Showing posts with label October. Show all posts
Showing posts with label October. Show all posts

Friday, August 17, 2018

"The Spy Who Dumped Me" and The Week in Reviews

[I review the comedy "The Spy Who Dumped Me" as well as DVDs "Overboard" and "An Inconvenient Sequel."  The Book of the Week is Joanna Gaines' new cookbook "The Magnolia Table."  I also bring you up-to-date with "My 1001 Movies I Must See Before I Die Project" with Sergei Eisenstein's "October."]

The Spy Who Dumped Me

Audrey (Mila Kunis) and Morgan (Kate McKinnon) are best friends who unwittingly become involved in an international conspiracy when Audrey discovers that the boyfriend who dumped her is a spy.

Right on the heels of the summer's big blockbuster, "Mission Impossible-Fallout (which I reviewed last week)," comes another spy film, an obvisous spoof of the James Bond film "The Spy Who Loved Me," but this time it's a comedy where the bad guys are trying to get yet another flash drive.

Audrey and Morgan are best friends and roommates.  Audrey works at a grocery store, is hesitant about life and can't seem to finish what she starts.  Morgan is an out-of-work actress who lives life unafraid, wanting to experience everything life has to offer and if you have ever seen Kate McKinnon on SNL, you know as an actress she also lives life unafraid. 

Audrey's boyfriend, Drew (Justin Theroux) has dumped her via text message, so she is bummed until he inexplicably shows up and she discovers that he is a spy and broke up with her because he didn't want to put her life in danger.  But just before he is gunned down in front of them, he tells Audrey she must take something to Vienna - it's a flash drive hidden inside a fantasy football trophy - and deliver it to the right people (what's with flash drives this summer? Same thing everyone was after in "Skyscraper)!  

So Audrey and Morgan head to Vienna because, well, Audrey decides she is finally going to finish something and, besides, they really don't have anything else to do and, hey, they both wanted to see Europe!  The two engage in a series of dangerous adventures around Europe and the fun is seeing how these two fish out of water get out of some sticky situations.

Kate McKinnon is one of those comic actresses who will go full tilt for a laugh.  If you have seen her on SNL, then you know what I mean.  Here she steals the show from Mila who is basically there as McKinnon's straight woman but that's OK.  We all need a straight woman and Mila holds up her end.

One of my favorite scenes is when the two are trying to outrun the bad guys in a car with an Uber driver who admits he is on meth.  Lots of room for screaming and for some reason screaming in comedies makes me laugh.  When something bad happens, the lead characters decide that screaming is the best way to handle the situation.  That's funny.

And that's how I judge a comedy. 

Is it funny?  And yes, this one is mostly funny except it fell apart at the end with a too long sequence with McKinnon on a trapeze.  One can't help but make comparisons with Melissa McCarthy's "Spy," and it's not quite up to that level, but this one celebrates female friendships and I'm all for that.
Directed by Susanna Fogel (screenplay by Fogel and David Iserson), the film is surprisingly violent for a comedy and that can be jarring at times.  You don't know whether to laugh or be horrified. There is a scene where Audrey cuts off a guy's thumb that is particularly cringeworthy. 

Mila is a cult figure with young women these days, especially young mothers, ever since "Bad Moms," another rather raunchy movie that had a sweet side.  Unfortunately the filmmakers had to ruin everything by rushing a sequel into the theatres to capitalize on the popularity of that movie and came out with "A Bad Mom's Christmas," which was, well, bad.  But Mila is back on top with this one.

Justin Theroux makes a handsome ex-boyfriend but it's our Jamie from "Outlander" who stands out as Sebastian (Sam Heughan), another spy we're not sure about. Is he a good guy or a bad guy?  Not sure, but one thing I DO know for sure is that he is one handsome fellow even without Jamie's long hair, and I am glad to see him getting some feature film roles. Gillian Anderson, Paul Reiser, Jane Curtin all also make come funny appearances.

Rosy the Reviewer says...a summer comedy that celebrates female friendship and delivers some laughs.  What more could you want? I mean, hey, it's summer!

***Some Movies You Might Have Missed***
(And Some You Will Be Glad You Did)!


Overboard (2018)

A rich playboy falls off his yacht, hits his head and can't remember who he is which gives a woman he fired a chance to take revenge.

The tables are turned in this remake of the 1987 Goldie Hawn/Kurt Russell original.  In that one, Goldie was the rich person who needed taking down and Kurt was the vengeful ex-employee.  This time, Eugenio Derbez, who made a splash (pardon the pun) in last year's "How To Be A Latin Lover," is the spoiled rich playboy, Leonardo Montenegro, and Anna Faris is Kate Sullivan, a single Mom who takes advantage of the fact that Leonardo doesn't remember who he is after his accident.  

