THE NUT JOB 2: NUTTY BY NATURE (quick) review

I blame you, parents of America. You could spot a good animation movie, so you had to take your kiddies to see something that will rot their brains and the rest of the world is punished as a result. The words I want to say, I can’t, because I don’t want to use foul language in my family-friendly film reviews. But just know that I’m thinking of the worst of the worst for y’all.

THE NUT JOB (2014) was a poorly animated film with some bad jokes and writing. I may not remember a whole ton of the bad humor, but it was a chore to sit through. I think the only thing I really appreciated was the mute blue rat. Since he had no voice actor, the animation was what made him work sometimes. Beyond that, it wasn’t a funny movie and serves to just shut your kids up for an hour and a half.

All this time, I had hoped that a sequel would never had been made, but nope, too much wishful thinking, I guess. I think it’s just me, but the animation looks… improved, but not by much. While I don’t think I’ll enjoy this movie, Mr. Feng the kung fu mouse I suspect will be the best part.

Well, here’s the voice talent. Starring, we have Will Arnett (LEGO BATMAN [2017], NINJA TURTLES 2 [2016], and MONSTERS VS. ALIENS [2009]), Katherine Heigl (UNFORGETTABLE [2017], NEW YEARS EVE [2011], and KNOCKED UP [2007]), Bobby Moynihan (THE BOOK OF HENRY [2017], THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS [2016], SISTERS [2015], and the upcoming TV revival series DUCKTALES [2017]), and Jackie Chan (KUNG FU PANDA 3 [2017], THE FORBIDDEN KINGDOM [2008], RUSH HOUR [1998], and upcoming films THE LEGO NINJAGO MOVIE [2017] and THE FOREIGNER [2017]). In support, we also have Maya Rudolph (THE EMOJI MOVIE [2017], POPSTAR [2016], and IDIOCRACY [2006]) Isabela Moner (TRANSFORMERS: THE LAST KNIGHT [2017] and MIDDLE SCHOOL [2016]), Peter Stormare (JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 2 [2017], CONSTANTINE [2005], and THE LOST WORLD: JURASSIC PARK [1997]), and professional voice actors Tom Kenny (SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS [1999- ongoing], STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS [2008-2015], FOSTER HOME FOR IMAGINARY FRIENDS [2004-2009], and upcoming film SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS 3 [2019] and TV movie ROCKO’S MODERN LIFE: STATIC CLING [2018]), and Kari Wahlgren (DC animated film JUSTICE LEAGUE VS. TEEN TITANS [2016], video game INJUSTICE 2 [2017], and TV show RICK AND MORTY [2013- ongoing]).

Now for the crew. Directing and co-writing is Cal Brunker, known for ESCAPE FROM PLANET EARTH (2013) and the upcoming THE NUT JOB 3 (2019). Co-writing alongside Brunker are Bob Barlen (ESCAPE FROM PLANET EARTH) and Scott Bindley (stuff I’ve never heard of). Finally, composing the score is Heitor Pereira, known for DESPICABLE ME 3 (2017), THE ANGRY BIRDS MOVIE (2016), CURIOUS GEORGE (2006), and upcoming animated films THE ANGRY BIRDS MOVIE 2 (2019) and SCOOBY (2020).

Overall, nope, not looking forward to this. Just please make Chan funny and I’ll be happy… er, enough.

(SUMMARY)

The Nut Shop is working out great for the animals, led by their hero Surly (voiced by Will Arnett). They’re fed and lead happy lives. There’s just one problem. Andy (voiced by Katherine Heigl) believes that the animals have grown too complacent and are losing their natural instincts and her attempts at reteaching them the ways of gathering and storing food in the wild keeps failing. But one fateful day, the Nut Shop explodes and their lazy days come crashing down and they have no choice but to relearn their instincts. Of course, that becomes complicated too when the city’s mayor Muldoon (voiced by Bobby Moynihan) wants to tear down the park in order to create his amusement park Libertyland. If the animals want to save their home, they must band together and fight for their home.

(QUICK REVIEW)

Ugh…

Here’s the improvements: slightly better animation (though not by much), a running gag with silencing Heigl from going into a song and dance, and Jackie Chan as a kung fu mouse, and by extension the rest of the mice. That’s about it.

Other than that, Surly is still an unlikable and selfish, Andie is flat and uninteresting, making their relationship highly questionable, the jokes are horrendously unfunny, the set-up terribly forced for no rhyme or reason, subplots that last a total of five minutes, and of course having to watch dogs vomit and then proceed to eat it made this an automatic hate for this movie.

I don’t have too much to say. Like I said, the kung fu army of mice was the best part of the movie, so I wouldn’t mind watching those scenes again, but as for the rest of the film, HARD pass. Make your kids wait for Disney’s COCO (2017) this November 22. There’s nothing to gain from watching this.

My honest rating for THE NUT JOB 2: NUTTY BY NATURE: 2/5

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Quick Netflix review: MIDNIGHT IN PARIS (2011)

Starring: Owen Wilson (CARS 3 [2017], ZOOLANDER 2 [2016], ANACONDA [1997], and SHANGHAI DAWN, no release date announced), Marion Cotillard (ASSASSIN’S CREED [2016], THE DARK KNIGHT RISES [2012], and INCEPTION [2010]), and Rachel McAdams (DOCTOR STRANGE [2016], MORNING GLORY [2010], THE NOTEBOOK [2004], and the upcoming SHERLOCK HOLMES 3, no release date announced).

