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

 

 

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I Came, I Shaw, Hobbes Conquered

Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw Poster

 

Seems like eons ago when we were blown away by the cars and ferocity that was Fast and Furious.  Many installments later, the serious sort of left its dark heist roots and hit the highway to the ridiculous imagination of pushing cars and crew to the max.  Despite losing a valuable cast members and several other characters, the series emerges once more from the garage with a new paint job though it’s core is very much the same.  Tonight yours truly looks at the new comedy duo to take the next leg of the furious race. What lies in store?  Read on to get my thoughts on:

 

Movie:  Fast And Furious Presents: Hobbes and Shaw (2019)

 

Director:

David Leitch

Writers:

Chris Morgan (story by), Chris Morgan (screenplay by)  | 2 more credits »

Stars:

Dwayne JohnsonJason StathamIdris Elba

 

 

LIKES:

Funny

Great Pace

Fitting Story

Great Acting for franchise

Action

 

DISLIKES:

Jokes Too Far

Ridiculousness Gets Out Of Hand

Predictability

Some Story Gaps

The ruining by the trailers

 

SUMMARY:

 

If you have been a follower to the series, you’ve learned the formula by now and it is one that despite how tired it may be, still seems to work.  Hobbes and Shaw is an entertaining ride that runs on adrenaline and comedy as the main fuel. The comedy is in many forms, though primarily in the banter between the star characters, but also has some surprises in the form of cameos and unexpected side roads that are well timed. It delivers an atmosphere of fun, which in turn leads to a great pace to keep you engaged in the film and to the adventure at hand. The actors who bring this to life all work super well, the chemistry between Statham and Johnson is awesome as the rivalry and alpha male syndrome of two extreme males is super believable and exploited well.  Meanwhile, Elba as the supervillain is fantastically balanced, despite being in this series, as he is both lethal and wild at the same time.  Vanessa Kirby as well is a welcome addition, as she brings one-part female inspiring character and one-part romantic interest.  She’s a great anchor point for the story and an engaging character overall that seems to balance the macho meatheads of the other two.  In terms of story, Hobbes and Shaw shows promise for picking up the pieces of the last installments while opening up some new rivals for the speedsters to follow, with little to no layers beyond what is presented and plenty of preachy morals that the series has thrived on over the last five movies.  Finally the action.  Hobbes and Shaw has pumped high-octane fuel into the engines and ramped it up to a new level as technology meets good old-fashioned fists.  From nearly start to finish, the movie does not let up on the exciting moments and despite how cheesy it can be, it fits the action junkie want so beautifully.

 

Yet, the movie (like most of the latter installments) finds issues with balance and uniqueness that once was present in the film. The jokes, as entertaining as they are, go a little too far, the banter in particular bloating the run time at points where we could have moved on to something better.  In addition, the movies continue to push the boundaries of reality with the ridiculous aspects, relying on suspension of belief and focus on adrenaline doing everything superhuman to accept these feats.  Surprisingly toned down from other movies, Hobbes and Shaw is still not for those who can’t stomach the cheesiness of this franchise. Sadly, the effort and interest in these action sequences is not being used in their storytelling originality. Hobbes and Shaw is still a predictable tale with things laid out for you at the start of the movie with dramatic dialogue that is obvious foreshadowing.  In addition, some details given suggest some story gaps and perhaps a little more attention to detail to help.  Yet, much of the movie is ruined by the trailers, which have given away much of the action sequences you are probably going to see.  Sure, the full spectacle is still awesome, but be warned you’ve seen much of the stuff already laid out.

 

Outside of a few other minor dislikes, like a few characters built up in trailers, but then laid to the side for future movies, Hobbes and Shaw turned out to be better than I anticipated.  It’s still a cheesy special effects ride that continues to rope money in, but it works quite well to bring the entertaining action spectacle to open August up.  I really enjoyed the familiar aspects of comedy, pacing, and acting, though I still think they have not obtained the balance or adventure that Fast Five was. So in terms of a theater visit, for those who are fans of the series you should hit this up ASAP to get your fill of action and machoness.  Yet, those who do not enjoy the spectacles of CGI and stunts, should skip this one and hit one of the five movies coming next week. 

 

My scores are: 

 

Action/Adventure:  8.0

Movie Overall: 7.0

Smarts Over Funny? Is This The Comedy You were Looking for?

