Starring: Owen Wilson (MASTERMINDS [2016], MIDNIGHT IN PARIS [2011], MARLEY & ME [2008], and the upcoming SHANGHAI DAWN, due out… who knows when), Bonnie Hunt (ZOOTOPIA [2016], THE GREEN MILE [1999], JUMANJI [1995], and the upcoming TOY STORY 4 [2019]), and Larry the Cable Guy (A MADEA CHRISTMAS [2013], WITLESS PROTECTION [2008], and DELTA FARCE [2007]). In support: Nathan Fillion (PERCY JACKSON: SEA OF MONSTERS [2013], WONDER WOMAN [2009], TV show CASTLE, and the upcoming video game DESTINY 2 [2017]), Chris Cooper (LIVE BY NIGHT [2016], THE MUPPETS [2011], and THE BOURNE IDENTITY [2002]), Armie Hammer (FREE FIRE [2017], THE BIRTH OF A NATION [2016], and THE LONE RANGER [2013]), Kerry Washington (DJANGO UNCHAINED [2012], LAKEVIEW TERRACE [2008], and TV show SCANDAL), and Lea DeLaria (TV shows ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK and ONE LIFE TO LIVE)

Directing: Brian Fee, making his directorial debut. Writing: Kiel Murray (CARS [2006]), Bob Peterson (FINDING NEMO [2003]), and Mike Rich (SECRETARIAT [2010], RADIO [2003], and THE ROOKIE [2002]). Composing: Randy Newman (MONSTERS UNIVERSITY [2013], SEABISCUIT [2003], JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH [1996], and the upcoming TOY STORY 4 [2019]).


Lightning McQueen (Wilson) is still as popular as ever and still considered a champion after all these years. But then a harsh reality settles in when a rookie racer named Jackson Storm (Hammer) starts surpassing him in speed and starts winning the races. Sadly, he’s also a jerk to Lightning and eventually, Lightning’s inability to keep up causes him to spin out of control and he experiences a horrible crash. Though out of the game for a few months, Lightning is determined to decide for himself when he quits, not the voiced of those who think he should. After signing on to a new sponsor, headed by Sterling (Fillion), promising to train him to the point of being just as fast as Storm, with the help of the young and eager trainer Cruz Ramirez (Cristela Alonzo), whose training methods frustrate Lightning as a big race approaches that will determine his staying power in the sport of racing.


It’s surprisingly better than I thought, but… yeah, it’s still just okay. I admit that there is a certain level of poetry to see a career and proud racer learning to accept his age and growing increasingly aware that his time may be coming to an end, but wanting to end on his own terms, not because others are telling him too. It can be surprisingly brutal, so when McQueen is determined to prove his worth, it is pretty easy to get sucked in to his story. Sadly though, the movie is mired in predictability and a ton of lame and unfunny jokes. The moment a certain plot point crops up, you know exactly where the story is going to go. Even though it’s handled well, the rest of the movie getting to that point simply feels like filler. By no means bad, it’s still not consistently written well like Pixar’s previous work. While being the most memorable and poignant of the Cars films, it’s still not up there with Pixar’s greats.

My honest rating for CARS 3: 3/5




Starring: Demetrius Shipp Jr. In support, we have Kat Graham (ADDICTED [2014], DANCE FU [2011], and TV show THE VAMPIRE DIARIES), Lauren Cohan (THE BOY [2016], and TV shows THE WALKING DEAD and CHUCK), and Danai Gurira (TV show THE WALKING DEAD and upcoming films BLACK PANTHER [2018] and AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR [2018]).

Directing: Benny Boom (S.W.A.T.: FIREFIGHT [2011]). Writing: Jeremy Haft (STREET KINGS 2: MOTOR CITY [2011] and GRIZZLY MOUNTAIN [1997]), Eddie Gonzalez (STREET KINGS 2: MOTOR CITY), and Steven Bagatourian. Composing: John Paesano (ALMOST CHRISTMAS [2016], video game MASS EFFECT ANDROMEDA [2017], animated film SUPERMAN/ BATMAN: APOCALYPSE [2010], and upcoming films MAZE RUNNER: THE DEATH CURE [2018] and PACIFIC RIM: UPRISING [2018]. Cinematographer: Peter Menzies Jr. (GODS OF EGYPT [2016], THE INCREDIBLE HULK [2008], LARA CROFT: TOMB RAIDER [2001], and the upcoming animated film PETER RABBIT [2018]).


Tupac Shakur (Shipp Jr.) started off as a normal kid growing up with his lawyer mother Afeni (Gurira) and his younger sister. But when the kids are forced to live in California, Tupac quit school to earn money to take care of his sister. He started rapping and didn’t take long before he was signed on to his first studio. In just a couple years, he became one of the most controversial and popular rappers in the 90’s.


I wish I could say this movie got me into the life of one of the most popular rap artists of all time, but… it’s a movie I feel like I’ve seen a dozen times over, particularly in STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON (2015), or in better films like MOONLIGHT (2016). While that acting is good, particularly Graham as a young Jada Pinkett Smith is the spitting image of the younger version of the real-world woman, and Shipp Jr. does bring a ton of energy to the role he’s been given, it just doesn’t do anything particularly new. Give COMPTON a little credit, you can argue that it came out around the time when police brutality was getting a ton more media attention in recent years, and could be interpreted as a call-to-arms against that kind of bullshit. This movie is just a standard biopic. Plus, I’m going to be on Jada Pinkett Smith’s side and say that it’s tasteless for the film-makers to throw in a poem that she never knew existed until years after Tupac’s death all in the name of a forced, directionless, and unimpactful romance subplot. It’s not the worst, I suppose, but I couldn’t get into it.

