TERMINATOR: GENISYS (2015)

Review by Derrick Carter

Running Time: 2 hours 5 minutes

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for Intense Sequences of Sci-Fi Violence and Gunplay throughout, partial Nudity and brief Strong Language

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Directed by: Alan Taylor

Written by: Laeta Kalogridis & Patrick Lussier

Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jason Clarke, Emilia Clarke, Jai Courtney, Lee Byung-Hun & J.K. Simmons

I’m going to be totally honest with you. I didn’t have high expectations for TERMINATOR: GENISYS. It would be an exaggeration to say that I’m a fan of the series. I appreciate the first TERMINATOR as a fun, cheesy piece of 80’s science fiction. I adore JUDGEMENT DAY and believe that it’s one of those rare perfect sequels that improves on its predecessor tenfold. In a perfect world, we would only have two TERMINATOR movies. Instead, the studio decided to cash in with RISE OF THE MACHINES, which is easily the worst movie in the franchise. In 2009, a throwaway effort was made in SALVATION which came off as a very flawed, slightly entertaining piece of fan fiction that somehow made it to the screen. It’s now July 2015 and the summer movie season keeps chugging along with a fifth TERMINATOR film. Where does GENISYS lie? It’s somewhere between the so-so SALVATION and the godawful RISE OF THE MACHINES.

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The year is 2029 and John Connor has led the resistance in the war against the machines to this final night. The war is coming to an end and Skynet has failed, but not before sending a Terminator back to 1984 to kill Sarah Connor (John Connor’s mother) in order to prevent John’s birth. When devoted soldier Kyle Reese volunteers to travel back to the 80’s to save Sarah, it seems like GENISYS might become an out-and-out remake of the first film, but things get a little wonky. Instead of finding the fragile waitress he expected, Reese discovers that he’s somehow wound up on an alternate timeline and Sarah is now a gun-totting bad-ass aided by a Terminator (whom she annoyingly named Pops) that saved her as a child. With various machines hunting them and new memories from this alternate timeline planted in his mind, Kyle discovers that there might be a way to stop Judgement Day from happening with the help of Sarah…and Pops (it pains me to type that name).

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There’s no beating around the bush on this one, GENISYS has a really stupid plot. However, I could sense that there were kernels of good ideas at its center. I dug the whole alternate timeline explanation and even a couple of areas that the film strays to during the second half. However, they’re not executed well. The movie throws the explanation of this being an alternate outcome thanks to events in the original TERMINATOR timeline and then doesn’t go on to explain certain other plot developments. I’m not a guy who needs every single detail spoon-fed to me, but there were a lot of plot holes in this script. In a groan-inducing moment, it becomes apparent that Skynet has changed from a 2003 computer virus (from the poorly aged third installment) to an app (which I’m sure will age just as horribly in a few years). I’ll refrain from spoilers (even though the marketing hasn’t) and just say that most of my major complaints with this screenplay come in the latter half of the film.

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Besides having a ridiculously convoluted story, GENISYS plays out somewhat like a TERMINATOR Greatest Hits album. There’s the T-800 from the original movie and call-backs to that first film. However, there’s also a T-1000 for some reason that’s never explained other than this movie needed a liquid-metal T-1000. Mercifully, the T-X (from the terrible third film) is nowhere to be seen. The special effects range depending on the scene. The liquid metal on the new T-1000 looks good and there are a couple of really enjoyable action sequences (a helicopter chase and a fight in a school bus stand out as my two favorite moments). This being said, the main villain (won’t reveal the spoiler in this review) looks very cheesy, especially in a final confrontation with Robo-Arnie. There’s also a battle sequence near the beginning that looks like PlayStation 2 graphics were distractingly inserted into the film too.

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The performances are hit-or-miss. Arnold Schwarzenegger nails his role as the Terminator (his aged appearance is explained in one of the more original twists in the script). He’s not to the degree that he was in JUDGEMENT DAY, but he’s far better than he was in RISE OF THE MACHINES. Arnie also delivers the only comic relief in the film that works aside from J.K. Simmons in the fun role of a baffled cop. Jason Clarke goes into over-the-top territory as John Connor. To me, Kyle Reese has always been a bland character, but it’s safe to say that Jai Courtney’s Reese is easily the blandest take we’ve seen on this already bland hero. In a surprising turn of events, Emilia Clarke is well cast as Sarah Connor. Though she can come off as too forced in moments, Clarke mostly owns the role of bad-ass heroine in a far more competent way that I was expecting.

