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The Shape of Water (2017)
Combination of classic and modern cultures
The Shape of Water is one of the cult-classic which combines a blend of classic and modern cultures. This is why Oscar love the movie apart from the premise which I guess seems simple, predictable, and ridiculous as I always see on the local television as romance crappy story. Guillermo Del Toro shows a simple blend of it with the fantasy technique that he always used in all his movies. The visual is one of the gorgeous pieces that ever existed, Sally Hawkins is incredible while doing a sign language, a mute princess. The set-up and production design are flawlessly underwhelmed when the film gets a lot of reputation at Oscar and the world. Some social issues may be fairly simple in this film but it can be used as a reference. But, this is a fairy tale that mixes adult components. In a nutshell, it's just a human being had sex with fish.
The Fate of the Furious (2017)
The Fast and the Furious franchise has always made its way with being fun entertaining films.
The Fast and the Furious franchise has always made its way with being fun entertaining films. Cool cars, crazy insane action sequences that usually breaks the laws of physics, and lastly, the story always focuses on the theme of family. That is usually the case with the most of these movies, and the code that Dominic Toretto lives by. Old enemies become good and good go bad, so it seems when Dominic (Vin Diesel) betrays his team and family during an extract mission in Berlin. Stealing an important device, and reporting to Cyber terrorist Cipher (Charlize Theron). Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson), Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), and the rest of the team that we all know from the previous films have to track down Ciphers next move and stop Dom. Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell) and the new addition (Scott Eastwood) will need Hobb and his team and the help from their former enemy Deckard (Jason Statham).
I feel like the fast movies are getting better as it goes on from every movie and amazing to see how it went from a street racing movie to a heist film to a spy action. Also one that should not be taken seriously. It's a blockbuster action movie that you should leave brains and logic out before seeing the movie. Seeing these characters as a team go on glide trotting missions to stop Cyberterrorism using sporty cars and tactical fast tanks. Does these missions even require them to use cars? Probably not, sure there is other ways they could have handled it. But than it wouldn't be a fast movie, would it.
The action sequences are big, loud, and insane. From the opening sequence, in Cuba, seeing Dom race with a burning car was fun. Until he meets Cipher that persuaded him to betray his team. Without giving away details, on Doms motivation to do such a thing against his family, it's best to see for yourself. The film also takes place in New York and has one insane scene when Cipher hacks into computerized cars for her own control and leading a wave of cars to invade a convoy. Last, the chase sequence with the cars being chased by a submarine was fun in a overlong battle that takes place in Russia.
The cast was still great and it was fun to see Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham taunt each other when working on a team. Helen Mirren has a brief appearance and is well worth it. Scott Eastwood was also a fun addition as a rookie to Mr. Nobody. Charlize Theron as the villain was a perfect choice. But sadly, she does not have much to do besides her menacing threats and being in a command room throughout the whole movie. The film does have its twist and turns in the direction, when characters family limit is tested. But in the end, the central theme will always be about family coming together.
The Fate of the Furious is awesome and does best for what it is trying to do which is entertain with crazy action sequences. Great cast. Fun to see these characters work together. Has its cheesy dialogue humor. And I hope to Watch more.
The Boss Baby (2017)
DreamWorks has always favored frivolous humor over meaningful insight
DreamWorks has always favored frivolous humor over meaningful insight. They aren't Pixar. This isn't necessarily always a bad thing as they have had some solid hits in the recent years. Kung Fu Panda remains my favorite of the series from the studio. With The Boss Baby, their signature humor remains intact. I laughed quite often in the early stages of the film. Alec Baldwin is hilarious voicing the baby at the center, however, while I admire DreamWorks for getting ambitious with the concept of the film, it is almost so high-concept, that the core audience will be completely lost and the adults will shrug at how convoluted the many twists in the plot are. Still, The Boss Baby is frequently bouncy and frenetic and will entertain the kiddies, even if they don't get all the plot points. In the end, however, the need of the directors to pile on a thickly saccharine ending that keeps rolling on, makes the film end rather disingenuously.
Suicide Squad (2016)
Film made it likable
I liked the characters. This film made it likable. It provided a good introduction at the beginning of the film. I think anyone who sees this film will probably feel as though they did not get enough of all the characters but I also think that we got enough information to be introduced to to be interested in what those characters will do next.
Going into this film I imagined a much darker film. Had it been more silent moments I would have been a much darker film.
