Tag: 1 out of 4

The House

The House is one of those comedies that if we ignored, collectively, we would have forgotten it existed in about two weeks max.

Or at least that is how it affected me. I saw some previews, was turned off from the film each time (And the color schemes are godawful), and forgot it existed. The only reason I watched it was to see if it was one of the worst of the year, like some of those summer comedies end up being.

And I am sad to say that it isn’t even bad enough for that list. It is just a regular bad film, spoilers, that now I unfortunately will remember for at least two more months before forgetting again.

Bling
And there is more of those hideous orange lights.

Scott (Will Ferrell) and Kate Johansen (Amy Poehler) are a couple, and you really just have to trust me on this. Although they have no chemistry, they both are actors and this is a movie, damn it.

They are also proud of their daughter (Ryan Simpkins), who is about to finish high school, heading to college, smart smart smart. They were hoping to help pay for it through a community scholarship that is given out every year, and their baby is the favorite. But when it comes time to receive the funds, it turns out the town is out of the money, being spent on water parks instead.

Through silly plot reasons, and from their best friend (Jason Mantzoukas) who is in a rut (because all of his characters are in ruts), they decide to open up an illegal underground casino in his home. They will get some locals hooked, split and take home the difference. If they work all summer, they can earn enough to pay for all four years of college and not have to worry anymore!

Minus the fact that cops, the local board, and maybe even gangsters will want to shut them down. And cheaters and people who are genuinely dicks. But you know. Shenanigans.

Starring Nick Kroll, Allison Tolman, Rob Huebel, Rory Scovel, Lennon Parham, and Cedric Yarbrough.

Money
Or…or! Or or or! They are very successful, no problems happen, and the movie ends happy. There’s a chance for that?

The problem with The House is there are some moments where I actually smiled, or found something amusing. Sure, these moments were few and far between, which would be one of the many reasons to give it this rating. But I would rather it just be completely unfunny and terrible, so I could just bash it much easier.

Instead I just need to talk about normal things. Like the nonexistent chemistry between our leads. Like Mantzoukas playing a character I have seen him do a dozen times. Like a very boring subplot of an affair in their extremely local government, boring villains and just boring plot in general.

People will watch this film for zany casino problems handled by people who can’t handle them at all. But this film is not led by people who are interesting in these positions, especially not by Ferrell who is just digging this uninteresting hole of roles the more he gets old.

Forget about The House, forget about this review, just forget it all happened, and then the movie might be better. When it is off of our collective minds.

1 out of 4.

Downsizing

Alexander Payne has probably had one of the more interesting director careers out of anyone. Or at least anyone who isn’t an A-list always nominated amazing director.

I first saw one of his films, Citizen Ruth, when I was about 8 years old or so. It was NOT made for an 10 year old to watch, especially not on his own with no context, but I did it. Eventually I also saw Election, which I loved, and Sideways, and The Descendants, and Nebraska. At any of these points I never watched them knowing it was the director of these previous films I liked, because they are all so different and out there.

But for Downsizing, this is the first time I have gone in knowing the director, knowing his history and ready for something just bizarre.

Big
And the trailers and plot surely delivered on that front.

The world is falling apart, due to pollution, global warming, and too many goddamn babies. And scientists have been trying to find cures that the public would believe and trust and they may have finally done it! You see, Dr. Jorgen Asbjørnsen (Rolf Lassgård), the mad Norweigian that he is, has successfully shrunk some rats in a way with no side effects and no premature deaths. So he did it on himself, his wife, and dozens of volunteers.

Yadda yadda yadda, many years later, there are many communities around the world of little folk, people are doing it not to save the planet, but to live like kings. Because their money in the real average sized world is worth a lot more when you are tiny, and you can live in giant mansions, never working again! It is the life for some, and a good choice.

Paul (Matt Damon) and Audrey Safranek (Kristen Wiig) have been living very uneventful lives up to that point, never really going anywhere, gaining anything, or just really existing beyond a blip on the radar. Going small can make them happy. So why not, why not change their lives, try it out and take hold of their destiny.