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TERMINATOR: GENISYS is not the worst TERMINATOR movie. That disgraceful title still belongs to TERMINATOR 3, but GENISYS is the second-worst installment in the series. Everything in this movie is a mixed bag that has slightly more negative than positive. Some performances are enjoyable (Schwarzenegger, J.K. Simmons, Emilia Clarke), while others aren’t so good (Jai Courtney, Jason Clarke). A few of the effects look solid (those two aforementioned action scenes), while others look like cheap video game graphics. Finally, the script has interesting ideas and fails to execute them in a satisfying way that makes sense. TERMINATOR: GENISYS is a watchable, but useless fifth installment in a franchise that should have quit after the second film.

Grade: C-

MEN, WOMEN & CHILDREN (2014)

Review by Derrick Carter

Running Time: 1 hour 59 minutes

MPAA Rating: R for Strong Sexual Content including Graphic Dialogue throughout -some involving Teens, and for Language

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Directed by: Jason Reitman

Written by: Jason Reitman & Erin Cressida Wilson

(based on the novel MEN, WOMEN & CHILDREN by Chad Kultgen)

Starring: Rosemarie DeWitt, Jennifer Garner, Judy Greer, Dean Norris, Adam Sandler, Ansel Elgort, Kaitlyn Dever, J.K. Simmons, David Denham, Jason Douglas & Emma Thompson

I was actually planning on reviewing MEN, WOMEN & CHILDREN during its theatrical run last October, but the film jumped in and out of theaters in a blink of an eye. The film tanked horribly and holds the title as one of the lowest grossing movie weekends for a film playing in 600+ theaters. The reason I didn’t watch this one in theaters was because it vanished within a week’s time. Jason Reitman’s dark ensemble drama about the dangers of the internet was on the same ground with BEFORE I GO TO SLEEP for briefest wide release in 2014. However, this movie looked good and I wanted to see it regardless. Having now watched it, I’m of the opinion that MEN, WOMEN & CHILDREN is a severely mixed bag. There are things that stand out as good (even great) in areas, but just as many silly clichés and awkwardness where there should be emotions.

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The story revolves around five different families who are all struggling with dark secrets. Helen and Don Truby are a bored married couple who both desire to be unfaithful, while their fifteen-year-old son struggles with a pornography addiction. Patricia Beltmeyer is an extremely overprotective mother, whose misguided actions (monitoring every one of her daughter’s online interactions, text messages, tracking the GPS on her cell phone) are smothering her frustrated teenager. Then there’s Joan Clint who helps her daughter with a modeling website that’s overly risqué. Wait, did I forget to mention the Mooneys (father and son who are both struggling with identity crisis after their wife/mother leaves them) and the Doss family (whose cheerleader daughter is suffering from an eating disorder)? You might already see a bit of the main problem with MEN, WOMEN & CHILDREN in this synopsis which is that there’s way too much ground to cover for a two-hour film.

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Director/co-writer Jason Reitman adapts Chad Kultgen’s novel and doesn’t seem to grasp that there simply isn’t enough time to properly show every single scene of 320-page book on the screen. It’s almost as if Reitman tried to adapt all the subplots and two of these could have easily been cut out entirely. The social issues that the characters struggle with are important (body image, addiction, temptation, etc.), but the whole film tries to encompass every one of these problems and doesn’t have a full grasp any of them. Since the focus is mainly on the actions of the characters, actual character development is kept to a minimum for most of the cast. This also leads to unresolved plot threads as this film is tackling about 17 characters and wants us to feel something towards each one of them.

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Even with character development is on the shallow side, the performers almost save the film in some ways. Ansel Elgort (a hit among young adult audiences with FAULT IN OUR STARS and DIVERGENT) takes on his most emotionally mature role yet as a kid suffering from depression. Judy Greer is solid in the role of a mother vicariously living through her child and Jennifer Garner is frustrating as a misguided mom who won’t even let her teenage daughter breathe without permission. Most surprising is Adam Sandler’s understated role as Don and shows that he still has dramatic chops when he chooses to use them. The young cast members (far too many to list) all sell their characters as believable teenagers struggling with their own problems. Seeing as the movie takes on far too many characters, a few quality actors are swept to the sidelines, including J.K. Simmons and Dean Norris.