Booksmart Poster

 

Friendship is something that goes through trials and tribulations.  As life passes and things change, the bonds get tested and only through work, communication, and understanding that is sometimes absent in the modern flow of life.  That’s what today’s review focuses on in regards to the movie, one that looked like a superficial party comedy on the surface. Yet, the trailer editors know how to make us look so to speak, and yours truly is here to give some insight into the latest silver screen studio.  Let’s get started, as we review:

 

Booksmart: (2019)

 

Director:

Olivia Wilde

Writers:

Susanna FogelEmily Halpern

Stars:

Kaitlyn DeverBeanie FeldsteinJessica Williams

 

 

LIKES:

  • Funny At Times
  • Adventurous
  • Relevant To Many Audience Members
  • Good Pacing
  • Great Acting Chemistry
  • Surprisingly Deep

 

DISLIKES:

  • Lazy Writing At Times
  • A Little Too Extreme
  • Predictable
  • The Trailers Have Revealed A Lot
  • The Glorification Of Reckless Behavior

 

Fans Who Like These May Like These Movies:

  • Generation X
  • Night Before
  • Step Brothers
  • The Hustle
  • The Hangover Trilogy
  • Superbad

 

SUMMARY:

Booksmart delivers on the promise of being funny, making sure to jam pack the adventure with as much slapstick and crude commentary as possible. And while much of the writing is geared towards trying to use modern, aggressive comedy of swearing, ridiculous metaphors, and meme worthy phrases, it does so in a manner that isn’t the same overwhelming manner that this genre throws at us, okay at least not in the same extent.  Booksmart takes the adventurous aspect of the Hangover and curves it to a better plot and more focused on the broader audience.  The relevance of the two girl’s trials should speak to many, with the other problems exposed branching out to grab the group in a surprisingly entertaining after school special approach.  As the world continues to expand, the pace manages to keep in time with it so well, making sure to slow down at key development points, only to speed up again as the next transition begins.  Thus, the adventure is gloriously displayed to be both entertaining and meaningful.  Yet, the biggest pillar of strength for this tale is the chemistry between Dever and Feldstein, who manage the break the awkward barriers of best friends in high school, and somehow unleash 18 years of friendship in a short time.  It’s through these two that many political and story-based components are artistically brought out, and with their skills adds that surprisingly deep aspect to a film that looked so ridiculous from the trailers. And perhaps it is that deeper aspect that works so well for me to help ground the silliness.

Yet with all the good, there are some limitations to this film that take away from the enjoyment.  First, the lazy writing component.  Clever writing and puns for slang and stupidity are enjoyable, but with every word getting bombarded with cursing… that is where you lose me.  Overdoing some of the curse bombs gets old and takes away from the imaginative dialogue Booksmart holds and I had hoped for a little deviation. In addition, the extreme acts of stupidity, selfishness, and debauchery of the rules potentially will inspire younger members, but sometimes steps over the lines a little too much that the debauchery was more infuriating than entertaining. In addition, there presentation of stereotypes and other personal, political issues sometimes are a little to full frontal mode, pushing the boundaries to details that may not be as pertinent to the story, but also to uncomfortable levels who don’t like displays of affection.  And sadly, I had hoped the predictability of where these acts were going would have had more twists, but sadly the trailers have ruined much of the movie’s acts, only leaving a little to uncover at the end. It’s this factor of how much has been revealed alongside the glorification that breaking rules/acting the way these kids do is the factor of life that adds meaning that probably were the things I enjoyed the least.  Thankfully, there are better life lessons to try to overshadow these.

  In conclusion, the movie turns out to be a deeper adventure than I anticipated.  It’s going to hit the teen and young adult audiences well, alongside those that value friendship. Fantastic acting and pacing help spin this tale to better levels and I for one enjoyed the tale presented.  Still, the entertainment value that glorified the reckless behavior was probably not the motif to also drown the film in either.  It is still got the predictable plot and curse obsessive writing, but this reviewer was happy with the presentation and gives this one the nod of approval for a theater visit with friends.  Just be prepared for some very aggressive comedy and sequences that may not appeal to more conservative and sheltered groups, or you might find yourself very uncomfortable. 

