The Films of 2020: Bad Boys For Life (dir by Adil & Bilall)


Bad Boys For Life came out in January of this year.  It was the first big release of 2020 and despite some skepticism (mostly from people like me, who pointed out that it had been 18 years since the release of the previous Bad Boys film), it went on to become the most financially successful January release of all time.  Not only did audiences love it but critics were surprisingly positive as well.

When I watched the film last week, I occasionally felt as if I had stepped into a time machine.  Even though the movie was just released a few months ago, it really does feel like an artifact from another age.  I mean, here we have a film named after the theme song of Cops, a once inescapable reality show that has largely been memory-holed as its uncritical depiction of the police has fallen out of fashion.  The film even features several scenes of the heroes singing the Bad Boys song, a song that declares that there’s nothing you can do now that the police are coming for you.

Of course, the film itself is about the type of supercops who, up until a few months ago, were popular in films and television.  These are the type of cops who are always quick with a quip and who have no problem trampling all over the Constitution in their pursuit of the bad guys.  The film celebrates the idea of the “super cop” in a way that seems almost unthinkable in our current cultural moment.  Defund the police?  How could you possibly want to do that when the cops are as charming as Will Smith and …. uhmm, Martin Lawrence?

Smith and Lawrence return as Miami Detectives Mike Lowery and Marcus Burnett.  Played by Smith, Mike is a confident and cocky playboy whose carefree façade hides a complicated path.  As played by Lawrence, Marcus is a mild-mannered family man who thinks that his partner needs to settle down and perhaps show a little bit more caution with some of his life choices.  Together …. THEY SOLVE CRIMES!

No, this time I’m not joking.  That is literally what they literally do.  They’re famous for solving crimes and Mike is known as being the “bulletproof cop.”  However, they’re both getting older.  Mike’s beard is going gray.  Marcus wants to spend more time at home.  Even their old boss (Joe Pantoliano) is talking about his retirement.  Unfortunately, a man named Armando (Jacob Scipio) is riding around Miami on a motorcycle and murdering anyone who was involved in the arrest and incarceration of an infamous Mexican drug lord.  He’s doing so on the orders of his mother, Isabel (Kate del Castillo), who is also known as La Bruja.  When Armando targets Mike, everyone is forced to reconsider their plans.

That may sounds simple and straight forward but the film complicates things with a third act twist involving Mike and Armando’s relationship.  It’s a twist that really shouldn’t work and yet it does, largely because Will Smith is a strong enough dramatic actor that he makes Mike seem like an actual human being, as opposed to being just an infallible action hero.  Smith gets not only the best dramatic moments but also some of the best comedic ones, especially when he ends up working with a bunch of younger cops who aren’t as impressed with Mike as Mike is with himself.  Martin Lawrence doesn’t get to do as much as Smith but he has a few funny moments and, most importantly, the friendship between Mike and Marcus feels real.  Lawrence and Smith have an undeniable chemistry that works in both comedic and dramatic scenes.  When Marcus says that he can’t stand to see Mike putting his life in danger, you believe him.  When Mike reacts to Marcus’s desire to retire as being some sort of personal betrayal, you understand exactly what’s going through Mike’s head to make him overreact.  You believe that Mike and Marcus really do care about each other and it adds a surprising amount of emotional depth to certain scenes.

Bad Boys For Life is a good action film, one that has a surprisingly big heart.  The action scenes are well-handled.  The chase scenes are exciting.  Will Smith again shows why he’s a movie star.  Though the film may seem like a relic of a bygone era, it’s undoubtedly entertaining.   (Considering the ADD-nature of popular culture nowadays, it’s easy to imagine that supercops will be back in fashion sooner than later.)   Naturally, it ends with the promise of sequel and I imagine that we’ll eventually get one.  The only real question is whether or not Marcus and Mike will still be singing their theme song.  Let’s hope so.

Lisa Marie’s Possibly Pointless Oscar Predictions For March


I’ve been going back and forth on whether or not I should even bother to continue my monthly Oscar predictions.  With the current Coronavirus pandemic, it’s not unreasonable to wonder if there will even be an Oscar ceremony next year.  Many completed films have been taken off the schedule so that they can be released at a time when people aren’t scared to leave their house.  Meanwhile, production on several other films — some of them expected to be Oscar contenders — has been suspended.  New films are continuing to premiere on the streaming services but the Academy has always insisted that films also play in a theater if they want to contend for an Oscar.  That’s going to be difficult with the majority of the country’s theaters currently being closed.