And of course, of course, they will find out that being small isn’t all that it is cracked up to be. Record scratch and everything. Also starring Christoph Waltz, Hong Chau, Ingjerd Egeberg, Udo Kier, Jason Sudeikis, and James Van Der Beek.

Flower
Flower Power becomes an actual usable form of energy!

The Downsizing trailer made me really excited for this film. A nice shrinking film from a different point of view, starring everyone’s favorite Damon!

And the film that actually exists is very different from the trailer. It is a little bit about global warming, but really it is just a film to talk about class imbalances in society. Not a bad topic for a film, and this type of story can be a good way to tell that story. Downsizing just told its story terribly.

Our main character is just a passive bitch who just really sucks. He doesn’t move much, he is boring, and it never really pays off. There are some exciting people around him, but they are side characters and don’t get the screen time. Chau gets a ton of screen time, but she seems like some perfect character that isn’t exciting for different reasons. And honestly, I cannot tell if it is offensive, or inspiring, or what.

The ending is a let down, although there is at least one twist I only sort of saw coming, so that was nice.

Downsizing is a little film with grand big ambitions. But the story just drags along and goes places that aren’t as interesting as they must have seemed on paper. And let’s just say, 2016/2017 were bad for Damon. Basically everything since The Martian, except one cameo role. Suburbicon, The Great Wall, and Jason Bourne have all failed to deliver, and maybe his career is just on the decline now.

1 out of 4.

Fun Mom Dinner

Bet you never heard of Fun Mom Dinner!

With words like that, it sounds like an absolute blast! It has fun! Mom! And dinner! The exclamation points are provided by me, free of charge!

First things first, it looks like it is trying to be a quick cash grab for those Bad Moms fans, which I am sure there are dozens of them. Or at least enough dozens to make a sequel worthy. There have actually been a lot of girl group films this year, with also Girls Trip and Rough Night both happening this summer. I wonder if this is all a result of Bad Moms, or are women just being catered to in films finally?

If so, I apologize that the movies they are throwing at you seem to be so shitty.

Karoke
A less famous version of Bad Moms, no way?

Being a mom is hard and usually it lacks fun. So some mom’s like to go out once a month or so and just have fun, drink some booze, and make sure they aren’t surrounded by kids 24/7. Namely it has been Melanie (Bridget Everett), a high intensity mom who volunteers a lot and is rules happy at the school, and Jamie (Molly Shannon) who is divorced, loves Instagram, and also very involved. But they want to invite Emily (Katie Aselton) to their ranks on the next night. She is relatively new to their school, seems involved and seems nice.

Emily seems to think it will be a good idea. After all, she does want a break and she does need new friends. She just asks if they can bring her other mom friend, Kate (Toni Collette), who has been bringing kids to that school longer. They actually know about Kate, as she has been downright rude most of the time and pretty stuck up when it comes to hanging out with moms. But they agree, in honor of the spirit of their night.

After some husband convincing, the ladies are off, and of course, their plans are not going to go as expected. Thankfully, I am sure, they will grow with each other on this crazy night of theirs and no one will get hurt.

Also starring some dudes like Paul Rudd, Adam Scott, (both of them were producers) Adam Levine, Paul Rust, David Wain, and Rob Huebel.

CheezIts
I will agree that unicorns and Cheez-Its is my kind of party.

I went in expecting Fun Mom Dinner to be a worse version of Bad Moms. And what I got instead was not something worse than Bad Moms, just something just as as bad as Bad Mom’s.

And that is really all I should have to say. It has a lesser production quality, more people in it, an occasional laugh, but an incredibly forgettable story.

What was it about again? I forgot, especially since this review is coming out many weeks after the fact that I wrote this. I don’t want to read the middle part later again. They have more drugs and alcohol than expected, we have to watch the dads actually be fathers (shocking), and people make mistakes. Thankfully, they come closer through the experience.

I honestly don’t have anything really to say about this one. It wasn’t the worst film of the year, it just wasn’t close to being good.

1 out of 4.

Insidious: The Last Key

Insidious here, get your insidious here! Can’t get enough of those James Wan other worldly horror films? Then we got a new one here!

