Entries in Comedy (175)


The House- review


“The House” (2017)

Directed by Andrew Jay Cohen

Starring Will Ferrell, Amy Poehler, Jason Mantzoukas

Running Time 88 Minutes, Rated R.

1.5 Mitch’s out of 5

Mitch Hansch/movieswithmitch.com

It’s kind of startling when you see a film this inept, this bland, this thin.  Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler lose big time by trusting that first time director Andrew Jay Cohen could make “The House” a winning bet.  Ferrell, Poehler, and a lot of their funny buddies are in this film, people that I enjoy a lot, but even though they didn’t get credit for writing it, it sure feels like their improv unsuccessfully did.  That’s what happens when your director/writer can’t flesh out a paper bag.


Scott (Ferrell) and Kate (Poehler) Johansen live in upper middle class suburbia and are proud to get their daughter Alex (Ryan Simpkins) accepted to Bucknell University, but when the town, led by a shady city councilmen played by Nick Kroll (who has way more authority than a councilmen really has), takes away her full ride scholarship, the Johansen’s are forced to run an underground casino in their depressed and recently divorced good friend Frank’s (Best part of the film Jason Mantzoukas) house.  

Sure, why not, we need an excuse for such a wacky vehicle. Although, it’s kind of bizarre who unfunny this film is.  This is part because the characters didn’t have to work too hard to create such an illegal setting and, therefore, the stakes are low.  Also, this film lives in crazyville, where anything goes from one moment to the next to keep the barebones plot together.  Lastly, “The House” is not funny because the jokes are not funny.  A running gag of Poehler’s Kate being addicted to marijuana is terribly lame.  

In fact, “The House” really isn’t a film per say but a terribly lame 88 minute running gag.  



War Machine- review


“War Machine” (2017)

Directed by David Michôd

Starring Brad Pitt,  Anthony Hayes,  John Magaro

Running Time 122 Minutes, Rated R.

3.5 Mitch’s out of 5

Mitch Hansch/movieswithmitch.com


“War Machine” is based off of the book “The Operators: The Wild and Terrifying Story Inside of America’s War in Afghanistan” about Gen. Stanley McChrystal who lost his assignment as the top U.S. commander in the Afghanistan war after author Michael Hastings’s expose in a Rolling Stone article.  Here, Gen McChrystal becomes the fictionalized Gen.Glen McMahon played with a Kubiak gusto from Brad Pitt.  We see Gen. McMahon newly appointed and ready to go and kick some ass with his American boot and his posse of subordinates who praise the ground he walks on.  All of the best and worst of American tributes are on parade as he tries to win an unconventional war unconventionally but is slowly being taken down like his predecessors before him by a pride that ‘his’ ‘can-do’ attitude is the only thing missing from winning this war.  


There is definitely a sloppiness to director David Michôd‘s directing as the tone is very loose so you think the satirical targets would be miss-fired, but for me, it hit all the more.  Michôd gets across a chuckle from something very sad.  Watching the powers above us make the same power driven mistakes over and over and catching a glimpse of how the rest of the world can adore the U.S. for it’s ideologies but also hate us for the same reasons.  There are some tragic scenes; such as Gen. McMahon spending his 30th wedding anniversary with his wife as she calculates that they have spent an average of 30 days together per year for the last 10 years, and where McMahon’s troops/pawns are actually out on the field and the cluster f’ of war bombards us.

“War Machine” snuck up on me making for an oddly enjoyable film.

Ecclesiastes 3:8



Win it all- review


“Win it All” (2017)

Directed by Joe Swanberg

Starring Jake Johnson,  Rony Shemon,  Morgan Ng

Running Time 88 Minutes, Rated R.

3.5 Mitch’s out of 5

Mitch Hansch/moviewithmitch.com


I’m a Jake Johnson fan.  He has that charming jerk thing with just a touch of being an idiot going for him big time.  Johnson and Zooey Deschanel successfully pulled off the rare ‘Ross and Rachel’ thing in the wonderfully silly sitcom “The New Girl” and I know I’m in the minority on this one, but the flop “Let’s Be Cops” tickled me pink, in great parts to him.  Johnson has a good indie director/writer cohort in Joe Swanberg, who have collaborated on “Digging for Fire” and the very excellent “Drinking Buddies”.  Swanberg and Johnson are back at in Netflix’s ongoing world takeover in the winning dramedy “Win it All”.


A film that’s hip without being hipster, “Win it All” uses a plethora of improv actors who can actually play the scene real, moving the story forward and not just looking for a joke.  Johnson plays Eddie, a Chicagonite addicted to gambling who knows he’s addicted that is unless he’s playing, which he then “knows” he’s gonna win.  Eddie has gone broke for the umteempth time, his gambling anonymous sponsor played by Keegan-Michael Key tells him that he’s addicted to losing, and Eddie wants to be cured.  But rock bottom is on the way when one of his seedy acquaintances shows up in his apartment unannounced and promises that while “he’s away” if he can store his duffle bag for six months that he’ll receive $10,000.  

“What’s in the duffle bag”, asks Eddie, to which seedy acquaintance replies “don’t worry about it”.  Well, Eddie gives it a few days, and when he finds out what’s inside, rock bottom is at the end of an underground poker bender.  The film then centers on Eddie trying claw his way back out while understanding where his pattern of life decisions have gotten him.  Joe Lo Truglio as his good sibling and Aislinn Derbez as the girl that’s too good for him but is interested anyways do well filling up the lean 88 minutes of screen time.  

