I love this MMA flight clip. You have to see it to believe it!
For two actresses with such undeniable chemistry, it’s downright criminal that it’s been seven years since “Saturday Night Live” alumni Tina Fey and Amy Poehler last made a film. That film, 2008’s “Baby Mama,” was cute, but it was also terribly safe. Their new film “Sisters,” meanwhile, is quite possibly the most profane female-driven movie ever made, an apology of sorts for “Baby Mama.” The story also allows Poehler and Fey the ability to play themselves as well as each other, like a raunch-com version of “Face/Off.” As ridiculous as that sounds, it works incredibly well.
Kate Ellis (Fey) is in a bad way. Living on a near-stranger’s couch, her own daughter Haley (Madison Davenport) doesn’t even want to spend time with her. Kate’s saintly sister Maura (Poehler) is divorced, and basically hiding from the world. Kate and Maura’s parents (James Brolin and Dianne Weist) tell Maura that they’re selling the Orlando home they grew up in, and Kate and Maura decide to throw one last party, only Maura guilts wild child Kate to be the designated sober house mommy after Maura meets cute with new neighbor James (Ike Barinholtz). When they get to the house, they discover that it’s already been sold to an insufferable young couple (though they haven’t moved in), but that only strengthens their resolve to throw the party. The party begins as a wake (literally) but turns into a rager, and as it continues into the night, new information comes to light that causes Kate and Maura to rethink both the party and each other.
It was very smart to have Fey and Poehler go against type here. Think of Fey in “Mean Girls” as the straight-laced Precalculus teacher, and then think of Poehler as the “cool mom,” who lets her pre-tween daughter watch “Girls Gone Wild.” The script here is not exactly flipped, but it is mixed up. Maura is impossibly sensible, and until now has never let loose once in her life. Kate is a hothead who always has a reason for why she’s never to blame. In a nutshell, both women made it impossible for anyone to typecast them from here on.
Every Tuesday, I review the newest Blu-ray releases and let you know whether they’re worth buying, renting or skipping, along with a breakdown of the included extras. If you see something you like, click on the cover art to purchase the Blu-ray from Amazon, and be sure to share each week’s column on Facebook and Twitter with your friends.
WHAT: After his wife (Rachel McAdams) is tragically killed and he spirals out of control, undefeated light heavyweight champion Billy “The Great” Hope (Jake Gyllenhaal) lands himself in trouble with the boxing league, losing his house, his possessions, and most importantly, custody of his daughter Leila (Oona Laurence). Desperate to keep her out of the foster care system where he spent his childhood, Billy seeks help from a gruff, veteran trainer (Forest Whitaker) to get back what he lost.
WHY: Throughout the years, boxing movies have been synonymous with tales of redemption, and Antoine Fuqua’s “Southpaw” is no different. But for as clichéd and heavy-handed as the film can be at times, the movie avoids dragging itself too far into melodrama thanks to some excellent performances and a solid screenplay by Kurt Sutter that is as brutal and emotionally charged as you’d expect from the “Sons of Anarchy” creator. Though Sutter originally wrote the lead role for Eminem, Jake Gyllenhaal brings a physicality and intensity to the character that’s beyond the rapper’s abilities. It’s a much more complex role than it appears on the surface, and Gyllenhaal knocks it out of the park. In fact, while “Nightcrawler” features the better performance, “Southpaw” is perhaps his most impressive piece of acting to date, if only because he’s managed to take a fairly standard underdog drama and elevate it on the strength of his shoulders alone. The film isn’t on the same level as the boxing greats, but with Gyllenhaal’s knockout performance front and center, it’s a lot more enjoyable than it probably had any right to be.
EXTRAS: There’s a making-of featurette, a Q&A with the cast, footage of Jake Gyllenhaal’s training regimen for the film and some deleted scenes.
FINAL VERDICT: RENT
WHAT: In 1982, NASA sent a time capsule into space in the hopes of contacting other life forms, but after an alien race misinterprets the message as a declaration of war, they attack Earth in the form of retro video game characters. When the military proves useless, U.S. President William Cooper (Kevin James) enlists the help of best friend Sam Brenner (Adam Sandler), along with fellow video game prodigies Ludlow Lamonsoff (Josh Gad) and Eddie Plant (Peter Dinklage), to save the planet from certain extinction.
WHY: Though it may seem like critics are being overly hard on “Pixels” simply because Adam Sandler is in the movie, it really is a bad film. The premise itself is cool, and director Chris Columbus taps into some of that potential with fun set pieces that look great and play with the mechanics of classic games like Pac-Man, Centipede and Donkey Kong, but unfortunately, the screenplay is a mess. It’s no better than the typical Sandler comedy (in fact, frequent collaborator Tim Herlihy is one of the co-writers), fueled by lazy and juvenile humor that falls flat more often than not. The casting of Kevin James as the president isn’t just ridiculous, but downright insulting, while the Q*Bert character shows that Hollywood never learned its lesson from Jar-Jar Binks. The rest of the cast doesn’t fare much better – Sandler does his usual man-child shtick and Josh Gad is wasted as his conspiracy theorist friend – but Peter Dinklage’s over-the-top performance as the Billy Mitchell-esque gamer is just silly enough to ensure that “Pixels” isn’t a complete disappointment. Still, an idea this good deserved something better.
EXTRAS: There are four featurettes on filming the movie’s video game-inspired set pieces, a look at Pac-Man creator Toru Iwatani’s cameo and more.
FINAL VERDICT: SKIP
Throughout the years, boxing movies have been synonymous with tales of redemption – from “Rocky,” to “Raging Bull,” to “The Fighter” – and Antoine Fuqua’s “Southpaw” is no different. In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to find anything in the story that hasn’t already appeared countless times before in other boxing films, but despite the clichéd plot, the movie isn’t without its charms. At the top of that list is star Jake Gyllenhaal, who continues his remarkable career reinvention from pretty-boy leading man to serious actor with yet another fantastic performance. It likely won’t earn him the Oscar nomination he was wrongfully snubbed for last year’s “Nightcrawler,” but it builds upon that transformative role with such mature confidence that it only seems like a matter of time before he’s finally rewarded for his work.
The movie opens with undefeated light heavyweight champion Billy “The Great” Hope (Gyllenhaal) successfully defending his title at Madison Square Garden and cementing his status as one of the best boxers in the sport. Everyone wants their chance to go toe-to-toe with him in the ring, including hotshot fighter Miguel Escobar (Miguel Gomez), but Billy’s levelheaded wife, Maureen (Rachel McAdams), urges him to make the sensible decision and call it quits while he’s still on top… and before he becomes so punch drunk that he can’t enjoy his success. When Miguel instigates a fight with him at a charity fundraiser and Maureen is shot and killed among the chaos, Billy spirals out of control, landing himself in trouble with the boxing league and losing his house, his possessions, and most importantly, custody of his daughter Leila (Oona Laurence). Desperate to keep her out of the foster care system where he spent his childhood, Billy seeks help from a gruff, veteran trainer (Forest Whitaker) to get back what he lost.
The 2015 Copa America kicked off in Chile on 11th June and while there is still plenty of time before the final on 4th July, we can safely say that this could prove to be one of the most exciting tournaments on South American soil in recent years. With the likes of Brazil and Argentina hoping to make amends for missing out on the 2014 World Cup trophy and hosts Chile and star-studded Colombia desperate to prove they can mix it up with the best of them, we are in for a couple of eventful weeks.