At this point it is the fourth Insidious film, but we are delving straight into the side story parts now. We don’t get a number, we get Insidious: The Last Key. It took Paranormal Activity to get to film 5 before it abandoned their numbers for a side story instead.

Just because there is a last in the title, don’t assume it is the last Insidious film. That is a lie in every horror franchise, no matter what they say.

Instead, at this point, go in expecting some more details and unfortunately a lot more questions.

Crew
It is important to have your security look nice before they fuck up a spirit.

Our favorite psychic, Elise Rainier (Lin Shaye), didn’t have a fun time growing up. This takes place after Chapter 3, and before the first film still, where she is rocking out with her two sidekicks, Tucker (Angus Sampson) and Specs (Leigh Whannell). Except she gets a call from a dude (Kirk Acevedo), who lives in Five Keys, New Mexico. Specifically, he lives in the home she grew up in. And again, this was not fun.

You see, Elise basically always had this ability. The skills to see dead spirits, talk to them, and really feel their pain. While it is cool for old Elise to do that, young girl Elise doing it made it really creepy. Her dad (Josh Stewart), worked at the next door prison (which had a high execution rate I guess), and he didn’t like her saying she saw things. He did the only logical thing in his mind, in the 1960’s, and he had to beat it out of her every time she decided to lie about ghosts.

Hooray child abuse! Oh yes, we get a lot of pained girl screams and pleads for those who need to feel sad inside.

Anyways, also as a kid, Elise was visited by demons, helped free a powerful thing, and inadvertently killed her mom? Jeez. Either way, now, a billion years later, Elise has to return to the home that has too many memories, to hopefully put a stop to what started her a long time before.

Also starring in the past and the present ish, Caitlin Gerard, Spencer Locke, Aleque Reid, Ava Kolker, Pierce Pope, Bruce Davison, and Tessa Ferrer.

Sex
Breasts and horror go together sure, but sometimes even fully clothed it can feel excessive.

The beginning of the film is probably the best part of it, so after the long introduction of 10+ minutes (it feels like), just go ahead and leave. We start in the 60’s, it is creepy, we get the child abuse, the arguments, the scares, the creepy key stuff, and the deaths. Once we get back to modernish times, the film quickly just falls apart.

Sure, the sidekicks have some good jokes. And they tried to make some sort of coherent plot, that had its moments. The suitcase scare later on is bound to be a highlight.

But every damn time they go into The Further it just feels so goddamn stupid. And a significant portion takes place there, along with multiple entities and places. It just feels like they are just making up that place as they go, and whatever happens there is what a writer feels like doing, with no limits or cares in the world! It especially featured the worst acting of the film and the effects were, well, ghastly.

Don’t worry, we have tons of bad acting throughout the film as well. We get someone who is in his 70’s playing the dad to two daughters who are clearly supposed to be early 20’s and not apparently be awkward at all. An easy fix of saying “Granddaughters” instead would have made it less weird. Speaking of weird, the daughters have a lot more plot than one would expect. One of them is featured above and it is honestly the worst time I have seen a horror film try to also make a scary scene sexy. Imagine her having a panic attack on the ground, breathing up and down very hard. It isn’t sexy, no matter how much the boobs move, it is just uncomfortable and takings you out of the film.

The acting is bad in the flashbacks, and generally just bad when really any character interacts with any other character. It certainly doesn’t feel like the end of a series, but really, the beginning. But again, the beginning was neat, and some jokes made me laugh.

1 out of 4.

Bright

Bright was meant to be this big Netflix release at the end of the year, one of their first Blockbuster films. So of course they brought in Will Smith for this adventure.

And hell, they made it R, so we can get the killing, the swearing, and the boobs. Just going to go all out. They even did pre-screenings of the film for press! The night before it was on Netflix, sure, but they were trying.

And then everyone hated it. I heard a lot of things, like how it was meant to be the worst film of the year, terrible, whatever. So something I meant to ignore I was now contractually obligated to write about. Statistically, everyone who sees this review would have seen it by the time I publish this, which in my head is currently “whenever.”