 

My scores are:

Comedy:  7.5

Movie Overall: 6.5

Aquamantastic! Swimming In The Right Direction

Aquaman Poster

 

 

Game On For This Night Of Fun

Game night

 

Comedies, another genre that crashes into theaters, like waves crashing on a beach.  Whit is often lost in the flood of comedy movies, but every so often, the minds are able to once again give us something fresher to laugh at.  Today’s flick involved the ever-popular game night, a tradition that works its way into the homes of all ages to help with establishing friendly rivalries, a local watering hole, and the chance to drink and compete.  Tonight I finish my reviews with Game Night starring Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams, which hopes to amp up the stakes of tradition for the chance at big wins and adventure.  Let’s get started on the review to determine if the house paid.

 

LIKES:

 

-Multiple comedy styles

-An intriguing mystery

-Decent Character Development

-Clever Adventure at times

 

Game Night is a comedy that works well in terms of the multiple styles of comedy packed into the small-time frame of the movie.  Slapstick, stupidity, one liners, over the top stunts, and overacted delivery are balanced together to keep things interesting and fun in the 100 minutes or so of content. And while much of this is dumb fun, there is an intriguing mystery to ground it all to a common point and keep things in line.  How far does the rabbit hole descend in terms of crime, you’ll have to see for yourself, but there are plenty of twists to keep you guessing.  Surprisingly, Game Night’s players have a little more background than the usual pawns of this genre, with each member dealing with some issue that plagues them.  Themes like responsibility, jealousy, and self-worth are all here, gradually expanded upon as the teams try to find the clues to rescuing their kidnapped colleague.  It’s a clever adventure and gets my two thumbs up in terms of a unique flair.

 

DISLIKES:

 

-Sometimes too stupid

-Tried to Hard

-More Game Night Antics needed

 

No surprise, this movie is jam packed with idiotic antics to tickle the funny bone.  At first these gags were good, some of the running jokes building momentum to deliver some well-timed punches.  Soon the audience and I started to give pity laughs at the jokes being entirely too stupid, dragging on to levels that made napping look like a better option.  Even worse, sometimes the characters tried too hard to be funny, Bateman in particular putting too much behind his delivery.  These moments are fairly obvious and start to overshadow the game night qualities I was hoping this movie had.  Given all the mysteries, and theme of game night, I had hoped for a little more antics that mirrored the games one usually plays at a game night, like an intense scrabble mystery, or a Jenga like obstacle course.  Instead, the movie resorted to the usual stunts and tactics, that while entertaining at times just lacked the originality they could have held.

 

The VERDICT:

 

When it comes to comedies, Game Night wins in terms of the variety of comedic ploys it unleashes in such a short time frame. With an intriguing mystery and some decent character development, you will get a decent adventure compared to most other ridiculous comedies that grace the theater. Still, Game Night suffers from overacted antics and stupidity that gets stale quickly, lacking that full-on game night cleverness you might have expected.  It is a start mind you, but there is plenty to work with should a second game night be picked up should it make enough money this weekend. As much fun as this movie is, I can suggest a trip to the theater for this one for a group night out, but otherwise hold out until the rental services get it.

 

My scores are:

Comedy/Crime/Mystery:  7.5

Movie Overall: 6.5

For the “Win”chester?

Winchester

 

“Guns don’t kill people, people kill people” such a truthful phrase in this modern-day world.  Well take this phrase, combine it with legendary house, and some events that occurred in the past and this mixture results in the plot of our next movie.  Welcome to another Robbie’s movie review, and tonight I’ll be posting on the latest horror movie entitled Winchester.  This interesting spectacle holds some wonder to it, but does it have the goods to deliver, especially with sensation Helen Mirren leading the charge?  I’m here to answer that question for you, so let’s get going.

 

LIKES:

The Setting: One of the coolest things about horror movies is the potential to craft new, dark, incredible settings that bring life, or in this case death, to the screen.  The movie has one of the most interesting settings I’ve seen in a while, a glamorized mansion modeled after the Winchester estate.  This jigsaw puzzle like house is not the friendliest on the eyes, but it works to craft a twisted chamber that plays games on the mind.  It holds great potential for a lot of scares with the uncertainty that lies around every corner and angled stair case.  And once the lights go down and only the candles flicker, that is when the true craziness of the house is unleashed.

