Do You Come To Play In This Film?

Playmobil: The Movie Poster

 

The Lego Movie shattered the expectations of toy-based movies with a dynamic story, great comedy, decent sequences of actions, and a balance of kids to adult audiences.  While the sequels that followed took stride in their own remark, the first one really opened our eyes to quality kids animation.  Enter tonight’s movie, in the form of Playmobile, a similar design to the classic pegs, but with a little more movement and cost-effective price to appease the younger crowd.  Tonight’s movie offers the same sort of approach, hoping to get the animated holiday feature in before Oscar season swoops in.  What is the verdict?  Robbie K coming in, to give you insight into the next movie and determine if it’s worth a trip to the theater.

 

Movie:  Playmobil: The Movie (2019)

 

Director:

Lino DiSalvo

Writers:

Blaise Hemingway (screenplay by), Greg Erb (screenplay by)

Stars:

Anya Taylor-JoyGabriel BatemanJim Gaffigan

 

 

LIKES:

 

Animation Is Decent

Cute

Heartwarming Story

Short Run Time

Fun Music

 

DISLIKES:

 

Acting Is Mixed

Predictable and Linear

Jokes Sort Of Forced Into The Movie

Action Is Rather Dull

Music Numbers Are Sometime forced

Lame Villain For Me

Not As Well Balanced

 

SUMMARY:

 

Like many animated movies, Playmobil is very nicely designed to bring the family fun atmosphere to the forefront of the show.  Smooth movement, cute design, and nod back to the days of creating worlds with the simple figure, this movie manages to bring imagination back on the big screen.  Like many of my fellow reviewers have stated, this film is certainly cute, with the short run time of about 80 minutes (not counting credits) being focused on heartwarming, moral filled lessons in a nice dynamic package. It’s a great lesson for the ideal audience of kids, which should bring smiles to the young faces and the parents that accompany them.  Finally, like most kids films, Playmobil is ready to pump the speakers up with original music, that is toe tapping selection of catchy tunes about the morals we need in our lives.

 

Yet the other side of the coins have valid points for me in regards to this film, especially when one sees what was accomplished in other animation films.  For one thing the voice acting is okay, which can either be due to performance or direction of the character.  Anya Taylor-Joy does a decent job, and young actor Gabriel Bateman accomplishes the vulnerable child in over his head role well as he starts discovering himself.  My champions are Gaffigan and Daniel Radcliffe whose characters are probably the most engaging of the supporting characters and bringing the dynamic cast to a rather one-note movie.  Unlike other films, the movie falls short of the dynamic storytelling that other company productions have excelled in.  It’s plot is thin and very predictable, a linear tale with few bumps or surprises to amazing and wow as the writing continues to favor the younger generations filled with jokes and preachy speeches crammed on in.  Sure the humor is cute, but the movie needed better balance for this reviewer and working on making a more exciting tale that utilized the humor and lessons as a supporting role instead of the central pillar.  The action scenes are rather limited, mostly due to the G rating, but also because the villain is another example of a grandiose, pompous, speech expert who does little else.  Because of these two factors, alongside the linear telling, just results in a bland adventure that might not be as entertaining to the older crowd, which is a shame given what they can do in these movies.

 

 

The VERDICT:

 

Playmobil is not an awful movies, it just doesn’t have the same balance or execution that the Lego movie, or other films for kids have been able to pull off.  Certainly, the animation, story, and cute atmosphere will certainly impress the target audience of youngsters.  Sadly, the fact that the film struggles to find balance in the presentation to the audience with its predictable, G rate film is going to be the biggest obstacle to see this movie.  With a feel much more fitting of a Nick Jr. or Playhouse Disney feel, Playmobil is much better suited to a home viewing where the little ones can corral into the living room and watch it for the short run time.  Overall, the movie will deliver to the young generation, but given Frozen is out, Spy in Disguise is on its way, and Star Wars, this film is going to be out of the theater quickly unfortunately.  Therefore, my scores are:

 

Animation/Adventure/Comedy:   6.5

Movie Overall:  5.0

 

Unsheathing the Comedy And Drama, Knives Out’s Tale Is Sharp!