My honest rating for ALL EYEZ ON ME: a weak 3/5




Starring: Scarlett Johansson (GHOST IN THE SHELL [2017], THE JUNGLE BOOK [2016], HER [2013], and the upcoming AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR [2018]), Jillian Bell (FIST FIGHT [2017], OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY [2016], and 22 JUMP STREET [2014]), Zoë Kravitz (ALLEGIANT [2016], MAD MAX: FURY ROAD [2015], X-MEN: FIRST CLASS [2011], and the upcoming FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM 2 [2018]), Ilana Glazer (THE NIGHT BEFORE [2015] and TV show BROAD CITY), and Kate McKinnon (GHOSTBUSTERS [2016], TV shows SNL and THE VENTURE BROS, and upcoming animated film FERDINAND [2017] and animated TV series THE MAGIC SCHOOL BUS RIDES AGAIN). In support: Demi Moore (WILD OATS [2016], CHARLIE’S ANGELS: FULL THROTTLE [2003], and G.I. JANE [1997]), Ty Burrell (FINDING DORY [2016], MUPPETS MOST WANTED [2014], and TV show MODERN FAMILY), Colton Haynes (SAN ANDREAS [2015], and TV shows ARROW and THE GATES), and Paul W. Downs (TV show BROAD CITY), who also co-wrote the script.

Directing and co-writing: Lucia Aniello. Composer: Dominic Lewis, known for FIST FIGHT, MONEY MONSTER (2016), and THE DUFF (2015). Cinematographer: Sean Porter, known for 20TH CENTURY WOMEN (2016) and GREEN ROOM (2016).


Jess (Scarlett Johannson) is a city counselor, and about to get married. Her best friend from college, Alice (Jillian Bell), has planned a fun weekend in Miami, Florida to celebrate, along with their other friends Blair (Zoë Kravitz), Frankie (Ilana Glazer), and Pippa (Kate McKinnon). After a wild night of drugs, drinking, and dancing, they return to their rented home and hire a stripper. Unfortunately, Alice accidentally kills the man and the ladies panic and try to figure out what to do next.


Yup, didn’t like it. Raunchy comedies and I rarely get along, and this is no real exception. Far too many jokes are sex or drug related and I just can’t laugh at this brand of shock humor when it’s been done countless times before with no real variation. Even if there is a joke done in a different way, that doesn’t automatically mean comedy. While I do admit that there are a couple legit surprises that I didn’t see coming, and some of the reaction shots can be humorous, making this arguably my favorite movie that McKinnon’s been in, none of this really prevents the movie from being bad. It’s by no means the worst – can’t be too mad at a movie that I knew wouldn’t be funny to me – but I don’t see myself seeing this movie again. Only see this if you do like raunchy meaningless comedy, but even then, I think there’s funnier and better comedies out there.

My honest rating for ROUGH NIGHT: a weak 3/5



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Directing and co-writing: Johannes Roberts (THE OTHER SIDE OF THE DOOR [2016]) Co-writing: Ernest Riera (THE OTHER SIDE OF THE DOOR). Composer: tomandandy (SINISTER 2 [2015]), RESIDENT EVIL: RETRIBUTION [2012], and THE HILLS HAVE EYES [2006]). Cinematographer: Mark Silk.


Loving sisters Lisa (Moore) and Kate (Holt) are on vacation in Mexico, mostly because Lisa is getting over a bad break-up because she’s apparently too boring. In an effort to spice up her life and show her boyfriend up one, Kate drags Lisa in a cage dive to see sharks. However, not long after they get submerged and see three great white sharks, the cable to their cage snaps and the crane breaks off the boat and the three young women plummet to the ocean floor. With no communication to the surface, rapidly depleting oxygen, and bloody wounds attracting the sharks, it becomes a series of desperate gambles to stay alive.


I wanted to like this, I really did. But I do not. I honestly don’t know how this movie is feature-length. Leave the cage, get eaten by a shark. Stay in the cage, hang out, be safe, let search and rescue do its job. This movie shouldn’t be very long. But it’s one of those movies where you’d be justified in screaming at the screen, “Oh nah, girl, don’t do it!” “Bitch gonna get eaten!” This movie is so poorly written that I an curious if I could make a drinking game out of it: take a shot for every time Moore says, “Please be careful,” “I am so scared,” “No, please, don’t go.” Seriously, someone try this out for me when it comes out on Blu-Ray. There is great atmosphere, and some chilling visuals I give it that. But the story falls flat when it comes to characters that are annoying and an ending that feels like such a slap in the face of the viewers, I can’t recommend this movie to anyone. No, not the worst. I didn’t think I’d like it, but it’s not good.

My honest rating for 47 METERS DOWN: a weak 3/5



Unlike a lot of kids, I actually never read the books this movie is based on. Can’t exactly explain why. I always had an interest, but I never made the time or any real effort to read them. So, to be completely honest, I have no idea what they were about. I actually assumed it was about a little kid with superpowers who saved older kids from whatever was terrorizing them.

I see that the movie is very different from my preconceptions. It looks like it’s about two kids who are notorious pranksters. One day, they go too far and their mean principal threatens to keep them apart in separate classrooms to prevent their diabolical schemes. Genuinely afraid to be apart, they hypnotize their principal via ridiculously random magic ring into believing that he is the kids’ personal superhero creation, Captain Underpants, who goes around fighting crime and monsters that don’t exist, until a real threat comes along for him to save the day.

I have to admit… I don’t think this looks good. I mean, I can appreciate DreamWorks keeping the animation the same style as the books, but man, I do not buy these voice actors as kids. Even if the movie happens to be really good, which I’m not holding my breath for, Kevin Hart and Thomas Middleditch will distract the living daylights out of me for how much they do not sound like kids. Look, I know Hart is a short dude with a high pitched voice, but he still doesn’t sound like a kid. He sounds like a high-pitched voiced adult. But hey, I’ll keep my mind open. DreamWorks has done amazing work in the past. But for every few great films, they’ve got one bad one too. Initial thoughts are: not a good movie.

But let’s take a look at the voice talent. As previously stated, we have Hart (THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS [2016], GET HARD [2015], GRUDGE MATCH [2013], and upcoming films JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE [2017] and RIDE ALONG 3, due out… who knows when), Middleditch (THE BRONZE [2016], THE CAMPAIGN [2012], TV show SILICON VALLEY, and the upcoming GODZILLA: KING OF MONSTERS [2019]), as well as Ed Helms (VACATION [2015], THE LORAX [2012], and THE HANGOVER [2009]). In support, we have Nick Kroll (SING [2016], and TV shows THE LEAGUE and PARKS AND REC), Jordan Peele (STORKS [2016], WANDERLUST [2012], and TV show KEY AND PEELE), and Kristen Schaal (THE BOSS [2016], and TV shows BOBS BURGERS and THE LAST MAN ON EARTH).

