THE KING OF STATEN ISLAND (2020)

Directed By: Judd Apatow

Written By: Judd Apatow, Pete Davidson & Dave Sirus

Cinematography: Robert Elswit

Editor: Jay Cassidy, William Kerr & Brian Olds

Cast: Pete Davidson, Bill Burr, Marisa Tomei, Steve Buscemi, Bel Powley, Moises Arias, Carly Aquilino, Maude Apatow, Kevin Corrigan, Pamela Adlon, Rich Vos, Keith Robinson, Jimmy Tatro, Dominick Lombardozzi, Colson Baker, Ricky Velez, Lou Wilson

Scott has been a case of arrested development since his firefighter dad died. He spends his days smoking weed and dreaming of being a tattoo artist until events force him to grapple with his grief and take his first steps forward in life.


This is not Writer/Director Judd Apatow’s worst or most disappointing movie, but disappointing to a certain degree.

Saw the somewhat similar BIG TIME ADOLESCENCE where Pete Davidson played a similar aimless character who seems stuck in arrested development and mental illness. That film had a more straight to the point story whereas this seems to be comfortable in the moments. Wherever they go. Which is great for the performers, for the audience it can go either way. Which might be why this film isn’t as good as I had hoped as it feels a little familiar.

One of Judd Apatow’s talent is always getting comedic actors who he wants to work with to kind of write their own stories and movies that are a bit autobiographical and then they can try to tie it to a more central plot-oriented conceit. Allowing them to bring out the talents and charm of the actors. As well as make it feel more real as it is partly based in the leads life. This helping to bring out the best in them and showcase their talents. Usually giving them more depth and heart then they have ever been allowed before. 

He has become so good at mixing comedy and drama he feels like a modern-day James L. Brooks. Strangely Judd Apatow movies are also always reminiscent of John Cassavettes films. As he always wants to cut to the truth of the scenes and characters. Where he also let’s then scenes flow freely from comedy to devastating drama. This usually works when his films are further away from formula. 

It also helps that the characters in these movies might be more comedic and therefore humor but they also feel loved in more than just actorly in performance. 

This is one of the few films he has made that is less high concept. Usually there is a concept and users the comedians personality, charm and instincts to make it more of a character piece.

The film is big yet the main character is aimless. Things happen throughout making the film more eventful but leaving the film still kind of formless. Even with a skeleton underneath. As the film is too long. 

Pete Davidson is pretty much playing a less successful version of himself or his public persona. He is a charming knucklehead who seems charming and fun. Yet has presence and you would be friends with. It never totally understands. 

The cast gives it all but feels like a pilot. As it seems to set up a lot but never quite pull the trigger. so that there seems to be more room for development amongst the characters. 

The film offers comedian Bill Burr a great role close to the leading man and he is excellent in the role.

One wishes Pamela Adlon was in the film more and had more to do. The same with Marisa Tomei. As the film comes off more like a boy’s club. It’s the same fate As well for bel Powley as she is funny and sexy in her role. As a sometimes love interest who gets tired of being used and taken for granted.

The film doesn’t seem to know where it wants to go. As it leads us to various places. Sometimes it stays around, but often makes a pit stop and then moves forward going along and not really looking back too much and it doesn’t really have an ending. An Especially  satisfying one 

Once a plot does rear its head. The film stays with it then takes a turn to allow for some more wandering. Which leaves the film entertaining but makes it feel endless. 

The film leaves a lot of plates spinning. Where some characters appear and then disappear. Which works as it shows once away from the lead their influence is on existent. Their lack of importance to the main character is that small of an important overall to the Film and they almost come off as forgotten by the end. 

