Number 3 Doesn’t Have As Much Bite, But Cruises To Family Fun

Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation Poster

 

It’s Thursday and you know what that means… Yes, another Robbie’s Movie Reviews.  Tonight, is an animated sequel, hoping to live up to the magic and bring about another family friendly adventure to bring your little ones flocking to theater.  Will it be the success they want in regards to quality, or is it mainly a cash grab of the studio to try and compete with the Disney mega corporation.  Robbie K is here and ready to write another review… this time on:

 

Movie:  Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation (2018)

 

Director:

Genndy Tartakovsky

Writers:

Michael McCullers,  Genndy Tartakovsky

Stars:

Adam Sandler,  Andy Samberg,  Selena Gomez

 

 

LIKES:

 

Cute:  The movie keeps to its cute roots, making sure to keep the friendly environment amped up all the way to a 10.  Hotel Transylvania 3 has a cavalcade of characters that are adorable as can be, with big eyed werewolves, curly haired kids with squeaky voices, gigantic puppies, and of course all the goofy stunts that are in between.  If you are a fan of this dynamic alone, then this installment will already be worth the wait for you.

 

Funny:  The movie has a charming humor to it for adults, presented in the form of a few witty interventions in the form of nostalgic songs and references.  Yet, the majority of the comedy is of course geared towards the little ones and those with a childish sense of humor.  The movie has loads of slapstick, over the top delivery of simplistic writing to get a laugh.  Kids will enjoy this the most, and parents will most likely enjoy watching them giggle their heads off.  This will hopefully be further evidence at how appropriate for kids this movie is.

 

Short run time:  While the movie may not be for everyone, you can be excited by the fact that the movie will not last long.  The run time comes in at closer to 1 hour and 20 minutes, so you can breathe a sigh of relief that this won’t leave you drained upon the final credits rolling. Speaking of which?

Final Credits:  I’ve always been a fan of the cartoon end credits and their clever play with words.  The movie continues this trend and brings with it a fun, adorable spin to make it stand out from the other two..  A fun track adds some atmosphere to the credits and ends the movie on an energetic foot to have your kids dancing to the beat.

 

Music:  Hotel Transylvania has always had an appropriate soundtrack to go with the themes of the movie, and number 3 stays on this path again. The difference for this film is that it contains a few nostalgic songs that may confuse younger audience members and bring smiles to the older ones.  While these legendary tracks are short lived, they do have the right timing to maximize their inclusion.  If only they could have had more.

 

Animation:  The animation is not the smoothest at times, most likely to represent the silly atmosphere of this movie.  However, this guy appreciated the clever designs of the world, and the cool adaptations on the cruise ship.  Colorful worlds await those who will venture into the theater, though the same can be said for most animated movies.

 

 

DISLIKES:

 

Too silly at times:  I warned you up top, the move is not geared towards all audience members.  Hotel Transylvania 3 is all about maximizing kid humor, and fails to extend much past the superficial jabs that will keep the world giggling.  I needed a little more maturity to the mix, something to break out the relentless onslaught of comedy this movie is famous for.

 

Story Suffers:  The first movie of the series had a great tale to ground the laughs to, as it pushed character growth and integrated all the characters into the mayhem at hand.  However, this installment did not remotely find this balance, dropping most of their characters to the backburner for very cheap laughs and sequences that were less than impressive.  Why they dropped so much of their balance, I can’t answer that, but it was disappointing to see only one storyline with remotely any sustenance.  All the line segment like stories were just not that impressive, but in the grand scheme of things to kids… not really that important.

 

Lack of Interest:  I think the big thing of this movie though, is that it seems like the series is losing the steam that kept it going for so long.  After failing with the short before the Emoji movie, I think the series is grasping for straws at this point, and needs to return to its roots to stand a chance for future installments.  Given the failure of the cartoon series… I’m not sure if there is remotely any major interest remaining in this series.

 

 

The VERDICT:

 

    A third installment can be difficult to maintain the quality, and Hotel Transylvania 3 really struggled with keeping itself on target. The movie is cute, funny, and with an entertaining design, but it didn’t have an engaging plot and reduce its characters to mere shambles with the exceptions of a few.  The movie is certainly prime bait for luring kids into the theater, but it just doesn’t have the same bite that the first two did.  In regards to if this film is theater worthy… I would say only if you’re looking to take your kids, otherwise hold out for this one for future viewing. 