Now for behind the scenes. Directing is David Soren, known for TURBO (2013). Penning the screenplay is Nicholas Stoller, known for STORKS, MUPPETS MOST WANTED (2014), and THE MUPPETS (2011). Finally, the composer for the score is Theodore Shapiro, known for COLLATERAL BEAUTY (2016), INFINITELY POLAR BEAR (2014), and DIARY OF A WIMPY KID (2010).

Overall, not terribly thrilled to see this, but here’s to hoping it’s better than it’s letting on.

This is my honest opinion of: CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS: THE FIRST EPIC MOVIE


Harold (Thomas Middleditch) and George (Kevin Hart) are a pair of kids who are the best of friends. They make comics together, their favorite creation being the crime-fighting Captain Underpants, and try to have as much fun as possible. This isn’t easy when they’re at school, which is run by their evil principal, Mr. Krupp (Ed Helms). They combat his authority by pulling off pranks. He’s been unable to get them in trouble due to a lack of proof. However, the inevitable happens and the two boys are about to be separated into different classes. In an act of desperation, Harold attempts to hypnotize Krupp using a magical toy ring… and it miraculously works. They turn Krupp into their comic creation Captain Underpants and he gets loose, trying to fight crime with super powers that he doesn’t have.


While I wasn’t wholly wrong about this movie, I’d be lying if I said was completely right. It’s no Kung Fu Panda or How to Train Your Dragon, it’s perfectly fine for what it is: a harmless kids movie.

Because the movie is painfully clear that it’s meant for kids, the humor is exactly that: kiddie humor. So most of the jokes aren’t especially funny. It’s just tolerable. Thankfully, DreamWorks had the foresight not to go all NORM OF THE NORTH (2016), but keeps the humor pretty innocent. I think maybe there was one fart joke that wasn’t too bad, and a surprising lack of potty humor. Instead, the jokes are pretty much what you’d expect them to be. The kids hypnotize their principal into turning into their undergarment clad superhero and laugh at him as any kid would, and the guy acting all goofy. Again, thankfully, it’s written in a way that isn’t annoying. It’s not written funny, for the most part, but it’s not obnoxious.

Even the plot has been kind of done before. Not the superhero bit, of course, but the whole, “We’re fun-loving kids in a school that hates fun and we’re the rebels who want the rest of the kids to have fun too.” MIDDLE SCHOOL (2016) did that and you can argue that FIST FIGHT (2017) did it too to a degree, albeit it’s the teachers struggling to deal with unruly teens. Give the movie some credit, that’s not the focus of the story and they do segue into a more exciting story. But even that’s been done before too: unleashing a goofy adult that young people need to rein in and pretend they’re related, like in JUMANJI (1995). Once again though, it could have been worse.

The movie also does try to have a moral at the end: find something to laugh at yourself about. I can’t lie, I like that moral and it’s pretty unique in a kids movie. The problem is that the rest of the movie doesn’t really back it up. The movie starts off about pranks and learning to lighten up, then it turns into a silly superhero movie, and it’s only at the end where the moral is brought up. But even then, it’s not really enforcing its moral. The kids are still laughing at the teacher’s name and spent a good chunk of time making fun of it in a self-made comic book they made. These kids never make fun of themselves or point out their own flaws. So the moral is completely confused and ultimately pointless.

Is there anything that’s funny? Well, I did like a few jokes in the beginning. You might recall from the trailer when the two kids try to leave their principal’s office only for him to press a button and then a high tech lockdown initiates, preventing their escape. By the end of the dramatic lockdown, George says, “Wow, that’s an expensive door.” But this is followed up with Mr. Krupp smugly saying something like, “Do you like it? I had a choice to spend school funding on a magnetically sealed door, or keep the theater-arts department open. I think I made the better choice.” I admit, I laughed at that. There’s another sequence where, if I remember correctly, Captain Underpants has turned the entire front of the school into an amusement park of sorts and Harold and George are like, “What do we do?! We have to stop this!” A shot of kids having fun goes by and then you see Harold and George going through a sugar rush, clearly enthralled by the festivities at some point. And pretty much anything when Professor Poopypants comes in. Yup, Kroll steals the show on this one. One line that just came back to me was when Poopypants has got these kids in a bind and he’s about to sap their ability to laugh at anything, the kids try to appeal to his good nature by saying something like, “Dude, you gotta lighten up and learn to laugh at yourself,” or something to that effect. And then Poopypants exclaims, “Oh really, Oprah?!” Again, I laughed quite a bit on that one. There’s also this running gag with this lady on hold. That was funny too.

That’s… kind of it, actually. It’s not like a good DreamWorks movie like How to Train Your Dragon where adults could go in without kids and get something out of it. No, you’d want to bring your kids for this one. It’s a movie for them and it works fine for what it’s supposed to do: keep ’em entertained, which it will do effectively. The animation is fine, and fast-paced, so it’s never boring. It’s colorful and competently made, so it’s not completely devoid of imagination. Personally, if you wanted to see a better version of this that both kids and adults would enjoy, LEGO BATMAN (2017) is the way to go. But if your kids are itching to see it, go ahead, it’s harmless and not painful to sit through. But if you’re an adult hit with nostalgia who grew up with the books unlike me, I’d say wait for a rental. It’s not exactly worth a theater viewing. Not bad, not that good, just… meh. I’m not the target demographic, so it is what it is.




Um… yeah.

What’s with this movie? This looks like it should be a Youtube short, not a theatrical release. I mean, really now? Hey, I’m all down for a “wtf” movie like this, but this is a little more out there, even for “out there” movies.

