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

MISS CONGENIALITY 2: ARMED & FABULOUS (2005)

Directed By: John Pasquin
Written By: Marc Lawrence 
Based on Characters Created by: Marc Lawrence, Katie Ford & Caryn Lucas 
Cinematography: Peter Menzies Jr. 
Editor: Garth Craven 

Cast: Sandra Bullock, Regina King, Enrique Murciano, William Shatner, Ernie Hudson, Heather Burns, Diedrich Bader, Treat Williams, Abraham Benrubi, Nick Offerman, Eileen Brennan, Octavia Spencer, Elisabeth Rohm, Stephen Tobolowsky, Leslie Grossman, Eve Gordon, Affion Crockett, Adam LeFevre 

F.B.I. Agent Gracie Hart is assigned to promote the F.B.I., touring with the brutal Agent Sam Fuller as her bodyguard. While traveling around the country, her friend and the Miss United States Cheryl Frasier is kidnapped along with Stan Fields, and Gracie decides to investigate the abduction in Las Vegas on her own, and against the direct orders of local F.B.I. Assistant Director Walter Collins. 


After the surprise success and enjoyment of the first film. Most I can imagine would think this would naturally be pleasing? No

First of all the series gets rid of Benjamin Bratt’s character and all hope of a love interest with him. So that this film can focus on more two mismatched partners working together. While taking matters differently. So in other words this becomes more of a buddy comedy with the audience having a history with at least one of the partners.

In the first film, it seems there was more room for side characters to make their mark. As they seemed to have something to do and were allowed to be as funny as the lead. Instead of just feeling like suspects and a plot device.

Sandra Bullock’s performance here seems more indebted to vaudeville. As she is more at the center of things but also seems more silly and wants to dress up in silly disguises.

Regina king is really the only one who has a chance to come through with her head held high. In making this a buddy comedy, just a more female-centered one that feels more predictable than the first film but also more stilted and outdated even for the time period in which it was made.

The film doesn’t feel as fun or silly as Ms. Bullock’s performance and the fun she seems to be having. Even as the situations and script get sillier. As do William Shatner and the usually hilarious Heather Burns in their roles.

As usual when a formulaic film is likable and comes as a surprise enjoyable hit. The sequel tries to replicate the formula all wrong. As it seems to be focusing on the wrong chemistry and elements. Leaving the product lacking in flavor that the first one brought that made audiences enjoy it in the first place.

It’s a shame as Regina king is a good and enjoyable actress, especially with the right material. But this is the second sequel where she plays a tough-as-nails thankless buddy in a buddy comedy that is bad (LEGALLY BLONDE 2 Is the other) she deserves better.

One can guess most of us expected the same from Sandra Bullock as she seems such a likable screen presence and films she stars in are usually enjoyable and passable but her me while she seems to be having fun. Watching this feels like the equivalent of homework

Grade: C-

BLUE STREAK (1999)

Directed By: Les Mayfield 
Written By: Michael Berry, John Blumenthal & Stephen Carpenter 
Cinematography By: David Eggby 
Editor: Michael Tronick 

Cast: Martin Lawrence, Luke Wilson, William Forsythe, Peter Greene, Olek Krupa, Nicole Ari Parker, Dave Chappelle, John Hawkes, Tamala Jones, Richard C. Sarafin, Julio Oscar Mechoso, Jason Kravits, Octavia Spencer 

Miles Logan is a jewel thief. Things go awry while he’s stealing a huge diamond in downtown L.A.: a thief, Deacon, tries a double-cross, the police arrive, and Miles is arrested, but not before he hides the jewel in an air duct of a building under construction. Two years later, he’s out of prison and he heads for the site: it’s L.A.’s new police headquarters! Posing as a reassigned cop, Miles gets into the building, but before he can recover the swag, he’s partnered with a naive detective and sent out to investigate burglaries. With Deacon on his trail, he must recover the diamond, keep the cops fooled, and do a few good deeds as a detective who can think like a criminal.


Before BIG MOMMA’S HOUSE and seeming I he typecast after that to a degree. Martin Lawrence was a hot popular comic, who had a pretty successful film career. This film while not his best was one of the films that was successful.

I will admit to skipping it in theaters to me the only noteworthy aspect of the film was the Jay-Z song on the soundtrack. It was an exclusive single at the time. The whole dressing up as a bad toothed pizza delivery guy in the trailer reeked of bad situation comedy and had no interest. 