Duo
“Say whenever again, I dare you.” – Samuel wilL. Smith.

In the year, I dunno, probably this one, in a city much like LA, we have one notable difference. Fantasy races also exist in our world, or at least just a few. We got elves, we got orcs, we got fairies, and as far as I can tell that is it. Sorry people who love dwarves. Two thousand years ago there was some Dark One that came and tried to destroy the world, the Orcs were on his side, the “good guys” won and the orcs were hated ever since, despite being citizens of the world as well. So they get shit upon by everyone.

Oh and magic! And specifically, magic wands which are super rare. The only people who can use the wands are called Brights, who are usually elves. Humans have been Brights in the past but it is like, 1 in a million chance of being a Bright. Oh, and the only way to know if you are a Bright is to try and use a wand, if you aren’t a Bright, you will explode. good times.

Now that world building is done, we have a cop duo, Daryl Ward (Will Smith) and Nick Jakoby (Joel Edgerton), the only orc cop for diversity reasons. Also no one wants to work with Ward cause he is a dick, or moral, or something. Ward hates it, Jakoby just wants to be a good guy, and Ward recently got shot on a call as his partner was getting food, so he is angry a lot.

After thirty minutes of exposition and shit talking to the Orc, we eventually have the duo discover an actual wand, and an elf who is talking gibberish and warnings. Before they can turn everything over, they find out that a lot of people want the wand for their own power hungry ways, including other cops ready to sweep this incident under the rug.

So our duo has to run around town at night, protecting an elf and the wand, from groups who want it, or else maybe the world will end. Who knows!

Also starring Alex Meraz, (Noomi Rapace), Edgar Ramirez, Happy Anderson, Lucy Fry, Margaret Cho, and Veronica Ngo.

Trio
Elves are rich and elves are hipster druggies.

Was Bright the worst movie of the year? Hell no. In fact, not even the worst movie I have seen on Netflix as an “original film” this year. It doesn’t mean it is good, it is still bad, but it wasn’t dog shit terrible.

However, the intro is going to turn so many people off. It is going for a parallel of their world and our world’s view on races, but they put it to 11. The first 30 minutes or whatever is just people railing into the orc cop, from all sides, constantly. If you want abuse, you will get it, and by then people will have made up their minds. They get over it eventually, but it puts a bad taste into everyone’s mouth. It is far too heavy handed.

After that, it is only an okay story. Nothing too original, the fantasy elements are only somewhat there, and really, the ending is obvious. The acting is mediocre and the effects are also mediocre. So a mostly blah movie with a bad intro is of course, a bad grade.

The bottom line? Netflix wanted to turn this movie in to a franchise of films or a TV show (along the lines of the Marvel series) or something. And you know what? It probably still will. The world building is there already, they have a lot of room for other fantasy growth, and most importantly, they have a shit ton of people talking about this film.

I don’t know how Netflix in particular makes money from their movies/shows, given everything comes with the submission fee. But almost everyone I know has talked about watching this movie since it came out, due to the hype and the bad talk. So this movie probably put up amazing numbers besides the PR buzz. Expect more Bright in the future, whether you want it or not.

1 out of 4.

Happy Death Day

Get Out did a lot of things for movies in 2017. It started the year off with a bang (a bang that I think Split also helped open) where it was definitely some sort of horror film, but with other genres molded into it. The comedy elements that normally turn something into a parody film were present, helpful, but not overshadowing.

Those movies helped pave the way for something like Happy Death Day to be released. A film taking a familiar concept (reliving a day over and over) and tacking on a serial killer. Great. We have a reason for the day to be relived, we have a horror element which is new, and we have a goddamn mystery.

I remember missing this movie earlier in the year because four screenings were happening at the same time, so I ended up picking Professor Marston and the Wonder Women, which honestly still feels like the right move. But I had high hopes for this film, let’s just say that.

Cupcake
I also had high hopes for a big lavish birthday cake, but fuck me right?

