Link to Review of “The Gentlemen”

I watched and reviewed “The Gentlemen” for WIMZ.com. Click the link to see my thoughts on Guy Ritchie’s latest stylish crime flick.

A fairy tale turned horror movie and a violent revenge drama open this week. I’ll see and review one of the following:

Gretel & Hansel–

The Rhythm Section–

Listen to Comedy Tragedy Marriage, a podcast about life, love and entertainment, available wherever you download podcasts. Follow me on Twitter @moviemanstan and send emails to stanthemovieman123@gmail.com.

Review of “Dolittle”

Dr. John Dolittle (Robert Downey Jr.), the doctor that talks to animals, has exiled himself in his compound since the death of his wife Lily (Kasia Smutniak). He’s still surrounded by the animals he rescued with Lily, including a cowardly gorilla named Chee-Chee (voiced by Rami Malek), a constantly cold polar bear named Yoshi (voiced by John Cena), a duck with an artificial leg named Dab-Dab (voiced by Octavia Spencer), a glasses-wearing dog named Jip (voiced by Tom Holland) and leading them all is a headstrong macaw named Polynesia (voiced by Emma Thompson). Dolittle’s isolation is broken when a teenager named Tommy Stubbins (Harry Collett) shows up with an injured squirrel. The squirrel was accidently shot when Tommy was out hunting with his uncle and cousin. Tommy bundles up the squirrel and Poly guides him to Dolittle’s. Dolittle performs surgery on the squirrel, named Kevin (voiced by Craig Robinson), and he survives but swears revenge on Tommy. Also arriving at the mansion is Lady Rose (Carmel Laniado), Queen Victoria’s niece. She tells Dolittle the Queen is ill and needs his attention immediately. Reluctant, Dolittle initially refuses to leave the compound, but the animal’s rebel and force him to go. When Dolittle arrives, he sees an old friend from medical school, Dr. Blair Mudfly (Michael Sheen) is treating the Queen. Mudfly is dubious of Dolittle’s methods and animals and is jealous of his talents. Also on hand is Lord Thomas Badgley (Jim Broadbent), representing Parliament. Using Jip’s sensitive nose, Dolittle figures out the Queen has been poisoned by drinking tea laced with the poisonous plant Deadly Nightshade. The only cure is a rare fruit that grows on only one tree, located on an island that doesn’t appear on any map. If the cure isn’t administered soon, the Queen with die, so Dolittle, several of his animal friends and Tommy, who has appointed himself Dolittle’s apprentice, set off on a dangerous journey across treacherous seas, looking for an island that may not exist and encounter animal friends and human foes from his past.

Watching “Dolittle,” I kept waiting for the moment the film completely falls apart. With mostly negative reviews and a Rotten Tomatoes score in the teens, I assumed the movie would begin showing us characters late in the third act we hadn’t seen before or would start espousing Nazi propaganda. None of that happened. Sure, its muddled, messy and has the pacing of a child fed only sugar and crack, but “Dolittle” is an enjoyable catastrophe.

“Catastrophe” is too strong a word, but there are things about the film that don’t make a great deal of sense. For instance, there are phrases said by the animals that didn’t exist at the time, like “Code Red.” Access to an unconscious Queen Victoria (Jessie Buckley) is far too easy. While the guards act like they are going to try to stop a gorilla, ostrich (voiced by Kumail Nanjiani) and polar bear from being near the fallen queen, they don’t fire their guns or draw their swords. It appears anyone in nice clothes and with a friendly face could walk into the palace. I realize these issues, and more are due to the comical and fantasy aspects of the story and must be forgiven to some extent, however what I have a harder time wrapping my head around is Robert Downey Jr.’s accent.

Why did he choose to sound like a male version of Robin Williams’ Mrs. Doubtfire? And why was that choice apparently made after principle photography as his voice appears to have been dubbed for the majority of the film? Speaking in low whispers, as if telling a secret to someone that isn’t there, Downey is difficult to understand through the film, and his dialog is frequently repeated or expanded upon by an animal or human costar. It’s one of many odd choices by Downey for a character that’s been portrayed in movies by Rex Harrison and Eddie Murphy.

