CAPSULE: The Big Sick

Big SickTitle: The Big Sick | Rated: R | Runtime: 120 min | Theaters nationwide

It takes a while for The Big Sick to find its footing, but when it does, this rom-com becomes quite charming and compelling. Written by husband-wife duo Kumail Nanjiani (who also stars) and Emily V. Gordon, the film is loosely based on their real-life romance. Ironically, the love story between Kumail and Emily (played by Zoe Kazan) is probably the least interesting storyline in the film, as the other two storylines – Kumail’s conflict with his traditional Pakistani Muslim family as well as his getting to know Emily’s parents Beth (Holly Hunter) and Terry (Ray Romano) – is where the story draws much of its fun and emotions. However, the film doesn’t really focus on those storylines until approximately 40 minutes in, and up to that point, it’s incredibly bland and is an absolute slog to get through. Once the film shows more interactions between Kumail and his family and also introduces Beth and Terry, it settles into a nice, comfortable pace and sets up emotional punches that land with precision, leading to a great payoffs. The cast playing Kumail’s family is terrific, and the chemistry between Nanjiani, Hunter, and Romano is irresistible. When the film reaches its end, it proves to be an entertaining and thoughtful examination on family and the role culture plays in one’s life.

Rating: 4.0/5.0

* Photo courtesy of Amazon Studios / Lionsgate

QUICK TAKE: War for the Planet of the Apes

ResistTitle: War for the Planet of the Apes | Rated: PG-13 | Runtime: 140 min | Theaters nationwide

Back at the turn of this decade, the thought of rebooting the Planet of the Apes franchise admittedly didn’t seem all that exciting. While it is one of the more well-known movie series in the sci-fi genre, Tim Burton had already tried rebooting it back at the turn of this millennia, with the resulting film being received quite poorly; perhaps audiences decided they had enough of monkey business. Six years, 2 Apes films, and over $1 billion in box office grosses later, that certainly isn’t the case. Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes are great, but what’s most impressive is the complex and emotional growth between them – call it an evolution, if you may. War of the Planet of the Apes is decidedly not a better picture than its Shakespearean predecessor, but it is an emotionally rich and epic entry that builds upon this rebooted series’ ideas, themes, and characters in an effective and thoughtful manner.

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THE HIGH-LOW REPORT: Spider-Man: Homecoming

SPIDER-MAN™: HOMECOMINGTitle: Spider-Man: Homecoming | Rated: PG-13 | Runtime: 133 min | Theaters nationwide

The summer blockbuster season rolls on, and accompanying it is another edition of the High-Low Report! Receiving an evaluation from the MediaBrewPub doctors today is none other than Spider-Man: Homecoming, the latest installment in the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) as well as the most recent attempt to bring the titular web-slinger to the big screen. Andrew and Jun are back, but they’re not just the low-brow and high-brow respectively today. See, Andrew is MBP’s resident Spider-Man fan, so we can expect a very personal and loving assessment from him, whereas Jun has grimly put on his critic’s cap. A heated exchange between these two should be on the cards tonight, folks. While they will venture into spoiler territory, spoiler tags have been added, so consider this a safe read if you haven’t seen the film.

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OkjaTitle: Okja | Rated: Not Rated | Runtime: 118 min | Netflix streaming

Creative freedom can be a funny thing. This is a time where it’s becoming more and more conspicuous that box office-mindful producers seem to be the ones calling the shots during a film’s production rather than the directors and screenwriters. This has left the latter group becoming more vocal about their want for creative freedom, and it could partially explain why so many are turning to television. This appears to be the case for South Korean filmmaker Bong Joon-ho (The HostSnowpiercer), whose latest picture Okja was backed by Netflix. No stranger to production troubles himself, Bong has been appreciative about the streaming giant, which granted him both the budget and creative freedom he wanted. Normally, this would bode very well for the film itself, but when it turns out to be an uneven picture that doesn’t operate at its full potential, then all that is ultimately on Bong.

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QUICK TAKE: Baby Driver

StuntTitle: Baby Driver | Rated: R | Runtime: 113 min | Theaters nationwide

If it wasn’t obvious before, then it is now: filmmaker Edgar Wright is an innovator and – dare I say it – a genius in this art form. His films – particularly the Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy (Shaun of the DeadHot Fuzz, and The World’s End) – demonstrate the personality of an unparalleled craftsman at work, and I can only refer you to Every Frame a Painting’s video essay to show how his knack for visual comedy is a breath of fresh air in the comedy genre. We’ve seen his capabilities on full display when it comes to mise-en-scène, but can we say the same for cinema’s audial properties? We can now; with Baby Driver, Wright proves that it’s possible to create a grand symphony out of a film.

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QUICK TAKE: It Comes at Night

Red DoorTitle: It Comes at Night | Rated: R | Runtime: 97 min | Theaters nationwide

It Comes at Night will either exceed your expectations or prove to be a harsh reminder about the risks that stem from misleading marketing. Take a gander at its trailers – if you get the impression that this is a supernatural, creature, or slasher horror flick, you’d be forgiven. Heck, the title itself seems to imply that. If that’s what you think, then for your sake, do not prepare yourself for such a film. Trey Edward Shults’ sophomoric feature isn’t so much a horror film as it is an extremely bleak and thoughtful rumination on distrust, family, and paranoia. It’s certainly unsettling and well-intentioned, but it’s also frustratingly ambiguous.

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THE HIGH-LOW REPORT: Wonder Woman (2017)

Trench WarfareTitle: Wonder Woman | Rated: PG-13 | Runtime: 141 min | Theaters nationwide

It’s been ages since the last High-Low Report, but it has joyously returned to mark the recent release of Wonder Woman, the latest picture to enter the DCEU (DC Extended Universe). Andrew and Jun, MediaBrewPub’s resident low-brow and high-brow respectively, are back to exchange their thoughts over a pint of digital brew. While they will venture into spoiler territory, spoiler tags have been added, so consider this a safe read if you haven’t seen the film.

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