Take A Drive With Baby Driver

Baby Driver

 

Baby Driver!  When I saw this trailer months ago I had no idea what to think about it just from the title alone.  Yet seeing a star studded cast that included Jon Hamm, Lily James, Kevin Spacey and Jamie Foxx, I had hopes for a good movie.  So, with it rushing into a midweek premiere I managed to finally check it out this weekend.  What’s the verdict on the action/crime movie to hit the screen.  Robbie K here always appreciating your views on his blog.  Let’s get started!

 

LIKES:

 

The Acting:  I don’t say this too much, but this cast was aces across the board. Let’s start with the lead Ansel Elgort who plays Baby.  At first I was only impressed with his ability to be the awkward silent type, but as the movie progresses Elgort is able to bring a little more to the screen to round out Baby.  His range broadens as more characters are introduced into the film and he has to balance between the two worlds that he lives in.  As kind of his looming shadow, the master villain Kevin Spacey continues to play that cool, calculating, manipulative role that he made famous in House of Cards.  Not too much to be annoying, but not too little to be cheated Spacey really brings depth to a cliché role and keeps things heated up.  As for Foxx, well his acting continues to improve me in spectrum he can cover.  Taking more of the jaded thug approach, Foxx adds the comedic heat to the film with the darker theme taking hold.  I could spend the whole review on the chemistry of everyone, but Baby Driver’s cast is stellar.

 

The Action:  For a crime thriller toting about the stunts and guns, the movie certainly delivers.  Baby Driver shifts the gear into R for reality and manages to deliver sequences that are exciting chases through obstacle laden courses with all the bells and whistles.  Unlike the Fast and The Furious, this movie keeps things on a believable level, requiring actual stunt driving instead of high tech gadgets.  Even the gunplay is exciting, finally adopting the crime motif we had in the mafia movie days instead of the explosion loaded productions famous of modern cinema.  The action is well directed, and used as a supporting tool to keep the film exciting and fast paced without being the only aspect of the movie.

 

The Story:  Most crime stories bore me these days because they get too caught up in either sex or malicious violence.  While Baby Driver is certainly darker in its own accord, it has a story that doesn’t dance in one area.  A combination of love, action, and crime drama, the storyboard writers get props from me for crafting a decently balanced story.  Baby’s character is complicated (though the trailers might mislead you), and they managed to gradually peel this character apart and help him transform into someone completely new.  To do this all while bringing forth a story that doesn’t put me to sleep but keep me on edge is certainly worthy of two thumbs up.

 

The Music:  The theme of Baby Driver is music (he is always wearing headphones if you haven’t seen the trailers), and that means you need a strong soundtrack.  Mission successful on this part too.  While I’m not quite familiar with some of these classics (yes boo me), they music directors selected a fantastic spread to entertain us with.  Across many genres and decades, your ears will be swallowed by a deluge of classics, each fitting with the tone of the movie and providing great sound support to the impressive visuals.  And if you don’t know these tunes, well the internet is still a wonderful thing when used appropriately.

DISLIKES:

 

No unifying crime plot:  In many crime movies, there is a big score, a key target, or some unifying goal.  Baby Driver though doesn’t have that big, impending doom I often like to see, choosing instead to focus more on Baby himself.  While certainly a small dislike, I felt the unifying theme or grand plan could have provided a little more oomph to the story and a way to integrate Spacey’s character even more.

 

Romance Aspect:  I’m not saying this is bad, and again I’m grasping at most straws, but Baby Driver’s romance component needs a little work.  Lily James and Elgort have some decent chemistry and work well together in the scenes where they are paired.  However, I feel that this component was a little glazed over up until the climax where the crap starts to hit the fan.  Expanding this role again would have tied some things together and integrated the cast a little better to complete the story.

 

Part of the Ending:  This dislike is again complicated, but I’ll do my best to explain.  Baby Driver’s ending is certainly unique and took many directions I liked in the form of being non-cliché, artistic, and exciting on many levels.  Yet about fifteen minutes of the ending was dragged out entirely too long and started hitting that ridiculous level Hollywood often hits.  The vicious parts were a little overdramatic and the predictable twists just led to more run time that wasn’t really needed. Still it wrapped up nicely and had a self-gratifying finish, it just didn’t need to be that complicated.  