Knives Out Poster

Mystery movies can certainly be fun, but the refined art of mapping out a crime can be a challenge in this world with ever shrinking attention spans.  However, there are still writers and directors out there ready to give it a try in hopes of bringing thought out plots back into the popular trend.  Tonight’s review holds such a promise and even more so it holds another redeeming trial for a director whose involvement in Star Wars was not the best received.  With lots of advertising, I’m sure you have seen the trailers so let’s get going as I review:

 

Film: Knives Out (2019)

 

Director:

Rian Johnson

Writer:

Rian Johnson

Stars:

Daniel CraigChris EvansAna de Armas

 

 

LIKES:

  • Acting
  • The Cinematography
  • The Plot Is A Good Mystery
  • Better Twists Than Anticipated
  • Involvement With Most Of The Cast
  • The Comedy

 

DISLIKES:

  • Some rather worthless characters
  • The Run Time
  • The Pace
  • Perhaps A Little More Murder

 

The VERDICT:

With an assembled cast such as this, you can best bet the acting will be at least moderate, and for me it was a fantastic display of work.  All parties assembled really play the dysfunctional role well, portraying the motive filled shouts and complaints to an art that did not annoy or go overboard.  Too many names to place, I’ll say that Craig was entertaining in his role of Colonel Saunders (a running joke) meeting James Bond as the detective, primarily in his interactions with Marta.  Ana de Armas was the star for me not only because of her character, but more so in the way she played the levels of emotion perfectly and interacted with the squad the most to balance this art.  Past the acting, the movie really picks up in terms of the visual presentation, feeling much like a detective movie from the 50s-80s, but modernizing it to the present day.  It should captivate many mystery lovers, but more so generic fans who can point out a lot of devices and nods to famous detective sagas.  However, the movie’s main selling point is the presentation of the story that let’s face it has been told time and time again in a Hallmark like fashion.  Johnson, for me, accomplished the role of bringing out a good mystery, not only in the classic hunt for clues and mapping out suspects, but adding some nice twists to the mix.  If you are paying attention to time and some info, you’ll start getting an idea, but this film’s twists (no matter how convoluted) do manage to spruce up the dusty manor of detective works.  An even better angle for me, is the character utilization, while not perfect, every character has a purpose in some form or angle, with few sitting off to the sides as just mere bodies to fill a convenient hole or bridge.  If not for the sake of the plot, then the character was used for comedy and that may be my favorite part of this movie.  Knives Out manages to be very humorous in the regards of the comedy aspect, with well written dialogue, delivery of those lines, and timing wrapping up nicely to leave many laughing during my showing.  That I feel will be a pull for many audience members, though don’t expect usual slapstick, banter, and ridiculous, logic defying stunts to be pulled here, or you’ll be disappointed.

 

For such an artistic film though, there are still a few things I would have liked tightened up.  Though all characters were utilized in some form, I can’t lie at least three could have had more involvement than what they did.  Hinting at being a part of the plot, these characters were left to the passing comments or joke props until that one moment a clue contributed.  That family engagement they sold in the trailers, needed some more development for me to keep everyone entangled in the mess as opposed to on the side.  In addition, the plot could have used a little more murder and threats to help spice up the drama/mystery, as I am partial to the deadly games of hunting in my movies, than anything else.  For a movie selling that murder, I had kind of expected something else, but it’s a mere trinket.  I can say the thing I had the hardest time with was the run time and the pace.  Knowing it’s a Johnson movie, I expect it to be long, and for the most part the movie ran at a good enough pace that it did not feel super long, but other times did show the dragging I dreaded.  I can say that there were parts that could have been cut out to shorten the length, or at least rewritten to include the character interaction I mentioned above.

 

So in conclusion, what are the thoughts on this controversial movie/tale.  To be honest, I do think it is a reimagining of Clue, and took a step into the modern world to help reach out to the new audiences.  It’s got the presentation of a mystery, with twists to help bring our well-acted characters together and entertain us with their drama. Comedy is also pulled out of the sheath and I think these two elements are the biggest selling factors to brave the nearly 2.5 hour run time Johnson has put forth.  As such, I feel this movie is worth a shot at hitting the theaters for those looking for a drama/mystery/comedy, while others will most likely enjoy from the comfort of their homes.

