Like Father

Year: 2018
Directed by: Lauren Miller
Starring: Kristen Bell, Kelsey Grammer, Seth Rogen

WRITTEN BY COREY HUGHES

Actor-turned-director Lauren Miller, notably known for her comedic roles in Superbad and Sausage Party, makes her feature-length debut with the Netflix backed drama Like Father, a take on the ‘estranged father’ sub-genre that shouldn’t be confused with Father of the Year; another Netflix original film that is, shall we say, an insult to cinema.

Like Father tells the story of Rachel (Kristen Bell), who is introduced in the opening scene taking a business call in her wedding dress. It’s her wedding day, her future husband stands at the altar awaiting his bride; looking worried as she’s later than expected. Unbeknownst to Rachel, her estranged father sits in the crowd on her big day, learning about his daughter for the first time as her boss officiates her wedding – telling stories about Rachel’s character. But when Rachel’s phone slips out of her dress and falls to the ground, her husband leaves her stranded at the altar; frustrated at his fiancé’s life-intruding work ethic. As she spots her long-lost father in the crowd, Rachel’s day can’t seem to get much worse…

At the film’s most warming and tender scene, Rachel and Harry spend a night drinking Manhattan’s and discussing theoretical principles on how to eat pizza on a park bench in the hope of rejuvenating their fractured relationship. Sadly for Rachel, drunken decisions lead to the pair waking up sore-headed on a cruise across the Caribbean; both stranded at sea and forced to rekindle the extinguished flame that is their relationship.

The strongest aspect of Miller’s debut is her encouraging depiction of Rachel, a strong-willed woman in an esteemed position at an advertising firm in New York; a positive role model for all female viewers. Yet that also leads to the main problem of the movie, in the way that Miller obliviously contradicts her achievement in bringing a headstrong, independent woman to the fore by promoting her relentless work-ethic as a discouraging trait; a trait that leads her to being the butt of a bad joke between her fellow cruise attendees. There’s an argument that Rachel’s constant phone-checking is a metaphor (albeit on-the-nose) for our obsession with digital media consumption, but when this message is being banged over our heads for the entire duration of the movie, it undermines the sincerity of bringing a successful female protagonist to the centre of the narrative.

Even if you disassociate the politics from the story, the film also fails on a tonal level. Miller has a hard time juggling between the heavy melodrama of childhood trauma and the comedic levity, the latter relying on cliched humour such as fat people falling and awkward first encounters for laughs. The comedy isn’t that funny, and the more dramatic moments fail to penetrate beneath the surface; as if the movie wants to be more of a Caribbean cruise commercial rather than an emotionally provocative comedic drama about estranged parenthood.

Ultimately, Like Father adds to Netlfix’s collection of unspectacular and forgettable flicks. There’s nothing new to be seen here, but I have faith that debutant Miller has much more to show in her career.

COREY’S RATING:

2-5

Teen Titans GO! To The Movies

Year: 2018
Directed by: Aaron Horvath & Peter Rida Michail
Cast: Greg Cipes, Scott Menville, Khary Payton, Tara Strong, Will Arnett, Kristen Bell, Michael Bolton, Nicolas Cage, Greg Davies, Halsey, Jimmy Kimmel, Stan Lee, Lil Yachty

Written by Tom Sheffield

I honestly don’t even know where to begin with this review. Even the hilariously bizarre marketing didn’t prepare me for the weirdest 88 minutes I’ll ever spend on a Sunday morning. I knew we were in for something different when the lights went down in the cinema screen and an animated version of DC’s new intro began to play.

The premise of this little animated caper is that Robin is growing increasingly jealous of all the superheroes getting their own movies in Hollywood, and when he learns that Alfred and the Bat-mobile will be getting one before him he decides it’s time for the Teen Titans to prove themselves worthy by seeking out an arch-nemesis, something all great superheroes have. Robin and the Titans then come face to face with D̶e̶a̶d̶p̶o̶o̶l̶ Slade (aka Deathstroke, although he’s never called that in the film for some reason) and they decide they want him to be their nemesis, but Slade deems them unworthy to waste his time on. The Titans try to help Robin prove he’s worthy with a few catchy musical numbers, a dash of time travel, and a ton of comic book and film easter eggs along the way!

The film boasts an incredibly talented voice cast, with Tara Strong (Raven), Scott Menville (Robin), Greg Cipes (Beast Boy), Hynden Walch (Starfire), and Khary Payton (Cyborg) all reprising their respective roles from the Teen Titans TV series. Also along for this ride is Will Arnett, Nicolas Cage (and his son Kal-El), Kristen Bell, Greg Davies, Michael Bolton, and Jimmy Kimmel to name just a few. However, not even Nicolas Cage finally getting to play Superman could top the hilarious cameo from the king of cameos himself, Stan Lee!

The film is full to the brim with pop culture references, comic book nods, and digs at previous DC films. Not even Disney is safe in this film as there’s one particular sequence animated in Disney fashion and puts a twist on the Lion King’s opening sequence. I was constantly scanning the background of each shot for subtle jokes, such as the name of buildings, film posters in the theatre, and characters popping up in the background. I’m pretty sure I missed about 50% of them, so a second viewing is on the cards at some point. These nods and digs were easily the highlight of this film for me, mostly because the majority of the actual dialogue felt like it was targeted to the younger members of the audience (and rightly so I guess!). There’s a joke about pooping that goes on waaaay longer than it needed to, and there are also a few jokes that didn’t manage to get a laugh from any of the audience (the majority of which were young children with their parents).