 

My scores:

 

Animation/Comedy/Family: 7.0

Movie overall: 5.5

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Teaming Up For Comedic Zings, But Wasp Doesn’t Bring As Much Action Stings

Ant-Man and the Wasp Poster

 

Another weekend, another chance for Disney to take the box office with their franchises.  Tonight, the latest Marvel movie appears to try and steal the bucks from all other competitions as it tries to follow the biggest movie event of the year Infinity War.  Can the rogue hero Ant-Man make a film of wavering size… or is it just a placeholder until Avengers 4 comes to life next spring?  Robbie K here ready to write the review on:

 

Movie: Ant-Man and The Wasp (2018)

 

Director:

Peyton Reed

Writers:

Chris McKenna,  Erik Sommers

Stars:

Paul Rudd,  Evangeline Lilly,  Michael Peña

 

 

LIKES:

 

Fun/Family Friendly: If you remember the first movie, you know that these movies are fun and very friendly to just about everyone. Ant-Man and The Wasp continues the family friendly fun and keeping it appropriate for all ages.  The pace keeps things moving, bringing with it a constantly entertaining movie that will keep the audience’s attention with ease. Little kids will be impressed with all the excitement and constant moving, while the comic fans will relish the graphic novel qualities of the film. 

 

Character Development: Despite all the chaos in this film, Ant-Man 2 is all about evolving the characters to the next level.  Scott (Rudd) is all about trying to balance work, family, and saving the world, all while trying to push past the fears that dwell around him.  Hope (Lilly) and Hank (Michael Douglas) are on a quest themselves, but while doing this, strive to push past the boundary established form mistakes past.  It’s heartwarming, cute, and surprisingly deeper than expected, but doesn’t divert from the story to make the point, rather integrating this into all the tales.  It works well and develops a crew you want to follow this journey through.

 

Good Main Villain: Marvel baddies have all been extreme characters who go over the edge.  From CGI titans to hormonal, vengeful aspiring kings, the Wave 3 crew has lost much of the balance some of the earlier villains had.  Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen) is a character that backpedals into a balanced character, an antagonist who won’t annoy you to hating them for their grandiose flaws.  She’s got some backstory, is integrated well to other characters, and remains embedded in the story to develop alongside the rest of the cast.

 

Funny:  See my previous reviews, but Ant-Man 2 rocks in regards to being comedically entertaining.  The writing is the start of this ride, a blend of comedic styles that will appease just about everyone who loves to laugh whether it be from banter or a well-timed insult.  Director Peyton Reed kept things balanced with this work, and therefore didn’t overdo the comedy, or should I say overuse a comedic style. Yet the actors who bring the words to life get the final round of applause for making the most out of comedic gold.  Rudd’s sarcasm, but his relaxed atmosphere works fantastically.  Douglas style is all about dry sarcasm and stoic delivery to counter the energy of just about every character in the crew.  Yet… it’s Michael Peñawho really shines in this movie.  His energy, his confusion, his surprise and his yelling were all fantastic qualities to make him the king of the comedy in this movie. 

 

 

DISLIKES:

 

More Bite from Bad Guys: Ghost has got skills and a story, but she is lacking that bite that Marvel Villains are known to have.  I can’t say much without ruining too much, but this more balanced mercenary is in need of a little more hate/angst to drive her actions, in hopes of making for a more suspenseful tale. In regards to Sonny (Walton Goggins) well he was meant to be a little more deceptive and menacing, but his malice was diluted due to the comedic direction of the movie.

 

Too Much Comedy?: Disney’s last wave of movies is very heavily focused on making people laugh in some form or manner.  While it is always good to laugh, I feel this approach is limiting the potential of the movie to be as balanced and exciting as the first few waves.  Ant-Man 2 is fun and entertaining, but the comedy becomes the primary focus and sort of dilutes the other qualities of the film at times. In the case of this movie it is the suspense and action that take most of the hits.  Speaking of which…

 

The Action:  The First Ant-Man had all the props out to utilize the technology of the hero of varying sizes.  As they train to break in, we get exciting military like strategy, before a very fast and engaging fight between two suits.  This movie started out with a good fight led by Wasp, which showed off girl power to all proportions.  After that… not much else happened even at the end where the exciting climax was a little silly than amazing.  Yes, it is entertaining, but it didn’t have all the pizazz and edge like the first film, and did fall into repetitive maneuvers that were okay.  Again, still fun, but just didn’t reach the levels of the first for me.

