Animation

[Opinion] 2017 Summer Movie Predictions

You have in front of you the only summer movie prediction post guaranteed to get it all wrong. I’m not a Hollywood analyst out there tracking the interest of movie releases, nor am I an avid follower of the people that actually do that sort of thing. I’m just a dude who writes about beer and movie for fun that likes to swing wildly timely trends from time to time.

Today, it’s ranking this summer’s (2017 for all you futuristic hobos slummin it on the net) movie releases in order of how well I think they’ll do at the box office–just the top ten though. If you read last year’s you already know how comically misinformed this is about it get. Now that we know the game though, let’s just get this over with so I can get back to my case of beer, shall we?

(1) Spider-Man: Homecoming – With a trio of superhero tinged releases to pick from I am hedging my bets that people losing their sh*t at Spidey’s appearance in Civil War translates to big bucks this year. Or by the end of summer I’ll just go along ignoring how painfully wrong I always am and that’s why I don’t get paid the big bucks. (more…)

Advertisements

[Movie Review] ‘The LEGO Batman Movie’ is the Hilarious and Heartfelt Hero We Deserve

In 2016 we saw Batman twice in theaters and for most of us, we left those two encounters less than enthusiastic. With Warner Bros. flailing wildly in need of a hit, in steps some tiny plastic toys to save the day. Even with as good as The LEGO Batman Movie is, it also amplifies how inept Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad were at the most fundamental level–being entertaining. In a way, the latest in the Batman universe acts as a sincere apology for the aforementioned disappointments.

To be fair The LEGO Batman Movie has the benefit of irreverent humor that leans heavily in meta territory. The film exists in a world where Gotham City and its citizens are kind of tired of Batman’s shenanigans. Years of fighting bad guys and yet crime rates are as high as ever. Even Batman’s greatest enemy, Joker, has decided that he must concoct a new scheme to get the Caped Crusader in touch with his emotions. With the help of a recently adopted orphan, Dick Grayson, and the city’s new commissioner, Barbara Gordon, Batman embarks on a mission to save his tarnished reputation and the city.  (more…)

2015 Academy Award Predictions

81st Academy Awards® Press Kit ImagesThe two most telling things I can possible say to anyone getting ready to read my ramblings about the Oscars is that (1) as of writing this I haven’t seen all the movies nominated and therefore can’t accurately speak for many of the nominations those movies have gotten (but I will try), and (2) I don’t necessarily care about the Oscars. I know what movies I saw in 2014 that I loved and many of them would have never had a chance to even enter Oscar discussions. Therefore the Oscars are more of a “cherry on top” should any of the movies I loved actually get recognition- and I’m not that big a fan of cherries.

I will say I do enjoy watching the Oscars….some of the time. I feel like the ceremony is too long and there are too many categories I don’t really care that much about. However, I do enjoy watching seasoned actors giving their acceptance speeches, especially if I’m a big fan of said actor/actress. In the event any of my favorite movies, actors, actresses, scores, and writers get recognized for movies I enjoyed during the year I get a pretty satisfying rush even having not been involved in their success. But seeing as how I don’t really hold the Oscars near and dear to my heart it’s more of a momentary celebration than anything I remember long after its over. So…all that being said aren’t you pumped for my predictions now? (more…)

Movie Review: How To Train Your Dragon 2

httyd2_posterIt’s been a long time since Hiccup and Toothless caught audiences and critics by surprise- just as long since they entered and stole our hearts. It was probably a little unnatural how much I loved HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON, but fact of the matter is that there was nothing about the film that I didn’t love. So it only seems inevitable that the sequel can’t possibly live up to such a high bar right? Wrong. While HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2 does feel a little less surprising, it feels like much more well-rounded film experience with even more of an emotional core.

Picking up where the first film left off the citizens of Berk are living harmoniously with their newfound fire breathing companions. It seems as though nothing could disrupt the utopia that Hiccup and Toothless helped build in the Viking village. That is until Hiccup stumbles upon a group of dragon trappers claiming a man by the name of Drago is amassing an army of dragons and it’s only a matter of time till Berk is in his crosshairs.

