Ridiculously so.
It features multiple stabbings, bullet wounds, severed limbs, decapitation, and even a crushed skull, all in full view for the audience to see.
Don’t be like the woman in my theater who decided it was a good idea to bring her baby to an R-rated movie. Please, for everyone’s sake, leave the little ones at home.
Now that I have the disclaimer out of the way, let me gush about how much fun I had watching this movie.
This film, much like the first “Deadpool,” feels like it was made for me.
This is exactly my kind of humor.
There are so many self-aware gags and inside references to other movies here, especially comic books ones.
As someone who’s enjoyed superhero movies since they were little, I loved every second of it.
Joke after joke left me laughing to the point of tears. I could hardly catch my breath I was cracking up so much.
Ryan Reynolds was born for this role. He is Deadpool. Frankly I couldn’t imagine anyone doing the character better.
But it’s not just him. Everyone’s great in this movie.
I love Deadpool’s romantic relationship with Morena Baccarin’s character. The two of them have so much chemistry together.
I love Julian Dennison, who plays the boy who Deadpool befriends. I’ve only seen him in one other movie before, “Hunt for the Wilderpeople,” but man does this kid have some cometic chops. I can’t wait to see him in more films.
Even the more minor characters are given plenty of time to shine. Everyone complements each other so well here.
And despite how cynical our main character is, the story still has a fair amount of heart.
Sure, most of the emotional moments get played up for laughs in the end, but the writers are still able to inject enough humanity into the characters and make them relatable.
If you enjoyed the first “Deadpool,” this is an easy movie to recommend. In my opinion it’s just as good, if not better than the original.
Those put off by extreme violence, foul-language, or abundant comic book references should definitely steer clear.
“Deadpool 2” is rated R.
Last this week is “Show Dogs.”
In an attempt to rescue a stolen baby panda, Max (Ludacris), a solitary Rottweiler police dog, teams up with a reluctant human partner (Will Arnett).
Together they go undercover at a prestigious dog show to save the panda cub and arrest the thieves responsible.
What do I even say about a movie like this?
It’s just another generic buddy cop movie, except this one has talking dogs.
The script is completely soulless. Nothing about it is the least bit original.
If you’ve seen a buddy cop movie, you’ve pretty much seen “Show Dogs.”
The animation on the animals’ mouths is shockingly poor. It’s like they skinned a dog’s face and fitted it on top of a creepy robot skull.
Not to mention all the other cheap looking visual effects used throughout the film.
The voice acting ranges from lazy and terrible to obnoxious and terrible.
Every time one of the dumb pigeons that seemed to follow Ludacris’s character everywhere, opened their stupid little mouths, I wanted to jump up and leave the theater.
Will Arnett, what are you doing here? You’re better than this. You can’t need money this badly.
Does someone have dirt on you? I don’t care what it is, nothing’s worth starring in this nightmare.
I know the kind of demographic this film is trying to appeal to. What dog obsessed little kid doesn’t love a talking dog movie? I know I did when I was young.
But I’m not even sure if this makes a good distraction for your doggie loving child. I don’t think a single kid in my theater could stay in their seat for more than a minute at a time while watching this movie.
I couldn’t say if it was boredom or if they were all just so excited they couldn’t sit down. Either way, it certainly didn’t make for a very relaxing outing for their parents.
I guess if you’re kids have seen “Beverly Hills Chihuahua” plus all its sequels a hundred times and you’re just dying for something new, this will probably satisfy them.
As for me, I’d rather slam my head into a door frame for 90 minutes straight than watch this movie again.
“Show Dogs” is rated PG.
Another jam packed four movie weekend this week.