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Monday, September 19, 2016

Movie Catching Up, Part Three

And now to begin the home stretch of my movie catching up!
Star Trek Beyond is the latest installment of the recent reboot. The Enterprise is heading for a starbase to restock supplies; meanwhile, Captain Kirk is having doubts as to whether he wants to continue on the ship's five-year mission. The ship is dispatched to respond to a rescue signal when it is ambushed by a villain named Krall. Despite some decent action sequences it seems like a flimsy plot. I've read a couple comments that compare it to a TV series episode. I don't think I would go that far but it seems like a standard plot for Star Trek.

Probably the most notable thing about it isn't part of the plot but the revelation that Sulu has a husband and family. It's a nod to the openly gay George Takei, the original Sulu, but he was not pleased, because he wanted a new gay character, not changing the orientation of one of the established ones. My grade: C.

War Dogs is based on a true story  (with embellishments, I'm sure), David (Miles Teller) is laboring away in 2005 as a massage therapist as well as a failed venture to sell high-quality bedsheets to nursing homes. At a funeral he reconnects with a high school friend, Efraim (Jonah Hill), who offers David a job at his new venture, buying arms and reselling them to the US Government during the Iraq War. David's learns his girlfriend is pregnant. The couple are both anti-war but David takes the job anyway. lying to her about his "business trips" (soon the guys are in the Middle East running guns to fill their orders) and his sudden income increase.

Both leads are appealing, though Hill often finishes a sentence with a laugh that's painful to hear. The "lying to girlfriend" angle is stale and the plot seems too far-fetched for a "true " story. My grade: C-plus.

And then there's Sausage Party, an animated movie for adults (very deserving of the R rating) which actually has an interesting premise. Inside a supermarket, all the products for sale worship people as their gods. They believe when they're "chosen" (i.e. purchased) they go to the "great beyond." Some items, though, are nonbelievers, non-perishables who claim to have returned from the great beyond and seen the horrible truth.

A sausage named Frank (Seth Rogen) and his girlfriend Brenda, a hot dog bun (Kristen Wiig) are happy to be chosen despite being warned by a nonbeliever. A mishap causes their packages to be left behind, unfortunately. Frank decides to journey to the liquor aisle because a bottle of liquor named Firewater is said to be an expert about the reality of the great beyond.

Oh, did I mention that Firewater is a Native American?

And here's the problem. Whatever statements the filmmakers (cowritten and coproduced by Rogen) are making -- about religion and beliefs and how they can divide us -- are completely overwhelmed by the "humor." Stereotypical humor (see: Firewater; a lesbian taco, and bickering bagel and lavash). Scatological humor. Sexual humor (ha ha, look at the giant orgy! Look at the douche, name of Douche, unload his product into the...I've said enough.) I think I actually laughed out loud twice, and that doesn't cut the mustard. My grade: D-minus.

That's all the movies I've seen in the theater. But I'm not done. I recently watched some movies On Demand and I've decided to write about those as well. Stay tuned!

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