 

The Character Development:  Scary movies are mostly about scares, and in much of the modern-day media that’s all they care about.  Fortunately, Winchester goes a different route and brings focus back to the characters walking the hallowed halls.  Both Mirren’s character and Jason Clarke have some decent plot arcs to tie them to the central story contained within Winchester’s elaborate walls.  Their journey through their struggles has some potent emotion behind, specifically Clarke’s whose path to enlightenment takes a few dramatic twists that are impressive.  I liked the personalization of the characters, even the big bad spirit, that had a little more backbone to it than simply being dead.  And how all these characters mesh into this story, helps give a purpose to all the scares that are at hand. 

 

The Twist:  The story itself is not too unique, but it is stronger than most horror movies hold.  While character development certainly has a hand in it, and a fairly linear story to tag on to, the movie really shines in the twist that awaits those brave viewers.  The director and cinema crew were able to hide the truth quite well, using subtle camera work, dialogue, and timing to really draw your attention away.  And when it finally all comes to a draw, you applaud at the integration to the plot it holds and transforms into the final act of the movie.  Certainly not the creepiest of the characters, but also held some impressive makeup to help seal the deal.

 

DISLIKES:

Minor Scare Factor: I’ll admit, one scene got my flinching, but Winchester didn’t have the scares the initial trailer laid down for us.  They rely on the same scare tactics throughout the 90-minute film, jump scares galore that rely on the sound suddenly dropping and something popping out.  While diverse in the things that come out in the dark, the tactics stay pretty much the same and eventually lose the edge they wanted to keep.  Even the exciting climax was nonchalant because it had crossed into the overdramatic and away from the scares.  A little more creepiness, might have helped this factor out, but maybe the implied sequel will come in.

 

Under Utilization of Characters:  The movie is primarily about Mirren and Clarke’s characters. The other characters, they unfortunately are reduced to secondary roles that are semi-significant, but still lacking that needed edge that could have helped them stand out.  Henry and his mom, and John the head carpenter, they were specifically mentioned, and then…they quickly faded into the background until their hasty conclusions.  Again, not the worst use of characters, but some finesse and better integration could have been the key.

 

The Story/Other Ghosts:  I mentioned that the story was a big improvement over much of the horror movies I have seen, but I also said there was room for improvement.  Winchester’s story has some depth to it, but there were some plot points that were built up and then fizzled out.  Mirren’s family tragedy, the trauma young Henry and his mom truly faced, and even the ghost’s master plan all kind of dropped short of the details I had hoped to see.  Had these stories been taken a little farther, not only would the story have improved, but it also would have given the story a little more edge and allowed for other ghosts to enter the mix.  Speaking of ghosts, I believe the trailer promised many spirits trolling the halls and torturing our heroes.  And once again this movie failed to deliver.  Plenty of spirits fell victim to the Winchester rifles, but only one of them had the guts to have any bite to the story.  The rest had a few jump moments, but their stories were lost to the background, contained in the books that line the wall of the main room.  And those hidden in the bolted rooms, most of them didn’t even bother to make an appearance, or any meaningful one at that.  No, Winchester needed to conduct a séance to recruit more spirits to its cavalcade.

 

The VERDICT: 

 

            Winchester wasn’t the scariest movie to haunt the theaters, but it is a better piece of storytelling than most horror movies have these days.  Solid character development and a twist help bring this twisted setting to life, and provide a semi-entertaining movie to the audience.  The film still needs some amplification to boost things along.  Primarily in the story and integration of the characters, Winchester fails to capitalize on the ghosts of the manor to provide all those scares, and falls victim to failed scare tactics. And had they integrated and dived further in all the characters stories, perhaps this too could have soared to higher quality.  Not the worst movie in the world, but this one can be saved until the Redbox picks it up. 

 

My scores:

Biography/Fantasy/Horror: 7.0

Movie Overall: 6.0

The House Wins…The Audience Loses

The House

 

Will Ferrell, a king of comedy in his days of SNL and the early years of his movie career.  Despite some flops in the box office, Hollywood continues to select him for the new standard of comedy.  And this weekend is yet another notch in his belt, as he stars alongside Amy Poehler and Jason Mantzoukas in the film entitled the House.  Robbie K back to give his thoughts on yet another movie to hit the silver screen, in attempt to save you some money and time in regards to your viewing pleasures.  Here we go!