“Win it All” is a film that pays off and if I were you, I would bet on Jake Johnson in the future.

1 Corinthians 10:13



Snatched- review


“Snatched” (2017)

Directed by Jonathan Levine

Starring Amy Schumer,  Goldie Hawn

Running Time 90 Minutes, Rated R.

1.5 Mitch’s out of 5

Mitch Hansch/movieswithmitch.com


Amy Schumer is atrocious in this film.  Classic case example, but a ‘not decent human being’ movie character that everyone loves is Phil Connors in “Groundhog Day” played by the one and only Bill Murray.  Murray has the ability to play Phil as a narcissistic jerk who eventually learns from his personality weaknesses but even when he is in early jerk mode he is both funny and interesting to watch.  Amy Schumer does not have that ability.  At least not here in her latest foul-mouthed comedy film, “Snatched”, unlike her last go around in the impressive “Trainwreck”.  Among many problems this film has, one of the biggest is Schumer’s wildly unsympathetic and annoying performance.  Performance is a strong word, let's go with generic caricature.  

Which is a shame because Goldie Hawn absolutely kills it in her first film appearance since 2002’s “The Banger Sisters”.  Hawn has to use maximum restraint with Schumer trying go for big yuck-yucks non-stop, and it’s so much funnier.  This is one of those pretty bad films that happens to have a pretty great performance. Performance is a weak word, let’s go with achievement.  


Hawn and Schumer play the mother and daughter combo of Linda and Emily Middleton.  Emily has no direction in life, just got fired from her latest retail job, dumped from her burgeoning rock star boyfriend (the oft-funny Randall Park), and did I mention is annoying AF (am I using that right?).  Linda has been divorced forever, bordering on crazy cat lazy, and still lets her son Jeffrey played by Ike Barinholtz live with her due to his severe agoraphobia and mamma’s boy-itis.  Due to her dumping and purchase of a non-refundable plane ticket, Emily begs Linda to go with her to Ecuador for fun, sun, and as little laughs as possible- sorry that last one was for the audience.  Due to Emily’s idiocy and selfishness, the two get kidnapped for ransom and have to make their way back with wacky raunchy rated R. hijinks.   

Besides a comedy film that’s light on laughs being a problem there is very off sense of tone.  This is definitely a step backwards for on again off again director Jonathan Levine (“50/50”, “The Night Before”).  Weird characters enter the film that play out like alternative sketch ideas mushed into mother/daughter rekindling.  The sketches aren’t actually that bad, but that’s because of the support and not Schumer.  Wanda Sykes and Joan Cusack play fellow travelers who are eager to help when the Middleton girls get napped.  Cusack is hilarious and never says a word, I miss her.  

Goldie Hawn is the one that is really missed.  She is a high class treat thrown to the dogs.  “Snatched” should be put down.

Proverbs 23:22



On the Rocks- review


“On the Rocks” (2017)

Directed by Ariel Gardner,  Alex Kavutskiy

Starring  Chase Fein,  Nichole Bagby,  Kate Freund

Running Time 90 Minutes, Rated R.

1.5 Mitch’s out of 5

Mitch Hansch/movieswithmitch.com

A comedy of misery shouldn’t make the viewer miserable, but this one did.  To quote the great Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park, “Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.”

The writer/director team of Ariel Gardner and Alex Kavutskiy seem to be so focused on making their characters as annoying as possible that I wonder if they ever stopped to think about how annoying “On the Rocks” is to watch.  The acting, for the most part, is pretty decent, and I’m sure both Gardner and Kavutskiy knew it as well and ran with it as much as they could. This strength, however, ultimately fails the viewing experience since this is a character piece, and we are relentlessly exhausted with grating banter and nauseating human interactions.

I don’t use the word ‘literal’ lightly.  “On the Rocks” gave me a literal headache watching it.  It’s not easy to produce an actual physical reaction in me watching films, but congrats cause I immediately swallowed 1000 mg of Ibuprofen once the credits rolled.

Dallas (Chase Fein) is a nice enough guy who lets everyone in his life run over him and run over him they do. From his bipolar demanding wife Karen (Nichole Bagby), her bossy older sister Krystal (Kate Freund) and provocative younger sister Kaitlynn (Audrey Whitby), to his scamming boss, and just about everyone else our lead crosses paths with. Dallas is mentally pulverized by the people in his life, and that eventually takes a toll on him physically.


I got to give it up to actor Chase Fein as the sad sack Dallas.  Fein really does have the gift to pull the viewer in and be invested enough to want this guy to get the hell out of Dodge from these crazies.  Fein doesn’t play Dallas as the perfect guy either, his flaws are there, but the actor makes him easy to root for.

To reiterate, this is an endlessly annoying affair.  I kept thinking, what is the filmmakers objective here? Because laughter couldn’t have been one of them.

It’s almost a tie between who is more annoying; Bagby’s bonkers wife Karen or Freund’s worst person on earth older sister Krystal.  And again, I’m looking more at fault to the director than to Bagby.  Seriously, Bagby’s character screams 75% of her lines (aforementioned headache), and I’m betting she was coerced into that.  

You know I said it was mostly the director's fault and that the acting was pretty decent, well not so much with Freund’s performance.  While the tone is always hectic and heightened, there is smidge of sense of reality throughout but not with Freund’s choices.  Didn’t believe in her character for a second.  