And look at this cast! Jason Schwartzman (THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL [2014], SAVING MR. BANKS [2013], and I HEART HUCKABEES [2004]). Lena Dunham (DON’T THINK TWICE [2016], THIS IS 40 [2012], and TV show GIRLS). Reggie Watts (PITCH PERFECT 2 [2015] and TV show ADVENTURE TIME). Maya Rudolph (CHIPS [2017], THE ANGRY BIRDS MOVIE [2016], SISTERS [2015], and upcoming films THE NUT JOB 2 [2017] and THE EMOJI MOVIE [2017])?! Susan god damned Sarandon (THE MEDDLER [2016], TAMMY [2014], and THELMA & LOUISE [1991])?! Am I high?! Did someone throw some coke in my popcorn or something?! How did this line-up of talent get roped into this?!

Now for the team that put this together. Writing and directing is Dash Shaw, making his feature-length debut. Congrats, sir. Finally, the composer for the music is Rani Sharone, known for TV movies, documentaries, and shorts.

Overall… I have no idea how this is going to be. I feel like the animation style will bug me, but as I keep saying, a good story is more important than most anything else.

This is my honest opinion of: MY ENTIRE HIGH SCHOOL SINKING INTO THE SEA


The story follows Dash (voiced by Jason Schwartzman). He is a typical school-hating sophomore. He works on the school newspaper, writing ridiculously stupid articles that he thinks are brilliant alongside his best friend, Assaf (voiced by Reggie Watts). Well, Assaf wants to cover real stories, and when he suspects that the paper’s editor Verti (voiced by Maya Rudolph) has a crush on Assaf, who seems to have a crush, and wants Assaf to cover those stories solo, Dash feels betrayed and publishes a spiteful article about Assaf out of jealousy. After getting this stunt put on his permanent record, he attempts to fudge it, only to find blueprints for the new gymnasium and an inspection document that says its construction does meet the proper codes. As a result, the construction causes seismic activity and the high school, which sits on the edge of a cliff, gets thrust into the ocean, and as the school sinks, people start dying and Dash and company must race to the top of the school building in hopes of finding help.


Yeah, my opinion didn’t change much now that I’ve seen it. I still have no idea how this movie got to be on the big screen. Is it bad? Kinda. Do I dislike it? Not really. I just don’t think I understand why I saw it in a movie theater instead of on Youtube.

Alright, so some positives. I can’t deny that there’s a bit of a charm factor to the… “Dr. Katz” animation style. You know, the spazzing outline of the characters. I don’t know if I can explain why I don’t have a problem with it. Maybe it’s an acknowledgement that it doesn’t look like anything else out on the market right now and due to its different look, I welcomed it. There are some pretty trippy visual moments, as well as a funny enough animated fight scenes, and over the top violence of dead or dying people. I’m sure not hoping that this style catches on and more movies get made like this, but as a one-shot, I liked it more than I didn’t.

But there’s not many positives to draw on, in my opinion. The voice acting from everyone is noticeably dull. Everyone delivers a monotoned line like they’ve been doing better voice work and this movie was the last session of the day and they’re tired. Even in situations that call for some emotion, it’s just not there. I’m also not sure where the humor is. If you watch the trailer, there’s a quote from a critic saying “One of the funniest movies I’ve seen this year” or something to that effect. But… I have no idea where that humor is. “My legs are caught under this bookcase!” “Oh no! I’ll have to amputate!” “Dude, just lift the bookcase!” “Oh… right… okay.” I see comedy attempted to be written, but this example is the kind of humor that’s written. It’s not funny. There’s by no means immature humor, so I’m grateful that this movie didn’t stoop that low with its own writing, but I can’t imagine how many people busted a gut watching this when the dialog sounds like it was written by a teenager.

To make matters worse, as a result of the bland voice-acting, the movie is ultimately boring. While I stand by the visuals being interesting enough in some areas, hell, I feel like this would be a fun video game to play through, there’s still nothing to keep you emotionally vested into the main characters. If any of the main characters died, you wouldn’t give a single crap. Dash isn’t likable, the side characters are uninteresting, and since this is supposed to kind of be a character-driven story, it doesn’t work. So unless the visual style of the movie is all that you care about, then half your enjoyment is cut to ribbons.

It’s hard to be utterly angry with the film as it’s too boring to get mad over, but as a whole, it doesn’t really work. I’m not entirely upset that I saw it, as I can appreciate the attempt to put out something new and different, but I can’t imagine seeing this movie again. I don’t recommend it, unless you’re an animation junkie, then maybe you’ll find something of value here. Clocked in at an hour and fifteen minutes, it’s mercifully short, so not a whole lot of time will be wasted if you check it out, but wait for a rental if it’s something you just have to check out.

My honest rating for MY ENTIRE HIGH SCHOOL SINKING INTO THE SEA: a weak 3/5



Well… who’s ready to see “Smurfs 3”!?

Oh fine, fine. It’s not a sequel, but aren’t you surprised that it isn’t? While I’ve never actually seen the films – only Youtube’s Nostalgia Critic’s reviews of them – I don’t feel compelled to see them. The first one seemed like an atrocious rip-off of other films with no real originality to speak of and… wasn’t even really about the Smurfs. It was about Neil Patrick Harris’ character and had a bunch of business-talk that no kid would ever care about. The sequel, from what I understand, is arguably worse in that it was mean-spirited and probably almost ruined young Jacob Tremblay’s chances at being a semi credible kid actor. Thank the lord for ROOM (2015). But as bad as the movies have been received, that never stopped the parents from taking their kids to see them. Each movie made money, so it’s a wonder why this new Smurfs movie isn’t a live-action sequel. A sequel was in the works, but got cancelled. I would say that we should be grateful, but we now have this one.

What’s wrong with this one, you might ask? It’s clearly going back to the animated fantasy setting that the original 80’s cartoon was known for, so isn’t that worth some merit? I guess it would be if the movie looked any good. Or worse, if they didn’t give you all the reason in the world to not see it by giving away its twist in the second trailer. Aside from that, the movie doesn’t look very good. The jokes look like they’re going to fall flat and the characters annoying. But if they’re going out of their way to make it feel more like a real smurfs movie, then it can’t be that awful.

