Floating Through Nearly 3 Hours With Fantastic Acting and Decent Plot

It Chapter Two Poster

 

Two years ago, the relaunch of yet another series started, taking modern day technology and using it to put a new face on it.  Stephen King’s legendary book titled IT came back in a new light that felt like a Stranger Things Episode with a little more demented/horror element added to it.  When the ending came and the credits finished, the promise of part 2 lingered in red, setting the stage for the second act of the book.  Two years later, the adventure arrives and the question is… will the movie live up to the potential or are we waiting for nothing. Robbie K coming in for another review of the latest film to hit the theater, hoping to give you some spoiler free insight on the film.  So let’s get set as we look into:

 

Movie: It: Chapter 2

 

Director:

Andy Muschietti

Writers:

Gary Dauberman (screenplay by), Stephen King (based on the novel by)

Stars:

Jessica ChastainJames McAvoyBill Hader

 

LIKES:

 

  • The Story Components
  • The Terrifying Forms
  • Decent Pace
  • Creep Factor
  • References
  • Acting

 

DISLIKES:

 

  • Not Scary For Me
  • Plot Presentation At points
  • The Length Of The Film
  • The Stepped-Up Game
  • The Over Use of Cursing at Times
  • The Assistant

 

SUMMARY:

The genius of the film is that although a sequel it’s also a stand-alone film that manages to take the tale in a new light.  Chapter 2, at least this version, manages to make a multilayered story that holds part horror and part soul searching as our characters developed.  In a decently compact way, It 2 accomplishes the task of bridging the 27-year gap and keeping to the horror element all why pushing some heavy political issues and moral tasking topics in a classy way.  Not just a drama, the horror element still stands true in this film and Pennywise’s new tactics are a step up in the form of nightmare motivating images that will stay in minds for a long time.  Not the most realistic at times, IT’s new forms for the most part have enough skin tingling factor to them to make some squirm in their seats, especially given how they made Pennywise a much bigger threat than I anticipated. A small subtle component that I quite enjoy are the small references to the book or popular phrases about the book. It’s nice balanced humor and a clever ploy to sort of justify the decisions made in this film in regards to changing the story, which gets a nod of respect from this reviewer.  Hands down though, the best part is acting, which I can go on for hours about.  All the adult forms mirror the kids in many qualms, take the baseline characteristics and maximize them, and play off of each other so well that I can’t help but praise the casting direction.  As for the clown himself, Bill Skarsgårdagain redeems his role as Pennywise and takes the nightmare amalgam worthy as a legendary villain. He manages to add new levels of creepiness without trying too hard, achieving that skin crawling factor to new levels.

 

In regards of areas that are still working on improving for me, well the film did not quite scare me like I was hoping.  Again, I’m used to much of the scare tactics, but It Chapter 2’s use of computer effects and other designs did not quite scare me as much as disturb me at times (that scene at the Chinese restaurant). In addition the stepped-up game of Pennywise sometimes crossed levels that I wasn’t a fan of, primarily in some of the more torturous aspects that this film took.  Those that have a low tolerance for dragged out beatings or torture may want to avert their eyes at these points.  In regards to the plot much of the overall arc is wonderful, but the presentation at times comes off a little more convoluted than I had hoped.  During the middle of the film the constant intertwining of past and present did not quite make sense to me, until the end when the explanation came.  Not that it was not entertaining at times, I felt this approach sort of added fluff to the movie, almost as this was a director’s cut.  This brings me to the length of the film, while certainly not the slowest movie (Midsommar anyone), the nearly three hour run time did not quite feel necessary given that the first part was nearly an hour shorter.  Again it is entertaining for the most part, but it’s a commitment I don’t think was quite needed.  A small nuance again for most, the cursing sometimes goes down the avenues of being lazy writing, primarily in the overuse of the F bomb when there were better lines that the first film capitalized on.  My biggest beef is the assistant to the mad clown, to which I don’t want to ruin. A concept that starts to hold potential, the assistant is a wasted character in my eyes that serves for only a little bit of plot development and a few comedy moments.  So much could have been done with this character, but I think the squad found this character the one to cut out most of in favor of the other focus points of the film.

