Movie Review: “The Overnight”

Starring
Adam Scott, Taylor Schilling, Jason Schwartzman, Judith Godrèche
Director
Patrick Brice

The early hype surrounding writer/director Patrick Brice’s “The Overnight” has it pegged as one of the funniest films of the year. But unfortunately for the Sundance favorite, which garnered rave reviews on the festival circuit before becoming the subject of a late-night bidding war in Park City, it’s a victim of its own exaggerated buzz. This has been a recurring theme in a number of my reviews lately, and it’s not so much the movie’s fault as those responsible for overselling it, because even though “The Overnight” features a promising premise and solid work from its lead quartet, it falls well short of the acclaim that it’s received. The film isn’t even that funny, relying on a series of uncomfortable situations that drive the underlying drama more than the comedy.

Alex (Adam Scott) and Emily (Taylor Schilling) are a young, sexually frustrated married couple that has recently moved from Seattle to Los Angeles for Emily’s career. Alex has graciously agreed to stay at home to raise their son, RJ, but the complete lack of a social life has made it difficult to find new friends. When their family attends a birthday party in the park one afternoon, RJ begins playing with a similarly-aged boy named Max, which leads to an introduction to the boy’s father, Kurt (Jason Schwartzman), who invites Alex, Emily and RJ over to his house for dinner to meet his beautiful French wife, Charlotte (Judith Godrèche), and welcome them to the neighborhood. The two couples immediately hit it off, but what starts out as a fun get-together becomes increasingly more bizarre as the night goes on, causing Alex and Emily to question their hosts’ true intentions.

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2015 Father’s Day Gift Guide: Booze

Walk into any liquor store and you’ll see hundreds of options. You can zero in on your dad’s favorite drink when picking a gift, or you can get creative and choose something he wouldn’t buy for himself. And for more great suggestions, be sure to check out the other categories in our Father’s Day gift guide.

Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye

crown_royal_rye

The good folks at Crown Royal have introduced the brand’s first-ever blended rye whisky, so this is something delicious and unique that you can pick up for dad. As you would expect from Crown Royal, this whisky is very smooth. It’s crafted from 90% rye and tastes great either neat, on the rocks, or in traditional rye cocktails like a Manhattan or Old Fashioned. It also comes in that beautiful Crown Royal bottle that makes any bar look classy.

Patrón XO Cafe Incendio

This is an awesome gift for anyone who appreciates premium tequila or enjoys flavored liqueurs. This delicious new offering from Patrón is a spicy and sweet liqueur that is perfect as a sipping drink to savor and enjoy, or as a shot to get the party going. Patrón XO Cafe Incendio starts with Patrón Silver tequila and draws its flavor from the spicy Mexican arbol chile along with the sweet richness of Criollo chocolate. We recommend drinking it straight after chilling the bottle in the refrigerator. You can also use it for cocktails, and as a kicker, to spice up your coffee or hot cocoa in the winter months. You can keep a bottle in your fridge year-round as a permanent addition to your home bar.

incendio

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Blu Tuesday: Chappie, Run All Night and More

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.

“Chappie”

WHAT: In a near-future Johannesburg overrun by crime, a mechanized police force has been introduced to clean up the streets. When the droids’ creator (Dev Patel) steals a decommissioned unit and reprograms the A.I. so it can think for itself, the newly named Chappie (Sharlto Copley) falls into the hands of a trio of criminals who want to exploit him for their own profit.

WHY: Neill Blomkamp’s “Elysium” was a disappointment on a number of levels, and there was a lot of pressure on the director to bounce back with “Chappie.” Unfortunately, while his third sci-fi outing has plenty to admire, much like “Elysium,” it’s a fantastic concept that’s hindered by a messy execution. It’s as if Blomkamp wanted to cram so many ideas into the film that he was unable to edit the material into a more cohesive story. Casting South African rap duo Die Antwoord as the gangsters who “raise” Chappie was certainly an interesting choice, but while the sweet-voiced Yo-Landi Visser fares well in her first acting role, her male counterpart, Ninja, is pretty awful. The movie also spends too much time with their characters, leaving Dev Patel and Hugh Jackman (playing against type as the villain and sporting a glorious mullet) little to do. Thankfully, Sharlto Copley’s mo-cap performance as the titular robot is too good to ignore. Not only is it a remarkable piece of acting that perfectly captures the innocence and impressionability of a child, but the visual effects are flawless, seamlessly inserting Chappie into the world as if there’s an actual robot interacting with the actors. It’s truly next-level stuff, and it’s ultimately what saves “Chappie” in spite of the film’s many flaws.

