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“TULLY”-Review

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At its heart, Tully feels like it has a lot to say and for the most part it succeeds. The latest film from writer Diablo Cody and Director Jason Reitman brings us what at first look is a simple slice of life tale. As the film unfolds, we discover their is more to it than that. 

Charlize Theron brings her “A” game as a mother of three who has lost her way. Theron does all the heavy lifting throughout the film, the camera stays focused on her pretty much from the first frame to the last. This is truly her life, trials and all, and as a result we begin to feel what she’s going through. 

I imagine most parents will relate easily enough, I know I did. To Cody’s credit, she doesn’t necessarily write Theron’s on screen husband as the typical, less than helpful around the children type. His misgivings are hers as well, they both share the fatigue of being parents and responsible adults. He decompresses at the end of a long day by playing video games, while her inability to do so is really the heart of Tully.

From a film makers stance, Jason Reitman continues to grow as a director. Tully moves along at a brisk pace, Reitman doesn’t linger more than he should on any particular scene. He successfully pulls us in whenever Theron is feeling trapped and at her emotional breaking points. A few times I found myself feeling genuinely bad for Theron, wondering if she actually hated her life and really loved her husband. By the movie’s end, we’re left in a place where the answer isn’t hand fed to us and that’s really okay. 

Fans of Juno will feel right at home in this world. The writing is no doubt in the voice of Diablo Cody, in fact she even seems to take a few light hearted jabs at critics of Juno. The script has a great voice overall but it does have a misstep or two, nothing to really bog things down though. 

Tully is an enjoyable tale that can really be any mother’s story. Life is frustrating, but taking that frustration and putting it into a film that entertains is quite an accomplishment. 

 

BLOCKERS Review

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If you’re a fan of movies, comedies in particular, films like Blockers fall into the “raunchy” category quite easily. Rated R comedies in themselves can often be a mixed bag, you’re either going for the over the top sexual antics or the drug/alcohol adventures of the main characters, sometimes you even get a healthy mix of the two. If you’re over the age of thirty, Blockers also serves as a bit of a fascinating window into just how these types of films have changed over the years. 

Helmed by first time director Kay Cannon, Blockers is largely entertaining and hilarious at times. Leslie Mann, John Cena, and Ike Barinholtz headline as the parents of their respective daughters and each bring something unique to the table. John Cena continues to push his way through into Hollywood and while he had some good material to work with in Blockers, it still feels like he hasn’t quite found his groove yet. As part of an ensemble, he bounces off his two fellow leads nicely. The other half of the cast, played by relative newcomers, while charming and funny at times, shine an unfortunate light on the weakest aspect of the story.

It may be a sign of the times, but the portrayal of the three daughters and their would be prom dates seemed to be more of an agenda push then what real teens act like. The role reversal of following a group of young women making a pact to lose their virginity is a great plot device, but in the case of Blockers, their would be suitors are unrealistic even for a comedy film. From what screen time they were given, the men come across as  idealized, harmless non threatening male types. As the movie goes on, I began to see that even the intimidating stature of John Cena was subjected to this. It was enough to pull me out of the film to notice and given the political climate of today, instead of a happy middle ground it seemed to swing a bit too far the other way. 

Issues aside, Blockers is extremely funny and a great first effort by its director. If you’ve seen similar movies such as American Pie, Neighbors, Sex Drive, Revenge of the Nerds, you’ll feel almost right at home here.