Nov 22

Coco

Walt Disney Animation Studios have been on a kick lately, where they want simplistic, yet bold film titles, often in one word. Tangled. Frozen. Moana. Zootopia. Gigantic, which apparently isn’t going to happen anymore.

Disney isn’t officially doing Coco, Pixar is (Which is owned by Disney), who, outside of the franchise that should not be named, has mostly shied away from these sort of titles. Is Coco a sign of things to come for Pixar in the title department? It is hard to say, given the fact that its previous two movies, and next two movies are all sequels. Ugh.

I will note I experienced almost no hype for Coco. And that is because of its immediately similarity to The Book of Life. They aren’t even doppelganger films, because the other one came out years earlier, so it is just a bit odd to see such similar topics in animated films so close to each other. But the good news is, The Book of Life was only okay, I forgot basically all of it by now so it really didn’t mess with my opinion.

Strum
Guitars, afterlife, Mexico, love, sadness, revenge. Very similar films indeed.

Mama Imelda (Alanna Ubach) has a sad story, but a strong one. She had a daughter, Coco (Ana Ofelia Murguía), with her husband, who had more loves in the world than just his family. He left them, to become a singer and a star, and never returned. Poor Imelda had to raise Coco on her own, while also bringing home the bacon. She learned to make shoes and started her own shoe empire, going down her line of children.

Now, many years later, Miguel (Anthony Gonzalez) is a 12 year old boy, and he loves music. He wants to play the guitar and sing, but there is a ban on music in his family, given the past incident. His Abuela (Renee Victor) is the main matriarch now, since his great-grandmother, Coco, is in a chair and doesn’t speak much.

Miguel idolizes Ernesto de la Cruz (Benjamin Bratt), who is basically the Mexican Elvis in this film, extremely famous and well loved. But he has to keep his obsession secret. Well, due to some shenanigans involving a dead man’s guitar, Miguel finds him in the underworld! And on this, Dia de los Muertos, when the dead are trying to get back to the real world, not the other way around.

Miguel is going on an adventure, on the run from disapproving and dead realities, while he searches for his great great grandfathers approval, so that he can return to the real world AND play music officially. And he has bumbling Hector (Gael Garcia Bernal) to help him, who just wants someone to post his photo in the real world so he can cross over to the real world just one time before no one remembers him.

Also featuring the voices of many others, including Edward James Olmos, Jaime Camil, Alfonso Arau, Herbert Siguenza, Lombardo Boyar, and Sofía Espinosa.

Familia
Well, Miguel doesn’t LOOK like his ancestors.

It is interesting that this film came out in Thanksgiving weekend and not like, the week before Dia de los Muertos like the film takes place on. Usually films go into effort to come out near specific holidays, but Pixar needed that Thanksgiving break money. It was released in Mexico before the day at least, so it has been out for almost a month somewhere else in the world.

On an emotional level, Coco hits on most of the cylinders. It should be a relatively easy feat, given the subject of DEATH and loss being its main focus. Relatives dying? Wives, kids, parents, whatever the level, it will get people choked up. It had a diverse soundtrack of authentic sounds, and despite Remember Me getting the most screen time (and one cry), my favorite song was Proud Corazón by the end, which tied up everything with a nice bow, as these films tend to do.

Miguel’s relationship with his various family members feels real on the level that a 12 year old boy might feel, including the parts where no one lets him talk. But adults refusing to listen to children in films end up usually being a pet peeve, as they just create lazy plot situations where communication does not occur and leads to all of the conflict.

Coco is a beautiful film, physically and emotionally, but it just seems to falter on the smaller elements. Ideas I couldn’t get out of my mind. Timing these events on Dia de los Muertos seemed to have hurt it instead of helping it. On this day, the dead want to go to the real world to party, hang out, get trinkets. And yet the city of the dead is so fucking full of people. We see a very small shanty area of folks who can’t cross because they don’t have pictures. But all of the biggest underworld celebrities are just still there? All the citizens are having their own parties in the place they are stuck so many days of the year?

It seems like a minor nitpick, and maybe it is, but it really distracted me most of the film. There were issues with the spirit animals, in that apparently one is so much more powerful than the others that it can just murder in the underworld and be basically okay. We have the fear of falling to death ruined by a last minute save, that would have still killed the person falling based on how they did it.