Then once it came out on DVD I was working at a video store and had a co-worker who loved to put on African-American cinema all the time which wouldn’t have been so bad  if he had the sense to choose good movies of African American cinema and not the seemingly same 5 films, this was one in rotation. The other I remember being what’s the worst that could happen which I have seen more times he. Necessary probably even more then the people who made it. BLACK KNIGHT . In fact the only good film he ever python was MALCOLM X.

This film was one of the least films he put on and finally one day just to keep it outbid the store I rented it so that I could watch it completely with. Interruptions and have a few days of peace.

What followed was a typical popcorn blockbuster that really offered up no real surprises and to tell the truth you don’t really expect any the film is pretty cut and dry. It’s funny and entertaining and to will forget it pretty soon after watching it. It’s no classic but a good time waster. It keeps the formula of mistaken identity and fish out of water combining them.

The film stocks with the comedy. It flirts with a romantic story line though is quickly abandoned for more of a buddy comedy.

One of the few things that fascinates me about this film ad it’s type is that the stars of the film are supposed to handle all the comedy and everyone else around is kind of the straight men, but usually the supporting characters are so over the top in the personeas hey seem cartoon-ish or comedic themselves. Throwing the film off a bit. Luckily the wackiness ensues when Dave chappelle shows up in a supporting role.

Martin Lawrence is funny and for all his Foul mouthed at times humor. His most graceful aspect is his physical comedy. Even when telling jokes the energy, the faces and his movements all are in-synch to sell his humor ad make you marvel at his talent. I mean he has funny jokes too, but his true talent is in all the other skills he brings to the table.

The film Was supposed to be a hard R rating until they found the film and material worked better as a pg- 13 film. Leaving it open to more all ages access for the audience. As most of the humor seems more inclined for a younger audience. So the plot, Dialogue and characters had to all be rewritten Screenwriter, John August was the last minute Script Doctor for the script

The film introduces Nicole Ari Parker’s character as a strong rival for his character. Though she adds to the story. It almost seemed like a set-up for a kind of love interest. Though the film never seems to quote go there. As his character doesn’t have that much time for that. Nor would the ending make any sense if he still has her as baggage.

This is the first Martin Lawrence showcase where he is the entertainment the real Lead. Even though he is partnered up with Luke Wilson. It seems more like Wilson is a co-star and not another name above the title who Martin Lawrence is the co-star or buddy of. Instead here Lawrence gets to be the one who the camera never leaves and who the story is based around instead of being just he comic relief or the supporting character that he had been relegated to in films such as HOUSE PARTY, HOUSE PARTY 2, BAD BOYS, NOTHING TO LOSE.

He was kind of my first introduction to really following stand-up comedy and comedians. I remember him from HOUSE PARTY then hosting DEF COMEDY JAM. I got his albums and when his career blew up I followed him. I remember classic comedians before him line Eddie Murphy, Rodney Dangerfield, Billy Crystal, George Carlin, Redd Foxx, Richard Pryor, Sam Kinison, Andrew Dice Clay but he was he first I could relate to a point and groin watching him and other comedians on DEF COMEDY JAM, I started to pay attention to stand-up even broadening my admiration for more comics.

They were rebellious (especially after NBC banned Lawrence for his routine on Saturday night live) Comics have been like rock stars to me ever since i mean examine it. they have a talent that looks easy, but once you actually try it realize how hard is to master if you ever really do. Your style and skill is constantly in transition. You spend most of your time on the road in front of crowds. Though there are many in your field somehow your voice and brand manages to stand out and be noticed and admired. You have die hard fans and groupies. Everyone tries to do it, but only the strong survive as you pretty much are open and. Are your soul and ate at the mercy of the crowd.

According to Dave Chappelle, a scene was written during filming in which his character was to wear a dress while disguised as a prostitute. Chappelle adamantly refused. The writers complained to the producers who then tried to convince Chappelle to do the scene but he still refused. According to Chappelle, he felt that it was part of a disturbing trend in which African-American men wear dresses in films.

There were plans to do a sequel which never materialized.

It’s a worthy rental

Grade: C+

DINNER FOR SCHMUCKS (2010)

Directed By: Jay Roach
Written by: David Guion & Michael Handelman
Based on the original screenplay “Le Diner De Cons” by: Francis Veber 
Cinematography: Jim Debault 
Editor: Alan Baumgarten & Jon Poll

Cast: Paul Rudd, Steve Carell, Zach Galifinakis, Jemaine Clement, Bruce Greenwood, Larry Wilmore, Andrea Savage, Lucy Punch, David Williams, Stephane Szostak, Ron Livingston, Kristen Schawlow, Nick Kroll, Randall Park, Chris O’Dowd, Jeff Dunham, Octavia Spencer, Rick Overton 

When he finds out that his work superiors host a dinner celebrating the idiocy of their guests, a rising executive questions it when he’s invited, just as he befriends a man who would be the perfect guest.