Unlike a lot of people, I’m not necessarily apocalyptic or even that pessimistic in my outlook.  I think that, one way or another, we will eventually be able to leave our homes again and that at least some of the movie theaters will reopen.  So, I think that we will be able to have some sort of Oscar ceremony.  For that reason, I’m going to make my predictions for March but, needless to say, take all of these with an even bigger grain of salt than usual.

If you’re curious to see what my Oscar thinking was in the months before the world went crazy, check out my predictions for January and February!

(I’ve tried to take the fact that the Coronavirus led to the suspension of many ongoing productions while making out my list below.  As far as I know, filming wrapped on all of the films listed below before the outbreak.)

Best Picture

Ammonite

Annette

Hillbilly Elegy

The Father

Minari

News of the World

Nomadland

On the Rocks

Tenet

West Side Story

Best Director

Isaac Lee Chung for Minari

Paul Greengrass for News of the World

Christopher Nolan for Tenet

Steven Spielberg for West Side Story

Florian Zeller for The Father

Best Actor

Tom Hanks in News of the World

Anthony Hopkins in The Father

Bill Murray in On the Rocks

Gary Oldman in Mank

Will Smith in King Richard

Best Actress

Amy Adams in Hillbilly Elegy

Clare Dunne in Herself

Jennifer Hudson in Respect

Frances McDormand in Nomadland

Kate Winslet in Ammonite

Best Supporting Actor

Tom Burke in Mank

Richard E. Grant in Everybody’s Talking About Jamie

Mark Rylance in The Trial of the Chicago 7

Forest Whitaker in Respect

Steve Yeun in Minari

Best Supporting Actress

Abigail Breslin in Stillwater

Glenn Close in Hillybilly Elegy

Vera Farmiga in The Many Saints of Newark

Saoirse Ronan in Ammonite

Helena Zengel in News of the World

 

Lisa’s Way, Way, Way, Way, Way, Way, Way Too Early Oscar Predictions For February


It’s a fool’s errand to try to predict next year’s Oscars nominees this early but we’re all about taking risks here at the Shattered Lens.  So, with that in mind, here is my latest set of monthly predictions.

If you look over these names, you’ll see a lot of familiar ones.  That’s because it’s early in the year and familiarity is really the only thing that a lot of these unreleased films have going for them.  Some of the films mentioned below were hits at Sundance.  From what I’ve read, I really do think Minari could be a contender because, along with being loved by critics, it sounds like it’s very much of the current cultural moment.

But the important thing to remember is that, last year at this time, no one expected Joker to become the film of the year.  No one had even heard of Parasite.  Most people were still predicting the Oscars would be dominated by Harriet.  So, my point is — take this stuff with several grains of salt.

To be honest, I think a lot depends on how the presidential election goes.  If Trump is reelected, I think you’ll see the Academy voting for angry, political films, if just as a way to get back at Trump and the people who voted for him.  (Think about the otherwise baffling love that was previously shown to a movie like Vice.)  The Trial of the Chicago 7 sounds incredibly tedious to me but I could imagine people voting for it and thinking to themselves, “This is so going to piss off the Republicans.”  If Trump is defeated, I imagine the Academy will be a bit more upbeat in their selections.

If you want to see how my thinking has evolved, check out my predictions for January here!    (It’s only been a month so my thinking hasn’t really evolved at all.  Still, we could always use the clicks.)

Best Picture

Dune

Happiest Season

Hillybilly Elegy

Ironbark

Minari

News of the World

Respect

Stillwater

The Trial of the Chicago 7

West Side Story

Best Director

Isaac Lee Chung for Minari

Paul Greengrass for News of the World

Ron Howard for Hillybilly Elegy

Steven Spielberg for West Side Story

Denis Villeneuve for Dune

Best Actor

Benedict Cumberbatch in Ironbark

Matt Damon in Stillwater

Tom Hanks in News of the World

Anthony Hopkins in The Father

Will Smith in King Richard

Best Actress

Amy Adams in Hillbilly Elegy

Olivia Colman in The Father

Clare Dunne in Herself

Jennifer Hudson in Respect

Angelina Jolie in Those Who Wish Me Dead

Best Supporting Actor

Bo Hopkins in Hillbilly Elegy

Merab Ninidze in Ironbark

Mark Rylance in The Trial of the Chicago 7

Forest Whitaker in Respect

Steven Yeun in Minari

Best Supporting Actress

Abigail Breslin in Stillwater

Glenn Close in Hillybilly Elegy

Vera Farmiga in The Many Saints of Newark

Mary Steenburgen in Happiest Season

Helena Zengel in News of the World

Here’s The Trailer For Spies In Disguise


Here’s the trailer for Spies in Disguise, an upcoming animated film that’s going to be released on Christmas!  So, who knows?  If you’re spending the holidays with the family, you may end up having to watch this.  That said, this movie might be kind of fun.  Will Smith getting turned into pigeon definitely has potential.