In support: Corey Stoll (GOLD [2017], CAFÉ SOCIETY [2016], ANT-MAN [2015], and the upcoming FIRST MAN [2018]), Kathy Bates (BAD SANTA 2 [2016], TITANIC [1997], and TV show AMERICAN HORROR STORY), Michael Sheen (NORMAN [2017], PASSENGERS [2016], UNDERWORLD [2003], and the upcoming BRAD’S STATUS [2017]), Tom Hiddleston (KONG: SKULL ISLAND [2017], I SAW THE LIGHT [2016], THOR [2011], and upcoming Marvel films THOR: RAGNAROK [2017] and AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR [2018]), and Léa Seydoux (THE LOBSTER [2016], 007 SPECTRE [2015], and BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR [2013]).

Writer/Director: Woody Allen (CAFÉ SOCIETY, IRRATIONAL MAN [2015], MIGHTY APHRODITE [1995], and the upcoming WONDER WHEEL [2017]). This film does not have a composer. Cinematographer: Darius Khondji (THE LOST CITY OF Z [2017], THE IMMIGRANT [2013], and THE RUINS [2008]).

(SUMMARY)

Gil Pender (Owen Wilson) is on vacation in Paris, trying to find inspiration to complete the novel he’s writing. Though inspiration is slow, he’s quickly fallen in love with Paris and is even considering to move there. His feelings are not shared by his prickly fiancé Inez (Rachel McAdams), and the two butt heads constantly. One night, strolling through the streets of Paris, he ends up lost, but the most bizarre thing happens to him at midnight. He’s picked up by an old fashioned car and somehow finds himself in the 1920’s, meeting all of his historical icons, like Ernest Hemingway (Corey Stoll), Pablo Picasso (Marcial Di Fonzo Bo), F. Scott Fitzgerald (Tom Hiddleston), and even finds possible romance with the beautiful Adriana (Marion Cotillard), a mistress of Picasso.

(REVIEW)

I was surprised by how much I fell in love with this movie.

On top of being Wilson’s best performance I’ve ever seen in his library, it’s a truly gorgeous film just to look at, making the cinematography just as much the star as the actual characters the story follows. Already I love fantasy films and have a soft spot for rom-coms, and it’s not very often that the two are combined and leave this kind of an impact. While I can’t attest to the accuracy of the film using these historical people in Paris at the exact same time, but I doubt I’m supposed to take all this very literal. It’s a fantasy film after all and more of an appreciation of times long gone and a story that challenges a man to assess his relationship and what he wants for himself. At least, that’s what I got out of it. All I can tell you is that I got sucked into the style, the music, the aesthetics of it all, as well as the phenomenal chemistry between the actors, the comedy, and the romance. It’s a gorgeous film to be sure and I’m sad it took me this long to see it.

My honest rating for MIDNIGHT IN PARIS: 5/5

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THE EMOJI MOVIE review

Oh my god, I am so very excited to see this. Oh, not because I think it’s going to be a legit good movie. No, no, no. Quite the opposite. RottenTomatoes has this at a 6% (as of 7/29/2017) and IMDb has it at a 1.5/10 (as of 7/29/2017). Yeah, I laugh when I see these ratings, but I know one I go in, this movie will make me mad beyond belief. And why shouldn’t it? It basically looks like INSIDE OUT (2015), but such a knock-off discount that even the 99 cent store wouldn’t sell it at half price. It takes place in our phones and our emojis are content with their lives, except one specific “meh” emoji, that actually has several emotions, but has to only use… the one he’s known for? Already this premise has me asking questions. Whatever, who cares?

Here’s the voice talent. T.J. Miller (DEADPOOL [2016], BIG HERO 6 [2014], HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON [2010], and upcoming films GOOD: LAST OF THE ENFORCERS [2017] and READY PLAYER ONE [2018]), James Corden (TROLLS [2016], INTO THE WOODS [2014], BEGIN AGAIN [2013], and upcoming films OCEAN’S EIGHT [2018] and the animated PETER RABBIT [2018]), Anna Faris (KEANU [2016], TAKE ME HOME TONIGHT [2011], and TV show MOM), Maya Rudolph (MY ENTIRE HIGH SCHOOL SINKING INTO THE SEA [2017], POPSTAR [2016], BRIDESMAIDS [2011], and the upcoming animated THE NUT JOB 2: NUTTY BY NATURE [2017]), and Patrick Stewart (LOGAN [2017], X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST [2014], and TV show STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION).

Now for the crew. Directing and co-writing is Tony Leondis, known for IGOR (2008) and LILO & STITCH 2 (2006). Alongside Leondis, making a red flag total of three writers, we also have Eric Siegel (a bunch of TV shows) and Mike White (BEATRIZ AT DINNER [2017], NACHO LIBRE [2006], and SCHOOL OF ROCK [2003]). Finally, the composer for the score is Patrick Doyle, known for A UNITED KINGDOM (2017), THOR (2011), DONNIE BRASCO (1997), and the upcoming MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS (2017).

Overall, someone kill me to save me.

This is my honest opinion of: THE EMOJI MOVIE

(SUMMARY)

Gene (T.J.  Miller) is supposed to be a “Meh” emoji. Thing is, he’s discovered that he has multiple emotions to convey. He’s about to have his first day as an emoji on his owner’s phone, but freaking out when he’s selected, he makes the wrong face, which causes him to be labeled as a malfunction. Desperate to avoid being discarded, he and a newfound friend, the unused Hi-5 (James Corden), track down someone named Jailbreak (Anna Faris), who can take him to an app that will fix him and make him a normal “Meh” emoji.

(REVIEW)

Nope, I’m not wasting any effort on this review. If no effort was going to be attempted to make this movie original, then I have no reason to put in effort for this review.

