Category: Movie Reviews

Everything Is Still Awesome? (The Lego Movie Review)

In the LEGO universe, the wizard Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman) tries to protect a superweapon called the “Kragle” from the evil Lord Business (Will Ferrell). Once he fails to do so, he prophesies that a person known as “the Special” will find a way to stop the Kragle. Now Emmet Brickowoski (Chris Pratt) is an ordinary LEGO figure who always followed the rules unwillingly becomes the Special, a being who is the key to saving his world. He later joins forces with a group of strangers who are on a mission to stop the now evil President Business and his plan to conquer the world. Unfortunately for Emmet, he is hopelessly and hilariously unprepared for such a task, but he’ll give it his all nonetheless.

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Banana-rama (Minions Review)

Alive since the beginning of time, Minions live to serve the biggest, baddest, and most evil. After a series of unsuccessful masters find a way to perish, the Minions no longer have someone to work for, a purpose to live and they all being to grow depressed. But one minion finally decided to do something, Kevin, along with Bob and Stuart venture into the world to find their people a new evil boss to work for. Their search culminates in them meeting Scarlet Overkill (Sandra Bullock), the world’s first ever evil super villainess.

Let’s be honest, there wasn’t really a need for this movie other than an excuse to put Minions in a movie. This movie will inevitably make lots and lots of money. They’re cute, they talk funny, and they act funny. Kids (myself included) loved them from the 2 Despicable Me films and they (and I eventually will) probably have all of the related merchandise. Kids will want to see this one too and get all the eventual merchandise that will come from it.

Now to the film! Even though I am an adult, I liked it. I mentioned that I liked the 2 Despicable Me films and the thing I liked the most from them was the Minions. Despite all of these years, they still haven’t gotten old for me. But the question is could they carry a movie? The answer is no. Don’t get me wrong, I like the Minions and the movie is called Minions but it did not have to focus on them as much as it did. There are other human characters in the film like Scarlet Overkill and her husband Herb (Jon Hamm) and also this family of bank robbers. I felt that they were a little underused and a little more of them would have provided some balance. Another thing that was underused was the narrator. He was used in the beginning of the film just so the viewers can understand what was going on. It could sometimes be difficult to understand what is going on when all you see is a bunch of Minions speaking gibberish. There were moments later on where more explanation would have helped. The story is simple enough. The film is a prequel to the 2 Despicable Me films so it takes place in the 60s so you’ll get all the time-appropriate references and a soundtrack with 60s music so you’ll get your Beatles, your Who, etc. The slapstick humor will keep the kids entertained and the 60s references will entertain the adults. Some of the reviews have mentioned that the plot is not compelling but I was fine with it. I would have liked it if some of the writing for some of the human characters was a little better. It wasn’t terrible but I what I liked about the Despicable Me films was how the human characters interacted with the Minions. If I had to compare this film to the Despicable Me films, this one would place third behind 1 and then 2. I personally can’t wait until their next film which will be Despicable Me 3 which comes out in 2017.

Score: 7.5/10

If you liked this, please read my other reviews here.

There’s a Little Ryan Reynolds in All of Us (Self/less Review)

Billionaire Damian Hale (Ben Kingsley) is on top of the world until he runs into a problem he can’t solve, Cancer.  His only hope is a new medical procedure called “shedding,” in which his consciousness is transferred to a healthy body. After Damian undergoes this procedure, he becomes a man named Edward (Ryan Reynolds). Once he attempts to start a new life in New Orleans,  he starts to become ravaged by visions of his new body’s past. As he begins to investigate the origin of his new body, he learns the lengths that his creators will take to protect their procedure and keep their identities secret.

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Three’s Company (Me and Earl and the Dying Girl Review)

Greg, an awkward high school student, is entering his senior year. He is a misfit who carefully navigates his way through each of his school’s student groups without standing out. He and his best friend Earl spend most of their time making parody films together (list of parody films and obvious spoilers). One day, he learns from his mother that his childhood friend, Rachel, is diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia. His mother forces him to try to spend time with her to make her feel better. The two have an awkward start to their new friendship with neither seemingly wanting each other’s company but it eventually grows and develops as she begins to fall for his quirky personality. The film primarily serves as his story of how he spends his time with Rachel and thus it is told from his perspective and he narrates it.

