What We're Watching: March 26, 2021

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Jakob: "Happily (2021) stars Kerry Bishé and Joel McHale as a couple still so happy after 14 years of marriage that the 2.5 times they have sex on the average every day has turned their unhappily married friends against them. Things get even stranger when Stephen Root shows up offering to reprogram them to be a 'normal' disgruntled couple. The film is a surreal, dark comedy that doesn’t give an explanation for all its weirdness. So if that’s a deal breaker, walk away. Maybe more of the mystery will be revealed upon a second viewing, but the appeal for me was the focus on the adult relationships and reconciling how we cope with not always being the better selves we’d like to imagine we are."

Brock: "Went looking for laughs in all the wrong places with Hot Tub Time Machine 2 (2015). I knew going in that it was an unnecessary sequel, however I thought even if it wasn't laugh-out-loud funny it would be enjoyable to watch. It is watchable, but I can't say I really enjoyed the experience. I was also able to see Song of the South (1946) for the first time since its last U.S. theatrical release in 1986. The stories of the three animated segments and "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah" is all I really remembered of the movie; my childhood read-along record as a young child only featured those aspects. Controversial since its first release in 1946, with this revisit it is apparent to me why. Technically speaking, the brief blend and interaction of animation and live-action is stronger here than in Mary Poppins almost 20 years later." 

Marjorie: "I rewatched The Real World (Season 1!) and relived my younger years. This was the first reality show, and MTV had no idea how big this was going to be. It was fun to reminisce about the 90s as well as being young and full of passion about your future. We all have such an optimistic view of the world when we are young, and this show is a perfect example." 

Stuart: "Absentee dads are the theme of this weekend's viewing choices. I'm eager to see Anthony Hopkins chew the scenery as The Father (2020) that Olivia Coleman wants to put away before he gets any more senile. And I'm curious to know if Pete Davidson will be crowned the next big Saturday Night Live movie star by playing an autobiographical man-child who grieves a firefighter father that died on 9/11 in The King of Staten Island (2020)."

Jason: "Someday I know we'll get to the Beverly Hills Cop series, but there's no reason not to watch it right nowBeverly Hills Cop II (1987) can’t outdo its predecessor, simply because it’s impossible to capture lightning in a bottle twice, but Eddie Murphy is still at the top of his game, it’s a great showcase for Tony Scott’s action credentials, and even Paul Reiser gets to come back. I’m mad about him! This is one that will always be a recommend from me. Great comedy, great action, and a great soundtrack, although don't think I didn't notice that Harold Faltermeyer flat-out stole elements of John Carpenter's Escape from New York score for Beverly Hills Cop 2. If it's been a minute, the entire series is streaming on HBO Max this month. Watch the first two, but I warn you not to press play on Beverly Hills Cop III. We'll talk about why someday."

Adam: "I finished off the LOTR trilogy with The Two Towers (2002), and The Return of the King (2003). Just like with the first one last week, the acting is top notch. Andy Serkis delivers an awards worthy performance as Gollum and Ian McKellen once again shines as the now white wizard Gandalf. The true standout of the whole experience though, for me is the score. Taking a book from page to screen is difficult at the best of times, but Howard Leslie Shore knocked it out of the park! This is a score I can happily put on and while away the hours listening to. I can understand why people might argue the ending is overly long, but after such a great experience, I think it only right for each character to have their moment. Please do give these films a try if you haven't already, even if you don't believe the genre is one you typically enjoy."

Santiago: "'The Snyder Cut' (and HBO Max in general) is not available in my country, so I settled for the next best thing... which is clearly Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011): When compared to its predecessor, Game has a more convoluted plot, Holmes and Watson's arc is pretty much repeated from its '09 predecessor, and Jared Harris's Moriarty is a very cliché villain. Yet, there's something intoxicating about it that makes me go back to this one more often than the first film. It is Guy Ritchie's best looking film. The main slow motion set piece is amazing thanks to its camerawork and sound design, the dance sequence is ridiculous and features great physical acting from Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law, and the final battle between Sherlock and Moriarty is UNBELIEVABLY stupid, but so much fun. It is so incredibly well made on a technical level that it's hard to dismiss it simply because I wasn't as fond of the screenplay. RDJ and Jude Law still have great chemistry and even though she doesn't do much, Noomi Rapace is a nice addition to the cast. Overall, a great movie and a strong recommend for anyone looking for something highly stylized and fun."

Heath: "I’ve seen it probably 50 times before, but I was in the mood for a rewatch of The ‘Burbs (1989), starring Tom Hanks, which is finally gaining the love it's always deserved, 30 years after release. It's probably my favourite Joe Dante movie, and I love how bizarre and off-the-wall it feels even now for a mainstream 80s comedy. It's a film I've never get tired of, with an amazing ensemble cast (Bruce Dern steals the show for me) and a delightfully grim tone throughout. If you've never seen it before or haven't seen it for a while, add it to your watchlist right now. Less impressive and best forgotten is 1987's Dragnet, with Hanks miscast as a smart-alec ladies man opposite straight-arrow Dan Aykroyd (doing a great Jack Webb impression). It deserves some credit for making a comedy out of a serious show years before we had Starsky and Hutch21 Jump Street and Baywatch, but there's barely a laugh in this cop comedy despite good chemistry between the two stars."