Like his choices in the “Sherlock Holmes” films, Dolittle is a person beset by quirks and twitches. He’s antisocial, preferring to live in a world of his own making. He is a creature of habit that hates to have his routine disrupted. Dolittle is protecting himself from pain caused by people leaving him, so he’s banished people from his life. I suppose that’s okay for someone that is surrounded by a menagerie of friendly animals with whom he can converse, but the animals in “Dolittle” are just furrier versions of people in their behaviors and personalities. Since they depend on the doctor for care and food, these analogs will never leave him and, in my opinion, that’s cheating the only redeeming factor of this Dolittle. He misses his wife with such a deep grief he cannot force himself back into the world. If he had also pushed all the animals away, then I might be a bit more sympathetic to the character, but he has replaced people with talking animals.

It sounds like I didn’t enjoy the film at all, and yet I did. Once you get used to Dolittle’s quirks and other oddities, you are swept up in the frenetic pacing of the film that hardly allows the audience to absorb one strange event before the next begins. From the introduction of Dolittle and his zoo of a house, to his arrival at the palace and the introduction of the villain, to the start of the voyage, “Dolittle” doesn’t slow down. That’s works in the film’s favor as the audience doesn’t have time to ponder the weird events as they unfold.

The CGI animals are obviously CGI. Sometimes they look more digital than others and the sight lines between the human and animal characters don’t quite line up. Despite this, it never bothered me. Perhaps it was the voice work by a wide and diverse cast that made the second-rate effects more palatable. Emma Thompson, Kumail Nanjiani, Tom Holland, Rami Malek, Octavia Spencer and John Cena all turn in enjoyable performances as a variety of animals. Most of them are far more interesting than any of the humans.

Michael Sheen had to pick splinters out of his teeth with all the scenery he chews as the villain Dr. Mudfly. His evil ark is easy to predict as soon as his character is shown picking leeches out of a jar to apply to Queen Victoria to treat her mysterious illness. He even has a twirlable mustache which, for some reason, he doesn’t twirl. That seems like a missed opportunity for such an obvious bad guy.

Antonio Banderas is perhaps the oddest casting for Rassouli, King of the Pirates. While Banderas, nominated for an Oscar for his starring role in “Pain and Glory,” gives it his all, the role is underwritten and a throw-away character that solves a problem late in the second act. There’s an effort to make Rassouli something bigger by giving he and Dolittle a past connection, but that only serves to make the meaninglessness more obvious. Still, Banderas does his best with a role that probably took only a couple of days to shoot.

“Dolittle” is rated PG for some action, rude humor and brief language. There are a couple of scenes of mild violence including a brief battle with the Queen’s guards, cannon fire that sinks a ship, an explosion in an arms cache, some leaps and falls that might be considered dangerous and a diver nearly lost in the sea. None of it should be stressful to even young children. The rude humor consists of fart jokes. Bad language is mild and widely scattered.

The humor in “Dolittle” is what actually won me. While it is basic prat falls and more than a few fart jokes, it works as a light diversion for a world that’s on fire and tearing itself apart. Could it have been better, much, much better? Yes, it should. Robert Downey Jr.’s first film since his final appearance as Iron Man should have been more polished and, maybe more meaningful. Instead, we get a movie about a guy that talks to animals and goes on adventures, that sounds like male Mrs. Doubtfire and whispers and twitches a great deal. It won’t win any awards, except may a Razzie or two, but it also isn’t the least bit offensive and children may love it, while leaving their parents to wish for something more. And yet, I still liked it.

“Dolittle” gets four stars out of five, and may God have mercy on my soul.

This week, I’ll be reviewing “The Gentlemen” for WIMZ.com.

Also opening this week is “The Turning.”

Listen to Comedy Tragedy Marriage, a podcast about life, love and entertainment, available wherever you get podcasts. Follow me on Twitter @moviemanstan and send emails to stanthemovieman123@gmail.com.

Review of “Underwater”

The Tian corporation is making another attempt at putting an ultra-deep-sea oil drilling rig at the bottom of the Mariana Trench, seven miles underwater. Previous efforts have failed for mysterious reasons. The base where the crew is housed is called Kepler and the drilling rig is called Roebuck. One morning when mechanical engineer Norah Price (Kristen Stewart) is brushing her teeth, Kepler suffers massive structural failures, causing flooding and implosions. Price and Rodrigo Nagenda (Mamoudou Athie) go looking for emergency escape pods, but their way is blocked by more damage. As they try to find an escape from the ocean floor, they find fellow crewman Paul Abel (T.J. Miller) buried under rubble but unhurt. The pair digs him out and continue their search for safety. They find Captain Lucien (Vincent Cassel) unhurt and unsuccessfully trying to contact the surface. The four then head to the control room where they find biologist Emily Haversham (Jessica Henwick) and engineer Liam Smith (John Gallagher, Jr.) also unsuccessfully trying to contact the surface. None of them knows why Kepler is coming apart at the seams, but the leading theory is earthquakes. Captain Lucien suggests a plan where they don high-tech pressurized suits and walk the mile to Roebuck where they might be able to contact someone or access more escape pods. There chances of success are slim and even lower since the cause of all their problems is a mysterious creature lurking in the depths that is unhappy about the intrusion of humanity in its home.

