Category: Uncategorized

Hamilton

I am not throwing away this review, but I am going to keep it short and sweet.

Bless Lin-Manuel Miranda, who decided in 2016 they needed to shoot their musical with the original cast. They could have held on to this for over a decade and waited and waited. They said it would come out October, 2021! And then? Then pandemic.

And now it is out much, much, much earlier. On Disney+ so most people don’t have to pay much at all to see it, versus the theaters (Which it should still go to when it is safe, I would buy that ticket).

Thank you for spending three days getting this filmed, including the off-Broadway day for all of the cast and crew, putting in extra shows to make this thing out there.


It’s Alexander Hamilton, singing on the screen for you.

Wait for it! The entire original cast and crew is in this picture!

Anthony Ramos, Chris Jackson, Daveed Diggs, Jasmine Cephas Jones, Jonathan Groff, Leslie Odom Jr., Okieriete Onaodowan, Phillipa Soo, Renée Elise Goldsberry, and Sydney James Harcourt.

And its the Hamilton musical, damn it! This is my plot outline. It is about Alexander Hamilton and some more people. There.


The room where this whole thing happened was actually in a theater in Broadway!
A phenomenon greater than most other phenomenon, I can die happy now that this is available. I never could see it on stage, and I likely wouldn’t now anytime remotely soon thanks to pandemics. This is a blessing and we should cherish it.

This counts as a movie for the year? I’ll take it. Now I have given two 4 out of 4s so far this year.

What are you waiting for, what do you stall for? It’s available now, go see it.

One last time, this musical is love.


My wife said I needed some more review aspects to this, fine. I cried five times despite hearing this musical so many times, some of my cries were new, some where at the same time I cried during just the music.

A few songs were enhanced thanks to the visuals. Like Satisfied, and seeing King George in more scenes. The use of moving stage was used wonderfully. The ending is so much better (of an already awesome song) with the dancers and background.

I will note that Odom Jr.’s Burr uses a much more lispy voice in this recording versus the original cast recording. I assume that was done in the main show way before it, maybe it is easier to sing with that voice in the long term, maybe it is to make him seem a bit more sneaky, but it is noticeable and completely acceptable.

4 out of 4.

Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga

The last time I had an actual positive review for a movie where Will Ferrell had a leading role was in 2010 for Everything Must Go. That is basically a whole decade of meh or worst.

“What about The Lego Movie? You can count The Lego Movie!” I did count that! I gave it a 2/4 and stand by that still.

So I will be clear that I fully intended to just ignore Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga. Even the name hurts me a bit.

And then I got stupid one night and just put it on (I lasted like, a day). And the good news is, it could have been a lot worse!


Everyone cheer for something to make us happy…please?
ABBA changed the world forever with their performance on Eurovision. I don’t know if that is true, but that is what I gather as an American who has never seen Eurovision. It is the main band I have heard come out of it and be really world vision, so I guess so?

It certainly changed the world for Lars Erickssong (Will Ferrell), who seeing that performance as a kid claimed he would one day win Eurovision as well. And he would take Sigrit Ericksdottir (Rachel McAdams) on this decades long journey, the girl who never talked but found out she can sing!

Decades later, they are Fire Saga, with hits and electric pianos. No one really cares about them in their small village, but they get gigs as the only band to play covers and silly songs. Lars’ dad (Pierce Brosnan) is a typical disappointed dad based on his son’s dreams.

But of course, somehow they make it to Eurovision! Thanks to plot. And that is where things get slightly more difficult. Highly rated to win Alexander Lemtov (Dan Stevens) out of Russia takes a liking to Sigrit and might put the duo in jeopardy before they can even perform!

Also starring Melissanthi Mahut (who is also Kassandra in Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey), Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson, Ólafur Darri Ólafsson, Demi Lovato, Graham Norton, Jamie Demetriou, Alfrun Rose, Elina Alminas, Björn Hlynur Haraldsson, and Mikael Persbrandt.


Parts of this still look like the men are painted with the background.
From the various plots and subplots, some of them stuck the landing and some of them floundered. The Icelandic villain is obvious throughout the film, but over so quickly and so unnecessary that it just takes away from the rest of the movie. If all of that was cut, they would just need to have a new explanation for one aspect of the film and it would still work fine.

