Will You Take Your Holmies To This Screening?

Holmes & Watson Poster

 

Sherlock Holmes has many forms, some of which are immortalized in our minds and others we wish could get a face lift and some reinvigoration.  Nevertheless, the eccentric detective of Scotland yard gets another revisit this holiday season, this time with a much more comedic direction than most versions tend to focus on.  Can the legendary comedian team that gave us Step Brothers, step up to a new relationship? Robbie K is here to share his thoughts on the another review as I take a look at the film:

 

Movie:  Holmes and Watson (2018)

Director:

Etan Cohen

Writers:

Etan CohenArthur Conan Doyle (Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson were created by the late) (as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle)

Stars:

Will FerrellJohn C. ReillyRalph Fiennes

 

 

LIKES:

 

  • Quick Run Time
  • Funny At Times
  • References To Other Versions
  • Secondary Character Was Funny
  • The Song

Summary:  As the reviews come in, you are seeing a lot of negative components, but I can say that despite this not being everyone’s cup of tea, the movie at least is short, running around the 1 hour and 20-minute mark, meaning you’ll get out of there fairly quickly.  In this short film, the movie manages to find some nuggets of well-timed lines that somehow held some wit behind the bantering.  Often for me it had to do with the references to other versions of the detective, with nods to the Robert Downey Jr and Benedict Cumberbatch creations that are super popular.  When it comes to these moments that is the component that I found the most entertaining.  Well that and the secondary character of Millie, whose simplistic bouts of nonverbal comedy had some of the better time laughs than either Ferrell or Reilly could drum up. Of note though, the little song number that Ferrell and Reilly get to perform had some zest to it, so I give them props for including that.

 

DISLIKES:

  • Paper Thin Story
  • Mystery Was Boring
  • Lazy Writing
  • Too Forced Of Humor
  • Missed Comedy Opportunities
  • Fixation on Banter
  • Diving Down Politically Heated Topics

Summary: Holmes and Watson’s first weakness comes from the paper-thin story they tried to sell with the comedy antics.  A very simplistic tale that tries to throw in shallow character development and a mystery, this version certainly did not focus its efforts on trying to have something to ground the comedy too.  The mystery itself is lackluster and overshadowed by the ridiculousness of the film and given the obvious answer as to whom is the culprit, makes for a plot that will have difficulties standing up to the law of good movies.

Of course, most fans of Ferrell may not really care or expect the story, because he is after all known for being the king of slapstick, banter, and inappropriate comedy.  While this movie follows that formula, it’s writing did not quite match the quality of other Ferrell flicks and not just because of the missing story. Holmes and Watson had trouble finding its stride, forgoing classic one-liners for mindless banter and arguing between the titular characters, or extended bouts of over the top slapstick that didn’t pack the punch the scenes sound effects had.  It was comedy that was too forced for me, the lines blunt displays of stating the political injustice we still complain about, which doesn’t have the intended prowess it wanted.  When those styles failed, they switched to the obsessive self-pleasing jokes that although had good chemistry between actors, again treaded down the gross pathway instead of the funny for me. And the worst part is, all of it is in forced accents, the characters pushing into overdramatic displays of emphasizing the words in very forced accents.  All of this boils down to work that either has grown too stale to work in the modern age, or was too forced and lacking the finesse earlier films held.

 

The VERDICT:

 

            Holmes and Watson’s trailers have not sold you any lies, it’s a mess of predictable plot antics with overzealous comedic attempts that the two are famous for.  Yet the film does not have the same quality that the duos first film had all those years ago.  Is it because the comedy is stale, or is the focus on being too forced of comedy?  I don’t know the answers, but there is some serious need for plot development and better-balanced comedy to assist for any future installments.  As such, the movie missed its mark on a lot of things, needing to step back to the clever tipoffs, and timing than overstuffing the film with comedic banter. Thus, I can’t recommend this one for the theater, encouraging to hold out until Netflix picks it up.  Sorry guys!