Here’s the trailer!

Here’s The Trailer For Gemini Man!


Young Will Smith tries to kill Old Will Smith in …. Gemini Man!

At least, that would appear to be the plot of this upcoming sci-fi film.  To be honest, it sounds kinda generic and it’s definitely hard not to look at that plot description and think, “Okay, so it’s Looper but instead of time travel, it’s just clones.”

Well, here’s why you maybe should be kinda sorta interested in seeing Gemini Man:

It was directed by Ang Lee!

Honestly, I will watch anything that Ang Lee directs.  He could release a three hour documentary about dermatology and I would totally ask someone to buy me a ticket.  Everyone seems to pretty much agree that Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain should have been named Best Picture over Crash.  To be honest, I would argue that, even more than Brokeback Mountain over Crash, Life of Pi deserved to win over Argo.  If nothing else, Lee certainly earned both of his directing Oscars.

(How forgotten is Argo?  I actually had to remind myself that it was the film that defeated Life of Pi at the Oscars.)

So, will Gemini Man see Ang Lee returning to the Oscar conversation?  Hmmm …. well, probably not.  I mean, it’s an Ang Lee movie but it’s also a Will Smith science fiction film. I mean, the last time that Lee tried to do a “genre” film, the end result was the Hulk, which wasn’t really appreciated until nearly a decade after it was initially released.

Still, anything is possible!  One could argue that the recent nominations of Get Out and Black Panther have proven that the Academy is no longer totally biased against well-made genre films, especially if those films have the type of thought-provoking subtext that a director like Ang Lee can bring to a project.  As always, we’ll see what happens.  For now, here’s the first trailer for Gemini Man:

A Movie A Day #88: Where The Day Takes You (1992, directed by Marc Rocco)


This month, since the site is currently reviewing every episode of Twin Peaks, each entry in Move A Day is going to have a Twin Peaks connection.  Where The Day Takes You is a movie that has not just one but two connections to Twin Peaks.

Where The Day Takes You is an episodic film about young runaways living on the streets of Los Angeles.  Led by 22 year-old King (Dermot Mulroney), who ran away from home when he was 16, the runaways form a surrogate family.  While being constantly harassed by both the police and well-meaning social workers, some of the runaways get addicted to drugs while others turn to prostitution in order to survive.  Some find love.  Some find death.  They all go where the day takes you.  (Not sure if that was the movie’s tag line but it should have been.)

Where The Day Takes You is a gritty and often tough film, though it’s effectiveness is undercut by a predictable ending and the presence of too many familiar faces in the cast.  The runaways are made up of a who’s who of prominent young actors from the 1990s.  Balthazar Getty plays King’s second-in-command.  Sean Astin plays an obviously doomed drug addict.  Alyssa Milano and David Arquette play prostitutes.  Ricki Lake and James Le Gros play comedic relief.  Will Smith, in his film debut, plays a wheelchair-bound runaway.  Christian Slater and Laura San Giacomo show up as social workers while the police are represented by Rachel Ticotin and Adam Baldwin.  Everyone gives a good performance but the film would have worked better with unknown actors or even real runaways.  No matter how good a performance Sean Astin gives as a heroin addict, he is always going to be Sean Astin and it is always going to be difficult to look at him without saying, “I might not be able to carry the ring but I can carry you!”

The movie’s first Twin Peaks connection is that Lara Flynn Boyle, who played innocent Donna Hayward on Twin Peaks, plays innocent runaway Heather in Where The Day Takes You.  The role is cliché but Boyle shows the same charm that she showed while playing Donna.

The movie’s second Twin Peaks connection is more unexpected.  Kyle MacLachlan is effectively cast against type as Ted, the drug dealer who keeps most of the runaways hooked on heroin and who is perfectly willing to leave an overdosed junkie in a garbage bin.  Ted is about as far from Dale Cooper as you can get.

Here Are the 48th Annual NAACP Image Award Nominations!


moonlight

You can see the film nomination below.  For a full list of all the Image nominations, including the television nominees, click here.

