The success of 2011’s Bridesmaids proved female comedies featuring the kind of bawdy, scattalogical humor typically seen in male-led comedies could lead to box office gold. In its wake came a wave of Bechdel-test-passing, R-rated comedies of varying degrees of success, including the smash hit Girls Trip in 2017. Chick Fight feels like the product of Bridesmaids-effect. The women of Chick Fight don’t give a damn about being “ladylike.” They’re badasses! They’re sexual like Melissa McCarthy in that plane scene! The romance is a side plot! But the movie lacks what set Bridesmaids and Girls Trip apart: authenticity.
Babysitter’s Guide, directed by Rachel Talalay (Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare), is based on a three-part book of the same name, written and adapted for the screen by Joe Ballarini. The movie takes place in Rhode Island where teen Kelly is a math whiz and social pariah, dubbed “Monster Girl” by her peers who still mock her for claiming to be have been attacked by a monster at age five. On Halloween night, Kelly learns monsters are, in fact, very real when Jacob, the boy she is babysitting, is kidnapped by the boogeyman himself. Kelly is joined by an underground society of monster-hunting babysitters to rescue Jacob and stop the boogeyman from releasing his army of nightmares on the world.
Matt Crowley’s play The Boys in the Band shocked mainstream audiences when it opened Off Broadway in 1968. It tells the story of seven gay men at a birthday party in a New York City apartment, which was groundbreaking at the time in how it pioneered representation of gay life. Now, the story is being brought to life once again in a new movie from Netflix and a team of producers that includes Ryan Murphy — as part of his $300 million deal with the streaming service.
Enola Holmes is based on the YA book series The Enola Holmes Mysteries by Nancy Springer. It tells the story of Enola Holmes, the younger sister of Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes, the former of whom is already famous by the time our story starts in 1884. After her father dies and her brothers leave home, Enola is left with her beloved but eccentric mother, Eudoria, at the family’s country estate. Then, on the morning of Enola’s sixteenth birthday, Eudoria disappears. Enola must follow her trail of clues and set out on an adventure to find her. The plot thickens when she meets Viscount Tewksbury, a runaway Marquess pursued by a mysterious assassin in a bowler hat. The game is afoot.
Director Antonio Campos wastes no time setting the tone of The Devil All the Time, his adaptation of the 2011 novel by Donald Ray Pollack. Within the first few minutes, Willard Russell (Bill Skarsgård), an American soldier in the South Pacific during World War II, finds the fly-ridden body of a marine crucified on a cross. The scene is the first of many bloody acts in the bleak film, and the theme of violence and sacrifice is explored even further throughout its 139 minutes.
She’s a litigator who spends her days in court defending the little man pro bono and her nights alone with nothing but Chinese takeout for comfort. He’s handsome, wealthy, and charming but totally incapable of falling in love — or so it seems. It’s the perfect setup. By the time the title card appears, accompanied by Tiffany’s 80s pop anthem “I Think We’re Alone Now,” Netflix’s Love, Guaranteed has laid out all the standard rules for the romantic comedy. The next 90 minutes won’t do much to challenge those rules, but it’s a fun 90 minutes nonetheless.
The new Netflix documentary Rising Phoenix, directed by Ian Bonhôte and Peter Ettedgui, reflects on the history and impact of the Paralympic Games while telling the stories of several of its elite athletes. The first lines of the documentary draw a parallel between Marvel’s Avengers and Paralympians. Like comic book superheroes, each of the featured competitors has an origin story; a tale of facing obstacles, beating the odds, and unlocking great strength. As an introductory voiceover puts it, “The Olympics are where heroes are created. The Paralympics are where heroes come.”
It’s no secret Hollywood loves Hollywood (see: La La Land’s 14 Oscar nominations). A biopic about a beloved star of the Hollywood Golden Age? Singing? My first thought upon viewing the Judy trailer was Oscar. Fodder. But Renée Zellweger’s performance as Judy Garland ultimately transcended my cynicism.