This film is a coming-of-age story as he deals with his last year of high school and decides what he wants to do about his future while living with his overbearing parents and hanging out and making films with his best friend. The film covers a lot of subject matter, it’s a high school comedy, it’s a drama, and it’s an experimental film all in one and it does them all very well. It explores high school social structure in a smart and original way that everyone would expect that reminded me of when I went to high school (jocks, nerds, geeks, goths, etc). The film does a great job of not sensationalizing terminal illness as it is just the secondary or even tertiary plot line and the film’s treatment of her friendship with Greg is both darkly funny and realistically bleak. The bulk of it focuses on Greg’s relationships either with Rachel, Earl, his parents or with Earl and his history teacher, Mr. McCarthy. The writing and execution is elite quality. Each character seem are grounded and depicted realistically. Parent and child relationships and peer relationships all are captured in humorous and touching ways. The dramatic elements of the film don’t come across as cliche or cheesy thanks to the acting and the writing that I’ve previously mentioned. I applaud the imagination involved in the parody films which Greg and Earl make as they are cheesy, funny, and full of charm with the purposefully bad acting and some nice stop-motion animation. This comes from the fact that they make them by themselves with the smallest of budgets. I would definitely not mind if they could be released in any form, maybe online. The actor who plays Greg, Thomas Mann, definitely carries this film with his performance and I was pleasantly surprised seeing that I have not heard of him before (quick IMDB search). The three main actors had excellent chemistry together on top of the original script kept me laughing and entertained for most of the film. For those who may be unsure, this not one of those pretentious YA book-based movies. It is a smartly written, well acted film and is one of the best films of the year.

Score: 9/10

If you liked this, please read my other reviews here.

Not the Sega One (Terminator Genesis Review)

This is the review of the second movie I saw on Canada Day, Terminator Genesis:

This movie starts off in the future. Judgement day has arisen. Human are at war with an artificial intelligence named Skynet and the machines it controls. When John Connor, leader of the human resistance, sends Kyle Reese to 1984 to protect his mother, Sarah, from a Terminator assassin, an unexpected turn of events creates an altered timeline where things are not what we thought they were. Since being orphaned by a Terminator, Sarah has since been brought up by another Terminator programmed to protect her. This Terminator has then trained her to face her destiny. Now, aided by the reprogrammed old Terminator, Sarah and Kyle together must overcome and survive the T-1000 and an unexpected enemy sent by Skynet from the future to kill them. With the past changed as we know it, the three must find a new way to save the future and take the fight to Skynet.

At least I think that was how it went. I will admit that I had a hard time following what was going on but I will admit that I eventually did. And what they did may complicate things for long time Terminator fans. I thought Arnold Schwarzenegger hasn’t lost his touch as the older Terminator and he still can hold his own with everyone else on screen. If you happen to not be a fan of the Terminator series, this is still an entertaining action movie. I thought it was a really good looking movie, the effects are high quality from the machines to the different Terminator models, the action is entertaining, and the acting was mostly solid throughout. Sure certain things didn’t make sense, or they rushed through a few parts without explanation, or the 2 leads may have been miscast but that’s not the point here. You’re not supposed to overthink these things, to better enjoy this movie, you just have to accept things in the way that they are presented to you. If you haven’t seen the first 2 movies, you may miss out on a few references. Fans of the Terminator series should remain engaged because this movie covers everything one would want from the Terminator checklist: Connors, Terminators, time travel, etc. Even if you haven’t seen any of the Terminator movies, you will get an enjoyable action movie with some explosions and excitement. This movie isn’t quite the same level as the first 2 James Cameron movies but it is the best of the rest. It isn’t the best action movie this year but is another solid addition to the Terminator series. Action and sci-fi movie fans will not be disappointed.

Score: 7/10

If you liked this, please read my other reviews here.

Something Will Be Standing on Guard for Thee (Magic Mike XXL Review)

Happy Canada Day by the way. Seeing that being in the capital of Canada on Canada Day, most places were going to be closed today and I wanted to stay away from the masses flocking downtown for all the festivities. It occurred to me that one of the only things I could do today was go to the movie theater, so I did. Today, I saw Magic Mike XXL and Terminator Genesis. Here is the first of 2 reviews, starting with Magic Mike XXL. Check back later for my Terminator Genesis review.