 

The VERDICT:

            Wrapping this up, two years gave the movie enough time to make a horror movie that is familiar, yet has enough flair to be its own. Sticking to horror roots, the movie focuses on the story and does a nice job integrating most characters into the film. It may not be scary to me, but Pennywise is still creepy and has upped his danger level with new forms and references that should have fans smiling.  Yet it’s the acting that holds the key to success and brings the movie to levels that are super entertaining and deep compared to most horror genre casts. Still, the movie is a little long winded, with a convoluted presentation at times that adds a little length, and a character that felt like a waste.  Otherwise, a semi-cheesy ending and some darker tactics are the only things that really didn’t impress me.  The summary though is that this film is definitely a worthy edition to the horror genre, and I believe it’s worth checking out in theaters.  My scores are:

 

Horror:  8.0

Movie Overall: 8.0

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Was Not Angry With This Sequel

The Angry Birds Movie 2 Poster

 

Sequels to animated films are seldom as good as the first movie.  Many times the story was not needed, or the masterpiece is diluted for a gimmick that just doesn’t work.  Fortunately, there are some that have paved the way for the potential to add to the story, continuing the world we love, but at the same time making a movie stand on its own.  Tonight, Sony Pictures continues to try the luck with their surprise success of Angry Birds and see if they can get another round of bills to line the pockets.  And for reviewers like me, we are back in the trenches to see how it fairs and do our best to highlight the observations. So let’s get in there and review once more as I take o:

 

Movie: Angry Birds Movie 2 (2019)

Director:

Thurop Van Orman

Writers:

Peter Ackerman (screenplay by), Eyal Podell

Stars:

Jason SudeikisJosh GadLeslie Jones

 

 

LIKES:

Voice Acting

Fun

Funny

Stories Intertwining

Good Morals

Cute

Good Use of Characters

Quick

 

DISLIKES:

Predictable

A Little too political at times

Not Quite As Unique

A Little Too simplified

Trailers Ruined Much

 

SUMMARY:

  Like the first film, the movie’s cast really shines taking the pun filled writing, simplistic dialogue, and joke filled lines and making it work.  Sudeikis as Red is still the sarcastic champion we loved, Josh Gad comes back in all his adorable energy and opera like singing, and Danny McBride is still the same loud, gruff voice that often fools people into thinking he is Seth Rogen. But the new gang to join adds their own spice to the feathery/leathery cast.  Jones has got her usual energetic motions, Sterling K brown is posh and yet funny, and Awkwafina is the same carefree slacker that somehow works in a variety of settings.  It’s an awesome blend of talent that manages to add some dynamic flow to bring the characters to life.  Past the acting, the story is along the same lines as the last one, a very fun, straightforward adventures with a few good moral lessons baked in to give it another layer.  Taking two stories to try the break up the linearity, the movie should move enough to keep everyone’s attentions, all while jamming in enough fun and laughter to have you rolling in the seats.  Yes, like the first installment the film is all about captivating on the cuteness and jokes to get its gimmicks out and enjoyment.  Yet, the smartest component for me, is that the movie manages to utilize most of its characters very well.  Red and the squad still get adequate screen time despite how many characters they introduced.  And the new characters still get used well, allowing for maximum merchandising.

  In regards to some areas of improvements for me, well it starts with the predictability of the film.  The movie suffers from the simplicity they strived for, not doing well with pushing the boundaries of unique or creativity.  Sure, the app to movie transition gets props, but unlike the Disney and DreamWorks group, they have not quite adapted well in the earth-shattering stories or worlds that the bigger studios dream up.  Instead, the movie tries to push a few political boundaries, which is a noble challenge, but got a little too extreme for this reviewer as the various movements we hear about get their own skin in this movie. It still fits well, but it just wasn’t necessary and I would have liked to see the energy transferred into the creativity mode instead.  Yet, the biggest area that I did not enjoy was how much the trailers ruined the film for me.  Many parts have been not only revealed, but smeared in your face with the multiple airings. While still funny, I think there could have been a lot of surprise and kick to it had it not been so advertised. As such, if you and your kids have seen most of the trailers, you have seen much of the movie as there is not quite as much runtime as I had expected.

 

 

The VERDICT:

            The movie is a decent follow up to a movie that was surprisingly deep and fun.  It still has the same colorful energy, fun atmosphere and voice acting that just capitalizes on the silliness to be had.  The story, while layered, still is simple for most to follow and the characters are utilized beautifully for all fans to enjoy and get the most out of the characters in this world.  Yet, Angry Birds Universe is still a shell of some of the worlds built in the animation land, and struggles to break the creative barrier and expand upon its world. It’s a little too simple in terms of movie overall, and thanks to the trailer ruining much, the film holds little in coming to the theater outside of seeing the predictable ending.  Still, it’s a fun adventure to behold this weekend with your little tykes and smile wide at their delight in the film.  Otherwise, hold out for the home release my friends. 