 

My scores for Knives Out are:

 

Comedy/Crime/Drama:   9.0

Movie Overall:  8.0

The Movie Storm Is Strong In Showmanship, But Brittle In Storytelling

          Frozen II Poster

 

Years ago, Disney unleashed a movie that stormed its way across the theaters and bringing with it a blizzard of merchandising in the form of Frozen. This empire would span across the years, allowing Anna and Elsa to find their way into many avenues, including the shorts that were mixed in reception.  While a little overrated in regards to avenues, the movie proved a soundtrack could flourish when putting just the right touches to it.  After reading the bridging book and seeing the trailers, the inevitable Frozen II looked to be promising for breaking away from the song and dance, love musical and push towards a more fantasy lore, a direction I so looked forward to it.  Robbie K is back to give you another look at the movies, and help guide your movie going preferences. So let’s get cracking at:

 

Movie:

 

Frozen II (2019)

 

Directors:

Chris BuckJennifer Lee

Writers:

Jennifer Lee (screenplay by), Jennifer Lee (story by)

Stars:

Kristen BellIdina MenzelJosh Gad

 

LIKES:

  • Voice Acting/Vocals
  • World Design
  • Pace Moves
  • Beautiful Animation
  • Touching At Times
  • Olaf’s comedy at times

 

DISLiKES:

  • Predictable (majorly)
  • Spirit design/usage
  • The Story Is Weaker
  • Under Utilized Characters… majorly
  • The Twist
  • The Lack Of Impasse
  • The Preachiness/Politics
  • The Overdone Humor
  • The Forced Singing… again

 

SUMMARY:

Animated movies rely on the art of voice work, and for a Disney animated film that often requires the ability to sing as well.  Fortunately, the cast is able to bring both in a variety of styles to bring the atmosphere of Frozen back in full form Menzel’s ability to blow us a way with bellows was mesmerizing and certainly my favorite of the songs in terms of style and storytelling, while Bell’s work leaned more towards the regular conversations and bringing emotional punches.  The chemistry between them is certainly decent, and the bonding of sisterhood comes out with every performance.  As for Gad, well he reprises his goofy side kick role with that childlike voice that works so well for the naïve collection of ice crystals, sticks, and coal.  Past the voice acting though, Frozen II is a beautiful display of animation pushing the boundaries, bringing more realistic edges, the contrasting colors to add spice, and fluid movements that continue to bring the magic of these movies.  It’s a stunning display of time commitment to details, bringing nature and Nordic culture to new levels and yet wishing you could make that light show come to life.

Moving past the vocals and animation though, the movie’s content continues to be awesome depending on who you are and what you are looking for.  For parents and guys like me, the pace moves better than the first in terms of getting the plot moving and keeping the adventure spirit alive.  Kids should like the fact of not diving too big into the details of fantasy, while adults can take a breath in not getting stuck in a drawn-out film that is boring.  In regards to an older audience, Frozen II continues to find moments to be touching, still kicking to its roots of promoting Princess power and sisterhood, and finding other avenues to pull at heart strings in a better way than the first film.  There were scenes that gave me goosebumps and that’s powerful in my book.  Finally, the silliness of the franchise is still ready to come out and entertain both groups, primarily in Olaf who has matured into new avenues of comedy that are charming, funny, and somehow innocent all at the same time.  A step up from the last film, the loveable snow man serves as comedic relief and supporting actor, a nice job as always.

 

Now comes the things I feel the movie took hits on in terms of quality. In regards to the design elements the movie does not have many flaws with only one maybe two things that could have used some updating.  Mainly, the spirit design was what got me, a potential to really unleash some Nordic creativity and make some truly wicked designs.  Two of these succeeded for me, one was cute and a nice change, and one, the wind spirit, failed to impress me.  I understand the elements they used it for, but it missed the mark in terms of creativity and ingenuity compared to its fellow spirits.

Plot wise however, the movie starts fizzling out and showing Disney’s vulnerabilities sometimes in their creations.  For one thing this is one of those films that is super predictable.  Within the first 10-15 minutes of the film, many of the story elements had been super foreshadowed and it did not get better from there as one predicted just about everything by midway.  Combine this with the pacing, and well you start seeing the weaker story that like first freeze is shaky in terms of supportParts of this are at fault for the poor character usage, as both old and new characters are tossed to the backburner in favor of the dynamic sister duo and their frozen side kick.  Fans of Sphen and Christoph, or looking for new characters to really be involved need to tone down the expectations now, for they have become diluted in this installment and are there to serve only small plot advancements or comedic sticks. The twist that comes at the end, well it was not much of a twist if you are paying attention, and instead one of those plot devices there to be inspiring to a key demographic, in that oh so preachy, political way that modern story telling loves to go.  If you were a fan of the first movie’s presentation, then you will love this one, but for those like me looking for balance, head in with a grain of salt to help stomach the very dramatic moments.  Something else for this reviewer is that impasses are also very brittle, with much of the conflict very shallow, one-sided and quickly resolved without much of a challenge.  If you remember the first one where things got pretty tense, where hunting, deceit and manipulation danced with our characters to cause deeper dives into the character psyche was very memorable.  This one tried to go a little more adventure like, but those moments blew over in minutes and seemed simplified which was disappointing for me.

