This week starts off with a very unexpected movie from Alexander Payne, Downsizing. Paul Safranek and his wife Audrey (Matt Damon and Kristen Wiig) are an average couple just trying to get by. A new technology starts becoming popular, Downsizing, where regular people are shrunk down to four inches tall and live in tiny custom communities where their wealth is adjusted to their size making life much more comfortable. Paul and Audrey decide to go for it but when Paul arrives in the small city he finds out Audrey backed out at the last minute leaving Paul alone with much less money. Now Paul must find a new purpose in life if he is to ever find happiness.
From the trailers, Downsizing looked like a funny, gimmicky comedy. Little did I know going into the film that it would actually be a fairly seriously minded comedic drama with grand themes of life, love, passion and destiny. Damon is great as is Waltz, Wiig is barely in the film at all, which is perplexing given her name on the poster, but the entire movie is stolen by Hong Chau as Ngoc Lan Tran, a cleaning woman Paul has a friendship with that changes his life. Chau is funny, touching, authentic and the real heart of the film. Check out Downsizing for something very different than you may have expected.
Next up this week is Pitch Perfect 3. After winning the World Championship, the Bella’s have all moved on to their own lives but they all feel like something is missing. So when the opportunity comes to reunite one last time for an overseas USO tour that could lead to an opening act gig with a popular artist, the girls get together to try and make music again and pursue their dreams.
The Pitch Perfect films are pure escapist fun. Kendrick has great screen charisma and Rebel Wilson is always hilarious. The supporting cast are all great as well, although this time around I did miss regulars from the first two films including Skylar Astin’s Jesse and Adam Devine’s Bumper. But the musical numbers are great, the laughs are numerous and the additions of Ruby Rose and John Lithgow are both welcome. Good silly fun and a solid round out to the Pitch Perfect trilogy.
Lastly this week was one of the biggest surprises of the last year, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. Four high school kids sent to clean up a storeroom for detention discover an old video game console and are magically pulled into it as the characters in the game. In order to return to the real world, they must work together to beat the game or end up forever trapped in it.
I am personally on board for any movie with Dwayne Johnson, but I was not prepared for just how funny, adventurous and fun Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle would be. The main four characters played by Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart and Karen Gillan are absolute gold together playing off their teenage personalities, especially since they are all so different in the game. Johnson plays a skinny geek, Black plays a self-absorbed blonde teenage girl, Gillan is a quiet bookworm transformed into an action star and Hart is a tall football player. To watch them all interact with the game environment and each other as these polar opposite personalities is brilliantly played out and downright hilarious. And in addition to the comedy the action adventure elements are all executed extremely well too, giving off a perfect 80s Indiana Jones vibe that keeps things fast paced and exciting. Seriously do yourself a favor and check out Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, one of the best comedies AND adventure movies of the past while.
Also of note this week is the fourth entry in the Insidious franchise, Insidious: The Last Key starring the amazing Lin Shaye, the Blu-ray debut of Michele Soavi’s The Church, and the new mystery thriller The Vanishing of Sidney Hall with Logan Lerman, Elle Fanning, Michelle Monaghan and Kyle Chandler.
Until next week movie lovers.
DVD and Blu-ray Releases for Tuesday March 20, 2018
Daughter of the Nile*
Ichi the Killer: Special Edition
Insidious: The Last Key
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
Lou Grant: The Final Season
Nightmare at Noon*
P. King Duckling: Lights, Camera, Duckling!
Pitch Perfect 3
Pitch Perfect Trilogy
Robert Altman’s Images*
Small Town Crime
The ‘Burbs: Collector’s Edition
The Black Scorpion*
The Vanishing of Sidney Hall
Welcome the Stranger
When Calls the Heart: The Heart of Homecoming
*Catalog Blu-ray debut