 

LIKES:

 

Original concept:  We’ve seen plenty of casino themed movies, but they often involve breaking into steal or being mindlessly drunk and stupid.  The House though decided to carry the stupid over, but approach the casino story from the point of the house. Seeing the development of the casino from the ground up was a cool idea, and it gets points for originality in these regards.  All the troubles they experienced in developing it offered some nice variety in comedy as well.  Stupid idea?  Well yes, but hey at least they are trying to be unique.

 

Short run time:  I can’t elaborate much on this, but the House has a short run time to minimize the amount of sitting through meticulous jokes from Will Ferrell.  An added bonus is that the pace of the movie also moves, avoiding being caught too long in the repetitive repertoire of bantering and jokes. Hooray for decent editing.

 

Jason Mantzoukas: Not the most Oscar worthy performance, but Mantzoukas was a blessing in this movie.  His character, while not the most respectable, is very funny and provides excellent comedic relief from the…comedy… Okay, he provides a fresh comedy role to Ferrell and Poehler’s style.  His lines have a little more wit behind their development, and his delivery is spot on with that angle that adds some finesse to it.  And how casually he delivers the lines is impressive, not putting too much behind it to come off overacting or abrasive.  Perfect given the rest of this movie and again an oasis.

 

DISLIKES:

 

Lazy Writing:  I guess this isn’t a surprise, but the House is another example of how lowered expectations leads to mundane writing.  Much of the dialogue is curse ridden, filled with a number of expletives that are so overused it gets back into the annoying zone…again.  Throw in the number of lackluster innuendos and genital humor and you only end up further drowning in boring writing.  I’m not saying get rid of these gimmicks, I’m saying just use them in moderation and integrate them better.

 

Ridiculously stupid and mundane:  I’m sure you are saying, “Robbie, did you really not expect it to be stupid from the trailers?”  Of course, I wasn’t this naïve, but I had hoped the stupidity to be kept in check and a little more dynamic then what I got (see earlier comment about his Ferrell’s early work).  Unfortunately, the House just continues to hedge their bets on Stupid 27 (or whatever number you like in Roulette).  They continue the amp the ridiculousness into grander proportions, foregoing any logic, common sense, and eventually even fun for simplistic mind candy. And for me that got old and tiring with how much it matches to other films in this genre and how it barely stands out from all the milieu.

The Overacting:  Again no shocker here, but the cast certainly should not win much out of the popular choice awards for their portrayals.  Ferrell’s shouting and mindless banter were cute back in Elf and balanced in his other movies where he wasn’t the star.  Not the case here.  His mindless rants in this movie get old fast and his efforts to draw out every word didn’t impress more so as annoy me.  And Poehler wasn’t much better.  Her character had some inkling of intelligence, until the drug jokes come in and her attitude becomes crap.  At this point she joins her costar in being as obnoxious and loud as possible.  In regards to chemistry they go quite well together, unfortunately it is primarily in bouts of mindless babbling that get staler and staler with every iteration.

 

Unlikeable characters:  A final component is how unlikeable much of the cast is.  Despite how funny they are and how noble their intentions are, most of the House are awful on all accounts. Usually in comedies there are people who act as the moral grounds to bring the craziness back down, but outside of the daughter (who is hardly in the movie), everyone just escalates the craziness with their constant bickering, unhappiness and addictions.  Throw in that they just jump to obnoxious proportions with few moral rationing and you just can’t help but hope the thing blows up in their faces. Bitter and mean?  Probably, but this just further shows too much of any vice often leads to bad quality.

 

The VERDICT:

 

            The House isn’t the worst thing to grace the theaters, however it certainly isn’t the best. Despite a unique concept presented in the trailers, the writers chose to travel down the mundane yellow brick road of innuendos and lame jokes we’ve heard time and time again.  Throw in the overacting and exponential stupidity and you’ll see the payout for this gamble is pretty low at best.  However, if you are a die-hard fan of the cast’s comedy style, by all means hit the theaters for this one and you’ll score a major laugh fest.  This reviewer recommends saving streaming services though, to maximize your resources.

 

My scores are:

 

Comedy:  5.0

Movie Overall: 3.0