(more…)

Movie Review: The Lego Movie

thelegomovie_posterThe dilemma for an aging movie lover is sometimes feeling like a creep seeing a kids movie in a theater and not having kids of your own, but also being enthralled by the very same movie intended for children. Personally, I don’t yet have that hangup because I love being transported into my own youth by these nostalgia projects and THE LEGO MOVE did nothing if not make me feel like a kid again. It’s early in the year, but if I see another film that had me grinning ear to ear from beginning to end, I’ll be shocked.

THE LEGO MOVIE brings the popular childhood figures to life with Emmett (Chris Pratt) as a plain faced conformist who wants nothing more in life but to fit in with everyone else. He meets Wild Syle (Elizabeth Banks) during a fall that lands him with a mysterious piece stuck to his back. As it turns out the piece is the key to foiling Lord Business’ plan to make every world in the LEGO universe stay the same forever- promptly putting an end to any and all building and imagination. (more…)

Mini Reviews: That’s My Boy, South Park Bigger Longer & Uncut, The Impossible, Sightseers

Time is a valuable commodity and unfortunately as much as I’d like to be able to write nice long in-depth reviews of everything I see sometimes I just don’t have the time. Most of the time the folks nice enough to get on here and read my opinions were blissfully unaware that I was watching stuff and not reviewing them. Sometimes I just didn’t have anything worthwhile to say about what I watched or was just indifferent to the movie in general and didn’t want to talk about it.

In order to keep pumping out content and trying to avoid long gaps of reviews or other posts I’m going to attempt to make time for the movies I watch that I don’t write full reviews on. That time will be dedicated to posts like this where I make space on a post to put together a mixture of “mini” reviews of the movies I watched. What sort of content will be in them is kind of up in the air for now as it will probably vary based on the film.

So that’s that…on with the reviews!

image

That’s My Boy (2012) – Oh my do Adam Sandler movies just keep getting worse and worse. I tolerated GROWN UPS, I rolled my eyes in boredum over JACK & JILL, but THAT’S MY BOY is just beyond bad. I will only admit to chuckling at a few of the jokes in this thing, but I felt dirty immediately after. Suffice to say that the two biggest points in the plot that immediately set up and close out the film are pedophelia and incest- and if those are your two crutches, something went horribly wrong.

Sandler plays the father of Andy Samberg (what dirt did they have on him to get him in here?) and Sandler has opted to use quite possibly the most obnoxious and annoying voice for 90 minutes ever- keep in mind I’ve seen JACK & JILL. We have overweight strippers, granny fantasies, Sandler wiping his mouth with tissues filled with his own semen and if all that isn’t enough the film is painfully predictable.

I wish I’d taken previous advice from folks on Twitter and avoided this one like the plague, but alas. Do not make the same mistake as me, avoid this at all costs.

Rating: F

image

South Park Bigger Longer & Uncut (1997) – When I was a young lad under the age of 17 I bought and paid for many tickets only to sneak into this and laugh hysterically every single time. I own the DVD yet when I stumbled across it on Netflix I felt it was time to revisit it immediately and forgo the trip to the basement and the DVD collection.

Even today I laugh so much at this movie and I rarely ever catch a new episode of the show. When this film came out I owned VHS copies of the show which had two episodes on each tape and I watched them constantly. However, I’ve never followed the show like a die hard fan although I find Trey Parker and Matt Stone to be enormous talents and will watch everything they do. For some reason I just never felt compelled to religiously watch the show the longer it goes on.

The musical numbers in this thing are so much fun that I find them stuck in my head days after and singing them on walks to my car, into work or just sitting on the couch. The entire movie to me is incredibly clever and a great riff on objectionable material in today’s movies and TV shows that still resonates today.

