Stuber or Stupor

Stuber Poster

 

You know how there are all those stories about Uber rides gone wrong and being entertained. Well, as I’ve said in plenty of times before, Hollywood will look to all paths to find a script to put on the big screen. Tonight, my friends and I checked out the newest comedy that is all about an Uber ride gone wrong, between an unlikely pair of comedians.  Looking like a major comedy fest, the goal as always is for a review to help you determine if it’s worth a trip to local theater to see. Robbie K back in the theater trenches to give you the 411 on the latest movie.  Let’s get going!

 

Movie: Stuber

Director:

Michael Dowse

Writer:

Tripper Clancy

Stars:

Dave BautistaKumail NanjianiMira Sorvino

 

 

LIKES:

  • Pacing
  • Fun Morals Baked In
  • Funny At many Parts
  • The slapstick At times
  • Actors

 

DISLIKES:

  • The Dead Story Points
  • The Rushed Components
  • Shaky Camera work at times
  • The Predictability
  • Some Comedy Being Overdone
  • The Trailers Ruining Much Of the Movie

 

Summary

 

The truth about Stuber is that it is a simplistic comedy that the trailers have sold well. A fast pace helps keeps the laughs in as the “story” begins to work its way toward the final destination.  There are components they are trying to balance into the laughs, and the morals placed in for character development are nice to see to help expand the character.  Yet, the golden aspect of this film is of course the comedy to which many will most likely enjoy in some form or manner.  Stuber is one of those movies that throws as many jokes at you as possible and hope that at least one or two of them sticks.  The slapstick in particular has some great punch to it, primarily because of the commentary and sound effects that accompany it.  So simplistic and yet so funny, Stuber makes it’s mark due to the two comedians that drive the movie to the final destination. Bautista’s yelling and direct line delivery are much like Drax without the Marvel banter and drawn out jokes that accompany the clumsiness they bestowed his character.  Kumail Najiani on the other hand is all about dry sarcasm and delivery of the lines to capitalize on the comedic timing and adding that spice to the words.  The chemistry between the two is great, though I hope it’s not abused, and it will be a selling point for many.

 

Yet the movie is much like my fellow critics said in that there are some dropped plot elements.  For those that don’t care about anything but a good laugh, this section will turn you off, but for those for looking at movies as a whole read it on. Although a good attempt, the story has a lot of dead points that barely roll over the finish line to really give the movie sustenance.  A fantastic pace for comedy, the movie’s short run time and fast movements are not good for developing the other parts of the movie, which is a shame given the potential they were building.  Amidst the action scenes and lots of slapstick, a shaky camera awaits to try to bring you in the moment, but only serves to make dizzying sequences that are not too fun to see.  In addition the story is super predictable, with lots of foreshadowing in the jokes and simple conversations early on in the movie.  The balance in comedy is definitely skewed from one side or the other going too far down one angle, and quickly tipping the other way to not funny enough. Stuber suffers from constantly teetering from one point to the other and never learning that too much of something is not often a good thing.  Why was this the case?  Truth be told, it’s because the trailers have revealed many of the scenes that fill the movie, with a good chunk of the funny parts already been beat into your eyes and memory from the countless trailers and commercials.  If you have been fortunate enough to avoid these showings you’ll be okay, but otherwise, stick to the mantra of there are some parts that are still waiting to be found.

 

The VERDICT:

            Stuber is fun, stuber is simple, and stuber is entertaining to those who want nothing more but to laugh.  The acting combo of Bautista and Najiani are golden, filled to the brim with sarcasm and blunt delivery that should be entertaining. Filled to the brim with jokes, the movie’s main limitation is the difficulty with balance, struggling to fit things into the comedy in such a short time span.  Still, plenty of comedic gold awaits those looking for the simplistic adventure of slapstick and not caring about the movie/story overall. 