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There’s Always a Little Rex in Indominus (Jurassic World Review)

Dinosaurs are still cool but not as surprising as the first time around. The technology definitely has improved over the years but the story remains the same (close to the first 2 movies). There are a few references to the first 2 movies but you don’t really have to see any of the other movies to know what’s going on. This movie feels more like a remake of the first film instead of an actual sequel.

The movie starts off with a pair of brothers go on a trip to the rebuilt Jurassic Park (now World) to spend time with their aunt who happens to run the park. The story in the film is told from the perspective of the two brothers, the aunt just trying to hold everything together (which I will get to later), and the hunk dinosaur trainer guy. It’s been 22 years since the first film and now that infamous island has a new park on it. The first glimpse of the new park involves a bright and vibrant opening that reminds the viewer of the first time they saw the original Jurassic Park, with a voice over by the late Richard Attenborough in introducing the park visitors and the audience of the wonders of the first dinosaur amusement park. Sort of a tribute to what the first movie was about and the realization of it coming true.

Problems soon arise when, due to dwindling park attendance numbers, the park begins to start splicing the DNA  of their animals in order to create a new attraction. Surprisingly enough, they manage to create a bigger, more aggressive, smarter dinosaur, the Indominus Rex. Being the type of film it is, this dinosaur finds a way to reap havoc within the park and cause problems for the film’s protagonists. The film tries to act as a social commentary about the ethics and morality involved with cloning animals and whether or not they should be considered property or to be treated as living objects. The movie does not beat us over the head with this as most of the movie plays out as a creature movie where the stars of the film must merely try to survive the Indominus Rex and avoid the destruction in its wake. The movie when compared to the first 2 is not as scary or suspenseful because the new dinosaur they have created for this film is simply not as scary and the way it is was depicted does not inspire suspense. While watching the film, I never felt a sense of danger as the stars never acted like they were in danger. Knowing what I do about the first 3 films, the story was rather predictable and did not innovate or further the series at all. This isn’t the best movie I have ever seen but I was entertained. The performances of Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard kept me interested (albeit a little cliche). Some of the “family problem” stuff, I could have definitely gone without and the film kind of took a little time to get going. Fans of the series will not be disappointed with this installment and for those who have not seen a film in this series will be entertained as well.

Score: 7.5/10

If you liked this, please read my other reviews here.

Thunder Buddies For Life (Ted 2 Review)

That foul-mouthed, drug abusing teddy bear that we loved from the first movie is back for more. The film picks up 6 months after the first film with Ted and his best friend John still friends before Ted is about to get married and John is feeling down after having been in a divorce. Once married, it isn’t what he imagined. With his relationship in trouble, his solution is to have a baby. Little did he know that the government would soon recognize how he’s been living his life as a person. When his personhood comes into question, he now has to fight to maintain his marriage and for his own civil rights. Ted, John, and new for this film, a young female lawyer Samantha L. Jackson (obvious joke alert) must sue the state of Massachusetts in order for Ted to be recognized as a person while Ted tries to find someone for John.

If you’ve seen the first film, you won’t be surprised by this one. You’ll get all the dirty, homophobic humor that was in the first Ted or from any episode of Family Guy. This film still seems to have the charm that the first one had. I also enjoyed the opening musical sequence of the movie as well. Some may not be a fan of the humor in this film as it could easily be considered offensive. I don’t know what that says about me but I liked it. I wasn’t a fan of Seth MacFarlane’s earlier film “A Million Ways to Die in the West” but this one has the right amount of stupid but doesn’t take it too far.

Sure there aren’t as many jokes in this as the first film so they chose to take what they had and stretched it over the film’s running time at almost 2 hours (which could have been shorter).  The film occasionally suffers from an identity crisis, it wavers between a social commentary about one’s civil rights and an extended Family Guy episode but doesn’t do enough of either. I did like what I saw but I just wished that there was more of it. I believe it could definitely have gone without a few minor plot lines for I believe that they took away from the main story and added to the unnecessary length. I won’t mention the few cameos in the film other than that there is one noteworthy one that you will definitely not expect but will definitely remember. Overall, it’s not a bad film but I thought it could have done more. I liked this one just as much as the first film but not more. If you are looking for a comedy, I would recommend Spy with Melissa McCarthy. It happens to be my favorite comedy of the year and also one of the best overall movies.

Score: 7/10

If you liked this, please read my other reviews here.

I Need Someone to Lava (Inside Out Review)

I saw the movie “Inside Out” today and here are a few things I thought about it:

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