Poop jokes aside, the musical numbers in this definitely caught me off guard at first, but I’ll be damned if they weren’t toe-tappingly catchy. How could anyone not crack a smile at Michael Bolton singing as an 80’s clad Tiger? In fact, let’s put that to the test. Below is the official clip from the film of the song ‘Upbeat Inspirational Song About Life’. Just let the soothing tones of Michael Bolton’s voice bring you some joy today.

That’s just a taster of the kind of musical numbers this film holds, of which there is a handful. The music is catchy, upbeat, and is accompanied by great scenes in the film. Listening to the soundtrack as I write this, I can’t help but laugh remembering some of the ridiculous stuff that goes on during some of the songs.

Teen Titans GO! to the Movies has the perfect runtime and it doesn’t overstay its welcome (despite Robin’s objections). With only a couple of stinkers, the humor is mostly on point and you can’t help but enjoy yourself whilst watching the film. If you have younger siblings or family members, definitely invite them along for a watch at your local cinema.

Tom’s Rating:

4

Move Over Justice League, The Teen Titans Are Ready For Their Shot In New Trailer For ‘Teen Titans GO! To The Movies’

“When the Teen Titans go to the big screen, they go big! “Teen Titans GO! to the Movies” finds our egocentric, wildly satirical Super Heroes in their first feature film extravaganza—a fresh, gleefully clever, kid-appropriately crass and tongue-in-cheek play on the super hero genre, complete with musical numbers. It seems to the Teens that all the major super heroes out there are starring in their own movies—everyone but the Teen Titans, that is! But de facto leader Robin is determined to remedy the situation, and be seen as a star instead of a sidekick. If only they could get the hottest Hollywood film director to notice them. With a few madcap ideas and a song in their heart, the Teen Titans head to Tinsel Town, certain to pull off their dream. But when the group is radically misdirected by a seriously Super-Villain and his maniacal plan to take over the Earth, things really go awry. The team finds their friendship and their fighting spirit failing, putting the very fate of the Teen Titans themselves on the line!”

Directed by: Aaron Horvath & Peter Rida Michail

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Kristen Bell, Tara Strong, James Corden, Wall Arnett, Khary Payton, Halsey, Greg Cipes, Scott Menville, Hynden Walch, Lil Yachty

Release Date: August 3rd, 2018

Ralph Is Back In The First Trailer For ‘Ralph Breaks The Internet’

“Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2” leaves Litwak’s video arcade behind, venturing into the uncharted, expansive and thrilling world of the internet – which may or may not survive Ralph’s wrecking. Video game bad Ralph and fellow misfit Vanellope von Schweetz must risk it all by traveling to the world wide web in search of a replacement part to save Vanellope’s video game, Sugar Rush. In way over their heads, Ralph and Vanellope rely on the citizens of the internet – the netizens – to help navigate their way, including a website entrepreneur named Yesss, who is the head algorithm and the heart and soul of trend-making website “Buzztube.”

Directed by: Phil Johnston, Rich Moore

Starring: John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Alan Tudyk, Jack McBrayer, Kristen Bell, Taraji P. Henson, Anthony Daniels, Idina Menzel

Release Date: November 30th, 2018

The First Trailer For ‘Teen Titans Go to the Movies’ Has Landed!

“TEEN TITANS GO! is a comedy featuring the beloved DC heroes seen in a skewed light. They still fight crime and face classic villains, but mainly deal with all the issues of five teens rooming together — chores, romantic tension, demon dad drop-ins and impromptu meatball parties. They also dance! The emphasis is on the odd everyday life of super heroes who haven’t grown up.”

Directed By: Aaron Horvath, Peter Rida Michail

Cast:  Kristen Bell, Khary Payton, Will Arnett, Tara Strong, Scott Menville

Release Date: 20th July 2018

Witness The Birth Of ‘The Room’ In The First Trailer For ‘The Disaster Artist’

“Based on Greg Sestero’s best-selling tell-all about the making of Tommy Wiseau’s cult-classic disasterpiece The Room (“The Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made”). THE DISASTER ARTIST, starring James Franco, Dave Franco, and Seth Rogen. In Theaters December 1.”

Directed By: James Franco
Cast: James Franco, Seth Rogen, Dave Franco, Zac Efron, Bryan Cranston, Adam Scott, Kristen Bell, Kate Upton, Alison Brie
Release Date: December 1st 2017

Mila Kunis And Co. Get Festive In The First Trailer for ‘A Bad Moms Christmas’

‘A Bad Moms Christmas’ is the sequel to 2016’s ‘Bad Moms’, and Amy (Kunis), Carla (Hahn), and Kiki (Bell) have had enough of being too busy doing ‘mom stuff’ to enjoy Christmas, so this year they’re changing that! 

” ‘A Bad Moms Christmas’ follows our three under-appreciated and over-burdened women as they rebel against the challenges and expectations of the Super Bowl for moms: Christmas. And if creating a more perfect holiday for their families wasn’t hard enough, they have to do all of that while hosting and entertaining their own mothers. By the end of the journey, our moms will redefine how to make the holidays special for all and discover a closer relationship with their mothers.”

Jon Lucas and Scott Moore return to direct the sequel, which is scheduled to release in UK cinemas 3rd November.

STX Entertainment also have a ‘Bad Dads’ spin-off in the works, but no casting or details of the film are available as of yet. 

Written by Tom Sheffield