 

My scores are:

 

Comedy/Action/Crime: 7.0

Movie Overall:  6.0

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One Day Meets Beatles: Music and Love Story Overpower Interesting Concept

Yesterday Poster

 

We all know music and many of us love it without so much a whim so long as we get the tracks we love.  The artists who work to make music often are recognized more for their abuse of money and fame, rather than the motivation behind their music. So what would happen if you could be that artist you admire so much?  What if you could take credit for their work and nobody had a clue they even existed?  Well that’s where tonight’s movie comes in, and yours truly is here to cover the film to let you know whether or not the film is worth a check out.  Let’s get started as tonight we look at:

 

Movie: Yesterday (2019)

 

Director:

Danny Boyle

Writers:

Jack Barth (story by), Richard Curtis (screenplay)

Stars:

Himesh PatelLily JamesSophia Di Martino

 

LIKES:

 

  • Charming
  • Fun
  • Good Covers
  • Decent Comedic Relief
  • The “cameo”
  • The Artistic Messages
  • The Love Story
  • The Acting

 

DISLiKES:

  • Trailers spoiled Much
  • Kate McKinnon’s Extreme Character
  • Other Secondary Characters Lost
  • A Little Preachy
  • Not Quite The Revelation/Tension I thought

 

SUMMARY:

 

Much like Slumdog Millionaire, Boyle’s work once again manages to capture a charming tale that holds so much in the simplistic story telling. Yesterday was able to bring a lot of fun into the tale, taking the idea of living life as a rock star and using the covers, which are of a good quality, to maximize much of the Beatle’s legacy without the masters themselves being present.  Despite the seriousness of the movie, Yesterday is funny, selecting a drier, English wit that is occasionally spritzed with some American antics including several cameos that are fun to see.  However, Boyle’s accomplishment also is finding a way to incorporate the true film art style by sampling some artistic messages into the love story at hand. Yesterday’s alternate reality is awe inspiring in terms of pulling the blinds of fandom down to reveal the moral testing sacrifices that the music celebrity world requires, managing to test the boundaries of love without diving too far in Hallmark territory.  And it’s actually thanks to the acting that I was able to become entranced by the magic of this film.  There are plenty of actors to talk about, but in reality it’s Patel and James that take center stage, each presenting balanced performances that work in tandem and craft the tale that many will enjoy, again making a believable romance story. 

 

Yet there are a few limitations for me that I have to say I was surprised to see, at least for some of them.  One thing that is not quite a shocker is how much the trailers have given away in the mass franchising, with many key parts and comedy hits revealed in the television spots.  Amidst the predictability, Yesterday starts to lose some of its balance in terms of several decisions they made with the characters.  One thing is Kate McKinnon, the comedic queen holds the same personality quirks that people loved, but for me her style of comedy was forced and a little too extreme for the tone this movie set.  It’s SNL like presentation worked sometimes, but like a few Sheeran moments felt out of place from the components I liked.  And much like many films, Yesterday’s secondary characters we are introduced to sort of feel lost to the layered storytelling, dropped in the background for more comedic one liners.  Sure a bit realistic, but again I’m about utilizing the characters as much as you can.  Oh well, I guess that decisions goes with the themes of the movie about fame vs everything else, which although artistically presented sometimes got a bit too after school special for me.  However, the biggest “let down” so to speak was the lack of mind-blowing, or even suspenseful, revelations that the trailers suggest lied in the wings of this mystery.  Yesterday’s concept is interesting, so you were hoping for some secret to be revealed that would not sweep the film off of the beautiful presentation he put together. Not the case, for the concept sort of fizzles out in favor of pursuing the character arc stories that were built in the 2 hours.

 

      Overall, Yesterday worked for me and was fun to watch.  A beautiful balance of love, music, and charming artistic quality, Boyle proves to still have the eye for alternative storytelling.  It’s an entertaining film with a lot of heart that many should enjoy and I feel the acting performances and direction give you the characters you want to invest your time in.  There are some forced moments into the movie, primarily in altering the comedy to add a little more moisture to the drier comedy, but it’s really the lack of that giant revelation punch at the mystery that really stood out for me in terms of areas to improve.  Still, the charming tale is one that can be enjoyed in theater, but the fact it doesn’t have enough flash bang boom components means that a home viewing is most likely in your future. 

 

My scores are:

 

Comedy/Fantasy/Music:  8.0

Movie Overall: 7.0

 

An Unnecessary Sequel, But It’s Great Quality “Four” All! Toy Story 4

Toy Story 4 Poster

            Pixar, one of the two big animation studios vying for the spot of number one in the great world of movies.  In competition with Walt Disney Studios, though supposedly working together for the big company, the studio that blew our minds long ago is back with another “new” movie.  Having difficulties launching new ideas, Pixar seems to fall back on their time-honored films in an attempt to expand upon their timeless characters.  While often good, how far the movie can go is always the question, but these guys have managed to find the magic time and time again.  So I am here once more to review the latest installment to see if Pixar can keep in time with their storytelling.  Robbie K here and get ready for another review this time on:

 

Movie: Toy Story 4 (2019)

 

Director:

Josh Cooley

Writers:

John Lasseter (original story by), Andrew Stanton(original story by

Stars:

Tom HanksTim AllenAnnie Potts

 

 

LIKES:

  • Animation
  • Voice Acting
  • Fun
  • Funny
  • Good Pace
  • Evolution Of Bo Peep and Woody
  • Three-Dimensional Villain
  • Super Emotional to Grip You

 

DISLIKES

  • Trailers Revealed A lot/Predictable
  • New Guys are Okay/Gimmicky
  • The Ending Makes The Points In Three Pointless
  • The Older Characters Are Not Utilized Well

 

Summary:  It’s Disney and It’s Pixar, you know the animation is going to be awesome as beautiful, and improving, graphics are integrated with color and sound design to bring the world to life.  Throw in the voice acting and once more the movie has crafted the usual media to bring their characters to the forefront of Disney heroes and heroines. And through their magic they have crafted fun characters, their army finding a way to bring comedy and emotion to the movie and produce a fun paced movie that entertains many ages and preferences. Yet what impresses me in this movie, is how well they developed some of their characters once more.  Bo Peep, a character who had little involvement out of snarky comments and a crush in the first two installments, is back with a complex story that is balanced, poised, and realistic to really latch onto.  Woody’s ever evolving tale matches perfectly with it, a lock and key that push these characters to new levels and somehow bridges the issues of the first installment.  Even more impressive is Pixar’s way of adding depth to the villain, somehow managing to put more layers in outside of just megalomaniac personas that are famous in Disney movies. This utilization of storytelling and character development, is the example of Disney’s ability to make emotionally gripping tales that pulled me into the adventure once more, keeping my interest and I believe pulling younger members in as well.  It’s those emotional moments that somehow seem to complete the movie and leave you with yet another satisfied conclusion, until they need more money and make the fifth movie.

  Yet, the movie still runs into the art of predictability, not entirely, but certainly enough has been ruined by the copious trailers to have given much away. And much like the trailers and specials, Toy Story also has a new cast of characters to merchandise off to the younger wards.  The new characters are fun, and serve their purpose of bringing laughs, quotes, and new ideas for toys.  They contribute their points, but unlike the original bunch, the involvement with them is not quite as engaging as previous installments.  Through in that the older characters we have grown up with over the last two and half decades are rather poorly integrated and you have some disappointing components to me.  I’m from the school of if you are not going to keep them integrated into the story meaningfully, why put them in to begin with, and this was especially true for Toy Story 4.  Finally, and probably picky, the conclusion of this movie sort of overwrote all the hard work of Toy Story 3 for me.  Certainly there are new lessons to learn at a new stage of the journey, but given the time frame between three and four, I would expect them not to so quickly displace what the gang did in three.  But hey that’s just me.

 

Overall, the movie is still a work of art, showing that despite ending the movie well, they can find way to keep it going.  Toy Story 4 has heart, class, and does such a good job of expanding its main characters to continue the supposed hero’s journey.  The new characters are fun, the world is still colorful, and it’s all presented in an entertaining and meaningful pace that I thoroughly enjoy.  Sure the tale is still predictable, the characters are imbalanced, and the ending did offset three for me a bit, but the truth is the movie is a fantastic tribute to the art of the animation studio that is Pixar.  No surprise it is worth a trip to theater so take the family, or yourself and get out to enjoy it as the emotional tale of the summer hits theaters this weekend.  Otherwise, it’s definitely one to go on the must see at home list for me.

 

My scores are:

 

Animation/Adventure/Comedy: 8.5

Movie Overall:  8.0

 

 

New Age, New Strengths, New Weaknesses: Welcome To International Men In Black

Men in Black: International Poster

 

They don’t exist outside of Déjà vu!  They are protecting us I supposedly only one suit that they never take off.  And they have faced more interesting specimens of the galaxy than we can ever imagine. I’m talking about the Men IN Black and they won’t let you remember about all the stuff you may or may not have seen. Welcome to Robbie’s movie reviews and today we are going to be looking at yet another movie hitting the silver screen. Today is the latest iteration of a beloved 90s franchise that has seen it’s ups and downs.  Can the latest installment/reboot find the stride, or are we once again stuck with another rushed production that should have had more time or never existed?  Let’s take a look at:

 

Movie: Men In Black International (2019)

 

Director:

Gary Gray

Writers:

Matt HollowayArt Marcum  | 1 more credit »

Stars:

Chris HemsworthTessa ThompsonKumail Nanjiani

 

LIKES:

  • Decently Paced
  • New Aliens and Designs
  • Nostalgia
  • Simplistic Story
  • Funny
  • Kumail Nanjiani’s character

 

 

DISLIKES:

  • More Aliens
  • Predictable
  • Plot Missing Some Wrap ups
  • Other Acting Is A Little Forced
  • Missing That Natural Humor
  • Underutilized characters
  • Not Campy Enough
  • The Political Messages… again

 

SUMMARY:

A Men In Black Movie is all about being an entertaining spectacle of comedy, story, and latching on to our heroes and finding some moving pieces.  This new installment may not have our favorite agents we started with (in physical form at least), but it holds a few treasured components that kept it entertaining for me.  For one it’s a movie with few slow parts, moving from one component to the next with little time for impasses to really drive character development, but maximize laughs and entertainment. The New aliens and designs are refreshing in the component that they are bringing back the creativeness that brings renewed energy into the series, especially in regards to some of the new criminal aliens who have edge and artistic designs mixed in.  With all the newness you might be fretting that the old feeling has been lost, and to be honest I found some qualities that still remain to be fun and remind you of the older days.  For one there is plenty of nostalgia lining this movie, maybe not in the full integration of other movies have done, but certainly a few nods to the adventures our first band had.  Simplistic story still stays strong as well, with little twists and turns to spin your head or make you think, but not so simplistic to be absolutely stupid or boring, for the most part any way.  The key thing that stays here though is the humor, finding the same formula of modern times by cramming jokes in as many styles as possible.  That variety is good, bringing some dynamic choices to the mix to try and cater to a number of audience members and hopefully leaving you in tears.  Yet the winner for me is Kumail’s character Pawny.  The Middle Eastern actor’s character left me in stitches bringing his usual brand of comedic delivery with well time interruptions that were perfect for me.  In addition the character remains pertinent to the story as well, only having a few times where his manners were forced on me.  An excellent character for this reviewer.

 

Yet for all the good they did for me, the modern reboot of the series has not achieved the goals that the first series did for me. For one thing, more aliens could have been introduced, or even better integrated into the mix.  All the introductions and new designs should have had a little more time to brew to perfection and perhaps be relevant to the inclusion outside of a joke or two. Villains, supporting characters, even the main heroes felt underutilized to me, simplistic shells of main characters that hold secrets, but like the organization remain hidden.  As such, I did not get quite attached to these two new agents like I did K and J, and that leads to a less engaging story for me overall. In regards to the story itself, well that too is sort of lacking.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s got the components famous in this series, but they were not as well put together because of the new approach.  It’s predictable for one thing and leaves little surprise in how things are going to pan out from obvious foreshadowing.  Story elements started being hinted at, but then the plot lines fell flat or remained sort of untied, perhaps in suggesting a future installment. The fact that the characters are not quite as engaging leaves flat pieces to play out, who become more focused on comedy than being a hero.  Most of all, the story is just missing that campiness overall that the 90s made famous and that took away some of the things that made the first trilogy special.  Without that factor, that natural humor was sort of lacking, forced upon me much like the ghostbusters from a couple of years ago.  They almost try too hard for me and at times that obvious digression from the story to make a joke id not impress me as much.  This is especially true with the political humor, once again trying to force emotional surges into the movie to deliver the real-life issues. Sometimes the writing was perfect and well-integrated, but often it fell to deaf ears because it was not needed, potentially left to the interviews and subconscious meetings than anything else.

 

   Overall, the film turned out to be fun and entertaining. The modern twist is far from perfect, but it shows the series can age well with the right guidance and motivation. It still needs balance and shying away from the forced jokes, alongside crafting characters that I actually care about instead of the comedic, political husks I was getting.  Men In Black International though has plenty of old and new blended in and the new little guy Pawny should certainly make up for a number of flaws given his character ironically has more layers than the leading cast.  Due to the special effects, this one lands in the see in theaters territory, so check it out, but in terms of the quality movie overall, you can probably check this one out at home to be honest.  So my scores for the movie are:

 

Action/Adventure/Comedy:  7.0

Movie Overall:  6.0

 

 

