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Movie reviews: Brad Pitt's 'Bullet Train,' and a North Texan makes a cameo in 'Easter Sunday'

Pitt plays a newly-zen agent named 'Ladybug' charged with intercepting a briefcase full of ransom money aboard the train as it speeds through Japan.
Credit: Sony

TEXAS, USA — Brad Pitt's new action comedy "Bullet Train" was filmed during the pandemic. He told ABC it just made him laugh and was the perfect salve for what we've been through. 

Does that sound like he's making an excuse? It does to me. 

Pitt plays a newly-zen agent named 'Ladybug' charged with intercepting a briefcase full of ransom money aboard the train as it speeds through Japan. Plenty of others have their reasons to get their hands on the cash, too. 

In fact, quite the ensemble cast has booked their tickets, including Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Joey King, Brian Tyree Henry and Latin music mega-star 'Bad Bunny' in his feature film debut (along with a couple of cameos I won't give away). 

Also on board, the son of a Russian crime lord, who was kidnapped for that money.

All the fights (and there are a lot of them) make sense when you find out that "Bullet Train" is directed by Pitt's former stunt double, David Leitch. But the film often seems like merely a sum of those parts. 

In fact, it reminds me a lot of a Guy Ritchie movie. Characters pop up with their name in graphics, and fists and weapons fly. The $90-million budget shows, and I can't help but think it will make most of that money back in the Asian market, as it seems like that's who it's targeting. 

We know Pitt is better than this, but the Oscar winner is also entitled to have a little fun. This one just goes off the rails a little more than it was meant to. 

(Sony Pictures. Rated R. Running Time 2 hrs. 6 mins. In Theaters Only.)

Easter Sunday

"Easter Sunday" seems oddly placed on the movie calendar in August. But popular stand-up comedian Jo Koy is just thrilled it made it to the big screen. If you're a fan of his comedy, you know Koy's mom is pretty hard to please! 

"Easter Sunday" is based on his real life and is the first-ever major studio movie about a Filipino-American family. Koy plays a comedian trying to land a sitcom deal when his mother summons him home for an Easter celebration with his crazy but loving relatives. 

And yes, he somehow manages to do a stand-up routine in a church!

The movie represents a full circle moment involving Steven Spielberg. He actually was watching Koy's Netflix special "Comin' in Hot" on the set of "West Side Story," and had his production company reach out to see if Koy had any ideas for a movie. And here we are. 

Truth is, Koy's stand-up act is better than the movie. Everything gets frenetic when he tries to help his brother make good on a huge debt, and the story loses focus from the actual family unit. A cameo by North Texan (and fellow Filipino) Lou Diamond Phillips is a nice touch, though, along with a couple of scenes with hit old flame-turned-cop played by Tiffany Haddish.

Oddly, Koy does not have a writing credit on this. Maybe if he was involved in the screenplay, it would feel more authentic and less staged. Word is, though, it's mom-approved, and that's a big deal!

(Universal Pictures. Rated PG-13. Running Time 1 hr. 36 mins. In Theaters Only.)

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