Monday, January 14, 2019

Escape Room, 2019 - ★½

Pretty much a waste of time. The room design is pretty cool overall but the story is a mess and the film can't decide how it wants to end things. Awful acting all-around but that was expected. There really was a way to make this movie a better experience in the hands of a more capable director.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

The Upside, 2017 - ★★★½

Based on a true story, The Upside gives us some outstanding chemistry between two actors who know how to be charming and hilarious. Kevin Hart is perfectly cast in the fish out of water roll of Dell, an ex-con who ends up impressing a wealthy quadriplegic Phillip Lacasse played by Bryan Cranston and becoming employed as a full-time care giver.
Hart is able to be Hart in this film, commenting on all the new tasks he has to learn with a variety of hilarious scenes including an awkward catheter removal sequence. Despite his real life Oscar hosting drama, he remains a likable and charismatic comic genius. Cranston being confined to just using his head to act, shines and reminds us just how charming and effective he is as an A-plus actor. The two leads alone make this a movie worth watching.
The Upside is not amazing or really powerfully moving as a drama, but it works so well in key scenes with Hart and Cranston playing off each other. Nicole Kidman's Yvonne is a necessary albeit under-used supporting character but her sparse involvement in the story makes the end of the film less impactful. In fact, the end of the movie was the biggest drawback for me. The story just seems to end abruptly and didn't feel very satisfactory.
This movie is worth a viewing but you can probably wait for rental/streaming.