Week Of 06.20.2021 Movie Reviews

Reviewing Luca, Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard, And Fatherhood

Our Movie Grading Scale:
- S Grade; 5.0 Stars: The Best Film One Has Ever Seen, Everyone Has An S Film
- A+/A- Grade; 4.0/4.5 Stars: One Of The Best Films Of The Year, If Not All-Time
- B+/B- Grade; 3.0/3.5 Stars: Worth A Trip To The Theatre For First Viewing
- C+/C- Grade; 2.0/2.5 Stars: Watch From Home For First Viewing
- D+/D- Grade; 1.0/1.5 Stars: Don’t Bother Watching This At All If You Can Help It
- F Grade; 0.5 Star: One Of The Worst Films Of All-Time
- Reminder: Reviews For These Films Can Change Over Time And Will Be Reflected Over At Our Letterboxd

- The Plot: In a beautiful seaside town on the Italian Riviera, two young boys experience an unforgettable summer filled with gelato, pasta and endless scooter rides. But all the fun is threatened by a deeply-held secret: they are sea monsters from another world just below the water’s surface.

- The Review: Pixar was said to be reportedly pissed off when this was shifted from a theatrical window to a Disney Plus streamer (Though it will still play in theatres in some select limited screenings). And after watching this, I don’t blame them one damn bit. This movie is BEAUTIFUL to behold, with amazing art direction and a style from start to finish that actually differentiates itself from typical Pixar movies. This should have been seen on the big screen, especially for the Summer season given its bright and beautiful sunny aesthetic.

The film catches the essence of Italy with its soundtrack, its set design, and even the food which you can almost smell and taste from your side of the screen. The score of the film is absolutely beautiful, and in a just world would be a potential Oscar nominee. The story itself has been accused of not having enough “existential crisis” to it and the movie has been compared to death to other Pixar flicks to the point “lesser Pixar” has been a popular label in various reviews. But I thought it was a beautiful tale about friendship with even a little bit of an LBGT pretext underneath its surface that I was fine with.

For my part, I thought the characters were relatable, likable, and endearing with each having certain character arcs that had you rooting for them. The villain was a bit weak but its hard to ask for a Thanos-tier baddie in a movie like this. I laughed plenty of times and teared up a bit when the film was looking to get that emotion out of me. I had a blast with this and have to say I’m frustrated that its getting good but not great reviews which could cost it an Oscar nomination because it keeps getting compared to other Pixar films and their sometimes heady content.

I would have loved to seen this on the big screen, I had a blast and would definitely consider this among Pixar’s higher tier films personally. This isn’t another ONWARD to me like it was for others. This is absolutely worth a subscription to Disney Plus, but again I really would have liked to see this on the big screen. A- for LUCA. Absolutely an early nominee to make my Best of the Year list.

- The Plot: The world’s most lethal odd couple—bodyguard Michael Bryce and hitman Darius Kincaid—are back on another life-threatening mission. Still unlicensed and under scrutiny, Bryce is forced into action by Darius’s even more volatile wife, the infamous international con artist Sonia Kincaid. As Bryce is driven over the edge by his two most dangerous protectees, the trio get in over their heads in a global plot and soon find that they are all that stand between Europe and a vengeful and powerful madman.

- The Review: As someone who never saw the original to this highly anticipated among some sequel, I took it upon myself to teach myself before seeing this one and watched 2017’s THE HITMAN’S BODYGUARD. A film I didn’t hate…but didn’t particularly liked either and chalked it up as a win for me that I watched it from the comfort of my Spectrum TV app on my phone rather than having seen it on the big screen. My main complaint from that one was that it struck me as having a little too much generic action over the more comedic elements. However given the previews for this one, I was hoping to get more of that comedy over the action and when all was said and done I did get more of that - a little too much of it.

The best thing about this movie is honestly Selma Hayek who expands her role as Sonia Kincaid, regulated to small parts in the last film and made more of an important character in this one. She seems to steal every scene she’s in and gets to show off her comedic chops. I laughed at almost every joke of hers and you can tell she was having a blast in this. As for Samuel L Jackson as hitman Darius Kincaid and Ryan Reynolds in the much more straight role as Michael Bryce, they once again showed some good chemistry like the first one and scenes with them at each other’s throats did give me some chuckles.

But unfortunately the film’s additions are its weakness. Frank Grillo shows up in this in a role that (And it isn’t his fault so much as the writing’s) I feel as if it were meant to be hilarious as an angry Interpol agent, but instead comes off painfully unfunny and cringe and each time his scenes show up you want to return to our protagonists. Second, the villain in this is played by Antonio Banderas who you’d think would be playing an evil Central American dictator but instead they made him a rich Greek madman and you never buy it on top of how over the top he can come off. And finally Morgan Freeman shows up in this and not only does it seem like he’s mailing his performance in, but he is set up as such a ridiculous character with such a predictable twist in his character arc that he feels like dead weight to an already short film added to pad it out.

To add to the comedic issues I had with this, they also go for a lot of violent and cursing jokes that eventually start to wear out their welcome, they introduce a backstory to Bryce that felt like it was more cheesy than the tragic chapter it was probably meant to be (albeit with a comedic subtext), and the whole reasoning behind the villain’s motivations seem like a rejected plot from a mediocre spy movie. The action sequences can be entertaining, but unlike the first one they get drowned out by the in your face comedy that can be hit and miss.

Overall I feel exactly as I did about the first one. It’ll do the job as a Friday night movie at home via a rental, but it is not worth the theatrical experience for. C+ for HITMAN’S WIFE’S BODYGUARD. Hopefully if they follow this up with a third film they’ll find the right balance between the action and comedy.

- The Plot: A widowed new dad copes with doubts, fears, heartache and dirty diapers as he sets out to raise his daughter on his own.

- The Review: This is a film that I feel like a good chunk of critics made up their mind on before they went into it. Kevin Hart is typically known for comedic roles and he has a long history of getting himself into trouble with some big names as high as the Academy of Motion Pictures themselves. To be frank I personally haven’t been crazy about they way he’s dealt with such scandals and controversies but I find the guy to be a pretty good comedian who of late I’ve noted has been taking more and more dramatic roles.

With this film, Hart honestly turns in what may be the best performance he’s ever given. Granted this has some comedy elements in it, but it also does ask for Hart to put in some dramatic work and plenty of times he delivers on the latter and makes you feel for his struggles as single father. When he cries, when he’s hurting, etc you can feel it and his performance made me tear up one or two times.

The supporting cast all deliver as well including some highlights such as Alfre Wodward, Lil Rel Howery, and character actor Anthony Carrigan actually doing a less villainous role for once. The movie is definitely feel-good entertainment for Father’s Day weekend even with the more tragic elements in it.

Frankly this movie does flirt real hard with getting an A grade from me, but what keeps it from getting it is that the low budget can be very noticeable at times, the movie does start to overstay its welcome and feel repetitive at some moments, and not to mention there are just a few times the movie’s comedy can get in the way of being more of an A tier flick with something to say. But overall I found this to be a surprisingly well-intentioned, well acted, great film for the Father’s Day weekend that I thoroughly enjoyed even if I felt like it got in its own way a few times from being something really special. B+ for FATHERHOOD. Make sure to give this a try on Netflix when you can, its not what you’d expect from a Kevin Hart film.

Leave a comment


Share The Cinephile Café