Sleepless (2017)

Director: Baran bo Odar

Cast: Jamie Foxx, Michelle Monaghan, Dermot Mulroney, David Harbour, Tip “T.I.” Harris, Gabrielle Union, Scoot McNairy

Screenplay: Andrea Berloff

95 mins. Rated R for strong violence and language throughout.

 

Sleepless is the story of Vincent Downs (Jamie Foxx, Django Unchained, Baby Driver), a corrupt cop who steals a cocaine shipment from Stanley Rubino (Dermot Mulroney, My Best Friend’s Wedding, Dirty Grandpa). When Rubino’s men assault Vincent and kidnap his son, the crooked cop needs to retrieve the coke and return it. Matters are further complicated by Internal Affairs agents Bryant (Michelle Monaghan, Source Code, Mission: Impossible III) and Dennison (David Harbour, Suicide Squad, TV’s Stranger Things). Now, time is not on Vincent’s side as he navigates the city in order to save his son and keep his cover from being blown.

It’s hard to defend a movie when its star can’t even find good in it. Jamie Foxx has come out numerous times refusing to give any merit to Sleepless, and he’s right. There isn’t anything good here, including Foxx’s performance. He is one-note, unlikable, and uninteresting.

That’s not all. I didn’t really like anyone in the film. Mulroney and Scoot McNairy (12 Years a Slave, TV’s Halt and Catch Fire) are both flat villains, not given enough room to play. The Internal Affairs agents are both fools for not being able to put together that Vincent has been crooked. There just isn’t anything good in this remake of the foreign language Sleepless Night.

Director Baran bo Odar (Who Am I, The Silence) has delivered a hollow husk of a thriller that is neither thrilling nor redeemable. The screenplay, from Andrea Berloff (Straight Outta Compton, Blood Father) trips over itself, falling into cliché. The final twist does nothing to the plot or the characters worth speaking about.

Sleepless is, not surprisingly, bad. It starts with a premise not all that good and underwhelms sluggishly to its end. This is a forgettable experience. I’d certainly like to forget it.

 

1/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

 

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[Early Review] Before I Fall (2017)

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Director: Ry Russo-Young

Cast: Zoey Deutch, Halston Sage, Logan Miller, Kian Lawley, Elena Kampouris, Diego Boneta, Jennifer Beals, Liv Hewson

Screenplay: Maria Maggenti

99 mins. Rated PG-13 for mature thematic content involving drinking, sexuality, bullying, some violent images, and language-all involving teens.

 

Before I Fall is a new young adult drama that premiered at Sundance last month and is set for a wide release on March 3rd.I got the chance to see it yesterday, and it was everything I thought it would be, which in this case isn’t exactly a compliment.

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Samantha Kingston (Zoey Deutch, Dirty Grandpa, Everybody Wants Some!!) is a popular senior who is on her way to graduation. She has a close-knit clique of girls, a jock boyfriend, and a perfect life. That is, until she dies in a horrible car accident. Then, Samantha wakes up like nothing had ever happened. Soon, she discovers that she is reliving the same day over and over again. Sam needs to put the pieces together and make the best day she can in order to correct the passage of time and right the wrongs of her life.

I should begin with my frustrations at the screening I attended. Upon leaving, I overheard another guest exclaim “Wow! That was so unique! The coolest idea for a movie ever!” She wasn’t kidding, too. This was the most cliché film I’ve seen in a long time! Not only did a similarly structures Edge of Tomorrow come out just a few years back, but has anyone heard of Groundhog Day! Come on! Setting this film in February didn’t help as it only sought to remind me why Groundhog Day was better.

Before I Fall had Zero likable characters, Zero interesting plot points, and Zero redeemable qualities. Sam is not someone I’m rooting for, her motivations were not clear at several points, and her catharsis is neither earned nor sensible in the slightest. The entirety of the film is a meandering slog which didn’t make its repeating day any better.

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“My thoughts exactly, napping background student. My thoughts exactly…”

 

Before I Fall might be the worst movie of 2017 were it not for the performances, which are not good but at least exceed worse fair like Rings and The Bye Bye Man. You can do better than this film. A lot better. Big skips from this reviewer.

 

1.5/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

[Early Review] Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates (2016)

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Director: Jake Szymanski

Cast: Zac Efron, Anna Kendrick, Adam DeVine, Aubrey Plaza

Screenplay: Andrew Jay Cohen, Brendan O’Brien

98 mins. Rated R for crude sexual content, language throughout, drug use and some graphic nudity.

 

Hey, everyone! I was blessed to have seen Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates last night, and here’s my Early Review! Is this comedy enough chuckles to earn a theater experience? Let’s take a look.

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Oddly enough, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates is a based on a true story…sort of. It’s the tale of the Stangle Brothers, Mike (Adam DeVine, TV’s Uncle Grandpa, The Intern) and Dave (Zac Efron, 17 Again, Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising), and their quest to get dates to their sister’s wedding. Tasked by their parents to get dates or be out of the wedding, Mike and Dave, desperate for nice girls, go to Craigslist with their request. Eventually, the two gain fame in their search, which leads them to Alice (Anna Kendrick, Pitch Perfect, Get a Job) and Tatiana (Aubrey Plaza, TV’s Parks and Recreation, Dirty Grandpa), who see this as an opportunity for a free trip to Hawaii and fake themselves off as nice girls. It isn’t long, however, before the Stangles and their wedding dates find that it isn’t easy to fake nice, and supposed hilarity ensues.

I’m going to make a comparison here that you won’t expect. Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates is very similar to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. The entire film feels like a collection of great scenes that just don’t fit together well. The movie isn’t very cohesive. It doesn’t pace very well either. There are numerous scenes that I loved (just wait for the massage bit) but overall these scenes are wasted on a splotchy story from director Jake Szymanski (7 Days in Hell).

I liked the chemistry from stars Efron and DeVine as well as Kendrick and Plaza. This film takes the approach for extreme lowball comedy which works occasionally as a style, but I don’t think Szymanski knows how to cultivate a style of his own that moves the story forward. Instead, he relies heavily on his leads to point the way. The problem with an approach like this is that you get characters that don’t evolve. The quartet of characters all have scenes that tell but don’t show growth which leads to a rather uninspired film.

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Sadly, I didn’t enjoy Mike and Dave nearly enough to endorse this film to you. It is definitely worth a Redbox-ing, but you can save your spending dollars for a better fare. For those of you that don’t want my opinion, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates opens July 8th.

 

2.5/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

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