And we had SO MANY times when slow decisions were being made just toe extend the film. At least three times we had moments where the viewer would assume that everyone is fine now, time to fix things, and then wham, nope. Whether it be from last second pointless arguments, lack of communication, or just forgetting how to move.

The plot felt very lazy, so much that the film became more tearjerky than anything.

I love the culture of the film, I love the authentic voice actors, and how some of the songs were actually all in Spanish. Having this much of a multicultural element in a Pixar film is a welcome change (since most of their culture is inanimate/dead things with feelings). It just relied to heavily on that component and not enough on a decent plot.

And to bring us back to the beginning, Coco is not a good title for this film.

2 out of 4.

Permanent link to this article: http://gorgonreviews.com/coco

Nov 21

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

I try my best to avoid most trailers for films, but I give myself some exceptions. I will watch a real teaser trailer occasionally, as they are the ones who don’t spoil the whole thing. Teaser trailers especially for superhero films or Pixar/Disney stuff, even though some of the teasers are downright terrible.

But sometimes a film comes along with such a unique name, that I just need to know what it is about, right away. I will watch it right away, intrigued, which is what a movie title should do. Unlike every other film I review this week after this movie, because all of their titles are shit, regardless of film quality.

Only some offense meant for the films this week that I won’t name. Back to this title. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri just grabs the viewer by the balls and tells them to get ready for a very fucking specific story.

Even better, despite being an original story, it might have been inspired by a true event. In Minnesota last year, a citizen took out a billboard calling out the sheriff with vulgar language. If you read a news article, it seems like a completely bull shit story, so who cares about that guy. But when I saw it in person I had my wife look it up on her phone (I was driving) because the gossip just had to be too good.

Again, a shit story, but it felt juicy, so I am glad to see this film do something much better with the concept.

Billboards
And I will only show you one of the billboards in this review, neener neener.

Mildred (Frances McDormand) has a problem. A problem letting go and moving on with her life, after her dad was found dead, burned alive, after being raped. A heinous, terrible crime, and honestly, it makes sense for her to not get over it. Her daughter was still a teenager and they are in such a small town, it is inexcusable and unprecedented for this to have happened.

But what is even worse, in her mind, is that the local police force seems to have given up on finding the killer. She hasn’t heard from them in 8 months and she is rightfully pissed off. So she spends most of her savings on renting out three billboards near her home, ones that have been seemingly forgotten about, to call out the local Sheriff (Woody Harrelson).

This causes quite a stir, more so than the rape/murder. The town likes the sheriff, he is a good guy, and he has goddamn cancer. Mildred doesn’t care, she just wants answers to her questions, even though she knows it will not bring her daughter back. Mildred is going to be burning several bridges to get what she needs, metaphorically and slightly literally (buildings are like bridges, right?). Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.

Also starring Caleb Landry Jones, Sam Rockwell, Abbie Cornish, Lucas Hedges, Zeljko Ivanek, Amanda Warren, Malaya Rivera Drew, Peter Dinklage, Sandy Martin, John Hawkes, Samara Weaving, and Clarke Peters.

Cops
Two Cops near a billboard outside Ebbing, Missouri.

Three Billboards is a hard movie, with a hard topic, with, you guessed it, hard characters. It earned a hard R rating, when it comes to language, violence, and the occasional gore. No, not on any hardcore graphical porn level, sorry folks, just everything else.

McDormand carries the film on her poor fragile shoulders where the whole thing just feels incredibly realistic. Her grief and anger can only be described as real grief and anger. Harrelson as a supporting character still feels a bit like Harrelson, but from a different angle that I haven’t seen much before. Rockwell does one of the biggest changes, as he puts all of his charismatic roles in the past to play this disgusting, morally terrible individual. He is racist, xenophobic, crass, yet caring in strange ways. Oh, and he doesn’t even dance. Can Sam Rockwell be in a film where he doesn’t dance?

The story is an emotional and moving piece. After all, everyone deals with loss in their own ways, and McDormand’s character comes from the place of a woman who feels like she has nothing left to lose (except her son, which she admittedly forgets somewhat about). But again, it is more than just her story in this small town of individuals. At least four or five other characters get shining moments, even if just a little bit, as parts of their stories fortunately (or unfortunately) intersect with her own.

I would describe only one scene that I did not like at all, and it involved a flashback. The words used were too specific and forced, they instantly drew me out of the movie. Thankfully the strong story and characters were quick to draw me back in.

