GRUDGE MATCH (2013)
Grudge Match tells the story of two washed up old farts who were once talented boxers with a well-known feud to go along with it. Now these boxers, who need the cash, must now step back into the ring to settle their rivalry for good. Robert De Niro and Sylvester Stallone, who both played talented boxers in films like Raging Bull and Rocky, step into these characters with a few hiccups. But to be honest, that’s about it. Those who came in looking for a bit of nostalgia, were greeted with that and nothing more. Grudge Match is predictable and almost completely unfunny. Though the film has a few humorous parts, I wouldn’t bother suggesting to sit through this 90-minute movie, because it goes absolutely nowhere. The characters are messy and the acting is subpar, which may be surprising considering the caliber of acting that these heavyweights have done in the past, even in movies of the comedy genre. All in all, Grudge Match may have the excitement surrounding it, but gets a K.O. before the halfway mark.
Starring: Robert De Niro and Sylvester Stallone
INSTANT FAMILY (2018)
Instant Family tells the story of a couple, Pete and Ellie, who become foster parents to three children. After fostering these kids for a while, the couple finds out that they may have bitten off more than they could chew. Now, Pete and Ellie must put themselves on the line, and show how much they love these children, in order to become their legal guardians. This movie is cheesy as all hell, but it’s a cute little family movie that you can enjoy. I didn’t know what to expect when I first sat down to watch it, but it was a decent movie. Instant Family helps to shine a light on the fostering and adoption process, and as I have seen situations like this happen in real life, it’s interesting to see, on-screen, how children may have a hard time acclimating to their new family. Instant Family is nothing much to write home about, mostly because it’s incredibly sappy. However, I did enjoy watching it.
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Rose Byrne, Isabela Moner, and Octavia Spencer
OPERATION FINALE (2018)
Operation Finale tells the story of the agents who apprehended Adolf Eichmann, the mastermind behind Germany’s “Final Solution” in World War 2. There’s really nothing I can say to critique a film that is based on actual events. But nonetheless, I will try. When watching Operation Finale, the story is a little odd. There are moments of suspense, which are quite gratifying and interesting to watch, but there are also moments that fall flat or are completely overacted. Then the film begins to build up to important information that these agents are trying to get out of Eichmann. But in the end, it’s just handed to them with no real push and pull between our main character, Peter, and Eichmann. I can’t attest to its accuracy, but Operation Finale presents a new take on some of the events that happened after World War 2. It gives a picture of how hard of a job these agents had, and how any wrong move could have derailed the whole mission. Operation Finale has its moments that really leave you on the edge of your seat, but the majority of the film is made up of long conversations between the agents and what their next move will be. It’s a slow burn, but overall, a good film.
Starring: Oscar Isaac, Ben Kingsley, Mélanie Laurent, and Nick Kroll
GREEN BOOK (2018)
Green Book tells the story of pianist Dr. Donald Shirley and Tony Vallelonga as they go through the deep south for Dr. Shirley’s concerts. While the two make this journey, with the help of the “The Negro Motorist Green Book,” or a guide to help protect black Americans traveling in the south, they begin to fully understand each other’s lives. I sat down for this movie fully prepared to dislike it for its racist underlying themes. But as I watched, I couldn’t help actually liking Green Book. I can fully understand why there was an eruption of anger in the direction of this film. I mean the fried chicken scenes were questionable to say the least. Not to mention screenwriter Nick Vallelonga’s personal anti-Muslim tweets. But I can also see how the two men, driving in the deep south, ended up being friends until they passed away. Both Dr. Shirley, who is played by the always talented Mahershala Ali, and Tony, who is played by one of my favorites, Viggo Mortensen, both used their own individual talents and connections to get them out of situations in one piece. Do I think that Green Book deserved best picture? No, there were better ones that should have been more of a contender. Do I think this is the worst Best Picture winner ever? No, there have been worse. This film should have been handled differently from the start. But Green Book, through all its controversy, makes for a decent film.
Starring: Viggo Mortensen, Mahershala Ali, and Linda Cardellini