 

 

The VERDICT:

 

            Overall, the sequel to Ant-Man works on many levels and does its job at the follow-up to the big, bad Infinity War.  It’s placeholder status has plenty of fun, laughs, and entertainment for the whole family and will certainly keep everyone chuckling by some means.  In addition, it has a thousand times better character development than expected, and gives all the players ample involvement in the story, despite all the laughing you will be doing.  Still, it’s not the most thrilling or exciting of the bunch primarily that the bad guys are not as malicious and the comedy floods much of the movie and washing away the other qualities.  However, it is absolutely worth the trip to the theater with your friends and family, to just enjoy the ride.  Of note: The Mid-Credits scene will tie the film to Infinity War and the end credit is another laugh. 

 

My scores are:

 

Action/Adventure/Sci-Fi: 8.0

Movie Overall: 7.5

Slam Dunk With Drew

Uncle Drew Poster

 

Whatever top of blacktop you got to step on, you knew there was a game of basketball going on at some point. While I stunk at the game, watching my fellow classmates agilely school each other in the art of hoops was something that held a lot pizazz, energy, and fun. Tonight, a movie promising to revive that fun, alongside teaching some legends in the art of basketball Zen and entertain the masses.  Is this moving going to take home the prize or will it be nothing but an air ball? Robbie K here to review another movie and share his thoughts on the silver screen cinematic known as:

 

Movie:  Uncle Drew (2018)

 

Director:

Charles Stone III

Writer:

Jay Longino

Stars:

Kyrie Irving,  Lil Rel Howery,  Shaquille O’Neal

 

 

LIKES:

 

Comedy:  Uncle Drew is certainly in the art of playful insults, trash talking, and of course the elderly living life to the fullest.  The comedy is spread between a variety of styles, balancing them into an act that feels natural and realistic.  I had my fair share of laughs seeing the various slapsticks and certainly enjoyed the delivery by the various basketball stars. In addition, the movie is able to balance Tiffany Haddish’s style of comedy into the mix, giving you plenty of attitude, but not to the point of annoyance. 

 

The Character Development: Certainly not the biggest selling point, but the movie expands n what looked like a one-dimensional cast, and brought some more relevant players to the bench.  While not the deepest dives in a movie, it’s an attempt to give us more backstory and care about the characters.  In addition, a few twists come from these back stories so well done in those regards of adding to the tale.

 

The Soundtrack:  A mixture of old and new school track lists, Uncle Drew’s crew is ready to rock out to a sensational list of rap, hip-hop, R&B, blues, and a little techno.  They pair to the scenes well, add energy to the scene, and if all else fails works to get you dancing in your seat.  My favorite track is certainly during the dance off, got love those beats and moves coming together.

 

The Morals:  You want life lessons?  Drew’s got them.  You want bonding of family and trust?  Drew’s got them.  You want other lessons about confidence, respect, and the love of the game?  Again, Drew has them.  This movie is certainly about teaching much across the generations, unafraid to call out mistakes and inspire to see the world from different angles. These lessons are certainly a keystone for this movie, but it works given that attitude and energy of the film.

 

The Games:  Drew is supposed to be about the moves and being capable of schooling the young players.  Well thank goodness they showed off those skills in enough cinematic glory. There are at least two games that give the players their respectful bouts of basketball, blowing the screen up in impressive displays of agility, coordination, and attitude.  It explodes with the youthful energy, and brings some tension to keep the game interesting.  In addition, these scenes, like the movie, are fun and keep all this balanced to not break from the theme of the movie. 

 

 

DISLIKES:

 

More Depth:  The movie made attempts to develop characters, it just needed to dive further in and develop some more tension.  Much of the plot points are sub-par at best, deep scars that seem to resolve quickly and lack the full intensity of resolution Drew tried to make them.  For two hours… the movie could have utilized some time to give the deeper moments more… well depth.