I think the biggest contributor to the weaker story is the fact of Disney’s focus in jamming humor and singing where it is not needed, or in the amounts they do it in.  Olaf’s humor may be cute at all points, but the gags start to get old when they are force in there, which are obvious at times.  That pales in comparison to the songs though, which once more are trying to get the soundtracks selling like last time.  The second go round has some more emotional songs that are less gimmicky, fun, and dorky, but the problem for me is the volume they come in.  Once more i found many of the tracks to be sort of random moments to sing about emotions, and even worse the fact that the plot seems built around the songs again.  Frozen II also lost points for me at not utilizing the awesome musical pieces they used in the trailer and blowing me away with the symphony work, though they redeem with the covers at the end.

 

The Verdict:

 

            With a movie like this that has been too blown up, the expectations are high to be just as good as the original.  Frozen II casts a magic spell that was incredible in regards to animation, utilizing the elements well, and really bringing the elements of the first movie back for fun and trying to evolve on them.  It moves well, has humor that lightens up the mood, and yet very touching at others with its inspirational moments.  The movie certainly feels like a slightly beefed up version of the first  in terms of gimmicks of presentation of non-story elements, which in this day and age is often more important.  Yet, the story feels very deprived of the richness the book promised, not utilizing its characters well, getting a bit preachy at the end, and for me forcing songs in again rather than finding that balance.  When looking at this for recommendations… it works for a theater visit for many reasons and I really think fans of the first one will be spelled by the things its brings.  However, the sequel needs some tinkering for me to be the next best Disney film, and hope it’s not as overrated as the first one. 

Also stick around as there is a post credits scene following the covers at the end of the credits

My scores are:

 

Animation/Adventure/Comedy:  7.5

Movie Overall:  6.5-7.0

Will This Christmas Flick Deliver A Holiday Gift?

Last Christmas Poster

 

There is always something about the Christmas time of the year that brings out the good will in movies.  Somehow the monotonous television specials, the move theaters itself, and even the atmosphere are all given a renewed glow that seems to lighten us up.  Yet, in a flooded market trying to capitalize on the big time of the season, we can sometimes get things crammed in that don’t need to be crammed in.  So in November at this early stage of the holiday months, getting a Christmas movie makes me wonder how the quality of the film will be if coming out this early.  As always, Robbie K coming in to give you his thoughts on whether or not the movie will match what the trailers suggested it would be.  As such, let’s get started as I take a look into:

 

Movie: Last Christmas (2019)

 

 

 

 

LIKES:

 

Good Acting

Comedy That is Not Overdone

Fun and A good atmosphere

Good Message For The Times

Fast Run Time

The Music

 

DISLIKES:

 

Predictable

Dryer Sense Of Humor Required

Needing More Time To Tell A Detailed Story

The Semi-Superficial Romance

The Overdone Ending

Lacking That Big Punch

 

 

SUMMARY:

 

Let’s face it, I was not the most excited seeing the trailer for this film, but I was hoping that there would be some Christmas magic to assist with bringing it to life.  Well my wish came true in the form of acting, with all the leads making for an entertaining, dysfunctional group.  Emelia Clark was of course my favorite, especially taking center stage, bringing the roundabout character of Kate!  Henry Goulding’s charm works to offset the theatrics of the supposed messy character, his calm level headedness bringing its own magic that lvies up to the theme of the movie.  And as for Emma Thompson, well another new light for the woman who wears so many faces.  Outside of the quaint characters with major flaws, Last Christmas attempts to find the means of being different while still sticking to its guns from the trailer.  For those looking for a typical American based comedy, you’re in for a surprise as the movie turns to British roots for a comedy style that is a bit drier and catered to a more finite audience.  Despite not being the comedy line craziness that most are expecting, the movie maintains a fun atmosphere, capturing the meaning of the season and sort of infecting you in the Kate’s journey with this strange man.  This atmosphere of feeling good compliments all the previous mentioned likes and somehow gave me some energy to stay immersed in the film.  Of course a Christmas movie has to have a good message right?  Well, Last Christmas delivers its morale laden plot right in your face and manages to keep the time honored tradition in line with the movie without being too cheesy or over the top.  Yet for me, the music is the key to why I had fun.  Last Christmas does not saturate in the Christmas themes, but instead blends both traditional songs with some other tracks to keep things lighthearted and in rhythm with the messages.   If all of this does not sound good and you are being forced to go on a date, the fast run time should keep you satiated and not lose too many minutes of your life.

