About Double Feature

Double Feature is the title of a column that I write for the newsletter of Lehigh Pocono Mensa, the local group to which I belong. It gets published monthly in "Magniloquence." I used to belong to Central PA Mensa, so I offer the column to the editor of "Penn Central" and it shows up there pretty regularly.

As the title implies, each Double Feature column features brief reviews of two movies that I have seen. I try to find a connection between the two films - subject matter, stars, awards, etc. - but, since it's my column, I reserve the right to occasionally choose two films that have no connection to each other at all.

The reviews found in the Movies section of this Web site serve as the basis for Double Feature. I try to keep each column somewhere around 500 words (which fills about one page in the newsletter), so I usually have to edit the original reviews to fit into the space allotted.

If you'd like to read the individual reviews for the films mentioned in Double Feature, you can do so here.

The rating scales are a little different. The conversion chart is as follows:

  • **** = Loved it
  • *** = Liked it
  • ** = Ehhh, it was OK
  • * = Hated it

Current Column

August 2020 - Movie watchers fall into two categories: Those who like low-brow humor and those who don't. I fall into the second category. So, keep that in mind as you read my thoughts on this month's movies.

First up is Bad Moms, an R-rated comedy that hit theaters in the summer of 2016. Mila Kunis takes on Christina Applegate in a foul-mouthed fight for control of the middle school PTA. Applegate has Jada Pinkett Smith and Annie Mumolo on her side. Kunis has Kathryn Hahn, Kristen Bell and Martha Stewart.

Kunis plays Amy, a wife and mom in suburban Chicago. She's doing everything for everyone – all while holding down a part-time job at a trendy coffee company run by Millennials. Applegate is Gwendolyn, a wealthy housewife who rules the middle school PTA with an iron fist. Amy decides to challenge Gwendolyn for the PTA presidency and runs on a platform of "less work, more fun." She teams up with stay-at-home mom Kiki (Bell) and free-spirited single mom Carla (Hahn) to free their fellow suburban moms from Gwendolyn's perfectionist grip.

Overall review: Ehhh, it was OK. Most of the laughs here involve drunken antics or dick jokes. The film does have an underlying message for moms: Stop trying to be perfect and let your kids be kids. But, overall, the movie felt more like a series of skits than an entire whole.

Seth Rogen dives into the world of the superhero as writer and star of The Green Hornet, a PG-13 film from 2011. Rogen tackles the role of Britt Reid/The Green Hornet. Taiwanese pop star Jay Chou kicks ass as the sidekick, Kato. The rest of the cast includes Cameron Diaz, Edward James Olmos, Tom Wilkinson and Christoph Waltz.

Britt Reid is the hard-partying son of a powerful newspaper publisher (Wilkinson) in Los Angeles. When his father dies suddenly, Britt finds himself alone in the family mansion and in charge of a business he doesn't want. But, when surveillance cameras capture him and Kato rushing to the aid of some mugging victims, the story makes front page news and the Green Hornet is born. Britt and Kato decide to use their newly found notoriety and a tricked-out car to take down a diabolical drug lord (Waltz) in South Central LA.

Overall review: Ehhh, it was OK. This movie should really be called Kato because he is, by far, the most interesting character in it. I can't buy Rogen as a do-gooder because every line he speaks is said in a manner which implies that Britt is awed by his own awesomeness and that that's just so awesome that you should be awed by it, too.

Not only did Rogen not strike the right tone with his character, but his script left a lot to be desired. Mostly, he seems to rely on foul language – particularly on words that are derogatory toward women – to get laughs. He aims low when he would be so much better off if he set his sights a little higher.

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"No good movie is too long and no bad movie is short enough." »» Roger Ebert