January usually is a dumping ground for movies, especially the first couple of weeks. You get Oscar contenders that had limited releases in December, but the majority of new movies are the cast offs, the unwanted, the redheaded bastards at the family reunion. In other words, January is often the landfill where garbage movies go to die. That brings us to “Underwater.” Shot back in 2017, “Underwater” was made by 20th Century Fox prior to its purchase by Disney. What struggles the film and film makers had due to the change of ownership and the reason for the release delay are unknown, but it shouldn’t have taken over two years for the film to arrive in theaters. Maybe it got lost in the transition or maybe Fox and Disney execs saw the movie and decided to bury it. Whatever the reason, “Underwater” is a good example of a January film.

It isn’t that “Underwater” looks cheap. The sets and pressurized suits look like they could exist. While the characters sometimes use the technology in ways that don’t make sense or seem impossible, nothing in the film looks like it’s such a leap that it would be 100 years before it would be available.

The movie has a claustrophobic design to many of the sets. There are some larger room and long hallways, but most of the film takes place in narrow access shafts, small elevators, collapsed structures and inside the suits. If you feel tense while being in a confined space, you might want to skip “Underwater.”

My issues with the film are based more on the actions of the characters, including the monster, and how much of it doesn’t make sense. There are some very stereotypical horror film behaviors on display. For instance, late in the film, Norah is awestruck as she sees the monster, missing an opportunity to run away. There are a couple of characters that sacrifice themselves in ways that are supposed to be brave and unselfish but feel more like a screenwriter trying to force the audience to feel something for generic tropes. The monster misses some opportunities to take out most of the cast when they become separated. It seems omnipresent for patches of the film then disappears if the script needs it to. Even the design of the drilling facility doesn’t make much sense. If you need to get from Kepler to Roebuck, how do you do that? It isn’t clear if a transport train we see the survivors riding is how teams get to Roebuck or another part of the facility. Do they take subs? Are they sent there directly from the surface? If so, what is Kepler for? This is another example of me thinking too much about meaningless details, but if you put that much information in a movie it should make sense. There are other examples of little details that confused me but those would be spoilers. Much of “Underwater” doesn’t seem to care of it makes sense.

“Underwater” is rated PG-13 for sci-fi action and terror, and brief strong language. There are a couple of bloody deaths, including one where a body implodes. We see a couple of dead bodies amongst the wreckage of the destroyed station. Foul language is scattered.

Perhaps the best thing about “Underwater” is the monster. We don’t get a good look at the creature until near the end of the film and even then, it is somewhat hidden by the murkiness of the water. It resembles bits and pieces of other movie monsters including ones from “Cloverfield” and “Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.” I wish as much effort had been put into the story and the characters as the monster, then maybe “Underwater” would have been worth the trip to the theater. Sadly, generic characters behaving in nonsensical ways in a predictable story with a decent monster is what we are given. If you are forced to see this film, be ready to hold your breath.

“Underwater” gets two stars out of five.

Two new movies open this week. I’ll see and review at least one of the following:

Bad Boys for Life—

Dolittle—

Listen to Comedy Tragedy Marriage, a podcast about life, love and entertainment, available wherever you get podcasts. Follow me on Twitter @moviemanstan and send emails to stanthemovieman123@gmail.com.

No Review

A sinus infection kept me out of theaters last weekend. I’ll return this week and see and review at least one of the following:

1917–

Just Mercy–

Like a Boss (NSFW)–

Underwater–

Listen to Comedy Tragedy Marriage, a podcast about life, love and entertainment, available wherever you get podcasts. Follow me on Twitter @moviemanstan and send emails to stanthemovieman123@gmail.com.