You put all of this crap together with longhand scenes that scream I have a problem with my stream of consciousness.  I’m sure it was a choice to have no filter and craziness keep going and going, but I think it was a poor choice.  I was worn out 15 minutes into the film.  “On the Rocks” sure felt a lot longer than it’s 90 minutes running time.  

After viewing “On the Rocks” I washed those Ibuprofen down with a stiff drink.



Hunt for the Wilderpeople- review


“Hunt for the Wilderpeople” (2016)

Directed by Taika Waititi

Starring Sam Neill,  Julian Dennison,  Rima Te Wiata

Running Time 101 Minutes, Rated PG-13

4 Mitch’s out of 5

Mitch Hansch/movieswithmitch.com

Taika Waititi’s “Hunt for the Wilderpeople” is much like Sam Neil’s very rough around the edge’s character Hec’s description of the vast New Zealand bush, “Magestical”.

You may not know this but this offbeat comedy is New Zealand’s highest grossing locally produced film of all time at $5.2 million.  After some quick research on Boxoffice Mojo that ranks as the #146th film released in just 2016 and 5,313th of all time; do with this what you will.  Taika Waititi, who cool film nerds will know for directing himself and Jemaine Clement in both “Eagle vs. Shark” and the fantastic “What We Do in the Shadows” (2nd highest grossing film in New Zealand) has crafted a wonderfully weird, wonderfully feel-goody film that shows the wonderful pleasure of incomplete people coming together for completion.  


We’re introduced to foster child Ricky (young Julian Dennison crushing a sneaky challenging role) who is labeled as “a real bad egg” who in a very funny montage, has been charged with counts of spitting, kicking, throwing stuff, and my personal favorite loitering.  Ricky is a big boned kid and speaks in gangsta slang and is thrown a curveball when he is sent to a remote cabin with an ‘all the love in the world’ Bella (Rima Te Wiata) and her ‘stay out of my way’ grizzled husband Hec.  After some adjusting Ricky takes to his new setting, but when tragedy strikes he takes off getting lost deep in thick country bush.  Hec finds him, and after a fractured leg and a misunderstanding that makes Hec seem like a pedophile, Ricky and Hec are on the run in a nation wide manhunt for the two.

Look for Taika Waititi showing up with a great cameo as a Minister, and a message about Jesus and doors.  The climax and a foster agent played by Rachel House got a bit too cartoony for me, overstepping the groovy reality edge that Waititi straddles perfectly for the rest of the film, but besides that, “Hunt for the Wilderpeople” is a real gem.  If you’re in a downer of a mood just pop this in and that will wash away real fast.

Ephesians 1:5



Don't Think Twice- review


“Don’t Think Twice” (2016)

Directed by Mike Birbiglia

Starring Keegan-Michael Key,  Gillian Jacobs,  Mike Birbiglia

Running Time 92 Minutes, Rated R

3.5 Mitch’s out of 5

Mitch Hansch/movieswithmitch.com

The art of sho-cruelty and its business.  When things are going just ok or even less than ok with creative type performers, and one of your peers starts doing better than ok, that’s when when the truth comes out.  

Mike Birbiglia’s love letter to the art of improv is a comedy slash drama or a drama slash comedy that either way works.  Spending so many of my previous years in the improv world I’ve seen so much of this before; the waiting tables while you hurry off shift to get to a gig, the team dynamics of both crushes and feuds, the ego’s that are juggled and tested when one climbs higher on the ladder’s rungs.  As I am not on SNL, you can tell which side of the coin my comedy fate fell upon, and that’s why I thought this film, with all the people I love (even Chris Gethard who was killing it at the UCB while I was taking classes there), would hit harder to home for me, but it didn’t.  Birbiglia’s directing does a more than fine job balancing the the live and die aspect of team improv as well as the cutthroat selfishness performers can tend to have, but “Don’t Think Twice” was ultimately a mild hit for my heart; laughed with, not at, and appreciated.


Birbiglia also plays Miles, a forty year old improver who leads a well liked group called ‘The Commune’.  Miles still holds out for a spot on the coveted “Weekend Live” sketch show but is jolted when that honor goes to the younger Jack (Keegan-Michael Key) who nails the audition and gets the job.  Friendships are tested and life keeps on chugging.  “Don’t Think Twice” captures the pursuit of your dream and all the bs that’s in between.

2 Timothy 2:7



La La Land- review


“La La Land” (2016)

Directed by Damien Chazelle

Starring Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling

Running Time 128 Minutes, Rated PG-13

4 Mitch’s out of 5

Mitch Hansch/movieswithmitch.com


When Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling smile at each it’s enough to make one sing and dance.  Turns out it makes them sing and dance as well.

Damien Chazelle dazzled everyone with his critical darling debut “Whiplash” earning him a screenplay Oscar nomination and winning J.K. Simmons the Best Supporting Actor Oscar.  With that momentum, Chazelle did not rest on his laurels but instead went bigger in scope, bigger in music, and bigger in stars.  His latest, “La La Land” an MGM musical that is both a love song to the grandiose musicals of yesteryear and the City of Angels itself with its transports that dream of stardom.


Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling pair up for the third time and better than ever. The two’s natural chemistry is unparalleled in young Hollywood, and they don’t disappoint here.  Gosling is a brooding Jazz pianist with dreams of reigniting the dying genre and opening his own club, while Stone has left her small town of Colorado to make it big on the big screen and show them all that she’s got ‘it’.  Their characters find each other and fall for each other, and when that rough patch hits it’s Chazelle’s snappy crisp dialogue and our leads impeccable talents that transcend the love stories you’ve seen countless times before.