Living in a small town, like a real small town, will get quite annoying when everyone knows everyone’s business, including the law enforcers. I didn’t grow up in an environment like this personally, but based on what I have seen in other films and stories from others, it definitely seems to grasp that feeling.

Three Billboards is not a film for everyone, which is shame, given how likely it will end up on my end of the year list.

4 out of 4.

Permanent link to this article: http://gorgonreviews.com/three-billboards-outside-ebbing-missouri

Nov 20

Brigsby Bear

Brigsby Bear is one of those movies that came out earlier in the year at a weird time, then everyone forgot about it. An indie film, not a blockbuster, and a weird one at that, it was easy for people to ignore.

I know I wanted to see it, but hurricanes, day screenings and more made me have to wait for closer to the DVD release unfortunately.

I mean. Movie about dudes in bear costumes, or something like that. What is not to love!

MOon
Based entirely on screenshots, it could be one of the trippiest films of the year too.

James (Kyle Mooney) thought he was a normal kid adult dude, living with his parents (Mark Hamill, Jane Adams), in their underground bunker. James couldn’t leave without the gas mask, so he just lived in his room for the most part. The good news is that even though the end of the world was bleak and lonely, he still was able to get his weekly episode of Brigsby Bear, going on many many years. James learned a lot from Brigsby Bear, its lessons always seemed to really be appropriate to his life, and he chatted on the internet about various Bear theories.

But then the cops came. They arrested his parents and took him away, and they didn’t even need gas masks. It turns out they were not his real parents, he was abducted at a very young age by the couple and lied to for decades. His real parents (Matt Walsh, Michaela Watkins) had been worried forever, but are glad to have their son back. Turns out that he now has a younger sister (Ryan Simpkins) and a lot to learn about the real world.

The biggest shocker is that no one knows about Brigsby Bear, his one obsession since he can remember anything. It was a show developed by his “parents” as a distraction and no one else knows what the hell he is talking about. Shit. Well, maybe if he can get some of the tapes from evidence, he can show the world. Or maybe he can just continue the story on his own, so that everyone can find out about the wonders of Brigsby Bear and why he is the best hero known to mankind. And bear kind.

Also featuring Greg Kinnear, Jorge Lendeborg Jr., and Alexa Demie.

FIeld
And this field was juuuuust right.

I didn’t know what to expect with Brigsby Bear, but I certainly didn’t expect that. Our lead was introduced and freed from the bunker all within the first 15 or so minutes. Most of the film is him adapting poorly to the real world, while those who want to care about him find it quite difficult to interact with him.

And of course, the bear. I frankly wanted to have a lot more of the bear videos in the movie. If it was just doubled, I would have been ecstatic. We want to see the mythos he grew up with and not just vague explanations about the characters. Show us, don’t tell us.

That would be basically my only complaint. We have a lot of real feeling characters, and a bear, that is going to change so many of their lives. It is one of the strangest ways to look at a child kidnapping story, but it is great that the filmmakers are keeping things fresh. I love a bit of a bizarre film to keep me realizing what bad films are also coming out.

Brigsby Bear will end up being a bit of a bore for a lot of people watching it. The good news is that those people are wrong, and probably wish I was reviewing Transformers: The Last Knight now instead.

3 out of 4.

Permanent link to this article: http://gorgonreviews.com/brigsby-bear

Nov 18

Wonder

As a middle school teacher, Wonder is a book I have seen before existing that I have blatantly ignored. It had an interesting cover, sure, but a guy can’t just go and read everything that is hip and cool with the kiddos.

I was still excited for this one, as I knew a lot of librarians and English teachers and students who talked highly about the book. So sure, I would watch it and hope for the best, and not worry about comparing it to the book.

Oooh, I wonder wonder what’s in a wonder film.

Family
Maybe that helmet is full of wonder balls.

August “Auggie” Pullman (Jacob Tremblay) is a boy who had a lot of problems right out of the womb. He has been in the ICU, and has had many surgeries. There were many problems, and basically, he now has a really different looking face when compared to other kids. Because of his issues, he has been homeschooled his entire life by his mother (Julia Roberts), who put a degree on hold. His dad (Owen Wilson) works and tries to keep the humor in the house, and his older sister, Via (Izabela Vidovic), just has to deal with most of her problems on her own.

