‘Red Sparrow’ is flat spy flick that Jennifer Lawrence can’t even save

Dominika Egorova (Jennifer Lawrence) had two choices: get a bullet in the head for witnessing the murder of a high ranking politician or became a Russian sex spy, aka “red sparrow”. The title of the movie probably gives away her choice.

A former world-renowned ballerina who suffered a career ending injury, Dominika will do just about anything for her uncle, Vanya (Matthias Schoenaerts from Rust n’ Bone and The Drop) as long as her mother is taken care of.

That includes being sent to a spy school where students are taught how to seduce people with their bodies by the stingy Matron (Charlotte Rampling, having some fun). I’m not talking about punches and kicks; this is taking off your clothes, controlling sexually hungry minds, and changing the way people think. Continue reading “‘Red Sparrow’ is flat spy flick that Jennifer Lawrence can’t even save”


South City Confessions: Guns, baseball, coffee, and booze

Shut up and read this. Thanks.

Good fucking afternoon, everyone. Let’s rise up, let it shine, and get something done today-but first, a message from your bald South City representative of Princeton Heights.

What am I drinking? I’m on cup of coffee #3, delivered straight from the Keurig machine to my right. I buy the cheap Walmart Great Value brand. Breakfast Blend that goes for less than 50 cents per cup of dirty water. If you consume as much as I do on a daily basis, you have to be practical with how you consume it. There’s a time and place for the fancy shit, but home is not one of them.

So, I have some things to say and you may or may not like them. This is my unfiltered zone, a place where I can be myself and take the “diet” off my content label. As a friend named John would say, it’s time to get lazy with my words. In other words, say “fuck” a lot. As a man who goes by Bruno says, “oh, look at me, I’m saying fuck a lot”. It’s true. I can’t haul off and say “these fucking Cardinals are about as delightful as a crotch rash discovered on the first day of a seventeen day camping trip”. It wouldn’t fly with my bosses at the KSDK offices, so I come here.

Let’s get going before you click on some bullshit clickbait article detailing Blake Shelton’s preferred plaid shirts for concert tours.

  • 14,000 kids have been murdered with a gun since the Sandy Hook Elementary Massacre. That’s fucking insane. Think about all the hope, dreams, and love lost in those moments. And for what? A senseless goon pulled a trigger and took a life. Whenever I post something on Facebook about gun violence, people immediately attach a left or right leaning angle to it. Those people don’t know me. I am NOT a political honk. I don’t care about politics, because I don’t trust our government to know its ass from its elbow. This is about right and wrong, and our kids are dying. I am up for discussion on how to prevent it–or at least lessen the frequency. If this means Billy Joe Bob Frank can’t have an AR-15 anymore, so be it. We all make sacrifices. Parents have made sacrifices with their kids being murdered. It’s time the NRA and the US Government made a sacrifice and stopped lining their pockets with cash. For the person who just said, “well, he’s clearly a democrat,” go fuck yourself.
  • No, this isn’t the only problem, so quiet down while I finish.
  • There’s a movement going around schools where you find 17 strangers and say hello to them in order to reach out to people you don’t know and be kind. That’s lovely for public relations reps, but let’s try this instead: be nice to your fellow man and woman all the time. Is it so damn hard to smile more and speak up instead of slamming someone or being rude? Let’s all slow our lives down, take a minute, and be kind to others. Do whatever your mother would want you to do. If your mother is an asshat who ran out on you or doesn’t care, be better than her and be nice.

Continue reading “South City Confessions: Guns, baseball, coffee, and booze”

‘Game Night’ is a guilt-free hilarious time at the movies

Bateman, McAdams work well here

Certain films are made with the intention to win awards. For example, when Steven Spielberg picks up a camera and walks into a room, the intention is to walk out of it with an Oscar. This is the goal of many films.

Game Night is thankfully not one of those movies.

Co-directed by John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein (who misfired with the lukewarm Vacation), this is a guilt-free and hilarious time at the movies. It will take your mind off real life and won’t ask you to think too much. It’s fun, something that Hollywood forgets about when they make movies.

Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams look like the perfect couple on the surface. Two ultimate competitors who fell in love at trivia night, Max and Annie were soulmates. They have a great house in the suburbs, even if it comes with the weird, widowed police officer neighbor, Gary (Jesse Plemons). Their friends, including the dopey yet lovable Ryan (Billy Magnussen) and the high school sweethearts Kevin and Michelle (Lamorne Morris and Kylie Bunbury), come over for the weekly game night.

However, Max’s rivalry with his brother, the rich and charismatic Brooks (Kyle Chandler) hasn’t lost any steam from their childhood, which Brooks doesn’t hesitate to revisit with embarrassing stories and painful reminders. When Brooks rides into town and wants to host a “different” kind of game night, Max and Annie see this as an opportunity to finally take down the big brother.

They have no idea what’s in store for them, but let’s just say the audience benefits from the chaos.

I laughed a lot during this movie. It’s a good time. This is an easy going cinematic experience that doesn’t demand you to think too hard nor does it make you look at your watch constantly. Daley and Goldstein’s film, working from a script by Mark Perez, keeps moving, is never boring, and stays away from heavy themes that would have dampened the effect of the main ingredient, which is comedy.

So often with comedies, they tend to get melodramatic or mix in so many subplots that you forget what the main idea was. With Game Night, there is one goal: following a group of ordinary people around who find out something about themselves that only a little of suspense can unearth.

Is Brooks hiding a few secrets? Sure. Will those secrets get his brother and friends into trouble? You bet. Will the sight of a guy trying to scrub blood of a dog only to make it worse make you laugh out loud? Bingo.

“Laugh out loud” is thrown around these days, but I did it a few times during this movie. Seeing a grown man bite down on a squeaky pet toy as a bullet is extracted from his arm is one of them. Morris perfecting a Denzel Washington impersonation is endless fun. McAdams dancing around a bar with a loaded gun in her hand is just hot goodness. Every time Ryan calls his date British, when she is actually an Irish woman, you laugh as she scolds him. Let’s just say an Edward Norton joke goes a long way.

The cast was perfectly assembled. I like when Bateman stretches out in darker roles like Netflix’s Ozark and Disconnect, but this comedy zone is his sweet spot. He has an effortless, cynically based humor that borders on acerbic that never gets old. You could have plucked out Max from Bateman’s role in Horrible Bosses (which Goldstein co-wrote), added some seasoning, and arrived at the same character-but the actor makes it work.

McAdams adds a little spunk to her heroine in a part that most actresses would have played straight. The usually stoic Chandler cuts loose playing an imperfect man, and it’s a refreshing site. Plemons gives enough uncomfortable willpower to make you feel for Gary while keeping an eye on him.

Keep an eye out for a surprise casting choice that made me do a double take.

Game Night doesn’t wish to reinvent the movie wheel or gun for Best Picture. It just wants to make you laugh and forget about reality for a couple hours. You’ll get up from your seat as the credits roll, and laugh again at that one part. This movie should make even the coldest cynic giggle. The filmmakers and cast did a good job here.

When a comedy is done right, it can be as satisfying as a hardcore Oscar worthy drama.