 

 

My scores are:

Animation/Adventure/Comedy: 8.0

Movie Overall: 6.5

 

 

Jump Inside To See Pixar’s Creativity Come Out!

Inside Out

            We all are victim to our emotions, always susceptible to a tantrum or sobfest that overruled our logical side. The trigger for these outbursts can vary in form, a bad day at school, a breakup with a boyfriend, or in my case sitting through bad movies. Whatever the cause, have you ever stopped to picture what is going on in your mind to cause this? Pixar has, and their latest film has brought those thoughts to life in a way only their studios can. Today I review Inside Out and take a look at what creative sparks lie in their studio.

Pixar has been on the sequel train for quite a while, so I was thirsty for a drink from the original pool. Inside Out emerges from that source we fell in love with years ago, and brings it back ten fold in the world of young Riley’s (Kaitlyn Dias) mind. Inside Out is a beautiful personification of the inner workings of the mind, filled with colorful visuals that pop off the screen. A high tech “head”quarters for the cortex looks like something from Star Wars, where futuristic control panels govern all the memories and thoughts that govern our being. Outside command central, Pixar gives you more of their magic in their creations; forming a maze for long term memory, a movie studio as the source of your dreams, and an obvious train for your train of thought. Tacky as some of the puns are, Pixar puts their wit back into the game to design a unique world that is sure to entertain many, as well as become the next theme park attraction.

As the emotions transverse the chaos that is our brain, Pixar not only takes you on a physical adventure but an emotional one as well. Of course being a kids movie there are a lot of comedic moments that had me, as well as other audience members, laughing. Slapstick humor involving bodily harm, one liner puns that will appear in memes, and plenty of witty dialogue that represents the internal struggle of indecisiveness. In particular Anger’s (Lewis Black) ranting had me laughing the hardest, as the simplistic yelling and rash threats to curse were to my tastes. Sadness (Phyllis Smith) had to be my second favorite, more so in how she presented her lines with that perfect twist of depression to make it funny, and yet sad at the same time.

Yet while comedy is a big portion of this movie, Pixar/Disney always manages to bring other emotions into the mix. Seeing as one of the emotions is Sadness, you can guess there are a few moments that can bring tears to your eyes as Riley’s memories unfold before your eyes. Joy offsets these moments though, with beautifully crafted sequences that cover those special times in life. And all of it is edited together at just the right times to make the emotions hit home, building slight tension, but delivering a satisfying finish. Pixar represents this emotional instability both inside Riley’s mind and outside in her actions, really capturing the look and feel of someone troubled, hence the title. It’s balanced well with the humor, and gives older audience members a tether to the film to keep their interest.

Voice acting though is the factor that really brings things to life, as each emotion is matched with their voice counterpart. Poehler’s optimism shines bright in joy as she rambles off her ideas to keep Riley happy, and you can feel the actress in the character. Phyllis Smith brings her character to life, her whispy voice selling the hopeless emotion, and yet still bringing a comedic edge to her lines that made her humorous. Lewis Black is perfect for anger, his ability to play heavily angry roles where his character consistently yells has been established, and he fits right at home with the emotion he plays so well. Mindy Kaling as Disgust was another good choice, the shallow, image obsessed emotion playing strong to that sassiness we love from her. And Bill Hader cleans up with fear, bringing the anxious tone of fear, while also providing that dry sarcasm.

For all the good this movie has there are a few quirks that took away from this movie. The first is a few of the jokes are beaten to death and lose their comedic intensity. In addition the trailers have also given you a lot of the funny moments, which for those who are heavy Disney watchers will be lost from the constant barrage of commercials. As a movie overall, Inside Out has some decent editing, but there are times where the editing needed to be tweaked. The ending of the movie was very drawn out at times, and lacked suspense for me because of the obvious ending to come. I would have liked them to sacrifice some of the prolonged and slower scenes, and give us some glimpses at the personality islands they kept bragging about, or perhaps more time in the darker recesses of the mind. Diving into that creativity may have offset the predictability a bit, and played to the strengths of this movie more.

Overall I was impressed with Inside Out and loved to see Pixar’s classic performance shine once more. Audience members of all ages are sure to enjoy this film, with the younger generations laughing in high shrills and the older appreciating the emotional side of things. It holds that creative magic we love of Disney, and keeps you entertained despite some of the longer moments. While not the best, Inside Out certainly shows promise for the studio’s future works and more fun adventures to be had. I would say it is worth a trip to the theater for any age group and strongly recommend you see this film.

 

My scores are:

 

Animation/Comedy/Drama: 9.0

Movie Overall: 8.0