Horrible Bosses 2 (R)

8 Stars

“Everybody’s a critic,” Bugs Bunny once said.

In this case (as in most), the hare’s correct.

Perhaps folks are disenchanted by franchised laughter.

The average rating amongst Top Critics (according to Rotten Tom) is a 4.5 out of 10.

Though the more accurate portrayal’s provided by the ‘user’ average: 7 stars.

It’s not due to a lack of proofreading that my score remains unaltered.

This author’s got a little something called integrity.

Therefore the rating stays at 8; implying it’s ‘great’, but perhaps not ‘tremendous.’

After all, 2014 is the year of the comedic sequel.

Anchorman 2 was released last December and largely satisfied.

The best comedic sequel of all time, 22 Jump Street came out in June.

The long awaited Dumb and Dumber To…wasn’t great.

Trepidatiously we await the follow-up to Hot Tub Time Machine on late February’s horizon.

Well, I say, “To hell with top critics!”

Horrible Bosses 2 more than satisfies.

Earning a coveted spot on Top Comedies of 2014 –
1. 22 Jump Street
2. Neighbors
3. The Interview
4. Let’s Be Cops
5. Horrible Bosses 2

It keeps you guessing while offering a persistent snicker.

The out-and-out laughs are numerous and frequent.

The plot is timely, clever and not too outrageous. A considerable amount of social commentary is interwoven.

Dare I say it’s thought-provoking?

Since viewing, I’ve ruminated on the panoramic time lapse and off-type car chase; so, there you have it. Thoughts provoked.

The cinematography, shooting and editing are really impressive.

As far as casting goes, this flick’s top-notch. Jason Bateman, Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis are all fantastic.

Each lead is hilarious in his own individual way.

I’ll never understand why Bateman gets docked for his mastery as the ‘straight’ man. Plus, his Arrested Development version is more foolish softy.

Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Aniston and Jamie Foxx return without disappointing.

Christoph Waltz delivers in a minor role.

Chris Pine, however, is terrific. He’s great in Into the Woods as well, so hopefully we’ll see more out of him in the future.

There’s a delightful blooper reel accompanying the rolling credits.

As well as a fun character montage directly preceding. Such cinematic sequences are becoming more prevalent. They’re enjoyable, informative and a welcome addition to any theatrical release.

Let’s call these bits ‘character reels.’ Best when featuring the character’s image paired with both names (role and actor).

Don’t be disappointed if you missed HB Deuce while in theaters.

For fans of the first, keep an eye on your streaming devices.

It’s available for pre-order through iTunes, but who’s really going to shell $19.99 for digital ownership on release date?

Wait for the rental.

It’ll be much cheaper and infinitely more satisfying.

Up in the Air (R)

9 Stars

What can I say about Up in the Air that hasn’t already been said?

Had I done some research perhaps I could answer that question.

In lieu I’ll provide my unbiased thoughts, unencumbered by popular opinion.

I think Up in the A is exceptional. The narrative is not too long, never boring and smart.

It’s shot and edited well, combining some humor with sharp dialogue and a level of honesty bordering on brutal.

Every few months or so, I see a great movie starring George Clooney. And it’s always a knockout performance. I refuse to check his filmography in hopes I never stop stumbling across fantastic flicks staring G.C.

Besides one irksome piece of acting, this is a solid film all around.

If you like movies and can stand to watch one that may not offer satisfaction across the board, I highly recommend Upin Thair.

The rest of this review contains spoilers, so get out while you still can!

One of the best parts about this Best Picture nominee is the chance it takes with the ending.

Is it depressing? Wildly.

Is our protagonist enviable? Probably not.

Is it realistic? Regrettably, yes.

In a sea of motion pictures that end with a sigh of relief, we need the occasional boat to get lost in a storm.

The credit card scene is spectacular.

How about Vera Farmiga, huh? What an outstanding performance as Georgie’s wandering love interest.

And how about Anna Kendrick with some equally unexceptional acting? The moment she cries is the worst in the entire movie. Luckily a solid scene follows.

I also like how, ultimately, Kendrick’s character does something outside of the narrative norm. Cloondog avoids his feelings for a justifiable reason. Kendrick, the catalyst, causes him to change, but this is (in the end) not a good thing.

Do they ever pay off the implication that Clooney’s lying when Jason Bateman asks him about the woman who kills herself?

I don’t love the scene where Clooney reassures Danny McBride, the groom with cold feet.

My final criticism is I think the process of firing people doesn’t entail as much direct animosity toward the individual hired to do the job. Throughout the sequences in which the film illustrates a string of employees being let go, I just thought the “How do you sleep at night?” type of reaction is shown too many times.

All that being said: Man, I enjoy Up in the Air.