Death of Stalin (2017) will make you cackle if you have the patience to believe that it will make you cackle

by Banned Library in


Historic dramas have always been money in the bank. Get some well known actor, cover him in old looking stuff, and tell a fake story involving true people. Drama ensues because that's what people make. Get two or more people together and they shit themselves with drama. Historic comedies, though, are super rare because nobody wants to make people important enough to talk about into a bunch of raging assholes, aka real people. Death of Stalin doesn't mind so much.

Read More



Muppets Most Wanted (2014) goes on a trip and doesn't really go anywhere

by Banned Library in


When the Muppets came back with the big movie that won music awards and had Amy Adams in it, I had a hell of a lot of hope. They were my touchstone from childhood that over the years kinda became that thing I used to like. When Jason Segel and the crew came back, they filled it with heart and joy that I remembered from before Henson left us. Then those creative people left and we got the corporate mandated Muppets Most Wanted.

Read More



The Party (2018) is a quiet little frantic British… don't make me "dramedy"

by Banned Library in


Most stories are about secrets being uncovered. They have an engine, something that drives the story that might be a secret all its own, but at the end of the day audiences are a bunch of nosy bastards who want to know all a character's secrets. Get enough characters together and a lot of hidden blood will be spilt.

Read More



Snatched (2017) just doesn't hold itself together very well

by Banned Library in


Back in nineteen eighty something, a blonde lady on the screen made me smile so hard my face hurt. She was screaming about something with Kurt Russell or in a dumb movie with Chevy Chase or in the army or coaching a team… You know, Goldie Hawn was in a lot of places for a long time. And she was brilliant. You know what? She's still brilliant. Snatched does not let that show, though.

Read More



Game Night (2018) made me laugh stupid hard and sometimes that's all you need

by Banned Library in


People don't have exciting lives. Not most people. They gather, they laugh, they eat, they make little babies to gather, laugh and eat. We tell stories of extraordinary people to feel extraordinary and compete with each other in games so we can get the rush of living. Game Night is about those ordinary people getting to feel extraordinary over one crazy ass night with a postmodern nonsense senseibility.

Read More



Do The Right Thing (1989) is still a lot of heavy shit for a Friday night

by Banned Library in


What does it take for violence to become acceptable? When mob mentality is not only the right thing to do but the necessary thing? When the disenfranchised and hurt can stand up and say, not today, asshole! Sometimes it just takes some loud noise and a few bad words.

Read More



Paranorman (2012) tells us that if you are weird, that's probably because you're super special and will save the world some day #childhoodlessons

by Banned Library in


All of us felt a little awkward growing up. Some more than others. That little inside voice said that something about us was wrong, broken, gross. When we talked to the dead, even our families were all "get a hobby, weirdo." What I'm saying is I finally found a movie I can connect with in ParaNorman.

Read More



Inside Out (2015) asks and answers the question of sadness

by Banned Library in


What if we had little people running around in our heads directing the action? Joy, Sadness, Anger, Disgust, and Fear all pushing buttons. Forcing issues. At least you'd then have someone to blame, right?

    Inside a little girl named Riley are the personifications of the five base emotions. They've grown up with her, formed her personality, and helped her maintain her composure. First among them is Joy. Joy dominates to a degree far above the others, making the best of every situation to the detriment of Sadness.

    Riley's family moves from wintery land (I forget where but there was hockey) to San Francisco. With all the changes, Joy begins to lose control. Forcing the issue, her and Sadness are cast into the mind out of the control room. They must fight their way to get back, finding old imaginary friends and riding trains of thought. The movie's real clever.

    The central theme of the movie is embracing sadness. It sounds like a bad theme, but it works. Throughout the film, Joy forces the issue. Hides behind platitudes and tries to protect old happy memories from turning sad. But then we learn without the sadness, how do we know about the joy? We learn depression is not the absense of happiness or overwhelming sadness, but a shutdown of all emotions. That the most dangerous thing the human mind has to fear is itself.

    Also, it made me care about a goddamn thing monster called Bing Bong. So it's got that going for it.




Synecdoche, New York (2008) is a movie I'm never going to be able to spell

by Banned Library in


It's kinda breathtaking to realize that you are not smart enough to get something. Kinda takes the weight off. Just right off the bat, confronted with a title, I must admit defeat because I can't even spell Synecdoche, New York even though I just did.

Read More



21. Paddington 2 (2017) Movie Review: Another fun prison bear movie

by Banned Library


Prison movies are hard to get right. I mean, after the Shawshank Redemption, what else can you do? Besides dye all the prison uniforms pink and turn it into a right good place for a spot of tea, anyway? Welcome to the hole, Paddington.

    The world's most favorite bear that doesn't sound like a bowel movement, Paddington returns in the sequel to my favorite new comfort film. The bear is still living with the Brown family, but his Aunt Lucy's hundredth birthday is coming up. He's found her the best gift, but when he's framed for stealing it he goes to prison. The Browns work on his release while he makes friends on the inside. Also there's Hugh Grant having a hell of a good time.

    It's a very English flick with set pieces of comedy that are charming and fun to watch. Like the first, what starts out as a small mistake on Paddington's part turns a regular event like washing a window into a violent torture scene of hilarity. Even though the film is animated, the physicality is on point. Like Buster Keaton or Rowan Atkinson's Mr. Bean before, the production creates enjoyable… You know what? It's funny and fun and sweet.