What does work on the “villain” scale is Stevens the Russian singer. Because he isn’t really a villain. He isn’t even a bad guy. He is just not with Ferrell’s character, but he seems genuine in wanting his own success for himself and for McAdams’ character. He says things that are correct, and I have no hate for him as a character.

The only main character one would dislike is, (unfortunately? of course?), Ferrell’s lead. He has one goal and one goal only, but for whatever reason, that means he can be a dick to those who love him. His reactions make no sense. The viewer are supposed to hate him and find him annoying, but I’m not sure why because it makes me never want to rewatch the regular parts of the movie again. His only great reoccurring joke is the hatred towards the Americans.

Ferrell’s character is so bad, it makes us sad that McAdams’ is with him at all throughout the film. McAdams carries this movie for me, her character is so innocent and fun and wholesome you just want her to succeed and hug her. We can get it by the end, and sure, missed 20-30 years of growth between them before that. But still, come on, step up your game lady.

The music is the real reason why the movie can get a higher rating overall. It is so fun and interesting. Having past winners as cameos is nice, and the “Song-a-long” scene made me feel so Euphoric (while also annoyed at how auto-tuned it was, and how badly cut it was). Our final song of the competition was wonderful and I cannot get Ja Ja Ding Dong out of my head.

I offer some disappointment that a lot of the main characters aren’t the real voices uses. Of course Ferrell’s is his, its unmistakable. McAdams’ is apparently her voice and another’s mixed together, so it is “slightly” there. Stevens’, despite being a singer, is entirely dubbed by a more operatic dude instead of mixed based on Stevens’ own wishes. Even our Greek character is someone else singing! All of the Eurovision stars and actual musicians likely really sing, but they also are autotuned, so nothing gets to feel natural.

Overall, ESC:TSOFI is a cute story, an overall loving story, a story with some comedy and a lot more heart, and fun music numbers to keep you entertained along the way. It might be the pandemic talking, but it is something that feels necessary right now.

3 out of 4.

My Spy

Against all odds, My Spy is finally out today, in the US, legally, August 26, 2020. It is available on Amazon Prime.

So how did it get here? Well, it was supposed to come out in August of 2019 (and likely would have been the best result in retrospect) but got moved back a month before that. It was pushed to a January release of 2020, then pushed again to a mid march release in 2020. You know what happened then. So about a week before coming out, it got pushed back to mid-April, to see what was going on in the world then.

And of course, before that happened, they cut their losses, sold it to Amazon and no theatrical release anymore. Well, it did come out in theaters in the UK in March. And in Australia in January, but hey, whatever, not like pirates exist.

My Spy annoys me because it is the last screening I saw in theaters before everything went down. The last actual movie I saw in theaters was Birds of Prey, the next morning, but that was already out for a month so no one cares about that.

And with it out today, finally, I can tell you why it sucks.

lie
Here is a frame. It combined with all the rest made a poor film.
JJ (Dave Bautista) is a big strong man, who used to be in special forces, and is now in the CIA. He likes to punch things and blow things up and isn’t used to being subtle. And because of that he is being punished. Yuck. He is being sent to Chicago (ew), with a tech support spy (Kristen Schaal) with the only purpose of spying on a family.

Why? Well, silly plot reasons. It involves nuclear weapons surprisingly. But a bad guy stole some weapon blueprints, brother of bad guy stole them from him to be a hero and not let them get out, brother dies. No one knows where the plans are, but maybe they are with the brother of the bad guy’s wife (Parisa Fitz-Henley) and daughter (Chloe Coleman), who have moved from France to Chicago after the death. Very sad times.

Unfortunately for JJ, because everyone is a noob, they almost immediately get found out in their safe house by the daughter character, who thinks she has found spies (accurate) but not sure why. Thanks to hilarious blackmail and set up, she uses JJ as a way to find acceptance in life. She gets “spy” training, and a friend in her lonely world, while JJ gets forced into her life as a neighbor, and starts to fall in love with a widow.

Typical spy stuff. Things go wrong. Bad guys. Ahhh-xplosions.

Also starring Greg Bryk, Ken Jeong, Devere Rogers, Noah Dalton Danby, and Nicola Correia-Damude.

sparkle
Ah yes, tropes. 

My Spy picked a bad year to finally come out. Because of how many movies aren’t coming out this year, it is almost certainly going to make a lot of worst of the year lists. It might have made them last year too, but it probably would have been decent box office numbers, given its probably lower budget.