All I will say is that it’s a knock-off of WRECK-IT RALPH (2012), with a hint of INSIDE OUT, and it’s painful.

No joke is funny. It’s just a long string of obvious phone puns. The world itself barely makes any sense, every character is annoying, and… I can’t keep going with this poor excuse for an animated movie for kids.

I am assuming that if you take your children to see this movie, you’re punishing them. Please avoid this film at all costs. If you give them money, they will make a sequel and that’s something both kids and critics alike really don’t need in their lives.

My honest rating for THE EMOJI MOVIE: 1/5

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BRIGSBY BEAR review

This is actually a week of movies that have crept up on me.

BRIGSBY BEAR is an indie film that apparently got some positive recognition from Sundance. And… yeah, it looks like it’s warranted from what I saw of the trailer. The story looks like it’s about this man who was possibly kidnapped as a child and became an adult, all the while watching only one kids TV show called “Brigsby Bear.” One day, the police catch the man whom he’s believed to be his father his entire life and tries to adjust to society. When he discovers that there hasn’t been additional episodes of “Brigsby Bear,” the friends he makes decide to help him make new episodes. It honestly reminds me of ROOM (2015), but with the central character being an adult, as opposed to a child.

Let’s take a look at the cast. Starring and co-writing the screenplay, we have Kyle Mooney, known for ZOOLANDER 2 (2016), HELLO, MY NAME IS DORIS (2016), and TV show SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE. In support, we have the amazing, the great, the amazingly great Mark Hamill (BATMAN: THE KILLING JOKE [2016], KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE [2015], BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES, and the upcoming STAR WARS EPISODE VIII: THE LAST JEDI [2017]), Claire Danes (STARDUST [2007], TERMINATOR 3: RISE OF THE MACHINES [2003], and TV show HOMELAND), Michaela Watkins (THE HOUSE [2017], TV shows CASUAL and TROPHY WIFE, and the upcoming PERSON TO PERSON [2017]), Greg Kinnear (GHOST TOWN [2008], LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE [2006], and MYSTERY MEN [1999]), Andy Samberg (STORKS [2016], HOT ROD [2007], TV show BROOKLYN NINE-NINE, and the upcoming animated film HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 3 [2018]), and Ryan Simpkins (THE HOUSE, A SINGLE MAN [2009], and REVOLUTIONARY ROAD [2008]).

Now for the crew. Directing, we have Dave McCary, known for 9 episodes of SNL and short films. Co-writing the script alongside Mooney is Kevin Costello, making is writing debut. Congrats, sir. Composing the score is David Wingo, known for LOVING (2016), MUD (2012), and SNOW ANGELS (2007). Finally, the cinematographer is Christian Sprenger, known for TV shows GLOW on Netflix and ATLANTA.

Overall, this could be a pretty solid film, and I’ll see anything with Mark Hamill in it. So yeah, bring it on. I’m curious.

This is my honest opinion of: BRIGSBY BEAR

(SUMMARY)

James (Kyle Mooney) is a twenty-five year old young man who lives what he believes to be a normal life, living with his mom, April (Jane Adams), and his dad, Ted (Mark Hamill), in his underground home. All his life, he’s only ever seen one TV show, a kids series known as “Brigsby Bear,” which opens up his creative mind. But despite living a relatively happy life, the truth eventually unravels when a squad of police officers arrive and arrest James’ perceived parents. Turns out, as a baby, he was kidnapped and raised as their own, and Brigsby Bear wasn’t a show that everyone knew about as he was lead to believe, but rather a complete fabrication by his kidnapping parents. After reuniting with his long-lost family, his real mother, Louise (Michaela Watkins), father, Greg (Matt Walsh), and younger sister, Aubrey (Ryan Simpkins), he has trouble adjusting to his new environment. However, when he’s introduced to films, he’s inspired to create a movie to give an ending to the Brigsby Bear show that never got finished.

(REVIEW)

Despite how silly this movie’s title is, this is arguably one of the most endearing films of the year. In my initial impressions, I said that this film kind of reminded me of ROOM, but that’s why I don’t do this professionally.

From the beginning, you know this movie is going to be pretty quirky and even weird. It opens on the Brigsby Bear show, and it’s weird. But in the same way that any other kids show is weird. You see, literally, hundreds of VHS tapes of the show all around James’ room, and considering how James is a grown-ass adult, it really gives this incredible atmosphere of just how long he’s been living like this with his parents. Even his relationship with Ted and April is weird. When they sit down at the dinner table to eat, they say some weird… I have no idea, prayer? And they shake hands. They’re loving, in their own way, but it’s certainly unconventional to say the least.

And at first, I had some issues with this set-up. Ted and April live in some kind of small bunker, made to feel like a regular suburban home. But what surprises me and found a little difficult to swallow, there’s this dome area that’s offers a great view of the desert landscape and Ted has clearly built an animatronic “ecosystem” right in front of the dome. Like, fireflies and foxes that are clearly machines, but Ted somehow doesn’t know that. He thinks they’re real. I mean, I accept that these people aren’t monsters in the strictest of senses. James and Ted do have those heart-to-heart talks about never letting anyone take away his capacity for imagination. They’ve fed, clothed, and taught him math all his life, but why completely fictionalize everything else he knows? He later doesn’t know what a dog is, even though his fictional fox thing is clearly of the canine family. Why shelter him from a world that they could have known he’d be reintegrated into? If James has known how to leave his code-locked home, how has he not explored past his own territory? At some point, wouldn’t he have taken off that gas mask to see if his parents were telling the truth about the poisonous air? And how did the police happen to track down these people? Most of these questions can be speculated on, but the rest are left completely unexplored.