Oh, and let’s not forget that this is full blown musical that is actually made like they used to be, and the result is a grin from ear to ear for its viewers.  Watching Gosling tap dance as Stone belts her notes out makes for a wonderful return to the musical genre that captures that great nostalgic feel while not just depending on nostalgia to get by.  It makes you remember the classics while still feeling, looking, and sounding bold and fresh.  While Gosling is strong and proves to be also incredibly funny instead of just great looking and dramatically talented, his character pales in comparison to the depth that Emma Stone delivers upon.  This is her movie and she nails it.  

Romance is in the air in Chazelle’s latest, and it’s infectious.  “La La Land” is lovely.

Proverbs 16:3



Bad Santa 2- review


“Bad Santa 2” (2016)

Directed by Mark Waters

Starring Billy Bob Thornton,  Kathy Bates,  Tony Cox

Running Time 92 Minutes, Rated R.

2 Mitch’s out of 5

Mitch Hansch/movieswithmitch.com

Before there was Deadpool there was Bad Santa.  13 years ago Billy Bob Thornton donned a red suit, with the filthiest mouth around, and was able to regenerate from any wounds (physical or emotional) with his superpower of being able to consume great amounts of anything alcohol.  Thornton’s sexfiend, booze swilling, kid cursing, safe cracking mall Santa is now a Christmas classic.  I’ll never look at an Advent calender the same.  Many Christmas’ since it has often been on my wish list for a “Bad Santa” sequel.  Problem was, I forgot to also ask that it would be worth it.

Willie Soke (Thornton) is back.  Convinced to uncoil the toaster cord off of his neck and come out of retirement by his double crossing elf partner (Tony Cox) that tried to kill him last time around.  They team up with Willie’s even filthier mom played by Kathy Bates and aim to heist a homeless children’s charity for one more big score.

A toast to Billy Bob Thornton.  He’s in a bit a career upswing, and that’s a good thing because that means more...you guessed it...more Billy Bob Thornton.  Thornton is such a good actor that his down and always out Willie Soke breaks our heart when he goes off about the reasons and moments that made him a whiskey glass all empty kind of guy. It’s just too bad the film’s direction and script can’t match Thornton’s deranged heart.


The first film’s well placed deranged heart is seriously lacking in #2.  Johnny Rosenthal and Shauna Cross’ script can’t hit the bigger notes.  The only time they come close is with Thornton’s interaction with the first film’s Thurman Merman (Brett Kelly) character who is 21 years old now and considers Soke the only family he’s got.  Soke’s family reunion is less than moving.  Things really hit home in the first film because of Soke’s hitting rock bottom and Thornton portraying it really never gets that bad for him. Here, Rosenthal and Cross are more focused on saying nasty dialogue.

The nasty dialogue isn’t anywhere as funny as the writers think it is.  It mostly just comes off mean.  Maybe it’s the time we live in now; I recently just watched all of “Arrested Development” again (oh, good for me), but a lot of that dialogue, especially the ill-gotten Netflix season, just felt a bit cringeworthy.  Same here, as where the nastiness of Deadpool pays off, here they’re just trying to cram in as many ‘I hate women’ and little person jokes as they can to fill space.

Tony Cox’s character return isn’t really needed in the film at all and serves no good purpose but for to expel as many little people jokes as possible and to set up a Mexican standoff for the film’s climax.  It’s not a very layered character, nor is Tony Cox the caliber actor that Thornton is, so maybe they felt forced to give him less to do.  He plays angry offended well, and that’s all his character is really used for.  

“Bad Santa 2” is a Christmas wish gone bad.

Isaiah 63:2





Bridget Jones's Baby- review


“Bridget Jones’s Baby” (2016)

Directed by Sharon Maguire

Starring Renée Zellweger, Colin Firth, Patrick Dempsey

Running Time 122 Minutes, Rated R.

3.5 Mitch’s out of 5

Mitch Hansch/movieswithmitch.com


Turns out, I never got around to watching the second installment of the Bridget Jones’s saga, and I’ve been informed that that was the smart play on my part as it is widely considered just rubbish.  Still without seeing the middle entry, I feel like with this third that I’ve been front row to an exciting life of a very flawed, yet very fun person that is irresistible not to root for.  I know I sound cliche, but my heart is richer for having known this character, I can draw on my own life, relate, and cheer for Bridget- these films are a dying breed, but “Bridget Jones’s Baby” gives the genre a healthy pulse!

Renee Zellweger is back and chugging cheap chardonnay better than ever.  Zellweger’s Bridget, now in her 40’s has the ideal career and ideal weight that she’s always wanted which is enough to take her mind off the fact that she doesn’t have her ideal man, maybe.  When Bridget’s 30-something colleague tricks her into going to a hippy rock concert festival, she has a drunken one night fling with Jack, played by Patrick Dempsey with more charm than an irish bracelet, who unbeknownst to her is a multimillionaire who made his money deriving an actual mathematical formula for finding love.  Less than a week later, Bridget hooks up with the ever proper and restrained Mark Darcy for which Colin Firth is also returning for the third time.  After a short time, Bridget comes to realize why she has been gaining weight, as she figures out she’s pregnant, or as her doctor who is played beautifully British by Emma Thompson (who helped out with the screenplay) puts it- has a ‘geriatric pregnancy’.


