Tag Archives: Maude Apatow

The King of Staten Island (2020) Review

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The King of Staten Island

Time: 136 minutes
Cast:
Pete Davidson as Scott Carlin
Marisa Tomei as Margie Carlin
Bill Burr as Ray Bishop
Bel Powley as Kelsey
Maude Apatow as Claire Carlin
Steve Buscemi as Papa
Director: Judd Apatow

Scott (Pete Davidson) has been a case of arrested development since his firefighter dad died. He spends his days smoking weed and dreaming of being a tattoo artist until events force him to grapple with his grief and take his first steps forward in life.

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I heard of The King of Staten Island more recently. All I knew was that it was directed by Judd Apatow, and that I heard from a lot of people that it was meant to be quite good. I saw a trailer for it so I knew of the general plot, but still I really didn’t know what to expect going in. The King of Staten Island is a heartfelt and decent comedy drama, with quite a lot of good parts to it, and it is worth watching.

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From what I can tell, this movie is a semi auto biographical film to lead actor Pete Davidson, it feels quite personal, and it definitely benefited from that. The script is written quite well with both Apatow and Davidson being involved with the writing. The humour is good and does hit the beats most of the time, at least 80% of the time. While The King of Staten Island is a dramedy, it is a little more of a comedy than a drama, but there are some mature topics involved, and I think that the movie at least handled them better than I thought it would. I think my biggest problem with the movie is that it does feel quite drawn out. I’m used to watching movies that are 2 hours and 15 minutes long but that’s an absurd length for this movie. Not to say I was bored throughout or anything, I liked watching the movie, I just felt it could’ve been trimmed a bit (even though I can’t single out particular moments that should’ve been cut). With all that being said, I don’t have too many issues with the movie by the end, I liked the way the story went, and it was definitely heartfelt. I have trouble connecting with just about all coming of age movies and this movie is no exception, nonetheless there was a lot of passion put into this movie and you feel that throughout.

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I haven’t seen Pete Davidson in anything and didn’t really know he was even though I heard of his name a few times, but he gives quite a strong performance as Scott in this movie. Given that the whole film is basically based off his life, as you can expect that it would automatically add to his performance, and he’s good. It’s a fully realized, nuanced and real performance, and is definitely the centre to this film. At the same time, the rest of the cast including Marisa Tomei, Bill Burr, Bel Powley, Maude Apatow and Steve Buscemi also give good some performances and really do well their parts for the movie.

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I’ve only seen Knocked Up and 40 Year Old Virgin from Judd Apatow, he directed both well and they’re decent, and he also directed The King of Staten Island quite well too. There’s not really much to say about the direction in this movie, it’s at the standard that you’d expect. I don’t really have any complaints about it, but it’s very clear that the focus is much more on the writing and the acting, and that’s alright.

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The King of Staten Island was actually pretty good. I don’t think I like it to the extent that most people do, and I do have some issues with it, especially with the overindulgent length that could’ve been a bit smaller. At the same time, most of the humour works, the writing is good and heartfelt, and the acting is great, particularly from Pete Davidson who gives a standout performance. I say it’s worth checking out when you get the time.

Assassination Nation (2018) Review

Time: 110 Minutes
Age Rating: 79a0443c-3460-4500-922d-308b655c1350[1] Graphic violence, sexual violence, sex scenes & offensive language
Cast:
Odessa Young as Lily Colson
Suki Waterhouse as Sarah Lacey
Hari Nef as Bex
Abra as Em Lacey
Bella Thorne as Reagan Hall
Bill Skarsgård as Mark
Joel McHale as Nick Mathers
Maude Apatow as Grace
Colman Domingo as Principal Turrell
Anika Noni Rose as Nancey Lacey
Director: Sam Levinson

High school senior Lily (Odessa Young) and her three best friends (Suki Waterhouse, Hari Nef, Abra) live in a haze of texts, posts, selfies and chats — just like the rest of the world. Their small town gets turned upside down when an anonymous hacker starts to reveal personal messages and secrets of thousands of people. As anger erupts into full-blown violence, the four girls soon find themselves in a fight for their lives against an armed mob.