 

My scores are:

 

Adventure/Comedy/Crime: 5.5-6.0

Movie Overall: 4.0-5.0

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Is There Hope Or Just Plain Nope: Go At Your Own Risk

Teen Titans Go! To the Movies Poster

 

Cartoons were amazing back in my day when cable was the preferred means of entertaining.  Whether it was the classics of Hannah Barbara, or the modern age 90s cartoons there were plenty that had bite and engaging elements that many modern shows lack.  One in particular was Teen Titans, a comic book inspired television that packed heat, excitement, and engaging episodes/characters that hooked generations. Then came Teen Titans Go, a chibi like, watered down version that took all those elements away and replaced them with bathroom humor, vomit slaps, and rants of babbling gibberish that did little to impress past the age of like 8.  So naturally, it’s popular for today’s group and with it comes a big screen picture to try and impress.  Robbie K is back with another review, so let’s get to it as I review:

 

Movie:  Teen Titans Go To The Movies (2018)

 

Directors:

Aaron Horvath,  Peter Rida Michail

Writers:

Aaron Horvath,  Michael Jelenic

Stars:

Will Arnett,  Eric Bauza,  Kristen Bell

 

 

LIKES:

 

Original Voice Actors: There are timeless voices that will always be remembered, and breathe life into the very character they are voicing. Fortunately, Teen Titans Go was smart enough to retain the original voice cast of Scott Menville, Khary Payton,Greg Cipes, Tara Strongand Hynden Walch.  The crew continues to lend their talents to try and redeem what little these big headed/small bodied forms have left for them, and kept me in the movie to support their work.  No last-minute switches here people, and fortunately it does work.

 

Animation:  While nothing close to some of the other comic book inspired shows, this reviewer still applauds some of the animation style in this movie.  Colorful designs, fluid motion, and clever art styles to culminate in some of the cleverer scenes, which is always appreciated when you break away from the style they’ve been dependent on us.

 

Short Time Frame:  If you can’t stand stupidity (then avoid this movie), but if you are going for your little one, fear not, the craziness lasts for only about 80 minutes and then you are free.  Thank goodness the editing was on top of the game.

 

Clever moments:  While Teen Titans Go seldom falls into this category, I couldn’t help but laugh at how the cartoon pokes fun at the obsession with super hero movies, Disney’s monopoly over things, and of course the obsession of only being recognized if you have a movie.  Bravo for the writer’s integrating these moments, because at the right times, these moments packed a punch.

 

The Mid-Credit Scene: There is hope for the future, and this entire movie’s excuse may be summed up in this short two-minute scene that happens after the cast.  We can only hope the momentum keeps going.

 

 

DISLIKES:

 

Zero Action:  The original series was so good at balancing this components with everything else to make the tales exciting and suspenseful. While there are some, faster paced scenes, the action is sub-par, dropped only after slightly building momentum so we can cram more juvenile jokes into the mix.  The finale helps remedy this for merely a few seconds, but it just happened too late in the movie for it to count for me.

 

Poop Jokes:  Bathroom jokes are great for me, but only when they are either well-time or super relevant.  The movie became a little too obsessed with this bodily function, taking grandiose tangents to cram one of these jokes in at an inappropriate time. It shouldn’t be a surprise if you’ve seen the show, but as a reviewer I have to point these out so don’t shoot the messenger.  The target audience is not going to get enough of the crude humor this movie loves to endorse, but for the older fans… well brace yourselves in whatever means you can.

 

The Story:  It’s an awesome poke at Hollywood, but given how incredible the proceeding series was, I find it hard to enjoy the story in this movie.  The writers had an underlying staple, but it criss crosses through so many sub-plots, it pretty much makes for a hodge-podge of mediocrity that just doesn’t do much outside of provide a platform to spring more jokes off.  I know, this wasn’t the intended path, but I miss my Teen Titans comic plot more than ever watching this mess.

 

Pointless Super Hero cameos: A few cameos were funny, but the advertisements endorsed super heroes and perhaps that means integrate them more. Teen Titans Goes down yet another pointless tangent, that leave much to be desired.  Outside of a few perfectly executed jokes, the older super heroes were pretty pathetic in this movie for me.  Sorry, but I have to speak my opinions.

 

The VERDICT:

 

            Teen Titans is probably being seen as the worst movie to come to theaters this year.  While it certainly isn’t a masterpiece, the movie does have some high moments, primarily in mocking the obsession Hollywood has with comics these days.  Truth is, this movie is meant for die-hard fans of the show (mainly kids) and it sticks to its guns to keep their attention with all the bright colors and stuck in your head songs.  I can’t recommend this one to the theater unless you are trying to please your little one, but regardless there is hope that the golden age can soon return.  It may be the only thing worthy of seeing this movie for. 