    You should see it because you've had a bad day. Or you just want to smile. Or see a flick without 100 people dying or trying to hump each other stupid (although the subtext with Mr. and Mrs. Brown is palpable). It's not a superhero or an assassin. It's just a bear making friends and there's nothing wrong with that.




20. Paddington (2014) Movie Review: Charming English movie that will relieve what ails you

by Banned Library


When I'm having a bad day, there's a few things that brighten it up. I'm not talking about earth-shattering days, just those times when the couch seems like the best option. Songs, movies, books: these are the things made to brighten the soul. Add Paddington to that list.

    Paddington, like the books that came before it, is about a bear in a red hat and a blue coat that lives in London. He moves there hoping to find a family. The Browns take him in and in a very standard story, learn to have fuller lives with the clumsy bear in their house. Also, there's a killer taxidermist (Kidman) with a past linked to Paddington's because it's the 2000s, y'all. Action!

    My history with this series is spotty. Honestly, I don't seem to have much recollection of when I first heard about Paddington. My grandma was English, from Bristol, but I don't remember her or my mom reading them. Nothing from Summer Reading or school, either. Just looking at that bear in his red hat and blue coat, though, brings a smile to my face. Don't know why.

    This movie is like comfort food or a simple ray of sunshine on a rainy day. Check it out however you can and just enjoy it. You might not learn much, you might not grow as a person, but you will smile a small smile at the pure English antics of crumbling scenarios, cross-dressing, and wordplay.




17. I, Tonya (2017) Movie Review: We All Abuse People We Don't Think of As People

by Banned Library


When Margot Robbie looks you dead in the eye three-quarters of the way through I, Tonya, when she looks right out and speaking as the white trash queen Tonya Harding she says we're all her attackers, she's damn right. We took a person, guilty or not, and judged and beat on her as a world. As a tribe. The audience, even by watching the movie, made Tonya Harding the spectacle and we loved it.

    Tonya Harding (Robbie) grew up abused and abandoned by her parents, her overbearing mother forcing her to be the best using the worst means necessary. Growing up, she finds in her husband Jeff (Stan) both a companion and abuser. The two go down in the history books, along with their dim witted "bodyguard," as the ones that brought violence to figure skating. Nancy Kerrigan will never forget, that's sure.

    Knowing winks are the center of this picture. Because the history of everyone involved is contradictory and full of holes, the filmmakers decided to place knowing asides and glances as well as "to-the-camera" style interviews. We are all in on the joke that everyone involved lied. And we are all in on the abuse Harding felt and still feels.

    When the subject of a story has to ask, to let the audience know, that she's a good mom… Well, that's a button right there.




13. Masterminds (2016) Movie Review: It'll steal you time because it's kind of a waste

by Banned Library in


When people sit down to make movies, they don't say "Let's stink up the joint." It doesn't matter if they don't say it, though, because more often than that they crap the toaster. Masterminds aims for middling humor and falls short.

    The plan was simple: dumbass David Ghantt (Galifianakis) is to use his armoured car job to hijack millions of dollars. Then he runs to Mexico and hides out. Soon his lady love (Wiig) follows, and they live the big life after the man with the plan (Wilson) sends them their cut of the cash. Then it all goes to hell.

    When the Berlin school began developing Gestalt theories of psychology, they did not reckon on so many right pieces creating such a wrong whole. The acting is solid with Galifianakis and Wiig pulling off convincing dumbass yet lovestruck roles. Even Owen Wilson and Jason Sudeikis come off as menacing evil doers. The plot meanders but is pretty straight forward. Moments come that are hilarious, I remember laughing, but none of them come to mind now.

    In my capacity as a guy who watches movies and then pretends to give and honest opinion, I can't recommend you watch this. I can not say to log into Netflix, now $9.99, and find for "Masterminds" using their simplified search feature. Netflix, for when you want to watch something on your television through the internet.




12. Pitch Perfect 3 (2017) Movie Review: Did that girl say she was possessed by a demon?

by Banned Library in


Trilogies are hard to pull off. Just ask George Lucas and the cast of Big Momma's House. I've covered some sequels this year already, from the regrettable Insidious: The Last Key to Darkest Hours filling in the plot between King's Speech (2010) and Dunkirk (2017). Never have I been more confused, though, than watching Pitch Perfect 3.

    The Bellas are back and singing their asses off on a USO tour. Why? Who the fuck cares? Talented hot girls, y'all. What's against them this time? Ultimately, the character of Fat Amy appears to have been birthed from the evil loins of John Lithgow and he wants her money that she didn't know she had. Confused? Well, so was I through most of this mess, especially when one girl says she was possessed by a demon the whole time.

    Let me let you in on a secret: I've never seen the previous Pitch Perfects. They didn't seem to be anything I would touch with a ten foot pole on a Friday in a town with only warm melons for fun. According to my fiance, this is not a good entry place in the series.

     I concur.

    The best thing I can say about this is it was entertaining. When the jokes didn't land, they were at least delivered competently by people who seemed to be having a great time. That wins something in my book because, honestly, I don't like watching movies with assholes who hate each other having to fake emotions.

    Looking at you, Hallmark Christmas Movies.