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I imagine that most people will have a problem with the overall message and execution. This might not have been the deliberate intention of Reitman, but it feels like a lot of blame is going towards the internet at the sole cause of every one of these problems. Though there’s no defense against social networks and websites fuelling issues that were already there, it feels like too simple an answer to blame addiction, body image, and cheating spouses completely on modern technology. Those issues existed long before the dawn of the internet and will continue long after. It feels like the film is trying to make a grand, sweeping, and revelatory statement, but it’s old news and has been seen in better films (2013’s DISCONNECT).

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MEN, WOMEN & CHILDREN doesn’t make any new discoveries about technology feeding into serious problems and tries to cover way too much ground at once. There are great scenes hidden in the plodding two-hour run time and many solid performances as well, but these are almost drowned out by a pretentious attitude towards the material (coming off as cliché more than once) and underdeveloped characters that populate a massive cast. The good and bad evenly weigh themselves out into a middle-of-the-road experience that is likely to leave just about everyone unsatisfied or slightly pissed off.

Grade: C

My Top 10 Films of 2014

List by Derrick Carter

2014 has been a solid year for cinema. As with every film critic (freelance or professional), there comes a time of decision-making as to what the best movies of the year were. This list is all opinion based (like my reviews) and I can understand why people might not (and probably won’t) completely agree with every choice. In deciding how to rank my top 10 of the year, I noticed there was an equal amount of independent/foreign fare and big studio hits. This was unintentional, but is a nice detail that highlights how balanced this year really was for cinema all around.

Before I get into my actual list, it bears mentioning that I have not seen/reviewed every single film from this year (I plan on covering FOXCATCHER, INHERENT VICE, and AMERICAN SNIPER eventually). I’m only one man after all, so my selections come from the films that I’ve watched and reviewed this year. That all being said and without further ado, here are my 10 favorite films from 2014!

Honorable Mentions: BOUND BY FLESH, UNDER THE SKIN, CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER, FURY, THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES, HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2, and A MOST WANTED MAN

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10. BIG BAD WOLVES: I wasn’t terribly impressed with Aharon Keshales’s and Navot Papushado’s directorial debut, RABIES. BIG BAD WOLVES serves as a drastic improvement. At first, the story seems relatively simple. However, the diabolical screenplay toys with the viewer in injecting a pitch-black sense of humor that works wonderfully and a dark tone that isn’t the slightest bit funny. Things aren’t as simple as they originally appear and a haunting conclusion ensures that this film will stick with you. I originally saw/reviewed it in January and it has held up on multiple viewings throughout the year. If you’re up for a disturbing tour-de-force of horror that defies expectations, BIG BAD WOLVES should be on your radar!

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9. THE LEGO MOVIE: On New Year’s Day, I was chatting with a friend about how much I thought THE LEGO MOVIE was going to suck. This concept seemed doomed from the beginning and I was reluctantly dragged to the theater at the urging of my younger siblings. In all of 2014, I have never been so happy that I was so wrong about a film! Blending meta-elements, rapid fire jokes, and a hilarious storyline, THE LEGO MOVIE is 2014’s biggest surprise! The animation (which appears to combine stop-motion and computer graphics) is stellar. Tons of jokes are present so that it takes multiple viewings to catch every little piece (pun intended) that the movie has to offer. LEGO MOVIE is not only the best family film of 2014, everything about it is awesome!

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8. X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST: The X-MEN movies have a good vs. bad ratio of 5 to 2. Those are fantastic odds for any blockbuster series. DAYS OF FUTURE PAST delivered the best entry in the mutant saga to date. This much-anticipated comic book storyline was fantastically brought to life by returning director Bryan Singer. In lesser hands, FUTURE PAST could have become a standard blockbuster with the gimmick of time travel used to combine both casts of the franchise. Instead, this film was a delight to sit through for myself and many film goers this past summer. Easily the best comic book film since Christopher Nolan graced the silver screen with his take on Batman. Definitely count me in for APOCALYPSE in 2016!