Rating: A

image

The Impossible (2012) – I have yet to see this.director’s previous film THE ORPHANGE, but it is on the ever growing list of stuff I need to make time for. With THE IMPOSSIBLE I happen to have a soft spot for disaster movies, but normally they don’t pack the kind of emotional punch that this does.

It doesn’t take long to plunge into the central issue which is the real life events of the Tsunami in 2004 that devastated Thailand and follows the story of a family on vacation that was separated because of it. The rest of the film follows their search for help and for each other while also chronicling the best of what humanity has to offer by extending that helping hand to others in need.

The script for THE IMPOSSIBLE really isn’t anything special, but the spin the actors (Naomi Watts, Ewin Gregor) put on it is phenomenal. The film rides on the power of their emotions and their facial expressions that come from their sadness, pain and excitement. The direction is also fantastic, but no scene in the film is near as jaw dropping as the incredible when the tsunami rips through the area. The tsunami sequence is unforgettable and the technical work that went in to puting it together is nothing short of spectacular.

By the end THE IMPOSSIBLE actually turned me into an emotional mess as I was so immersed with the experience and put myself into the shoes of everyone involved. This one is quite the special mix of disaster thrills and deep emotional drama and also not for the squeamish.

Rating: A-

image

Sightseers (2013) – Dear Ben Wheatley- I am really loving your movies, but you’re also really bumming me out. SIGHTSEERS sees Mr. Wheatley delivering some extremely dark laughs, but laughs nonetheless- which is more than I can say for KILL LIST. Granted this film’s script is not his own, but if I’m being honest even with as dark as this is, I could have used less of a bummer ending to really make me head over heels for this one.

SIGHTSEERS is about a couple that decide to go out on holiday with a camper to do some sightseeing and before long the trip takes an unexpected turn when the charming boyfriend, Chris (Steve Oram), shows that he has a bit of a short temper that turns him into a brutal killer. The thing being that his girlfriend, Tina (Alice Lowe), may just kind of be into her boyfriend having this dark side.

SIGHTSEERS is a blood soaked road trip film that is as brutal as it is hilarious. The dark comedy accents the brutal violence in a way that makes it fun to watch and makes you actually be charmed by the twisted couple at the center. The biggest problem for me is that it devolves into such a downer of a last act and ending that all the fun I had before it became a little less enjoyable.

There is plenty of beautiful scenery and a lot of clever fun to he had along the ride, which for me makes the ending resonate so negatively for me. SIGHTSEERS for the most part was an extremely fun and enjoyable followup to Wheatley’s KILL LIST that is weighed down by its inevitable end.

Rating: B

Movie Review: Hotel Transylvania (2012)

image

From the get go I loved the concept of an animated movie about all the classic movie monsters together in a hotel and the puns/hijinx that would ensue. Read into it a little more and I saw Adam Sandler and the rest of his posse on board doing voices and my excitement dimmed considerably. If it was over a decade ago and I read some of the same names I may have been way more excited, but with the most recent filmography of those involved I had little hope. That being said, HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA was far more enjoyable than my reservations painted it, even if it tends to pander to the audiences with extremely short attention spans.

As a kids film HOTEL TRANSLYVANIA has everything that keeps the kids glued to the screen- funny looking characters, slapstick comedy, fart jokes and plenty of vibrant colors. For the average adult sitting to watch it though I feel that it lacks a focused and consistent story aside from trying to pull at their parenting heartstrings.

Sandler voices Dracula who has chosen to build a hotel for all his supernatural friends to escape to while also raising his daughter to be weary of humans in the most protective ways possible. The older she gets the more curious she becomes to visit the outside world and take a chance amongst the humans. Unexpectedly, a human stumbles upon the hotel and Dracula does everything he can to disguise him as one of their own, which leads to the unintended consequence of the human falling for his daughter and vice versa.