I felt invested in all the characters. I felt invested in all the characters somewhat emotionally.
I liked how much Batman was in this film.
I was really surprised that I was not more scared in this film. I was expecting to be scared of Joker in this film.
I felt emotionally invested in each of the main characters due to their losses.
Harley Quinn acted exactly how I imagined where her main devotion lied with Joker.
Joker reminded me of pimp version of Mark Hamill's portrayal Joker but not as scary in this film.
I loved the music from the songs to the score.
I loved that we got to see hints to the Harley Quinn 1990's cartoon costume in this film.
My problem was that the way the lines were said in the trailer gave a much more powerful emotional and comedic impression than I got while I was watching the film.
I thought that the main villain was not big and dangerous for film.
Once Enchantress turned into a belly dancer was a weird. It did not fit with the character who we had seen earlier in the film that was mysterious. One thing I did not understand about Enchantress was what she was doing with the portal. Why was the villain Enchantress were using a similar idea as seen in films like the first two Thor films, Spider-Man 2 or The Avengers by building something to destroy the world as we know it by means of a portal. The plan was never explained enough to understand what she was up.
I liked #Diablo had a great story and felt bad because he killed family.
The characters, relationships, and chemistry between the characters; are the best parts of the film.
The flow to the film seemed a little off.
The way that #Flash and Batman were utilized in this film I felt was adequately used to only introduce them to the stories of the villains back story. I did not need to see a lot of them. And this film used them the right amount.
Will Smith as Deadshot was probably was the best part to the film.
I was pleased with Harley Quinn's portrayal felt like the portrayal that I imagined her to be.
Some of the feelings were not as strong enough as I had imaged to feel sad or cheer like I felt like when I watched the trailers.
Some songs I did feel were a bit out of place because some of the music did not give me the emotional response it could have with no music or different music such as Deadshot trying to get #Diablo. It made some scenes anticlimactic.
Some cuts made scenes predictable like showing Katana's samurai sword just before Harley Quinn stables #Enchantress and I thought that that should have been not shown until Enchantress was stabbed to show the surprise.
I was expecting the bar scene to be much more powerful emotional and climatic scene than was presented in the film.
The Joker and Harley Quinn was like a Bonny and Clyde relationship.
I think we needed more Enchantress back story as a witch.
I think that there was too many songs back to back and in some ways we needed them spread out with fewer songs so that we are cheering in excitement.
I thought that the origin story to Harley Quinn was not strong enough emotionally. It could have been told better with different music.
The ending to this film showed by #Diablo was so important to the team because he was very much underutilized in the scene.
I loved #Katana in this film. There was enough mystery in the character where I found it interesting. I loved the story behind the sword and how the hair looked on her.
Boomerang happened to be the character where we had no clue what kind of character he was or why he was even in the group at all.
Amanda Waller was a character where you never felt quite sure if she was a good or bad character from the beginning even to the mid credit scene it made you question where she stood.
This is a film where I would be interested in seeing another film like this with different villains. This films mid credits sequence hints to the Justice League.
Sausage Party (2016)
Sausage Party is a R-rated animated comedy
Sausage Party is a R-rated animated comedy written by and starring Seth Rogan as Frank, a hot dog who learns the truth about what really happens to food when it's purchased by "the gods" (humans). Frank has to tell everybody else in the food market before it's too late. Other featured voice talent includes Kristin Wiig, Michael Cera, Jonah Hill, and Edward Norton.
This movie is HILARIOUS! I haven't laughed so hard at a movie this year ad much as I did during the opening scene of this movie. The jokes range from over-the-top (how do you like them apples, etc.), and the message might speak to some. I also really liked the animation style, especially in the food characters.
My only complaint with this movie is how raunchy it was. I'm not against foul language or crude humor, but there still needs to be some context with it. When a f-bomb is used every other sentence, it really waters down the effect when language like that could, as Spongebob would say, act as a "sentence enhancer." I was desensitized to the language after 10 minutes of film, so it never effected me when it should have.
Overall, if you can handle some really heavy profanity and humor more offensive than Deadpool, you'll love this movie. If you've ever been offended by language, sexual humor, or racial stereotypes, this movie is not for you.