Voice talent. Let’s get cracking. Starring, we have Demi Lovato, known for the Camp Rock movies, and TV shows GLEE and FROM DUSK TILL DAWN: THE SERIES, Rainn Wilson, known for SUPER (2010), JUNO (2007), TV show ADVENTURE TIME, and the upcoming film MEG (2018) and TV show STAR TREK: DISCOVERY, and Joe Manganiello, known for KNIGHT OF CUPS (2016), SABOTAGE (2014), TV show TRUE BLOOD, and the upcoming film THE BATMAN, due out… who knows when. In support, we have Mandy Patinkins, known for THE PRINCESS BRIDE (1987), and TV shows HOMELAND and CRIMINAL MINDS, Julie Roberts, known for MONEY MONSTER (2016), OCEANS ELEVEN (2001), and NOTTING HILL (1999), and Michelle Rodriguez, known for FURIOUS 7 (2015), AVATAR (2009), RESIDENT EVIL (2002), and the upcoming film THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS (2017).

Now for behind the scenes. Directing, we have Kelly Asbury, known for GNOMEO & JULIET (2011), SHREK 2 (2004), and SPIRIT: STALLION OF THE CIMARRON (2002). Co-writing the script are Stacy Harman, known for TV show THE GOLDBERGS, and Pamela Ribon, known for TV show SAMANTHA WHO?. Finally, the composer of the music is Christopher Lennertz, known for BAD MOMS (2016), TV show SUPERNATURAL, video game MASS EFFECT 3, and the upcoming film BAYWATCH (2017) and video game SCALEBOUND.

Overall, I can’t say I’m looking forward to it. It looks like it’s really meant for little kids and not really packing anything new or exciting.

This is my honest opinion of: SMURFS: THE LOST VILLAGE


Smurfette (voiced by Demi Lovato) is still trying figure out what makes her unique, but having little success in doing so among the other Smurfs, despite her being well-liked. But her creator, the sorcerer Gargamel (voiced by Rainn Wilson) is still looking for the Smurfs so he can enhance his magic. But one fateful day, near the forbidden forest, Smurfette catches sight of a creature that looked suspiciously like a Smurf. Despite Papa (voiced by Mandy Patinkins) saying that they can’t go, Smurfette and her friends decide to venture into the unknown in search of what makes Smurfette who she is and possibly find the fabled “lost village.”


While I’m sure it’s much better than live-action films, this is still not a very good animated movie. Certainly not the worst, but… eh.

Alright, so obviously I must have at least a couple good things to say, right? Actually, yes I do. First off, the movie is mostly, devoid of immature, thirteen-year-old humor masquerading as adult humor. No cat testicle humor, thank the Lord. The animation isn’t the worst and is pleasant to look at in certain scenes. Plenty of bright colors to keep the eyes engaged. The movie isn’t completely devoid of creativity. I won’t understand the function of a glow-in-the-dark bunny or how evolution took that kind of turn for them, but hey, fantasy affords a great deal of leeway in explaining stuff. But most importantly, because of the suspension of stupid and lazy humor, the movie does mostly have a sense of innocence to it. For the most part, this is a fine enough movie to show your kids. They won’t really get anything of value from it, but it’s not bad for them, per se.

But I think my favorite thing about the movie is the addition of female smurfs. In fact, with the exception of a couple characters, they’re a lot of fun and aren’t just there as punchlines for “girl” jokes. They contribute to the story, they’re an organized force to be reckoned with and I enjoyed watching them on screen. Also, Rodriguez in a kids movie. Can there be anything so far from the usual genre she’s associated with? Of course, can’t get too far from the norm as she does play the one lady Smurf that’s tough as nails and the true-to-form warrior. I was entertained to say the least when her character was on screen.

But beyond the compliments… it’s not impressively written.

First off, if the Smurfs’ names are due to the personality traits they exhibit, why is Clumsy so cowardly? Clumsy doesn’t mean you’re timid. It doesn’t even imply it. This is a consistent distraction throughout the movie, and it doesn’t help that he’s the most annoying character. He falls into that lazy character-writing where, “If he’s loud, he must be funny,” kind of writing. I’m no comedy writer, folks, but if I had a guess what “comedy-writing 101” entailed: stop making your characters scream. It’s not funny.

Also, as commendable as this movie is by expanding the Smurfs… “lore” by including a lost village of all-female Smurfs, it does feel a little too “girl power” to see that they’re the only ones who know how to fight and the boys are either passive, incompetent, or inexperienced. Ironic, considering how many adventures they’ve had avoiding Gargamel.

Speak of the devil, Gargamel is not funny either. Less obnoxious than Hank Azaria was in the live-action movies, from what I’ve seen, but it’s not exactly the biggest improvement either. I mean, the animation is there. He’s energetic, fast-moving, and he’s got funny emotions, so you want to laugh at him. But it’s the dialog that he’s given that kills everything. I never saw the original show, so I have a difficult time comparing this to that, but, yeah, none of his lines are funny. Something of an insult to Wilson as he has been a funny dude in the past. It’s a little sad when your primary villain is less funny than his dialogless cat side-kick.

Overall, the movie falls pretty flat. I won’t call it awful, but it’s obvious it’s meant for little kids and to shut them up for an hour and a half. I can’t imagine any adult caring about this, but I bet enough kids will get a kick out of it. I don’t recommend this in theaters. Save it for a rental if your kids are still giving you a hard time by the time it comes out, but if you never saw it, you’re not missing out.

My honest rating for SMURFS: THE LOST VILLAGE: a weak 3/5



Ugh, I actually hate doing quick reviews. But there’s, like, seven movies coming out this week and I will put real effort into a late eighth that I saw a couple days ago, but this is my cop-out to catch up. Damn video games.

Anywho, let’s get started.




Carrie Pilby (Bel Powley) is a genius who went to college as a teenager, and graduated before turning eighteen. But because of the high IQ, she feels detached from everyone around her, questioning the reason why they do the things they do, forgoing all relationships of any kind, and almost refusing to leave her apartment. The only place she really does go is to her therapist’s office to talk to Dr. Petrov (Nathan Lane), an old friend of her estranged father’s (Gabriel Byrne). In order to help her reconnect with the people around her, she’s given a small list of things to accomplish to give her something to relate to those around her, like owning a pet, making friends, and possibly go on a date.