 

My scores:

 

Animation/Action/Comedy: 5.5

Movie Overall:  4.0

 

 

 

In Fun, It’s Funny, It’s Exciting and He’s Batman

batman

            You can build with them, you can imagine with them, and thanks to technology you can now play games with them.  I’m talking about Legos, the loveable building blocks that have spanned across all genres in their themes.  Like everything, Hollywood is happy to use it as a medium for pictures and this weekend we get the second adventure in brick land.  Will Lego Batman hold the same gusto as its predecessor from years back?  Or will it fall and smash into a million pieces?  Robbie K is back with yet another review to help with your movie choices.

 

LIKES

  • Funny
  • Lots of Movie References
  • Plenty of Comic References
  • Action packed, yet not violent
  • Fun morals built into a decent story

 

SUMMARY: If you remember the first film, you remember that it was not only fun, but funny.  The same can be said for the sequel, as Batman and his colleagues lead the charge in another rambunctious adventure.  Will Arnett as Batman takes point, delivering hilarious dialogue that we loved in the Lego movie, which is only further amplified by Michael Cera’s nasally, high-pitched presentation.  Amidst cheesy lines, constant bragging, and fancy one-liners is a comedic goldmine that will have both kids and adults laughing in their seats.  Yet, it was the comic and movie reviews that this reviewer loved and how clever their integration into the story was.  Gremlins, Lord of the Rings, and ridiculous 1960s Batman references are just a fraction of the nostalgia present in this movie, which will certainly bring back some fond memories for older fans, while hopefully inspiring younger generations to research.

 

But if comedy doesn’t keep you entertained, perhaps the exciting, kid-friendly, action will provide the entertainment you need.  Batman and his assistants have enough Kung Fu, laser blasting, building destroying moments to keep one hooked into the adventure at hand until you get to the fun moral filled moments.  Speaking of which, Lego Batman continues the trend of tying a lesson into overall story, which didn’t feel preach… at least until the end, then it is super preachy (though funny) delivery of the overall lessonOverall the adventure remains fun, fast, exciting, and humorous, which is always refreshing to watch.  However…

 

DISLIKES

  • Action is short-lived
  • Comedy sometimes gets stuck in banter
  • Batman Villains take a bit of back seat
  • Not the first one quite

 

Summary: I get it, Lego Batman isn’t meant to be the next action, stunt movie of the year, however it still would have been nice to see a little more pizazz to their fights.  Batman and company have some cool kung-Fu moves, but the directors simplistic repetition of these moves grew stale without some extra twists. Unlike the Lego movie, Lego batman also didn’t use the master builder power quite as uniquely, even though there was so much potential to be had.  In addition, the comedy also was a slight step down for me as well. Think about the diversity in Lego Movie, where each character has their own style of making us laugh and how well it mixed together to keep things fresh and fun.  Batman’s style again was very one dimensional, and while there were a bunch of well-timed one liners, the general theme of ego is the central focus, well that and his stupidity sometimes.  For me, it kind of grew stale (again) to be subjected to endless banter and drawn out dialogue.  This staleness may have been broken had they integrated the villains into the movie a little more. I don’t know about you, but when I think of Batman I also think of, you know, the bad guys that make up his universe too.  Unfortunately, Gotham’s psychopaths and crime lords take a back seat, (to again an enjoyable twist), and it would have been nice to integrate some of them into the mix a little better.  You can see that many of the dislikes come from comparison to the Lego Movie, and while this film is good, for this reviewer it just did not match up to its predecessor.

 

The Verdict:

 

Despite the dislikes though, Lego Batman is an adventure well worth the wait.  The movie will deliver the laughs, fun, and comedy promised by the trailers, and will entertain all ages (especially if you get the references).  Lego Batman is one of those movies designed to be fun, but hasn’t lost the uniqueness or imagination that many films lack.  As mentioned earlier, most of the dislikes come from a comparison to the Lego Movie, but if you can separate the two, then one will certainly enjoy the adventure to be had with this film.  Is it worth seeing in the theater?  Absolutely, and may be one of the few movies where 3-D adds to the experience (note I did not see it in 3-D).  Lego batman is a perfect fit for a geek’s night out, family outing, or if you are like me going solo for a laugh. 

 

My scores are:

 

Animation/Action/Adventure:  8.5

Movie Overall:  7.5

B-E-A-UTIFUL Acting!

collateral-beauty

 

We all know Charles Dickens’ classic tale the Christmas Carol and all the lessons it teaches this time of season.  It’s a story that has been told through many mediums that continue to entertain the masses.  This weekend, we get a similar tale to grace the theater entitled Collateral Beauty starring Will Smith and a slew of other characters. The question is though, does this twist work?  Hi Robbie K here, privileged to share some thoughts on another movie.  Shall we get started?