Tree Gelbman (Jessica Rothe) has a stupid name, but that won´t bring her down. She is in college, she is smart enough, she likes to drink and party and is in an amazing sorority. She is sleeping with a professor for grades (And love?), and yes, it is in fact her birthday.

She woke up unfortunately not in her own bed, but in the bed of some boy named Carter (Israel Broussard). She doesn´t know him, she was drunk, clearly mistakes were made. Oh well, she can walk of shame it to her house for her birthday, no biggy. She just has to deal with other dumb college people, her annoying roommate (Ruby Modine), trying to sex up her professor (Charles Aitkin) without his wife (Laura Clifton) knowing, and of course, dealing with Sorority Drama.

But on the way to what is most certainly a surprise party for her, something strange happens. She gets murdered by someone in a big baby mask, straight up killed. And after she dies, she wakes up, back in Carter´s bed, confused and scared. Thinking it is some really intense dejavu, she goes on like normal, only changing up her route to the party, and sure enough, she finds herself dead, again, and back in Carter´s room. Oh no.

For some reason, Tree is dying every night by someone murdering her in the face, and she is waking up each day, more and more tired and concerned for her safety. She has to enlist help to determine who the killer is, but it is like everyone she needs to help her has short term memory. It sucks. Worst birthday ever.

Also starring Rachel Matthews, Rob Mello, Jason Bayle, and Phi Vu.

Watchout
Baby got a bat, better run run run.

Overall, I found Happy Death Day to be pretty disappointing.

When it comes to uniqueness, it only is unique in that the other repeated day stories and movies did not have horror elements. Or at least that wasn’t their main element. But can a repeated day film really be that scary? Well, for the most part, there will not be a sense of surprise. We know that she makes it until the end of the day, and unless it is purely random when she gets stabbed (it isn’t), then we know when to expect stabbing. It is hard to get scared in these situations, so the movie doesn’t work well as a horror.

On the comedy side, it too was weak. Most of the comedy came from the occasional weird kill, but a lot of it was just regular interactions between college students. Parts were amusing, but nothing really would cause someone to laugh out loud. As you can see, this is a multi-genre film that doesn’t really do great at any genre.

The main character is such a lame character, that no one would ever root for her. She is a mean sorority girl, and frankly, her getting killed doesn’t seem like a big deal. We can have films about unlikable characters, but that doesn’t mean we should want to root for them.

The ending is also a dud, where the main red hearing based solution is just so nonsensical, it is annoying how they wasted so much time on it. Any viewer would know it is incorrect, but we have to suffer through almost 30 minutes (it feels like) on that notion that it is excruciating.

Happy Death Day is a movie with a good idea, just terrible execution all around.

1 out of 4.

Pitch Perfect 3

In 1992, The Mighty Ducks came out, introducing a lot of youth to hockey and bringing an okay film to the world. It had a team of irregulars come together to win a competition. Standard story. Two years later, we were given D2: The Mighty Ducks, a much superior film, funnier, stronger, better. We got more exciting characters, the stakes were raised as they now had to compete and win in an international tournament. It gave us the knuckle puck!

Then another two years later, Disney had reached too close to the sun and tried for a third film. But where do you go after your group of kids have won a world championship? There is no intergalactic hockey (barring the Mighty Ducks TV Show). So they instead just made them go to a school, and play the varsity team of older players. It was a terrible idea, it was boring, no one cared.

That is what my concerns are for Pitch Perfect 3. In the first film they won the US, in the second film they won the world, and in the third film they are just…singing for the troops. What’s the point? The only real difference I could see is that at least in Mighty Ducks the second film improved upon the first, while in Pitch Perfect 2 it lowered in quality due to lesser plot lines.

Oh well, let’s see how it manages to justify its existence. And that is coming from a fan!

Group shot
Well at least they are patriotic, so they can

Our third film is taking place probably around 3 years after the events of Pitch Perfect 2. Our heroes (?) now have all moved on with their lives, in graduate school, or with jobs, or no jobs at all. Who knows.

Becca (Anna Kendrick) is officially a music producer, but dealing with shithead artists who have bad tastes makes her quit and question her future in the business. Thankfully, the Bellas are having a reunion show at an aquarium, so she has that to look forward to since her life is falling apart.

