Kam on Film: ‘Boo! A Madea Halloween,’ ‘New Life,’ and What’s New in Theaters

—by , October 26, 2016

Boo! A Madea Halloween

Lionsgate Films

Rated PG-13 for drug use, suggestive content, profanity, ethnic slurs, scary images and mature themes

Tyler Perry Back In Drag For Another Madcap Adventure

No one has ever accused Tyler Perry of being short on ideas. After all, the prolific writer/director has been the brains behind a profusion of plays, movies and television shows. But he would be the first to admit that he was not the source of inspiration for Boo! A Madea Halloween, the ninth in the Madea series revolving around the sassy, sermonizing granny.

Rather, the idea originated with Chris Rock, who featured a fake poster for a film with the identical title in his 2014 comedy Top Five. Because the joke went viral, Tyler decided why not get back in drag and make a movie to meet the demand generated by the buzz.

But Boo! definitely has a different feel from the previous Madea movies in that it is less your typical Tyler Perry morality play than a rudderless, kitchen sink comedy seizing on any excuse for a laugh. For, the Madea found here is no longer that Bible-thumping role model reliably interfering on behalf of an underdog in distress. Yes, one minute, she might be promoting old-fashioned values. However, there she is in the next scene exposing her breasts to lecherous frat boys.

The film does feature a rudimentary plot revolving around Madea’s 17-year-old grand-niece, Tiffany (Diamond White). Note that the premise is established at the point of departure and promptly abandoned. It’s Halloween, and the headstrong high schooler and her girlfriends hope to attend an “epic” party being thrown at Upsilon Theta frat house.

Since her divorced father (also played by Perry) will be otherwise occupied, it falls to Madea to babysit Tiffany, to make sure the rebellious teen never leaves the house. Madea arrives with an entourage of amusing misfits, including marijuana-addicted Aunt Bam (Cassi Davis), marble-mouthed Hattie (Patrice Lovely), and old fool Uncle Joe (also played by Perry).

Soon, silly Halloween-themed one-liners, non-sequiturs, slapstick and sight gags start flowing at a fast and furious rate that will undoubtedly be appreciated by the target, African-American audience. Yet, many of the punchlines are just as likely to be lost on those unable to decipher the often-inscrutable ebonics-laden exchanges.

Brace yourself for the specter of self-righteous Madea serving up street justice to clowns, collegiates, ghosts and goblins!

 

Good (2 stars)

Running time: 103 minutes

 

 

New Life

Argentum Entertainment / Red Sky Studios

Rated PG for mature themes

Childhood Sweethearts Face Adversity In Bittersweet Tale Of Undying Love

When he was only seven years old, Ben (Jonathan Patrick Moore) moved with his family to the U.S. from Great Britain. What the young immigrant liked best about his new home was his cute next door neighbor, Ava (Erin Bethea), an adorable little girl exactly his age.

The two kids immediately forged a friendship that not only endured through childhood but blossomed into romance once they hit puberty. It even survived the separation which resulted when Ava went away to college while her beau stuck around town, dividing his time between driving a limo and interning at his father’s architectural firm.

Eventually, Ben proposed and the lovebirds married, just like everybody who knew them expected. They were eager to start a family, and became elated to learn that Ava was expecting. Unfortunately, she would subsequently suffer a miscarriage caused by a suspected tumor.

Medical tests ordered by her doctor (Terry O’Quinn) confirm the presence of a malignancy. Consequently, the newlyweds suddenly find themselves dealing with a dire diagnosis on the Cancer Ward instead of playing with a bouncing bundle of joy on the Maternity Ward.

That is the sobering premise of New Life, a bittersweet tale of undying love marking the directorial debut of actor Drew Waters (Parkland). Ostensibly designed with Evangelicals in mind, the faith-based parable probably has more of an appeal for the Christian crowd than for general audiences.

To its credit, the PG-rated production isn’t all that heavy-handed in terms of sermonizing. Still, its thinly-veiled moralizing is ultimately undermined by that bummer of a development which, quite frankly, proves to be irreversibly morose. Who goes to the movies to get depressed?

 

 

Good (2 stars)

Running time: 88 minutes

 

 

OPENING THIS WEEK

Kam’s Kapsules

 

Inferno (PG-13 for action, violence, profanity, disturbing images, mature themes and brief sensuality) Third installment of The Da Vinci Code franchise finds symbologist Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) suffering from amnesia and on the run with his physician (Felicity Jones) from a billionaire geneticist (Ben Foster) with a diabolical plan to depopulate the planet. With Omar Sy, Irfan Khan, Ana Ularu and Sidse Babett Knudsen.

 

By Sidney Lumet (Unrated) The legendary director reflects upon his life and career in this revealing biopic based on an intimate interview conducted a few years before his death in 2011.

 

Gimme Danger (R for profanity and drug use) Reverential rockumentary, directed by Jim Jarmusch, taking a fond look back at the groundbreaking punk band Iggy And The Stooges.

 

Portrait Of A Garden (Unrated) Horticultural documentary, set in Holland, highlighting the enduring friendship of green-thumbed, 85-year-old Jan Freriks and his devoted, longtime protégé, Daan van der Have, as they prune the orchards, arbors and espaliers of his sprawling, verdant estate. (In Dutch with subtitles)

 

The Unspoken (Unrated) Harrowing horror flick revolving around a close-knit family which disappeared from their home without a trace 17 years ago only to resurface now. Co-starring Jodelle Ferland, Sunny Suljic, Matt Bellefleur and Trevor Carroll.

 

The Windmill (Unrated) High body-count horror flick revolving around a group of tourists who begin disappearing one-by-one after their bus breaks down in Amsterdam near the spot where, according to ancient legend, a demented miller once grounded human bones instead of grain. Cast includes Noah Taylor, Charlotte Beaumont and Ben Batt.


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