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I heard some things about Assassination Nation for a while, it was rather polarising for some people, and some referred to it as a better version of The Purge. Some loved the movie, others really disliked it. Going in not knowing much outside of that, I ended up falling somewhere in the middle camp on Assassination Nation, I don’t hate the movie but I do hate aspects of it. While the idea of it could’ve worked, it was just way too full of itself , obnoxious and trying way too hard to be ‘edgy’ and satirical that most of it doesn’t really land. Not that it doesn’t have some decent parts to it but it doesn’t make up for all the parts that don’t work.

From the very beginning, Assassination Nation is pretty rough. It’s really worth noting that the movie is very much a satire on modern day culture, especially with social media and partially focussing on high school kids who are on their phone all day, with it acting as a modern satire on the Salem Witch Trials. While on paper it sounds like it could be something good, the satire is so incredibly blatant, and obnoxiously so. Usually I don’t have a problem with in your face satire, both Sorry to Bother You and Vice are satires that aren’t particularly subtle that are among my favourite films of the year. I’m not sure what went wrong with Assassination Nation that didn’t work for me but here it just felt really annoying and pretentious (and trust me, I usually abstain from using that word because I hate it but I don’t know what else to call it). I think its because it comes across like the writer/director believes it to be like the greatest thing ever, is absolute genius, and smarter than it really is, even if he doesn’t necessarily feel that way. I can’t tell whether Assassination Nation will work for you or not, if you want to know for sure, you’ll just have to watch the movie for yourself. First of all the movie starts by giving a Trigger Warning and it just seemed like it was a way to be ‘edgy’. The movie starts from the very beginning going right into the social commentary. It got to the point where the movie just feels like the film embodiment of the meme ‘We Live In A Society’ (if you don’t know what it is, its not worth looking into it). The in your face satire that annoyed me mostly comes from the dialogue, which can be very cringe inducing and a pain to listen to at times. Making that worse is that while I can get what messages and themes they were going for, they don’t achieve it very well by the end and it just sort of disappears. Side note but you can tell from the beginning that it’s trying to be a female empowerment movie (it’s pretty hard to not notice this, given that the movie doesn’t know what subtlety is), but there are many moments in here that were incredibly questionable to that and very inconsistent. I didn’t care at all about any of the characters, they were unlikable, annoying, bland, or all 3. The lead characters were the closest to being watchable but I still didn’t care much about it all. So on top of the satire being ham fisted and obnoxious, I had no investment whatsoever in the story. If the whole town just blew up I wouldn’t have cared, in fact it probably would’ve been cathartic. It got to the point where I just wanted to watch the original Purge movie again instead, which is a feeling I never thought that I would ever have. Eventually Assassination Nation gets much better later on in the third act as it leans in more towards being somewhat like The Purge but that’s when there is like 40 minutes left of the running time and even then it doesn’t completely make up for the rest of the movie. With that said, if you’re like an hour of the way into the movie, just know that you may be entertained by the last act, so don’t jump out of it just yet.

Some of the ways characters act are meant to be satirical and over the top, a lot of the time they really come across as being obnoxious a lot of the time (the dialogue doesn’t help much) but the actors at least do the best they can in their roles and with what they have. The leads, Odessa Young, Sukie Waterhouse, Haris Nef and Abra are all good in their roles.

Something I can say is that the visual direction by Sam Levinson is pretty good. It’s got quite a good look, he definitely knows his way behind a camera, visually it is really a stunning looking movie. With that said, having scenes with very neon lighting isn’t enough to just make me love the movie, it doesn’t make up for the script. Despite there being a Trigger Warning at the beginning of the movie to seem ‘edgy’, it is genuinely a very violent and graphic movie and not for the faint of heart. Now I have a high threshold for movie violence, but whenever there’s a bunch of gratuitous violence that’s unneeded, it can turn me off and that’s the case here. It just added more onto the feeling that Assassination Nation was just trying way too hard.

Assassination Nation doesn’t work as well as I think the director thinks the movie is. While there are parts to it that are alright, with a messy script that comes across as trying way too hard, I did not have a particularly good time with the movie. With that said, I heard some very divided reactions, so I’m not sure how you’ll feel about it. I guess if you’re curious enough you could check it out but honestly I don’t think you’re missing out on much if you decide not to watch it. Maybe if I was still in high school or something I might’ve liked the movie a lot more.