His family thinks it is time for him to finally join the real world. It will be hard for him to go to a real school, but it will be harder the more they put it off. So he is signed up for an academy for middle school that starts in the fifth grade and does a lot of advanced science work. Auggie loves science, dreams of being an astronaut, and has been using a space helmet to hide his face when going out in public.

Middle school is going to be a hard adjustment for Auggie. But he doesn’t realize is that many kids are finding it to be a hard adjustment. And that school itself is a hard adjustment, across its various levels. Auggie will realize the value of friendship, betrayal, and more, and that he also is not the center of his own universe.

Also starring Noah Jupe, Mandy Patinkin, Bryce Gheisar, Elle McKinnon, Daveed Diggs, Ty Consiglio, Kyle Breitkopf, Millie Davis, Ali Liebert, Danielle Rose Russell, Nadji Jeter, and Ben Ratner.

Woods
When they recreate frame by frame that scene from Deliverance? A bold choice from the director.

My first initial thought about Wonder: The movie only made me cry three times, what a shitshow. A good film needs five cries minimum.

But then I got over my not super salty cheeks and thought about the film and story as a whole. The film isn’t just about a dude with a messed up face learning to cope. It is about his whole family moving on with his condition. It is about his sister finding herself, i is about his friends realizing their own fuck ups. Shit, it is even about his sister’s friend realizing she is a fuck up.

It is a really easy conclusion to come to as well, because the film is formatted in a way to (quite obviously) show several different point of views. I have been told the book does it more frequently and better, but I did really appreciate it when it happened in the film. I got giddy with each iteration. If anything, one of the reasons the rating isn’t hire is because the film didn’t go deep enough in this method. Don’t introduce point of views and do it half-assed. Basically every time it did so, it did it only once, and then didn’t do it for enough characters. Let me see all of the other side characters who acted weird, go all in damn it.

I was able to connect with a lot of the characters, including Auggie, despite only having a minor facial deformity myself. Except the deformity I have made me really really attractive, so I guess people stared at me for other reasons.

Acting is swell, and honestly, a shout out to Wilson. He was more than a generic joking dad. He had some really sweet and tender moments as well, less than the mom character, but he did a lot with his lesser screen time.

3 out of 4.

Permanent link to this article: http://gorgonreviews.com/wonder

Nov 16

Lady Bird

Greta Gerwig is one of the modern queens of the independent film. I don’t know if she has even starred in anything main stream yet. She is like Lena Dunham, if Lena Dunham didn’t have Girls as a breakaway success.

I knew it wouldn’t be long before she broke out of just starring and writing into the directing game, but little did I know that she actually directed a movie in 2008, before I knew who she was. That is how indie Greta Gerwig is, people. Something called Nights and Weekends, that she starred in, wrote, and directed. It didn’t really get noticed, and so it took almost a decade later before she tried again.

This brings us to Lady Bird, a probably pseudo autobiographical story about her growing up, but this time she isn’t starring in it at all! Just focusing on the directing and the writing. Looks like Gerwig has grown up after all, allowing someone else to get some of that indie spotlight love.

dresses
Although from the looks of it, Gerwig could have played both of these roles.

Christine ‘Lady Bird’ McPherson (Saoirse Ronan) is a young girl, just 17, a newly senior in high school, and she needs to make her mark. She lives in a poor family, with an overburdened mom (Laurie Metcalf) and a chill and happy father (Tracy Letts). Also in their small home is her older and more pierced brother (Jordan Rodrigues) and his girlfriend.

Lady Bird, who decided that is her new name several years prior, goes to a private Catholic school thanks to a scholarship. Most of the kids there are rich, except her best friend Julie (Beanie Feldstein). Lady Bird wants to get out of Sacramento, a hell on Earth to her. She wants to go to the East Coast, where there is some culture. A nice liberal arts place. Except she is poor, she doesn’t make good grades, and doesn’t have discernible talents really.

Guess she will just have to experience life on her own before then. Finally dating, maybe having some of that sex, maybe living out her other wild fantasies while she has the chance. Screw everyone else, Lady Bird is in it for herself for once!

Also starring Stephen Henderson, Bob Stephenson, Odeya Rush, Lucas Hedges, Timothée Chalamet, Lois Smith, and Jake McDorman.

BLUE HOUSE
Apparently these dreams involve a house with shutters and freedom.

