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‘Boss Level’ is just an ultra-violent ‘Groundhog Day’ that’s unexpectedly fun

‘Boss Level’ is just an ultra-violent ‘Groundhog Day’ that’s unexpectedly fun

At first, “Boss Level” seems as familiar and derivative as it is unnecessary — basically just an insanely-violent version of “Groundhog Day,” with Frank Grillo caught in a time loop and trying to fight his way out of it. Stick with it, though, and the Hulu movie sort of grows on you, mindless fun that finds the comic absurdities in its protagonist’s highly repetitive plight.

The supporting cast, frankly, feels like something of a distraction. The controversial Mel Gibson plays the main bad guy, a pretty stock character, while Naomi Watts parachutes in as the hero’s ex, a scientist who has placed him in the time loop, hoping his special-forces skills will help him find a way to navigate through the dense web of trained assassins.

As directed and co-written by Joe Carnahan (who worked with Grillo on “The Grey”), what makes “Boss Level” more than tolerable is the way Grillo’s Roy Pulver learns things the hard way, dying in one version of events before coming back and figuring out a way to survive the next encounter.

As Roy puts it in the heavy narration, he’s stuck “in the death loop of a never-ending day,” and “Yesterday was months ago.” If you recall Bill Murray memorizing a French poem to impress someone — or more recently, anything about “Palm Springs,” giving Hulu a time-loop double feature — imagine applying that discipline to battling a ridiculously skilled sword-wielding attacker.

Of course, that usually just means dying again (and again), but in this construction, you can’t make an omelet without breaking several dozen eggs.

“Boss Level” (a sly reference to the unavoidable video-game comparisons of this story) is the kind of movie that seemingly benefits from the strange state of theatrical releases. Lacking the pyrotechnics or star power to merit a trip to the theaters, it’s a more-than-adequate distraction situated on a platform like Hulu.

Perhaps foremost the movie offers a nice showcase for Grillo (who also produced it), after sparring with Captain America in the movies and starring in the series “Kingdom.” The supporting players notwithstanding — among them Michelle Yeoh, who basically just drops by — this is his show, and he makes the most of it.

Not that something like “Boss Level” breaks any ground, or — with apologies to the premise — is worth watching over and over. But for those craving an action distraction, it’s a reasonably entertaining way to kill time.

“Boss Level” premieres March 5 on Hulu.

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‘The Talk’ returns with Sheryl Underwood remarks and an episode on race

“The Talk” returned Monday by jumping right into a conversation about race.

It was the first new episode since cohost Sharon Osbourne left the CBS daytime talk show in the wake of a heated discussion she had with fellow cohost Sheryl Underwood over Osbourne’s support of her friend, Piers Morgan.

Underwood questioned that support after Morgan’s negative comments following Prince Harry and Meghan’s interview with media mogul Oprah Winfrey were criticized as being rooted in racism.

Underwood opened Monday’s episode by explaining that it was the panel’s first time in studio since the incident with Osbourne and her exit from the show.

“We need to process the events of that day and what’s happened since so we can get to the healing,” Underwood said. “Over the next hour we will honestly discuss what occurred and explore some of our feelings. And we’ll also show you how anyone can become more comfortable with discussing important issues and having difficult conversations.”

The show ended up going on a brief hiatus after the debate and allegations surfaced via an article by journalist Yashar Ali that Osbourne used racist and homophobic language while speaking about her former colleagues on the CBS talk show.

Ali cited former “Talk” co-host Leah Remini, who spoke on the record in the piece, as well as a number of unnamed sources.

CNN has not independently verified the claims. A spokesperson for Remini confirmed the accuracy of her statements as reported by Ali and declined further comment when contacted by CNN.

Osbourne tweeted an apology for the blowup with Underwood and denied that allegations raised in Ali’s reporting in a statement from her spokesperson, Howard Bragman.

“The only thing worse than a disgruntled former employee is a disgruntled former talk show host,” he said in a statement to CNN. “For 11 years Sharon has been kind, collegial and friendly with her hosts as evidenced by throwing them parties, inviting them to her home in the UK and other gestures of kindness too many to name. Sharon is disappointed but unfazed and hardly surprised by the lies, the recasting of history and the bitterness coming out at this moment.”

Osbourne was the only remaining original cast member of “The Talk,” which debuted in 2010.

During Monday’s episode, Underwood and her fellow cohosts Carrie Ann Inaba, Amanda Kloots and Elaine Welteroth welcomed expert on diversity, equity, inclusion and justice Dr. Donald E. Grant to offer advice on discussing issues of race and nationally acclaimed trauma therapist and life coach Dr. Anita Phillips, who shared expertise on how to heal after a painful event or conversation.

‘MacGyver’ fans campaign to save show

‘MacGyver’ fans campaign to save show

It looks like “MacGyver” will not be returning for a sixth season — and some viewers are not happy about that. A petition has been launched in an attempt to get the series (which is either a reboot or a spinoff of the 1980s original based on who you ask) renewed by CBS. “MacGyver is…Continue Reading

Will Smith and Antoine Fuqua pull ‘Emancipation’ production from Georgia

Will Smith and Antoine Fuqua pull ‘Emancipation’ production from Georgia

Georgia has lost a major production because of its newly restrictive voting legislation. It was announced Monday that director/producer Antoine Fuqua and his Fuqua Films and actor/producer Will Smith and his media company Westbrook Inc. have opted to move production of their forthcoming film “Emancipation” from the state. “At this moment in time, the Nation…Continue Reading

Bad Bunny announces 2022 tour

Bad Bunny announces 2022 tour

It’s happening! Bad Bunny has announced he’s heading out on a North American tour, calling it El Último Tour del Mundo 2022. It’s the same name as his 2020 album. Tickets go on sale Friday and the tour dates run from February through April of next year. The Grammy Award winner announced the tour on…Continue Reading

‘Shameless’ series finale after party hit a snag

‘Shameless’ series finale after party hit a snag

No spoilers here, but people were sad about Sunday’s “Shameless” series finale. And it wasn’t just because of what happened on the final episode of the hit Showtime series about a dysfunctional family headed by single dad Frank Gallagher (played by William H. Macy) or that the show was wrapping up after 11 seasons. What…Continue Reading

Chet Hanks releases risqué ‘White Boy Summer’ teaser video

Chet Hanks releases risqué ‘White Boy Summer’ teaser video

If there’s one thing Chet Hanks has mastered, it’s the art of causing a stir. Weeks after courting controversy with his new “White Boy Summer” clothing brand, the son of Hollywood actor Tom Hanks has teased the first look at his accompanying raunchy new music video. On Sunday, the 30-year-old treated his 483,000 Instagram followers…Continue Reading

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