Pete's Dragon (2016)
The best Adventure
Pete's Dragon is one of the best Adventure ;) your family will experience this year! Although not as well made as The Jungle Book it is incredibly fun, I think Oakes Fegley did a phenomenal job in the role, all the little details are done beautifully! Also the cinematography is breath-taking Robert Redford and Bryce Dallas Howard also deliver good performances but the stand out is Elliot, although the Fur on the dragon seemed like a bad choice in the ad campaign, it works amazingly in this film, Elliot is one of the cutest thing I have seen in a movie this year! But this movie is not perfect but it would have been if it wasn't so rushed, the film felt really short despite it's 1h 43m run time. Karl Urban is another mistake for the movie, his performance is one dimensional and when ever they would cut to a scene involving his character Gavin, the movie falls flat, however the ending was good even though Pete's new look was not "On Fleek" - Yousef Al-Waeli
Captain America: Civil War (2016)
The next big film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe
The next big film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe arrives in a slam-dunk fashion, with a great story line and unexpected twists and turns. The cast, once again, as usual, is a standout. Chris Evans still proves that he is Captain America, distilling in him doubt and a questioning manner, while also showing him as a conflicted and true leader. Evans commands the film and ever scenes that he is in, proving that the Marvel Cinematic Universe isn't complete without the character. Robert Downey Jr. once again proves that he is Tony Stark and that no other actor can depict the character. Downey takes a backseat to Evans in good fashion and doesn't try to take the film away from him. This is more Captain America, than Iron Man, with Stark only arriving into the film when necessary and never hogging the film away from Evans. Downey and Evans work well together, while successfully showing the different sides of both characters: Captain America as the leader and Tony Stark as the billionaire, who after the events of Age of Ultron, is guilt ridden. His decision to favor oversight comes from a civilian in Sokovia being killed during the battle, which has a huge impact over the film. Sebastian Stan makes a welcome return to Bucky Barnes, the brainwashed friend of Captain America, code-named the Winter Soldier. Once again this character proves that the Captain America trilogy is about one thing: brotherly love. Stan's depiction brings a sense of doubt and confusion, since he still trying to piece his entire life together, while it also partly ties certain events together. Scarlett Johansson is marvelous as always as Black Widow, delivering great lines and working well opposite both Evans and Downey. Anthony Mackie is once again amazing as Falcon, Captain America's new ally. Don Cheadle still works well with Downey and in the role of James Rhodes, having replaced Terence Howard in Iron Man 2. Jeremy Renner makes a great, small appearance as Hawkeye, as does Paul Rudd as Ant-Man, lending a sense of comedy to the film and giant surprises. Paul Bettany depicts Vision as an android attempting to come to grips with the world, while Elizabeth Olsen gets to further explore the character of Scarlet Witch, sharing some really great scenes with Bettany. William Hurt makes a welcome return to the MCU as Thunderbolt Ross, now Secretary of State. This approach seems to be done as a way to still make clear that The Incredible Hulk (the black sheep of the MCU) is still part of the universe. Hurt shows Ross as a complicated politician. Frank Grillo makes a great, small appearance as Rumlow at the beginning, while Emily VanCamp makes a welcome return as Sharon Carter and Martin Freeman is introduced to the MCU in a small role as Everett Ross, who will undoubtedly return for future installments. The real standouts in the film are Tom Holland as Spider-Man and Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther. Holland steals the scenes that he is in as Spider-Man, working exceptionally well opposite Evans and Downey, as well as Marisa Tomei, who depicts Aunt May. Holland is comedic, depicting the character as a nervous, geeky, unsure character. Holland seems to be the definitive version of the character, delivering a far better performance of the character than Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield, the two of whom are also fine actors. While some may say that Spider-Man is only featured in the film to introduce him into the MCU and also to setup the planned standalone film, I believe that Spider-Man worked out well in the film and lend a real sense of stamina to the film, especially the big fight. Boseman is amazing as Black Panther, delivering the character with menace and true purpose. Boseman is calm as the character, while the introduction is wild and spectacular. Daniel Bruhl makes a great appearance as the villain Zemo, who has a huge connection to the events of the film. While the character is different in the comic books, I can defend the change that had to be done, since it supports the film's plot and layout. Bruhl's approach to the character, as a calm and calculating villain, as well as the villain itself is spectacular, while he has got to be the best villain that the universe has had to see so far. The idea of having a normal, regular human face off against the Avengers is smart and total genius on the part of the filmmakers. The end result is films that will leave the viewer wondering how the universe will continue. Since Captain America: The Winter Soldier acted as a turning point in the MCU leading up to Age of Ultron, this film does the same, showing a change in Stark, while also showing Rogers as a new leader. The film ends in such a way with us wondering the directions that the characters will go in and also if Stark will ever be needed anymore, while also showing the lengths that he can go to. The film includes a number of good references to other films in the MCU, while it also acts as a terrific conclusion to the Captain America trilogy, proving that this is the best trilogy within the MCU. In the case of good third chapters in trilogies (Toy Story 3, The Dark Knight Rises, Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King) this film acts a fantastic third chapter to its own trilogy. The film also does the smart move of not revolving around a huge battle, showing the slow build up to the battle and the lengths that characters can go to, in a way showing a war of opinions in political style discussion. The result is a film that is terrific and well-handled, acting as a great comic book film, but also so far as this year's best comic book film. Fantastic!
