Steve Stebbing

Breaking down all things pop culture

Life Of The Party – Let’s just start this one off by saying that I do not dislike Melissa McCarthy. It’s quite the contrary because I think she is very gifted and I usually enjoy the work she puts out. I adored her quick scene in Go before I even knew who she was, she is my favorite thing about my wife rewatching Gilmore Girls and she has surprised me multiple times with the quality of films like Spy, St. Vincent and her performance in Bridesmaids. What I don’t find funny is her work with her husband Ben Falcone, all of which come off as her trying to bring Chris Farley into the current generation, like the previous one has forgotten about him. Pratt falls, awkward jokes, weight gags, all which feel beneath a comedienne of her stature but maybe this is her style of comedy and it just doesn’t hit me in the right way. Even so, anytime I hear their names mentioned together I smell the burning of a trash fire but, to be fair, it is said that this is the best of the three films they made together. The other two, Tammy and The Boss, are to be avoided at all costs.

Breaking In – Being that it was Mother’s Day weekend, we got a double dose of mother heavy themes including the aforementioned Life Of The Party about a mom going back to college. This film, on the other hand, is a showing of how kick ass moms can be. Bad Boys and Bad Boys II star Gabrielle Union plays the mother of two who must break into her late father’s impenetrable fortress of a mansion to rescue her kids from the clutches of four criminals. While, on the outside, this film may sound a bit like a flip version of David Fincher’s Panic Room it is decidedly not at all and the first glaring difference is the director. Instead of having arguably one of the best in the game, you have James McTeigue, a guy that has only V For Vendetta under his belt to impress you and otherwise can’t get a first act going to keep your interest or has everything fall to pieces in the third act after a promising set up. This is the guy who was brought in to “save” Oliver Hirschbeigel’s Invasion Of The Body Snatchers by reshooting the last act and RUINED IT! Secondly, this film was written by the guy behind Liam Neeson movies like Non-Stop and The Commuter while Panic Room was from David Koepp, you know, the guy behind Spider-Man and Jurassic Park. Yeah, these comparisons aren’t even fair.

The Matrix Reloaded – Do you feel that in the air, that aura of disappointment? Well, that’s because fifteen years ago this week the Wachowski’s released the hotly anticipated follow up to their landmark and genre-defining film The Matrix with The Matrix: Reloaded. Remember the feeling of wide-eyed wonder at what would be the continuing story for Neo? The crushing defeat of this film will always live in a bit of infamy with me, especially since I had gone through the letdown of the Star Wars prequels and still had the precocious innocence that it couldn’t happen again. Living in the age of sequels coming over ten years after the originals and crapping the bed, I long for the sequel my beloved stories quicker but this one still stings a decade and a half later. That said, the highway fight sequence is still absolutely awesome and to see it on the big screen was a total treat. That’s all you get, Lily and Lana!

Star Trek: Into Darkness – Before J.J. Abrams was overseeing things in another galaxy long ago and far, far away, he was (and still is) the main integral producer of the Star Trek films and the director of the first reboot film as well as this one, released five years ago this week. Look, I’m not a dedicated Trekkie so I really had fun with the first film, one that messed with the timeline and tries to forge a new path while also serving up some fan service. Heading into production. We were getting hints and rumors that Abrams desperately strived to keep hidden but the potential casting of Benicio del Toro as the villain had the same effect on all of us. We were getting Khan. You know, that awesome villain from the best Star Trek film ever made, The Wrath of Khan. Then del Toro departed and we got Benedict Cumberbatch and the promise from J.J. that “no, Khan was not the villain.” Well, spoiler alert, but that was bullshit. Cumberbatch was a pasty-faced and British Khan Noonan Singh and everything felt like the flip and reverse of Wrath of Khan but in a wholly underwhelming way. It took a slightly better Star Trek Beyond to wipe that taste out of our mouth but the damage has been done and Simon Pegg can only save us so much. What does the future hold with two movies coming at us, including a Quentin Tarantino written one and the debut of a female director in the series? I’m trying to remain optimistic but I keep referring to stupid things in this film like Carol Marcus stripping down to her underwear for NO DISCERNIBLE REASON! It shouldn’t bother me but it does.

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