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THE SPONGE BOB MOVIE: THE SPONGE IN PROGRESS: 3 ½ STARS

SpongeBob SquarePants (voiced by Tom Kenny) is an unlikely pop culture hero. Bouncy and upbeat sea sponge, he should be a wonder at a joke, but for more than two decades the character, who looks like a bright yellow kitchen sponge with googly eyes and little brown shorts, has absorbed love of children and adults.

His new CGI adventure, “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on The Run,” now showing in theaters, sees the animated invertebrate living in the underwater city of Bikini Bottom where he is a French fries cook in Krusty Krab, the most successful restaurant on the sea.

Life is good for SpongeBob and friends as silly but funny starfish Patrick (Bill Fagerbakke) and restaurateur Mr. Krabs (Clancy Brown) until the beloved pet of SpongeBob SquarePants Gary the Snail (also voiced by Kenny) is kidnapped by the evil and vain ruler of The Lost City of Atlantic City, King Poseidon. With the help of Patrick and a wise tumbleweed played by Keanu Reeves, SpongeBob sets off on a perilous rescue mission.

“The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on The Run” brings with it the usual anarchy, inside jokes, and unexpected celebrity cameos, but within its small, osmotic heart is SpongeBob, a character who belongs to the same genre. artists as Soupy Sales, Stan Laurel and Pee Wee Herman.

He, like his predecessors, is gentle and unpredictable with a surreal side that transcends stupidity and borders on high art. I think that’s why SpongeBob SquarePants survived and thrived as other characters in his vintage faded away. It’s silly enough for kids but surreal enough for parents, and underneath lies a stream of decency that transcends age.

In his TV show and in the movies, including this short story, the rules of physics and storytelling may not apply, which is generally funny, but the things that make SpongeBob SquarePants (you see what I mean) are still on display. He is loyal, caring, values ​​his friends and is always optimistic. These qualities are incorporated into “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on The Run” and that, along with the absurd situations, makes it enjoyable for fans young and old.

DROPPED: 2 STARS

Disarmed

“Unhinged” is the kind of b movie that would normally have gone straight to DVD or streamed, but in our pandemic world upside down, where the rules are constantly being rewritten, new psychothriller Russell Crowe is only playing theaters this week. -end.

Hairdresser Rachel (Caren Pistorius) is going through a difficult time. The new mom is in the middle of a brutal divorce and her brother and his girlfriend are unwanted guests in her house.

Today she’s stuck in traffic and if things don’t change she will be late both for an appointment with a client and to drop her son (Gabriel Bateman) off at school. Pulling her Volvo firmly behind an idling truck belonging to Tom Cooper (Crowe), she honks the horn and triggers a fit of road rage. “I need you to learn what a bad day is,” he said, “and I need you to learn to say sorry. “

Subtlety, your name is not “Unhinged”. From Crowe’s surly and sweaty psychopath and a bloody “courtesy pat” to emasculation and car crashes, the film offers a buffet of B-movie pleasures. Crowe spits lines like “I’ll make a contribution. that day with violence and retaliation ”and amplifies the anger, but like the film itself, there is one, a strong note.

Director Derrick Borte begins the film with Context, a long montage of the evils of today’s world, suggesting that things fall apart because we lack civility, but then forgoes any kind of social commentary in a story that relies on the shock and fear to fill the screen with violent images.

At one point, Cooper talks about being an “invisible” man and, after a dinner scene, it’s clear he doesn’t like divorce lawyers, but that’s it for character development. He is simply a dangerous man who has detached himself from the bonds of polite society.

In the relatively small sub-genre of Crazed Driver Movies – “Duel” and “The Hitcher” come to mind – “Unhinged” stands out by keeping the pedal to metal without adding anything new in terms of thrills. As a study of an emasculated man seeking revenge, it reminds me of “Falling Down,” the 1993 black comedy by Michael Douglas, except that “Unhinged” is all black and no comedy.

SPINSTER: 3 ½ STARS

“Spinster” is billed as “the anti-rom-com of summer” and if there ever was one genre that needed a kick in the pants, it’s romantic comedy. Director Andrea Dorfman does more than that, putting the brakes on the tired old boy-meet-girl formula in a story that celebrates empowerment and independence during slow-motion races at airports.

Chelsea Peretti of “Brooklyn Nine Nine” stars as Gaby, a wedding caterer whose boyfriend dumps her on her thirty-ninth birthday. Her friends encourage her to come back to the dating world but she isn’t so sure. To avoid ending up like her great aunt Elise, dead in a bathtub, undiscovered for a week, she tries speed dating and online sites but, she says, “I prefer to knit thoroughly.”