Kate is a single Mom who works two jobs while studying to become a nurse.  She delivers pizzas and also cleans rugs.  When hired to clean a yacht, she runs afoul of rich playboy Leonardo Monenegro who insults her and eventually gets her fired. Leonardo's Dad, who appears to be dying, wants to hand over his business to Leonardo who is basically not interested and just wants to party.  His sister, Magdalena (Cecilia Suarez), is not happy about that because she is the one who believes she deserves to run the company so when Leonardo is knocked overboard from his yacht and can't remember who he is, the stars align for Magdalena to seize control of the company.  Basically she fails to identify him.  

Enter Kate, who when she sees Leonardo in the newspaper listed as a homeless man with amnesia, remembers what an ass he was and sees an opportunity to teach him a lesson so with the help of her friend and pizza shop owner, Theresa (Eva Longorio), she forges some documents, goes to the hospital, identifies herself as his wife and takes him home with her where she informs him that he is a construction worker; he does all of the work around the house as well; he doesn't drink; and he has decided he can't have sex until he has 30 days of sobriety under his belt so that's why he sleeps in the garage. Naturally - and even if you hadn't seen the original film, you can see this coming from miles away - despite this bad start the two grow on each other.

Written by Rob Greenberg, Leslie Dixon and Bob Fisher and directed by Greenberg, don't waste time wondering about how realistic this is or ask why a hospital would release a person with amnesia to someone without more verification or some of the other silly plot lines.  This is your classic fish-out-of water story about a guy who has never heard an alarm clock before, never worked a day in his life, and never shopped in a grocery store, so it's fertile ground for some laughs though the laughs are totally based on the charisma and charm of the two lead actors.

Faris is a Goldie Hawn lookalike and plays some of the same kinds of parts that Hawn did back in her heyday.  She is also a local Seattle area girl which explains all of the Seahawks logos displayed in the film. But Derbis is the one who really creates the laughs. He is a huge star in Mexico and has been working to expand his base which started with his American debut in "How To Be A Latin Lover."  He has a sort of confused, deadpan look most of the time that is amusing as he tries to navigate this confusing world he finds himself in.

Rosy the Reviewer know how I feel about remakes.  Did we need this one?  No, but at least this remake tries to change it up a bit and Faris and Derbis are enjoyable.

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power (2017)

The follow-up to Al Gore's 2006 Oscar-winning documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" where he brought the issue of climate change to the forefront.

The film begins with comments from people who had viewed Gore's first film "An Inconvenient Truth."  That film was called "hyperbole," and "hysterical."  Gee, I wonder if this film is going to dispute those comments and show how right Gore was after all.

Yes, it is.

However, sadly, this film doesn't quite have the drama and heft of the first one.  

This one is more about Gore's Climate Leadership Training road show that he takes around the world educating people about climate change and reminding people of what he warned us against over ten years ago.  And yes, his first film was just the beginning of what has transpired since.  The hottest years in world history have all been since 2001 and the hottest year ever was 2016.  Yes, there are cold days as climate change deniers like to say but hot days are far more numerous.  Glaciers are melting which in turn raise the tides that causes routine flooding in Miami, something I wasn't even aware of.

The film shows how efforts to use other forms of energy have been blocked - President Trump doesn't believe in solar energy.  Propaganda about doing anything about climate change abounds with lawmakers saying that even if Al Gore is right, changing our way of doing things would be so expensive it would cripple the economy.  Not true.

Though this is an important film, it suffers from its own sort of global warming.  It is very, very dry, though, ironically, it's Gore himself who comes off much warmer than I remember him, and I couldn't help but wonder if he had been like this when he was campaigning for President he might have had a clear victory.

But the proof of climate change is here - fires, floods, storms, even refugees from drought ridden countries - these are all related. Syrian refugees were in flux because of drought well before the civil war. The dots connect so why doesn't our government do anything?  Climate change is real and has a trickle down effect that even affects refugees and immigration.

The film highlights the Paris Accord and congratulates the countries who were part of it, of which we were one.  Ironically, when the movie was released they didn't know that President Trump would pull us out of it.

Rosy the Reviewer says...though this film doesn't have quite the same impact as the first one, that doesn't change the message.  Climate change is real and something must be done before it's too late.

***My 1001 Movies I Must See Before I Die Project***

130 to go!

Have YOU seen this classic film?

October: Ten Days That Shook the World (1927)

The beginning of the Russian Revolution and how the country went from the overthrow of the Romanov monarchy in St. Petersburg to Aleksandr Kerensky's "Provisional Government" to Lenin's victories.

"We have the right to be proud that to us fell the good fortune of beginning the building of the Soviet State and, by doing so, opening a new chapter in the history of the world." - V.I. Lenin

So begins this silent film by Sergei Eisenstein that commemorated the tenth anniversary of the Bolshevik victory. Eisenstein shot this film in the very sites where the incidents occurred.  