Why she’s getting fatter she knows, but who exactly is responsible for that, Jack or Mark, she does not.  Bad decisions are made, and hilarity ensues, but Zellweger’s great comedic strength is that as crazy as shenanigans get, Bridget always feels like a real person and you can’t help but relate.  Sharon Maguire returns to direct from the first film and does a splendid job.  I could have done without the preachiness claiming that both Bridget’s elders and juniors are out of touch, making it so only 30-40 year olds really are cued into what’s right, but besides that, I laughed and cried and then laughed some more.  Good romantic comedies are hard to come by, especially with 40-plus leads so enjoy ‘em when you get them.


Psalm 127:3



Hello, My Name is Doris- review


“Hello, My name is Doris” (2016)

Directed by Michael Showalter

Starring Sally Field,  Max Greenfield

Running Time 95 Minutes, Rated R.

3.5 Mitch’s out of 5

Mitch Hansch/movieswithmitch.com


Sally Field has two Oscars for a reason, but you wouldn’t have realized that from the last 15-20 years of her filmography.  Michael Showalter’s “Hello, My Name is Doris” reminds you real quick like as the 60 year-old actress runs away with her chance to shine and shine bright in this quirky but not too quirky indie dramedy.  

Field is the film titled lead, Doris.  Doris is a horder who is on her own for the first time with her mother having just passed.  Her brother, Todd (Stephen Root), wants her to sell the house and is a bit nicer about it than his snooty wife Cynthia (“Bridesmaids” Wendi McLendon-Covey).  Doris’s life is built on repetition, but she breaks out of it when she is hit hard with the crush bug for her several decades younger new co-worker John, played by a very charming Max Greenfield who doesn’t get too splashy of a role but proves he can bring a smooth restraint separating himself from his hyper-hilarious role in tv’s “New Girl” (yeah, I’m a fan).


Doris loses control with her affections, a bit of facebook stalking, but that’s too be expected with her lack of experience.  Eventually, the two form a friendship as Doris is working hard on the benefits, romantically that is.

This is Showalter’s second time directing, his first effort “Baxter” is a hidden gem that is way more leaning to his “The State”, “Stella”, offbeat comedic sensibilities.  Showalter can’t help but lean a little too hard on dream fantasies with Doris, but for the most part this a very funny grounded film that gives the lead to a senior female character played with the serious talents of Sally Field with her best work in years.



Sausage Party- review


“Sausage Party” (2016)

Directed by Greg Tiernan,  Conrad Vernon

Starring Seth Rogen,  Kristen Wiig,  Jonah Hill

Running Time 89 Minutes, Rated R.

3.5 Mitch’s out of 5

Mitch Hansch/movieswithmitch.com


It’s a good gag.  Take the sweet natured Pixar prototype of animals or inanimate objects that gives them human characteristics and an adventurous journey of rescue as well as self discovery, and then, turn that upside down with the most lewd, crude, and nasty jokes you can squeeze in per minute.  And there you have “Sausage Party”, a Seth Rogen/Evan Goldberg joint (“This is the End”) told from the point of view of all the products sold in a grocery store with the crookedness of three-wheeled shopping cart.

“Sausage Party” opens in a brightly lit supermarket chain where everything that can be sold is alive and eagerly awaiting being chosen by the gods (grocery store customers) and taken to the “Great Beyond”.  It’s almost 4th of July, and Frank the hot dog (Seth Rogen) and Brenda the hot dog bun (Kristen Wiig) are in love and want to do more than just touch tips when they get to the “Great Beyond”.  Destiny awaits as they’re selected into someone’s shopping cart together, but among the other ‘chosen’ is a nihilistic honey mustard voiced by Danny McBride who does freaking out angry better than any other human or condiment alive that warns them that he’s seen what truly is beyond, and that it’s hell.


Eventually, the truth is discovered that they are all lambs to the slaughter, you’ll be haunted by baby carrots being eaten alive.  Rogen and Goldberg use the Pixar setup to basically say there is no god (don’t agree), but they do so in a manner that shows how man warps religion. A lavash voiced by David Krumholtz and a Jewish bagel voiced by Edward Norton doing an meh Woody Allen have been at odds for as long as they can remember.  It also, and I appreciate this, shows how you just can’t tell someone they’re stupid for what they believe.  Rogen/Goldberg always strive for the deep hard questions (usually religion- “Sausage Party”, “This is the End”, “Preacher”) and cram it with as many dick jokes as possible, and you know what, I love that.  

The film isn’t as deep as it always wants to be, but it is as deviant as they hoped for.  A food sex orgy at the end is extravagantly perverse, and you know what, I love that.

Romans 1:20




Ghostbusters- review


“Ghostbusters” (2016)

Directed by Paul Feig

Starring Melissa McCarthy,  Kristen Wiig,  Kate McKinnon

Running Time 116 Minutes, Rated PG-13

1.5 Mitch’s out of 5

Mitch Hansch/movieswithmitch.com


The new “Ghostbusters” doesn’t suck because it’s an all female cast.  I am very much in the camp that if you’re gonna take on the 1984 classic (one of my top 20 favorite films of all time, a classic) then why not shake it up with an awesome female cast.  Their female cast is awesome.  I love Melissa McCarthy, I strongly like Kristen Wiig and Leslie Jones, and I’m absolutely smitten with Kate McKinnon who is not only one of the funniest women in the world but also people, place, and thing for that matter.  Love me some Kate McKinnon, but this female cast although awesome, isn’t awesome in 2016’s biggest ecto-turd of the year, Paul Feig’s disastrous “Ghostbusters”.