 

Ridiculous moments:  I get it, the concept itself is nuts, but that aside, Uncle Drew sometimes takes the levels a little too high to fit into the movie.  Sure, it’s entertaining and fun, but some of these scenes divert away from the attempts to be serious, or just become bloated bouts of banter that unnecessarily extends the movie.  If this is your style, get ready for plenty of crazy moments, otherwise just steel yourself for about ten minutes max.

 

Ending Credits: Small dislike, but the credits would have worked for me had they just been the bloopers, which contained lines I wish had made it to the film’s actual dialogue. However, the Haddish ending scene was just a grandiose attempt to bring her attitude more into the mix and didn’t need to be there.

 

Predictable: Much of this is due to the trailers showing too much off, but the movie has only a few twists to try to throw you for a whirl.  Much of the attempts are soap opera like stunts that did little to move me because they can see them from a mile away.  The movie needed a little more gup behind it to help get a little more slamming behind it.

 

Cliché:  Perhaps also in the predictable category, the messages are powerful, but they are preachy, presented sometimes in an overdramatic manner seen in Tyler Perry or Nicholas Sparks books.  It will hit deep in the heart for many, but keep your eyes open and you’ll see the overdramatic presentation I’m talking about.

 

The Length:  Two hours doesn’t seem long enough once the fun starts, the problem is the first part.  Props to them for not skimping on the recruiting scenes as it gave each guy there moment in the sun.  However, there were comedic ploys that got overused, or they went out of the way to execute to be honest, and for me that just added unnecessary length to the movie. There is at least 15 minutes to be edited out, but still it works.

 

Mookie:  I get it he was supposed to be annoying, and Nick Kroll did his job well to amplify the obnoxious presentation that was Dax’s rival Mookie.  Does not mean I wanted a character like this in the movie.  Mookie is an annoying piece of work, that serves its purpose of drawing ire out of every character and setting up for an intense rivalry. Yet, his scenes were very draining on my patience and I cherished the silence that followed his babbling of disgustingness.

 

The VERDICT:

 

            Uncle Drew is certainly a great representation of black top antics and the spirit of street basketball, brotherhood, and pride. It works to cover multiple generations, and will certainly appeal to many in terms of its comedy, sports nature, and all out fun.  Yet, the movie still has some editing components to cut into, dropping the out of the way laugh attempts for some character depth that can spice up the predictable plot.  Nevertheless, the movie is fun and energetic and certainly appropriate for many to go and lace up for.  I’d say this movie warrants a visit if you are looking to have fun and strongly encourage group outings to thoroughly enjoy it. 

 

My scores are:

 

Comedy:  8.0

Movie Overall:  7.0

Is The Game Over? Tagging You Into This Review

Tag Poster

            Childhood games and traditions may seem silly, but with them comes a pact that helps solidify the friendships that start with them. Based on true events, today’s review is based on events of a group of guys who played Tag for almost three decades and the craziness that came with it. Another comedy arrives this weekend and yours truly is here to help get your movie going experience on, or not depending on the movie.  Let’s gets started as I review:

 

Movie: Tag (2018)

 

Director:

Jeff Tomsic

Writers:

Rob McKittrick (screenplay by),  Mark Steilen (screenplay by)

Stars:

Jeremy Renner,  Ed Helms,  Jake Johnson

 

LIKES:

Good Pace: A movie about a childhood game requires a good pace to capture that energy and Tag succeeds in securing this.  The movie constantly keeps the gang on their toes, as the crew makes attempts to discover the whereabouts of Jerry (Jeremy Renner) and then execute their plans.  Most of the scenes are high adrenaline bouts of running, with obstacles courses, clever dodges, and a few other moves.  It keeps up the fun of the movie and does little to venture off the course of bringing you back into your youth.

 

Surprisingly Deep: While it is a comedy, Tag somehow manages to take a break away from the silliness by getting into the character stories. As a balance between fun and depth, the movie does a unique job presenting the background history, by using the temporarily lapses in the excitement to interview the crew.  Rebecca (Annabelle Wallis) is an interviewer who gets dragged into the adventure, and to further understand the trend, asks the group how things evolved.  Through this story, the characters evolve, and the relationship dives into something much more emotionally charged than I ever expected.