The Boss (2016)
vulgar R rated jokes
Melissa McCarthy uses her same vulgar R rated sex jokes and innuendo's in The Boss. It starts off entertaining and has it's share of really funny moments throughout. Annie Mumolo; co-writer of Bridesmaid's co-stars in this movie as Melissa's nemesis. Annie also had a cameo in Bridesmaids on the airplane sitting beside Kristen Wiig. Nice to see her get a bigger role. I wanted to give the movie 4 stars but the last 20 minutes really are truly ridiculous and not even funny. I guess that's the trick of comedy it's either really good or fails epically, given the movie as a whole and more positive moments, I can forgive the silly ending. I still think Identity Thief, Spy and Bridesmaids are probably her 3 best comedies to date. The movie is worth a watch if you are a fan of Melissa McCarthy's humor. If you don't normally like her humor, this will offer you nothing.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 (2016)
What the movie has going for it
What the movie has going for it is the entire original cast returning. It is a good follow up film to the original, as a stand alone film I don't think it would hold up on its own. It relies on reusing gags from the original film in new ways and needs that connection to the original to work. I don't think it will stand the test of time like the original has, the cast does reprise their roles well except John Corbett phoned in his performance in my opinion. It was funny, the story line though just kinda of got a little sloppy with the daughter going to school and the parents wedding it felt like an excuse to make a second one. Its a sequel we did not need but can watch and rediscover what made the first one so great.
Miracles from Heaven (2016)
It's pretty obvious how anti-Christian most of the movie critics are against any movies portraying faith. There is no end to how blind they are and will do everything they can to trash a beautifully made movie. The acting is phenomenal by Jennifer Garner as well as the girl who plays Anna. The support characters are just so-so. It reveals the crisis in faith that many people go through when they wonder why would a good God allow something seemingly bad to happen to a good person. It also reveals that some so-called Christians are not very helpful to people who are going through such ordeals. Awesome to see that it is based on a true story, understandably dramatized.
God's Not Dead 2 (2016)
GND2 better than the first one
Love GND2 and in my opinion it is even better than the first one. Great acting from Jesse Metcalfe, also Melissa Joan Hart and Ernie Hudson did a fine job. Awesome job from the director Harold Cronk. The movie flows nicely and you're in for an unexpected twist in the end. Those that scoff the movie, and say that things like this don't happen in the US, don't see the reality. It is true that teachers are not allowed to speak about Jesus in schools. Check the cases mentioned in the credits and you will see that it is very much reality. The only reason I'm not giving it full 5 stars is that the scenes with the protesters seemed little too over dramatized. It is an excellent movie and I would recommend it to anyone.
It was OK.
As a fan of the books I can give this film a higher rating. I know it has been reviews saying it is boring and it should not of been split into two but it is faithful to the books. The film is a bit more relaxed than the first two but still continues the trend of a villain and they have to solve it but in this film they also have to set the scene for the final film and I believe that the film struggles as it is split before the big climax of the book.
Also the lack of four in the movie as he spends some time missing effects the move as alone is not as strong a character. However, Peter continues with his wit and his funny comments which breaks up the film . If you like the books or the films go and see this film but it does struggle with the fact you are waiting for the climax.
Meet the Blacks (2016)
Full of xenophobic and racist remarks apparently to be a comic parody.
Meet the Blacks" is a horror comedy that spoofs the "Purge" movies. A wealthy African-American family moves into an upscale neighborhood in Beverly Hills and instantly are subjected to racial discrimination. The director lampoons this concept and has the purgers be people the protagonist owes money to. Though I found the film sporadically funny, I thought it wasn't really trying at all and instead tried to see how hard it could spoof "Scary Movie." The humor is scatological and is embedded in puerile, inane humor that is so dumb and pointless it actually becomes somewhat funny. The script is laughable at best and features some of the cheesiest lines I've seen. It does everything that a horror comedy is supposed to do except have believable acting, realistic humor, and a halfway decent plot.
