Australia, Bad Moms, Barack Obama, Barry Crump, Comedy, Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Julian Dennison, Kathryn Hahn, Kristen Bell, Literary adaptation, Michelle Obama, Mila Kunis, Movies, Previews, Richard Tanne, Sam Neill, Southside With You, Taika Waititi, Trailers, True story
In Southside With You, writer/director Richard Tanne invites us to witness a very special first date: the one between Michelle Robinson (played by Tika Sumpter) and Barack Obama (played by Parker Sawyers). Taking place in the summer of 1989, it’s an epic date, taking in far more than the average dinner and a show, and the movie pitches this event at the level of an above average romantic comedy – but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Sawyers looks particularly convincing as Obama, his tone of voice and physicality so reminiscent of a certain modern day President that it’s sometimes spooky to see, while Sumpter is equally convincing as the self-assured Michelle. The movie does look like it might be a little too “cute” in places, but there’s enough deprecating humour here to offset any charges that the movie is being overly winsome.
When your latest comedy stars Mila Kunis as an overworked, worn out, under-appreciated mom who decides to go on a bender in order to feel better about herself and her life, you’d better make sure that such a set up is at least halfway credible (Kunis as a mom is a bit of a stretch all by itself). Sadly, the trailer for Bad Moms – Kunis is joined by Kristen Bell and Kathryn Hahn to make up the titular trio – doesn’t give the potential viewer any such assurance. There are definitely laughs to be had but writers/directors Jon Lucas and Scott Moore have too much of a patchy track record – 21 & Over (2013), The Hangover (2009), and er, Four Christmases (2008) – to instil any confidence that we haven’t already seen the best bits from the movie in the trailer – and if that’s the case then the movie, and we the audience, are in a lot of trouble.
Playing like the surreal second cousin to Up (2009), Hunt for the Wilderpeople sees Julian Dennison’s troublesome youngster, Ricky Baker, the focus of a manhunt when he goes missing with his foster uncle Hector (played by Sam Neill). Adapted by writer/director Taika Waititi from the novel by Barry Crump, this is the kind of quirky, offbeat movie that offers a surfeit of genuine laughs to complement the heartfelt drama on display elsewhere. Having co-created the sublime What We Do in the Shadows (2014), Waititi is on his own here, but from the looks of the trailer has done a fantastic job in creating the kind of strange, off-kilter world that allows Ricky and Hector to bond without anyone voicing concerns about the difference in their ages or Hector’s less than friendly demeanour.