Oh, I only guessed it was maybe autobiographical, but honestly a lot of elements in this just scream out Gerwig Gerwig Gerwig. Ronan isn’t playing Lady Bird, she is just playing Gerwig, a free spirited individual who is bigger than her body and station in life. Lady Bird eventually grows up into the character that Gerwig plays in Damsels in Distress, after she has moved on, gained that confidence, and is ready to inspire others.

So Ronan is acting as Gerwig in this movie. Now that it is obvious, we can all move on and just examine the rest of the film.

The movie itself is very funny, with more than one eccentric cast member. I don’t even know how I feel about Chalamet’s character, but I am very glad he is in there, while enraged at him almost every single time. This is only the second film I have seen Hedges in (After Manchester By The Sea), and thankfully his characters are very different so he can show some range. And Metcalf is downright stunning as the mom character. Sort of like a more intense Lois from Malcolm in the Middle, who also has less assholes to deal with.

The film lives and dies with Ronan, who of course delivers everything. It is great again to see her doing such different roles, from the recent Brooklyn and The Grand Budapest Hotel. If I had any issues, it did feel like it just went on a bit too long, starting to tell a story that didn’t feel as necessary.

Overall still a solid comedy, a good coming of age story, and a bunch of quirky weirdos from 2002 ready to entertain.

3 out of 4.

Permanent link to this article: http://gorgonreviews.com/lady-bird

Nov 15

Goon: Last of the Enforcers

I. Love. Goon.

I did not do a best of list of 2011, but if I did, Goon would have certainly been on in it. It was such a surprise of a film. I don’t except a lot out of hockey movies, nor do I expect a lot out of Seann William Scott films, but something magical came together to give a movie that was hilarious, brutal, but still full of heart at the same time. And it told a different sort of hockey story. A different sort of underdog.

It was the perfect storm.

And then they said there would be a sequel. This time it would be written and directed by Jay Baruchel who wrote the first film. It would be Goon: Last of the Enforcers and it would come out eventually.

So it took six years yes. And Canada had it released in theaters briefly in March with no knowledge of when it would come to America, theatrically, DVD, or otherwise. And at some point it was just here, I saw the Blu-Ray at used movie store. I freaked out, excited, and scared.

As much as I loved Goon, I had big fears that a sequel would just be utter shit, as a lot of comedy sequels tend to do.

Train
Turning the whole thing from a comedy into a romance is a bold choice as well.

Doug Glatt (Seann William Scott) is ready to start a new season as a Halifax Highlander, but with a big change. He is going to be the captain. This upcoming season is a bit of a weird one, as there is a lockout in the NHL, so more and better players are in their league than normal and people are actually noticing them for once, including the media. They have a new owner, Hyrum Cain (Callum Keith Rennie) a former player himself.

During their first game, Glatt gets into a bloody fight with Anders Cain (Wyatt Russell), an up and coming violent winner, and yes, son of their new owner. Glatt gets his ass handed to him and his right arm injured, putting him out potentially for good. His right hand is so messed up, if he fights again, it will quickly get fractured and fuck it up permanently.

So Glatt is ready to retire on that note. Eva (Alison Pill), his now wife, is also pregnant and worried about him, so he gets a steady job in some insurance company. He hangs his skates up for his family, as the Highlanders begin to lose and lose. The owner makes changes that seem to threaten the franchise and the careers of his friends. That is not good. There is no way Glatt could come back, right? Not with an inability to fight. He would just have to be a player mostly. It might be crazy enough to work…

Also returning are basically everyone from before: Marc-Andre Grondlin, Liev Schreiber, Kim Coates, Jay Baruchel, Jonathan Cherry, George Tchortov, Karl Graboshas, Trent Pardy, and Richard Clark. It also brings in Elisha Cuthbert and T.J. Miller!

New Guy
New guy definitely wins the beard game if anything.

A lot of the same happens in the Goon sequel, thankfully. We still have the locker room playful banter that makes up a decent portion of the original. A lot of the skaters are the same. The old captain has retired and is now just a coach, along with the same old coach as well. Just a new owner, a new player, and the same supporting cast.

Pill’s character has changed for the worse. She is worried about her husband, and pregnant, but she really doesn’t get to have a lot of good moments unlike the first film. She rocked originally when she was a hot mess, but I guess it is development. Glatt feels like the same old character, which feels great, although the time between the films is a bit up in the air. I definitely enjoyed seeing Rhea in a roll that felt natural as well.