 

LIKES:

  • Fantastic Acting
  • Equal Screen Time
  • Good use of Music
  • Fantastic morals

 

With a star, studded cast that includes Will Smith, Kate Winslet, Hellen Mirren, and Edward Norton you expected good acting.  Well good news, the acting met the expectations placed on the cast.  Smith of course takes the lead, delivering another grand performance of someone suffering in life (7 pounds and pursuit of happiness). He sells the anger and hurt, while maintaining his emotional balance to prevent falling into overacting territory. Edward Norton, again delivers a sound performance and probably has the most diverse energy of the cast.  Newcomer Jacob Lattimore surprised me with his performance, which although a little skewed, had the teenage angst and aggression representative of time.  But the champion actor is Helen Mirren, who continues to prove that age brings experience.  Mirren was the funniest of the group, but managed to sell the morals of the movie the most without going too far.  She engages so well with the entire cast, and does a good job as the keystone of the movie…you know past Will Smith.  The entire group again does a fantastic job altogether, and even better are all balanced through the movie, each member getting close to equal time (which is sometimes unheard of).

While the acting certainly helps make the story come to life, the editing of the movie helped amplify the emotions of the film. The cinematography is beautifully executed, combining the enchanting scenery with the raw pain of our suffering characters.  You’ll get plenty of close ups on tear stricken faces and troubled stares as our characters face the ordeals at hand.  But it’s the background symphony music, that helps add that edge to get the tears flowing. Beautiful piano work helps sell the scene, subtle at times before unleashing its full power as the lessons are learned.  The culmination of audio and visual are fantastic tools to seal the deal for the morals this film has to offer.  And speaking of morals, the writers did a nice job twisting the tale to focus on dealing with life’s problems.  Aside from Will Smith’s trial of accepting his daughter’s death, the other characters each have their own trials to face that involve self-assessment, acceptance, and a willingness to try and make things better.  Preachy as it can be, these important lessons are taught with the fantastic lines and strong acting premise.

 

DISLIKES:

  • Not as deep as I thought
  • Felt Incomplete
  • Lackluster
  • More spirit interventions would have been nice

 

Despite all the good I reported, Collateral Beauty still has some rough edges that need some smoothing out.  For one thing, I felt there could have been more emotional punch to this film.  I felt the lessons in my heart, but I wasn’t borderline crying in this film.  It felt like they held back on the emotional punch. Whether this is due to some production quirks, some shallower plots, or the fact that the trailer delivered much of the film could have diluted it.  The movie also felt incomplete at parts, as if other scenes were needed or perhaps scenes deleted to take out the incomplete feeling.

In addition, the movie is a bit lackluster from the various tellings of the Christmas Carol.  This film doesn’t have the terror or suspense that Dickens’ three spirits contain, although they are much more entertaining.  This movie, despite teaching values, was just not as unique as I think it wanted to be. There were no grandiose twists, no outstanding spirit designs, and no key features to help make this movie stand out from similar morale tales.  I think I also wanted more spiritual interventions as well, another round to drive the point home to Howard.

 

The VERDICT

 

Collateral Beauty is certainly an example of great acting, as our stars have incredible chemistry, integrate through most of the movie, and have the emotional balance we would want in such a cast.  In addition, the morals are taught well thanks to the strong dialogue and wonderful audio/visual techniques to amplify the emotions.  However, there was something missing that just didn’t make this movie as emotionally deep as I expected.  Still, this is a movie that will move many and a good, fun movie for the holiday season.  Is it needed to be seen in the big screen?  When looking at the technical qualities and the unique aspect of the film…no this movie is worth a Redbox rent. However, in regards to the moral lessons and heartfelt story, this one is worth a visit. 

 

My scores are:

 

Drama:  7.5

Movie Overall: 6.5

Fun, Funny, and Fierce. This adventure is as crazy as the characters.

suicide squad

           It’s here, it’s here, the long awaited antihero movie has finally reared its rather odd looking head into theaters tonight. With all the justice filled men and women in sparkling underwear, Hollywood’s superhero sea needed a little color added to it. Suicide Squad looks to be just the ticket to provide that color and the trailers only fueled my excitement. But one always wonders if the movie will be as good as the trailers, or if it will bite the big one. Hi, Robbie K here, and I’m here to share my opinions on the latest movie. Let’s get started.