Here’s why it does suck.

- Feig and writers made both of their leads insanely boring.  It’s like they didn’t want to go too closely to the original blueprint with the alpha male that Bill Murray so cockily played (which both McCarthy and Wiig could knock out of the park) so they made them both Dan Aykroyd’s character, and that made the film so so boring.  

- The villain sucks.  I enjoy Neil Casey, he’s one hell of an improviser, but he’s just an imprint of the sucky villain in Ghostbusters 2 which is the biggest reason why that movie wasn’t good.  But still better than this film.

- Brutally unfunny.  These amazing females don’t come across so amazing, and I was wowed by that.  Chris Hemsworth who takes over for the Annie Potts secretary, is played as super handsome and super dumb, which is funny at first; however, his character is so dumb, and he plays it so broad that it’s a looney tunes cartoon. The first film had their characters rooted, even Rick Moranis’ nerdy accountant, Louis Tully, never played it so far as completely unbelievable, but Hemsworth’s character doesn’t only proverbially slip on the banana peel, he picks it up and uses as a phone, and then mistakes it for it’s long lost brother.   Fine, so Hemsworth isn’t a comedian, but you know who is, THE REST OF THE CAST!  Even McKinnon just comes off stilted and weird, the only one who comes off good here is Leslie Jones who actually gives the film some gravitas.  


- The Fall Out Boy/ Missy Elliott wannabe Ray Parker hit absolutely blows.  Fall Out Boy/ Missy Elliott… enough said.

- The special effects are cartoony and stupid.  They are more for spectacle than pushing story forward in any way.

- Most sad of all are the cameos.  They made me cry and throw up a little.  The only thing Feig pulled off with the film’s supernatural theme is how eerily unfunny he made the original icons be.  

Notice the credits where a huge costly dance number was dumped after being cut in a third act that proves your previous query to why it felt so choppy and broken.  Also, notice the credits as your cue to get the heck out of this suck fest as you might be paralyzed with disbelief with how bad this film is.  

Ephesians 6:12



The Fundamentals of Caring- review


“The Fundamentals of Caring” (2016)

Directed by Rob Burnett

Starring Craig Roberts,  Paul Rudd,  Selena Gomez

Running Time 97 Minutes

3 Mitch’s out of 5

Mitch Hansch/movieswithmitch.com

“The Fundamentals of Caring” feels like a film that was released in a few city markets theatrically, but was never destined for more than a payable streaming device.  And that’s what Netflix has released with this very generic and very paint by the number dramedy that I very much admit mildly works because of its heart tugging with a sarcastic toughness.  What this film does have, is the 5-tool actor Paul Rudd who if it was allowed by the government, we could print off his charm as viable U.S. currency.


Through a slow-rolling of a personal tragedy we learn why Ben (Paul Rudd) has taken a six week course $9 dollar an hour job to be a caregiver.  Ben interviews with Trevor (Craig Roberts) a darkly dry-witted British 18 year old who suffers from muscular dystrophy and teen angst.  Both of their down and out jokey outlook on life makes them instant friends.  Trying to help Trevor actually live a little, the two embark on a road trip to the world’s biggest pit because Trevor finds it’s depressiveness very funny.  Along the way they pick up potty-mouthed riff raff runaway Dot (Selena Gomez).  

The three all have daddy issues but all in different regards, and so they all connect as by the book road trip movies tend to do with their characters.  Most of the common routes that your mind easily projects early on are traveled down upon as where a few other streets paved with predictability only to end up being a dead end. Those delightful dead ends along with the glory that is Rudd is enough to make you care for this film.

Philippians 2:4



Central Intelligence- review


“Central Intelligence” (2016)

Directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber

Starring  Dwayne Johnson,  Kevin Hart

Running Time 107 Minutes, Rated PG-13

3 Mitch’s out of 5

Mitch Hansch/ movieswithmitch.com


Steven Spielberg, Paul Thomas Anderson, Kathyrn Bigelow, or even Martin Friggen Scorsese please listen up!!!! Not three exclamation points for that last sentence, nay, four of them.  Please cast Dwayne Johnson is one of your films.  I was telling the wife the other day that Tom Cruise and Will Smith are the only living movie stars in today’s cinema, but I’d be willing to squeeze in someone that you can put up against scissors any day.  Dwayne Johnson is mandatory opening weekend viewing in my books, and his latest, a low IQ action comedy “Central Intelligence” only proves my point.  He puts every less than par film he’s cast in in the ‘very watchable’ category, just imagine if Spielberg worked some of that old magic with the high proteined charm factory that is Johnson... it would be legendary.  


Johnson plays Bob Stone, an aggressively teased high school student turned a Bond/Bourne  government agent on the run trying to prove his name clean while using the accounting skills of Calvin Joyner (Kevin Hart against type, sorta) who was his high school’s most likely to succeed and the only one to stand up for Bob.  Accounting wasn’t the bright future Calvin imagined for himself, but the two get mixed up in a half-assed black ops plot where the two get to right the wrongs of the past and the present.

This film works only because of Johnson and Hart’s chemistry that bounces off each other like two positively charged ions, one being crazy huge and buff and the only really tiny and fast talking.  Johnson once again stretches his comedic range by going super broad with his super happy Bob and it crazy works.