Unfortunately, Russell’s new antagonist, though threatening, was all over the place. They tried to place it all under just anger issues, but it is really hard to understand him as a person, and feels like he would just do what a writer wants, not like how an actual person might react.

Jokes are still there, they just didn’t hit as hard. Some really funny moments, but I have already forgotten basically every best moment, unlike the best moments from Goon which I have quoted for years.

All in all, it is just an okay film. It won’t tarnish the memory of the first film, but also, it is one I won’t ever need to go back and see again. Oh well. Just don’t make it a trilogy and end it poorly.

2 out of 4.

Permanent link to this article: http://gorgonreviews.com/goon-last-of-the-enforcers

Nov 15

The Girl on the Train

I did plan on watching The Girl on the Train when it came out, you know, in 2016. I knew it was based on a pretty famous book, it had a lot of mysterious elements, and it might have been a spiritual successor to Gone Girl. The book and movie are not done by the people who did Gone Girl, but similar elements were apparently there.

However, I missed the screening, and then my wife said she really wanted to see it also. Just after she read the book first, because that is what normal people do. It took a year later, but she finally picked up and read the book in only about a week, which let us thankfully still watch it thanks to Redbox. It is great when they have oldish movies on there (and yes, I realize it is within a year of coming out, but it still feels really old).

Hooray trains!

Train
I found her! The girl on the train! Did I solve it!?

Rachel (Emily Blunt) is a woman who happens to be an alcoholic, and she rides a train to and from work every day. And on this train ride, she has become obsessed with another woman. She can see her in her house, this Megan (Haley Bennett), living a life with her lover, happy and free. Or at least that is what Rachel invents for her life.

Rachel is a drinker because her husband, Tom (Justin Theroux) left her. He married Anna (Rebecca Ferguson), had a kid, all of the things that he could never do with Rachel. And it turns out that Megan was their nanny for the little kid, unsure if Rachel knew this fact.

Well one sad day, Rachel decided to get off on that stop, seeing that Megan was with another man. This could not be! She was perfect! And now Rachel was drunk and upset.

The next thing Rachel knew, she was awake in her home, with blood on her hands. And news that Megan was missing.

Was it Rachel, blackout drunk and angry? Could she have killed someone?

Also starring Luke Evans, Edgar Ramirez, Darren Goldstein, Laura Prepon, Allison Janney, and Lisa Kudrow.

Balcony
The Girl on the Balcony was a much sexier title, but too close to Man on a Ledge.

The Girl on the Train is told from three different points of view, Emma, Megan, and of course Rachel. The timelines are a bit out of whack, for dramatic sake, in order to amp up all the mystery. After all, if we saw Megan’s point of view when she died, there would be no story to tell!

The false leads don’t end up pissing off the viewer, but really just make sense as the story unfolds. It is not an easy mystery to guess ahead of time, although enough hints really are there. I made a lot of intentionally stupid guesses just to mess with my wife, but when the final reveals occurred I wasn’t surprised in the least.

The issues with the film are just…hard to explain. It feels so bland. The acting isn’t bad, it is just mediocre feeling. The story doesn’t end up feeling as great as it is built up to be. It was maybe over hyped by the advertising or the pacing of the book, because the movie felt rushed and just average.

I think more details in the story would have gone a long way. More drives for the characters and just more things for them to do. It took a long time to reveal not too much, and just felt like a lot of potential that was never fully reached, unfortunately. Let’s hope the sequel, The Old Lady in the Shoe does a bit better.

2 out of 4.

Permanent link to this article: http://gorgonreviews.com/the-girl-on-the-train

Nov 13

Smurfs: The Lost Village


The Smurfs and The Smurfs 2 were met with a lot of mixed results, especially on this site. But you know what? A lot of things really worked.

Like Hank Azaria as Gargamel. He was great as the voice and character himself and felt perfect. I also enjoyed Neil Patrick Harris as our human contact.

But the sequel bombed because it was a poor movie. However they blamed it on the real actors for whatever reason and promised that the next Smurfs movie would stay in Smurfs land. No real people, just CGI for everyone. And now we have Smurfs: The Lost Village as a sort of reboot on the franchise where people won’t realize that things are different.

Adventures
Hundreds of smurfs, and we will only focus on a handful of course.