Who Has The Humorous, Action Wise, Edge, But Has Unbalanced Writing And Crudeness? SHAFT

Shaft Poster

 

Television shows hold a history for many, teaching life lessons and telling stories that would stick with the public for ever.  Sometimes catchy theme songs are the main things that stay behind, but for others, legendary episodes remain in the minds. So with the drought of originality still plaguing Hollywood, the goal is to bring some of these television shows to the silver screen venue to try to make them fresh again.  Robbie K is back to look at the latest movie in hopes of helping guide your movie pleasures.  Let’s get started as we look at:

 

Movie: Shaft (2019)

Director:

Tim Story

Writers:

Kenya BarrisAlex Barnow  | 1 more credit »

Stars:

Samuel L. JacksonJessie T. UsherRichard Roundtree

 

 

LIKES:

Acting

Action

Nostalgia

Mystery

Humor

 

DISLIKES:

Lack of Suspense

Aggressive Sexual Humor

Lazy Writing At Times

Weak Character Development

The Grandpa Inclusion

 

SUMMARY:

 

Shaft’s character is legendary and requires a key actor to bring it to life.  Samuel L Jackson is the guy to do it, bringing his hard edge and direct, forceful acting to really bring the cop with no fear to life.  He balances so much into the role, like seeing Nick Fury in a rated R role, that is certainly entertaining to watch.  Jessie T. Usher as the new generation of Shaft helps sort of balance the aggressiveness of Jackson, acting as a grounding force to tie all the group together.  He’s charming, funny, but then evolves a bit into something more that works well in the atmosphere of the movie.  As for Roundtree, his reprisal is a nice throwback, but it has been tweaked to have a bit of modern aggressive edge on it as well to remain in the new rules of the movie.  The rest of the cast play their parts well, but not integrated enough too much to take time at this time.  Instead let’s jump into the action, the modern day has choreography and technology capable of making those epic shoot outs a little more exciting.  Shaft achieves this fairly well, sometimes using it for humor and other times having that flair that the show made famous.  If you’ve read through all this review so far, you can see that nostalgia seems to be a key factor to enjoying this film, to which I was able to find a few references to the series, with other audience members finding even more.  That component will be a key entertainment value to many and a selling point for the movie.  Now in regards to the other two components, they have to do with the story and atmosphere of the movie.  Shaft’s main story component is about the mystery of the case at hand and how it will connect our characters together.  Shaft’s multilayered mystery feels like a blend of the loose cannon cop’s greatest adventure all connected to one, you’ll find yourself trying to sort out the threads of scandal seeing the true source that connects them all. During the course there is some attempts at developing the characters, but those moments are reserved for the comedy aspect.  The laughs of this movie are brought by the edgy delivery of Jackson’s lines, the continued adulteration of JJ’s life, and the fiery passion of a mother trying to handle the stress of life.  It’s very well integrated through the movie and is utilized decently to actually progress things rather than a simple laugh.  It felt natural and true to the character, which I find important.

Yet the movie’s pluses may have led to some of my dislikes as well, primarily in the part of being too aggressive.  Shaft and company are not shy to using aggressive styles of humor and while it works at times to perfect levels, there are times where it gets too much for this reviewer.  Various descriptions of sex and genitalia only goes so far for me, and the rather boorish description of various genitalia is a little more offensive than fun at times. In addition, my description of lazy writing is at full front here, with Shaft getting too dependent on the use of these expletives to remain entertaining for me.  Working on the character development could have taken point instead, working harder to start expanding on back stories, histories, feelings and other qualities to help connect these characters.  It start happening at some points of the movie, but more potential existed in those characters than what we got, again lost to comedy and modern time violence. As for the grandfather inclusion, I’ll acknowledge the inclusion of the original for sake of honoring the man who brought the series, but I wanted more.  Given the showcase in the trailers, I had expected a little more inclusion, and while the ending brought the excitement I was looking for, the original Shaft probably could have had a little more inclusion overall.