Review of “Uncut Gems”

Howard Ratner (Adam Sandler) owns a jewelry store in New York City’s diamond district. He has a sports betting problem and is into a loan shark for lots of money. The loan shark, Arno (Eric Bogosian), is sending his enforcers to threaten and rough up Howard, warning him to get Arno his money quickly. Arno is also his brother-in-law, married to his sister. Howard is also having an affair with a woman he hired to work at the jewelry store. Julia (Julia Fox) is kept in an apartment Howard has in the city while he, his wife Dinah (Idina Menzel) and their three kids live in a house in the suburbs. Dinah plans on divorcing Howard after they celebrate Passover as she is aware of his infidelity and he’s more interested in sports than his family. Howard has a kind of celebrity customer recruiter named Demany (LaKeith Stanfield). Demany moves in circles with athletes and entertainers. Any celebrities he brings in that buy jewelry at Howard’s store, Demany gets a percentage as a commission. Demany brings in Boston Celtics superstar Kevin Garnett (playing himself) to the store on the same day Howard receives a raw, uncut Black Opal from Ethiopia. He shows it to Garnett who becomes enchanted with the stone. He feels an emotional connection with the rock and asks if he can keep it for a night. Howard plans on auctioning off the stone in a few days but reluctantly agrees to let the superstar take the rock in exchange for his Celtics championship ring. Because he sees Garnett’s enthusiastic response to the Opal, Howard takes Garnett’s ring to a pawn shop, gets $21,000 for it, and places a complicated bet that, if it hits, will pay off his debts to Arno. The consequences of many of Howard’s decisions begin to crash around him as all his plans face unexpected complications.

“Uncut Gems” is a beautifully made movie about ugly people. The film’s directors, the Safdie Brothers Josh and Benny, mined their father’s life in the diamond district for story ideas and based Sandler’s Howard Ratner on a person their father worked with. If he’s anything like the character in the film, he was a horrible person. Making movies about horrible people, the bad decisions they make, their selfishness and inconsideration of how their choices will harm others is a time-tested Hollywood trope. Usually, there are some good characters to offset the bad, but in “Uncut Gems,” decency is something in short supply. And perhaps the most interesting character in the film is a lump of rock with opals in it.

The part of the film getting the most attention is Adam Sandler’s performance. Sandler slides easily into the sleazy role of Howard Ratner. Ratner is a smooth talker and slick businessman that can sweet-talk his way into any party or business to advance his schemes. Sandler is getting rave notices and Oscar buzz with this performance, but I didn’t think his work was all that impressive. Howard Ratner is close to many of Sandler’s other characters, just toned down in some respects. Sandler does good work, but it isn’t all that special. Should he be praised? Sure, but I don’t know if the performance is something deserving of the highest honor Hollywood gives.

“Uncut Gems” is relentlessly grim. Howard uses everyone in his sphere of influence: His employee/lover, his brother-in-law/loan shark, his father-in-law, his celebrity recruiter, Kevin Garnett, it doesn’t matter who gets close to Howard, he finds a way to take advantage of them. Julia Fox’s Julia appears to care for Howard, but she is using him for his access to celebrities and a free apartment. Even Kevin Garnett and a brief appearance by The Weeknd, appearing as himself, make the celebrities look shallow and self-absorbed. Even Howard’s kids are obnoxious. The closest thing to a decent person in the film is Idina Menzel’s Dinah. She’s finally had enough of Howard’s infidelity and disinterest and plans on getting a divorce. She doesn’t get much screen time, but I believe if she had, we would have seen her shortcomings and weaknesses. While I’m aware characters need flaws to make them more interesting, there should have been at least one person that gives us hope for humanity. As it is, “Uncut Gems” details a world that needs to be cleansed by fire.

Despite all the awfulness in the movie, it moves at a brisk pace, constantly throwing new complications at Howard and his plans to finally pay off Arno. I was constantly wondering what would go wrong next for Howard and how he would try to escape the latest hitch in his scheme. Howard thinks fast on his feet, lies with ease and is likable enough (at least for a while) to placate those he’s scamming. He can get away with his plots for only so long before those he’s dealing with begin to lose patience with his deflections and unkept promises. The Safdie Brothers and co-writer Ronald Bronstein weave a taut story around the lowlifes in and around the diamond district that won’t bore you but may wear down your soul.

“Uncut Gems” is rated R for pervasive strong language, violence, some sexual content and brief drug use. There are punches thrown and a couple of shootings with a fair amount of blood. The sexual content is a scantily clad woman beginning to pleasure herself. Drug use is limited to two characters apparently snorting cocaine in a bathroom, but we never see the actual drug. Foul language is common throughout the film.

