First Reformed

Ethan Hawke in First Reformed (2017)Writer/director Paul Schrader, the mastermind behind the screenplay of Martin Scorsese’s “Taxi Driver”, has continued his exceptional storytelling by writing and directing his newest film “First Reformed”. The film follows the life of Reverend Toller, the priest of a longstanding historic church that the film is named after. Toller has had a harsh life after losing his son in the war along with a divorce that followed, all leading to a severe drinking problem. He then meets a young woman named Mary, whose husband Michael suffers from severe depression due to his hatred of society’s cause of global warming. After Toller’s meeting with him, his life seems to take an even darker turn as we witness the emotional struggle and character arc Reverend Toller goes through.

As a character study, the film is actually quite similar to “Taxi Driver”. In the classic Scorsese film we follow Travis Bickle, a nighttime taxi driver in New York City whose loathing and disgust with the streets of New York City begin the consume him, all while he attempts to rescue an underage prostitute from ruining her life. That same idea is written into this film as we witness the individuals and surroundings in Toller’s life that affect his personality and mental stability. The similarities are uncanny, especially towards the end, but that doesn’t come as a surprise given the name of the talented filmmaker.

Reverend Toller is played superbly by Ethan Hawke (“Boyhood”, “The Before Trilogy”). Hawke seems to be the go-to actor for indie/character study films. “The Before Trilogy” for example shows us the blossoming of a relationship and the emotional struggles that come with falling in love. Through those films we witness a relationship through the ups and downs, just as we observe Toller’s life through its intricacies. Schrader gets a stellar performance out of Hawke, something that clearly isn’t too difficult to achieve, given the underappreciated actor’s success and talent. The notable supporting performance comes from Amanda Seyfried as Mary. As an underrated actress as well, her performance is definitely one of her more ranged ones.

The film has an original directorial sense to it and is shot similarly to “A Ghost Story” with the ends of the shots being cut off leaving two thirds of the screen visible for the audience. Some may find this difficult to adjust to, although through the experience of “First Reformed” its seems to come with ease.

“First Reformed” is quite bleak, even visually. The scenes are darkly lit reflecting the film’s somber message. Just as the lighting, the film itself darkens emotionally as the runtime goes on, like a dimly lit candle slowly burning out. It takes quite some time to figure what the film is saying but giving away the meaning of the film could ruin the plot for those who haven’t seen it. Simply put, it deals with many complicated themes as it’s quite philosophical in one way, and more ambiguous in another. All in all however, it’s mainly about the mental change of a priest who discovers that the world is much darker than he once believed.

Paul Schrader’s newest project is a unique cinematic experience and one that deserves to be seen. With the stellar performances, unique style and plot, the film begs for attention in a world filled with popular action-thrillers and superhero films. Giving this film a chance can open eyes to the uniqueness and talent that goes into some of the best indie films.

Grade: A

Rated R for some disturbing violent images

Hereditary

Toni Collette and Milly Shapiro in Hereditary (2018)Every once in a while, we see advertising for horror films that claim them to be as great as the classics such as “Rosemary’s Baby” or ‘Psycho”. That usually results in eye rolls, but here with Ari Aster’s “Hereditary” the critical acclaim is not messing around.

Toni Collette plays Annie, an avid dollhouse maker whose reclusive and bizarre mother passes away. Annie lives with her husband Steve (Gabriel Byrne), her son Peter (Alex Wolff) and her tongue-clicking daughter Charlie (Milly Shapiro). After a terrifying incident, they then begin to experience the supernatural as their family history is slowly and terrifyingly revealed to them through pain, suffering and terror. The film is as terrifying as it sounds, if not more so. “Hereditary” is one of the most frightening experiences one can have in the theater and will most likely be remembered as a classic, much like how people remember Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining” or Roman Polanski’s “Rosemary’s Baby”.

“Hereditary” is writer/director Ari Aster’s debut film. Given that, he will most likely become a well-renowned filmmaker in the future. The unique visual style and camerawork are incredibly unique, giving the film the eerie unnerving feel that Ari Aster was going for. However, what brings to film to its ultimate ability to terrifying audiences, is its imagery and sounds. It’s almost as though the film is assaulting the senses by throwing disturbing imagery and noises as you from left to right. This includes maggots eating a dead body, people on fire, decapitated heads, and disturbing images of faces in the dark corners of a room smiling at you. This is one of the rare horror films that will actually scare pretty much everyone that watches it. Its spine-chilling, unnerving and yet somehow delightfully fun.

