THUNDER FORCE (2021)

Written & Directed By: Ben Falcone
Cinematography: Barry Peterson 
Editor: Tia Nolan 

Cast: Melissa McCarthy, Octavia Spencer, Bobby Cannavale, Jason Bateman, Pom Klementieff, Melissa Leo, Taylor Mosby, Kevin Dunn, Ben Falcone 

In a world terrorized by super-villains, one woman has developed the process to give superpowers to regular people. But when scientist Emily Stanton accidentally imbues her estranged best friend with incredible abilities, the two women must become the first superhero team. Now, it is up to Thunder Force to battle the super-powered Miscreants and save Chicago from the clutches of The King.


It seems with most new comedic vehicles that Melissa McCarthy makes it seem to drag down the quirky of her stock. What is more digressing is that usually, these films are her own creation with her writer-director husband Ben Falcone. 

For every BRIDESMAIDS, SPY or even THE HEAT. There is a LIFE OF THE PARTY or TAMMY. At least THE BOSS was somewhat entertaining.

The bright spots of this film are few in-between. As at least the film becomes fun when it comes to the scenes with her and Jason Bateman as they still obviously have chemistry from the forgettable Studio film IDENTITY THEFT.

Like that film, this seems to want to be a forced buddy comedy. Where we how for the best. While two different personalities are forced to work together. While the stench of corporate studio movie making and synergy is pretty obvious. 

It’s almost like an Adam Sandler Netflix film which you know most likely will be bad. If they keep serving you and you take a chance and instantly regret it usually. As you remember how good they can be no how many better films they made than the one you are forcing yourself to watch. Hoping for something salvageable amongst the wreck. 

The other bright spot of the film is anytime the film deals with the villains and their hierarchy. Which isn’t the sharpest writing but some of the funnier material. That could have easily been a sketch more than anything.

The problem isn’t that the film isn’t inspired, it just does nothing with the idea or ideas it has Melissa McCarthy and Octavia Spencer are friends in real life and used to do improv shows together and were nominated on the same year for Best Supporting actress at the academy awards McCarthy for BRIDESMAIDS and SPENCER for THE HELP which she won for.

Other than that you wish they could have chosen a better project. As this film most of the time comes off as pretty flat. The jokes come off as simple and weak and while this is meant to be a spoof or take off of superheroes. Nothing seems quite Inspired and the film comes off as tame.

This could easily be a family film with how inoffensive it is. It’s Predictable and you wonder about the intelligence of most of the characters. Such as why a successful mayoral candidate doesn’t suspect a thing when the person she beat all Of a sudden wants to throw her a victory party. 

You Can tell where the film and story are going constantly and the deepest character development we get from McCarthy is that her loser character obsesses about classic rock band music. Even a character they introduce when they are kids and have a crush on Spencer who we see as an adult goes nowhere. 

The film is a major disappointment especially when it seemed to be aiming pretty high. Though comes off more not as anything made for the big screen but almost purposely meant to be on streaming or television as it’s scope and aim seem so narrow but try to aim for bigger and better 

Though to be fair it’s rare that there has been a successful superhero comedy. 

Grade: D

PUMPKIN (2002)

Directed by: Anthony Abrams & Adam Larson Broder
Written By: Adam Larson Broder 
Cinematography: Tim Shurstedt
Editor: Richard Halsey & Sloane Klevin 

Cast: Christina Ricci, Hank Harris, Brenda Blethyn, Dominique Swain, Marisa Coughlan, Sam Ball, Harry Lennix, Nina Foch, Caroline Aaron, Melissa McCarthy, Julio Oscar Mechoso, Michael Bacall, Erin Bartlett, Amy Adams, Michelle Kruseic, Shaun Weiss 

Perky, perfect Carolyn and her Alpha Omega Pi sisters plan to win Sorority of the Year by impressing the Greek Council with a killer charity: coaching mentally challenged athletes for the regional Challenged Games. When Carolyn’s assigned to coach Pumpkin she’s terrified at first, but soon sees in him something she’s never seen before: gentle humanity and honest clarity that touches her soul. To the horror of her friends and Pumpkin’s overprotective mother, Carolyn falls in love, becoming an outcast in the process. As Carolyn’s “perfect life” falls apart, Pumpkin teaches her that perfect isn’t always perfect after all.


This film tries to be subversive in that it tries to satirize 1950s forbidden romance melodramas. While also trying to be one with a few modern sensibilities. As well as more humor that tends to be cynical at times.

Where it seems like the whole world will be shattered because of this romance between a sorority college girl and a mentally challenged man she meets while trying to do charity work.

That at times can be seen as in bad taste, but ultimately remains sweet. 

Most of the characters here come across as stereotypes at first until the film allows them to show more depth. At first, it seems fairly typical but then becomes more subversive.

Though there is sex it is delivered in a more subdued manner, Except for one scene.

The film plays more like a teenage melodrama. Though too mature for them. So it might appeal to college-aged audiences. It is also a film full of bright colors 

The film seems to try to be naughty and a little controversial to gain more interest. Almost like a stunt, but as it goes along proves itself to be a little more conventional.

Though it does show a nice transition for the characters. From living their lives in a kind of young dreamworld and then being awakened to the harsh truth of reality and the world outside of college.

The soundtrack is very catchy and achieves a life of its own. As I was obsessed with it and one particular song immediately after watching the film. It ended up being the thing I remember most about the film:

The reason I discovered it was the cast. Especially Star Christina Ricci. As this was a time when she seemed to be the independent film girl. After BUFFALO’ 66 and THE OPPOSITE OF SEX. Though this doesn’t rise to the same level as those films. Here she gives an earnest performance. As most of the film is built around her character.