Directed by Susan Johnson
Written by Kara Holden (MIDDLE SCHOOL [2016])
Composed by Michael Penn (BOOGIE NIGHTS [1997], and TV shows GIRLS and MASTERS OF SEX)


I liked it. It’s by no means original. After all, yet another movie about a person who on this quirkier level of thinking that makes for awkward interactions with others, but I think there’s just enough to make it above average and worth checking out.

Powley really gives this performance her all and she carries the film very well, perfectly blending comedy and drama, vulnerability and toughness, and innocent and worldly as the scene needs. Whether due to natural talent or works that well with the director, I can’t say, but either way I’d love to see more of her work in the future. Lane and Byrne are also pretty good. Lane’s comedic timing is exceptional as always and Byrne is great as this uncertain father who tries to be great for his daughter, but screws up at almost every turn. In fact, even though half of their interactions between each other are over the phone, their Powley and Byrne are great together. Oh and this took me by surprise, Colin O’Donoghue is in this movie! The moment he came on screen and was all like, “My name is Professor Harrison,” my first thought was, “Fuck you! You’re Captain Hook, so get over it! Stop fucking with my perception of reality!” The comedy works, the drama works, most everything about it works. The only thing that really holds it back from being truly good and memorable is that it really is just another one of these stories that hits all the beats you’d think it would, making for zero surprises, a few clichés, and predictability. She meets a boy she doesn’t like at first, but it’s obvious they’re going to hook-up later. She’s thinks her intelligence elevates her, but eventually realizes that being smart doesn’t mean she can’t relate to people. Not to mention there’s an underage sex scene that is handled ridiculously poorly. Don’t worry, it’s not graphic and Powley is of age, duh, but there’s no consequences for that character and leaves a pretty rotten taste in the mouth.

In any case, it won’t be for everyone, especially if you’re looking for a more original take on this kind of story. But if you don’t mind, I think it’s worth checking out for the most part. The acting is really good, the writing is solid, most of the characters work, it’s only problem is that it’s safe and nothing new.

My honest rating for CARRIE PILBY: a strong 3/5




Tim (voiced by Miles Christopher Bakshi) is a kid with an overactive imagination. But that suited him and his parents just fine, as they would always have fun and play games. But before long, he’s saddled with a baby brother (voiced by Alex Baldwin) that he didn’t want. But there’s something unusual about his new baby brother, apart from that he wears a business suit and is a little too aware of his surroundings. Turns out, after some squabbling of their parts, the baby is fully self-aware and is sent by his all-baby company. See, puppies are getting more love than babies, and the babies know that a specific company is about to unleash a puppy that stays a puppy forever, making baby cuteness obsolete, and it’s the boss baby’s job to stop it, but only with Tim’s help and then he’ll go back to being an only child, and the boss baby will get a promotion and all its perks.

Directed by Tom McGrath (MEGAMIND [2010], all three Madagascar films, and TV show KABLAM!)
Written by Michael McCullers (MR. PEABODY AND SHERMAN [2014], BABY MAMA [2008], and all three Austin Powers films)
Co-composed by Steve Mazzaro (BULLET TO THE HEAD [2012] and THE SEANCE) and Hans Zimmer (HIDDEN FIGURES [2016], INTERSTELLAR [2014], and SHERLOCK HOLMES [2011])


Well, if you wanted this to be called a Baby Geniuses movie, I’d wager it’s the best one. But that doesn’t make it good… at all.

First off, am I the only one who thought of this as a Baby Geniuses movie? Oh well. Putting the obvious joke aside, I think the humor is too juvenile. I know kids like their fart and poop jokes. I know this is pretty standard in non-Pixar and Disney films, but… seriously, are writers so lazy that they can’t come up with better jokes? And especially since there’s a joke about a kid drinking alcohol. Eh, to put it into perspective, it’s not that bad. The joke is basically the Tim takes a sip of a long island iced tea, immediately spits it out and comments, “People from long island do not know how to make an iced tea.” I would have thrown my hands up in the air in frustration if Tim got straight up drunk, but the joke didn’t go that far, but still… really? No other jokes to be made? There’s a lot of other gross-out humor as well, and some jokes that are forced. Even some don’t make sense, even in the world they’ve created. I’ve heard that you’re not supposed to take everything here very literal, but if you try to follow that logic, the movie only becomes more confusing. Maybe it’s a case of thinking too much about it, but it sets itself up to be that way. I’d be lying if I said the voice acting wasn’t good, it actually can be, and Backshi and Baldwin’s energy salvages some of the movie, but I think there’s better movies to show kids. I doubt adults will get much out of it.

My honest rating for THE BOSS BABY: a weak 3/5




Set in Poland 1939. Antonina Żabiński (Jessica Chastain) is a zookeeper along with her doctor husband Jan (Johan Heldenbergh) during the German occupation. While Antonina loves her job and caring for the animals, this is made complicated when German soldiers take up residence, specifically a German zoologist, Dr. Lutz Heck (Daniel Brühl), who takes a fancy to Antonina, though he doesn’t act on his interests in her. But everything changes when the Germans start bombing Poland and much of the zoo is destroyed and its animals killed. To make matters worse, the zoo is used as a base of operations for the German forces, overseen by Lutz. As Poland is ravaged by German occupation, Antonina and Jan decide to use the zoo as a safe haven for those in the Ghetto who are kept from leaving, while constantly keeping up appearances with the Germans.

Directed by Niki Caro (MCFARLAND, USA [2015], NORTH COUNTRY [2005], WHALE RIDER [2002] and is rumored to direct the live-action remake MULAN [2018])
Written by Angela Workman
Composed by Harry Gregson-Williams (LIVE BY NIGHT [2016], THE MARTIAN [2015], and THE EQUALIZER [2014])
Cinematography by Andrij Parekh (BLUE VALENTINE [2010] and IT’S KIND OF A FUNNY STORY [2010])


Now this, I liked.