 

Funny:  Is the comedy funny?  Yes it is, and the movie does a nice job of broadening the comedic styles across the board to not only help each character stand out, but keep the comedy fresh and fun.  I myself enjoyed the physical comedy of the group, which felt like a more ridiculous version of Home Alone’s stunts.  In addition, Hannibal Buressdry, monotone delivery was perfect to offset all the yelling, high drug and angry comedy that the rest brought.  Matched with the energy of the movie, the comedy helped rejuvenate the youthful energy of the movie and keep everything fun to watch.

 

Good Balance of Characters: My concerns for actors getting underutilized was misplaced for once, and Tag was able to keep everyone practically involved in the adventure.  Much of this has to do with the presentation of backstory and modern-day planning, but everyone who gets pulled into the game stays in the game… in a nonthreatening manner that is. And thanks to the blend of comedy styles, every character is very well utilized to further expand the game at hand.

 

 

DISLIKES:

 

Crosses the line sometimes: Some of the styles in this movie are very dark and mature. It’s these elements that sometimes cross way over the line, jumping into topics that aren’t worth joking about.  Super competitive people will relish in the tactics used to win, but for me, the writers sometimes went a little too far in impeding the sanctity of things that needed to be impeded on.

 

Sexual Innuendo Banter: Innuendos are a great device when deployed sparingly and timed right.  Tag accomplishes this goal well, but there are a few moments where the aggressive comedy diverges from the path to just stuff more sexual antics into the mix. One of these times was completely unnecessary, a lead that was doomed to fail and could have been edited out. When the banter about this stuff continues to occur, it got old due to how irrelevant it needed.

 

Over the Top At Times: The whole movie is over the top, I get that, but sometimes it flew sky high into the childish and moronic territories. The game of tag has a lot of stakes to winning, and when competitiveness gets in the way, the adrenaline rush causes one to do stupid things. However, this movie takes it a little too far, leading to yes amusing antics at times, but other times very destructive habits that again crossed a line not only into illegal areas, but stupid territory again.

 

Isla Fisher’s Character: This has nothing to do with the actress herself, but the direction they took her in.  Anna is a firecracker to say it nicely, but the direction had her a little too obnoxious and bipolar for my liking.  At times it came off well, but other times it was just annoying to see her aggressively yell, curse, or sometimes strike a person for no reason. It never got any better for me, and some of my fellow movie goers agreed that her character may have been the weakest link of the group.  Still, you want that firecracker wild woman, you are in the right area.

 

 

The Verdict:

 

            Tag is a movie that doesn’t sell you short on the simplistic, fun, youthful adventure that it is.  It’s a ridiculous, over the top comedy that is incredibly entertaining and should keep you in the film for the entire ride.  With a great ensemble and multiple styles integrated together, one should find a few laughs held in the confines of this game.  Despite the surprising depth to the movie, the ridiculous antics, cursing/dirty comedy still cross the line and Fisher’s character didn’t help to maintain the balance they would have strived for.  Still, the movie succeeds in recapturing the spirit of youth, and is worth a trip to the theater as a group or date movie.  If you can’t catch that together, then save your money for the rental service and wait for next week’s flick.

 

My scores:

 

Comedy: 8.0

Movie Overall: 6.5

 

Check Out This Upgrade

Upgrade Poster

 

Robbie K back with yet another review this time on a movie that looks to be interesting to say the least. With one of the weaker advertising campaigns to hit in a while, this movie didn’t reveal much in regards to its contents, so I went in wondering what was in store.  After seeing it, yours truly has plenty of things to report his thoughts as I review:

 

Movie: Upgrade

 

 

Director:

Leigh Whannell

Writer:

Leigh Whannell

Stars:

Logan Marshall-Green,  Richard Anastasios,  Rosco Campbell

 

 

LIKES:

 

Sci-Fi Plot:  The movie genre says Action/Comedy/Horror, but this reviewer felt it was more a science fiction piece than anything else. The piece is a culmination of various Sci-Fi hits that include things like: The Fugitive, Bladerunner, Matrix, and even HardCore Henry.  Such a ragtag collection really worked in this case, and brought with it an engaging story that addresses the issues of technology and how the world can potentially abuse them.  It’s a thrilling adventure that for the most part kept my attention, and helped dive deeper down the rabbit hole.