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7. NIGHTCRAWLER: Scarier than any true horror film that I saw in all of 2014, NIGHTCRAWLER is a truly disturbing movie. Disappearing completely into the main character of Lou, Jake Gyllenhaal delivers an award-worthy performance that creeped me out to the point where I was wriggling in my seat as he manipulated everyone around him. In a sense, Lou is a vampire sucking the moral decency out of everyone he comes across. As a dark, disturbing, and unflinching masterwork, NIGHTCRAWLER serves as cinematic nightmare that I can’t wait to revisit in the near future.

DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES, Andy Serkis, 2014. ph: David James/TM and ©Copyright Twentieth

6. DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES: This was the summer blockbuster that delivered on every possible level. It had grand action and amazing effects (those monkeys look so real), but also incorporated them into a smart story and complicated characters. While RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES was a huge surprise for everyone, DAWN has cemented itself as my personal favorite APE movie. DAWN blended spectacle and a fantastic plot so perfectly that it makes me shake with anticipation for the newest upcoming APES film (Summer 2016). Having seen RISE and DAWN, I’m more than prepared to bow down to our future primate overlords. This movie rocked!

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5. THE RAID 2: I watched the original RAID at its Sundance premiere and thought it was an impressive action flick, but a tad overrated in the end. This exhilarating sequel pulls out all the stops to one up the original in every possible way. While APES blended spectacle with an intelligent story, RAID 2 blends an intense gangster thriller with mind-blowing action scenes. I was exhausted by the end of this film and that’s the biggest compliment I can give any action movie. Each fight scene has its own unique spin so none of them blended into one another. A few that stick out in my mind are a prison yard fight, one of the most intense/realistic car chases that I’ve ever seen, and a stunning confrontation between two highly skilled, deadly men. Those are just a few of the phenomenal sequences that this epic-length modern action classic has to offer. It plays like THE DEPARTED had a baby with a Bruce Lee movie. It’s friggin’ nuts and I loved every second of it!

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4. WHIPLASH: How do you turn a protégé story about a young man trying to be a successful drummer into a nail-bitingly thriller? Apparently, you get Damien Chazelle to write and direct it. Though he is a young newcomer, Chazelle struck gold in this fantastic and deep drama. I didn’t like Miles Teller before watching this movie and now appreciate that he has some serious acting chops on him. J.K. Simmons, usually a side character or background actor, is given room to be the most intimidating antagonist that I saw in a film all year. He plays a conductor, but Simmons is downright scary as hell and entertaining to watch at the same time. Well shot, well written, well acted, and all around well constructed, WHIPLASH is a masterpiece!

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3. THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL: The evening that I spent watching this magical film was an enchanting experience. Evoking a sense of classic comedies and a fairy tale color palette, Wes Anderson’s GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL sucked me into its oddball world from the first frame. Ralph Fiennes’s Gustave H. and Adrien Brody’s villain had me breaking into hysterical laughter throughout this whole film. Besides the humor, there’s a unique sweetness to BUDAPEST as well as a compelling storyline (background happenings reward repeat viewings). GRAND BUDAPEST is sincere in its story, humor, honest emotions, and ridiculous nature. Cinematic heaven!

GONE GIRL, from left: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, 2014. ph: Merrick Morton/TM & copyright ©20th

2. GONE GIRL: Going into 2014, there was one film that I was highly anticipating. That was David Fincher’s adaptation of the best-selling mystery, GONE GIRL. The novel is acclaimed, for good reason, of having a nasty sleight of hand that trips up the reader’s preconceived notions. Fincher masterfully transfers that level of Hitchcockian suspense onto the screen in this deeply disturbing and haunting thriller. I didn’t spoil anything in my review and I won’t spoil anything here either. If anyone does try to give away the plot, slap them in the face before they can give away any detail. Though it’s really your fault for having not seen this film yet. Go see it! Seriously! It’s the smartest, entirely compelling and most intense thriller that I’ve seen all year. Once you’ve seen GONE GIRL, you’ll know why everyone is raving about it so much.