First off, I love anything that Chastain does and she’s great here too, granted, I think that her accent sounds a little too stereotypical Russian, but I don’t have an ear for accents, so maybe she’s got it pitch perfect. I don’t know. Either way, good acting is what counts the most and Chastain’s got it down to a tee. Her aside, everyone’s great. Heldenbergh, Brühl, even young Shira Haas, who plays this young Polish girl who gets raped by German soldiers, gets saved by Jan and takes shelter in the zoo for quite a few years. She gives a haunting performance, perfectly mixing hatred and fear, but goes a complete 180 when she’s given a rabbit to hold, to which she glows. Who can blame her, right? Bunnies are cute. What the movie does exceptionally well is give this sense of constant discomfort. Even during the days where you think everything is safe and dandy, there’s always this looming threat of Germans making a surprise visit to kill everyone. I suppose the only real issue this movie has is that there are predictable moments. I can’t give anything away without spoiling, but let’s just say that someone disappears and it ends up exactly how you think it’s going to end up. I’m curious how historically accurate this story is and I can see myself looking it up and doing a little research to compare and contrast from the film. Overall, it’s not a perfect film, but it’s effective in delivering an interesting story and the actors are phenomenal. I recommend this for anyone interested.

My honest rating for THE ZOOKEEPER’S WIFE: 4/5


Do I count this as a 2017 or a 2016 release? As far as I know, this French animated film didn’t come out in the US until recently, yet it’s nominated for Best Animated Film in the 2017 Oscars. I’m sure it was released in Europe some time ago, but this just seems a little too delayed. Well… I’ve decided to count it as a 2017 release because that’s when it was released in theatres around me, despite the Oscars.

In any case, this looks like a very interesting film. First off, I love stop-motion. I think it’s the most impressive animation style. One would think it has it’s limits, it forces the teams behind them to get creative with the stories and what they animate. While I’m sure bad stop-motion animated films exist, I haven’t seen or even heard of one. This definitely looks unique. It isn’t played up like a comedy, but rather on the dramatic side about a young boy who has to be put in an orphanage while his mother isn’t around. He is surrounded by other orphan kids. Some he doesn’t get along with, one he develops a crush on, all that good stuff. Were I to hazard a guess, the story is most likely going to be really emotional and depict how these orphan kids band together and become their own family, helping each other get through their own personal problems. I mean, it’s nominated for an Oscar. If I’m not crying at some point in this movie, it’s over-rated.

Since I’m not overly familiar with foreign films or filmmakers, I’ll just mention the American voice talent going into this. Voicing the titular character Zucchini is Erick Abbate, known for TOUCHED WITH FIRE (2015), and TV shows THE MYSTERIES OF LAURA and Netflix’s DAREDEVIL. Other talents include Ellen Page (TALLULAH [2016], X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST [2014], and SUPER [2010]), Nick Offerman (THE FOUNDER [2017], SING [2016], and HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 2 [2015]), and Will Forte (KEANU [2016], MACGRUBER [2010], and TV show THE LAST MAN ON EARTH).

Overall, I’m looking forward to this. Some nice looking animation and a serious story. I won’t lie, I think the character designs look… morbid and strange, but if I can open my heart to Aardman Animations, which has some silly-looking character designs, there’s room for a French look. I think I’m going to enjoy this one.

This is my honest opinion of: MY LIFE AS A ZUCCHINI/MA VIE DE COURGETTE


Zucchini is a nine-year-old boy, living with a single drunken mother and no father to speak of. Building a pyramid out of the many beer bottles lying around their home, Zucchini accidentally makes a mess, which angers his mother. She attempts to go to his room, threatening to beat him, but out of fear, he closes the door on her and she falls down, dead. Taken to an orphanage by a kindly police officer named Raymond, he doesn’t quite fit in with the others at first, especially since he’s made fun of for his name by Simon, the boy who presumes himself the boss of the kids. After several attempts to get Zucchini to tell him why he’s with them fail, he steals Zucchini’s beloved self-made kite. This enrages Zucchini and the two begin to fight. Afterward, the two become friends and Zucchini is soon accepted by the others as well. Not long later, a new girl comes to the orphanage, named Camille, whom Zucchini develops a cutsie relationship with. Bonds are forged from their similar lives as these children learn what it means to grow up too fast, but learn to open their hearts to each other.


I didn’t just enjoy this, I thoroughly loved this film. Never in my life have I seen a movie like this. It’s the perfect blend of innocent, yet not. Light-hearted, yet dark. Depressive, yet fun. It’s one of the most unique animated films I’ve ever seen. I should also make a point to mention that I don’t think this movie is for kids. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not rated R, or anything. It’s not laced in foul-language or nudity, it’s not an adult-only movie, but it’s very mature. It deals in very heavy themes and ideas that young kids may not be able to understand or handle very well. So please, parents, do your research about this PG-13 movie and I hope that I can shed some light on that in this review.

Making good on what parents should expect this movie to be like, it pretty much opens on this nine-year-old kid killing his mom. It’s on accident, so don’t freak out, but… a kid kills his mom. In the orphanage, we learn that one of the kids witnessed her father murder her mom, and then committed suicide, and was under the care of an aunt who was abusive to her and later on only wants her in her care for money. One kid’s dad is in prison, another had parents who did drugs, and another was molested… or worse… by her father. Yeah, this is not a kid’s movie. Now, let me be clear again, nothing is explicitly said in graphic detail. There’s no disturbing imagery to depict what happened to these children. It’s simply the implication that can be disturbing to anyone who may not have been exposed to something like this before, especially little kids.

But make no mistake, this is a fantastic movie. The story never dwells on these harsh ideas for long. They serve as a foundation to understand what kind of world these kids are from. Instead, we see how their pasts reflect who they are, and how they do have something in common with each other. A big theme of the movie is that they have no one to love them, but they are their own little family. It’s truly heart-warming to see them bond and interact with each other.