Eye in the Sky (2015)
Eye in the sky is a political/war drama
"Eye in the sky" is a political/war drama about a British intelligence agent (Helen Mirren) who receives Intel that top East African terrorists are all residing in a house in Nairobi, Kenya. The task force is getting ready to bomb the house with a drone when their surveillance notices a girl selling bread by the house. The film turns into a compelling look at the philosophy of morality and the weighing of the loss of collateral damage against the risk for larger loss of life. Mirren and company refer up to get approval as to when to fire the bombs because of the moral implications there would be to bomb the house with the girl in such close proximity. I thought the movie presented a humanistic and fascinating look at the political and social implications of their decision and showed that there is great cost in war.
The Invitation (2015)
This movie is amazing
I saw this movie at the Fantasia film festival! I knew nothing about it going in and I was completely blown away. This movie was amazing! It is brilliantly written, superbly acted and has amazing direction. The Invitation is one of the most suspenseful and thrilling films I've seen in years! Please, I urge you to try and see this one. Avoid all trailers and plot descriptions and go in with an open mind!
Rob Hunter says it best:
"Karyn Kusama's overdue return is a serious slow-burn walking a carefully constructed line between suspicion and paranoia that mesmerizes through its frenzied conclusion".
Everybody Wants Some!! (2016)
Definitely the "spiritual sequel" to Dazed and Confused. This movie was fun which I believe can be mainly attributed to the chemistry between the main cast. This movie made me feel like I was watching The Sandlot group of kids all grown up and on the same team in college. I also liked that you don't need to know anything about baseball to watch this movie about baseball players.The soundtrack is also amazing.
Featuring great dialogue and a narrative that is very (almost too) in-the-moment, this is Linklater's new film and his signature style slightly suffering from the post-Boyhood effect.
Though hardly a patch on Linklater's decade-defining Dazed and Confused, there's actually enough here in Everybody Wants Some to make us all want to relive the '80s Everybody Wants Some isn't quite the disaster I was expecting (hoping?) it would be. But not entirely a classic, either. Good enough though for a modern audience.
Kill Your Friends (2015)
Kill Your Friends (2015) is an outstanding film based on the happenings with the music industry as an a&r rep. This film is beautifully packed with the perfect cast, the perfect script; this film is on point from start to finish. The moment I heard about Kill Your Friends (2015), I knew I had to see it that it was a film that had my attention and it did. As the movie started up it had that "Trainspotting" vibe to it, the chaos factor, the thrill ride; everything was intact. The way the story cycled through as it pulls you closer to the edge preparing to unwind; this film is perfect in all ways.
This is a great film for indie musicians to watch, and of course fans of music in general; this movie does point out some true tips. This is certainly a film that will be in our personal DVD collection.
10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)
It isn't very often that you can go see a movie at the theater and not have the slightest idea of where it'll take you. Even more rare is when a movie like that delivers a wholly original story that's even more satisfying than you ever thought it would be.
'10 Clover-field Lane' is a perfect reminder that films can still surprise us, delight us, and horrify us in a way that's never been done before. Mark my words, Dan Trachtenberg will be a force to be reckoned with in the future. His feature length directorial debut is a showcase for his absolute confidence and strength as a storyteller and filmmaker, and I can't wait to see what he does next.
Of course, it always helps to have the likes of J. J. Abrams and Bad Robot standing behind you, and their experience and talent absolutely boosts this film into the stratosphere.
As far as acting is concerned, Mary Elizabeth Winstead gives her best performance yet, and shows us a strong lead character who's completely believable in a situation that plays out like a horrible nightmare. Speaking of bad dreams, John Goodman turns in a performance unlike anything he's ever done before, and manages to be both strangely sweet and unbearably creepy. And John Gallagher, Jr. nails his roll perfectly and adds some much needed levity to a story that's almost overwhelmingly claustrophobic.
I've been thinking about what film I could use to compare '10 Clover-field Lane' to, and while I think even a comparison to a specific film might give too much away, I feel safe in saying that it is absolutely Hitchcock. It's a brilliant, brilliant movie that's told in the best possible way: by showing, not telling.
Go and see it as soon as you can.