All the girls are there (Alexis Knapp, Anna Camp, Brittany Snow, Chrissie Fit, Ester Dean, Hana Mae Lee, Kelley Jakle, Rebel Wilson, Shelley Regner) and even their protege Emily (Hailee Steinfeld) is there. At this show, everyone realizes that their lives suck, they are sad, and they just want to sing and be happy. Thanks to plot magic, they are able to quickly agree and get invited to a USO show to entertain the troops.

And lo and behold, this is secretly a competition. They are performing alongside three bands with instruments and sound systems, but apparently DJ Khaled is there sponsoring it all, and his favorite band will get to open for him on tour. I learned after the fact that this is a real famous DJ playing himself in this movie, not another character.

Oh joy, a competition, in order to really bring out their best. Also, John Lithgow is in this movie to play Fat Amy’s elusive father who was apparently a criminal in the past. Starring Elizabeth Banks, Ruby Rose, John Michael Higgins, Matt Lanter, and Guy Burnet, who is playing our Jesse replacement. Because Jesse/Benji/Bumper were written out of these stories, with only two of them getting a line to explain what happened.

Sing
0-3 on Riff Offs because these people used instruments.

Let’s start this analysis with another franchise comparison. I don’t like Cars. Some people do like Cars. No one liked Cars 2. Cars 2 had the main character change and a terrible no good very bad spy theme.

Pitch Perfect 3 starts off with the group actually on a boat performing, then danger guns explosion. “Oh gods,” you wonder, “Did they change this to a spy series and not put it in the trailers. Oh no no no.” And then you forget about it. You hope it is just a movie in the movie scene, maybe they become fake stars. Sure.

And then the terrible Fat Amy father plot continues, with Lithgow acting quite terribly at being a thief or whatever. It was such a bizarre aspect to add to a very lackluster film. When they finally were back up to that boat scene I started falling asleep in the theater. Oh it was so bad and unnecessary.

As for the main plot, it was so bad and unnecessary. Banks and Higgins were trash in this movie, their quips less good and they felt so useless. The competition aspect was forced, with an extremely long into and “riff off.” They spent all this energy into setting up their first USO show and raining down shit upon the group and their antics to be loved. After that? We were given a montage over the other performance, and hey, apparently now everyone loves them and all that strife was just filler. They fixed their goddamn problems and got popular again after two bad events magically through montage.

The second film did really well monetarily so they probably felt like they had to make this one. But with forgettable performances, less mashing up, forgettable and enraging plot points, this is not a movie that needed to be made at all. But sure, some side characters had good one off jokes. That’s the plus.

1 out of 4.

Ferdinand

When I was in the first grade back in 1945, I distinctly remember seeing Ferdinand with its really dark red cover, bull, and designs on it. It stood out amongst the children’s books merely for its boldness and not pastel everything color scheme.

So I definitely remember reading it, feeling proud at having read it. It was one of the first books I can recall reading that weren’t super basic.

This means I was a bit excited that eventually a movie was going to come out about it. It was coming out around Christmas time with no other animated film competition. Maybe it would be amazing! That would be great, given my disappointments this year on the entire genre.

But also, I didn’t remember the story, so I wouldn’t care about the plot of the film versus the plot of the book, which is something I definitely always strive for.

Goat
“There was no goat in the book, 0 out of 100!!!” – Book elitist.

When Ferdinand (John Cena) was just a kid, he lived on a ranch and was in training to be a man fighter. I guess that is what you call the bulls in bull fighting matches. But Ferdinand didn’t want to train and butt heads with the other bulls, he wanted to care for flowers and just enjoy the fucking sunshine. One day, his dad was chosen as an honor to head to Madrid and become a man fighter, Ferdinand waited for days hoping his father would return victorious, but alas, he did not.

So Ferdinand escaped. There was nothing left for him at his home except for sadness, angst, and bullying. Because of bulls. He escape and, luckily, found himself at a peaceful farm where they actually grew flowers for a living! And there was a little girl there, Lily (Lily Day), who loved Ferdinand and raised him as a pet. He wasn’t mean, he just loved flowers and was a big goof ball.