But then again, I had issues with the set-up of THE MARTIAN (2015), and that was my number three favorite movie of 2015. I will honestly give a movie a pass if all of my problems are in the set-up of the story and the rest of the movie is executed perfectly for my taste. Such was the case for THE MARTIAN, such is the case here. As soon as James is brought into the world that he didn’t know existed, it’s an awkward transition. He’s in a police interrogation room with Detective Vogel (Greg Kinnear), and he asks James if his “parents” ever… “touched” him. James responds with “yes,” and demonstrates how he was touched… via a handshake. It’s surprisingly humorous.

The rest of the film does dabble in the fish out of water story, but it’s pretty brief by comparison to the rest of the plot. Like, he’s taken to the cinemas and a teenage party, where he obviously gets drunk and high and nearly taken advantage of sexually, but each of these moments do serve the plot. When he’s at the movies, he discovers his love of the medium, which inadvertently launches his desires to make a Brigsby Bear movie. The party he goes to, that’s where he meets his friends who ultimately help him make his movie. So they aren’t just there to serve as comedic moments, although they are awkwardly funny, but they do have a purpose that most stories like this can’t claim to be as smart about.

His relationships with everyone are also really nice to see play out too. Even though no one knows what he’s talking about when he rants on and on about Brigsby, it’s hard not to be able to relate, as I am also a fan of Star Wars and a few video games. I can go on and on about the mythologies and stories and know that certain people wouldn’t understand a thing I’m saying. To see someone go on and on about a kids show isn’t dissimilar to how I was with Power Rangers, so I can’t say that I didn’t empathize. But to see how everyone he interacts with takes him in and accepts him, understanding his situation, they don’t write him off. They just let him ramble and get sucked into his nerd talk. Hell, Spencer (Jorge Lendegorg Jr.) even uploads the Brigsby show onto the internet, which develops a popularity all its own.

I was about to have problems with Aubrey and Vogel. Aubrey, for whatever reason, completely shuts him down. She doesn’t accept him into the family. We’re never shown why, either. She immediately tells him not to be weird and not to acknowledge that they’re related, it’s pretty unlikable. Even though the transition to her accepting him is nonexistent, I still found their connection to be such a breakthrough in their relationship and couldn’t help but smile. And this movie clearly takes some liberties with how police officers conduct their business. By meaning, when something gets put into evidence, that doesn’t come out unless it’s part of the investigation. So… Vogel will take that evidence from the police station and give it to James after he talks about following dreams and shit? I don’t think so, no matter how taken in by James anyone would be. But fine, Kinnear is such a charming and charismatic actor that I would accept this suspension of disbelief.

I think that’s one of the better aspects about this movie, that it takes your expectations, but kind of plays with them and gives them something of an emotional payoff. As much as you don’t want to like Ted and April, it’s impossible to call them monsters because he raise him to be an imaginative, polite, and kind person that everyone gravitates toward. I expected to hate Aubrey, but she ends up being a very likable character, the cops never really get James into trouble when they find out about the Brigsby head, and his parents, as much as they hate what Brigsby represents to him, they know what good it’s done to him too. It’s a very complicated web of relationships, but it all works so well.

Overall, I love this movie. It’s charming, engaging, and emotional. It’s a wonderful ode to imagination and owning what you find to be great and impactful. Sadly, I don’t know how long the shelf life will be on this movie, or what kind of release it will have in the coming weeks, but if you can find it playing near you, I highly recommend it.

My honest rating for BRIGSBY BEAR: 5/5

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GIRLS TRIP review

Ugh, I can feel my blood pressure spiking. Yup, another raunchy and unfunny comedy. Shoot me now. And didn’t we get this movie just a month or two ago? ROUGH NIGHT (2017)? Well, if it’s possible to get two Dunkirk movies in a year, it’s remorsefully not beyond the realms of possibility to get two “girls trip” movies either.

Screw it, here’s the surprisingly respectable cast. Jada Pinkett Smith (BAD MOMS [2016], REIGN OVER ME [2007], and THE MATRIX RELOADED [2003]), Regina Hall (WHEN THE BOUGH BREAKS [2016], THINK LIKE A MAN [2012], and SCARY MOVIE [2000]), Queen Latifa (ICE AGE: COLLISION COURSE [2016], MAD MONEY [2008], and BRINGING DOWN THE HOUSE [2003]), and Tiffany Haddish (KEANU [2016]). In support, we have Mike Colter (TV shows LUKE CAGE, JESSICA JONES, RINGER, and upcoming TV show THE DEFENDERS).

Now for the crew. Directing is Malcolm D. Lee, known for BARBERSHOP: THE NEXT CUT (2016), SOUL MEN (2008), and UNDERCOVER BROTHER (2002). Co-writing the script are Kenya Barris and Tracy Oliver, both known for BARBERSHOP: THE NEXT CUT. Composing the score is… oh god, why?? David Newman?! Excuse me while I let out a little cry. He’s known for SERENITY (2005), GALAXY QUEST (1999), and THE MIGHTY DUCKS (1992). Finally, the cinematographer is Greg Gardiner, known for BARBERSHOP: THE NEXT CUT, MY FAKE FIANCÉ (2009), and MEN IN BLACK 2 (2002).

Overall, no… just… just no.

This is my honest opinion of: GIRLS TRIP

(SUMMARY)

A group of four friends make an attempt to reconnect after spending years apart by taking a trip to New Orleans to party.

(REVIEW)

*Sigh* Sadly, it’s nearly impossible for me to talk about this movie without comparing it to ROUGH NIGHT. Why? Because they’re almost the same movie. The only real difference is that one deals in a murder plot, the other deals in adultery.