It would be a travesty to go on without mentioning the performances. Every performance on screen is done to perfection, due to both the talents of the director and the actors themselves. However, the one performance that clearly stands out here is Toni Collette. Her character has multiple layers and as an audience it is impossible not to find ourselves constantly questioning her sanity and motives. This curve is conveyed perfectly by Collette. Every great film has “that one scene” in which the performance shines in its very best moment. “Hereditary” has that as well, and when you see it, you’ll know. This is without a doubt her best role yet up there with her Oscar nominated role in “The Sixth Sense”. This too should give her some Oscar recognition, but only time will tell if the Academy will make the right choice.

The film is incredibly symbolic in its meaning as well. Just as “Rosemary’s Baby” represents the fears of being a mother, or as “The Shining” represents the psychological effects of being anti-social, “Hereditary” is too very symbolic as it shows the fears of acquiring traits or characteristics of ancestors that we don’t desire to obtain. In addition to that, the film is also about mental illness and family tragedy turning into a nightmare, as going through family tragedy and grief can often feel like a nightmare itself. There are many ways to interpret the film, none of which are wrong. However, it’s the meaning behind the film that makes it so chilling as it digs into everyday human fears and emotions. Rather than just a jump-scare ghost story, the film makes viewers feel something they most likely haven’t before.

Grade: A+

Rated R for horror violence, disturbing images, language, drug use and brief graphic nudity

Solo: A Star Wars Story

Woody Harrelson, Paul Bettany, Thandie Newton, Donald Glover, Alden Ehrenreich, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Emilia Clarke, and Joonas Suotamo in Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)Han Solo has been one of the leading icons of the Star Wars franchise since the release of Star Wars: A New Hope” in 1977. The idea of a singular film about the origin of Han Solo was only a matter of time after the recent release of both “The Force Awakens” and “The Last Jedi”. “Solo: A Star Wars Story” is separate from any of the trilogies and acts as a standalone film just as “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”. Directed by legendary filmmaker Ron Howard, the film gives us a unique glimpse into Han’s past and shows us what exactly made him who he was.

Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) and his love interest, Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke) have been trapped on a crime filled planet Corellia that endangers their lives. They make it their mission to escape only to then become separated. Solo then finds himself entangled in a life of crime due to the demands of an intimidating crime boss named Dryden Vos. They must bring back a large amount of Coaxium, also known as hyperfuel. He goes on this adventure alongside new friends, some that become vital to the entire Star Wars franchise. This includes Chewbacca, the other and possibly larger reason Star Wars fans will go see the film. “Solo: A Star Wars Story” gives us insight into Han’s friendship with Chewy, the origin of his name, how he met Lando, and most importantly, how he came to be involved in the smuggling life.

What will likely satisfy most are the constant homages to the original Star Wars films. Ehrenreich’s performance in particular reminds us of Han’s wit and charm from the original series. Ehrenreich has Solo’s mannerism and body language down perfectly, making a perfect reason for Solo fans to find little to complain about. Donald Glover plays Lando, the self-absorbed, smoothing talking smuggler who originally appeared in “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back”. He too managed to ace the mannerisms and personality of Billy Dee Williams’s Lando.

The other very notable performance in “Solo: A Star Wars Story” is Emilia Clarke’s performance as Qi’ra. Qi’ra has multiple layers to her character and Clarke’s outstanding performance keeps the viewer thinking about her and her motives. The film also stars Woody Harrelson as Beckett, Thandie Newton as Val, Paul Bettany as Dryden Vos, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge as L3-37. Every performance is as convincing as the last, keeping the film just as fun and thrilling as it is engaging.

Ron Howard’s direction is unique and original, giving the Star Wars movie something to keep itself standing out from the other surrounding films in the franchise. This film proves how huge the continuing franchise can be, showing how it very rarely loses its steam (excluding the infamous prequel trilogy). Howard’s vision is without a doubt, very creative. From the beginning till the end, there are numerous amounts of different creatures and droids, who all look and sound uniquely different. There was clearly a lot of thought put into the appearance of this film, that it can’t be overlooked. The production design is immersive and stunning which again, reminds fans of the original series.

The action is fun and engaging as well. It keeps plenty of viewers on the edge of their seats. However, it isn’t necessarily the action itself that is responsible for that. The film makes us care about the characters and when they are in peril, we can’t help but stare at the screen even though we really know that at least Han, Chewy and Lando end up a-ok.