But when Ferdinand got older, he was extremely large, larger than most bulls. Ferdinand was a gentle giant, who accidentally caused a lot of trouble one day thanks to not listening and due to a bee sting. This put Ferdinand back into captivity, back at the place he escaped long ago, with a Matador fight looming that he knew he would not come back from alive.

Also starring Anthony Anderson, Peyton Manning, David Tennant, and Tim Nordquist as additional bulls, Gina Rodriguez, Daveed Diggs, and Gabriel Iglesias as hedgehogs, and Flula Borg, Sally Phillips, and Boris Kodjoe as German show ponies.

Oh and Kate McKinnon as a goat, Bobby Cannavale as a rival bull, Miguel Ángel Silvestre as a famous bull fighter, and Jeremy Sisto as Ferdinand’s dad.

Drive
Oh. Animals driving trucks during the ending conflict. Lovely.

The book Ferdinand story was big huge bull, didn’t want to fight, liked flowers, got taken away when he accidentally messed up a village after a bee sting, went to fight a Matador, refused to fight and was saved. Simple book, and hey, that is the basic point of this movie too.

We also just get some extra kid backstory, rival characters, several groups of side characters, extra human characters, and more. There are so many goddamn animals in this one. Not just the bull friends, but we have some extra 1 of animals only, then a group of hedgehogs, a group of horses. It just seems like I was drowning in side animals, most of which were unnecessary and one dimensional. Although the hedgehogs made me laugh occasionally.

Thanks to all these characters, we got one of the worst scenes I have seen in an animated film since the entirety of Norm of the North, when there was a “dance off” between the bulls and the horses. It was bad, it didn’t match the characters, it went on too long and just was aggravating.

As for the rest of the film, the beginning was very boring, the voice acting was weak, and the film seemingly killed off characters willy-nilly without any big amount of remorse. Or at least it seemed that way, but actually the extremely efficient slaughterhouse has no actual employees. Seriously, they show up instantly to take away a bull not good enough, but when the bulls head to the place to save them, we have no employees, no people attempting to stop them, just an extremely elaborate and nonsensical “ground beef” making machine.

Add in the ending where we have our animals driving vehicles, because every goddamn animal movie needs that now, a way too long chase scene through Madrid, and an ending where, sure, Ferdinand and his friends make it but without any long term changes made.

We all know bull fighting is terrible at this point. It is a relic of the Roman Colosseum, killing animals in front of crowds for sport. It is awkward that basically every bull is super stoked about the idea of being chosen for most of the film, until they realize how bad it is. It is even more ridiculous when you’d think the goal would be to end all bull fighting to save the bulls, but apparently just their group of six is good enough.

Ferdinand had a treasured book to work with, and they used that material. Unfortunately, the people who gave us the bad franchises of Ice Age and Rio have seemingly, once again, failed to produce a quality product. Not surprising I guess.

1 out of 4.

Beatriz At Dinner

People really love dinners. I wish I watched The Dinner to go along with this as a mini-theme, but The Dinner never really fell on my radar.

At the very least, by now I should have watched My Dinner With Andre. One day.

With Beatriz At Dinner, I know we can expect a few things. We can expect some food, we can expect the food being at someplace unexpected, and we can expect at least one person named Beatriz. Maybe two, if we are lucky.

Dinner
Oh hey! There she is! Beatriz at the Dinner!

Beatriz (Salma Hayek) is having a hard time. She is a spiritual healer, and massage therapist, trying to help people through medical issues and emotional issues. But she is lonely and depressed. She lives alone with her animals, but her goat was recently killed by a neighbor for being annoying. That is pretty messed up. Her goddamn goat!

She still has a job to do and she heads to one of her client’s houses. She is late to Kathy (Connie Britton) thanks to traffic, but she gets in a quick session before Kathy has to get ready for a dinner party. When Beatriz tries to leave, her car will not start. Her only real option is to call on her friend to come and fix it, but he won’t be there until he gets out of work.