This feels like a film that is missing writer/director John Waters’ touch as he might have made it a little more sharp and grotesque to a degree. Though the filmmakers here seem to win for his territory with a little more modesty and sweetness, that can be bitter, with touches of bad taste. Lacking the camp needed. As a throwback to simple times and exposing the ridiculous class traditions with humor 

GRADE: C

LOVE, GILDA (2018)

Directed By: Lisa D’Apolito  


With: Gilda Radner, Martin Short, Laraine Newman, Paul Shaffer, Bill Hader, Chevy Chase, Melissa McCarthy, Amy Poehler, Lorne Michaels, Maya Rudolph 

In her own words, comedienne Gilda Radner looks back and reflects on her life and career. Weaving together recently discovered audiotapes, interviews with her friends, rare home movies and diaries read by modern day comediennes, LOVE Gilda offers a unique window into the honest and whimsical world of a beloved performer whose greatest role was sharing her story. 



There is nothing wrong with the film as it gives a pretty full portrait of actress/comedienne Gilda Radner’s slice and careers us by excerpts from her journals and other personal writings and a bunch of colleagues and family are interviewed as well as footage from her performances and personal home movies.

There is no sadness except when You know the end is coming and the documentary more shows highlights from her life and the sadder stuff while mentioned is given short shrift.

Though rather than have that be a mark against it. Sometimes it seems if a documentary is more of a happy affair it is though more real Or white-washed when it might be that while we all have troubles and problems in life they don’t have to be marketed or shown to be more real. Just as in Life some people’s lives are more focused on the positive while acknowledging the tougher aspects. It doesn’t need to necessarily focus on it. Unless it is information that has to be mentioned to get a fuller picture.

As it seems in Gilda’s life her happiness cake from entertaining others around her and Her audiences. The film seems to try to showcase and celebrate that aspect of her and focus on that.

The documentary uncovers a few things, Some might not have known as well as giving important collaborators of her life like writer Alan swivel a chance to reminisce and for one me Who is a fan of his a chance to finally see him in the flesh so to speak on the screen

If you are a fan the film doesn’t reveal anything you might not already know but allows for more personal insight from her.

By the end, you wish the film felt more full, but then you realize how little time we had with Gilda before she was gone. She had a lasting career but it was brief and has a spectacular beginning that defined her but never got a chance to get beyond that to a greater work. Considering how many she inspired and entertained we realize just like her family and friends she and we were robbed of her presence way too soon and it leaves a lasting impression but also leaves a hole of sorts. She never got to get the recognition not the best of her never really got a chance to come through.

Though what she left behind was wonderful

Grade: B

THE KITCHEN (2019)

Written & Directed by: Andrea Berloff
Based on the comic book series created for DC Vertigo by: Ollie Masters & Ming Doyle
Cinematography: Maryse Alberti
Editor: Christopher Tellefsen

Cast: Melissa McCarthy, Elisabeth Moss, Tiffany Haddish, Common, Domnhall Gleeson, James Badge Dale, Brian D’Arcy James, Bill Camp, Margo Martindale, Annabella Sciorra, Jeremy Bobb

The wives of New York gangsters in Hell’s Kitchen in the 1970s continue to operate their husbands’ rackets after they’re locked up in prison.


Adapted from a graphic novel and it feels that way. As there is a lot of posturing on screen, but nothing ever feels real or organic. It feels like everything happens because the story says so.

None of the characters or their motivations feel real they are understandable but never feel heartfelt. Leaving the film to feel empty to a degree.

It’s Entertaining but you can always feel it turning the wheels forward and when characters turn about face or there is a double cross and a plot twist. It never quite hits as hard because it already feels like a free for all. As to what will shake up the audience.

You never understand why 2 of the characters would be with their husbands until it is explained later and you still don’t know why it wasn’t obvious to their characters or a it one else throughout.

It might be that this storyline has been used before in the Televison mini-series BELLA MAFIA amongst other films and television shows. This just feels like the latest retread and whole all involved give it their all.

It gives each of the actresses room to stretch their dramatic muscles Tiffany Haddish has the juiciest role and it gives her a chance to flex her more dramatic muscles and she comes across with flying colors as the most ambitious. 

Elisabeth Moss tries soenthing new in playing a woman constantly abused. Who ends up becoming the most violent and ruthless out of the three. As she finds true love and freedom through finally striking back at those who would try to harm her or them.

Melissa McCarthy comes across as the leader and most open. As well as the most kind who has to learn to toughen up and who she can trust and can’t 

The film Gives most of the cast of recognizable character actors a chance to revel in their 1970’s wardrobe and stereotypes. As their costumes and style do most of the work. 

It never quite feels as strong as it should and comes across as rather empty overall. As even the sets and costumes are more obviously fake then lived In.

GRADE: C-

THE HAPPYTIME MURDERS (2018)

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Directed By: Brian Henson
Written By: Todd Berger
Story By: Todd Berger & Dee Austin Robertson
Cinematography: Mitchell Admunsen
Editor: Brian Oids 


Cast: Melissa McCarthy, Elizabeth Banks, Maya Rudolph, Leslie David Baker, Michael McDonald, Joel Mchale, Cynthy Wu, Jimmy O. Yang, Ryan Gaul, Ben Falcone 


A murder mystery set in a world where humans and puppets co-exist, but puppets are viewed as second-class citizens. When the puppet cast of an ’90s children’s TV show begins to get murdered one by one, a former cop, who has since become a private eye, takes on the case.

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