Both movies start off with a flashback to when they were all in college and a group of four infamous fun-loving women. But then they grow up, develop their lives, and eventually drift apart. No, literally, they both start off this way, but give ROUGH NIGHT some credit, it didn’t need to narrate that passage of time. GIRLS TRIP thinks its R-rated audience is full of children and therefore need everything explained to them, despite everything playing out clear as day for all to see. You know, I didn’t used to have a problem with narration, but the more I see how abused it can get, it’s become a serious pet peeve. And of course, the plot is that they go on a weekend getaway reconnect.

Prior to the trip itself, GIRLS TRIP has one leg up over ROUGH NIGHT. The character establishing is a little funnier, as our first character intro is arguably the funniest character in this movie, as well as its reason why I do not like it: Dina (Tiffany Haddish). She’s the raunchiest woman in the movie, bar-none, and at first there’s some serious promise. We’ve already got a better character connection than ROUGH NIGHT established, and Dina… here’s her intro scene: she’s in her boss’ office to talk about her violent reaction to a co-worker who ate her Go-Gurt. She’s being fired, but she refuses to accept that and says that she’s going on her trip to New Orleans and wants time off.

That’s another thing about this movie. Unlike ROUGH NIGHT, this movie does have good jokes in it. Smith plays an overbearing mother who probably loves being a mother too much and when she’s on her way out the door, she’s hugging her kids and milking the goodbye, and then Dina remarks, “They’re hugging you like you’re going to war.” That’s funny! I laughed! No, shit, right? But modern comedies don’t often do that for me and it’s annoying as hell to see comedy go for the bottom-of-the-barrel humor that never plays out well. There’s another bit when we find out that Stewart (Mike Coulter), Ryan’s (Regina Hall) husband, has been cheating on her. A part of their trip is Ryan promoting her book, which she’s promoting with Stewart, and they’re meeting him in New Orleans. The other women find out about the affair early on and when Dina sees Stewart at the hotel, her reaction is beyond priceless. She has arguably the most venomous glare that even the most spiteful goth girl could never equal. She marches her way to the man, grabs a damn win bottle, smashes it, and threatens Stewart with it. I can’t possibly tell you how loudly my auditorium was laughing at this bit. It was fantastic. This movie had real comedy. Something that seemed unbelievably hard for ROUGH NIGHT to accomplish. The best that its comedy could offer was a couple of reactions. Oh, they didn’t make me laugh out loud or anything, they just woke me up from boredom.

Unfortunately, this movie has an Achilles heel. As much as you’ve seen me rave about the good jokes, the ones that I’ve mentioned we the only good ones in the entire movie. For every good joke, there’s twenty horrible ones inbetween. Far too many blowjob jokes, and one gets needlessly graphic, drunk humor that was hit or miss, seeing an old pervy man’s dick, and of course, the infamous peeing scene.

You know exactly what scene I’m talking about if you’ve seen the trailers. Lisa (Smith) is desperate to find a bathroom, but she’s on a zip-line on her way to another building where the line to the bathroom is shorter, but for contrived reasons, the zip isn’t far enough and she ends up peeing on the crowd of people under her. It’s about as graphic as you’d expect. But that’s not the end of it. Dina leaps to the rescue to push Lisa to the other building and happily opens her legs and pees as well on the people below her. This… is where the movie is utterly ruined for me. I suppose it would have been one thing if it was Lisa that did the peeing and wasn’t as graphic, but no. If there’s any form of humor that immediately turns me off, it’s anything involving bodily waste. Scat, urine, and vomit are all comedic no-nos for me, no matter the context. I don’t need to see that under any circumstances. It leaves a sickening proverbial taste in my mouth that never truly washes out, no matter how good the rest of the film was.

And the rest of the film, once again, has good stuff in it. There’s a really well-written speech about not being afraid to be along and what not, but any time this movie tries to have a heart or an emotional center, it doesn’t work because it’s the same movie that delivered two fucking golden showers. So, when stacking it against ROUGH NIGHT, which do I think is better? They’re unfortunately equal. ROUGH NIGHT is consistently unfunny and never makes me laugh, I give it credit that it’s unfunny humor never truly made me feel sick. GIRLS TRIP is a technically better written flick, but it also delivers the worst of the worst type of humor that makes me incredibly angry.

I know the makers behind this were trying to make a comedy equivalent to such great films like MOONLIGHT (2016) and HIDDEN FIGURES (2016), but I’ve never known a raunchy comedy to ever achieve such heights of cinematic glory. These movies tried to say something. They had a combination of artistic writing, directing, and acting. The very premise of this comedy is exactly like every other road trip raunchy comedy. They’ve been around for decades. Maybe this isn’t supposed to be that movie where I think about it too much, but this is how I feel, despite the near overwhelmingly positive reception it’s been getting from critics. I can’t agree.

Overall, no, I don’t recommend this movie, but because of the warm reception, my opinion will likely fall upon deaf ears. So… I guess I’ll just stop there. I don’t like it. At all.

My honest rating for GIRLS TRIP: 2/5

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THE HOUSE review

Hmph…

For those of you that don’t know, I am not the biggest Will Ferrell fan. Yeah, yeah, I know, everyone and everyone’s mother thinks he’s the Jesus of comedy, but… I disagree. Like, a lot. Very few of his films were actually funny to me, and what few I did like were either not straight comedies, or it was him that I liked the movie for. STRANGER THAN FICTION (2006), THE OTHER GUYS (2010), and GET HARD (2015), and two of those titles I liked more for his co-star than he himself. The main problem I’ve had with a majority of his movies are that they’re all the same and he only ever really plays the same character: a bumbling, socially awkward man who is foul-mouthed, but acts like a screams like a child when in trouble. The repetition is annoying as hell and while I can understand his brand of humor being popular, it’s rarely resonated with me.

