Showing posts with label Murder Mystery 2. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Murder Mystery 2. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 5, 2023

When There Is Nothing Playing At The Movie Theatres That Makes You Want To Leave Home: Some Good Movies You Can Watch in Your PJ's! Part 2

[I review "A Man Called Otto," "Murder Mystery 2," and "M3gan"]

My local theatre has still not been able to lure me back, so here I am in Part 2 of sitting home in my PJ's with a glass of wine enjoying some good movies.  Join me?

A Man Called Otto (2022)

A grieving widower just wants to end it all but something always happens to interrupt his suicide attempts.

Based on the 2012 novel "A Man Called Ove" by Fredrik Backman, this is a remake of the 2015 Swedish dramedy made from that book.  I am usually against remakes of perfectly good foreign language films but since I didn't see that film, I am going to pretend this isn't a remake because FINALLY a movie I really loved!

Otto Anderson (Tom Hanks) is a 63 year-old widower living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Otto is not a happy man. He has not taken the death of his school teacher wife well.  In fact, he plans to commit suicide.  But Otto is also a control freak, and one of his roles in life is keeping order in his housing project, telling people off, making sure his neighbors are doing what they are supposed to do and that people don't drive down the private street in his complex, so these concerns keep interrupting his attempts to end his life.

Through a series of flashbacks, we meet the young Otto, played by Hanks' real life son, Truman. We witness his courtship of his wife, Sonya (Rachel Keller), see their lives together and get glimpses into why Otto is the way he is.

Speaking of neighbors, during a suicide attempt, Otto is interrupted by his new neighbors: Marisol (Mariana Trevino), Tommy (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo), and their two daughters, Abbie (Alessandra Perez) and Luna (Christiana Montoya). In fact, despite his gruffness and unfriendly demeanor, Marisol worms her way into Otto's life, asking for his help babysitting the children when her husband needs to go to the hospital and helping her learn to drive, all once again interrupting his attempts to kill himself. 

Likewise, other events happen to keep Otto alive.

Planning to kill himself by jumping in front of a train, Otto saves an old man who falls onto the tracks right before him. It goes viral and Otto is a hero.  Likewise, despite Otto's desire to die and his innate grumpiness, he has a soft spot for his neighbor, Reuben (Peter Lawson Jones), who had a stroke and is cared for by his wife, Anita (Juanita Jennings). A real estate company is trying to swindle them out of their home and Otto goes to bat for them. Otto also takes in Malcolm, a transgender youth, who was one of Sonia's students and whose parents have kicked them out of their home.

Slowly but surely, though Otto wants to die, he learns to live.

Many Brits consider Judi Dench a "National Treasure." I propose that Tom Hanks be given that moniker here in the U.S.  From his beginnings on TV as a guy pretending to be a woman so he could live in a women's only apartment complex ("Bosom Buddies") to his Oscars for "Philadelphia" and "Forrest Gump" to his AFI Life Achievement Award, Tom has proven himself to be one of our foremost actors and this performance is the cherry on top. I am shocked that it didn't give him an Oscar nod or that this film did not get any nominations.  It's one of the few films I actually liked this year and the acting ensemble is first rate with special kudos to Mariana Trevino.

With a screenplay by David Magee (based on the book by Backman and the screenplay by Hannes Holm from the 2015 film) and directed by Marc Forster, this is a sentimental, sometimes heart-wrenching story of finding meaning in life after tragedy.

Rosy the Reviewer says...finally, a movie I am not going to complain about.  In fact, I loved it.  You will too.  And I proclaim Tom Hanks a National Treasure! (on DVD and for rent on Amazon Prime and Apple+)

Murder Mystery 2 (2023)

Audrey (Jennifer Aniston) and Nick Spitz (Adam Sandler) are back but now they have started a detective agency but working together has taken a toll on their marriage.

This is the follow-up to "Murder Mystery," which premiered on Netflix in 2019.  I guess it was very popular, because here we are again for the sequel. I guess despite my verdict about it (that it was fun but you probably wouldn't remember it a few days later), someone did remember it and deemed it sequel worthy. I actually didn't remember it and had to read my review of the first one to remind myself.  I won't go into my usual rant about sequels (I don't like them), but this is timely since Sandler just won the Kennedy Center's Mark Twain Award for American Humor and was roasted and raved about recently during the ceremony broadcast on CNN. And it's a fun movie.

So as a recap, in the first "Murder Mystery," we met Nick and Audrey Spitz.  He was a New York cop and she was a hairdresser and on a European vacation they got involved in a murder on a yacht and actually became suspects and had to solve the murder to save themselves. 

This time around Audrey and Nick have started their own detective agency and you know how working together can be for married couples..sometimes it doesn't promote togetherness.  Let's just say the two have a lively marriage with lots of bickering. Think Nick and Nora Charles from "The Thin Man," except less sophisticated banter, but I guess nothing brings two people together like solving a murder together.  And that's what happens.

Their friend, Vikram ‘The Maharajah’ Govindan (Adeel Akhtar), invites them to attend his wedding on his private island, all expenses paid, which the pair accept. Enter the soon-to-be usual suspects: Vik’s French fiancé Claudette Joubert (Melanie Laurent), his  business partner Francisco Perez (Enrique Arce), his former fiancé Countess Sekou (Jodie Turner-Smith), her lady-in-waiting Imani (Zurin Villanueva), Vik's sister Saira (Kuhoo Verma) and Colonel Ulenga (John Kani), minus his left arm courtesy of saving Vik from an assassination attempt.