“Central Intelligence” doesn’t crazy work but Johnson and Hart do.



The Lobster- review


“The Lobster” (2016)

Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos

Starring Colin Farrell,  Rachel Weisz,  Jessica Barden

Running Time 119 Minutes, Rated R.

3.5 Mitch’s out of 5

Mitch Hansch/movieswithmitch.com

I yearn for this sort of dangerous filmmaking.  Director Yorgos Lanthimos who is coming off the equally dangerous “Dogtooth”, has a knack for audacity, and that is a rare commodity in today’s cinema.  His english language debut, “The Lobster”, hearkens back to the beautiful misery that is “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”, and while it doesn’t achieve that film’s consistency and masterpiece, this is a film that is but a few wrong turns away from it, and that’s fine by me.

If you become single at any point in your adult life, whether it be from getting dumped, getting widowed, or even both, you have 45 days to find another life mate or you are turned into an animal of your choice.  David, played by a fantastically drab Colin Farrell who put on 40 pounds for the role, has become single and is put up in a posh country club in a world that is monotonically void of joy in every sense of the word.  David has chosen to be a lobster for reasons that will break your heart.


Later David breaks free of the singles club where he becomes a fugitive and takes up with those who have also chosen to break the law (society) and be single, hiding in a forested commune lead by a very cold Léa Seydoux (“Blue is the Warmest Color”).  There Dave meets and falls in a mutual but secret love with a woman that also shares this short sidedness (they both don’t see too well) played by Rachel Weisz who is of course billed as Short Sighted Woman because our common traits are of course what defines us, right?

You’re damned in this culture if you’re single by choice or not.  Both schools of thought harvest intolerable people who know their way of life is right and look down on you with disdain for choosing the other.  Lanthimos loses the film’s tight grasp of it’s satire in the third act as it drags, but he still gives you so much to chew on afterwards that is highly rewarding and rare in itself.  Just be sure to have some melted butter to dip in before you do chew.  

2 Corinthians 6:14



Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping- review


“Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping” (2016)

Directed by Akiva Schaffer,  Jorma Taccone

Starring Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer,  Jorma Taccone

Running Time 87 Minutes, Rated R.

3 Mitch’s out of 5

Mitch Hansch/movieswithmitch.com


“Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping” comes from the comedy music trio Lonely Island led by by Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone, and Akiva Schaffer (the former two wrote and directed this movie) who deliver a movie with at least a joke a minute, which comes to at least 87 by my calculations, and there’s just enough that do work to make you forget about the plenty that don’t.  

If you’re gonna do a music parody, “This is Spinal Tap” showed you the best way is to go documentary, and Lonely Island smartly abides.  Samberg plays a Justin Bieber type popstar who is dropping his latest album and about to start his world tour: CONNquest. He insists he wrote all 17 tracks that needed 100 producers in total. Conner is trying to get out of the spotlight that his old Beastie Boyz type rap trio named Style Boyz, which Jorma and Akiva fill but is having the many problems that face someone who has had nothing but ‘yes men’ his whole life.

The parody songs that they come up with are hilarious, a sexy track title “Finest Girl” about a girl that wants to get F’d like the U.S. F’d Bin Laden, or “Mona Lisa” trying to figure out what the big deal is about the ugly chick in that famous painting, or “I’m so humble (feat. Adam Levine) which hopefully you can get the humor in that. After a while, the film forgets about the hilarity of the music.  I personally would have liked to have seen the film transition more into a rock concert film ala “Purple Rain”, but that’s just me.  Props for using cameos so much better than say, “Zoolander 2” which just felt gross and misused.  

At times Popstar does stop never stopping, or star stopping I guess would be more correct, but the rapid fire of jokes get to start back upping enough.  Or something like that.

Hebrews 13:5



Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising: Review


“Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising” (2016)

Directed by Nicholas Stoller

Starring  Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne, Zac Efron

Running Time 92 Minutes, Rated R.

2.5 Mitch’s out of 5

Mitch Hansch/movieswithmitch.com


“Neighbors” was a box office hit that succeeded in giving Zac Efron his first hit outside of musicals set in a high school, tying Seth Rogen to a younger crowd cause I guess the Judd Apatow crew is old school now, and once again letting Rose Byrne shine brighter than everyone else.  The movie also succeeded in showcasing Efron’s six-pack ab wonder emporium, and while “Neighbors 2” does that just as well, it does not duplicate the previous accomplishments with it’s much-missed opportunities of a sequel.


The Radner’s (Rose Byrne and Seth Rogen) are back with mal-parented daughter Stella and, once again, getting into a turf war with hard-partying college kids… but this time it’s war with college girls (mind blown!), hooray for 2016 equal rights (where’s my sarcasm font when I need it).  Director Stoller and returning cast know it’s the same film but with the Y chromosome, and they poke fun at themselves with good jokes.  The girls in question are lead by Chloe Grace Moretz who thinks it’s super not cool that only guys can throw parties in frat houses (she’s got a point) and so makes some college besties and does her best to break the male shackles of throwing parties while the Radner’s need them to blow town or they’ll lose their escrow on their sold house (some pretty decent housing bubble jokes are made).  The tie that binds is Efron’s under achieving Teddy who is once again soul searching when his best mate played by James Franco has nicely kicked him out of the apartment to make room for his gay fiance.