Grade: C

SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME (2019)

SPIDER-MAN: ™ FAR FROM HOME

Directed By: Jon Watts
Written By: Chris McKenna & Erik Sommers
Based On Characters Created By: Stan Lee & Steve Ditko
Cinematography: Matthew J. Lloyd
Editor: Leigh Folsom Boyd & Dan Lebental 


Cast: Tom Holland, Zendaya, Jake Gylenhaal, Samuel L. Jackson, Jon Favreau, Cobie Smulders, Marisa Tomei, Jacob Batalan, Tony Revolori, Martin Starr, J.B. Smoove, Jorge Lendeborg Jr., Peter Billingsly, Angourie Rice 


Our friendly neighborhood Super Hero decides to join his best friends Ned, MJ, and the rest of the gang on a European vacation. However, Peter’s plan to leave super heroics behind for a few weeks are quickly scrapped when he begrudgingly agrees to help Nick Fury uncover the mystery of several elemental creature attacks, creating havoc across the continent.


This is a review of the first version not the extended cut.

This is immensely better than the previous spider-man movies. As far as the THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN movies go. As these feel less interferes with. Yet manage to stay just as marketable and enjoyable. They also stay true to the character origins.

The film works as as a teen comedy on its own and packs an emotional sincerity about loss. It fits in with the franchise as well as you don’t have to see the previous films but helps. And is also generally funny.

Here the film also becomes more about the romance especially with being overseas in Europe in these classic cities where love is happening all around them. So much so that while trying to be a superhero and defeat villains. He also has to go against a romantic rival. So here he has to face more parallel responsibilities.

This feels more like a film. Not so much a calculated product or stepping stone in a franchise that leads to an even bigger piece of an overall universe necessarily.

What I enjoy about these series of films is that with each series of films in this franchise not only has a different vision that is allowed as far as the directors go. Which also reminds me of the comic book series where you had The comic book series THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN and actually SPIDER-MAN. Which is almost the same of these franchises having all these continuing adventures and different universes.

As also each spider-man series of films has allowed the director’s vision to be complete with the character. They shaped those universes as no one replaced them And had to renew or copy the previous directors. It also gives every generation their own set of spider-man movies.

This feels like the most fun as it gives the fans more of what they want and can still appeal to teenagers and also offering minor or overlooked villains giving them More their due and giving them A rich back story and motivation.

They also have great action sequences that do have you on the edge of your seat.

Here what could easily have been a by the numbers superhero film offers quite a few twists and from what could have been a weak villain though one of my favorites from the comic book. Not the strongest of origins but allowable in this universe that it could be easily believable for the characters to believe the multiple universe theory especially with the spider verse movie coming out last year And even with that films excellent quality this is still a good runner up.

What we have here is a longer cinematic version of peter dealing with the death of a mentor. Usually we see this side with the death of uncle Ben. Here we are dealing with the aftermath of the death of Tony Stark.

Wondering if this life is worth it when it might be easier to take less responsibility and pass the work onto someone else. So that he can leave and enjoy his own life. Only here he learns his merit and worth more. A kind of rebirth of confidence. Where as soon as he becomes comfortable his works is rocked yet again.

Tom Holland is charming with a certain innocence and physicality making him a constantly entertaining lead and presence. As his character is so strong yet fragile emotionally and still shy when it comes to his feelings.

Zendaya is a star and here she is so good. As the sarcastic love interest who shows some vulnerability this time. As well as similar romantic feelings.

Have to give credit to director Jon Watts who has really helped to resurrect the franchise by design and content and so far has not made a bad movie on his resume.

This film even let’s the minor and supporting characters have their moments. Which only adds to the fun of the movie.

This film actually supplies a shocking ending. Which might make up for the obvious twist the film offers in the middle of the film that anyone who follows or has read in the comic saw coming ever since the preview for this film.

Grade: A-

THE FIRST PURGE (2018)

first1purge

Directed By: Gerard McMurray
Written By: James DeMonaco
Cinematography By: Anastas N. Michos
Editor: Jim Page

Cast: Y’Lan Noel, Lex Scott Davis, Marisa Tomei, Luna Lauren Velez, Joivan Wade, Patch Darragh, Melonie Diaz, Steve Harris, Derek Basco, Chyna Layne, Kristin Solis, Mo McRae, Desiigner

America’s third political party, the New Founding Fathers of America, comes to power and conducts an experiment: no laws for 12 hours on Staten Island. No one has to stay on the island, but $5,000 is given to anyone who does.

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