“Uncut Gems” gives the audience a glimpse into a world no one should ever visit. While the jewelry is shiny (when it isn’t gaudy) it hides an ugly subculture of grifters, conmen, thugs and desperate dreamers. The saddest of all this group is the dreamers, hoping to leave behind a life of common drudgery, of going to work, of facing mundane problems, in search of a quick score and a ticket to luxury and leisure. For 99.99% of the world, the easy life is a dream never fulfilled. For the characters in “Uncut Gems,” it’s a sportsbook ticket that’s never cashed in and a life of violence and tragedy. I’ll stay in my everyday 9-to-5 world and die an old man, thank you very much.

“Uncut Gems” gets three stars out of five.

There’s only one new film in wide release this week. It’s likely that’s what I’ll see and review.

The Grudge—

Listen to Comedy Tragedy Marriage, a podcast about life, love and entertainment, available wherever you get podcasts. Follow me on Twitter @moviemanstan and send emails to stanthemovieman123@gmail.com.

Link to Review of “Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker”

Here’s a link to my review of “Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker” available at WIMZ.com. https://wimz.com/blogs/stan-movie-man/1723/review-of-star-wars-episode-ix-the-rise-of-skywalker/

The Christmas holiday brings Oscar contenders and family fare to a local theater near you. I’ll likely see and review at least one of these features:

Little Women–

Spies in Disguise–

Uncut Gems–

Listen to Comedy Tragedy Marriage, a podcast about life, love and entertainment, available wherever you get podcasts. Follow me on Twitter @moviemanstan and send emails to stanthemovieman123@gmail.com.

Review of “Jojo Rabbit”

Johannes Betzler, better known as Jojo (Roman Griffin Davis), is a 10-year old boy in Berlin, Germany near the end of World War II. His father is off in Italy, either fighting for or against the Nazis, and his older sister died of influenza, so Jojo lives with his mother Rosie (Scarlett Johansson) in their home. Jojo and his best friend Yorki (Archie Yates) are going off to Hitler Youth camp to learn fighting and survival techniques to protect the Fatherland. Jojo is nervous but gets words of encouragement from his imaginary friend Adolf Hitler (Taika Waititi). At the camp, Jojo is ordered by some older boys to wring a rabbit’s neck to prove he’s willing to kill to protect Germany. Jojo refuses and is tagged with the nickname Jojo Rabbit. Adolf tells Jojo the rabbit is cunning, fast, can outthink his enemies and isn’t a coward at all. With renewed confidence, Jojo runs back to the group where they are being taught how to throw grenades by the leader of the camp Captain Klenzendorf (Sam Rockwell). Jojo grabs a grenade and throws it, but it bounces off a tree and lands at his feet. Frozen in fear, the grenade explodes, injuring Jojo’s leg and scarring his face. Because of his perceived incompetence, Captain Klenzendorf is assigned a low-level job posting propaganda posters and collecting metal, and once he has recovered from his injuries, Rosie takes Jojo to the office so he can feel included and help. Arriving at home before his mother one day, Jojo hears noises coming from his sister’s room. He investigates and discovers a panel in the wall granting access to a hidden compartment. Inside he discovers Elsa (Thomasin McKenzie), a Jewish teenager Rosie is hiding from the Nazis. Jojo threatens to turn her in but Elsa warns he and Rosie might get in trouble also. Jojo and Elsa declare an uneasy truce, but he demands she share all her “Jew secrets” so he can write a book and one day present it to Hitler.

“Jojo Rabbit” is a sweet and funny coming of age film set against the horrors of World War II. Writer and director Taika Waititi, who also plays Jojo’s imaginary friend in the form of Hitler, downplays most of the atrocities in his film as it’s not really based on historical facts, but loosely on a book called “Caging Skies” by author Christine Leunens. Combining childhood imaginary friends, the priming of a generation to hate Jews and others seen as inferior, and a worldwide conflict that cost millions of lives is difficult to turn into a comedy, but Waititi succeeds…mostly.

