‘Keeping Up With The Joneses’ (2016) Review

Keeping Up With The Joneses (2016) Review: They're Boring. I don't know what it is but spy comedies never seem to do it for me. I think on the face of it, movies making fun of spies, or just playing with the espionage genre could be great. There are plenty of tropes to make fun of, but I've never really seen it done well. I haven't seen last years 'Spy' so maybe that would tickle my fancy, but by and large, making light of spy movies has never really been watchable. Any time I see Mike Meyers say groovy I want to hurl something at the screen. That's not much different with this film, although less throwing, more groaning. Zach Galifianakis can’t seem to catch a break these days. I haven’t seen ‘Masterminds’ myself, but from what I’m hearing, it’s not much better than the movie this review is focused on ‘Keeping Up With The Joneses’. Both feature Zach playing everyday characters who get thrust into a life of dangerous adventure. This is the one where he discovers his neighbours are spies, and helps them out with their spying. If you’re thinking ‘Why would spies need Zach’s help, he’s really not equipped for that kind of job” you’d be right, and the movie doesn’t seem to care. Many times I was burdened by questions like that, only for the movie to slap me across the face, punishing me for daring to take…

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‘The Accountant’ (2016) Review

The Accountant (2016) Review: Miscalculated With a name like ‘The Accountant’, it’s hard to imagine anything but hyper aggressive keyboard clacking, horn rimmed glasses, and a job that few like. While Ben Affleck’s character in this film is an actual accountant, his job description entails more than the occasional audit, because more often than not he’s seen beating, breaking and blasting anyone who threatens him. I’d imagine a potential tagline was: Instead of crunching numbers, he’s crunching skulls. He’s dangerous because, he’s an accountant for dangerous people. Mob bosses and drug cartel leaders across the world go to him to cook their books. That’s a unique concept in and of itself, but the film has more to offer. The accountant has a high functioning brand of autism, with a difficulty socializing, but a narrow focus that allows him to work with numbers quickly. Order and organization are his Gods. While this tends to be the “autism as a superpower” we see so often in shows like ‘Sherlock’, I felt it was earned. Mostly because you get a sense of the accountant’s development through a handful of flashbacks. Flashbacks that make this film feel even more Batman-esque than it’s star. The movie made me understand as much as I could about this character, since it was difficult for me to relate to his situation. Ben Affleck does more with less, captivating in a role that denies him the luxury of broad expression. However…

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‘Deepwater Horizon’ (2016) Review

Deepwater Horizon (2016) Review: Disaster Done Right Ripped from the headlines of the bygone days of 2010, ‘Deepwater Horizon’ reimagines the tragic events of April 20, 2010, in which the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded, causing the deaths of 11 crewmen and the worst oil spill in US history. The film focuses on the actual explosion itself, merely mentioning the 87 days of fallout that occurred as a result. Not to be confused with a more recent disaster resulting in countless days of toxic raw material being spewed into the environment, poisoning it and slowly killing life in it. The film stars Mark Wahlberg as ‘Mike Williams’, the Chief Engineer Technician on the oil rig. At times Mike veers into action hero territory, making the movie feel very ‘Die Hard On an Oil Rig’. Thankfully though, director Peter Berg and company recognize the importance of being earnest, in telling the story of men and women whose lives are put at risk, yet seen as expendable through irresponsible corporate practices.At the core of it, the movie brings across that message well, and does so without the dramatic fantasy that typically accompanies movies like this. While I have no doubt that some events in the film were exaggerated, it didn’t feel that way. Everything felt as though it could have actually happened that day. No character feels unrealistic, which is troubling considering the shoddy practices on display here. I almost wish the cost cutting business…

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‘Queen Of Katwe’ (2016) Review

Queen of Katwe (2016) Review: Captivating and Conscious At the beginning of ‘Queen of Katwe’, my worst fears about the film seemed to have become a reality. This story of a Ugandan girl turned international chess champion had been translated into a watered down feel good Disney movie. One with no real stakes and everything tied up in a happy ending.However as the movie continues, I realized it was really my highest hopes coming to pass. ‘Queen of Katwe’ definitely has moments of predictability, but shy away from the truly soul shattering content it does not. As Phiona Mutesi hones her impressive skills at chess, she faces the struggle of her day to day life in poverty, hoping one day to escape it. It's a great escape really.All of that comes across with first time actress Madina Nalwanga, who plays Phiona. As far as acting debuts go, you could do worse than the starring role in a film with Lupita N’yongo and David Oyelowo. Madina is a part of a cast that despite their huge star power completely immerse you in the film. You understand and feel what their characters are going through, which works for the big emotional moments, and the small light hearted ones. No I'm not crying there was just something in my eye at the theatre.That struggle is palpable in the film. Phiona’s family barely gets by with the turmoil life throws their way. They get caught in…

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