But there goes my rant about him. How about this movie? Does it seem to change anything? Nope. Not in my eyes. It looks like it’s more the same, but this time, we have Amy Poehler acting the same way. This is potentially a huge shame because I rather enjoy her. Of course, she was such a comedic genius in the TV show PARKS AND REC and she was instrumental in my love for my favorite film of 2015, INSIDE OUT. This woman has range like no other. Bar none one of the funniest women I’ve watched, and can rip your heart out with her penchant for drama. Ironically, that’s how I feel like Ferrell could be, if he ever went that route, but he never does, and now he’s gotten Poehler latched to him. Damn…

In any case, I’ve ranted yet again, so let’s get to the actual movie. It looks like it’s about this married couple just found out that their beloved daughter just got into her first choice college, but they just found out that they can’t pay her way to go there. In order to make ends meet, they secretly start an underground casino with a shady friend of theirs and of course, things go wrong. It looks pretty by the numbers, and on paper it looks like it could be good, but I ain’t holding my breath.

Well, here’s the cast. Starring, we obviously have Poehler (INSIDE OUT [2015], ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS: CHIPWRECKED [2011], and TV show THE MIGHTY B!) and Ferrell (ZOOLANDER 2 [2016], THE LEGO MOVIE [2014], CASA DE MI PADRE [2012], and the upcoming DADDY’S HOME 2 [2017]). In support, we have Ryan Simpkins (A SINGLE MAN [2009] and REVOLUTIONARY ROAD [2008]), Jason Mantzoukas (THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE [2017], DIRTY GRANDPA [2016], THE DICTATOR [2012], and the upcoming THE DISASTER ARTIST [2017]), Nick Kroll (CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS [2017], LOVING [2016], and TV show THE LEAGUE), Rob Huebel (BAYWATCH [2017], KEANU [2016], and WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE [2013]), and Rory Scovel (DEAN [2017] and TV show GROUND FLOOR).

Now for behind the scenes. Directing and co-writing is Andrew Jay Cohen, making his feature-length feature debut (Congrats, sir), but him and his partner-in-pen, Brendan O’Brien, are both known for writing MIKE AND DAVE NEED WEDDING DATES (2016), NEIGHBORS 2: SORORITY ROW (2016), and NEIGHBORS (2014). Co-composing the score are Andrew Feltstein and John Nau, known for THE BRONZE (2016), ANCHORMAN 2: THE LEGEND CONTINUES (2013), and CASA DE MI PADRE. Finally, the cinematographer is Jas Shelton, known for KEANU, JEFF, WHO LIVES AT HOME (2011), and CYRUS (2010).

Overall, no, I’m not looking forward to this, at all. But I’m hoping that Poehler’s energy and comedic timing will save this movie in some way for me. But… nah, I really doubt it.

This is my honest opinion of: THE HOUSE

(SUMMARY)

Johansen parents Scott (Will Ferrell) and Kate (Amy Poehler) are on the precipice of saying goodbye to their teenage daughter Alex (Ryan Simpkins), who is about to go to her first choice college school. Unfortunately, there’s a snag. The city council once had Alex on a scholarship that would pay her way into the school, but pulled it in favor of a community pool. Devastated, but determined to keep this ball rolling, Scott and Kate attempt to pay Alex’s way themselves, but they don’t have enough money, and after a wild time in Las Vegas with their depressed and near-divorced friend Frank (Jason Mantzoukas), they’re even worse off. But then Frank hatches an idea. Gambling is a ludicrous business and wants to start his own suburban neighborhood underground casino for the bored locals eager to spice up their lives, and possibly to raise enough money to send Alex to college.

(REVIEW)

Shocking! Another unfunny Ferrell movie. Not his worst, but certainly nowhere near his best.

In fact, my predictions for this movie were so on the nose that I haven’t the slightest idea what to say. There’s only so many times throughout a bad comedy that I can simply not laugh and go into details as to why the joke wasn’t funny. Sometimes something unfunny is just unfunny. Ferrell and Poehler aren’t funny. Nope, Poehler doesn’t save this movie for me. Her energy is there and I want to laugh when she’s on screen, but I can’t. In fact, she’s just as annoying as Ferrell’s character in the flick. All these two do is act like socially awkward people who don’t know how to talk like normal people, but still curse like sailors. It’s… the same role you’ve seen in every other R-rated Ferrell movie, except it’s two fold. If there’s anyone that’s even more unfunny it’s Mantzoukas. Frank is loud, obnoxious, and I’d be surprised if the word “quiet” would even register for his character. My brain felt like a it’d gone to a mental prison and got shanked multiple times by a dozen disgruntled inmates.

That’s nearly the entirety of the movie. It’s one stupid joke after another. Frank playing craps and literally wins dozens of times and the reason why wasn’t because of rigged dice, Scott chopping off the finger of a card counter and instead of doing the sensible thing of getting out of the way of the over-the-top blood squirting, he just sits there taking it into his mouth, Kate taking on the moniker of “the Burner” even though she never burns anyone until the end of the movie, and even then it’s only once, and the many opportunities that Scott and Kate could have taken the money they’ve earned off the gambling and finally pay off their daughter’s tuition for school. This movie should have been an hour long at best and this movie knew it. So to punish us further, they throw in more gimmicks and plot threads, like Scott, Kate, and Frank thinking their big shots and start treating everyone on the streets like shit to maintain a “tough” demeanor, and a mob subplot that’s resolved about as quick as it’s established.

