Bullet Train (in theaters)
Who doesn’t love Brad Pitt? Honestly, if you say you DON’T like Brad Pitt, I feel like you’re lying. Any Theo Von fans here? Wait! Hold up! You don’t know who Theo is? Well, let me educate you. Theo Von is a stand-up comic and podcaster from New Orleans. He currently has 2 specials on Netflix (Regular People, No Offense.) He also hosts 2 really funny podcasts (This Past Weekend, The King and the Sting.) If you like funny, I encourage you to check him out. Anyway, Theo has a really funny bit about meeting Brad Pitt. Here’s the link: https://www.facebook.com/
Back to “Bullet Train.”
The great and beautiful Brad Pitt (Fight Club, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood) plays Ladybug, an unlucky assassin who is determined to do his job peacefully after one too many gigs gone bad. As you might imagine though, fate might just have other plans. Ladybug’s latest mission puts him on a collision course with both lethal adversaries and hilarity as there just happen to be at least 4 other assassins on the same Japanese Bullet Train with him. As it turns out, the end of the line is just the beginning.
What is a bullet train? I’m glad you asked. It’s an incredibly sleek, high-speed rail that is actually used in many parts of Europe and Asia. It’s convenient, environmentally friendly, and it just makes good sense. That must be why we have none here in the good ole US of A. Uh…anyway…
“Bullet Train” is probably the best action movie I’ve seen all year. In fact, “Bullet Train” and 2021’s “Nobody” are most definitely the best action movies I’ve seen in several years. You can find my review of “Nobody” in the Watch This with Chris archives.
“Bullet Train” is chock full of action! Lots and lots of action. It has all the necessary components of a great action movie: blood, adult language, and lots and lots of gratuitous violence! You can’t hear it, but I’m making the old Tim the Toolman Tayler noise right now.
One thing that I love about Brad Pitt in this role is that he is absolutely unafraid to poke fun at himself while still being a super capable action star. I also haven’t read a single negative review of the movie. Everyone that sees it seems to love it, and I’m certain you will too.
Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Kick-Ass, Nocturnal Animals) plays one of the other assassins, Tangerine, while Brian Tyree Henry (If Beale Street Could Talk, Spider-Man: Into the Spider verse) plays his partner, Lemon. You’ll also see Joey King (The Kissing Booth, The Conjuring), Hiroyuka Sanada (The Wolverine, Mortal Kombat), Michael Shannon (Revolutionary Road, The Shape of Water), and at least 3 really fantastic cameos that you’ll absolutely LOVE!
“Bullet Train” is not only the best action movie of 2022, but it’s shaping up to be one of the best movies of 2022 overall! It’s a solid R-rating for strong and bloody violence, pervasive language, and some brief sexuality. Get ready, folks. I’m giving this one a perfect 5/5. It really is THAT GOOD!
Noises Off (playing at the Royal Theater)
This is my first theatrical review. I’m starting to more and more be a theater guy. I’ve done 2 shows so far at the Royal (Miracle on 34th Street: The Musical, Elf: The Musical,) but I go see all of them! I’ve seen pretty much every show at the Royal over the last couple years and this is hands down my favorite non-musical show that I’ve seen. It’s also the funniest thing I’ve ever seen on a stage. “Noises Off” is a 1982 play written by British playwright, Michael Frayn. In 1982, Hollywood got hold of it and made a hilarious movie starring John Ritter (Three’s Company, Slingblade), Carol Burnett (The Carol Burnett Show, Mama’s Family), Michael Caine (The Dark Knight, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels), Marilu Henner (Cannonball Run 2, Evening Shade, Christopher Reeve (Superman, The Remains of the Day), and others.
So, at the Royal, “Noises Off features a pretty small cast. We’ll give everyone credit here. Susan Thomey (Titanic: The Musical, Steel Magnolias) stars as Dotty Otley, a hilarious if somewhat scatterbrained sort of housekeeper. Jeremy Clay (The Producers, Clybourne Park) stars as Lloyd Dallas, the Director of a fictional play, Nothing On. Stanley Robinson (Heathers, Mary Poppins) plays Garry Lejeune, a young man just trying to get some alone time with his lady friend. This character honestly reminds me SO MUCH of Gabe from “The Office.” Gabrielle Neafsey portrays Brooke Ashton, Garry’s lady friend who is just trying to get Garry into the bedroom before she loses one of her lenses. Hillary Bell (Spamalot, Lost in Yonkers) plays Poppy Norton-Taylor, who I guess is sort of the stage manager for “Nothing On.” Kurt Leftwich (Beauty & the Beast) plays Frederick Fellowes, a bumbling gentleman with all sorts of issues and phobias. His character is absolutely hilarious and almost reminds me of Vinton from “Mama’s Family.” My friend, Amanda Kennedy (Elf: The Musical, The Wizard of Oz) plays Belinda Blair, Frederick’s lady friend and maybe THE person that tries to be the voice of reason for this crew. Garrett Brenneman (Dinner with the Inlaws) plays Tim Allgood, who I guess is sort of a stage assistant for “Nothing On.” Finally, you have my pal, Larry Lapaglia, (Miracle on 34th Street: The Musical) who plays Selsdon Mowbray, a drunk old actor.
