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  • Writer's pictureS.J.

Quick Reviews: 'Just Mercy', 'Child's Play' | Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Foxx, Horror Reboot

Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx upset, Chucky playing a board game
Just Mercy (L), Child's Play (R)


Although playing out like a typical legal drama does, director and co-writer Destin Daniel Cretton's Just Mercy finds some solace through more committed performances than what we’re used to. Heavy and lengthy runtime isn’t quite justified as parts of it go a bit too long but at least the story isn’t looked at just from the surface level. The film tells a real story of an attorney Bryan Stevenson (played by Michael B. Jordan) who finds himself defending an innocent, wrongfully convicted man named Walter McMillan (Jamie Foxx).

This is pretty much Jordan’s to own as nearly all of the movie is spent with him on the screen and he provides. Portraying all of the determination, professionalism, humanity and doubt in one, Jordan is the one you can’t look away from. His level is matched on several occasions and mostly by Tim Blake Nelson as Ralph Myers, the man who is a key witness for McMillan’s conviction to death row. They share a couple amazing scenes in prison as both actors really get something to chew on, both in terms of material and an emotional standpoint. Rob Morgan as Herbert Richardson, another man on death row, is just as great whenever the camera lets Jordan breathe for a second, notably the part when the day of execution has come and Richardson needs to prepare for his end.

Clocking in at two hours and 15 minutes, the movie drags a lot here and there. There are scenes between Stevenson and side characters that really don’t play well on the screen and could’ve easily been cut. It also takes some time away from Stevenson’s and McMillan’s interactions which is the main point of the film. This leads us to not really knowing about Stevenson quite enough for the other scenes to matter as much. Also the courtroom scenes come off as dry and they could’ve used more emphasis especially from the musical score, much of it is quite disinteresting when compared to what came before.

Smileys: Michael B. Jordan, Rob Morgan, Tim Blake Nelson

Frowneys: Runtime, pacing

Just Mercy is exactly what you’d expect and that’s just fine.


Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx distressed in a courtroom
Warner Bros. Pictures


Considering what a mediocre year 2019 was for mainstream horror, I didn’t walk into 2019’s reboot of Child’s Play with big expectations. That turned out to be a wise decision as I did find myself having fun while watching it and not being all that disappointed after it ended. Sure it’s hard to say that the movie is anything to tell friends about but there also isn’t need for bashing.

As a film it’s a mixed bag since the elements keep balancing each other out. Things that make it shine are led by a couple enjoyable performances from Mark Hamill as the voice of Chucky and Aubrey Plaza as the hot-young-mom Karen. Hamill is an amazing voice actor and after lending his skills to many notable characters in the past, he once again delivers as Chucky. He definitely puts his own little twist on it but it never comes off overworked. Plaza brings her deadpan delivery to the table which is kind of refreshing considering how larger-than-life most horror moms are nowadays. The gory stuff on the other hand was surprisingly well done when compared to other films that have this many kids in them, usually they are a bit more safe. Other than that most of the jokes land pretty well, the story moves forward nicely and the score is fairly original, though it fades out as the movie goes on.

There are however many bits and pieces that keep it from being a fun, constant rewatch. Hamill’s and Plaza’s work is balanced very noticeably by David Lewis as Shane and Ty Consiglio as Pugg. Lewis’ performance seems like lazy line-reading while Consiglio overacts way too much especially since he’s paired with more controlled actors in Gabriel Bateman and Beatrice Kitsos (Falyn). The screenplay is fairly juvenile due to many outlandish scenarios involving Andy (played by Bateman) and how it introduces most of the poorly written characters. Overall Child’s Play and director Lars Klevberg's vision feel very scattered and they seem to consist of puzzle pieces from different puzzles.

Smileys: Mark Hamill, Aubrey Plaza

Frowneys: David Lewis

It’s a fun, bad movie. You’re not probably going to hate your time with it.


Chucky and Gabriel Bateman playing a board game
United Artists Releasing

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