The film was shot in a documentary style but, surprisingly, Eisenstein used no documentary footage at all, just dramatic reenactments that feel very much like actual footage of events with crowd noise sound effects and music by Shostakovich.  There are also some very dramatic images such as the statue of the Czar being pulled down and a baby carriage falling down one side of an opening drawbridge which smacked of the baby carriage falling down the stairs in Eisenstein's 1926 film "Potemkin.

I guess I can see the historical significance of this film, but I can't really see anyone today settling down in front of his or her TV with a glass of wine to enjoy this silent film. I needed three.  I guess if you wanted a dramatized history of the beginnings of the Russian Revolution this could work so it's a good Russian history lesson but it could have been a little less arty and much shorter.

But I will give it props for demonstrating once again the power of film - silent films may be difficult for our 21st century technologically oriented brains to deal with but they do demonstrate the old adage that a picture is worth a thousand words and it doesn't take many words to tell a story.

Why it's a Must See: "There is no denying that [this film] is a masterpiece, but figuring out what kind is a real challenge.  As a means of 'explaining' the revolution, the film is simply ineffective.  For many audiences, sitting through it is a real chore...[But this film] is the purest, most cogent example of Eisenstein's theory and practice of cinema."
---"1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die"

Rosy the Reviewer says...for once I agree with these folks.  I can see the filmic masterpiece part but it was really a chore to get through.

***The Book of the Week***

The Magnolia Table: A Collection of Recipes for Gathering by Joanna Gaines (2018)

If you have been missing Joanna, you can bring her into your home by way of her recipes and homespun wisdom about cooking.

I came to the Chip and Joanna Gaines cult late in life.  My daughter-in-law turned me on to them and their show "Fixer Upper," so then I binge-watched all of their shows only to find out that they were leaving HGTV - and just when I became addicted to their perky personalities and clean, homey style.

But now here is Joanna just in the nick of time to share her recipes and way of life in her new cookbook.

"This cookbook is a celebration of bringing people together.  I share many of my favorite personal recipes as well as some from friends and family, and of course from our restaurant, Magnolia Table...Similar to my design philosophy about making your space uniquely yours, I want you to feel inspired to personalize these recipes and adjust them as you need for your family's tastes...There are no gospel truths on these pages.  I'm not a professional chef.  I'm just a busy, working mama who loves to cook and share recipes."

And needless to say, she is also a multi-millionaire!

But this is a lovely cookbook.  It's beautifully illustrated and each recipe has a little homey introduction from Joanna.

For example, for her "Eggs Benedict Casserole" recipe, she says:

"Eggs Benedict is one of Chip's favorite dishes, but he tends to get it only when we go out.  I think this classic is more typically a restaurant dish because it's so time consuming in a home setting to serve up a bunch of individual plates of toasted English muffins, fried Canadian bacon, poached eggs, and hollandaise sauce. But putting those ingredients in a casserole gets you all the flavor in a fraction of the time -- and there's no last minute composing.  Now Chip gets his favorite breakfast and I get a lot more time to sit and enjoy it with our family."

Divided into Breakfast, Lunch, Soups & Salads, Appetizers & Starters, Side Dishes, Dinner, and Desserts, the book provides lots more yummy recipes like that:

  • Overnight French Toast
  • Curry Chicken Salad
  • Layered Arugula Salad
  • Mom's Bulgogi (Joanna's Mom is Korean)
  • Dulce de Leche Apple Pie

But the cookbook also includes many classic dishes with Joanna's spin: Mac & Cheese, Chicken Pot Pie, corn bread, guacamole, and more.

A great cookbook with lots of homespun recipes and thoughts.  And it's perfect for the inexperienced cook as well as the experienced cook.

As Joanna says, "No matter what happens, try to enjoy the process.  As Chip told me early on: If you mess up, there's always pizza."

Rosy the Reviewer says...a beautifully produced and accessible cookbook that feels very much like watching Chip and Joanna on their TV show so if you are a fan you will enjoy this but even if you aren't, it's still a great cookbook with delicious recipes.

Thanks for reading!

See you next Friday 


"Crazy Rich Asians"

The Week in Reviews
(What to See or Read and What to Avoid)

 and the latest on

"My 1001 Movies I Must See Before 

I Die Project." 

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Check your local library for DVDs and books mentioned.

Next time you are wondering whether or not to watch a particular film, check out my reviews on IMDB (The International Movie Database). 

Go to, find the movie you are interested in.  Scroll down below the synopsis and the listings for the director, writer and main stars to where it says "Reviews" and click on "Critics" - If I have reviewed that film, you will find Rosy the Reviewer alphabetically on the list.