No Sudden Move: Decent Tension, Great Acting – HBO Max Review

A blackmail plot goes way off of the rails.

Sometimes solid performances and a few good added twists can elevate an old set-up back into interesting territory. This movie could have fallen on its face, because a lot of the elements are old tropes reheated, but giving Don Cheadle and Benicio Del Toro the lead and having a cast full of excellent supporting characters really manage to keep this film thoroughly enjoyable. It helps that Soderbergh’s pacing is pretty tight, moving from one source of tension to another without making it unbearable on the viewer. 

Great costume design, too.

Curt Goynes (Don Cheadle) is an ex-convict who is desperate for cash. He is contacted by mob recruiter Doug Jones (Brendan Fraser) and agrees to help babysit a family as part of a blackmail scheme. He’s joined by fellow crooks Ronald and Charley (Benicio del Toro and Kieran Culkin) and they break into the house of accountant Matt Wertz (David Harbour). They hold Matt’s wife, Mary (Amy Seimetz), and his children hostage while forcing him to get a copy of a document for the mob boss Frank Capelli (Ray Liotta). When Matt returns, without the real document due to it being removed, Charley decides to execute the family and Matt, but Curt shoots him in the head to prevent a massacre. Now Ronald and Curt are both wanted by the mob and the police, but they both decide to try and steal the real document and use it to buy their freedom. 

Everyone buys Ray Liotta as a mob boss. Everyone.

This movie has just the right number of moving parts introduced at just the right times, because as the plot builds, it ends up having a large number of characters and subplots colliding but you never really feel lost. It helps that, by having so many talented supporting cast members, the characters are more memorable. Aside from those listed above, other supporting characters are played by Jon Hamm, Bill Duke, Matt Damon, and Julia Fox, all of whom keep you focused on their actions better than expected. The film also keeps the focus on the fact that Curt and Ronald are at the mercy of any number of people, because anyone can want to turn them in for a reward. In a way it changes the heist film formula from being two parts getting in to one part getting out and instead makes most of the plot about getting away with the goods. Thankfully, Soderbergh is very used to these types of films and can handle this shift in the structure.

You may be cool, but you’re not Bill Duke in that outfit cool.

Overall, good movie if you like crime films.

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Hubie Halloween: It’s Adam Sandler, What Did You Expect? – Netflix Review

I mean, it’s definitely not the worst thing he’s done.

SUMMARY

Hubie Dubois (Adam Sandler) is a deli worker and the local loser of Salem, Massachusetts. Every Halloween, Hubie takes it upon himself to be the town monitor to ensure that Salem enjoys a safe and happy Halloween. This, naturally, gets him mocked by everyone from the local rich jerk (Ray Liotta) to the principal (Tim Meadows) and his wife (Maya Rudolph) to the local policeman (Kevin James) to his own junior co-worker (Karar Brar). Only local hot-girl-turned-hot-woman Violet Valentine (Julie Bowen) stands up for him. Unfortunately, this year, an escaped mental patient (Rob Schneider) and a possible wolfman (Steve Buscemi) threaten the celebrations and it’s up to Hubie to stop them.

These kids apparently think this is a fun idea.

END SUMMARY

Did you guys watch Uncut Gems? That movie where Adam Sandler plays a man who keeps having to live on the edge and risk it all because he just can’t be happy otherwise? I think that character was based on Sandler, except that Sandler keeps wanting to test exactly how little effort that he can put forward in order to get a movie to get more watches than the average Best Picture Winner. At least that’s how I explain Jack and Jill and The Ridiculous 6. This movie is not as bad as those, mostly because this movie tries to pull much of its style and humor from Sandler’s older work like The Waterboy, but it suffers from the fact that, at 54 years old, it’s harder to consider Sandler a viable scrappy young outsider. Also, his performance which had previously been the oddball has now devolved into the person who clearly has been avoiding any attempts at maturing. The movie attempts to justify it by saying that Hubie is sweet and honest, but you can be both of those things without being the level of awkward and off-putting that Hubie is. It becomes even more bizarre because the film depicts him as simultaneously socially inept but also hyper competent. I’d say that it’s a form of autism, but since most of the movie’s “humor” is laughing at Hubie’s inherent awkwardness, I’d like to dissociate the performance with any real human conditions.

They use the sheet from the Waterboy for this gag.

The film is a needlessly complicated mess at times as an attempt to conceal the “mystery” of what is actually threatening the town. Hubie also randomly encounters minor sub-plots that require him to pull out his “Swiss Army thermos,” one of the most ridiculous conceits in an Adam Sandler film. It’s a thermos that can do anything the scene requires, from vacuum cleaner to grappling hook, and yet somehow the rest of the movie is pretty grounded in reality. The fact that Hubie built something that defies all practical engineering should have made him wealthy and famous, but everyone chooses to ignore the literal magic bag he holds. The film also suffers from the Sandler trope that the most beautiful woman in the area is already in love with him for no reason.

He also wields a paddle. Don’t ask.

Despite all of these problems, it’s nowhere near the bottom of the barrel for an Adam Sandler production. The cast is filled with talented people who are somehow able to pull a laugh every now and then out of even the most inane lines or scenarios. Sandler himself has several quality moments, mostly when he’s trying to be sincere rather than goofy. The end of the film was actually one of the more surprisingly wholesome ones we’ve seen and it does have a pretty decent message. 

There’s a good Harley Quinn joke.

Overall, I still would recommend watching something else, but if you’re an Adam Sandler fan, this will make your Halloween spooktacular.

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All TimeCollection of TV EpisodesCollection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

If you enjoy these, please, like, share, tell your friends, like the Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/JokerOnTheSofa/), follow on Twitter @JokerOnTheSofa, and just generally give me a little bump. I’m not getting paid, but I like to get feedback.