Sunday Short Reviews

Every Sunday, Gill delves into his archive of over 800 movie reviews and randomly selects three for your enjoyment! Here are this week’s…

World’s Greatest Dad
This extremely dark comedy from director Bobcat Goldthwait is neither Robin Williams’ funniest nor his most dramatic film, but it serves as a great opportunity for Williams to show his range. World’s Greatest Dad sees him deliver some extremely funny material, while also affording him several scenes of serious, heartbreaking subject matter, and the result is that Williams is the highlight of the entire movie. World’s Greatest Dad is about a high school poetry teacher and aspiring novelist named Lance (Robin Williams), whose son is the worst person imaginable. When his son accidentally kills himself during auto-erotic asphyxiation, Lance decides to ghost-write his son’s suicide note. The note quickly becomes a source of inspiration in the local community, and the guilt of living with such a huge lie begins to eat away at Lance’s conscience. As with Goldthwait’s film God Bless America, World’s Greatest Dad derives much of its comedy from pointing out all the ways that humanity is horrible towards the innocent, genuinely nice main character. It’s dark and awkward, and made all the more dark and awkward given William’s own suicide, but at the same time, I think it is some of Williams’ best work in the last decade of his career. World’s Greatest Dad will be offputting to most people, but if this is your brand of comedy, you should look it up. It’s a film that’s destined to gain a cult following, especially now that its lead actor is gone.
3.25 out of 5

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)
When the first trailers for the Michael Bay-produced Ninja Turtles movie, I thought that they looked practically identical to Transformers. Now that I have seen the film, my suspicions have been confirmed. Even though he isn’t in the director’s chair, Bay’s fingerprints are all over this movie, from the richly saturated colour scheme to the way the action is filmed. Bay also deviates from the source material in a number of ways, and when you’re dealing with something as ridiculous as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, you would think that it wouldn’t be much of a problem, but these changes suck all the joy out of TMNT. The turtles don’t really act like teenagers, Shredder is now a big robot instead of a ninja, and the Foot Clan are gun-wielding terrorists in balaclavas instead of martial artists. Even though the hulking designs of the turtles have been criticized, to me they were one of the least offensive changes that the filmmakers made. Also surprising is the fact that Megan Fox isn’t as bad as I anticipated. Overall, this isn’t a terrible movie, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles doesn’t even come close to approaching the same levels of awfulness that Transformers: Age of Extinction achieves. If you’re a fan of the Ninja Turtles, I’d say wait for Netflix. I don’t feel worse for having seen it, but I’m glad I didn’t pay for it.
2.5 out of 5

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For
The long-awaited Sin City sequel is a disappointment, and it is easy to pinpoint why. The principal story in Sin City: A Dame to Kill For is the titular tale “A Dame to Kill For,” one of the original Sin City stories written by Frank Miller in the early 90’s. The other two stories in the film were written specifically for the film, and honestly, Miller has completely lost his touch. “The Long Bad Night” and “Nancy’s Last Dance” both feel like Sin City fan fiction, devoid of any sharpness or real noir spirit. Furthermore, the structure of the film feels lazily executed, with stories interrupting each other and destroying any sense of tension that was being created. Lastly, the visuals are not nearly as inspired as the first Sin City movie, and it isn’t just a symptom of having seen these kinds of visuals before. Rodriguez doesn’t seem to have put much effort into creating interesting or dynamic shots the way he did in the first movie. Perhaps this is the result of the original stories in Sin City: A Dame to Kill For having never been published in comic form. Whatever the reason, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For is lazy and uninspired, and a decade too late. If you were to watch the “A Dame to Kill For” segment alone, you would probably enjoy it, as it is far and away the best story of the three, but the rest of the movie deserves to be skipped.
2 out of 5

See you next Sunday for three more thrilling short reviews!

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