“Solo: A Star Wars Story” is a great film for both fans and moviegoers alike. It fills the need for action, thrill and comedy, while pleasing fans with the characters and production design. As one of the better films in the franchise (at least of the newer films), this one will stand out for plenty of years to come.

Rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action/violence

Grade: A-

Deadpool 2

Brad Pitt, Josh Brolin, Ryan Reynolds, Terry Crews, Bill SkarsgÃ¥rd, Leslie Uggams, Morena Baccarin, Lewis Tan, Stefan Kapicic, Rob Delaney, Shioli Kutsuna, Julian Dennison, Zazie Beetz, and Brianna Hildebrand in Deadpool 2 (2018)After only two years since the first installment of an already amazing franchise, “Deadpool 2” was recently released in theaters and did very little to disappoint. “Deadpool” was incredibly influential to the Marvel films, showing us how superhero films can be R-Rated and just as good. This eventually led to the critically acclaimed X-men movie, “Logan” a year later. It seems as though through these past few years the X-Men films are becoming more and more violent, hopefully leading to more similar films down the road, with the upcoming X-Force films in particular.

Just as he did in the first film, the foul-mouthed superhero is back to fight crime in the most violent, gruesome, and raunchy way possible. Ryan Reynolds returns as the mutant and gives a not very surprisingly great performance. With his success of the original and of the sequel, this role will surely stick with him for many years as the X-men franchise continues.

If the film is any different from the original, it’s because of its controversial first act. It’s best not to be spoiler-rific here, so let’s just say it starts off with a in a way that definitely wasn’t expected by most. It was a strange choice by the writers, but the film redeems itself as it goes on. From there, Deadpool teams up with the X-men, now to be called the X-Force. This includes Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) and Colossus (Stefan Kapičić) from the first “Deadpool”. Other great reoccurring characters include, Weasel (T.J Miller), Blind Al (Leslie Uggams) and the lonely taxi driver, Dopinder (Karan Soni).

One of the new faces is Firefist (there are plenty of jokes about that name). Firefist is a young mutant incapable of controlling his powers and anger. Deadpool comes to his rescue and when he discovers that a Terminator-like villain is after him and he makes it his mission to protect the young mutant. This time-travelling villain is known as Cable, played by Josh Brolin. 2018 is apparently the year for Josh Brolin as in addition to starring in this film, he also played the ominous and overpowering Thanos, and has an upcoming lead role in “Sicario: Day of the Soldado”, the sequel to Denis Villeneuve’s original film. Brolin’s Thanos was much more powerful and intimidating, while here his role is just plain fun, which is something that viewers hope for in a Deadpool film.

What makes “Deadpool 2” even more special is the abundance of new faces. These new characters come into play when Deadpool hilariously attempts to put together a team of mutants. This includes Domino (Zazie Beetz), Bedlam (Terry Crews), Zeitgeist (Bill Skarsgard), Shatterstar (Lewis Tan) and a human named Peter (Rob Delaney), who also happens to be Deadpool’s favorite.

“Deadpool 2” has all the raunchy material necessary for as “Deadpool” film. It satisfies in the comedy genre and is outright hilarious from start to finish, with some surprisingly emotional moments thrown in the mix. Similar to the original, this one is quite heartfelt and meaningful as well. It’s easy to watch the trailers for this film and assume that it’s all violence and sex jokes. While that is without a doubt a large part of the movie, the screenwriters were cleverly able to throw human emotion into the mix, making a movie that appeases on multiple levels.

The action is on point from start to finish as well, all thanks to David Leitch’s direction. If you saw the film and thought the action was similar to that of in “Atomic Blonde” or John Wick”, that’s because it is. David Leitch was responsible for the visually striking sequences in those films, as well as in “Deadpool 2”. The constant action rarely misses a beat and keeps viewers intently watching.

“Deadpool 2” is one of those rare sequels that lives up to the first. Over the years it seemed as though any film with the number two slapped on the end of the title was a guaranteed disaster. However, these past few years, (especially with Marvel) sequels have been getting much more worthwhile and “Deadpool 2” is no exception.

Rated R for strong violence and language throughout, sexual references and brief drug material

Grade: A-

Disobedience

Rachel Weisz and Rachel McAdams in Disobedience (2017)“Disobedience” is the latest independent film from Sebastian Lelio, the writer and director of the recent critically acclaimed film “A Fantastic Woman”. Rachel Weisz plays Ronit, a successful photographer living in New York City, who left the home she once knew after being shunned for her attraction to Esti, played by Rachel McAdams. However, now she returns home after hearing the news of her father’s death, only to be shunned further for not being there for him. At the funeral, she sees her once loved Esti, and from there the film teases the audience on their relationship and both the pain and joy it brought them both. Their reunion rekindles those feelings left behind and drags them into a downward spiral of forbidden romance and self-doubt.

