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THE BOSS REVIEW

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Release date: April 8, 2016
Studio: Universal Pictures
Director: Ben Falcone
MPAA Rating: R (for sexual content, language and brief drug use)
Screenwriters: Melissa McCarthy, Ben Falcone, Steve Mallory
Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Bell, Peter Dinklage, Kathy Bates
Genre: Comedy

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After countless rejection as an orphan, Michelle Darnell, molds herself into a financial mogul with the telling mantra “The Power of One”. Convinced that any semblance of family only weakens a person, Darnell surrounds herself with “Yes men”. That is, until Darnell is imprisoned for insider trading- ala Martha Stewart. Upon her release from prison and without the funds to recruit “yes men”, Darnell imposes herself upon her ex-assistant, Claire– a single mom, played by Kristen Bell, and her daughter Rachel. In the cramped apartment, the roles are reversed, as Claire- no longer on Darnell’s pay roll, does her best to pair goodwill with tough love. Before long, Michelle Darnell, discovers her golden ticket back to the top while also bonding with her new roommates and developing into “a weird family”. Unable to cope with this new found sense of family, Darnell burns all bridges – personal & business alike within 24 hours. Recognizing her mistake, we see Darnell’s growth when she returns to her weird family asking for forgiveness.

With a string of comedies centered on actress Melissa McCarthy, one might wonder when the joke will run out. Is the Melissa McCarthy feature film comedy more of a one hit wonder with subsequent comedies degrading in quality over time? Or is McCarthy truly the comedic juggernaut that can sustain four McCarthy centric comedies, The Heat, Spy, Tammy, and Identity Thief, in three short years?! Based on The Boss, I’d say McCarthy is here to stay and her place as one of Hollywood’s elite it well earned.

Is The Boss ridiculous, mouthy, borderline offensive, and spattered with the typical bouts of physical comedy? Sure. But The Boss never rests on being any single one. Instead, they all swirl together into an extremely well paced film that keeps you laughing and entertained. The Boss’ success comes down to the cast, magnificently led by McCarthy, and to editor Craig Alpert who cleverly keeps sentimentality at bay and the pace- full speed ahead. Also, noteworthy were the stylings of Wendy Chuck and the makeup department, who created a very new look for McCarthy. Though it may take long time McCarthy fans a moment to warm up to the new look, Chuck brilliantly informs the audience as to whom Michelle Darnell is with her style alone. McCarthy as Michelle Darnell is a catchy mesh of controversial icons running the gamut from Martha Stewart and Paula Dean to Nancy Grace.

Typically not one for humor that capitalizes on cheap, offensive, shock-instigated laughs, I was pleasantly impressed with how The Boss doled out potentially offensive joke after joke with cheeky class. And that’s the blessing of the anti-hero led film. Darnell can get away with branding “Darnell’s Darlings”- her attempt to capitalize on the Girl Scout Cookie Sale model- with a look rivaling that of such militaristic icons as the Japanese Rising Sun Flag with some Nazi-esque overtones. And these little darlings don’t only look menacing, Darnell sees to it that behave in kind – intimidating and manipulating their prey, the customer. Under the not so mindful supervision of Darnell an all out brawl erupts in the streets between competing adolescent sweet treat sales teams. The ridiculous sequence utilizes all the quintessential fight scene stunts, slow motion capture, and ninja moves but with adolescent girls as the combatants. Don’t be misled by the copious children cast in The Boss. Much of the humor comes from seemingly innocuous adolescent settings, being overrun by foulmouthed disturbingly jaded adults.

The arc of a comedy like, The Boss can be reasonably surmised by its trailer. So there aren’t any big twists, turns, or surprises in the personal arc from lonely anti-hero to loveable anti-hero who learns to embrace the idea of family. But the combination of physical humor combined with the unrelenting, grounded, invested, wit of McCarthy and friends makes the predictable journey a laugh out loud, knee slapping good time. Leave the kids with the sitter and buy your tickets. A comedy like The Boss is best enjoyed in theatres, where the roller coaster of laughs is a shared in a community experience.

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Caesar’s Reign Comes To The Big Screen With New Trailer For Kingdom Of The Planet Of The Apes

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Director Wes Ball breathes new life into the global, epic franchise set several generations in the future following Caesar’s reign, in which apes are the dominant species living harmoniously and humans have been reduced to living in the shadows. As a new tyrannical ape leader builds his empire, one young ape undertakes a harrowing journey that will cause him to question all that he has known about the past and to make choices that will define a future for apes and humans alike. “Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes” is directed by Wes Ball (the “Maze Runner” trilogy) and stars Owen Teague (“IT”), Freya Allan (“The Witcher”), Kevin Durand (“Locke & Key”), Peter Macon (“Shameless”), and William H. Macy (“Fargo”). The screenplay is by Josh Friedman (“War of the Worlds”) and Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver (“Avatar: The Way of Water”) and Patrick Aison (“Prey”), based on characters created by Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver, and the producers are Wes Ball, Joe Hartwick, Jr., p.g.a. (“The Maze Runner”), Rick Jaffa, p.g.a., Amanda Silver, p.g.a., Jason Reed, p.g.a. (“Mulan”), with Peter Chernin (the “Planet of the Apes” trilogy) and Jenno Topping (“Ford v. Ferrari”) serving as executive producers.