There is nothing excitingly new about this movie. It is your typical big strong man must become more loving or family man. Like almost wrestling turned actor film. I thought we wouldn’t get one of these any time soon since we were stuck with Playing With Fire last year. But this isn’t the genre’s fault, it is the wrestler turned actor fault.

Since we currently have John Cena and Dave Bautista doing that, they are both likely to have have one of these, and they happened to be very close to each other. It is our burden to bare.

This film offers nothing new, isn’t funny, and is rather stupid. It should have come out in January or August, because it would fit perfectly there in the movies people want to ignore. Now I suggest we all ignore it on Amazon Prime, like most of you planned on doing that anyways.

0 out of 4.

7500

Can they make flight hijacking films worth it? I don’t think there have been hundreds on this topic, but a few already and they take place in such a small space. A plane. And there is a good chance that we will know how they end. After 9/11, there is almost no way it ends with the plane going into a tower, that is for certain. Either the good guys win, or it crashes somewhere else, but that is it.

Where can this genre go?

7500, not to be confused with Flight 7500, is a German/American film and was originally going to star Paul Dano before delays and scheduling conflicts. No matter how good this film is, I am going to say it would hav been better with Dano. I love Dano.

train
This is a poor man’s Dano.
Tobias (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a co-pilot, young with his future right in front of him. He also has a girlfriend as a flight attendant, so that is nice, assuming no weird power dynamic is at play. The main pilot, Michael (Carlo Kitzlinger), is ready for take off and is pretty experienced. They take off from Berlin, should be a nice quiet night.

Just kidding! Highjackers!

A group of men immediately try to get into the cockpit when an attendant is bringing them food!

Oh no!

Tobias is able to close the door to the cockpit with only one man getting in the pit, and also help knock him out, but the pilot is a goner. Tobias has to man the flight on his own (which is okay) but he did get stabbed in the arm. He has to deal with a man inside the cockpit who could come to at any moment, and two men trying to barge their way in and are willing to kill hostages to get the door open.

What is a man to do? The air traffic controller tells him to do an emergency landing in a nearby city and to under no circumstances open the door. But when they target his girlfriend and other innocents, can he really keep his composure?

Also starring Hicham Sebia, Omid Memar, Passar Hariky, Aylin Tezel, Paul Wollin, and Aurélie Thépaut.


Always gotta be looking back scared, come on man. Eyes on the road.

Why Mr. Gorgon? Why should I watch this film? Does it offer anything unique?

Thanks for the leading question to the last part of my review! Yes, this film has one reason to give it a chance. Outside of some security tapes at the very beginning, and one other part, the entirety of the film takes place in the cockpit.

So yes, you are going to get a whole lot of JGL on your screen. He isn’t always on the screen. Sometimes our focus is outside of the front window, or the other characters in the cockpit, or more importantly, on his video monitor of what is happening behind the door when talking with the terrorists.

If anything, this definitely changes the way we see cabin fever, and builds on the claustrophobia and sense of being trapped in an unwinnable situation. That is where the movie shines.

I also have a theory. If they didn’t give us subtitles for the non-English languages it would have helped with the fear and helplessness. Because Tobias only knows English, so can’t even communicate well with the staff. This changes things if the viewer understands German or Arabic or Turkish (I believe all three are spoken), but then we could have added some scarier elements overall.

Instead, we get a normal story told in a better than normal way. It has fine acting, a lot of yelling, and some hard moral choices overall. Definitely worth a gander, since it is free on Amazon Prime.

2 out of 4.

One Cut of the Dead

One Cut of the Dead is a Japanese independent film from the last year or years, it is hard to say. It has had a weird road to distribution.

Made with mostly unknown actors and for a ridiculously cheap budget, it made back over 1,000 times its investment, which is a pretty goddamn unheard of percent for movies. I know it was hitting festivals and getting a lot of good buzz, and then at one point it was…put on Amazon!

But, it wasn’t supposed to be put on Amazon. Someone had an older unfinished copy, and just put it on Amazon prime for free. Did you know you can just do that? It is apparently really easy. And one it was on Amazon, many people rushed out to see it, and tell other’s to see it because it was a critical darling. The same day, news came out that the people who own it didn’t upload it, it was unfinished copy, and to please not watch it while it was worked out.

Well shit. That kind of screwed over a lot of things.

Anyways, at this point it is on amazon again, but for money, and the right version. So you can watch it and feel confident someone involved is getting money for it.

camera
Like this guy who is holding the camera!