People, YOU NEED TO GO SEE THIS SHOW! I mean it. It’s the funniest thing I’ve ever seen onstage. “What is it about though?” I’m glad you asked! That’s sort of a tough one. So, it’s a play about a play. It’s the first 3-act play I’ve ever seen. Here’s the story best I can tell it.
Act 1 you’re watching the actors in their final rehearsal of act 1 of their show, “Nothing On.” You’re watching from the perspective of an audience. Easy enough. Huh?!
Act 2 you’re watching virtually the same thing, but you’re watching it from backstage. “How?” Another great question! The stage crew for this show is awesome! During the first intermission, they literally make the impossible happen.
Act 3 you’re watching the prep and actual performance of Act 1 of “Nothing On.”
I spoke with Larry Lapaglia (Selsdon Mowbray) last night before the show and he told me it’s one of the most exhausting roles he’s ever played, but “SO FUN.”
It is non-stop action; especially acts 2 and 3. Honestly, I’d probably pass out if I were on that stage doing all that running around. There is so much slapstick; again, especially in acts 2 and 3. It’s like Abbot & Costello meets The Three Stooges meets Chris Farley all hopped up on coke (RIP Chris Farley!)
The great Tony Clay is at the helm of this show doing his best to “rope the wind.” Tony is a fellow board member for the Royal Players and has acted in and/or directed about a million great shows all over Central Arkansas including “Big River” at Argenta and “Little Shop of Horrors” at The Pocket Theatre.
I’ve watched this show twice already now and, honestly, I could probably watch it every night. It’s that good! The show runs Thurs-Sun through Aug 21 and tickets are available at https://theroyalplayers.ticketleap.com/noises-off/
They/Them (streaming on Peacock)
Writer & Director John Logan (007 Skyfall, The Aviator) brings you a different sort of movie here. “They/Them” is about a Gay Conversion camp called Whistler that has been operated by the same family for decades. Kevin Bacon (Footloose, Mystic River) stars as the camp’s current owner, Owen Whistler. He runs the camp with his wife, Dr. Cora Whistler, played by Carrie Preston (True Blood, The Good Wife), and a couple of counselors, Molly and Zane, who are played by Anna Chlumsky (My Girl, Veep) and Boone Platt (The Grey Man, Black Lightning.)
One of the campers, Jordan, played by Theo Jermaine (The Politician, Work in Progress) starts to suspect something sinister about the camp and she enlists the help of a staff member to uncover the evil. At the same time, camp staff start to be targeting by a different type of evil.
Honestly, it’s not a very good movie, but in my opinion, it’s just because the ending sucks. There’s so much more they could have done with the story. I like the idea of a bunch of kids together at one of these STUPID camps and “something” crazy happens. Good concept, bad execution.
My takeaway from the movie though is just how evil and wrong and ridiculous and idiotic a camp like this is. By the end, I was pretty well on the side of the “psychopath.” Now I believe in diversity with my entire being. I believe that it’s our differences that make us better and stronger. You and I can have different thoughts and beliefs and come from vastly different backgrounds, and we can be friends and have mutual respect and just agree to disagree about a lot of that stuff. HOWEVER, if you believe in this conversion therapy garbage and you would actually send your child to a conversion camp, we cannot be friends. We cannot agree to disagree on some things. If it involves racism or bigotry or any kind of hate, we can’t agree to disagree on that and I don’t want or need you in my life. You can unfriend me/unfollow me or whatever else there is.
Maybe that sounds harsh or “too much” to you, but I have no apologies. Love is love.
Back to the movie, like I said, it’s just not made very well. I’ve been a fan of Kevin Bacon for a long, long time and I had really high hopes for this. Now I will tell you this movie is labeled as a horror movie. As you know, I HATE horror movies, so I struggled with even pushing play on this one, but again, I liked the concept. Maybe the writer/director did this intentionally, but the idea of a conversion camp is way scarier than the horror aspects of this movie. Suspenseful? Yes! Horror? No.
So, if you believe like I do, MAYBE watch it just to get even more disgusted about the idea of a camp like this AND to see them get what they got coming to them…maybe watch it! Otherwise, keep on scrolling. You won’t like it.
“They/Them” is rated TV-MA for some sex & nudity, violence & gore, adult language, some drug use, and some “frightening” scenes. As much as I wanted to like it, I’m giving this one a 1.8/5.
See the archives of Watch This with Chris a www.mysaline.com/watch-this
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