Playing a little catch up on here, I wanted to combine a few movies I have seen in the past couple of weeks and keep the momentum going on my entertainment scale for critiquing movies. I have heard mix reviews of all three titles I plan to write about in this post and that is Life of the Party, Solo, and Tully. As I saw each film I was already with expectations of what I will see and with one of them a twist. Sometimes that can change how you watch a film and also the final verdict. So how did these movies pan out?
First up is Life of the Party starring Melissa McCarthy, Maya Rudolph, and Gillian Jacobs. Directed by Ben Falcone, husband to McCarthy, who did films together like The Boss and Tammy. It’s about a woman returning back to college after her sudden divorce of her husband to complete her degree she gave up for the marriage. The college she goes to is the same as her daughters as she enters her senior year.
Word on the Street – I heard that this movie wasn’t funny at all. The jokes were flat and the character of McCarthy, Deanna, was one note and not relatable. Made by a middle aged woman about a middle aged woman for middle aged woman.
Verdict – I can’t explain it. I wish I could but my experience in the theatre was the opposite. While I noticed some jokes were kind of cheesy and didn’t really land right, for the most part I enjoyed this movie. I laughed more than I thought I would and once even drew tears from laughter. I just find McCarthy funny. Should I not? This is not the best character she has created for herself but it’s certainly not the worst. In addition to her scenes with boy toy Jack (Luke Benward) and the surprise of Julie Bowen popping up in more scenes than I thought she would get, this wasn’t a bad comedy. Maya Rudolph’s character as the best friend and neighbor to McCarthy was hilarious as well. Do I recommend this movie? Probably not. The humor in this film I think resonated personally with me and not many people will receive this film like I did. This movie can be watched a second time, not a third and there are better films she has been in that are worth re watching than this film. Not a bad movie and better than I expected. Had I gone in with no expectation, maybe I would have come to the same conclusion from what I’ve heard of the film.
Next up is Solo: A Star Wars Story starring Alden Ehrenreich, Woody Harrelson, Donald Glover, and Emilia Clarke in another prequel showcasing the rise of the legendary Han Solo. Wait till you find out how he got that name. UGH!! You find out how he meets his ride or die Chewbacca and his run in with Lando Calrissian.
Word on the Street – Not the best Star Wars film and not the worse. Not great advertising to this film and the lame attempt for shock value at the end was not good. Solo not as strong as the previous entries but still gives you the nostalgia most people are looking for in a prequel to a popular character.
Verdict – While this film has great action and plenty of it, this is almost like a heist film instead of an epic battle. A big plot point to this movie was stealing from one for the other. I think Ehrenreich did a good job playing Solo and Ron Howard did a great job in making a fun movie. I enjoyed the action quite a bit and there were some laughable moments. The addition of Thandie Newton kicked ass as she played a wonderful character. Donald Glover didn’t steal the show for me but was a great choice to play the part of Lando. I’m not as big of a Star Wars fan as the next guy but I know enough to pick up certain references and Easter eggs foreshadowing the future installments. I even caught something a true Star Wars fan didn’t notice right away (referring to a friend who joined me). If this movie gets sequels than this movie definitely needs to be seen as they left the door wide open for more movies to go through. If this is a standalone film that will not continue its prequel sequel franchise, it’s a little bit of a miss for me. Depends how devoted you are as a fan, I will say the shock value ending received a positive reaction from me.
Last up is Tully (2018) starring Charlize Theron, Mackenzie Davis, and Ron Livingston. Written by Diablo Cody and directed by Jason Reitman, we are given front row seats to the life of a woman who is having a hard time handling mother hood raising 2 kids (3 if you count her video game playing husband) with 1 on the way and hires a night nanny to help once the new baby arrives. Forming a bond she didn’t expect with the nanny, she is given a second chance to find herself and remember why she became a mother in the first place.
World on the street – The movie is pretty good until a certain point in 2/3 of the movie that just takes a huge shift and changes the dynamic and tone of the movie. Which wasn’t really received very well and didn’t understand why this plot point was needed.
Verdict – This is one of the best films of the year so far. I really enjoyed the story, the acting from both Theron and Davis as Marlo and Tully respectively. I think as a man watching this story I was given a little insight into the life of motherhood including the ups and downs. Theron in my opinion, really displayed a vulnerable side to her. She seemed committed in this role and was very believable as a middle class mom trying to handle everything on her own. This movie was funny but had some very deep dramatic moments. The chemistry between Marlo and Tully were fantastic and as far as the moment of surprise, I had so many thoughts in my head going into this. Since I knew something was going to happen I spent most of my time trying to figure it out. You don’t want to know what was going on in my imagination but let’s just say that for me, the moment or twist elevated the movie for me not took away from it. I found this movie to be real and raw and combined with great writing from Cody, this is a must see for me and a shake up from the usual movies we are used to seeing at theatres.
Life of the Party 3 out of 5
Solo: A Star Wars Story 3 1/2 out of 5
Tully 4 ½ out of 5