City of Gold (2015)
Great job on the documentary
Laura did a great job on the documentary that Cornicles Jonathan's journey of many years that takes him though Los Angeles and surrounding suburbs. I see lots of documentaries and I think this is one of the most interesting and enjoyable ones that I have seen: and it's not that I am bias as he is my son in-law. I actually found out things that I did not know about his early life.
If anything, City of Gold could use a dash more Jonathan Gold. Only toward the end does it reveal he grew up in South Central, where his earliest memories were tanks growling down the streets during the Watts riots. At twelve, he was a cello prodigy. At twenty he was grinding the cello in a punk band, and soon met his wife, Laurie Ochoa, at the LA Weekly when she was an intern and he a proofreader. Twenty-five years of marriage later, she's still his favorite taco truck date. And despite the last decade of accolades, he remains punk at heart, staggering at a Vietnamese joint named Pho Kim.
One of the film's funniest scenes is of Gold's brother Mark, an environmentalist, taking him to task for supporting sushi restaurants that sell blue-fin tuna. "Jonathan is eating everything I'm trying to save," he sighs, though Mark is grateful his brother decried shark fin soup. Yet City of Gold's most resonant moment is Gold walking through an art museum with his son and daughter, passing on his father's love of culture to the next generation. When his boy asks why a figurine doesn't have eyes, Gold explains that sometimes the facts of a portrait aren't the priority — a philosophy his reviews serve up with every plate.
Hyena Road (2015)
I thought this was pretty damn good, but then I like war films where the protagonists aren't always flawless and righteous no matter what they do -- morally ambiguous is what I'm going for here.. Mostly the story revolves around the military aspect of building the title road, from the snipers and soldiers on the ground laying protection and scouting, to command relaying information and shaking hands, to intelligence playing chess with what information they have. From my understanding at least some of the footage was taken on a trip to Afghanistan, and it seems most of the cinematography was adjusted to match that, which while irritating at times did add to the overall effect. On the other hand, while I'm sure such things happen on base, the romance subplot was unnecessary as it added nothing but some melodrama to the plot. The narration, while somewhat informative, really did feel out of place, as I don't care about Alexander the Great's story; if they wanted it there for background than it would have been better as a story in dialog. Those aspects aside, I found this much more palatable than 'American Sniper', a film which gets worse the more I think about it.
Thankful that it's just 83 minutes long
If your idea of a great comedy movie is an limitless supply of spunk jokes with a side order of cock, anus and bukkake gags then this is absolutely the one for you. For the rest of us, be thankful that it's just 83 minutes long.
In his latest character, Sacha Baron Cohen plays Nobby Butcher, an alcoholic football hooligan separated from his brother- the now MI6 spy Sebastian. Circumstances mean that they reunite and thus hilarity ensues between the two chalk-and-cheese characters, first in the town of Grimsby- which is depicted as a depraved hellhole- and then South Africa. I am not Baron Cohen's biggest fan though I enjoyed the character of General Admiral Aladdin in The Dictator which had a strong element of satire running through it; poking fun of Arab dictators as well as the hypocrisy of the West. However, this character did not work quite as well as the accent was a more than a little off-the-mark and the jokes were 'kicking downwards' for the most part. The working-class 'scum' had absolutely no redeeming features whatsoever as Ricky Tomlinson and Johnny Vegas were wasted as beer-swilling extras.
I did laugh a handful of times but with the amount of gross-out gags in this, it tried its very best to make me hate it. It also has a scene involving elephants that I really wish I could unsee. I think I need a bath in Dettol.
Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016)
Kung Fu Panda 3 has pulled its weight fairly well.
Remember when this franchise took a left turn down a serious and emotional alley in the second film? Well, DreamWorks certainly didn't turn around on this one. The character of Li Shan, Po's father, is a central presence, and might possibly be the most sympathetic character in all of Kung Fu Panda. From what we saw in the second film, he was a loving father and husband who was fiercely protective of his family when threatened, and he is re-introduced as a gentle soul who wants only to be with his son. But like any of us, he isn't perfect, as well-intentioned as he may be. Which is why I'm also glad Mr. Ping got a bigger role in this film, as he is a perfect foil to Li Shan. There are some very heartfelt moments between them and Po that brings depth to the family dynamic, and it's all the better to see that the Dragon Warrior loves both his dads very much.
