The Lovebirds (2020)

The Lovebirds
Director: Michael Showalter
Writer: Aaron Abrams, Brendan Gall
Cast: Issa Rae, Kumail Nanjiani, Paul Sparks, Anna Camp, Nicholas X. Parsons, Kyle Bornheimer
Seen on: 18.10.2020

Plot:
Leilani (Issa Rae) and Jibran (Kumail Nanjiani) have been happy for a long time, but probably not anymore. On the way to a dinner party, they start to fight yet again – and break up. Just at this moment, a guy (Paul Sparks) stops their car, telling them he’s a police officer chasing after a criminal. He gets in and they drive after the other guy. But when they catch up with him, the supposed police officer doesn’t arrest the supposed criminal, but just murders him using their car, then taking off. Leilani and Jibran fear that they are going to be blamed for the murder. In their panic, they decide to track down the guy who got them into this mess themselves and bring him to the police. That is easier said than done, though.

The Lovebirds is made by its two leads, who play their characters perfectly and have a great connection with each other. That makes the film fun to watch even when it isn’t quite as hilarious as you’d like.

The film poster showing Leilani (Issa Rae) and Jibran (Kumail Nanjiani) sitting in a baxk alley filled with trash, looking exhausted.
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Duck Butter (2018)

Duck Butter
Director: Miguel Arteta
Writer: Miguel Arteta, Alia Shawkat
Cast: Alia Shawkat, Laia Costa, Mae Whitman, Hong Chau, Kate Berlant, Kumail Nanjiani, Jay Duplass, Mark Duplass, Lindsay Burdge
Seen on: 20.4.2020

Plot:
Naima (Alia Shawkat) and Sergio (Laia Costa) meet by chance at a night club and have a great evening/night together. As they talk, they come up with the idea to fast-forward through their relationship to see if it is meant to be by spending 24hours together without sleep – but with sex every hour. Naima hesitates at first and says she can’t because she has to work as an actress, but when she gets fired, she returns to Sergio and the two actually do give it a try.

Duck Butter is very much an American independent movie – how much that is or isn’t up you alley is probably a matter of taste. I did enjoy it for the most part, but the ending rubbed me the wrong way.

The film poster showing a drawing of almost just the eyes of Naima (Alia Shawkat) and Sergio (Laia Costa).

[SPOILERS]

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Dolittle (2020)

Dolittle
Director: Stephen Gaghan
Writer: Stephen Gaghan, Dan Gregor, Doug Mand, Chris McKay
Based on: Hugh Lofting‘s books
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Harry Collett, Carmel Laniado, Antonio Banderas, Michael Sheen, Jim Broadbent, Jessie Buckley, Kasia Smutniak, Emma Thompson, Rami Malek, John Cena, Kumail Nanjiani, Octavia Spencer, Tom Holland, Craig Robinson, Ralph Fiennes, Selena Gomez, Marion Cotillard, Frances de la Tour, Jason Mantzoukas
Seen on: 13.2.2020
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Plot:
Doctor Dolittle (Robert Downey Jr.) has a gift: he’s a veterinarian who can talk to the animals directly. But every since his wife (Kasia Smutniak) was lost at sea, he hasn’t worked anymore. This changes quickly, when he gets two visitors in a day: the first one is Tommy (Harry Collett) who brings in a hurt squirrel, and the second is Lady Rose (Carmel Laniado) who brings the news that the Queen (Jessie Buckley) may well be dying if Dolittle doesn’t help – and that would mean that he’d lose his entire estate. Forced from his isolation, Dolittle takes on the case – and Tommy makes sure to be part of it.

Dolittle has potential – Downey Jr. surrounded by animals voiced by a whole lot of excellent people? What can go wrong? A lot, apparently. Maybe this film should serve as a case study for that.

The film poster showing Doctor Dolittle (Robert Downey Jr.) surrounded by various animals.
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Men in Black: International (2019)

Men in Black: International
Director: F. Gary Gray
Writer: Matt Holloway, Art Marcum
Based on: Lowell Cunningham‘s comic
Sequel to: Men in Black, Men in Black II, Men in Black III
Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson, Kumail Nanjiani, Rebecca Ferguson, Rafe Spall, Emma Thompson, Liam Neeson
Seen on: 19.6.2019

Plot:
When she was just a little child, Molly (Tessa Thompson) had an encounter with an alien and the Men in Black. She has been trying to find out more about the organization ever since. One night, she finally hits gold and manages to find a MiB investigation in real time, following it to the MiB headquarters where she is finally uncovered. She can even convince Agent O (Emma Thompson) to let her work there on a probationary basis. Molly, now Agent M, is sent to London where she starts to work with Agent H (Chris Hemsworth). The two soon realize that there is a threat to the MiB – and it may not be alien, but coming from the inside of the organization.

Men in Black: International is fun and nice enough to watch. It’s probably the best MiB since the first, though still a couple of leagues behind that one. I enjoyed it, but I’m not too excited about it.

The film poster showing Agent M (Tessa Thompson) and Agent H (Chris Hemsworth)  cradling huge weapons on their shoulders, Agent High T (Liam Neeson, smaller, holding a memory eraser, Agent O (Emma Thompson) looking sternly as well as a couple of aliens and a pug wearing a suit.
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The Big Sick (2017)

The Big Sick
Director: Michael Showalter
Writer: Emily V. Gordon, Kumail Nanjiani
Based on: their own lives
Cast: Kumail Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, Holly Hunter, Ray Romano, Anupam Kher, Zenobia Shroff, Adeel Akhtar, Bo Burnham
Seen on: 29.11.2017
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Plot:
Kumail (Kumail Nanjiani) tries to make it as a stand-up comedian, a career choice he can’t really tell his parents about. But since they are mostly busy setting Kumail up with potential wives, much to his dismay, that doesn’t seem to be the biggest point of contention between them. When Kumail meets Emily (Zoe Kazan) and the two feel drawn to each other, it has the potential of making both of their lives much more complicated. Before they can figure anything out, though, Emily falls mysteriously ill and has to be put into a medically induced coma – and all the complications are sped up for all of them.

The Big Sick is a funny, touching and sweet film that I enjoyed a whole lot. It’s not necessarily a film that will keep me thinking for a long time, but that’s neither expected nor necessary.

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Central Intelligence (2016)

Central Intelligence
Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber
Writer: Ike BarinholtzDavid Stassen, Rawson Marshall Thurber
Cast: Dwayne JohnsonKevin HartAmy RyanDanielle NicoletJason BatemanAaron PaulRyan HansenThomas KretschmannKumail NanjianiMelissa McCarthy
Seen on: 23.6.2016

Plot:
When he was in high school, Calvin (Kevin Hart) was the star for everyone, but still with enough kindness in his heart to not bully the fat Bob (Dwayne Johnson) like everybody else did. But high school is long since over and Calvin may still have his smart and beautiful girlfriend Maggie (Danielle Nicolet) but otherwise he is stuck in a total rut and dreading the upcoming school reunion. That’s when he gets a call from Bob and decides, on a whim, to meet with him. On the surface Bob is much changed: he is still huge, but from muscles and there doesn’t seem to be the tiniest bit of fat on his body. He is still weird, though, and his obvious excitement to see Calvin again is flattering, but strange. And then things get worse: turns out, Bob works for the CIA and he’s in trouble – and Calvin is quickly more involved than he ever wanted to be.

I was very hesitant about wanting to see Central Intelligence. Its humor really didn’t seem up my alley. But then again I think Dwayne Johnson is funny as hell, so I had hopes that he would make the film work for me. And while the film is far from being my favorite, that is mostly what happened.

centralintelligence

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