Actually, to be fair, the mob subplot involves Jeremy Renner as the mob boss, which was admittedly hilarious, if only for the fact that Renner is reliably more funny than Ferrell. He’s arguably the best part of this movie and bar-none my favorite. But of course, when he’s gone, the movie goes back to being what it was before his appearance, much to my undying sadness.

Honestly, this is probably a good time to remind y’all that I don’t actually think this is the worst of Ferrell’s movies that I’ve seen. It’s still in the pool of schlock that I’ve come to associate with him, but I can’t deny that there are at least a few funny moments. Early on in the gambling stuff, there’s a sequence of “fight night” amateur boxing when a couple neighbors have it out for each other. The first fight is built up over the course of a couple minutes, hyping the crowd around them, and once the bell rings and they start to fight, one of them gets immediately knocked out with one punch. And there’s another fight between a pair of women who really had it out for each other and their fight is so over-the-top brutal and intense that it’s actually kind of amazing. I admit to laughing at those bits.

And also, this is probably a small reason to be happy with this movie, but I was unbelievably giddy when I saw Michaela Watkins, whom I was a fan of from the criminally short-lived TV show TROPHY WIFE. She was the hippy mom who adopted the asian boy. In this movie, she plays Frank’s wife who is trying to divorce him because he’s got a gambling addiction. I swear, all she does in this movie is show up suddenly, and then storm off out of the movie. I like to think that Watkins wasn’t acting. She was saying her lines, and angrily trying to leave the set, but her contract’s tractor beam kept catching her, pulling her in, and there wasn’t anything she could do about it. Ten points to anyone who knows what I just referenced.

Overall, no. I’m getting a headache just from thinking about this damn movie. I don’t want to be a broken record, so I’ll keep this brief. Unfunny, annoying, a little bit of good stuff preventing it from being a total trainwreck, but I don’t recommend it. Ferrell and Poehler fans will obviously ignore any negativity toward the talent and see it anyway, so if this brand of humor is to your liking, then good for you. As for anyone who likes smart comedy, or comedy that’s just, you know, funny, then this ain’t for you.

My honest rating for THE HOUSE: a weak 3/5

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DESPICABLE ME 3 review

*Sigh*

Alright, so in order to talk about this movie, I’d better get to talking about what I think of the franchise as a whole.

I liked DESPICABLE ME (2010). It was a heartfelt, yet silly, animated movie. Plus, as anyone can tell you, I’m a sucker for adoption stories. It was cute, it was fun and funny. As I said, it was good.

DESPICABLE ME 2 (2013) wasn’t… bad. There was a charm factor to it, but it definitely didn’t have the same emotional weight that the first film had. A cute enough movie to warrant a sequel, I suppose, but there were just a few too many subplots.

Next up was the inevitable MINIONS (2015). Their own spin-off slash prequel shouldn’t have been a surprise considering the popularity of the little yellow guys. But to be honest, I didn’t think it was that bad. I enjoyed that little Minion with his teddy bear and I did think there was a genuine heart to the movie. Plus, I enjoyed Sandra Bullock as the villain Scarlet Overkill. But yeah, I said that is wasn’t “that bad,” meaning that I didn’t think it was good. It was still laced in way too many bad and unfunny jokes, and in an animated comedy, that’s sort of a necessity. But as it went, I didn’t hate it.

Now for this one. Once again, I don’t think it’s going to be very good. Why? Unknown brother. Of course there is. And his name is Dru. Really…? Already, Gru is borderlining on annoying, but what made him work in the first one was that he had a well-defined character and a great character arch. Had that not been the case, he’d be right up there with Olaf from FROZEN (2013). I can’t imagine that Gru will have the same arch, or certainly this new shoe-horned brother. Also, calling it out, I think the villain will annoy me too, and even the Minions this time around. Seriously getting tired of seeing Minion butt. Although it does tickle me that they’re rebelling against Gru for not being a villain anymore.

Well, here’s the voice talent. Starring, we have Steve Carell (CAFÉ SOCIETY [2016], EVAN ALMIGHTY [2007], OVER THE HEDGE [2006], and upcoming biopic BATTLE OF THE SEXES [2017] and video game adaptation MINECRAFT [2019]), Kristen Wiig (MASTERMINDS [2016], THE MARTIAN [2015], TV show THE LOONEY TUNES SHOW, and the upcoming animated DreamWorks film HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 3 [2019]), Trey Parker (TEAM AMERICA: WORLD POLICE [2004], BASEKETBALL [1998], and TV show SOUTHPARK), and Pierre Coffin (MINIONS [2015], DESPICABLE ME 2 [2013], DESPICABLE ME [2010], and the upcoming MINIONS 2 [2020]). In support, we have Miranda Cosgrove (YOURS, MINE, & OURS [2005], SCHOOL OF ROCK [2003], and TV show ICARLY), Dana Gaier (DESPICABLE ME 2 and DESPICABLE ME), Nev Scharrel (known for shorts and TV shows), Julie Andrews (DESPICABLE ME, THE PRINCESS DIARIES [2001], and THE SOUND OF MUSIC [1965]), and Jenny Slate (GIFTED [2017], THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS [2016], and TV show PARKS AND REC).

