April 17, 2015, - 4:27 pm

Wknd Box Office: True Story, Unfriended, Monkey Kingdom

By Debbie Schlussel



Sorry that I’ve been away for the past few days, but I’ve been very sick. I think I had the flu or a fever or something like that, coupled with the worst cold ever and a horribly sore throat. I could not swallow or eat, and it’s been hard to breathe. And I’m finally starting to feel better (thanks to everyone who expressed concern about my absence). Just in time to post my reviews of the new movies debuting in theaters today. “Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2” was not screened for critics, which means it’s probably awful. I did like the first installment (read my review). I was going to see it anyway to review it for you, but I was just too sick, last night, to do so. Sorry.

* “True Story“: While this was entertaining, I’m not entirely sure what the point of it was. It’s based on a true story, which is a lot less entertaining than as portrayed in this movie. I know that because I’ve seen the story of convicted murderer Christian Longo (here played by James Franco) and disgraced former New York Times Magazine reporter Mike Finkel (here played by Jonah Hill) on “Dateline NBC” and other TV true crime shows.

Finkel was a high-flying New York Times Magazine writer, until he got caught fabricating a story and was fired. He retreated to his cabin out West when he learned that a fugitive accused murderer, Longo, was apprehended in Mexico, where Longo had assumed Finkel’s identity. Finkel meets Longo in prison, where he is charmed by the accused criminal and begins writing a book asserting Longo’s innocence. It’s quite obvious, though, that the criminal may be smarter than the “smart” writer. The movie explores that relationship.

The movie was mildly entertaining, but it was kinda slow, and there’s nothing to it because there is no suspense. We already know who the murderer is and that the reporter has been disgraced and is trying to make a comeback. So, again, what was the point?


Watch the trailer . . .

* “Unfriended“: I had mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, it’s done entirely through technology–videos on Skype, communication on Facebook, etc. That was interesting and done well, as it managed to keep my interest (the movie is very short and under 1.5 hours). On the other hand, as a “thriller” and supposed “scary movie,” it wasn’t that scary or thrilling. And I found the movie, overall, to basically be “cyberrevenge-porn.” The language and images, while accurate for today’s teens, are disturbing, regardless. The movie is essentially revenge for cyberbullying, and it’s not all that satisfying.

The story: a high school student commits suicide, after she was bullied when someone posted an embarrassing online video of the student drunk and with her pants soiled (either by feces or period blood–it’s hard to tell). Did I really need to see this shot up close?! Five of her fellow high school students are online on Skype and Facebook, when they realize that an intruder is interrupting their communications, trolling them, and sending viruses and violent threats their way. The intruder claims to be the dead girl, taking her revenge.

As I said, the use of technology was interesting, but I could have done without the revenge-porn and disturbing images. It was kind of over the top. Plus, no way I’d pay ten bucks plus to see this. Not even close.


Watch the trailer . . .

* “Monkey Kingdom“: This very cute, G-Rated movie from Disneynature is great entertainment for families with young kids. Narrated by Tina Fey, it follows a female monkey in Sri Lanka and/or India and her cycle of life. The movie shows how she fends for herself and her son as she attempts to fight her way up from the lowest rung in the monkey caste system to the top. There is nothing political about this movie–a big plus, because usually these kinds of movies are preachy propaganda. This one isn’t. And it’s entertaining and endearing.


Watch the trailer . . .

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13 Responses

WB from the dead, Debbie! Sounds like you had the flu (the *real* flu) and not just a bad cold. I know because I always thought I’d flus which were actually just badcolds until I got the actual flu in ’97. I’ve gotten yearly flu shots since then and haven’t had it again. It’s indescribably miserable, I know.

Also, I boycott Disney and Tina Fey,so no-go for me, but thanks for the review.

DS_ROCKS! on April 17, 2015 at 4:49 pm

Well, looks like Tina Fey finally found a role close to home.

Little Al on April 17, 2015 at 5:42 pm

Sorry you’ve been so sick Debbie. Thanks for all you do!

MomInMinnesota on April 17, 2015 at 6:46 pm

Get well Debbie.

Primate societies are fascinating given their proximity to us in the evolution hierarchy. “Monkey Kingdom,” like the superb “African Cats” (2010, narrated by Samuel L. Jackson), is a reminder that animals, in a sense, really are “human,” just less so. This definitely will be on my to-watch list.

Primetime on April 18, 2015 at 1:49 am

It does not sound like flu, more like bronchitis. Do seeik some medical health. Whatever you do, keep away from this DrM who has been deported from Israel and who has vocalised his desire not to treat Zionists in America

DrM AKA known as Dr Maxtor of drmaxtor blogspot where he spews his nazi like filth
In real life he is Dr Rushdi Cader of Umma Clinic

DeportAmericanIslamists on April 18, 2015 at 2:51 am

Feel better. It was Yom Hashoah on April 16, 2015. Take a minute to think of the Six Million who died and give thanks for those who survived the Shoah and stand witness to the Jewish Genocide. Never Forget. Never Again.

Susan on April 18, 2015 at 10:54 am

I am very sorry to learn that you’ve been sick. I hope you are back to normal soon. Have a restful weekend.

Dinak on April 18, 2015 at 2:58 pm

Just don’t up and die on us, cause that would suck.

eyepooponu on April 19, 2015 at 2:58 am

Miss Schlussel:

I’m sorry you’ve been sick.

It sounds like you and I have the same bug.

It’s a recurring bronchitis which hangs on for – – – ?

Just when you think you’re feeling better, it suddenly hits you again, and then repeats the cycle.

I’ve had it for several weeks, and just can’t get rid of it.

The VA prescribed an anti-biotic, a throat narcotic, and an inhaler, but only enough for four (04) days.

Since then, I’ve been desperately tripling and quadrupling the prescribed dosages of all of my other medications, i.e., the ones prescribed for my heart, blood pressure, cholesterol, allergy symptoms, arthritis, muscle spasms, constipation, and a narcotic for my back.

A friend advised me that was the wrong thing to do, and recommended I go to Wal-Mart to purchase “Mucinex” for my cough.

Have you seen the breaking news story about Poland protesting to our government regarding comments by our FBI director about the participation of Poland in the Holocaust?

I read it this morning at the YAHOO! web site.

One other thing – – – ,

TODAY is the seventy-second (72) anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.

For Americans, it is the two hundred fortieth (240) anniversary of the “shot heard ’round the world” at Lexington, Massachusetts, when seventy-seven (77) men and boys courageously defied the largest and most powerful army in the entire world.

John Robert Mallernee on April 19, 2015 at 12:43 pm

Get well soon, Debbie!

Thanks for the kid movie recommendation. As I think I mentioned, I watch less and less Hollyweird stuff. I’ll see if this one is showing, though.

Occam's Tool on April 20, 2015 at 1:59 am

Get well soon.

A film about monkeys that does not involve politics…impossible.

Panhandle on April 20, 2015 at 11:14 am

“Monkey Kingdom”

Approved for “Appropriate Audiences”?



ebayer on April 20, 2015 at 2:53 pm

Cool…a movie to match my local theater’s popcorn…

Occam's Tool on April 22, 2015 at 4:19 pm

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