In this movie we are reminded again that Smurfette (Demi Lovato) was created by Gargamel (Rainn Wilson) to find the smurfs and be evil, but Papa Smurf (Mandy Patinkin) did some of that smurf magic to make her blonde, and thus, nicer. However, Smurfette feels weird because she doesn’t know what her smurf talent is. After all, all the men smurfs have an adjective to describe their talent, but her talent is just being a girl I guess.

After some fun time, Smurfette, Brainy Smurf (Danny Pudi), Hefty Smurf (Joe Manganiello), and Clumsy Smurf (Jack McBrayer) find some other smurf like thing who runs into the forbidden forest, blocked by a huge wall. And through some plot, Gargamel finds out that in that forest is a hidden smurf village that no one knew about before. If he can’t get the close smurfs, he might as well get the ones that don’t even know he exist!

So now these smurfs go out on an adventure, alone, to try and race to the lost village to warn the smurfs about Gargamel before it is too late.

Also featuring Ariel Winter, Dee Bradley Baker, Ellie Kemper, Frank Welker, Julia Roberts, Meghan Trainer, and Michelle Rordriguez.

Girls
Blonde just has to stand out I guess. Blue all the way down otherwise.

Why is it really that whenever we get a smurfs movie, they can only handle an actual handful amount only, and never like 10 or more? Oh we get one off jokes for a few of the smurfs. Vanity and Nosy got a few jokes I guess, but everyone else was one scene and done for the most part. Such a goddamn waste when there are like a hundred of them. Such lazy writers. Clumsy being there is just for comic relief, at least Hefty and Brainy have a purpose.

Wilson does a terrible Gargamel. If Azoria was never Gargamel in the past, I don’t know if I would be saying that, but at least comparison, it is so much worse. It just feels like some dude talking, not an evil grouchy balding wizard. He has lost his snarl in this movie and never feels threatening.

The story itself is just so generic. The adventure has bullshit perils, generic bad plantlife and lacks any amount of creativity.

But the worst part is that the ending is complete crap. For whatever reason, Smurfette is suddenly immune to a spell from Gargamel because she really isn’t a smurf. However, that same spell worked on rats and Gargamel, who also aren’t smurfs, so I am not sure why that it is relevant. And apparently what that really means is that Gargamel can’t cast spells on her at all. And that is how the plot gets finished, because she saves everyone by tricking him. And it serves absolutely no logic at all.

There are few okay moments and decent jokes, but it is a huge shit show. And it is not because of any human people this time. Also, Demi Lovato as Smurfette is a poor man’s Katy Perry. It is true and you know it.

1 out of 4.

Permanent link to this article: http://gorgonreviews.com/smurfs-the-lost-village

Nov 10

The Hitman’s Bodyguard

I remember when the first poster for The Hitman’s Bodyguard came out, everyone just naturally assumed it was a joke. There wasn’t prior knowledge of some mysterious Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson movie, just a poster and a lot of laughs. It was a parody of the poster for The Bodyguard, but you know, dudes. Hilarious.

And then a trailer came out and confirmed everyone’s worst or best fears. This movie was real, and it was an action comedy, and it might be amazing. It could be the next The Nice Guys for all we know, with two talented comedic leads who also know their way around an action movie. A perfect pairing, if you will.

Little did I know, technical issues would get in the way of a good laughing.

Gun
Joke about dicks and guns.

Michael Bryce (Reynolds) used to be one of the best bodyguards in the world. Dignitaries, foreign leaders, high CEO level people would hire him in dangerous situations to make sure they made it through safely, especially if someone wanted them dead. He was incredibly thorough with his work, always detailed, meticulously planning every job to ensure the best for his clients.

But eventually, one of his clients got shot despite doing everything right. This put him on the straight spiral downward. A bodyguard is only as good as his rating, and letting a client die puts a hamper on your rating. So now he is a mess of a man, doing shittier jobs. He still does them well, but his heart isn’t into it anymore.

An ex lover, Amelia Roussel (Elodie Young), who works for Interpol one day shows up at his door needing help. It turns out they have in their custody Darius Kincaid (Jackson), one of the greatest hitmen known to man, with incredible aim and very ruthless. He isn’t being charged with a crime, but he is being brought in as a witness against Vladislav Dukhovich (Gary Oldman), a tyrant being charged with crimes against humanity. Apparently Kincaid did a few jobs for him, so he has the inside scoop and is the only person alive who can testify to the deeds.