 

Decent Character Development:  You may remember the movie of Her where man and machine entered a complex relationship that was odd and inappropriate.  Upgrade takes that foundation and updates it to something much better, creating an interface between man and machine that isn’t love, but practically survival. While this relationship is multi-faceted, I was impressed with the amount of development both key characters got. STEM in particular had loads of development, despite only being a disembodied voice that was set for survival. As the movie progresses, the level of complexity between the two further expands, and creates one of the more engaging relationships I’ve seen in a while.

 

Decent Editing:  For a movie with a complex tale and a lot of pathways to connect, it surprisingly felt complete in such a short time limit. At around 90 minutes, Upgrade meets all its goals of action, storytelling, and motif exploring and keeping most of the footage tight and relevant to the film. This weekend is surprisingly meeting this goal, and I’m thrilled to see this art hasn’t been completely lost.

 

Action Scene:  For an action genre tag, Upgrade manages to accomplish this goal quite well and bring about one of the more intense scenes I have experienced in a long time.  Grey and his cyber buddy go through the motions from standard fist fight to kung fu fury and given the rock music infusion with a very active camera, the scenes only get more exciting.  Sure, some of the action scenes were simplistic stunts given other examples, but what’s impressive is that the action is always pertinent to the film. In addition, the style of fighting maintains the dark edge of the movie, leading to further amplification of the suspense and thrills this movie brings.

 

Realism:  Sci-Fi often gets a bad rap for being unbelievable, but Upgraded is one of those films that will shatter that fantasy glass ceiling. Set in the not so far future, the movie manages to bring the future technology to the “modern” world, skipping the grandiose futuristic cities and creatures, for a much more grounded approach. As such, the added realism, brings the horror element out and is scarier than what most horror movies can cook up.

 

DISLIKES:

 

Character underutilization: The movie relies a lot on two characters to make up the story, the secondary characters are semi important, but most of them get the shaft.  I would have liked better integration of these characters, especially the cop, who could have opened up more of the movie’s edge had she been given the chance. Perhaps future installment can help out with this, but for this movie…it was okay.

 

Gorey At Times:  There are some things one does not like to see and some of the finishing moves in this movie are examples of this. Upgraded doesn’t go overboard in bloody chaos, but it also is not afraid to show off the savagery of enhanced biomechanics.  Those of the faint of heart or squeamish are now warned, because some members of the cast will have some heavy hitting injuries to deal with in the 90 minutes. 

 

Rushed Ending:  The movie had so much going for it, but the ending while complete, dark, and fitting, seemed a bit rushed to get there. Sure, much of the rabbit hole was predictable to me, with only a slight layer escaping my theories, but when it came to boil things move a lot faster than they had.  I had hoped for a little more engagement, a little more obstruction, and definitely a full-on finish instead of a cliffhanger to indicate a potential series to come.  Breaking the pace, I had started to thoroughly enjoy so late in the game wasn’t my favorite decision of this movie. 

 

 

THE VERDICT:

 

Upgrade is definitely not the typical movie to grace the screen, but this darker film crafts an adventure that will pull many of the Sci-Fi genre into the mix.  The dynamic duo of man and machine is a keystone in supporting the film, and with energetic action, a realistic setting, and good editing, one will surely become immersed in the new matrix.  It still has some rough edges to smooth out, primarily in integrating all the character and not breaking the pace in the final minutes of the film.  Yet, the hinted series to come can address this, potentially leading to a plummet into a new Wonderland of androids vs. humans.  Worth a trip to the theater?  You bet, but be warned for the violence and be warned of the very loud sound effects that can be hard on the ears.

 

My scores:

 

Action/Comedy/Horror: 7.0

Sci-Fi:  8.0

Movie Overall: 7.0

Point Yourself In A Different Direction

Action Point Poster

 

In the “golden era” of television, there was a variety of shows that served to entertain, teach, and all out shock the audience. While sitcoms, cartoons, and the soap operas reigned supreme, there were a few shows out there trying to make their mark.  One of these was Jackass, a show that was all about taking the wildest, stupidest dares and making them a reality.  Despite all the self-harm, destruction, and lack of logic, this show thrived and led to Knoxville producing a number of movies to support his endeavors.  After some hiatus, the master of stunts and ridiculousness is back again in the form of another of a stunt palooza.  Robbie K, here to provide insight into the latest silver screen, as we review:

 

Movie: Action Point

 

Director:

Tim Kirkby

Writers:

John Altschuler (screenplay by),  Dave Krinsky (screenplay by)

Stars:

Johnny Knoxville,  Brigette Lundy-Paine,  Susan Yeagley

 

 

LIKES:

 

Cute Motives at times: Among the ridiculous stunts, alcoholism, and dirty humor, there lies a soft, chewy center of family bonding and love. Action Point helps display the hardships of parenting, and in some cases grandparenting, which will speak to many and perhaps demonstrate the importance of balance and understanding.  It’s a small lesson embedded in the seas of ridiculous stunts, but decently presented to say the least.