Outstanding Motion Picture
•    “Fences” (Paramount Pictures)
•    “Hidden Figures” (20th Century Fox)
•    “Loving” (Focus Features/Big Beach)
•    “Moonlight” (A24)
•    “The Birth of a Nation” (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

Outstanding Directing in a Motion Picture – (Film)
•    Anthony Russo, Joe Russo – “Captain America: Civil War” (Marvel Studios)
•    Barry Jenkins – “Moonlight” (A24)
•    Garth Davis – “Lion” (See-Saw Films)
•    Mira Nair – “Queen of Katwe” (Walt Disney Studios)
•    Nate Parker – “The Birth of a Nation” (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

Outstanding Writing in a Motion Picture (Film)
•    Adam Mansbach “Barry” (Black Bear Pictures and Cinetic Media)
•    Barry Jenkins “Moonlight” (A24)
•    Jeff Nichols “Loving” (Focus Features/Big Beach)
•    Nate Parker “The Birth of a Nation” (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
•    Richard Tanne “Southside With You” (Roadside Attractions)

Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture
•    Denzel Washington – “Fences” (Paramount Pictures)
•    Don Cheadle – “Miles Ahead” (Sony Pictures Classics)
•    Nate Parker – “The Birth of a Nation” (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
•    Stephan James – “Race” (Focus Features/The Luminary Group A Solofilms/Trinidad/Trinity/Trinity Race Production)
•    Will Smith – “Collateral Beauty” (Warner Bros. Pictures/New Line Cinema)

Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture
•    Angela Bassett – “London Has Fallen” (Focus Features/Millennium Films/G-Base Production)
•    Madina Nalwanga – “Queen of Katwe” (Walt Disney Studios)
•    Ruth Negga – “Loving” (Focus Features/Big Beach)
•    Taraji P. Henson – “Hidden Figures” (20th Century Fox)
•    Tika Sumpter – “Southside With You” (Roadside Attractions)

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture
•    Alano Miller – “Loving” (Focus Features/Big Beach)
•    Chadwick Boseman – “Captain America: Civil War” (Marvel Studios)
•    David Oyelowo – “Queen of Katwe” (Walt Disney Studios)
•    Mahershala Ali – “Moonlight” (A24)
•    Trevante Rhodes – “Moonlight” (A24)

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture
•    Aja Naomi King – “The Birth of a Nation” (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
•    Lupita Nyong’o – “Queen of Katwe” (Walt Disney Studios)
•    Mo’ Nique – “Almost Christmas” (Universal Pictures)
•    Octavia Spencer – “Hidden Figures” (20th Century Fox)
•    Viola Davis – “Fences” (Paramount Pictures)

Outstanding Independent Motion Picture
•    “Lion” (See-Saw Films)
•    “Loving” (Focus Features/Big Beach)
•    “Miles Ahead” (Sony Pictures Classics)
•    “Moonlight” (A24)
•    “The Birth of a Nation” (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

Outstanding Documentary – (Film)
•    “13th” (Netflix)
•    “I Am Not Your Negro” (Velvet Film)
•    “Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise” (The People’s Poet LLC)
•    “Miss Sharon Jones!” (Cabin Creek Films)
•    “Olympic Pride, American Prejudice” (Coffee Bluff Pictures)

Suicide Squad Drops By the MTV Movie Awards


Suicide Squad

Let’s get this out of the way and just say that Warner Bros. executives and major shareholders are none too pleased by the reception from both critics and the general audience when it comes to Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Not a very good start to their planned DC Extended Universe. While fanboys from both DC and Marvel have been going at it for weeks now, there’s at least some bright spot ahead for DC in their summer tentpole release Suicide Squad.

Even with rumors of extended reshoots to add more levity and fun to balance out public’s perception that the DC films are too dour and dark (grimdark even), Suicide Squad still remains one of the more anticipated films of the summer.

During this year’s MTV Movie Awards, DC and Warner Brothers released the newest trailer for what they’re hoping will sell the DCEU to the audience what Batman v. Superman could not and that’s a fun comic book film that understands dark and serious doesn’t have to mean not fun.

Suicide Squad is set for an August 5, 2016 release date.

Here Are the Reliably Boring Razzie Nominations!


Yawn!  The Razzies are always so boring!  Here are this year’s predictable nominations.  Talk about them on twitter and impress your friends.

Worst Picture
Fantastic Four
Fifty Shades of Grey
Jupiter Ascending
Paul Blart Mall Cop 2
Pixels

Worst Director
Andy Fickman, Paul Blart Mall Cop 2
Tom Six, Human Centipede 3
Sam Taylor-Johnson, Fifty Shades of Grey
Josh Trank, Fantastic Four
Andy and Lana Wachowski, Jupiter Ascending

Worst Actor
Johnny Depp, Mortdecai
Jamie Dornan, Fifty Shades of Grey
Kevin James, Paul Blart Mall Cop 2
Adam Sandler, The Cobbler and Pixels
Channing Tatum, Jupiter Ascending