I won’t lie, it’s very hard to talk about this film. It’s one of those rare phenomenons that’s left me struggling to find the right words. Maybe on some deep level I’m a little disappointed that I wasn’t left in tears by the end. I don’t know. I mean, I was left profoundly affected by it, I just don’t know how. Maybe that’s what I’m meant to feel. This movie felt real, despite the stop-motion animation. Sometimes, the most important feelings we get don’t have a name to them. It might take some time for this to digest completely and maybe I’ll have something to say by then. But for now, I know for certain that this is a wonderful bit of animation with great and memorable characters. I highly recommend seeing this. Drop what you’re doing and find the next showtime for this if it’s playing near you. I promise, it’s worth the money, the drive, and definitely worth it’s Oscar nomination.



ROCK DOG review

Oh dear lord, I’m about to curl up and cry. Exactly how many times a year must we get these recycled animated stories about “the dreamers?” You know, those stories about characters who live a life, but dream of more? But this looks particularly disturbing because the purpose of this dog seems to be to protect these sheep from wolves. Saving lives. But here’s this jerk of a kid who dreams of being a rock star. Already there’s about a million problems that I could complain about, but I’m going to wait to actually see the movie before tearing it a new one. Either way, no matter how it turns out, kids deserve better stories. Not a cinematic equivalent to dangling shiny keys in front of them.

Well, lets take a look at the voice talents. First up, we have Luke Wilson (THE RIDICULOUS 6 [2015], IDIOCRACY [2006], and LEGALLY BLONDE [2001]). Say what you want about the Wilson brothers, I like them both, especially Luke who is very underrated, even in Hollywood, often not getting attached to good projects, or projects that fly under the radar. Hell, as much of a fan as I am of him, I’ve barely seen a fraction of his work and I really think that’s a shame for such a likable and charismatic actor. In support, we have Eddie Izzard (THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE [2017], MY SUPER EX-GIRLFRIEND [2006], and TV show UNTIED STATES OF TARA), the ever amazing J.K. Simmons (KUNG FU PANDA 3 [2016], WHIPLASH [2014], and the Raimi-Spider-Man trilogy, and will be in the upcoming JUSTICE LEAGUE [2017]), Kenan Thompson (SNAKES ON A PLANE [2006], GOOD BURGER [1997], and TV show SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE), Mae Whitman (THE DUFF [2015], INDEPENDENCE DAY [1996], and TV show YOUNG JUSTICE), Jorge Garcia (THE RIDICULOUS 6 [2015], and TV shows HAWAII FIVE-0 and LOST), and many more.

Now for behind the scenes. Co-writing and directing is Ash Brannon, known for SURF’S UP (2007), and co-directing TOY STORY 2 (1999). Co-writing the script with Brannon is Kurt Voelker, known for… things I’ve never heard of. Finally, the composer is Rolfe Kent, known for VAMPIRE ACADEMY (2014), BAD WORDS (2013), and YOUNG ADULT (2011).

Overall, I think this movie isn’t going to be good. Already IMDb has it at a 5.9/10 (as of 2/9/2017). It’s Chinese-American and China got it first back in July of 2016. Wow… maybe it should have stayed over there. Well, here we go. Pray for me.

This is my honest opinion of: ROCK DOG


Bodi (voiced by Luke Wilson) is a young mastif with a dream of playing music. Problem is, his home, Snow Mountain, home to the native and dim-witted sheep, are under constant threat from a pack of gangster wolves that want to eat them. The sheep’s only protection is Bodi’s father, Khampa (voiced by J.K. Simmons), a fierce fighter. His hope would be that Bodi would take his place as the town guard in the future, but Bodi’s dreams only become reinforced when a radio falls out of an airplane and he hears the inspirational words of legendary rock artist, Angus Scattergood (voiced by Eddie Izzard). This prompts him into pursuing his dream of being a guitarist in a band. His father allows him to go to the city to chase his dreams, where Bodi finds a band he wants to be a part of. However, despite his natural talent, he has much to learn and seeks guitar lessons from Scattergood himself, who is less than enthusiastic about mentoring Bodi.


Yup, this… uh… this was a movie that was made.

It’s about as phoned in as you can imagine. It’s not a good movie. It’s a throwaway kids movie that won’t be remembered long after viewing it. Maybe kids will get a kick out of it. It has enough bright colors to keep a kid’s attention. But it’s still one of those movies where only the kid might get something out of it. The adults are sitting there waiting for the credits to roll as soon as the opening titles are done. But as far as a throwaway kids movie goes, it’s harmless. I look back at the movie and while I can definitely say that there’s annoying things about it, like the sheep have bad memories for some reason, but unlike worse kids movies, like NORM OF THE NORTH (2016), there’s nothing truly offensive or bad for kids in it. There’s just no effort to make it seem different from those other movies. There’s certainly a lot of annoyances, but nothing straight up bad.

However, that’s really the only good thing that can be said about the flick. It’s animation is noticeably sub-par, but that’s obvious from the trailer. The running gags are pointless. There’s this bit about the wolf leader getting annoyed that his red telephone doesn’t have a red chord, but as soon as the phone comes back, the chord is red. Riveting. Plot elements are completely unexplored and or don’t make sense. Like, the wolves want to eat the sheep on Snow Mountain, but have to go through Bodi’s dad to do it, which they never can do. So… what are they eating in the mean time? And… whatever it is, isn’t that solving their problem? What makes these sheep so special and decadent? And why do they only come in from one entrance? It’s a mountain. There’s  The characters are forgettable, from the main cast to the supporting cast, and even some of the voice talents barely sound like they’re trying to emote at all. Wilson is either trying too hard, or he’s completely got the wrong energy for a specific scene. Maybe it has less to do with him and more to do with the direction he was given. Who can say?

I think anyone can understand that not all animated films need to be Disney, Pixar, or Dreamworks. It’s bound to happen that we’ll get a few that aren’t stellar and push the boundaries of modern technology and storytelling. This is probably the best of those movies that we can get. It’s fine for little kids, but it’s not going to really enrich their lives or shape anyone’s childhood like Disney or Pixar can. I don’t recommend seeing this in theatres, but it’s probably worth a viewing with your kids, rental or streaming, whatever your choice of poison is. But if you’re someone like me who wants to watch a good movie, you won’t find it here. I say pass on it entirely. There’s not much to care for.

My honest rating for ROCK DOG: a weak 3/5