One man had a vision. Director Higurashi (Takayuki Hamatsu) had the idea for a zombie film, an idea that would be so scary and amazing. But his shitty actors were not giving him enough emotion.

We are talking take, after take, after take, and it just is not good enough for the director.

So while he went to go cool down, and the actors relaxed and got to know each other, normal stuff between takes. But something odd happened. Some sounds from the outside. Some…limbs from outside. Oh shit, real zombies! in the middle of their zombie film!

Now the director can get some real emotions out of his cast.

Also starring Yuzuki Akiyama, Harumi Shuhama, Kazuaki Nagaya, Hiroshi Ichihara, and Mao.

bloody
Those zombies aren’t going to double kill themselves!
One Cut of The Dead is a unique film, there is no one who can deny that. In fact, it is so unique, it is also equally hard to even talk about it because it is a film that should be discovered, not spoiled.

And yes, the idea of spoiling can be kicked around enough, but trust us, the critics, me, when we say, just gotta go in some times to see the journey.

I couldn’t believe what the film managed to do and convey. It is extremely impressive, given the lack of budget or names involved, even from a Foreign film perspective. It required a lot of work. It required planning. And it required people who were creative as fuck. People who really had a vision and executed it perfectly.

One Cut of the Dead is a comedy more than a horror, and it will be hard to find something more unique than it before or after for awhile. Not even an American remake will likely be as unique. [As of writing, no plans for American remake, but sorry for jinxing it should it change in the future].

It is definitely an experience, and I watched it directly after Train to Busan! A very different foreign zombie film that is top notch in very differeny ways. And yet, this one still was able to stand out on its own.

4 out of 4.

The Vast of Night

The Vast of Night is certainly not a film I had heard of before receiving a screener. Starring no one famous, by a first time director, with a low budget, not going to theaters.

“But nothing is going to theaters now!” Well, yeah, I know that. But this might have never gone to theaters if they were open. Instead, it is on Amazon Prime (as of Friday, May 29).

And now you know why I am just going to start the intro.

operator
And after this review, we will plug you back into your regularly scheduled scrolling on your social medias.

DJ Everett (Jake Horowitz) and Fay Crocker (Sierra McCormick) are two younger kiddos living out in New Mexico in the 1950’s. They are both hip in the tech world too. DJ Everett is the host of his own radio show in his local community, full of interviews of people from town and elsewhere, hoping to make it big and leave his small community. Fay is interested in the future of technology and getting better at it herself, and is his switch board operator for the show.

During one night, most of the community is caring more about a local basketball game, but the show must go on. And in the early parts of the show, Fay hears a strange noise, one she has never heard before, nor has anyone she asks. In fact, when she brings this to Everett’s attention, this becomes their new focus, playing it for others to see if they can help them figure out what made that noise.

And they get a call. A mysterious person. Saying they heard the noise before, long ago, but afraid to let that story go public. This leads to another story, more secrets, more missing people, and more disbelief.

But this is 1950’s New Mexico and a small town, what could possibly be tormenting this town?

Also starring Gail Cronauer and Bruce Davis.

caller
Yes, we get people talking on the phone, get hyped!

This is clearly a film on a small budget. Don’t worry, it is obvious to the viewers what must be going on really early on, and only isn’t obvious to those in the movie given the time period it is taken during. A lot of it is a set up for the ending, but despite the budget, you will get to see something for those afraid they won’t.

Most of it is teasing to the ending, as I just said, so we are relying on characters literally just talking to each other. Thankfully, the director decided to go with long takes for most of these conversations, so they ooze out natural pacing and behavior. One of the two main story tellers is only able to be heard on the phone, but Davis has a nice voice to listen to and helped really start the build of the tension. I know what you are thinking. A movie with people talking on the phone for awhile? Is it like Locke? Eh, not really.

It is relatively slower paced early on and really takes awhile to feel tense, but by the end tense it is despite the still relatively low stakes. The cinematographer and composer really put in good work to make the build up. It was an average movie for most of it until it built up by the end.

The leads of Horowitz and McCormick work extremely well together and do a lot of work with not just their words, but their faces as well. They have that curiosity and drive to solve their own mystery with their own individual reasons behind it.

The Vast of Night is a low key film that will build up the thrills by the end, dealing with strange sounds and radio waves, and great performances from its leads.

3 out of 4.

Scoob!

