What to watch: ‘Peacemaker’ is a superhero breath of fresh air

While a new “Scream” aims to scare up some excitement at the anemic box office, there are numerous other worthwhile titles that are streaming or arriving in theaters.

Here’s what to see, and what to avoid.

“Peacemaker”: When it comes to the masterminds spearheading superhero series and movies, James Gunn (“Guardians of the Galaxy”) is a standout, a fearless writer/director whose irreverent, rowdy ways puts him on a par with Taika Waititi (“Thor: Ragnarok”). And “Peacemaker” is a high note in Gunn’s career. Fans of “Deadpool’s” rude/raunchy behavior will adore this addictive eight-part HBO Max series — a spinoff of the gonzo box-office flop “Suicide Squad.” It distances itself from anything Disney+ offers, and is stuffed with nudity and violence and unrestrained edginess.

Gunn wrote and directed the bulk of the episodes and his R-rated riffing injects spirit and exuberance into the run-of-the-mill superhero franchise. But he’s not the only one who makes “Peacemaker” a down-and-dirty treat. Gifted comedian John Cena brings some sexy swagger to the title role, while portraying the superhero as a meat-and-potatoes, lunkheaded, clueless, guy who manages to be a do-gooder even though he is anything but “woke.” In this loopy series, Peacemaker gets revived post- “Suicide Squad” and becomes a part of a special ops team tasked with ferreting out evil entities flitting about the globe. His new crew barely tolerates this crass oaf, yet can’t help but be somewhat charmed by him. Robert Patrick appears as Peacemaker’s racist dad (instrumental to the plot) while Danielle Brooks stands out as Peacemaker’s new crony, as does Freddie Stroma as Adrian Chase/Vigilante — who gets some of the best laughs. “Peacemaker” skewers the superhero genre — with respect — and serves up something different; an unconventional, laugh-out-loud romp that’s as rude as it is enjoyable. Details: 3 stars out of 4; available Jan. 13 on HBO Max.

“Hotel Transylvania: Transformania”: Amazon Prime supposedly drives the final nail in the coffin of this animated franchise following Count Drac and his monster chums. The animation won’t win any awards on this fourth outing, which slips from memory before the credits are done rolling, but it all works thanks to an A-list voice cast (including Andy Samberg, Kathryn Hahn and Selena Gomez, who is also an executive producer.) The story follows these classic monsters getting zapped back into human form while Drac’s hyperactive son-in-law (Samberg) transforms into a monster. All of it is amiable and chuckle-worthy, but nothing more. Details: 2½ stars; available Jan. 14 on Amazon Prime.

“Shattered”: Whatever happened to the sleazy erotic thriller — those addictive B movies overwrought with numbskull plot twists and stupid lusty human behavior? Once dominant on cable TV, these guilty pleasures have all but lost their bawdy heat. Director Luis Prieto and screenwriter David Loughery try to throw gas on the dying briquets with this effort, but deliver 92 minutes of vigorous, highly unfulfilling sex, an asinine neo-noir plot and lame dialogue uttered with unrelenting woodiness. “Shameless” star Cameron Monaghan is the patsy here, a rich stooge going through …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


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