So of course people want Kincaid dead. And it is going to take an expert to get him there safely, while also dealing with his reckless behavior. Unfortunately, these two gentlemen are also bitter enemies, with Kincaid being the one who killed Bryce’s man those years ago. Oh how will they put this rivalry behind them?

Also starring Salma Hayek, Yuri Kolokolnikov, Tine Joustra, and Joaquim de Almeida.

Explode
The more explosions the better, I guess.

I’d love to give a real review of this movie. I’d prefer if I saw it in perfect conditions to really judge or appreciate the film, but alas, I did not.

The screening I saw had very jacked sound quality. Early on it was terrible. Everything that made a sound was louder than the dialogue, so it started off hard to follow. Later on it got better, but it turns out it was just due to less explosions. By the end, it was again an inaudible mess of just sounds and hard to decipher words. It was fucking pointless.

And I have to judge the movie entirely by this fact. Because I am not going out of my way to see it a second time to see if it was fluke. The people working didn’t say it was a mistake and try to fix it. We just got wrecked and they didn’t care, so I didn’t care either. I didn’t know when I would ever publish this review, because it feels pointless. But hey, I published my review of King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, which had even worse issues in my theater, so why not just rail against this movie?

Hayek was fantastic in this film though. She stole the show. Good on her.

1 out of 4.

Permanent link to this article: http://gorgonreviews.com/the-hitmans-bodyguard

Nov 09

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)

The Meyerowitz Stories (New And Selected) is not a movie I was jumping in my car to see. I mean, just look at the title. You don’t have to know anything about it to realize how much of an indie movie it must be, and how many hipsters must have died to make the production.

But it is a new one coming to Netflix, so those are usually surprising to me in quality. I have seen a lot of stuff on there that I have hated and quickly loved while watching.

The other factor is the director, Noah Baumbach, king of the Hipsters himself. He has about a 50% success rate from my point of view, so I was ready to be wow’d or annoyed.

Family
The way they sit reminds me of an Olympic medal podium.

Harold Meyerowitz (Dustin Hoffman) is a slightly eccentric retired sculptor. He never really got famous from his work, but he feels famous in his heart. He worked as a professor at a college in NYC to pay the bills and get a decent living that way. He has had several wives and spawned three kids, but he does not love them equally, especially due to the fact that they never really seemed to inherit his artistic talent.

Or at least that is what Danny (Adam Sandler) thinks, his eldest. He has a daughter of his own (Grace Van Patten), about to go to college, and he is recently divorced and about to be homeless. He was a stay at home dad, he played the piano, but he again was never really famous. There is a sister too, Jean (Elizabeth Marvel) who is sarcastic and tries to not hang out with her parents too much.

And their youngest brother is Matthew (Ben Stiller), born of a different mother, and clearly the favorite kid. He was encouraged the most and constantly looked after unlike his older siblings, but he still didn’t become an artist. He went and got a real job, making real money, but a job that doesn’t really have much a soul behind it. He also moved far away to California.

Basically, this film is about the children dealing with their lives from their emotionally abusive father, always feeling like let downs in their eye, as he himself is getting older and thus about to leave this world.

Also starring Emma Thompson, Judd Hirsch, Rebecca Miller, and Adam Driver.

Dad
The movie increases the facial hair game of several of the actors.

Like a lot of Baumbach films, the acting is definitely top notch. I have rarely seen Sandler better. Marvel carried her own wait with a very unlikely character for her, and Hoffman is kicking a lot of ass in his old age. Stiller is one of the few roles that doesn’t feel like a lot of acting, and mostly just Stiller feeling like Stiller. If anything, this film is worth the watch for the acting.

The plot isn’t as good as the characters in the story. We have some nice dialogue, and a lot of backstory, but we don’t get to see a whole lot happen on the screen.

But really the reason it is just left in okayland is due to the ending. It just began to drag, going further and further into the aftermath portions of the film and it took awhile to just stop. That is how I will describe the end. It just stopped. It was not worth the wait of what felt like multiple good stopping points to get to the actual ending.

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) has an elitist title about a few people who most would consider to be in the elite class. It just fails to live up to the characters it created.

2 out of 4.

Permanent link to this article: http://gorgonreviews.com/the-meyerowitz-stories-new-and-selected

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