Esti has since married Dovid, a Jewish Orthodox Rabbi and a beloved friend of Ronit’s father. Their marriage isn’t exactly a happy one as Esti was forced into it by their religion. Dovid is superbly played by Alessandro Nivola. However, what complicates Ronit and Esti’s relationship further is the religion surrounding their life. It suffocates them and keeps them from being who the truly want to be. Faith forced Esti married a man she does not love and Ronit constantly tries to keep herself as distant from the culture as possible.

The emotional performances in this film are consistently outstanding. Rachel Weisz and Rachel McAdams shine in “Disobedience”, giving the couple they’re playing perfect chemistry and emotion. The chemistry between them is passionate yet desperate as they reintroduce the feelings they once had for each other. After being apart for so many years, their love for each other has somehow stayed just as strong. The performances give us this atmosphere along with Sebastian Lelio’s on point direction. In addition to the leads however, the main supporting performance by Alessandro Nivola is also incredibly notable.

The film is uniquely shot, with darkly lit cinematography that captures the couple’s melancholy and their struggle to keep their relationship a secret. This film is an art piece and what is even more astounding is that we have two big name actresses as the lead roles. Often with these sorts of small independent films, the cast is very much unknown, yet talented. With “Disobedience” the fame is there, along with the craft.

Rated R for some strong sexuality

Grade: A-

Cargo

Martin Freeman in Cargo (2017)The newest Netflix original film “Cargo” is a dramatic thriller taking place in a diseased Australia. To start, the film shows us the seemingly healthy family, intercut with shots of a young girl feeding raw meat to something in a hole. The film focuses on a father’s struggle to get his daughter to safety after her mother passes. As Andy struggles to survive with his daughter, he forms a bond with Josie, a young girl whose father previously became ill. The film stars Martin Freeman (Andy), Susie Porter (Kay), and Simone Landers (Thoomi).

It’s a zombie flick but is very much unlike most zombie films out there like “28 Weeks Later” or an average episode of “The Walking Dead”. “Cargo” focuses much less on action and blood and seems to take a more humanistic and meaningful turn. The film focuses on the theme of family and what it takes to keep your family safe. The weight we carry on our shoulder for our children can feel as heavy as precious cargo aboard a ship. The message here is deeper than expected. Although, that isn’t to stay there aren’t any intense scenes or action as we get plenty of short chase scenes and a few bloody murders to satisfy the true zombie fans.

However, “Cargo” is far from perfect. The first act of the film drags quite a bit and it takes way too much time getting us into the story. From there, the pacing is a bit strange and most of the film seems quite slow, with some intense scenes thrown in the mix.

The biggest flaw with the film however is the emotional disconnect. From the beginning, Andy’s chemistry with his wife doesn’t flow well and seems very much out of place, refusing to convince the audience that they’re truly married. This is likely due to the directing, although Martin Freeman’s performance here is somewhat to blame as well. Freeman has given plenty of great performances in his career. However, this one falls on the opposite end. It isn’t the fact that he wasn’t convincing enough. It is more about how his performance makes us feel about Andy’s relationships with his loved ones.

“Cargo” is very redeemable however as it gives us plenty to be thankful for. It attempts to add something different and meaningful to what is usually just a mindless and violent genre (not that there is anything wrong with that). It also gives us a unique ending, and a well-directed one as well. While there are many ups and downs with this one, there is plenty for everyone to enjoy and for everyone to hate.

Grade: C+

Tully

Tully (2018)Charlize Theron’s previous roles have consisted of being a crime fighting spy, a rugged rebellious woman in the desert, and a prostitute turned serial killer. Here in Jason Reitman’s “Tully”, she’s at first struggling mother of two and then of three. Reitman is the director most well known for “Juno” and “Young Adult”, both of which show us the struggles of certain time-periods in a woman’s life. In this latest film of his, motherhood is explored in all its joys, tears and discomforts.

Most of “Tully” doesn’t glamorize motherhood too much as we see Marlo’s constant struggles to keep her life together as she raises all three of her children, one being a newborn. From her son’s so called “quirky” problems at school, to her new daughter being up all night, Marlo never rests. That is until her brother sets her up with a night nanny named Tully, played by Mackenzie Davis (Blade Runner 2049) and together they form a special friendship.