 

The truth is Shaft is going to be geared towards those seeking to go back in time and relive the criminal hunting cop’s adventures.  A modern edge certainly helps make it relevant in the 21stcentury, adding new style, comedy, and mystery to raise the stakes and try to entertain, while securing fine acting in its cast of characters.  Yet, the movie suffers from imbalance, more so in terms of aggressive humor and lackadaisical writing where cursing and sex phrases are the key.  I’m not saying that ruins the movie, I was just looking for more of a balance for what I got.  Nevertheless, the movie has enough fine points to warrant a trip to the movie, though only at about a 50% as much can be enjoyed from home.  Nevertheless, here are my scores:

 

Action/Comedy/Crime: 7.0

Movie Overall:  6.0

Live From New York, It’s A Late Night Surprise

Late Night Poster\

 

Celebrity status, it’s something we idolize yet at the same time dread given the lack of privacy that comes with it.  Like anything it is about balance and looking for ways to stand up for what you believe in and yet not become the political enemy.  In this modern world, that is hard to do, so why not make a comedy about it and try to bring it all to life in a new drama.  Welcome to Robbie’s Movie Reviews, and tonight we cover a movie with a diverse cast and some hopes for some type of buddy comedy with some potential to be different.  Tonight I cover:

 

Movie: Late Night (2019)

 

Director:

Nisha Ganatra

Writer:

Mindy Kaling (screenplay by)

Stars:

Emma ThompsonMindy KalingJohn Lithgow

 

 

LIKES:

  • Smartly Written
  • Decent Pacing
  • Witty and Funny At Many Times
  • Balanced At Many Points
  • Compassionate
  • Surprisingly Deep At Times
  • Acting

 

DISLIKES:

  • Cliché
  • Predictable
  • Some Upended Story Lines
  • Key Opportune Moments for Character Development Dropped
  • The Political Components

 

SUMMARY:

Comedies sometimes struggle to find a balance for me, trying too hard to be funny and sacrificing the plot for the sake of meme worthy laughs. Fortunately, Kaling’s writing has more intelligence embedded in, finding a way to poke fun at our modern world and yet make it relevant too.  It manages to find it’s pace well, and allows timing and delivery to outdo the quantity of normal jokes.  Late Night’s wit might be a little dryer, but then finds a way to liven it back up, pulling me back into so much needed labs.  It’s got a lot of balance into the mix as well, finding that fine line between cursing, sexual humor, and political pokes without making me want to bash my head in from over useAnd while it may be hard to believe, Late Night still manages to get through to the compassionate side of things finding some deep moments and face the issues that plague the world.  It helps make more endearing characters to play out this political comedy, which is kind of important for a movie like this.  The cornerstone though, is the acting.  So much of the extras in this film do their job well, secondary characters are important to the story and do well to support the main cast.  It’s the dynamic duo of Thompson and Kaling that really was the entertainment value for me.  Thompson plays her part so well, managing to inject her classiness into the role and yet hold so many more levels to dive into and discover.  Kaling’s normally over the top and aggressive political nature are better controlled, left to bring a semi-relatable character whose underdog tale of determination is inspiring to watch.  Their odd couple like relationships, when spread amidst the other cast members, makes for two very dynamic characters, who get to semi-evolve through the story and become an enjoyment to watch. 

And yet, the movie suffers at a few turns for me that take away from the writing that Kaling’s work brought out.  First come the cliché’ moments, a story with incredibly predictable plot dynamics that only fall short of a Hallmark special.  I would have liked a little more surprises in store, in particular with some of the outcomes of the plot development impasses that came to play.  Some of the side plots to the film tried to do this, but time constraints or maybe budget led to limitations that left some of these endings a little unrealistic and unfulfilling.  These moments could have increased the potential of the characters, allowing for some better character development than what we were getting at times.  Late Night still has those heartened times that are awesome to see, but other times felt dropped on the cutting floor and left to be seen later as if the growth of the character happened off screen.  And much like Kaling’s writing, the political moments manage to sometimes cross the line and drop into becoming price moments of empowerment that have become a staple in so many forms of media.  If that’s your stick, you’ll love these moments, but if you are like me… well to see the balance and wit dropped for the sake of a political monologue filled with overdramatic cheese factor is disappointing.

     Overall, I turned out to like the movie better than I anticipated, pleased to see story, characters and comedy integrated together in a workable formula.  The chemistry between the actors worked very ell for me, happy to see Kaling having a fantastic relationship with the legendary English actress that could work well in future projects.  Still, the movie falls victim to the modern trend of having to be directly political for the sake of being political.  It’s those moments where these factors get in the way of story and wit that don’t quite wrap it up for me.  So overall, it’s worth watching, but perhaps better left to watching on Netflix streaming vs. a theater worthy venture. 