 

So let’s get into things that people will most likely not like or expect.  First off the movie is predictable.  A fine attempt at a twist, I had the surprise figured out well before stepping foot into the movie (yes the trailers were that obvious).  It’s a fine attempt, but the bread crumbs were a little too traditional so I can’t say I was moved like many of my fellow audience members.  As stated earlier, you need to have a drier sense of humor, and while I appreciated the wit, at times a nice wet joke sequence could have helped lighten the mood a little more.  Thus again, be warned this is not your average rom-com.  While the time limit may be beneficial in terms of getting out of there, it also limited the detailed story I think most were looking for.  Last Christmas held potential to balance all these elements it wanted, but like much of today’s trends the stories were sort of rushed and irrelevant plot points were hastily tied up when not needing to be included. This included the semi-superficial romance that while cute and endearing at the beginning was also not the romance aspect I expected they would go, (there are many Hallmark movies that do better than this one).  Again its sincere and  a bit more sentimental, but it needed more time to get the full effect for me.  When the ending does finally arrive, it finds almost the perfect place to stop, but then like the ending of Return of The King, the movie goes one step too far to show how things are going to be okay.  This ending montage approach is nice to show the future, but about five minutes earlier would have been better for me.  Finally, I think the thing most are hating is that the movie is lacking a big punch that Christmas movies need for the theater visit.  This movie sort of lacks that and I think from some of the thing said by fellow audience members, I have to agree that it needs that final ounce of oomph to get to gold star status.

 

The VERDICT:

 

What you see in the trailer of Last Christmas is almost what you get with this film.  The cast shows good chemistry and brings their bag of tricks to the mix to make for a fun cast of characters that I think will charm most.  It’s nice that a Christmas comedy managed to still have heart and fun, not overdoing the humor and giving me a film that had good life lessons and positive atmosphere to enjoy, with a fun accompanying sountrack.  Still, the movie fails for me in terms of bringing that big Christmas punch that I expect from these films, suffering from superficial gimmicks, semi complete story lines, drier humor, and a relationship that is sentimental but not what I thought it would be. Overall, the movie is enjoyable with a group, but I think it would find a better home on Hallmark or a local streaming.  However, if you are looking for a feel good Christmas movie this early, check this one out.

 

My scores for its genre are:

 

Christmast/Comedy/Drama/Romance:  8.0

Movie Overall:  5.5

 

 

Is This Double Tap Lethal To The Series, Or An Evolution In Sequels?

Zombieland: Double Tap Poster

 

Ten years ago, a cult phenomenon was born that beat out the wave of zombie films/shows that currently walk amongst us.  It was a fun comedy that was aggressive, bold, and downright different which made it a legend in the film world.  So ten years later… it seems like the perfect time for a sequel in Hollywood’s eyes.  Thus, yours truly reviews the rules, stocks up on plenty of ammunition, and is ready to take another tap at the zombie world as he reviews:

 

Movie: Zombieland: Double Tap

 

Director:

Ruben Fleischer

Writers:

Dave Callaham (screenplay), Rhett Reese (screenplay)

Stars:

Woody HarrelsonJesse EisenbergEmma Stone

 

 

LIKES:

  • The Plot’s Pace
  • The Comedy
  • The Action Scenes, when actually happening
  • The References
  • The Mid Credit Scene
  • Woody Harrelson

DISLIKES:

  • The Plot is weaker
  • The Overkill of Carnage
  • The Under Utilization Of Most New Actors
  • The Blonde Ditzy side gets old
  • The New Location is a let down
  • More Action Was Needed For Me
  • The End Credit Scene

 

SUMMARY:

Much like the first film, Zombie Land is not afraid to dive in and establish all the new rules and get right into the continuation of the “noble” journey. Once it gets started, the pace does not let up as the movie dives into a rapid tale of once again migrating from area to area in search of new wonders and new creatures.  As simple as it sounds, the movie does accomplish the goal of making you laugh, recruiting some new jokes into a natural flow that works so well to entertain with the aggressive insults, the slapstick antics, and ridiculous idiocy this series capitalizes on!  The comedy is certainly new, with super creative, over the top antics that only push the envelope to extreme even further, but never quite lifting the finger on the pulse of ZombieLand comedy.    It’s ridiculousness that fans love sticks around in every aspect including the action scenes which hold all the charm that zombie slaying games have made famous.  It’s vicious, it’s fun, and more importantly still brings out the stupid humor in the form of klutzy coordination, all while increasing the excitement.  In addition, the references are always fun to dive into, as the history of movies, music, and cultural trends are poked fun at while being utilized as survival tools/classifications.  Younger audience members may not quite get them all, but seasoned viewers will enjoy the iconic recreations and integrations to add to the comedy. Much of this is accomplished by the writing, but the writing gets brought to life by the actors and while most of the cast comes back in super form… it’s Harrelson who wins the award for me.  His ire from Haymitch, the sarcasm of the teacher from Seventeen, and the gun slinging of the western desperado drive the movie and had me laughing the most while still enjoying the character, something the others did not quite accomplish.  Finally, to answer the questions, yes there is a mid and end credits scene and truth be told the mid credits scene may have been the best part of the movie.  I won’t spoil anything, but definitely stick around to have what many dreamed of become a reality and totally worth sticking around to enjoy, or at least find on YouTube later.

 

Despite all the familiarity and additions though, Zombieland did fail on some levels for this reviewer.  First, I found the plot weaker. Although very similar to the first one, the quest they set out for, to which the trailers made famous, was rather lame and short sighted.  An almost watered-down copy of the original, and while it meets the rules of the universe it set up, it also was not the fresh revisit I had hoped.  In addition, the carnage overkill was a little much for me, primarily in watching constant puking and pointless overshooting that only goes so far for me before it gets old.  And speaking of overkill, the dumb blonde moments of Madison (Zoey Deutch) were a little too much for me as her air headedness was unrelenting.  At first cute, and actually quite well timed, Madison’s character was a nice mix to the usual impassive tone of the other crew, but about halfway through the movie, that fun started going too stupid for me and only kept getting worse.  You may notice a number of characters that are being introduced to help out with introducing new blood, and in a new way it does, but for me many of the characters were not that exciting, unique, or even utilized the way the trailers suggested.  As such, can’t say I was impressed for the new twist they tried to introduced and the rather sloppy execution outside of a few good laughs.  Like last time there is a new destination set to offer salvation, but unlike the amusement park this place is a little… boring.  Design wise and plot device wise it works with the jokes and bizarre sense of humor, but it’s simplicity and magnitude are far less than the first installments dive into zombie madness.  At least we get a semi-decent action scene and a new award to go with it, but I’d hoped for a little more excitement like the first one’s climax.  This brings me to the action, or the fact that there was more needed in order to help out with giving a little more excitement to the film.  Zombieland 2 really focused on the ridiculousness and the comedy than the guts to glory action and for a junkie like me… it would have been nice to see the full package.  This is especially true in again the end, which although unique and fun, just did not have the climax I was looking for.  In addition, the end credit scene was also a big letdown, more like an outtake of the mid-credit scene than anything worthwhile and thus not worth sticking around.

 

The VERDICT:

 

            Zombieland 2 is a decent sequel that offers the same laughs and dose of comedy extremes that the fanbase seems to love.  It has enough nod to the old to make fans smile, but also added enough new to help actually make a second tap worth the effort, primarily in the writing, references, and Woody Harrelson taking charge once more.  Yet, as many sequels show, the film’s evolution brought more superficial thrills to the gene pool than actual plot, resulting in a rather shallow pool to kill in.  Over usage of gimmicks and personality flaws, while underutilizing new characters, locations, and even the action to a degree made me a little sad at the lack of inspiration.  Still it’s got the fun medium and special effects to warrant a trip to the theater, especially in a group like the sports teams did the other night at my theater.  Factoring in everything my scores are:

 

Action/Comedy/Horror:  7.5

Movie Overall: 6.0

Joining the Family For Toned Down, Cute Fun

The Addams Family Poster

 

