Paul McGuire Grimes from Paul’s Trip to the Movies reviews three new movies. Find out what he thinks before you spend the money to go or stream.
NIGHT SCHOOL (theatrical pick)
Kevin Hart plays Teddy Walker who failed out of high school back in the day. His sister was the smart one of the family, and he didn’t care about putting in the effort. As an adult he finds himself in a bit of a jam. He recently lost his job selling grills and patio furniture at Joe’s BBQ City and now can’t find employment without having a high school diploma or GED. He decides to enroll in night school at his former high school in order to prep for his GED. His class is a bunch of misfits all looking at getting their life back in order. While his teacher (Tiffany Haddish) is supportive, the principal of Teddy’s school is his former rival back when they were teens.
-Starring: Kevin Hart, Tiffany Haddish, Taran Killam, Rob Riggle, Ben Schwartz
-Fans of Kevin Hart will definitely get a kick out of this movie. He continues to play into his image and brand of comedy. Hart also serves as one of the film’s six credited screenwriters and is one of the movie’s producers.
-The best scenes are when Hart gets to square off against Tiffany Haddish. They’re both known for being loud, high-energy comics, so their antics against each other work well as she always tries to top him.
-Outside of those few scenes, I don’t feel like Haddish is utilized that well. She’s not given enough material to play to her strengths and is relegated to the standard supportive teacher role. I would rather have seen her in the principal role instead of Taran Killam.
-The story is fairly thin and the concept runs tired after thirty minutes. Too often it resorts to gross-out gag humor with the antics the night school students get themselves caught up in.
-Attempts to be a mix of The Breakfast Club and Animal House, but feels mostly lazy and missing any sort of originality.
Is It Worth Your Trip to the Movies? For die hard Kevin Hart fans only.
RATING: 2 out of 5 TICKET STUBS
SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY (home release pick)
Solo: A Star Wars Story gives the backstory to fan favorite character Han Solo who is currently based on the planet of Corellia and is desperately trying to escape from the crime syndicate he’s involved in. He’s essentially committing crimes for others in return for survival and protection. He’s looking for a way off the planet and can easily hot wire any space vessel that can get him and girlfriend Qi’ra out of any situation. Their latest attempt at escaping goes wrong separating both of them for an indeterminate time. Han promises to one day make it back to Corellia to be with Qi’ra. The story jumps forward three years and finds Han as a soldier in battle. It’s here where he meets up with criminal smugglers Tobias Beckett, his wife Val, and future co-pilot Chewbacca. Han concocts a scheme to join them on their heist mission aboard a train winding through the snowy mountains. It’s one of the best sequences in the whole movie. They eventually find themselves on another mission to transport coaxium fuel canisters. Han considers himself the fastest pilot in the galaxy, but what he needs is the fastest ship. That just happens to be the trusty Millennium Falcon currently owned by unlawful gambler Lando Calrissian who’s not about to hand over the keys to his precious Falcon.
-Starring: Alden Ehrenreich, Donald Glover, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Thandie Newton, Paul Bettany
-It’s best to go into Solo: A Star Wars Story with the right expectations. Director Ron Howard keeps this the lightest, minimalistic movie in the canon. The overall approach is that of a space western meets James Bond movie. It’s a character driven piece instead of a galactic space opera full of special effects and epic battles between good and evil with light sabers.
-Unlike the new trilogy or Rogue One, Solo works the hardest at trying to buy the audience into introducing a variety of new creatures and characters. The end result is a mixed bag with a few characters leaving a strong impression, while others like the main villain, are wholly forgettable.
-The movie works best when we have our returning characters like Han, Chewie, and Lando all back in the same scenes. I got a kick out of how the writers play out the budding friendship between Han and Chewie and how Lando plays into all of this.
-Fans should know going in that this isn’t the Han Solo we have come to expect yet. He’s still growing into the quintessential bad boy image Harrison Ford gave him. Alden Ehrenreich successfully makes the character his own without relying on Harrison Ford impressions. He’s at his best when he gets to be arrogant and cocky flashing that winning smile of his.
-Donald Glover was the standout in the film as Lando Calrissian. It feels effortless for him to inhabit this character and capture Billy Dee Williams’ tone without impersonation. My only qualm is that we don’t get enough Lando in this film, as it’s far too long before he appears on screen.
Is It Worth Your Trip to the Movies? Solo has a few winning performances but is playing it too safe given the character and franchise’s history.