EXTRAS: The Blu-ray release includes nine featurettes – covering a range of topics like the cast, stunts, visual effects, production design, location shooting in Johannesburg and A.I – as well as an alternate ending, an extended scene and a concept art gallery.

FINAL VERDICT: RENT

“Run All Night”

WHAT: After law-abiding limo driver Michael Conlon (Joel Kinnaman) witnesses the murder of some clients by the sleazebag son of local crime boss Shawn Maguire (Ed Harris), Shawn sends childhood friend/mob enforcer Jimmy “The Gravedigger” Conlon (Liam Neeson) to prevent Michael from going to the police. But when Jimmy shoots Shawn’s son in order to protect his own, Shawn swears to kill them both as retribution, forcing the estranged father/son duo to go on the run until they can clear Michael’s name.

WHY: It’s a shame that director Jaume Collet-Serra and Liam Neeson already made a movie called “Non-Stop,” because while “Run All Night” is a fitting title, the former more appropriately describes the overall tone of the duo’s third collaboration. There’s quite a bit of setup in the opening act, but once Jimmy and Michael are marked for death, it barely takes a minute to stop and catch its breath, jam-packed with wall-to-wall action featuring a cornucopia of fist fights, gunfights and car chases. Collet-Serra does a great job of keeping the story moving along, and though it’s entertaining at first, the non-stop action becomes such a sensory overload that it all starts to blend together. Because of this action-first mentality, there isn’t much room for anything else, although Collet-Serra does try to shoehorn in some clichéd father-son drama. The only reason the relationship works at all is because it has two strong actors in the roles. Neeson does his thing as the tough-as-nails hitman, bringing gravitas to an otherwise stock character, while Kinnaman delivers some of his best work to date as the angry son who wants nothing to do with the family business. “Run All Night” will surely entertain those who walk into a Liam Neeson movie these days knowing exactly what to expect, but it’s so incredibly predictable and formulaic that it sucks out all trace of suspense.

EXTRAS: There’s a pair of featurettes and some deleted scenes.

FINAL VERDICT: RENT

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Picture of the Day: Erin Marie Garrett in the shower

Here’s stunning model Erin Marie Garrett posing all wet in the show as she sports a hand bra pose wearing just her tiny panties.

Erin Marie Garrett in the shower

  

2015 Father’s Day Gift Guide: Gadgets

Gadgets dominate our lives, so you can start your shopping with dad’s phone. If he has the latest and greatest, don’t bother. But if he’s still tied to his lame flip phone, then you can go with an iPhone or a new Android phone to get him into the 21st century.

If you’re looking for something a little different, however, we’ve put together some ideas for you. And for more great suggestions, be sure to check out the other categories in our Father’s Day gift guide.

Fitbit Charge HR

fitbit

There’s an ungodly number of fitness trackers these days, but after testing out some of the other major players in the game, the Fitbit Charge HR (available at Walmart) is hands-down the best of the bunch. The “HR” refers to the included heart rate monitor located on the underside of the band, which provides additional data like your daily resting heart rate the time spent in different heart rate zones (peak, cardio and fat burn) during exercise. The tracker is housed in a rubber watch band that’s a lot more comfortable than the bangle-styled Jawbone and Nike Fuelband, and it contains a small display screen that lets you cycle through the following data: clock, steps, heart rate, distance, calories burned and floors climbed. When used in conjunction with the mobile app or online dashboard, you can track specific workout sessions and monitor your sleeping habits (including time spent awake or in a restless state), and when paired with your phone via Bluetooth, the display shows Caller ID notifications. The Fitbit Charge HR also has pretty great battery life, so you can spend more time using it instead of waiting for it to charge, which is the whole point of the product in the first place.

SOUL Run Free Pro Headphones

run_free_pro

We’ve reviewed some of SOUL’s on-ear headphones in the past, and while they proved to be a solid alternative to the more popular brands on the market, they never really wowed us in any way. However, that’s not the case with their latest in-ear model, the Run Free Pro, which improves upon other likeminded wireless headphones by getting rid of that cumbersome earhook and utilizing an interchangeable ear lock system that provides a custom fit guaranteed to stay put no matter how active your lifestyle. The Run Free Pro is comfortable enough to be worn for long periods, and features wind noise reduction technology that allows runners to listen to music outdoors without interference. They’re also waterproof and sweat-resistant, while the sporty design smartly hides the mini USB charging port inside the buds. The integrated remote control can be a little difficult to operate blindly, but that’s a minor complaint about an otherwise great pair of in-ear headphones perfect for the dad who frequents the gym or marathon circuit.

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