BIRDMAN OR (THE UNEXPECTED VIRTUE OF IGNORANCE), (aka BIRDMAN), Michael Keaton, on set, 2014. /TM

1. BIRDMAN or (THE UNEXPECTED VIRTUE OF IGNORANCE): What do I even say about this film? When I saw the trailer for BIRDMAN, I felt iffy on it. This looked to be a quirky comedy that could potentially be good, but might rely far too much on the gimmick of having a washed-up former superhero actor playing a washed-up former superhero actor. Nevertheless, I walked into the movie theater hoping for a good flick. In less than 10 minutes, I was under the film’s spell. This wasn’t just good or funny, this was fantastic and amazing. Telling the story in a stylistic choice that appears to be caught in one take (through various hidden cuts) and containing some of the best performances that this entire year had to offer, BIRDMAN is an extraordinary piece of cinema. I’ve bad-mouthed Michael Keaton for a couple of crappy movies he did earlier this year, but his performance really is something to behold in this film! There’s never been anything quite like BIRDMAN before and there’s never going to be anything quite like it again. BIRDMAN is perfection!

2014 was a solid year and produced a lot of phenomenal films. I hope 2015 is even better!

WHIPLASH (2014)

Review by Derrick Carter

Running Time: 1 hour 47 minutes

MPAA Rating: R for Strong Language including some Sexual References

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Directed by: Damien Chazelle

Written by: Damien Chazelle

Starring: Miles Teller, J.K. Simmons, Melissa Benoist, Austin Stowell, Jayson Blair & Kavita Patil

No matter where I’ve turned on the internet or what TV channel I’ve been watching, it seems like there was no avoiding the marketing campaign for Sundance winner and potential Oscar nominee WHIPLASH. Everywhere I looked, I saw some form of praise for this dark drama about obsession, abuse, and an unrelenting drive to be great. With all this build-up, there was the ever-growing possibility of the film being too hyped up for its own good. Let me put those fears to rest right now by saying WHIPLASH lives up to everything that’s being said about it and more. This is one of the very best films that 2014 has to offer!

WHIPLASH, from left: J.K. Simmons, Miles Teller, 2014. ph: Daniel McFadden/©Sony Pictures

Andrew Neiman has recently been accepted into Shaffer Conservatory (the finest music school in the country) and is working his ass off to be the very best drummer that he can. Taking interest in the young man is fearsome conductor Terence Fletcher. Fletcher has a reputation for being a tough and demanding instructor, but Andrew is up to the task of working under him. As Andrew is accepted into the school’s Jazz band, it becomes quickly apparent that Fletcher isn’t just tough and demanding…he’s also a master manipulator and an all-around abusive dickhead. Instead of giving up on his dreams, Andrew decides to keep working under the harsh conditions of Fletcher…which leads into an intense emotionally charged battle between the two.

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A movie centering around a struggling drummer might not sound like the most riveting piece of cinema on paper and there are plenty of clichés associated with mentor-protégé stories, but WHIPLASH proves both of these assumptions wrong. One key asset to the film that director/writer Damien Chazelle puts you into the mindset of Andrew (brought to life in a stirring Miles Teller). This protagonist is sympathetic and we understand his aspirations for a future career as a musician becoming an obsession. Drumming is the most important thing to him and vicariously it becomes a similarly important goal to the viewer for the entire running time. This story could easily be seen as the downward spiral of a young man as his work begins to destroy his life, but WHIPLASH is so much more than something that simple or easy to describe.

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A strong element that takes WHIPLASH into intense unexpected directions is J.K. Simmons’s antagonist. As the foul-mouthed Fletcher, Simmons delivers the performance of his career thus far. The film doesn’t take any sort of easy route in offering up answers to what kind of person that Fletcher really is. He’s a phenomenally written character with highly questionable methods, but a drive that’s more complicated than one may initially expect. As the film goes on, new developments are revealed about Fletcher and it really makes the viewer question if they should outright hate the guy by the conclusion. I’m not all in for the trials of abuse equaling greatness, but Fletcher comes across as almost making a solid case for it in the context of the story (especially in one conversation).

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WHIPLASH stays constantly intense. The viewer may find themselves getting frustrated with the film in the sense that it is pummeling core emotions. The story is all around excellent and I can safely say it has one of the very best conclusions that I’ve seen to a film in a long time. I had no clue what I was in store for and found myself questioning what the outcome of the final minutes would be, but was extremely pleased with how the film wound up. Just like the rest of the movie, the ending of WHIPLASH offers no easy answers and leaves you pondering long after the credits have begun to roll.