 

Stunts:  You can say what you want about how illogical it is to harm one’s self for a laugh, but I give credit to Knoxville for still doing his own stunts.  Despite being almost 50, he took point in all the injuring scenes and sequences, some of which could easily break a hip, or a neck.  His youthful gang is starting to inherit the mantle, but the directors still has a few tricks up his sleeve to bring a laugh.

 

Fast Pace/Short Run Time: Editing is always impressive to me and Knoxville achieves his desired goal in a short amount of time.  Action Point has cut out a lot of fluff, bringing pertinent shots, plot points, and balance between past and present while maximizing the disaster at hand.  While you might feel gipped out of a movie for not being at least 90 minutes long, to have the movie feel complete in the short time gets mad props from me, which doesn’t happen that often.

 

The Bear:  I’m not talking the mascot, but the actual animal that is in the movie.  Knoxville’s crew got a bear involved in the movie, and his scenes are humorous to me, primarily when they start harnessing its unique skills for their own promotions. Nevertheless, have a laugh at the impressive performance from a non-English speaking cast member.

 

DISLIKES:

Little Story:  I’m a story guy and no surprise, the movie has little to no story outside a paper-thin plot to ground the stunts to.  While this is to be expected in this type of movie, as a reviewer I have to look at all components for my review and Knoxville’s team fails on this level for me.  Yes, there is some slight character development in the leads, but not much to warrant giving two thumbs up.

 

Stale Stupidity: Knoxville may get kudos for tackling his self-harm adventure head first, but subjecting himself to the illogical torture gets old after a while.  The constant slapstick crashes, pranks, and running into stuff purposefully gets old after a while.  Outside of a few scenes, including the bear parts, the movies repetitive comedic focus lost its touch very quickly, resulting in a rather bland attempt at laughs.  Most of the audience in my group seemed to have the same reaction as well, so don’t expect masterpiece here.

 

Over the Line:  It wouldn’t be Knoxville without crossing the line, but there were some major moments that I certainly did not enjoy. Seeing dogs get it on, rather heated sex scene, animal cruelty, and continuous abuse of alcohol are not the things that make a great movie for me.  While small in number, the team maximized these moments and not in a classy way at all.

 

THE VERDICT:

 

            Action Point doesn’t sell you short on what the trailers promised.  It’s a ridiculous ride of Knoxville’s usual repertoire of skits with a little cuteness/sincerity thrown in to sweeten the deal. While I understand this is the point of all his works though, the movie doesn’t have enough gusto, uniqueness, or creativity to warrant a theater visit.  Action Point would have served better as an extended TV special or Netflix series. In addition, it may not turn out as funny as you might expect, mostly because of either the inappropriate moments or the stale comedic slapstick (much of which was ruined by the trailers). Overall, I suggest skipping this one and trying something else in the silver screen. 

 

My scores:

 

Comedy:  5.5

Movie Overall: 4.0

Mark This One Up For A Theater Visit

Book Club Poster

 

Books, a medium for imagination, a collection of thoughts and ideas to motivate, and even more so, a springboard for Hollywood movies.  Tonight’s review is all about how books can certainly motivate one to do crazy things, perhaps set out on an adventure that can change your life.  With a fantastic cast, this movie hopes to appeal to the modern-day audience to perhaps bring in the bucks for some laughs.  Robbie K back with a written review to help you with your movie going purchases.  Let’s get started as we review:

 


Director:

Bill Holderman

Writers:

Bill Holderman,  Erin Simms

Stars:

Diane Keaton,  Jane Fonda,  Candice BergenMary Steenburgen

 

 

LIKES:

 

Acting:  These ladies are legends for a reason, and this movie shows off their acting talents despite the simpler roles they took on.  Each one of leading ladies brings something to the table whether it be sass, sheik, sincerity, or sarcasm.  Crafting believable characters, my friend and I certainly enjoyed getting to know these women who took center stage. The chemistry between them is great when together, and alone each of them carries the torch to light their way through the dark.  Of the four, Candice Bergen is my favorite, as her delivery on everything was quite stellar and she had the funniest dialogue to me.

