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Posts Tagged ‘Ike Barinholtz’

Betty Gilpin (right)

“THE HUNT” My rating: C+

89 minutes | MPAA rating: R

The premise of “The Hunt” —  a bunch of rich sphincters go hunting for other humans on a private game preserve — has been recycling through the cinema ever since 1932’s “The Most Dangerous Game.”

But this is the first time the hunters have been  elite libtards and their prey Trumpers.

Okay, okay. Step back and take a deep breath.

Craig Zobel’s film lets us know early on with a bombastic musical score that it isn’t meant to be taken too seriously.  Ditto for the laughably over-the-top violence.

Which is not to say that “The Hunt” doesn’t have some fairly serious subtext.  At its core it’s about how America’s deep political and social divisions are leading to self-destruction.

Mostly, though, the picture is played for thrills and yuks.

A dozen individuals awaken in a forest. Rubber gags have been locked onto their faces. They discover a large wooden crate containing a small arsenal of weapons and a key that opens their mouthpieces.

And then all hell breaks lose. These individuals — some played by familiar faces like Emma Roberts, Jake Barinholtz, and Justin Hartley (Kevin on TV’s “This is Us”) — must negotiate a dangerous landscape.  They may be shot with bullets and arrows, blown up by land mines, poisoned with dosed donuts or skewered in pits filled with sharpened wooden stakes. (more…)

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Tiffany Haddish, Ike Barinholtz

“THE OATH”  My rating: B 

93 minutes | MPAA rating: R

One of the America’s most hellish rituals — the family Thanksgiving gathering — takes on even more demonic dimensions in Ike Barinholtz’s “The Oath.”

Barinholtz, a familiar face whose name you never knew, does triple duty here, serving as writer, director and star,  combining the usual holiday dysfunction with torn-from-the-headlines politics. The resulting black comedy is like finding a hand grenade in the roasted turkey.

As the film begins we learn that the U.S. president has instituted something called “the Patriot’s Oath,” a sort of loyalty waiver citizens are expected to sign.

“Nothing happens if you don’t sign,” assures a White House spokeswoman. “But there are perks if you do.”

The news infuriates suburban couple Chris (Barinholtz) and Kai (Tiffany Haddish).  Theirs is a mixed-race marriage, and as one might deduce, they are fiercely liberal.

Especially Chris, who is one of those apoplectic lefties who invariably takes a confrontational and self-righteous approach to political matters.

The citizenry has a year to decide  if they will sign; the new law goes into effect on (appropriately) Black Friday, a day after Thanksgiving.

Chris and Kai’s family gathering is like a cross section of the voting public.  Chris’ brother (Jon Barinholtz, the writer/director’s brother) is a sort of perennial frat dude whose new girlfriend (Meredith Hagnar) has a world view cloned from Ann Coulter.

Chris’ sister (Carrie Brownstein) is a fellow liberal, as is her hubby (Jay Duplass), who has come down with an intestinal monster and spends most of the holiday curled in a ball.

Mom (Nora Dunn) tries to referee the mounting sibling turmoil (“Hey, no politics!”);  Dad (Chris Ellis) keeps as low a profile as possible.

Prays Chris: “God, who I don’t believe in, please give me strength to get through the next three days.”

(more…)

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John Cena, Leslie Mann, Ike Barinholtz

“BLOCKERS” My rating: C+

102 minutes | MPAA rating: R

A bit of Apatow lite with a heavy load of raunch, “Blockers” mixes parental paranoia and adolescent randiness.  Despite a few flat passages, it mostly works…which is to say it’ll make you laugh even if you’re ashamed to.

This feature directing debut from veteran comedy writer/producer Kay Cannon (the “Pitch Perfect” franchise, “30 Rock,” “New Girl”) centers on a trio of hovering parents who discover that their three adored daughters have signed a pact to lose their virginity on prom night.

The film’s title (the script is by Brian and Jim Kehoe) is short for “cock blockers,” and that bit of information says a good deal about the sort of lurid laughs audiences can expect.

Mitchell (John Cena), Lisa (Leslie Mann) and Hunter (Ike Barinholtz) meet while dropping their daughters off for the first day of  elementary school.  The little girls bond almost immediately.

More than a decade later the three young ladies are facing high school graduation as virgins…and decide to do something about it. When the parental units intercept texts and emails detailing the planned deflorations, the oldsters go into full anxious mode and set out to prevent any such sexual encounters.

(more…)

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