Oh hey, remember how everyone wanted a new Scooby Doo movie? Nah.

Okay, that is fair, we don’t have to ask for a movie to come out to get one. Sometimes the studios know what is up. For example, I bet people did ask for a live action Scooby-Doo movie in the late 90’s early 2000’s, and what it gave was a really cheesy strange story, with adult jokes, some obvious some not. And honestly, it sort of filled a really good niche back then. Go figure.

So even though this animated version is going full CGI, and is dealing apparently with the childhood beginnings of the gang (ehhh), as long as we got mysteries to solve and people in masks, it shouldn’t be too hard to make it work. Unless they decide to go for the “monsters are real” gag, which basically every Scooby Doo entity has been doing for the last 20 years, so it is kind of getting annoying. Please, give us weird people in masks.

Remember, if a movie has an exclamation point, it should be a musical. Scoob! should be a musical. 

kids
Ah yes, origin stories, like a superhero movie.

Alright, here we go! Shaggy (Will Forte) and Scooby-Doo (Frank Welker) meet on the beach when they were younger. Shaggy needed friends. Scooby-Doo needed a home.

Later on, at Halloween, some bullies mess with the duo, and some other kids help the two out! Their names are Fred (Zac Efron), Daphne (Amanda Seyfried), and Velma (Gina Rodriguez). Also right after that, they end up solving a mystery of a lot of stolen goods that no one even knew was a thing! They just had to meddle.

Alright, years later, many mysteries, they want to expand their operations. Their Mystery Machine needs work, so they want bigger clients, and higher paying jobs to become a success. And then they bring in Simon Cowell for some reason, who barely insults Shaggy and Scooby who leave as a result.

The other friends don’t go and stop them, so eventually, Shaggy and Scooby get attacked by robots. And then abducted by aliens? Nah, it is actually Blue Falcon (Mark Wahlberg), Dynomutt (Ken Jeong), and their assistant, Dee Dee Skyes (Kiersey Clemons). They know that Scooby-Doo is important for something. Because Dick Dastardly (Jason Isaacs) is looking for him and some ancient skulls, to maybe summon dog Cerebus from the underworld. Ah yes, real mythical monsters.

Also starring Christina Hendricks and Tracy Morgan.

chair
What nice chairs. And I feel like a hater not showing Daphne/Velma/Fred.

It is really early on in the film when you realize this is not going to be something you want to see again, and for a lot of people, that is when Simon Cowell appears. But before that, I will acknowledge they did a version of the original intro. It was okay in the singing department, really basic, but they did recreate parts of the intro and use it as a montage of solving some mysteries. That was nice.

That was also where most of the Scooby-Doo action remained. The kid mystery was very awkward, because when a ghost appeared in the house they already had their goal completed. They could have just…left, like any normal person. Having this long run through the place and eventual capture of the ghost to find it was a masked person didn’t even make sense. 

But let’s get back to Cowell. This movie came out in 2020, why the hell is Cowell in this movie. This is not 2004. Kids for the most part won’t understand that at all.

In terms of how Scooby-Doo this movie is, it is Scooby-Not. Most of the time the gang is split up (which happens a lot sure, but not to this scale). This is a superhero movie. It is about Blue Falcon, and Scooby-Doo wanting to feel more special. It has a real monster and issue to deal with, and…it is just a mess.

A lot of the voice acting felt off. I especially did not like Jeong as Dynomutt, because it just sounded like Ken Jeong, not a robot dog. 

It was a boring film for the most part, with some other Hanna Barbera properties thrown in for fun. It is really easy to see where the movie is going, where the conflicts will appear, and what will happen at the end. It is such a waste of a nice property. It felt like something they would try as a third or fourth film of a reboot, not right away. This was barely Scooby-Doo. Focus on the basics first.

And obviously it wasn’t a musical, but it did have a lot of modern music because that is easier to get the kids to love it. 

1 out of 4.

Selah and The Spades

Another week, and surprisingly, another new movie review.

Selah and the Spades I don’t believe was negatively impacted by the theaters going down. I didn’t hear about it until that started, but when I first heard the news, it was only to hear that it was being released on Amazon Prime instead of theaters, on April 17th.

This is not a film that you have heard of before likely, with a mostly unknown cast. It does have Jharrel Jerome as a supporting role, and he made waves last year starring as Korey Wise in When They See Us last year. You know, the kid who got screwed over the most.