While I quite enjoyed the french original it was smaller scale and crueler. Limited in its locations and hijinks. 

As Well the lead was less likable and by the end, all that happens seemed more like a well-deserved comeuppance. Though after a while you Could feel his pain

This American remake is opened up more to allow more characters and situations. That makes the film feel more Bloated than it needs to be.

The film has a talented comedic cast, who all seem to go over the top and try way too hard to make the material work when not needed and steal the movie. It doesn’t feel so much as fun and entertaining. With each trying to top one another in a game of one up man ship that it feels grand in its upper-crust air. Though proves that some bits and pieces are good enough. Which is a shame because the cast is pretty solid. 

Steve Carrell feels too familiar with this role in THE OFFICE of being innocently annoying and stupid more silly here and bigger. While He is one of the stars he keeps getting scenes stolen from him by co-Stars.

Steve Carell does what he is supposed to do and can be a chameleon usually in roles you would never believe he would be cast in, but here he never quite makes a mark to pass into an original or a classic. 

The film certainly lacks any subtlety. The film still wants the main stars to be likable. So the film opens up the story for more hijinks. As well as padding out the cast and a third act showdown. Whereas the original could have been a theatrical stage piece.

One can give credit for opening up the Story but each new location most feels like a set up where you know things are going to go wrong. 

The film isn’t As snobbish or highbrow as this seems more broadly humored. 

Yet again though this is a remake made for now original the foreign language one was and other than it’s the Main point most is changed around for a more mainstream appeal that subtracts what made it so special in the first place. It’s never a good place to be, because if you follow too closely then it’s like the film

LET ME IN practically the same shots with different actors and in English with minor changes. Where you might as well watch the original as everything is pretty much the same. You just won’t recognize the cast and will have to read subtitles.

So if you have seen the original while this is bigger it comes off strangely and as even if you haven’t seen the original. This still will be way too familiar and you’ve seen it before and done better.

GRADE: C

MA (2019)

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Directed By: Tate Taylor
Written By: Scotty Landes
Cinematography: Christina Voros
Editor: Lucy Donaldson & Jin Lee 

Cast: Octavia Spencer, Diana Silvers, McKalley Miller, Corey Fogelmanis, Juliette Lewis, Luke Evans, Missi Pyle, Allison Janney, Gianni Paolo, Dante Brown 

A lonely woman befriends a group of teenagers and decides to let them party at her house. Just when the kids think their luck couldn’t get any better, things start happening that make them question the intention of their host.

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HALLOWEEN 2 (2008)

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Written & Directed By: Rob Zombie
Cinematography By: Brandon Trost
Editor: Glen Garland & Joel Pashby
Music by: Tyler Bates 


Cast: Scout Taylor-Compton, Tyler Mane, Sherri Moon Zombie, Danielle Harris, Malcolm McDowell, Brad Dourif, Caroline Williams, Octavia Spencer, Margot Kidd
er, Richard Riehle, Sean Whalen, Brea Grant, Mary Birdsong, Angela Trimbur, Howard Hesseman, Duane Whitaker, Mark Boone Junior, Daniel Roebuck, Chris Hardwick, Weird Al Yankovich

Michael Myers is still at large and no less dangerous than ever. After a failed reunion to reach his baby sister at their old home, Laurie Strode is immediately taken to a hospital to be treated by the wounds that had been afflicted by her brother a few hours ago. However, Michael isn’t too far off and will continue his murdering ‘Halloween’ rampage until he gets his sister all to himself

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GET ON UP (2014)

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Directed By: Tate Taylor
Written By: Jez Butterworth & John-Henry Butterworth
Story By: Steven Baigelman, Jez Butterworth &  John-Henry Butterworth
Cinematography By: Stephen Goldblatt
Editor: Michael McCusker 

Cast: Chadwick Boseman, Nelsan Ellis, Lennie James, Jill Scott, Dan Ayckroyd, Viola Davis, Craig Robinson, Octavia Spencer, Fred Melamed, Tika Sumpter, Aloe Blacc, Tariq Trotter, Aunjanue Ellis, Keith Robinson

A chronicle of James Brown ‘s rise from extreme poverty to become one of the most influential musicians in history. Of course it would be hard to summarize the life and legacy of James Brown in a single film. That is a near impossible task. Though this film has a nice overview and introduces some aspects that maybe the general public didn’t know.

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