 

The Verdict:

 

I agree with many that Baby Driver is one awesome film.  Despite the weird title (which yes is a song title), it works on many levels primarily in regards to a suspenseful action tale with strong story elements.  Baby Driver is an example of what movies can be if done right and I for one recommend hitting this movie in theaters. Of note, use caution when taking younger audience members due to the violence please.

 

My scores:

 

Action/Crime/Music:  9.0

Movie Overall: 8.0

Advertisements

This Film Is A Boss At Being Creative and Adorable

Boss Baby

 

He’s cute! He has got a big head! And he is in theaters this weekend.  He is the Boss Baby and his movie is the focus of this review.  Hi fans, Robbie K is back again with another review, and this time on the latest animation movie to hit the silver screen.  What does this animated feature film have in store?  I’m happy to share some thoughts on the subject, so why don’t we get started shall we?

 

LIKES:

  • Good animation
  • Cute
  • Unique Twist on a story
  • Incredibly Fun
  • Funny and Clever
  • Movie References

 

Summary:  As you saw in the trailers, Boss Baby is another example of how incredible our animation technology is and this time it is wrapped up in a cute as a button package.  This film may be one of the most adorable animation pieces to hit this year, and many will fall in love with the whimsical charm of this film.

Now that we have the obvious wrapped up let us get to the real gold of this film.  It’s difficult to find a unique twist on a story, but the risk taken with Boss Baby’s story was well executed.  The tale has many layers to it involving adapting to new family members, pursuit of your dreams, and of course what is better babies or puppies.  With surprising detail and character development, the story is very entertaining and fun as baby and brother try to stop the dastardly puppies from taking over.  And the best part is… the whole adventure is fun and fast paced, with seldom a boredom moment in this fast-moving flick.

Let’s hit the comedy now.  Boss Baby again excels in this aspect providing a variable mix of comedic styles to entertain all ages.  Young (and young at heart) will enjoy the simplistic comedy that involves the characters dropping mindless (meme-worthy) one liners, various screams of fear, and dopey run-ins with a wall.  The real comedic diamonds though are the cleverer puns, one-liners, and adult references hidden in this movie. Alec Baldwin’s sarcastic delivery and edginess worked for me, adding just the right touches to maximize the laughs.  Yet, I’m a sucker for all the movie references integrated into this plot and how key they were to the adventure.  And if you are nerd like me, you may get an extra thrill keeping your eye out for the next reference.

 

DISLIKES:

  • Predictable
  • A bit of a stretch
  • A little preachy at times
  • More Babycorp use
  • Better Editing

 

Summary:  Despite how much I enjoyed the story, much of it is still predictable. Boss Baby has some surprising twists, but no manner of fun, can hide the blatantly obvious ending that is to come.  While predictability is difficult to avoid, Boss Baby could have tidied things up a bit to give the finale a little more flare. In addition, they could have worked hard to not be so preachy near the end about the importance of family and all that lovey-dovey mush that animation films do all the time.

Let’s talk about some developmental issues I had with the movies.  First off, the movie has moments that are a bit of a stretch. Yes, I know this movie is ridiculous and a stretch to begin with, but hear me out.  Boss Baby’s adult cast are a bit idiotic at best, somehow not hovering over the newborns to hear them speaking. If that wasn’t enough, some of the more dangerous stunts involved were also not as “noticeable”, which after some point should have been discovered. Although fun, this ridiculousness didn’t fit so much into the grand scheme of the plot.

Next up is Babycorp, the organization the boss baby works for.  This large plot point has dramatic build up and gets a large sequence to explain the wonders of this magnificent corporation.  Yet after that, the film fails to deliver more on the potential plot points that could have come with it.  Had the trailers not built up the baby vs. puppy rivalry as they did, I could have let this go, but with all the advertising I would have liked to see more of this.

Finally, the editing of the movie.  Boss Baby has a lot of great parts that foster imagination, love, and all those positive qualities we love in an animated movie. However, much of these moments were not necessary, often just extending the run time under the guise of character development.  While I don’t think they needed to eliminate these parts (after all it is only 90 minutes), they certainly could have altered these scenes to be a little more relevant to the adventure.

 

The VERDICT:

 

Despite all the lower scores, Boss Baby was an entertaining spectacle that is fun, funny, and clever at many points. This movie is certainly adorable and is the perfect family film (for all ages) to hit the screen this year. Yes, it is simplistic and silly, and doesn’t have as much magic as a Disney film, but it’s nice to have unique, story that doesn’t involve making a political ordeal out of it.  This reviewer recommends this one for the theater for group outings and those with kids, but definitely check this one out when it hits homes.

