Deadpool 2 is what every movie would be like if screenwriters were forced to smoke a quarter ounce of weed every day before work.
It's a twisting, self-referential melting pot of dumb humour delivered in a highly intelligent manner that's as introspective as it is irreverent. Deadpool 2 doesn't give a f*ck, even about itself.
Ryan Reynolds stars as the titular superhero, a pissed-off burn victim who can't die, but this time around he at least cares about something: a young mutant with flaming hand powers (Julian Dennison from Hunt for the Wilderpeople) who was abused by his schoolmaster and wants to exact painful (and deserved) revenge. Somewhere (late) in the game they hook up with X-Force, Deadpool's crew, and battle Cable (Josh Brolin with a metal arm and the ability to time travel).
Certainly, Deadpool's trademark subversion is not as fresh the second time out. Also, the plot meanders and even the tangents have tangents (blame the weed) but Deadpool 2 solves these issues by simply acknowledging its faults via numerous fourth-wall-breaking asides about, "sloppy screenwriting."
Not everyone thinks that acknowledging something lets you get away with it but you gotta admit, it's kind of brilliant (and totally what a pot head would do). Reynolds is credited as a co-writer on the script, alongside Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick (Zombieland) with ex-stuntman David Leitch (John Wick, Atomic Blonde) on board as the director.
At 119 mins, Deadpool 2 is too long (104 woulda been better) and some critics can't handle the scrambled flow, ridiculous tone and high-concept, lowbrow humour. Bear in mind though, this is a film that kicked off its promotion/trailer campaign with a teaser that featured action figures battling in a cardboard set and ended with a full-on music video starring Celine Dion (that campaign is gonna win awards too). Expecting Deadpool 2 to suddenly shift gears and start behaving now is asinine. Superhero movies are pretty stupid in general, Deadpool 2 just turns it into an artform. (And then betters most of the genre it is lampooning.)
Also opening this week at the beautifully air-conditioned Village 8 theatres, Tully stars Charlize Theron (Mad Max: Fury Road, Monster) as a frazzled mother of two-plus-a-newborn so close to the end of her rope she enlists the help of Tully, a "night nanny" played by Mackenzie Davis (Bladerunner 2049) who comes over after dark every night to help out (she's like a hot, benevolent vampire who gives you life instead of sucking it out).
The two women form a friendship, avoid the classic Hollywood "hot nanny" pitfalls (hey there Ben Affleck) and bring peace to the Middle East while inventing an algorithm to cure cancer. OK, maybe not the last part but they make a lot of good personal headway.
Written by Diablo Cody, directed by Jason Reitman (Juno, Thank You for Smoking, Young Adult) this one is an authentic ode to motherhood that will play much better with parents than non-parents (a.k.a. "the High Five Club"), but Tully has to be respected for the tight writing, great acting and overall enlightenment of the human condition. (Basically it's the opposite of Deadpool 2.)
It's also nice to see Theron back in a more dramatic role. She's been slaying as an action star lately but we always knew she had incredible range and it's on display here. She's kinda the best these days.
On the small screen, the Download/Stream of the Week is Roxanne Roxanne. Remember after Straight Outta Compton hit big I warned about a flood of hip hop biopics? This is the latest one. Except where All Eyez On Me floundered Tupac's story by trying to cram too much of an incredible career/human into one flick, Roxanne succeed because the story of Roxanne Shante is smaller, more intimate, and told with attention to the small details that build character and conflict.
Life in New York was hard in the 1980s, especially for teenage phenom battle rapper Roxanne Shante. While doing her mother's laundry one day in 1984, Roxanne freestyles a hit record, Roxanne's Revenge, on a friend's recording set-up and become the first notable female MC in hip hop.
Life didn't get much easier, however, and this film doesn't pull any punches even as it serves up the nostalgia for an art form that would soon dominate popular culture. Roxanne Roxanne was produced by Forest Whitaker and Pharrell Williams and directed by Michael Larnell. It's on Netflix, and if ya don't know now ya know.