 

The GOOD

  • Comedy is spot on
  • Decent action/antihero theme
  • Margot Robbie is awesome

 

There is so much to say about this movie, and I wish to start with the comedy. If there is one thing superhero movies deliver on (outside of flashy outfits) it is usually a good comedic kick. Suicide Squad ups that factor as the band of rogues provide their views on life, often in a pessimistic jab. The lines are well written filled with a combination of whit and pizazz that are blended into a potpourri of themes that are very entertaining to hear. Our writers were also able to balance these lines throughout the movie, and mix in some additional comedic styles to further blend in the mix. And the delivery, alongside the timing, maximized the punch and  intended relief in this rather somber tale.

But you didn’t come for comedy alone (this isn’t Bad Moms). No…you came for action with an antihero twist. Once again, the movie delivers as our assorted criminals tear through the CGI generated villains with their various gadgets and styles. These moments are exciting, giving a decent balance of everyone’s abilities from Quinn’s use of a baseball bat or Diablo’s computer animated fire. The first battle in particular was my favorite of the bunch, but the other fights weren’t bad and provided some exciting (often explosive) fun. And it’s all nicely packaged with that living on the edge, careless joy that bad guys seem to enjoy and we expected. It’s dark, it’s vicious, and it certainly is fun…at parts (more on that later).

Yet one of the biggest positives of this movie both my friend and I agree on is Margot Robbie. The beautiful actress certainly brings the sex appeal, which is highlighted by the trailers, and she certainly got a response by the audience members in the stage. Outside of looks though, she nails the role of the psychotic Harley Quinn. Her high pitched screams, the ecstatic enjoyment of danger, and the devoted passion for violence were all captured by her and she certainly brought the edge we longed for. In addition, the movies performed by Quinn matched her personality and completed the deadliness of Mr. J’s assistant. She was a major carrier of the film and certainly a well-casted member of the crew.

 

The BAD

  • Story was kind of lacking
  • Action crosses into cheesy and unbalanced territory
  • Emphasis on only a few characters

One thing that a lot of movies can’t seem to get is the balance of story with action. Suicide Squad’s tale doesn’t feel much like a comic book tale, and fell short on some levels for me. A random opening that drops into a long winded origin tale whose pace became very erratic. From their the tale rushed at parts and then dragged at others and prolonged dialogue prior to the fight didn’t help things along. The “twists” behind their missions were kind of lame (and somewhat random) and was not impressive despite the buildup of the trailer (I was hoping more Joker and less gargantuan beast). It wasn’t the worst story of a hero flick, but this reviewer thinks it needed some tightening up.

Something else that didn’t stay consistent was the action. Remember I said the first battle was exciting, fast, and truly rocked. Well that momentum gradually gets lost as the movie progresses. Exciting romps become quick skirmishes where overdramatic theatrics are the weapon of choice instead of choreographed numbers. The exciting conclusion at the end is probably the least engaging of the fights, and dropped into the uber theatrical, symphony driven sequences that Hollywood loves. In addition some of the comedic irony in the film made the battle almost pointless and only further took away from the action.

And finally the balance on the characters was a little skewed considering the trailers announcing the line up. Deadshot and Harley Quinn took center stage in both story and action, and although they portrayed it well kind of robbed the involvement of the other characters. Pyro and Sorceress had their own contributions to tale, but even those were a cheesy subplot that fit awkwardly in this tale. As for Killer Croc, Captain Boomerang, and other members of the team, they fell into comedic relief positions that either started a laugh riot or fell on deaf ears. Again, everyone played their parts well, but the disproportionate representation of the characters and the unorganized tale robbed us of potential magic. So much for teamwork I guess.

 

The Verdict

            Despite the cheesiness, uncouth, and disproportionate aspects of the movie, Suicide Squad is certainly a fun movie to kick August off with. I feel you many will certainly enjoy the laughs that the gang will provide and the action sequences are sure to get some applause until they fall into corny territory. Again it doesn’t seem like they could decide on the route to go, but DC studios is getting closer to getting the formula right. Is this movie worth a trip to the theater? I think it certainly is, but not in 3-D if I do say so myself.

 

My scores:

Action/Adventure/Comedy: 8.0-8.5

Movie Overall: 7.0