 

My scores:

 

Comedy/Drama:  7.5

Movie Overall:  6.5

The Fun Adventurous Side Of Pets

The Secret Life of Pets 2 Poster

 

Animated films offer the opportunity for imagination to really come to life.  As they bring CGI and other animation tactics to the table, the stories that follow have a big job of trying to make a film that is entertaining to all ages without dipping down one end over the other.  While there are many animated studios out there ready to give it a shot, not every studio finds a way to achieve those goals, becoming a cash grab instead of a quality adventure.  This week, an early showing of the The Secret Life Of Pets 2 came to screen and I had my suspicions that this sequel might have been just that.  Robbie K back with another review, checking out Illumination Studios’ latest work.  Let’s get started:

 

Movie: The Secret Life Of Pets 2 (2019)

 

Directors:

Chris RenaudJonathan del Val (co-director)

Writer:

Brian Lynch

Stars:

Patton OswaltKevin HartHarrison Ford

 

 

LIKES:

  • Voice Acting
  • Animation
  • Comedy
  • Pacing
  • Adventurous Stories
  • Emotional Moments

 

 

DISLIKES:

  • Predictable
  • Short Run Time
  • Not Quite Original
  • More Impasses/Character Development
  • Under Utilized Characters

 

People who like these may like this movie:

 

Secret Life Of Pets 1

Sing

Ferdinand

Homeward Bound

A Dog’s Purpose

 

Summary:

Animated films often require good voice acting to bring the characters to life, and this series’ cast succeeds in bringing the plot to full life.  Hart and Haddish bring their chemistry back to life in the form of Snowball and Daisy, their wild, sarcastic sass coming out beautifully in animated form.  Oswalt’s addition managed to bring Max to the same level as last time, fun and familiar friendliness.  As for the others again they get the job done when utilized to make the same craziness that the first movie used long ago.  Animation wise, it is the same caricature like style that Illumination loves to use, with grandiose character flaws and elongated, angular faces that make up their characters.  As for the pets, they still have that anthropomorphized component that is so sweet to look at, each having some quality to represent the voice actors that play them.  While those components are nice, the thing I enjoyed more about this installment was the pacing of the movie.  Utilizing the adventurous story and splitting it into three separate segments helped keep things dynamic, moving, and fun,  and avoiding those slow parts the first movie had.  It’s this theme that kept me entertained and seeing each subplot having its own time to play out, all the while giving the characters their focused time. Eventually all of these moments tie together, bringing the surprisingly emotional side of the film the conclusion that fit well in the theme of fun and love of pets.   It definitely should strike chords with a few audience members, especially those with ties to pets.

Yet, the movie still suffers from some things that do bring some limitations for this reviewer.  For one thing, the movie is still predictable and pulled no surprises in terms of story presentation.  Illumination’s focus on kid friendly films seems to divert from the options that will shock and amaze, due to the potential of being too sad.  As such, the tale’s originality and magic don’t quite live up to the potential that Disney has made famous in their plethora of tales.  It’s cute don’t get me wrong, and does have some heart pulling moments, but these are only scratching the surface that bigger studios do better.  Also taking away from the tale is the short run time.  Around 80 minutes long, the movie has a lot to cram in the short time, leading to very quick dives into the fun portions of the movie.  However, this is also the undoing as the movie’s quick pace leaves little time for impasses, obstacles, and challenges to help give significant character development.  In addition, the movie could have focused a little more on some of the gimmicks they were promoting if given more time. While the characters are fun, they don’t have that full dynamic and emotional range that other animated characters hold.  Given that animals somehow are more emotional than humans, it would have been nice to see more of this come out, but again, this might have not fit in with the fun slapstick and writing that was built for the audience.  Fan favorites from last installment may also find it disappointing to find their characters left in the kennel, particularly those who liked Pops, Mel, the Dachshund, and the Falcon as they have little outside of comedy stunts. Perhaps more time and planning could have done a bit better in adjusting these characters to have the full punch in each story.

  It’s no Secret this movie will do well when it opens because of the intended audience.  It’s cute, funny for many ages, and has that colorful animation to keep attention on them. I myself enjoyed this one better than the original due to the pacing and adventurous side of things, but I still was hoping for a little more balance and originality than what they put in.  It is not the best animated in terms of pushing the limits of imagination, but it does its job and I’d say to come hit this up in theaters when you can.  Otherwise, check it out later when it comes to home entertainment.

 

My scores are:

Animation/Adventure/Comedy: 8.0

Movie Overall: 7.0