They’re Creepy And There Kooky, Mysterious and Spooky, They’re altogether Ookie, the Addams Family!  It’s a series that has had multiple face lifts, unafraid to push the weirdness into different decades and media to bring creator Charles Addams’ vision to life.  Despite the quirky band of ghouls and creatures making their mark on various generations, it has been left in the vault to collect the dust and cobwebs they love, mainly staking a claim on 31 night of Halloween on freeform.  Still, this legendary flick is ready to try a step into the modern audience and perhaps get some new blood in this undead franchise.  Will it work?  As always I’m happy to give my thoughts as we dive into reviewing:

 

 

 

Film:  The Addams Family (2019)

 

Directors:

Greg TiernanConrad Vernon

Writers:

Matt Lieberman (screenplay by), Charles Addams (based on characters created by)

 

Stars:

Oscar IsaacCharlize TheronChloë Grace Moretz

 

LIKES:

  • Animation/Design
  • Nostalgic
  • Cute
  • Chuckle Fest
  • Good Voice Acting
  • Morals Baked Right In
  • Kids Movie Dream

DISLIKES

  • A Little Contained
  • Semi Preachy
  • Missed Characters
  • Very Simplistic Story
  • Missing the Semi-Disturbed approach this series is famous for

 

Summary:

 

I always love animation movies to see the interpretation of art and imagination in the way they create their character.  This film manages to put the unique spin on the characters, while maintaining the same charm of the characters we have always known.  It’s a style that is very welcoming to the younger audience, while still pleasing older fans.  This cute approach holds a lot of punch and the toned-down jokes, slapstick humor, and simpler writing are key choices for the key demographic audience.  Yet, it does not dilute the nostalgia you will fell when watching.  While knowing the history makes it more enjoyable, it’s not needed, but older fans will love catching references to the classic antics as I did, all while chuckling at the newness of this film.  The new voice acting works for me, primarily Ms. Theron and Mr. Isaac being my favorites as they capture the ambience of their grandiose counterparts.  They deliver the usual vocal patterns of the group, and while not a perfect match, certainly bring the atmosphere of those characters from long ago and still maximize the laughs (the latter being Nick Kroll as Uncle Fester).  Nevertheless, the morals are baked right into this film to instill some important examples for the audience and base the story on, leading to yet another movie dream for adolescents around the room.

 

Yet, my fellow reviewers have valid points that may not be the best match for the audience members.  For one thing the movie is a little contained compared to the empire that Disney has builtIt’s missing the excitement and the detailed plots that Disney has made famous in their works with Pixar and Animation studios.  A little too cartoony, and preachy moral driven, the movie again falls towards the kid spectrum which is going to make it sheltered and potentially boring for some viewers.  One part of this limitation is because the story is so simplified, again diluted to the kids perspective to not be too traumatizing for today’s raising kid approach.  In addition, there are plenty of characters that they introduced and then did very little with from the rival cheerleader who has so much that needs to happen to her, to the loveable Cousin It who is a personal favorite.  Maybe a potential sequel will open that can of worms, but for this one, huge missed opportunities to bring out a few character developing potential and good fashioned fun.  Yet the main thing I think will disappoint people comes in the form of how the disturbing elements have been curtailed.  If you go back and watch the cartoons from the 90s or the movies on Freeform, you’ll know there is that darker side that gets people hooked on this family.  This version had that somewhat, but really toned things down for the animated realm, leading to the lackluster presentation of the themes.  Had this been added into the theme, you might have made a more engaging tale. 

 

The VERDICT:

 

            The Addams Family 2019 version is a great display of the variability of interpretation and it works well for a family film for the modern audience.  A cute theme is the element of this movie, with nonthreatening animation/design to herald the fun chuckle fest that the dialogue and film are about.  It’s got appropriate voice acting, a nice sense of comedy that makes the world fun, nostalgia that is not overwhelming, and morals baked right in to get the message of acceptance out in the world.  Yet, the containment that they took steals away the intensity, edge, and energy that this series is famous for.  It’s meant to be quirky and slightly disturbing and that element missing, alongside some dropped story elements may not impress the classic fans like they are hoping.  While this movie probably would have been better released on nickelodeon or a fan service, it’s got enough elements for a family outing, but hold this one for the home viewing for your maximum buck. 