Kathy is kind and loves Beatriz though. So she invites her to stay for the dinner, she insists (with her husbands (David Warshofsky) permission). She isn’t dressed up fancy, but it is okay, because Beatriz is like family.

Beatriz quickly realizes that these people are not living in the same world she is living in. This is especially true about Doug (John Lithgow), a real estate mogul, and the person this whole dinner party is celebrating.

Also featuring Jay Duplass, Amy Landecker, Chloë Sevigny, John Early, and Enrique Castillo.

Guitar
And this is Beatriz as the After Dinner entertainment.

I expected a lot of subtlety in this film. Or a lot of under the table insults. Metaphorically, not literally. You know, backhanded compliments. Maybe some political debates. Maybe just…anything.

But what I got felt like a whole lot of nothing. Sure, Beatriz is a tragic character. We will feel sorry for her and we know she is in the right. And all of the rich people suck, some more than others, with the reasons varying. And yet it still feels like not a lot happens.

Beatriz never really gets a mic drop type statement. We get a lot of almost situations that never seem to go far enough. The commentary they are making based on how things play out is obvious, but it is bleak and totally unnecessary. And the ending is just downright dreadful, all aspects of it. I just feel like I was teased and then pooped on. Would certainly never want to see this again. Although sure, Hayek and Lithgow carried the film in their own ways, they just felt wasted on the script and the plot.

1 out of 4.

The Circle

The Circle came out earlier this year, with some amount of excitement. It had two big stars in it and it was told to be a modern thriller. Or even a technothriller , a thriller about technology. Ooooh, spooks.

And yet when it came out, it actually created no buzz, was swept under a rug, and forgotten about.

I probably would have never reviewed or remembered this film, if it wasn’t for my review of The Square. I decided I wanted a mini shape theme. First squares, then circles.

Circles
The Circle really enjoys circles.

Mae (Emma Watson) hates her temp job, hates answering calls, without benefits, and fear that she won’t be needed the next day. But her best friend, Annie (Karen Gillan), has the hook up. Annie works for The Circle, a company that you may as well consider to be Google/Apple of this fictional world. The CEO, Bailey, (Tom Hanks) is super famous, he is trying to help the world, and has the sweetest place to work. Annie is high up on the chain, she goes to all the top meetings.

Well, The Circle is hiring new customer support agents. It is what Mae is already doing, but this would be for a legit company, with benefits, helping her out immensely. And of course Mae gets the job! She knocks it out of the park!

She is initially worried about doing a good job and fitting in. She is slow to accept new things, so she finds the culture in The Circle to be overwhelming. Everyone loves doing stuff there, they have groups upon groups, they have so many weekend and night events. She is getting slightly shunned for just not spending more time at work off the clock. When she is pressured enough, she accepts the social aspects of the Circle, starts sharing her whole life, and eventually goes down a path she never figured out before.

But is it good? To be so open? You know the answer is probably know.

Also starring John Boyega, Patton Oswalt, Ellar Coltrane, and Glenne Headly/Bill Paxton as Mae’s parents.

Hanks
What a goddamn good cup of hopes, dreams, and secrets.

First sad note, both of the people who played her parents totally died this year! Paxton and Headly! Shit, is this movie cursed? Do we have to be on the watch for Boyega, Watson, or Hanks? Oswalt has already had a rough time recently, so I certainly hope he doesn’t get involved with the curse.

When it comes to this film, it is about as subtle was a laughing and dancing clown. It is obvious where the film is going, but somehow it goes an even stupider route to get there. By ending it on a supposed happy note, it seems to have also avoided any longer lasting points about society.

The big shocker event that happens near the films climax is almost laughable. The entire thing could and should have been prevented, it didn’t make sense that it was happening. A goal was achieved, and yet it became excessive for no reason. I wanted to laugh, it became so cheesy. The spiral downward up to that point was extremely chill as well. To refer to this as a thriller, when hardly any sinister things really occur is just lying.

The Circle wanted to be socially relevant and give us something to think about. Well, it was slightly relevant, and I am left only thinking on so many things they could have done to make this movie better.

1 out of 4.