Worst Actress
Katherine Heigl, Home Sweet Hell
Dakota Johnson, Fifty Shades of Grey
Mila Kunis, Jupiter Ascending
Jennifer Lopez, The Boy Next Door
Gwyneth Paltrow, Mortdecai

Worst Supporting Actor
Chevy Chase, Hot Tub Time Machine 2 and Vacation
Josh Gad, Pixels and The Wedding Ringer
Kevin James, Pixels
Jason Lee, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Road Chip
Eddie Redmayne, Jupiter Ascending

Worst Supporting Actress
Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Road Chip and The Wedding Ringer
Rooney Mara, Pan
Michelle Monaghan, Pixels
Julianne Moore, Seventh Son
Amanda Seyfried, Love the Coopers and Pan

Worst Screenplay
Simon Kinberg, Jeremy Slater and Josh Trank, Fantastic Four
Kelly Marcel, Fifty Shades of Grey
Andy and Lana Wachowski, Jupiter Ascending
Kevin James and Nick Bakay, Paul Blart Mall Cop 2
Tim Herlihy and Timothy Dowling, Pixels

Worst Remake or Sequel
Alvin and The Chipmunks: The Road Chip
Fantastic Four
Hot Tub Time Machine 2
Human Centipede 3
Paul Blart Mall Cop 2

Worst Screen Combo
Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara and Jamie Bell, Fantastic Four
Johnny Depp and his glued-on mustache, Mortdecai
Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson, Fifty Shades of Grey
Kevin James and either his Segway or glued-on mustache, Paul Blart Mall Cop 2
Adam Sandler and any pair of shoes, The Cobbler

Razzies Redeemer Award
Elizabeth Banks
M. Night Shyamalan
Will Smith
Sylvester Stallone

Here Are The Golden Globe Nominations And Did You Know The Martian’s A Comedy?


The_Martian_film_poster

Did you know that The Martian was a comedy?

Well, no, actually it’s not.  It’s a very serious film that has a few comedic moments.  Matt Damon makes a few jokes but that’s largely because he’s trying not to lose his mind and commit suicide.  However, The Martian was submitted to the Golden Globes as a comedy.  Why?  Probably because the producers realized that it would be easier for them to win if their film was the only big-budget drama nominated in the comedy category.  It’s dishonest, it’s unethical, and it totally worked.  This morning, when the Golden Globe nominations were announced, The Martian was nominated for Best Picture, Comedy or Musical.

I was not a particularly huge fan of The Martian to begin with.  The fact that it has now been nominated for Best Comedy while Inside Out was not does not help matters.

Anyway, as for the rest of the Golden Globe nominations … actually, I like a lot of them.  Mad Max: Fury Road was nominated for Best Picture, Drama and that should help it regain whatever momentum it may have lost after not being nominated by the SAG.  The Big Short was also nominated for Best Picture, Comedy so I guess I really will have to see it, despite having no desire to do so.  Trumbo was not nominated for Best Picture but it did pick up nominations for Bryan Cranston and Helen Mirren.  Spotlight was naturally nominated for best picture but received no acting nominations, which means that either all the actors are splitting the votes among themselves or maybe Spotlight, while remaining the front-runner, is not as universally loved as some are thinking.  It’s impossible for me to say because I haven’t seen Spotlight yet but I have noticed that a lot of critics seem to be more respectful than enthusiastic about it.

(At the same time, my friend, the sportswriter Jason Tarwater, was quite enthusiastic after seeing Spotlight and I usually trust his opinion on these things.)

Anyway, here are the Golden Globe Film nominations!

Best Picture (Drama)

Best Picture (Musical or Comedy)

Best Director – Motion Picture

Best Actor (Drama)

  • Bryan Cranston – Trumbo
  • Leonardo DiCaprio – The Revenant
  • Michael Fassbender – Steve Jobs
  • Eddie Redmayne – The Danish Girl
  • Will Smith – Concussion

Best Actress (Drama)

  • Cate Blanchett – Carol
  • Brie Larson – Room
  • Rooney Mara – Carol
  • Saoirse Ronan – Brooklyn
  • Alicia Vikander – The Danish Girl

Best Actor (Musical or Comedy)

Best Actress (Musical or Comedy)

  • Jennifer Lawrence – Joy
  • Amy Schumer – Trainwreck
  • Melissa McCarthy – Spy
  • Maggie Smith – The Lady in the Van
  • Lily Tomlin – Grandma

Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture

Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture

Best Screenplay

Best Original Score

 

Best Original Song

Best Foreign Language Film

  • The Brand New Testament (Belgium)
  • The Club (Chile)
  • The Fencer (Finland)
  • Mustang (France)
  • Son of Saul (Hungary)

Best Animated Feature