At Vik and Claudette's reception, Vik makes a grand entrance on an elephant except it's not Vik, it's his bodyguard, Lou (Larry Myo Leong).  Lou has been stabbed and Vik has been kidnapped and the kidnappers want $70 million.  Enter hostage negotiator Connor Miller (Mark Strong) who doesn't think much of Nick and Audrey, and during a botched exchange of money with the kidnappers and more people dying, Nick and Audrey realize they are being framed once again and must solve the mystery to absolve themselves, the same thing that happened the first time around!

Written by James Vanderbilt and directed by Jeremy Garelick, there are lots of twists and turns, car chases, an out of control helicopter and Audrey hanging from the Eiffel Tower in what looks to be an homage to "True Lies" and an ending in true Agatha Christie style with all of the suspects in one room being interrogated by Nick and Audrey and the true killer and kidnapper unmasked.

Jennifer has perfected the twitchy, nervous character she inhabited for "Friends" and, Adam Sandler, well he has always been Adam Sandler from Stud Boy on the MTV game show "Remote Control" to SNL to feature comedy films like "Billy Madison" and "Waterboy," though now, in his maturity, he has shown his ability to take on drama ("Uncut Gems"). So if you are an Adam Sandler fan, he delivers his usual schtick, though toned down a bit and Anniston is at her fluttery best.

So when all is said and done, as we expect (so this is not a spoiler!), the mystery gets solved and their relationship is repaired. In fact, Nick has a romantic surprise for Audrey.  He takes her to Paris's Love Lock Bridge and they hang up their lock and then they are off to a "honeymoon" in Greece via helicopter.  But, uh oh, wouldn't you know, the pilot turns out to be a bad guy and we are all set up for "Murder Mystery 3!"

(By the way, this wouldn't be Rosy the Reviewer without a personal side note so here it is: Hubby and I also went to the Love Lock Bridge in Paris and left our lock there!  I'm just saying... but glad we didn't have to solve a murder to get there).

Rosy the Reviewer says...Anniston and Sandler deliver their usual schtick helped by some exotic locations and the occasional laugh. It's not "Citizen Kane," but do we really expect that when we watch an Adam Sandler movie? Yes, it's silly but maybe it's just the kind of diversion we need in this world of school shootings and government unrest and if you are an Aniston and/or Sandler fan, you will enjoy this. (Netflix)

M3gan (2022)

A robotic doll takes on a life of its own (as they do).

Yes, I enjoy the occasional horror film.  In my mind, there are two kinds of horror films - the really gory, bloody, scary ones like "Hostel" and "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre," and then there are the ones that aren't meant to be particularly scary or bloody and are actually kind of fun and funny like "Shaun of the Dead" and "Happy Death Day."   

This story of a life-size robot looking after a little girl falls into the latter category. 

Little Cady's (Violet McGraw) parents were killed in a car accident and she is now being cared for by her not particularly maternal Aunt Gemma (Allison Williams), who just happens to be a busy robotics engineer.  Her toy company, Funki, makes Perpetual Pets, AI toys, and her boss is pressuring her to come up with a toy that is cheaper than the competition, but she has been secretly working on her own project - a robot that can bond with its human owner.  Because Cady is still grieving, Gemma creates M3gan, a Model 3 Regenerative Android with a Titanium core and gives her to Cady. M3gan can do everything from telling Cady a bedtime story to reminding her to flush the toilet.  She even can sing "Titanium!"   

But wouldn't you know...M3gan decides she not only needs to play with Cady and remind her to flush the toilet, but also become her protector. And who wouldn't want a robot friend to look after you and do your dirty work? But then as time goes by M3gan takes it a bit too far. Those who threaten Cady must be taken care of.

  • Hostile neighbor - check.
  • Hostile neighbor's vicious dog - check (warning for dog lovers.  Possible triggering)
  • A bully that hurts Cady - check

But despite some graphic ear pulling and all hell breaking loose in the last half hour, you will chuckle. This is one of those fun horror films.

With a story by James Wan, a screenplay by Akela Cooper and direction by Gerard Johnstone, this is a sort of modern day "Frankenstein," all about creating a monster and what can go wrong when technology runs amok.  One could argue, it already has. The monsters have already been created.

This is a timely story especially with the advent of AI's latest invention - ChatGPT - which can write essays and make art and even take your MCAT for you and get you into medical school.  Pretty soon we won't be able to tell the real from the AI. But this is also a cautionary tale about being a lazy parent.  Let a robot take over parenting duties and you get what you deserve.

This is a Blumhouse (Jason Blum) production.  Blumhouse has practically taken over the horror film genre but that's a good thing because Blumhouse can be counted on to dish up everything from scary, gory, bloody to scary, gory funny to just plain funny and sort of scary.

Side note: Though M3gan is played by Amie Donald (voice by Jenna Davis), I couldn't help but think that M3gan looked uncannily like Chloe Grace Moretz.  Sorry, sometimes my mind goes off in tangents! 

Rosy the Reviewer says...revenge is a dish best served cold and our little M3gan serves her revenge cold as ice but believe it or not the film is actually heart-warming. (on DVD and for rent on Amazon Prime and Apple+)

Thanks for reading!

See you next time!

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