 

The Lessons:  I’m a sucker for a good life lesson in a movie, and Book Club manages to do a great job bringing out some important life moments that warrant a little more thought.  Each of the ladies goes through their own struggles, mostly involving some aspect of life starting to dull, or practically fizzle out, as they age. Book Club’s cast hits the wall placed by the advancement of time, but then begins to show just how persistent sparks can be if one takes the chances.  Seeing these moments certainly in inspiring and ignites some hope as they preach the words contained within this surprisingly touching script.

 

The Run Time:  Movies like this can be very taxing when running too long, but Book Club manages to shrink the length of the novel down to a nice 100 minutes running time.  With this concise time, comes a better pace and that leads to more entertaining maneuvers and jokes being brought in.  Therefore, the boring pieces are fewer than anticipated and that means more amusement to keep me hooked into the film.

 

Realism: As romantic as chick-flicks are, they often go further into fantasy than most Medieval based films do. Book Club manages to turn down the movie magic and cheese factor to deliver a respectable tale.  Don’t get me wrong, there are some stretches of human qualities that aren’t quite believable, but still better received than a Nicholas Sparks plot.

 

Used all 4 Characters: With a cast as important as this, and the price tags to go with them, I worried that they were going to skip over some of the women to favor the more popular characters.  However, the team did a nice job of digging into each character’s life and making sure to keep their journey relevant.  The directing team kept jumping between stories, always making sure to come back at the right point to renew interests and help give the characters time to reset before jumping back into the fun at hand.  It’s a method I have enjoyed in the past and one I encourage to continue to be balanced as best as possible.

 

The Comedy: Most fans won’t find this aspect as much of a like as I have, but this is because the comedy is geared towards a particular audience.  Still, this reviewer found the writing and delivery in this movie top notch for maximizing the laughs at hand.  As mentioned above, Book Club’s comedy comes from of course the innuendos and double meanings the trailer made famous, but it also holds sarcasm, playful romance play, and other interactions that are reminiscence of friendship.  While the comedy is a bit forced at times, the cast and directing succeeded in grounding the jokes to make it feel more natural and less planned. 

 

DISLIKES:

 

Limited Audience:  You knew this from the trailers, but Book Club’s intended viewers are much narrower in scope than other movies.  Targeted towards the female population, this story is going to speak more to them than anyone else, which will limit its ability to entertain all the masses.  In addition, some of the jokes were lost on me because I don’t have the anatomy needed to find it relevant, leading to some less stimulating jokes for me. As a reviewer, I have to take these things in, so sorry if I offend.

 

The Pacing:  I said the pacing was decent and not too mind numbing, but Book Club does have those moments where the pace seems to crawl. Character building, yes, but in terms of keeping me hooked, these slower moments did not accomplish more than extending the run time. 

 

Singled Out:  While I like jumping around to each woman’s story, the movie failed to integrate them together as much as I had expected from the trailers.  Most of the time they are on their journey of self-discovery (proving one has to find the change themselves), only convening to get the next book in the chapter. Like the show friends, or a lot of other shows, I had hoped for the girls to kind of pair up a little more, perhaps integrating into each other’s story and expanding the adventure. However, they chose to keep them well isolated up until the last third where things started to run together. 

 

The VERDICT:

 

         Overall, Book Club is cute, fun, and an adventure that I enjoyed more than expected. Perhaps due to the low expectation, or the clever writing and balance the movie is certainly one of the more enjoyable chick flicks I’ve seen in a while.  Fans of these legendary ladies, or a girls group looking for fun should totally check out this film in theaters, and have one of the more enjoyable girls night outs in a while.  As for the others who are not in the target audience… you are out of luck and best waiting for this on Redbox, if anything.  Still, given all the lessons and humor, this movie deserves the following scores in my opinion:

 

Comedy:  7.5-8.0

Movie Overall: 6.5