Now for the crew. There are three directors: Kyle Balda (MINIONS, THE LORAX [2012], and the upcoming MINIONS 2), Pierre Coffin (MINIONS, DESPICABLE ME 2. and DESPICABLE ME), and Eric Guillon, making his co-directorial debut. Congrats, sir. Co-writing the script are Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio, both known for THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS, HORTON HEARS A WHO! (2008), BUBBLE BOY (2001), and both are slated to write the upcoming THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS 2 (2019) and Daurio is slated to also write MINIONS 2. Finally, co-composing the score is Heitor Pereira (THE ANGRY BIRDS MOVIE [2016], IT’S COMPLICATED [2009], CURIOUS GEORGE [2006], and the upcoming animated film THE NUT JOB 2: NUTTY BY NATURE [2017], and Scooby-Doo remake SCOOBY [2020]) and Pharrell Williams (HIDDEN FIGURES [2016], THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 [2014], and DESPICABLE ME).

Overall, this definitely won’t be the best Despicable Me movie, but I’m hoping there will still be enough humor and heart to carry it enough to make it a bearable experience.

This is my honest opinion of: DESPICABLE ME 3

(SUMMARY)

Gru (voiced by Steve Carrell) and his wife Lucy (voiced by Kristen Wiig) have been fired from the Anti-Villain League after failing to capture the nefarious Balthazar Bratt (voiced by Trey Parker). Not long after, Gru receives a letter from a long-lost twin brother he never knew he had named Dru (voiced by Carrell). When they meet, Gru finds out that Dru is a wannabe villain and wants to pull a heist with Gru, despite him leaving his villainous ways behind.

(REVIEW)

Alright, alright, it’s not as bad as I thought. I’m not wrong about it not being the best of the franchise, but it’s got some good in it to make it enjoyable enough.

First, the negative. If you thought Gru’s voice was annoying, you’re going to get it double because Dru is not any less ear-bleedingly obnoxious to listen to. Again, the reason why his voice was tolerable in the first film was because he had legit character arch that was compelling and had heart. The second film is basically taking that heart away for a half baked romantic comedy, which wasn’t nearly as interesting. Now we have a forced discovery of a twin brother who isn’t nearly any more tolerable, nor is he an interesting character. He’s this rich and successful guy who somehow knows that his entire family heritage is villains and wants in on the action and infamy, despite not knowing that Gru put his villainy behind him. On paper, it doesn’t sound that bad, but the presentation of the character is annoying and doesn’t have the same emotional gravity that the first one had. Together, Gru and Dru are loud, never a quiet moment, it’s a chore to sit through.

And Agnes (voiced by Nev Scharrel) didn’t make too much sense to me this time around. I mean, this complaint is pretty mild by comparison to any scene being shared with Gru and Dru, but… here it is. I know she’s a little girl, at that age where she has a right to think that unicorns exist. So when she’s at this festival and meets a bartender who tells her a story about seeing a unicorn in the woods, she gets excited and looks for one. The conclusion of this little adventure is a little goat appearing that has one horn and Agnes thinks it’s a unicorn. Right because it’s white… stands on four legs… has one horn, not even on its forehead mind you, which is on the side of its head where a goat’s horns would be… and suddenly she thinks it’s a unicorn. Like I said, I’m aware that Agnes is a little girl, but… no, even when I was her age, I knew the difference between a horse and a goat. Maybe this is supposed to be the blossoming of a dim-witted personality that she’ll adopt in a sequel, or something, but it’s a little weird that she doesn’t know the difference.

Actually, come to think of it, that could kind of work. When she reaches Margo’s (voiced by Miranda Cosgrove) age and she still believes in mythical creatures and uses Gru’s high tech resources to hunt them down for cuddling purposes, even though no one believes her and tries to talk her out of wasting resources and time. That’s got some comedic possibilities. That’s not where this franchise will go, but that’d be interesting.

Other pointless plot threads include some boy having a crush on Margo that isn’t mutual, the minions quit due to no more villainous activity and wind up in prison, which is forgettable, we don’t get enough screen time with Balthazar Bratt, and a wasted use of Slate’s talent as the new boss of the Anti-Villain League, who has incredible little screen time, and that sums up my primary issues with the movie, which are consistent throughout.

I think about the only thing I actually liked about Dru was that he was incompetent as a villain. In any other movie, I feel like he’d be written as significantly more talented and threatening as a villain and Gru would be jealous of his abilities and eventually conspire against him. Thankfully, that’s not the case. The writers were smart enough to hold true to the given plot and rolled with it without trying for too many surprises and twists and turns, which I found refreshing.

Bar none my favorite moments in the movie are when Lucy is trying to connect with Margo, Edith (voiced by Dana Gaier), and Agnes as their step-mother. While I thought that she was such an unfunny tool in the second film, I love her character here as she tries to set a good example, but constantly finds herself in a position to beat up people, or causes more problems for the girls. To be frank, I’d have rather kept the focus on her trying to be a mom to the girls than Gru and Dru trying to be brothers. There’s emotional weight to that and does have a sweet resolution to it, but it’s clearly what the movie should have been about. Plus, feminism and “girl power” is all the rage these days, so a movie about a step-mom teaching her three step-daughters to be resourceful, self-sufficient, cautious, and tough, while finding a balance of learning to be compassionate, open to receive and offer help, and all that good stuff that women and little girls should learn. But nope, it’s the misadventures of the dual performance of Steve Carrell. … Woo…

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Overall, I can’t say that this was awful, or even really that bad. It’s not very good, what with a long string of unfunny jokes, the painful inclusion of Dru, and some questionable subplots and character choices. But where the movie works the best is when Lucy is trying to win the hearts and minds of the three girls and leaving me hopeful with certain possibilities for any future installments. If you wanted to bring your kids to see it, I’d say it’s fine for them. There’s better kids movies out there, but this won’t harm them any. But if you’re an adult movie-goer and thought this was cute, eh, watch the first one again. It’s highly superior. I neither strongly recommend it, nor do I exclaim to stay away.

My honest rating for DESPICABLE ME 3: 3/5

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