And all of that has nothing to do with this movie!

chairs
There is a lot of fierce power in that chair.
Selah (Lovie Simone) is a strong woman, a senior in high school. She goes to an elite boarding school in Pennsylvania, where most of the citizens are from wealthy families looking for a leg up into college. Other bright minds get in through scholarships and grants. Selah comes from an overachieving household, her mom wants her to go to her former school, and to load up on the best classes, the best grades, no matter what.

The school also has their own hidden clubs. They handle some of them ore illicit activities, like distracting the admin, holding parties, etc. Selah? She is the lead of The Spades group, who handle the illegal drugs and alcohol on campus. They do all of the deals, get the product, make the money. They split responsibilities and have council meetings to work together so that no more “wars” take place on campus, which usually lead to many expulsions, or worse.

When Paloma (Celeste O’Connor) comes to campus mid year, she is seen as a promising student who can join in their creepy club games, but Selah definitely takes a liking to her. Selah is strong, but hates having those under her excel. It is hard for her to trust, and she doesn’t have a backup to take over when she leaves. It is time for the grooming, and for her to sink or swim.

Also starring Jharrel Jerome, Ana Mulvoy Ten, Jesse Williams, Nekhebet Kum Juch, Francesca Noel, and Henry Hunter Hall.

rocks
This rock rocks. 

Selah and the Spades, on one hand, is another clique teenage film. I mean, these cliques don’t circulate the entirety of the campus (although, cliques are usually small anyways). It is a boarding school, so it can pretend to be like a college film with more underage problems. The cliques have cute names!

But here are some difference.

There is one very strong scene early on where the Selah and the other cheerleaders are talking to the camera, breaking the wall, about being strong women and it was really really good. It seemingly came out of nowhere, but it had important messages that needed to be discussed.

We do also have a predominately more person of color than most school clique films. Yes, they are all for most of history super white. It is great to see representation, even if this representation for the most part still talks about people with privileged.

I really enjoyed Simone in the lead role hear. Selah is not a one dimensional character at all. She is more than a strong woman. She has fears, she has definite trust issues, and definite weakness. I definitely sort of hated her at points, and it is great to realize she is in no way the hero of the story. O’Connor comes in and gives a very great performance opposite of Simone’s, that newcomer feel while also knowing full and well who she is at the same time.

Overall, Salah and the Spades gives us a unique perspective on a tired clique, and falls firmly in a drama category to tell a serious story. It reminds me in a bit of Dear White People, due to topics only, because in terms of genre and goals, they are very wide apart.

3 out of 4.

Trolls: World Tour

And now we can talk about the biggest release since the theaters went under! Not the first new release of a movie that was supposed to go to the theaters, but the biggest at least.

Trolls: World Tour was moved around a few times on the calendar, and it turns out that they probably should have kept that date in February for making that money.

At first saying they would go straight to digital instead was almost an inspiration. But then as more and more movies got pushed back, including to future years even, and all left but Trolls. That is a bit weird right? Some other theater films changed to VOD and a lot of them were movies that were expected to bomb.

Did they not actually think Trolls: World Tour would do well, or are they sacrificing profits to bring some happiness to those stuck inside? Hard to say. The first Trolls was okay, and in general, this plot of the sequel made me super weary, but that doesn’t mean I wanted it to fail either.

onward
Ooooh, they better not say Onward, that’d help the competition.
Ah, life is wonderful again. Until it isn’t.

Queen Poppy (Anna Kendrick) is in charge of her people, every day has singing, dancing, and hugs because the Bergens are cool now and doing their own thing.  Branch (Justin Timberlake) probably wants to make Troll babies with her.

But Poppy gets an invite from a Queen Barb (Rachel Bloom) to come to her World Tour. This is where we get to have the secret backstory of Trolls that never came up in the first film. You know. There are different troll kingdoms out there each with a magical string each that gives them the music to get by in life. One of Pop (our trolls). Of Funk, Classical, Country Techno, and of course, Hard Rock, where Queen Barb comes from.

So Poppy thinks that Queen Barb wants to unite all of the strings together to unite all the music genres and unite the trolls. But really, Queen Barb just wants to take all the strings to make them rock and make rock music the only music for everyone.

Oh no!