The film has a well written screenplay and likeable characters, so there is plenty to enjoy with “Tully”. On top of the entertainment factor though, there is an emotional level that occurs with this film that reminds us to thank our mothers. “Tully” really gives us a struggling protagonist to care for and makes viewers reflect on their mothers or on their own experiences with motherhood, making the film relatable for many.

It’s marketed as a comedy and while there is plenty of comedy in the film, it is still much less funny than expected. “Tully” has some humorous moments here and there and is lighthearted enough, but the film stands alone even better as a drama. The film is sweet and endearing, while having many emotional and unexpected scenes. However, towards the third act, the plot starts to derail just a tad as the already understood message about motherhood starts to become repetitive and frankly, a bit preachy.

Although, it would be unfair to go on without mentioning the biggest thing that keeps this film afloat. Theron’s performance as Marlo is a magnificent one and shows viewers just how versatile of an actress she is. Many of her performances go unfairly overlooked, and this one has already begun to take that path. There hasn’t been much buzz in entertainment news about Charlize in this film, yet her talent reaches its height in “Tully”. If there is one reason to see this film, it’s for her central performance alone. While the supporting performances are all well done too, its Charlize’s that takes over.

Grade: B

Rated R for language and some sexuality/nudity

Avengers: Infinity War (Spoiler Free)

Don Cheadle, Robert Downey Jr., Josh Brolin, Paul Bettany, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Elizabeth Olsen, Chris Pratt, Mark Ruffalo, Zoe Saldana, Benedict Wong, Anthony Mackie, Chris Hemsworth, Dave Bautista, Benedict Cumberbatch, Chadwick Boseman, Sebastian Stan, Danai Gurira, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Letitia Wright, and Tom Holland in Avengers: Infinity War (2018)Marvel’s biggest film yet, “Avengers: Infinity War” steps up the game in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While the entire franchise produces films that are either hit or miss, this latest film is without a doubt a smashing hit. With this being the third “Avengers” film, the largest amount of Marvel heroes come together in this action filled, stress fest. In order to defeat Thanos, the large evil purple thing from space who wants to take control of the galaxy, every superhero known to man needs to ban together to save the universe in their most daring and intimidating adventure yet. This includes; Captain America, Iron Man, The Hulk, Spiderman, Black Widow, Thor, Doctor Strange, Black Panther, Scarlet Witch, Falcon, The Winter Soldier, Vision, and the Guardians of the Galaxy.

Marvel brilliantly brought back Joe and Anthony Russo to direct. Their previous directing feats were “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and “Captain America: Civil War”, two of the most intense and largely epic Marvel films. So, if there is an upcoming superhero movie with the Russo brothers directing, you know it’s going to be great. However, if you want to comprehend the true sense of the MCU and the stakes, it is highly recommended to make some time for the previous eighteen films. Also, finding a brief YouTuber synopsis video works too. “Infinity War” requires previous viewings to understand all that is happening but can still be enjoyed as a continuous action-packed thriller.

This film has already surpassed its predecessors in terms of its screenwriting. The film has tremendous guts that many of the other don’t and it seems more like a shocking “Game of Thrones” episode. Without getting into spoilers, its important to know that heartbreak and terror will most certainly occur, and this is mostly due to its villain, Thanos. Never has there been a more forceful, intense and intimidating villain in a Marvel movie. It’s pretty hard to take the “Captain America: First Avenger” villain (Red Skull) seriously, with his red face, defined cheek bones and overly villainous lines. Here with Thanos, the situation feels utterly hopeless and even the best of the heroes struggle harder than ever to save humanity.

“Infinity War” is intense from start to finish without a single dull moment in its entire two hour and twenty-nine minute runtime. From Iron Man fighting off “Squidward” like people, to Spiderman getting a newer high-tech suit, the movie continues to entertain throughout. Also, just like a Marvel movie, it throws around plenty of playful humor to lighten the tension. In previous Marvel films, the comicality can be neither here nor there, but with “Infinity War” the humor is refreshing and on point.

Its pretty difficult to find a flaw with this film. “Infinity War” is just flat out entertaining and may very well be the best superhero movie in recent years, up there with Logan and The Dark Knight.

Darkest Scene: *SPOILER*

Best Scene: *SPOILER*

Funniest Scene: When Thanos is referred to as Grimace

Rewatchability: 100%

Grade: A

Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action throughout, language and some crude references.