In the absence of a romantic life, she spends her time hanging out with her niece Adele (Nadia Tonen), watching her brother Alex (David Rossetti) put on a terrible stand-up comedy and taking care of her “dog. ‘occasion’ recently adopted. As her 40th birthday approaches and the dream of owning her own restaurant comes closer to reality, she finds happiness in self-esteem and an opening scene speech turns out not to be prophetic. (SPOIL ALERT)

“Everyone, deep down, wants someone to love,” the bride-to-be (Amy Groening) told Gaby early on. “That’s why Shakespeare ended all his comedies with a wedding! ”

“Spinster” has a lot of charms. He has a crazy sense of humor courtesy of writer Jennifer Deyell, a catchy score by composer Daniel Ledwell, and a steady hand in director Dorfman. Better yet, it has Peretti whose practiced unflappable delivery brings an edge to the story. It has a path with a line but it also leads us on the path of Gaby’s self-discovery. As she helps Adele gain confidence in her young life, Gaby blossoms in hers. His career is warm, credible and full of humor.

“Spinster” is a well-crafted, albeit somewhat modest, story of seeking and fulfilling life no matter what others say. This is a certain kind of love, but colors outside the com rom lines to create something refreshing.

NEVER TOO LATE: 3 STARS

Never too late

“Never Too Late”, the story of four friends, separated by distance, experience and fifty years with James Cromwell, is sweet and sentimental but has a serious message in its heart. The four Vietnamese veterans are chasing their dreams on VOD this week.

After a daring escape from a Vietnamese POW camp, Jeremiah Caine (Dennis Waterman), Jack Bronson (Cromwell), Angus Wilson (Jack Thompson) and Bruce Wendell (Shane Jacobson) were called The Chain Breakers. Half a century later, they are reunited at the Hogan Hills Retirement Home for Returning Veterans when Bronson checks in under the guise of recovering from a serious stroke. He cheated his way around the facility not to hang out with his old friends but to reconnect with the love of his life, former combat nurse Norma (Jacki Weaver).

“Sometimes it takes a lifetime to find a happy ending,” she says. But soon after the encounter, she was transferred to another hospital for a three-month Alzheimer’s drug trial, leaving Bronson and Company behind.

Rejected together in another kind of prison, Bronson rallies the troops for a final daring operation. “We are the chain breakers,” he said. “We don’t just sit around feeling sorry for ourselves, we get the job done. I will complete this mission. They’re not as young as they used to be, but Bronson hatches a plan, a race for freedom and Norma.

It’s “The Great Escape”, senior style.

“Never Too Late’s” sounds like a light, old-fashioned comedy, but at its heart, right next to the pacemaker, is a commentary on how old people – and in this case, veterans – are. treated in long-term care. Hogan Hills is basically a prison with barbed wire, guards behaving like guards and although there are no bars there are more locked doors than Riker’s Island. This is a topical social issue and it is treated fairly here.

The engine that drives “Never Too Late”, however, are the actors. Australians Waterman, Thompson and Jacobson offer broad comedic performances tempered by enough sentimentality to make their hijinks likable. Cromwell and Weaver, however, bring humanity. Their relationship, and their shot at happiness after fifty years, is the soul of the film. A subplot involving an evil Doctor (Renee Lim) seeking revenge feels stuck and briefly disrupts the flow of the film.

The predictability of “Never Too Late” – let’s face it, we all know where it’s going – is blunted by the cast and the warmth of the characters who still have a chance for adventure and happiness.

BLACK WATER: DAMAGE: 2 ½ STARS

Black water: Abyss

The proliferation of creatures featuring hybrid animals like the Piranhaconda, Sharktopus, and Dinocroc has eclipsed the more traditional horror film about nature gone wild. “Black Water: Abyss,” a new, angry, top-notch predator film now on VOD, brings back the old school when animals attack the genre and kicks off some caving for good measure.

The action begins when a group of friends, Eric (Luke Mitchell), Jen (Jessica McNamee), Viktor (Benjamin Hoetjes) and Yolanda (Amali Golden), brush aside all fear of claustrophobia to descend into a partially cave system. submerged in remote north Australia. They were led there by Cash (Anthony J. Sharpe), who discovered the caves during a search mission for a missing Japanese couple in the area. What they don’t know is that the couple didn’t just disappear… they were eaten. When a tropical storm hits, flooding the caves, they are trapped with a herd of very hungry and very aggressive crocodiles.

Cue the frantic snacking.

Director Andrew Traucki has made a specialty of this genre by making giant shark films like “The Reef” and “The Jungle” about an Indonesian “forest demon”. He’s good with jumping fears, primary stuff like fear of the dark and claustrophobia and mixing CGI and actual crocodile footage, but he’s disappointed here with a script that reduces his characters to sushi for crocodiles. hungry and nothing more. It’s hard to create character arcs when the most interesting thing to say is, “We’re never gonna get out of here, are we?” ”

“Black Water: Abyss” is a sequel to 2007’s “Abyss” and while it has occasional jerks and breathless last few minutes, its lack of interesting characters won’t bite your world.