Kneel Before VOD: December 1st
Matthew Vaughn’s Kingsman: The Secret Service was a huge surprise to me. A clever and thrilling lower-class James Bond tale that benefitted from a fun tone and exciting set-pieces. I’m happy to say that the follow up, Kingsman: The Golden Circle, is a worthy successor, even if it doesn’t quite reach the heights of the last movie. This time around, Eggsy (Taron Egerton) and Merlin (Mark Strong) find themselves the only two left standing after an attack wipes out most of the Kingsmen. They must travel and rendezvous with a similar American order, the Statesmen, in order to take down the perpetrator. New additions Channing Tatum, Halle Barry, and Pedro Pascal bring a lot to the table, and so does Julianne Moore, who has a great time playing the creepily, cheery villain.
The ever-popular cute little yellow critters, the Minions, are back, along with their kind-hearted but stone-faced supervillain leader Gru (Steve Carell). Gru has lost his job and decides to visit his estranged twin brother, Dru, just as a spurned former child star, Balthazar Bratt (Trey Parker), begins a plot to take down Hollywood (they seem to be doing a good job taking care of that themselves, heyooooo). Gru and Dru have to set aside their differences and team up to take him down. This is notably Parker’s first voice credit in something that he didn’t have a hand in creating, and he’s just as lightning quick here as he is in South Park.
Alice (Reese Witherspoon) is a divorcee who moves back into her childhood home with her two daughters to be closer to her mother while starting up her own business. One night, Alice meets a trio of filmmakers and invites them to stay with her as she strikes up a relationship with one of them. This low-stakes family dramedy doesn’t do much to differ itself from similar outings, but should play well if you’re in the mood for it. Home Again does admittedly have a good cast (Michael Sheen, Lake Bell, Candice Bergen), but they aren’t given too much of interest to do.
Netflix: Piranha 3D
A remake of sorts of the Joe Dante grindhouse classic, Piranha is a bunch of fun. The horror-comedy from French splatter director Alexandre Aja doesn’t have much plot to speak of; a small town is terrorized by deadly piranhas during spring break, but what it lacks in story it more than makes up for in thrills and gore. The shockingly great cast includes Elizabeth Shue, Adam Scott, Ving Rhames, and Jerry O’Connell having a blast getting torn apart and doing cool hero stuff out on the water.
Amazon Prime: Man Down
Shia Labeouf takes the lead in this subpar war movie directed by indie director Dito Montiel. Montiel came out of the gate with a strong directorial debut with 2006’s A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints, an honest and interesting, if flawed, autobiographical drama. Since then, his films have gone downhill, receiving poor reviews and box office receipts. Man Down is possibly the worst yet, a melodramatic affair with a heavy-handed script full of cheap twists.
HBO Go: Mechanic: Resurrection
HBO’s recent, regular Saturday night premiere was actually The Great Wall, but I’ve talked about that movie once already in this series, and that’s one time too many. Instead, I’ll highlight the 2016 Jason Statham action flick Mechanic: Resurrection. Statham returns to his role as Bishop, a hired hitman brought out of retirement to save his kidnapped girlfriend (Jessica Alba). Bishop’s globetrotting journey takes him to various exotic locales to take down the kidnapper’s right-hand men, including Tommy Lee Jones with a soul patch. The sometimes-clever assassination scenes are the few bright spots in an otherwise washed-out film.
Hulu Plus: Baskets - Season 2
Zach Galifianakis’s FX show is, in my opinion, one of the very best comedy shows on TV. Galifianakis is Chip, an apathetic loser who dreams of being a clown. He spends his nights being a rodeo clown for little pay and his days with his only friends, his mother (Louie Anderson), and Martha (Martha Kelly), who try as hard as they can to get close to him, despite his general asshole-ish behavior. Galifianakis and Kelly are wonderful, but the real star is Anderson, who is as lovable and hilarious as ever.
Also Streaming: Man Down
FilmStruck: Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me
Twin Peaks recently wrapped up its tremendous third season, but many of us fans aren’t quite ready to leave the quirky mountain town and don’t want to wait for the Blu-ray release on December 5th. Luckily, FilmStruck has added the prequel film Fire Walk with Me following Criterion’s surprise release. The feature shows the final hours of troubled teenager Laura Palmer more vividly than ever before, as well as adding more to the overall mysterious happenings in Twin Peaks. Fire Walk with Me is truly one of the most bizarre and terrifying film experiences I’ve ever had, and my personal favorite Lynch.