The Week Of

Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Allison Strong, and Roland Buck III in The Week Of (2018)Adam Sandler and Chris Rock star in the new Netflix original comedy film “The Week Of”. Sandler plays Kenny Lustig, a father scrambling around to make sure his daughter’s upcoming wedding is the best it can be. Chris Rock plays Kirby Cordice, the father of the groom and a self-absorbed heart surgeon who has much less interest in the turn out of the wedding than Kenny does. These differing personalities collide as they both pursue what they believe to be more important; meaning or money.

Much of the film revolves around Kenny and his anxiety-producing interactions with his family and loved ones. Unfortunate circumstance after unfortunate circumstance, the week before the wedding becomes increasingly more stressful for Kenny. Whether its Uncle Seymour’s legs (or lack thereof), a small but somehow never-ending leak at the venue, or his nephew’s long list of “triggers”, nothing stops for Kenny as he scrambles to try to fix every problem imaginable.

“The Week Of” is much funnier than expected. Rather than the dialogue, it’s the situations the makes this film what it is. The way the different plot lines play out, makes this film both continuously humorous and rewatchable. The humor isn’t always completely on point though. At certain points the jokes and humor go off the rails a bit, but then seems to circle back to making us laugh.

In addition to the screenwriting, the characters are very well thought out, each having their own unique idiosyncrasy for making viewers laugh. This is especially true when the family is somehow cornered into letting the entirety of both sides of the family stay in Kenny’s home. This leads to aggressive dogs, uninvited guests as a result of racism, and the possible threat of a drug addict burning the house to the ground.

There is plenty of heartfelt material to go around which helps the film stay more unique, rather than just being the one-dimensional comedy it comes off as in the preview. It’s a film about parenthood and the struggles that come when children reach the certain age when parents need to let go. Seeing Adam Sandler in these types of moments is particularly refreshing.

The film stays, for the most part, funny throughout with some short, strange and unfunny choices by the writers. Fortunately those short circumstances don’t stay long, and the film is an overall two-hour joy ride with plenty of situations to laugh at and plenty moments to feel for. Almost anyone can relate to some character in this film, whether you’re Kenny trying to pull it all together, or Kirby just going through the motions.

Funniest moment: Mistaking Uncle Seymour for a WWII Veteran

Underrated Character: Uncle Seymour (even though his lines are minimal)

Rewatchability: 100%

Grade: B+

I Feel Pretty

I Feel Pretty (2018)The new comedy I Feel Pretty stars Amy Schumer as Renee Bennet, a woman who is highly insecure of her looks and her body. Renee joins a spinning class where a head injury occurs, causing her to believe that she is drop-dead-gorgeous. Now that she has all the confidence in the world, she applies for a job at the world’s most highly praised cosmetics company. From there, her life suddenly changes for both her and those around her. At some point however, she will realize that her appearance has never really changed.

The movie acts as a message about both self-confidence and they way society portrays women’s bodies. It’s a simple “its on the inside that counts” type of story, but somehow confuses audiences on what it is trying to say, going back and forth from goofball comedy to social commentary. The themes don’t mesh well, leaving an unfunny mess of a movie.

The plot lines and character development both contribute to the confusion behind this film. If I Feel Pretty is supposed to have the message it suggests, the characters should be making different choices, and the plot should have taken a different turn. Without being spoilerific, there is a monologue towards the end that seems to contradict what was thought to be the point of the movie. This is a bit frustrating and definitely leaves some heads scratching. Also, shown in the previews, Renee meets a man who appreciates her for who she is, not how people think she should be. However, in the movie this storyline isn’t necessarily as it seems and somehow shifts the tonal message of the film.

However, it is important to discuss what most people care about. Is the movie funny? “I Feel Pretty” has some humorous scenes and lines, but for the most part the humor falls flat on its head, much like Renee did in spinning class. If you want to find the humor in this movie, it is important to be a Schumer fan as she is the center of the film. Although, that still wont guarantee any laughs.

Michelle Williams (Manchester By the Sea, Blue Valentine) plays Avery LeClaire, the head of the LeClaire cosmetics empire. She is a bit ditzy, giving the humor a little more steam. At times she is very amusing in the way she expresses her strange personality and at other times she can be flat out irritating.

There is a good movie here somewhere, but someplace in the writing process it died. If the plot lines went along with the theme of the movie and there were more humorous characters, there would be something here. I Feel Pretty could have achieved its interesting idea, but unfortunately ends up falling flat on its head.

Unfunniest Scene: Pageant scene

Most Contradictory Moment: Renee’s speech towards the end

Rewatchability: 25%

Grade: D+

Rated PG-13 for sexual content, some partial nudity, and language