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Masterchef Is Back! For Halo Season 2

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A quick recap – Halo is set in a war-torn 26th century, where humanity led by the United Nations Space Command or UNSC and their supersoldiers known as Spartans, fights against the onslaught of the alien conglomerate known as the Covenant. The full dust-up of Halo Season 1, can be found here. Onward into the introduction of Halo Season 2!

It’s been six months since the forced separation of Spartan Masterchief John (Pablo Schreiber) and Cortana (Jen Taylor), and the Silver Team has been sent on a mission to evacuate residents of the planet Sanctuary before the Covenant glasses the whole thing. This comes with its own set of challenges, given the resistance of the planet’s inhabitants, and it doesn’t help that Masterchef starts seeing things right in the middle of trying to save some marines. Or is he? Those energy swords the squad of Elites were carrying looked worryingly real.

Back on Reach, the Silver Team is entirely dismayed to learn they have a brand new Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) representative come in as the new boss, to finally replace the traitorous Halsey, James Ackerson (Joseph Morgan). And of course, Ackerson manages to immediately get under Masterchief’s skin, by not only expressing far too much interest in John’s relationship with Cortana but also apparently disbelieving of John’s report of his encounters on Sanctuary. That just means Masterchief has to go around, if not entirely over, Ackerson’s head.

Elsewhere, Soren (Bokeem Woodbine) is trolling the slave markets in his boredom, only to stumble across a soon-to-be indentured servant who claims he knows the whereabouts of the UNSC’s most hunted human, Catherine Halsey (Natascha McElhone). That should bring a huge bounty, but really, Soren should’ve known better by now.

Halo Season 2 premieres Thursday, February 8th, 2024, and will continue to air every Thursday, only on Paramount+!

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Reborn as a Vending Machine I Now Wander the Dungeon’: I look forward to your next use!  

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If the title of this delightful little isekai anime entry didn’t give it all away, our nameless protagonist is a vending machine fanatic who, after being killed by a vending machine, gets reincarnated in another fantasy-style world as one! 

Japan has a tendency to give birth to all sorts of crazed fads that can last for decades, and no one does better when it comes to the vending machine industry, too. These days there are vending machines that will serve you sushi you can actually eat, hot pizza in the box, wagyu steaks, freshly popped popcorn, and a whole mind-boggling array of tasty treats, and other non-edible but still useful items! Umbrellas! Condoms! Oxygen masks, sterile bandages, shoes, and emergency clothing! Actually, far more things that we use on an everyday basis, could be considered as technically a vending machine, and the anime explores that beautifully. Into the world of vending machine fanaticism, we dive! 

So our poor protagonist never gave a name, and inevitably when he’s discovered by his first official friend the starving hunter Lammis, she dubs him “Boxxo”. Like many isekai that seem to take inspiration from video games and RPGs, Boxxo discovers he ways he can communicate, level up his existence, and even evince magic-like powers and attack and defend against monsters and enemies. Though in the beginning, and as an underlying theme throughout the show, Boxxo is primarily concerned with providing unique never-before-tasted-in-this-world food and drink to the amazed folk, human and otherwise. 

Boxxo’s prices are entirely reasonable and hey, he can even choose to give out his wares for free on occasion, so his popularity immediately skyrockets. Lammis with her awkward charm and prodigious strength blessing, introduces Boxxo to other friends of Clearflow Lake Village and associates along the way – Director Bear, an actual bear-monster who’s the head of the Hunters Association; Lammis’ friend Hulemy, the insane genius magic item engineer; the Bearcats Suco, Pell, Short and Mikenne, cheerful hunters with astronomic appetites; even suspicious Kerioyl, leader of the Menagerie of Fools party. 

The show approaches the practicality and versatility of the true vending machine with amusement, but also with the love true fans display for things they’re passionate about. Certainly, things like a brothel needing a condom vending machine exist in our world, but to toss them into a potentially more innocent other-world isekai is a welcome and often hilarious treat. The show celebrates the cheerful idiocy and devotion of the fans to their chosen fandom, in this case, yes vending machines, but also the spirit of the lonely otaku finally finding their Tribe! 

Pay your coins to watch ‘Reborn as a Vending Machine’ on Crunchyroll now! 

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