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It’s true! Believe the hype! WHIPLASH is a thrilling, original, and excellent film any way you look at it. Miles Teller (who I ragged on earlier this year for starring in the crappy DIVERGENT) pulls a 180 turn in his stellar performance as a struggling young man whose ambition might be the end of him. J.K. Simmons (usually given small side characters) is allowed free rein to play a borderline psychotic antagonist in the best performance of his career thus far. This film is a powerful beast (much like the title music number that’s repeated various times throughout). I adored WHIPLASH and plan on watching it many times in the coming years!

Grade: A+

EXTRACT (2009)

Review by Derrick Carter

Running Time: 1 hour 32 minutes

MPAA Rating: R for Language, Sexual References and Some Drug Use

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Directed by: Mike Judge

Written by: Mike Judge

Starring: Jason Bateman, Mila Kunis, Kristen Wiig, Ben Affleck, J.K. Simmons, Clifton Collins Jr., David Koechner, Beth Grant, T.J. Miller

Mike Judge has gained quite a following of fans with his hysterical workplace comedy (OFFICE SPACE) and a long-running animated sitcom (KING OF THE HILL). Though I have yet to see IDIOCRACY, I hear it’s pretty damn funny too. EXTRACT is a movie that has fast been forgotten since it’s release almost five years ago. Though it includes some colorful characters and moments of dry humor that work in the story’s favor, this is a mostly bland comedy wandering aimlessly in search of an interesting plot strand to grab hold of.

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Joel (Jason Bateman) is a self-made company owner and the central character of EXTRACT. Though his work life is going very well, he finds himself sexually frustrated with his exhausted wife who just doesn’t seem to care anymore. After an accident, caused by some dysfunctional employees, results in a worker getting injured. Joel finds himself faced with a variety of problems. Some of these are caused by himself (such as hiring a gigolo to clean his pool to see if his wife would be unfaithful given the circumstances), but most are caused by a recently hired temp, named Cindy (Mila Kunis). Faced with an impending lawsuit, a cheating spouse (a role that seems wasted by the usually great Kristin Wiig), and a thief in the company’s midst, Joel’s problems are colliding.

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From that synopsis, you might notice a lack of intriguing details. That’s because EXTRACT feels more like a slice-of-life comedy. The problems come from the both the slice that was cut and life that it happens to be from. For the most part, these are both dull. With any good characters backing this plot up, EXTRACT could have been entertaining. The real issue comes in the character of Joel. We rarely leave his side and he’s the most focused character of the entire film. There’s just not much to him. He’s not very likable and the holes he keeps getting himself into don’t result in many laughs, but rather a growing distaste for this asshole. With a great performance Joel might have been molded into a character that the viewer would enjoy watching. Jason Bateman seems to be just reading off a teleprompter for most of the film and the same can be said about nearly every other cast member here.

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The most colorful characters are regulated to a few minutes of screen time and nobody leaves a lasting impression after the credits have ended. There are doubtful to be any Joel T-shirts or memes, unlike the countless Lumberg or Milton impressions and quotes that are frequently brought from OFFICE SPACE. I wouldn’t be comparing the two, but we’ve seen what Mike Judge is capable of in his past work and to make another workplace comedy (albeit in a different environment) you have to expect some form of comparison.

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Besides being in a search of an interesting plot thread, EXTRACT also seems to be looking for a solid tone to roll with. Sometimes, the movie wants to be funny. Other times, it’s a bit more dramatic. It seems like Mike Judge kind of wanted to do a more serious workplace comedy with hints of OFFICE SPACE or KING OF THE HILL. There’s some dry humor that works. The funniest scenes usually involve Joel’s annoying neighbor (played by a nerdy David Koechner) who doesn’t take hints to leave, even if the door is literally slammed in his face. Ben Affleck is actually decent enough as a drug-addicted bartender and best friend of Joel, but again, this is a character forced into the backdrop. The comedy aspect of the film seems to fall flat in 3/4ths of the jokes presented. It’s like someone with a sense of dry humor repeating the same joke that wasn’t funny in its first time around.

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It’s not that EXTRACT is particularly bad. It’s just mediocre and almost flavorless. In the past, Mike Judge has made a hilarious cult hit and a funny animated sitcom (along with BEAVIS AND BUTTHEAD). EXTRACT was his latest directorial effort in the cinematic world. It just feels bland. If it were any flavor of the many extracts that the main character would manufacture in his company, EXTRACT would be vanilla. Take that as you will.

Grade: C

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