 

My scores are:

 

Animation/Comedy/Family:  7.5-8.0

Movie Overall:  6.5-7.0

Jexi: Pull Up Your Mediocre Review

Jexi Poster

 

When we think of robotic apocalypse movies we think of films like The Matrix, Terminator, and even iRobot.  Yet, the truth is the real apocalypse is coming in the form of us and our dependence on phones and cloud dynamics.  Today we see people more focused on the phones that bring us “closer” together and make our lives “better” with convenient apps and constant connection to the internet.  So, why not make a fun spoof on this concept and make a movie for the start of the holiday season.  Yes, it’s Robbie, coming back for another round of reviews as we check this time on the latest comedy:

 

Movie: Jexi (2019)

 

Directors:

Jon LucasScott Moore

Writers:

Jon LucasScott Moore

Stars:

Adam DevineAlexandra ShippRose Byrne

 

 

LIKES:

 

  • Fast Pace
  • Good Track List
  • Fun Dialogue
  • Great Intermissions
  • Cute
  • Nice Twist
  • Funny Overall

 

DISLIKES:

  • Overuse of Cursing
  • Some Inappropriate moments too inappropriate For Me
  • Weaker Storytelling
  • Predictable
  • Spoiled By Trailers at parts

 

Summary:

 

Like many comedies the pace of this movie is a good one for entertaining.  It takes little time to introduce Devine’s character Phil and set the hug target on his back for the fun to come.  Well within ten minutes our faceless “antagonist” is there ready to give him a hard and the antics continue to elevate throughout the movie.  This comedy succeeds in bringing a lot of easy laughs to the group in the way of Adam screaming, slapstick fails at life, and even awkward faces from various people.  The dialog though is where the most laughs came for me, primarily in the exchanges between Jexi (Rose Byrne) and Phil that is so full of insults and one liners you won’t be able to stop laughing.  What was smart about this exchange is how dynamic it is, not relying on forced dialogue, but instead a nice mode of banter that felt like a conversation, but not too long or short.  This engagement lasts through much of the movie, but again is not overused for this reviewer as they managed to add some intermissions in the form of Phil’s other aspects of life.  It’s obvious these pauses are meant to show off the morals of the story, but they manage to roll a cute energy into it that is charming in some sense.  This surprising integration of story and morals is a nice twist for this reviewer that manages to do the thing I always appreciate, a balance between funny and worthwhile foundation to base the stupidity upon for their entertainment. 

 

Still the movie suffers from the usual modern-day tropes that I’m not the biggest fan of.  At times the cursing gets a little overused, in this case the F bomb and Mother well you know.  It may not bother most, but the writing for me comes of lazy when cursing and genitalia  montages are the major pillars.  The latter of which sometimes went a little too inappropriate for me, and while still classed up, the imagery bestowed was not my cup of tea.  And though there was better story to comedy balance, the movie still suffers from storytelling aspects where the predictability, simple themes, and cuteness leads to a rather bland tale that is not the most unique of the bunch.  Sure, it was relevant to a guy like me, but for others, the poking at cell phone addiction, and the inspirational themes of going on major vacations and bending the rules may be lost on the majority of the audiences.  Yet, for films like this, most don’t care about a story, they just want a laugh festival of fun to escape their troubles.  This film will successfully accomplish this, but note that some major funny parts are spoiled by the trailers that have shown a lot of the film’s most interesting and unique parts.  There are still some treasures to be found, but you’ve been warned.

 

The VERDICT:

 

            Jexi turned out to be better balanced and fun than I imagined, delivering a cute film that was both funny and touching at the same time.  I’ll admit it’s merely a true entertaining festival, with fast pace, fun dialogue, and cute gimmicks that will entertain the masses.  Throw in a fun soundtrack to sort of add to comedy elements and toe tapping nature, and again you are having fun in this film.  Yet the movie still suffers from the usual tricks of the trade and that is overuse of cursing and inappropriate montages that just aren’t my cup of tea.  Throw in that that the story is still predictable and the funny parts have some ruining by the trailers and well you get the usual comedy formula for fun and laughs.  Jexi is a fun adventure, and one I hope most will go for this weekend if looking for a good laugh.  Still, it does not have quite the balance or uniqueness to require a theater visit and most likely best waited for your viewing at home.   

 

My Scores are:

 

Comedy:  6.5-7.0

Movie Overall:  5.0