John Phillips

John Phillips

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Dirty Grandpa Review

Good

There's nothing clever about this deliberately rude and vulgar comedy, but certain audiences will find it absolutely hilarious. Never afraid to head straight into the cheapest, nastiest gag, director Dan Mazar and writer John Phillips throw their odd-couple stars into a series of riotously awkward situations, usually involving nudity. And even if it's not as funny as it ought to be, at least there's some meaning to the chaos.

Zac Efron plays Jason, a bright young Atlanta lawyer who takes after his workaholic father (Dermot Mulroney). But Jason's grandfather Dick (Robert De Niro) remembers a more interesting Jason, before ruthless ambition took over his life. So after Grandma's funeral, Dick asks Jason to drive him down to Florida a week before Jason is due to marry the high-maintenance Meredith (Julianne Hough). Jason quickly discovers that Grandpa is intent on sowing some very wild oats, detouring their journey through Daytona at spring break, where they meet a couple of girls (Aubrey Plaza and Zoey Deutch) who are up for pretty much anything. What Jason doesn't know is that Grandpa is doing all of this to remind Jason who he really is, and to show him how to enjoy life instead of control it.

The script sometimes lays on this message rather thickly in between a series of deliberately jaw-dropping gross-out sequences. Predictably, drugs and sex abound, and most of the jokes are so corny and ludicrous that they're not remotely believable. Everything that happens strains to shock the audience, which means that nothing is actually very shocking. But while the story has no tension at all, it also manages to grab hold of the audience simply because the characters are so vividly played by the fearless Efron and De Niro. Neither role is much of a stretch, but they dive into even the yucky and/or naked moments with gusto, developing some chemistry in the process.

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Monterey Pop Review


Excellent
For those of us who weren't yet born when the 1960's rock 'n' rolled around, Monterey Pop affords an affectionate glimpse of the music that influenced our parents to be hippies. From Otis Redding to Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin to the Mamas and the Papas, and Jefferson Airplane to The Who, this documentary is jam-packed with contagious energy. But I give fair warning that I will reveal the ending, which does not do the rest of the film the justice it deserves.

Shot in 1969 at an outdoor concert that precluded Woodstock, the film defies the stereotype of the general population at the time. Sure, some have painted their faces and smoke joints, but D.A. Pennebaker (The War Room, Moon Over Broadway) surprisingly chooses to show a broad spectrum of the audience. No matter who is watching, it all comes back to the talented musicians that stir your soul.

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Village Of The Damned (1960) Review


Excellent
The creepiest moment in the recent horror film Godsend - maybe the only creepy moment - occurs when the boy around whom the action is centered informs his father, in a steady, vaguely threatening voice, that he doesn't think he likes him so much anymore. It's scary; the boy is in a sudden position of authority over his dad. The grown-ups in the audience don't like the way it sounds.

It's a good thing, then, that these same grown-ups weren't around in the British village of Midwich circa 1950. In that sleepy hamlet the entire population suffers from a brief blackout one day; a few months later, all the Midwich women of child-bearing age find that they were expecting, and the children, when they come along, are not exactly like the other boys and girls. They are, in fact, exactly like one another: blonde, rather too intelligent for our comfort, and possessed of a particularly icy stare. To say that they are aloof is an understatement. And, perhaps most tellingly, they have a hive mentality: They keep only one another's company, they communicate wordlessly, and when one of these children learns a fact, the others automatically learn it too.

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John Phillips

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John Phillips Movies

Dirty Grandpa Movie Review

Dirty Grandpa Movie Review

There's nothing clever about this deliberately rude and vulgar comedy, but certain audiences will find...

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