The animation is a lot of fun and the environments have a lot of detail, though not as beautifully rendered as your typical Pixar affair. It’s the pacing and scattershot nature of all the jokes and visual gags that are to blame for a lot of the overall disconnect I personally had with the film. The script is next in line of complaints for too often using bland character jokes and rarely bringing anything really intriguing to the table- granted it works on a kids movie level, but lands more often than not on a thud when trying more adult related jokes.

I believe it should go without saying that I never expected HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA to shatter my expectations for animated features, so based on that alone it’s par for the course. The entire film is very inoffensive and in the spirit of fast moving fun entertainment it more than fits the bill. Being stamped with a label as shallow entertainment is usually less than flattering, but in the realm of movies targeted at kids HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA at least deserves to hold its head high as a piece of fluff cinema. There are no deep introspective themes to explore in any frame of this film, but that’s not always a bad thing.

Rating: B

Movie Review: Wreck-It Ralph (2012)

image

Just because a Disney computer animated film is missing that Pixar label doesn’t mean it’s a lesser Disney title. TANGLED helped to make that previous statement not seem as bold as it seems, just as CARS 2 also helped on the other side of the spectrum that Pixar isn’t always the model for an exceptional computer animated film. WRECK-IT RALPH is just another example that Disney even without Pixar can release super high quality family entertainment that hits the right notes for both the kiddos and their young at heart parents.

Set in a world in the same vein as TOY STORY where the characters of video games come to life even after the lights of the Arcade are shut off for the night. One character, Wreck-It Ralph (John C. Reilly), of the game Fix It Felix is treated as an outcast for being the bad guy of his particular game and is at a point that he’s tired of being underappreciated after he’s excluded from the game’s 30th anniversary party. Ralph goes rogue by game jumping in order to win a medal to prove that he can be a good guy and in the process meets a girl, Penelope (Sarah Silverman), that’s also treated like an outcast in her racing game world of Sugar Rush. When Penelope uses Ralph’s medal from a previous game to enter a race in order to be added to the game’s roster Ralph has to help her become a winner in order to get his medal back and learn an important lesson along the way.

I really enjoyed this film, but I have to at least acknowledge the fact that as visually rich as it is and emotionally satisfying, it still isn’t quite at the level of the best that Disney and Pixar together have released in theaters. That being said, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the levels of animation and emotion that the story is able to reach. The video game worlds that are on display here are dazzling at times in terms of set pieces, but also in imagination. It might seem hokey and too on the nose for some, but for me, the puns and visual jokes used all worked to great effect for me.

John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Jane Lynch, Jack MacBrayer and Alan Tudyk are perfectly cast for the characters they are voicing. In the sugar rush world all the characters have names that play off of sweet treats which only adds to the cute factor in that particular setting, which might be annoying for some, but one joke that never got old for me was the cops in Sugar Rush which were donuts named Duncan and Wynchell. Tudyk is the hardest of voices to pick out in the bunch because he- in an inspired choice- dawns an impression of Ed Wynn in the film as Sugar Rush’s King Candy and it fits the style of the world itself and adds brilliantly to the film in general.

The animation is at or near top notch, which is evident in some of the more action heavy parts of the movie especially in the first person shooter game when there are hundreds of thousands of alien bugs flying around in a deep and richly detailed environment. The same goes for the Sugar Rush environment as well as there are plenty of fun and imaginative designs that make the film tons of fun to look at. It is also fun to look at the way the 8-bit graphics translate from the screen to when we as an audience see the world from the inside along with the how it is all of these worlds interact with one another. The script employs a great amount of mythology that’s easy for kids to grasp, but even more fun for nostalgic parents to dive into.

It’s sad for me to say that the only beef I have with WRECK-IT RAPLH is the fact that it isn’t quite as emotionally resonant as previous Disney Pixar team ups, but it is pretty darn close. The animation and design of this world is imaginative, fun and visually striking without ever being too much to take in. I sat watching the film laughing at every game related joke and admiring the fantastic animation, appreciating the film’s ability to be accessible to both kids and adults and in the end WRECK-IT RALPH easily won me over.

Rating: A-