Also starring a whole lot of other voices, some new, some old: James Corden, Ron Funches, Kelly Clarkson, Anderson .Paak, Sam Rockwell, George Clinton, Mary J. Blige, Kenan Thompson, Kunal Nayyar, Flula Borg, Ester Dean, Jamie Dornan, Zooey Deschanel, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, and Ozzy Osbourne.

rock
Rock is evil. Satan is rock.
Lame new Trolls backstory aside, it turns out there is a little bit of good backstory in there as well, but it is a mid movie reveal. It turns out that the former bad guys aren’t necessarily who we thought, and I thought that would be a big turning point for the film.

I can’t wait to see where it goes from there, and from my point of view, basically nowhere. Poppy wanted to unite the Trolls together to let them experience all music. Barb wanted to unit the Trolls together to make them all listen to rock music. And despite revelations made, the ending is exactly as one would expect going into the film. Exactly.

And thus I am left disappointed.

The music is okay for the most part, we do get more genres, but I didn’t feel like were stiffed in the first one due to how diverse pop itself actually is. There is no original song like Get Back Up Again, and that is the real shame. I believe the only original song is at the end, and that is supposed to be our new Can’t Stop The Feeling. Which sure, is an original song, but no where close as exciting as Get Back Up Again. I am not counting songs where it is meant to a famous one with some changed lyrics as original, like Trolls Just Wanna Have Fun.

Overall, it is likely this movie would have done just fine in the theaters. It is better than the animated show, but relatively clunky and beyond simplistic with the plot, despite rays of deeper hope in the middle. I will call the original better despite the same grade, because this one did not make me cry.

2 out of 4.

Never Rarely Sometimes Always

 

Oh what is this? A new theatrical release but on VOD? This is the first? 

Sure, Trolls World Tour (which comes out on April 10) is a much bigger movie that was meant to come out in theaters and is instead going straight to video for families. And there have been a lot of recent movies that were in theaters for a short time having VOD releases way early to make up for the money lost.

But Never Rarely Sometimes Always hadn’t made it to theaters yet and it was supposed to, and is now getting released digitally instead. So it is the first to really do this. 

And that is brave of them, even if they are a much smaller project. Especially a project with a theme like this one that would have maybe sparked protests anyways, and we don’t want protesters to protest, because then they’d be in groups. Even if they have dumb opinions. 

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Me judging people with dumb opinions. 

Autumn (Sidney Flanigan) is just a girl, living in a world, that isn’t the nicest to teenage girls. She has a job as a grocery clerk, where she and her cousin, Skylar (Talia Ryder) are definitely getting harassed by a boss.

Autumn is mad a lot of the times. Her parents (Ryan Eggold, Sharon Van Etten) don’t seem to give her a lot of attention due to their plentiful amount of kids, and her dad is a full on ass towards her. She has emotions, is getting bullied, and doesn’t know why she is so angry.

And then she finds out she is pregnant. About ten weeks. But she lives in Pennsylvania, in a small community, and the only place that was free for her to use was an organization that would never let abortions happen, complete with all the lie filled propaganda. And a parent would have to be involved.

So Autumn does what any girl would do. Sets an appointment in New York City, steals money from her dipshit bosses, and along with her cousin, go to get the deed done quickly and quietly, with hopefully no problems along the way. (There will be problems along the way).

Also starring Théodore Pellerin.

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Just two teenage girls on a fun filled middle of week NYC trip to get an abortion. I’m surprised this jolly movie wasn’t made decades ago. 

 

I had this thought when I first saw the movie, I swear. It isn’t hyperbolic because of the closing of theaters. But this is my favorite movie of the year. So far.

And yes, the last few weeks have had movies pushed out, some of which already pushed to next year. There is going to be a big lull in films for the rest of the year, so I have no clue what this sort of landscape will bring for cinema. This might remain my favorite movie of the year, the only one that I have given this rating to so far.

Now, this movie is not funny. It is a realistic take on the subject, it is serious, and some not great things happen. The scene where the title comes from definitely wrecked me emotionally. And that is why my intro wasn’t spent making fun of it like I originally planned.

I love that this film comes out the year after the terrible, propaganda induced Unplanned movie (sponsored by Ted Cruz). That one made my worst of the year list (spoilers). It took everything from the anti-abortion list playbook and tried to make it seem like a true story in incredibly deceptive ways. 

This film is quiet. It is just a story. And yes, an abortion happens. Does that make it pro abortion? Maybe. What it really does is highlight how shitty these various state by state laws are that make it incredibly hard for people to get out of a tough situation. And that isn’t cool.

4 out of 4.