 

My scores are:

Animation/Comedy/Family:  7.5

Movie Overall:  6.5

Baking This Bun Is Fun: Comedy Meets Romance

bridget-jones-3

            We all love a good love story in one form or another. Whether it takes the form of a realistic relationship or drops into the make believe perfection of a Nicholas Sparks movie, Hollywood is happy to play on affection for entertainment. And this weekend another sequel attempts to make us oooh and ahh only this time adding a little “bump” in the road. I speak of Bridget Jones’ Baby, the latest installment in the single woman’s legacy starring Renee Zellweger and her lovely ensemble. So let’s get started shall we?

 

Likes:

  • Surprisingly witty comedy
  • Acting chemistry
  • Well paced plot

I can’t lie that I went into this movie with low expectations, after all it’s been 15 years since the last movie and a lot can change. However, age hasn’t stopped our writers from placing some clever comedy in the 2-hour runtime. The dialogue has plenty of quips thrown at our cast, meant to poke fun at our characters quirks and qualities. In addition, our characters throw jabs at various movements, popular trends, and media ploys that prove just how ridiculous we humans can be. But the laughs are not limited to just dialogue. Bridget Jones tale is filled with situational awkwardness, a well-designed soundtrack to mirror scenes, and a little slapstick to liven things up. A majority of the comedy has wit and timing to maximize laughs, but there are plenty of stupid moments that are good for a quick chuckle.

Writing aside, the three actors played their characters extraordinarily well and certainly brought the words to life. Renee Zellweger reprises her role as the single spinster transitioning into a new role, managing to bring all of Bridget’s qualities out of storage while evolving her character. Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy is yet another notch in the stuffy, English gentleman belt that he still plays fantastically even after the tenth reiteration. And newcomer Patrick Dempsey is a welcome addition to the world, bringing a new twist on the more fun side of life that Hugh Grant once played. These three certainly play well together, able to form a reverse Archie Comics love triangle that so many will love.

In regards to the plot, again I was surprised by how much I wasn’t annoyed by this love story. We know many romance tales are about drawing out the drama because our characters are too shy to commence their feelings until some episode, usually alcohol, leads to sex and the tension breaking. Not the case for this film, as our crew was able to cram so much romance into a short running time and keep the plot moving that it was entertaining to watch. Nice job guys!

 

Dislikes:

  • Very Formulaic at times
  • Sometimes a bit too preachy and silly.

 

I’m probably going to be berated on this, but Bridget Jones still follows the formulaic, love ritual that the genre has become. Much of the story is predictable, with our cast of characters falling into the typical pitfalls and romantic gestures that audiences continue to eat up. You can see the ending coming a mile away at whom she will choose and I only hoped I was wrong so I could be surprised. In addition, the jokes sometimes do get predictable and lost their punch for me (not the case for a lot of the audience). Oh well at least it is safe for fans of the series and will certainly deliver the expected. Still I was hoping for a little more twist to the familiar tale.

Another dislike for me was the preachiness of the film at times. I’m all for the revolutionary movements (e.g. equal rights, kindness towards others, and single moms) but to have my face smeared in over aggressive montages takes away from the magic for me. My least favorite moments involved Bridget’s mother, because it was forced comedy focused on pointing out how different certain people were. Come on people, put the message in the movie without making a spectacle of it, we know that’s not the most constructive means. In addition, the whole you can do it as a single mom was kind of pointless in this movie as she continued to pine over her two suitors without much hesitation. If you are again going to take extreme measures about promoting an image, follow through with it please. Regardless, the grandiosity of the movie wasn’t my favorite aspect at times, but the comedy was able to dilute some of it.

 

The Verdict:

            Overall, I’m happy to say that Bridge Jones’ Baby was one of the more enjoyable romantic comedies I have seen in a while. The comedy is by far the best part of this, and although raunchy and stupid at times, is dynamic and fun to say the least. In addition the chemistry of the actors alongside the fast moving plot only further enhances the fun of this adventure. But again it is formulaic and overly preachy at times, much of which is geared toward the intended audience that was often eye -rolling to me. Worth a trip to the theater? I have to say yes this a movie worth the price for how much fun it is, especially for fans of the series, middle-aged women and older, or those who appreciate feminine comedy. Otherwise catch this one on RedBox when it hits bins in a few months.

 

My scores are:

Comedy/Romance: 8.0-8.5

Movie Overall: 7.0