Viewed with over 70 years of hindsight, films of Hitler giving speeches, wildly gesticulating and puffing out his chest as thunderous applause washes over him from adoring followers, seems almost comical. None of us can understand the circumstances that led to the rise of Nazism since we didn’t experience the German economic collapse due to reparations demanded by the Allies as punishment for World War I. We can’t understand a country’s fanaticism and willingness to follow the orders of madman, demanding the expulsion, then extermination, of a race of people. Despite America’s current political climate that draws dire comparisons, the conditions that led to nationalism, fascism and genocide are unknown to modern people (except for those unfortunate ones that live under totalitarian regimes like in North Korea). Portraying Hitler as a child’s imaginary friend takes the sting out of the dictator’s crimes against humanity. While there are some atrocities shown, like the public hanging of people considered traitors or enemies of the State, the last weeks of European campaign look pretty calm, peaceful, almost idyllic.

And that’s my biggest complaint about “Jojo Rabbit.” Director Waititi puts a glossy finish on a dark and horrific period in world history. Yes, he’s showing the end of the war through the eyes of a child, but there were many things children of the time saw that could have been incorporated. We do see young people given guns and told to kill invading troops. Rebel Wilson, playing a trainer of Hitler youth named Fraulein Rahm, sticks a grenade with the pin pulled down the belt of a young boy and tells him to go hug an American. These scenes are played for the sake of dark humor and we never see any children die as a result. The approach is more like Monty Python-lite. There’s no dismemberment, no obvious dummy bodies blown up, as the death always happens off screen. I think this approach cheapens the story. We all know the Nazis were murderous brutes, but we aren’t shown that except is snippets that fail to connect. Perhaps I’ve watched too many World War II documentaries with footage shot of bodies lying in the street, but I think Waititi owes it to the victims of this bloody war to show the suffering caused by a group of people suffering the delusion of being a superior race.

All that said, “Jojo Rabbit” has a great to going for it. The performances of the cast are lovely. Roman Griffin Davis is a joy to watch as Jojo. He undergoes a great deal of growth as the film progresses. Jojo is a fanatic with a dream of serving on Hitler’s personal guard. He believes all the lies he’s fed about Jews having horns, sucking the blood of victims, eating babies and the like. Davis can put a cute face on fascism as we follow him through his transition to decent human being.

Thomasin McKenzie is affecting as Elsa. The young woman forced to hide in a wall is broken when we meet her. She plays with Jojo’s opinions about Jews, confirming what he believes to educate him about how silly the lies he’s been told are. A scene where Jojo is trying to hurt her by reading a fake letter from her boyfriend will break your heart as the hateful words heap more damage on an already fragile soul. McKenzie’s is possibly the best performance in the film.

Director Waititi steals every scene he’s in as Hitler. Portraying the dictator as a childish oaf works well. Waititi is gifted in both his script and performance, shaming Nazis for their ridiculous beliefs of supremacy. Jojo’s Hitler is a stand-in for his absent father, providing support and guidance as Jojo navigates his way through a world that’s falling apart. Waititi doesn’t shy away from making Hitler an aggressive jerk towards Jojo. He puts on a Beer Hall Putsch flourish to some of his pep talks, likely based on speeches Jojo heard on the radio. While I have an issue with how in general the subject matter was presented, I have no problem with Waititi’s take down of Hitler.

“Jojo Rabbit” is rated PG-13 for mature thematic content, some disturbing images, violence, and language. There are a couple of scenes showing bodies hanging in the town square. The end of the film has some battle scenes showing a few people getting shot and laying amongst the rubble. Jojo is shown being injured by a grenade. Anti-Semitism is featured throughout the film. Foul language is scattered and mostly mild.

I enjoyed “Jojo Rabbit” a great deal, however the softening of the horrors of war was something constantly nibbling at my mind. I understand the film’s main characters are a 10-year old boy and a teenage girl, but I also know young people were witness to awful things at the end of World War II in Europe. They had suffered through food and medicine shortages and then the brutality of Soviet troops looking to exact revenge for all their people lost on the Eastern front. Taika Waititi sweeps most of this under the rug with a few offhand comments. I think dealing with it more directly would have made the humor of the movie more effective and a relief from the horrors of war. It’s a difficult balance to strike and Waititi partially failed.

“Jojo Rabbit” gets four stars out of five.

I am taking some time off so there probably won’t be a review this week (probably) but here’s what’s opening in a multiplex near you.

Black Christmas—

Bombshell—

Jumanji: The Next Level—

Richard Jewell—

Uncut Gems—

Listen to Comedy Tragedy Marriage, a podcast about life, love and entertainment. It’s available wherever you get podcasts. Follow me on Twitter @moviemanstan and send emails to stanthemovieman132@gmail.com.