All too often jokes are made and then dropped; roofie jokes keep showing their face, which aren’t funny, which Stroller and his four other screenwriters come to and then drop.  There are a lot more themes this go around, which some stick, but most don’t. Their biggest theme being sexism even gets a bit hypocritical at times- like in a scene where Rogen and Efron are locked in a garage, and Byrne just waits for them not doing anything letting them save the day.  Laughs are missed as well when poor direction doesn’t capitalize on the the film’s action comedy sequence and wastes a good Beastie Boys song.  

Don’t waste Beastie Boys songs, sure as heck don’t waste Rose Byrne, and don’t waste your time on this almost good enough - but not - sequel.   

Proverbs 7:4 



Nice Guys- review


Nice Guys” (2016)

Directed by Shane Black

Starring  Russell Crowe,  Ryan Gosling,  Angourie Rice

Running Time 116 Minutes, Rated R.

4 Mitch’s out of 5

Mitch Hansch/movieswithmitch

Delivering smaller non-event films that somehow feel more like an event-film than most of what the studios are putting out, Shane Black, director of the impeccable “Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang” and the very profitable “Iron Man 3” is back at the helm doing what he does best.  

Set in the lush 70’s L.A. scene amidst the gas panics and daily smog alerts, “Nice Guys” stars Russell Crowe as Jackson Healy, a Bronx born street tough who earns his wages by being hired to beat people up, not sure how you put that in your W-2’s.  Healy savors the gigs where he gets to put the hurt on men who fool around with underaged girls.  Not the smartest, although he does try to learn a new word a day, what he does know is that he feels that his life is being wasted, and what he really wants is to be useful.   

Ryan Gosling is Holland March, an ex-police force now scheming private investigator who when his wife passed hit the bottle, and his 13-year-old daughter Holly (Angourie Rice) now takes more care of him than he does for her.  Bumbling and stumbling, March can’t even break through a door window pane without putting himself in the hospital.

Healy and March, after a painful first encounter for March, end up teaming up on a case that starts with tracking down an already dead pornstar named Misty Mountains to eventually getting tangled up in conspiracy that goes as deep as the head of L.A. law enforcement (played by Kim Basinger), auto emissions, and the Big 3 car makers.   

Shane Black knows how to do buddy cop films, the man wrote “Lethal Weapon” for goodness sake.  He mines that genre’s tropes for all it’s worth with his fantastic leads, and just like in “Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang”, he just absolutely rocks it with a very funny and very compelling detective story.  

It’s nice to see Crowe doing comedy again, because he can, and even if he’s let himself go, (adding about 60 pounds since the last time he worked with Basinger in “L.A. Confidential”) he hasn’t let his acting chops go.  I’m so happy to see the much younger Gosling able to have his pulse on taking parts that don’t suck (forgiving of course “Gangster Squad”).  A gem is the young Australian actress Angourie Rice who does very well playing the film’s moral center.

Black specializes in dumb characters in smart movies, and “Nice Guys” is no different.  I love it when you can see a filmmaker having fun.  The lush backdrop of both the 70’s and L.A. during that time makes the film pop all the more and the quirky dialogue, including an angry rant on ventriloquists that I particularly enjoyed, don’t hurt the viewing experience either.

I will say that as much as I did enjoy “Nice Guys”, it doesn’t hold up to “Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang”.  FYI, you can thank that movie for the Marvel Universe we all enjoy today.  When Kiss Kiss came out Robert Downey Jr. was on the outs in Hollywood just coming back from his latest drug rehabilitation.  Without Kiss Kiss, Downey Jr. never gets cast as Iron Man, and then somebody else is cast, way less charismatic, and who knows if it ever catches on (talking to you Henry Cavill).  But I digress, the script is much more snappy and awesomely frantic in Kiss Kiss and Kiss Kiss in my opinion holds up as just a perfect little film.

“Nice Guys” is a very, very good little film that again, feels like such a bigger film than it is.  A treat no less.


Keanu- review


“Keanu” (2016)

Directed by Peter Atencio

Starring Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele

Running Time 100 Minutes, Rated R.

2 Mitch’s out of 5

Mitch Hansch/movieswithmitch.com


That’s gotta be disappointing.  Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele of their well deserved “Key and Peele” sketch show fame are coming off that show’s run with some major swag and just flat out ability to call their own shots.  So instead of going all Babe Ruth calling out his home run for a dying kid, the two very funny comedians basically decided to call out an inning ending double-play for a kid with above average attention deficit disorder.


“Keanu”, is an incompetent dud, in large part due to Peter Atencio’s misshapen directing, but it didn’t have to be.  Here’s a comedy where Key and Peele’s talents should shine through; playing two clean-cut mild mannered black citizens who end up in a gang drug war just to get their cute little kitty back.  As to point out what black culture is, what’s expected from it, and the stereotypes seen from both sides of the equation.  And while good satire shines through from time to time, the jokes most certainly do not.  “Keanu” is the classic 3 minute sketch that was forced into a 100 minute film, and by my calculation that makes this film 33 times too long.

P.S. Sign of film that doesn’t trust itself that it’s funny.  A scene where Key and Peele walk up to bar called Hot Party Vixen and the bar sign out front is abbreviated HPV, funny joke by itself, but Peele’s character has to verbally point it out so that we MAKE SURE you got it.  Way less funny the second time, and sadly “Keanu” is way less funny than it should be the whole time through.  

Genesis 40:15