I would have liked to see the Furious Five play a more important part in this movie; although we've pretty much seen all there is to see about their abilities in the previous two films, I couldn't help but feel that the writers were a little too eager to move them out of the way in favor of the new characters. But I do think having Tigress as the lone "survivor" to help Po was a nice touch, as we glimpsed the strength of their friendship in the second movie, but this film certainly brought it out in full.
While Kai may be something of a run-of-the-mill villain, there's no denying that he's gorgeously animated, perhaps on par with the showy and elegant Lord Shen from Kung Fu Panda 2. Still, the "frustrated famous character who no one remembers as famous" joke (or as I like to call it, "Star-Lord syndrome") feels like a retread from countless other movies. But it is a movie for kids, so I can't really hold that against DreamWorks.
Some of these shortcomings would be detrimental to most movies, but nonetheless I think Kung Fu Panda 3 has pulled its weight fairly well (pun intended?). The majority of the film has been otherwise interesting, visually appealing, downright emotional at times, and of course funny. While it's hard to measure up to the bar that was set by the previous movie's tear-jerking third act, Kung Fu Panda 3 concludes the trilogy (unless the studio REALLY wants to make three more) on a satisfying note.
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (2016)
Movie is funny and tender
The good news is this movie is very funny and very tender, bringing back the very best of Tina Fey as Liz Lemon from her time at 30 Rock. The bad news is that if you've seen the extended preview at the movies, then you've seen most of the movie already. But it is a valiant effort from Fey and company at the life of a news correspondent trying to blow up her life into something new. In this case, as one of the few single people without children she gets the chance to go to Kabul in Afghanistan to report on the war there. This directly results in her character, Kim Baker (who is based on Kim Barker who wrote a book about her experience there as a journalist) getting the chance to stare death in the face and laugh, repeatedly, even when she shouldn't.
Journalists from around the globe called such an experience spending time in the Kabubble, sheltered away and yet directly involved in the front lines. Fey's cohorts on the front line of journalism include Margot Robbie and Martin Freeman as well as a Marine Colonel played jovially by Billy Bob Thornton and the Attorney General of Afghanistan played incredibly not seriously by Alfred Molina.
Baker arrives and gets thrown to the wolves and uses her I don't care about life attitude to get involved in a gunfight straightaway leading to her being embraced instantly by her peers. Much drinking and carousing ensues thereafter and everyone becomes very close. Not very close are Baker and estranged somewhere on assignment in America boyfriend Chris (Josh Charles) who gets caught cheating on Baker on Skype of all things. Suddenly finding herself single, she is drawn to the oddly charming Iain (Freeman) and a more serious side of the film ensues as a result of this new relationship.
Its a different look at the war in Afghanistan from the side of the journalist though the reality of everything is still the same. It starts out very funny then has a long lull and could easily have shaved off 20 minutes from the nearly two hour running time. Though enjoyable there is little about this movie that screams out to be seen on the big screen. I'd wager this is much more suited to a night of Netflix or Red Box.
London Has Fallen (2016)
Sadistic, xenophobic in the extreme, hateful, nasty, full of horrible cgi effects (computer generated helicopters again, why!!!) and insensitive to the time it's being released in. Never the less, the "retrograde, stab the bad guys heads" attitude of the film is a gleeful hearkening back to the less politically correct times of 80's/90's ear Arnie movies, and it gets down to the often vicious violence, satisfying baddie kills and hard action with little pretense and less respect for human life or morality, and sometimes this is exactly the sort of cinematic junk food you need, not good for you at all but certainly hits the spot. So if you can gets past the murky, hard to see cinematography of the movie, the fact that it actually looks pretty cheap and tacky like it was made on half the budget of the first, and some questionable taste then you'll probably have a good time. Please let Gerard Butler continue to stab bad guys heads and keep him away from romantic comedies!
Regular Disney fare
Zootopia is nothing like your regular Disney fare. Sure it's got cute talking animals, some childish humor, and like almost all Disney movies it is gorgeously animated and has a lesson to teach, but not just to kids. This movie absolutely blew me away from the moment it began. The messages and lessons that this film has to tell are so beyond it's years, there were many times that I just forgot that I was watching an animated film about a bunny who wanted to a cop. I believe that this Disney has struck gold with this movie, not just in the terms that Disney will make bank loads of money from ticket sales and merchandise (cause it will), but because they created a truly well crafted, well written, and beautifully, breathtakingly animated film that is sure to delight children and entice their parents. Please go see Zootopia because it IS like nothing you've seen Be-fur.